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Green Living Tips



Yogis go from lotus position to lobbying

They're turning D.C. lobbying culture upside-down.Photo: Lululemon Athletica"Yoga" and "angry" go together like taffy and dentures ... or at least they used to. But maybe D.C. politicians should start looking out for flying vials of essential oil. L.A.-based organization "Off the Mat and Into the World" is turning yogis into activists next week, following International Women's Day (March 8). Off the Mat will be training interested parties in lobbying and grassroots organizing (in addition to meditation), then heading to Capitol Hill for a day of lobbying. Yogi activism isn't as frou-frou as you might expect. Last year, Off the Mat …



TreeShagger: Finding love on public transportation

Public transit is an aphrodisiac.Photo: Martin StroblWelcome to TreeShagger, our column on green dating. If you've got green dating questions, send 'em our way! Did you hear about Patrick Moberg, that dude who found the girl of his dreams on the New York subway? Like a twee Wes Anderson hipster-man, he drew a picture of her in full rosy-cheeked glory, set up a website (, and struck gold when a friend of hers saw it and put him in touch with her. Dreams come true! Don't stop believing! Take the midnight train going anywheeere! (Ahem.) Perhaps you too want to …



New number quantifies greenness of your unitard

Something in the water.Photo: Google MapsDenim sucks -- at least, environmentally speaking. If there's any doubt in your mind, check out the image to the right. New York Times writer Tom Zeller Jr. found the Google Maps photo of Xintang, China, the No. 1 denim producer in the world. That dark blue stuff? That's dye from the jean-making process flowing into a river. Not feeling guilty yet? As Jess Zimmerman wrote last month, a single pair of jeans drinks up over 180 office water coolers' worth of H20, between cotton production, jean manufacture, and laundry. Ugh. Even if you aren't …



Natalie Portman: Oscar winner, green darling, and mad scientist

So take your beaker ...Original photo: John MiraThe Intel Science Talent Search has been the Mickey Mouse Club of science for almost 70 years, identifying the Justin Timberlakes of high school research long before they go on to win Nobel Prizes and MacArthur "genius" grants. So anyone familiar with Natalie Portman's stint at Harvard won't be surprised to learn that she once was an Intel Science Talent Search semifinalist, investigating "a new, ‘environmentally friendly' method of converting waste into useful forms of energy," according to The New York Times. All you kids with beakers, you too could go on to …


firth day

Colin Firth’s wife wins Best Lady in a Recycled Gown in our personal Oscars

Photo: Davidlohr BuesoGreen-minded folks in the know about celebrity stuff -- i.e. not me -- have been on tenterhooks waiting to see what Colin Firth's wife Livia would wear to the Oscars. That's because she's attempting the Green Carpet Challenge again this year, and has sworn to wear nothing on the red carpet that isn't repurposed, upcycled, or made of sustainable fabric. At an over-the-top expensive event like the Oscars, full of starlets in single-use dresses clutching goodie bags filled with gadgets and travel vouchers, that seems like kind of a drop in a million-dollar bucket. But in terms of …



Your guide to a great green weekend in Portland

Portland's swanky Sapphire Hotel.Photo: Sarah Gilbert Can you think of a greener city than Portland? Nope, didn't think so. The City of Roses occupies a warm, squishy spot in the hearts of many a biker, climate hawk, and nature-lovah. We asked you to share your fave local breweries, organic cafés, and green hangouts, and compiled your best ideas into a car-free guide to a great green weekend in Portland. Friday night Click to enlargeFrom the Amtrak or Greyhound station, arm yourself with $2.05 and follow these directions to the Portland Hawthorne Hostel (they work if you're coming from the airport …


tear gas

New tool calculates your nitrogen footprint and explains why you should be ashamed of it

Are you looking for something to flagellate yourself over? Carbon footprints are last week's news: The new hot subject for self-recrimination is your nitrogen footprint. According to the International Nitrogen Initiative, your nitrogen consumption is contributing to a host of environmental ills: Today, reactive nitrogen has dramatically increased in our air and water. It comes primarily from agricultural activities such as fertilizer use and manure runoff, and the burning of fossil fuels. This "nitrogen pollution" causes profound environmental impacts, including smog, acid rain, forest dieback, coastal ‘dead zones', biodiversity loss, stratospheric ozone depletion and increased greenhouse gases. It also affects …


your water wings for the dating pool

TreeShagger: 10 great green date ideas

Don't need no car to take me on a date. (Photo by Sara Hurt.)

Welcome to TreeShagger, our new column on green dating. If you've got green dating questions, send 'em our way!

So Valentine's Day came and went, and you're in the doghouse since you couldn't get a reservation at Olivebee's Factory? Cheer up, smuckers! Lean in close for some non-obvious, mostly cheap green date ideas, many of which I've tested for you myself. These aren't "green" in the sense that you're eating hummus and watching An Inconvenient Truth outside on a blanket made of stars -- boooring! -- but they're low-impact, legitimately fun things that don't require buying crap. Bonus points if you bike, bus, or walk! Ready?



Hey, Tina Fey, one kid is OK — and greener too

           "Don't even ask."           Photo: George ArriolaThe ever-entertaining Tina Fey has a piece in the latest New Yorker on my designated topic of the week: whether to have more than one kid. "The second-worst question you can ask a woman is: 'Are you going to have more kids?'" Fey writes. (The first-worst question: "How do you juggle it all?" which is code for "You're screwing it all up, aren't you?") "Are you going to have another one?" asks the owner of her local toy store. "You want more kids?" asks a fellow actor on 30 Rock. "You should have another one" is …


the other side of the fence

Who’s got the greenest house on the planet?

It's pretty easy to determine the biggest pie, or longest fingernails, or fattest twins. But what about the greenest house? AOL's consumer finance site, of all places (they're into journalism now!) has a nice roundup of what, exactly, it means to have a green home. There are a number of buildings that have claimed or been awarded the "greenest home" tiara: A 2006 article called an eco-friendly Californa prefab the "greenest home on the planet" for being the first American home to get a "platinum" LEED rating. [F]or Glenn, the point is to live in a home that causes the …