Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Living

Comments

Comments

Putting a bounty of paper towels to the test

Are your paper towels poisoning the planet? OK, I admit it: it's not the sexiest product to test. Hard as I tried to convince a recent pair of weekend houseguests to take part in my experiments, they left without touching a single sheet. But paper towels are an everyday item that can make a big impact -- not just on your countertops, but on the planet. (And hey, we can't all get the beer-tasting gig.) Conventional paper processing is intensive -- not only does the quest for virgin fiber lead to massive deforestation, but the manufacturing process typically involves chlorine, …

Read more: Living

Comments

Pollan envy

For people involved in the TV business, I imagine watching The Wire -- David Simon's novelistic depiction of big-city dysfunction on HBO -- generates mixed feelings. On one hand: Damn that's good. On the other: Damn. That's really good. It makes what once seemed excellent appear merely adequate; what was once adequate now worthless. It has transcended its medium and made those still laboring within its received limitations seem ... diminished. That's how I feel when I read essays by Michael Pollan. Take his cover piece in New York Times Magazine's current green issue: "Why Bother?" It is profound, but …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

The candidates are overlooking the ultimate green-collar job

Amid the din of the Pennsylvania primary and Earth Day, it seems a fitting time to talk about where the Democratic candidates stand when it comes to Mother Earth. Have the leading Dems forgotten America's greenest job? Photo: Freaking News Both candidates have called for ushering in a new green economy. Sen. Barack Obama has stressed that a green economy would not only save on energy costs but would help create jobs in manufacturing and in renewable energy infrastructure. And at a General Motors plant making parts for hybrids, Sen. Hillary Clinton declared that the factory "exemplifies" her notion of …

Read more: Food, Living, Politics

Comments

Walt Disney Co. gets into nature

The Walt Disney Company has announced a new film division that will focus on nature documentaries. The creatively named Disneynature will aim to produce two films every year starting in 2009, hoping to catch the interest of some of the viewers who flocked to Warner Bros.' March of the Penguins and the Discovery Channel/BBC series "Planet Earth." Keep your eyes out for the Disney-produced Earth in 2009, Oceans in 2010, and Chimpanzees in 2012, as well as features on flamingos, flowers, and big cats. Disney envisions the documentaries spinning off "beautiful books," DVDs, and theme-park attractions. Ah, the sweet smell …

Comments

Me, worry?

Most Americans don’t believe global warming will pose a threat to them

A new series of Pew polls shows public concern for climate change is out of sync with the science:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

Virtual water is the new carbon footprint

Calculate how much water your lifestyle requires

Remember when calculating your carbon footprint was all the rage? Ah, those were the days ... but the carbon crisis is so yesterday's news. The Next Big Thing is the water crisis, and as such, I present a little website called Waterfootprint.org. Use it to calculate your individual water footprint -- or see how much H2O the stuff you're consuming (from apples to cotton tees to red wine) is sucking up.

Read more: Living

Comments

Umbra on energy-hog roommates

Dear Umbra, My roommate takes 45-minute showers, does 10 loads of laundry a day, and spends her days watching show after show on TV. What is a nice or subtle way to get her to "cool down" (she didn't like us secretly turning down the water heater)? Thanks, Tested Tom Belmont, Calif. Dearest Tom, Obviously the nice way is to courteously ask. We'll assume this was attempted and failed. Did you read my recent effort to assist a mother with a similar issue? Her teenager took long showers that drove the mom crazy, crazy enough to ask me for help …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

Cats and dogs contaminated with chemicals, says study

Fido and Fluffy are contaminated with higher levels of toxic chemicals than humans are, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group. In a test of the blood and urine of dozens of cats and dogs, researchers found 48 industrial chemicals. The contamination likely comes from such actions as gnawing on plastic toys, sleeping on fire-retardant-covered furniture, frolicking on pesticide-laden lawns, eating potentially mercury-laden pet food, and, of course, all that licking. Researchers point to a recent uptick in animal cancers and hyperthyroidism. "Our animals are trying to tell us something here," says EWG's Bill Walker. Something besides, "Feed …

Read more: Living

Comments

Friday music blogging: Cloud Cult

We've done a lot of gushing on this site about the ecologically and musically righteous band Cloud Cult. See Sarah here, or me here, here, and here. Also I interviewed singer Craig Minewa here, and we put the band on our top 15 list here. Cloud Cult.So I won't go over all of it again. Instead I'll just point out that they have a new album -- Feel Good Ghosts -- coming out on Monday, and it's fantastic. (You can buy it from that Amazon link on Monday or, ahem, buy it directly from the band today, which will ensure …

Read more: Living