Walk it out

From Big Ben to Brussels: Group walks to raise climate awareness

Here are the stats on our walk from Big Ben to Brussels: 3 countries, 15 days, 250 miles, an estimated 500,000 steps. Me and 4 footsore, fantastic friends. Our final day seemed almost too easy. We woke up with less than 10 miles to go, and had to dawdle along to allow the camera crew time to film us. Walking slowly was surprisingly hard after 2 weeks on the road we had settled into a natural rhythm, and to slow down was at least as hard as walking faster would have been. We ended as we had begun, in the …

Girls (and Boys) Gone Wild

Why should policymakers, investors, and businesspeople care about youth in Copenhagen?

Of the estimated 20,000 people converging on the U.N. climate conference this week and next, half of them are expected to be under the age of 30. My colleague in Copenhagen, Kristina Haddad, reports, “I observed that many in the crowds of people were young. Most were wearing t-shirts or passing out flyers that essentially pleaded for the world leaders to do the right thing — to stop the talking and compromise and really do something about this crisis or they will have no future.” She went on to describe how a group from India unraveled a banner at the …

Not So Fast

This year, have a Slow Christmas

This post originally appeared on Recently I have begun to wonder. Just when did Christmas go from this:         to this? USB Warmer Seat Cushion           The world is a fast place, filled with stuff, so I guess it makes sense that Christmas would reflect that. The trouble is, we’re all a little broke from living this way, and the planet is groaning from last year’s stocking stuffers. So what if this year, instead of spending time at the mall buying family and friends stuff they might not even like, we spend …

Canned goods--and bads

How to make healthy, safe food-bank donations 

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries. Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night. ————— Time to green the canned-food drive.From the Grist Twitter feed: Looking for healthy safe nonperishable foods to donate to food banks. Ideas?  – Janieo  
  Dear Janieo,  Thanks so much for this question. I must admit that sometimes I feel like I’m fiddling while Rome burns — prattling on about the merits of artisan chocolate while people go hungry. To understand the issue of hunger better, I contacted …

Forward Progress

Take a walk through the JP Green House [video]

JP Green House walk-through from Ken Ward on Vimeo. Walk through of JP Green House, by Ken Ward, co-founder, and Simon Hare & Declan Keefe of Placetailor, showing materials, design and construction techiques being used, aiming to meet passivhaus standards and meet negative, net carbon impact objective.

Buy green, then behave

Study says green shoppers more likely to later cheat, steal

Dearests, I know this won’t apply to any of you, but it is a curious phenomenon: according to a piece in Slate, a recent psychological study shows that a small group of shoppers who bought green products later acted badly in constructed situations — in one case, sharing less money with those in need, and in another, cheating and stealing during a simulated shopping game. How could buying organic nectarines lead to such nefariousness? Rebecca Tuhus-Dubrow explains: Why might this happen? According to [Benoit Monin, a professor at Stanford], there are two theories. One is that when we’ve established our …

Hot to Trot

Ask Umbra on globetrotting friends, thorium reactors, and more

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I have greatly cut back on my airplane trips because of my concern about global warming. However, I have groups of friends whose main conversation is about the overseas trips they have been on. When I don’t have an exotic place to talk about it seems like I have nothing to say. Can you think of good ways to address this issue so that I can continue to seem fascinating? MackiSeattle A. Dearest Macki, There’s more than one way to see the world.You have clipped your wings for the health of the …


A womb of one’s own

Photo: Mahalie via Flickr So, why is my response ire and not panic? I guess I’m over the panic. During my pregnancy, I’ve been reading a lot about the toxics in my body and their potential effects on the fetus (and I’ll be writing a lot more about this stuff in this blog series). I realize it’s too late for panic. Contrary to popular belief, my womb is not entirely my own. I’m with the woman from this Seattle Post Globe story, Kim Radtke, who’s just plain angry. Like me, she made all the right personal decisions about her health …

Umbilical Cords Strike an Off Note

More than 200 toxic chemicals were found in the blood of umbilical cords sampled from racial and ethnic minority babies in a report coming out Wednesday. The analysis discovered for the first time in cord blood bisphenol A (or BPA), a perfluorocarbon used in non-stick and weather-proofing products, as well as certain forms of PCBs and synthetic fragrances.  Yuck. Remember this is measuring exposure to fetuses, the most vulnerable time for most stages of human development. The study comes from the Environmental Working Group, a nonprofit group that’s made a name for itself by testing people for pollutants, and was …

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