One week ago, residents of rural Mayflower, Ark., found a river of reeking, black oil flowing through their backyards and streets. ExxonMobil, the company that owns the ruptured pipeline, evacuated the neighborhood and quickly instated something like martial law, evicting wildlife rescue workers, threatening reporters with arrest, and even winning a temporary no-fly zone over the spill. Here's what the company is hiding, care of the EPA's on-site coordinator web page -- which was locked down shortly after we retrieved these photos. (UPDATE: The page is unlocked again. Feel free to peruse the whole collection.)
Christie Aschwanden is a prolific magazine writer and author of, among other things, Beautiful Chickens, a coffee-table book packed with glam shots of champion poultry breeds. She is also the daughter of a pilot and a recovering jet setter.
First World problems, for sure, but some of what she discovered was a little mind-boggling -- the ability of a single plane trip to negate all of our other good green deeds, for example. Perhaps the most surprising discovery of all, however, was just how happy and content she could be living small.
Houses come in many shapes, but at Grist, we sure dolove 'emtiny. The reasons are obvious: Beyond being just. so. darn. adorable, they promote sustainable living, energy efficiency, and serious envy in your lame McMansion-owning neighbors. And they're hotter than Hansel, as both elite industrial designers and industrious teens alike have engineered marvels of mini to cater to every taste. Here are some of our recent favorites.
The reasons are complex and vary between species, but the CliffsNotes version is this: Animals (especially cold-blooded ones) often develop faster metabolisms in warmer temperatures, so they burn calories more quickly and reach maturity at smaller sizes. Additionally, smaller animals could have a distinct advantage when competing for dwindling food supplies; like Anne Hathaway, they simply need less to survive. There's also Bergmann's rule, which basically amounts to "colder environments support species of larger morphological size BECAUSE I SAID SO."
As part of this month's Get Small theme, we're profiling minimizing mammals, reducing reptiles, itty-bitty insects, and belittled birds the best way we know how: with a bunch of pretty-ass pictures.
Been wondering what's up with Theda Skocpol's climate-bill report you've been hearing about? Here's the deal: Skocpol, a Harvard professor of government and sociology, was commissioned by the Rockefeller Family Fund to write a report analyzing what went wrong during the unsuccessful 2009-10 push to pass climate legislation. The resulting 145-page opus -- “Naming the Problem: What It Will Take to Counter Extremism and Engage Americans in the Fight Against Global Warming” [PDF] -- has kicked up a lot of controversy, and you can read all about it here at Grist: • A summary of the report by Philip Bump: Why the environmental …
Today President Obama nominated Ernest Moniz to head the Department of Energy, as widely expected. If confirmed, he'll replace outgoing Energy Secretary Steven Chu. Moniz, like Chu, is a super-brainy physicist.
Moniz, a former undersecretary of energy during the Clinton administration, is director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology's Energy Initiative, a research group that gets funding from industry heavyweights including BP, Chevron, and Saudi Aramco for academic work on projects aimed at reducing greenhouse gases.
The U.S. State Department just released a draft environmental impact statement for the Keystone XL pipeline, and it's not what climate activists have been hoping for.
As The New York Times puts it, the report "makes no recommendation about whether the project should be built but presents no conclusive environmental reason it should not be." According to The Washington Post, the report "suggest[s] that blocking the project would not have a significant impact on either the future development of Canada’s oil sands region or U.S. oil consumption."
More from the Times:
The new impact statement says that extracting, shipping, refining and burning oil from the tar sands produces more climate-altering greenhouse gases than most conventional oil, but less than many of the project’s critics claim. The State Department study says that tar sands oil produces 5 percent to 19 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than other crude, depending on what oil was compared and who performed the calculations.
Green Thing encourages people to walk more, cut back on meat, buy less, turn down the thermostat, waste and fly less, and unplug vampire electronics. So every day until Earth Hour on March 23, the London-based nonprofit is publishing a poster to promote those green habits.
And some big designer names contributed to the project, including Google Creative Director Tom Uglow and London 2012 Olympics logo designer Patrick Cox. Green Thing knows "that a dig, joke, or nudge is way more effective than another weeping seal cub,” Cox said in a press release for the project. Follow the project on Green Thing.