Grist List

Sustainable Farming

Farmers to use spider venom to protect crops

Farmers and bugs typically have a hate-hate relationship. Insects eat up valuable wheat, barley, and soybeans, and farmers slay them dead using an arsenal of chemical weapons (a.k.a. pesticides). But no longer. Australian growers may soon form an alliance with their new best buggy friends: spiders. Researchers at the University of Queensland’s Institute for Molecular Bioscience found that tarantula, orb spider, and funnel web spider venom actually makes a super-effective, all-natural pesticide. Not only that, but scientists envision using the earth-friendly spider venom to control agricultural pests and wipe out disease vectors like mosquitoes.

Critical List: Obama to expedite portion of Keystone XL; World Water Day

It’s World Water Day: How much do you use? (The average American household uses 350 gallons. I KNOW.) Obama is set to expedite the southern leg of the Keystone XL pipeline. The Supreme Court decided that the couple who wants to fight the EPA over whether their property counts as a wetland can go ahead and fight the EPA. Is that climate change in your Hunger Games?

Sprawl

Plane commutes on the rise

An increasing number of people are commuting to New York jobs from hundreds of miles away or even the other side of the country, according to WNYC’s Transportation Nation. There are about 4,000 regular plane commuters, accounting for more than 1,000 tons of carbon every week. Has nobody told these people about the internet?