Green Living

Los Angeles Releases First-Ever Urban Sustainability “pLAn”

pLAn

Envisioning greener energy, cleaner air, and reduced consumption in LA by 2035

Perhaps no metropolis is better positioned than Los Angeles to pioneer ground-breaking environmental initiatives. As the second-largest U.S. city, and with the country’s largest municipally owned utility, a world-class research university–UCLA, and the blessings of abundant sunshine and a temperate Mediterranean climate, Los Angeles could serve as a global model for urban sustainability. Today, the […]

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Referendum Politics: California’s Pioneering Plastic Bag Ban on Hold

Plastic bag ban

Out-of-State Bag Manufacturers Succeed in Qualifying Referendum Measure for 2016 Ballot

California’s recently-legislated ban on disposable plastic bans–the first in the nation–will not take effect on July 1, 2015 as the new law mandates.  That’s because industry opponents of the legislation have  qualified for the November 2016 election a referendum measure that seeks to repeal the new law. Last fall I wrote on this site about […]

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The Climate-Nutrition Nexus

healthy diet

The  advisory panel on nutrition ruffled some congressional feathers by taking environmental impacts into account.  The panel’s report concludes that “a dietary pattern that is higher in plant-based foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, legumes, nuts, and seeds, and lower in animal-based foods is more health promoting and is associated with lesser environmental impact than is […]

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The Dietary Supplement Scandal

DIETARY SUPPLEMENTS PIC

There are 65,000 dietary supplements on the market, and almost half the population uses at least one of them. Americans spent $13 billion on dietary supplements last year, according to the Washington Post.  There are disturbing indications that nearly all  that money is wasted — or to put it more bluntly, that the industry is essentially […]

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Can We Control Climate Change and Still Have Economic Growth? (Part II)

economic growth

It's all in the timing.

Yesterday’s post discussed economic growth and how it relates in principle to carbon emissions.  Basically, economic growth just means that people will be getting goods and services they prefer over today’s goods and service.  There’s no intrinsic reason why the “better” bundle necessarily has to involve more carbon.  In fact, it could involve a lot less carbon. […]

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California Becomes First State to Ban Disposable Plastic Bags

Other Single-Use Shopping Bags Also Restricted Under New Law

California has become the first state in the nation to ban major retail stores from providing single-use carryout plastic bags to their customers.  The new legislation similarly prohibits stores from selling or distributing recycled paper bags unless the store makes such bags available for purchase for no less than 10 cents per bag. The new law, […]

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The Greening of Post-Apocalypticism?

Cloud Atlas

David Mitchell's Masterpiece Provides a Perfect Epigraph -- and Epitaph -- for Environmentalism

A few weeks ago, I finished reading David Mitchell’s magnificent Cloud Atlas, a few months after seeing the still-excellent but-not-as-magnificent movie based upon it. The novel comprises a series of linked stories ranging from the mid-19th century to a post-apocalyptic future 300 years in the future. And that last story, profound and heartbreaking, tells us […]

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The State(s) of Obesity

obesity image

There are big differences between states, but this really is a national epidemic.

State of Obesity, a joint project of the Trust for America’s Future and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released a fascinating report about adult obesity.  There are large national disparities.  The obesity rate is over 35% in West Virginia and Mississippi, but only 21% in Colorado. Despite these disparities, obesity rates have grown everywhere since 1990, […]

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Why Tesla’s Nevada Gigafactory Could Be Bad For The Environment, Compared To A California Site

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Electric vehicle pioneer to announce its siting decision today

Some California environmentalists may be celebrating now that Tesla has apparently decided to build its $5 billion “gigafactory” in Nevada instead of California. Lawmakers here had toyed with the idea of weakening the state’s signature environmental law, the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), to help expedite review on the factory and therefore encourage Tesla to […]

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Ban the Quad?

Harvard Yard

The grassy Quad is emblematic of university life. But its days may be numbered.

When I picture a university, I immediately envision the quad: an area of grass and trees surrounded by campus buildings, like the photo from one of America’s oldest universities accompanying this post.  But those beautiful lawns may need to go. That would be a bit sad, and not just because the students could lose a place to […]

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