Jim Motavalli

Jim Motavalli is editor of E: The Environmental Magazine, a regular contributor to the New York Times, and author of Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the Earth.

In Garbage Land, Elizabeth Royte talks dirty

Garbage Land: On the Secret Trail of Trash by Elizabeth Royte, Little Brown and Co., 320 pgs., 2005. Our soda man delivers. He comes bounding up the steps, easily cradling an ancient-looking wooden crate under …

Doctors, vets, and scientists unite in brave new world of conservation medicine

Mosquitoes have Hawaii all abuzz. Photo: WHO/TDR/Stammers. On an airport runway in Hawaii last fall, a sparrow nearly became a canary. State officials testing captured birds got one positive result for the West Nile virus, …

Death, Be Not Cloud

An excerpt from Feeling the Heat sizes up the ominous Asian Cloud

The Indian city of Mumbai, formerly Bombay, is home to one of Asia's largest slums and endures among the worst air quality on earth. Half the city's population lacks running water or electricity, and the smoke from countless wood-burning cooking fires joins with the acrid haze from two-stroke auto rickshaws, diesel buses, and coal-fired power plants to all but choke the city. Breathing Mumbai's air, reports the Lonely Planet travel guide, is equivalent to smoking 20 cigarettes a day. Comparable air quality wraps New Delhi, Bangalore, and 69 of India's 70 principal cities year-round, according to a 1997 study by India's Central Pollution Control Board.

The word on relatively green cars and positively green bicycles

Hy-wire act. Photo: DOE. My daughter Maya, who is 9, saw a picture of the General Motors Hy-wire, the company’s super-sleek experimental fuel-cell car, and immediately decided we should have one. Unfortunately, I had to …

Overdrive

214,000,000 — number of vehicles in the U.S.1 290,000,000 — number of people in the U.S.2 2 — number of American cars on the Top 20 list in “The Greenest Vehicles of 2003,” produced by …

Reinventing the Wheels

How far can clean cars take us?

I loved cars long before I knew there was any reason to worry about their effect on the environment or be concerned about the smoke that poured from their tailpipes. In the 1960s, ignorance like mine was widespread in the United States, maintained by a powerful automotive lobby and a complacent federal government. Highway congestion, though already bad, was somewhat masked by an expanding national highway grid, and most people celebrated the migration to the suburbs that the new roads aided and abetted. Cars were equated with freedom, and ads of the period showed happy vacationing families riding in roomy sedans, with the uncrowded interstate stretching out in front of them.

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