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Yogurt CEO blazes green path

Check out Joel Makower on Gary Hirshberg, founder and head of Stonyfield Yogurt. Stonyfield was bought by French food conglomerate Danone last year, at which I point my kneejerk dirty hippie-ism kicked in and I assumed they'd sold out. Apparently not, though: All of which further empowered Hirshberg to pursue, and align, his dual missions of commerce and environmental sustainability. His $300 million-a-year company — built with almost no traditional advertising — has been carbon neutral since 1996, the first company to do so, long before it became corporate chic. And it's not just by writing a check to offset …

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Super Bowl to plant trees and make other greenish efforts

Photo: iStockphoto The National Football League has announced that it will plant trees and take other measures to offset some of the environmental impacts of the most hyped sporting event of the year. This year's Super Bowl will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., on Feb. 3. As part of the greening effort, the organizers have said they're planting 9,000 trees in the state, though only 3,500 of them are actually expected to survive. The Super Bowl stadium and the adjacent NFL theme park will be powered with clean energy on the big day and an expected 65,000 pounds of leftover …

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Analysts predict slow auto sales in 2008

The U.S. saw a December slump in vehicle sales, and analysts predict that 2008 may be the weakest year for auto sales in the U.S. in at least a decade. (Will it correspond with a boost in public-transportation ridership? Probably not, but we can dream.) Sales of pickups, generally a sure bet in the U.S. market, hit the wall last year; the pickup slump helped bump Ford Motors down to the No. 3 highest-selling automaker in the U.S., while Toyota moved up into No. 2.

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Toshiba said to have developed mini nuclear reactor

Says Next Energy News: Toshiba has developed a new class of micro size Nuclear Reactors that is designed to power individual apartment buildings or city blocks. The new reactor, which is only 20 feet by 6 feet, could change everything for small remote communities, small businesses or even a group of neighbors who are fed up with the power companies and want more control over their energy needs. The 200 kilowatt Toshiba designed reactor is engineered to be fail-safe and totally automatic and will not overheat. Unlike traditional nuclear reactors the new micro reactor uses no control rods to initiate …

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Seed-and-chemical giant sees its profit triple

In a gold rush, the firms that supply the gold diggers with tools -- not the gold diggers themselves -- make the highest and steadiest profits. That's a platitude, but it's also usually true. And it's now playing out in the boom in corn-based ethanol. Don't waste much time envying corn farmers. Sure, they've seen the price of their product double over the past year and a half or so. But they've also seen their costs inch up. Fertilizer, land rents (much of the farmland in the midwest is rented), pesticides, and seeds -- all have risen since the corn …

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IBM sued for dumping chemicals in upstate New York

A group of 94 plaintiffs has filed suit against IBM in New York's state Supreme Court seeking damages for the company's role in dumping toxic chemicals near a former factory that allegedly contributed to residents developing cancers, heart defects, and other problems. According to attorneys, the main pollutant is trichloroethylene, which was first found drifting into homes and other businesses in the area in 2003. IBM operated the Endicott, N.Y., plant from 1924 until it was sold in 2002; the company has since moved to clean up or mitigate at least some of the pollution. The suit filed yesterday seeks …

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Finally, something to do with all the damn asphalt

This sounds like a great idea! Seems like every school has a ginormous parking lot, as does every city and county building -- and think of the asphalt in residential streets.

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Oil hits $100 a barrel

Some folks are reeling after yesterday's brush with significant arbitrariness (if there is such a thing) as oil prices briefly hit $100 a barrel in trading before settling slightly lower. The significance of $100-a-barrel oil has often been debated, with environmentalists and others coming down on all sides of the issue. Some greens get all freaky. Some rejoice since it could lower consumption. Others think it's no big deal. But there it is ... $100. Now, if you'll excuse us, the odometer on our office stationary bike is about to hit 11,111 miles and we've got a party to plan!

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More evidence that we’re exporting massive carbon emissions

Last month, President Bush signed into law an energy bill most remarkable for its timidity with regard to climate change. According to sometime Gristmill contributor Peter Montague of Rachel's Democracy & Health News, the 2007 Energy Act will reduce U.S. carbon emissions by just 4.7 percent by 2030 -- clearly not nearly enough to avoid risking dire climate change. (Montague leans on this study (PDF) for his calculation.) Given that we're quietly moving our most carbon-intensive industries to China, even that mind-numbingly modest reduction will surely prove a fraud. Consider the chemicals industry. As The Wall Street Journal put it …

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Charitable foundations move to align investments with philanthropic goals

Charitable foundations have historically considered their philanthropic goals to be separate from their investments, often fearing that socially responsible investing could harm their returns. Recently, though, many foundations are moving to harmonize the social and environmental effects of their investments with their charitable missions. The Ford Foundation, the second-largest in the U.S., and some smaller foundations have long been a minority seeking to align charitable and financial goals; executives and analysts say their influence has made a difference, in addition to well-publicized criticism of the Gates Foundation earlier this year. Donna Dean, chief investment officer of the Rockefeller Foundation, sums …