When I was asked to write this column in the summer of 2007, my first reaction was, “Why me?” I felt woefully unqualified. On the other hand, I saw writing as a way to do something, however modest, to influence change that might help preserve the natural world which was increasingly at risk. Read more
As I walked along the creek on a late autumn afternoon, I heard a rustling off to my left. I stopped to see if I could catch sight of a fox, or better yet a bear searching for a wintering spot. Instead I saw the fluorescent orange vest of a hunter.
A number of concurrent thoughts flashed through my mind. “Here I am in the woods alone, and there is a man with a gun. This must be why my mother (born and raised in the city) warned me, ‘Never, ever go outside. You could die.’” Read more
Many readers of this column will be purchasing gifts with a fair-trade label this holiday season, and often buy fair-trade products, such as coffee and chocolate, throughout the year. Other fair-trade items include bananas, honey, oranges, cotton, fresh fruits and vegetables, juices, nuts, quinoa, rice, spices, sugar, tea, wine, jewelry, home decor items and clothing. Read more
A good friend sent this to me after reading my series of articles on CFLs. The filmmaker did the math, it’s quite thorough in explaining, among other things, why CFLs do NOT live up to the claims.
Disillusioned by my findings concerning the drawbacks of CFLs (documented in my last two columns), I began researching LEDs, or light emitting diodes, which are increasingly being used for residential lighting. Read more
Last month’s column stimulated many comments from readers, for which I am grateful. I’d like to add additional insights I gained while researching compact fluorescent bulbs (CFL) and raise the question: “Why are CFLs touted as being better for the environment?” Promotion of CFLs elevates energy efficiency above environmental hazard. Read more
A couple of years ago, and with great zeal, I replaced the incandescent (IC) bulbs in my home with CFLs, touted as superior in terms of energy savings and thus, I naively thought, superior in terms of environmental sustainability. I knew that CFLs should be recycled rather than tossed in the garbage, but I thought I wouldn’t have to worry for at least five year, their alleged lifespan. So I was surprised when my bedside reading lamp bulb died a few days ago, sooner than my older ICs.
There I stood, peeved in the dark. Read more
The second annual Slow Living Summit took place last month in Brattleboro, VT, attracting about 400 people, almost twice the number that attended the event last year. Speakers included Bill McKibben, co-founder of 350.org; Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders; Slow Food USA President Josh Viertel; and Majora Carter, founder of Sustainable South Bronx. Read more
Just in time for summer sun, Environmental Working Group has released its 2012 Sunscreen Report. It’s thorough, and it challenges the notion that if we just lather on gobs of the stuff, we’re safe. For starters, there’s no clear evidence that sunscreen actually prevents skin cancer; in fact, the FDA admits that it is “not aware of any studies examining the effect of sunscreen use on the development of melanoma.” In addition, using sunscreen may give people an unwarranted sense of security, making them more apt to stay out too long in the sun’s harmful rays. Read more
Perhaps my regular readers will remember that since Thanksgiving of 2011, I haven’t eaten anything that once had eyes, having been profoundly moved by Jonathan Safran Foer’s “Eating Animals” and the movie “Forks over Knives.” Things are going very well, despite the fact that I fear I’m becoming a burden to my carnivorous friends. “Tell me again what you don’t eat?” asked the hostess of a recent gathering.
I gave her the short answer (see above), but I’ll share the long answer with you, gentle reader, a compendium of what I do eat. Read more