It won’t stop burning, Doc

Burning Embers climate design contest has a winner [UPDATED]

Update! The people have spoken; we have have a winner. Presenting the nifty Tracing Emissions mobile (and a gallery of entries). Photo courtesy spike55151 via FlickStory: In June I wrote about Burning Embers, an art and design competition that invited students to create illustrations that reflected the causes and effects of climate change. The idea was that we need more compelling imagery than the sometimes-drab, sometimes-confusing graphics in policy reports. Well, four intriguing finalists have been selected—a video, a photo essay, a set of “animal cards,” and a mobile (the last is my favorite). Ji Lee, creative director of the …

Bag it!

Plastic bags are the enemy of the ocean

Courtesy Save the BayListen up all you Gristers who live along the California coast: This Saturday is Coastal Cleanup Day. Join your friends, neighbors, frenemies and complete strangers in a community-wide effort to get the plastic crap out of the ocean. Plastic isn’t just a problem way out in the Eastern Pacific Garbage Patch. For example, the folks at Save the Bay have put together a pretty neat interactive to show you just how bad plastic pollution is in the Bay area. Find out how you can join the Coastal Cleanup fun: S.F. Bay Area, San Diego, Los Angeles. And …


An interview with solar activist Anya Schoolman

This interview is part of a series on people who are making their communities smarter, greener places to live. Got a nomination? Leave it in the comments section or send it along to us. All signs point to solar for Schoolman and her neighbors.For a while, things were looking gloomy. The founders of Washington, D.C.’s Mount Pleasant Solar Cooperative had their hearts in the right place; they even had their paperwork in the right place. But they hit snag after snag as they tried to fulfill the dream of converting their neighborhood to solar power: Contractors who didn’t want to …


Ask Umbra on combating climate denial

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, This “year with no summer” and some alleged statistics I have seen quoted about earth-wide temperatures for the last ten years have resulted in claims that the earth is not heating — it may even be cooling. What about it? Arthur WaskowShalom Center, Philadelphia A. Dearest Arthur, The oceans are too getting warmer!That would be great. The planet needs some cooling, and humans certainly aren’t doing anything to help. But let us remember the difference between weather and climate. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration does confirm that summer 2009 in the …


With Patrick Swayze’s death, perhaps the year could take a rest

The past few months have taken a mind-boggling assortment of icons, pop and otherwise, from our midst. As a green media outlet, we face a challenge on these somber occasions: How to pay tribute to people whose departure is felt by so many, but who might not have strong environmental connections. We don’t want to be in the business of creating artificial “ecobits” in which we glom onto some one-off quote from five years ago and use it to claim that, say, Patrick Swayze was a conservationist. It also doesn’t feel quite right to fall back on our usual schtick, …

Pulling out the Jay Game

Celebs to race Ford’s electric cars on Jay Leno’s new show

Jay Leno’s electric slide began long before the “Green Car Challenge.”Photo: Alan Light via FlickrOn his new show, which launched Monday night, Jay Leno will flaunt to the world his crush on electric cars. Leno’s show will feature the “Green Car Challenge,” wherein celeb guests race against each other in specially built Ford electric cars for the best lap times on a specially built race track. The first guest in the hot seat will be Drew Barrymore (an obvious guest to kick things off, since we all know she likes riding in cars with boys), when she appears on the …

how now, green Dow

Is the Dow Jones Sustainability Index worth a damn?

Recently, the web has been abuzz with stories about (and press releases from) companies ranked highly by the Dow Jones Sustainability Index review. The vaunted stock ticker-picker turned its eyes to green a full ten years ago to track the financial performance of “sustainability-driven companies worldwide.” Each year it releases a review of the companies in the index, using their economic, environmental, and social performance to rank them (and sometimes remove them). And the companies, in turn, use it as an excuse to make eco-happy headlines. So what’s with all the hubbub? And is it important to us mere mortals, …

Just Beak Ahhs

Ask Umbra on sex … chicken sex, that is

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, Vegans don’t eat eggs because it’s an animal product like honey and milk and also because of how animals are treated. However, does eating an egg kill a baby chick that could have had a life? I am a vegetarian and people often argue that the eggs in the grocery store are not fertilized and would never have a life. Is that really true? I know being vegan is the best way of living but does eating eggs really kill something that could have had a life? It would be great to …

This 9/11, urban communities remember and serve

This September 11th, communities are honoring those who lost their lives eight years ago by participating in service activities. Churches, schools, and community groups are holding nearly 100 Green the Block service events in more than 24 states. All across the nation, people are choosing to act on encouragement instead of discouragement, on hope instead of despair. Both of us are often asked to speak for those who have no voice, and to remind others of those who are often forgotten. We are asked to respond to the frustrations of our communities and fulfill the aspirations of those who are …

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