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A review of six hand and body lotions

January, 1993. I am a college freshman returning to school after the holiday break. Rushing upstairs to see my friends, I burst gleefully into a dorm room, only to have one of them greet me with horror. "Dude, what's wrong with your face?" Love the skin you're in. Until that moment, I hadn't known anything was wrong with my face. Sure, I had a dime-sized patch of dry skin on my right cheekbone. But I had taken some pride in it: to me it was the mark of a true New England girl. To my friend -- who not only …

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EPA launches cell-phone recycling campaign

As many as 150 million cell phones are taken out of service in the U.S. each year, and some 80 percent end up in the landfill, where they leach toxins into the air and water. In an attempt to address the problem, the U.S. EPA today launched a campaign to boost cell-phone reuse and recycling. Eleven companies -- AT&T, Best Buy, LG Electronics, Motorola, Nokia, Office Depot, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Sprint, Staples, and T-Mobile -- are partnering on the campaign and will collect phones and hold recycling events. "Each partner will still have its own program," says Mark Buckley of …

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We can consume less without sacrificing well-being

Something I meant to mention last week: Jared Diamond, author of the much-lauded book Collapse, had an op-ed in The New York Times making some simple and important points about consumption rates (along with some rather silly side arguments). The basic idea is that per-capita consumption in the West is very high; per-capita consumption rates in developing countries is very low; and for the globe to sustainably accommodate the coming 9 billion people, those rates are going to have to meet somewhere in the middle. It's all but axiomatic. (Contra Ari Fleischer, the American way of life is not "a …

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Umbra on Camelbaks

Dear Umbra, Recently, I've started to try to avoid plastics (especially plastic water bottles). For Christmas, my brother gave me a Camelbak-type water bottle. How safe is this? I assume it's as bad as most plastic water bottles. Timothy Kearney Issaquah, Wash. Dearest Timothy, Gifting quandary alert. But does it suck? Photo: iStockphoto Not all plastic water bottles are equal. In a larger context of avoiding plastic, we may occasionally find ourselves with a plastic bottle that is handy and use it for a while. There are certain exceptions: We should try to completely avoid polyvinyl chloride, PVC, which is …

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Super Bowl to plant trees and make other greenish efforts

Photo: iStockphoto The National Football League has announced that it will plant trees and take other measures to offset some of the environmental impacts of the most hyped sporting event of the year. This year's Super Bowl will be held in Phoenix, Ariz., on Feb. 3. As part of the greening effort, the organizers have said they're planting 9,000 trees in the state, though only 3,500 of them are actually expected to survive. The Super Bowl stadium and the adjacent NFL theme park will be powered with clean energy on the big day and an expected 65,000 pounds of leftover …

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What will it take to make 2008 great?

The following guest post is by Rep. Jay Inslee (D-Wash.), originally published on Climate Progress. He is the co-author of Apollo's Fire: Igniting America's Clean Energy Economy. ----- Now that our New Year's Eve party hats are put away, it's time to look to the next year in the battle against global warming. In the year 2007, some good things did indeed happen on this front. Measures significantly improving car mileage standards and promoting the growth of renewable fuels were signed into law. But if 2007 was a year that could be considered in some ways good, then 2008 needs …

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Compact fluorescents can cause health problems, say groups

As Australia, Britain, and the good ol' U.S. of A make plans to phase out traditional energy-sucking light bulbs, health concerns are being raised about compact fluorescents, the most popular alternative. The British Association of Dermatologists says CFLs can cause rashes on folks with photosensitive skin, the U.K. Migraine Action Association suggests that the bulbs can trigger terrible headaches, and U.K. charity Epilepsy Action says CFLs can induce seizures. Health professionals say exemptions to country-wide bans should be made for people with special health circumstances, but lighting industry reps point out that there are alternatives to CFLs that still meet …

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Live Earth will be honored with music industry green award

Midem, an annual international trade show for the music industry, has created a new green award that it will bestow upon Live Earth later this month in Cannes, France -- because Al Gore can never have too many awards. Also honored will be Denmark's Roskilde Festival, which serves all drinks in returnable plastic mugs, and Switzerland's Paléo Festival Nyon, which is powered entirely by wind and wave energy.

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David Beckham has world’s biggest carbon footprint, says group

David Beckham. Photo: Robert Mora/WireImage The member of the human race with the biggest carbon footprint is (drumroll please ...) soccer football golden boy David Beckham, according to green group Carbon Trust. The hottest star in the Galaxy and wife Victoria-but-please-call-me-Posh have won the dubious honor for the second time. The duo have 15 gas guzzlers; Becks' flights in the last year for soccer football matches, advertising commitments, and Spice Girl support were more than equivalent to a trip to the moon, Carbon Trust calculated. We imagine his pure hottness and the extra CO2 exhaled in passionate sighs by his …

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Umbra on resolutions for 2008

Dear Umbra, Sorry to crowd your inbox, but I just want to thank you for answering my question about paint disposal ... it was very helpful (as always). I'm SO glad you're back from being kidnapped. I hope it wasn't too awful an ordeal. Thanks again, Erin Chicago Dearest Erin, Happy New Year! Happy 2008, everybody! Photo: iStockphoto I hope 2007 wrapped up nicely for everybody, ended on a good note, with nice friends and/or family, tasty baked goods, sparkly lights, warm tropical breezes, enjoyable movies, and avoidance of any personally unpleasant holiday-related events. I am of course writing this …

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