Conservation tips

This is the (styro)foam that never ends…

I’ve had an aversion to Styrofoam for a long time. Many years ago at a summer camp, I went on a nature conservancy walk in Pennsylvania (about 20 minutes outside of State College) where the main lesson of the day was that trash doesn’t just disappear - it stays around for a very, very long time. On this particular walk,… read more →

Rewards for your savings?

I recently decided to reassess my monthly budget, and in doing so, I found an awesome online tool that provides “rewards” and other incentives to users to reduce home energy usage. The service works much like, in that you can connect your online utility bill to your account, and all of your energy usage is securely uploaded into the… read more →

Once again, why Europe is smarter

Results from a new Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) study (pdf) on TV cable boxes revealed what we long suspected: Americans are a bunch of lazy couch potatoes. We kid, we kid. The study, funded by the EPA and conducted by the NRDC and Ecos, examined the energy consumption of set-top boxes. The results were “startling” though probably not new… read more →

Google maps’ new green feature

The Google Chrome web store recently released a new browser plug-in that allows users to view the carbon emissions associated with driving routes suggested by Google Maps. If you’re a carbon geek, there’s even an option to enter your particular car's emission factor instead of using the default values. While the application is still in an early development stage, the… read more →

It’s getting hot in here!

Memorial Day Weekend is just a few short days away, and that extra day off is a perfect excuse to visit a sandy beach or camp out under the stars. Enjoy the outdoors, but keep in mind that a few simple changes make it easy to reduce your impact along the way. Get grillin’. Opt for grilling outdoors with propane… read more →

Behavior modification. It’s a tricky thing.

If you’re sufficiently geeky, the monthly free seminar/webinar series sponsored by the California Air Resources Board covers some fascinating environmental ground. One recent seminar provided an economist’s view of American automobile fuel economy standards, with particular insight into the effects of these standards on driving behavior. I’m drawing a lot from that one here, and give due credit to Soren… read more →

Fascinating reading

As a San Francisco-based company, the TerraPass team has more than the usual variety of ties to Stanford University. Through one such connection, we were made aware of an interesting project and resource, cleverly entitled Sound Advice for a Green Earth, or SAGE. For this project, Stanford students taking the upper division/graduate course “Sustaining Action: Research, Analysis and Writing for… read more →

When gas wins over electric

Last weekend, I bought a new dryer. The old one was kaput, and though I wish it were otherwise, a clothesline doesn’t suffice for my family’s lifestyle. I started my quest with some virtual shopping. First dilemma: electric or gas? Over the years I’ve always assumed “gas” because generating electricity by burning fuel and then making heat with the electricity… read more →

Why we love trees

The first Arbor Day, the tree planters' holiday, was held in Nebraska in 1872, where a member of the Nebraska State Board of Agriculture proposed that a day be set aside annually for tree planting. It was a huge success -- over one million trees were planted in a single day. Shortly after this first observance, other states passed legislation… read more →

Whoa mama!

This Mother’s Day, I’m not going to jump on the bandwagon of eco-friendly products. By all means, please (as always) consider the environmental impact of your gifts or check out these great gift ideas from Huffington Post, Treehugger, and Grist. But if I have to read another blog post about how flowers are destroying the planet, I’ll just get depressed.… read more →
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