Environmental Organizing as Solution to Family Discord

This weekend, The New York Times Magazine ran as its cover story an article entitled “Why Isn’t the Brain Green?” (i.e. why humans don’t generally make environmental choices automatically, even though it’s good for us in the long term). And a front page Monday story in The Washington Post, chronicled how “going green” could lead to discord in families as, for example, one spouse wanted the heat on and another wanted to shiver for the planet. “You’re kind of in a perpetual state of feeling like you’re not measuring up,” said Janet Tupper, 50, of Cheverly, who is still happily …

Make a list, check it twice

Pare down the pesticides

Tip #7: Be a picky eater. Pare down the pesticides in your diet (without cutting too far into your food budget) by focusing your organic purchases on the “dirty dozen” fruits and veggies that tend to be chem-laden to the core. Buying local and organic as often as possible is a good way to help the planet and, more importantly, your health, but that doesn’t always mean it’s the easiest on your wallet. Organic foods can cost twice as much as conventional goods, but not all organics are created equal. Put a paltry paycheck to good use by being picky …

Push My Buttons

Umbra advises on elevators

Q. Dear Umbra, Every time I bring a load of groceries back to the condo, I contemplate the energy and number of trips required to get everything upstairs three stories. If I think I can do it in two trips, I do, but on occasion I succumb and catch a ride. How much energy does an elevator trip use? Mike B.Calgary, Alberta A. Dearest Mike, Not much. Elevators themselves consume somewhere between 3-10 percent of a building’s total energy, but our individual rides are not the shocking waste one might assume. Readers, we are late arrivals to the elevator worry …

Solar powered pogies and other assorted oddities

A few weeks ago I rode my hybrid electric bike from Fremont, which is at sea level, over Capitol Hill, down into the Rainier Valley and back. It was about 15 miles round trip. I took mental notes on the discomfort I experienced along the way.Biodiversivist Although I had on thick gloves my fingers still got cold. Whenever I needed to undo a zipper or do anything else with my hands I had to take my gloves off. Taking gloves off so one can do something like adjust a jacket zipper requires riding with no hands while dodging potholes and …

That White People Stuff

Broadening the Earth Day tent

Mike CermakAs someone who spends half his time teaching and studying in a university among some rather well-off and highly educated young people, and the other half working as an environmental educator in urban high schools, I see a range of responses to the message and spectacle of Earth Day. At my university, I’m fairly involved with the student clubs that promote sustainability, and we are planning a daylong celebration with a band, exhibitor tables, art … the works. But just a few miles away, in the urban high schools, I still hear, “You’re really into that white people stuff” …

Every day is recycle day

Green your landfill

Tip # 6: If you find yourself holding a plastic water bottle, recycle it. Lots of plastic — bottle-form or not — is recyclable these days. It’s OK, really. It happens to best of us. You’re at the airport and you just have to have water for that long flight. Go ahead, buy that over-priced bottle and don’t feel guilty about it. Sure, we would prefer that you brought along an empty, non-toss-away container and filled it up with tap water after passing through security. But we’re not zealots here at Grist. But when you get to your destination, don’t …

The Grist List

From Leo to Lunchables

Photo: Steve Granitz / WireImage.comWin a date with Leonardo DiCaprio In a bid to raise funds, Global Green is offering a titanic opportunity: Be part of this boy’s life … if only for one night. Catch him if you can — bidding is likely to continue ’til the 11th hour. (Click below to see the next item in this week’s Grist List — or view them all on a single page.)

Earth Day ... Meh

Losing Earth Day in the eco-babble

Jennifer OladipoOnce I started to honestly contemplate the issue at hand, a tiny wave of anxiety came over me. I’d sat down ready to list all the reasons why Earth Day Matters, but none came. None that I believed in wholeheartedly. OK, the commemorative day is certainly a useful tool for organizing events, and a great time to trot out corporate responsibility efforts. It might gently tug on the consciences of the aware-but-unconverted, and could conceivably be a revelation for the few hundred people who haven’t yet heard how fashionable it is to be green. Oh, and kids. Maybe for …

Mama always said

Eating your veggies doesn’t have to be scary

Tip #5: Eat your vegetables. Save some moolah (and Ma Earth) by switching out meat for veggies at least one day a week. Don’t let them sense your fear.Jeremy E.W. Fredericksen via Creative CommonsIt’s tried and true advice, from the USDA to First Lady Michelle Obama to your mom: Eat more veggies. Considering 78 percent of Americans aren’t eating enough fruits and veggies, it sounds like someone isn’t listening. Instead, Americans are chomping away at a record 222 pounds of meat a year (as of 2003). That’s 45 percent more meat a day than the USDA thinks is a very …

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