Living

USDA to unveil “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative

Vast potential: a farm grows in Brooklyn. Photo: Added ValueAs I prepare for five days of announcements next week, when USDA plans to unveil its new “Know Your Farmer, Know Your Food” initiative, the buzz across my desk is about …

Coming Home: Chronicling the (re)creation of the JP Green House

The fight to save childhood

Boys will be boys … online or off.School started this week. We have two fourth-graders and a second-grader. Ken has the misfortune to be driving a carpool that involves four boys and two schools and takes about an hour round-trip. …

Ask Umbra on big families

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I have recently become a grandmother. (Eek! Doesn’t seem like it was that long ago that I made the decision to have a child.) Though I had just one child, my daughter …

Going back to school? Here’s a green cheat sheet

OliBac via flickrAh, back-to-school season. The rustling of leaves, the squeak of new sneakers, the reassuring sound of chalk on a blackboard. Wait, does anyone still use chalk? And if they do, is it emitting some sort of toxic dust …

A stunt or not a stunt? That is not the question

Last week, Elizabeth Kolbert, a respected New Yorker journalist who writes admirably about our climate catastrophe and the environment, wrote a scathing attack on my book, No Impact Man. Sadly, casualties on the battlefield of Kolbert’s wrath included not only …

‘Localwashing’ in pictures — bogus marketing at its finest

Local food, local goods, local everything is in, as you’ve no doubt heard. Local is fresher. Local burns less shipping fuel. Local keeps the wealth nearby. Naturally, there’s money to be made off local, so big businesses are muscling into …

Should I suck it up and buy vinyl windows?

Not my window. But this is how they feel sometimes.TottoBG via flickrOnce upon a time, I was full of unswayable romantic notions about old houses. Then I bought one. I’ll refrain from going into too much detail about the quirks …

Rogue 9/11 ad isn’t from WWF — and its science is bogus

A Brazilian advertising agency’s rogue 9/11 ad crashes against WWF’s disapproval. Its message: “The tsunami killed 100 times more people than 9/11. The planet is brutally powerful. Respect it. Preserve it.”Image: DDB Brazil via New York Daily NewsWorld Wildlife Fund …

Ask Umbra on bubble wrap

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I just got married and received a lot of presents in the mail. I recycled/reused all the boxes, but I’m still stuck with a LOT of bubble wrap and sealed air. Is …