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Toying with you

Something for everyone in the emerging green market

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Kari Manlove, fellows assistant at the Center for American Progress. ----- Good news: Anyone looking for more environmentally responsible options now has choices. Green alternatives are turning up all over these days -- from children's toys to weddings. Families concerned with all the reports in the last year of toys tainted with lead paint will be happy to hear there's a new market for toys that bypass lead and other potentially harmful chemicals completely. Branch, a San Francisco-based sustainable design company, makes children's toys out of natural wool and bamboo. Nest and ChildTrek …

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Converting a Yaris into a plug-in hybrid

Toyota may have something up its sleeve

The first car I ever owned didn't have power anything. Today you will be hard pressed to find a car without power brakes and steering. But those features also consume energy. This explains how the first wave of economy cars from Japan got such notoriously high mileage (they didn't have power anything either). One reason I chose a Yaris for my next car is that it has electric power steering and power brakes. In theory, you should be able to turn the engine off without losing power boost. I asked a mechanic at the dealership before I bought the Yaris …

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Give my regards to Broadway

The Great White Way goes green

Photo: Springsun via Flickr Mamma Mia! Broadway is going green. Inspired by An Inconvenient Truth, producer David Stone (who recently greened his hit musical Wicked) met with other Broadway big-wigs and the folks at NRDC in an effort to get the theater industry singing a more sustainable tune. There may be five hundred twenty-five thousand six hundred minutes in a year, but how much of a difference could this greening make? Well, they say the neon lights are bright on Broadway ... In addition to swapping in CFLs, ideas shared at the meeting included reducing paper use, increasing recycling efforts, …

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A car-free mom gets her muscles — and mind — in shape for summer

I've started running a few times a week. Each morning, I grab the clothes I've set out the night before and finish getting dressed in the garage, because I don't want to wake my family. Then I go into my neighborhood and run, although running is a misnomer. Really, it's more of a jog -- and sometimes just a walk. These legs are made for parenting. These jog/walk sessions don't have anything to do with being beautiful and thin, although I could do without the little mommy-skirt bathing suit. In large part, running is just a prelude to cycling. For …

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This is crap

Eco-diaper bag has good cause, lousy price

As an expectant motha, I have to admit my editor's eye now pauses on headlines I might normally have skipped before. Like, uh, "Collaboration Gives Birth to Innovative Eco-Diaper Bag." Seems Seventh Generation, Healthy Child Healthy World, William McDonough, and two design and manufacturing firms have built a PVC-free, Cradle to Cradle-certified bag made from recycled plastic water bottles. Cool! And the profits go to Healthy Child Healthy World. Cool! And the cost? $200.

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Umbra on biking with kids

Umbra, Your columns have opened up a whole new world on transport by bike. I don't have a question but am considering purchasing our second Xtracycle for our family. I can carry our toddler and all our groceries, or another adult, or a cooler full of beer on one side and camping gear on the other -- all by bike. Not to say I don't "have to" drive from time to time, but it keeps me out of the car about four to five days a week. Keep up the awesome work. JP Athens, Ga. Dearest JP, You keep up …

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Grandma wins green home

HGTV sets her up in sweet South Carolina digs

Back in January, I mentioned that HGTV was giving away a green home in Hilton Head, S.C. Well, that 2,000-square-foot home done been given away (along with a hybrid GMC Yukon). The winner is a grandmother and medical billing clerk now living in Florida. Marsha Coulthard hasn't decided whether to live in or sell the $850,000 house -- which boasts solar panels, rainwater collection, energy-efficient appliances, and more -- but says she's leaning toward the former: "I don't know, it's exciting and you want to live there," she said. "If you've ever viewed it online, it's absolutely breathtaking. It's eco-friendly, …

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In a pinch

TV characters avoid gas pump drama

Interesting post about TV characters who will likely feel the gas price pinch (including Dwight Shrute of The Office and the taxi driver on How I Met Your Mother). And to counter that, a list from Whitney at Pop Candy of TV characters who don't have to worry about problems at the pump: 1. Hiro Nakamura, Heroes -- Not only is teleportation the wave of the future, it's absolutely free!2. Liz Lemon -- She's smart, she's sexy, and she digs public transportation.3. The Battlestar Galactica crew -- You'd think air travel would cost a fortune, but they jump like it's …

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Replacement for nasty chemical may be no less nasty, says EWG

Under pressure from the U.S. EPA, eight chemical companies are phasing out perfluorooctanoic acid in nonstick, oil-resistant, and stain-resistant products -- but industry-favored substitutes may be no safer, says a new report from the Environmental Working Group. The chemical, known for brevity as PFOA or C8, has been linked to cancer, reproductive problems, and immune disorders. Very little research exists on the health effects of Big Chemical's favored replacement, which drops two carbon atoms and is called C6. But C8 and C6 compounds both share scary characteristics: They're "extraordinarily persistent in the environment, they're already found in people's blood, and …

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