Katharine Wroth

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, …

Yeah, we said billion

A $4 billion push to make affordable housing green

Norton hit Congress to testify about the value of green building in 2008.globalwarming.house.govA major investment in making affordable housing greener — a $4 billion investment, to be precise — was announced Wednesday. The injection comes courtesy of Enterprise Community Partners, a 25-year-old non-profit dedicated to community development and affordable housing. With heavyweight partners including NRDC, HUD, and the Home Depot Foundation, Enterprise — which was founded by the grandparents of actor Edward Norton, who sits on its board — has set its sights on overhauling the entire affordable housing stock in this country. Well, in that pebble-in-a-pond sort of way. …

Bumper to Bonkers

For public transportation to survive, we all need to … drive more?

Traffic is the answer!richardmasoner via flickrMeant to mention these two pieces last week, but things fell apart, as they say. (Do “they” say that, or is it just me?) Both relate to the connection between cars and public transportation, and both are a bit counterintuitive. The first, an op-ed by David Owen in the Wall Street Journal, posits that traffic jams are a boon to public transportation because they piss drivers off and “turn [them] into subway riders or pedestrians” — and that congestion pricing is counterproductive because it makes driving a more pleasant (albeit expensive) experience: Advocates of congestion-fighting …

Stripping for a cause

Weatherization will save us all

Doug Letterman via flickrPop quiz: What saves money, saves energy, creates green jobs, fights climate change, can fix the economy, will make America great again, and is both a floor wax and a dessert topping? Answer: It’s weatherization! And both the U.S. government and the European Union are embracing its potential. In a report released today, Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force (which, hello: still a terrible name) recommends steps toward a national retrofit program, citing a potential $21 billion in annual energy savings and 40 percent cut in energy use. Specific proposals include: an Energy Star-style labeling program for …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Strange bedfellows edition

This week brought news that made all sorts of people say, “Well, damn!”: The climate-bill support of one Senator Lindsey Graham. The damners on the left are thrilled that Graham thinks with his head. The damners on the right shout, “Lindsey, why’d you get in bed!” They’ve also had some more choice words, like wussypants and RINO* And douchebag, asshat, Dem in drag — good grief, they sure can whine-o. I hope this douchebag has some spine, and gets more Sens. on board Or climate change will send his critics straight unto the Lord.  * Republican In Name Only. Lindsey …

Gwyn Some, Lose Some

Does being hot make your green website hot, too?

Here at Grist, we like to think of ourselves as trendspotters. And this is one trend we didn’t mind spotting: hot actresses are starting green websites left and right. With the launch of the most recent addition from Alicia Silverstone, we thought we’d take a peek at what lies beneath the glitz and glamour. Oh, and we figured we’d check out the websites, too. Alicia Silverstone, thekindlife.comMotto: “Sign up and spread the kind”Mood: A chat with your spacy childhood friendWorth a damn?: Too soon to tell thekindlife.comSilverstone’s site, a cross-promotion for her book The Kind Diet, kicked off this week …

Infrared, Schminfrared

4.5 things I learned at my energy audit

As my family and co-workers will readily attest, I looked forward to my energy audit with disturbing anticipation after I made the appointment about a month ago. I was nearly giddy at the thought of having all my energy-efficiency questions answered: Should I replace my windows? Insulate? Wrap my water heater? Were there huge drafts in my basement that I didn’t know about? It was a bit like waiting for a first date with someone who came highly recommended. Only with the promise of lower utility bills instead of … well. Other things. I was sure this guy would have …

Acres of Apathy

Does anyone still care about “the land”?

So earnest it hurts.The new climate anthem is out — you know, the remake of “Beds Are Burning” that features such hip, 21st-century acts as Duran Duran, Bob Geldof, and Youssou N’Dour — and I can’t get it out of my head. Actually, it left my head pretty much as soon as the 4:02 video ended. But I was struck by, and can’t stop thinking about, the fact that the modified language in the song goes like this: “The time has come/to take a stand/it’s for the Earth/it’s for our land.” I expect this to resonate with exactly no one. …

Loo and Behold

As Philadelphia goes, so goes the nation

More green on the streets will mean less brown in the rivers.Tony the Misfit via flickrPhiladelphia has a poo problem. Old, failing pipes plus a swelling population plus lots of rain equals — well, yuck. So the city has pondered its options, and now it’s poised to make a major splash in the world of sewage management. In a move described by an official from the state environmental council as “the most significant investment in transforming the city that we’ll see in our lifetimes,” Philly is proposing a $1.6 billion plan to radically alter the way it handles stormwater — …

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