Green Culture: An A-to-Z Guide


Edited by: Kevin Wehr

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      About the Editors

      Green Series Editor: Paul Robbins

      Paul Robbins is professor and director of the University of Arizona School of Geography and Development. He earned his Ph.D. in Geography in 1996 from Clark University. He is general editor of the Encyclopedia of Environment and Society (2007) and author of several books, including Environment and Society: A Critical Introduction (2010), Lawn People: How Grasses, Weeds, and Chemicals Make Us Who We Are (2007), and Political Ecology: A Critical Introduction (2004).

      Robbins's research focuses on the relationships between individuals (homeowners, hunters, professional foresters), environmental actors (lawns, elk, mesquite trees), and the institutions that connect them. He and his students seek to explain human environmental practices and knowledge, the influence nonhumans have on human behavior and organization, and the implications these interactions hold for ecosystem health, the local community, and social justice. Past projects have examined chemical use in the suburban United States, elk management in Montana, forest product collection in New England, and wolf conservation in India.

      Green Culture General Editor: Kevin Wehr

      Kevin Wehr is an associate professor of sociology at the California State University at Sacramento. He has a B.A. in Sociology from the University of California, Santa Cruz, (1994), and an M.S. (1998) and Ph.D. (2002) in Sociology from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He specializes in environmental sociology, political sociology, social theory, criminology, and popular culture. His first book, America's Fight Over Water (2004), examined the social, political, and cultural changes that gave rise to the modern environmental movement against large dams. His second book, Hermes on Two Wheels (2009), is an ethnographic examination of the culture of bicycle messengers. He is currently working on a book analyzing the Do It Yourself (DIY) movement in the United States.


      Culture can be a rather slippery concept to define—something that seems to bleed into almost all aspects of our social lives. It can seem to be everywhere at once, and thus may be nowhere at all. Culture is a set of common human practices (like saying “bless you” after someone sneezes), but is also a set of dispositions or ways of seeing (or not seeing) the world around us. The need to acknowledge that someone has sneezed, and to lay upon him or her some sort of secularized blessing, is both a common ritual and a set of understandings about what is appropriate and polite. In some other cultures, such an acknowledgment might be embarrassing—culture is variable by geography, society, language, race, ethnicity, and many other social cleavages. In short, though, culture is a way of doing things and a way of understanding the world that is common to a specific group of people. One could attempt a definition thus: Culture is a durable system of meanings, symbols, signs, and understandings common to an identifiable social group.

      Culture can be made visible in many ways, but even when it is relatively invisible to us, culture is salient. We might speak of “material culture” in the form of a comic book, a newspaper, or a novel. We see cultural expression in fashion, architecture, or public art. Popular culture is a form that is mass-produced explicitly for consumption by a large audience—movies, television, pop music, and video games are clear examples.

      So what is “green culture”? There are multiple ways that culture affects the environment (and vice versa). The phrase green culture is a way of wrapping those many layers together into a coherent concept. Of course, there might be a culture of environmentalists (an identifiable group of people); in fact there are many cultures of different environmentalists (radical greens, deep greens, ecofeminists, and so forth). These groups of people may choose to live in sustainable ways, and their cultural understandings, rituals, and symbols may reflect their ecological worldview. Thus, there are cultural aspects to the way we live, and how we live can be more and less sustainable.

      Similarly, there are cultural aspects to how we produce and consume goods in society. In the Western world, of course, it is primarily through the market that most people meet their daily needs. We shop in grocery stores or eat at restaurants for food, we buy clothes and necessary items at stores, and sometimes we treat ourselves with a luxury purchase. All of this implies a certain set of cultural understandings: many would be baffled by someone who grows his or her own food, makes his or her own clothes, and lives a life of voluntary simplicity.

      But we don't buy everything we need from the market—we also pay taxes and have some services provided to us by local, regional, or federal government. This, too, has a cultural aspect to it. We have a set of understandings about the quality of the water that comes out of our faucet, about the cleanliness of the air we breathe, and about the regulation of traffic, commerce, and international relations. Some of these are sustainable practices, but many are not.

      On top of this, there are sets of cultural understandings about the proper relationship between humans and the natural world—systems of understandings that are relatively durable, but change over longer periods of time. For instance, it once was considered appropriate to shoot buffalo from passenger trains. Now, we value the American bison as an endangered species. Our culture has changed, and with it the way we behave toward animals and nature.

      The concept of sustainability is also a difficult idea to define simply, but for our purposes here, let's call it a set of human practices that allows for continued use of resources for all foreseeable future generations (and, one could argue, for future generations of other species as well). In an attempt to bring all this together, then, “green culture” is a way of understanding human practices common to identifiable groups, which has an ecological component that affects sustainability.

      The volume is organized to reflect the many ways in which culture cross-cuts everyday ecological practices. The dominant form of culture, of course, is the media. The entries in this section focus on the ways in which environmentalism is portrayed in the media, and how ecological communication happens. Environmentalism is also nearly synonymous with activism. The section on “Actions and Activists” highlights both important individuals and social groups who engage in environmental activist, but also global, regional, national, and local actions and activities. These are often exceptional or spectacular moments, but how people live and work every day has clear cultural and environmental implications, so the section on “Living” is a central one. Where we live, how we get to work, and what we do on the weekends are all subject to strong cultural forces, which contribute to our level of sustainability. Perhaps the most important contributor to our ecological impact is what, how, and where we eat, so “Food” has its own section. Finally, a special section on “People” highlights the important contributions of selected individuals and important groups.

      This volume provides an overview of the many elements of green culture and associated institutions, movements, organizations, and key actors and locations. The many entries are from diverse academic perspectives, and represent the latest thinking on the topics at hand. Some are about environmental “goods” and others about environmental “bads,” but all represent important aspects of our shared human culture. These are key characteristics that we must consider as we contemplate moving to a more ecologically sustainable culture and society.

      KevinWehrGeneral Editor

      Green Culture Reader's Guide

      List of Articles

      Green Culture List of Contributors

      Adams, Jennifer, DePauw University

      Adney, Karley, Independent Scholar

      Amster, Randall, Prescott College

      Antczak, Willa, Vermont Design Institute

      Ballamingie, Patricia, Carleton University

      Bardecki, Michal, Ryerson University

      Barnhill, John H., Independent Scholar

      Boslaugh, Sarah, Washington University School of Medicine

      Bridgeman, Bruce, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Buettner, Angi, Victoria University of Wellington

      Buhr, Susan M., University of Colorado, Boulder

      Cadzow, Daniel, State University of New York, Buffalo

      Carveth, Rod, Fitchburg State University

      Clark, Woodrow W. II, Clark Strategic Partners

      Collins, Timothy, Western Illinois University

      Connell, Robert, University of California, Berkeley

      Davey, Gareth, Hong Kong Shue Yan University

      Dougherty, Michael L., University of Wisconsin—Madison

      Ferber, Michael P., King's University College

      Gachechiladze-Bozhesku, Maia, Central European University, Hungary

      Gardner, Robert Owen, Linfield College

      Gayer, Dianne Elliott, Independent Scholar

      Gonshorek, Daniel O., Knox College

      Good, Jennifer, Brock University

      Goodsell, Eli, California State University, Chico

      Green, Brandn Q., Pennsylvania State University

      Grosswiler, Paul, University of Maine

      Gunter, Michael M. Jr., Rollins College

      Hanson, Lorelei, Athabasca University

      Harris, Kristine, California State University, Sacramento

      Heffner, Leanna R., University of Rhode Island

      Hein, James Everett, The Ohio State University

      Helfer, Jason A., Knox College

      Hosansky, David, Independent Scholar

      Ikeda, Kayo, Hiroshima University

      Islam, Md Saidul, Nanyang Technological University

      Jackson, Ellen M., Knox College

      Jain, Priyanka, University of Kentucky

      Janos, Nik, University of California, Santa Cruz

      Johnson, Erik W., Washington State University

      Jovanovic, Spoma, Independent Scholar

      Juris, Jeffrey S., Northeastern University

      King, Katherine, University of Michigan

      Knigge, LaDona, California State University, Chico

      Kolodinsky, Jane, University of Vermont

      Konieczka, Stephen, University of Colorado

      Kozlowski, Anika, Ryerson University

      Kremer, Joseph, Washington State University

      Kte'pi, Bill, Independent Scholar

      Lanfair, Jordan K., Knox College

      Lapp, Julia L., Ithaca College

      Lawrence, Kirk S., University of California, Riverside

      Lee, Megan, University of Georgia

      Leonard, Liam, Independent Scholar

      Lippert, Ingmar, University of Augsburg

      Lubitow, Amy, Northeastern University

      Mapp, Christopher, University of Louisiana at Monroe

      McClellan, Sara, University of Colorado

      McCreery, Anna C., The Ohio State University

      Munday, Pat, Montana Tech of the University of Montana

      Nande, Kaustubh, Independent Scholar

      Norville, Kylee M., Knox College

      Öztürk, Şule Yüksel, Anadolu University

      Phelps, Jess, Independent Scholar

      Pitts, Lewis, Independent Scholar

      Podeschi, Christopher W., Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania

      Pólvora, Alexandre, University Paris 1, Pantheon-Sorbonne

      Purdy, Elizabeth Rholetter, Independent Scholar

      Reed, Matt, Independent Scholar

      Rodnitzky, Jerry, The University of Texas at Arlington

      Roth-Johnson, Danielle, University of Nevada, Las Vegas

      Salsedo, Carl A., University of Connecticut

      Santana, Mirna, Independent Scholar

      Schewe, Rebecca L., University of Wisconsin—Madison

      Schroth, Stephen T., Knox College

      Schupp, Justin, The Ohio State University

      Sheley, Loran E., California State University, Sacramento

      Smith, Dyanna Innes, Antioch University New England

      Stough-Hunter, Anjel, The Ohio State University

      Townsend, Patricia K., Independent Scholar

      Trevino, Marcella Bush, Independent Scholar

      Trumpy, Alexa J., The Ohio State University

      Tyman, Shannon K., Independent Scholar

      Uppal, Charu, Karlstad University

      Walker, David M., Ohio Wesleyan University

      Weger, Krista, York University

      Whalen, Ken, University of Brunei Darussalam

      Willits, Jordan, Knox College

      Willits, Logan, Knox College

      Yao, Qingjiang, Fort Hays State University

      York, Richard, University of Oregon

      Young, Cory Lynn, Ithaca College

      Young, Sebnem Yucel, Izmir Institute of Technology

      Zehner, Ozzie, University of California, Berkeley

      Green Culture Chronology

      12,000–6,000 b.c.e.: During the Neolithic Revolution, early humans learn to domesticate plants and animals, developing agriculture and the beginnings of settlements in the Fertile Crescent. Previously gathered plants are sowed and harvested, while wild sheep, goats, pigs, and cattle are herded instead of hunted.

      1306: England's King Edward I tries unsuccessfully to ban open coal fires in England, marking an early attempt at national environmental protection.

      c. 1530: Commercial whaling begins as the Basques begin the pursuit of right whales in the North Atlantic, taking an estimated 25,000 to 40,000 whales over the next 80 years.

      1690: Progressive Governor William Penn requires that one acre of forest be saved for every five that are cut down in the newly formed city of Philadelphia.

      1854: Henry David Thoreau reflects upon living in nature in Walden.

      1862: With much of the agricultural south not voting because of the Civil War, the United States creates the Department of Agriculture, which is charged with promoting agriculture production and the land grant university system.

      1864: George Perkins Marsh publishes Man and Nature, a book that argues that many civilizations have fallen because of environmental degradation.

      1872: President Ulysses Grant signs into law a bill designating the area of Yellowstone as the world's first national park.

      1892: British reformer Henry S. Salt, a socialist, pacifist, and vegetarian, publishes a landmark work on animal welfare, Animal Rights Considered in Relation to Social Progress.

      1892: The Sierra Club is founded in San Francisco by preservationist John Muir.

      1900: Porsche develops the world's first hybrid-electric car.

      1905: Upton Sinclair publishes his novel The Jungle in serial format in the socialist magazine Appeal to Reason. Public outcry over the filthy conditions of the meatpacking industry portrayed in this novel lead to passage of the Pure Food and Drug Act in 1906.

      1905: The U.S. Forest Service is established.

      1923: The dam at Hetch Hetchy, site of the infamous dispute between Gifford Pinchot and John Muir, is completed.

      1916: The National Park Organic Act establishes the National Park Service.

      1918: The Save the Redwoods League forms in the United States for the purpose of purchasing the remaining redwood forests that have been extensively harvested for lumber.

      1942: Jerome Irving Rodale begins publication of Organic Farming and Gardening, popularizing the concept of organic food production as advocated by the British writers Sir Albert Howard and Lord Northbourne.

      1946: The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling holds its first meeting in Washington, D.C., and sets quotas for whaling that are intended to allow the whaling industry to continue at reduced levels so that whales are not hunted to extinction.

      1949: The International Convention for the Regulation of Whaling establishes the International Whaling Commission, which is intended to regulate whaling but has been beset by conflicts between nations with traditional whaling industries (e.g., Japan, Iceland, and Norway) and those that wish to impose a moratorium on all whaling.

      1949: Aldo Leopold publishes The Sand County Almanac, in which he states that humanity should adopt an “ethic dealing with man's relation to land and to the animals and plants which grow upon it.”

      1952: An atmospheric inversion in London, coupled with particulate matter in the air from motor vehicles and coal-burning stoves and factories, causes nearly 3,000 excessive deaths in a single week and highlights the importance of controlling man-made sources of air pollution.

      1962: Rachel Carson's Silent Spring serialized in the New Yorker.

      1962: Silent Spring calls attention to the harmful effects of human activity on the environment, including air pollution and the use of harmful chemicals in agriculture.

      1964: U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson signs the Wilderness Act into law. Over 9 million acres of land are closed to excavation.

      1969: A major oil spill in Santa Barbara spills up to 100,000 barrels of crude, washing onto California beaches and sparking public outcry and engendering a period of environmental legislation.

      1969: The National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) is signed, creating a procedural requirement that federal agency actions be evaluated for environmental impacts.

      1970: The first Earth Day is celebrated internationally, drawing attention to worldwide interest in environmental protection and reform.

      1970: The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is created to enforce federal environmental regulations. The agency's mission is to regulate chemicals and protect human health by safeguarding air, land, and water.

      1970: Dr. Norman Borlaug, father of the “green revolution,” which is credited with substantially increasing crop yield in the third world, wins the Nobel Peace Prize. Although few question that the green revolution saved millions of people from starvation, many, particularly in more recent years, criticize Borlaug's reforms because they rely heavily on chemical fertilizers and irrigation and on seeds that must be purchased annually from multinational corporations, thus increasing corporate control of third world agriculture.

      1971: Frances Moore Lappé publishes Diet for a Small Planet, introducing the concept of “complementary proteins” (now considered by some scientists to be fallacious). Lappé advocates for the adoption of a vegetarian diet, both for reasons of health and because of the much greater resources required to produce meat rather than vegetables and grains.

      1973: Ernst Friedrich Schumacher's Small Is Beautiful: Economics as if People Mattered criticizes the assumption that economic development requires adoption of large-scale Western technologies and a lifestyle based on acquisition of consumer goods.

      1973: The first action of the Chipko movement takes place in rural India, where largely women villagers embraced the trees in an act of civil disobedience against planned logging operations. Eventually, this sparked change in Indian forest policy.

      1978: U.S. President Jimmy Carter declares Love Canal, a toxic waste dump in Moagara Falls, New York, a national emergency due to chemical pollution. Over 1,000 families are evacuated at public expense.

      1978: New York City begins Operation Green Thumb to encourage community gardening. The city allows residents to use vacant lots for gardens for the nominal fee of $1 per year. By 1991, the city reports that there are over 500 community gardens in the city.

      1982: Over one million gather in New York City's Central Park to protest the nuclear arms race.

      1983: The Environmental Protection Agency recommends that the residents of Times Beach, a small town in eastern Missouri, evacuate due to dioxin contamination caused because the chemical was a contaminant in oil spread on the roads to control dust in the 1970s.

      1983: The World Commission on Environment and Development, commonly known as the Brundtland Commission, is held.

      1985: A group of activists found the Rainforest Action Network in San Francisco, California, with the purpose of protecting the world's rain forests and the people who live in them from environmental destruction. Their first major action is a boycott of the American fast-food chain Burger King, which at that time imported much of its beef from Central and South America, where rain forest destruction was hastened by the economic incentive of clearing the forest and turning it into grazing land for cattle.

      1987: Burger King announces that it is no longer importing beef from rainforest areas.

      1987: American activist Dave Foreman publishes Ecodefense: A Field Guide to Monkeywrenching, which advocates sabotage to prevent environmentally destructive development and other commercial activities. Many of Foreman's suggested tactics are illegal, including driving metal spikes into trees to prevent their being logged, sabotaging earth-moving equipment such as bulldozers, removing surveyor's stakes, and pulling down power lines. The book's title refers to The Monkey Wrench Gang, a 1975 novel by Edward Abbey that calls for individuals to take direct action to halt the destruction of wilderness.

      1987: The United Church of Christ Commission for Racial Justice issues a study demonstrating that the location of toxic waste sites is more closely related to the race of neighborhood residents than to either income or social class.

      1989: The worst oil spill in American history to date occurs when the supertanker ship Exxon Valdez grounds on a reef and spills over 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound near Valdez, Alaska. The resulting oil slick extends to 50 miles and is estimated to kill 10 percent of the region's bird population.

      1990: Joseph Hazelwood, captain of the Exxon Valdez, is convicted on one misdemeanor count related to the spill.

      1991: Exxon pleads guilty to four misdemeanor counts relating to its infamous oil spill and pays about $1 billion in fines and environmental damage payments.

      1992: The Earth Summit held in Rio de Janeiro results in the document “Agenda 21,” which calls for national governments to adapt strategies for sustainable development and to cooperate with nongovernmental organizations and other countries in implementing them.

      1992, 1995: Veganism captures worldwide publicity when American vegan chefs Ken Bergeron and Brother Ron Pickarski win gold medals at the International Culinary Olympics in Berlin.

      1993: The U.S. Green Building Council is founded as a nonprofit trade organization that promotes self-sustaining building design, construction, and operation. The council develops the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) rating system and organizes Greenbuild, a conference promoting environmentally responsible materials and sustainable architecture techniques.

      1994: U.S. President Bill Clinton signs Executive Order 12898, requiring federal agencies to determine the impact that environmental degradation has on low-income communities.

      1996: Monsanto plants the first commercial fields with the Roundup Ready soybean, the first commercially genetically modified crop in the United States. The beans are engineered to resist the common herbicide glyphosate, which can therefore be sprayed on the fields without damaging the soybean crop. By 2002, about 70 percent of soybeans grown in the United States are engineered to be resistant to herbicides.

      1996: Adam Werbach becomes the youngest president of the Sierra Club.

      1997: The Fair-Trade Labeling Organization (FLO) International is founded in Germany with the goals of bringing together disparate fair-trade organizations and harmonizing standards for fair-trade certification.

      1997: The Kyoto Protocol, an international agreement linked to the United Nations' Framework Convention on Climate Change that aims to reduce or prevent global warming, is adopted. Under the Protocol, which goes in effect in 2005, most industrialized countries agree to reduce their emissions of greenhouse gases: some were set specific targets, some were given the goal of reducing their emissions to 1990 levels, while others were allowed to reduce their levels. The Protocol also allows countries to trade carbon emissions in order to meet their goals.

      1999: Mass protest by environmental and labor activists at the World Trade Organization's Ministerial Conference in Seattle is widely covered in the media, raising groups' concerns about the impacts of globalization. Before the event, it was known as N30, and since then, it has been dubbed the “Battle of Seattle.”

      2002: William McDonough and Michael Braungart popularize the term “cradle to cradle,” which was introduced by Walter Stahel in the 1970s. “Cradle to cradle” refers to the principle that companies should be responsible for recycling the materials from their products after they are discarded.

      2003: Widespread global protests against the planned war in Iraq occur.

      2004: Wangari Muta Maathai receives the Nobel Peace Prize for her work on sustainable forestry and women's rights through the Greenbelt Movement in Kenya.

      2005: Hurricane Katrina makes landfall in New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast, killing thousands and causing scores of billions of dollars in damages.

      2006: California's Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 is signed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and is widely heralded as the nation's leading climate bill.

      2006: Walmart launches an initiative requiring its suppliers to reduce packaging to the lowest possible levels.

      2006: The documentary Who Killed the Electric Car? investigates the history of General Motors EV-1, from its deployment to its recall and destruction.

      2007: An Inconvenient Truth wins the Academy Award for best documentary feature.

      2008: 2008 Presidential candidates Barack Obama, Hillary Clinton, and John McCain all tout a “green jobs” agenda during the U.S. presidential election.

      2010: The largest offshore oil spill in U.S. history occurs as an explosion rocks the Deepwater Horizon oil rig, spilling approximately 35,000 to 60,000 barrels of oil per day into the Gulf of Mexico and severely harming the region's environment.

    • Green Culture Glossary

      Air Pollution: Contaminants or substances in the air that interfere with human health or produce other harmful environmental effects.

      Albedo: The ratio of light reflected by a surface to the light falling on it.

      Alternative Energy: Usually environmentally friendly, this is energy from uncommon sources such as wind power or solar energy, not fossil fuels.

      Anthropocentric: Literally “human-centered.” Anthropocentrism is the belief, taken for granted in most cultures through most of human history and argued more explicitly by some schools of philosophy today, that humans are the figurative “center of the universe,” and that ethical systems should thus be principally concerned with human benefit.

      Anthropogenic: Man-made; used especially to underscore the human origins of a substance or phenomenon, as in “anthropogenic climate change” or “anthropogenic toxic compounds.”

      Behavioral Change: As it affects energy efficiency, behavioral change is a change in energy-consuming activity originated by, and under control of, a person or organization. An example of behavioral change is adjusting a thermostat setting or changing driving habits.

      Best Available Control Measures (BACM): A term used to refer to the most effective measures (according to Environmental Protection Agency guidance) for controlling small or dispersed particulates and other emissions from sources such as roadway dust, soot and ash from woodstoves, and open burning of rush, timber, grasslands, or trash.

      Biodiversity: The total variety of life on Earth. Modern science considers biodiversity to be an inherently good thing for the ecosystem, and for the loss of species and of species diversity to be an alarming consequence of environmental damage. From an evolutionary standpoint, genetic diversity—the diversity of genes within a species—is also especially important.

      Biomass: Any organic matter that is available on a renewable basis, including agricultural crops and agricultural wastes and residues, wood and wood wastes and residues, animal wastes, municipal wastes, and aquatic plants.

      Brownfields: Abandoned, idled, or under-used industrial and commercial facilities/sites where expansion or redevelopment is complicated by real or perceived environmental contamination. They can be in urban, suburban, or rural areas. The Environmental Protection Agency's Brownfields Initiative helps communities mitigate potential health risks and restore the economic viability of such areas or properties.

      Carbon Footprint: A popular term describing the impact a particular activity has on the environment in terms of the amount of climate-changing carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases it produces. A person's carbon footprint is the amount of greenhouse gases that his or her way of life produces overall. It is also a colloquialism for the sum total of all environmental harm an individual or group causes over their lifetime. People, families, communities, nations, companies, and other organizations all leave a carbon footprint.

      Carbon Offsets: Financial instruments, expressed in metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, which represent the reduction of carbon dioxide or an equivalent greenhouse gas. Carbon offsets allow corporations and other entities to comply with caps on their emissions by purchasing offsets to bring their totals down to acceptable levels. The smaller voluntary market for carbon offsets exists for individuals and companies that purchase offsets in order to mitigate their emissions by choice. There is a great deal of controversy over the efficacy and truthfulness of the offsets market, which is new enough that, in a best-case scenario, the kinks have not yet been worked out, while in the worst, it will turn out to be a dead end in the history of environmental reform.

      Certified Organic: Food products that meet or exceed standards set forth by the U. S. Department of Agriculture National Organic Program (NOP). Products “made with organic ingredients” include 70 percent organic ingredients and cannot contain the organic label. “Organic” products must have at least 95 percent organic ingredients and may feature the USDA organic seal. “100% Organic” is the most stringent, but does not count water or salt.

      Climate Change: A term used to describe short- and long-term effects on Earth's climate as a result of human activities such as fossil fuel combustion and vegetation clearing and burning.

      Closed-loop Recycling: The system of recycling in which a used product is broken down and remanufactured into a very similar, if not exactly the same, product (e.g., recycling a plastic soda bottle into a plastic water bottle).

      Compost: A process whereby organic wastes, including food wastes, paper, and yard wastes, decompose naturally, resulting in a product rich in minerals and ideal for gardening and farming as a soil conditioner, mulch, resurfacing material, or landfill cover. Consumers can make their own compost by collecting yard trimmings and vegetable scraps.

      Conservation: Preserving and renewing, when possible, human and natural resources.

      Conscientious Consumption: An ethic that acknowledges the power of consumer activism in the movement toward sustainability.

      Dioxin: Any of a family of compounds known chemically as dibenzo-p-dioxins. Concern about them has arisen from their potential toxicity as contaminants in commercial products. Tests on laboratory animals indicate that it is one of the more toxic anthropogenic (man-made) compounds.

      Energy: The capability of doing work; different forms of energy can be converted to other forms, but the total amount of energy remains the same.

      Energy Star: A joint program formed between the Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Energy to identify and label high-efficiency building products.

      Entropy: A measure of the unavailable or unusable energy in a system.

      Environmental Equity/Justice: Equal protection from environmental hazards for individuals, groups, or communities regardless of race, ethnicity, or economic status. This applies to the development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental laws, regulations, and policies, and implies that no population of people should be forced to shoulder a disproportionate share of negative environmental impacts of pollution or environmental hazard due to a lack of political or economic strength.

      Epidemiology: Study of the distribution of disease, or other health-related states and events in human populations, as related to age, sex, occupation, ethnicity, and economic status in order to identify and alleviate health problems and promote better health.

      Ethics: The study of moral questions. Ethics can refer to specific types of ethics (such as applied ethics or medical ethics) or to specific systems of ethics (such as Catholic ethics or Marxist ethics). Though the religions of the world always include an ethical dimension to their belief systems, ethics and religion are not coequal, and the term “secular ethics” is sometimes used to describe systems of ethics that derive their conclusions from logic or moral intuition rather than from religious teachings or revealed truths. Secular ethics and religious ethics can and often do reach the same conclusions, and may do so by the same means; there are both secular and religious articulations of utilitarianism, for instance. Major types of ethics include descriptive ethics (which describes the values people live by in practice), moral psychology (the study of how moral thinking develops in the human species), and applied ethics (addressing the ethical concerns of specific real-life situations and putting ethics into practice).

      Exposure: The amount of radiation or pollutant present in a given environment that represents a potential health threat to living organisms.

      Fair Trade: A certification scheme that evaluates the economic, social, and environmental impacts of the production and trade of agricultural products, in particular coffee, sugar, tea, chocolate, and others. Fair trade principles include fair prices, fair labor conditions, direct trade, democratic and transparent organizations, community development, and environmental sustainability.

      Farmers' Market: Farmers' markets are places where local farmers gather to sell their produce or specialty goods in a specific area at a designated time. All food bought at a farmers' market is probably not produced using green or organic practices, but in general, the selection of organic food is broader than at a supermarket.

      Fugitive Emissions: Emissions not caught by a capture system.

      FSC: The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) is an international nonprofit organization promoting responsible stewardship of the global forests. FSC certifies forests and forest products that fulfill their requirements for responsible forest stewardship.

      Geothermal Energy: Any and all energy produced by the internal heat of the earth.

      Greenhouse Effect: The warming of Earth's atmosphere attributed to a buildup of carbon dioxide or other gases. Some scientists think that this buildup allows the sun's rays to heat the Earth, while making the infrared radiation atmosphere opaque to infrared radiation, thereby preventing a counterbalancing loss of heat.

      Greenhouse Gas Emissions: Any emissions that are released by humans (though naturally occurring in the environment), mainly through the combustion of fossil fuels, and have a warming potential as they persist in the atmosphere, contributing to the greenhouse effect.

      Green Purchasing: The practice of selecting products and services that minimize the ecological impact of an individual or organization's day-to-day activities. Many organizations implement a green purchasing policy with guidelines for purchasing agents to select the “greenest” products and services available.

      Greenwashing: A marketing ploy for businesses to jump onto the green movement bandwagon. They are not genuinely interested in sustainability, but are simply trying to improve their standing with the public by paying lip service. A company interested in “going green” for public relations reasons is greenwashing.

      Hybrid Vehicle: Vehicles that use both a combustible form of fuel (gasoline, ethanol, etc.) and an electric motor to power them. Hybrid vehicles use less gasoline than a traditional combustion engine, and some even have an electric plug-in to charge the battery.

      Irradiation: Exposure to radiation of wavelengths shorter than those of visible light (gamma, x-ray, or ultraviolet), for medical purposes, to sterilize milk or other foodstuffs, or to induce polymerization of monomers or vulcanization of rubber.

      LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design): An organization that created the Green Building Rating System, which encourages and accelerates global adoption of sustainable green building and development practices through the creation and implementation of universally understood and accepted tools and performance criteria.

      LD 50/Lethal Dose: The dose of a toxicant or microbe that will kill 50 percent of the test organisms within a designated period. The lower the LD 50, the more toxic the compound.

      Life Cycle of a Product: All stages of a product's development, from extraction of fuel for power to production, marketing, use, and disposal.

      Lifetime Exposure: Total amount of exposure to a substance that a human would receive in a lifetime (usually assumed to be 70 years).

      Lowest Acceptable Daily Dose: The largest quantity of a chemical that will not cause a toxic effect, as determined by animal studies.

      Megawatt: One thousand kilowatts, or 1 million watts. It is the standard measure of electric power plant generating capacity.

      Moral Relativism: The acknowledgment that different cultures have different moral standards. There are various levels of moral relativism, from the weak descriptivist articulation that simply acknowledges and describes those differences, to the normative position which says that there is no universal moral standard, only culturally derived morals. Moderate positions often propose that there are certain key moral standards that form a universal ethical core, such as taboos on murder, incest, or parental neglect. The question of which moral standards are universal becomes important when cultures deal with one another and when international bodies mediate between them. Most differences are not about matters as obvious or seemingly clear-cut as murder, but may instead bear on matters of justice or on the distribution of responsibility. The questions of who has the responsibility to do something about climate change, or of the ethical importance of avoiding polluting behaviors, vary widely around the world. The opposite of relativism is universalism.

      Net Metering: A method of crediting customers for electricity that they generate on-site in excess of their purchased electricity consumption. Customers with their own generation offset the electricity they would have purchased from their utility. If such customers generate more than they use in a billing period, their electric meter turns backward to indicate their net excess generation. Depending on individual state or utility rules, the net excess generation may be credited to the customer's account (in many cases at the retail price), carried over to a future billing period, or ignored.

      Net-Zero Energy: Characteristic of a building that produces as much energy as it consumes on an annual basis, usually through incorporation of energy production from renewable sources such as wind or solar.

      NGO: A nongovernmental organization operating independently from government that does not function as a private business. Also known as civil society organizations, these groups typically act in the public interest or at some broader political, cultural, or social goals.

      NIMBY: An acronym for “not in my backyard” that identifies the tendency for individuals and communities to oppose noxious or hazardous materials and activities in their vicinity. It implies a limited or parochial political vision of environmental justice.

      Normative: Describing how a thing ought to be. A normative statement describes what should be done, regardless of what is done. Normative ethics are concerned with how people ought to behave and what actions they ought to take. “Alcohol intake impairs judgment” is a descriptive statement; “Drunk driving is wrong” is a normative statement.

      North—South: A model of the world that contrasts the industrialized, developed, wealthy countries of the global north with the developing, poorer countries of the global south. Geography applying to this model is partially figurative, with Australia and New Zealand included in the global north, and a number of African, Middle Eastern, and Asian nations in the northern hemisphere included in the global south. The term became popular in the wake of the Cold War, when a new way of distinguishing between the developed (first and second worlds) and developing (third world) was desired. However, while there are many political and cultural ties between the nations of the global north, the global south—much like the third world—is varied enough to invite criticism of the model's accuracy and usefulness.

      Pacific Gyre: Otherwise known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, it is a gyre of small bits of marine garbage, including chemical sludge and pelagic plastic, thought to be larger than the state of Texas.

      Persistent Toxic Chemicals, Persistent Pollutants: Detrimental materials, like Styrofoam or DDT, which remain active for a long time after their application and can be found in the environment years, and sometimes decades, after they were used.

      Photochemical Smog: Air pollution caused by chemical reactions of various pollutants emitted from different sources.

      Planned Obsolescence: The art of making a product break/fail after a certain amount of time. The failure of the product does not occur in a period of time that you will blame the manufacturer, but soon enough for you to buy another one and make more profit for the manufacturer.

      Political Ecology: A field of research concerned with the relationship of systems of social and economic power to environmental conditions, natural resources, and conservation.

      Pollution: Generally, the presence of a substance in the environment that, because of its chemical composition or quantity, prevents the functioning of natural processes and produces undesirable environmental and health effects. Under the Clean Water Act, for example, the term has been defined as the man-made or man-induced alteration of the physical, biological, chemical, and radiological integrity of water and other media.

      Pollution Prevention: Identifying areas, processes, and activities that create excessive waste products or pollutants in order to reduce or prevent them through alteration, or eliminating a process. Such activities, consistent with the Pollution Prevention Act of 1990, are conducted across all Environmental Protection Agency programs and can involve cooperative efforts with such agencies as the Departments of Agriculture and Energy.

      Polychlorinated Biphenyls: A group of toxic, persistent chemicals used in electrical transformers and capacitors for insulating purposes, and in gas pipeline systems as lubricant. The sale and new use of these chemicals, also known as PCBs, were banned by law in 1979.

      Postconsumer Waste: In the recycling business, material that has already been used and discarded by consumers, as opposed to manufacturing waste. Using products with “post-consumer” recycled content actually keeps waste out of landfills and incinerators, unlike “post-industrial” recycled content, most of which would get recycled anyway.

      Power: Energy that is capable or available for doing work; the time rate at which work is performed.

      Precautionary Principle: A philosophy which states that policy makers should not wait for scientific proof of harmful effects before taking steps to limit harmful environmental and human health impacts from new products or activities. Specific areas of application include genetically modified food products and chemicals that may have harmful developmental effects in low doses.

      Radioactive Waste: Any waste that emits energy as rays, waves, streams, or energetic particles. Radioactive materials are often mixed with hazardous waste, from nuclear reactors, research institutions, or hospitals.

      Recycling: The process by which materials that would otherwise become solid waste are collected, separated or processed, and reused in the form of raw materials or finished goods.

      Risk: A measure of the probability that damage to life, health, property, and/or the environment will occur as a result of a given hazard.

      Risk Assessment: Qualitative and quantitative evaluation of the risk posed to human health and/or the environment by the actual or potential presence and/or use of specific pollutants.

      Semiconductor: Any material that has a limited capacity for conducting an electric current.

      Smog: Air pollution typically associated with oxidants. The word is a portmanteau of “smoke” and “fog.”

      Sustainability: To give support to, relief to, to carry, withstand, or to meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.

      Sustainable Seafood: The act of not overfishing, which causes the possibility of extinction or adverse effects on a habitat.

      Toxicity: The degree to which a substance or mixture of substances can harm humans or animals.

      Turbine: A device for converting the flow of a fluid (air, steam, water, or hot gases) into mechanical motion.

      U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA): Established by President Lincoln in 1862, the USDA is an umbrella organization encompassing all aspects of farming production that has executive and legislative authority to assure food safety and protect national resources. Active operating units include the National Organic Program, Agricultural Resource Service, Food Safety and Inspection Service, Risk Management Agency, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.

      VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds): Gases emitted from liquid or solid substances that may cause short-term and long-term harmful health effects. Examples of products containing VOCs include paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbonless copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

      Water Pollution: Includes chemicals and debris that render water unusable for natural habitat, human consumption, and recreation.

      Watershed Approach: A coordinated framework for environmental management that focuses public and private efforts on the highest-priority problems within hydrologically defined geographic areas taking into consideration both ground and surface water flow.

      Wildlife Refuge: An area designated for the protection of wild animals, within which hunting and fishing are either prohibited or strictly controlled.

      Green Culture Resource Guide

      Adams, Anthony. Your Energy-Efficient House: Building and Remodeling Ideas. Charlotte, VT: Garden Way Publishing, 1975.
      Albright, Horace M., and Marian AlbrightSchenck. Creating the National Park Service: The Missing Years. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1999.
      Ali, Saleem H., ed. Peace Parks: Conservation and Conflict Resolution. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2007.
      Beder, Sharon. Global Spin: The Corporate Assault on Environmentalism. London: Green Books, 2002.
      Bekoff, Marc. Minding Animals: Awareness, Emotion and Heart. Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2002.
      Belasco, Warren. Appetite for Change: How the Counterculture Took on the Food Industry. New York: Pantheon Books, 1989.
      Brooks, Karl B.Before Earth Day: The Origins of American Environmental Law, 1945–1970. Lawrence: University of Kansas Press, 2009.
      Canavari, Maurizio, and Olson, Kent D.Organic Food: Consumer's Choices and Farmer's Opportunities. New York: Springer, 2007.
      Carson, Rachel. Silent Spring. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 1962.
      Chiras, Daniel. The Solar House. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2002.
      Chryssavgis, John, ed. Cosmic Grace, Humble Prayer: The Ecological Vision of the Green Patriarch Bartholomew. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 2009.
      Connell, John. Homing Instinct: Using Your Lifestyle to Design and Build Your Home. New York: Warner Books, 1993.
      Connelly, Matthew. Fatal Misconception: The Struggle to Control World Population. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008.
      Cox, Robert J.Environmental Communication and the Public Sphere. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2009.
      Critser, Greg. Fat Land. Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2003.
      Dawkins, Marion. Animal Suffering: The Science of Animal Welfare. London: Chapman & Hall, 1980.
      Deffeyes, Kenneth S.Beyond Oil: The View From Hubbert's Peak. New York: Hill & Wang, 2005.
      DeLuca, Kevin Michael. Image Politics: The New Rhetoric of Environmental Activism. New York: Guilford Press, 1999.
      Dessler, Andrew E., and EdwardA. Parson. The Science and Politics of Global Climate Change: A Guide to the Debate. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006.
      Dunlap, Riley E., and WilliamMichelson. Handbook on Environmental Sociology. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2003.
      Duram, Leslie A.Good Growing: Why Organic Farming Works. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005.
      Ehrlich, Paul. The Population Bomb. New York: Ballantine Books, 1968.
      Epstein, Barbara. Political Protest and Cultural Revolution. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1991.
      Esty, Daniel, and AndrewWinston. From Green to Gold: How Smart Companies Use Environmental Strategy to Innovate, Create Value, and Build Competitive Advantage. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 2006.
      Fischer, Frank. Citizens, Experts, and the Environment: The Politics of Local Knowledge. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2000.
      Fisher, Dana R.National Governance and the Global Climate Change Regime. Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2004.
      Fletcher, KSustainable Fashion and Textiles: Design Journeys. London: Earthscan, 2008.
      Fromartz, Samuel. Organic, Inc.: Natural Foods and How They Grew. New York: Harcourt, 2006.
      Frome, Michael. Whose Woods These Are: The Story of the National Forests. New York: Doubleday, 1962.
      Gibbs, Lois. Love Canal: My Story. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1982.
      Gould, K. A., and T. L.Lewis, eds. Twenty Lessons in Environmental Sociology. New York: Oxford University Press, 2009.
      Guthman, Julie. Agrarian Dreams: The Paradox of Organic Farming in California. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2004.
      Hawken, P.The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability. New York: HarperBusiness, 1993.
      Hays, Samuel P.Conservation and the Gospel of Efficiency: The Progressive Conservation Movement. New York: Atheneum, 1980.
      Hays, Samuel P.Environmental Politics Since 1945. Pittsburgh, PA: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2000.
      Hemenway, Toby. Gaia's Garden—A Guide to Home-Scale Permaculture. White River Junction, VT: Chelsea Green Publishing, 2001.
      Henderson, H., and W.Woolner, eds. FDR and the Environment. New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2005.
      Hethorn, J., and C.Ulasewicz, eds., Sustainable Fashion: Why Now?New York: Fairchild, 2008.
      Hird, John A.Superfund: The Political Economy of Environmental Risk. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1994.
      Holmgren, David. Permaculture: Principles and Pathways Beyond Sustainability. Hepburn, Australia: Holmgren Design Services, 2002.
      Jaffee, Daniel. Brewing Justice: Fair Trade Coffee, Sustainability, and Survival. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007.
      Jones, Van. The Green-Collar Economy: How One Solution Can Fix Our Two Biggest Problems. New York: HarperOne, 2008.
      Juris, Jeffrey S.Networking Futures: The Movements Against Corporate Globalization. Durham, NC: Duke University Press, 2008.
      Katsifiacas, George. The Subversion of Politics. Atlantic Highlands, NJ: Humanities Press, 1997.
      Klare, Michael T.Resource Wars: The New Landscape of Global Conflict. New York: Owl Books, 2002.
      Kraft, Michael E.Environmental Policy and Politics. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Pearson Longman, 2007.
      Landy, Marc A., Marc J.Roberts, and StephenR. Thomas. Environmental Protection Agency: Asking the Wrong Questions, From Nixon to Clinton. New York: Oxford University Press, 1994.
      Lappé, Frances Moore. Diet for a Small Planet. New York: Ballantine Books, 1971.
      Latouche, Serge. Farewell to Growth. Cambridge, UK: Polity Press, 2009.
      Lazarus, Richard J.The Making of Environmental Law. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2006.
      Levenstein, Harvey. Paradox of Plenty: A Social History of Eating in Modern America. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003.
      Mazur, Alan. A Hazardous Inquiry: The Rashomon Effect at Love Canal. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1998.
      McMichael, P.Development and Social Change: A Global Perspective. Thousands Oaks, CA: Pine Forge Press, 2008.
      Meikle, Grahame. Future Active: Media Activism and the Internet. New York: Routledge, 2002.
      Nelson, Willie, and TurkPipkin. The Tao of Willie: A Guide to the Happiness in Your Heart. New York: Gotham Books, 2006.
      Nestle, Marion. Food Politics. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2002.
      Newell, Peter. Climate for Change: Non-State Actors and the Global Politics of the Greenhouse. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2000.
      Palmer, A., and H.Clark, eds. Old Clothes, New Looks: Second Hand Fashion. Oxford, UK: Berg, 2005.
      Podobnik, Bruce. Global Energy Shifts: Fostering Sustainability in a Turbulent Age. Philadelphia, PA: Temple University Press, 2006.
      Pollan, Michael. Omnivore's Dilemma. New York: Penguin, 2006.
      Pollan, Michael. Second Nature: A Gardener's Education. New York: Dell, 1991.
      Purchase, Graham. Anarchism and Ecology. Montreal: Black Rose Books, 1997.
      Purchase, Graham. Anarchism and Environmental Survival. Tucson, AZ: Sharp Press, 1994.
      Runte, Alfred. National Parks, the American Experience. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 1987.
      Schlosser, Eric. Fast Food Nation. New York: Houghton Mifflin, 2001.
      Sellars, Richard West. Preserving Nature in the National Parks: A History. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press, 1997.
      Shiva, Vandana. Water Wars: Privatization, Pollution, and Profit. Cambridge, MA: South End Press, 2002.
      Singer, Peter. Animal Liberation. New York: HarperCollins, 2001.
      Singer, Peter, ed. In Defense of Animals: The Second Wave. Oxford, UK: Wiley-Blackwell, 2005.
      Smil, Vaclav. Energy in Nature and Society: General Energetics of Complex Systems. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2008.
      Szasz, Andrew. EcoPopulism: Toxic Waste and the Movement for Environmental Justice. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1994.
      Tallamy, Douglas W.Bringing Nature Home: How You Can Sustain Wildlife With Native Plants. Portland: Timber Press, 2006.
      Ward, Colin. Anarchism: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2004.
      Wark, Kenneth, Cecil F.Warner, and WayneT. Davis. Air Pollution: Its Origin and Control. Menlo Park, CA: Addison-Wesley, 1998.
      Zimring, Carl A.Cash for Your Trash: Scrap Recycling in America. New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press, 2005.
      Agriculture and Human Values
      E/The Environmental Magazine
      Earth First! Journal
      ecohome Magazine
      The Ecologist
      Environment & Behavior
      Forest Products Journal
      Green Source
      International Journal of Environment and Health
      International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development
      Journal for Nature Conservation
      Journal of Environmental Biology
      Journal of Environmental Education
      Journal of Environmental Science & Health
      Journal of Forestry
      Journal of International Wildlife Law and Policy
      Journal of Popular Culture
      Journal of the History of Ideas
      Mother Earth News
      Natural Life
      One Planet
      Organic Family
      Sierra Magazine
      Urban Farm
      Vegetarian Times
      Whole Living
      Environmental Media Association
      Green Highways Partnership
      The Greenwashing Index
      Grist: A Beacon in the Smog
      Mother Nature Network
      National Geographic's Green Guide
      The Natural Nursery Blog
      Pew Center on Global Climate Change
      United Nations Environment Programme
      United States Department of Agriculture
      The Vegetarian Resource Group
      The Wilderness Society

      Green Culture Appendix

      CorpWatch: Holding Corporations Accountable

      The official Website of CorpWatch, a nonprofit research and journalism organization based in San Francisco that investigates corporate behavior and advocates for corporate accountability and transparency. Information on the Website is organized by industry and by issue, in either case providing a short summary of issues and links to news articles and other sources of information. Industries covered are chemicals, construction, energy, food and agriculture, manufacturing, media and entertainment, natural resources, pharmaceuticals, retail and mega-stores, technology and telecommunications, tobacco, tourism and real estate, transportation and war, and disaster profiteering. Issues covered are consumerism, corruption, environment, executive compensation, globalization, health, human rights, labor, money and politics, privatization, regulation, trade justice, and world financial institutions. The CorpWatch Hands-On Research Guide offers detailed, step-by-step suggestions for researching corporations (for instance, to support lawsuits, activist campaigns, and investigative articles) and is hosted on this Website, as is the CorpWatch blog.

      Environmental Justice

      The Website run by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), which explains the concept of environmental justice, reviews the history of the environmental justice movement, including the work of the National Environmental Justice Advisory Council (created in 1992), and provides information about environmental justice resources, including local contacts for different regions of the country. It includes information about grants and programs administered by the EPA, information about the Federal Interagency Working Group (established in 1994), and the Environmental Justice Achievement Awards. Multimedia resources, including podcasts, relating to environmental justice may be downloaded from the site, and there are many print information resources available for reference or download from the Website, including policy documents, fact sheets, and planning documents, as well as a searchable bibliography (EJBib online) that currently contains references to about 4,000 documents.

      Fair-Trade Labeling Organizations International: Tackling Poverty and Empowering Producers through Trade

      The Website of an international coalition of 24 organizations from three continents headquartered in Bonn, Germany. The coalition set international standards for fair trade and supports fair-trade producers. This organization controls the FAIR TRADE certification mark, which is now used in over 50 countries in the world to signify products that meet fair-trade standards. The Website includes basic information about fair trade and its history; annual reports of Fair-Trade Labeling Organization (FLO) International; statistics about fair trade; the certification process; standards for different products; multimedia information including films, brochures, and publications; news items about fair trade; and a searchable database of minimum prices and premiums for different products.

      The Greenwashing Index

      This Website, run by Enviromedia Social Marketing (a social marketing agency working in the field of sustainability consulting) and the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, collects information about greenwashing, a practice in which a company or organization claims to be following environmental practices but in fact does so in a minor way for the purposes of advertising (therefore analogous to whitewashing, but in a “green” or environmental sense). The Website allows users to post ads that make environmental claims and they are then rated by other users on a scale of 1 (authentic) to 5 (bogus), and previously posted ads are also available for view (with filters by date and subject, such as agriculture, financial, or retail). The site also explains basic concepts relating to greenwashing, posts expert commentary on greenwashing issues, and collects links to news items about greenwashing.

      Smart Growth Online

      A Website supported by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and maintained by the National Center for Appropriate Technology. It provides an overview of the concept of smart growth, focused on maintaining older towns and suburbs, preserving green space, developing mixed land use that combines housing, commercial, and retail uses, and developing mass transit and pedestrian options for transportation. Information is organized by issue including community quality of life, design, economics, environment, health, housing, and transportation. The Website has information on the Smart Growth Network (founded in 1996) and the Smart Growth Speaker Series, including podcasts and videocasts of previous talks. The Website also includes an index of smart growth news (by date and state) and a number of online tools, reports, and case studies relevant to smart growth.

      The Vegetarian Resource Group

      This Website, run by the Baltimore-based Vegetarian Resource Group (VRG), offers two types of information: that provided from the VRG and links to information from other organizations such as the American Dietetic Association. Categories include nutrition, recipes, information for vegans, foodservice, restaurants, the environment, vegetarian business, and teens, family, and kids. The Website includes data from several years of polls conducted by Harris Interactive, a market research firm, on the number of adult and teenage vegetarians in the United States and links to polls and studies conducted from other organizations addressing topics such as trends in marketing organic foods. Many guides, articles, and handouts (some in Spanish) from the VRG, covering topics like vegetarian fast food items and vegan nutrition for kids, are available for reading and/or download from the Website. Press releases from the VRG are available from the Website, and the Vegetarian Journal (published by the VRG) may be read online.


      The Website of the nonprofit media organization, a global network of independent journalists founded in 2003 and headquartered in Seattle, Washington. News reports and analysis are provided by correspondents around the world, and the editorial staff is led by Executive Editor Alex Steffen and Managing Editor Amanda Reed. Besides a “front page” of recent news reports, information is organized into seven categories: (1) Stuff (including collaboration, emerging technologies, food and farming, purchasing green, and sustainable design), (2) Shelter (including green building, energy, water, and refugees and relief), (3) Cities (including leapfrogging, megacities, transportation, and urban planning and design), (4) Community (including arts, education, empowering women, health, philanthropy, and social entrepreneurship), (5) Business (including branding and marketing, green economy, socially responsible investment, and transforming business), (6) Politics (including communications and networking, media, transparency, human rights, and activism), and (7) Planet (including collaboration, emerging technologies, food and farming, purchasing green, and sustainable design). The Website also includes a calendar of Worldchanging events and links to three local blogs (for Seattle, Denver, and Canada).

      SarahBoslaughWashington University School of Medicine
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