Kate Sheppard

Kate Sheppard was previously Grist's political reporter. She now covers energy and the environment for The Huffington Post. Follow her on Twitter.

I just called to say I love you

It’s hard out here for a glacier

Feeling down? Probably not as down as the Arctic’s melting glaciers. And now you can listen to their sob story by giving the Icelandic glacier Vatnajokull a call, thanks to an art project that helps folks “connect emotionally” with Europe’s largest glacier. With the help of Virgin Mobile and DolphinEAR, Peterson dropped a hydrophone into the glacier, allowing folks from around the world to call in and listen to the creaks, groans, and drips of a dying chunk of ice. Only one person can call in at a time, allowing everyone to have a “one-to-one beautiful and intimate moment” with …

The nerve

U.S. Army dumps 64 million pounds of chemical weapons into the ocean

What to do with 64 million pounds of leftover nerve and mustard gas? Eh, just dump it off the coast of Jersey. Thanks, U.S. Army! (h/t: Think Progress)

Hello, Kitties


Things that global warming is responsible for: Melting glaciers, skinny polar bears, disappearing coastlines, and rampant kitty sex. That’s right. We’re seeing an increase in hot pussy action as global warming gets America’s cats all hot and bothered. Climate change is expanding the kitty mating season and creating — you guessed it — more baby kitties. According to the group Pets Across America, there was a 30 percent increase [PDF] in the number of cats and kittens coming into some of their shelters from 2005 to 2006, while the organization saw a 7 percent increase overall. Other shelters across the …

More from the 'I got mine' school of environmentalism

Visit exotic travel spots before we obliterate them!

How’s this for backwards messaging? A Forbes article posted late last week on MSNBC urges tourists to “See these travel spots – before it’s too late!“, referring to the world’s most endangered tourist destinations. These are exotic spots threatened by over-tourism, deforestation, and global warming, and as the article says, if they’re on your destination list, they may be gone before you can book your flight. So wait a minute. The problem in some of these places is over-tourism — too many of us showing up, stomping around, touching stuff — so we’re supposed to rush out and flood the …

We got TRASHed, and angry

The Girls of Grist do Sasquatch

A group of Grist hotties ladies just returned from the Sasquatch Music Festival at the Gorge in George, Wash., where we spent two days volunteering at the TRASHed Recycling Store, sponsored by Global Inheritance, a hip nonprofit based in California that combines creativity, youthful enthusiasm, and activism into unique, progressive-minded projects. They travel around and do activisty things at different events that the yoot flock to, like Coachella, the X Games, and Sasquatch. We heart Global Inheritance big time. The TRASHed Recycling Store is a place where concertgoers can turn in recyclable cans and bottles in exchange for points. They …

An interview with renowned climate scientist James Hansen

James Hansen. Photo: nasa.gov James Hansen, NASA’s top climate expert, believes scientists have an obligation to speak out when their findings have important implications for the public — and he certainly put that belief into practice last year when he told The New York Times that the Bush administration was trying to muzzle his calls for reducing greenhouse-gas emissions. Hansen has been speaking publicly about the threats posed by climate change for more than two decades, though it’s only in the last couple of years that the public has begun to listen. These days, Hansen is the closest thing climate …

The park formerly known as Glacier

Contest in need of Grist readers and their funny

In a world without glaciers, what would you call Glacier National Park? Tongues firmly in cheeks, National Environmental Trust is sponsoring a contest to come up with a new name for the park. The winner gets a $250 gift certificate to REI, but really, it’s about calling attention to the fact that continued inaction on climate change might make the park glacierless by 2030.

Fund and games

More on Superfund

I’ve posted several pieces recently on the recent Center for Public Integrity study of the downfall of Superfund. There are two more pieces out this week that relate — this one on the EPA diverting funds from the program, and this one on the EPA giving clean-up cash to the very same businesses that created the sites in the first place. (Hint: Halliburton is one of them. Surprise!)

Fat rats may be evidence that we're all doomed

Are our standards for exposure to toxics all wrong?

An intriguing new study published recently on Environmental Health News challenges the long-held assumption on which all regulatory toxicology testing is based, and poses new questions about what — and how much — of certain toxic substances merit “OK” exposure. Toxicology tests are usually performed by giving subjects (usually rodents) high doses of a substance and monitoring the biological response. The assumption has long been that what these high doses do to the subject indicates what a lower dose could do. Using high doses is generally faster, more reliable, and cheaper. But the new research indicates that with some pollutants, …