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You heard it here first

The lawsuit filed by automakers against states that have adopted California's greenhouse-gas restrictions on vehicles may be dismissed as early as tomorrow (Wed.) afternoon. When the Supreme Court ruling in Mass. vs. EPA was announced, the judge handling the automakers' lawsuit -- Judge William K. Sessions III of the U.S. District Court of Vermont -- summoned the lawyers in the case to his chambers for a discussion in light of the ruling. Check out the court's schedule for tomorrow morning. If the suit is dismissed, it will be, in practical terms, a much more significant consequence of Mass. v. EPA …

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SLC mayor at it again

Have we mentioned how cool Rocky Anderson is? The Salt Lake City Council is pondering a resolution to keep chain stores with "cookie-cutter architecture" out of neighborhood business districts. Mayor Rocky and his staff are pushing them to take it step futher and keep chain stores out, period. "I don't care what kind of facade Starbucks has; we ought to be promoting more local businesses rather than category killers and big boxes," he told the Salt Lake Tribune. "I've been in McDonald's with a nice facade in the front. They're still McDonald's."

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Only a few days late on it, but still funny

Check out NPR's April Fool's Day contribution (mp3).

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It’s the wrong lever for creating social change

On Saturday night, I was on a panel at the Hazel Wolf Environmental Film Festival on the subject of "communicating about climate change." My co-panelists were KC Golden of Climate Solutions, LeeAnne Beres of Earth Ministry, and Sean Schmidt of the Sustainable Style Foundation. The moderator was Steve Scher of local public radio station KUOW. It was fun. Most of what I said had to do with the following mini-revelation that came to me as I was walking to the event: the problem with communication about climate change is that it has been too focused on climate change. The notion …

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Then There’s the Short Term

Long-term radiation risks lower than some daily hazards, study finds Living in fear of a nuclear meltdown? Now you can relax! A new study says the long-term risks faced by survivors of two of the world's most notorious nuclear episodes -- the 1986 Chernobyl disaster and the 1945 bombings of Japan -- are lower than the risks caused by urban air pollution, obesity, and smoking. For instance, the study found, while radiation exposure at Chernobyl may mean a 1 percent chance of contracting cancer later in life, living with a smoker increases mortality 1.7 percent. Those still living near the …

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So to speak

No, as far as I know, no baby-food maker ever used rat poison as an ingredient. The point is that we don't have to worry about it; if you have an infant switching off milk, you can shop the baby food counter confident that none of the choices will contain rat poison. However, as a consumer, buying "green" is not quite so easy. Hastening the end of our civilization is a routine ingredient in most of the things we buy. By spending a little extra time and money, we can sometimes find alternatives that don't contribute to our society's destruction …

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Umbra on plastic and kids

Hi Umbra, What about "sippy" cups for little kids, not to mention bottles? They're all plastic, and we all know that kids are more vulnerable to environmental toxins. What's a mom to do? Janet Byron Berkeley, Calif. Dearest Janet, A mom is to check the research and purchase only bottles and sippy cups that are not considered health hazards. Umbra is to help the mom do so right now in this very column. Sip sip ... harrumph. Photo: iStockphoto There are alternatives to bad plastics, don't fret. Some of the alternatives are glass, others are less harmful plastics, and aluminum …

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Steffen makes good points

Sustainable consumerism -- i.e., buying greener stuff -- is a hot topic these days. Opinions range from "hey, it's a low-impact way of drawing people into the sustainability movement" to "it's perpetuating a horrendous illusion, that the modern American consumer lifestyle can ever be sustainable." I'll admit to having some sympathy with both these perspectives. I go back and forth. I think Alex Steffen's got the right basic idea in this post. To wit: let's not fool ourselves that any currently available consumer lifestyle is truly green. But consumer power is real power, so let's use it strategically to move …

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What are you doing to respond to the climate crisis?

Orion magazine has a brand new section, of interest to all Gristmill readers, where folks from all over are encouraged to write in and share what changes their families, communities, churches, etc. are undertaking to respond, now, to the climate crisis, peak oil, etc. I've seen so many ripe ideas posted on Gristmill, BioD's plug-in hybrid bike being a good example. So have a look at some of these great ideas and initiatives (a clustered, renewably-powered, affordable housing community in Missoula, for example) in the first installment of this section, called Making Other Arrangements, and share your own projects and …

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… especially at an auto show

Possibly in an attempt to convince attendees that a green auto show actually can be sexy, the UK's Eden Project named their eco-car fiesta -- wait for it -- "the Sexy Green Auto Show." Luckily it seems to be living up to its moniker with an abundance of tempting auto treats, from a Volkswagen that gets 72 mpg to a racing car that can run on a 50 percent blend of jatropha nut biodiesel. And god bless 'em, I saw zero scantily clad babes in the show's program -- just a whole lot of carbon fiber and flex-fuel engines. Now …

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