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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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Green Around the Edges

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Author: the Inkslinger

Meet Kimberly Paulk, today's guest blogger for a Wednesday. Kimberly says she spends her time writing, enjoying her family, and engaging in the noble pursuit of trying to figure out how to stop screwing up the planet for our kids.

As an (almost) daily reader of The Inspired Protagonist, I finally decided to create a blog specific to my neck of the woods – Charlotte, North Carolina. The focus is being green…or at least, greener than you were the day, week or month before. I look at this as a journey, and I’m not “there” yet. I think there are a lot of people like me, trying to live a little more consciously but perhaps not quite sure how to do it. Green Around The Edges – Charlotte is for those folks, who are just trying to figure it out as they go along. The amount of information out there about the environment, along with the chorus of “don’t do this” and “never do that” can be overwhelming, and that can lead to apathy. So as I take baby steps, I share my progress and resources here in Charlotte with my blog audience, and hopefully we’ll all arrive at our destination together - and on time.

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If You Have Your Nails Done Read This!

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While I never have, I know many who make it a weekly ritual to visit a nail salon to get painted.

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Making Good Things Bloom

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Author: the Inkslinger

Here's the first guest post of the week, this one from Inspired Protagonist Christina Frutiger of Gig Harbor, Washington...

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Back to the Future

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This weekend my family and I returned to New York City for a four-month stay after 15 years in Vermont. Our move was prompted by having two of our three children attend New York University this Fall. Our youngest daughter will spend the semester at the local Rudolf Steiner School.

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Media Madness

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Author: the Inkslinger

For our next trick, we will take a single small company and make it appear very nearly almost everywhere at once…

Here we are taking 2nd place in Cook’s Country magazine’s dishwashing liquid tests.

Last week, Jeffrey appeared on WOR radio’s Joan Hamburg Show in New York City. You can hear his segment here (scroll down to August 29, Hour 1).

Jeffrey is also featured on the Fast Company blog in this interview outtake from the magazine’s September cover story on Greenpeace’s Adam Werbach.

And in the strange world of product placement, ours have been getting placed on Hollywood sets left and right. You have to look closely at the background scenery, (kitchen sets are usually the places to scrutinize) and having a DVR for pausing purposes helps, but our stuff has been playing a minor supporting role on The New Adventures of Old Christine not to mention Jeanne Tripplehorn's kitchen on the HBO series Big Love, as well as the countertops of Rachael Ray and Bravo's Top Chef.

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Energy Changes

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Author: the Inkslinger

Almost three weeks ago, my family moved to a new home. As much as I love it here, I’m finding that I’m missing our old home’s energy systems, which were fairly sustainable from a climate crisis perspective. Over the course of our decade-long occupancy, we had gradually replaced all the existing appliances with new EnergyStar models, and all the lighting with CF sources. We phased out our furnace and learned how to heat entirely with wood, a renewable local resource we burned in a catalytic stove. Our hot water came from electricity, which in Vermont comes largely from our one nuke plant and from Hydro-Quebec. (I know both of those sources have some serious environmental problems associated with them, problems for which I’ve actually been arrested protesting, but from a carbon POV, they’re alright.).

Now we do it all with oil. And because the new place has no basement, the furnace sits in a utility room directly behind my home office. Whenever anyone runs the hot water longer than 15 seconds or so, I hear it kick it in and burn, burn, burn. The carbon counter in my head starts spinning. It’s driving me completely nuts, and the heat’s not even on yet. Combine that with old appliances, too much track lighting, and a wood stove so ancient it looks like Ben Franklin himself built it, and I’ve suddenly got an energy problem.

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Freaky Friday

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Author: the Inkslinger

One thing you can always say about Nature… She’s never lacks for curveballs. Here’s a fresh handful of mystery (one of my favorite things) to keep our sense of wonder alive as we say so long to summer.

First up, the wake-up call of all time. I simply cannot fathom the size of the mug of coffee I’d need if this were me.

Question: if you did snooze that long, would you have nightmares like this this?

Finally, there’s nothing like a big scary space hole to get one’s holiday weekend off to a rip roaring start.

Happy Labor Day, kids…

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The Culture of Cancer

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Author: the Inkslinger

Last night the CBS Evening News ran a piece on Kris Carr, director of the documentary Crazy Sexy Cancer and author of an accompanying book on cancer tips. Kris was diagnosed with a rare form of incurable cancer and since then has been defying the odds by not only surviving but flourishing. Hers is a genuine profile in true courage, and she’s a real inspiration on every level.

But I couldn’t help thinking that CBS missed the real story here, which is why is it that we now have what amounts to a cancer culture? Even forgetting for a moment the weird commercials for chemotherapy relief drugs on network TV or the whole oncology industry itself, we’re awash in survivors’ stories, how-to-beat-it books, motivational cancer speakers, and more. We’ve accepted freaky cancer rates and increasing incidences of once rare forms as normal and spun the whole idea off as a new market in which cancer is just business as usual.

The real question is: What’s causing all this cancer? Why have we come to have a cancer culture in the first place? What is it that's making so many of us so sick? Why has cancer touched so many lives that it’s able to spawn its own industry and a constant flood of news stories, it’s own markets and its own communities? When are journalists going to start asking about the cause instead of simply interviewing the tragic results?

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Notes From a Media Junkie

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Author: the Inkslinger

A couple of random media notes of possible interest…

The new season of Living with Ed premiered last weekend on HGTV. I missed the first season, so I’m kind of behind on the whole Ed concept, but the basic idea is we follow actor and hardcore enviro-dude Ed Begley, Jr. around as he leads a seriously green life. Where last season trailed him at home, this season apparently tags along as as he eco-audits celebrity pals and helps them go green. It’s more interesting than I thought it would be, and I am very amused by Ed’s exasperated wife who is less than enthused by but nonetheless tolerant of Ed’s deep green habits. It’s worth watching if you have HGTV. Years ago, when Seventh Gen was a catalog, and I was one of its customer service reps, and Ed was one of its customers, he and I had a nice long talk about what was then his radical green lifestyle. He’s a great guy who walks the talk. I bet he’s converted half of Hollywood …

Also found an interesting new website blog thing called the Daily Green. It’s one of those catch-all sites that covers all the green bases, but it’s got a nice look and a lot of the content is pretty interesting. (I like the weird weather climate crisis photo blog. A novel way to bring the point that something’s up banging home.) The site is from the Hearst Corporation, so I’m instinctively a little suspicious. (Can’t ever seem to quite bring myself to instantly and automatically trust the output of giant multinational corporations whatever that output might be). Still, on first glance, this one seems kosher. Time will tell…

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