David Roberts

David Roberts

Energy, politics, and more

David Roberts is a staff writer for Grist. You can subscribe to his RSS feed or follow him on Twitter or email him at droberts at grist dot org, if you're into that sort of thing.

Cradle to Cradle certification arrives

Ever since I first heard him mention it, I've been wondering when Bill McDonough's "Cradle to Cradle Certification" program was going to become a reality. I think it has huge potential to become for product design what LEED has become for green building (though probably, as Jamais cautions, more slowly and fitfully). Well, via WC, here it is. The first six recipients have been announced. Cradle to cradle is a biomimetic approach to design, wherein every material used can either be returned to the earth to biodegrade without harm (a biological nutrient) or can return to the manufacturing cycle with no loss of quality (a technical nutrient). In short: no waste. Or rather, in C2C terminology: waste is food. A great primer on biomimicry can also be found at WC. The certification ... ... covers five categories (PDF): Materials (including assessment and emissions); Material Reutilization/Design for Environment (including product recovery plans); Energy (including an emphasis on solar energy use); Water (including plans for conservation and quality); and Social Responsibility (including corporate ethics statements and third-party social responsibility assessments). The overview linked above is a basic checklist; the Application Form (PDF) has the full details on what's required for each step of the certification process. Look for C2C product on shelves near you! Uh, some day.

Rebuilding: do it right

Two good things on rebuilding: Leo DiCaprio (heard of him?) and (ex-InterActivist) Matt Petersen give a brief but pungent rundown on what went wrong in New Orleans and how it could be made right. I wonder which part Leo wrote. (Oh, and no offense, Leo, but the consensus in the office is that Jake Gyllenhaal is the eco-hottie du jour.) Van Jones has a similar piece in Yes! Magazine, calling for social justice and environmental principles to govern the rebuilding process. Apparently a longer version will run in the Oct. print issue.

Green humor

As I believe I've mentioned, environmentalism is never funny. Environmentalists, however, are the source of endless amusement. To wit: here's a set of jokes that's been making the eco-rounds:

DDT myths

You may not have noticed, but the Right is fairly obsessed with propagating the notion that environmentalists, by getting DDT banned in 1972, are responsible for the deaths of millions of poor in the developing world. This is the kind of thing that people with, um, lives tend to ignore. It travels around underground on right wing sites until it slowly seeps into conventional wisdom. It's bullsnot, though. For a brief primer on why, see Tim Lambert.

Gore says he won’t run

And adds this:"My country is extremely attentive to the slightest increase in a risk from terror, and that's appropriate," he said. "But why should we be so tolerant of risk where the future habitability of our planet is concerned?"Sigh.

Dept. of irony

This is hilarious. Rep. Mike Conaway (R-Tex.) is holding a fundraiser for beleaguered ex-House Speaker Tom DeLay (R-Tex.). Where, you ask? The Petroleum Club. Poetry.

From Cracking Up to Cream Pie

Gloom and doom with a sense of … hey, wait a minute Some Grumpy Grumpersteins out there think environmentalism is never funny. TBS aims to prove ‘em wrong with Earth to America! — an exclamation-pointed, star-studded night of comedy about the planet’s plight. That bit on new-source review is gonna kill. Turning Japanese, we really think so The upcoming Tokyo Motor Show is going to be wicked awesome, and not just for lovers of auto-gadget porn. No fewer than three hydrogen fuel-cell concept cars — from Toyota, Honda, and Mercedes — will debut to the oohs and ahs of bright …

Bush administration casualties

Civil servants quit or get canned for bucking bad environmental policy

In Nick Turse's astonishing list of Bush administration casualties -- civil servants who have quit or been fired for bucking administration policy -- are numerous entries of interest to greens. Here are a few:

Poll: everyone supports us but no one really cares

All the sustainable bloggy folk are reporting on a new poll in the Wall Street Journal. On the bright side, "nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults agree that protecting the environment is important and standards cannot be too high." Then again, "Only 12% of U.S. adults describe themselves as active environmentalists." There's a lot to be unpacked in this, but I gotta skeedaddle home. Read the whole thing. I'll just say: greens are rather obsessed with the idea that if they just get the facts out there, people will want action. (This is particularly true on global warming.) But the facts are already out there. People already want action. But there's a difference between wanting action in the "I'd say so on a poll" way and wanting action on the "I'd make it a voting priority" way. We don't need more facts and studies and "proof." We need to figure out how to motivate people. Those are separate undertakings, and it's the latter greens are failing at.

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.