Yolanda Crous

Yolanda Crous is a Grist contributing writer based in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Don't hate the player, hate the game

Practice your politics with the BBC’s Climate Challenge

The climate is in crisis. The world is a mess. Think things would be better if you ruled the universe (or at least a developed nation)? Here's your chance to test out that theory. Play the BBC's Climate Challenge game and you'll take on the role of president of a powerful European nation. Your mission: 1) convincing other world leaders to climb aboard the emission reduction train; 2) adopting a mix of climate-friendly national policies that will neither starve nor alienate the voting citizenry.

Ode to olive oil soap

The lazy girl’s (and guy’s) secret to toxin-free moisturizing

No, that's not an overstatement, and, no, I don't have secret stock in some Greek olive oil soap manufacturer (though come to think of it, that's not a bad idea). What I do have is just-shy-of-leathery skin and a lazy streak when it comes to moisturizing anything but my face. Not so good traits when you're 10 -- even worse when you're pushing 33.

Sting along

Oh, Sting. How I love thee and thy ageless, yoga-chiseled physique. And now that I'm older and grateful for any sane voice that rises above the usual blah-blah-blah media clamor, I also relish your tireless political activism. Sure, I haven't really liked any of your music since that weird but haunting '80s song about the Russians loving their children too ("Mr. Krushchev said we will bury you/I don't subscribe to that point of viiiiieeeeeeew" -- love it). But there must be some reason I perk up every time I see you and Trudi on the telly.

Ole smokes!

Mexican wrestler dons an eco-justice cape

I know nothing about Mexico's wrestling league -- except that it's the kind of alternate universe where a man in a cape and a silver mask can stand up for eco-justice and not get laughed out of the building. (God bless Mexico!) It seems Hijo del Santo ("Son of the Saint"), of Lucha Libre fame, has declared that he is dedicating a good portion of his spandex-enhanced powers to fighting eco-crimes this year.

Letter to Leonardo

Better be ready to prove your eco-cred

Dear Leonardo, You own a hybrid. You talked up global warming on Oprah. And last week, you stepped up to the Oscar mic with Al Gore. But I wonder if you have any idea how much eco-scrutiny you're going to be under now that you're officially first knight to the King of Climate Change?

Mirror mirror on the wall ...

Presenting the world’s most ungreen celebs

Who's the ungreenest of them all? Looks like it's David and Victoria Beckham, who apparently own four homes, 15 cars, and -- like any celeb couple worth its salt -- travel thousands of miles by airplane every year. Here's a thought: After they move to L.A., maybe Leonardo DiCaprio should take them a welcome basket stuffed with a five-year TerraPass, a few Tesla Motors brochures, and an Eco Kettle.

Conserving a cuppa

Talk about calling the kettle green

Ever since I read the recent Ask Umbra on the most environmentally friendly ways to boil water, I've been rethinking my tea-making strategy. At present, I'm a practitioner of the stovetop method, but lately I've noticed that, unless I'm really really really paying attention, Early Morning Me tends to put the kettle half on and half off the burner. Not so good for the tea, worse for the environment. After catching myself committing this particular conservation crime a couple of times this week, I decided it was time to spring for an electric kettle. Lo and behold, I ran across a British contraption called -- what else? -- the Eco Kettle.

A clean, green, dishwashing machine

Green diswasher detergents compare well with conventional brands

After a long week of paper writing and spreadsheet wrestling, I've got a looot of dishes to do this weekend. Good thing Consumer Reports decided to issue their list of the best dishwasher detergents this week. And guess what? Two green brands -- Ecover and Seventh Generation -- made the grade. (Sorry, faithful box of Cascade. Time to go!)

Vroom for improvement

Tips on being a green driver

I haven't had a car for 11 years. Not because I'm particularly virtuous, but because I moved to Manhattan where there's, um, no place to park one. But my identity as car owner did not go gently into that good night. Before I left Texas for NYC, I fretted almost constantly about leaving my car stereo, my sunroof -- my freedom! -- behind. And now -- well, now I'm fretting constantly about becoming a car owner again.