A friend recently confided in me that she, too, was increasingly alarmed by news of climate change, water shortages, chemicals in our kids’ toys — letting me know she was prepared to take action. From now on, she announced triumphantly, she planned to reuse gift bags. “And if people think that means I can’t afford new ones, well … that’s fine.”
One in five Americans considers himself or herself a “bird watcher,” according to a report published by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service last summer. Going by the report’s guidelines, in order to qualify as a “bird watcher,” you either had to have taken a trip one mile or more away from home for the primary purpose of watching birds, or you had to have closely observed birds around your house. If you mostly spotted birds passively — while mowing the yard, for example, or while at a zoo — you would not be counted as a “bird watcher.”
You’ve probably heard that delegates are meeting in Copenhagen for climate talks. But you might not be clear on what exactly all the hoopla is about. Here’s your cheat sheet on COP15, the 15th Conference of the Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change.
Being green isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
Sure, I’m healthier now that I eat better food and reduce my exposure to pesticides. I ride my bike, which makes me not only healthier but happier. I’m wealthier now that I make much of my own cleaning products, use less gas, cold-wash and hang-dry my clothes, and eschew AC for open windows.
People who live in hot climates without air conditioning, like Greece or India, know that the key to keeping cool is to paint the roof — or, indeed, the whole building — a light color.
Turns out it could help counter global warming too. In London last month, Obama’s Secretary of Energy said painting roofs and roads light colors in urban areas could offset the impact of all the cars in the world for 11 years!
Summer in Yellowstone National Park
When one of my editors for whom I write “The Virtuous Traveler,” my column on sustainable travel, asked me to visit Yellowstone National Park this past January, I was — how shall I say? — less than enthused. Surely, I suggested, they needed a story on Tahiti? Kenya? Lebanon?
Disneynature’s acclaimed new film Earth presents the most spectacular 100 minutes of wildlife footage I have ever seen. The film reunites directors Alastair Fothergill and Mark Linfield, who produced the award-winning BBC series “Planet Earth,” in a new venture that brings equally stunning images to the big screen.
I recently had dinner with a friend who teaches environmental science at our local college. “I feel like the voice of doom,” he confided. “Everything I tell them is depressing. I just wish I could find something to give them some hope.” He asked how I keep myself hopeful in the midst of so much bad news.
Franny filming windfarm developer Piers Guy, one of the stars of the film, at an operational windfarm in Wales.
Ladies and gents: The entertainment world is changing.
A week after telling you that Fox’s hit series 24 has gone green, I’m happy to report that the world’s first entirely eco-friendly movie premiere will take place this Sunday.
Ever since my book The Virtuous Consumer, about how to make purchases that are healthier for people and the planet, was released a bit more than a year ago, I’ve been receiving strange confessions. “I don’t recycle,” said one guy at a cocktail party. “I love to take really long, really hot showers,” revealed a friend. “I refuse to use recycled toilet paper,” scoffed another.