Grist List

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.

Cities

Awesome ‘bike hugging’ dog guards and rides his owner’s bike

Watch a video of an adorable bike-guarding dog in China.

Transportation

Drivers unable to use turn signals properly

Drivers are always complaining how craaaazy bike riders are, what with their wanting to “share” the “road” and “biking” in “bike lanes.” Well, it turns out that drivers are really bad at using the roads, too. And especially at using their TURN SIGNALS. According to a new study from the Society of Automotive Engineers, 25 percent of the time, drivers do not use their turn signals when turning. And 48 percent of the time, drivers do not use their turn signals when changing lanes. 

Your cell phone is killing millions of birds

I know that it is a tragedy when a person wants to check Twitter on her phone, and the service sucks and — aaaaahhhh — now she is bored. Bored, bored, bored, and AT&T is the worst, and why didn’t you wait for the Verizon iPhone? Luckily for bored humans, there are 84,000 communications towers in North America intended to forestall this type of angst. Unluckily for birds, these 84,000 communications towers in North America often kill the birds as they are migrating each year. The University of Southern California put a number on this massacre and it is large: …

Animals

Urban carnivores have higher survival rates than their country cousins

I heard this weekend that there’s at least one coyote living permanently in Central Park. Everyone’s heard a story like that recently — bears, coyotes, and other carnivores stalking through city streets and parks, right where we’d least expect them. But according to a new study, certain carnivores — raccoons and coyotes — do better in cities than in rural areas. Conservation Magazine reports: One team found seven times more coyotes per square kilometer in urban parts of southern California than rural areas, and raccoons have reached an “astonishing” 333 animals per square kilometer in one Fort Lauderdale, Florida park, …

Food

Kashi promises (some) ‘natural’ products will be GMO-free

One benefit of having every food product in existence owned by big corporations? Big corporations are super touchy about their reputations. So when the internet got all up in arms about Kashi’s “natural” cereals being less than fully organic/GMO-free/grown by fairies, the brand (owned by Kellogg Company) announced pretty quickly that it would change its ways.

Climate & Energy

Which banks provide the most support for coal?

A new report looks at which of the biggest banks in the country provide the most financial support for the coal industry.

Critical List: EPA official resigns; skeptics think clouds will save us

Al Armendariz, the EPA official who said he’d crucify environmental lawbreakers, resigned. Two of the last few northern white rhinos on earth have done it. (You know, IT.) No word yet if the pair’s expecting a little rhino, but there’s a video, if you want to see what rhino sex looks like. The National Zoo’s panda bears were not doing it (not doing it competently, at least) so zookeepers decided to artificially inseminate Mei Xiang. They live-tweeted the operation. Now is your chance to check out the blurry pictures. BP’s first quarter profits were down compared to 2011.

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