A Glossary of Sustainability

We decode green lingo, from “upcycling” to “LOHAS.”

triple bottom line (a.k.a. people, planet, profit): accounting that goes beyond revenue to factor in social and environmental costs

feebate: surcharge on wasteful products, plus incentive for alternatives. Example: Starting in 2011, California’s Clean Car Discount program will slap up to $2,500 onto the price of gas-guzzlers, and fund cash rewards for fuel-efficient vehicles.

dinosaur wine: petroleum

energy return on investment: the ratio of energy provided to the energy used to produce the fuel. Corn ethanol has an eroi of 1.5:1; sugarcane ethanol’s is 8:1.

lohas: Lifestyles of Health and Sustainability; marketing jargon for ecoconscious consumers, an estimated 1 in 5 adult Americans

basic browns: the anti-lohas crowd, now dubbed “apathetics”

light/dark/bright green: Light greens focus on lifestyle changes; dark greens focus on macro policy shifts; bright greens want to overhaul everything.

conspicuous conservation: $109K electric Tesla Roadster; Whole Foods’ $50 organic cotton T-shirt. Related: checkbook environmentalism.

practicavore: grows own food to save money

food desert: area devoid of fresh food, flush with liquor stores

walkshed: area conveniently reached on foot from your house

slow design: think slow food

freedom lawn: native plants and grasses

cradle-to-cradle: reuse or recycling of everything used to make a product

upcycling: sewing old T-shirts into area rugs

biomimicry: imitating natural designs to improve efficiency, e.g. finding way to store vaccines without refrigeration by studying how plants hibernate

One More Thing

And it's a big one. Mother Jones is launching a new Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on the corruption that is both the cause and result of the crisis in our democracy.

The more we thought about how Mother Jones can have the most impact right now, the more we realized that so many stories come down to corruption: People with wealth and power putting their interests first—and often getting away with it.

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We want to go all in, and we've got seed funding to get started—but we're looking to raise $500,000 in donations this spring so we can go even bigger. You can read about why we think this project is what the moment demands and what we hope to accomplish—and if you like how it sounds, please help us go big with a tax-deductible donation today.

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