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Grist List: Look what we found.


Solar panels made out of grass clippings

An MIT scientist has developed a quick and dirty way to harness solar power using "anything green, even grass clippings." So basically, solar panels made out of yard waste.

This technology is way, way, way, way below the efficiency of commercial solar panels: It converts 0.1 percent of solar energy into power. Commercial solar panels clock in around 10 to 15 percent; the most advanced lab models are pushing even higher.

But the simplicity of the design makes up for that shortcoming.


Tar-sands development pushes Canada to poison wolves

In Canada, caribou herds are declining, in part, environmental groups say, because of tar-sands development. The Canadian government's response? Kill the wolves.

The country's plan, which involves poison bait and Sarah Palin's favorite sport -- shooting wolves from planes -- is meant "to balance what civilization has developed," in the words of Peter Kent, Canada's Minister of Environment. If human development is killing off caribou by destroying their habitat, the thinking goes, there need to be fewer wolves to eat the remaining ones.

The poison bait is a particularly gruesome and archaic weapon.

Read more: Animals, Oil


Puerto Rico to U.S.: ‘Please eat these iguanas’

Looks delicious! (Photo by Angela Rutherford.)

Puerto Rico needs to get rid of 4 MILLION invasive iguanas, some of which can grow to be six feet long. Short of passing a law requiring every man, woman, and child on the island to eat one iguana, what do you do about that volume of unwanted critters? Well, Puerto Rico is taking what's probably the most lucrative option: Rounding them up, slaughtering them, and exporting the meat to the U.S.

Read more: Animals, Food


Here are car ads for you to yell about

Bad news, consumers of sports culture: Marketers are going to assume you also love car culture (and sexism culture) basically until the world explodes and everyone is dead except Chevy owners and their dogs. But at least you can rant about it! To fuel today's Twitter ire, here are some of the most irritating -- from a "car ubiquity" perspective -- spots from last night's Super Bowl.


Dirty cities make us happy

What features of a city make for happy inhabitants? Most of them are pretty predictable: Mass transit, an environment conducive to raising kids, and affordability all ranked highly in a survey published in Urban Affairs Review.

Read more: Cities, Urbanism


Urban farmers vs. NIMBYist vegans, round one

Urban farmers are raising and slaughtering their own livestock, and a shadowy organization called Neighbors Opposed to Backyard Slaughter is up in arms about it. Writing at Mother Jones, Keira Butler gets the scoop on what's sure to be the biggest civil war in the Bobo universe since the great “tomatoes in winter: is it OK as long as they're local?” debate of '09.

This bunch of NOBS has taken the time to put together a flyer and a website in opposition to urban farming -- a tiny subset of farming that looks even more harmless when you consider the awful state of animal welfare in industrial agriculture. Sure, we may be talking about a minuscule number of animals that are being hand-raised in humane living situations, while the vast majority of our meat comes from deplorable conditions … but on the other hand, the NOBS members’ kids might have to think about a chicken getting killed! MAN THE TREBUCHETS.


Wind turbine workers get their own reality show

Photo by Tuey.

The roughnecks who straddle throbbing nacelles 150 feet in the air, one hand on a safety rope and the other gnarly with gearbox lubricant, are about to get the reality show (episode) they deserve, thanks to the Weather Channel. What happens when people stop being polite and start climbing around on giant, dangerous machinery?


Critical List: China’s emissions outstrip America’s; Bill Gates hearts geoengineering

By 2015, China will emit 50 percent more greenhouse gas emissions than the United States does.

The Texas drought has forced some towns to ship in their water by truck.

Bill Gates is underwriting geoengineering lobbying efforts.

Read more: Uncategorized


This will be the greenest Super Bowl ever

I know football fans feel pretty strongly about doing things exactly the same way every time, lest their switch in underwear or beer brand or whatever be the butterfly's wing that leads to their favorite team tanking. So I have some bad news for you guys: there will be some changes this year. But take heart. Even if this makes your team lose, it's in the name of making Super Bowl XLVI the greenest one yet

Read more: Renewable Energy


Roseanne Barr wants to be the Green Party nominee for president

Roseanne Barr already told Jay Leno she planned to run for president, but back then she was going to start her own party. Now, though, she's seriously seeking Green Party nomination for the 2012 presidential run. The (presumably recycled) paperwork is in, and given that I have zero idea who the heck else is running, she might actually have a chance?

Read more: Election 2012