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Environmentalists upset over Dublin’s planned U2 Tower

Bono and his fellow U2-ers are stuck in a melee (and they can't get out of it) over a plan to construct a skyscraper in band members' native Dublin. The tower, monikered U2 Tower in the name of self-love, would be the highest building in Ireland. Ian Lumley of heritage group An Taisce says the building is not the sweetest thing -- it would "be an incongruous blot on the skyline." Lumley still hasn't found what he's looking for: he charges that no environmental impact study was carried out and that "no provision has been made as to the effect …

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Divorce is bad for the planet, says research

Breaking up is hard to do -- and bad for the planet too, says new research. Divorce rates around the world are rising, with the consequence of multi-person homes dissolving into multiple residences, which use more land, water, and energy. Ecologist Jianguo Liu, publishing in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, concluded that in 2005 in the U.S. alone, divorced households used 73 billion more kilowatt-hours annually of electricity and 627 billion gallons more water annually than would have been used if folks had stayed hitched. "People have been talking about how to protect the environment and combat …

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Gift idea for the eco-educator on your list

Maybe the kids won't think this is as cool as an XBox ... perhaps it's better for a classroom's holiday wishlist: Keep Cool! is a "Risk"-style board game about "gambling with the climate." (Or put another way: setzen sie das klima aufs spiel! The half-English half-German directions in this are as interesting as the game itself -- the authors are from the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact in Germany.) Each player takes a role in global climate politics, from nations to economic interests, and aptly, the "ruthless track" of pursuing narrow self-interest results in all players losing.  

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Umbra on cooking oil, again

Dear Umbra, You missed a fantastic opportunity to promote biodiesel use of the cooking oil. There are many people collecting frying oil from restaurants and the like, and perhaps the reader could find a person collecting as well. Check newspaper ads for persons collecting or check the restaurants in your neighborhood for who is collecting. Thanks for the great articles. Keith McCready Waterloo, Iowa Editor's Note: Oh, how Umbra would love to address this issue -- but she's been kidnapped! Please donate to Grist by 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Dec. 11, 2007, to secure her safety. The sooner we see …

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This Hanukkah, make time to reflect on climate and conservation

There are three levels of wisdom through which Hanukkah invites us to address the planetary dangers of the global climate crisis -- what some of us call "global scorching" because "warming" seems so pleasant, so comforting. Light a candle, heal the earth. Photo: iStockphoto We can encode these three teachings into actions we take to heal the earth, each of the eight days. 1. The Talmud's legend that for the Maccabees to rededicate the Temple desecrated by the Seleucid Empire, it took only one day's oil to meet eight days' needs: a reminder that if we have the courage to …

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America’s climate and energy future

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. A few weeks ago, one of the presidential candidates' advisors challenged a group of climate leaders to describe America's future. His challenge triggered a flurry of e-mails as we attempted to articulate a vision. We talked about carbon caps and price signals and new investments in R&D. That's fine, the advisor responded, but what it the vision? What is America's perfect future? I'm not sure we ever satisfactorily answered this very good question, but I found myself trying to describe what America might …

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Divorce costs even more for these Java couples

It may be better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but authorities in the Indonesian region of Sragen think it's better to have loved, lost, and helped the climate. Couples seeking divorce have to pay a fee that goes toward planting 25 trees in the area where they live. Lovebirds getting married have to pay a similar, but smaller fee -- for a mere 5 trees. Because ... their impact will be less, especially if they start having kids? Hmm.

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Brad Pitt wants you — to help with his NOLA green-building project

Brad Pitt -- OMG he's so dreamy! Sorry, reflex. Where were we? Brad Pitt today unveiled designs submitted by architecture firms for his Make It Right campaign to build 150 affordable, sustainable, storm-safe houses in New Orleans. Architects were asked to design a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom house for about $150,000. Pitt also unveiled a display of pink fabric "houses" in NOLA, in hopes that the eye-catching public art will inspire donations to expand the Make It Right project beyond its original goal. "To build those 150 homes, we need the help of the American people," says Pitt. "We need to all …

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Apparel companies hire climatologists to predict consumer trends

In the good old days, the only constant that the fickle fashion industry could rely on was the changing of the seasons -- now, it can't even rely on that anymore. A run of unseasonably warm winters has led some apparel companies to hire staff climatologists who help predict when consumers will be in the market for cold-weather clothes. Because, darling, buying a winter-anticipating coat in August is so five years ago.

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From Booze to Boos

They've got the Labatt blues Dear Canada, if you care at all about the earth, you'll get rid of all your beer fridges. And if you care at all about peaceful international relations, you'll send your surplus booze our way. Love, America. Photo: iStockphoto Razing Arizona An Arizona real estate developer can't fathom raising his kids where they can't surf, kayak, and scuba dive. So he's moving to the coast building a 125-acre water park in the middle of the desert. Cowabunga, dud. Photo: iStockphoto No child left sober Johnnie Walker, Cutty Sark, The Glenlivet ... they're as good as …

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