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The New Electric Mini-Cooper

By Shannon Arvizu The Mini Cooper is fun and sporty–but what if it was also the greenest car on the market? This year marks the field trial of the new Mini-E, an all electric Mini Cooper. It consumes no gas, releases zero-emissions from its tailpipe, and has lots of high torque for a zippy pick-up…

Tip #11: Plant a Garden, President Obama

By Wendy Gordon It wouldn’t be the first garden at the White House—John and Abigail Adams planted theirs in 1800—nor the most exotic—the oval office, in fact the whole West Wing, was an “orangerie” and then a bounteous greenhouse until 1902. Even President Clinton, not known for his heart-healthy eating habits, grew vegetables, not in…

Tip #3 For the 44th Prez: Time Your Showers

By Paul McRandle The economy needs help, "stimulus" if you will, and it’s a moment for thinking big—just recently Obama called for doubling the production of alternative energy nationwide in the next three years, a sorely needed boost to the industry.  But thinking small also has its moments.  Little changes add up, something Obama mentioned…

Keep Melamine Out Of Kids

By Paul McRandle It’s great to see the back of 2008, but some of the year’s nastier aspects keep lingering: On Monday the USDA announced  that Topaz Wafer Rolls containing unhealthy levels of melamine were being recalled from store shelves. No one has gotten sick, which is some relief. But who can forget that last…

Nice Guys Finish Green

By Seth Bauer You’d be hard-pressed to find a more genial vineyard owner than Jeff Kunde. Four generations of winemaking in the Sonoma Valley have apparently mellowed the Kundes like a rich red. It may be thanks to the landscape, spectacular even on a foggy December morning. It may be the sweet taste of a…

For Rent: Slightly Used Toys

By Paul McRandle Whether you have children of your own or know someone who does, selecting toys for kids can be an anxious experience: Will the child like it? Will the parent like it? How soon will it find its way to the land of discarded toys? Naturally, a new business had to step in…

Different Shades of Green in Wine Country

By Frances Lefkowitz Once upon a time the American pork industry created the slogan, “the other white meat,” to capitalize on the popularity of health food and to attract eaters who were shunning red meat. Now the wineries in Northern California’s Mendocino county are promoting their area as “America’s greenest wine region.” But what exactly…

Real Materialism is a Virtue

By Wendy Gordon Turns out a lot of people, not just Dick Cheney (remember the quote “Conservation may be a sign of personal virtue, but…”?), perceive green consumers as simply upscale do-gooders with enough discretionary income to buy the hybrid car, the organic food products or the high-end play equipment. But when the economy is…

California’s Green Wine Country

By Frances Lefkowitz In Mendocino–a Northern California county known for its dramatic hills, logging and a certain illegal recreational crop–vineyards are now so prevalent that even the hippies and the cowboys have become wine snobs. Mendocino also has more organic wineries than any county in the nation, and I’m spending a week driving around these…

Getting Smart About Energy

By Paul McRandle At the UN climate conference in Poland this week, concerns have been raised that the current economic woes may pose a roadblock to taking the carbon out of our energy sources and investing in greener energy production.  However, the real question may be how to avoid short-sighted investments in dirty power plants…

Inheritance Tax: Your chemical exposure could affect the behavior of your grandchildren.

By Catherine Zandonella, M.P.H. My mother-in-law notes that my two precious darling children are, at times, a bit unruly. I fully accept that the cause of their boisterousness is my parenting style. Nevertheless, I am intrigued by a recent scientific study suggesting that chemicals in our environment can influence the brain development and behavior of…

Dim the Lights: Bring on the Dark Skies

I miss daylight. It’s hard to get up before the sun rises to exercise, or to leave work in the afternoon darkness. One of my favorite celebrations of the year is of the Winter Solstice, which marks, within a few days of each other, both the earliest sunset and the shortest day of the year.…

Better Gas Mileage From a Filter?

By Seth Bauer My car is now filter-tipped. Last week, I let Skip Hansen, from a company named Sabertec, saw the ends off of my car’s tailpipes and clamp on his $199 product, The Blade. Kind of cool looking, the device is a filter-lined metal tube that captures particulate matter (soot) and some of the…

FDA Criticizes Its Own Bisphenol-A Findings

By Catherine Zandonella, M.P.H. This September the FDA stated that bisphenol A (BPA)—used in plastic baby bottles, toys, dental sealants and food packaging—was safe. Now a draft report published October 31 by an FDA science board subcommittee has declared that the FDA’s assessment created "a false sense of security" since it overlooked "a wide range…