Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Living

Comments

From Cool to Cooler

If this is thong, I don't want to be right Brazilian supermodel Gisele Bündchen is all wet ... in a sandal ad that's raising awareness about water use. She's H2O-so-hot, that dress might evaporate right off her. What a waste. Photo: Ipanema Gisele Bündchen Out of the mouths of bags Couldn't have said it better ourselves. Photo: Becky Redman Swisser suites Need to get away? Let us recommend two of our favorite vacay spots: Whitepod, an eco-friendly "haven of beauty and tranquility" high in the Swiss Alps; or Levittown, N.Y., America's first green suburb. Tough call, we know. Photo: Whitepod …

Read more: Living

Comments

The best climate strategies don’t start in your backyard

In my line of work, one sometimes hears strange things. These include allegations that leaf blowers or pet manure should be high-priority targets for reducing climate emissions. I'm in a myth-busting mood today, so I am happy to report that leaf blowers don't really rate. In the U.S., the emissions from all leaf blowers, both residential and commercial, for all of 2008 will be roughly equivalent to the emissions from driving that occurred between the arrival of the new year and 11:00 a.m. on January 1. Add to that the entire year's worth of snowblowers, and you can equal the …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

How fake trend pieces are born

Culture reporter wants to write something on green, but needs something new, a counterintuitive trend piece that can get some attention. PR shill pitches reporter on fake trend: blue is the new green! Perfect. Reporter calls actual green journalist. Actual green journalist points out that trend is fake. Even better! Now you've got a trend piece with some he-said she-said controversy attached! Sigh.

Read more: Living

Comments

Research on changing behavior

Frank Zaski is a retired auto executive who has made something of a name for himself by pursuing a campaign to get shopping mall owners to turn down the heat. He put together some interesting thoughts on how to get people to use energy more wisely: I was thinking about The 5% solution and commitment and wanted to forward a piece I wrote and circulated to environmental groups. Best of luck! frank I was looking at some psychological research and found a few ideas to consider when environmental groups ask people to make a commitment. Al Gore recently asked people …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

Kudos to Seventh Generation on a Hollywood moment

I'm not saying I paid good money to see 27 Dresses this weekend. Nor am I saying that its ending, however formulaic, made me cry. What I am saying is how nice it was to see a generous, nearly full-screen shot of a Seventh Generation cleaning product clutched in Katherine Heigl's frenzied hand. Not to mention some tossed-off comments about corporate eco-responsibility. Hollywood: making green normal since ... late 2007.

Comments

Umbra on leather vs. pleather shoes

Hi Umbra, As a devoted vegetarian, I try to make it a point to avoid leather footwear. However, after too many hours of deep thought on the subject, I am now conflicted about the environmental ramifications of my choice to buy processed petroleum shoes, i.e., pleather. Leather is, after all, a natural material; pleather is plastic. So is it better for the environment to put aside my veggie ethics in favor of a natural material, even if it took loads of petroleum to grow the corn that fed the cow? Or are the plastic materials a better use of our …

Read more: Living

Comments

United States scores badly in world environmental assessment

The United States ranked poorly in a recent international environmental assessment, coming in 39th out of 149 countries. Nations were ranked according to their performance in key categories, including agriculture policies, air pollution, sanitation, greenhouse-gas emissions, and more. Countries in Europe scored well as a whole; seven of the top 10 nations were European: Switzerland, Sweden, Norway, Finland, Austria, France, and Latvia. The others in the top 10 were Costa Rica, Colombia, and New Zealand. Researchers at Yale and Columbia University, who crunched the numbers, said this year they weighted climate-change efforts more heavily than in past assessments. High greenhouse-gas …

Read more: Living, Politics

Comments

Green films premiering at Sundance Film Festival

If you're a super-hip journalist with awesome connections and a sweet gig, you're spending a cush week writing about the Sundance Film Festival from snow- and celeb-covered Park City, Utah. If you're me, you're sitting in front of a computer screen in an office building in Seattle reading about all the super-hip journalists with the awesome connections spending a cush week at Sundance. (Not. Bitter.) As in past years, Sundance this year will feature several green-themed films -- including the Three Gorges Dam-focused Up the Yangtze, which was recently picked up by Zeitgeist Films -- as well as other green(ish)-themed …

Read more: Living

Comments

Shorter work week bleg

I'm writing a short piece on the environmental benefits of a shorter work week. There's lots of stuff out there on the social benefits (more time for family, better health, etc.) and the economic benefits (higher productivity, higher employment), but very little on the environmental benefits. If anybody out there has thoughts on the matter, or knows of businesses or communities experimenting with a shorter work week, share in comments or contact me directly.

Read more: Living

Comments

A review of six Central American coffees

Coffee surely counts as one of our more problematic daily pleasures. Java-slugging Grist readers should know that coffee deserves some of the blame for global warming. A lucid account by University of California-Santa Cruz historian Chris Brooks tells the sad story, which encompasses slave labor, razed rainforests, and the colonialism of the 19th century. Six competitors line up for their mug shot. Coffee remains a troublesome beverage today; it deeply taxes resources in places where it's grown, and its vast footprint tends to be concentrated in impoverished areas where land might be better used growing food for local consumption. Worse …

Read more: Food, Living