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What Peter Rabbit can teach businesses about going global

What goes around, they say, comes around -- or, in this case, hops about in a blue waistcoat, munching stolen radishes. Our subject today is no visionary CEO, but Peter Rabbit, probably the best-known creation of children's author Beatrix Potter. Peter, ever the rebel. The World of Beatrix Potter™ © Frederick Warne & Co., 1902; 2002. By turning the spotlight in Peter's direction, we hope to illuminate some lessons in the game of responsible global branding. You see, SustainAbility has been called in to advise Frederick Warne & Co. -- a division of Penguin Books, which owns the Peter Rabbit …

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Umbra on couches

Dear Umbra, I am in the market to buy a new couch (our current couch is older than me -- it's 27!). Is it better to buy a "green" couch, a couch from a mainstream vendor, or a used couch? If used is the way to go, do you have any suggestions for finding one that isn't disgusting? Nora Burton Seattle, Wash. Dearest Nora, Long have I waited for this moment, when I will at last learn the difference between a sofa and a couch. My dictionary says a sofa is a long upholstered seat usually with a back and …

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Can we replace oil and maintain energy supply?

This piece on EnergyBulletin is brilliant, and by that I mean it makes arguments I like to make. Can we simply switch out oil for other fuels? No: The question is: can production from non-conventional sources such as the Alberta tar sands or synthetic fuels using coal-to-liquids (CTL) technology be ramped up to anything even approaching a supply deficit of 22 million barrels per day by 2015? The answer appears to be a clear no. Not by a long shot. So what's the answer? Rather than focusing only on what I see as futile and costly attempts to continue to …

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From Trust Fundies to Travel Finds

Snow job College Republican chapters across the country have begun hosting "Global Cooling Day" events to debunk the myths deny the facts about global warming. There are kiddie pools, sand, girls in bikinis, even free snow cones. Ah, rich white kids -- never funnier than when they're mocking the disease and death awaiting the global poor. Wocka wocka! Photo courtesy of College Republican National Committee. Imagine all the people playing to stereotype Meanwhile, some 3,000 earnest activists gathered on a beach in Australia to raise awareness about global warming by having a beach party prancing around in bikinis giving out …

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Yeah, But How’s Shiloh Doing?

Climate change gets splashy coverage in USA Today and U.S. News The paradigmatically middle-of-the-road USA Today is running a series on global warming this week -- guess that means mainstream America is getting hep to the crisis. Articles cover the life of an eco-groovy family in Colorado, the greening of corporate America, and the likelihood of abrupt Day After Tomorrow-esque climate changes. Alaska gets a special designation as the "poster state" for climate problems -- apparently it's melting -- and is the subject of a three-part video series. Other features point out global warming's effects on precipitation, wildlife, and the …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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From Dems to Diva

It's just a jump to the left Welcome to Grist List's time-warp edition! This week, Al Gore and both Clintons made noise about global warming and energy policy. For a sec we thought we'd been transported to 1996, but then we realized: a decade ago, they weren't saying a damn thing. Photo: AP/Denis Paquin. And then a step to the right In a nod to the beginning of time, a new book and TV series profile sustainable steps in the urban "Edens" of our day, from Philly to Seattle. Curiously missing from the bunch? The Big Apple. Musta been that …

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We’ve Been Cartwheeling to Work

Gas prices spur Americans to change behavior Americans hit in the pocketbook by high gas prices are, shockingly, changing their consumptive behavior. A survey by Consumer Reports found that over a third of American drivers are pondering getting a more fuel-efficient vehicle in place of their current one; half of those are considering a hybrid, and fewer than 5 percent want a luxury sedan or large SUV. Lots of drivers are downsizing to two wheels: when gas prices spiked last year, motorcycle sales jumped 16 percent compared to the same period in 2004, and scooter sales leaped 65 percent. Bike …

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Gore’s new flick, An Inconvenient Truth, improbably succeeds

It's something of a miracle that An Inconvenient Truth, the chronicle of Al Gore's quest to raise alarm about "climate chaos," exists at all. A movie with a scantily clad Jessica Alba presenting a computer slideshow on climate science is implausible enough. Al Gore doing it, well ... even C-SPAN could be forgiven for having second thoughts. Albert Arnold Gore Jr. may be many things, but he's no penguin. And this is no Murderballian story of triumph over tragedy. It's a story of tragedy over tragedy. His sister's death of lung cancer. The near-death of his 6-year-old son. The 2000 …

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Umbra on the cost of organics

Dear Umbra, How come it's so expensive to go organic? I could swing it by myself by eating a bare minimum of food, but I'm charged with feeding consume-mass-quantity types who favor the traditional American diet, and they eat meat. I would be in debt buying just half the monthly food consumption. One would have to be rich to go organic. MonikkaMarie Jackson Queen Village, N.Y. Dearest MonikkaMarie, The usual answer to your question from organic proponents is: organic isn't expensive, conventional is unrealistically cheap. Not that helpful, but it's true. It doesn't make cents. Photo: iStockphoto. In the United …

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From Bare Ass to Bono

Look at the set of issues on that chick! At a boring heads-of-state summit, a bikini-sporting beauty queen crashed a photo shoot, protesting a pulp mill planned for Uruguay. "It was one of the best things that has happened at this summit," said Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez. He added, "I didn't see anything about pulp, I was just looking at her." Is, like, cashmere fur? After being pelted and prodded by PETA, fashionista Paris Hilton has contacted fellow Mensa alum Pammy Anderson about being an anti-fur spokesbimbo. She's even giving up her own fur coats. As for being the, er, …

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