Grist List

This dog saves whales by sniffing their poo

Back in elementary school, it kind of always felt like grown-ups were outsourcing the job of protecting the world’s cetaceans to us kids. You’ve got money AND cars; why don’t YOU save the whales, guys? But now this vital mission has been taken away from the elementary school children of America and handed to even cuter mammals: dogs. Or, really, just one very dedicated dog, as The New York Times reports. A rescued pup named Tucker helps scientists monitor whale populations by sniffing out their droppings. A dog named Tucker with a thumping tail and a mysterious past as a …

This site tells you how to save the world exactly like your favorite celebrities

Imagine if you suddenly got famous and really rich, and you had no idea what other rich and famous people did with their money. Imagine the sleepless nights, as the paparazzi made a racket outside and you lay there torturing yourself, wondering what to do with all that unneeded cash. Before, you might have had to do a lot of research to get info on how your favorite celebs “give back.” How fortunate that now there’s one place, Look to the Stars, that lists the charitable habits of almost 3,000 celebrities.

Living

One more way your plane flights are killing everybody

Remember when cars used to give off disgusting clouds of lead-laden smoke? Planes still do that. Some of them do, at least — in particular, those nasty little planes that rich people fly because car traffic is for suckers. According to Scientific American, smaller planes now produce HALF of all the lead pollution in the air. As might be expected, this pollution wreaks havoc on the health of anyone exposed to it. SciAm writes: Some of the health effects of repeated exposure to lead include damage to the central nervous system, kidneys and red blood cells, and decreased function in …

Climate & Energy

Short awesome video explains why oil companies suck to people who already know

This nifty/depressing video explains how yes, technically, there’s more oil, but the financial and environmental costs of reaching it make it so that it really might as well not exist.

Climate & Energy

Drought is ruining people’s ability to throw cow dung at things

When it’s really hot and dry out, cows stay near the barn. When cows stay near the barn, they do not poop in open fields. When cows don’t poop in open fields, those fields don’t get full of dried-out manure chips. When the fields don’t get full of dried-out manure chips, people have nothing to throw at cow-chip-throwing contests. And that, my friend, is a tragedy. The Wisconsin State Cow Chip Throw and Festival is set to have 300 chip-throwing competitors this year, but organizers have only collected 200 to 300 chips, a third of the usual amount. That means they’re …

Food

Alicia Silverstone thinks the true injustice is that Pussy Riot isn’t getting vegan cuisine

It’s, like, so totally uncool that Russian punksters Pussy Riot are in jail for singing a song that suggested that their president, scary asshole Vladimir Putin, is a scary asshole. And if this uncoolness were a vegan terrine, actress/vegan activist Alicia Silverstone would like to point out that the thickest layer, the layer that’s maybe composed of one of those cheeses made out of nut milk, is the part where Pussy Riot’s vegan member is not getting vegan cuisine in jail. 

Politics

Six empty chairs that say more about the environment than Barack Obama

Last night, Clint Eastwood had a lively conversation with an empty chair that he apparently thought was Barack Obama. Grist List does not endorse candidates, but we know a lot about chairs for some reason, and frankly some of the chairs we’ve met have an environmental record that rivals the president’s. Obama should pick one of these babies as his running mate, or at least his sustainability czar.

Hurricane Katrina caused a baby dolphin boom

Hurricane Katrina was irredeemably terrible for everyone involved — except, it turns out, baby dolphins. (And presumably adult dolphins, who got to enjoy making baby dolphins.) In the years after the hurricane hit the Gulf Coast, these cuties multiplied like excuses at a BP press conference, Scientific American reports: Around two years after the hurricane struck, there was a massive increase in the number of dolphin calves observed. In other words, bottlenose dolphins living in the Mississippi sound experienced a reproductive increase during the two years following the storm. Either, they made more baby dolphins, or more baby dolphins were …

One-fifth of creepy spineless animals could disappear forever

Most species are spineless piles of goo. That’s not a value judgment: About 80 percent of the world’s species are invertebrates, which actually do lack spines. Metaphorically, though, it is we who are the spineless piles of goo, for standing by while these creatures disappear. A new report from the Zoological Society of London found that one-fifth of invertebrates “could be at risk of extinction,” the BBC reports.