Is your cup compostable — or biodegradable? And why does it matter again?

As more cities adopt municipal composting programs, the range of to-go ware made from bioplastics is expanding. Here's what you need to know about what's real, what's greenwashing, and why it matters.


Save the median strip! Or, how to annoy E.O. Wilson

Emma Marris, author of "Rambunctious Garden," challenged noted conservationist E.O. Wilson by arguing that we should learn to value all types of nature -- human-altered places as well as pristine landscapes.


Out of room on the ground? Go build a house on top of a mall

No matter how much evidence we trot out about how dense living is superior, someone’s always going to demur because they want a big house with a big yard. And you can only get those in the suburbs, right? Well, …


Honda Miimo is basically a Roomba for your lawn

Can you imagine just being able to sit around and watch television all weekend on your massive energy-sucking flat screen while someone else niftily, sustainably, mowed your lawn? Someone you didn’t have to pay? Someone you didn’t even have to …


Five reasons to shop at thrift stores

An endless quest for the latest fashion trends is money-draining, space-consuming, wasteful, and takes a toll on the environment. Here's why a shift to thrift is worth it.


Bill Koch is building a cool Wild West town and you can’t come

The billionaire oil magnate's faux town will never be open to the public.


Ask Umbra: Help! I’m in a tight(s) spot

A reader wonders about eco-friendly leggings. Umbra unrolls some no-nonsense advice.


Older boomers help shift driving trends into reverse

Because driving rates peak in midlife, the aging of the baby boom generation will lead to a drop in per-capita driving.


New York’s bike-sharing program gets bumped to 2013

The mayor blames a software problem. The real issue, as with everything in New York, is the Yankees.