The Green Life:

« August 2010 | Main | October 2010 »

86 posts from September 2010

September 28, 2010

Daily Roundup: September 28, 2010

Hot Times in the City: Yesterday, downtown Los Angeles reached the highest temperature since records started being kept in 1877: 113 degrees. It was so hot that the National Weather Service's thermometer broke. Los Angeles Times

Coming Down: After torrential rains, a massive landslide in Mexico’s Oaxaca state buried some 300 homes; hundreds are feared dead. Voice of America

Mixed Bag: Scotland’s first minister, Alex Salmond, said that his nation will be 100% renewable-energy powered by 2025. Meantime, Scotland’s salmon-fishing industry is killing some 2,000 seals per year. Reuters and The Ecologist

Re-Freed: European activists in Taiji, Japan, cut nets holding captured dolphins, setting the marine mammals free. The Black Fish

That Sinking Feeling: Gulf Coast residents are being diagnosed with depression 25% more often after the BP oil spill than they were before it, a Gallup poll has found. USA Today

--Avital Binshtock

How to Scroll Through 121 Years of National Geographic

Complete National Geographic Before its breathtaking photography, smart wordplay, and cheery yellow border, National Geographic was a boring publication. The 200 subscribers who leafed through its first issue in 1888 had to wade through academic articles with sleepy titles like, “The Classification of Geographic Forms by Genesis.” The cover was brown.

Today, 8 million people read the magazine. Its indelible images — the first explorers on the moon and the Pakistani girl with haunting green eyes, to mention two — illustrate our shared history.

The National Geographic Society recently released a new collection of 1,400 issues of its magazine, so you can experience all the stories all over again. This electronic tome comes without the tactile pleasure of leafing through glossy pages, but it does enable you to search, zoom, scroll, and print.

Updated from last year, The Complete National Geographic contains a few new perks, including 12 issues from 2009 and access to future content upgrades.

You can buy the collection on six DVDs ($70) or on hard drive ($200).

--Natalya Stanko

Soap Opera: Cleaner or Greener?

IStock_000011921003XSmall "Clean" can be such a dirty word. Like most products, cleaning agents are being passed through a scrutinizing filter to determine what their environmentally detrimental ingredients may be. As luck would have it, most are rife with phosphates, chemicals containing phosphorus that pollute water sources and have caused burns, rashes, and dizziness to humans with prolonged exposure.

Naturally, if phosphates are removed from cleaning products such as dish detergent, they could be green enough to exist in our era. However, wouldn't removing the very aspect of the product that cleans make it somewhat useless? As products begin evolving for a greener era, the very notion of what constitutes "clean" may have to be redefined altogether

Cascade's website was recently flooded with angry comments; customers all over the country were reporting that their dishes had hardly been cleaned after going through a cycle. In fact, some of them came out even dirtier.

Continue reading "Soap Opera: Cleaner or Greener?" »

Green Your Football Season: Cheer 'Em On

IStock_000002043537XSmallWhether you're rooting for a team in the NFL or the NCAA, it's possible to enjoy the games a bit less wastefully. This week's tips are about how to do just that.

Tip #2: Get Inside the Huddle

Some NFL teams have are already doing great things: The Green Bay Packers' home games are brought to life by the NatureWise Renewable Energy Program, the Indianapolis Colts set up a recycling partnership with Budweiser, and the Philadelphia Eagles have their own forest. Some teams, however, aren't scoring any green touchdowns. Keeping in mind that with millions of fans, each organization has the potential to set a significant example, start throwing a few elbows: Contact the team's PR people to tell them your thoughts, or start a social-media campaign to get the ball rolling.

Tell us: How do you encourage your team to go green?

September 27, 2010

Daily Roundup: September 27, 2010

Oil Flows Again: The Michigan pipeline that leaked more than 800,000 gallons of oil restarted today after a two-month shutdown. AP

Meet Your Match: Bristlecone pines are the planet's oldest trees, with one still standing after 4,800 years. Now an Asian fungus and a native pine bark beetle might take them down. New York Times

Locked Up: About 100 activists against mountaintop removal were arrested today outside the White House. One of the protesters was prominent climate scientist James Hansen. AP

Highly Durable: More than half of the oil from the infamous BP well remains in the Gulf of Mexico, and it won't go away soon, an oceanographer told a presidential panel today. AFP

Conservation Blueprint: The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has created a team to study animals vulnerable to climate change. Critics say the service should do more to prevent habitat loss. New York Times 

--Natalya Stanko

Just Listen to the Fish

Coral reefs The colorful inhabitants of what one may think of as a silent world are finally being heard. Scientists put their ears to the seas and found a new way to evaluate the condition of coral reefs: listen to the fish.

By dropping a cable equipped with an underwater recording device off the side of a boat in the Las Perlas Archipelago in Pacific Panama, marine biologists snagged a two-minute recording of loud clicks and grunts. Comparing those to recordings of noises recorded at other reefs led them to believe that each reef has its own symphony of noises — and the louder the sounds, apparently, the healthier the reef.

The study, which didn't require big teams of divers nor large quantities of equipment, highlights the potential for using audio recordings to monitor the health of underwater ecosystems. With the threat of losing up to 70% of coral reefs by 2050 looming, let's keep our ears open.

--Molly Oleson

American Veterans vs. Big Oil

A provocative new advertising campaign against Big Oil was launched last Wednesday by VoteVets.org, a pro-military group comprised of American veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. The campaign, which will run on cable networks nationally, depicts Dante Zappala, the brother of fallen soldier Sgt. Sherwood Baker, criticizing the oil industry's attempts to dissuade Americans from using cleaner energy sources.

"Don't let Big Oil lie to you about what our dependence really costs," says Zappala, following a picture of his slain brother. The ad, which suggests that the true beneficiary of American military ventures in the Middle East is Big Oil, reportedly cost about $100,000 to run, compared to the more than $125 million that Big Oil and its allies have already spent on TV advertising this year alone.

Continue reading "American Veterans vs. Big Oil" »

Green Fashion Monday: The Armpocket


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.

Those that appreciate Armpocket’s line of device-carrying pieces include Earth-minded trail runners, ultramarathoners, and travelers aiming to avoid the notorious frumpiness of fanny packs.

Made partially of moisture-wicking bamboo and recycled plastic, Armpockets are equipped with heavy-duty strappage for a secure fit. And some of their products sport a clear front pocket and an audio port that lets you lace your wiring through, meaning you can control a touchscreen and take calls without having to fish out your iWhatever. Extra space leaves room for carrying keys, money, and Gu. $23 to $36
--Avital Binshtock

Green Your Football Season: A Cleaner Tailgate


Whether you're rooting for a team in the NFL or the NCAA, it's possible to enjoy the games a bit less wastefully. This week's tips are about how to do just that.

Tip #1: Master the Tidy Tailgate 

Recently tailgated parking lots are strewn with bags, cans, and bottles that'll hang around in landfills for decades. To green your tailgate and cut back on waste, bring something that won't leave a mess. Instead of toting in, say, 27 individual-sized bags of Doritos, use a cloth bag to bring some snack-worthy produce purchased at the local farmers' market. And bring along homemade dressing or dip in a reusable container. As for beer, click here for some expert recommendations.

Tell us: What do you bring to your football tailgate?

September 24, 2010

Daily Roundup: September 24, 2010

The Safety Dance: After a drilling moratorium was rejected, European coastal nations agreed that individual countries would review safety rules for offshore drilling. AP

Muddy Waters: Canadian officials recruited a group of scientists to review water pollution data from Alberta's oilsands region. Vancouver Sun

Calling for Corridors: A government-ordered report said that England's protected areas are too small and fragmented to provide long-term conservation for wildlife. BBC

Safe Haven: Environment ministers from 15 European nations agreed to create fishing-free zones in the Atlantic Ocean. Reuters

Justice for All: The EPA, the Department of Housing and Urban Development, and other government agencies agreed to make environmental justice a priority. New York Times

--Della Watson

User comments or postings reflect the opinions of the responsible contributor only, and do not reflect the viewpoint of the Sierra Club. The Sierra Club does not endorse or guarantee the accuracy of any posting. The Sierra Club accepts no obligation to review every posting, but reserves the right (but not the obligation) to delete postings that may be considered offensive, illegal or inappropriate.

Up to Top

Sierra Club® and "Explore, enjoy and protect the planet"® are registered trademarks of the Sierra Club. © 2009 Sierra Club.
The Sierra Club Seal is a registered copyright, service mark, and trademark of the Sierra Club.