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In 2003, the American Dialect Society voted flexitarian as the year's most useful word and defined it as "a vegetarian who occasionally eats meat."  I actually think the word is pretty absurd, and the definition even more absurd.  A vegetarian who occasionally eats meat -- isn't that an oxymoron?   This word is often used interchangeably with semi-vegetarian, another word that I think is sort of silly.   (Two more specific types of flexitarians are pollotarians who eat poultry, but not red meat, and pescetarians eat seafood, but not red meat or poultry.)  

That said, I think that the idea behind it is very smart.  K4G blogger Sarah did a post a few months ago about how reducing your meat intake also will reduce your carbon footprint.  One interesting point she wrote about was from the Environmental Defense Fund stating that if every American skipped one meal of chicken per week and substituted vegetarian foods instead, the carbon dioxide savings would be equivalent to taking more than a half-million cars off U.S. roads.  (source)... read more

What can one person do? Take little steps!

I was browsing through my Facebook newsfeed yesterday, and's posted the pictures for a visual essay by Franke James.  The visual essay is called 'What Can One Person Do When 6.8 Billion People on the Planet are Frying' and the whole thing can be found here.  My personal favorite is the pondering the irony of being destroyed by fossil fuels part.  

While this is a kind of humorous look at what you can do, I think it makes some great points.  Whatever the solution to climate change is, the best plan is to be doing something. I have this discussion with my sister all the time -- she is convinced that the small things won't really make a difference in the long run.  Ok, fine, changing your lightbulbs isn't going to stop countries like Bangladesh or the Maldives from ending up underwater.  But at least it's something! And it's that first step to making your lifestyle a little bit greener.  ... read more

California, Massachusetts, Oregon, & New York Lead in U.S. Energy Efficiency

ACEEE revealed its yearly State Energy Efficiency Report Card.  It ranks all states as well as Washington DC.  

The top 10 are as follows:... read more

  1. California
  2. Massachusetts
  3. Oregon
  4. New York
  5. Vermont
  6. Washington
  7. Rhode Island
  8. Connecticut
  9. Minnesota
  10. Maine

Wasting Food Equals Wasting Energy

A recent study published in the October issue of Environmental Science and Technology discovered that wasted food represents about 2% of our annual energy consumption in the U.S.   In some ways, it's a bit of a conundrum because with the obesity epidemic, we don't want to encourage people to eat when they're not hungry.  But what can we do to minimize the amount of wasted food?  ... read more

Frito-Lay Discontinues Most Compostable Sun Chips Bags

When I initially read this article about Frito-Lay pulling most of their compostable Sun Chips bags due to noise complaints, I thought it was a fake article.  It just seems so absurd.  These bags are biodegradable, and because they're too LOUD people want them gone?!  And Sun Chips sales are hurting??

With all that we know about the environment, I don't understand how this can even be such a big deal.  It really goes to show you what people really care about.   There are all sorts of Facebook groups that are against the new Sun Chips bag, such as the eloquent:  "I don't care if the new Sun Chips bags are compostable THEY'RE ANNOYING!"... read more

Toxic Sludge in the Danube

A state of emergency has been declared in three countries after a toxic sludge leak.  Today, the toxic sludge from a factory in Hungary has reached the legendary Danube River.  Workers tried to contain the spill by pouring plaster in the Marcal River, but it still reached the Danube.   It has already killed several people, and it is likely to put animals into danger, as the Danube is rich in wildlife.  Watch a news video here.  I will post again when I find out information about cleanup efforts.  ... read more

How does an animal get on the endangered species list?

Last week I posted an Endangered Species Glossary, discussing what the differences are between an animal that's endangered, threatened, etc.  The next question is, how does an animal fit the criteria for being put on the endangered species list?

It's not as easy as I initially thought it would be.  It takes careful observation and lots of crunching numbers.

For an animal to be considered critically endangered, the animal must be at least an 80% reduction over the last 10 years (or three generations).  For an animal to be considered endangered, the reduction percentage must be at least 50%.  For vulnerable, it's 10%.... read more

October Challenge: Becoming a Localvore

In September, I pledged to be greener by going paperless. In an effort to kick my paper habit, I downloaded Android apps to manage my shopping lists and balance my checking account (and I used them), I stated a recycling bin for myself and my officemates, I gave a reusable coffee cup to my assistant so she could stop using new paper cups every day, I utilized the Google To-Do list portion of my calendar over sticky notes, and I started a marker board to-do list for my officemates to use. ... read more

Where have all the fireflies gone?

As a little kid in a sorta rural area of New Jersey, I loved fireflies.  We'd catch 'em in jars, watch them light up, and set them free.  I moved to California (where they don't have fireflies) in 1997, and then back to the Northeast in 2004.  Since moving back here, I've seen very few fireflies.  At first I thought that maybe Massachusetts was too far north to have fireflies, but even when traveling down to New Jersey or New York, I saw few fireflies.  I kept wondering why.  What happened to all the fireflies?

Today, I stumbled upon a website about the lack of fireflies.  It's true, firefly populations are indeed declining.  I learned that fireflies did typically live in Massachusetts.  (Read about where they live)  But why?  And what can we do about it?... read more