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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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Hollywood writers strike a blow for the climate

Okay, you're annoyed you can't watch 24, or a full season of House or The Office -- and yes, The Daily Show is kind of lame these days. But on the bright side, as a U.K. Times headline notes: Viewers turned off by Hollywood writers strike 'may never switch TV on again.' Yet, as is so typical of the MSM, they completely missed the real story: the connection to global warming. Turning TVs off equals using less electricity equals emitting less carbon dioxide. How much less? American TV networks have lost almost a quarter of their audiences because of the …

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Super Bowl to be powered by renewable energy

America's obsession with large men in tight tights reaches its peak at Sunday's Super Bowl in Arizona. And, as promised, organizers will equal last year's efforts and do some greening: Enough renewable-energy credits will be purchased to power the stadium, the adjacent NFL theme park, and two nearby luxury hotels. The NFL will plant thousands of trees in fire-ravaged Arizona forests in an effort to offset the league's 3,000-vehicle ground-transportation fleet. In addition, legendary sports agent Leigh Steinberg's celeb-studded 22nd annual Super Bowl Party -- to which you were not invited -- will aim to be zero-waste and feature electronics …

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Sexy green Adrian Grenier to host new eco-show

Mmm ... [Entourage star and über-hottie Adrian] Grenier has recently inked a deal with the Discovery Channel to star in a 13-episode series tentatively titled The Green Life, in which he'll travel the country -- presumably by patchouli-powered hybrid bus or something equally irritating -- and dole out advice about how regular folks can remodel their homes in an ecologically friendly manner. Um, I'm a "regular folks," Adrian! And you can green my life any time -- if you know what I mean ...

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Umbra on choosing a college

Dear Umbra, I am a high school junior this school year. I am currently researching what college to attend. One major decision in your school choice should be choosing a college that is strong in the field of your study. I am interested in college majors that will translate into green jobs. I know about jobs such as sustainable architecture as well as a few others but I was wondering if you could give a thorough list! Tim Olney, Ill. Dearest Tim, Picking a college can feel like a big, mysterious deal. I hope you have good help at school …

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Grist’s Today show appearance falls through, fans mourn

To all our devoted fans who sat in front of the TV this morning waiting for a Grist-tacular appearance on NBC's Today show, we apologize. Due to Today's relatively tight schedule and an earlier interview that ran overtime, Grist's Katharine Wroth was pulled from the show before she made it on stage. Alas, the world is a much less-informed place than it could have been. As a consolation, you can read some of the tips Katharine would have offered, now conveniently expunged of all references to the show. Enjoy!