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Oh, say can UC?

Berkeley students vote on a new sustainability fund

Tomorrow through Friday, UC Berkeley students will vote "yay" or "nay" on TGIF (aka the Green Initiative Fund), a $5 increase in their per-semester fees that will be used to finance "initiatives on renewable energy, energy efficiency, resource conservation, and 'green' student internships." Last year, UC Santa Barbara (my school, fools) passed TGIF. Now Berkeley folks are playing catch up with this incredibly slick online campaign. Most compelling statistic: UC Berkeley uses as much electricity as Cambodia. Video below the fold.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Heart of Glass

Wracked with plastic-bottle worries, parents turn to an old standby Anxious parents are snatching up glass baby bottles after a February report showed that plastic bottles can contain bisphenol A, a chemical that mimics estrogen. One website saw about a tenfold increase in glass-bottle sales before running out; a company in Ohio got 300 glassy-eyed orders the day the report surfaced and saw one bottle's monthly sales rise from the usual 60 to 600 in March. "When parents get ready to have a kid, they put plastic covers on the outlets, they test their walls for lead paint, they get …

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How many washed-up reality stars does it take to screw the environment?

According to Ecorazzi, Kelly Osbourne became a mite confused last Thursday night en route to a party for Dita von Teese. Said party was being held at the same venue as Elle magazine's "Green Bash," and the Spawn O' Ozzy ended up on the wrong red carpet. Her reaction when she realized her mistake? "Screw the environment." Get in line, Kelly. Get in line.

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Green screen

Socially conscious mail-order movies

For others who like a multimedia array of news and issues, be sure to check out the Ironweed Film Club, "a monthly progressive film festival on DVD." Sorta like Netflix, but you get to keep them. And they've got a specifically progressive/independent bent, bringing movies and issues to your doorstep that you aren't likely to come across otherwise. The film club was started by Adam Werbach, who was elected national president of the Sierra Club at 23 and then went on to found Act Now Productions, which produces a variety of socially-conscious media. The deal is you pay $14.95 each …

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From Martha to McConaughey

It's a green thing It's almost Easter, and you know what that means -- a bunny dyed on a cross. Or something like that. For Sunday's festivities, color your eggs naturally, the jailbird Martha Stewart way. They're sure to be crazy-popular -- or so says our insider tipster. Photo: iStockphoto Death becomes you One day you'll be pushin' up parsley. Kicking the oxygen habit. Immortally challenged. But "ashes to ashes" is so last week. Ashes to pencils and bird feeders and Keith Richards' drug habit is more like it. Photo: iStockphoto Miller time Sienna Miller has put aside her trouble …

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American Idle

What else might we do with our time?

Every week, 30 million people tune in to at least a couple hours of American Idol. Whether this show has truly "jumped the shark" this year or not remains to be seen, but I submit that if a portion of these folks would join the ranks of the American Idealists instead, we'd all be in for a more interesting Wednesday night. Idealist.org's brand new connections platform is already linking up 28,000+ people who are meeting up to build community in their towns and cities. It's worth a visit just to read the myriad of quirky personal profiles, and hey, you …

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Eat volts, Harley

155 mph on batteries

KillaCycle sets a world record for EVs. Video below the fold.

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A review of Kim Stanley Robinson’s Sixty Days and Counting

Sixty Days and Counting, by Kim Stanley Robinson. I waited for the release of Kim Stanley Robinson's new book, Sixty Days and Counting, like a computer geek awaiting the release of the PS3: standing outside the door of the store, in the snow, having cleared my calendar for a few days so I could dive right in. I'm a fan of Robinson's voluminous work because environmental themes usually animate the characters and move the plot. The "Three Californias" trilogy presented "future histories" with different environmental, technical, and social scenarios, while the Hugo- and Nebula-award-winning "Mars" trilogy traced that planet's transformation …

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Good new blog on climate science and communication

Climate scientist Michael Tobis has started a blog, not so much about climate science itself as about the challenges of communicating about it and the bizarre notions about it that remain puzzlingly persistent. Off to a good start.

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Slow Food nation

Crafting a culture of change

Yale University students, staff, and other community members crowded a university conference room yesterday to watch Erika Lesser, director of Slow Food USA, give a talk on the Slow Food movement in America. Lesser spoke pretty generally about Slow Food USA's goals, philosophy, and achievements. The talk was interesting in itself, but there were two aspects that I found particularly significant: Lesser made some very interesting connections between Slow Food and American environmentalism (more on this below). It was a horribly cold, rainy, awful day, the talk was located in an incredibly out-of-the-way part of campus, yet nonetheless the room …

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