Sara Barz

Sara Barz is a writer based in Seattle.

On EV street

Tesla speeds past financial troubles, opens retail stores across country

Five months ago, Tesla Motors appeared to be following in the footsteps of other American automakers. Lay-offs, a dearth of financing, and a spring recall of 70 percent of delivered Roadsters prompted speculation that Tesla might soon be the next casualty of the economic downturn. But Tesla proved just too cool to fail. In May, German automaker Daimler injected $50 million in the “we’re this close to profitability we promise” EV maker for a 10 percent stake and a deal for Tesla to supply the batteries for the test series of Daimler’s smart electric drive. And then in June, Uncle …

App-ily ever after

Grist’s guide to green iPhone apps

Wondering what brand of toothpaste is the most eco-friendly? There’s an app for that. Need to know which species of fish on the menu were caught sustainably? There’s an app for that. Long to plant a tree with every swish of your PhoneSaber? There’s not an app for that … yet. But check out the apps that plant trees — digital and otherwise — that are already available. Contrary to the rest of the going-green retail world, iTunes doesn’t have a “green” category in its app store (For better? For worse? Can’t decide….). And search for “green” in the iTunes …

A Thoreau report

Anthology features Americans’ personal stories of global warming

Union of Concerned Scientists“I knew climate change had no boundaries,” writes Michelle Nijhuis, prominent science writer and Grist contributor, in Thoreau’s Legacy: American Stories about Global Warming, “even so, I didn’t expect to see its effects on the shores of Walden Pond.” In what proves to be an appropriate opening to Thoreau’s Legacy, a new anthology of first-person accounts of global warming, Nijhuis writes that spring flowers on the shores of Walden now bloom about seven-days earlier than they did during Henry David Thoreau’s time.  Even the landscape that spurred 150 years of environmental writing is not immune to the …

Premature Planting?

Ohio officials tout plans for new nuclear power plant

Ohio media sources are reporting that Piketon, a small town 60-miles south of Columbus, could be in line to get a new nuclear power plant. Gov. Ted Strickland (D), Sen. George Voinovich (R), Rep. Jean Schmidt (R) and officials from Duke Energy and French nuclear company Areva were in Piketon Thursday to announce plans for the plant. Piketon, the former site of a uranium enrichment facility, is considered highly desirable for a nuclear facility because of its high capacity transmission lines and water resources, reported the Columbus Dispatch. According to the energy companies, the plant would create 4,000 “clean energy” …

Short Answer: Yes

Quiz: Should I see the critically acclaimed documentary ‘Food, Inc.’?

A quiz, dear Grist reader, to determine if you should see the new documentary ‘Food, Inc.‘ (You start with 0 points. Total your points as you answer the questions.): Farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia.Photo: Food, Inc. Do you eat food? Yes, three-square meals a day. Add 1 million points. No, I’m not into that right now. Subtract 50 points. Have you read The Ominvore’s Dilemma? Yes, I loved it.  I own a signed first edition, and I have a poster of Michael Pollan in my bedroom. I can probably recite the text of the 2008 Farm Bill …

Next, In Car Nation

Slideshow: The plug-ins and electric vehicles of 2009

Can’t wait until 2010 for the Chevy Volt (or Coda or Fisker Karma or Chrysler Circuit)? Check out these electric and plug-in hybrid vehicles that are either on the market now or will be by the end of 2009. In slideshow order: Aptera 2e Th!nk City Subaru Stella Toyota Prius extended-range hybrid Mitsubishi i-MiEV smart fortwo electric drive BYD Auto F3DM MINI E Tesla Roadster

A disturbing fish tale

‘The End of the Line’ is a compelling indictment of industrial fishing

If scientists are correct, 2048 will be a terrible year for sushi restaurants. And diners selling tuna melts, too. The End of the Line isn’t going to make you feel so good about hitting the neighborhood sushi bar.In fact, if I had any money to invest in a seafood venture, Carl Safina’s suggestion to “consider the jellyfishburger” may be the best advice. By mid-century, jellyfish may be the only “fish” left to catch. Though it lacks the starpower of a certain former vice president, The End of the Line does for the fish what Al Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth did …

Crude Behavior

‘Sweet Crude’ documents oil exploitation in the Niger River Delta

Picture in your mind the Niger River Delta. What do you think of? Water, mangrove trees, fishing boats? Wrong. Try brown sludge-filled waterways flanked by constantly flaring gas stacks. Welcome to Oporoza, Nigeria — the place where 10 percent of U.S. oil imports originates. When filmmaker Sandy Cioffi traveled to Oporoza in 2006 to make a documentary about a community library, she did not expect to return with Sweet Crude, a film that mentions AK-47s more than books. But at the library’s opening ceremony, a student group (read: political activist group) protested, objecting to Chevron’s role in funding the library …

Media matters

‘The Next Wave’ chronicles the climate change refugees

In the Carteret Islands, Papua New Guinea, a rise in sea level is cutting off people’s supplies of fresh water and fertile land. The islands’ residents will be among the first people to be forced to migrate due to climate change.Photo by Toby Parkinson for Oxfam AmericaYou like media that matters — you are reading Grist after all — so check out the Media That Matters film festival. It’s an online screening of shorts about pressing social issues, and this year the winner of the MTM jury award is a documentary on some of the first climate change refugees. “The …

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