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   Meriden to Receive Electric Generating Plant
   House Recognizes Connecticut-Massachusetts Trail
   Winsted High School to Receive Solar Technology
   Focus the Nation Lectures are Spurring Environmental Action
   Septic System Overhaul Receives Financial Support
   Trail to be Constructed in Elmwood Area of West Hartford
   Seven Power Plants to be Built Throughout State
   Companies to Pay for Water Contamination
   New Campus to Incorporate Green Technology
   Alternative Energy Projects to Receive Funding
   Town’s Industrial Park Closer to Receiving Wind Power
   Active Oil Fined for Storing Contaminated Waste Oil
   Cornwall and Canaan to Receive Open Space
   Vernon School Oil Tanks Need Replacement
   Contract to Expire With Trash Plant
   Plainville to House New Biomass Power Plant
   Rates Cut by Connecticut Electric Supplier
   New Haven Supports Carbon Cap
   Wallingford to Invest in Energy Cooperative
   Protected Land to be Bought by State
   Land Needed for Wastewater Treatment
   Schools to Receive Energy- and Cost-Friendly Plants
   Norwich Looks to Clean Contaminated Plot
   Unwarranted Fines Levied Against Stamford
   Single-Stream Recycling Hits East Coast
   Hearing to be Held Regarding Wood-Burning Plant
   Board of Selectmen Approves Energy Conservation Committee
   Open Space Initiative to go to Referendum
   Fledgling Environmental Group Elects Officers
   EPA Recognizes Excellent Air Quality at Ridgefield Schools
   Clean River Project Receives Donations
   Redding Receives Community Development Award
   Green Room Project for i.Park
   Barrels Finally Removed From Contaminated Waterbury Site
   Building Standards Guide Energy Conservation Efforts
   New Legislation Sets Greenhouse Gas Emissions Cap
   Reparations to be Paid for River Damage
   Coastal Trail to Receive State and Federal Funding
   Durham Residents Unfavorable to Proposed Grocery Store
   Glastonbury Bolsters its Eco-Friendly Dial-A-Ride Fleet
   Fairfield’s GE Energy sells $1 Billion in Wind Turbines
   United States Performs Poorly on Environmental Ranking
   Yale University Leader in Greenhouse Gas Reduction
   Green Cleaning Method to be Used in Milford Property
   New Eco Web site for Westport Residents
   Whole Foods to Discontinue Plastic Bags
   Bridgeport Power Plant Slated for Construction
   CECD to Conduct National Search for Brownfields Director
   What Was Won, What Was Lost
   State to Save Money and Increase Cleaner Greener Power
   Citizens Banks Announces Energy Efficiency Homeowner Loans
   National Law Firm Plans Eco-Friendly Office
   West Cornwell Store First in State to Retail Biodiesel
   One Fourth of U.S. Bird Species in Danger
   Direct Energy Launches Energy Contest
   Brothers Open Organic Restaurant
   Subway Takes Steps to Become More Eco-friendly
   Green Community Planned for Stamford
   Amenta/Emma Architects to Go Green
   Yale Opens Sustainable Café
   New Credentialing Organization Launched for Green Building Professionals
   How CT Legislators Vote on the Environment
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Little Ways to Save the World

Little Ways to Save the World


With the “green fever” going around, everyone is eager to help preserve the environment. Here are some small tips that make a big difference. Energy conservation can be simple, and has a huge impact. Read more...
Shopping for Sustainable Style

Shopping for Sustainable Style: Ekovaruhuset in New York City


With Earth-conscious stores for food, drinks and every home accessory you could need, what about clothing? Until recently, shopping for sustainable style meant going online. Read more...
Eco 101: Shop Fair Trade

tea plantation and farmer

Eco 101: How to Shop Fair Trade


Our Eco 101 article last week listed the values behind fair trade: pay a fair price for the goods you buy; deal fairly and respectfully with your trading partners; treat men and women equally, and treat children like children;  provide safe and healthy working conditions; treat the environment with respect and concern for its health and sustainability.  Read the full article here .

You make a difference by choosing fair trade products when you buy coffee, at the grocery store, as beautiful handicrafts and now when ordering flowers too.

Read more...
Going Nuts for the Environment

Jatropha Seeds

Going Nuts for the Environment


As a nut allergy sufferer I have generally regarded nuts with much distaste, but with new developments in biofuels created from nuts I might have to rethink my position. Across the world researchers are looking for ways to stop global warming and decrease human dependence on fossil fuels. Read more...
Ten Simple Contributions

power plant emissions

Ten Simple Contributions You can Make to Reduce Global Warming


Scientists estimate that Glacier National Park in Montana will not have a single glacier left by 2030.  Scary thought that a National Park, and its singular attraction will disappear from the face of the earth in what amounts to the blink of an eye if we do not change our ways, take steps to reduce dramatic climate changes being brought on by Global Warming.  Read more...
The Graying of the Greens

The Graying Of The Greens

With Aging Memberships, Environmental Groups Reach Out To Younger Members

Something's happened to Connecticut's venerable environmental groups. They're aging, often dominated by members and leaders well into their 50s and beyond. Greens gone gray.

It has them worried. Read more...
Eco 101: Fair Trade

Fair Trade logo

Eco 101: What is Fair Trade?


You probably noticed the fair trade logo first on coffee, and might have wondered what role it plays in environmental activism.

Fair trade is an organized social movement powered by individuals who back their values with their dollars. What are these values?

Read more...
Nike Releases Shoe Made From Manufacturing Waste

words torn from magazine spell recycle

Nike Releases Shoe Made From Manufacturing Waste


Nike has released the Nike Trash Talk, a basketball shoe made from
manufacturing waste. The Nike Trash Talk is modeled after the shoe of
Phoenix Suns guard Steve Nash and meets Nike's Considered Design
Standards.

Read more...
Students Urged to take Climate Change Challenge


Connecticut students are invited to take part in "Cool It! The Climate Change Challenge," a two-year program in which middle school and high school students create local solutions to climate change. Teams learn about climate science, focus on how human activities contribute to climate change and then create a plan to help solve the problem. Last year, more than 150 students from seven state schools participated in the program. The winning high school division team, from E.O. Smith High School in Mansfield, received $4,000 for developing a plan to educate and encourage the school and town to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Strategies included getting residents to sign up for the clean energy option on their electric bill. The deadline for applications for the Cool It program is Feb. 11. For more information, visit www.coolitchallenge.org.
Knitting in the Nutmeg State: Connecticut’s Appreciation for Yarn

As the seasons change and years roll by like minutes, knitting is one hobby that stretches between countries, generations and genders. Though it used to be seen as an activity only your grandmother or great-grandmother would take part in, knitting has experienced a revival among younger generations looking to buck against the ongoing trends of commercialization and mass production. Using sustainable yarns for projects is also becoming a popular, specialized section of the crafty market, including organic wool, bamboo, hemp, organic cotton, soy, and corn fibers. Read more...
Insulation Isn't Only for Your Home—It's Also For You.

After you've insulated your home, think about insulating your body. That doesn't mean building up extra fat, it means dressing and eating for optimal warmth.

Dress for success – at keeping warm, that is
You wouldn't think of going outside in the middle of winter wearing shorts and a t-shirt, would you? Well, you can dress for warmth when you're inside, too. That way you can keep both your thermostat and energy bills down – without being uncomfortable or walking around in a snowsuit.

Many of the same rules for dressing for the outdoors apply for the indoors.

Minimize body heat loss by wearing several loose layers of clothing made from dense material such as wool, polar fleece, and down. The layers trap air and provide extra insulation. If you do get a little too warm, just peel off a layer. Read more...
Celebs, Cars, Causes and Hypocrisy - Benefits?

by Alexis James

In the quest for a cleaner, healthier planet, there are changes most of us are willing to make and things we are not—save those living in harmony with nature in a sustainable community or commune. But there are lots of things that even the most ordinary person could be doing: little changes that won’t make us feel deprived, but when done collectively, make a difference. Like trading in a plastic water bottle for a re-usable one, driving less or using reusable bags.

So it's reasonable to say that we shouldn't expect the celebrities at the forefront of the green movement to be perfect: after all, they too are only human. But what is the message when we see an actor in the news touting “the cause”, and then flying away from the event in his private jet.

And there are more than a few inconsistencies between the message and the messenger.

Not that Paris Hilton is a great example of anything except what NOT to do, but the heiress recently listed some of the basic things she does to reduce her carbon footprint. Things like turning off the lights and not leaving the TV running. Again, basic things everyone can do without feeling any sort of pinch. And she did mention she was looking into getting a hybrid - but only if she could find a cute one!

Hayden Panettiere also sang the praises of a hybrid vehicle, and said this summer that she would get rid of her Porsche SUV.  But as of December 2008, she continues to drive the gas-guzzler.

George Clooney made the alternative-fuel vehicle jump a couple of years ago when he purchased a tiny electric car called the "Tango" that is said to go from zero to sixty in 4 seconds. But does zipping around town occasionally in an EV balance the use of his private jet?

People “in the know” claim that Al Gore uses 20 times the national energy average of per-person energy consumption to run his mansion. Sure he buys carbon off-sets and works to motivate thousands around the world to change their ways, but do his personal actions speak louder than his words?

On the other end of the green spectrum, some are worried that celebs like Sheryl Crow, whose advice includes limiting toilet paper use to one square per sitting and wearing clothing with detachable dining sleeves instead of using napkins, will turn the public off to green altogether.

At what point do we hold people in the spotlight to a higher standard than the general public? Have they just drawn their own lines as we all have? Sure they could be doing more, but couldn't we all? Many of these celebs are already doing more than a lot of us - contributing more, campaigning more, raising more awareness. Should we let it go at that?

Considering that the US is behind the eight ball – still trying to get people to recycle, still trying to convince people that global warming is real – the “do what you can” mentality seems like our best bet right now. Sure, there are probably little things that everyone can and should do beyond that, like recycling, or using a reusable water bottle. But maybe we should leave the decision about how far to take “green convictions” up to the individual person. Should we judge celebrities if they're doing what they can in a lot of areas and maybe falling short in a few others? It seems like the rest of us probably fall into this same category.
What Would Jesus Buy?


As you can probably tell by its name, the Church of Stop Shopping isn't your normal "church." They don't have a brick-and-mortar building. And they preach a different kind of salvation—a salvation from consumerism, from greed, and from the consumption they believe is creating not only an unhealthy planet, but emotionally unhealthy people.

Now, with a famed Hollywood producer behind them, they're taking their message beyond the shopping malls and stores they usually picket.  Morgan Spurlock—who produced the documentary "Supersize Me" and the docu-series "30 Days"— recently released his latest docu-comedy about the Church of Stop Shopping and its leader, Reverend Billy. Read more...
Humanity Is Just Another Species: Author’s Ideas and Online Community

Not every author has a world-wide, online presence enabling free thinkers to go out and change their environment, but then again, Daniel Quinn isn’t just any author.

Quinn has written over a dozen full-length novels, but he’s most popular for Ishmael, released by Bantam in 1992. It examines mythology, its effect on ethics, and how that relates to sustainability. Ishmael was awarded the $500,000 Turner Tomorrow Fellowship Award, an award for authors whose fiction helps produce solutions to global problems. The book is the first of a trilogy including The Story of B and My Ishmael.

Ishmael uses unconventional means to tell an innovative story; a gorilla teaches a student about the whys and hows of the modern world, using biblical analogies and anthropological theory.

The book still circulates, along with other Quinn manuscripts like The Story of B and After Dachau and continues to draw in readers.

Central to Quinn’s ideology is the idea of humanity not as a uniquely sentient and supremely created being, but as one species, one whose behaviors may be questionable.

While Quinn talks about ‘animism’ and similar belief structures, he does not claim to have all the answers for solving the world’s problems. Instead of being ‘primers’, his books are interactive. Readers are implicitly asked to act on what they have read, and Quinn’s work has created a ‘community’ of people from all walks of life who want to use theory to their, and their world’s, advantage. “Teacher seeks pupil.” reads Ishmael’s catalytic newspaper ad.  “Must have an earnest desire to save the world.”

Now, fifteen years after Ishmael was introduced to the public, readers can gather online to brainstorm about how to deal with the issues raised in Quinn’s books. Read more...
Clothing Swap
two young women with shopping bags
Fashion conscious and environmentally-conscious trendsetters rejoice!  If you're a little beyond getting used clothes from a thrift store, have we got the answer for you: Clothing Swap – an opportunity to get glamorous clothes on the cheap, along with a night of mingling, drinking and pampering.
If you've ever gone through your closet and bemoaned the idea of getting rid of well-loved clothes that had once fetched a fair price, lament no longer. Sure, there are other options out there for getting rid of — and buying — used and recycled clothes, as opposed to purchasing new items. There are places like higher-end consignment boutiques, hip clothing exchange stores and a few other possibilities. What sets the idea of Clothing Swap apart is that you can get something for next to nothing. (And we're not just talking about cheap clothes.)

Here's how it works:

Clothing Swap started in San Francisco and is working on expanding in other cities – but there's no reason you couldn't start your own as well. It offers a barter/swap environment where people clean out their closets, and bring it to the swap destination. Their website advises those taking part to bring "CLEAN, new (and gently worn) shoes, clothing and accessories," in all manner of sizes and styles. They are all brought in bagged, and sorted before the mad dash for the sensational swap begins.
And here's a little bonus – most of these events are hosted in hip nightspots, restaurants, bars and clubs.  What's better than drinking, dancing, gal pals and free clothes? Many functions even offer spa-treatments like chair massage, makeup application, manis/pedis, and facials.
But men – fear not! Clothing Swap recently added events for the closet-space-challenged male. Which creates a similar environment for guys to get free, hip clothes as well.

The cover charge is usually minimal (often only between $10-$30) – considering all the great digs you'll walk away with. Once the swapping begins, it's an organized free-for-all, with people roaming tables and racks, trying things on, and free to take what they please.

Overall, it is a terrific new way to recycle, refresh your wardrobe and meet some new, like-minded buddies. What could be better?
Sworn to be Conscious

Bamboo Forest
With a name like “Sworn Virgins,” it’s hard not to ask questions.  Which is exactly what the people behind the name are hoping for.  It’s not as illicit as it sounds — but it is revolutionary.  Just like their namesake, this company is making a promise — a promise to only use sustainable products to make their clothes.  Ok, so the actuality isn’t as sexy as you might first imagine.  But the idea is hip, and definitely unique — kind of like swearing to remain a virgin was a few years ago with certain members of young Hollywood. (Who just so happens to love the line of clothing.  Interesting.)

Sworn Virgins uses bamboo to make their clothing — all while keeping prices to what you would expect to pay at a boutique clothing store — in other words, not super cheap, but not way over-priced either. They say their knits are “luxurious and super soft.”  Kind of ironic when you think about the gigantic cane these clothes come from.

Swornvirgins.com links to shops and boutiques that sell their items online.  But it’s kind of a hassle to have all these windows popping up.  They also have a list of locations throughout the U.S. that have actual store fronts.  Places like Kitson in LA, Ambiance in San Francisco, Project 234 in New York City, and a Nose For Clothes in Miami.  Check their website, because Sworn Virgins is in every state, and probably in your city!  
Kids Books with Environmental Themes

KidsbooksThanks to this post on Treehugger.com, we've discovered that our wish for kids books that deal with issues of sustainability has come true!

"There’s a couple of new books out for kids that have just been released by the Eden Project, gotten some great reviews, and may be a terrific addition to a school library or home collection. After all, what better than a classroom or bedtime story with a positive message about protecting the environment?

The first is George Saves the World by Lunchtime, by Jo Readman and Ley Honor Roberts which features a boy named George, his sister, dog, and grandfather. The message to kids being that yes, you can help save the world through simple everyday actions such as repairing items that are broken and recycling regularly as his grandfather teaches him throughout the book.

The second book being The World Came To My Place Today. It’s been written by the same pair of authors with the same set of characters, but discusses where everyday household items actually come from. And with most kids today probably suspecting all good things come from stores while completely missing the connection with the environment that actually provides them, I suspect that helping kids understand their personal impact on the environment is tops on the list of teachers and parents everywhere. Happy Reading!"

Natural Beauty--You Don't Have to Give Up Your Lipgloss to be Green
Image

by Anneli C. Olila  

With the world turning more and more green, you may have found yourself perusing more frequently through the organic section in the supermarket.  Sometimes, you may actually buy an organic tomato or bell pepper if it isn’t triple the price of the shiny non-organic version right across the aisle. You might even bring your own bag to the store (hopefully something a little fashionable) in which to place your organic tomato, which earns you a 5-cent discount for being a responsible citizen.

It feels good to be recognized for being a good citizen, so you start doing more. You get yourself some of those green recycling containers and start diligently separating glass, plastic, and paper, proudly dragging your containers out to the curb each Tuesday morning. You’ve become a regular at Trader Joe’s, and now have a wide range of stylish bring-your-own shopping bags from which to choose, depending upon the color of your outfit. You have, in a word, officially gone green. Read more...
Voltaic Solar Bags Turn a Darker Shade of Green

New fabrics made from recycled soda bottles

New York, NY November 20, 2007 - Voltaic Systems, the company that created the solar bag and continues to lead the market, has taken another step in providing green energy solutions for a mobile society.

In time for the holidays, Voltaic's newest line of bags are manufactured using innovative new fabrics made from recycled soda bottles (P.E.T.). Soda bottles had previously been used to make fleece, but Voltaic worked with suppliers to develop rugged new materials suitable for outdoor bags and extended exposure to the sun.

"Our objective is to push the envelope in the development of sustainable products.", says Shayne McQuade, founder of Voltaic Systems. "Using fabric made from recycled soda bottles is an important step in the right direction. We use significantly less energy to produce the fabric, we help grow the market for recycled materials, and we promote new fabric options which will ideally make it easier for the mass market brands to follow suit."


Read more...
Handbags--From Junk to Funk

AgainWhen shopping for the perfect gift for the stylish woman in your life, consider handbags made from repurposed materials. Environmental advocate and designer Allison Teich scours thrift stores and garage sales for unusual vintage fabrics, buttons, ties and belts to create her unique line of handbags. By creatively transforming materials from bygone eras into reliable, hip bags and accessories, beautiful materials that may otherwise be headed to a landfill are revived into functional and fashionable accessories for everyday life.

aGaiN NYC’s products are made from rescued or repurposed materials (junk) and transformed into stylish accessories for modern life (funk). From laptop bags to yoga mat holders and one-of-a-kind clutches, aGaiN products are made in the United States, and a portion of profits are donated to environmental charities.