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While food prices rise, here’s a stick-to-your-ribs pasta dish that won’t cause sticker shock

Every time I go to the supermarket lately, I get sticker shock. Why is it suddenly costing an arm and a leg to keep body and soul together? Part of the explanation lies in recent developments at the gas station. Skyrocketing fuel prices translate to higher costs for growing and transporting food -- and higher retail prices for us. Then there's the biofuel boom: As more and more grain gets diverted for use as car fuel, less is available as food, for both humans and livestock. That scarcity drives prices up. As a result, there's less and less grain being …

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How to reach Joe Sixpack on climate issues

Gore's spending $300 million on it, but actually, I think a more direct approach might do the trick.

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The green-collar jobs movement tests its voice in Memphis

Pat Walters is a freelance journalist based in Memphis. He's captivated by stories about ecology, landscape, and culture. His work has appeared in publications including The St. Petersburg Times and The New York Times Magazine. And he's very happy his job is green. Friday, 11 Apr 2008 MEMPHIS, Tenn. To read more Grist coverage of the Dream Reborn conference, see Walters' dispatches from day one and day two, and recent reflections by Louisville, Ky.-based writer Jennifer Oladipo. Van Jones. Photo: Green for All When the Dream Reborn green-collar jobs conference ended last Sunday, everyone was singing. There must have been …

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Umbra on video games saving the world

Dear Umbra, Does the increasing use of video games as a form of recreation bode well for the environment? Fewer people using real resources means less of an impact on the world. Tadeusz Rockville, Md. Dear Tadeusz, Now that is an interesting spin on things. No one knows the complete answer, and we won't know until we fully assess the footprint of our electronic age. Make that 51 simple things you can do. Photo: ansik Playing video games is similar to home computing in obvious impacts: electricity, electronics manufacture and disposal, increased entertainment coupled with less person-to-person and person-to-outdoor interaction. …

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Bond film to feature greenwashing eco-villain

Everyone's favorite secret agent is at it again -- and this time he hopes to live and let Greene die. That's right, Craig (Daniel Craig) is filming the next Bond flick as we speak type. Quantum of Solace continues the storyline that began with Casino Royale and finds Bond shaken (not stirred) by the death and betrayal of a loved one. He wants revenge, and he points a (Gold)finger at "eco-entrepreneur" Dominic Greene (the man with the green gun?). Played by Mathieu Amalric, the French star of The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Greene is the owner of an eco-hotel …

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Leo’s new condo full of green amenities, paparazzi

Attention, paparazzi: It's Leonardo DiCaprio's 11th Hour in his current New York abode. He's Departed (or will soon) for a new LEED-certified condo in Manhattan's Battery Park City neighborhood. DiCaprio's new digs are quite the eco-residence, featuring solar panels, a green roof, and units "decked out with locally obtained renewable materials and low- or nonpollutant paints, sealants, and adhesives." Of course, the place also features a 50-foot lap pool, dog spa, and in-house branch of the New York Public Library. But who's counting? Hey, Leo, invite me up? Update: Curious about the price of green living? Well, at 1 River …

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A tasting of seven organic beers

Can't get enough of that frothy stuff. Photo: iStockphoto Why is beer so good? The question has perplexed humanity since the dawn of agricultural civilization 10,000 years ago. Archeological records show that beer-making evolved with bread-making: both are ways of using fermentation to preserve grain, the first cultivated crop. To make beer, you let grain seeds germinate, mash them, hit them with some hot water, and let the resulting liquid ferment. Around 1100 A.D., likely in Belgium, an anonymous genius experimented with seasoning the resulting tipple by steeping it with a bitter flower called hops. Let's just say it worked. …

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Digging into the relationships between business and environmentalism

Admittedly, this is more of a link dump than a true blog post, but sometimes the green goodness is too good to pass up ... As Sarah and David have mentioned, the May edition of Vanity Fair is their third annual green issue. Featuring, ironically, the material girl on the cover, it's crammed with features that will enlighten, illuminate, and ... disturb. Pulitzer prize-winning journalists Donald L. Barlett and James B. Steele investigate Monsanto. ("We've never written about a company where some of its own customers are scared of it," they said.) Donald Trump and Michael Forbes duke it out …

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Umbra on library furniture

Dear Umbra, I work in an academic library that has just received funding to purchase new furniture for the first time in over 20 years. As such, the committee examining this is very interested in purchasing stuff that will last a long time and be attractive and comfortable well into the future. We are purchasing a combination of comfy couches and chairs along with more austere study tables and chairs. Other libraries in the area that we've visited have frequently gone with vinyl. I want to steer clear of that, but I'm at a loss as to what will be …

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Industrial agrofuels: enemy of the entire planet

Apologies for the terrible photo, but it was pouring (and snowing) when I took it. That's Duff Badgley again, the dirty hippie, protesting at a Safeway store. You can see the marquee advertising the price of B-5 (5 percent) biodiesel at $4.20 a gallon. Biofuel proponents are not going to like having their fuel compared to coal, but think about it. Most of the CO2 in the United States comes from liquid fossil fuels. Replace them with today's biofuels, and you would have an unmitigated ecological disaster of planet-killing proportions. In other words, the more we use, the worse it …

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