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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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Weird Wire

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Author: the Inkslinger

The night is coming. The veil that separates the world of the living from the realm of the dead now grows thin. Spirits gather and soon will cross this dark divide to fill shadowy streets and abandoned yards with visions of the ghastly, the ghostly, and the ghoulish. Can’t wait! But while we do, here’s some news of the strange and the weird to mark the world’s spookiest holiday and the one of the its oldest pagan traditions…

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is back in the news with word that the feds want to study this maelstrom of muck with an eye toward a possible clean-up. Those familiar with the incredibly disconcerting and wholly freakish twice-Texas-sized patch of floating trash, however, say that not only is cleanup pretty much impossible even conducting basic research is likely to prove vexing. How about we just take the zillions of dollars and man-hours we might spend here and devote them to preventing garbage from entering ocean ecosystems in the first place?

Halloween marks the boundary between summer and winter, or light and dark, an important annual milestone given the impact we’ve learned light can have on human health. Indeed studies have shown that people who work out-of-sync with natural day-night cycles are at risk for all kinds of maladies from depression to breast cancer. The impact is so great that the World Health Organization will declare in December that shift work is a “probable carcinogen.” In other words, the graveyard shift could actually put you there. I think it’s time to shift our 24/7 economy back to something a little more civilized.

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Good Energies

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Author: the Inkslinger

This comment from Dani at EnergyBill 2007 came in late last week in response to our latest automobile mileage standards post. We wanted to promote it to official post status to make sure that everybody sees it and has the opportunity to lend a hand to the effort to get the fuel efficiency of cars and trucks where it needs to go.

It's is awesome that the public has responded so quickly to Toyota's campaign against the 35 mpg fuel efficiency standard set for 2020. Delaying the energy bill's effects by trying to lower the standards is not going to help anyone in the future. It's time for a change. I think that a great way to stop Toyota is to reach out to our government directly. They are the ones who are supposed to be serving out best interest, it is not Toyota's job. I'm working for a coalition that is trying to persuade Congress to stand strong against the tactics of Toyota and others who would like to see the standards lowered. It is easy to help by reaching out to your representatives directly through this petition: www.energybill2007.org. Thanks for bringing this important moment in environmental policy to your readers attention! We all have a chance to do something big here!

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Film of the September Global Warming Protest

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Greenpeace staged a protest against the Bush Administration’s meeting on Energy Security and Climate Change in late September.

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Ha-Ha-Halloween

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Author: the Inkslinger

A Friday Funny for your seasonal end-of-week amusement...

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www.7g.cnn.tv

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Author: the Inkslinger

CNN visited the office a while back and spent an afternoon interviewing Jeffrey and videoing this and that around the office. The result is a snazzy little profile that can be viewed on the CNNMoney site. It’s an interesting glimpse of life in these climes. As somebody who’s been with the company since it was mail order catalog that struggled mightily to reach even bare bones survival sales of $5 million a year and quite often depended on the kindness of strangers to make it to the next quarter, it is completely utterly amazing to me to hear Jeffrey talk about seeing the the $250-500 million mark on the horizon. That’s like half a billion dollars. Holy burstin’ bankroll, Batman! That’s huge chunk of change. And I mean change as in changing minds, changing attitudes, changing ways, and changing the world. Good deal…

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Finding Furniture

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Author: the Inkslinger

As someone who recently moved to a “new” house and is doing a bit of furnishing, I’ve been concerned about what those furnishings might do to our new home’s air quality. This excellent article from yesterday’s San Francisco Chronicle shows why.

It’s something not a lot of people realize: home furnishings can be a prime source unhealthy formaldehyde, flame retardants, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other chemical bugaboos that get loose and pollute indoor environments. Things to watch out for range from out-gassing formaldehyde from pressed wood products to stain and fire-retardant treatments. Here’s a quick list of ways that my wife and I are trying to keep these things down to a minimum as we try to find a place to sit around here:

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Correcting Toyota’s Wrong Turn

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Author: the Inkslinger

We’ve had a few things to say about Toyota’s disappointing decision to oppose efforts to increase average fuel efficiency standards to 35 mpg by 2020. And apparently we’re not the only ones. Nine environmental orgs have come together to create a new website, TruthAboutToyoya.com and jump start the effort to convince the automaker to do the right thing.

There are going to be rallies at Toyota dealerships to call attention to the issue and some full page ads in big national newspapers. Hopefully by the time it’s all over, Toyota will figure out that its penny-wise-pound-foolish stance is driving its image (and sales) into the ditch, and the company will change its mind and actually be the responsible caring carmaker its marketing department keeps telling us it is. Visit the web site and check out what’s up. And if you’ve got a Prius or were thinking about one and maybe aren’t so much anymore, the most effectove action you can take is to tell the company how you feel. (There’s a page on the new website that makes it easy to send your own message.)

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Now THIS Is Scary…

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Author: the Inkslinger

Checking in for a quick second to forward this creepy article
from Seattle’s KOMO-TV about the spooky stuff lurking in Halloween costumery. Talk about things things that go boo in your body… Parents and everyone else be warned about these untreat-like tricks being played on our little boys and ghouls. We gotta think for ourselves and be precautionarily proactive on stuff like this so it doesn’t haunt us later. Don’t think just because it’s for sale that it’s safe. These deregulated days there are absolutely no guarantees. Caveat emptor.

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Where Green Is Greenest

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Author: the Inkslinger

Unless they’re being offered by gap-toothed late-night comedians, I’m generally not a big fan of top ten lists. Or bottom ten lists for that matter. Or really rankings of any kind. What rates, why doesn’t, and why is so subjective that most attempts to order a given subject from best to worst quickly devolve into exercises in abject absurdity for one reason or another, not the least of which is who can really know?

Still, sometimes we can learn a few general things from such lists, especially if they’re based on some kind of objective methodology (though the sceptic can always argue these, too!) So it is that we find Forbes magazine with a new ranking of the greenest states in which our fair state of Vermont ties with Oregon for the number one position. Here in the Green Mountains we’ve got a really low per-capita carbon footprint, which helped vault us to the top of this particular heap.

I’m guessing Vermonters are winning the greenstakes because so many of us heat with wood, and we’ve got to have one of the highest rates of Prius ownership in the world. (Those things are so everywhere here that my daughter and I are able to amuse ourselves on the road with a spot-the-Prius game.) We also have an official state office dedicated to promoting energy conservation that spends more per citizen on the task than any other state. And we are second only to Hawaii in terms of the least amount of toxic waste produced.

See where your state ranks and then see if you can beat us next year…

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David Gershon and the Low Carbon Diet

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We are working with David Gershon's program (presented in his book Low Carbon Diet) at 7th Gen and in local Verm

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