Sarah Laskow

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

Critical List: Other countries manage to pass climate change laws; Greenpeace is busy

Plants are freaking out about climate change: Their timing for flowering and leafing is even more off than climate models predicted. Also, species extinction could be a major driver of climate change and keep the environment from producing awesome resources like … food. South Korea’s parliament approved a cap-and-trade plan. Kenya and Peru are also working on climate change laws. A judge granted BP preliminary approval of its plan to settle Deepwater Horizon claims. The company could pay out nearly $8 billion to settle private claims for injury or economic loss from the spill.

Transportation

President Bartlet wants you to go for a walk

If you worked in President Bartlet’s White House, you would not have to worry about dying an early death from sitting all day, because the West Wing staffers are always walking! And talking! And walk-and-talking! About things like how no one realizes that the president actually can’t fix gas prices. And after you watch this West Wing reunion video from Funny or Die, you too will want to walk. Because President Bartlet gave an inspiring speech that referenced Greece, and due to the President Bartlet magic, it’s effective even though he is old now and Charlie has a gross mustache. …

Animals

Humans and dolphins conspire to kill fish

Off the coast of Brazil, dolphins and humans have been working together to snare mullet since 1847. Ed Yong reports at Discover Magazine: The dolphins drive the mullet towards the fishermen, who stand waist-deep in water holding nets. The humans cannot see the fish through the turbid water. They must wait for their accomplices. As the fish approach, the dolphins signal to the humans by rolling at the surface, or slapping the water with their heads or tails. The nets are cast, and the mullet are snared. Some manage to escape, but in breaking formation, they are easy prey for …

Transportation

Drivers unable to use turn signals properly

Drivers are always complaining how craaaazy bike riders are, what with their wanting to “share” the “road” and “biking” in “bike lanes.” Well, it turns out that drivers are really bad at using the roads, too. And especially at using their TURN SIGNALS. According to a new study from the Society of Automotive Engineers, 25 percent of the time, drivers do not use their turn signals when turning. And 48 percent of the time, drivers do not use their turn signals when changing lanes. 

Your cell phone is killing millions of birds

I know that it is a tragedy when a person wants to check Twitter on her phone, and the service sucks and — aaaaahhhh — now she is bored. Bored, bored, bored, and AT&T is the worst, and why didn’t you wait for the Verizon iPhone? Luckily for bored humans, there are 84,000 communications towers in North America intended to forestall this type of angst. Unluckily for birds, these 84,000 communications towers in North America often kill the birds as they are migrating each year. The University of Southern California put a number on this massacre and it is large: …

Animals

Urban carnivores have higher survival rates than their country cousins

I heard this weekend that there’s at least one coyote living permanently in Central Park. Everyone’s heard a story like that recently — bears, coyotes, and other carnivores stalking through city streets and parks, right where we’d least expect them. But according to a new study, certain carnivores — raccoons and coyotes — do better in cities than in rural areas. Conservation Magazine reports: One team found seven times more coyotes per square kilometer in urban parts of southern California than rural areas, and raccoons have reached an “astonishing” 333 animals per square kilometer in one Fort Lauderdale, Florida park, …

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