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Holly Richmond's Posts

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Over-pup-ulation?

Americans are choosing chihuahuas over children

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Michael Bennett

Since 2007, women haven’t been popping out as many babies (maybe it’s that pesky recession?). But they’ve been enjoying the company of something ELSE cute and tiny and full of shit: small dogs. And that's better for the population and for resource use overall.

Roberto A. Ferdman points out the trends on Quartz:

Birth rates in the US have fallen from nearly 70 per 1,000 women in 2007, to under 63 last year -- a 10% tumble. American women birthed almost 400,000 fewer little humans in 2013 than they did six years before. The drop-off has come exclusively among 15- to 29-year-olds.

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Meanwhile, dogs under 20 pounds have doubled in popularity since 1999. They’re now Americans’ most common type of pup. Euromonitor research analyst Damian Shore says it’s not just an interesting correlation; women are totally choosing tail-wagging friends over someone whose college you have to pay for. As he told Quartz:

There’s definitely some replacement happening there ... There are more single and unmarried women in their late 20s and early 30s, which also happens to be the demographic that buys the most small dogs.

Read more: Cities, Living

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These stylish fair-trade clothes support at-risk women

Raven + Lily

Think of Raven + Lily as the anti–Forever 21. Rather than making new gewgaws outta plastic, the sustainable clothing company upcycles materials like bullet casings (!) and silver coins. Plus, it pays a fair wage to HIV-positive women and victims of sex trafficking, abuse, and other trauma. (Its prices also set it apart from Forever 21, although they’re far from Prada-high.)

And unlike Forever 21, you can actually feel good about wearing things from Raven + Lily, instead of slightly nauseated and wondering if those burned-smelling jeans are making you sick. Raven + Lily offers healthcare along with a safe job so women in Cambodia, Ethiopia, India, Kenya, and the U.S. can get a leg up out of poverty. Its Kenya Collection, for instance:

Features hand-carved wooden and beaded jewelry that empower women from the Esiteti community to eradicate female genital mutation, as well as to be the first generation to send girls to school.

Awesome, right? The company is careful to make the best use of local resources, investigating what fabrics and materials local women have access to and where their design skills lie. This video explains more about the bullets-to-beads story and turning conflict into art:

Read more: Living

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The week in GIFs: Raising our eyebrows

The week's green news has us skeptical, judgmental, and just plain confused. (Last week: genies, junk, and Mary Jane.)

Only 28 percent of Fox's climate segments are accurate:

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Tumblr

Ohio cracked down on pollution from fracking:

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Reaction Gifs
Read more: Living

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These gorgeous sustainable travel mugs won’t leach harmful chemicals

Given the recent ruckus about BPA-free plastic being not that safe after all, we get it if you’re resigned to drinking water straight out of clouds. But could there be another option?!

Hells yes -- and it doesn’t involve permanently tilting your neck skyward, either. Dryad Coffee made trees you can drink from ... or to be precise, olive wood and white oak travel mugs that are dishwasher safe, minimally porous, and free of the chemicals in plastic and metal cups.

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Dryad

Dryad is just wrapping up a successful Kickstarter campaign that’ll allow the brand to certify its wooden mugs with the Forest Stewardship Council, so you won’t be hydrating at the expense of old-growth forests. (You have three days left to make a $30 donation for a cup or $40 for a travel mug -- or less if you just want good karma.)

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Dryad

Here’s Dryad’s timeline if you wanna snag a mug of your own:

Read more: Living

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Forget cows — people are now going Smart car tipping

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Fred Scharmen

Youthful San Francisco hooligans don’t exactly have access to a field of snoozing cows. What CAN they tip? Smart cars. And on Monday, four were flipped over in San Francisco neighborhoods. Reports the Associated Press:

[Officer Gordon] Shyy said ... police were looking for multiple suspects wearing black hooded sweatshirts who were in the area at the time of the destruction.

You rebellious teens with your hoodies and raging hormones and pent-up aggression! The prank seems merely silly on the surface, but it could actually point to underlying class-based tension in one of America’s most spendy cities.

Police said they didn't know whether the attacks were a prank or another episode in escalating tensions among some residents who blame the tech industry for rising rents and cost of living.

As Shelley Gallivan, who inherited one of the Smart cars when her 70-year-old dad died, told the AP:

Read more: Cities, Living

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As if the ozone hole weren’t enough, now there’s a hole in the troposphere

Click to embiggen.
Markus Rex, Alfred-Wegener-Institute
Click to embiggen.

Everyone knows men shouldn’t wear white dress shirts without undershirts, because then you can see their furry chests and tantalizing man-nipples and sensual sweat stains. But the Earth’s been shopping at the Hanes Outlet again, because ITS white v-neck -- a.k.a. the troposphere, the innermost part of the atmosphere -- has a hole.

This hole in the Earth’s first atmospheric layer is letting dangerous, ozone-killing chemicals sneak out like nefarious body odor. Normally the troposphere catches the sweat, if you will, of pollutants and then wrings them out in rainstorms before they can do much harm. But scientists recently discovered a hole over the Western Pacific when weather balloons went poking around.

It’s nine miles up and several thousand square miles long, according to Wired:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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EVs are getting fake engine sounds, because they’re so quiet it’s dangerous

Tesla sales center
Tesla

Hybrids can be so quiet you can’t tell if they’re on. Which is bad news for cyclists and pedestrians -- especially walkers who are visually impaired. So the European Parliament just decided that EVs and hybrids have to add fake “vroom vroom” noises so drivers quit sneaking up on people, goshdarnit.

Acoustic vehicle alerting systems (AVAS) mimic traditional engine noise, and auto manufacturers have to add them by 2019. (Sorry, European Prius drivers: You’ll have to start meditating somewhere else.)

Gizmodo notes the gravity of the situation:

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Fancy new sustainable cement is made of old busted toilets

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wonderal

What happens when your crapper becomes a piece of crap? If you're lucky, it gets turned into sustainable cement. According to Inhabitat, researchers from England, Spain, and Brazil have repurposed broken bathtubs, toilets, and sinks as a cement mixture that’s much greener than normal concrete. And when red bricks are used, the result is even stronger.

Here’s the nitty gritty:

To create the cement, scientists first grind up old ceramics and mix them with water and an activator solution, which currently uses sodium hydroxide or sodium silicate. This solution is then poured into a mold and exposed to extreme heat, resulting in a solidified mixture.

If the activator solution can be replaced with rice husk ash, it would take yet another material out of the waste stream, provide a way for suppliers generate additional income, and create cement made purely from recycled materials.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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This beautiful tiny house looks like an orange and was built for less than $9,000

To be affordable, tiny houses are often all angles, with sharp, modern design. For those of us tired of spare, impersonal homes in drab brown-black, this mango-like dome is a juicy slice of bliss:

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© Steve Areen via Designboom

Steve Areen built the orange dome on a Thai mango farm -- clearly inspired by the fruit -- using blocks of compressed dirt. Treehugger quotes the musician and photographer:

The cost for the basic structure was under $6,000. It took a few more weeks to add the details, such as doors, screens, pond, upstairs structure, stonework and landscaping. All this, including furnishings, was under $3,000 ... Bringing my total cost to about $9,000. Please keep in mind this is in cost-friendly Thailand.

Read more: Living

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We might get a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth

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Juampe López

Considering Fast and the Furious 18 is now in theaters, it’s almost weird there hasn’t been a sequel to An Inconvenient Truth, the first gobsmackingly successful movie about a slideshow. (Moviegoers around the world gladly parted with almost $50 million to get bummed about climate change!)

So hearing that the doc’s producer is in talks to make a sequel to the 2006 film elicits a big “FINALLY!” From the Hollywood Reporter:

"We have had conversations," producer Lawrence Bender tells THR. "We've met; we've discussed. If we are going to make a movie, we want it to have an impact."...

Environmental activist Laurie David also believes a sequel should be on the agenda. "God, do we need one," she says. "Everything in that movie has come to pass. At the time we did the movie, there was Hurricane Katrina; now we have extreme weather events every other week. The update has to be incredible and shocking."

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living