Living

Paved paradise?

Asphalt becomes a developer’s best friend

Photo: jgrimm FlickrNobody loves a parking lot, its endless heat-trapping concrete where visitors wander for what feels like eons, searching for their car. At least, nobody loved them until recently. Suddenly, greyfields–underutilized squares of asphalt–seem like goldmines. (Okay, this happens to be the title of a book on the subject, though it covers dead malls more than parking lots). In municipalities across the country, parking lots are getting reincarnated as everything from outdoor food markets to condos. But those are individual projects. In Long Island–itself a region so caked with traffic that people refer to its central highway, the Long …

Democra-peas

The latest musical trend is annoying the Senate into climate action

The Black Eyed Peas don’t want the Senate’s foot-dragging to bring about the E.N.D. of the world as we know it.Photo: chandecde via Flickr When I say, “Senate political deadlock,” what’s the first thing you think of? If it’s a nap, then maybe your iPod isn’t turned up loud enough. The latest musical trend, outside of auto-tuning, seems to be musicians pushing the United States Senate to do something with — might we suggest passing? — climate change legislation. To get it started in here, The Black Eyed Peas has partnered with green organizations Green for All, Rethink, and League …

Congestion engine

London’s transportation transformation for the 2012 Olympics [Video]

Congestion pricing has been a huge success in London — reducing traffic and making money for the city. What’s more, it challenges the notion that cities should be designed around cars rather than people. But as we’ll learn in this episode of e2, congestion pricing is the core of a much more sweeping vision that could transform London into a transit-efficient and pedestrian-friendly megacity in time for the 2012 Olympic games.

Portsmouth hastens down the wind [Video]

While federal legislation to reduce our carbon footprint hits gridlock in Washington D.C., small communities across the nation are quietly going green. See what a small New England town is doing to reduce their carbon footprint by 50 percent and raise money in the process. Their 1.5 megawatt wind turbine started generating power on March 18, 2009. One year later, the turbine has generated 50 percent of the municipal load. The energy generated is pumped back into the national grid, which helps to offset the energy produced by a nearby coal plant. The turbine is covering 70 percent of the …

besides that global warming mumbo jumbo

What climate scientists aren’t telling us

They’re secretly unicycling jugglers! Turns out you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to do it, though — just a climate scientist. At least that’s the case for NASA climate modeler Gavin Schmidt, who, after he’s done juggling data to pin down atmospheric changes, likes to space out by tossing pins and balls into the atmosphere. How’d he get started? Back in high school, Schmidt decided he Goddard pick up juggling to pick up the ladies. How’d that work out for him? You can see he’s still clowning around: Get more on the Secret Life of Scientists over at …

The efficient life

What are your best ideas for saving energy at home?

Our friends at Slate have launched a new project that’s collecting practical suggestions for living a more energy-efficient life. Check out the ideas offered so far, vote on your favorites, and submit your own.  A panel of judges, including yours truly, will help choose the top ideas.  If you’re in the D.C. area, join Slate (and me) at live event on March 10:  A conversation about personal energy efficiency: What are the most useful ideas? And what are the best ways to persuade Americans to adopt them? Wednesday, March 10, 2010 House of Sweden, 2900 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. …

Opening Pandora's box office

James Cameron: I’m the greenest director of all time!

Photo: Official Avatar Movie photostream via FlickrHe’s made the highest grossing film on the planet, but Hollywood mega-director James Cameron is now promoting “Avatar” as the most successful environmental film of all time, too.  Really. “There is no studio anywhere in the world who would say an environmental message would make $3 billion … I can’t think of any other really commercially successful ones, can you?” he said during an interview at a Santa Monica fundraiser last Monday for the environmental group Natural Resources Defense Council. “‘WALL-E’, maybe?” replied his wife, actress Suzy Amis Cameron. It was Amis Cameron who …

Get down with your bad self

Ask Umbra on down comforters, soapy gray water, and canned tomatoes

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I’ve recently moved to Tahoe and, in an energy-saving effort, am trying to keep the heat down in my house. The problem is that now it gets to be around 50 degrees in the bedroom at night, and we need some serious warmth in the blankets! I’d like to get a huge, puffy, and wondrously warm down comforter, but I’m not sure if there are any ethical or environmental problems with getting real goose down and generally eschew synthetic alternatives to anything. A little help? MilaKings Beach, Calif. A. Dearest Mila, I …

Get your fingers in the dirt

Garden Girl TV: indoor gardening, part two

Getting my garden started on the right foot makes the rest of the season simply work smoothly, but it also gives me a jumpstart on the growing season with a spring harvest. The key for me is starting my plants in my indoor system. In this second installment of Indoor Gardening, I show you how to get your seedlings off to a healthy start. Can’t get enough of Patti Moreno’s great advice? There’s a lot more where this came from. Check it out.

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