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Some school fundraisers start hawking greener products

Some school and nonprofit fundraisers recently have turned to greener options to generate needed cash. Instead of sending youngsters out into the community to hawk items of questionable greenness like candy, magazines, and virgin-forest wrapping paper, some schools have instead turned to greener wares such as fair-trade coffee, metal water bottles, hand-made soaps, and recycled-content wrapping paper. The trend is not just about having kids sell items their parents might actually want to buy (though that's part of it), it's also aimed at avoiding contradictory messages to impressionable minds. "We're telling the kids about obesity and selling cookie dough," said …

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Car camping with a Prius

Just returned from the annual five-day camping trip with about a dozen other families. This is a photo of a fully mature male Western fence lizard, also known as a blue belly because of the blue spot under the male's throat (my youngest daughter is the hand model). The spot is used to impress the ladies and as a warning to other guys trying to horn in. It only works for lizards, young male Gristmill readers, so don't get any ideas. The propensity for chickens, lizards and alligators to fall asleep when you turn them on their backs and rub …

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Dancing

In Salzburg, one person made -- and several people subsequently reiterated -- the point that all this work and struggle on behalf of future generations should be undertaken in a spirit of joy. It's the human capacity to transcend circumstances, to love and laugh and be goofy together no matter how oppressive the context, no matter how irrational it may seem, that makes it all worth doing. And with that maudlin intro, I give you a video that makes the point much more effectively, featuring a doughy white guy doing something that makes no damn sense at all:

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Coolio to educate students about global warming

Grammy-award-winning rapper Coolio is on a fantastic voyage ... to spread the word about climate change to historically black colleges and universities across the country. As an official spokesdude for the Environmental Justice and Climate Change campaign (a partnership with Gore's "we" campaign), he'll aim to engage students in the climate justice debate and educate them on why global warming is no gangsta's paradise.

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Umbra on air mattresses

Dear Umbra, We live in a small house, and when we have guests, the bed situation is limiting. Convenience tells me that an inflatable bed would be ideal. However, the "no vinyl, that's final" rule reigns supreme in our household. What sort of options can you suggest for a sleeping surface that is easy to store, environmentally responsible, and comfy? Sleepily, Angie Huntington Beach, Calif. Dearest Angie, The night I spent on an air mattress ranks high in the Bad Sleep Hall of Fame. It felt like sleeping on a giant egg carton, so I let some air out. Then …

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A semi-comprehensive sportin’ round-up

Beijing Olympics 2008: With less than 30 days to the Olympic games, Chinese officials and businesses have actively been touting efforts to reduce air pollution. Even as visibility was down to a few hundred meters in the pollution-laden misty July weather, Beijing's environmental bureau insisted that there will be clear skies for the August games. Chinese corporations are trying to do their part to curb the smog. The Beijing Shougang Group has cut steel production by 70 percent and will take a 2 million yuan loss for the third quarter. International Olympic Committee president Jacques Rogge told the AP, "We …

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Philly Eagles cheerleaders put out ‘eco-sexy’ calendar

We've mentioned a number of times how green the Philadelphia Eagles football team is, but I believe we've neglected to mention that the cheerleaders are also backing the effort to green the team. In fact, they've been so kind as to pose in organic swimwear and eco-accessories for a 16-month calendar printed on (mostly) recycled paper. The calendar will be available soon, but you can sneak a peek at Ms. November below:

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The link between obesity and the environment

Slate's Dan Engber has attempted to take down Wall-E in classic Green Room style with a piece slamming the film's connection between obesity and environmental destruction. Engber's critique is flawed in so many ways that it's hard to know where to begin ... For instance, he doesn't seem to believe that obesity really has much to do with being too sedentary or eating too much. To support this, he cites research saying that 80 percent of the variation in body weight can be explained by DNA. But what the research actually shows (and what his own colleague, William Saletan, has …

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From Cat to Crap

SOL catz Oh hai. Did you noes global warming hates teh kittehs? Doll of the wild When the late Croc Hunter's daughter took on his cause, it was cute. When she developed her own clothing line, it was less cute. But a Bindi Irwin doll that says "Crikey! Let's go help wildlife"? We can only hope her 15 minutes are nearing extinction. Here comes the Capri Sun The fertile minds at TerraCycle are partnering with Kraft to turn junk-food wrappers into fashion-forward bags, umbrellas, and shower curtains. Next up: Worm-poop Uggs? You know we'd wear 'em, Tom. Photo: Terracycle Running …

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As the ground shifts under their feet, food giants experiment with new strategies

When you smile, the food world smiles with you ... maybe. Photo: Original by heatkernel For more than a generation, the major corporations that process and sell the vast bulk of our food have had it pretty easy. They've had access to cheap energy to ship food over globe-spanning distances and run giant food-processing plants; reveled in cheap inputs like corn and soy, transforming them into everything from breakfast cereal to chicken nuggets; and relied on low-paid, abundant, and politically disenfranchised workers to do the dirty jobs. Together, these elements formed a kind of tripod propping up the industry's enormous …