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Soapbox Monday

POSTED: Monday, August 5, 2013, 4:55 PM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday

The Soapbox Monday series returns with a discussion on staying cool and green, today's blissfully cool temperature notwithstanding.

Join greenlimbs Editor in Chief Lauren Leonard and me as we explore how you beat the heat and the guilt sometimes associated with the luxury of air conditioning.

SANDY: Hi Lauren. Has your air-conditioner been cranking along like mine has? I’m sorry to say I’ve been lavish in my expenditure of electrons in my effort to keep cool.

POSTED: Monday, March 4, 2013, 6:00 AM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday
(Clem Murray / Staff Photographer)

Today, as a continuation of our monthly conversation, Lauren E. Leonard, editor of and I have been discussing litter.

Here’s how it went:

LAUREN: I grew up in a place where you just didn't litter. When I came to Philly for college, the thing that most made an impression on me was how dirty it was. Before I could recognize the city's vast cultural institutions, amazing public spaces, and historical significance, I had to wrap my brain around the litter.

POSTED: Monday, February 4, 2013, 11:37 AM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday

Today, Lauren E. Leonard of and I are are hoping to start a conversation about chemicals in everyday products ... by ‘fessing up about what’s under our kitchen sinks.

Many cleaners contain caustic, even toxic, chemicals that may be bad for our health. There are alternatives, but do they work as well?

We hope you’ll join the debate by commenting below or on the greenlimbs site.

POSTED: Monday, January 28, 2013, 7:22 AM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday
An array of new bulbs. (U.S. Department of Energy photo)

The efficiency upgrade for America's light bulbs continues.

When the calendar turned to January, 75-watt bulbs joined 100-watters in having to meet new energy efficiency standards. 

Some have referred to the legislation, signed by President Bush, as a "ban" on incandesents. But that's not true.  It's just that, so far, manufacturers haven't figured out how to get incandescents to meet the new standards. Nor are they likely to. There are just too many other wonderful choices.

POSTED: Monday, March 5, 2012, 11:52 AM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday

I struggled with this morning's column about off-peak power use. Somehow, I wasn't getting the logic worked out with one of the things I wanted to say. So I'll try it here:

I wanted to make the point that a lot of people are against new nuclear power plants. They're against coal. They're against natural gas.

I wanted to challenge them: If that's the case, what are you going to do about it? Other than write letters to elected officials and do other work to advocate for better policies, is there anything that you're willing to change in your own life to conserve so the nation doesn't need so much power? A lot of individuals would have to make a lot of changes, true, but I've always maintained that individual action counts.

POSTED: Monday, February 20, 2012, 6:05 AM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday

I'm one of those annoying people who thinks we should actually be paying more for household electricity.

That way, we might use less of it.

So poor people wouldn't be penalized, the system could be weighted. The first X number of kWh would come cheap. It would be a family baseline. The next X would be more expensive.  The X after that would be really expensive. So people could still have their eight-bedroom mansions and their hot tubs. They'd just pay more to power it all.

POSTED: Monday, February 13, 2012, 2:26 PM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday

Interesting things have been going on with the nation’s meat consumption.

In December, a U.S. Department of Agriculture livestock report indicated that “another sharp drop in U.S. domestic meat and poultry consumption is coming in 2012.”

It also said the news should come as no surprise, but that looking at the historical context of the past few years, the trend was “rather shocking.”

POSTED: Monday, February 6, 2012, 1:04 PM
Filed Under: Soapbox Monday
Green wheat field photo by Petr Kratochvil.

I was probably a bit testy on the phone.

The person calling wanted to tell me about a hunger project in Bucks County, and since I’ve somehow landed on lists of reporters  who write about food — leading to all kinds of pitches that I have no interest in, such as what kind of Valentine candy to buy — I fear I cut the person off short.

But since then, I’ve been thinking about hunger, and I’ve realized it probably is an environmental issue. Or, at the very least, it dovetails with environmental issues.

About this blog

GreenSpace is about environmental issues and green living. Bauers also writes a biweekly GreenSpace column about environmental health issues for the Inquirer’s Sunday “Health” section.

Sandy Bauers is the environment reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, where she has worked for more than 20 years as a reporter and editor. She lives in northern Chester County with her husband, two cats, a large vegetable garden and a flock of pet chickens.

Reach Sandy at

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