Living

Suns going solar

Phoenix NBA team to add solar system to arena’s roof

Going solar is a slam dunk for the Phoenix Suns, who are installing a 196 kW solar system on their arena’s roof. This installation was made possible by the state’s Renewable Energy Standard and Tariff, which was implemented by the state’s Corporation Commission and is currently under threat on several fronts. Arizona’s primary was last Tuesday, and it appears that those would-be commissioners who were running on a platform of junking the renewable rules will not make it to the general election. Results here, blog item here. Barry Wong, who appears to have won the third spot on the GOP …

A few thoughts on an amazing event — and a recipe for a delectably slow-cooked pasta sauce

Say cheese: a sample of Slow Food Nation’s Taste Pavilion. Photo: Russ Walker It’s going to take me more than just a few days to fully understand the effects and implications of the first Slow Food Nation, held in San Francisco over Labor Day weekend. The brain power on display was impressive enough: Wendell Berry, Vandana Shiva, Michael Pollan, Winona LaDuke, Carlo Petrini, Raj Patel, Eric Schlosser, and other luminaries took center stage at panels. Add to that the myriad of other events and mind-blowing food, and you get a truly unforgettable event for the thousands who attended. Despite the …

Under pressure from Big Canned Tuna, FDA lax in mercury regulation

Under strong pressure from Big Canned Tuna, the Food and Drug Administration is crazily lax in regulating mercury in tuna. Among many examples: In 2000, a draft advisory to pregnant women listed canned tuna as a product highly contaminated with mercury; after FDA officials met with the three largest tuna companies, the final advisory left tuna off the list. When the FDA’s fish mercury guidelines were revised in 2003, canned light tuna was put in the low-mercury group — mainly, according to an FDA official, “in order to keep the market share at a reasonable level.” The FDA doesn’t require …

National Toxicology Program still concerned about BPA

The National Toxicology Program begs to differ with the Food and Drug Administration’s recent conclusion that common chemical bisphenol A is safe at currently regulated levels. In a report released Wednesday, the NTP notes “some concern” that BPA can affect children’s brains and reproductive systems. The agency made the same conclusion in a draft report in April, which caused enough outcry to make companies including Nalgene and Wal-Mart back away from BPA. The NTP’s final report says further study is needed and suggests that concerned parents consider limiting their family’s exposure to BPA, but does not recommend altering U.S. safety …

The 'green craigslist'

Ecoflip offers a twist on online classifieds

Buying something used and local is already a fairly green way to consume (if consume you must) so I was curious what Ecoflip, which calls itself a “green craigslist,” would entail. The categories are fairly standard but have a splash of hippie: Fuel-efficient vehicles get their own section (along with the more expected green living and household products), and wind/solar gets a section, so you know where to post this summer’s discarded solar cell bikini. A Sustainable Community section has farmers market listings, except — whoops — there aren’t any in Seattle (you have to change the default location to …

Umbra on recycled vs. certified paper

Dear Umbra, Our office is trying to develop an environmental paper procurement policy, and we were wondering which component is most critical — certification by the Forest Stewardship Council, or recycled content? If you could help us understand which is best to support, we would greatly appreciate it. Dan S. Denver, Colo. Dearest Dan, We need to pause and celebrate: 15 years ago, was it even possible for this question to be written? Could an office worker casually toss off “environmental paper procurement policy” and know that it would be generally understood? And were there two eco-positive, decent paper choices …

New HP laptop packaged in messenger bag instead of box

Don’t take Grandma to Wal-Mart: the big-box store’s new Hewlett-Packard laptop “will be displayed on shelves wearing only the HP Protect Messenger Bag.” Scandalous! But actually, there’s no need to avert your eyes: the HP Pavilion dv6929 is served up in a recycled, reusable messenger bag instead of a box, cutting cardboard and plastic packaging by 97 percent. Thinking outside the box helped HP win Wal-Mart’s Home Entertainment Design Challenge, which judged suppliers’ products on attractive design, environmental innovation, and less-wasteful, less-toxic packaging. Wal-Mart says 25 percent less truck space is now needed to schlep the computer to stores, cutting …

How to commute by bike

Easy rider. Ever glance enviously at the cyclists whizzing past while you’re stuck in traffic? Joining ‘em is easy — and it doesn’t have to involve full-body spandex. The health benefits of biking to work are plenty, from helmet hair a svelte physique to breathing fewer air pollutants than those stuck in cars. Regular bikers live longer and are less likely to get depressed than non-bikers, boasts the Chelsea Green Guide on biking to work. And with fuel prices showing no sign of coming down, you can save serious bling on gas — plus, there’s that teeny detail of cutting …

From Bums to Bros

Naked truth Bummed out by excess packaging, LUSHes from Stockholm to Seattle bared their souls — and nearly everything else — this week. We wouldn’t mind being tied to some of those apron strings. (C’mon, you knew we’d butt in with an ass-inine crack.) Bowler’d over Whether ball cap, bucket, or beanie, these helmet hats will keep you looking hip while you bike around town — at least until you reveal that helmet-hat hair. Pocket all three to cap and trade. Putting the “race” in “rat race” Run, run, as fast as you can. You can’t catch him; he’s a …

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