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  • Water, Water Everywhere

    5 gallons of water, on average, go down the drain if you leave the tap running while you brush your teeth 30 gallons of water, on average, go down the drain if you leave the tap running while you wash dishes 50 gallons of water per day can be wasted by a small faucet leak […]

  • A gardening guru gives new meaning to a golfing green

    In a world beset with environmental and economic horrors, a golf course is a disturbing sight. Okay, it’s not as disturbing as an oil slick on Prince William Sound, or the Cuyahoga River bursting into flames, or the coral reefs off Sri Lanka bleaching and dying. Evil green monster (a traditional golf course). But the […]

  • To Have and Have Not

    5 percent of the world’s human population resides in the U.S. 30 percent of the world’s resources are used by the U.S. 8 motor vehicles are on the roads in China for every 1,000 Chinese citizens 750 motor vehicles are on the roads in the U.S. for every 1,000 U.S. citizens 15 kilograms of paper […]

  • Seventy

    • percent by which global energy use has increased since 1970 • percentage of the world’s commercially important marine fish stocks that are fully fished, over-exploited, or depleted • percentage of the roughly 3,000 plants identified as having cancer-fighting properties that grow in rainforests • percentage of irrigation water in developing nations that never reaches […]

  • Why tens of thousands are trekking to the Emerald City

    SEATTLE, Wash. For twenty years, the fight to globalize the world’s economy has been a rout. The largest transnational corporations expanded their power in every direction — Japanese conglomerates cut down forests across the tropics; American grain companies dictated the price of food; Baywatch found a billion viewers a week. But that rout has suddenly […]

  • Two

    • percentage of the Earth’s surface covered by cities • percentage of the Earth’s surface covered by rainforests • number of miles of highway laid down in Florida each day • percent by which global energy use is projected to increase annually over the next 15 years • factor by which an average home generates […]

  • Sherry Bosse reviews Consuming Desires by Roger Rosenblatt

    In Walden, Henry David Thoreau wrote that "to maintain one's self on this earth is not a hardship but a pastime, if we will live simply and wisely." He warned his readers against an increasingly prevalent consumer culture in the United States -- in 1854. Nearly 150 years later, Americans are, on average, working more hours and accruing more debt than ever before in order to achieve some bloated variation of the American dream. Some things never change.

  • An American reflects on the problem of poverty

    Almost 30 years ago I returned from a long stay in India with my mind, body, and senses full of dust and color, peace and violence, holiness and crassness, all the contradictions of a land so different from my own. I thought I would remember always the faces of the villagers. I was pained by […]

  • An excerpt from Seven Wonders: Everyday Things for a Healthier Planet by John C. Ryan

    When the Dalai Lama of Tibet met with economist John Kenneth Galbraith, he asked the Harvard professor a simple but penetrating question: "What would the world be like if everyone drove a motor car?" The Tibetan leader probably did not intend it, but his question constitutes a koan, a paradoxical riddle of Zen Buddhist tradition. A koan has no logical answer -- "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" -- but the search for a solution may lead to a flash of enlightenment.