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A test of six green dish soaps

Clean for a day. Ah, dish duty. Who hasn't ignored it, dreaded it, rock-paper-scissored over it? But there comes a time in each eater's life when dishes must be done. Happily, today's generation of eco-detergents makes it a less-toxic task than in the past -- though not completely pure. When I set out to test six "eco" dish soaps, I had little idea of the sudsy morass I was about to wade into. For the most part, green-cleaning companies have worked hard to eliminate scary stuff, including phosphates and ammonia, from their detergents -- and unlike mainstream companies, they're happy …

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Oprah off the meat-free wagon

The all-powerful talk-show host ends her vegan cleanse

Well, Oprah is no longer a caffeine-free, sugar-free, gluten-free vegan. She says her "21-day cleanse" has been "enlightening." I will forever be a more cautious and conscious eater. That's my commitment for now. To stay awakened. Hopefully along the way she's also enlightened some of her million-bajillion faithful followers.

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Umbra on wedding registries again

Hi Umbra, I'm getting married in August, and I've registered on Heifer International, but am looking for other ways to offer gift-givers a way to buy socially conscious and green gifts. Since "green," fair-trade, and organic are all the rage, could you recommend any good online places to find eco-friendly products other than the obvious (Whole Foods, REI, etc.)? I want to be sure I support the right places instead of the wannabes. Charla Seattle, Wash. Dearest Charla, Congratulations. I hope all the wedding advice and tips in the Grist archives have been helpful to your event planning. I know …

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Honda produces new fuel-cell car

Honda Motor Co.'s hydrogen-powered FCX Clarity rolled off the line Monday and will be leased to high rollers in California. The Clarity -- an update of Honda's original FCX, a handful of which were leased in 2005 -- runs on hydrogen and electricity, emits only water, and is twice as fuel-efficient as a gas-electric hybrid. Actresses Laura Harris and Jamie Lee Curtis, filmmaker Christopher Guest, and Little Miss Sunshine producer Ron Yerxa will be among those leasing the Clarity this year; Honda hopes to lease 200 of the cars within three years and, if all goes well, have them mass-produced …

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This will break your heart

Alternate universe Google News.

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Ramblings for Fathers Day

I have two boys. At the end of the summer they will turn, respectively, 3 and 5. The multi-billion-dollar parenting industry wants you to think that parenting is complex and technical and that you need expert advice to handle it. But I've discovered that it's fairly simple. I've unlocked the grand secret. Are you ready? Here it goes: If you want to be a good parent, be a good person. There you have it. Children will model their lives on the lives they see. So model a good life. Terrifying, right? Warming the diaper wipes is one thing, but living …

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When a bleach company cries 'sustainable'

The Clorox Co. leverages sustainability for growth

More green biz reporting from the Sustainable Brands '08 Conference. Even the Clorox Company, with $4.8 billion in sales last year, has set out to get a piece of the proverbial green apple pie that the conscious American consumer is becoming. Recognizing that sustainable products are no longer a wee e-niche market, Bill Morrissey, VP of Environmental Sustainability at Clorox, described the company's extensive research on what motivates a consumer's interest in the environment. From these efforts, four key areas emerged: Personal protection -- What's going in me/on me/around me (and my family)? Cost -- I save $$ by reusing/reducing …

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A not-so-rosy review of Planet Green

Critic bashes new eco-tainment network

I imagine some folks over at Planet Green are seeing red right about now. You would be too if someone suggested your new eco-cable network "embarrasses the Earth." It's the first really negative review of Planet Green I've seen, and it was penned by Slate television critic Troy Patterson. The entire review can pretty much be summed up with this: "Planet Green turns the entire Earth into a lifestyle accessory, often to uniquely awful effect." Patterson goes on to mention a couple of the shows in more depth, calling Alter Eco with Adrien Grenier the "most inane" and suggesting it …

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From Broadway to Bucks

Annie get your green They say the neon lights are bright on Broadway ... good thing they'll soon be replaced by LEDs. Yep, the Great White Way is going green. Wicked! photo: goatopolis via Flickr A penny for your thighs Flying these days is a weighty issue. But at least on Derrie-Air -- the "world's only carbon-neutral luxury airline" -- your conscience will be light as a feather. Unfortunately, your wallet will be too, after paying out the rear with those per-pound prices. What a dope Whether jailing "ecoterrorists" or tree-sitters, it seems The Man is always trying to keep …

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As corn and soy fields drown in rainwater, the food crisis deepens

A cornucopia of bad circumstances. Here in the United States, we grow 44 percent of the world's corn crop, and 38 percent of its soy. For the great bulk of that massive harvest, we rely on a single region: the Midwestern farm belt. And over the past couple of weeks, torrential rains have hammered that area, at a particularly sensitive time for its grand swath of corn and soybean plants. An unusually wet spring had already pushed farmers to plant their crops late and forced them to keep some land fallow. With the recent deluge, a bad situation has turned …