Sarah Laskow

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

Critical List: Lucy Lawless occupies oil ship; Maine fisherman catches child-sized lobster

Lucy Lawless, best known for her role as Xena, Warrior Princess, teamed up with Greenpeace to occupy an oil drilling ship. The panel on Morning Joe posited that environmentalists think the alternative to fossil fuel is granola. (In case this wasn’t clear already, everyone on Morning Joe is a jerk.) A Pew Research Center poll found that 66 percent of people who’ve heard about Keystone XL want to build the pipeline. Gas prices are going up because of tensions with Iran tightening the supply of gasoline.

Climate Change

The sky is falling! (No, really.)

This is not a joke: The sky is falling. Or technically, the height of clouds, the average of which decreased about 1 percent from 2000 to 2010. Researchers at the University of Auckland, who collected the data, attributed the change to a drop in the number of clouds formed at high altitudes.

Energy Efficiency

High school boys record green rap video

Man, this video really induces high school flashbacks. A group of seniors at Atlanta’s Marist School created it as part of the Green School Alliance’s Green Cup Challenge. These fine, upstanding young fellas won the video part of the challenge by adapting Outkast’s So Fresh, So Clean to a greener message. The part where they hug trees is the best. Also this part:

Critical List: Selenium dumping gives fish two heads; Germany to cut solar subsidies

A mining company in Idaho wants to keep dumping selenium into local creeks, even after its scientific study turned up these two-headed trout and other deformed fish. A judge found BP liable for civil damages in the 2010 Deepwater Horizon spill, meaning the company could pay billions in penalties. Germany is cutting solar subsidies … because they have so much solar power already. Four out of five wolves that were released near the U.S.-Mexico border as part of a reintroduction program are now dead.

Food

Test tube burger will cost more than $331,000 to produce

Sometime later this year, a yet-to-be-named guinea pig very lucky culinary pioneer will take the first bite of the first hamburger grown in a lab. At that point, the cost of making that burger will have totaled more than $331,000 (an estimated 250,000 euros). The meat will be grown from bovine stem cells that produce muscle and fat — and if that sounds less than appetizing, keep in mind that the burger will be prepared by famed chef Heston Blumenthal.

Cities

Ultimate tiny house is suspended 40 feet in the air

Via the Dish, this art installation in downtown San Francisco is the ultimate tiny house. It’s seven by eight by 11 feet, and it’s suspended 40 feet in the air. Plus, it’s recycled AND green: It’s made of 100-year-old reclaimed barn wood, and powered by off-grid solar. Among other ideas, the project is meant to communicate “a new home front in the remaining voids of San Francisco” and “the arrogance of westward expansion,” according to designboom. While we now think it’s awesome and perhaps necessary to inhabit tiny spaces, for pioneers, it was just practical.

Critical List: Court upholds local fracking ban; New York could ban shark fin sales

A New York state court upheld the town of Dryden’s ban on fracking. Republicans are trying to pin rising gas prices on President Obama. Apple could allow independent environmental reviews of two factories in China. Chinese air pollution is visible from space.

Climate Change

Prove climate change doesn’t exist, get an awesome gun

Todd Tanner will give you his gun when you pry it from his cold, convinced-of-the-nonexistence-of-climate-change hands. Tanner, the chair of the new group Conservation Hawks — sportsmen (i.e. hunters) who don’t want climate change to ruin their fun — has challenged anyone to prove to him that climate change shouldn’t be a concern. If you win, he will give you, the Conservationist’s Hal Herring reports, “his most prized possession: A Beretta Silver Pigeon 12 gauge over/under that was a gift from his wife, and has been a faithful companion on many a Montana bird hunt.” (Grist List doesn’t know that …

Politics

Peter Gleick: Hero or moral moron?

Scientist Peter Gleick came forward to admit he first obtained the documents revealing the inner workings of the climate-denying Heartland Institute. Was he Goofus or Gallant? Here's a sampling of arguments on either side.

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