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93 posts from November 2009

November 30, 2009

Daily Roundup: November 30, 2009

Problematic Pipes: BP might shut down a portion of its oil production in Alaska to repair a leaky pipeline. The cause of the spill and damages are under assessment. Reuters

Recycling Mess: Due to the budget crisis in California, many recycling centers have closed eliminating green jobs for hundreds of at-risk youths. Los Angeles Times

Eco-Friendly Vamps: The Hachette Book Group, publisher of the Twilight series, has pledged to go green. They plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions and use more recycled paper. Associated Press

Frog Fallacy: A recent analysis suggests that amphibians might not be the best leading indicators for environmental degradation. Science Daily

Little Library: A small town in the United Kingdom turned its iconic red phone booth into a book-swapping library after its bookmobile service was canceled. TreeHugger

--Julie Littman

Green Fashion Monday: Classic Rugged Tee


On Fashion Monday, we highlight a hip, green fashion item. Got a stylish eco-friendly product to recommend? Tell us about it and look for it in an upcoming blog post.

Need a gift for that rugged outdoorsman or woman in your life? How about this no-nonsense T-shirt from Mountain Khakis? The company known for making a great pair of pants now sells tees made from recycled cotton woven with recycled plastic from spent water bottles. And they offer just the kind of understated style that the hard-to-shop-for person appreciates. Available online. $25.

--Kyle Boelte

Winterize Your Home: Beat the Draft

Block drafts According to a report released by the White House, homes are responsible for more than 20 percent of carbon emissions in the United States. By making a few minor adjustments to your abode, you can reduce emissions and save money this winter.

Tip #1: Block Drafts

Doors can allow cold air to enter a room, even when they're closed. The Daily Green reports that drafts waste five percent to thirty percent of your home's energy. Check out the Rusty Bobbin's tutorial to learn how to make your own "draft snake" with fabric scraps. If you're crafty, you might consider making extra draft snakes to give away as holiday presents. If sewing isn't your thing, a rolled towel placed at the base of the door is an easy option for stopping unwanted air flow.

Tip #2: Shine a Light on Leaks

Tip #3: Insulate Windows

Tip #4: Clean Furnace Filters

Share your tips: How do you keep your home warm in winter?

November 25, 2009

Daily Roundup: November 25, 2009

Goin' to Copenhagen: The White House announced that President Obama will attend the December climate summit in Copenhagen and the U.S. will commit to reducing emissions 17 percent below 2005 levels by 2020. Los Angeles Times, New York Times, and Sierra Club

Pedal Problems: Toyota will repair accelerator pedals on 2004 to 2008 model Prius hybrids as part of the automaker's largest-ever recall. Bloomberg

Good Gobble: President Obama pardoned the White House turkey, continuing a presidential tradition that began in 1989. CNN

Birds on the Brain: Martha Stewart discussed the horrors of the meat industry with vegetarian author Jonathan Safran Foer on her show's Thanksgiving episode. Ecorazzi and Green Daily

Home Grown: The first official state dinner for the Obama administration featured a menu inspired by the White House garden. The meal's arugula was harvested from the White House grounds. Treehugger

--Della Watson

From Turkey Day to Gentle Thanksgiving

Dinner table With Thanksgiving just a day away, eaters everywhere are getting ready for the biggest food day of the year. Food is so important to Thanksgiving that the holiday has come to be known to many simply as Turkey Day. But with more people choosing to abstain from meat, other options are on the rise.

A movement called Gentle Thanksgiving is encouraging families, friends, and communities to celebrate the holiday with meat-free alternatives such as homemade seasonal dishes for those who love to cook and store-bought fare for the less culinary inclined. There are also related events taking place around the country.

We know for sure that one turkey is breathing easier this Thanksgiving, as President Obama pardons it, as is White House tradition. Not satisfied with the symbolism, though, some people are urging the Obamas to pardon all turkeys bound for the dinner table.

--Kyle Boelte

Book Review Wednesday: Books About Endangered Species

Books about environmentalism Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. This week we’re recommending books about endangered species.

Hope for Animals and Their World: How Endangered Species Are Being Rescued from the Brink (by Jane Goodall and Thane Maynard, $28, Grand Central Publishing, Sept. 2009): This is not your average doom-and-gloom species-decline book. As the title implies, the authors focus on the diligent efforts of conservationists to save species that were on the edge of extinction. They provide a very thorough summary of past and ongoing efforts to save all sorts of plants, birds, insects, and other animals, supplying a promising message of hope that not all is lost in today’s world. This book will go over well with anyone who loves Goodall’s writing or just needs some good news.

On Thin Ice: The Changing World of the Polar Bear (by Richard Ellis, $29, Knopf, Nov. 2009): The polar bear has become the poster child for climate change. We see its image everywhere, but how much do we actually know about the fascinating creature? Marine conservationist Richard Ellis covers a broad natural history of the species, ranging from its initial interaction with humans to the impact of the changing climate. While the danger of the bears' livelihood and natural habitat becomes imminent, Ellis writes that the polar bear can be salvaged if immediate action is taken. A must-read for animal lovers and those seeking an in-depth look at the polar bear.

Continue reading "Book Review Wednesday: Books About Endangered Species" »

Chicken Boy Spotted in Yosemite

Chickenboyatfalls This fall, it seemed like the whole country was excited about America's national parks. Much of that had to do with Ken Burns’s new documentary, and (we’d like to think) some cool Sierra Club projects too.

We're happy to see that the excitement continues. Kevin Roderick, in one of the most popular West Coast blogs, LA Observed, highlights a recent visit to Yosemite by Chicken Boy, a Los Angeles institution.

With the holidays coming up and last-minute work to be done, Roderick's post provided a chuckle when we really needed one.

--Kyle Boelte / photo by Judy Graeme

Weaning Off Paper Towels

Papertowel The CDC recommends that you wash your hands after using a public restroom to prevent the spread of disease. But what about all that's wasted every time you use a paper towel? In fact, each person uses about 741 pounds of paper each year. That’s a lot of trees.

Recycled paper towels and electric hand dryers are great, but one company claims these solutions aren’t green enough. PeopleTowels claims that its organic-cotton hand towels produce no waste and reduce a user's carbon footprint. Also, they come in colorful designs.

The downside is that they can be pricey if you’re on a budget. And they're only available through the company’s Web site.

Continue reading "Weaning Off Paper Towels" »

Green Your Holiday Meals: All Those Leftovers

What to do with holiday leftovers Working up a menu for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or any of the other upcoming winter holidays? This week’s tips will help you be environmentally responsible while planning that feast.

Tip #3: Do Right With What’s Left

If there’s one thing synonymous with American holidays, it’s lots and lots of leftovers. So what to do with yours? If there’s a food bank or homeless shelter in your region that takes prepared foods, you can bring ‘em there. If not, you can turn your leftovers into other meals, including soup or sandwiches; mashed potatoes can become a breakfast hash.

Whatever becomes of your grub, you can also deal with those licked-clean dishes in responsible ways: A full load in the dishwasher is greener than washing them by hand, especially if you skip the drying cycle.

Tell us: How do you deal with leftovers and dirty dishes after a big holiday meal?

PLEASE NOTE: In observance of Thanksgiving, the Sierra Club’s offices will be closed for the rest of the week. We'll be back with new posts on Nov. 30. In the meantime, you can peruse our archives for a wealth of green-living tips.

November 24, 2009

Daily Roundup: November 24, 2009

Heat's On: A new, multi-university study says that rising temperatures in Africa could severely affect heat-sensitive crops, causing 50 percent more civil wars by 2030. Treehugger

Rising Tide: A new report claims that global warming is speeding up, and that sea levels could rise up to 6.5 feet by 2100 instead of the 2007 projection of 7 to 24 inches. Reuters

Painted in Greenwash? European McDonald's will replace their famous red background with a “deep hunter green” to promote the company's supposed environmental commitment. GreenBiz.com

Worth Its Salt: Norway unveiled the world’s first prototype of an osmotic power plant, which harnesses the power of salt to drive a turbine. ENN

Tiger Tipping Point: Increased poaching and habitat loss have caused a significant decline in  Siberian tiger populations, causing Russian scientists and NGOs to call for regulations and increased protection. ScienceDaily

--Michael Mullaley

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