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Umbra on biking with kids

Umbra, Your columns have opened up a whole new world on transport by bike. I don't have a question but am considering purchasing our second Xtracycle for our family. I can carry our toddler and all our groceries, or another adult, or a cooler full of beer on one side and camping gear on the other -- all by bike. Not to say I don't "have to" drive from time to time, but it keeps me out of the car about four to five days a week. Keep up the awesome work. JP Athens, Ga. Dearest JP, You keep up …

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HGTV sets her up in sweet South Carolina digs

Back in January, I mentioned that HGTV was giving away a green home in Hilton Head, S.C. Well, that 2,000-square-foot home done been given away (along with a hybrid GMC Yukon). The winner is a grandmother and medical billing clerk now living in Florida. Marsha Coulthard hasn't decided whether to live in or sell the $850,000 house -- which boasts solar panels, rainwater collection, energy-efficient appliances, and more -- but says she's leaning toward the former: "I don't know, it's exciting and you want to live there," she said. "If you've ever viewed it online, it's absolutely breathtaking. It's eco-friendly, …

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TV characters avoid gas pump drama

Interesting post about TV characters who will likely feel the gas price pinch (including Dwight Shrute of The Office and the taxi driver on How I Met Your Mother). And to counter that, a list from Whitney at Pop Candy of TV characters who don't have to worry about problems at the pump: 1. Hiro Nakamura, Heroes -- Not only is teleportation the wave of the future, it's absolutely free!2. Liz Lemon -- She's smart, she's sexy, and she digs public transportation.3. The Battlestar Galactica crew -- You'd think air travel would cost a fortune, but they jump like it's …

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Replacement for nasty chemical may be no less nasty, says EWG

Under pressure from the U.S. EPA, eight chemical companies are phasing out perfluorooctanoic acid in nonstick, oil-resistant, and stain-resistant products -- but industry-favored substitutes may be no safer, says a new report from the Environmental Working Group. The chemical, known for brevity as PFOA or C8, has been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and immune disorders. Very little research exists on the health effects of Big Chemical's favored replacement, which drops two carbon atoms and is called C6. But C8 and C6 compounds both share scary characteristics: They're "extraordinarily persistent in the environment, they're already found in people's blood, and …

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Even green space can’t get us off our lazy you-know-whats

"This study shows you don't really need green space." -- Dutch researcher Jolanda Maas, commenting on a new study showing that living near green space doesn't correlate to exercising more

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How to green your kids this summer

Once more unto the beach! Photo: Tom Twigg Child-rearing may be the ultimate eco-conundrum: If you have a child, you're adding to a population that's already burdening the planet. And as you raise that child, you may be too tired and burdened yourself to care whether all your choices are green. On the other hand, if you manage to bring up a thoughtful, conscientious kidlet whose eco-values mirror your own ... well, what a gift to Gaia. Summer Parenting Seasoned in the Sun: One mother's tips for managing summer eco-dilemmas Get Out ... Together: This summer, form a family nature …

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Reflecting on his daughter’s future, a father says the green movement must diversify

The face of America is changing -- is the environmental movement ready to face change too? "Kyra, do you know this is yours?" I ask, looking down at the skinny little girl with big, curly, dark brown locks. Her hair to body proportion resembles Thing One and Thing Two from Dr. Seuss' Cat in the Hat. "What do you mean?" A furrowed face of mostly cheek and big brown eyes replies. My four-year-old daughter and I have just spent an early summer morning exploring the Leif Erikson Trail in Forest Park. It's 75 degrees and not a cloud in the …

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This summer, form a family nature club

Don't miss another sunset. In past decades, when summer rolled around, parents told their children, "Go outside, and don't come home 'til the street lights come on." In most neighborhoods, those days are unlikely to return anytime soon. Today, parents fear strangers and strange lawyers and nature itself. Though some of this trepidation is warranted, particularly in inner-city neighborhoods, much of that fear is ramped up by news and entertainment media. Meanwhile, an emerging body of evidence is illuminating the great benefits of nature experiences to children's psychological and physical health, and their ability to learn. Richard Louv. What's a …

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New mockumentary on climate science, dialogue, and societal change is opening soon

Filmmaker Randy Olson has just completed Sizzle: A Global Warming Comedy, a hilarious new mockumentary thickly peopled with real life climate scientists, activists, skeptics, and a rollicking plot-line that could bring a lot more people into the global warming tent. I found it refreshing and a good follow-up to the Gore movie, because it's not so much about the scientists or the celebrities telling us why we should care. Instead, it's fun, watchable, and about real people and what they think about this issue. Watch the trailer here. Tickets for the L.A. premiere go on sale next Monday.

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