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Recipes for a classic, unfussy Southern meal built around field peas and history

It's what's on the inside that counts. Photos: April McGreger Growing up in a rural Mississippi farming community, I learned to value connectedness to the land, to the people who grow our food, to those who cook it, to those who gather at the table, and to the memories of all who have enjoyed this food before us. My identity is grounded in every step of the process. To remind myself who I am, I have an annual tryst with a dishpan of purple hull peas. I sit in the rocker on my front porch and shell peas while sipping …

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Bisphenol A may reduce effectiveness of chemotherapy

Oh, bisphenol A, what can't you do? The ubiquitous chemical, present in polycarbonate plastic and most can linings, may reduce the effectiveness of chemotherapy, says new research published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Researchers subjected human breast cancer cells to low levels of BPA. "It's actually acting by protecting existing cancer cells from dying in response to anti-cancer drugs," says researcher Nira Ben-Jonathan. As the study authors note, "These data provide considerable support to the accumulating evidence that BPA is hazardous to human health." Other studies have linked BPA to heart disease, diabetes, cancer, behavioral disorders, reproductive problems, and obesity. Lest …

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ReGeneration Roadtrip: All the world's a green stage, video

The Green Theater Initiative aims to direct change

    Actor Gideon Banner cut his professional stage chops as a performer with Blue Man Group -- and yes, that means he spent his evenings covered ear-to-ear in blue paint. But it seems that a nice shade of green is really more his style. Banner is the founder of the Green Theater Initiative, a nonprofit organization hoping for a curtain call on the unsustainable aspects of the theater industry. Similar to efforts being led by Wicked producer David Stone, Banner's aim is to help regional theaters realize that making a few changes could not only make them greener, but …

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Some venues relocated to minimize eco-impact of Russia’s 2014 Olympics

Final venues have been approved for the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia. Following outcry from environmentalists over the original proposal for a gigantic winter-sports complex adjacent to a national park, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reared his head and suggested changes to mitigate eco-impact. Organizers have relocated some venues, as well as cutting a planned inter-venue light-rail system from two tracks to one and a highway from four lanes to three. As organizers make plans to build 250 facilities, mostly from scratch, Sochi 2014 President Dmitry Chernyshenko gives the ambitious assurance that they're "committed to an environmental policy that …

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Umbra on green cookware

Dear Umbra, I'm thinking it's time to start switching out my family's cookware. When hubby and I got legally partnered, we received some Calphalon (am I allowed to name names?) and pseudo-Calphalon non-stick cookware, and we've used it for a number of years. While the non-stick finish has been well cared for and is not chipping, flaking, or peeling, I have some concern about non-stick finishes and want to be able to put my cookware under the broiler. I know cast iron is supposed to be good, but is the enamel-coated kind OK? (I fear all that seasoning.) Or should …

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ReGeneration Roadtrip: There's no green business like show business, video

Film Biz Recycling aims to roll credits on the wasteful film industry

When a director yells "cut!" on the set of a TV show, commercial, or feature-length film, the cameras may stop rolling but production is far from over. While editors are looking at raw footage, producers are eyeing premiere numbers, and actors are reading over new scripts, someone else is tearing down the sets and getting props off the lot. But where does this stuff end up? Too often, it's the landfill, says Eva Radke, founder of Film Biz Recycling. Once tasked with dumping sets herself, Radke knows the business -- and the folks in it -- from her years of …

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Driving down those roads

July sees another sharp drop in U.S. driving

July saw another sharp drop in vehicle miles traveled (VMT) according to the Federal Highway Administration's monthly report on "Traffic Volume Trends." Lost in all the news about the financial meltdown and the election is the report that Americans drove 3.6 percent less, or 9.6 billion miles fewer, in July 2008 than July 2007. Okay, maybe it wasn't lost in all the news -- it looks like the FHA didn't bother issuing a press release (see here). I guess even they are blasé about reductions in driving that just a few months ago would have been record-setting. In any case, …

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A tasting of five fall-friendly organic dark brews

According to hippie wisdom, early fall is a delicate time, holistically speaking. The season's first chill causes sniffly noses and sour moods. To chase the fall blues away, one alternative-medicine-minded friend recently suggested eating plenty of greens. Well, I already eat plenty of greens. What I really need now is a beer -- one dark and flavorful enough to take the bitter edge off of summer's exit. For this tasting, I went looking for organic beers worthy of therapeutic autumnal sipping. While coworkers tease me about the "tough job" of tasting beer, the task of actually finding organic brew really …

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Lust

Hot new ergonomic desk chair: 96 percent recyclable

The successor to Herman Miller's wildly successful Aeron ergonomic desk chair is coming to a lazy, cube-drone posterior near you. It's called the Embody and ... gimme. As a DFH, though, should I be satisfied with a chair that's only 96 percent recyclable? After last year's epic hunt for the best ergo chair, I ended up with the Steelcase Think, which is 99 percent recyclable. What up, Herman Miller? Do you hate the earth 3 percent?

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Starbucks accused of big-time water-wasting

Starbucks wastes some 6.2 million gallons of water each day through a health policy that requires a constantly running tap at each store, says a breathless indictment in British tabloid The Sun. A Starbucks spokesperson confirms the use of a dipper well, which uses "a stream of continuous cold fresh-running water to rinse away food residue, help keep utensils clean, and prevent bacterial growth." Dipper wells are common at coffee and ice-cream shops, but the gigantuousness of Starbucks' global operations is such that, according to the The Sun, the amount of wasted water could sate the thirst of "the entire …