Living

Getting to the meat of the matter with Boston chef Jamie Bissonnette

Jamie Bissonnette. In my most recent article, I described my experience attending a hog-butchering workshop led by Boston chef Jamie Bissonnette. He mentioned during the workshop that he had been a vegan when he was younger. I wanted to find out more about what would make someone change his eating habits so dramatically, so I set up an interview with Jamie to talk about the influences and experiences that led him to follow a different path than the one he set out on as a young man. After settling into a comfortable seating area near the bar at KO Prime, …

Always an ethical bridesmaid ...

Tips for bridesmaids wanting fair-trade frocks

As if the list of bridesmaidsy duties (party-planning, dress-bustling, photo-posing, tear-wiping, etc.) isn’t long enough, finding an ethically sourced, eco-conscious, and, um, attractive frock for the occasion is no piece of (multi-tiered) cake. Today, The Guardian addresses this very dilemma: One of my dearest friends will be getting married next year and has asked me to be her bridesmaid. I would like to make sure that the dress is ethical both in its fabric and the way its been made. I also want to get something I could wear again so nothing too ‘bridesmaidy’ — and I don’t want to …

Artificial turf found not harmful to children

Artificial field turf does not expose young children to harmful levels of lead, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission concluded Wednesday. “Our message is: go out and play,” says a CPSC spokesperson. Because it’s durable, easy to maintain, and doesn’t require pesticides, synthetic turf has increasingly replaced grass fields across the U.S. Manufacturers insist that the lead that gives the green “grass” its color cannot leach out or become airborne; however, concerns about turf toxicity came to a head in the fall when New Jersey officials found worrisome lead levels in a handful of fields. But the CPSC found that …

Dumpster diving

What to do with your dumpster now that you recycle/compost everything

Before you trash your dumpster (now that you recycle/compost everything, natch), consider this awesomeness:

Princeton Review rates green colleges

With the Princeton Review’s newly released college rankings and ratings for 2009, prospective students can suss out a school’s academics, dorm quality, party scene — and greenness. In partnership with marketing agency ecoAmerica, the review rated 534 U.S. colleges on their commitment to environmental responsibility, provision of “healthy and sustainable” campus life, and preparation of students for “citizenship in a world defined by environmental challenges.” The review graded on factors including energy use, buildings, transportation, food, recycling, and classes. The highest-scoring schools, in alphabetical order: Arizona State; Bates (Maine); Binghamton (N.Y.); College of the Atlantic (Maine); Emory (Ga.); Georgia Institute …

Umbra on diesel hybrids

Dear Umbra, I have been wondering for years now — with the hot trend toward hybrids and the new “clean” diesels hitting the market, why doesn’t anyone talk about a diesel hybrid? Sounds like the best of both worlds to me. Just think: a hybrid running on biodiesel! Is this in the works? Mike H. Saranac Lake, N.Y. Dearest Mike, It does sound like the best of both worlds, if the only two worlds are diesels and hybrids. There may be another world, with enough public transit to obviate the need for using one’s personal automobile. Actually, that’s the world …

A buzzworthy review of DEET-free bug repellents

Itchin’ to scratch that itch. They say the ants go marching one by one. That may be so. But the flying, nibbling critters — the mosquitoes, the gnats, and the flies — come in swarms. How to keep them at bay? Unfortunately, many of the insect repellents on the shelves today contain the chemical DEET. Developed by the U.S. Army for use in jungle warfare during World War II, DEET is considered a moderate chemical pesticide and a few studies have shown it to be toxic to some fish species. DEET also works as a solvent, dissolving some plastics, synthetic …

The Hurley bird gets the farm

Liz Hurley to star in reality show about her organic farm

Actress-turned-organic-advocate Liz Hurley will soon star in a reality show about life on her organic farm in the U.K. and the launch of her organic brand: Hurley Meat. Says Hurley, “People always imagine me with perfect hair, but that’s not who I am.” Hm … are you sure that’s how they imagine you?

Is your favorite beach polluted?

Photo: Tom Twigg American beaches “continue to suffer from serious water pollution that puts swimmers at risk,” concludes the Natural Resources Defense Council in an annual report. There were 22,571 pollution-related closures or warning advisories on 3,516 beaches in 2007, says the report, second only to the all-time high 25,643 closures or warnings in 2006. NRDC attributed the decline to less rainfall in the West and Hawaii in 2007, which caused less overflow from sewer systems and storm drains. But stormwater runoff still caused nearly half of the closures and warnings, and pollution at 7 percent of the beaches exceeded …

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