Author: Justin Van Kleeck

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The Tipping Point for Polar Bears…and the Planet

Fans of the polar bear, and people concerned about the environment, won a major victory in May 2008 when the big, white bears were listed as a “threatened species” under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). It took lawsuits and petitioning efforts by the Center for Biological Diversity, NRDC, Greenpeace, and other organizations to overcome the […]

Is There an Animal in Your Pants? Watching Out for Animal Products

As anyone who strives to follow a vegetarian or vegan* lifestyle knows, cutting out animal ingredients to some degree can often be difficult. Even with full ingredient listings and information about country of origin for most products, from foods to clothes*, many veg*n folks still find out–too late, alas–that something they used came from animals. […]

When You Look at an Animal, What Do You See?

For most of our existence, we humans have seen ourselves as superior to animals, as “above” the “lower” creatures. Rene Descartes, for example, in the 17th century argued that animals were mere “machines” incapable even of true feeling, let alone “higher” thinking. Cultures throughout antiquity sacrificed animals by the thousands to their gods, so that […]

Book Review: True Green Home by Kim McKay and Jenny Bonnin

Living a low-impact, eco-friendly life often boils down to simplicity and sheer common sense. Just follow the old proverb “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle,” and you will be a long way towards minimizing your impact on the environment. But sometimes consuming less and acting with a green heart still leaves much in the “gray area” of wastefulness […]

March 9th

Your New Year’s Green Year Resolution

Almost everyone loves to make a New Year’s resolution in those heady, sugar-infused, belt-stressing days after Christmas. Yes, New Year’s resolutions are popular and fun to make…though they are harder to keep for sure. Luckily no one is keeping tabs…unless you sign an oath in blood or something like that. Some people make a resolution […]

December 31st

Meditation: Hard Choices of Sustainability

Environmentalism and the many other ethically minded “-Isms” (with capital “I”) have many codes of conduct, norms, standards, platforms, principles, mantras, mandates, rallying cries, stump speeches, demands, desires, agendas, and affirmations. Such as… “Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.” “Think globally. Act locally.” “You must be the change you want to see in the world.” “Do no harm.” […]

December 24th

Sustainability Spotlight: The Friendly City Food Co-op

Since moving to Harrisonburg, Virginia, I have been pleasantly surprised–okay, stunned–by the many green and community-oriented groups working to make this place a better place. Shortly after moving here and starting my new job, I was introduced by colleagues to a remarkable project in its formative stages: The Friendly City Food Co-op. Bringing together community […]

December 17th

Are Lower Gas Prices a Good Thing?

After what seems like an endless period of record-high gasoline prices, gas station signs are changing almost constantly as the cost for a gallon of gas tumbles. Although the numbers vary depending on where you are, the trend is the same: prices have hit the bottom of the (oil) barrel. As I write, the lowest […]

November 25th

Give Turkeys a Reason to Be Thankful on Thanksgiving

Long before the Puritans decided to cop a squat on Native American land and then had the first “Thanksgiving” meal featuring turkey meat (at least as the legend goes), someone managed to discover that the turkey was a good bird to eat. Somehow, despite all logic, some hungry human looked at this rather odd-looking (okay, […]

November 22nd