Living

How to green your wedding

No one wants to scrimp on matters of the heart. And not a lot of lovebirds want to pass up the chance to throw a …

Earth Day preachin'

By caring for God’s creatures, we avert a second flood

This is a speech I delivered on Earth Day, April 20, 2008, at the Unitarian-Universalist First Church in Jamaica Plain, Mass. A software glitch prevented its publication on that day, but I believe it's still worth sharing. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, "I wish I could bring light ... but there is no light. Everything is going to become unimaginably worse. If I lied to you about that, you would sense that I'd lied to you, and that would be another cause for gloom, and we have enough causes already." It is true that there are fewer bald-faced lies being told about the state of the earth -- even our president now admits that climate change is, well, shucks, kind of a problem -- but fewer lies does not mean that there is more truth. Jim Hansen, the world's foremost climate scientist, is circulating a draft paper arguing that the climate "tipping point" must be reset at 350 ppm of atmospheric carbon, a point we passed two years ago. If we do not immediately return below that level, Greenland and Antarctic ice shelves will collapse, with a catastrophic rise in sea levels. From the study of ancient ice cores and sea sediment, we now know that sea level change is episodic and quick ... measured in feet per decade, rather than inches per century. Neither civilization nor global ecosystems can adapt to change this rapid. Hansen sketches a solution of appropriate scale: immediate halt to burning coal; crash Marshall program to replace it with renewables; limit oil and gas use to known, economically viable reserves; full-scale reforestation and adoption of carbon-storing agricultural practices. Nothing that we are doing, nor even seriously contemplating, comes anywhere near such massive a transformation, yet every actor on the political stage -- including major environmental organizations, "green" corporations, and presidential candidates of both major parties -- downplay the terrible realities and trumpet small-scale solutions wrapped in upbeat rhetoric. We are racing toward the end of the world and have no plan of escape, but it is considered impolite to acknowledge that fact in public.

I heart T. Yorke

Video of Radiohead’s green performance on Conan

Rather than take a transatlantic flight (the carbon footprint equivalent of driving for a whole year), Radiohead recorded a live performance in London for their …

The slow car movement

Easing off the gas eases gas use

A few weeks ago, Clark wrote about truck drivers slowing down to economize on fuel. It's a great story, but was it a real trend or just anecdotal? Photo: Pietro Izzo Well, I'm here to report that there's some truth to it. Or at least some truthiness. A recent Congressional Budget Office paper examining the effects of gas prices found this: "Freeway motorists have adjusted to higher prices by making fewer trips and driving more slowly." That's surprising to me. I mean, I don't slow down when gas prices are high; it would never occur to me. Do other folks?

Real green world

Video tours of the eco-pimped Real World: Hollywood house

In the midst of preparing for the launch of 250 hours of green programming for Discovery Planet Green, I got a call from my good friend Pete Griffin over at Think MTV. "We have this idea to build a green house on the Real World," he told me. "Instead of creating a whole new green show, why not build it into one of the most watched programs on MTV?" Can anyone say brilliant? Well, we had a blast teaching the Hollywood cast a few things about saltwater pools, dual-flush toilets, low-flow showerheads, eco bedding, hybrid cars, and soy candles that double as body lube. They also got a kick that their pad was constructed in the building that once housed the I Love Lucy show. How about that for recycling? Check out the video house tours below.

See Spot sweat

Global warming could mean disease and dehydration for pets

Maybe you've been wondering about how rapid climate destabilization will effect pets. No? Well, maybe you should. This article in the latest issue of City Tails magazine broke the story recently, and according to them, it's not just the long-hairs that face a sweaty future. All domestic animals will be facing off against more disease vectors than ever before. So, if you know someone who can't countenance any so-called "sacrifice" to do their part, just bring their beloved Fido into the frame. Why fight fair?

Umbra on hauling goods by bike

Hi Umbra, Love your column. I’m a daily bicycle commuter and coffee achiever. Here’s a cool mug and handlebar mount [for the reader who asked …

Live Earth is back, so get ready to rock

Mark your calendars for Oct. 5: Live Earth is back and ready to rock. Kevin Wall, founder of last summer’s international concert extravaganza, says that …

Poll: Meat or not?

Are you a vegetarian?

Tell us how you eat -- and then read an argument in favor of vegetarianism and heated reader responses. Poll under the fold:

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