Grist List

Critical List: Fukushima will take decades to decommission; North Sea gas leak

Is Fukushima news ever positive? A new assessment of damage at the plant shows levels of radiation higher than expected, which means decommissioning the plant could take decades. Building cleantech requires certain resources — rare earth metals, water, biomass — that are getting scarce. Mohamed Nasheed, the deposed Maldives president, is doing a media tour to promote The Island President, the movie about his work on climate change and Copenhagen (out this week in theaters!).

Election 2012

Mitt Romney thinks pets are cars and cars are pets

By now you’ve surely heard that Mitt Romney’s planned all-inclusive beach resort house in La Jolla will include a car elevator, for cars that need to get to the second floor of the garage but are too tired to take the stairs. Between that and the indelible story about Romney keeping his dog on the roof rack, we’re forced to come to the obvious conclusion: Mitt — or is it M.I.T.T.? — is just genuinely confused about the difference between organic creatures and vehicles.

Clean Air

Map shows the worst air in America

The EPA is issuing new regulations for emissions from power plants, and the American Lung Association knows why. This map shows U.S. deaths caused by toxic power plant emissions. If you live in a state with a big red circle, you should be very very glad about the new rule — Texas in particular should be jumping for joy, if they can manage to stop coughing for five minutes.

Photos of students with all their possessions show how to live with less

Like their American counterparts, the current generation of Swedish teenagers is the first since the Great Depression to be financially worse off than their parents. Unstable employment opportunities have turned them into nomads who have to live light to get by. 

Transportation

Aging boomers who can’t drive will be trapped in unwalkable cities of their own making

Judging by how pedestrian-unfriendly the average American city has become, all our aging parents apparently enjoy being prisoners in their own homes.

Wind Power

Wind-powered opera slightly less extravagant than regular opera

For many people, the opera is just a chance to nap in a $300 chair under a $1,500 chandelier while wearing $2,000 worth of clothes. But one opera festival in the U.K. is making sure that its extravagance is at least powered by clean energy.

Climate Change

Global warming could explode ‘compost bombs’ all over the planet

When the compost pile in your backyard revs up, it starts producing heat, as the microbes in it do their work breaking down organic matter. On a small scale, that’s great for your garden. On a grand scale, though, this same process can create a “compost bomb” — a burst of carbon into the atmosphere. And as the planet warms up, this is going to happen more often.

Food

Monsanto picture book teaches kids about the wonders of biotech

A kids' activity book funded by Monsanto and other biotech firms explains how biotechnology is "a really neat topic [that is] helping to improve the health of the Earth and the people who call it home."

Critical List: EPA to release draft rules for power plant emissions; Keystone XL’s doppelgangers

The EPA’s going to release draft rules governing greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Environmental writer and advocate Sandra Steingraber is using her Heinz Award prize money ($100,000) to start New Yorkers Against Fracking. The world’s going to pass a few climate change tipping points very soon. Republicans and Democrats agree: They should spend some time publicly fighting over oil industry tax breaks. Bipartisanship! Keystone XL won’t be the only pipeline connecting Canada and the Gulf Coast. TransCanada’s competitors are planning pipelines, too.

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