Sarah Laskow

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

Oil

Your best new argument against tar-sands mining: George W. Bush supports it

There are a lot of good arguments for opposing oil-sands development and the Keystone XL pipeline. But just today two more very excellent ones emerged. One involves science. The other involves George W. Bush.

Animals

Surrogate-mom housecat gives birth to endangered kitten

The African black-footed cat is one of the world's smallest felines -- and there are only 40 in captivity worldwide.

Critical List: Oil sands carbon footprint revised upwards; new frog discovered in NYC

Oil sands have an even higher carbon footprint than previously thought: No one was counting carbon released when the drilling operations destroy peatlands. In 2011, solar installers put in twice as many solar panels as they did in 2010. The transportation bill now includes a natural gas amendment that fulfills energy magnate T. Boone Pickens’ wildest dreams. New York does have nature! It just takes a few scientists from Jersey to find it. A Rutgers doctoral candidate identified a new species of leopard frog that lives in and around New York City. He first heard its croak on a jaunt …

Biking

In New York City, stealing a bike is easy

If a bike gets stolen in the middle of New York City, does it make it a sound? With his own bike, a bunch of doomed locks, and a variety of tools, Casey Neistat (who you may remember from this video) proves that nope, it basically doesn’t. The film above is a 2005 version of this experiment. On a busy Tuesday, at well-trafficked locations like Union Square, Astor Place, and 14th Street, Casey and brother Van steal their own bike using a bolt cutter, hack saw, power tools, and a hammer and spike. They act as suspicious as possible. Sometimes, …

Urban Agriculture

Indoor farm in Brooklyn helps feed hundreds of families

In Bedford-Stuyvesant, an increasingly hip but historically low-income Brooklyn neighborhood, one food pantry is also an indoor farm. The New York Daily News visited the Child Development Support Corporation, where every Thursday morning clients harvest lettuce, bok choy, and collard greens that help feed hundreds of families. Right now the greens are all grown hydroponically indoors, but the farm has plans to expand, adding a rooftop garden with cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers. It will also be offering hydroponics workshops and cooking demos.

Critical List: How red meat will kill you; Bo Obama photobomb

Eating red meat is really, REALLY bad for you, according to a study conducted by cows. I mean researchers at Harvard Medical School. Twin Creeks Technologies can make thin, bendable layers of silicon just 20 microns thick. So what? So cheaper solar panels, that’s what. In northern states, the amount of land covered in forest is increasing.

Living

Instead of hacking the planet, should we hack our babies?

S. Matthew Liao, a philosopher and bioethicist, has some incredible ideas about how to deal with climate change. Instead of resorting to geoengineering, he suggests, why not consider engineering humans to cause less damage to the planet? Ross Andersen interviewed Liao, and one of the most fascinating ideas that they discussed is the possibility of selecting embryos that will grow into “smaller, less resource-intensive children.” Here’s Liao’s argument: It’s been suggested that, given the seriousness of climate change, we ought to adopt something like China’s one child policy. There was a group of doctors in Britain who recently advocated a …

Climate Change

Nicaraguan military builds a battalion of climate-change-fighting soldiers

In Nicaragua, the military has a new mission — fighting climate change and, specifically, the illegal loggers that are exacerbating deforestation in the country. The Ecological Battalion’s 580 soldiers are currently engaging in Operation Green Gold, finding and intercepting loads of illegally logged timber.

Critical List: Japan marks Fukushima anniversary; politicians agree fracking causes earthquakes

Japan marked the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima disaster this weekend. The Americans who are paying the highest gas prices live in blue states, so everyone else quit yer bitchin’. Meet ten families who live right next a nuclear plant — and love it.

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