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Church of England urges carbon fast for Lent

Planning to give up alcohol or chocolate for 40 days when the season of Lent begins tomorrow? Two Church of England bishops are urging churchgoers to instead take part in a carbon fast.

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Fewer folks are regularly getting out in nature, says study

Kids -- and adults -- these days are "videophiliacs" who prefer their nature through the TV screen rather than personally experienced, says a new study estimating that U.S. folks' participation in outdoor recreation has dropped as much as 25 percent over the past 20 years. Researchers looked at four metrics: visitation to public lands, number of fishing and hunting licenses issued, time spent camping, and time spent backpacking and hiking. Only day hiking has increased since the mid-1980s, and just slightly. "We were surprised by the results, and in some sense, quite frightened," says Patricia Zaradic, coauthor of the research, …

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Slim down with the ‘Waste Diet’

There are people who talk about reducing, reusing, and recycling -- and then there's Maren Engelmohr. Engelmohr, a St. Louis architect with an impressive set of green credentials, her husband, and her two children are embarking on a year-long "waste diet," and are challenging you (and me) to do the same: The Waste Diet is a campaign to encourage people to reduce their Household landfill waste. Our household is committing ourselves to not sending any waste (or very minimal waste) to the landfill for the entire year of 2008. We are challenging every household in the country to try it …

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What qualifies as a green flower?

Roses are red,Violets are blue,But if you want a greener choice,What the hell should you do? The NYT asks that very question (minus the poetic flair, of course) and struggles to answer it: And as in other industries with increasing demand for green products, the floral industry is debating what is environmentally correct. Should flowers be organic -- that is, grown without synthetic or toxic pesticides? Or should the emphasis be on fair trade, meaning that the workers who grow and cut them are safe and well paid? Or should consumers favor flowers grown locally, not flown or trucked over …

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High fashion around the globe

It's been a few months since the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, but I had a nice chat recently with French fashion designer Annabel Gerenthon, who debuted her fair-trade shoe label Moyi Ekolo there. Annabel was the former fashion designer at Charles Jourdan before it was sold in 2003. Now she's on her own and starting shoes from scratch. The vegetable-tanned leather used in the collection's cute ballerina flats and boots is sourced from a social project in Namibia, which she is helping supervise. "There is very little history of footwear production in Namibia, except on the workshop level," she …

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In Ireland, plastic bags are out of fashion

By making the unsustainable alternative a faux pas ... In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts. Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable -- on a par with wearing a fur coat or …

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Lotioned-up babies have high phthalate levels, says study

Photo: iStockphoto Ways to poison your kids: It's not just bottles, car seats, and toys anymore! Tots exposed to baby cosmetics -- lotions, shampoos, powders, and the like -- have high levels of toxic phthalates in their wee bodies, according to a new study published in the journal Pediatrics. Lotion exposure led to the highest phthalate concentrations in infant urine; use of baby wipes and diaper creams was not found to affect kids' inner phthalate levels. Manufacturers are not required to list phthalates, which have been linked to reproductive disorders and fertility problems, as ingredients on cosmetics labels. The infant …

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Aspirational green

The general public doesn't seem as fired up as one might like. I'm starting to think that the thing to do is pivot completely from global warming to one-earth living. Global warming creates the condition of necessity. It is background. Foreground the positive opportunities: reducing energy bills through efficiency and green building; generating clean energy on-site or purchasing it via offsets or RECs; living in vibrant, walkable communities to boost health and wellbeing; enjoying food more, knowing where it comes from, how to grow and cook it; knowing that the material things in your life are not contributing to degrading …

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From Adrian to Athletes

The Green Life goes on Enviro-hottie (and sleazy pick-up artist) Adrian Grenier will soon be bringing an eco-entourage to the Discovery Channel for a series about greening the homes of "regular folks." Quick, look regular! Photo: WireImage.com Bless me, Goracle, for I have sinned Bono on Gore: "It's like being with an Irish priest. You start to confess your sins. Father Al, I am not just a noise polluter; I am a noise-polluting, diesel-soaking, gulfstream-flying rock star. I'm going to kick the habit. I'm trying, Father Al." New CIA campus [redacted] We spy ... something green. We'd tell you more, …

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A noncarnivorous path to Super Bowl-snack nirvana

Three cheers for vegan snacks! Photo: iStockphoto I have tried and tried to learn about football. Many people have taken the time to sit patiently by my side while a game is on and gently whisper explanations like, "OK, see, there are a series of things called downs ..." Right away, my mind trails off. Despite my total lack of comprehension of anything that happens on the field, I enjoy Super Bowl parties: the spectacle, the ads -- and the snacks. This year I decided to challenge myself to make a Super Bowl-worthy vegan dish. I wanted to make something …

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