Dreaming of a green vacation? Try using FlipKey

Come mid-January, who isn’t dreaming of a tropical vacation?…We’re talking about solar-powered, LEED-certified (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), foliage-roofed homes in popular vacation spots from Taos to Thailand, the Caribbean to the Mediterranean, Vermont to California.
You can find these gems at a new service called FlipKey, which sorts its properties

Teenager finds a solution to massive food waste by ‘brats who won’t eat that apple’

A student in Omaha, Neb., has identified a problem with school lunches — as well as a solution that could help solve an entrenched food waste issue in school cafeterias across the country.

In order to get the best price for a school lunch, kids are required to take one serving of a fruit or a vegetable to create a full meal. If they don’t, they can end up paying higher ala carte prices.

Kids to Crayola: Help us recycle plastic markers!

Elementary school kids in San Rafael, Calif., are asking Crayola to initiate a recycling program for the millions of markers the company produces every year.
The children, who participate in a green group called Kids That Care, decided to petition Crayola through Change.org after realizing that many plastic products, including spent markers, wind up in landfills, said the group’s advisor Land Wilson.

Urban Roots, a film about food and Detroit + a project for schools

In a bygone American era, Detroit shone proudly as a center of industry, home to the Model T and other symbols of American progress. The decline of the car industry in recent decades, though, has cut the city’s population in half and left poor neighborhoods in even more derelict condition. Detroit is now home to thousands of acres of vacant land, most of it unmaintained, left to collect weeds and waste. The result? Many of the city’s residents live in what is termed a
“food desert.”

The gift of cell phones may radiate more than love

ell phones and tablet computers may be coveted holiday gifts, but parents should consider the potential health effects of these devices before giving them to children, according to the Environmental Health Trust (EHT) and Healthy Child Healthy World (HCHW) , two educational groups focused on environmental health…. Manufacturer safety warnings, the groups note, are simply not sufficient to protect children because they were designed to meet a test for a “typical user” who never was typical:

Ready to gobble? Heritage turkeys can provide a healthful main course for Thanksgiving

People who do not want to support the cruel and dangerous conditions of industrial meat production, but aren’t necessarily looking to slice meat out of their diet, can find many sources for a better-raised turkey — or ham — this holiday.

Bronze breasted Organic, pastured, heritage turkey from the Elmwood Stock Farm in Kentucky.

Farmer’s Markets and the online seller Local Harvest feature dozens of producers with home-grown flocks that were raised on pasture and treated humanely. These smaller-scale farms can verify that they have not packed turkeys into giant sheds where they were deprived of sunlight and space to move around, as has become the norm in industrial production. (See our story on CAFO: The tragedy of industrial animal factories.)

Don’t let Halloween mask unfair labor practices

If you want to act on your concern for the environment and human rights this Halloween, give treats that come from reputable local or Fair Trade vendors.

That could mean foregoing some familiar brands.

Hershey’s, under fire for some time over allegations that it fails to ensure its cocoa sources treat labor fairly, came out dead last this week on the “Get Child Labor Out of Your Chocolates Scorecard” by Green America.

Swap Halloween costumes: A frighteningly sensible green idea

Imagine Halloween without the costumes. What a charmless, dull and possibly dangerous event it would be. Kids Openly Begging for Treats Day could lead inter-generational strife. Marauding Tots Pressing For Candy would be a PR nightmare, and a clunky acronym. You can see how it could get out of hand.

And yet, Tinkerbell, this Halloween costume business sure could use some re-tinkering.

Too many Halloween costumes, not to mention those buckets of plastic spiders, bats and eyeballs, turn out to be single-use items. Those plastic gee-gaws create about 10 seconds of amusement. A costume is good for a night or two.

Nine ideas for a green Halloween

Skip the plastic pumpkin -- eco-friendly bags are he way to go.


Planning a low-impact, money-saving Halloween is so much more rewarding than trying to turn some other holidays green. You don’t have to argue with relatives about whether or not to have a turkey, or disappoint the kids with gifts to humanitarian causes in their names at Christmas. All you really need to do is think creatively, get holistic about your pumpkin, maybe dust off the sewing machine and take it easy at the store. Here are our best nine ideas to help you get started.

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