Quick Green Reads For The Weekend Volume Seventy Four.

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This week we ate our first tomatoes from a tomato plant we bought and planted out in the front of the house. It was pretty rewarding to walk out the door, pull them off the plant, and put them on our salad. I look forward to eventually growing a lot of our own food, as then we will at least know where it is coming from! On to the news…

Toyota is planning to add solar-powered air conditioning to high-end models of its Prius hybrid cars, a report says. The new feature would be part of the third-generation Prius, which is due to be launched next year, according to the Nikkei business daily.

It looks like the nation’s first provider of green insurance coverage for the commercial sector has decided to expand that coverage into the residential sector. Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company will be offering green coverage to homeowners who either own a green home or who want to upgrade their home with green features in the event of a loss. So in a loss situation, the homeowners can rebuild their home and have it certified under the LEED system. Homeowners with green homes will be offered a five percent discount on their insurance premium.

Rock Port, Mo. has an unusual crop: wind turbines. The four turbines that supply electricity to the small town of 1,300 residents make it the first community in the United States to operate solely on wind power. “That’s something to be very proud of, especially in a rural area like this – that we’re doing our part for the environment,” said Jim Crawford, a natural resource engineer at the University of Missouri Extension in Columbia. They were going to start allowing a company here to put turbines out on the mesa, but the residents demanded it be put on hold. I hope it comes back and gets passed.

Eating locally produced foods is one of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint. However, when you live in the heart of one of the nation’s most populous urban centers, it may not seem like farm fresh produce is a option. That’s why John Mellencamp himself has set out build awareness of the New England agricultural community — by announcing the location of this year’s Fam Aid concert at Boston’s Copley Square Farmer’s Market.

Perhaps it’s a fitting tribute to a country that wore the Biggest Polluter crown for so long: a 130-foot, 50,000-lb replica of the Statue of Liberty, made entirely of foam and sprayed-on plastic. The company that commissioned the statue, however, wasn’t trying to be ironic or make a point. They really thought it was a good idea to construct this thing – which is only 13 feet shorter than the original Statue of Liberty – made up of what the Sierra Club calls “the ultimate waste product”.

In addition to being tasty, healthy foods, watermelon, oatmeal, tofu, and buttermilk are all great ways to ease the itch of poison oak!

Although most shoppers probably don’t know it, “antibacterial” isn’t just for soap anymore. From sports clothing to cutting boards, deodorants, and children’s toys, a wide range of consumer products are now commonly treated with antimicrobial pesticides such as triclosan. Antimicrobial compounds like triclosan tend to be broad-spectrum in focus, acting against a large group of micro-organisms rather than a particular species. The problem is that not everything that these chemicals target is actually bad for you – in fact, you probably rely on the help of some of these organisms every day. I’d like to take this moment to introduce the humble Pseudomonas.

Living the good life means different things to different people. There is, however, a slightly ambiguous, mutual understanding. The good life is the life that you would like to live broken down to its most basic form. It deals with the simple pleasures that make you happy, the compassionate deeds you perform, the personal goals you strive to achieve, the relationships you nurture and the legacy you leave behind. Sincere personal fulfillment is generally the collective end result. Time, after all, is the single greatest element of life.

So, when you’re shopping for groceries, I encourage you to go beyond shopping for your one weekly local meal. While you’re shopping, find a product you use every day, and seek out a new local source. Or if not local, organic. If not organic, seasonal. If not seasonal, small business – you decide – whatever it is that you believe in. In this way you will slowly start stepping into the world of eating conscientiously, and eating sustainably.

I have a backlog of products that have been sent to me to test out, as we were busy with the move. So in the coming weeks, I will try to do at least one a week and let you know my thoughts on each!

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