Sure, it’s green to raise chickens in your backyard, but it’s a tragedy that they have to live in rough-hewn, generic coops. What about your chickens’ sense of style and feng shui? Luckily, Williams-Sonoma takes this problem seriously. The company is launching a new “Agrarian” line of products, so that your chickens can live in as classy as house as you do.
As of this month, when the new line debuts, Williams-Sonoma -- best known for outfitting yuppie kitchens everywhere with high-end cookware -- has now got you covered for all your heirloom seed, backyard beehive, and kombucha-making needs. There's also an oh-so-attractive shiitake-mushroom log, so you can grow your own mushrooms while also contributing to your home’s rustic-chic charm.
In Mother Jones, Mark Hertsgaard makes the case for the Sierra Club's anti-coal campaign as "the most significant achievement of American environmentalists since the passage of the Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act," as one source puts it. The group has shut down proposals for 166 coal-fired power plants (check out the map above or here). The key? The group was working outside of Washington, with the grassroots:
The movement's center of gravity was in the South and Midwest, "places like Oklahoma and South Dakota, not the usual liberal bastions where you'd expect environmental victories," [Mary Anne Hitt, the director of the Sierra Club's Beyond Coal campaign] recalls ...
[E]conomic trends only made coal somewhat vulnerable, argues Tom Sanzillo, a former New York state deputy comptroller who has worked with the Beyond Coal campaign; it was grassroots activism that leveraged vulnerability into outright defeat. The movement's strength was grounded in retail politics—people talking with friends and neighbors, pestering local media, packing regulatory hearings, protesting before state legislatures, filing legal challenges, and more. The movement had no official membership rolls; it was populated by clean energy advocates, public health professionals, community organizers, faith leaders, farmers, attorneys, [and] students …
Ironically, as the Sierra Club was galvanizing the grassroots against coal, it was catching backlash from anti-fracking activists for being overly friendly with the natural gas industry.
In the northern Indian province of Assam, there's a forest named after one man — not a politician, or a historical hero, but a guy who lives there today. It's named after him because he planted most of its 1,360 acres.
Jadav Payeng, known as Molai, has been living in the area for more than 30 years, planting trees. Once this area was a desolate sandbar; now it's a jungle that's home to tigers and rhinoceroses and elephants.
Payeng told the Times of India that he first started working on the forest in 1979, when he saw flood-stranded snakes die from heat on the barren sandbar, with no trees to protect them. He told the paper:
I alerted the forest department and asked them if they could grow trees there. They said nothing would grow there. Instead, they asked me to try growing bamboo. It was painful, but I did it. There was nobody to help me. Nobody was interested.
Later, he says, he started planting real trees and transported red ants from his village area to help improve the sandbar's soil quality.
Here's a Starbucks order to try out: a Strawberries & Creme Frappuccino with soy milk and a shot of crushed parasitic insects.
Actually, you don't need to order the bugs -- they come standard with the drink, in the form of the red dye used to give the frap that special strawberry color.
Yes, the insects are crushed, and yes, they are a commonly used natural food dye. Enjoyed a strawberry PopTart lately? Yeah, those use crushed critters for coloring, too.
So you may have already eaten your peck of bugs, and besides, insects are nutritious. Still, there's obviously a bit of an "ew" factor here. It's one thing to eat bugs knowingly, but when a gigantic corporation sticks them into a sugar bomb without asking, I think one is entitled to feel at least as miffed as when one's parents snuck broccoli into a perfectly good Kraft macaroni-and-cheese dinner. There are some health impacts, too, for the factory workers who produce the dye.