Skip to content Skip to site navigation

Jim Meyer's Posts

Comments

10 places to visit before they’re gone: A bucket list for a warming world

statue-of-liberty-snorkel-flood-2
Shutterstock

Summer is just around the corner and, after a winter like this one, it’s high time to start making those vacation plans. Of course, our buoyant spirits were somewhat dampened by the latest U.N. climate report. Spoiler alert, it wasn’t real good, well, unless you’re into horrific droughts, monster storms, heat waves, mass extinctions, failing crops, dogs and cats living together, mass hysteria, in which case, jackpot!

Ever the troopers, we here at Grist decided to not let the bad news harsh our fantastic inner mellow and instead to look at this as a crisitunity. Usually picking vacation spots is such a challenge, but by focusing on the best places that may not be places much longer in our warming world, we were able to shorten our list to the top ten do-it-now vacation destinations. So get ahold of your travel agent, load up the family truckster, and set a course for fun!

Comments

Faster, higher, stranger: 5 sports for a snow-free Winter Olympics

jamaican-bobsled-shopping-cart-team-cropped
Justin Goh

I know we’re all bummed about losing the polar bears, and the increase in monstrous killer storms is surely a drag, but climate change just got real, people. The Winter Olympics are in danger. As you know, the beloved Winter Games are the world’s fifth favorite Olympics (technically it’s in a three-way tie with the Laff-A-Lympics and the Kitty Olympics), and like the far-less-popular Republican Olympics, no amount of climate denial will save them.

Sure, we can all agree that holding the Winter Games in the Russian equivalent of Boca Raton (which, by the way, is how I’m pretty sure Dante described the fifth circle of hell) was a stroke of something less than genius, but beach towns aren’t the only places that will make bad host cities in this warming world. By mid-century, Squaw Valley and Vancouver will be too warm for many of the events, and by 2100, only six previous Olympic sites will be cold enough to host the Winter Games.

Still, these games are important, and with that in mind, we here at Grist have decided to save them with new, weather resistant Olympic sports. Don’t thank us -- NBC dropped $4.38 billion on the exclusive rights to broadcast the Olympics, and we’re expecting a slice of that mad TV haul. So here you have it, five sports custom-made for a snow-free Winter Games:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

Comments

Like your air clean? It’s time to pony up, America

epa-fundThe Republicans and their Tea Party overlords have shut down the government, and I’m sure there is a lot of wisdom behind that move, but there are a few consequences that even Michele Bachmann might have missed. Sure, active duty military personnel will still get paid, so we’ll still be able to fight the six or seven wars we’ve currently got going (take that, Christmas!), but can America survive without Giant Panda Cam? I mean seriously, we can’t even pay enough park police to taze the elderly as they “storm” the WWII memorial, and if we can’t taze the elderly, is this even America anymore?

While even the staunchest Tea Partier may find it a little bit of a bummer that the Statue of Liberty is closed, they’re probably OK with the rest of the shutdowns. I mean, you gotta do what you gotta do to keep poor people from getting healthcare. Sure, over 800,000 of their friends, neighbors, and countrymen are out of work, but they were government workers, so they probably weren’t working that hard anyway.

Granted, every once in a while, the government does something worthwhile -- like the Environmental Protection Agency, which makes sure our air and water are clean. But what’s wrong with chewable air? Are you too big a pussy to drink flammable water?

Well, I hate to admit it, but I am too big a pussy to drink flammable water, and, thanks to years of waiting for Obamacare to kick in while I was too broke to pay for dental coverage, I’m afraid if I had to chew the air, my teeth would break. So, being a proud American, I am going to fall back on this great nations’ founding ideal: The Entrepreneurial Spirit. (Did you know that George Washington parlayed the money he made delivering Poor Richard's Almanacs to open the first Bennigans franchise?)

That's right, I’m starting a campaign to crowdfund the EPA -- and you’re invited to join!

Comments

Hurricane enable: How climate change is mixing up bigger, badder storms

woman-beach-cocktail-ocean-storm-hurricane-small
Shutterstock

Global warming and hurricanes are like Bourbon Street and Hurricanes: The farther down the road you go, the more intense they get.

hurricane-cocktail-drink-note
Shutterstock

Buy your Hurricanes at the Hard Rock Café, and you can probably make it through a third before you’ve dimmed enough to believe the Republican talking points on climate change. But by the time you get to The Marigny, they’re making those things with three kinds of rum, a half-gallon of rocket fuel, and the soul of an angry leprechaun.

Most climate models predict the same thing with storms: The more we stray from the climate norm, the stronger the hurricanes become. Which makes a lot of sense when you look at how these tempests work.

Read more: Climate & Energy

Comments

Elon Musk’s Hyperloop will get you from L.A. to San Francisco in 30 minutes flat

The Hyperloop will be like Space Mountain, only better.
Joe Penniston
The Hyperloop will be like Space Mountain, only better.

Elon Musk has announced his plan for the Hyperloop, a revolutionary, high-speed travel network that will fire pods full of people through an elevated tube from L.A. to San Francisco at 760 mph -- and for the low, low price of just $20 a head. In similarly realistic news, I am announcing my plan for a revolutionary zero-emissions global ice-cream delivery device that can fire three scoops and a waffle cone from Portland, Ore., to Sub-Saharan Africa utilizing trebuchet technology once thought useless outside the world of punkin chunkin. Like the Hyperloop, my Hyperscoop is a great plan, and like Musk and his Hyperloop, I hope someone else will build it.

Comments

Island in the sun: Why are our cities heating up faster than everywhere else?

Urban heat
Shutterstock

There are hot islands, there are really hot islands, and then there are urban heat islands [PDF] -- cities that are hotter, often considerably, than their more rural surrounds. Sound a little strange? Well, you can tell your foil hat-wearing, climate-denying friends it’s nothing new, having been documented as far back as 1810. Simply put, cutting down all the trees, paving over every inch of earth, burying streams in storm drains, and building enormous structures warms things up a bit.

Hot and Bothered - small x  200
Susie Cagle

Some may like it hot, but the good folks of Louisville, Ky., will tell you that it’s not always a good thing. Cursed with often stagnant wind conditions, a dense urban center, and fewer trees than Paul Bunyan’s backyard, Louisville has seen temperatures rise 1.67 degrees F every decade since 1961. If the pattern holds, by the year 2112, we’ll be able to cook lentils in the average tumbler of bourbon.

And what’s worse than one urban heat island? (You’re going to kick yourself when you see the answer.) Two urban heat islands!

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Spared by climate change: The 10 best cities to ride out hot times

Hot and Bothered - small x  200
Susie Cagle

Yesterday, we brought you our remarkably unscientific (seriously, it was written by this guy) list of the 10 cities most likely to get hammered by climate change. Today, we thought we’d give you the bright side, such as it is: the 10 towns to which we’ll all be flocking as the rest of the world goes to hell. You’re welcome. (Hey, we don’t call Grist “a beacon in the smog” for nothing.)

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

Screwed by climate change: 10 cities that will be hardest hit

Hot and Bothered - small x  200
Susie Cagle

Here at Grist, climate change is our bread and melting butter. But this month, we’re feeling especially hot and bothered. As part of our in-depth look at the warming planet, we’ve compiled a list of the U.S. cities that we think will be in the hottest water as the mercury rises -- in some cases, up to their foreheads.

A quick note about New Orleans: It’s hard not to include a city that’s already lost so much, but the Big Easy’s new $14.5 billion, state-of-the-art levee system is finally up-and-running just eight short years after Katrina. Some warn that the new system, designed to stop a once-in-a-century storm -- the kind that seem to be coming about every other Thursday these days -- is already out of date. But it’s better than nothing, especially when compared to the rest of the country, so we're giving New Orleanians credit as most-improved. That said, here we go!

Read more: Cities, Climate & Energy

Comments

slideshow

Keystone komics: The incredible, illustrated history of the Keystone XL oil pipeline

thebasicsEver wonder who cooked up the idea of digging up all of Canada’s tar sands and piping them across the continent? All of your questions are answered here, in a single, cartoon-tastic slideshow.

Comments

Wag the God: Looking for easy answers at the Creation Museum

dinosaur ride
John Scalzi

Early on a Thursday morning, six days after a giant feathery serpent failed to consume the planet as the Mayan calendar ended and the world didn’t, I left Louisville looking for answers. It looked to be a long day -- I had a two-hour drive ahead of me and I wanted to spend as much time as possible at the Creation Museum, a state-of-the-art, Bible-based “science” museum in Petersburg, Ky. One thinly understood ancient text had failed to tell me when the world was going to end, but maybe another could tell me how it started.

The Creation Museum opened to long lines and international attention in May of 2007. The 70,000-square-foot, $27 million facility sits on 49 sprawling acres just 10 minutes from the Cincinnati airport -- putting it “within one hour's flight of 69 percent of America's population," according to Ken Ham, president of both the museum and its parent organization, Answers In Genesis.

While the location might make geographic sense, Kentucky’s topography makes it an odd fit. Most of the state is lumpy, like a great earthen bed sheet rumpled by the crashing of continental plates -- and that Kentucky earth is full of dinosaurs. One would think it would be hard to reconcile all those lumps and fossils with a worldview that smashes the entire history of the universe into 6,000 years -- but the museum promises to do just that, explaining away millions of years of plate tectonics with the wrathful fist of an angry God cracking Earth’s crust with a heavenly haymaker at the start of the flood that sent Noah scurrying to fill his ark with aardvarks, ostriches, antelopes, and, yes, dinosaurs. In fact, like the ark, the Creation Museum is rumored to be chock full of the thunder lizards.

creation museum
tastypiesinc

I’m going to be honest here. It all seemed a mite tough to swallow, but I’m a sucker for dinosaurs, and I’d been looking forward to visiting the museum for months. Still, as I pulled onto the grounds through a pair of stone gates topped with wrought-iron stegosauruses, I began to feel a lead pit in my stomach. I felt like a dirty double agent. I like to think I’m open-minded -- it’s a basic tenet of the scientific method that nothing is ever truly certain and that evidence trumps all -- but I couldn't imagine this place changing minds.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living