Claire Thompson

Claire Thompson used to be Grist's editorial assistant. After disappearing into the wild for a while, she is now attempting to reenter society.


Erin Brockovich on her novel, Occupy Wall Street, and saving the world

Erin Brockovich.In the decade or so since her life was immortalized in the Oscar-winning Julia Roberts flick, Erin Brockovich, the real Brockovich has continued her environmental crusade. (To refresh your memory: Brockovich is the working mom who, as a file clerk in a California law firm, stumbled upon records that eventually forced Pacific Gas and Electric to pay the largest toxic tort injury settlement in U.S. history, for poisoning the groundwater in the small town of Hinkley, Calif.) She’s used her newfound status as everywoman environmental hero to help other communities kick corporate polluters out of their backyards, but she …

Climate Change

The young and the restless: Kids sue government over climate change

As the U.S. delegation drags its feet at the climate talks in Durban, South Africa, this week, a pack of kids back home is trying to force the old folks into action, the American way: They’re suing the bastards. In May, a group of young people, led by 17-year-old Alec Loorz (founder of Kids vs. Global Warming), filed 10 lawsuits, one against the federal government and the others against individual states, to compel the government to take action on climate change. “The generations before us … just kind of thought of the world as limitless,” said Glori Dei Filippone, 13, …


Principled plate: Diners’ Guide helps make eating out ethical

Photo: Bravo123Restaurants know their customers worry over the source of an heirloom tomato, or the care with which their pork was raised and handled. But when it comes to the treatment of the person who prepared it, few establishments make it a point to be transparent.  Now, there’s a guide for that. For the first time, an organization called the Restaurant Opportunities Center (ROC) has released a Diners’ Guide that rates the 150 highest-grossing restaurants in the country on criteria like living wages, paid sick leave, and opportunity for career advancement. The goal, says ROC, a coalition of restaurant workers …


Chicken chases its kale: Chik-fil-A attacks artist over leafy-green slogan

Photo: Ellen KFor all of you poor souls who can’t tell kale and chicken apart (lord knows it can be difficult), your troubles may soon be over. Chik-fil-A, the country’s second-largest chain chicken restaurant (after KFC), is pressuring Vermont-based small-business owner Bo Muller-Moore to drop the phrase “Eat More Kale,” which he’s been screen-printing by hand on T-shirts and selling online and at local farmers markets since 2000. Chik-fil-A claims the words — a statement in support of local agriculture and sustainable food — are too similar to its trademarked “Eat Mor Chikin” ad slogan, and could cause confusion for …


Occupy Black Friday

Image: Occupy RenoThis Thursday night, while many families are still wrapping up Thanksgiving leftovers, the annual Black Friday shopping frenzy will begin, with 74 million people expected to head to stores over the weekend. But Friday also marks the 20th anniversary of Buy Nothing Day, an alternative celebration that invites us to “wean ourselves off of mega corporations, put our money back into the local independent economy, and live for a different kind of future.” Given that Buy Nothing Day was dreamed up by the folks at Adbusters magazine — the same crew that spawned Occupy Wall Street — perhaps …

Sustainable Food

Something to be thankful for: Real turkeys make a comeback

Royal Palm Turkey, one of eight varieties considered to be heritage breeds.Photo: Amy Martin PachayIn 1997, The American Livestock Breeds Conservancy (ALBC) took a turkey census. For about half a century, nearly every turkey farm in the U.S. had been raising a breed known as the Broad Breasted White. (This cost-efficient, big-breasted bird has a lifespan of only 18 weeks and can neither fly, nor reproduce without artificial insemination). So when the ALBC went looking for other, older breeds of turkey, what they found was startling: They counted only 1,300 turkeys not bred for industrial purposes. In the whole country. …