Grist List

Living

Awesome patio furniture made of recycled food packaging

In today’s “shit you can’t afford even though it’s made of garbage” news: genuinely gorgeous, if-you-have-to-ask-you-can’t-afford-it patio furniture made from recycled food and drink packaging.

Climate Change

Climate change could help untreatable viral disease spread in New York City

Climate change could help bring a viral disease called chikungunya to New York City. And if you live there, you miiiight want to get a little freaked out about this, because as LiveScience reports, chikungunya makes swine flu look like piglet sniffles. Chikungunya causes severe joint pain, fever, rash and other symptoms that can last for months, even years, and in unusual cases, death. There is no vaccine and no treatment.

Pollution

Cows cause as much smog in L.A. as cars do

L.A. gets a bad rap for its car culture. But it turns out that Americans’ addiction to milk, cheese, and other delicious dairy products plays just as big a role in the city’s smog problem these days. Scientific American reports that there are 300,000 cattle in the L.A. area, and the bacteria feasting on their waste create the same tiny particles of pollution that make smog particularly nasty.

Critical List: Head of ARPA-E resigns; Tim DeChristopher appeals his conviction

Arun Majumdar, the head of ARPA-E, the energy equivalent of DARPA, is stepping down next month. Today, Tim DeChristopher is appealing his conviction for disrupting a federal drilling auction. Europeans installed more solar power than any other kind of power last year.

Climate & Energy

New interactive book could explain everything anyone needs to know about energy

The Kickstarter video for The WATT? An Energy 101 Primer does a good job of explaining why, exactly, people should care about energy: Energy is everything. It’s a part of pretty much every aspect of modern life. wherever you live, whatever you do, however you do it. Unfortunately, most people know next to nothing about how this stuff actually works. The makers of the The WATT? — Focus the Nation, a clean energy youth organization, and Friend of Grist List Ben Jervey — aim to change that by publishing an “users’ manual for energy in the 21st century.” They’re going …

Pollution

Pacific Garbage Patch has gotten 100 times worse in 40 years

Since the 1970s, the Great Pacific Garbage Patch -- an area of the ocean clotted with plastic microparticles -- has grown 100-fold. And this is very bad news, not only because of the creatures it harms but because of the ones it helps.

Cities

Dutch ‘Repair Cafes’ keep stuff out of the trash by fixing it for free

In the Netherlands, there are more than 30 "Repair Cafes" -- groups that meet once or twice a month to repair clothes and gizmos and tools that might otherwise be discarded.

Critical List: Canada will fall short of emissions goal; people hate smart meters

Props to Canada for setting an actual carbon emissions goal. Too bad there’s almost no way they’re going to meet it. The World Bank is pushing countries to put a monetary value on the resources their ecosystems provide. A new study shows that monkeys who were exposed to BPA in utero developed unusually dense mammary tissue — in humans, a risk for breast cancer. Those dead pelicans that washed up on the shores of Peru likely starved to death.

Green Home

The most beautiful illegal treehouse you’ve ever seen

OK, I had always understood that Canadians build tree forts with little tiny fridges in them if, and only if, they have a million dollars. But Vancouver-area software developer Joel Allen built his insanely beautiful HemLoft when he went financially bust. And because he was broke, he built it by hand, illegally, on government-owned land.

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