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What will we look like in 2050?

America’s climate and energy future

This post is by ClimateProgress guest blogger Bill Becker, Executive Director of the Presidential Climate Action Project. A few weeks ago, one of the presidential candidates' advisors challenged a group of climate leaders to describe America's future. His challenge triggered a flurry of e-mails as we attempted to articulate a vision. We talked about carbon caps and price signals and new investments in R&D. That's fine, the advisor responded, but what it the vision? What is America's perfect future? I'm not sure we ever satisfactorily answered this very good question, but I found myself trying to describe what America might …

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Getting married? Five trees, please

Divorce costs even more for these Java couples

It may be better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, but authorities in the Indonesian region of Sragen think it's better to have loved, lost, and helped the climate. Couples seeking divorce have to pay a fee that goes toward planting 25 trees in the area where they live. Lovebirds getting married have to pay a similar, but smaller fee -- for a mere 5 trees. Because ... their impact will be less, especially if they start having kids? Hmm.

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Brad Pitt wants you — to help with his NOLA green-building project

Brad Pitt -- OMG he's so dreamy! Sorry, reflex. Where were we? Brad Pitt today unveiled designs submitted by architecture firms for his Make It Right campaign to build 150 affordable, sustainable, storm-safe houses in New Orleans. Architects were asked to design a 1,200-square-foot, three-bedroom house for about $150,000. Pitt also unveiled a display of pink fabric "houses" in NOLA, in hopes that the eye-catching public art will inspire donations to expand the Make It Right project beyond its original goal. "To build those 150 homes, we need the help of the American people," says Pitt. "We need to all …

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Apparel companies hire climatologists to predict consumer trends

In the good old days, the only constant that the fickle fashion industry could rely on was the changing of the seasons -- now, it can't even rely on that anymore. A run of unseasonably warm winters has led some apparel companies to hire staff climatologists who help predict when consumers will be in the market for cold-weather clothes. Because, darling, buying a winter-anticipating coat in August is so five years ago.

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From Booze to Boos

They've got the Labatt blues Dear Canada, if you care at all about the earth, you'll get rid of all your beer fridges. And if you care at all about peaceful international relations, you'll send your surplus booze our way. Love, America. Photo: iStockphoto Razing Arizona An Arizona real estate developer can't fathom raising his kids where they can't surf, kayak, and scuba dive. So he's moving to the coast building a 125-acre water park in the middle of the desert. Cowabunga, dud. Photo: iStockphoto No child left sober Johnnie Walker, Cutty Sark, The Glenlivet ... they're as good as …

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Building an eco-home from a favorite holiday sweet

When my friend Deanna told me that she wanted to make a gingerbread house this year -- and, in particular, to do so on Black Friday, aka Buy Nothing Day -- I immediately asked if we could make an environmentally sound house. The chances of my ever being able to afford the real-life eco-house of my dreams are slim unless I win the lottery, but I figured I could at least afford the gingerbread version. Deanna agreed and we were off and running, dreams of sugary solar panels and rammed-earth gingerbread dancing in our heads. Chez Gingembre Vert. Photo: Bonnie …

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Umbra on living Christmas trees

Hi Umbra, I'm surprised that in your column on Christmas trees, you didn't mention the option of living trees, although I know they cannot be subjected to our warm indoor temperatures for very long. Can you discuss the option of living trees, how to treat them indoors, and what to do with them after the holidays? Thanks,Christina GallegosTreeplanter and NaturalistSeattle, Wash. Editor's Note: Oh, how Umbra would love to answer this question -- but she's been kidnapped! Please donate to Grist by 11:59 p.m. Pacific on Dec. 11, 2007, to secure her safety. The sooner we see 2,000 gifts of …

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Who's the true 'G'?

Cheap, possibly green PC hot item at Wal-Mart

Wal-Mart has always been a place of consumer frenzy at the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and this year is no exception. What's different is that one of the items flying off the shelf faster than they can restock it is the "Everex gPC," a cheap (less than $200) desktop computer. The tech news world has been buzzy about gPC's popularity, in particular questioning what the "g" stands for. It could stand for "green," thanks to the environmental friendliness of its low-power CPU (average 2W, 20W maximum). However, that seems to be its only green credential; nothing on its …

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Umbra on used cooking oil

Dear Umbra, It's always nice to look through cookbooks and to watch cooking shows that feature yummy deep-fried food, and I have often been tempted to try and cook my own creations. However, no one ever seems to mention what they do with the used cooking oil, especially after deep-frying. What is the best way of disposing the oil? I do not want to tip it down the sink, and adding it to compost will suffocate the earthworms. Perhaps it's better all round not to deep-fry anything? Liz Atherton, Australia Dearest Liz, Over here in America, people deep-fry entire turkeys …

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