You can go back home

Egger’s Head: The prodigal generation

Robert Egger has a lot going on in his head. Just ask him.  As a nonprofit entrepreneur, a serial searcher for ordinary people doing extraordinary things, a deeply deep thoughts kind of guy, Egger gives us something to ponder every week. We ask. He yaks. We listen. And now you can, too. Listen to Egger’s single-breath exposition on the Prodigal Generation. Trust us, it’s the most entertaining few minutes you’ll spend today. Egger is founder and President of the D.C. Central Kitchen, the nation’s first “community kitchen,” where unemployed men and women learn marketable culinary skills while donated food is …

chewing the scenery

Some tasty viewing for the first Monday of spring

In “Chewing the Scenery,” we round up interesting food-related video from around the Web. ——- Here’s a smorgasbord of videos to get your week started right. • After a brutal winter, spring has finally arrived, at least officially (it remains stubbornly cold and wet up here in the N.C. mountains). Let’s start with an earnest paean to the farmers market, from Cooking Up a Story, reporting from Portland. • Now, let’s get a little wonky. Also from Cooking Up a Story, organic seed breeder Frank Morton gives a short, lucid explanation of what hybrid seeds have meant historically. The agrichemical …

Hohm, sweet home

Things you didn’t know about your furnace

At a dinner this week in San Francisco, I found myself seated between Matt Golden, co-founder of energy efficiency retrofitter Recurve — the startup formerly known as Sustainable Spaces — and Cisco DeVries, co-founder of Renewable Funding, the Oakland outfit that pioneered municipal financing of residential solar arrays. The hot topic was Home Star — aka Cash for Caulkers — the proposed $6 billion federal energy efficiency rebate program now wending its way through Congress. The bill is being cast as a way to fight climate change, lower energy bills for 3.3 million homes and create an estimated 168,000 sustainable …

Don't turn the fun off when talking about runoff

‘The Story of Bottled Water’ and big fun learning about water

It’s World Water Day, which means there’s no better day to, um, pour yourself a glass of water and, uh, dive into our planet’s dismal water problems. Let’s not kids ourselves: If we’re going to learn about water use, we’re going to need snappy videos with animation and peppy music. There’s just no other way to casually dip into issues like contaminated runoff, gray-water reuse techniques, falling water tables—woah hey, stay with me here. Fortunately, two such videos came out today. Annie Leonard–creator of the viral consumerism-takedown video The Story of Stuff–offers The Story of Bottled Water. The video shows …

I lost my phone number; can I have yours?

Ask Umbra on dating, individual actions, and coffee stirrers

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I’m a single gal, living in Seattle, where one would think it might be easy to meet a socially and environmentally conscious, yet non-douchey fellow, but it’s actually really difficult to find any suitable guy to go out with. It’s like if I meet a dude who cares about decreasing his carbon footprint, then he’s also a d-bag that irately lectures everyone around him about what they’re doing wrong. Where, oh where, dear Umbra, might I meet a nice, funny, decent guy who cares about living a green-lit lifestyle but won’t chide …

The body electric

What can China teach us about electric bikes?

In part 2, I described the extraordinary growth of electric bikes in China, which grew from novelty items in 1998 to almost one e-bike per ten people today. What caused this growth? What can we learn from China about overcoming the Northwest’s four barriers to e-bikes? The economic context of e-bikes is radically different in China than in the Northwest. In China, most buyers of electric bikes are stepping up in vehicular speed and comfort from heavy, low-performance bicycles. They are opting for electric bikes not in place of cars but in place of bicycles, motorcycles, or scooters. In the …

Whatchoo talkin' 'bout, Willis?

Ask Umbra’s pearls of wisdom on Bruce Willis

Dearest readers, Do you know what today is? Why, yes, smarty pants, it is Friday, March 19, but more to the point, do you know what momentous occasion occurred on this date 55 years ago? Indeed, my speedy Googlers, Bruce Willis’ birth! And to honor the day that brought us the star of such gems as Die Hard, Die Hard 2, Die Hard: With a Vengeance, and the now-in-development Die Hard 5, I’ve combed the archives to find some words of wisdom related to my pal and yours, Bruce Willis. I may have had to stretch just a smidge to …

Immigrate expectations

Why environmentalists should get involved in immigration reform

How many enviros can you spot in this picture?Photo: Salina CanizalesI grew up in a family that sorted recyclables, reused containers until they were no longer reusable, and walked whenever and wherever we could. We turned off our lights and carefully monitored our energy consumption. We made sure that we didn’t leave the water running, and my sisters and I competed to take the shortest showers possible. Our travel often took us to nature preserves and national parks, where we learned about the importance of wildlife and conservation. Sounds like a typical childhood for a kid in an environmentally conscious …

looking good for your age

A Happy Meal still looks ‘fresh’ on its first birthday

A newborn Happy Meal.Joann BrusoHappy birthday to you, you look just like new. A year later you can’t tell, and the fries still don’t smell. Happy birthday, dear Happy Meal, happy birthday to you! This is what a Happy Meal looks like before — and after — Joann Bruso put it on her shelf for one year. This is what she had to say after staring at Ol’ McDonald’s little box of joy for so long: NOPE, no worries at all. My Happy Meal is one year old today and it looks pretty good. It NEVER smelled bad. The food …

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