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The unthinkable humiliation of biking, part two

Remember that dumb State Farm ad? Here's another of the same ilk: State Farm bowed to pressure and pulled their ad. Will the same happen to Farmers? (via Streetsblog)

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Google checks out Earth Day

Google Checkout maps the spread of donations and Earth Day lovin’

I think Google has a crush on the planet. First, they announced a goal of achieving carbon neutrality for 2007 and beyond. Then, they unleashed their RE<C campaign (Renewable Energy Cheaper Than Coal), aimed at producing one gigawatt of clean electricity more cheaply than coal. Next, you may have noticed their blacked-out search page on March 29, in support of Earth Hour, the global awareness movement to turn out the lights and turn up action on climate change. And now, in anticipation and celebration of Earth Day (April 22), Google is winking flirtatiously at the neglected planet once more. This …

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An earthy recipe for treading lightly on earth and pocketbook alike

As Earth Day approaches this year, it seems that people are thinking more about food's price than its ecological footprint. A simple trip to the grocery store tells the same story we've been hearing on the news: it's getting more and more expensive to feed ourselves. The morel of the story. I've been thinking a lot about food prices, too. After holding off for almost a year, I raised the prices at my restaurant. I was able to avoid it longer than some of my fellow restaurant owners, partly because I have relatively low overhead: a small space and a …

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Poll: Rising food prices

Are you spending more money on food?

Food prices are soaring around the globe. Have you felt the pinch? Take our poll and tell us. You can vote below the fold. And read recent Grist content on the topic: • Why Michael Pollan and Alice Waters should quit celebrating food-price hikes• How expensive is food, really?• Higher food prices mean crappier cafeteria fare for kids Sorry, the poll you are seeking no longer exists. If you’re in a voting mood, suggest a poll and you might just see it on the site.

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U.S. health agency says ubiquitous chemical may harm kiddos

A U.S. federal agency has declared that there is "some concern" that chemical bisphenol A can harm the development of children's brains and reproductive systems. The National Toxicology Program, part of the National Institutes of Health, issued a draft report following up on an 18-month review of BPA. The agency reported more concern than was suggested by its advisory panel, which critics alleged was biased toward the chemical industry. BPA can seep from hard plastic beverage containers, including baby bottles, and was detected in the urine of 93 percent of participants in a recent study. In light of the NTP …

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Umbra on rooftop gardening

Dear Umbra, Growing your own vegetables is supposed to be healthy and good for the environment, but I live on a heavily trafficked avenue in Manhattan and my plants stay on my roof. Should I be worried that dirt from car and truck exhaust is contaminating my buckets of soil? Could I be poisoning myself? Should I get my soil (a mix of bagged potting soil, bagged peat moss, compost I got from the city, and perlite) tested, and if so, where? I grow fruit (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, watermelon, figs, tomatoes, zucchini, squash), leafy greens (spinach, lettuce, Swiss chard, …

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School-lunch crunch

Higher food prices mean crappier cafeteria fare for kids

As food prices rise, who gets hit first and hardest? Clearly, urban dwellers in the global south, where people spend upwards of half of their incomes on food. According to the Wall Street Journal, here's the ever-growing list of nations that have experienced food-price riots: Rioting in response to soaring food prices recently has broken out in Egypt, Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Senegal, and Ethiopia. In Pakistan and Thailand, army troops have been deployed to deter food theft from fields and warehouses. World Bank President Robert Zoellick warned in a recent speech that 33 countries are at risk of social upheaval …

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It came from the mall

Bag Monsters to educate shoppers on evils of plastic bags

Lunchtime shoppers, beware: if you're toting your purchases in a plastic bag in one of twelve cities tomorrow, you might encounter a Bag Monster. From your worst shopping-related nightmares the "you can't make this stuff up" file comes a creation of cosmetics company Lush to support the ban of plastic bags and to raise awareness of their wastefulness. "Each bag monster, which resembles a walking, talking trash heap, is made of 350 plastic bags -- the amount of bags an average family of four will use in just four months," announces the press release. In addition to scaring unsuspecting plastic …

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How to green your investments

This little piggy went earn, earn, earn all the way home. Photo: iStockphoto If you're thinking green capitalism is one of the most powerful environmental forces in the world, you're right on the money. Today, surprising as it may seem, some of the world's leading financial institutions and biggest corporations are taking earth-positive actions -- not necessarily out of the kindness of their hearts, but because polluting and spewing CO2 is lousy for business, and because greener operations lead to fatter profits. This winter, for example, hundreds of financial leaders and investors representing $20 trillion in capital flocked to a …

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New and improved ecological footprint calculator from Redefining Progress

Redefining Progress, which had one of the original and most influential "ecological footprint" calculators, has rebuilt their ecological footprint quiz from the ground up. Check it out, and report your results here. What's your footprint?

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