The 10 most popular Grist posts of 2010
We Audi know better
The unheralded significance of the Audi ‘green police’ ad
The Audi ad that ran during the Super Bowl featured the “green police” arresting people for various eco-crimes like not composting an orange peel. It ends with Audi’s suggestion for evading the green police: driving off in a diesel A3 TDI (named by Green Car Journal as Green Car of the Year). David Roberts’ commentary on whether the ad was aimed at teabaggers or enviros got folks all hot ‘n’ bothered.
I’ve got Kevin Costner on the phone. He’ll know what to do.
The BP coffee spill
This video spoof of BP execs flummoxed by a coffee spill injected some much needed hilarity into a gloomy Gulf-spill-dominated spring.
Photo: Joann BrusoScrap that
McDonald’s scraps composting program because food won’t decompose
This April Fools’ Day joke was inspired by the claim that McD’s Happy Meals don’t decompose (though that was disproved by Serious Eats’ Food Lab). But some readers took our report seriously, so McDonald’s replied on Twitter, clarifying that it was a joke — and that they were laughing. (Uh … did they read it?)
This horrific slideshow caused many a Grist reader to burp up some vomit. Featuring gems like canned cheeseburger, canned alligator, and even an entire canned chicken, plus non-canned delights like Twinkie sushi, it’s a gallery of shudder-inducing non-foods that remind you how fake and additive-laden our nosh has become. Don’t view it over lunch.
School-food investigator Ed Bruske broke the news that First Lady Michelle Obama would help 6,000 public schools get fresh food through a new public-private partnership called Let’s Move Salad Bars to Schools. Somehow, Tea Party mad-hatters interpreted this to mean that she’d be forcing carrot sticks down every American kid’s throat, and swarmed to our comment section to protest. Others worried that small children would spread germs. The USDA later said it would OK salad bars in elementary schools with appropriate food-safety precautions.
Don’t waste this crisis
Wake up, Obama. The Gulf spill is our big chance
In an impassioned plea to the prez this past April, Jonathan Hiskes argued that the Gulf oil spill was the perfect illustration of our urgent need for renewable energy. “It’s a prime opportunity to pressure the Senate to put a price on carbon pollution and invest in the R&D necessary to jump-start a clean energy economy,” wrote Hiskes. “This is a golden opportunity to completely change course and work toward ditching fossil fuels.” Did Obama take note? Apparently not.
You’re not paranoid if they’re really out to get you. And if you’ve got anything to do with distributing unpasteurized milk or other “nutrient-dense foods,” with or without a license, then you should be prepared for a knock on the door from the FDA and/or your local health officials. Raw Milk Revolution author David Gumpert’s five tips for surviving a raid on your farm or food club seemed to many readers to be essential information.
Photo: Dave HamsterFair-weather foodies
Do you have the balls to really change the food system?
This gutsy screed from Northern California farmer Rebecca Thistlewaite gave a lot of locavores something to chew on, saying that our crappy industrialized food system would never change as long as they bought pastured eggs from the farmers market just once a month and Trader Joe’s “cage-free organic” the rest of the time. She offered up more than 25 ways that conscientious eaters can make a real difference. Unfortunately it was already too late for Thistlewaite’s farm when she wrote that post: She announced a few weeks later that TLC Ranch was not sustainable financially for her family and was closing down.
The GINK manifesto
Say it loud: I’m childfree and I’m proud
Lisa Hymas’ explanation of her choice to be childfree spawned (ahem) lots of discussion, attracted media attention from outlets like MSNBC, earned a Population Institute media award, and launched the term GINK (green inclinations, no kids) into the lexicon. “Here’s the dirty little secret that we’re never supposed to say in mixed company: There are a lot of perks to childfree living, not to mention a lot of green good that comes from bringing fewer beings onto a polluted and crowded planet,” she writes.
The cheapskate’s dilemma
Lessons on the food system from the ammonia-hamburger fiasco
Readers voted hamburger the Scariest Food of 2010 thanks to stories like this one, about a New York Times exposé of a company called Beef Products that sells what’s known in the industry as “pink slime.” This horrible hamburger helper is made of fatty sweepings from the slaughterhouse floor, ground into a paste, and laced with ammonia to kill pathogens — and it ends up in 70 percent of burgers in the United States. The worst part? This penny-pinching paste is just making more people sick.