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The latest news, food for thought, recipes you’ll love, great advice on everything from raising kids to nurturing bees, plus videos designed to entertain, educate and enlighten. If you’d like to find out what’s on our mind – or let us know what’s on yours -- this is place to be.

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Viva Vermont! and Yert (Your Environmental Road Trip)

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Author: the Inkslinger

Living in Vermont surrounded by Vermonters, it’s hard to know what the rest of the world thinks of our little state. My sense is that everyone else considers ours to be a kind of quaint little place, a somewhat odd anachronism in the modern world populated by slightly old-fashioned, slightly wacky, fairly far left-leaning folk just crazy enough to send socialists to Congress, endure unspeakable winters, and live miles from the nearest anything unless you count the farm down the road, the weekend chicken pie suppers, the general store, and, of course, the forests and mountains, which we here all definitely do.

Fair enough, I suppose. In Vermont we do often find ourselves a bit out of step with the rest of the world and quite contentedly so. You can drive for hours through nothing but bucolic scenes of pastoral paradise that seem like relics from a lost age. And it’s true that we Vermonters are, for the most part, quite happy living in relatively simple and traditional ways in a rare landscape where humanity and nature have learned to peacefully coexist. But if you pull off the highway and start poking around, you’ll find something else: people young and old forging the future for the rest of the world.

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Is Depression the Last Stigma?

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Many years ago I read William Styron’s “Darkness Visible,” a brilliant and courageous book about Styron’s lifelong struggle with depression. I highly recommend this short but wonderful story. My mother, brother and I all have dealt with the intensely debilitating effects of depression.

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Our Name in Lights

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Author: the Inkslinger

A couple of quick media notes to finish out the week…

Seventh Generation gets a nice plug near the end of this look at what it means to walk one’s sustainable talk from GreenBiz.com.

Jeffrey made Grist’s list of 15 Green Business Founders everyone should know about.

And our dish liquid won raves in official mom testing at Parenting magazine.

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Big Think

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Author: the Inkslinger

See…this is what I’m talking about. This is what I meant in my post of the other day. We gotta think big and we gotta think outside the box. That’s how we’re going to get where we need to go with this whole wacky climate crisis thing. Screwing in a couple of compact fluorescents and making our next car a Prius, while good and necessary and satisfying and righteous, aren’t going to cut the melt-down mustard. Not meaningfully. Not ultimately. Not when anybody who knows anything about climate and atmospheric science says we need a 90% reduction in global carbon output in the next 20 years tops or we’re toast. For that we need to dream and scheme and not just think outside the box but take the box out behind the barn, smash it to splinters, and torch whatever’s left.

We need big thinking. Huge ideas. Like Ausra's. Think of it. Ohmigod it’s glorious. It shines and beckons like a heated swimming pool in January surrounded by scantily-clad supermodels in the gender of your choice and filled with 25-year old single malt scotch. It makes me quiver in ways and places that are illegal if not at least frowned upon in certain jurisdictions below the Mason-Dixon line. Virtually every single kilowatt hour every single man, woman and child in the entire U.S. of A could possibly need to do every single thing they want to do from watch Admiral Adama find Earth on 60" of pure plasma glory to make blueberry scones for breakfast, all produced without emitting so much as a single atom of carbon using little more than bunch of mirrors on a forsaken slice of desert scrub just 92 miles square, a plot of land that represents a mere 10% of all the Bureau of Land Management holdings in just Nevada, upon which would happily and sustainably sit (and this is the best and most uncontrollable giggle-inducing part) technology we’ve got today.

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Friday Funny

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Author: the Inkslinger

Chrystie forwarded this bit of virtually perfect British fun to me this morning, and I nearly lost all bladder control. A sure sign that sharing is necessary. May it be used to offset any end-of-the-week energy lag you are currently experiencing…

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Carbon Footprint product labeling

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Not one for surveys, but when I saw this article that 44% Of UK Shoppers Would Buy Brand With Smaller Carbon Footprint, I wondered if a carbon-footprint-label would be something shoppers in the US would pay attention to and that would influence their shopping choices.

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Thinking Outside the Tube

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Author: the Inkslinger

“When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” --Dr. Hunter S. Thompson

When it comes to the big global environment problems like the climate crisis, I’m pretty much in the camp that believes we can think our way out of it. That human ingenuity is going to beat the problem. Certainly some personal changes are required, some level of action, and a good amount of making do with less is going to be a part of the solution, but I think that the collective hive mind is going to figure out a way for us to do that without really noticing much that we are.

It’s sort of like the front loading washing machines my wife and I have been looking at. They use a whole lot less water and energy, but you don’t really notice they do. Your clothes are apparently just as clean. The only difference that’s felt is in your utility bills and your carbon footprint.

So it’s not like we can’t have appliances doing the dirty work for us. We just have to invent really smart ones so that we can enjoy these and other things without generating any negative environmental impacts in the process, and then we have to share these efficiencies with the rest of the world so that the have-nots can enjoy the good life, too. We don’t have to all go off and live in caves to beat climate disruption. We don’t have stop driving cars. We don’t have forgo mangos at the supermarket in January. We just have to get super smart about how we do all these things and figure out how to live well while also living intelligently and regeneratively.

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Out of the In-Box

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Author: the Inkslinger

Time to empty out the in-box and see what riches the gods of information have deigned to deliver unto us upon the quivering wires…

Carbon labeling is coming to a product near you. And about time, too. We label for just about everything else under the sun but until now we’ve overlooked what’s by far the biggest elephant in the better shopping room. It’ll take ahwile for these labels to become ubiquitous, but this pachyderm is loose at last and there’s no closing the barn doors now.

By way of Treehugger comes this cool list from Coop America of 21 things you didn’t know you could recycle that’s definitely worth recycling here.

As a big tiger fan (and I’m not talking baseball), I’m encouraged by the news from India that a bunch of these big beautiful cats have just been discovered
in a mountainous jungle region some 30 years after experts thought they’d gone locally extinct. Proof that when we have the wisdom to leave well enough alone, Nature is quick to bounce back.

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Today’s Cafeteria Special: a Green and Trash-Free Lunch

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Author: the Inkslinger

Please meet Laurel Peltier, the newest addition to our roster of guest bloggers. Laurel tells us she is a 42 year-old mom of three living in Baltimore, Maryland who writes freelance articles about the environment. She says she used to be a consumer product manager, MBA-types often disparaged by greenies, she notes, but she’s now applying her marketing skills for Mother Earth.

To me, it seems families, especially Mom are hard to reach, we're very busy juggling many things, so I try and write about ideas that relate. Here’s a short brief I wrote for Maryland Family magazine about greening our kids’ lunches.

Looking for ways to become eco-friendly? An easy place to make a difference is with your child’s lunch.

Though juice boxes and individually wrapped ‘grab and go’ foods are convenient, they generate tons of trash. Each year the average child dumps sixty-seven pounds of lunchbox trash costing school districts valuable dollars to collect and dispose of the trash.

Re-thinking how your child’s meal gets packed can reduce trash going to landfills and has some unexpected benefits. Here are some simple ways to pack a trash-free lunch:

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Working on Recycling

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Author: the Inkslinger

To get the week off to an inspired start, here’s a guest post from protagonist Diana Gabet

At my job I'm known as the junk lady. I try to recycle everything possible from the yogurt container in my lunch to reusing lunch bags. My goal is make a new recycler one person at a time. The workplace is a great place to start from paper to printing cartridges to boxes. I save the styrofoam packing peanuts and take them to the ups shipper to reuse. Also taking the old phone books to recycling. Everyone who does just one item recycle can make a difference! People come to me and ask is this recyclable. One small step at a time.

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