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New and improved ecological footprint calculator from Redefining Progress

Redefining Progress, which had one of the original and most influential "ecological footprint" calculators, has rebuilt their ecological footprint quiz from the ground up. Check it out, and report your results here. What's your footprint?

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Eco-conscious gizmos for the enviro to lust after

Dedicated enviros shun consumption, and for good reason. But some consumer items aren't all bad, and might even (gasp!) be good, particularly if they replace more harmful products or encourage greener living. We've rounded up 10 gadgets that a loyal greenie can covet in good conscience. Bike Friday This kick-ass bicycle doesn't just fold up for easy storage and transport; it's also a respectable touring bike. Use it for everything from multi-sport adventures (think bike-kayak-bike trips) to business travel. The only downside: Bike Fridays, like other foldables, are significantly pricier than your average commuter bike -- but they're also significantly …

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and other things I learned at Hahvahd

I just spent a couple of days at a journalists' forum at Harvard whose topic was climate change and cities. The basic premise being that -- as our Mayor Nickels and his climate-fighting compatriots well know -- cities contribute a hell of a lot of carbon to the world, but are also in the best position to slow our handbasket voyage. Over the two days (which could easily have been two weeks), we heard from planners and architects working in places like New York, New Orleans, D.C., Phoenix, London, Latin America, and Seattle, as well as from smart-growth advocates and …

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Umbra on Earth Day office parties

Dear Umbra, Earth Day seems like a good opportunity to raise environmental awareness in the office. Do you have any ideas for an Earth Day office party? The best I can come up with is vegan cupcakes in the park and an inter-department "use less paper" competition. I work for a publishing company that is relatively eco-apathetic ... sometimes we toss paper into the regular trash, and sometimes we toss non-recyclable trash into the recycling bins. Plastic bottles, cans, and glass definitely go into the trash can. We use plastic cups instead of the glasses and mugs in the cupboard …

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As nonstop flights between the U.S. and E.U. increase, what will be the effect on climate?

Throw open the skies and get your passports ready! You may have heard by now that the proverbial jump across the pond is about to get much easier and, perhaps, cheaper. As of March 30, an "open skies" agreement between the United States and the European Union has gone into effect, opening up more possibilities for the recently struggling airline industry than you can shake a complimentary pack of peanuts at. Read it in all of its legalese glory here [PDF]. "Open skies" translates to several significant changes in international air relations. First, it lifts restrictions on which airlines can …

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From Ruslana to Russia (With Love)

Ukraine's world Meet Ruslana: the pre-shears Spears of Eastern Europe -- and a vocal supporter of clean, green energy. We can't quite make out all those lyrics, but we're pretty sure her skimpy outfits are a commentary on the effects of global warming. Photo: Ruslana.ua Trying to rubber the right way Hard up for ways to preserve the Amazon, Brazilians are waxing euphoric about a new factory that will produce sustainable rubbers -- no wood required. What a contraceptive! Photo: iStockphoto Spot a tee Doubt that sexy passersby will ask you to remove your shirt so they can read the …

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State Farm pulls bike-bashing ad

Remember that stupid ad from State Farm, where the natty professional laments that gas prices have gotten so high he's been forced -- gasp -- to ride a bike to work? Oh, the humiliation. Well, apparently the hubbub about the ad got so heated that it made its way back to State Farm. In response, they have pulled the ad. Streetsblog has the details, and deserves credit for generating the kind of blowback that might make the next big corporation think twice before disparaging transportation alternatives. And of course State Farm deserves some credit as well -- despite the ad …

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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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