Grist List

Climate & Energy

Let’s replace Earth Day with Destroy the Earth Day

If you're like us, you're totally burned out on all the absurd, disingenuous ways that marketers are trying to connect their wares to Earth Day. Perhaps part of the problem is that no one really knows what they're talking about when they say they want to “save the Earth.”

Pollution

Surreal, weirdly beautiful photo of planetary destruction seen from space

Some things that look awful up close can look kind of beautiful from space. Like this enormous open-pit copper mine in northern Chile.

Infrastructure

287 coastal energy facilities at risk from sea-level rise

Sea levels are rising, which means that there’s a greater risk of floods that reach well over the high tide mark. By 2030, the risk that coastal floods will go four feet or more over high tide will have doubled, Climate Central reports. And in that zone lie 287 energy facilities — power plants, natural gas facilities, and oil and gas refineries — that now stand a greater chance of getting an unexpected bath. The state most likely to be screwed by this state of affairs is, of course, Louisiana. Not only is it full of oil and gas infrastructure, …

Critical List: Climate bill passes Mexico’s senate; Bill Clinton tells enviros to ‘chill out’

The Mexican Senate passed a climate change bill that’s all set to become law. Reuters reports it was “non-controversial.” No wonder Republicans are so set on keeping Mexican immigrants out of the country — they might bring in science. Bill Clinton has a message for sustainability advocates: “Chill out – sometimes this stuff takes years.” (Unless you’re in Mexico, apparently.) Two years after the BP oil spill, offshore drilling for oil is still a risky business. And BP is still fighting with the government over how much it will have to pay for damages.

Climate & Energy

Plants are secret geniuses

Annalee Newitz at io9 has collected 10 pieces of evidence that plants are smarter than you think, and it might make you look at your potted ficus in a new light. It turns out there’s reason to believe that plants can communicate, remember, recognize related plants, and measure time. Let’s hope nobody finds out they can feel pain, or the vegans will all starve.

Living

Website shows you your place in the universe (and yes, you are very very small)

The Scale of the Universe is a web-based Total Perspective Vortex that will make you feel very very small — or very very large — with the swipe of a mouse. You start at the scale of humans/dodos/giant earthworms, and from there you can zoom up to galaxies and down to quarks, or you can slow down and take in some surprises along the way. (A neutron star: much smaller than Rhode Island! Silk fiber: not much wider than a white blood cell! Gomez’s Hamburger: an actual thing in space!)

Climate Change

Did climate change cause the Salem witch trials?

A little ice age around the time of the 1692 Salem witch trials led to crop failures and shortages of fish, which put everyone in a mood to find a scapegoat, says a newly resurfaced 2004 Harvard thesis by economist Emily Oster.

Pollution

Super-polluted city tries to clean itself with smog-eating paint

Manila is one of the world’s five dirtiest cities, but graffiti? That’s not a problem. It’s not that people don’t paint on the walls in the hyper-polluted Philippines capital, because they do. But they do it with a paint that actually eats smog out of the air.

Cleantech

Chair-dance-worthy indie rock video explains why plastics don’t have to suck

It's like Threadless and the Arcade Fire teamed up with BASF to talk about green chemistry and the threat of peak oil.

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