Living

Coca-Cola announces big recycling initiatives

Speaking around gulps of carbonated, corn-syrupy beverage, Coca-Cola executives announced two environmental initiatives this week. By next year, the company plans to redesign its 20-ounce bottle to use 5 percent less plastic, and will open a gigantic recycling plant in South Carolina. Coca-Cola currently recycles or reuses about 10 percent of its U.S.-sold plastic bottles; the company hopes to raise that number to 30 percent by 2010, and has a long-term goal of not contributing to the U.S. plastic waste stream at all. But when can we expect to see Coca-Cola Green, hued with organic food coloring?

Green celebrity hypocrisy redux

The L.A. Times covers the important debate over whom Laurie David should be dating

Gina Piccalo has a piece in the L.A. Times on the most vital issue facing the nation: green celebrity hypocrisy. It’s far more thoughtful and less glib than most discussions of that subject. Still, by the end of the piece I was ready to jump out the window. Somehow taking a serious journalistic approach to the issue just reinforces the fact that it is a vapid, silly distraction. I’m embarrassed on behalf of the environmental movement. A few things I found remarkable: … in June, [ecorazzi.com] landed some exclusive dish on the movement’s reigning mouthpiece. [Laurie] David, "An Inconvenient Truth" …

Frock hunter

Steve Irwin’s daughter launches Bindi Wear eco-clothing line

Bindi Irwin, the 9-year-old daughter of the late Croc Hunter (R.I.P., mate), has launched her own children’s clothing line: The T-shirts, jumpers, swimwear, sleepwear, hats, bags and shoes carry environmental messages. The tags are made from recycled cardboard, the soles on the shoes are made with recycled rubber and 100 per cent of the profits she earns from the clothes will be used to fund Australia Zoo’s conservation programs. The clothes are expected in Aussie stores in about six months, and may soon also appear in American department stores.

Bumblingshoot

Trash bins overflow with plastic bottles at the ‘green’ Bumbershoot Music and Arts Festival

They won't hear the message over the sound of your actions.

Voluntary actions didn’t get us civil rights, and they won’t fix the climate

Strange but true: Energy-efficient light bulbs and hybrid cars are hurting our nation’s budding efforts to fight global warming. More precisely, every time an activist or politician hectors the public to voluntarily reach for a new bulb or spend extra on a Prius, ExxonMobil heaves a big sigh of relief. Scientists now scream the news about global warming: it’s already here and could soon, very soon, bring tremendous chaos and pain to our world. The networks and newspapers have begun running urgent stories almost daily: The Greenland ice sheet is vanishing! Sea levels are rising! Wildfires are out of control! …

Toilet running? Better go catch it!

You know, this is probably more effective than about 99% of the PSAs you see on TV.

Teaching green

Lessons from Burning Man 2007

A man in a hardhat just dropped off his chicken for me to mind -- a Japanese Silkie who watched me with one surprisingly smart eye as I typed this post. I reassured her I was a vegetarian, and she seemed to relax. After a few minutes, the man in the hardhat returned, thanked me, and said he was off to find a blowdryer so he could give the little hen a bath. Playa dust has coated her feathers. If it had been Monday, I might have thought this strange. But it's Sunday, and along with nearly 48,000 other people at Burning Man I've weathered two battering whiteouts of several hours each, and ingested some things I probably shouldn't have, and it was only after he'd walked away that I reflected back on the incident as unusual. That's what's great about this place: The Playa cracks your mind wide open. The spectrum of reasonable behavior widens. You question old prejudices and drop useless restrictions. Your mind frees up to learn. So what better place to learn new tricks for reducing our dependence on fossil fuels? For coming to understand -- in a visceral, tactile, immediate way -- what it means to produce and expend energy? This, I assume, is what the exhibits under the Man, in the Green Pavilion, were supposed to accomplish. There was a game you could play, in which you threw hacky-sacks at little boards painted with images of oil rigs and smoke stacks, hoping to knock them over. There was the "Single-Cell Solution," an exhibit by the Chlorophyll Collective, which takes up exhaust from biodiesel generators in fluid-filled tubes, feeds those nitrogen-rich emissions into a pond where it feeds algae. The algae can be used to make more biodiesel: A closed fuel cycle. A marvel. Why aren't we doing this on a large scale? What would it take?

Smeg me

Pardon me a little gadget porn as I ogle these Smeg refrigerators, which have made it to the states at last. Despite the unfortunate name, it’s on my Christmas list: They’re extremely efficient, too: 305 kWh / year. I know, I know. If I was a real enviro I wouldn’t refrigerate food.

From DIY to Dirty

The perfect dorm Attention back-to-school shoppers: nothing impresses a sexy coed more than a DIY chair made of recycled six-pack rings. So get to … studying. Photo: Adam Johnson Stick ‘em up People who live on the sticks follow strict rules. Lollipops, corn dogs, and kebabs in the morning; pick-up sticks and pogo-ing in the afternoon. Yep. They’re sticklers. Image: front architects Little green lies Breaking news! The recent wildfires across the globe may have a common source: the pants of nine out of 10 “environmentalists” who feel guilty about not recycling. Photo: iStockphoto Feels just like I’m walking on …

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