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Talking Rain adds organic water flavors

Talking Rain now has four flavors of organic bottled water. Wow.

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Alex Steffen on individual action in context

The perennial debate over the value of voluntary individual action -- recently revived by Tidwell's piece and the sociologists' response -- reminded me that some of the best, or least my favorite, writing on the subject comes from Worldchanging's Alex Steffen. Like this: And here's the essential break between lite green and bright green thinking: the reality is that the changes we must make are systemic changes. They involve large-scale transformations in the ways we plan our cities, manufacture goods, grow food, transport ourselves, and generate energy. They involve new international regulatory regimes, corporate strategies, industrial standards, tax systems and …

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Lenders offering mortgages that reward energy efficiency

Shocking news: an element of everyday American life is going green! Yes, now you too can pay off your house with a green mortgage. While many lenders have long had offers of bigger loans and discounts to buyers whose homes meet energy-efficiency standards, such plans are now being marketed more aggressively, and many homebuyers are finding them to be attractive, money-saving deals. So go buy a gigantic house in suburbia! It's the green thing to do.

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Washington Post vets green sporting gear

The Washington Post takes a look at athletic products claiming to be green -- surfboards, sports balls, skateboards, bikes, and snowboards -- and gives a rundown of their eco- and consumer-friendliness from both a layperson and expert perspective.

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Umbra on vegetarian remorse

Dear Umbra, I've been a vegetarian for almost 10 years. I started when I was 15, on pretty much a whim just to see if I could do it, but since then I've come to appreciate what I'm doing for my body and the planet. Lately, though, whether from boredom or subconscious protein cravings, I've been thinking about reintroducing fish to my diet. For convenience, variety, and health, I think it could be a good thing. But I don't want to go backwards in terms of what good (or least possible harm) I'm doing the environment via my eating habits. …

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ANTM models green advice

The fact that I watch America's Next Top Model (it's fierce, y'all!) is no secret. But it looks like this season all that pointing and laughing and catty-remarking will be work-related. That's right, even ANTM is going green. (Should we call it ANGM now?) From Entertainment Weekly: [T]he fashion color this season is ... green! And not just for envy. "The transportation was a "green" car with biodiesel fuel. The house went green not only aesthetically but in terms of the way energy was used and in tips that we gave all of the girls in the house in terms …

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Municipalities try to encourage students to walk to school

Cities across the U.S. are turning their attention not only to green education, but to how students get to school. Forty years ago, half of all students walked or bicycled to the schoolhouse. Today, that number has dropped to 15 percent, while 60 percent of youths are toted in a car. The shift, brought on by fears of traffic hazards and stranger danger, has contributed to increases in other problems: obesity rates, traffic congestion, vehicle accidents, and air pollution around schools. In an effort to encourage students to transport themselves to school with their own two feet, many municipalities are …

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Social scientists respond to Mike Tidwell

The following is a guest essay in response to Mike Tidwell's recent piece on Grist, "Voluntary actions didn’t get us civil rights, and they won’t fix the climate." It is signed by a collection of social scientists, mostly psychologists. Their names are listed at the bottom. ---- We agree that institutional and policy changes are needed in addition to personal behavior changes, and that some pro-environmental behaviors being promoted aren't the ones that have the most impact. Unfortunately, Tidwell implies that voluntary behavior change and policy change are mutually exclusive options, and that the only personal behavior that matters for …

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Freegans get by just fine on others’ castoffs

Changed your light bulbs, gone vegetarian, sold your car, but still feel like your consumer impact is intolerable? It may be time to go freegan and learn to live off the waste that others throw out. Freegans gain most of their possessions and sustenance by foraging -- for clothes, for furniture, and for grocery-store food that is slightly bruised or just past its expiration but still entirely edible. And there's plenty to choose from: the U.S. EPA estimates that some 12 percent of the 245 million tons of waste annually generated by Americans is food. With roots in the environmental-justice …

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Schools across the U.S. go green

Perhaps in an attempt to prepare students for an eco-college experience, many elementary, middle, and high schools are getting in on the green-building trend. Sixty schools across the U.S. have been certified by the U.S. Green Building Council, and 360 more are waiting to have applications approved; in 2000, only four schools applied for certification. The new generation of educational edifices boasts features such as waterless urinals, motion-sensing light systems, rooftop gardens, and sunshine-streaming skylights that discourage naps in class. Students at the new green-built T.C. Williams High in Alexandria, Va., say they're hesitant to doodle on desks or deface …

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