Umbra on rainforest-protection gifts

Dear Umbra, This year for Christmas, I want to buy hectares of rainforest for some of my in-laws instead of the usual gift items that may end up in someone’s closet and forgotten, if not regifted. How do organizations that protect rainforests in this way operate, and how do I know a high percentage of my investment isn’t going toward administrative costs? Can you recommend a worthwhile program of this nature? Nancy Holden, Mass. Dearest Nancy, Clever — a gift so large it won’t fit in the closet. It may be forgotten, though, since no one is going to accidentally …

Green is thy fame

Notre Dame and Syracuse face off in football and climate change

The Fighting Irish and the Orangemen grapple over gridiron green. Photo: Ashley Braun As a loyal Notre Dame alumna, I feel it’s my duty not only to rally behind my team on the football field, but also to rally behind their efforts at fighting climate change. Thanks to NBC Universal and their “Green is Universal” biz, the two become one. In anticipation of the ND vs. Syracuse game this past weekend, NBC offered up a whopping $10K to the university who rallies the most to cut carbon emissions by November 30 via Trash talk off the field. Photo: Ashley …

Don’t be a turkey — show them you care

Whether you’re getting ready to feast on a feathered friend, protest the cruelty of cutlets, or something in between, take a moment to show your loved ones you care by sending a Grist e-card. They’ll never think of Thanksgiving the same way again. Send | Enlarge Send | Enlarge Send | Enlarge Send | Enlarge Yes, these are the same cards we published last year. Let’s hear it for recycling!              

Like catastrophic climate change on your wedding day

NBC nixes TV’s only global climate change show during ‘Green Week’

Greenwashing is universal, at least at NBC. Last year, I pointed out the uber-lameness of NBC’s "Green is Universal" week. This year’s was worse. The few NBC primetime shows I watch don’t even seem to bother anymore — if any readers actually saw any green programming outside of the news division, let me know. But the real farce for NBC is that in the middle of their greenwashing exercise they fired the Weather Channel’s Environmental Unit! You cannot make this stuff up. OK, in theory, if you were a writer for an NBC show, you could make this stuff up …

From Nation to Urination

Obama mamas Can we contribute to overpopulation with post-election celebration? Yes we can — literally. Photo: tjroberts79 What’s shakin’, bacon? James Bond likes to pig out on a breakfast that’s bacon, not stirred. While filming, the sizzling star would have no solace until he brought home the bacon. But he went from the frying pan to a fiery letter from PETA for trying to save his bacon. And those are all the bacon bits; we think we’ve gone whole hog. All iPhone want for Christmas Santa baby, slip an iPhone under the tree, for me. Think of all the shared …

Mom’s exposure to hairspray linked to genital defects in baby boys

Women exposed to lots of hairspray in the workplace — hairdressers, beauticians, and the like — are more likely to give birth to boys with genital defects, says a British study published in Environmental Health Perspectives. Surprise: Hairspray contains phthalates.

Thanksgiving can reconnect families and revive traditions — like sweet potato rolls

Sweet potato rolls.Photos: April McGregerI remember the look on my grandfather’s face when I tried to politely explain that I couldn’t eat the giblet gravy or the dressing (known in other parts of the country as “stuffing”) that I had always relished. The reason, I informed him, was that I was a vegetarian; those old favorites contained turkey broth. He replied with a blank stare. It was a completely isolating experience. In a family where preparing and sharing food is our strongest form of emotional currency, my rejection of my family’s food was a rejection of their affection and a …

A done diesel

Volkswagen Jetta TDI: 2009 Green Car of the Year

2009 Green Car of the Year: Volkswagen Jetta TDI At the L.A. Auto Show Thursday morning, the Green Car Journal jury voted the Volkswagen Jetta TDI the 2009 Green Car of the Year. The TDI "clean diesel" runs on ultra-low sulfur diesel fuel and uses a "common rail direct injection system" that decreases 95 percent of sooty diesel emissions. The turbocharged diesel sedan bested a field that included two hybrids and the trendy Smart ForTwo. Though it garnered respectable fuel-efficiency ratings from the EPA, 31 mpg city/40 mpg highway, the TDI won the award because it achieved "the kind of …

NRDC says video games’ huge energy suckage easily cut

Video game consoles in the United States consumed some 16 billion kilowatt-hours last year, or about enough juice to power the city of San Diego for a year, according to a new report from the Natural Resources Defense Council. However, cutting down video games’ impact is relatively easy since the three most popular video game consoles — Sony Playstation 3, Microsoft XBox360, and Nintendo’s Wii — can significantly reduce their power suckage if players simply switch them off after use and activate their already-existing power-saving features.

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