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.

Climate Change

Engineer wants to stop Arctic warming with a cloud-whitening machine

Painting your roof white can (maybe) reflect enough heat to save a year’s worth of emissions. So painting the clouds white should be able to reflect enough heat to stop global warming, right? At least, that’s the theory recently put forth by an eminent U.K. engineer who wants to “whiten clouds” to prevent Arctic ice loss. Engineer Stephen Salter wants to build massive “cloud-whitening” towers in the Faroe Islands or on islands in the Bering Strait in order to keep Arctic temperatures from climbing.

Animals

Study: GMO crops are killing butterflies

We’re all familiar with Big Ag’s bad reputation of picking on small-scale and organic farmers. Now Monsanto and its cronies are beating up an even more innocuous set of victims: beautiful, defenseless monarch butterflies.

Animals

Navy’s new training area may harm endangered whales

Right whales may get screwed for being in the right place at the wrong time. That’s because the U.S. Navy wants to build a $100 million offshore training range in the very same area as the endangered whales’ regular swimming zone. Ah yes, the age-old battle of whales versus sailors — I seem to recall this usually ends with someone getting eaten, and it isn’t a whale. The Navy wants to install an undersea array of cables and sensors for training warships, submarines and aircraft about 50 miles off the Atlantic coast of southern Georgia and northern Florida. Environmentalists have …

Animals

Crocodile incubator saves species from extinction

Don’t look now, but baby crocodiles might be UNEXPECTEDLY ADORABLE. And the best part of this video, from Cuba’s Sabanalamar animal nursery, is that these babies represent new hope for a vulnerable species. Cuban researchers at the nursery are using specially designed incubators to hatch American crocodiles, helping to save the species from extinction.

Living

New fashion line creates a year’s worth of outfits with only 10 items of clothing

Many of us try on more than 10 items of clothing in a single morning. Malaysian fashion label “We are ULTRA” wants you to wear only 10 articles throughout the entire year. The label’s new ULTRA 10 line aims to cut back on consumerism and waste by offering up a minimalist wardrobe crafted from sustainable fabrics. ULTRA 10 features 10 items of clothing that can be mixed and matched into an array of outfits intended to last all year. So far, the industry’s critics have embraced its appeal, winning the 2011 Ethical Fashion Forum INNOVATION Award. The 10 piece wardrobe’s …

Animals

New frog species found in Staten Island

Most folks assume Staten Island holds little more than Italian restaurants, mob wives, and a huge landfill. But another resident has just been discovered on New York City’s most disrespected borough: a new species of frog!

Business & Technology

Scotts Miracle-Gro pleads guilty to selling poisoned bird seed

Scotts Miracle-Gro products are known for zapping weeds dead. But it turns out they could be killing decidedly more attractive creatures -- birds.

Animals

Man braves radiation exposure to care for Fukushima’s abandoned animals

Meet the modern-day, post-apocalyptic Dr. Doolittle. Naoto Matsumura lives right inside the Fukushima evacuation zone in the town of Tomioka, just 10 miles from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. The reason he’s stayed in the poisoned region post-nuclear meltdown is so that he can take care of all the abandoned cows, pigs, dogs, and cats. By all accounts, Tomioka is the apocalypse now: deserted, layered in radioactive dust, buried debris. But the devastation is most evident in Matsumura’s gruesome descriptions of what he’s encountered since — and what he continues to discover. Dogs and cats left to die slowly …

Politics

Florida Republican thinks we should sell off national parks

Legislators are always looking for ways to pull America out of its bajillion-dollar deficit. Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.) came up with his own master plan that is totally not crazy at all — sell off America’s national parks one by one. At a February town hall meeting, Stearns (who, BTW, is also a birther and a major figure in the attacks on Solyndra) spouted off about how America doesn’t need any new national parks — and, in fact, we’ve got too many and should be hawking the ones we do have. He said: I got attacked in a previous town …

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