Grist staff

The Good Life

Re: Katie Alvord, author Dear Editor: My, how I enjoyed this “how-to” series. Although not a lifestyle I think I can completely embrace (at a guess I’m at least 30 years older than Alvord and … ah … not quite as fit), it helps me imagine additional ways to live by my principles. Ann S. Lamb Knoxville, Tenn.   Re: Katie Alvord, author Dear Editor: Hooray for Katie Alvord. It takes a brave writer to publicly challenge Americans’ love affair with autos. I gave up my car and driver’s license voluntarily 20 years ago, and never looked back. Besides saving …

Not Great, Danes

Meanwhile, look who’s got a new job: Bjorn Lomborg, the controversial author of The Skeptical Environmentalist, has been appointed to head a new Danish institute of economics and the environment. Lomborg’s book outraged environmentalists in Denmark and abroad by claiming that virtually every environmental problem, from air pollution to deforestation to global warming, was exaggerated or nonexistent. Many respected international scientists accused Lomborg, formerly an associate professor of statistics at a Danish university, of misunderstanding or deliberately skewing the data on which he based his arguments. Opponents called Lomborg’s appointment to head the new organization further evidence that Denmark’s new …

That’s Some Good Coffee

  Re: Ashley Parkinson, Northwest Shade Coffee Campaign Dear Editor: Ashley Parkinson’s column has inspired me, my wife, and a friend to place our first-ever order for shade-grown coffee. After reading her column, all three of us are committed to buying environmentally friendly coffee. Please pass along our kudos for the fine piece of journalism. David Veenstra Grand Rapids, Mich.   Re: Ashley Parkinson, Northwest Shade Coffee Campaign Dear Editor: I wanted to suggest that perhaps the author should pursue having ideas about socially conscious coffee-buying dropped into the Cafe Nervosa chit-chat in “Frasier” (which is supposedly set in Seattle) …


  We received an unprecedented number of responses to Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark, our special edition on Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist. As usual, Grist readers were impassioned and opinionated. What follows is a sampling of their letters — largely positive, occasionally scathing, and frequently informative.   Dear Editor: I don’t know if Bjorn Lomborg got his science right or if he’s blowing smoke, but when he received a green pie in the face, I knew he’d hit pay dirt. Since I was a kid we’ve been warned by the Greens that the world is overpopulated, …

The Season of Giving

  Re: What Now? Dear Editor: The U.S. response to the Red Cross was wonderful, and that’s great. But many, many other do-good organizations are on such a starvation diet they’re in imminent danger of expiring. Please tell everyone asking for more donations to the Red Cross to think twice about the homeless and needy who weren’t at Ground Zero — who may not have food to eat or a place to go this winter — not to mention for money for environmental purposes! We’re a nation of passion-of-the-moment-ers, and the passion of the moment is Sep. 11. But we …

Paine on the Ass

If you read yesterday’s special issue of Grist Magazine on Bjorn Lomborg’s The Skeptical Environmentalist, you know that the experts largely disagree with Lomborg’s thesis that environmental problems are just hyperbolic hooey. So why does the mainstream media love him? Writing for, Colin Woodard casts a critical eye at the glowing reviews in the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Economist, and elsewhere.

Zed, last of his species, in "There's One Bjorn Every Minute"

Something Is Rotten in the State of Denmark

A skeptical look at The Skeptical Environmentalist

Before the terrible events of Sept. 11 nudged our national mood towards nouveau-earnestness, skepticism was the disposition of the day. Bred in the swamps of transparent consumer manipulation, untrustworthy political leaders, and information overload, skepticism stamped a permanent question mark onto the brows of Generation X and seemed poised to become the watchword of our nation.

Food for Thought: Britain’s food system

The fixings for a traditional British turkey dinner could travel more than 24,000 miles before they reach the table, according to a report released yesterday by the U.K. lobby group Sustain. On average, food consumed in Britain travels 50 percent more than it did a decade ago, at the expense of human and environmental health. Sustain said that the country’s food system had become “almost completely dependent” on oil, and that internationally, food distribution is a major cause of pollution and climate change. The organization also criticized a food system in which countries essentially swap food. (For example, in 1997, …

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