Business & Technology

A Fast Food Nation's Dilemma

What to make of the Pollan/Schlosser agreement with Wendy’s?

UPDATE: Happy April Fools’ Day! As a food politics commenter, I get paid to have strong opinions on the issues of the day. This ass will be eating grass?racineur via FlickrBut this one’s got me flummoxed. First, fast-food giant Wendy’s rolls out its new “pasture on a bun” burger, made with “100% grass-fed beef.” That sort of thing always leaves me cold. Of course, I want mega-corporations like Wendy’s to make more responsible buying decisions. But what I really want to see are new food economies that retain food dollars within communities, and don’t siphon them to distant shareholders. Do …

scrap that

McDonald’s scraps composting program because food won’t decompose [April Fools]

A McDonald’s composting initiative is going to the dump.Photo: bhamsandwich via Flickr UPDATE: Happy April Fools’ Day! We’ve pulled your leg. Look who else is laughing: McDonald’s on Twitter. McDonald’s announced this morning that it would discontinue plans for a worldwide composting initiative after scientists confirmed that no item on the McDonald’s menu is compostable. The plan to keep food waste — more than 1.5 billion tons a month — out of landfills would have been the largest composting program in the world, with bright green composting bins at all the 31,000-plus restaurants around the world. But McDonald’s halted the …

shock and utah

Senate climate bill to fund Utah tar sands development

The Senate — when does it not leave widespread devastation in its path? UPDATE: Happy April Fools’ Day! The climate bill being developed by Sens. Kerry, Graham, and Lieberman will reportedly raise taxes on gasoline in lieu of putting oil refineries under a cap-and-trade system. This has led to a great deal of speculation about what might be done with the revenue from such a tax. On Thursday new details leaked, revealing that some of the revenue will go toward tax credits and incentives for the budding U.S. tar sands industry. Calgary-based Earth Energy Resources recently obtained permits to create …

strip breeze

New Jersey to put ex-strippers to work weatherizing homes

The WeatherStrippers are good with caulk.Foxtongue via Creative Commons UPDATE: Happy April Fools’ Day! The Garden State’s new jobs program, cheekily dubbed “WeatherStrippers,” will utilize Recovery Act funds to create an estimated 450 jobs while also reducing low-income residents’ energy bills through electricity savings. The WeatherStrippers will seek to put caulking guns in the hands of disadvantaged former strippers through a 12-week, hands-on training program focused on efficient building erection and maintenance. WeatherStrippers program director, Amber Heatless, commented, “A lot of the ‘green jobs’ attention goes to training ex-convicts to install solar panels, but we realized that the downturn in …

Win A Million Dollars

Seems like every week there’s another big-money prize awarded for low-carbon leadership. If these things actually stimulate innovation, let’s encourage the creation of a few more to spread the wealth and inspire even more low-carbon winners. For example, there’s a $10 million prize for cars that get 100 mpg sponsored by the same X Prize organization that handed out $10 million to Burt Rutan for the first commercial spaceflight demonstration. And the Zayed Future Energy Prize gives $1.5 million annually to low-carbon energy innovators, awarding its inaugural prize to the inventor of the solar lantern. Sponsors can be equally effective …

cloudy thinking

Greenpeace takes on iPads, cloud computing, other click-friendly subjects

Greenpeace has a new report out highlighting the climate impact of cloud computing and devices like the Apple iPad that rely on it to stream video, download music, load Greenpeace.org, etc. The “Make IT Green” report calls on Apple and other tech leaders to tackle the problem, noting that carbon pollution from cloud computing is set to triple in the next decade. Greenpeace wants you to know it’s not “picking on Apple” or “dissing the iPad” by riding their attention wave (the iPad goes on sale this Saturday). In fact, last month it set its sights on Facebook, which plans …

SAVING THE WALES

‘Britain’s Appalachia’ engineers a brighter post-coal future

Can renewable energy turn Wales as clean and shiny as the Cardiff waterfront?Courtesy ttfnrob via FlickrThe sparkling, sanitized waterfront of Cardiff, Wales, reveals barely a hint of the country’s grimy industrial past. Where one of the busiest ports anywhere once shipped Welsh coal out into the world, a complex of upscale shops, pubs, and restaurants now dominates the area. Out are the sailors, brothels, and seedy watering holes. In are tourist-friendly pubs, fusion restaurants with names like ffresh, and a circus carousel. The locally favored Brains brewery (“People who know beer have Brains”) has survived nearby. Even the bay itself …

ISO tall, dark and efficient

ENERGY STAR ranked cities: Find your perfect match [slideshow]

The Environmental Protection Agency just released a report ranking U.S. cities based on their number of ENERGY STAR–labeled buildings. These rankings make us, well, warm all over, so we decided to check out the sexiest top nine ENERGY STAR buildings of the bunch. Are you in search of the perfect match? Look no further than these sassy personal ads. Maybe we’ll all get lucky.    Los Angeles The Watt Plaza: The twin office towers encompass 900,000 sq. feet. L.A. dominated the list, for the second year in a row, with 293 ENERGY STAR–labeled buildings in 2009 and $93.9 million in cost savings. L.A. twins seek …

Cheap chic

H&M’s organic line and the Wal-Mart perspective

Eurochic retailer H&M is launching an earth-friendly spring Garden Collection, H&M shopper Joe Romm reports. No, scratch that, this is from thegreengirls.com. The new line will include recycled polyester, organic cotton, and organic linen. Presumably the expected life of these clothes won’t be any longer than typical H&M items, which aren’t exactly known for their durability. I think you can look at this the same way you look at Wal-Mart’s recent announcement that it was asking suppliers to reduce the carbon impact of their factory-produced tchotchkes. If we’re going to have cheap, mass-produced clothing, furniture, salad-shooters, etc., that aren’t made …

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