Religiosity diminishes conservative opposition to environmentally friendly consumer decisions

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Some people have perceived that the combination of religion and political conservatism exacerbates environmental concerns in the United States. But researchers from Rice University and Baruch College have found evidence that religious identification and belief in a god dampen the otherwise strong negative effect that political conservatism typically has on whether people make purchasing decisions with concern for the environment in mind.

At first glance, the researchers’ data show that political liberals are 8 percentage points more likely to say they identify as pro-environment consumers when compared with political conservatives. However, a closer look across levels of religiosity shows that this political gap is larger among the nonreligious (a difference of 12 percentage points between extreme political conservatives and extreme political liberals) and smaller among the very religious (a difference of 3 percentage points). The researchers said this suggests that religion can mute political differences when someone is being identified as a pro-environment consumer.

Office Depot Launches Binder Recycling Program for Back-to-School Shoppers in Partnership with TerraCycle

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Office Depot, Inc. (ODP), a leading global provider of office products, services, and solutions, through its Office Depot and OfficeMax brands, today announced the launch of its Binder Recycling Program, encouraging shoppers to help preserve the environment by recycling old binders. Starting today, shoppers can bring any old empty binder to an Office Depot or OfficeMax retail location and receive a $2 instant discount off a same-day binder purchase.

Why sending an email can increase your carbon footprint

Read the full story at Inhabitat.

Your carbon footprint is greater than just the fossil fuels burned in traveling and construction—it encompasses your digital activities too. As if spam emails weren’t bad enough, Fuel Fighter points out how an action as seemingly innocuous as a Google search could add to your carbon footprint. Data centers, which are the engines of the Internet, require massive amounts of energy to run and, according to Gartner, are said to account for almost a quarter of global carbon dioxide emissions. Fuel Fighter created an infographic to break down the carbon footprint of the digital age, from emails to streaming Netflix, as well as interesting stats on the energy it takes to power the Internet and what some companies are doing to offset their global footprint.

6 innovative ways to harvest and harness rainwater

Read the full story at Inhabitat.

From perennially parched California to unseasonably dry Massachusetts, from sea to salty sea, rainwater is a precious resource. As drought rages in East Africa and groundwater systems are stretched to their limits in India, and global climate changes at an increasing rate, water will become an ever more precious commodity driving the new economic and political landscape of the 21st century.  In such a water world, it is rewarding to understand how this resource may be better used. We have outlined six simple steps that individuals and communities can take to harvest and harness rainwater. Take a look.


Mother Earth’s Secret Weapon: Girl Scouts

Read the full story in Pacific Standard.

There are many simple things we can all do to save energy, but few of us bother to ever learn about them, let alone change our behavior. Fortunately, new research points to a potent secret weapon in the battle to get people to act more responsibly: their nine- and 10-year-old girls.

According to a study in the journal Nature Energy, a program in which Girl Scouts were taught how to save energy at home had lasting results, changing the behavior of both the young ladies and their parents. What’s more, many of these new habits remained seven to eight months following the training.

Tiny Houses: Affordable, Energy-Efficient and Often Illegal

Read the full story from Stateline.

Some local governments around the country are welcoming tiny houses, attracted by their potential to ease an affordable housing crunch or even house the homeless. Cities such as Washington, D.C., and Fresno, California, have eased zoning and building rules to allow them, and in May California’s housing department issued guidance to help builders and code enforcers know which standards they need to meet. They are even the subject of the HGTV shows “Tiny House, Big Living” and “Tiny House Hunters.”

But lost in the enthusiasm is the fact that in many places, it is hard to live in them legally.

Green homes: would you pay more for energy and water efficiency?

Read the full story in The Guardian.

A new tool will make it easier for home buyers and renters to understand energy efficiency but will it make a difference to their purchasing decisions?