Grist List

Biking

Cape Cod woman finds bike she lost 40 years ago

Forty years ago, in 1970, little Lisa Brown was riding her totally rad banana-seat bike through the woods of Cape Cod. She approached the Herring River, but the only way to cross it was a rickety plank board bridge. When Brown started out on the bridge it was two feet wide, but halfway across it narrowed to 12 inches, and she had to turn just a little bit to stay on track. In a split second, she was in the river. “I went in with the bike, I floated to the surface, I kicked away from the bike, and I …

Critical List: Record carbon dioxide emissions in 2011; eating dirt is normal

2011 saw a record high in carbon dioxide emissions, with China’s contribution growing the most. Climate change is a boon for one species, at least: The brown argus butterfly, previously rare, has been staking out more turf for itself as the areas north of its range become warmer and more hospitable. With the chair of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on his way out, the president nominated Allison Macfarlane to take his place. Negotiations for the Rio+20 summit are “painfully slow,” says U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon.

Climate Skeptics

Sorry guys, no more Heartland Institute conferences

Denialist think tank the Heartland Institute likes to have all its besties over once a year to watch movies, braid each other’s hair, and talk about how they don’t believe in science or, when it comes down to it, really know what it is. Well, I have bad news for journalists looking for telling quotes, and for people like Lord Monckton who don’t get invited to any other parties: This year’s shindig was the last one for the foreseeable future.

Farm Bill

Cartoon explains what’s wrong with our food system in under four minutes

Here's a quick, simple primer on the relationship between corporate interests, farmers, and consumers.

Coal

This coal-plant snow globe could be yours for only $3,100

The world inside a snow globe is usually pretty idyllic — just pure white snow falling lightly on famous landmarks. Not really an accurate reflection of the environmental toll of mass-produced tourist kitsch. So the artists of the Dorothy collective have produced a limited run of two coal power plant globes, complete with ash-flake “snow.” One has already been sold — but the other can be yours for £2,000, or a little over $3,100.

Animals

The top 10 new species of 2011, including a walking cactus and Spongebob Squarepants

The International Institute for Species Exploration at Arizona State University has convened a committee of scientists to determine the 10 best newly discovered species of 2011, and some of them are doozies. Even the monkey, which by all rights should be the cute one, is a noseless Voldemortian horror — and that’s not even to mention the spongy fungi, blue tarantulas, devil worms, and six-inch “leg sausages.” Please enjoy this trip through our weird, weird world of biodiversity — or, alternately, read this and then crawl under the bed with a can of Raid. Both seem legit.

Living

Oh for chrissakes, will.i.am, you did not seriously just take a helicopter to a climate change meeting

It’s great when celebrities get the green bug and decide they want to use their fame to tell people “hey, this climate change thing? It’s a problem.” But guys, GUYS, as much as we appreciate the support, we’re REALLY going to need you not to pull stunts like the one will.i.am just did: showing up to a meeting about climate change in a goddamn gigantic helicopter. The rapper was paying a visit to climate change expert Myles Allen, who apparently is not as exasperated about this as we are. I do believe that, as Allen put it, will.i.am is “committed …

Critical List: China says U.S. violated trade rules; ‘artificial leaf’ won’t be commercialized

Now China’s accusing the U.S. of violating free-trade rules in clean energy development. Radiation from Fukushima won’t increase the risk of cancer for any Japanese people — except a bunch of babies from a nearby town. Whatever! Just babies! Making hydrogen with an “artificial leaf” isn’t any cheaper than making hydrogen from fossil fuels.

Climate & Energy

Attention, renewable energy supporters: You worship Satan

Do you think there are better ways to get energy than by tearing up the land and sea and endangering all who live there? Well, then you are a Satanist. Focus on the Family's James Dobson just thought you would like to know.

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