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South African Students Turn Trash Into Living Walls

We received an email from Hannah Allderman, a 17-year old student in Cape Town, South Africa, who told us she is “mad about going green.” Hannah did a recycling project with a friend, Ellie Simpson, turning discarded plastic bottles into urban planters. “We got involved in the community, taught people about sustainable gardening, and made many…

Reconciling with Rare Earths in Malaysia

Guest article by Bernadetta Devi “Rare Earths” are a group of 17 elements that are currently used in a wide array of modern technologies, ranging from hard disk drives to lamp phosphors to hybrid car batteries. At present 90% of these minerals are mined in China due to a range of economic and environmental factors.…

Is it Green to be Green?

In more than a decade of writing about green living, one of the most common complaints I hear about it is that it costs more up front. I have learned that this is a deceptive and surprisingly complicated query, with no one answer. Sure, shopping at Whole Foods (aka Whole Paycheck) can cost more than…

Bamboo, a Beautiful and Versatile Material

  By Rachel Kaplan One material seems to stand at the heart of the recent revolution in green products – bamboo. Bamboo is booming, and is estimated to be worth upwards of $25 billion in 2012. There are a number of positive attributes of this grassy material (it is not wood as many believe) that…

Jane of the Jungle Gym Blogs Green Again

National Geographic Little Kids blogger Jane of the Jungle Gym occasionally blogs about being a green mom, and here are some recent green-themed posts: Paper Cuts: Jane discusses ways to green your kids’ doodling. Gray Matter: Jane tackles those pesky gray hairs and green ways to get rid of them. Bye-Bye Plastic Bottles: Jane discusses…

Review: Made by Hand by Mark Frauenfelder

I grew up watching my dad fix stuff. I still have a scar where my thumb meets my wrist from when he dropped a hammer on me (claw-down, naturally) while installing drywall in our living room. From changing the oil in the car to putting in a patio, I would help him with whatever project…

Toilet paper wipes out 27,000 trees a day

Worldwide, the equivalent of almost 270,000 trees is either flushed or dumped in landfills every day and roughly 10 percent of that total is attributable to toilet paper, according to the latest issue of World Watch magazine. “Meanwhile, growing populations, adoption of Western lifestyles, and sanitation improvements in developing countries are driving the increased use…

First Major Carbon-Trapping Plant May Boost Green Jobs

The already blossoming green jobs sector may get an added growth spurt with the U.S. Department of Energy‘s recent announcement that the FutureGen project is back on track. A novel coal-fired, near-zero-emissions power plant in Mattoon, Illinois, FutureGen was first proposed by the Bush Administration in 2003 as a way to control carbon dioxide emissions,…

“Living Building” Opens Today in St. Louis

Here’s a breath of fresh air—one of North America’s first “living buildings” opened today in at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri. The new Living Learning Center, set in the woods at an environmental-research facility on campus, is also in the running to become the first building to meet the Living Building Challenge. The initiative,…

Recessions Are Good For “Free Trade”

by Emily Main No one can argue that a recession is a good thing, but recessions do force us to reevaluate where, and how, we spend our money–which is the first step on the path to greening your purchases. Do you really need a new pair of $200 boots, or could you just fix the…

Green Jobs Serve Many Ends

By Wendy Gordon A couple of Fridays ago, George Soros, the author of The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: The Credit Crisis of 2008 and What It Mean, suggested that efforts to build a green economy could be the “motor of the world economy in the years to come.” I certainly hope so, and hope…