Sarah Laskow

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

Transportation

Young people drive 23 percent less, bike 40 percent more than they used to

The kids are all right: Between 2001 and 2009, the average number of miles that young’uns spent tooling around in a car dropped from 10,300 miles per capita to 7,900.

Critical List: It’s been really, really warm; polar bears have a weird disease

A look at the news of the day.

Cities

Presenting the largest rooftop farm … in the world!!!

In Brooklyn yesterday, BrightFarms announced that it would be building the largest rooftop farm … in the world!!! The New York-based company builds hydroponic greenhouse farms that are connected to supermarkets. The idea is to minimize transportation costs and time in the food system, delivering very local and very fresh food. The new farm is going on 100,000 square feet of rooftop in Sunset Park. It will grow up to 1 million pounds of veggies like tomatoes, lettuces, and herbs each year, with the first harvest planned for next spring. The system also will capture storm water, diverting it from New …

Critical List: The return of the loan-guarantee program; Texas least prepared for climate change

The Energy Department is reviving its loan program. (AAAH! SOLYNDRA! AAAAAAAH!…say Republicans. We’re pretty sure this will all work out fine.) Environmental groups want final rules governing coal ash and are suing the EPA to get them. Texas: not very prepared for climate change. California: doing better than everyone else, at least. In China, drought means that 7.8 million people and almost 10 million acres of farmland lack adequate drinking water.

Animals

Forest Service employee traps and tortures wolf, doesn’t get fired

When wolves came off the endangered species list in western states like Idaho, wildlife advocates worried how the species would fare without protection. Ranchers aren’t known to be particularly fond of wolves, for starters. In March, a disturbing story confirmed some of advocates’ worst fears: A Forest Service employee had trapped and tortured a wolf in northern Idaho. The Center for Biological Diversity is asking for an investigation into the incident, Environmental News Service reports. The employee, Josh Bransford, “posted online photos of a wolf he had trapped that was then non-fatally shot by people who saw the animal from …

Critical List: A feathered cousin of T. rex; a solar panel thinner than spider silk

The Yutyrannus, a newly discovered dinosaur, was huge, related to Tyrannosaurus rex, and covered in feathers. Thousands of dead dolphins have been washing up on Peruvian beaches. Austrian and Japanese scientists teamed up to make a solar panel that’s thinner than a thread of spider silk. Drought in England means that anyone caught using a hose faces a fine equivalent to more than $1,500.

Food

A cookbook you can eat

A German design firm has created a cookbook made of fresh pasta. The pasta is printed with a lasagna recipe, so that the pages of the cookbook actually become the layers of the dish.

Pollution

Fungi can eat pollution right out of the soil

Fungi are freaking amazing: Give them enough time and they will eat anything, even the toxins spread over polluted sites around the world. Mohamed Hijri, a professor at the University of Montreal, figured — why wait for nature to take its time neutralizing the damage we’ve done to the planet? Why not urge it along? And so he started identifying the fungi and microorganisms that do the best job at cleaning up toxins.

Critical List: Interior to expedite oil and gas permit review; pandas trying to mate

A round-up of the news of the day.

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