CNN founder and legendary loudmouth Ted Turner marked the 25th birthday of the pioneering cable news network this week by patting its back, but also telling staff, "I would like to see us return to a little more international coverage on the domestic feed and a little more environmental coverage, and maybe a little less pervert of the day. I mean, there's a lot of perversion around, I know that, but is it really news? I mean, some of it is. I guess you've got to cover Michael Jackson, but not three stories about perversion at the lead of every half-hour." A "little more" environmental coverage? Does that imply that there's some already? Did I blink and miss it?
GM -- stung by declining sales of SUVs and subsequently shamed by having its credit ratings lowered to junk status -- is trying a new marketing approach: touting its more fuel-efficient models (such as they are). A new full-page newspaper ad cries "Meet the 30 and Up Crowd" and showcases "19 cars that have EPA highway estimates of at least 30 miles per gallon." Too bad it doesn't have a single consumer hybrid model that it can tout on the page. (Its two hybrid trucks top out at 22 mpg.) Sucks to be GM.
Well, for one issue. Kinda. From a Playboy press release dated today: Playboy magazine is searching for the sexiest environmentalists in America, women willing to take it all off for their favorite cause. The magazine is planning a pictorial for an upcoming issue featuring women involved in environmental causes or with groups dedicated to saving the planet or protecting wildlife. In addition to a modeling fee for each of the participants, Playboy will make a donation to the favorite causes of the women chosen to appear in the pictorial. But will they be as hot as Leona Johansson? Much as I'd love to help Grist get more exposure (ahem), I won't be entering myself. But the rest of you "enthusiastic and uninhibited environmentalists," as Playboy puts it, have at it. Call 312.373.2717 for details. (And you thought gastroporn was racy.)
The hottest thang in veggie circles these days? Gastroporn. It comes (ahem) courtesy of Britain's venerable Vegetarian Society, as part of its "Can you keep it up for a week?" campaign. A must-watch. (Check out The Independent for the backstory.)
The neutralizers carried the day in the Sierra Club's contentious board election, which wrapped up today. Sierra Club members turned out in historic numbers this year ... to reject a ballot initiative that would have forced the group to support restrictions on immigration. Over fifteen percent of the Club's membership returned 122,308 ballots -- the second highest in the Club's recent history -- and defeated the anti-immigration measure by more than a 5 to 1 margin. In addition to calling for club policy to remain neutral on immigration, members also elected five establishment-backed board members, while board candidates who advocated immigration restrictions, backed by Sierrans for U.S. Population Stabilization, were soundly squashed. So immigration's off the table, until next year's election ...
Looky here: Grist editor Chip Giller has an op-ed in today's Boston Globe. The piece approaches the "Death of Environmentalism" debate from a new, hopeful angle. It argues that environmentalism as a narrowly focused D.C. lobby might be struggling, but across the country, a conviction that sustainability is integral to our quality of life and our economic competitiveness is very much on the rise. OK, that sounds kinda dense, but the piece is actually quite snappy. Really!
In the lead-up to Earth Day (this Friday) and the looming drought that will undoubtedly desiccate the Northwest this summer, The Seattle Times offers a handy rundown of water-saving gizmos. Check it out.
You may hate its coffee, you may hate that it drove your favorite mom-n-pop coffeehouse out of business, you may just hate its bland ubiquity -- but you gotta give Starbucks props for its latest initiative. Today the java giant announced that it will buy enough wind energy to meet 5 percent of electricity needs at its North American stores. From the company's press release (not yet up online, the slackers): "Starbucks is mindful of the long-term implications that climate change has on the environment," said Sandra Taylor, Starbucks senior vice president of Corporate Social Responsibility. "Because the energy used at our retail stores makes up nearly 50 percent of our total greenhouse gas emissions, this is a natural starting point for us. By supporting renewable energy sources we believe we are taking a step in the right direction and encourage other businesses to do the same." ... The move to purchase renewable energy for its company-operated retail stores -- generated by approximately 11 large-scale windmills -- is estimated to cut emissions by two percent. It also catapults the company into the current top 25 U.S. purchasers of renewable energy. (That last fact strikes me as remarkable. Just by agreeing to buy 5 percent green power for its stores -- not its production plants or business headquarters or whatnot -- Starbucks will become one of the top 25 buyers of clean energy in the U.S.? There are that few big buyers? Damn.) Sure, it would be easy enough to point out all the bad things Starbucks is doing, and all the good things it isn't doing -- environmentalists have made an art form out of skewering corporations for their sins and failings. But we aren't so good at giving positive feedback. So from me, to the corporate coffee chain that I never patronize: Hey, nice work, keep it up.
'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 of a site and system called Throwplace. It looks to be a more complicated version of Freecycle, but with the added benefit that you can specifically direct your still-usable cast-offs to nonprofits and even get a receipt and corresponding tax deduction. If you end up trying it out, please report back on your adventures.
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