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New website shows which shampoos, foods kill lovable primates

While doing the research for a Los Angeles Times op-ed about the dangers and prevalence of palm oil, I came across a great new website from the Rainforest Action Network. It lists hundreds of products that contain this orangutan-killer. (In case you haven't been following palm oil coverage on Grist and elsewhere, rainforests -- the homes of the orangutans and many other rare creatures -- are being destroyed at the fastest rate in history in Indonesia and Malaysia to make way for palm oil plantations, accounting for between four and eight percent of annual global greenhouse-gas emissions.) The site, The …

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Jason Mraz sings the praises of a simpler life

Jason Mraz is strumming up support for sustainability. Jason Mraz may still be the geek in the pink, but these days, the pop-rock-rhymer is hoping to distance himself from his cigarette-puffin', girl-chasin' past and move toward a simpler, more sustainable life. Since returning from his Mr. A-Z tour two years ago, Mraz has focused his attention on greener, non-music-related pastures. Last year, he partnered with two friends to launch Blend Apparel, a line of bamboo T-shirts. This year, he'll publish his first book, printed on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper that's 20 percent recycled and wood-free. The book also happens to …

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From Oprah to Okra

The color green Oprah Winfrey has gone meat-free, and she's using the "V word." No, we're not talking "vajayjay" ... we're talking "vegan." Consider this news tops on our list of Favorite Things. Photo: E. Charbonneau/WireImage.com Meat lovers need not apply Single green seeking same for two awkward minutes of eco-chat over generous doses of liquid courage. Please, no coal gasification. If conversation is sustainable, we'll see how things unfold organically from there. Mother Earth knows best From organic mattresses in cribs to recycling classes for toddlers, going green is child's play at eco-daycare centers across the country. Early outreach …

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If you support the standards but not the certifiers, then what?

At my local Saturday farmers market, I stopped to buy some coffee at the local roaster's booth. I was eying the wares when I noticed that the spendy bags of coffee ($9 for 12 oz.) labeled "Fair Trade" didn't have the any independent certification of that fact. I asked the guy behind the booth, and he said, "Well, it is fair trade coffee, and the owners pay the fair trade price, but they don't want to pay for the label mark because it just pays people here in the U.S. -- it just raises the price of a bag of …

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Recycled plastic products gain ground

The New York Times has an interesting article up about recycled plastic products. They're profiling a company called Recycline, which makes those bright green recycled plastic cutting boards, strawberry red colanders, and even toothbrushes. According to the article: Recycline's products, sold under the Preserve brand, make new products out of things that would otherwise be likely to end up in landfills. The company uses mostly recycled polypropylene, much of it from yogurt and cottage-cheese containers, along with some sustainably forested wood and recycled paper. On one hand, the idea of recycling plastic, rather than tossing it into a landfill, is …

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Target your peak oil message to your audience

Peak oil is all over the place. The cover of the Wall Street Journal, CNN, you name it. The peak has tipped into the consciousness of the world. And those of us who were aware before are going to be fielding some questions. So it pays to have a response ready for the latecomers. It has occurred to me that there must be a simple way of explaining peak oil to everyone -- but most solutions have concentrated on creating a single simple method of explaining peak oil, when what is needed is a highly specialized approach, designed to help …

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Lessons from a sustainable-food conference at the Monterey Bay Aquarium

Information you can eat. Photo: Monterey Bay Aquarium/Randy Wilder A couple of months ago, I wrote about how the Monterey Bay Aquarium in California comes up with its wallet-sized cards -- the ones that tell us what seafood choices are sustainable. I got so interested in the topic that when I got an invitation to attend the aquarium's annual Cooking for Solutions conference, I couldn't pass it up. The event brings together high-profile chefs from across the country who are devoted to sustainability, and puts them in the same room with luminaries from the sustainable-food world. For me, it was …

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Harrison Ford’s chest wax as PSA

Remember that whole "Harrison Ford got a chest wax to illustrate the pain of deforestation" thing? Yeah, here's the resulting PSA for Conservation International: Check out the behind-the-scenes footage.

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Umbra on water conservation

Dear Umbra, We are doing a NW Earth Institute discussion course on sustainability here at work, and someone asked, "Is it necessary for us to conserve water here in Portland despite seeming abundance and replenishment? If so, why?" My response was not as strong or compelling as I would like. Can you help? Rick ReberPortland, Ore. Dearest Rick, What was your response? It's hard to be more compelling if I don't know the compellingness standard. I will still make an effort, despite having incomplete information, because I know it is important to be compelling. Likewise, it is important to try …

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