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Lisa Hymas' Posts


The efficient life

What are your best ideas for saving energy at home?

Our friends at Slate have launched a new project that's collecting practical suggestions for living a more energy-efficient life. Check out the ideas offered so far, vote on your favorites, and submit your own.  A panel of judges, including yours truly, will help choose the top ideas.  If you're in the D.C. area, join Slate (and me) at live event on March 10:  A conversation about personal energy efficiency: What are the most useful ideas? And what are the best ways to persuade Americans to adopt them? Wednesday, March 10, 2010 House of Sweden, 2900 K St. NW, Washington, D.C. …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living


Get yourself free

Hop on the bus, texters

A French lad texting in an appropriate venue.Photo: TopheeNearly two-thirds of Millennials, aged 18 to 29, admit to texting while driving, according to a new Pew Research Center report [PDF]. Texting while driving is "insanely dangerous," Clive Thompson reminds us in Wired. "Studies have found that each time you write or read a text message, you take your eyes off the road for almost five seconds and increase your risk of collision up to 23 times. The hazard is 'off the charts,' says David Strayer, a University of Utah professor who has studied the practice." While government officials fret about …

Read more: Cities, Living


Sow your wild votes

10 races to watch in 2010

  California House race, 19th Congressional District Richard Pombo is back!  He antagonized environmentalists as chair of the House Resources Committee (he even removed the word "Natural" from the committee's name) until 2006, when he got beat by a renewable-energy booster. For his comeback attempt, he's carpetbagging from the 11th Congressional District, site of his ignominious defeat, to the adjacent 19th, which is more rural and Republican. In the GOP primary, to be held on June 8, he'll be up against state Sen. Jeff Denham, who has been endorsed by the retiring seat-holder, Republican George Radanovich. Enviros are aghast to …


Don't bet on it

What are the chances of a cap-and-trade system being established in the U.S. this year?

16.9 percent, according to, an online betting site -- down from 59 percent last summer, but up from 12.7 percent late last month.  Odds on cap-and-trade getting through by the end of 2011 are now at 25 percent, an all-time low.


Tea Party tirade, video

Palin bashes ‘cap and tax’ and commends Obama on nuclear

Sarah Palin's much-anticipated speech Saturday night at the first National Tea Party Convention in Nashville included a one-minute-and-20-second disquisition on energy policy.  She hit on her familiar talking points -- drill here, drill now, "cap-and-tax" sucks. But she also commended Obama for highlighting nuclear power during his State of the Union address, a brief departure from her otherwise sneering tone toward the president. ("How's that hopey-changey thing workin' out for you?" was more typical.) Considering that Palin was paid $100,000 for the 40-minute speech, this excerpt represents $3,333 worth of her wisdom:  And to create jobs, Washington should jump-start energy …


No good speech goes unpunished

Will Google’s fight with China stymie climate negotiations?

If any progress is to be made in the global fight against climate change -- whether via diplomatic negotiations or cleantech partnerships -- it will only happen through cooperation between the U.S. and China.  But the potential for collaboration of any kind took a big blow this past week thanks to the Google fracas.  Reports The New York Times: Beijing and Washington both initially tried to treat the Google case as mainly a commercial dispute. But Mrs. Clinton's speech on Internet freedom on Thursday, with its cold war undertones, has catapulted the dispute from the realm of technology and cybersecurity …


He's back!

Richard “Dick” Pombo running for Congress again in California

Pombo and an old pal.Enviros were thrilled when Richard Pombo, a Republican who represented California's 11th congressional district for seven terms, was ousted from his seat by a renewable-energy geek in 2006.  Pombo had been deemed Public Enemy No. 1 by the environmental community, which invested big bucks in the effort to beat him. Amanda Little reported at the time: As chair of the House Resources Committee, Pombo has enjoyed tremendous influence over environmental policy making in recent years. He spearheaded an effort to weaken the Endangered Species Act (which passed the House last year but got nowhere in the …

Read more: Politics


Mountain climbing for CEOs

Green-biz pioneer Ray Anderson says sustainability literally pays for itself

Ray Anderson set out to make his business sustainable long before green was the flavor of the month.  Reading Paul Hawken's The Ecology of Commerce in 1994 literally changed his life, inspiring him to overhaul his carpet company, Interface, and aim for zero waste and zero environmental impact.  Now, with his new book Confessions of a Radical Industrialist, he wants to spur other business leaders to "climb Mount Sustainability."  Anderson recently dropped by the Grist office and we asked him how his own ascent is going so far.  ----- Q. You've been working for the last 15 years to make …


Myth congeniality

Pollan shoots down organic myths at Grist event

Michael Pollan (left) and Tom Philpott talk food.Celebrated food and ag author Michael Pollan debunked some myths about organic agriculture Tuesday night at a Grist event in San Francisco, in a conversation with Grist food writer Tom Philpott and the audience. In response to a question about whether we can really feed the world without industrialized ag (ah yes, a perennial), Pollan pointed out that we're not feeding the world with it now.  He said we wouldn't be doing developing nations a favor by exporting a fossil fuel–dependent ag system to them when it's clear that fossil fuels are only …

Read more: Food


Mainstream greens applaud Sotomayor confirmation

Justice Sonia SotomayorPhoto: White HouseEnviros are cheering for brand-new Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who was confirmed by the Senate on Thursday on a 68-31 vote.  Well, make that many enviros, not all. "We congratulate Justice Sotomayor on her historic confirmation to the high court, where her extensive experience will serve her well," said Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope. "With many of our nation's bedrock environmental laws under constant attack, Supreme Court decisions in coming years will continue to have far-reaching environmental implications." Earthjustice President Trip Van Noppen also praised her confirmation, while acknowledging that she doesn't have much …

Read more: Politics