Book Review: the Cul-De-Sac Syndrome

The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome: Turning Around the Unsustainable American Dream
by John F. Wasik
Bloomberg, $24.95

Financial analysts, like the author of this book, have picked out the housing market as the trigger for the current economic downturn. In The Cul-De-Sac Syndrome, John Wasik, a personal finance columnist for Bloomberg News, agrees with that assertion, but says that our problems with houses go much further back than just a few years, and will require a cultural shift to fix.
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Book Review: Exposed

Exposed: the Toxic Chemistry of Everyday Products and What's at Stake for American Power
by Mark Schapiro
Chelsea Green, $16.95

There has never been a shortage of books critiquing American government policy or society, but with the current economic crisis, such books now have a lot more cachet. Exposed, by Mark Schapiro, editorial director of the Center for Investigative Reporting, is an interesting mixture of two kinds of exposé: environmental dangers and global policy.
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Book Review: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life
by Barbara Kingsolver
Harper Collins, 2007; $26.95

Animal, Vegetable, Miracle will not rest on your bookshelves with Barbara Kingsolver’s fiction; this book demands permanent residence in your kitchen. Filled with delicious, seasonal recipes and tips from growing to canning, this stellar book chronicles the Kingsolvers’ move from Arizona to a family farm in Appalachia, VA, as well as their lifestyle shift from end users in a national food chain to central cogs in local food production. For a full year, they decided, they would eat locally and in-season; anything they couldn’t grow or raise themselves was sourced from neighboring local farmers.
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Feature: Park that Bike

Philadelphia struggles with bike parking
by Sarah Clark Stuart

The lack of bicycle parking racks is obvious around much of Philadelphia; not only in front of commercial storefronts, but inside office buildings as well. This bike parking shortage makes biking to work or other destinations difficult, but additionally, it leads to more bike theft. In 2008, when Kryptonite Locks released its list of top 10 bike theft cities, Philadelphia won the dubious distinction of being the nation’s number one.
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Cover Story: Greening the Way

The urban Appalachian Trail is coming through Philly
by Will Dean

If you run across someone who has biked across the country, or even across state lines, one of your first thoughts might be of admiration—both for the difficulty of such an endeavor and for the uniqueness of it. A long-distance bicycle trip is kind of a novelty, only ventured by a few hardcore cyclists. On the east coast, though, that might change.
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Feature: Try That Secondhand

Conscious consumers are spending wisely, and don't compromise on quality
by Stephanie Singer

The quest began two months before my sister’s wedding. I wanted to buy her the perfect gift, but unfortunately I was in a personal recession, between jobs and with shrinking funds. I decided to try my luck finding something used. Every weekend I scavenged flea markets and garage sales. Weeks went by, and though I saw plenty of treasures, I was beginning to lose hope.
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Profile: Philly Distilled

The city's first craft distillery hopes to replicate beer's success
by Will Dean

Craft beer has transformed the drinking scene in Philly over the past decade, growing from a niche tipple to a fixture at most bars. Now, the more rarefied—or just more determined at getting drunk faster—world of craft spirits is hoping for the same luck. At least, it will if five-year-old, award-winning Philadelphia Distilling has anything to say about how you spend your Friday nights out.
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Recycling Challenge: Air Conditioner

by Samantha Wittchen

Philadelphians have been conditioned to prepare for a typical hot and humid summer. Windows are filled with those ubiquitous boxes that crank out cold salvation for us city dwellers. Perhaps this is the year you decided to upgrade your old energy-sucking air conditioner to a newer, Energy Star-rated unit. According to their website (, if everyone switched to a more efficient cooling device, it would prevent 1.3 billion pounds of greenhouse emissions.
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How-To: What's the Buzz

Become a Philly Beekeeper
by Phil Forsyth & Micah Woodcock

Our recent urban beekeeping survey and tour revealed that the majority of Philly’s two dozen or so beekeepers started within the last five years. Why? We know that bees are essential pollinators for gardens, farms and orchards. Other than wind-pollinated corn, the vast majority of our vegetable, fruit and nut crops are highly dependent on bees for pollination. Commercial beekeepers rent out their hives all across the country, moving as the harvesting season changes. In recent years, these “rental” hives have been devastated by Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a phenomenon in which a hive’s worker bees suddenly disappear en masse.
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Events: Bike Part Art Show

Bike parts normally go on bikes, as nature intended, but occasionally they can find other homes, like on your walls. At the Bike Part Art Show, local artists have sifted through the unusable parts left over from Neighborhood Bike Works’ (NBW) community and youth cycling programs and created pieces of sculpture that entrance the eye and engage the mind.
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From the Editor: Try It!

It’s August and the full splendor of the CSA is upon us. For the uninitiated, CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. (This acronym is somewhat obtuse. I would suggest replacing it with BFF, Buying From a Farmer.) The way it works is you sign up before the farmers’ harvest, usually in the late winter or early spring, and then you receive a weekly subscription to their fresh fruits and vegetables that you pick up at a location in your neighborhood.
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