Living

car culture

Nothing will drive the suburbs away

Photo: FrankMaurer FlickrThe news that GM will cease production of Hummers revived the brewing argument that suburbia is in fatal decline.  Hummers are the perfect corollary to McMansions, symbols of excess, leftovers from the roaring …

Fecal matters

Peepoo bags help the developing world take off a load

A rotting Peepoo: what a load of crap.Photo: Sustainable sanitation via FlickrWhen poor people don’t have a loo, They pee and poo wherever it’s easy to, But it’s gross for them and the planet too. …

Density is destiny

Teeny tiny tiny digs [slideshow]

Urban apartment dwellers are nothing if not scrappy. New Yorkers, of course, are famous for stuffing themselves into shoe boxes with hotplates.  But there’s more to the story than affordability. More of us are choosing …

Clubs: Not just for sandwiches

Ask Umbra’s Book Club launches

Dearest readers, You know what an extraordinary book nerd I am. And the secret’s out: I know many of you are, too. That’s where the splendiferous new Ask Umbra’s Book Club comes in, because there’s …

A sail of two davids

A rich guy’s guide to saving the oceans

To save the oceans (A checklist) Be heir to a vast fortune Be named David Get a “green” boat Sail around the world to promote education and awareness about dismal ocean health Remind everyone you’re …

Drill baby drill

Garden Girl TV: indoor gardening, part three

In this episode, I show you how to build the shelves for your indoor garden. Mine are up off the floor about 14 inches, which ensure my seedlings get as much direct sunlight as possible. …

Paved paradise?

Asphalt becomes a developer’s best friend

Photo: jgrimm FlickrNobody loves a parking lot, its endless heat-trapping concrete where visitors wander for what feels like eons, searching for their car. At least, nobody loved them until recently. Suddenly, greyfields–underutilized squares of asphalt–seem …

Democra-peas

The latest musical trend is annoying the Senate into climate action

The Black Eyed Peas don’t want the Senate’s foot-dragging to bring about the E.N.D. of the world as we know it.Photo: chandecde via Flickr When I say, “Senate political deadlock,” what’s the first thing you …

Congestion engine

London’s transportation transformation for the 2012 Olympics [Video]

Congestion pricing has been a huge success in London — reducing traffic and making money for the city. What’s more, it challenges the notion that cities should be designed around cars rather than people. But …

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