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Welp, Back to Swimming

Two days after it began, service on the muchly protested Hawaii Superferry has been suspended indefinitely, for environmental-impact and protester-safety reasons.

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Honda fights to regain green car company mantle

Honda entered the hybrid market before Toyota, but over time it made a fateful mistake: it failed to visually distinguish its line of hybrids. The Prius' distinct shape is like peacock feathers -- it signals your identity to the world. Who wants to be virtuous if nobody knows about it? Now Honda's gotten the message and it's returning to the fight: [Honda is] working on a new high-profile hybrid -- a Prius fighter that analysts expect will have the highest mileage on the road when it arrives in 2009. Code-named the "Global Small Hybrid," Honda's new gas-electric model won't be …

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‘Eco cities’ easier said than done in today’s China

Remember architect Bill McDonough's much-ballyhooed "eco-cities" in China? Mara Hvistendahl points to troubling signs that the projects are falling apart.

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Ferry Ferry, Quite Contrary

Hawaii's first-ever inter-island ferry service comes under protest Hawaii's first-ever inter-island passenger ferry service set off this weekend amidst protests that it could harm marine life, spread invasive species, and worsen pollution. The docking of the ferry's second voyage was delayed by a dozen steamed surfers, while hundreds more protesters stood on the island seawall shouting and carrying signs. (Perhaps most eloquent: "Stupid ferry, stupid riders.") Hawaii's Supreme Court had ruled Thursday that the state should have required an environmental review before letting the Hawaii Superferry go forward; in response, the ferry service moved its maiden voyage up by two …

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Urban agriculture does more than provide healthy food for those who need it

Phoebe Connelly and Chelsea Ross have a detailed and incredibly heartening story on urban agriculture in In These Times. It focuses on urban ag projects that target inner city "food deserts," where liquor stores outnumber groceries 20-to-1 and the most easily available food is fried. It's not just about food, though: "We are what most folks would consider organic, but we're not certified," the Food Project's Burns says. "That's not as important to us. We're in the community; folks can just come by and see our practices. It's about transparency." Accessibility is at the heart of what these groups call …

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Building professionals overestimate costs and underestimate benefits of green building

A new study (PDF) from the World Business Council for Sustainable Development finds that folks in the real estate and construction businesses overestimate the cost of building green by 300%. Specifically, the 1,400 professionals surveyed across the globe estimated that: green building costs 17% more than normal building, when the reality is 5%, and greenhouse gases from buildings are 19% of the global total, when the reality is 40%. Got that? People in the relevant industries underestimate the damage their products are doing, and overestimate how much it costs to clean them up. You can read the study as disheartening, …

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Haiku Times on community gardens (with gorgeous photos)

There is a really nice issue of Haiku Times devoted to community gardens. The haikus are variously lovely, funny, and insightful, and the photos are absolutely beautiful.

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Seattle enviros face a Hobson’s choice in November

This November, those of us who live in and around Seattle will vote on a $17.7 billion transportation package that would expand light rail (by 50 miles) but also include billions for road expansion -- including roads that will primarily serve sprawling developments to Seattle's south and east, making the package a Hobson's choice for environmentalists. (The state legislature tied the roads and transit votes together last year, on the theory that road supporters will only support transit if it's accompanied by pavement, and vice versa.) A lot of the debate around whether the package is good or bad, environmentally …

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The Nation reports on sustainable revitalization of the New Orleans neighborhood

This article by Rebecca Solnit is reprinted from the Sept. 10, 2007 issue of The Nation, released today, which focuses on the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, two years later. Solnit is the author of a dozen books, including, most recently, Storming the Gates of Paradise: Landscapes for Politics. ----- The word "will" comes up constantly in the Lower Ninth Ward now; "We Will Rebuild" is spray-painted onto empty houses; "it will happen," one organizer told me. Will itself may achieve the ambitious objective of bringing this destroyed neighborhood back to life, and for many New Orleanians a ferocious determination seems …

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Will bikes or cars win?

China has an environmental problem. No, I'm not talking about weathering huge dust storms, opening one coal power plant a week, surpassing the U.S. as the largest emitter of carbon dioxide, or flooding ecosystems with huge dam projects. I'm talking about something serious: If pollution does not get better in Beijing in time for the 2008 Olympics, the long-distance track events may be canceled. According to an article in the San Francisco Chronicle, "China's new middle class in love with cars -- big cars": The auto boom has dire implications for next summer's Olympic Games in Beijing because it contributes …

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