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'Should go over big with the tree huggers ... ', video

Truth in advertising

Check out this pearl from commenter David Ahlport (found in the comments of David Roberts' Cost Tic post). I'm a proponent of using ads to spread ideas. The problem with most ads is that they are at best half-truths. This one has it all. They draw a gentle and humorous line between themselves and negative stereotypes. Going green should not be about sacrifice and depravation deprivation. I have seen a few versions of this while channel surfing. We could use a lot more like it.

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Incoming Yale student plans to ramp up her activism for the big leagues

For some people, life starts after college. For Karoline Evin McMullen, it began in middle school. Karoline Evin McMullen Age: 18 School: Yale University By the time she was 14, McMullen of rural Geauga County, Ohio, had already: written a textbook for elementary school kids; started a project with two friends to protect endangered brook trout; won a Christopher Columbus Award and a trip to Walt Disney World; and won a President's Environmental Youth Award and a trip to another fantastical kingdom, the White House, to meet President Bush and the head of the U.S. EPA. Those awards -- and …

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Seven tips on green campus organizing from a Harvard pro

Leith Sharp. When Leith Sharp left her native Australia for a five-month tour of the U.S. and Europe in the late 1990s, she could hardly have guessed that she'd be gone for a decade. But that's exactly what happened. Sharp had spent five years piloting eco-efforts at the University of New South Wales, in a paid position that was not only a first for the school, but was also one of the first in the country. She set out on her travels to explore sustainability on other campuses, sharing her own experiences as she went. After she spoke at Harvard, …

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The revolution will not be grumpetized

The automotive revolution: how fast?

Wall Street Journal senior editor Joseph B. White attempts to dump some cold water on the "automotive revolution" everyone's all giddy about: This revolution will take years to pull off -- and that's assuming it isn't derailed by a return to cheap oil. Anyone who goes to sleep today and wakes up in five years will find that most cars for sale in the U.S. will still run on regular gas -- with a few more than today taking diesel fuel. That will likely be the case even if the latter-day Rip Van Winkle sleeps until 2020. The ensuing article …

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Umbra on wine bottle stoppers

Dear Umbra, Here's a question I couldn't find an answer to in the Grist archives: What kind of plastic is being used for the corks in wine bottles? If I decide to put a bottle in the cellar for several years, will the plastic leach into the wine? Thanks for your help! Holli B. Portland, Ore. Dearest Holli, No need to fret: Wine bottles plugged by plastic stoppers or screw-tops can be stored upright, with the plastic separated from the liquid, getting you around the potential problem of plastics leaching into the wine. Natural cork must be kept moist so …

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The half-life of convenience

Will train travel get annoying too?

As more trains catch up to air travel, time-wise, one thing that can put them over the top is the time saved avoiding the hassles of getting to the airport, parking, security, waiting, etc. But what if one of the first mid- or long-range train systems suffers some kind of attack, or even threat of attack? A pipe bomb, a lone gunman, what have you. Immediately would come the metal detectors, shoe examinations, long lines, and the rest of it. Train travel would become frustrating too. Cheap mass travel -- safe enough to satisfy American anxieties -- is probably just …

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How to green your entertainment center

When it comes to watching television, it's practically your environmental duty to gaze at Adrian Grenier on Planet Green and cheer on Major League Baseball's efforts to become more sustainable. (That's what we tell ourselves, anyway.) But did you know the chemicals in that idiot box could be rotting your brain even more than the trashy reality shows? The lead in TVs and even dust resting on top have come under scrutiny for posing health risks, and nitrogen trifluoride (a chemical used in manufacturing flat-screen TVs) has been criticized as a contributor to global warming. Environmentally speaking, the boob tube …

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15 creative ways that students and colleges are going greener

Kappa and Trade Green the Greeks, a student organization at UCLA, is trying to educate the school's Greek system about sustainability issues. Frats and sororities use a disproportionate amount of energy, the group says, so it's aiming to "harness the resources of the Greek community for the environment," its website explains. The rush to get eco-friendly is happening elsewhere, too: At Dartmouth, the Green Greeks Program involves a sustainability coordinator in each house who orchestrates composting, recycling, and energy conservation. Green Greeks at the University of Michigan held a recycling competition that raised almost $1,500 and recycled over 60,000 cans …

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Sick transit

Public transit and oil dependence

Those of you interested in strengthening the ability of public transportation to reduce our dependence on foreign oil should check out Congressional testimony from Brookings metropolitan policy expert Robert Puentes, entitled, um, "Strengthening the Ability of Public Transportation to Reduce Our Dependence on Foreign Oil." I'm not sure the general public -- or even the interested, paying-attention public -- is aware of just how dysfunctional our system for allocating transportation funding is. Says Puentes: ... federal transportation dollars continue to be distributed to its grantees based on archaic funding and distributional formulas. There is no reward for reducing the demand …

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Student activist gets Phoenix buzzing with green biz expo

Chris Samila Age: 23 School: Arizona State University Sometimes people do things because they don't realize they can't. If this makes no sense to you, you haven't met Chris Samila, a (permanent, as he jokingly puts it) senior at Arizona State University in Tempe, where he had some epiphanies, founded a business (Green Summit Inc.), and somehow managed to pull off a wildly successful green business expo on campus. With no experience. And no real cash. And about five volunteers. "We had no idea what we were doing," Samila says. "There were so many nights where I was like, 'Oh …