Grist List

Critical List: Other countries manage to pass climate change laws; Greenpeace is busy

Plants are freaking out about climate change: Their timing for flowering and leafing is even more off than climate models predicted. Also, species extinction could be a major driver of climate change and keep the environment from producing awesome resources like … food. South Korea’s parliament approved a cap-and-trade plan. Kenya and Peru are also working on climate change laws. A judge granted BP preliminary approval of its plan to settle Deepwater Horizon claims. The company could pay out nearly $8 billion to settle private claims for injury or economic loss from the spill.

Animals

Sharks with actual frickin’ laser beams

Oil spill? Pff, whatevs. The new undersea menace is considerably more dangerous, where by “more dangerous” I mean “less dangerous, but  more awesome.” That’s right, folks: I’m talking about sharks with frickin’ laser beams attached to their heads.

Living

SUV with built-in stationary bike: It’s like biking to work, except stupid as hell

Introducing the most bougie car possible: the Becker Cadillac Escalade ESV.

Food

Beautiful chart tells you how to eat seasonal (in the U.K., at least)

This beautiful interactive chart from U.K. organization Eat Seasonably may not apply precisely to your climate, and it’s pretty British in other ways too — “courgettes” are zucchini, FYI. But I love the concept — a handy calendar showing you what fruits and veg are in season at what times — and I love the idea of having a star vegetable or three for every month.

Living

Teen makes prom dress out of 5,000 soda can tabs

This Colorado high school junior spent five months making the dress.

Transportation

President Bartlet wants you to go for a walk

If you worked in President Bartlet’s White House, you would not have to worry about dying an early death from sitting all day, because the West Wing staffers are always walking! And talking! And walk-and-talking! About things like how no one realizes that the president actually can’t fix gas prices. And after you watch this West Wing reunion video from Funny or Die, you too will want to walk. Because President Bartlet gave an inspiring speech that referenced Greece, and due to the President Bartlet magic, it’s effective even though he is old now and Charlie has a gross mustache. …

Animals

Humans and dolphins conspire to kill fish

Off the coast of Brazil, dolphins and humans have been working together to snare mullet since 1847. Ed Yong reports at Discover Magazine: The dolphins drive the mullet towards the fishermen, who stand waist-deep in water holding nets. The humans cannot see the fish through the turbid water. They must wait for their accomplices. As the fish approach, the dolphins signal to the humans by rolling at the surface, or slapping the water with their heads or tails. The nets are cast, and the mullet are snared. Some manage to escape, but in breaking formation, they are easy prey for …

Cities

Meatpacking plant turns into net-zero-energy vertical farm

Soon, a former meatpacking plant in Chicago will replace carcasses and rendering vats with bakers and brewers and fish farmers and mushroom growers. The Plant (ho ho, a double meaning!) is gathering together a bunch of food-makers to create a self-sustaining system in the 93,500-square-foot abandoned space. As Fast Company reports, a former meatpacking plant is the perfect place to start a food business of this kind: It already contains “food-grade materials” which are safe for food preparation.

Critical List: Natural gas bigwig steps down as company chair; new coral reefs

Aubrey McClendon, chair of the natural gas company Chesapeake Energy, is giving up his role as chairman (but will remain CEO). McClendon faced criticism for mixing his personal finances with the company’s business. More Indonesian palm oil plantations are going on peatland, which means more intensive carbon emissions, which means … well, you guys know what that means. In the Pacific, climate change could create some new coral reefs.

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