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Gossip Girl, Traveling Pants stars encourage recycling

Spotted: B and S mugging for the camera. The cast of the CW's Gossip Girl are forgoing bottled water in favor of bringing their own mugs to the set. And stars Blake Lively, Leighton Meester, and Penn Badgley appear in three short eco-ads, below: In other celeb news you can reuse, Alexis Bledel of The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants 2 is promoting the travel of your old pants (specifically jeans) to New Orleans for recycling into insulation. I won't say green is the new black, but maybe Blake Lively, who stars in both, is the next NatPo ...

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Meet the eco-activist athletes who’ll be competing in Beijing

Photo: Mansoor Ahmed/WireImage LeBron James, U.S., Basketball The Cavaliers' superstar forward LeBron James not only passed Olympic muster this year, but also met SpongeBob SquarePants' approval. The two celebs have teamed up as part of Nickelodeon's Big Green Help campaign aimed at encouraging kids to go green.

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Edible landscapes can outgrow the elite

Monday's New York Times had a great opinion piece about My Farm's Trevor Paque -- the same guy recently profiled in the Times' Style section. In fact, I had to look twice to make sure it was the same T. Paque because the two articles emphasized such different aspects of the urban CSA mission. Kim Severson, in the style piece, describes it thus: Call them the lazy locavores -- city dwellers who insist on eating food grown close to home but have no inclination to get their hands dirty. Mr. Paque is typical of a new breed of business owner …

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Getting to the meat of the matter with Boston chef Jamie Bissonnette

Jamie Bissonnette. In my most recent article, I described my experience attending a hog-butchering workshop led by Boston chef Jamie Bissonnette. He mentioned during the workshop that he had been a vegan when he was younger. I wanted to find out more about what would make someone change his eating habits so dramatically, so I set up an interview with Jamie to talk about the influences and experiences that led him to follow a different path than the one he set out on as a young man. After settling into a comfortable seating area near the bar at KO Prime, …

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Tips for bridesmaids wanting fair-trade frocks

As if the list of bridesmaidsy duties (party-planning, dress-bustling, photo-posing, tear-wiping, etc.) isn't long enough, finding an ethically sourced, eco-conscious, and, um, attractive frock for the occasion is no piece of (multi-tiered) cake. Today, The Guardian addresses this very dilemma: One of my dearest friends will be getting married next year and has asked me to be her bridesmaid. I would like to make sure that the dress is ethical both in its fabric and the way its been made. I also want to get something I could wear again so nothing too 'bridesmaidy' -- and I don't want to …

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Artificial turf found not harmful to children

Artificial field turf does not expose young children to harmful levels of lead, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded Wednesday. "Our message is: go out and play," says a CPSC spokesperson. Because it's durable, easy to maintain, and doesn't require pesticides, synthetic turf has increasingly replaced grass fields across the U.S. Manufacturers insist that the lead that gives the green "grass" its color cannot leach out or become airborne; however, concerns about turf toxicity came to a head in the fall when New Jersey officials found worrisome lead levels in a handful of fields. But the CPSC found that …

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What to do with your dumpster now that you recycle/compost everything

Before you trash your dumpster (now that you recycle/compost everything, natch), consider this awesomeness:

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Princeton Review rates green colleges

With the Princeton Review's newly released college rankings and ratings for 2009, prospective students can suss out a school's academics, dorm quality, party scene -- and greenness. In partnership with marketing agency ecoAmerica, the review rated 534 U.S. colleges on their commitment to environmental responsibility, provision of "healthy and sustainable" campus life, and preparation of students for "citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges." The review graded on factors including energy use, buildings, transportation, food, recycling, and classes. The highest-scoring schools, in alphabetical order: Arizona State; Bates (Maine); Binghamton (N.Y.); College of the Atlantic (Maine); Emory (Ga.); Georgia Institute …

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Umbra on diesel hybrids

Dear Umbra, I have been wondering for years now -- with the hot trend toward hybrids and the new "clean" diesels hitting the market, why doesn't anyone talk about a diesel hybrid? Sounds like the best of both worlds to me. Just think: a hybrid running on biodiesel! Is this in the works? Mike H. Saranac Lake, N.Y. Dearest Mike, It does sound like the best of both worlds, if the only two worlds are diesels and hybrids. There may be another world, with enough public transit to obviate the need for using one's personal automobile. Actually, that's the world …

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A buzzworthy review of DEET-free bug repellents

Itchin' to scratch that itch. They say the ants go marching one by one. That may be so. But the flying, nibbling critters -- the mosquitoes, the gnats, and the flies -- come in swarms. How to keep them at bay? Unfortunately, many of the insect repellents on the shelves today contain the chemical DEET. Developed by the U.S. Army for use in jungle warfare during World War II, DEET is considered a moderate chemical pesticide and a few studies have shown it to be toxic to some fish species. DEET also works as a solvent, dissolving some plastics, synthetic …

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