Real leather without killing any animals? It’s true, and the next step might just save the planet

What if obtaining meat didn’t require raising, confining, mistreating and slaughtering billions of animals? Biomimicry is on the case. This year we learned about the $330,000 hamburger funded by Google founder Sergey Brin. Now a New York company has produced real leather from animals cells, a precursor to making manufactured meat. Learn how it’s done in this short video.

Clarkson U opens an all-local food grill, reducing ‘food miles’ and raising yumminess

Little did they know, when the students of Clarkson University pushed to have a more sustainable campus, they’d be learning to love goat cheese. Even Executive Chef Kyle Mayette admits goat cheese is an acquired taste. But it is a vital component of a delectable chicken sandwich that’s winning over hearts, minds and palates at Clarkson’s new all-local food grill.

Save nature and free time — install a Pocket Prairie

Are you weary of mowing, weeding and fertilizing that yawning stretch of lawn? Consider installing a patch of native prairie. A Pocket Prairie can reduce your thirsty conventional turf, replacing it with native grasses and flowers. You’ll be feeding butterflies and birds, and cut down your grass mowing obligations, perhaps to zero.

How Walmart’s green performance reviews could transform the retail world

Walmart’s efforts to green its supply chain are about to get much more effective. Sustainability will now play a role in its merchants’ performance reviews, which help determine pay raises and potential for future promotion. This is a big deal: these merchants are high-level managers responsible for multibillion-dollar buying decisions. They’re the people who determine which products appear on the shelves of the world’s largest retailer.

Is your college promoting sustainability? Sierra names the top greenest universities for 2012

U of Conn students collect sneakers to donate to Nike's Reuse-a-Shoe program, which turns them into track and playground surfaces.

Sierra magazine’s top 10 “Coolest Schools” are working hard to solve global warming, and their students are literally taking on the world by developing more sustainable food, buildings, energy sources and transportation.

Princeton Review: There is no ‘best’ green college

Princeton Review’s new 2012 Guide to Green Colleges commends 322 colleges for green living practices and learning opportunities, but breaks the paradigm of ranking the schools or sorting them into “best of” categories.

The Review reports that it dropped the grading system because all of the 322 schools on this year’s list — winnowed from 768 that were sent surveys — “have demonstrated a strong commitment to sustainability initiatives.”

What’s in your bathroom?

By Barbara Kessler Green Right Now With so much political rhetoric flying by this winter, it was good to see some real news emerge today. Cascades Tissue Group announced it will continue selling its newly developed 100-percent recycled, unbleached toilet paper to...

Save the fishes — yeah!

Confession: I’m a mom, and I like rap, and I tolerate a suburban overlay.

So maybe I was primed to like this video. But I think teens getting together to spread a message about ocean conservation is well, it should make some adults think a little more about this subject.

Lowe’s offers more recycling options to customers

Lowe's new recycling centers collect batteries, lightbulbs and plastic bags.

Recycling in earnest can make a person crazy. Maybe you’ve got curbside pick up for plastic bottles and newspapers. But what about batteries, cell phones, CFL light bulbs, printer ink cartridges, cardboard boxes and old computers? These harder-to-recycle items often comprise the clutter in our garages and mud rooms as they wait patiently for someone to haul them to the appropriate place.
Lowe’s stores are trying to make that task a little easier. The home improvement chain announced today that it has installed 1,700 recycling centers in nearly 1,700 stores across the U.S. that will collect and recycle rechargeable batteries, cell phones, unbroken CFLs and plastic shopping bags.

Time to cross off plastic bags off our grocery list

This whole debate about plastic bags once seemed a mite frivolous to me, next to some of the really mammoth issues confronting society — food scarcity, global warming, coal and oil pollution. I got that it mattered. But it seemed like a side trip on the road to sustainability, like a smaller matter that would eventually resolve on its own. I was more concerned about the carbon pollution from big industrial sources, and our cars and our homes, that comprise the Damocles sword threatening our children’s future.
We had big fish to fry.

Travelocity guiding tourists to greener destinations

By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

The multi-edged issues facing the travel industry as it moves toward becoming more green are not hard to envision. First, there’s that sticky matter of getting there – by jet? by car?

There’s a certain built-in, un-green aspect at the core of tourism.

But that said, there are many ways travelers can be less consumptive and more supportive of eco-friendly practices. They can stay at conservation-minded hotels; places that don’t wash your sheets automatically every day; that serve local food and arrange low-impact tours for guests.

Online travel company Travelocity has taken its first steps toward helping consumers find and patronize greener destinations by launching an eco-friendly directory. The Green Directory aims to help travelers sort the green from the “green washed,” and so far features more than 200 hotels and resorts many of which already claim to be carbon neutral, according to the company.

Slowing Down On The Farm: The Story Of The Straus Dairy

By Catherine Girardeau

Marin County dairy farmer Albert Straus started moving toward a “slower” way of doing business back in 1994, when his family-owned farm, Straus Family Creamery, became the only organic dairy west of the Mississippi.

Straus, whose organic ice cream will be scooped out at the Ice Cream Pavilion at Slow Food Nation, has been producing organic milk, yogurt, butter and ice cream under the family name ever since. Straus grew up on his father’s conventional dairy farm in Marshall, California, a town so small it had a one-room schoolhouse, on the shores of Tomales Bay in western Marin County, 60 miles north of San Francisco. He joined the farm as a partner in 1977 and made the risky, but prescient decision to transition the operation from conventional to organic in the early 1990s.

“Someone approached me about doing organic milk for ice cream,” Straus said in an interview in a makeshift conference room above his dairy. “I had no clue what it was. It took me three-and-a-half years to figure out what “organic” meant. No one else was doing it. There was one small co-op in Wisconsin, Organic Valley, but that was it.”