Sarah Parsons

Sarah Parsons is a freelance writer and editor based in Washington, D.C. Her work has also appeared in Popular Science, GOOD, Audubon, OnEarth, Plenty, Change.org, and Inhabitat.com, among others.

Cities

Wooden skyscrapers are like log cabins on steroids

When most folks think “wooden building,” they conjure up images of rustic log cabins or ye olde fashioned outhouses. Architect Michael Green wants to whittle something decidedly more modern out of wood: skyscrapers.

Living

James Cameron descends the Mariana Trench

James Cameron is apparently missing his Titanic fame, and he’s willing to go pretty far to recapture it — like nearly seven miles straight down to the bottom of the ocean. (Hey, it worked for the ship.) Cameron is travelling in a submersible to the bottom of the Mariana Trench, the lowest known point on Earth. Cameron recently started descending 6.8 miles below the surface of the water in a vessel that he helped design, the Deepsea Challenger. The trip takes nine hours one-way, which would normally prompt a lot of “are we there yets?” but Cameron is making the …

Food

McDonald’s ditches Styrofoam … maybe

McDonald’s may be getting a little less evil … maybe … I guess … if consumers really, really want it to. The fast food behemoth recently announced plans to swap out Styrofoam cups for paper ones at 2,000 of its stores. If customers respond well to drinking their bargain coffee out of greener vessels, the Golden Arches will start using paper cups at all of its 13,000+ restaurants. In the stores where the paper cups are being used, customers who order a hot beverage will now get it in a double-walled fiber hot cup. McDonald’s will be looking at “consumer …

Animals

Global warming affects penguins’ sex lives

Nobody likes to be rushed during sex, but climate change is forcing some penguin species to reschedule business time. Wednesday night is no longer the night for love! Now you do it on Monday OR YOU DIE OUT.

Sustainable Farming

Farmers to use spider venom to protect crops

Farmers and bugs typically have a hate-hate relationship. Insects eat up valuable wheat, barley, and soybeans, and farmers slay them dead using an arsenal of chemical weapons (a.k.a. pesticides). But no longer. Australian growers may soon form an alliance with their new best buggy friends: spiders. Researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience found that tarantula, orb spider, and funnel web spider venom actually makes a super-effective, all-natural pesticide. Not only that, but scientists envision using the earth-friendly spider venom to control agricultural pests and wipe out disease vectors like mosquitoes.

Transportation

Human wings: The green answer to air travel

Forget subways, trains, and bikes — those are old hat compared to what we’re about to tell you. Meet the new green form of transportation: strapping on human bird wings and flying through the air with the greatest of ease.

Food

Pig ears and donkey butts: 5 foods that could save the world

The host of the Travel Channel's Bizarre Foods wants you to eat some pretty strange dishes in the name of saving the environment.

Renewable Energy

Soon, your toilet could heat your apartment building

Now you can dump energy waste just by, well, taking a massive dump. Green tech company OriginOil is working on a project that uses toilet wastewater as a way to heat apartment buildings. OriginOil, a start-up based in Los Angeles, CA., has begun a pilot of its urban algae farm concept at the La Défense complex near Paris. Wastewater from buildings nourishes algae growth; algae is processed to make heat. The company is attempting to prove that integrating algae production into large building complexes will help bring them closer to net zero.

Biking

Need a ride? Check out London’s mobile bike library

A bus and a library make most people think of boring days locked inside a school — unless that bus holds an AWESOME mobile bike library! Meet London’s Bicycle Library: This roving bike provider lets Londoners “check out” a bike, just as they might check out a book from a public library (although the bike library requires a small deposit, too). The librarians provide on-site expertise to teach you about the art and science of bicycles. There’s even a bicycle matchmaking service where a librarian can match you with your true love on two wheels. Given that you can choose …

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