Living

Two hours of your work day goes to paying for your car

Americans work 500 hours a year — two hours every work day — just to pay for their cars, says James Schwartz of the blog The Urban Country. That's 12 and a half working weeks. Basically, you only work to pay your rent, feed your family, clothe yourself, buy iPad apps, etc. through about the end of September. The rest of the year, your ass belongs to your car. Schwartz based his calculations on the average car-owning household, which has more cars than working adults — 2.28 cars and 1.147 full-time wage earners on average. Jesus, no wonder our economy …

Transportation

The iPhone is the new Prius

Ditch the car and get a bike, a transit farecard, and a smartphone.Photo: NoktonCross-posted from Shareable. Two years ago, my California driver’s license expired. Living in Chicago at the time, where the smart resident uses bikes or public transit to avoid traffic, I hadn’t found a compelling reason to get behind the wheel of our car in months. With plenty of other pressing tasks on my to-do list, renewing or replacing an expired out-of-state license quickly plummeted to the bottom of my priorities. Two years later, the license is still expired, and I’m happier, healthier, and richer for it. There’s …

Critical List: Fracking connected to flammable tap water; eco-friendly paintballs

Remember those people with flammable tap water? Yup, hydrofracking is responsible, according to Duke University scientists. Chile wants to dam two incredible rivers, despite opposition from both locals and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. A judge in Utah shut down Koch Industries' search for the clever people who sent out a fake press release claiming the company had embraced the idea of climate change. A quote from the Kochtopus’ inner monologue: “How dare you, Utah judge? Nobody says Koch Industries believes in science and gets away with it! Nobody!” Angela Merkel is kicking other world leaders' butts on clean energy policy. …

New study: How to get your kids to become environmentalists

LEAF participants enjoy an afternoon at the beach after a morning of work at the Conservancy’s Cape May Migratory Bird Refuge in the Delaware Bayshores region.Photo: Erika Nortemann/TNCCross-posted from Cool Green Science. Want your kids to become ecologically conscious as adults? Get ‘em into nature now — that’s the most reliable way to build their love of the outdoors, according to mountains of research. But in a harried and always-online world (for parents as well as children), what’s it going to take to do that? One way: Find a program with mentors who guide them through the wonders (and occasional …

New app lets you identify the few remaining trees

Wouldn’t it be nice to get to know trees while they’re still around? Leafsnap can help. The new app, developed by a team of researchers at Columbia, University of Maryland, and the Smithsonian Institution, contains a database of beautiful photos of leaves, barks, flowers, and fruits. All the lazy naturalist has to do to identify a tree is take a picture of one little leaf. It turns out, however, that you can't just point your iPhone camera at a tree, snap a picture, and find out what in the world it is. After gathering a leaf, fruit, flower or other …

Sex

Rubber the right way: Ask Umbra on green condoms

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, As newlyweds, my husband and I are still exploring all the different condom options out there. We recently switched to Sliquid Organic lubricant versus KY, and we want the condoms we use to be “safe” in every way too — for our bodies and the planet. I’ve found two brands: Sir Richard’s at about $0.97/condom, and Beyond Seven at about $0.57/condom. Price-wise, the answer is obvious, but what’s really the better eco-friendly option? Allison Baton Rouge, La. Put a greener lid on it.Photo: MorganA. Dearest Allison, You’ve unwrapped an issue that’s bigger …

Population

Do you know how many people are in the world today? [VIDEO]

Does the average American have any idea what the global population is? Watch and see: As Population Action International explains in this video, the world population will hit 7 billion this fall — on Oct. 31, to be specific. At least that’s the date the U.N. has specified, maybe because it’s scary — mwah-hah-hah. But seriously, the U.N.’s latest population projections are scary. Many demographers have been projecting that human numbers will stabilize at about 9 billion in 2050, but the U.N.’s new, more realistic analysis says the population could in fact keep on growing and hit 10.1 billion by …

Biking

So what is this Cycle Chic movement?

Cycle Chic is about the "rehumanification" of cycling. Open your closet, put on something you love, get on your bike, and go.

Green Living Tips

Barking up the wrong tree: Ask Umbra on printing emails

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, Can you bring some balance and common sense to the Wall Street Journal‘s aw-shucks oversimplification of the issue of to print or not to print emails? I learned about it from a few colleagues’ change in email signatures, encouraging people to print their emails to promote a “sustainable” industry. I was amused at first, but now I’m getting worried. Greenwashing a wasteful habit is trivializing and dismissing a serious contribution to our landfill issues and carbon footprint. Bit o’ Sunshine Don’t get too cozy with the idea of printing out reams of …

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