Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Cities

Comments

Julia Louis-Dreyfus and husband Brad Hall discuss their eco-friendly hideaway

Long before they joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live," before she played Elaine on "Seinfeld" and he became a writer/producer for shows ranging from "The Single Guy" to "Frasier," Julia Louis-Dreyfus and husband Brad Hall were devout environmentalists. Now they are key players in Hollywood's green vanguard. Over the past decade she has been actively involved with nearly a dozen environmental organizations, including Heal the Bay, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Trust for Public Land; he is helping lead the effort at the Environmental Media Association to get energy-guzzling Hollywood studios to reform their wasteful operations. Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Photo: …

Read more: Cities, Living

Comments

4 X 4 X 10 Mpg

Popularity of Pickup Trucks Spreads Beyond Farms Once upon a time, the humble pickup truck was the vehicle of choice for hard-working, down-home, country-music kind of guys. These days, the pickup, in ever swankier incarnations, is coveted by a far broader audience, from stockbrokers to soccer moms -- a trend that has sobering implications for roadway safety and the environment. Big pickups (and these days, they're getting bigger and bigger) are the most dangerous vehicles on the road for anyone driving anything else, and they use more gas than even the infamously inefficient sport-utility vehicles. Today's models get an average …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Moment in the Sun

Okay, so it didn't get quite as much press as Ben Curtis's surprise victory in the British Open or the Funny Cide-Empire Maker standoff in the Belmont Stakes, but for the 20 cars that took off from Chicago on July 13, the race was every bit as exciting. The event in question was the American Solar Challenge, the world's longest solar car race, which ended Wednesday in Claremont, Calif., when the University of Missouri-Rolla team crossed the finish line five hours ahead of the pack. The $100,000 winning car was built by a team of students and, like all the …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Rubber Ducky, You’re the $100

Thanks to "Sesame Street," everybody over the age of two knows that rubber duckies make bath time lots of fun -- but who knew the little yellow guys could make oceanography a bit more fun, too? Eleven years ago, a shipping container carrying 29,000 rubber bath toys (frogs, turtles, and beavers, as well as the familiar duckies) fell overboard in a storm in the North Pacific. Now, the company that made the toys, The First Years, is offering a $100 reward to anyone who finds one. The goal of the reward program is to help scientists better understand how foreign …

Read more: Cities

Comments

The Fat of the Land

Sprawl has been accused of many evils, but here's a new one: It may make you fat. While suburban residents drive to get most places they go, many city dwellers walk or ride bikes, and that physical exercise seems to keep urbanites slimmer. "[I]f you choose to live in a sprawling environment, you are more likely to be overweight," says Lawrence D. Frank, a professor of urban planning at the University of British Columbia and author of a new study on the links between sprawl and obesity. His research seems to make a case for more dense, mixed-use, pedestrian-friendly development. …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Not By the Air of Our Chinny-chin-chin

Meanwhile, things aren't looking so hot for air-pollution regulation on the federal level, either. Republicans in the Senate are drawing up a transportation bill that enviros say could water down the efficacy of the Clean Air Act and the National Environmental Policy Act. Provisions in a draft legislation would allow states to postpone or avoid complying with air-pollution laws when planning new transportation projects. The bill could also weaken the role of environmental authorities in determining the likely impact of federally funded projects on communities, waterways, wildlife habitat, and other natural resources, and would allow states far greater leeway in …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Country House, City House

Once upon a time, the Russian dacha, or country house, was the domain of the wealthy few, those who could afford to escape the grime and grit of Moscow and St. Petersburg for wooded lawns and rural vistas. But since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, Russia's mushrooming business class has poured millions into building lavish second homes, making the highway from Moscow to the surrounding countryside look like the route between New York City and the Hamptons on summery Friday afternoons. Environmentalists fear that the popularity of dachas is endangering the region's wildlife, as well as its …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Driving Reign

Seventy-five percent of U.S. workers drive alone to their jobs, according to data from the 2000 U.S. Census, while only 4.7 percent get to work via public transportation and 0.4 percent commute by bicycle. Ridership on mass transit has increased 22 percent since 1996, says the American Public Transit Association, but highway driving has increased at a faster clip -- unsurprising, considering that roads and highways get far more government funding than mass transit projects and transportation alternatives. Another cause of our car-centric culture, say some enviros and urban planners, is that many developments are built with only automobiles in …

Read more: Cities

Comments

Idle Trucks Are the Devil’s Playthings

New gadgetry at truck stops could help slash pollution from idling big rigs. Most truck drivers across the U.S. leave their vehicles' engines running all night while they're parked at truck stops because it's the only way to keep the heating or air conditioning on while they get some shuteye. Between 840 million and 2 billion gallons of gasoline are burned each year in the U.S. by these idling trucks, according to an estimate from the South Coast Air Quality Management District in southern California, and that results in a lot of dangerous diesel exhaust that can damage lungs and …

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

A Man With a Plan

Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.), a top contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, made a bid for green votes on Friday when he unveiled an energy plan that would, among other things, tighten fuel-economy standards for automobiles and push the U.S. toward getting 20 percent of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020. Kerry wants to end U.S. dependence on Middle East oil imports within a decade. "The threats that America faces today don't just come from gun barrels, they come from gas pumps -- and we need to disarm that danger," Kerry told an audience in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. "No …

Read more: Cities, Politics