April 2012

Politics

Turn up the heat: Environmentalists should join Occupy on May Day

The Occupy movement is widely credited as having “changed the conversation” in American life, but we’re still not talking about the elephant in the room: climate change. Now is our chance to change that.

Locavore

Farm-connected CSAs should offer more than just ‘veggie subscriptions’

Produce subscription services popping up all over the country lately make it easier to eat local foods than ever. But one farmer asks: Have we lost the real meaning of community-supported agriculture along the way?

Energy Policy

Solar policy can advance (or delay) grid parity by a decade

A version of this post originally appeared on the Institute for Local Self-Reliance. In their interactive graphic, Bloomberg Energy Finance calls solar grid parity (when electricity from solar costs less than grid power) the “golden goal.”  It’s an excellent illustration of how the right energy policy can help a nation go gold on solar or wallow in metallurgical obscurity. In the case of the U.S., it may mean delaying grid parity by eight years. In the screenshot below, countries in purple have reached the golden goal in 2012 based on the quality of their solar resource and the cost of …

Coal

U.S. coal is on the decline, and utility execs know it

Every week brings a new story about coal's decline in America. Here are two from last week.

Living

This time-lapse video of Yosemite is beyond beautiful

Shawn Reeder, who made this almost mystical work of art, writes: Yosemite, the High Sierra, and the Eastern Sierra are some of the most beautiful places on earth.  Ever since I serendipitously won a trip to Yosemite when I was 18, the beautiful Range of Light has captured my heart and become my home.  Nothing brings me more joy than to share this life changing beauty with other.

Climate & Energy

Wind farms DO NOT cause climate change

A study that just came out in Nature Climate Change found that wind farms can impact local temperatures, particularly at night. Basically, the turbines mix warmer air from high up with colder air closer to the ground. Hence, warmer air overall, in these very local spots. So, of course, Fox News is telling people that “New research shows wind farms cause global warming.” Not to be out-crazied, the Telegraph is going with “Wind farms can cause climate change.” Gizmodo at least uses the word “local” in its headline. But unfortunately such restraint hasn’t stopped the internet from deciding, as this apparently …

Sustainable Business

Budget-friendly hotel chains also have the smallest carbon footprints

When choosing an environmentally friendly hotel chain, the best indicator probably isn’t whether the place asks you to hang up your towels if you don’t want them replaced each day. According to a new analysis [PDF] by sustainability company Brighter Planet, budget and mid-range hotels tend to produce the least carbon per room. Topping the list are Vagabond Inn, Red Lion Hotels, and Red Carpet Inns. Travelodge comes in fourth. It’s not a hard and fast rule, but if you want to aim for carbon-friendliness, budget chains are likely the best option: The top performer in the high-end range, Four …

Urban Agriculture

San Francisco’s urban ag-spansion

San Francisco -- a city that has long had more aspiring gardeners than land -- now has a plan in place to build new gardens and make signing up for a community plot less of a losing proposition.

Living

Multinational food companies sell everything, from polo shirts to tampons

Imagine that this past weekend, you went out in New York City and bought a new pair of fancy Diesel Jeans. Then, because you were feeling good, you indulged in a KitKat bar. You forgot your reusable water bottle at home, so you bought a bottle of Poland Spring. On the way home, you stopped by the Kiehl’s store and picked up some face lotion. Oh, and you were running out of cat food, so you grabbed some Fancy Feast at the bodega around the corner. All of those purchases would have benefitted the same company — Nestle. Nestle doesn’t …

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