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83 posts from August 2011

August 31, 2011

Daily Roundup: August 31, 2011

iDontCare? Environmental groups in China are upset with Apple for not regulating its suppliers, who are allegedly filling the Asian nation with an unconscionable amount of pollution. Reuters

Otherworldly: Millions of pieces of space litter constantly circle Earth, but the U.S. is starting to look into how to manage the problem. In other space news, a newly discovered planet is thought to be the most Earthlike ever found (and maybe the most "unpoetically named" too). Scientific American and National Geographic

High Payoff: Protecting just 4% of the ocean could save almost 100% of marine mammal species, a new study says. ScienceDaily

Official Issue: Suriname created a government agency for dealing with climate change. Its neigbor, Guyana, has done the same. TreeHugger

Sundown: Solar-tech company Solyndra is filing for bankruptcy and firing 1,100 workers. GigaOm

--Avital Binshtock

Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Fire

Book review wed Every Wednesday, we review a selection of new and upcoming books addressing a specific aspect of environmentalism. Today we're recommending books about heat, flames, and lava. 

What's So Hot About Volcanoes? (by Wendell A. Duffield, $16, Mountain Press Publishing Co., Jul. 2011): If you can get beyond the punny title, this book is a no-nonsense look at the inner workings of some of Earth's most notable geologic features. Topics range from basics, like types of faults, to more advanced points, like CO2 flows and supervolcanoes. With plenty of pictures of exploding mountainsides and blast craters, this book is ideal for a young adult with a budding interest in geology.

America's Fires: A Historical Context for Policy and Practice (by Stephen J. Pyne, $10, Forest History Society, 2010): "America does not have a fire problem. It has many fire problems," claims fire guru Stephen J. Pyne. America's Fires is the story of how those problems came to be and what can be done about them now. From Smokey Bear's impact on fire management to the creation of new wildlands, Pyne details precisely how humans have influenced fires in America. Using historical data from all over the nation, he comprehensively and concisely weighs the political, biological, and philosophical concerns of fire management.

Continue reading "Book Roundup Wednesday: Books About Fire" »

Green Your Breakfast: A Cleaner Cup of Coffee

Green coffee mug Good morning! This week’s tips are about how to make your most important meal of the day more eco-friendly.

Tip #3: Choose your coffee wisely.

Are your eyes open yet? Then you’re probably craving a rich cup of joe. Before you reach for just any beans, think of the birds, the workers, the rainforests – you know, all the sensitive parts of the planet that get affected by the global coffee trade.

Worried that responsible java will taste bland or bitter? It doesn’t have to. To find delicious recommendations, check out Sierra magazine’s roundup of coffee experts praising their eco-friendly favorites. (Tea drinkers, click here.)

Continue reading "Green Your Breakfast: A Cleaner Cup of Coffee" »

August 30, 2011

Daily Roundup: August 30, 2011

Primate in Peril: Scientists discovered a new species of monkey. It lives in a heavily logged part of the Amazon rainforest. WWF

Auf Wiedersehen: Germany shut down eight of its 17 nuclear reactors in a period of days, paving a path for renewables but raising the possibility of blackouts. New York Times

Here Today: U.S. scientists identified the first new American bird species in 30 years. Unfortunately, the tiny seabird may already be going extinct. National Geographic

Deep Deal: The Russian state oil company, Rosneft, announced a partnership with ExxonMobil. The two will soon begin drilling in the deep waters of the Arctic. Reuters

Rainmakers: Swiss researchers created water droplets by firing lasers into the sky. The scientists claim that the technology may soon be used to create rainstorms. Guardian

--Colin Griffin

Serve Outdoors in September

September marks the beginning of fall, which means children head back to school filled with summer stories of the wild outdoor adventures they enjoyed. But this year, the month contains a somber milestone: the 10-year anniversary of the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

Now known as the National Day of Service and Remembrance, September 11 offers a chance to do volunteer work to honor those who serve our country. The Sierra Club will be holding events throughout the month, offering opportunities to work together for a cleaner, healthier nation. Activities will range from park cleanups to watershed-restoration projects to home-weatherization improvements.

To get involved, check the Club's Serve Outdoors website.

--Della Watson

Green Your Breakfast: How Do You Like Your Eggs?

Organic eggs Good morning! This week’s tips are about how to make your most important meal of the day more eco-friendly.

Tip #2: Think through your eggs.

Whether you like ‘em scrambled or sunny side up, your first decision about your eggs should be that they be organic and cage-free. When you buy organic eggs, you’re supporting ways of feeding and raising animals that are free of pesticides and other chemicals, GMOs, and unnecessary antibiotics (to find the best brand of organic eggs near you, check out the Cornucopia Institute's organic-egg scorecard). And when you buy cage-free eggs, you’re diverting your money away from polluting factory farms. To be certain, however, that the yolks you’re frying (or boiling or baking . . .) are pure, consider how much fun it could be to keep your own chickens.

Tell us: How do you like your eggs?

August 29, 2011

Daily Roundup: August 29, 2011

Sun Money: A new report shows that the U.S. exported $5.6 billion in solar goods last year, making it one of the only industries to generate a trade surplus with China. Reuters 

Lesser of Two Evils: From source to use, natural-gas electricity emits 47% fewer greenhouse gasses than burning coal. TreeHugger

Goodnight Irene: Hurricane Irene hurtled up the East Coast this past weekend, leaving more than 5.5 million people without power and contending with devastating floods. New York Times

Full Speed Ahead: A new report from the federal government concluded the Keystone XL pipeline would have "no significant impact." Despite protests, officials say approval is likely. Huffington Post and Yale Environment 360

Positive Outlook: Japan passed a law to support renewable energy. Wind-Works.org

--Christa Morris


Green Fashion Monday: Shoes That Give Back

Bobs by Skechers 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.

Poverty hurts the environment, and easing the strains of below-standard living helps everyone and everything. So when a brand like Skechers develops a line of shoes — Bobs — and promises that, for every pair sold, a new pair gets donated to a child in need, the payoff could be huge. In fact, Skechers is aiming to donate 1 million pairs of shoes by the end of 2011.

This is an idea “inspired” by another shoe brand, Toms, which runs the same charitable offer and offers similarly casual styles. But charity's charity, and quality footwear is quality footwear.

Continue reading "Green Fashion Monday: Shoes That Give Back" »

Green Your Breakfast: Which Cereal to Choose?

Breakfast cereals Good morning! This week’s tips are about how to make your most important meal of the day more eco-friendly.

Tip #1: Get serious about cereal.

Your choice of breakfast cereal can actually make a difference. If you’re worried that an organic, GMO-free, sustainably packaged brand will taste more like soggy cardboard than like a wholesome part of a complete breakfast, check out Sierra magazine’s taste test of cereals. It identified five very delicious — and very responsible — options. Pour in some organic milk or soy milk, and you’ll head out to face the day knowing you’ve started it in a planet-loving way.

Tip #2: How do you like your eggs?

Tip #3: Choose your coffee wisely.

Tip #4: Pick green kitchen gear.

Tell us: What's your favorite eco-friendly cereal?

August 26, 2011

Daily Roundup: August 26, 2011

Prepare for Impact: The East Coast is bracing for Hurricane Irene, as some coastal towns are being evacuated. Houston Chronicle and Scientific American

Icy Dealings: Charles Monnett, an Alaska scientist known for his research that polar bears drown because of melting ice, is back at work after a six-week suspension for helping a researcher prepare a proposal that Monnett was supposed to review. Some suspect Monnett's career was targeted for political reasons. AP

Armed and Dangerous: A BP guard shot a female polar bear near the company's Endicott oil field in Alaska. Eleven days later, the animal is dead of its wounds. Telegraph

Mirror Underneath: Scientists discovered a 3,700-mile-long river. It flows 13,000 feet beneath the Amazon. Mongabay.com

Sharper Rules: A law that would outlaw selling shark fins in California is headed to the state senate. Some Chinese-Americans are claiming discrimination. Los Angeles Times

--Avital Binshtock

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