Living

Virtual water is the new carbon footprint

Calculate how much water your lifestyle requires

Remember when calculating your carbon footprint was all the rage? Ah, those were the days … but the carbon crisis is so yesterday’s news. The Next Big Thing is the water crisis, and as such, I present a little website called Waterfootprint.org. Use it to calculate your individual water footprint — or see how much H2O the stuff you’re consuming (from apples to cotton tees to red wine) is sucking up.

Umbra on energy-hog roommates

Dear Umbra, My roommate takes 45-minute showers, does 10 loads of laundry a day, and spends her days watching show after show on TV. What is a nice or subtle way to get her to “cool down” (she didn’t like us secretly turning down the water heater)? Thanks, Tested Tom Belmont, Calif. Dearest Tom, Obviously the nice way is to courteously ask. We’ll assume this was attempted and failed. Did you read my recent effort to assist a mother with a similar issue? Her teenager took long showers that drove the mom crazy, crazy enough to ask me for help …

Cats and dogs contaminated with chemicals, says study

Fido and Fluffy are contaminated with higher levels of toxic chemicals than humans are, according to a report from the Environmental Working Group. In a test of the blood and urine of dozens of cats and dogs, researchers found 48 industrial chemicals. The contamination likely comes from such actions as gnawing on plastic toys, sleeping on fire-retardant-covered furniture, frolicking on pesticide-laden lawns, eating potentially mercury-laden pet food, and, of course, all that licking. Researchers point to a recent uptick in animal cancers and hyperthyroidism. “Our animals are trying to tell us something here,” says EWG’s Bill Walker. Something besides, “Feed …

Friday music blogging: Cloud Cult

We’ve done a lot of gushing on this site about the ecologically and musically righteous band Cloud Cult. See Sarah here, or me here, here, and here. Also I interviewed singer Craig Minewa here, and we put the band on our top 15 list here. Cloud Cult.So I won’t go over all of it again. Instead I’ll just point out that they have a new album — Feel Good Ghosts — coming out on Monday, and it’s fantastic. (You can buy it from that Amazon link on Monday or, ahem, buy it directly from the band today, which will ensure …

Paint by number

Seattle artist illustrates statistics on waste, health, and consumption

A graphic -- very graphic -- look at the numbers that define America.

Cool paint job

Reflective paint and glaze can reduce the need for A/C in your car

The following post is by Earl Killian, guest blogger at Climate Progress. ----- California's AB 32 cap on greenhouse gas emissions has its regulatory agencies working to find a set of measures that will amount to savings enough to cut 2020 emissions by about 30 percent. Since 12 years is too short to change California's vehicle fleet or its power plants, myriad measures are being considered, each rather small but hoped to make a difference cumulatively. One such effort is to find paints and coatings to reduce how hot cars get when parked, so the driver is less likely to turn on the air conditioner:

Slurps of joy

Nalgene dumps estrogenic ingredient

Have you been fretting over the reports of gender-bending pollutants leaching from reusable water bottles? Finally, some good news: Nalgene is dumping polycarbonate plastic, according to a report in The New York Times today. Nalgene made its decision in response to Health Canada's announcement earlier this week that it would list bisphenol A as a toxicant. BPA is the estrogenic plastic additive that makes polycarbonate a dubious choice for food and beverage containers. Grist reported earlier this week that the National Institutes of Health is also expressing increased concern about the chemical, which has been at the center of a battle over industry influence over consumer safety standards. Next stop on the BPA express: Wal-Mart says it will be dumping BPA from baby bottles later this year. The chemical is still widely used in baby bottles, the linings of steel cans used for canned food, water coolers, compact discs, and plenty of other consumer products. At least the campers can gulp freely.

Nalgene, Wal-Mart back away from BPA

Bottle manufacturer Nalgene will stop using plastic containing bisphenol A in response to concerns from the National Toxicology Program and the Canadian health department that the chemical probably shouldn’t be sucked on by kids. Nalgene says it still believes its clear, hard plastic bottles “are safe for their intended use” but says it’s responding to customers who “indicated they preferred BPA-free alternatives.” Wal-Mart also announced it would pull all baby bottles made with BPA from its shelves by early next year.

From Banana to Bell

Organic Banana? We’re split on Banana Republic’s new Green Collection. Just 5 percent eco — and 95 percent ick? This shirt is bananas. Stick it to ‘em Sweatshop sneakers? You don’t need it. Blood diamond bling? You don’t need it. Low-mpg SUV? No lo necesitas. So what do you need? These stickers. Photo: antiadvertisingagency.com Yes we Connelly Thirsty? Take a sip of this tall drink of water. Mmm … refreshing. Photo: Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage.com It’s gonna be an uphill battle Spider-man: French climber-man. Does whatever an urban climber can. Scales a building any size, fights climate change as temperatures rise. Look …

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