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Percentage of 16-year-olds licensed to drive has dropped

The percentage of 16-year-olds with a U.S. driver's license has decreased sharply in the last decade, from 43.8 percent in 1998 to 29.8 percent in 2006. Rising insurance costs, expensive driver education, and an increase in indoor pastimes are more likely to be driving the trend than environmental awareness -- and sure, most yoots still get around in four-wheeled transportation, chaffeured by parents and friends. But at the very least, we suspect that fewer kids with a license means fewer cars idling for hours while teens grope in the back.

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Umbra on communal clothes drying

Hello Umbra! I'm a college student working to make my school greener and would like to purchase a few relatively sturdy, high-volume clothes drying racks to place in our laundry rooms so that students have an alternative to using the electric dryers. I know these racks exist because I just got back from studying in Italy for the semester and saw them all over, but I haven't been able to find anything good in 45 minutes of searching the net. The best I could find are those giant umbrella racks, but those are meant to be placed outside. I also …

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Oscars: green, but not braggy

As I reported last week, the Oscars went green(er) again this year. But if you watched the awards show last night, you might have noticed there was nary a mention of it, aside from a few jokes from Jon Stewart -- quite a contrast to last year's Al-and-Leo show. In other green-award-show news, the Independent Spirit Awards, held Saturday night, also had a green tinge. Ed Begley, Jr., even made an appearance to help power the event via bicycle. Which I believe was just a joke ... but knowing Begz, anything is possible.

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Various items of sporting significance

Gather into the huddle for your sporting update! The news on Beijing 2008: Six green activists will carry the Olympic torch as it journeys through Thailand on its way to light up the night at the Beijing Olympics this summer. Five provinces neighboring Beijing have pledged to work on air pollution to help the city out in its quest for a breathable Games, and Beijing has announced plans to close some high-polluting gas stations and ban sales of cars that fail to meet emissions standards. Nonetheless, the British Olympic Association has not ruled out that its athletes might wear masks …

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From Bottle to Bikini

Cork tease Attention oenophiles: Korks 4 Kids wants your cork. Big corks, little corks -- size doesn't matter. Your cork will go places you never imagined, until you get that all-over warm feeling that you get from ... helping children. Why, what were you thinking? Photo: iStockphoto On our soapbox A Brit film fest asking for quickies on the topic "Overheated" might expect submissions like steamy shower scenes or global-warming debates. But us? We'll be sending shots of us debating global warming while in the shower. Just like every day at the office. Photo: iStockphoto Mother nature Eco-moms the world …

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Strongbadia gets a gulp o’ greenwashing

Remember that goofy 'toon site Homestarrunner.com and its boxing-gloved, email-answering hero, Strong Bad? Well, apparently not even web cartoon characters are safe from the fierce green gaze of environmental imperialism: his readers finally call him out on his lack of eco-initiative. So what does Strong Bad do to help save the planet? You mean, besides watering flowers with recycled cigarette butts? (Hey, he did switch from using bleach!) Fortunately, Strong Bad learns loads more about being green when he's interrupted by a '60s-style protest trying to pull the plug on his blackout-causing computer, the Lappy 486. ("That Lappy is energy …

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Grist puts a green eye to sex, drugs, and rock ‘n’ roll

Photo: iStockphoto "Sex and drugs and rock and roll are very good indeed." -- Ian Dury Green may be the flavor of the week, the word du jour, the go-to adjective for everyone from ad execs to activists -- but between you and me, researching all the do's and don'ts of eco-sainthood can get a bit heavy. In the midst of all this sobering work, sometimes a gal (even a green one) just wants to have fun. So is it possible to green your favorite vice? It would be a sin not to find out. Sex Let's talk about sustainable …

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Will Oscar’s eco-efforts pale compared to last year?

This story has been updated with breaking news about the greening of the Oscars. See below for details. Matt Petersen and Salma Hayek at Global Green's pre-Oscar bash. Photo: Global Green Last year's Academy Awards were a veritable green fest, what with Inconvenient Truth's multiple wins and the Gore/Leo announcement about the Oscars officially going green (albeit via carbon offset). Green itself could have gotten its own award -- perhaps for its role as "the new black." This year, however, things are ... different. For one, green didn't quite make the nominee cut (sorry, Leo). But there also hasn't been …

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Ungreen sport of golf becoming less popular in U.S.

A little birdie told us that the number of bogey men still sand-trapped in the golf club has fallen by 13 percent since 2000. By which we mean, golf is becoming less popular in the U.S. Guess it's just par for the course, as the golfing green is anything but green. If golf enthusiasts are gonna swing it, they'll need to get a grip. OK, we'll stop this w-hole golf pun thing, be-fore it gets old. Tee hee.

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A sci-fi writer and an environmental journalist explore their overlapping worlds

Pump Six and Other Stories, by Paolo Bacigalupi. Science fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi, author of the new collection Pump Six and Other Stories, envisions a future filled with environmental terrors. His characters move through worlds transformed by climate change, genetic engineering, drought, and toxic waste -- places that seem exotic at first, but on second glance are just a few unwitting steps beyond today's headlines. As Bacigalupi's Colorado neighbor, I've watched his work evolve -- and watched with interest as he borrowed themes from environmental journalism. So I sat down with him to discuss the complicated relationship between environmental reporting …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living