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LIVING GREEN
The Green Carpet: Hollywood

Documentary Captures High-speed, Zero-Emissions Motorcycle Grand Prix

What do you hope viewers take away after seeing it?
I hope people enjoy the movie as an entertaining and emotive story about a highly unusual group of characters who set out to do something extraordinarily difficult, and by and large succeeded against the odds and in spite of all the cynics. It also has an educational value. I learned a lot myself and I’ve heard from engineering students at MIT and other universities that it was an inspiration to them. There are more university teams doing the race each year. If the film helps inspire a new generation of engineers it will be doing something very useful–this technology has many applications and the world has plenty of problems for future engineers to solve.


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TV On the Front Lines of an Extinction Crisis

In Battleground: Rhino Wars, U.S. military men take on South Africa’s bloody rhino conflict.
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Portlandia: Because We Can Laugh At Ourselves

portlandia season 3

Every six months, TV writers gather in Los Angeles to preview new shows and interview the casts—one highly-anticipated panel was IFC’s half-hour social satire, Portlandia, starring and created by Fred Armisen (Saturday Night Live) and Carrie Brownstein.

Fred and Carrie met when her band Sleater-Kenny performed on Saturday Night Live—and creative sparks flew. What started as short videos about Fred and Carrie’s comedy take on Portland morphed into Portlandia, under the brilliant direction of their third partner, Jonathan Krisel.

So, why Portland? Besides being Carrie’s hometown, the city is a breeding ground for PC satire. “It’s the most sane city,” insists Krisel. “Everyone in the city has kind of collectively decided, ‘We’re going to have a great life. If we work or don’t work, we’re going to support our local restaurants and grocery stores and drink our local coffee.’ When you’re there, it’s like utopia.”

Carrie begs to differ. “I think [Portland] is totally insane. I think to live in a way that’s, like, meaningful and good, takes a lot of thinking and over thinking. It’s a beautiful center you can focus on, but on the periphery is a lot of craziness, for sure, which is what makes the city charming.”

That craziness translates to eccentric, bold, and funny sketch characters, like Portland’s openly reggae mayor, overly eco-conscious couple Peter and Nance, and Toni and Candice, uber-feminist proprietors of “Women and Women First” bookstore. “In this season, Peter and Nance open up a B&B,” says Carrie. “Peter and Nance are a very unctuous and cloying couple. They formed such an imperfect boundary with one another, and it’s so easy to create tension. It’s fun to play with this intense dynamic that can so easily be thwarted.”

Just about every city in America can point to a Portlandia-like bohemian/hippie contingent, you know, the folks who work a bit too hard at being spiritual, conscious, and politically correct. This allows the show to hilariously poke fun at these activists and hipsters—the crafty DIYers who sew, paint, and stencil birds on everything in a “Put a Bird on It” campaign; insanely overprotective dog parents at a dog park; people with obscure allergies bringing awareness to their ailments at the Allergy Pride Parade; overzealous eco-minded “sanitation” twins starring in a preachy PSA; and the generation we love to hate parodied in “Dream of the Nineties,” a music video lauding Portland as the place young people go to retire.

Portlandia’s not about to retire, with the newest season featuring guest stars like Roseanne Barr, Jeff Goldblum, Chloe Sevigny (playing a transplant from Seattle and Fred and Carrie’s new roommate), Patton Oswald, and Martina Navratilova. New season 3 episodes are on IFC, Fridays at 10 pm ET/PT.


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TV and Film Tackle 'Fracking' Debate

“What if I told you that we have a new source of fuel?” begins New York Times technology reporter David Pogue in a recent CBS Morning News cover story. “It’s cheap, it burns cleaner than coal, it’s found right here in America, and there’s enough of it for the next hundred years. This fuel is natural gas and its source is gigantic deposits of shale rock from miles underground.”

And more good news? Pogue reports that with our 36,000 fracking wells in America, the price of natural gas dropped by 33 percent since 2006, and supplies are plentiful enough that we are about to export it. It also can make millionaires out of struggling farmers.

Matt Damon and John Krasinski in a scene from Promised Land

In Promised Land, Matt Damon is Steve Butler, who represents a $9 billion a year natural gas company and buys rights from farmers and rural townsfolk to use their land to set up fracking wells. Problem is, the process of fracking is imperfect, and even potentially dangerous.

“Sure, it's a clean and efficient resource,” says the town’s trusted science teacher Frank Yates, played by Hal Holbrook. “But the way they go about getting it is some dirty business.”

Here’s how the "dirty business" works. The gas is locked inside the shale rock, so we drill about a mile down below the water line, then make a right turn horizontally before injecting millions of gallons of water and chemicals at extremely high pressures to open the rock and free the gas and oil. As Pogue points out, we’ve been fracturing rocks for oil for more than 60 years. “But in the last decade, we’ve totally transformed the process by adding that horizontal business . . . all the chemicals . . . and the colossal pressure of the water.”


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Electric Car Parade

Santa Monica, California drew the stars and cars early on Sunday, Oct. 16 to help celebrate National Plug In Day. The event, a joint effort between Plug In America, the Sierra Club, and the Electric Auto Association, was held in 21 cities, with electric vehicle owners participating in parades, tailpipe-free tailgate parties, and other festive grassroots events. "It's wonderful to see all these cars with plugs," raved actor and eco-activist Ed Begley, Jr. at the Santa Monica parade. "I've had a Rav4 electric for ten years come February and [it has] 94,000 miles."

national plug in day parade 2011

Begley—joined by "Revenge of the Electric Car" producer Chris Paine, former "Baywatch" actress Alexandra Paul, model pitchman Fabio, Los Angeles Congresswoman Janice Hahn, and Air Force veteran Tim Goodrich—snapped photos and spoke to a crowd at Santa Monica's city hall before sending 188 eco-friendly vehicles down the road.

"It was so quiet as we drove that we could talk to people along the route," says parade participant Deb LaCusta, who steered her new bright blue Nissan LEAF alongside her husband, actor Dan Castellaneta (the voice of Homer on "The Simpsons"). "It was fun to be involved and get the message out."

Iraq war vet Goodrich delivered an exceptionally poignant message. "While serving in the Middle East, I quickly realized that America's involvement had a lot to do with our need for gas and fossil fuels." Eventually Goodrich grew opposed to the war and returned to America after his tour to champion electric vehicles.

Not that driving electric makes for an easy cause. Critics are quick to point out the obstacles: they often lack power and run on expensive lithium batteries that only last for several years. Batteries need to be constantly recharged, and the cars aren't great for long distances. "We talk about range anxiety and plugging in, and what happens to batteries," admits producer Paine, "but what really changes people is the experience of driving an electric car."


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Must-See Earth Week TV

Sure, it's probably a better idea to venture outdoors for some fun Earth Week activities this week, but if you find yourself playing couch potato and channel surfing, check out some of these inspired eco programs from our cable/network friends. Besides these suggestions, you might also tune into Planet Green (where every day is Earth Day), or Sundance's The Green programs to catch filmmaker Oliver Hodge's profile about sustainable architect Michael Reynolds in The Garbage Warrior (April 22).



The Today Show
Twice a year, NBCUniversal delivers environmentally themed content across all its multiple platforms. To help celebrate this year's Earth Day theme — reuse — The Today Show's Kathie Lee and Hoda Kobt select a finalist for The Art of ReUse Contest.

NBC Nightly News
NBC Nightly News Brian Williams looks at the impact of the Gulf oil disaster and talks to Ted Danson about his new book, Oceana (read The Daily Green's Oceana review). Anne Thompson, Chief Environmental Affairs correspondent, reports on the Gulf's environmental health and the state of its tourist industry.


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Can Keith Olbermann Fire Up Al Gore's Current TV?

keith olbermann

Inside a posh New York City restaurant frequented by the media elite, Al Gore celebrates his big get for Current TV -- ousted MSNBC's loudest voice, Keith Olbermann. "[He] is a gifted thinker, an amazing talent and a powerful communicator," says Current TV's Chairman Gore about his newest employee. "In a world where there are fewer and fewer opportunities to hear truly distinct, unfettered voices on television, we are delighted to provide Keith with the independent platform and freedom that Current can, and does uniquely offer."

"Now Olbermann will really never be seen or heard," snorts one radio talk show host, referring to Current TV's scant viewership -- Nielsen reports the channel gets as little as 25,000 viewers. Still, Gore hopes that Olbermann's new post as the company's Chief News Officer, along with his equity stake in Current Media, will bolster ratings. "Among his many talents, he has an eye for what works, what doesn't, who would be good on his show and potentially doing other shows," Gore tells reporters in a conference call.

At this week's upfronts, where TV executives showcase new programming for advertisers, the Olbermann news bought Current some much-needed currency. The channel's new shows are inspiring, especially for viewers who want what Current TV CEO Mark Rosenthal refers to as, "real reality programming, not scripted reality programming." Current TV seeks to open minds, spark conversations and form a deep connection with its viewers. Must-see meaningful TV? A noble concept, perhaps even Paddy Chayefsky would've approved.


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CBS Launches New EcoAd Program

ecoad logo from cbs and ecomedia

These days there is not a whole lot of sustainable news coming out of the Television Press Tour in Pasadena, California , but one bright spot is CBS. The network is putting its stamp, literally, on their eco-friendly advertisers.

Viewers will see the digital watermark "EcoAd" on commercials aired by companies that signed on to this "sustainable media" added value package, starting with Chevrolet, Safeway, PG&E, Sunpower, Boston Scientific, O Organics and the Port of Long Beach. A portion of the ad dollars is earmarked to fund solar panel installation, energy efficient school retrofitting, and lots of other local and national environmental and clean energy projects.

Nine months ago, CBS purchased EcoMedia, the driving force behind this advertising initiative. EcoMedia founder Paul Polizzotto cooked up the plan to use ad market dollars to fund eco projects. Now partnered with CBS, the EcoAd advertising opportunity is open to all platforms: network, local, television, radio, outdoor and online. "When an ad features the leaf, it sends a powerful message to viewers that the brand is committed to both the environment and the communities they serve," Polizzotto said in an interview.

Some eco critics are calling this CBS move "greenwash." They complain there is not enough oversight on the companies that might be an "egregious polluter or spends tons of cash lobbying against environmental laws and regulations."

Yet one environmental hero, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., offers his thumbs up: "EcoMedia's EcoAd program has been one of the best ideas I have encountered to conserve and protect our natural resources. Cities get much needed funds, communities get cleaner water, air and green spaces, and corporations can put their resources to work for the betterment of society."


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Animal Planet's "Blood Dolphins" Shines Harsh Light on Captive Dolphin Trade

northern right whale dolphins

Days ago, I was surrounded by a pod of Spinner dolphins off the coast of Maui, Hawaii. There must've been at least fifty of them, including babies that looked like silver nerf balls skimming the surface as they bounced up and down, budding their small heads.

The dolphins were not in any hurry, so they flipped and dived around us in almost choreographed repetition, some flipping airborne at least three feet above water. Our small eco tour group cheered at each leap and delighted as they swam close enough to our raft to touch them.

After this experience, I couldn't help but think about "Blood Dolphins," an upcoming three-part series on Animal Planet produced by Ric and Lincoln O'Barry, the father/son activists featured in last year's Oscar award-winning documentary The Cove. I recently attended a Television Press Tour Q&A with the filmmakers, where a reporter queried, "Why save dolphins?"

The elder O'Barry responded with the thoughtful passion that bears out his five-plus decades of marine work: "[Throughout history] dolphins have saved the lives of humans. That's special. That's altruism. That's communication." He believes they are highly intelligent, self-aware and complex creatures. The surreal experience of these seemingly foreign creatures practically performing, and interacting with my raft group, made me appreciate their supreme nature all the more.

Witnessing dolphins swimming free in their habitat first-hand is one thing, but O'Barry is vehemently opposed to captive environments. "We've been brainwashed into thinking that dolphins belong in a concrete tank doing tricks for us, and somehow that translates into conservation," says the activist who once trained Flipper, America's favorite dolphin. "Flipper was a blood dolphin. Shamu is a blood dolphin. That is the reality of it. My hope is that with 'Blood Dolphins,' viewers will think twice about seeing a captive dolphin show."

"One of the dirty little secrets is, where did these animals come from?" offers the younger O'Barry. "They didn't just magically appear in these aquariums. In countries where they allow the slaughter of dolphins, typically they're also allowing the export of dolphins."


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Newsman Bob Woodruff's Biggest Story Is the Environment

bob woodruff journalist of planet green focus earth

In January of 2006, Americans were horrified to learn ABC's World News Tonight anchorman Bob Woodruff suffered grave injuries from a roadside Iraqi bomb. His severe brain trauma forced doctors to put the award-winning journalist into a medically induced coma for a month; shrapnel was lodged in his face, neck and back, and his skull was shattered. No one could say whether the 44-year-old father of four would walk or talk again.

Three years earlier, another high-profile media personality (and Woodruff's close pal), 39-year-old NBC news correspondent David Bloom, died from a pulmonary embolism during the initial Iraq invasion. Of course Bloom's death was mourned, but by the time Woodruff was injured, Americans were decidedly mixed about being in Iraq and distressed over the thousands of wounded and dead soldiers. For many, Woodruff's plight became personal. "He put a face on the injured," Paul Rieckhoff, executive director of the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, told the New York Times, calling Woodruff "the most visible wounded person in this war."

For months Woodruff defied expectations and fought his way back from extensive neuro-damage. A little over a year later, he was back on ABC News, reporting about his recovery and profiling soldiers with traumatic brain injuries. The only remnant of Woodruff's multiple injuries is mild aphasia, occasional difficulty finding the appropriate word. But that hasn't stopped the intrepid newsman from tackling the global climate change battle.

Besides continuing as an anchor for ABC News, last year Woodruff launched "Focus Earth," a weekly series on the 24/7 eco network Planet Green. "I tried for so many years to do more stories on climate change," Woodruff tells The Daily Green. "It hasn't been an easy topic to get on the news, but now you're seeing a huge outpouring of these stories." The eco-warrior continues: "I covered wars for so many years, but what happened to me means I'm still doing the international reporting, which I'm addicted to, but just not in war zones. Now it's environmental reporting."

And this new beat hasn't cramped Woodruff's travel itinerary. When we talked, he'd just returned from Indonesia, where he covered a story about garbage dumping in the oceans and deforestation. Just this past year, he trekked to Kenya, the Galapagos Islands, the Arctic and all across the United States, including West Virginia's coal country and his hometown Detroit. "Because of the Internet and media, we are now connected more closely than ever before," Woodruff says.

The Daily Green: What would you consider the big eco stories right now?

Bob Woodruff: The water issue, for sure. And deforestation. I just returned from Indonesia where we saw huge issues of this, and this leads to more endangered species. Also over-fishing. I went up to Alaska not long ago and we could see actual changes in the fish population between Alaska and Russia. Russia is passing very close to our border because they have a shortage of fish in their waters. And everyone from scientists to the Coast Guard is seeing how temperature change in the ocean impacts sea life.


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Lazy Environmentalist Debuts on TV Tuesday

Watch clips of the new show.

It was 1996 and Dorfman realized that his sales beat was on the cusp of a consumer explosion. The country was developing at breakneck speed and very soon, millions of bicyclists could very well be driving cars instead. Dorfman could hear mama nature weeping.

Inspired by his reckoning, Dorfman returned to the United States, earned an MBA in international business at Arizona's prestigious Thunderbird and set a goal: To find a balance between preserving nature and our insatiable desire to shop, shop, shop. No small task.

"I realized the one thing we do every day is consume," Dorfman says. "And rather than guilt trip or moralize, why not find a way to make the alternatives attractive enough so people will be drawn to it?"

So Dorfman began with shelter, selling eco-friendly furniture and home furnishings through his newly created company Vivavi. Eventually he became a highly successful eco entrepreneur and spokesperson for environmental change, appearing on Martha Stewart's show, writing columns and giving talks.

Someone close to Dorfman, however, felt he was more talk than walk. "Are you really an environmentalist?" she challenged. "You talk like one but you don't behave like one." She felt Dorman's personal habits, like taking long showers, did not line up with those of a true environmentalist. "She really ripped into me about this," he remembers.

"So two days later I wrote a blog called 'The Lazy Environmentalist.' I realized, like so many people, there are some areas in my life I'm not giving up. I still take long showers because I do my best thinking in the shower. And I don't want to drive a Prius; I'd rather have an Audi convertible, if I can afford one. It came down to this: What can I do to help people have the quality of life they want without ruining the planet? Guilt tripping does not move us to action.

"So I set out to find ways to take environmental action that also appeals to our self interest. We want to save money and we want to find the alternatives that are convenient."

Thus "The Lazy Environmentalist" boom began. The blog led to a Sirius radio show, more speaking engagements, a commentator gig on Sundance Channel's "Big Ideas for a Small Planet," and two books: The Lazy Environmentalist: Your Guide To Easy, Stylish, Green Living and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget: Save Money. Save Time. Save The Planet.

Premiering June 16, Dorfman hosts The Lazy Environmentalist series on the Sundance Channel. If you want to follow Dorfman on twitter, he's Lazy-E, or check out lazyenvironmentalist.com, a hub for greensters, offering up advice and product reviews.

thedailygreen: What are the best ways to be green and save money?

Josh Dorfman: The Internet is a great way to start. Sites like chegg.com rent college books to students, saving 65-85% of what textbooks cost, while reducing environmental impact. They even include a prepaid shipping box to send books back when done. We're starting to see this model extend to a lot of businesses: trading and swapping sites like swapstyle.com, where you can update your wardrobe without buying anything new; paperbackswap.com, and CD/DVD trading sites. Or Zipcar, a car sharing service that makes it possible to never own a car.

TDG: Any favorite sites?

JD: Goozex.com for gamers where you can trade games for a dollar. It's all about consuming less, reducing your impact, but still having the things you want.

TDG: Wow, that's helpful ... what else?

JD: Digitization is big. Like zinio.com, which offers magazines in digital format, but they do it right, they have cool features and archives. The subscriptions are usually more affordable without the paper or shipping costs involved.


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The Lazy Environmentalist's Green Tips for Slackers

Josh Dorfman's great green epiphany struck while he was in China selling Kryptonite bike locks to the masses.

It was 1996 and Dorfman realized that his sales beat was on the cusp of a consumer explosion. The country was developing at breakneck speed and very soon, millions of bicyclists could very well be driving cars instead. Dorfman could hear mama nature weeping.

Inspired by his reckoning, Dorfman returned to the United States, earned an MBA in international business at Arizona's prestigious Thunderbird and set a goal: To find a balance between preserving nature and our insatiable desire to shop, shop, shop. No small task.

"I realized the one thing we do every day is consume," Dorfman says. "And rather than guilt trip or moralize, why not find a way to make the alternatives attractive enough so people will be drawn to it?"

So Dorfman began with shelter, selling eco-friendly furniture and home furnishings through his newly created company Vivavi. Eventually he became a highly successful eco entrepreneur and spokesperson for environmental change, appearing on Martha Stewart's show, writing columns and giving talks.

Someone close to Dorfman, however, felt he was more talk than walk. "Are you really an environmentalist?" she challenged. "You talk like one but you don't behave like one." She felt Dorman's personal habits, like taking long showers, did not line up with those of a true environmentalist. "She really ripped into me about this," he remembers.

"So two days later I wrote a blog called 'The Lazy Environmentalist.' I realized, like so many people, there are some areas in my life I'm not giving up. I still take long showers because I do my best thinking in the shower. And I don't want to drive a Prius; I'd rather have an Audi convertible, if I can afford one. It came down to this: What can I do to help people have the quality of life they want without ruining the planet? Guilt tripping does not move us to action.

"So I set out to find ways to take environmental action that also appeals to our self interest. We want to save money and we want to find the alternatives that are convenient."

Thus "The Lazy Environmentalist" boom began. The blog led to a Sirius radio show, more speaking engagements, a commentator gig on Sundance Channel's "Big Ideas for a Small Planet," and two books: The Lazy Environmentalist: Your Guide To Easy, Stylish, Green Living and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget: Save Money. Save Time. Save The Planet.

Premiering June 16, Dorfman hosts The Lazy Environmentalist series on the Sundance Channel. If you want to follow Dorfman on twitter, he's Lazy-E, or check out lazyenvironmentalist.com, a hub for greensters, offering up advice and product reviews.

thedailygreen: What are the best ways to be green and save money?

Josh Dorfman: The Internet is a great way to start. Sites like chegg.com rent college books to students, saving 65-85% of what textbooks cost, while reducing environmental impact. They even include a prepaid shipping box to send books back when done. We're starting to see this model extend to a lot of businesses: trading and swapping sites like swapstyle.com, where you can update your wardrobe without buying anything new; paperbackswap.com, and CD/DVD trading sites. Or Zipcar, a car sharing service that makes it possible to never own a car.

TDG: Any favorite sites?

JD: Goozex.com for gamers where you can trade games for a dollar. It's all about consuming less, reducing your impact, but still having the things you want.

TDG: Wow, that's helpful ... what else?

JD: Digitization is big. Like zinio.com, which offers magazines in digital format, but they do it right, they have cool features and archives. The subscriptions are usually more affordable without the paper or shipping costs involved.


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The Lazy Environmentalist's Green Tips for Slackers

Josh Dorfman's great green epiphany struck while he was in China selling Kryptonite bike locks to the masses.

the lazy environmentalist on a budget book by josh dorfman

It was 1996 and Dorfman realized that his sales beat was on the cusp of a consumer explosion. The country was developing at breakneck speed and very soon, millions of bicyclists could very well be driving cars instead. Dorfman could hear mama nature weeping.

Inspired by his reckoning, Dorfman returned to the United States, earned an MBA in international business at Arizona's prestigious Thunderbird and set a goal: To find a balance between preserving nature and our insatiable desire to shop, shop, shop. No small task.

"I realized the one thing we do every day is consume," Dorfman says. "And rather than guilt trip or moralize, why not find a way to make the alternatives attractive enough so people will be drawn to it?"

So Dorfman began with shelter, selling eco-friendly furniture and home furnishings through his newly created company Vivavi. Eventually he became a highly successful eco entrepreneur and spokesperson for environmental change, appearing on Martha Stewart's show, writing columns and giving talks.

Someone close to Dorfman, however, felt he was more talk than walk. "Are you really an environmentalist?" she challenged. "You talk like one but you don't behave like one." She felt Dorman's personal habits, like taking long showers, did not line up with those of a true environmentalist. "She really ripped into me about this," he remembers.

"So two days later I wrote a blog called 'The Lazy Environmentalist.' I realized, like so many people, there are some areas in my life I'm not giving up. I still take long showers because I do my best thinking in the shower. And I don't want to drive a Prius; I'd rather have an Audi convertible, if I can afford one. It came down to this: What can I do to help people have the quality of life they want without ruining the planet? Guilt tripping does not move us to action.

"So I set out to find ways to take environmental action that also appeals to our self interest. We want to save money and we want to find the alternatives that are convenient."

Thus "The Lazy Environmentalist" boom began. The blog led to a Sirius radio show, more speaking engagements, a commentator gig on Sundance Channel's "Big Ideas for a Small Planet," and two books: The Lazy Environmentalist: Your Guide To Easy, Stylish, Green Living and The Lazy Environmentalist on a Budget: Save Money. Save Time. Save The Planet.

Premiering June 16, Dorfman hosts The Lazy Environmentalist series on the Sundance Channel. If you want to follow Dorfman on twitter, he's Lazy-E, or check out lazyenvironmentalist.com, a hub for greensters, offering up advice and product reviews.

thedailygreen: What are the best ways to be green and save money?

Josh Dorfman: The Internet is a great way to start. Sites like chegg.com rent college books to students, saving 65-85% of what textbooks cost, while reducing environmental impact. They even include a prepaid shipping box to send books back when done. We're starting to see this model extend to a lot of businesses: trading and swapping sites like swapstyle.com, where you can update your wardrobe without buying anything new; paperbackswap.com, and CD/DVD trading sites. Or Zipcar, a car sharing service that makes it possible to never own a car.

TDG: Any favorite sites?

JD: Goozex.com for gamers where you can trade games for a dollar. It's all about consuming less, reducing your impact, but still having the things you want.

TDG: Wow, that's helpful ... what else?

JD: Digitization is big. Like zinio.com, which offers magazines in digital format, but they do it right, they have cool features and archives. The subscriptions are usually more affordable without the paper or shipping costs involved.


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ABC's The Goode Family Pokes Healthy Fun at Green Living

Gerald and Helen Goode are vegan, hybrid-driving, baby boomer parents who live by the creed: WWAGD (What would Al Gore Do?). When the well-intended couple adopts a baby from Africa, he turns out to be South African...and white.

the goode family home, new animaed abc green series

Ubuntu is now 16 and not quite down with his parents’ eco friendly lifestyle—he has a penchant for fast cars, power tools and violent sports. Teen daughter Bliss believes that, with her family’s PC leanings, she’s reached her “weirdo tipping point.” Even their dog Che is fed only vegetables but away from home turns into a four-legged Ted Nugent, stalking the neighborhood for squirrels, rabbits and birds.

The Goodes are always striving to do better yet it always ends up...not so good. And Mike Judge (creator of Beavis and Butthead, King of the Hill and Office Space) is sure to guarantee that the Goode life will keep getting worse. “It’s like if you were trying to join some religion,” explains Judge, “and they just keep changing the rules on you.”

Co-creator and exec producer John Altschuler says we face green gridlock every day. “You go into Whole Foods and they have a list of the fish you’re supposed to eat and ones you’re not supposed to eat. We [my wife and I] got into an argument because I swore that farm-raised catfish was on the 'don’t’ list and she swore it was on the 'do’ list.” [Most greens put it on the "do" list.]

And paper or plastic? “I got a reusable bag,” Altschuler explains, “and it was made in China, probably by slave labor and God knows what pollutants it produced. Then I kept forgetting to bring the reusable bag so we kept buying more reusable bags.” What it boils down to is this: “We just don’t know when we’re doing things right and there’s [always] somebody there to tell you you’re not being good enough. It’s so hard to be good!”

Gerald Goode, a college administrator (voiced by Judge), and his community activist wife Helen (voiced by Nancy Carell, wife of Steve) proudly live in a neighborhood they chose for its United Nations makeup. Unfortunately their neighbor Ray is “basically a NASCAR fan and black redneck,” says exec producer Dave Krinsky. “And the Samoans, who the Goodes think are going to be so culturally unique in their Samoan ways, just watch football on weekends and order pizza. The Goodes are disappointed when their neighbors aren’t the sort of image they hold these people in.”

The show is not about enviro-bashing, insists Altschuler. What the creators find funny is the lack of perspective. “It’s not bad that people drive hybrid cars but it’s funny when [uber Hollywood agent] Ari Emmanuel pulls up at the Bel-Air Hotel [trailed] by other power agents in hybrid cars. What I’ve noticed with being in Hollywood is that when you’re rich, it’s easy to be good. But this show is about a family that is middle class, trying to live right and trying to shop at One Earth.”

The Goode Family premieres Wednesday, May 27 from 9:00-9:30 ET on ABC.


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Fuel, a Must-See Movie for America, (Hopefully) Coming to a Theater Near You

Fuel, the Sundance 2008 Audience Award documentary film winner, is an inspiring and informative story centered on director and alternative fuel activist Josh Tickell's revelations about energy's past, present and future. Tickell's timeline puts our current gas dependence into historical perspective, divulging how Standard Oil's J.D. Rockefeller foiled Henry Ford's attempt at ethanol cars, and questioning the mysterious death of brilliant engineer/scientist Rudolph Diesel at a time when biodiesel was poised to become a global choice for fuel.

 Josh Tickell and Peter Fonda at fuel movie event
Algae are woven into the story of energy's present and future. Two years ago when biodiesel production was slammed for messing up our food supplies (corn and soy) and needlessly burning up rainforests to make room for crops, algae, which can be harvested for biofuel, emerged as the new wonder product. It requires little land to farm in and even produces oxygen. According to Tickell, all of America's energy needs could be met by devoting just two percent of its land mass to algae-fuel production.

The film also gives props to our farmer/engineer President Jimmy Carter, who delivered an energy policy plan way back in 1977, outlining goals that included reducing our gas consumption, energy demand and oil imports, while increasing solar energy and insulation for houses and buildings. In 1979, Carter had solar panels installed on the White House roof, only to have Ronald Reagan remove them in 1986. (They ended up atop a cafeteria at a Maine college).

"We are grossly wasting our energy resources and other precious raw materials as though their supply was infinite," Carter said in a 1974 campaign speech. "We must even face the prospect of changing our basic ways of living. This change will either be made on our own initiative in a planned and rational way, or forced on us with chaos and suffering by the inexorable laws of nature....

"We are still floundering and equivocating about protection of our environment. Neither designers of automobiles, mayors of cities, power companies, farmers, nor those of us who simply have to breathe the air, love beauty, and would like to fish or swim in pure water have the slightest idea in God's world what is coming out of Washington next! What does come next must be a firm commitment to pure air, clean water and unspoiled land."

fuel movie poster

Fuel, tagged as "the most hopeful movie of the year," conveys crucial and cohesive information for the entire spectrum of greensters -- from those in the know to the neophytes. But this important film relies solely on grassroots marketing -- street team volunteers, viral internet and word of mouth -- in order to reach theaters nationwide.

Public support pays off because there is little chance that anyone will walk away from this 111-minute film unchanged; as former President Carter warned, let us not be forced into action by environmental chaos. Fuel is a passionate story that will stir us into action and confirm that what we do really matters; we can control our environment's future.

Fuel could very well be the most empowering movie of the year.

In the photo at the upper right appears Josh Tickell and Peter Fonda.


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Tommi Lewis Tilden

Tommi Lewis Tilden

Tommi Lewis Tilden has worked as an editor for several notable media outlets including Disney Publishing, Teen magazine and TV Guide. The Los Angeles-based editor, journalist and book author is also actively involved in environmental efforts including Tree People and Heal the Bay ... read full bio.
Tommi's eco awareness has long encompassed her work (e.g. while editor at TEEN she researched environmentally friendly printing), as well as her personal life (she's a proud Hybrid owner and her home sports solar panels).
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