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Lisa Hymas' Posts

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What not to buy for Christmas

Watch out for scary chemicals in plastic toys for tots

Umbra offered up a number of clever gift ideas for kids in her latest column, focusing particularly on experiences rather than things. But if you still want to do some thing-giving for those wee ones, you might first want to check out "What's Toxic In Toyland," an article by Margot Roosevelt in Time. San Francisco has just banned some plastic toys aimed at kids under three. The prime targets -- bisphenol A and phthalates -- have been found in everything from rubber duckies to teething rings to bathtime books, as we noted in Daily Grist last month. "Sucking on some …

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Nairobi climate meeting wraps up without marked progress

Small steps made, but no real plan for post-2012

The international climate conference in Nairobi just wrapped up, and it sounds like it was a bit of a yawn. As expected, no exciting progress or big future plans. Of course, progress is in the eye of the beholder, as we see in three different articles from MSM sources: Alister Doyle and Gerard Wynn for Reuters: U.N. climate talks keep Kyoto on track, but scant progress Environment Ministers kept plans for widening a U.N.-led fight against global warming beyond 2012 on track on Friday amid criticism of scant progress in aiding Africa and confronting wrenching climate change. After two weeks …

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Wal-Mart accused of mislabeling items as organic

Watchdog group files complaint with USDA

Wal-Mart has been mislabeling non-organic food items as organic, charges the Cornucopia Institute in a complaint filed with the USDA. Reports the AP: Mark Kastel, co-director of the nonprofit institute, said he and other researchers visited at least a dozen Wal-Mart stores in four states throughout the Midwest to see how organic items were selling. But they found problems, he said, such as dairy coolers stocked with regular yogurt -- by brands that also make organic varieties -- near signs that say 'organic.' Similar, misleading labels were found on produce and throughout aisles, he said. Kastel said the company has …

Read more: Food

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If this is what a "priority" looks like ...

Snow says Bush has made climate a priority. Yeah, right.

"[T]he President has made dealing with climate change a priority for this administration," said White House Press Secretary Tony Snow at yesterday's briefing. Meanwhile, a German group has ranked 56 nations according to their efforts to fight climate change. Yes, look way down the list [PDF]:   1 Sweden 2 United Kingdom 3 Denmark 4 Malta 5 Germany 6 Argentina 7 Hungary 8 Brazil 9 India 10 Switzerland 11 Latvia 12 France 13 Romania 14 Iceland 15 Belgium 16 Mexico 17 Lithuania 18 Morocco 19 Portugal 20 Norway 21 Slovakia 22 New Zealand 23 Slovenia 24 Bulgaria 25 Czech Republic …

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Guv races: Spitzer, Rendell, Strickland, and Patrick win

Some expected and key wins for Dems and enviros

Four governors' races with notable environmental angles have gone to the greener-leaning Dems, as expected.   New York: Eliot Spitzer (D) pummeled John Faso (R) Pennsylvania: Ed Rendell (D) trounced Lynn Swann (R) Ohio: Ted Strickland (D) whipped Ken Blackwell (R) Massachusetts: Deval Patrick (D) beat Kerry Healey (R) Background on enviro angles here and here. Race results here.

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Granholm pulls it out

Michigan’s Democratic governor wins reelection

Michigan's Democratic governor, Jennifer Granholm, has beaten back Republican Dick DeVos. It's an important win for enviros -- Granholm is about as green as one could manage in the home state of the U.S. auto industry. Background on the race here.

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Stonyfield Farm defends its organic ideals

Business Week article gave some the wrong impression, company says

Stonyfield Farm, purveyor of organic yogurt and milk, is concerned that some folks got the wrong idea about its business strategy from a recent Business Week article about the big-ification of organic, which I pointed to a couple of weeks ago. Stonyfield has now posted a response and clarification on its website, emphasizing its long-standing commitment to supporting organic family farms. It also points out that it hasn't yet bought one dash of powdered milk from New Zealand (and might never), and that powdered milk makes up less than 5 percent of milk used in its yogurt -- a small …

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The organic myth

Business Week cover story looks at the watering down of the organic ethos

A fine feature story in Business Week this week -- The Organic Myth, by Diane Brady. "As it goes mass market, the organic food business is failing to stay true to its ideals," the cover proclaims. When I first glanced at the mag, I expected rah-rah boosterism for corporate organics and spite for old-school purists, but the article actually struck me as a pretty fair assessment of the culture clash between the organic ethos and the Big Biz model -- the gist being that the two are remarkably ill-suited. Corporate enthusiasm for organics notwithstanding -- and there's plenty of enthusiasm …

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Greenspan calls for a gasoline tax -- a touch belatedly

He couldn’t have done this a year ago? Or 18 years ago?

He was arguably the most powerful man in Washington for more than 18 years, but former Fed Chair Alan Greenspan waited until retirement to finally come out in favor of a gas tax. Writes Daniel Gross in the NYT: As a rule, Mr. Greenspan, a Republican by temperament and background who was reappointed twice by Bill Clinton, adhered closely to Republican orthodoxy on taxes: the lower the better. Mr. Greenspan was hardly a proponent of raising taxes on energy to encourage conservation, a policy prescription generally associated with the politicians and economists of the left. Until now. In late September, …

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Federal judge rejects Bush's policy for roadless forests

Damn those activist judges!

Here's some big, breaking news. Reports AP: A federal judge on Wednesday reinstated a ban on road construction in nearly a third of national forests, overturning a Bush administration rule that allowed states to decide how to manage individual forests. U.S. District Judge Elizabeth Laporte sided with states and environmental groups that sued the U.S. Forest Service after it reversed President Clinton's 2001 "Roadless Rule" that prohibited logging, mining and other development on 58.5 million acres in 38 states and Puerto Rico. In May last year, the Bush administration replaced the Clinton rule with a process that required governors to …

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