Sarah Laskow

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

Green Home

Watch plants swallow up tiny houses in this weird living artwork

Artist Rob Carter is interested in the relationship between the built environment and nature, and his newest exhibition, which opens tomorrow in New York City, features mini replicas of three homesteads — Charles Darwin’s, Henry David Thoreau’s, and Sir John Bennet Lawes’. The miniatures live in a garden of dandelions, bush beans, and corn, which over the course of the exhibit will take over the houses: Viewers are invited to witness as the garden overcomes the estates in Carter’s controlled but fragile ecosystem in three distinct ways: time-based video projections, peepholes cut into the sides of the garden, and from …

Critical List: Nebraska legislature kickstarts Keystone XL planning; NASA’s climate skeptics

The Nebraska legislature passed a bill that’ll kickstart planning for the rerouted Keystone XL pipeline. Turns out a bunch of former NASA employees are also climate skeptics. Canada’s unlikely to meet its 2020 goal for carbon emissions cuts.

Politics

Karl Rove’s super PAC attacks Obama for preventing oil spills

Crossroads GPS, Karl Rove’s super PAC, is spending $1.7 million in six swing states to attack Obama’s energy policy. Here’s what Rove wants swing voters to think about Obama: We’re not really sure that it’s the best political strategy to remind voters that the Bush administration existed at all, let alone that it passed policies that are still having an impact. But we’ll assume Rove knows what he’s doing. It’s not like Crossroads GPS has ever gotten two Pants On Fire ratings from Politifact or anything. The ad also says that drilling’s gone “down where Obama’s in charge.” Now, why …

Biofuel

Your new offshore energy source: Floating algae farms

Forget offshore oil drilling. NASA’s working on a project that would generate clean, renewable offshore energy, by growing algae in floating plastic bags. These floating algae farms would take in wastewater from treatment plants. For algae, wastewater is like the nectar of the gods: The ammonia and phosphates act as a fertilizer. So the algae would float happily contained in the baggies, getting fat with lipid oil, and cleaning up the wastewater in the process. Eventually, the algae farmers would harvest the oil, recycle the plastic and start all over again.

Critical List: Earthquake off the coast of Indonesia; Tennessee anti-climate teaching bill now a law

A look at the news of the day.

Transportation

Chris Christie’s strategy for killing public transit: Lies, lies, and lies

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie ripped the beating heart out of a N.Y.C.-Jersey transit project that public officials had only been planning for since, oh, 1995. At the time, he said the project would cost New Jersey too much. But guess what? He lied about the costs, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office.

Transportation

Americans walk less than any other industrialized nation

Here are the juicy bits of Tom Vanderbilt's new series on walking.

Critical List: Mexico City’s pollution-busting vertical gardens; tiny kitchens

A look at the news of the day.

Chart: The mind-boggling rise in Asian coal consumption

You may have heard that all that coal we’re not using in the U.S. is going to China. (Thanks, Warren Buffett!) At Wonkblog, Brad Plumer has posted a chart about this that will boggle your mind:

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