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  • Published
    October 5, 2017

    Choosing greener homes

    If you haven’t lived in an energy-efficient home, you don’t know what you’re missing. The benefits that green buildings offer – lower operating costs, healthier indoor air, greater comfort and the satisfaction of a smaller environmental footprint – are hard to grasp on building plans or in house tours. Many homebuyers assume that moving from a leaky older house to one that meets contemporary building codes will …

  • Published
    September 21, 2017

    Anticipating climate refugees

    At first, all eyes were on Hurricane Harvey. Then attention turned – momentarily – to the wildfires raging out West before riveting on Hurricane Irma. Cascading natural disasters in a warming world raise the specter of mass dislocation. Sea-level rise, drought, wildfires and floods could displace hundreds of millions of people. Following Hurricane Katrina, New Orleans lost about 90,000 residents, a third of whom …

  • Published
    September 14, 2017

    Resisting a rollback of emissions standards

    As ineffectual as this president appears, his cabinet members are stealthily orchestrating destructive changes. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt is intent on subverting that agency’s mission. At the behest of automakers, he is now reconsidering vehicular emission standards that help protect public health, save consumers money, and guard against further climate disruption. The EPA and …

  • Published
    August 25, 2017

    Greener boat storage?

    Before long, the recreational boating season will draw to a close and owners will batten down their craft for the winter. Many will choose the low-density polyethylene plastic better known as shrink-wrap. It works well to protect boats from the elements, but comes at a high price — both financial and environmental. The boat owner pays the former cost; we all pay the latter. “Disposal is problematic, to say the …

  • Published
    August 11, 2017

    Slowing down

    “I have struggled all my life with a constitutional impatience with anything that threatens to waste what’s left of my minutes here on earth. I start fidgeting at any community meeting where the first item on the agenda is to discuss and vote on the order of the other items on the agenda; I have to do discreet yoga relaxation postures in my chair to keep from hollering, ‘Yo, people, life is short!’ I was born …

  • Published
    July 28, 2017

    A yes worth seizing

    If political turbulence has you feeling sick, the patch you might need is Naomi Klein’s new book, “No Is Not Enough: Resisting Trump’s Shock Politics and Winning the World We Need” (Haymarket Books, 2017). It describes how this virulent presidency “is a symptom of a deep sickness” within our culture and how our nation might regain not just equilibrium, but healing. Trump is not an aberration, Klein argues, but “a …

  • Published
    July 14, 2017

    Safeguarding favorite places — from ourselves

    Biking Mount Desert Island’s Park Loop Road over Memorial Day weekend, Friends of Acadia Conservation Director Stephanie Clement witnessed vehicular chaos. She has seen a lot in Acadia National Park over two decades but this was unprecedented. “There were cars everywhere,” she recalls, “in places I had never seen them before.” The Island Explorer bus service, which shuttled more than a half-million visitors last …

  • Published
    June 30, 2017

    The great promise of tiny houses

    “Life started feeling very much like a double-edged sword – to be working so much to pay for a house we don’t own, are never at, and don’t have time to enjoy because all our time is spent working to pay for the place.” — Joshua Engberg and Shelley Engberg, “Tiny House Basics: Living the Good Life in Small Spaces” Far too many Mainers struggle to meet housing expenses with work that does not pay a living wage. In …

  • Published
    June 17, 2017

    Drawdown: Exploring climate change solutions

    In a month that began with the president’s misguided decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accord, I was heartened to discover an inspiring new project and book, “Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan Ever Proposed to Reverse Global Warming.” Drawdown reframes the challenge of climate change, transforming it from a frightening threat we can only mitigate to a menu of practical, life-enhancing innovations …

  • Published
    June 2, 2017

    A 'shocking' regression: Sen. Mitchell reflects on environment, politics

    A “low point for the American environment,” a “dark and difficult time,” a period when the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency was in “chaos and despair.” Those could be contemporary descriptors, but they portray the Reagan presidency as captured by former Sen. George Mitchell in his book “World on Fire: Saving an Endangered Earth.” Mitchell managed through those challenging years to lay the groundwork for a …

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