Jess Zimmerman

Jess Zimmerman was the editor of Grist List.

Yesterday’s fracking blowout: What happened, and will it happen again?

Yesterday, on the one-year anniversary of the BP oil spill, a natural gas well in Bradford County, Pennsylvania — perhaps suffering from an overload of irony — ruptured and leaked "thousands and thousands of gallons" of fracking fluid over the surrounding farmland and into a nearby creek. Officials say no gas was released, but local land and waterways were contaminated in a community that depends on farming for its livelihood. We don't even know for sure what's in this fluid, but it probably sucks, says the Huffington Post: The chemicals used in fracking fluids have been a contentious subject, as …

How much could climate change cost your state?

No idea why they got someone's dad to narrate this video, but the information in it is pretty startling. According to this group, the American Security Project, costs racked up by climate change could include: $9.3 billion a year in lost agriculture revenues in the Plains states $3.6-$6.1 billion over 20 years in infrastructure costs in Alaska $60 billion by 2100 in increased energy costs in the Southeast $2.3-$12.1 million in lost revenue in the Northeast just from losses to the maple syrup trade $200 billion in repairs if a catastrophic hurricane flooded lower Manhattan Now, a lot of this …

Sci-fi skycrapers of the future

The cities of the future could combine dense living arrangements with energy innovation, according to the winners of architecture mag eVolo's annual skyscraper design competition. This design collects lightning and uses it to power hydrogen fuel cells. Some of the other winning skyscrapers are habitations, but others are recycling centers, turbines, and water purification facilities — and one's a moon base that looks like a Gaudi cathedral. Click through the gallery on Popular Science and imagine our vertical-living, clean-energy-running, Martian Chronicles-looking future.

Obama hosts Facebook town hall, because what could go wrong when you combine politics and Facebook?

Listen up, Facebook nation: Obama would like you to stop friending and unfriending each other for a second and pay attention. He's hosting a Facebook town hall today at 4:45 Eastern, in order to, you know, get down verbally with the youth. The subject is "Shared Responsibility and Shared Prosperity," which sounds like a great excuse to bring up questions about energy policy, sustainability, and the environment.

Amazon says America is buying green

We can learn two things from this map, based on Amazon.com's purchasing data: One, many parts of the country are at least buying green products and books about sustainability and conservation, which is a start. Two, Amazon needs a proofreader. There are more charts, too, breaking down who's buying books and products for water conservation, energy savings, garden-to-table, green parenting, and environmental information. Most of the charts are particularly green around the edges, but Midwestern cities star in several areas. Here are a few of the notable findings: Most green toilets purchased: Santa Cruz, Calif. Most disappointing number of rain …

Charles Manson does his best to kill green credibility

Boy, the green movement is just racking up the valuable allies these days, isn't it? Apparently cult leader/murderer/#1 Beatles fan Charles Manson has incorporated global warming into his particular brand of crazy, telling Spanish Vanity Fair: "Everyone's God and if we don't wake up to that there's going to be no weather because our polar caps are melting because we're doing bad things to the atmosphere… The automobiles and fossil fuels are destroying the atmosphere and we won't have air to breathe.” If you are, say, the Daily Fail, this is an excuse to get sarcasmic about the merits of …

How to build a prefab high-rise

Prefab houses are pretty awesome. Dense living is definitely awesome. And Sustainable Living Innovations is getting the prefab peanut butter in the density chocolate, designing modular high-rise buildings that unfold like cootie catchers. This video shows how it works. The result is a block of modern, open-plan apartments that is LEED Silver certified, and maybe a little ugly from the outside but no more than any other high-rise. It costs about the same to build as a conventional building, but takes as little as half as long to construct. This is perhaps not welcome news for Teamsters, but the idea …

Cape Wind approved: The U.S. could have offshore wind this year

The nation's first offshore wind farm could start construction as early as this fall. The Cape Wind project got final approval for its operating plans today, after ten years of opposition and permitting headaches. Michael Bromwich, last seen terrifying Rachel Maddow on the subject of deepwater drilling, said that the wind farm "will accelerate interest in the renewable energy sector generally and the offshore wind sector specifically, and spur innovation and investment in our nation’s energy infrastructure.” (At least if he's wrong on this one, it'll probably be okay.) Renewables fans are pleased: "Once fully operational, the wind farm will …

Choosing a school? Here are the most bike-friendly universities

College acceptance letters should be piling up right about now, and the League of American Bicyclists has put out a list of the country's most bike-friendly universities. Here's the top 12 (the ones they rated Platinum, Gold, or Silver): Platinum: Stanford University Gold: University of California, Davis University of California, Santa Barbara Silver: California State, Long Beach Colorado State University Portland State University University of Arizona University of California, Irvine University of Minnesota, Twin Cities University of Oregon University of Washington University of Wisconsin, Madison So while the ivy-covered halls of academe on the East Coast tend to dominate academic …