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Katharine Wroth's Posts

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Of soccer moms and sinister U.N. plots

It all started innocently enough. I saw a notice in my local paper that my small town would be holding a strategic planning meeting, part of an effort to resuscitate it from the post-industrial malaise that has left so many New England towns in the economic dumps. I’ve never been particularly active in town, but curiosity got the best of me, so I ventured to the local high school on a Saturday morning, parked my car, and crunched across the gravel-strewn lot.

“Are you here for the charrette?” asked a friendly, dark-haired woman in a black coat, who was standing by the path to the door. I said I was, and she handed me a piece of paper. “This is just a guide to some of the language they’ll be using inside,” she explained with a pleasant smile. I took it, thanked her, and continued walking, reading as I went.

Read more: Cities

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Bowling Alone

On Rand Paul, toilets, and getting pottymouthed in the New York Times

Coming soon to a senator's house near you?When The New York Times wants really thoughtful, meaty commentary on issues like climate legislation, green technology, or local food systems, it turns to Grist writers David Roberts and Tom Philpott. When it wants toilet talk, it turns to ... me. At least, that's what happened this past week, when the editor of the Room for Debate forum approached and asked if I'd weigh in on Sen. Rand Paul's bizarre outburst at a Senate hearing on energy efficiency -- which David has since responded to with the generous offer of a new toilet. …

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Sexy Retrofits

Vindication edition: Obama declares insulation “sexy”

Here at Sexy Retrofits, we've been pointing out for a while the absolute hotness of making buildings more energy efficient. Today, our President said this: "I know the idea [of investing in upgrades to inefficient buildings] may not be very glamorous, although I get really excited about it. Insulation is sexy stuff." Know what else is sexy? Obama. Glorious day!

Read more: Cities, Living

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Two Legs Bad?

How about we stop claiming environmentalists are “anti-human”

Know what's really depressing? Dragging out old saws about anti-human environmentalists.In the dark of night yesterday -- OK, at 8:02 p.m. -- Slate published a piece by Anne Applebaum that calls out the "anti-human prejudices of the climate change movement." Specifically, she is worried that the news coming from Copenhagen is turning her nine-year-old son into a nihilist. Because her son used apocalyptic climate change as an excuse to not do his homework: "By the time I'm grown up, the polar ice caps will have melted and everyone will have drowned." Seems to me her son is creative, clever, and …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Placemakers

Amy Bauman is greening the construction industry, one steel I-beam at a time

This interview is part of a series on people who are making their communities smarter, greener places to live. Got a nomination? Leave it in the comments section or send it along to us. Redoing a kitchen? Hosting a national convention? Demolishing a school? Things are bound to get trashy, and that’s where Amy Bauman comes in. A former financial analyst, Bauman founded a nonprofit called greenGoat in 2001 to help Boston-area architects and contractors green their projects and create less waste. From consulting on LEED plans to finding new uses for cast-off materials, the small greenGoat team has worked …

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Boobs, Boobs, Nothing but boobs

PETA on one side, FOX on the other … now that’s a conundrum

In this corner, we have PETA, a shameless animal-rights organization that uses boobies to make its point at least -- what, once or twice a minute? To wit: this latest, uh, holiday-themed ad featuring Polish Playboy model Joanna Krupa. In the other corner, we have FOX News and angry Christians: For a higher purpose?PETA.org "It's totally inappropriate," said Deal Hudson, publisher of InsideCatholic.com, an online magazine. "It's another instance of disrespect toward Christianity and another example of the kind of abuse that would never occur with any other major religion, because the outcry would be so immediate and so loud …

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Placemakers

A surprising sneak peek at the clothesline revolution

This interview is part of a series on people who are making their communities smarter, greener places to live. Got a nomination? Leave it in the comments section or send it along to us. Daisey Bingham Alexander Lee founded Project Laundry List as a Middlebury College undergrad in 1995, after hearing Dr. Helen Caldicott say we could shut down the nuclear industry if we all did things like hang out our clothes. He's been true to the cause ever since, pushing for clotheslines across the land -- even at the White House. Grist caught up with him to find out …

Read more: Cities, Living

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A Crawl to Arms

Seventh Generation launches anti-toxics campaign with wee gimmick

Seventh GenerationAt first blush, one's enthusiasm for the Million Baby Crawl would seem to depend largely upon three things: 1) enthusiasm for babies, real and animated; 2) a penchant for baby-related puns (we're going to rattle Congress!); and 3) interest in frittering away time on the interwebs. But that does a disservice to the intention behind this effort, which is to rally support for reform of the nation's chemical policies. You don't have to have babies -- or even wuv them! -- to want the feds to better regulate the toxics that find their way into our homes and bodies. …

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It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Protest edition

The International Day of Climate Action spearheaded by 350.org has already kicked off, and will involve more than 4,800 events in 171 countries. Find one near you -- and then tell Grist about your big time! Sometimes it can be quite expedient To act all quiet and obedient. But now's the time, across the land:Get off your butt and take a stand! On October 24, climate voices ring -- from Mongolia to Maine.350.org

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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EMA, meet Uma

Happy birthday, EMA Awards … and you other groups, too

This weekend marks the twentieth annual occurrence of a vaunted celebration you've quite possibly never heard of: the Environmental Media Association awards. The EMAs actually do a pretty good job of attracting A-list stars, or at least A-minus, and are the original "green-carpet" event. Each year, there are a handful of honorary awards (this year's recipients include Richard Branson and Jason Mraz) and several others given in various film and TV categories. Sometimes it can feel like a stretch: for instance, while the nominating committee must have been thrilled with the documentary selections available to them this year -- Fuel, …

Read more: Living