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Lisa Hymas' Posts

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Get rid of your clutter and feel virtuous, all at the same time

'Tis the season to jettison the clutter that's clogging your closets, basements, and garages and gumming up your feng shui. First stop: Freecycle, with city-specific listservs on which folks can post things they want to give away and plead for things they seek. I'm a huge fan. I've unloaded speakers, stereo components, a cooler, a box spring, foam pads, light bulbs, and a beige shower-curtain rod to grateful Seattleites, and I've scored a good-quality queen-sized bed, an old-school TV, and a boom box. Freecycle makes people feel happy and munificent. (Read more joyful Freecycling stories!) And now I've heard tell …

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Battle over immigration policy returns in this month’s board election

They're back! Rabble-rousing advocates of immigration restrictions are once again ruffling feathers at the Sierra Club. With the group's 750,000 members now voting in their annual election (polls close April 25; members go here to vote), the immigration critics are pushing a slate of four like-minded board candidates and a "yes" vote on a population ballot measure, which reads: Shall the Sierra Club policy on immigration, adopted by the Board of Directors in 1999 and revised in 2003, be changed to recognize the need to adopt lower limits on migration to the United States? In the "yes" corner, Sierrans for …

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N.Y. Times columnist says climate change makes nuclear energy a must

Inspired, no doubt, by recent lively discussion in Ask Umbra and Gristmill on nuclear power (necessary evil or pure evil?), New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has decided to join the fray with his simplistically titled (and conceived) "Nukes Are Green" column. He's of the James Lovelock school of thought, arguing that with climate change bearing down on us and renewables not yet up to full speed, nuclear is our only hope.Kristof makes a few pithy points: America's biggest power source is now coal, which kills about 25,000 people a year through soot in the air. To put it another …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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EPA drops CHEERS study; Johnson confirmation to proceed

Score one for the Dems. Stephen Johnson on Friday agreed not to poison infants and toddlers with pesticides in exchange for Senate confirmation of his appointment to head the EPA.   Johnson -- a generally unobjectionable nominee, especially by Bush admin standards -- was expected to glide on through the confirmation process, but Sens. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) and Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) threw a wrench into matters on Wednesday, demanding that Johnson, who's now acting administrator of the EPA, permanently cancel the notorious CHEERS research. The Children's Environmental Exposure Research Study had, according to the New York Times, "offered $970, a …

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Romney admin hires columnist to tout its environmental policies

Paying journalists to shill for Republican policies -- it's not just for Bushies anymore! The admin of Mitt Romney, Massachusetts' GOP governor, will fork over $10,000 to a Boston Herald op-ed columnist to promote its environmental policies, The Boston Globe (gleefully) reports.Charles D. Chieppo, who's been writing a weekly column for the Herald since January, will spend two days a week through June working for the state Executive Office of Environmental Affairs, writing op-ed pieces and internal documents ''to support the efforts of senior management to promote education, awareness, and acceptance of major policy initiatives" on the environment.   And …

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Dems and Republicans buy different kinds of cars; guess who likes big American SUVs?

You could probably guess that Prius drivers tend to be Democrats and Hummer drivers tend to be Republicans. But that's just the tip of the iceberg on car-and-driver political connections, writes John Tierney in The New York Times, summarizing new market research that I find both fascinating and hilarious.   Jaguars, Land Rovers, and Jeep Grand Cherokees are very "Republican" vehicles. Volvos are the most "Democratic" cars, followed by Subarus and Hyundais. (Funny comment from Slate columnist Mickey Kaus: "Subaru is the new Volvo --that is, it is what Volvos used to be: trusty, rugged, inexpensive, unpretentious, performs well, maybe …

Read more: Living, Politics

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Evangelical enviros leery of associating with, uh, enviros

Richard Cizik, head of the National Association of Evangelicals, is heavily hawking the notion of "creation care" these days.  (That would be God-flavored environmentalism, for those not in the know.) Three weeks ago, he talked up the concept with NPR's Scott Simon (whom I wholly adore, but that's a topic for another post). This past weekend, he got his mug and his pitch in The New York Times Magazine, via a Q&A with Deborah Solomon.  An excerpt:   Q: What is wrong with [the] term [environmentalism]? A: It's not the term. It's the environmentalists themselves. I was recently speaking with …

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The seal massacre, in its full gory

I'm an environmentalist, not an animal-rights activist. Sometimes the two labels go hand-in-hand; sometimes they clash. Personally, I place a priority on healthy ecosystems (including the survival of whole species in their native habitat) over an individual animal's right to exist no matter where it may find itself. So from that vantage point, the fracas over Canada's annual seal hunt doesn't seem to me to be an "environmental" issue, if we're pigeonholing. Seals, as I understand it, are not endangered. But, trust me, you don't have to attach any activist label to yourself at all to be revolted and horror-struck …

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Semi? He thought they said Demi

Two months ago, we mocked Ashton Kutcher for buying a behemoth, 10-mile-per-gallon (on a good day) International CXT, or commercial extreme truck. Now, Kutcher's mocking himself. "My semi? It's the most idiotic thing I've ever purchased," he's quoted as saying in, ahem, In Touch Weekly. (I was flipping through it in line at the co-op, OK?) ContactMusic.com reports that he may auction the beast off. "It's a weird boy's dream," he said by way of explaining his stupidity. "Growing up in Iowa, all these kids in my school who had money would go out and buy these Toyota pickup trucks …

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A first: Black man to head up NWF board

Jerome Ringo will officially take the helm of the National Wildlife Federation board this week, making him "the first-ever African-American to hold such a leadership position with any national conservation organization," according to the group.   Congrats to Ringo and kudos to NWF, but damn, what does it say about the green movement that we're only just now marking this milestone? No wonder activists lament the lack of non-white faces in environmental circles. Ringo told Lester Graham of the Great Lakes Radio Consortium that times are changing: "We're not where we want to be with respect to minority involvement in …

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