Sarah Laskow

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

Solar Power

Solar-powered implants could help blind people see

A new research project from Stanford University bumps solar's do-gooder powers to a whole new level.

Critical List: Last 12 months were the hottest on record; groups protest Arctic drilling

The national average temperature over the past 12 months was the hottest ever recorded. Thanks to fracking, North Dakota now produces more oil than any other than state except Texas. Environmental groups protested drilling in the Arctic Sea outside the White House yesterday.

Living

Elm caretaker to be buried in coffin made from beloved elm

Frank Knight spent decades keeping Herbie, New England’s tallest elm tree, alive. The tree lived for 217 years and under Knight’s care survived 14 bouts of Dutch Elm diseases. Two years ago, the tree had to come down. At the time, Knight was 101. As the Associated Press reports: “His time has come,” Knight told The Associated Press at the time. “And mine is about due, too.”

Climate & Energy

Turbine that looks like a piece of art will fit right in at your yacht club

There are some who believe that those behemoth white wind turbines are beautiful and some (Donald Trump) who believe that they’re a blight on the landscape. Well, here is a wind turbine that will win over both groups. It’s like the Frosted Mini-Wheats of wind energy: The penny pincher in you loves the efficiency, but the Trump in you loves the fact that it looks like it came from West Elm.

Critical List: We need a whole extra earth; Hawaii’s beaches are disappearing

We’d need one and a half Earths to fulfill all the demands we put on the planet in 2008 — and it’s getting worse. The Department of the Interior moved forward with the Atlantic wind transmission line, a Google-funded underwater power line that would bring offshore wind energy to 2 million homes. Hawaii’s beaches are eroding away.

Climate & Energy

Good news: Americans are using a lot less coal

Here is a bit of energy-use news to feel good about: Americans are using a lot less coal. In the first quarter of this year, the portion of the country’s electricity that came from coal was almost 20 percent less than in the same period last year. And overall, the Energy Information Administration predicts, coal consumption in the electric sector will decrease by 14 percent this year. Of course, there’s a reason for this, as Stephen Lacey explains at Climate Progress, and the reason is natural gas. Natural gas is cheap, cheap, cheap, so now we’re burning that instead of …

Politics

Yet another ridiculous billboard campaign featuring psychos

Apparently the political discourse in this country is irrational enough that one anti-green billboard campaign featuring megalomaniacs will not satisfy our craving for crazy. No, there have to be two billboard campaigns in one month that cast aspersions on good ideas by associating them with crazy dudes that no one likes. We present to you: These guys hate “energy independence”! If you don’t recognize him, the guy on the left is Ed Perlmutter, a representative from Colorado. Barack Obama, we assume you’re good with. Oh, and that one’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, that Iranian leader known for being crazy. He’s crazy! Therefore, …

Critical List: Gas prices drop; Mount Fuji’s on top of an active fault

Gas prices are falling. Americans are willing to deal with a 13 percent hike in electricity bills if it means more of their power will come from clean energy. Twenty-six states are fighting for schools to teach evolution and climate change — a welcome change from school reformers who want to tear down those ideas. Right under Japan’s Mount Fuji is a fault that could result in a magnitude-7 earthquake.

Animals

How to save wolves: Take photos where they look like crazy mutants

Those clever ecologists at the U.S. Geological Survey have found a way to obtain information about wolves that doesn’t involve trapping them, collaring them, or shooting them with weird injections — and bonus, it makes them look like X-MAN SUPERWOLVES. Instead of messing with the animals directly, researchers are just snapping pics with infrared cameras, leading to wicked shots like the one above. As Wired reports, the sad side of this story is why they need the cameras: The wolves in Yellowstone National Park have caught a form of scabies that causes hair loss.

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