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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Critical List: E.U. court OKs airline carbon emission scheme; climate change kills frankincense

The E.U.'s version of the Supreme Court decided that it's totally cool for the E.U. to require flights originating elsewhere to participate in its carbon-emissions trading plans. Later today, the EPA will announce new regulations for power plants that limit mercury and other emissions. Climate change: also killing Christmas. Okay, just the production of frankincense, and to be fair, we’re not sure what that’s for. But if you need a gift for a magic baby in the future, you might be one-third out of luck. The Interior Department just approved a solar project in Arizona and a wind farm in …

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The Royal Family goes hydroelectric

It's not easy greening the Queen. Several attempts to set up alternative energy sources for Windsor Castle have failed due to lack of funding. But today a British company is completing the installation of a $2.7 million hydroelectric installation that will power the royal residence plus 300 homes.  The Telegraph reports that "the Queen was unable to install the turbines herself," which is a pretty hilarious image, but Windsor Castle will be buying its electricity from the company that owns the installation instead of from the conventional power grid. This will save money, which seems a little silly for a …

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Ryan Gosling believes in treating chicks right

It may be time for a Chicken-Loving Ryan Gosling Tumblr -- "Hey girl, I just wanted to know how you like your eggs in the morning, because I like mine organic and cage-free." Perhaps because his name gives him an affinity with all fowl, but more likely because he is a decent and animal-loving person, Gosling has joined some less-impossibly-charming celebrities in calling for McDonald's to stop supporting inhumane egg production practices by purchasing eggs from suppliers that use battery cages. If you want to say you worked with Ryan Gosling on a project, you can also sign a petition at …

Read more: Factory Farms, Food

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Don’t call the Antarctic ice shelf; it’ll call you

Back when I was in middle school, the internet was still something of a novelty, but we did have email. So when I was assigned a report on Antarctica, my mom dug up the email address of a real, live scientist living at the research station there. We emailed him a few report-related questions, and he actually emailed us back, which was basically the coolest thing that ever happened, since it meant that modern technology made it possible to communicate with someone living in at the very bottom of the globe. But 15 years later, I wouldn’t even have to …

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The year in crazy: Rush Limbaugh

Oh Rush, you never fail to make us lolsob. And for this reason you are Media Matters' Totally Full of Shit Guy of the Year, which is not what they call it but I think we all know what they mean. The Media Matters team has concocted a delightful romp through Limbaugh's 2011 crazy (which is a lot like his 2010 crazy, and his 2009 crazy, and so on, back to whenever he valiantly tried to evolve from an orangutan and gave up). It's really long, so here are some of the highlights: "I don't need scientific proof because to …

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Here’s your holiday reading!

It is getting so close to that magical week between Christmas and New Year's where offices are either closed or abandoned by the vast majority of employees, and no work gets done. Whether you plan to be snuggled on a couch by an open fire or logging truncated days of semi-productivity in a half-empty office, might we suggest these “greenreads,” collected by the staff of OnEarth, as a way to pass the time? Here you will find a dozen examples of some of the best environmental journalism from the past year. Some of these pieces aren't exactly full of holiday …

Read more: Living

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This Chicago park will be almost 10 times as big as Manhattan

On Chicago's South Side, 140,000 acres of brownfields and other underused land are just sitting there. But Illinois is putting $17 million into turning that fallow ground into what will be the largest city park in the lower 48. (Alaska has one that's bigger.) The park will be called the Millennium Reserve and will promote wildlife conservation as well as giving Chicagoans a place to bike, walk, and whatnot. And as the Atlantic shows so simply in the graphic above, it’s way, way bigger than Central Park. In fact, this sucker's so big that it's 9.5 times the size of …

Read more: Cities

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Critical List: Seattle bans plastic bags; at least 100 million trees died in Texas this year

Seattle is banning retail stores from giving out single-use plastic bags. Paper bags will cost a nickel. Google is investing $94 million in solar projects. As many as 500 million trees died in the Texas drought this year. India could join the U.S. in officially complaining that China's been selling solar panels at too low a price. In the Chinese province of Guangdong, protestors are pinning air pollution on a coal-fired power plant and want it moved.

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Willie Nelson wants you to occupy Big Food

No less an authority than Willie Nelson is writing in the Huffington Post, calling on people to Occupy the Food System. Big Agriculture is just as one-percenty as the banks, says Nelson, with most of the resources concentrated in the hands of a few large corporations -- and the government isn't doing anything to help. Our banks were deemed too big to fail, yet our food system's corporations are even bigger. Their power puts our entire food system at stake. Last year the U.S. Departments of Agriculture (USDA) and Justice (DOJ) acknowledged this, hosting a series of workshops that examined corporate …

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Giant smiley measures a city’s mood

The Fühl-o-meter (Feel-o-meter), also known as the Public Face, is an art installation, which is probably good because if it were an official civic amenity it might be a little Orwellian. But as art it's cool! The idea is that cameras scan the faces of people passing through the city, and analyze their expressions to assess the prevailing mood. Then the Public Face reflects that mood -- happy, sad, or indifferent -- with its changeable mouth shape. Here's a video of it in action in Lindau, Germany, where it appeared last year: This brings to mind Bhutan's "gross national happiness" …

Read more: Cities