1. A/V Fridays – Steven Levitt & Jon Stewart Discuss Climate Change Strategy

    Posted on October 30, 2009 by Allie

  2. The Business Report

    Posted on October 29, 2009 by Noelle

    Jersey_chamber_of_commerce_1768

    I’m a member of two Chambers of Commerce in my area.  One through my regular job, and one through my freelance job.  Chambers of Commerce have a reputation for being on the conservative side of the spectrum, and it’s true, we say the pledge of allegiance before big meetings and our breakfasts are invoked with a prayer.  But locally, the Chambers are nothing compared to the US Chamber of Commerce, which maintains a “business first, always” policy.  And that policy always puts them standing resolutely, and blindly, in the way of climate change reform. Read more…

  3. I’d Like To Buy The World A Non-Carcinogenic, Responsibly Packaged, Healthier Alternative To Coke

    Posted on October 28, 2009 by Courtney

    coke bottles

    During college I developed a nasty Coke habit. Yes, that’s Coke with a capital C because I’m referring to the carbonated beverage, not the illegal drug. It became my go-to drink at home, during class, while driving, you name it. It had the caffeine to keep me awake during those reeeaaalllyyy long nights when I was studying (or chair-racing down the hallways with my friends, whatever) and was more portable than coffee.

    Read more…

  4. The Diapering Dilemma

    Posted on October 27, 2009 by A Free Man

    nappy

    Now that I’ve got two kids in nappies (diapers for those of  you in North America) I’ve become increasingly concerned about our family’s environmental impact. I was shocked to learn that the average child uses 8 – 10,000 nappies before they are toilet trained. Every time I haul another bag of fetid nappy waste to the trash can, I’ve got a physical, and stinking, reminder of just how much more waste we’re generating now as compared to the carefree days of childlessness.

    Like more than 90% of Western parents, we use disposable nappies; largely for their convenience – no bleaching, boiling or washing – just off, wipe and chuck it in the bin. Like a lot of those 90% of parents, I carry with me a fair bit of guilt about disposable nappies. I’ve read studies claiming that disposables account for up to 5% of all household waste and 1 – 3% of all solid waste in the landfill. For a while we used “biodegradable” disposable nappies, but then I read a study that pointed out that nothing really biodegrades in a landfill. The degrading process can only occur in the presence of moisture and UV light and landfills don’t get much of either. Because most parents, myself included, toss dirty nappies away with the household trash we are potentially introducing human feces, and the myriad of pathogens that goes along with it, into groundwater. While disposables may be better at preventing nappy rash than cloth nappies, they may also contain potentially harmful chemicals. Read more…

  5. Does Your Kid Ride The Bus?

    Posted on October 26, 2009 by NPW

    bus

    If your child is like millions of other students, they ride that big yellow school bus to and from school every day. And it’s helpful, right? At the very least it’s a cheaper and more effective mode of transportation than hiring a chauffeur to bring your kid home. Although, now that I think of it, I kind of wish my parents had hired a Bentley complete with a jaunty-hat driver to wheel me around my tiny little New Hampshire town when I was growing up. It probably would have fit my personality better than the indignity of being squashed into that set with the wheel well sticking up into it.

    Anyway, the yellow school bus is a time-honored tradition for school children everywhere and it seems to be the best way to get hoards of kids places all at once. But what about when your child is not on the bus? Back when I was in middle school I know the school buses sat idling in the driveway for up to a half hour, while the bus drivers sat smoking, chatting, and waiting for the last bell of the day to release the kidlets into the wild. Nowadays there’s not so much smoking going on, but still the noxious fumes are being emitted from the school buses exhaust pipes as they sit parked but running.

    At my school, the Green Team pondered this problem for a while before asking the bus company to stop the idling. There were a few factors to consider: turning the heat on at an appropriate time in the cold winter months, allowing time for the older buses to warm up, etc. But they did agree to keep it to a minimum and to stop the idling all together while parked in the school driveway.

    It was especially easy to get the bus companies to agree to this when we figured out how much they could save in costs and fuel. Using the EPA’s Fuel Saving Calculator, we presented the bus company with these stats: with 10 buses, if we cut idling time by 15 minutes a day, we would be saving them 225 gallons of fuel and $900 per year. Crazy, right? And pretty effective in business terms, I might add. In addition, my school district just this year had all their buses retrofitted for biodiesel, which should also help them both save money and produce less exhaust.

    So try it out in your school district. It might seem like a small thing, but the more districts we can get to agree to this, the less toxicity we are releasing into the atmosphere.

    Or, you know, hire that Bentley. Either way.

  6. Recycling Is In The Bag

    Posted on October 23, 2009 by Dingo

    Crunch This!

    Since I last wrote about my efforts to find inexpensive ways to go green, there have been many changes around Casa de Dingo. First of all, there’s the landfill in the kitchen. Although both Mr. Dingo and I did not think we had much to recycle in the way of glass, cardboard, and aluminum, we crammed a recycling bag into a tight space in our Lilliputian kitchen. Once we decided to recycle, I become maniacal about it. The first week, we filled two bags. Two! We patted ourselves on the back and cooed to each other, “You’re so Green! No, you’re so Green!” We even engaged in Public Displays of Environmentalism, asking stores and restaurants we frequent whether they recycled. It was actually quite sickening. But environmentally friendly! Until the pile of refuse came crashing down.

    New York City collects recyclables only one day a week. So, for several days we were stepping over jelly jars, cans dispossessed of their chickpeas, and boxes siphoned of yummy sugary cereal goodness during late night snack attacks. And the wine bottles? Let’s not go there. Let’s just say that I use it for cooking. You know how that goes:

    1. Mix dry ingredients. Take a sip of wine.
    2. Add four eggs, mixing after each. Mix. Sip. Mix. Sip. Mix. Sip. Mix. Chug.
    3. Add 1/3 cup canola oil. Hold measuring cup at eye level. Wonder why it won’t stop shaking. Pour 1/4 cup 3/4 cup Oh, hell, just eyeball it and have another drink.
    Read more…

  7. Vinegar: It’s Not Just for Salads Anymore

    Posted on October 22, 2009 by Stefanie

    Photo courtesy of cafemama

    I like to think of myself as a frugal, savvy girl. Mind you, I said “like to.” Unfortunately, wanting to be frugal and actually maintaining the discipline to be frugal are often two very different things for me. I’m weak. I admit it. So I make concessions. I try to prioritize. I justify one purchase by avoiding another. It’s not a perfect system, but my bank account and I haven’t had a falling out just yet, so I must be doing relatively OK.

    One thing I have a hard time spending money on is workout clothes. When I go to the gym, I’m there to work out, not to impress anybody. There are those who say the gym is a great place to meet people, but I do not live in an episode of Sex & the City. Anyone who thinks I’m going to find a date during my workouts has never been to my gym. That being the case, if I’m going to spend money on a new outfit, I’d much rather it be one people other than doughy, late-middle-aged suburban men in nylon track suits are going to see. New workout clothes might motivate me off to an extra gym visit or two initially, but new boots or jeans motivate me off my couch into a more active social life. I know where my money is best spent; this is not rocket science to me.

    As a result, I’ve had some of the same cotton tank tops in my gym bag rotation for five years or more. They’re not holey or threadbare just yet, but I have to admit—five years of workouts has left them a bit, er, ripe around the edges. Ordinary detergent was no match for the stank. Even baking soda, miracle odor eliminator that it is, couldn’t lift it out. I was about ready to admit defeat and cut the non-stinky parts into cleaning rags when I remembered that my friend the Internet knows everything and I’d yet to ask for advice on this one.

    Read more…

  8. What is the Solar Decathlon?

    Posted on October 21, 2009 by Courtney

    solar_decathlonPhoto credit: www.inhabit.com

    You may have read in the news recently about the Solar Decathlon, an event sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The festivities are just wrapping up now, with Team Germany claiming the crown.

    Read more…

  9. What’s Going On

    Posted on October 20, 2009 by Allie

    iStock_000010626132XSmall

    Earthfirst talks about a new discount program for biking brothel customers. Um. . .

    The Good Human reports on a bottled water ban in Australia.

    The Green Guide warns against 85 bogus swine flu prevention claims.

    Skepticblog takes on anti-science pseudomedicine.

    Tiny Choices chooses box wine.

    Granola Tendencies makes an apple pie with a gouda crust.

    What’s going on with you?

  10. Got Stank?

    Posted on October 19, 2009 by Melissa

    Whew! Did my son’s room smell the other day! I was a little behind on my cloth diaper laundry and since we are now good little Wisconsinites, our home’s windows have been sealed up for winter since late September (there goes my swift idea of opening them to allow the air to circulate).  After I had everything cleaned up and washed, I sat down with a glass of apple cider to problem solve.

    Yeah, I have tried commercially manufactured diaper pail deodorizers before. The worst one was this bag filled with lavender scented baking soda that made me nauseous (lavender scented poop isn’t any more pleasant than poop scented poop)! But the baking soda…hmm…hmm…A HA! All of a sudden I had a great DYI diaper pail deodorizer idea!

    Step 1 – Gather the following: old panty hose, baking soda, scrap ribbon, sharp scissors, and a spoon.

    IMG_1834.JPG Read more…

Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It

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According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.


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