Jess Zimmerman

Jess Zimmerman was the editor of Grist List.

The kitchen of the future runs on leftovers

The kitchen of Philips Design's "Microbial Home" turns food waste into compost and cooking gas. Organic waste gets thrown in a "bio-digester," where specialized bacteria processes it into methane gas to fuel the range. Then the remaining solid matter is turned into compost. So the peelings from a potato might provide the heat to cook the potato and the fertilizer to grow more potatoes.  Philips calls it "an integrated cyclical ecosystem where each function’s output is another’s input." You could also call it cradle-to-grave-to-cradle food production. And it's an elegant, nature-inspired way of making home appliances sustainable. The Microbial Home …

Occupy Wall Street moves to bike power

Now that their gas generators have been seized, Occupy Wall Street is switching to a greener option: human power. Generator bikes can provide 100 hours of power per six hours of pedaling, which helps fuel OWS needs like heat, light, phones, and laptops. As you might have guessed from subtle messages in the above film, they need money to build more of them — they've already met their $8,000 goal, but if you've been looking for a way to contribute to the OWS cause and green power simultaneously, maybe this is your chance.

State Department rejects 94,000 public comments on Keystone XL

The Sierra Club's Beyond Oil campaign collected 296,000 written comments on Keystone XL, and submitted them by email to Cardno Entrix, the TransCanada-affiliated firm that evaluated the pipeline. When a bunch of the comments ended up "lost," they resubmitted them to the State Department. But, says Inside Climate News, the State Department didn't want 'em. From April through June, [campaign director Kate Colarulli's] organization worked with seven other anti-pipeline groups to collect 269,000 written comments from their members. They submitted them electronically to a Cardno Entrix email address set up for that purpose. But in July, when the Sierra Club …

It will take at least 30 years to safely close Fukushima

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant was shut down in March, after earthquake and tsunami damage led to meltdowns, radiation leaks, and evacuations. But an expert panel, convened by Japan’s Atomic Energy Commission, says that fully decommissioning the plant will take at least 30 years. Closing Fukushima Daiichi doesn't just mean shutting down damaged reactors. That part of the process is more or less complete. But the containment vessels now need to be repaired, which alone could take a decade. Only after they're fixed can workers begin removing fuel rods, a process that took 10 years at Three Mile Island and …

Michael Pollan says corn syrup may not be worse than sugar

Whoa, did the corn industry get to Michael Pollan? The Cleveland Plain Dealer reports that he said there may be nothing "intrinsically wrong" with high-fructose corn syrup (HFCS), which at first blush looks like a 180-degree shift from his previous position. "I've done a lot to demonize it," he says. "And people took away the message that there was something intrinsically wrong with it. A lot of research says this isn't the case. But there is a problem with how much total sugar we consume."  While there is evidence (though controversial) that HFCS may be worse than sugar, most scientists …

Put your junk mail to work keeping Wall Street occupied

Here's a twofer: You can occupy Wall Street and do something with that junk mail besides just chucking it in the bin. Sure, it'll still end up in the recycling eventually, but it won't be any MORE trashed than before, and in between it can do some good. (Plus, if enough people do this, maybe they'll quit sending the damn things.) Here, let this guy who kind of reminds me of Ben from Parks & Rec tell you all about it.

Don’t bag your leaves — they just go in landfills

Awesome, an excuse to be lazy in the fall! Melissa Hopkins, a spokesperson for the National Audobon Society, is encouraging people not to bag up their leaves, because 8 million tons of them end up in landfills every year. (The leaves are biodegradable, of course, but the bags are not.) Instead, you can compost them, rake them onto trees and shrubs to serve as mulch, or just leave them on the lawn if the leaf cover is thin enough. If it's not, you can break them up with a lawn mower. The best part of this is Hopkins' attitude towards …

World’s only white kiwi pulls through surgery

Manukura, the world's only known white kiwi (not an albino!), had endoscopic surgery Friday to break up a large stone she'd swallowed. Kiwis normally eat small stones to help with digestion, but Manukura's eyes were bigger than her stomach, and the stone got stuck in her gizzard. Doctors operated using a laser that's usually used on humans to break up human kidney stones, making Manukura the only kiwi to have gone through laser surgery, as well as the only white one, and also the most friggin' adorable. Just gotta rack up ALL the trophies, don't you there, bird. Manukura is …

Watch a climate satellite get launched

NASA's new weather satellite — which in typical NASA acronym-happy fashion, is called the NPP, standing for NPOESS Preparatory Project, standing for National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System — is a state-of-the-art way to measure climate impacts. The satellite will monitor ozone levels, temperatures, vegetation cover, ice cover, air pollution, and other effects of climate change, and will act as "the gateway to the creation of a U.S. climate monitoring system." And it looked pretty awesome blasting off, too.

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