Living

Another one bites the dust

Tesla ousts second CEO in two years and plans to cut staff

CNET reported on Wed. that Tesla chairman Elon Musk bumped CEO Ze’ev Drori from the top slot and will take over his position while continuing to focus on product development. Drori didn’t last long in the limelight, as he came to the company in late 2007 after Musk ousted the other former CEO and Tesla co-founder, Martin Eberhard. The roadster manufacturer also plans “modest” layoffs to make the “cash flow-positive in the next six to nine months,” and will shut down its Detroit office.

Salt savvy?

Try skipping the Pringles

Looking for political information on CNN.com, a headline caught my eye: “How to be sodium savvy.” Since I recently developed some concerns in that area I clicked the link. The story was written by a chef named David Hagedorn for Cooking Light Magazine, a part of the CNN/Time/Warner empire. What I found at the outset was some fairly basic but useful information about why too much salt is bad, how much salt is acceptable, and that the less salt we consume the less we crave. It then told me that most of the salt Americans consume is from processed food …

Starbucks addresses water wastage following tabloid indictment

As John Edwards always said, never underestimate the power of a tabloid. Following the revelation in British rag-mag The Sun that constantly running dipper wells waste a humongous amount of water, a Starbucks spokesperson confirms, “Stores will be instructed to switch off the dipper well tap and will wash spoons after use.” And the plot thickens: According to PRWeek.com, a senior-level source at an unnamed PR agency claims, “We warned [Starbucks] several years ago that their usage of water was not good for their environmental credentials and could be a potential problem for them. They listened, but they didn’t do …

Muddy waters

Bottled water is a sham answer to low-quality tap water

Speaking of bottled water, get this, from Environmental Working Group:  The bottled water industry promotes an image of purity, but comprehensive testing by the Environmental Working Group (EWG) reveals a surprising array of chemical contaminants in every bottled water brand analyzed, including toxic byproducts of chlorination in Walmart’s Sam’s Choice and Giant Supermarket’s Acadia brands, at levels no different than routinely found in tap water. EWG is making an extremely important point here. Yes, our tap water is full of nasty substances, but the answer isn’t to essentially privatize our drinking water by buying little plastic bottles of supposedly purified …

Umbra on eco-themed Halloween costumes

Dear Umbra, Every year my friends and I throw a big Halloween party, and I had the amazing idea of dressing up as Sarah Palin. Unfortunately, I just found out that’s currently the most popular costume in my city (and most likely the U.S.), so I’m thinking about tipping my hat to my love of the environment instead. Do you have any suggestions for a good eco-costume? Hanna Seattle, Wash. Dearest Hanna, I believe Halloween is a rich opportunity for altering popular discourse about environmentalists. I don’t need to describe to my dear readers any of the negative stereotypes of …

Bush admin aims to increase mountain-bike access to national parks

Mountain bikers will have easier access to national parks and other public lands under plans the Biker-in-Chief is trying to push through before leaving office. (Ninety-seven days!) The National Park Service said Tuesday that it will propose a rule by Nov. 15 that would speed up decision-making about mountain-bike trails by putting park managers in charge instead of federal regulators. “We are trying to give superintendents a little bit of latitude especially for non-controversial proposals for bicycling in parks,” says an NPS spokesperson. (Get it? Spokes-person?) But green group Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility would like to quibble with that …

How to green your Halloween

The economy may have gone to pot and the country’s future leadership may be wildly unclear, but there’s one thing we can count on: Halloween. Yes, October 31 is a holiday of certainty, full of ringing doorbells, sweet treats, and tiny ghosts and witches (or, more likely, Kung Fu Pandas and Hannah Montanas). But All Hallow’s Eve has a spooky flip side, laced with refined sugar, vinyl costumes, and other horrors that can give you the eco-shivers. If you want a greener fright night, here’s how to start. Level One: The Baby Steps Fright, not light. Nothing simultaneously creeps out …

New Apple laptop is ‘greenest MacBook ever’

The new Apple laptop that your geeky officemate is swooning over is “the greenest MacBook ever,” according to the company. (But remember, kids: Hanging on to your current laptop is even greener.) Instead of being cobbled together from various pieces, the new MacBook’s main frame is cut out of a single piece of aluminum, and the discarded metal is recycled. It arrives to stores in 41 percent less packaging than the previous generation, and can be returned to Apple for recycling at the end of its life. Like other Apple offerings, the newbie boasts arsenic-free glass, is backlit with energy-efficient …

Hot water

Nestle flexes its muscles at Miami water utility

For months, the bottled-water industry has been losing its grip over people’s pocketbooks. Consumers are realizing that buying purified tap water at pumped-up prices, packaged in little plastic bottles, makes zero sense in economic, ecological, or health terms. Now the industry appears to be losing its grip on reality. From the Miami Herald: In the radio ad, a talking faucet extols Miami-Dade’s tap water as cheaper, purer and safer than bottled water. It may have sounded innocuous to most listeners, but the 30-second spot left the nation’s largest purveyor of bottled water boiling mad. Nestle Waters North America, which makes …