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Southern exposure

The hybrid solar home, part 2

My thoughts have turned lately to the challenge of heating and powering residential homes in the Pacific Northwest with renewable energy. My goal was not to just find a way to reduce fossil fuel use, but to eliminate it. When I started this exercise I wasn't at all sure it could be done (in an affordable manner). Here in the Seattle area we average a little more than two clear days a month for six months of the year! Back in January, I mulled over the concept of an affordable, solar-powered, carbon-neutral home designed for this latitude and longitude that …

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Mellow fellow

Jack Johnson is laid-back — except when it comes to being green

USA Today recently published a short feature on musician Jack Johnson. Although the focus of the piece (Jack's a mellow surfer dude from Hawaii) = not news, there is this interesting bit (emphasis mine): Johnson's contracts require that event organizers compost and recycle at least 50 percent of the waste generated at the show and purchase carbon-dioxide offsets covering the energy his show uses. To reach out to fans, he has created a social networking site, allatonce.org, where people can talk about green initiatives, trade greening tips and organize carpools to concerts. As an incentive, visitors get free downloads from …

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video

TPM chats with Van Jones

At Netroots Nation, TPM talked with Van Jones:

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The worst job in America

Many posts on Grist detail the negative environmental impacts of factory farming and the meat and dairy industries overall. Bottom line: There is probably no personal act more effective at benefiting the environment than reducing meat consumption. But a true environmentalist must also take a hard look at the social dimensions of sustainability; again, the meat industry ranks as the worst form of abuse. As this radio show documents, slaughterhouses in America are places of such immense depravity and illegality that they are the worst places to work in the whole country. The reason these factories persist (more than 100 …

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Single stream dream

Boulder, Colo. to join other cities in single stream recycling and composting

"Single stream" isn't a euphemism for some new and detrimental Army Corps of Engineers water management program. It's a recycling system being deployed all over the continent in cities like San Francisco, Toronto, Denver, Tucson, San Jose, Philadelphia, and Dallas. Most new recycling facilities are being built with this in mind, and Boulder, Colo. is the newest entrant to the scene thanks in large part to the leadership of grassroots non-profit recycling group Ecocycle. Single stream recycling helps cities divert 50 percent, 60 percent, even 70 percent of their waste from the landfill by allowing households to put all their …

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Yaoza!

Yao Ming to serve as UNEP ‘environmental champion’

Yao Ming, Chinese basketball player extraordinaire and eco-activist green Olympian, recently agreed to be the United Nations Environmental Program's first-ever "Environmental Champion." Yao accepted the UNEP's invitation the day after the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing. Said Yao, "In my role as 'Environmental Champion,' I will work with governments, the private sector, and the public to promote good and effective management of our environment so we can preserve the planet for future generations." UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner was pleased to announce that Yao would serve as the new environmental champion. He said in a press release on Saturday: "As …

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More EEStor lore for the hardcore

EEStor founder says things are on track for commercial production in 2009

Those of you have have been following the EEStor saga will want to check out this new article in Technology Review and this blog post, both by Tyler Hamilton. Seems EEStor founder and CEO Dick Weir is finally starting to open up to the press, and he reports that things are on schedule for commercial production in 2009. If you don't recall, EEStor is working on a solid-state supercapacitor -- an electrical energy storage unit , or EESU -- that will store three times more power than the best lithium-ion batteries on the market, charge in five minutes, last longer, …

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Let's handcuff the property cops

Homeowner associations restrict eco-friendly practices in favor of aesthetics

This post comes to us via the Land Institute's Prairie Writers Circle. ----- Susana Tregobov dries clothes on a line behind her Maryland townhouse, saving energy and money. But now her homeowners association has ordered her to bring in the laundry. The crackdown came after a neighbor complained that the clothesline "makes our community look like Dundalk," a low-income part of Baltimore. Tregobov and her husband plan to fight for their right to a clothesline, but the odds are against them. Although their state recently passed a law protecting homeowners' rights to erect solar panels for generating electricity, it is …

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Making a stink about green(ish) deodorants

Choosing a deodorant can be the pits. Upon moving to Washington, D.C., about a year ago, I quickly realized two things: Our Nation's Capitol was built on a swamp and The Hill is called that for a reason. So biking -- my chief form of transit in the city -- can be quite the damp, smelly affair. After arriving at more than a few congressional hearings smelling certifiably ripe, I realized my hippie stick wasn't cutting it anymore and decided to try out some new options. Grist's Pick Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal $6.59, 4.25 oz. I spurned traditional deodorant sticks …

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The people came, video

New York City’s inaugural Summer Streets event a big hit

StreetFilms writes ... ... the New York City Department of Transportation held its first Summer Streets event on Saturday by opening 7 miles of city streets to pedestrians and bike traffic only. From 7 AM to 1 PM, roads were car-free from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge with Park Avenue serving as the backbone of the route. ... The general consensus was that the event succeeded beyond even the most hoped for expectations and would pass even the most pessimistic of measuring sticks. ... the future will hold many more large scale street openings for pedestrians, cyclists, runners, children, …

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