Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Jess Zimmerman's Posts


Michele Bachmann seriously believes in a lightbulb conspiracy

So what is it with Michele Bachmann and hating on energy-efficient lightbulbs? She's like a lightbulb crusader. Mother Jones has done some digging, and it turns out this is because she basically believes that a science fiction parody of environmentalism is going to ruin America. As these conservatives saw it, the agreement paved the way for the entire planet to be controlled by a central bureaucracy: Humans would be cleared out of vast swaths of settled areas -- like the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, for example -- and instructed to live in "hobbit homes" in designated "human habitation zones" (two …


New tool maps how badly climate change affects you

A new web tool from the Natural Resources Defense Council lets you map climate change threats -- excessive heat, disease risk, pollution, drought, and flooding -- anywhere in the United States. Above is the full U.S. map showing the average number of extreme heat days in 2000-2009, but you can also zoom in on your area. It's not just designed to depress you, either; each state's map includes information about how to address climate change impacts, and details the state's preparedness plan (if there is one).


Fox News public enemy No. 1: Spongebob Squarepants

Is Fox News getting bored now that Obama's produced his birth certificate and the Casey Anthony trial is over? Apparently, since their new barely-tethered-to-reality flogging point is that SpongeBob SquarePants is indoctrinating kids with a sort of extremist environmental zealotry. The Department of Education hosted an event where kids got to pick out free SpongeBob books, and the Fox hosts' heads promptly exploded. Why? Because in one of the books on offer, SpongeBob and Mr. Krabs try to use car exhaust to cause global warming, in order to sell pool admission tickets. Media Matters has put together an exciting mix tape of …


Please enjoy this mariachi band performing for a beluga whale

One step up from "save the whales" on the environmentalism ladder is "do nice things for whales, they've had a hard time." You know, fruit baskets, flipper rubs, playing music outside their tanks because they don't have Spotify. This beluga is LOVING. IT. He's like "Christ, finally, after 30 years of people singing me that Raffi song 24/7 I was really ready for something new."

Read more: Uncategorized


How cities could save bees

Bee populations are struggling everywhere, but ironically they may be better off in cities than in the countryside. Why? Because rural areas have larger swathes of flowering plants when they're in season, but cities have them year-round in the form of urban parks and gardens. Prof Jane Memmott, an ecologist, believes bees in the city have a more diverse diet of pollen and nectar from all the different green spaces around homes and offices, that gardeners keep blooming all year round. By contrast bees in the countryside can be surrounded by one type of crop that is only in flower …

Read more: Food, Urban Agriculture


Here's a food label people can understand at a glance

Designer Renee Walker's food labels, which just won the Rethink the Food Label contest, are elegantly simple. They're dominated by a color-coded box that shows the breakdown of ingredients, including unappetizing shades of gray for additives and preservatives. So in one glance you can tell, say, which of these peanut butters has added filler and which one is mostly ground-up nuts.  Unlike most of the proposed labels, Walker's design doesn't moralize with a big red X on foods the designer thinks are bad, or a picture of what the designer guesses you'll look like if you eat them. You want …

Read more: Food


How to get into urban beekeeping

This video on rooftop beekeeping in Brooklyn features Tim O'Neal, who blogs at Borough Bees and sometimes teaches Beekeeping 101. If you've been curious about putting together an urban apiary, this will give you an overview of what it's like and why it's good for the world. (Also, handy advice: "[Bees] are somewhat less chatty than a dog or a cat." The more you know!)


NASA will clean up contaminated soil with salad dressing

There's an upside to the end of the space shuttle program: Now that the shuttle has been grounded, NASA can turn its attention to acres of contaminated soil and groundwater, the result of chemical spills from shuttle launches. And they're doing it in a novel way: with an oil-based emulsion that's made of corn and looks like dressing. The technique was first designed in scribbles on the back of a napkin, perhaps after eating a salad. Cleaning up the plumes of toxic, carcinogenic chemicals from the spills has cost NASA $128 million over the last 22 years, at Kennedy Space Center alone. (The …

Read more: Pollution


Free birth control ruling is preventive care for the Earth

As of yesterday, new and renewed private insurance plans will now have to cover contraception, according to a ruling from the Department of Health and Human Services. Given that population reduction is one of the best things we can do for the planet, this is awesome news -- it removes the biggest financial barrier to people having only the number of kids they want and no more (or having no kids at all).  As Lisa Hymas wrote here on Grist: One-third of women voters have struggled at some point with the cost of prescription birth control, according to a poll conducted last …

Read more: Living, Population



The Onion reports on puzzling behavior among climate scientists

All of a sudden, these normally gentle creatures are becoming agitated and making noises with their mouths! What is it, guys? Is Timmy stuck in a well?

Read more: Climate & Energy