Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Living

Comments

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 …

Read more: Food, Living

Comments

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 …

Read more: Living

Comments

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 …

Comments

How to green your love life

Skyrockets in flight ... but is it an eco-friendly delight? Photo: iStockphoto Ahhh, the bedroom: an oasis of pleasure, a place where terms like "emissions reduction" and "off-gassing" should never intrude. Not that environmentalism and sex don't mix. It's just that lying back and thinking about things like CO2 and carcinogens isn't exactly ... hot. So what's a passionate greenie to do? The answer is easy as one, two, wheee. We've assembled a slew of ideas (and a whole lotta handy resources) that will allow you to relax and enjoy yourself -- and they're handily categorized in order of difficulty. …

Read more: Living

Comments

Church of England urges carbon fast for Lent

Planning to give up alcohol or chocolate for 40 days when the season of Lent begins tomorrow? Two Church of England bishops are urging churchgoers to instead take part in a carbon fast.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

Fewer folks are regularly getting out in nature, says study

Kids -- and adults -- these days are "videophiliacs" who prefer their nature through the TV screen rather than personally experienced, says a new study estimating that U.S. folks' participation in outdoor recreation has dropped as much as 25 percent over the past 20 years. Researchers looked at four metrics: visitation to public lands, number of fishing and hunting licenses issued, time spent camping, and time spent backpacking and hiking. Only day hiking has increased since the mid-1980s, and just slightly. "We were surprised by the results, and in some sense, quite frightened," says Patricia Zaradic, coauthor of the research, …

Read more: Living

Comments

Take the challenge

Slim down with the ‘Waste Diet’

There are people who talk about reducing, reusing, and recycling -- and then there's Maren Engelmohr. Engelmohr, a St. Louis architect with an impressive set of green credentials, her husband, and her two children are embarking on a year-long "waste diet," and are challenging you (and me) to do the same: The Waste Diet is a campaign to encourage people to reduce their Household landfill waste. Our household is committing ourselves to not sending any waste (or very minimal waste) to the landfill for the entire year of 2008. We are challenging every household in the country to try it …

Read more: Living

Comments

A rose by an organic name -- would it smell as sweet?

What qualifies as a green flower?

Roses are red,Violets are blue,But if you want a greener choice,What the hell should you do? The NYT asks that very question (minus the poetic flair, of course) and struggles to answer it: And as in other industries with increasing demand for green products, the floral industry is debating what is environmentally correct. Should flowers be organic -- that is, grown without synthetic or toxic pesticides? Or should the emphasis be on fair trade, meaning that the workers who grow and cut them are safe and well paid? Or should consumers favor flowers grown locally, not flown or trucked over …

Read more: Food, Living

Comments

On Africa, fair trade, and today's runways

High fashion around the globe

It's been a few months since the Ethical Fashion Show in Paris, but I had a nice chat recently with French fashion designer Annabel Gerenthon, who debuted her fair-trade shoe label Moyi Ekolo there. Annabel was the former fashion designer at Charles Jourdan before it was sold in 2003. Now she's on her own and starting shoes from scratch. The vegetable-tanned leather used in the collection's cute ballerina flats and boots is sourced from a social project in Namibia, which she is helping supervise. "There is very little history of footwear production in Namibia, except on the workshop level," she …

Read more: Living

Comments

Making sustainability sexy ...

In Ireland, plastic bags are out of fashion

By making the unsustainable alternative a faux pas ... In 2002, Ireland passed a tax on plastic bags; customers who want them must now pay 33 cents per bag at the register. There was an advertising awareness campaign. And then something happened that was bigger than the sum of these parts. Within weeks, plastic bag use dropped 94 percent. Within a year, nearly everyone had bought reusable cloth bags, keeping them in offices and in the backs of cars. Plastic bags were not outlawed, but carrying them became socially unacceptable -- on a par with wearing a fur coat or …

Read more: Living