Sarah Laskow

Sarah Laskow is a reporter based in New York City who covers environment, energy, and sustainability issues, among other things.

Biking

Cape Cod woman finds bike she lost 40 years ago

Forty years ago, in 1970, little Lisa Brown was riding her totally rad banana-seat bike through the woods of Cape Cod. She approached the Herring River, but the only way to cross it was a rickety plank board bridge. When Brown started out on the bridge it was two feet wide, but halfway across it narrowed to 12 inches, and she had to turn just a little bit to stay on track. In a split second, she was in the river. “I went in with the bike, I floated to the surface, I kicked away from the bike, and I …

Critical List: Record carbon dioxide emissions in 2011; eating dirt is normal

2011 saw a record high in carbon dioxide emissions, with China’s contribution growing the most. Climate change is a boon for one species, at least: The brown argus butterfly, previously rare, has been staking out more turf for itself as the areas north of its range become warmer and more hospitable. With the chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on his way out, the president nominated Allison Macfarlane to take his place. Negotiations for the Rio+20 summit are “painfully slow,” says U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Living

Oh for chrissakes, will.i.am, you did not seriously just take a helicopter to a climate change meeting

It’s great when celebrities get the green bug and decide they want to use their fame to tell people “hey, this climate change thing? It’s a problem.” But guys, GUYS, as much as we appreciate the support, we’re REALLY going to need you not to pull stunts like the one will.i.am just did: showing up to a meeting about climate change in a goddamn gigantic helicopter. The rapper was paying a visit to climate change expert Myles Allen, who apparently is not as exasperated about this as we are. I do believe that, as Allen put it, will.i.am is “committed …

Food

Critical List: Keystone XL could raise gas prices; Italy earthquake threatens cheese

Counter to everything Republicans say, building the Keystone XL could raise gas prices. Please, parents, don’t buy your children trendy pets in imitation of popular book characters. In England, hundreds of Harry Potter-inspired pet owls are being dropped off at animal shelters after their owners realized that they’re expensive to care for and don’t actually carry mail. A magnitude-6 earthquake in Italy may have damaged 300,000 ripening wheels of Parmesan cheese — 5 percent of Italy’s supply.

Climate Change

G8 summit might have actually done something about climate change

There’s a bit of news from the G8 summit that might have escaped notice: International leaders agreed to take collective action to decrease greenhouse-gas emissions. And pigs do fly. The agreement (which, unlike flying pigs, is real — we promise) could be “the biggest step in years in tackling climate change,” as The Telegraph’s Geoffrey Lean says. The catch is that it has nothing to do with carbon dioxide. Instead, it focuses on “short-lived climate pollutants” — all those other pesky carbon-based greenhouse gases, like methane, soot, and ozone.

Biking

Inflatable bike helmet is like an airbag for your head

Like other stuff that is good for your health (not smoking, sobriety, living slow, and dying old), bike helmets are uncool. But you can’t really enjoy your coolness with a giant crack in your skull. How do you protect your noggin without sacrificing your mojo? Swedish company Hovding has the answer: airbag bike helmets. Unless it’s called upon to perform, this helmet stays safely stowed in a futuristic-looking black collar that you can pretend is a scarf. (Hovding also offers printed shells that go around the collar, to make it even more chic.) But if you get hit, presto, it …

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