Emily Gertz

Emily Gertz is a New York City-based freelance journalist and editor who has written on business, design, health, and other facets of the environment for Grist, Dwell, Plenty, Worldchanging, and other publications.

Leggo my Yazoo

EPA set to kibosh Mississippi Delta boondoggle

Successive presidential administrations -- including the current one -- have tried to rein in the Army Corps of Engineers and its projects, which are mostly known for their tangy combination of high cost, arguable utility, and disregard for the environment. Tried -- and largely failed, thanks to the level-10 force fields erected by congresscritters who covet the flood of Corps project dollars into their districts. So it's startling and welcome news that apparently, the EPA is initiating the process to veto a massive Corps project known as the Yazoo Pumps.

A primer on chemicals, fertility, and reproduction

Illustration: Keri Rosebraugh Feeling unusually infertile lately? You’re not alone: according to a December 2005 report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, …

Alive after Live Earth

Your intrepid Grist correspondent sweats through an arena concert, so you don’t have to

Don't ever say we never did anything for you. On Saturday, while you were cavorting in the surf, grilling organic free-range meat on the barbecue (or is that barbecuing meat on the grill?), or kicking back with a good book in the sweet, sweet air conditioning, Grist was sweating at Live Earth New York. Er, New Jersey. Whatever. We suffered through sets by Ludacris, Melissa Etheridge, Roger Waters, and the Police to report back -- to YOU, dear Grist reader -- from the front lines of global eco-activism. Or something like that. Check back soon for my report from the scene of Live Earth at Giants Stadium on 7/7/07.

The most important eco-books: an alternative list

Newer and cheekier!

With sincere respect to my colleagues across the Atlantic (this is all a matter of opinion, after all), I'm dismayed by some of the choices on their list of most important environmental books. Hoary tomes like The Lorax, an analysis of the impact of pesticides on the environment that's nearly a half-century old (I shake in my boots to criticize La Carson thus) ... if the list were of books that had a big impact in their time, or books that will bolster the sentiments of the already-sympathetic, then it would be enough. But the "small is beautiful," "earth as organism," "pursue simplicity" approach to eco-reform reflected in most of these choices has not proven a big winner in Western mass culture. Right or wrong, converting Western mass culture is the task at hand today, if we're going to solve the problems addressed by these authors over the decades. What are the books that speak to more recent science, contemporary events, and our evolving understanding of the intersections of environment with economy, culture, and human rights? Here are some titles I'd consider:

Using grease and other goodies, small biodiesel producers are making a big difference

If you live in a city of any size, you’ve likely seen them out there: boxy little ’80s-era foreign cars, bumpers adorned with pro-ecology and …

From cow poop to cow power: A journey in photographs

See post-bovine methane generate clean electricity!

On some days it's especially fabulous to be an eco-scribe. I had one of those days on Wednesday, Oct. 25. As part of a group from the Society of Environmental Journalists, I got to tour Vermont's very first cow-power operation, in which the non-dairy output of a herd of Holsteins is turned into cleanly generated electricity. It's got the potential to help more of Vermont's beleaguered dairy farmers stay in business, while cutting their operation costs over time and keeping the methane generated by decomposing cow poop out of our greenhousing atmosphere. The tour took place at Blue Spruce Farm in Bridport, Vermont, owned by the same family for about three generations. We begin in the barn, a vast structure lit with natural light ... ... and home to the farm's many, many Holsteins:

Green sex toy sound bites

Not as dirty as it sounds

I've had the pleasure of covering all sorts of environmental matters, and interviewing fellow enviro-writers, in the past few years, often for Grist. But so far no piece has reverberated quite like Naughty by Nature: Ever thought about the toxins in your sex toys? Not that I'm complaining; my reputation as the author of this article consistently precedes me into various NYC green gatherings, leading to all manner of astonishingly frank conversation with casual acquaintances or total strangers. And when asked at dinner parties to explain what I do as an environmental journalist, it sure beats the melting Arctic or the destruction of the Everglades for upbeat chat. Happily for the sexual health of every American, interest in this topic just won't quit. To wit: I have a couple soundbites in this inaugural installment of TreeHugger Radio, a partnership between our pals at TH and EcoTalk Radio. As a huge fan of radio -- and environmental journalism in all media formats -- I wish them the best of luck.

How birding and blogging changed one soldier’s time in Iraq

Glassing the evening sky for feather and foe. Photo courtesy of Jonathan Trouern-Trend. Jonathan Trouern-Trend has been a dedicated bird-watcher since he was about 12. …

Two new nature books for city slickers

Lately, green is the new black in the American metropolis. Here in New York City, the cabbies are driving hybrids and the fashionistas are wearing …