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Yearly Archives: 2011

No Dirty Coal in Stockings This Year!

If you are wishing for some good news out of Washington, here’s something: the Obama administration just issued tough new rules curbing mercury and other poisons emitted by coal-fired utilities this week. For the first time, explains Corbin Hiar on the website NJToday.net, all of America’s 150 oil-burning facilities and 1,500 coal-fired power plants will […]

In Praise of Darkness

1/23/12 UPDATE: Now a new documentary, The City Dark, looks into the science on environmental and health effects associated with lighting up our cities and suburbs. With a rack of awards already received, The City Dark may well be set to spark a nation-wide conversation. To find out if it’s showing near you, check out […]

The Weather Outside is Frightful

Up until recently, it only took one extreme weather event to make a year stand out. We recall the heatwave of 1995 or the deep freeze of 1996—very memorable for me as the high temperatures in Duluth, Minnesota, where I was living briefly, stayed at all of 20 below zero for two weeks straight.  But […]

Radiant Gifts

Thanks to President George W. Bush and his positively brilliant idea to sign into law in 2007 a federal energy bill establishing energy-efficiency standards for light bulbs, inventiveness in the lighting sector has been unleashed, and manufacturers are on fire with excitement about all the new products they’re bringing to market this year. (The standards […]

Where Everything’s Waiting for You (Downtown)

“It was a converted carriage house,” says Jane Cameron of the home in Hastings, New York, where she and her husband, Jamie, raised their family. Seven thousand square feet on two acres of land, the open-style house had five bedrooms, two and a half baths, and a loft-turned-rumpus-room that was the ideal rainy-day space for […]

No Regifting Bed Bugs: Staying Bug-Free for the Holidays

My wife’s father and step-mother visit us once a year for the Thanksgiving feast and come a long way–from Sydney, Australia to New York City. And because we live in a typically small New York apartment, each year they’ve chosen to stay in the same Upper West Side hotel. Just two days before arriving, they learned […]

Got Dirt? Give Thanks

Thanksgiving dinner is a rare American meal, and not just because it’s an annual event celebrated with family and friends. This day of gratitude tends to spin off the yummiest of leftovers, so mercifully little food ends up in the trash. That’s not the case for the other 364 days of eating we do. In […]

The Spider and The Apple

On October 2, the spiders were all gone. Hundreds of them scattered, off into the world to fend for themselves. Their home remained, still sturdy in spite of the winds and rains of Hurricane Irene. I blew on it lightly, just to make sure. Not a movement. The spiders had left their secure place, a […]

Take Advantage of Rebates on Efficient Appliances

The good news: Appliance manufacturers are making appliances more energy efficient than ever, and we as consumers are getting more savvy, for instance buying Energy Star-rated refrigerators that use a fraction of the electricity the old ones did just twenty years ago. The bad news: When we buy the spiffy new fridge, we haul the […]

The Blessing of Variety: An Eco-Omnivore’s Thanksgiving

“If you are an environmentalist, why do you eat meat?” I get asked this a lot, often around Thanksgiving when of course the traditional meal contains a giant turkey with meat enough for days of sandwiches, casseroles, and pot pies. It’s tough enough being an environmentalist, but if you are an omnivore as well, and […]

Tar Sands Pipeline Protest at the White House

I just had one of the most energizing days of my life. I spent Sunday standing with as many as 15,000 people in an enormous circle around the White House. All of us came to tell President Obama to reject the Keystone XL pipeline for dirty tar sands oil. This remarkable assembly of Nebraska ranchers, […]

Get Started on Your Winter Garden!

If we didn’t feel it already, last week’s East Coast snow blitz gave a sure sign that winter is on its way, bearing colder temperatures, wetter conditions and shorter days. Before you’re bundled in sweaters and dreading to leave the house, spare your garden the climate shock by taking the time now to dress it […]

Winterizing Your Home? Get Help Paying For It!

When we decided to renovate our Wellfleet, Massachusetts home three years ago, we discovered we were changing just enough of the house to require bringing all of the electricity and plumbing up to current code. This meant removing all of the wallboard and insulation in the house to run the new wires and pipes–totally blowing our […]

Halloween Out of the Attic

Halloween keeps changing down the generations, from a time when tricks and pranks were more the rule than treats, to the Peanuts pilgrimage through suburban streets demanding candy (or begging for it, as some parents view the tradition), to the apparent safety of adult-monitored Halloween parties of today. But by opening up the floodgates to […]

Say No To Tar Sands Nov. 6th in DC

Tuesday’s New York Times ran this powerful video op-ed produced by Robert Redford and criticizing the Keystone XL pipeline, a proposed 2,000 mile-long conduit for toxic tar sands oil from Canada. For the State Department and President Obama to allow such a wrongheaded plan as the Keystone XL to move forward–guaranteeing the expansion of one […]

Congress Attacks Breath-Taking

“The people I meet just don’t get it,” Gray is Green’s Kath Schomaker says of her conversations at faith communities and senior centers about the attacks on environmental safeguards. “‘Why would anyone be against clean air?’ they ask.” “This is the most anti-environment House in history,” said Rep. Waxman (D-CA) as he unveiled a new […]

The Tar Sands Turnaround

At the beginning of October, Nebraskans and residents of five other Mid-American states that would be crossed by the proposed Keystone tar sands pipeline met for “listening sessions” – perhaps their only chance to make their concerns heard to the State Department. Why would these bureaucratic meetings draw in people from all sides of their […]

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