A recent report from the UK-based Institute for Public Policy and Research (IPPR) revealed that people are “bored” by climate change. Rather than being dismayed by this report, I’m bolstered. Bored? We can change “bored”. I have three kids who are routinely “bored”. I’m a freaking expert in “bored”.

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The Ecology Center, an educational facility in Orange County, held a series of DIY workshops in 2009 and 2010 to teach people practical, environmental solutions for the home. With the popularity of the workshops, The Ecology Center decided to compile the projects as a reference, and that reference became Backyard Skills: A D. I.Y. Handbook. We’ve been given a review copy to read and share on this site.

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This is the Modern Living Showhouse on display at Dwell on Design 2011. The green prefab was designed by Jonathan Davis of pieceHomes, built by OneBuild Inc., and styled by Zem Joaquin and ecofabulous. With 520 square feet, the dwelling is spacious enough to include a kitchen, living room, bedroom, and bathroom. See the interior photos below with a description of green materials and technologies included in the showcase.

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This is The Sentinel, a home that went through an efficiency renovation in Seattle. The work was performed by Seattle-based Green Canopy Homes which takes existing homes in walkable neighborhoods and transforms them with high-performance upgrades and a touch of community design. They all carry an Energy Performance Score and Built Green certification, and many of them have some geeky features like real-time energy monitoring, a digital homeowner’s manual, and on-site solar power.

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The EPA and Department of Energy today announced the “Most Efficient” initiative for products recognized as the most energy-efficient in their categories among those that have received the Energy Star label. The Most Efficient designation will attach to about the top 5% of products in these categories: clothes washers, heating and cooling equipment, televisions, and refrigerator-freezers.

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This is the Vancouver Airport Home, or the Hotchkiss Residence, located along the Columbia River in Vancouver, Washington. It was designed by Rick Berry of Scott Edwards Architecture and built by Hammer & Hand for retired couple in need of a single-level, one-bedroom abode. The owners have lived on the site for 40 years and the existing structure was recycled prior to building this one.

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This is a project called Sustainable Stuart – the name comes from its location on Stuart Street – by Imagine Infill in Denver, Colorado. It features two, attached, single-family homes, and we have pictures of one of the homes, 3288 Stuart. 3288 Stuart received LEED Gold, EPA Indoor AirPlus, and Energy Star certifications.

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Hope you’re enjoying the weekend. This month we started toying with Google+ and added the +1 button to individuals articles. In terms of our new articles, the most shared one on Facebook was about a solar-powered shed, while the most shared one on Twitter was about the Modern Living Showhouse prefab. If you have something you think would fit on JetsonGreen. com, send us a tip. Below is an outline of July coverage.

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There’s some great green homes in Portland, including this one, the Musician’s Dwelling, which was included on the Build It Green! Home Tour in 2010. Musician’s Dwelling was built through a collaboration between Departure Design and Hammer & Hand — like this ultra-efficient ADU — although the architect-owner assisted with this home. Owners Connie and Morgan Curtis envisioned this as a place to make music and share art.

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This is an eco-friendly home in the Portland area that’s owned by Mike and Virginia Malone. Their 3,336-square-foot project was designed by DeBar Architecture and built by Cellar Ridge Custom Homes for an undisclosed amount with green elements such as rooftop solar, sustainably harvested wood, LED lighting, and a massive water catchment system. Check out the unique interior below.

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It’s baffling that the light bulb provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (“EISA”) has become such a hot-button topic. This week, members of the House are expected to debate and perhaps vote on repealing the provision, which is technically a technology-neutral law. It doesn’t mandate CFLs over incandescent lights, as suggested by some; it merely requires that certain lights be roughly 25% more efficient with about the same brightness and rated life.

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Watch this video. It’s a mash-up of Fox News bashing the light bulb provision in the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 (“EISA”). Most of the commentators seem to have an aversion to CFLs for one reason or another (i. e., bulb appearance, bulb cost, light quality, light color, mercury, cleanup), but I’m not hearing these same people talk much about the new EISA-compliant incandescent bulbs that are currently available.

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As it turns out, with near real-time feedback, most electricity consumers will take action to reduce energy usage, according to information released by CenterPoint Energy. CenterPoint conducted a pilot program with 300 Texas customers using a simple in-home display (IHD) wirelessly connected to a smart meter. Consumers used the IHD to obtain electricity usage data and a forecast of monthly usage and costs, spurring them to turn off lights, adjust the indoor temperature, and switch to energy-saving light bulbs.

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We’ve followed the growth of Reclaimed Space over the last few years and the Austin-based company has delivered some incredible rusty modern prefabs all over the country. The factory is now finishing up work on a “Glam Tent” for Dunton Hot Springs Resort outside of Durango, Colorado. The build includes a reclaimed bathroom and tent roof from Montana-based Reliable Tent & Tipi.

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Whether north or south of the 49th parallel, the season for gratitude and gorging is almost upon us. Yet let us give thanks this year, both organically and ethically, for options – for there are alternatives to noshing on chemically injected fowl and pesticide-soaked produce. Herewith my guide to greening your gobbler…and assorted Thanksgiving goodies:

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Just more than a decade ago, I was a stressed mom-to-be standing in the aisles of Wal-Mart getting a migraine. Who makes this stuff? I wondered. What is it made of? Why is it so cheap? And what is the true cost of saving money? Hard to believe but there in the aisles amidst the smiley faces, an activist was born…

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I, for one, have had it up to here (picture my feverish forehead!) with all the H1N1 Swine Flu hysteria. If I receive one more e-mail, one more Tweet, one more panicked phone call about the so-called swine flu, I’m going to cough – WITHOUT COVERING MY MOUTH.

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November makes me grumpy. Halloween’s sugar-induced high leaves me crashing like a crack addict. The steady rain and snow ensures that my bike stays put…and so does my butt, though it increasingly strains against denim putting the 2% spandex to a stretch test that rivals anything the factory could have devised. My summer glow has long since faded to a pasty corpse-like grey.

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My kids are screwed. It’s a shame, really. They’re awesome kids, all three of them. Smart. Funny. Compassionate. Creative. Unfortunately, they have me as their mother. And I am a liability.

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To say I have a family of animal lovers is to say that the Dalai Lama is a pretty nice guy. For the most part, the animals we love are of the domestic variety (an assortment of cats, dogs, and a rabbit), but we nonetheless extend our love and fascination to animals of all sorts. It wouldn’t be far-fetched to say that we often prefer the company of animals over people.

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I confess I loved Barbie. LOVED her. And all her friends – mod-hair Ken (though I never did understand the appeal of stick-on facial hair), little sister Skipper, and African-American friend (though I was Canadian and lived in a world of white faces) Christie. I had Barbie’s Porsche and tent-trailer. Her RV.

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I just returned from the vet where I had a 13-year-old cat put down. Buster was his name and he was, quite simply, the most loving cat I’ve ever known. Unfortunately, though his heart had the capacity for great love it didn’t have the capacity to keep him strong and he went into congenital heart failure.

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My youngest daughter loves a bubble bath. Unfortunately, she has a mother who refuses to let her soak in sodium lauryl sulphate, a known irritant and potential carcinogen, so she has spent much of her bathtub life bubble-free.

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“I’d like to join your group,” the woman said to me conspiratorially, “but I don’t want to work with a bunch of angry environmentalists.” I stifled a laugh. I was working a booth for EcoLiving London, a new not-for-profit in my hometown, created by my friend Tiffany Roschkow.

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“Mommy,” my 11-year-old daughter asked me quizzically over dinner tonight, “why do you have a big box of condoms on your desk?”

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Let me remove my rose-colored glasses and My Name Is…Pollyanna sticker for just a moment while I try to restore my heart rate and blood pressure to normal. I just got off my bike, after riding my three kids – two older ones on their bikes, youngest one on a tandem attachment to mine – to school. In that short distance, roughly two kilometers, my mortality was tested no less than thrice.

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Alex Loorz is a passionate and articulate speaker. He’s also 16 years old, with a resume of activism and community organization that indicates he’s a force to be reckoned with. I first heard Alex speak in October of last year. He told an audience of about 3,000 how he dreamed of a march on May 8, 2011 – the iMatter March – that would engage millions of youth around the world on the issue of climate change.

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There was a time that I felt lonely (and no, I’m not referring the night of senior prom when I went grocery shopping with my father rather than attend – dateless!). Rather, I’m referring to just a few years ago when I was trying to find a market for my brilliant new idea – a column that would guide people through making environmentally and socially responsible purchasing choices.

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Life used to be so simple. Call me naive, but I always thought to be Canadian was good. To be American was…well…less good. We Canadians represented all that was humble. All that was humane. All that was…good.

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There’s been much focus – particularly since Barack Obama’s visit to Canada – about the Alberta Tar Sands. The project does tend to cast a large shadow over Western Canada in particular – and to every Canadian concerned about the environmental toll.

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I am convinced bureaucracy, not global warming, is what is actually going to be the main contributor to our collective demise. The more time I spend in the environmental movement, the more I realize that the innovations, the technology and the possibilities for living a more sustainable life are available to us, but it is the corporations and politicians who are stalling, and at times, actively blocking real and significant change and progress.

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The recent announcement of an airline devoted exclusively to pets has prompted a fair bit of press — some good, and some a tad more critical. Many pet lovers are grateful there is now a safe way for their animal companions to travel in the USA but environmentalists are calling it the most ‘ungreen’ thing they have ever heard of.

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I have been having some morbid eco thoughts of late. Various green friends and family members and even many colleagues have been expressing fatigue with the futility of the environmental movement. Their eco malaise, coupled with increasing apocalyptic global warming headlines, the recent failure of the G8 to make any real and significant progress and the firm belief that only more foolish political posturing and stalling will take place at the UN Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen this December, is enough to drive my mind to some hopeless places.

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I was recently in a supermarket with a girlfriend and she glanced over at a harassed family of four with a shopping cart teeming with meat and other carbon intensive food items, and sneered at their steak, hotdog and chicken wing filled shopping cart. Now she is a self-professed foodie that will only eat an organic local vegan diet and as she clutched her little wire basket in one hand with a few organic vegetables, a package of tofu and some bulk dried beans, I could see her calculating the greenhouse gases generated by the meat and tabulating the cruelty from the factory farming methods that had produced said meat.

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The blogosphere is currently abuzz with reports of an unusual looking animal that washed up on a riverbank in Cerro Azul, Panama. The creature, looking like a hairless sloth, has been described as everything from an alien to an unborn fetus to an elaborate hoax.

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Today is Blog Action Day and I can’t help but wonder if blogging and sending out a few emphatic tweets and e-mails is enough to accomplish the monumental task facing the citizens of the world. Right now we are 10 days away from the October 24th International Day of Climate Action, and a mere 52 days before the crucial 2009 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Copenhagen, and I can’t help but ask myself, repeatedly, am I, are we, doing enough?

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It wasn’t an easy decision, to leave the comforting suburban bosom for Salt Spring Island, chasing the dream of a better life. Trevor and I had spent long hours conjuring up the perfect island existence; a large acreage, raising animals on a hobby farm, making homemade bread, going for long walks with our Golden Retriever running ahead on the island trails. We dreamed of bright stars staining a dark night.

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