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Letter to the editor: forest certification

Kathy Abusow of Sustainable Forestry Initiative responds to Grist’s green-buying tips

Here is a letter to the editor from Kathy Abusow of Sustainable Forestry Initiative, Inc., written in response to our article featuring tips for buying green products and avoiding greenwashed ones. ----- Dear Editor: I am writing in response to an article that your website ran titled "Is It Really Green?" It was disappointing to read your statement about the Sustainable Forestry Initiative Standard® (SFI®). The fact is, SFI is an independent nonprofit organization and internationally endorsed forest certification program that is positively influencing the markets for certified forest products while improving forest practices across North America and promoting responsible …

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Umbra on staying positive

Dear Umbra, I am a new but faithful reader of your excellent column. I've learned a lot, but one thing I've noticed is that there never seems to be an upside to the answers. Now, this may be just because the reality sucks so much, but it depresses the hell out of me and makes me feel hopeless about ever making a difference. Even your reply to the vinyl record guy left me feeling glum, as you told him to enjoy his records but that their disposal (which will happen eventually) will have dire consequences for the earth. How do …

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Denim do-goodery

Recycle your jeans at Aéropostale

While hiding from Seattle's rainy grayness yesterday, I happened upon an interesting window display at teeny-bop-shop Aéropostale. In bright green letters, the sign urged passersby to recycle their denim as part of the store's Teens for Jeans campaign. The project aims to give gently used jeans to homeless teens across the country -- and Aéropostale customers who donate a pair get 20 percent off a new pair in return. Unfortunately, yesterday was the last day of the campaign, but I did talk to a sales associate who said that the chain was planning to repeat the project annually. I love …

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The sound of one awards show greening

Grammys go green(ish)

Between a late-night dinner with a friend and finally watching Thursday's taped episode of Lost, I caught about five minutes of last night's Grammy Awards show (the five minutes of Brad Paisley singing "I'd like to check you for ticks ..." -- a strangely compelling song). But I was pleased this morning to see that the Grammys celebrated their 50th anniversary by going green for the first time. By partnering with the NRDC and others, the Recording Academy was able to: Do a comprehensive energy audit and prepare an energy efficiency plan; Use renewable energy to power the STAPLES Center …

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World inches toward becoming paper-free

Worldwide paper consumption has plateaued worldwide after rising steadily for the past two decades, and the world's richest countries saw a 6 percent decline in paper use between 2000 and 2005. Some folks forecast that a paper-free world is nigh, and trends back up that prediction: in more and more homes, you're more likely to find a scanner than a Post-it. (Worldwide shipments of personal scanners nearly doubled from 2005 to 2007, and are expected to nearly double again by 2010.) Efficiency is likely driving the trend more than eco-mindedness, but a paperless world would certainly mean less stress on …

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My greenie Valentine

Sweet ideas for your sweetie

Photo: iStockphoto My New Favorite Commenter already has a bouquet picked out for me, but if you're still wondering what to send your sweetie for Valentine's Day, the Boston Globe offers some eco-friendly options. The Sierra Club and GreenLAGirl have also put together lists. And you'll love my own "red-hot" ideas for a green holiday: Liz Lovely's cookie samplers: An employee sent me some info and compliments (flattery will get you everywhere), but the company's green commitment and inspiring story really hit my sweet spot. Green Knickers: I've long been a Green Knicker fan, but their Valentine special (fair-trade knickers …

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From Pirates to Parody

Oh arrrrre they? Ahoy! Cap'n Marie Jailbait and Ironic Sal be impressed by the gumption of these swashbuckling eco-pirates. We hoist a pint o' grog to ye, mateys! Photo: iStockphoto Want to suck my pickle? Thought: When your own website wonders whether your product is "one of those crazy ideas that should have died a quick and horrible death right from the beginning," maybe that should tell you something. Photo: Bobspicklepops.com Put that in your pants and jacket This DIY Puffy Coat combines the fashion of the down jacket, the good karma of picking up after litterbugs, and the enticing …

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Lenten up already!

A Christian quest to cut carbon

With the start of Lent, Christians the world-over are praying, fasting, and giving alms in preparation for Easter. This often means also making some kind of sacrifice in the name of solidarity with the poor and the Church ... you know, getting guilted into giving up your most savory sins: gorging yourself on Moose Tracks ice cream or ogling Al Gore. Going without. For forty days. In a row. It's often perceived as a chore akin to New Year's Resolutions -- and adhered to about as strictly. Part of the problem lies in the negative and obligatory framing of Lenten …

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Planeteers in heaven

Live-action Captain Planet film a no-go

Dear children of the '80s, I heard a rumor last week that Warner Bros. studio had announced a live-action film version of the '90s cartoon series Captain Planet and was planning to release it in late 2009. Captain Planet, you say? Why, he's our hero! (Wasn't he gonna take pollution down to zero?) Sadly, though, I must report that I then contacted the Warner folks (and their bros) and found out that this rumor is, in fact, "untrue." I know, I know. I too am crushed. But before you get your superhero-tights in a bunch, consider this: perhaps by our …

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Range of green credit cards offer carbon offsets for purchases

Major banks in the United States last year started offering green credit cards that use about 1 percent of the amount of customers' purchases to offset their emissions. So far, the cards seem to be taking off, benefiting credit card companies and, arguably, the planet. The cards come complete with hokey names like GreenPay MasterCard, GE Money Earth Rewards MasterCard, and Brighter Planet Visa. As customers spend, no doubt on eco-friendly purchases, they accumulate points toward offsets or carbon-mitigation projects. The going rate is roughly one ton of carbon offset for about $1,000 in credit card purchases. Green credit cards …