Grist List

Climate & Energy

Wisconsin hospital is powered by beer and cheese

Gundersen Lutheran Hospital, in La Crosse, Wis., aims to be energy independent by 2014. Hospitals use a ton of energy, so that’s a tough goal to meet. But Gundersen is getting there by piggybacking on Wisconsin’s best-known industries: beer and cheese. Beer and cheese, while delicious, both slough off a lot of gas while they’re being made. (Not to mention after they’re consumed.) The hospital system has been sourcing biogas from a local brewery and from a dairy farm that makes mascarpone and fresh mozzarella cheese. And recently the system started getting gas from a La Crosse landfill, as well.

Critical List: Eating organic makes people judgey; U.S. selling drones to Iraq to protect oil

Eating organic food makes people more judgmental about others’ actions and less altruistic, according to a totally bogus study. The U.S. is selling drones to Iraq to protect oil exports. White-tailed deer are eating so many leaves, they’re keeping migratory birds from being able to build their nests.

Climate Change

Global warming makes syrup taste gross

We’ve known for a while that climate change will threaten supplies of our favorite foods, like wine and bourbon. (Oh, and bacon, coffee, chocolate, oysters, and pecan pie.) But the optimists among us took this news with good humor. “Oh sure, our favorite foods and intoxicants might be a little scarcer,” these imaginary chirpy little shits said, “but that will make every mouthful more precious.” Well, not when it comes to maple syrup, sucker! Climate change isn’t just making it scarcer — it’s making it taste way worse.