Living

From Cleavage to Coasters

She’s no boob Keeley Hazell isn’t just a pretty face — she’s also pretty green. (Literally, and not-safe-for-work-ly.) The “owner of Britain’s most famous cleavage” rides a scooter, buys organic, and said nay to breast implants. Way to nip those emissions in the bud. Photo: Action Images / WireImage.com Lemon rickety: a series of fortune-ate events When we were 12 and needed extra cash, we imported old Land Rovers from Australia, rebuilt them to run on biodiesel, and sold them. Oh wait, no, that was this kid. But we did make some damn good lemonade. Photo: iStockphoto Santo cause If …

Umbra on oil and plastic

Dear Umbra, How much oil is used to make a pound (or some other comparable measure) of typical plastics? Melody Evans Paris, Ill. Dearest Melody, Ah, Paris. Is it as lovely in the springtime as they say? Yes, Ben, plastics … Photo: The Graduate (1967)/MGM Your question is a good and tricky one. Let’s start with a look at how plastic is made. Manufacturers take simple hydrocarbons from whatever source material they’re using — commonly crude oil, but also natural gas, corn, and other biomass — and turn them into polymers, a fancy word for chains of molecules. In the …

The Weight of the World

Exposure to chemicals could contribute to obesity, studies find Obesity is largely blamed on calories (too many) and exercise (too little), but recent studies suggest that chemical exposure may also pack on pounds. And it’s tough to diet from so-called “obesogens,” which show up in everything from pesticides to food containers. Chemicals found to produce more and larger fat cells in mice include waterproof-paint ingredient tributyltin; diethylstilbestrol, which was widely prescribed to pregnant women from the 1940s to the ’60s; and estrogen-like bisphenol A, which showed up in 95 percent of people tested by one recent study. BPA promotes fat-cell …

Anika Rahman, women’s- and reproductive-rights advocate, answers questions

Anika Rahman. What work do you do? What’s your job title? I’m the president of Americans for UNFPA. UNFPA, or the United Nations Population Fund, is essentially the United Nations’ women’s health agency. It provides women’s health care and promotes the rights of women all over the world. Working in 140 countries, it is the largest international source of such assistance. Americans for UNFPA is UNFPA’s official country committee in the United States, and we are dedicated to building moral, political, and financial support in this country for the work of UNFPA. How does it relate to the environment? My …

Umbra on chlorine

Dear Umbra, So I’ve been buying unbleached diapers for my baby, using chlorine-free laundry and dish soaps and non-chlorine bleached paper, and generally thinking that’s better for me and the environment. Then I go swimming in a chlorinated pool twice a week, sometimes with my kids! Is there a difference in the type of chlorine exposure? Is swimming a health risk? It certainly bothers my nose (I think I’ll start using some nose plugs). Can you explain some more of the science behind the effects of chlorine? Joan Haysom Ottawa, Ontario, Canada Dearest Joan, Quite a dilemma, you’re right. But …

An interview with author Chip Heath about making environmental messages sticky

Quick, what’s the last political campaign slogan you remember? Is it the Democrats’ recent zinger, “Together, we can do better”? Probably not. You probably forgot that one before they got to “better.” Chip Heath and Dan Heath. Photo: Amy Surdacki In an age of instant media, ubiquitous advertising, and partisan politics, everyone wants to grab the public eye. There are thousands of demands on public attention. What kind of message gets through and gets remembered? What makes some ideas “stick” and others slip away? Dan and Chip Heath ponder sticky messages professionally — Dan does corporate training, Chip’s a professor …

From Bags to Beer

Besides, plastic totally clashes with your outfit Paper or plastic? As if. BYOB is tote-ally hip: this burlap FEED sack recently made its way to NYC’s Fashion Week on the shoulder of Lauren Bush (yes, that Bush). And even waifish Keira Knightley can carry the I’m Not a Plastic Bag bag. Photo: We Are What We Do Let’s talk about sex Sustainability is sexy. And sex is sustainable. For some people, anyway. Photo: Kate Sheppard Elle‘s belle Dear Rachel McAdams, we had no idea you were such a celebrimentalist. You biked to your Elle interview? In a dress made of …

Sister Hazell

Britain’s favorite topless model is the latest eco-spokesperson Lots of climate and energy news today, so here’s some Friday frippery. How excited do you think Guy Adams of The Independent was when his editor told him to interview Keeley Hazell about her green principles? Hazell, well known in Britain as a winsome Page Three girl (that’s British for “nudie newspaper model”), posed last year slathered in green paint, alongside several tips for green living. As a result, she was named on Tory leader David Cameron’s Christmas list of eco-heroes. Now The Independent is all over the follow-up story, giving Adams …

Sex: Coming to a local coffee shop

Young Dems sexify your mug

It’s about cups. Sexy, sexy cups. Well, actually it’s about getting college students thinking about the planet and about changing their personal habits. But the “sexy” sure doesn’t hurt. The University of Washington’s Young Democrats club launched a Sustainability is Sexy campaign this month to encourage students to bring their own cups to the campus’s coffee shops. And their sexy slogan is popping up all over campus on shirts, buttons, stickers, and posters — where organizers hope it will remind students that thinking about your environmental impact is totally hott. The posters feature a red-lipsticked mouth preparing to gulp some …

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