Living

Sundance goes green as environment takes spotlight

PARK CITY, Utah — Environmental movies with a message are taking center stage at the 25th Sundance Film Festival, with films ranging from vanishing bees and threatened dolphins being screened here. “We are ravaging the earth. We need to think how we treat our resources but more importantly how we treat the people,” said director Joe Berlinger in an interview with AFP. Berlinger’s latest documentary “Crude” in the US Documentary Competition is the riveting story of five Ecuadoran tribes as they seek justice from oil giant Chevron. “We as a society fill our gas tanks but don’t think where these …

The Grist List, 16 Jan 2009

From President to Pep

Yes, we garbage can This week, someone with designs on the future will take the old and broken and turn it shiny and new. We speak, of course, of Nancy Judd. But we've got high hopes for that other guy, too. Photo: Katie Maccauly

Umbra on raw milk

Dear Umbra, My husband was raised with milk straight from the cow that he milked himself every morning, so he and his parents are very into organic milk. However, I am concerned about the benefits/dangers of some of the milk they are giving to our toddler. Could you elaborate on the differences of non-homogenized vs. homogenized, non-pasteurized vs. pasteurized, and any issues/benefits of drinking milk that is from a local farm but does not follow FDA regulations? Meaning it can’t legally be sold to you because it doesn’t follow all of the processing regulations that are required for milk to …

A review of natural and organic lip balms

When it comes to lip balms, I have a long and sordid history. It reaches back to the early 1980s when, as a young and curious grade-schooler, I would sneak into my sister’s bedroom to absorb what it meant to be old and glamorous. She, you see, was in high school — an unthinkably advanced station in life — and I was mesmerized by the assortment of tubes, bottles, and jars on her bureau. One of those was a cherry-flavored Bonne Bell Lip Smacker. For a full explanation of the allure of this product, let us turn to an ad …

China's BYD to bring plug-in hybrid, electric cars to U.S. in 2011

DETROIT, Michigan, Jan. 12, 2009 (AFP) — China’s BYD Auto announced plans Monday to enter the U.S. market in 2011 with a range of electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles. It would likely be the first Chinese automaker to enter the highly-competitive U.S. market and beat many established automakers in offering an extended-range electric vehicle to U.S. consumers. General Motors, Chrysler, and Nissan are expected to be the first to introduce electric cars in small quantities to the United States in 2010. Toyota expects to introduce a plug-in hybrid at the end of this year and a two-seater electric car in …

Umbra on biodiesel vs. hybrids

Dear Umbra, I live in Massachusetts and am trying to decide whether to buy a hybrid or a biodiesel. Since it is cold here, I would need to use 20 percent biodiesel and 80 percent diesel in the winter. How does this compare with a hybrid’s emissions? Which would be better for the environment? Tom Conway, Mass. Dearest Tom, Either choice is a good one as long as you continue to find alternatives to driving, and your car-n-fuel expenses do not prohibit other environmentally beneficial acts (e.g., insulating your house). These guidelines apply to everyone, not just you. I usually …

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