Trying to reduce a building’s energy footprint is so dang hard, especially when it involves leaving pee in the toilet, sweating through hot days, and nagging your significant other to please turn off the goddamn lights when leaving the house. And while some people might want to live like that, most people don’t. Normally we don’t advocate buying more stuff, but if you buy the right stuff, you can live in energy-efficient bliss without suffering like a cloistered monk. Here is a handy guide:
Rule No. 1 of Grist List: Never pass up an opportunity to win a free bike. Especially if the opportunity involves the chance to channel P.G. Wodehouse. The Paris Review (TPR), a venerable lit magazine not particularly concerned with green living but very concerned with style and general braininess, is offering up this snazzy Beater Bicycles Roadster to one lucky and literary-minded reader. To win this beaut, TPR asks its clever readers to describe the picture above. There’s a 300 word max and a catch:
Guys, did you know that rocks on Mars have amazing names? (I found out through a link in this story.) You might think this is not really related to sustainable living on Earth, but a) shut up and b) if we totally bone the planet, we’re going to have to move SOMEWHERE. Mars is one of the closest options, so we might as well start learning the neighbors’ names. Here, in no particular order, are our 20 favorites.
Brazil is pioneering a new sort of jailhouse workout, in which inmates ride bikes instead of pumping iron. The bikes, unlike weightlifting or prison-yard basketball, help power a nearby town.
The lot at Woodhull and Columbia Streets had sat vacant for 35 years. Around the corner, in Brooklyn’s Carroll Gardens, the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel pours into the Gowanus Expressway. The lot was a mess, a trash bin for the remnants of drug use and a home for rats. Lou Formisano decided to do something about it: He spent his own money to clean up the place, spread it with sod, and install patio furniture and a sprinkler, Patch reports. Two weeks later, the city kicked him out.
When artist Eszter Burghardt went hiking in Iceland, the geology there reminded her of cake — so she decided to reproduce it using food. The picture above isn’t a tilt-shifted photo of mountains. It’s a picture of a cake Burghardt baked, colored blueish-brown, then brushed with matcha tea powder. (The clouds are wool.) The result is a sort of combination of a bug’s-eye view of food, and an ethereal fantasy landscape.
Photographer Palíndromo Mészáros has a whole series of photographs documenting the aftereffects of a 2010 toxic aluminum spill in Hungary. They’re all pretty staggering, but this one in particular really messed with our heads. This is not a before photo and an after photo stitched together. This is just what this forest looks like now, two years after being flooded with aluminum-heavy sludge that killed underbrush and left a red stain on trees.
In fiscal year 2012, the federal budget marked out $610 million for international family planning programs. But perhaps some of that funding needs to be directed inward, to fix the backwards bourgeois parents of Park Slope. Amy Sohn writes in the Awl: You would think people with multiple children would be responsible about contraception because they understand the financial and emotional toll of childrearing. Instead they are as clueless and blasé as teens, teens who really don’t know any better … In the 90s we did “everything but intercourse” because of AIDSphobia. Now we do it because of laziness. As …
The best cinema taps into our secret dreams, and TINY taps in specifically to our secret dreams about running away to Colorado and building a tiny house. Thus, we think it’s reasonable to assume it’ll be bigger than Avengers. TINY chronicles filmmaker Christopher Smith’s attempt to build a tiny house more or less from scratch. Smith directed the movie and Merete Mueller, who will also live in the house, wrote and produced it. They’re both quite charming, and to get a sense of both their ambitions and their learning process, consider this bit from the blog chronicling the project: