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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Put your junk mail to work keeping Wall Street occupied

Here's a twofer: You can occupy Wall Street and do something with that junk mail besides just chucking it in the bin. Sure, it'll still end up in the recycling eventually, but it won't be any MORE trashed than before, and in between it can do some good. (Plus, if enough people do this, maybe they'll quit sending the damn things.) Here, let this guy who kind of reminds me of Ben from Parks & Rec tell you all about it.

Read more: Living

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Critical List: Chances are we’re experiencing climate extremes already; BPA taints receipts

There's a "2-in-3 probability" that we're already experiencing worse climate extremes, thanks to climate change. Nebraska lawmakers are starting to consider a new route for Keystone XL today. Apparently the Center for Biological Diversity is "virtually alone" in linking population growth and environmental problems. (Apparently New York Times reporter Mireya Navarro hasn't been reading Grist.) Britain, at least, has been using less stuff for the past decade. There's BPA in receipts. It's not a huge problem if you're don't work hours at a cash register each day, but it also means BPA is seeping into recycled paper. Nature Valley is …

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Molson Coors explains why it decided to give a crap about the environment

The problem with corporations trying to do the right thing is that even if they were actually being socially and environmentally responsible, who would know? I mean, everyone knows that it's written into our country's laws that corporations must be sociopaths who care about nothing beyond enriching themselves. So it's refreshing to see Eric Roston, editor at Bloomberg's new sustainability blog The Grid, put some blunt questions to Bart Alexander, chief corporate responsibility officer for Molson Coors. [Roston]: Yeah … That’s an issue with this whole space: It all sounds like do-gooder pablum. But really, how does this affect the …

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Hybrid power plant turns wind directly into automotive fuel

Enertrag is a new hybrid power plant whose parent company invites you to "drive to [your] local petrol station and fill up with 50 litres of wind … !!!" Three exclamation points! Renewable energy has made Germans so adorable. Their website even has a picture of German chancellor Angela Merkel showing off a tank of hydrogen gas like it's a baby panda. The idea is simple: Use tried-and-true methods to transform wind power into electricity, which is used to electrolyze water and strip out the hydrogen, which can then be used as automobile fuel or burned in a combined heat …

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Mexico City’s ‘earthscraper’ would be a 1,000-foot underground building

BNKR Arquitectura wants to build a pyramid that penetrates nearly 1000 feet into the earth below Mexico City's largest and most historic public square. Its upper floors will be illuminated through a glass ceiling that will replace the paving stones of the current square, and its deepest reaches will receive daylight piped in from fiber-optic cables routed to the surface. It's called an "earthscraper," and it's a unique solution to a problem affecting almost every large, historical city on earth. You can't build skyscrapers on what little undeveloped land is left in Mexico City, on account of height restrictions. Historical …

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Treatment of circus elephants worse than you ever imagined

Mother Jones has a long investigation into the treatment of elephants at Ringling Brothers. In short, the conditions they live in are beyond horrible. According to records and testimony turned up in court, trainers: beat elephants with hooks and other tools, while maintaining the animals are trained using only verbal cues and tenderly cared for rarely give the elephants the rest stops they're supposed on non-stop cross-country trips, on which they're stuffed into boxcars with piles of their own feces claim that train rides "satisfied [the elephants'] 'nomadic' urge to roam" As a result, the elephants: have herpes, like all …

Read more: Animals

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Don’t bag your leaves — they just go in landfills

Awesome, an excuse to be lazy in the fall! Melissa Hopkins, a spokesperson for the National Audobon Society, is encouraging people not to bag up their leaves, because 8 million tons of them end up in landfills every year. (The leaves are biodegradable, of course, but the bags are not.) Instead, you can compost them, rake them onto trees and shrubs to serve as mulch, or just leave them on the lawn if the leaf cover is thin enough. If it's not, you can break them up with a lawn mower. The best part of this is Hopkins' attitude towards …

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World’s only white kiwi pulls through surgery

Manukura, the world's only known white kiwi (not an albino!), had endoscopic surgery Friday to break up a large stone she'd swallowed. Kiwis normally eat small stones to help with digestion, but Manukura's eyes were bigger than her stomach, and the stone got stuck in her gizzard. Doctors operated using a laser that's usually used on humans to break up human kidney stones, making Manukura the only kiwi to have gone through laser surgery, as well as the only white one, and also the most friggin' adorable. Just gotta rack up ALL the trophies, don't you there, bird. Manukura is …

Read more: Animals

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Watch a climate satellite get launched

NASA's new weather satellite -- which in typical NASA acronym-happy fashion, is called the NPP, standing for NPOESS Preparatory Project, standing for National Polar-orbiting Operational Environmental Satellite System -- is a state-of-the-art way to measure climate impacts. The satellite will monitor ozone levels, temperatures, vegetation cover, ice cover, air pollution, and other effects of climate change, and will act as "the gateway to the creation of a U.S. climate monitoring system." And it looked pretty awesome blasting off, too.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Snowstorm took it to the trees

Up and down the East Coast, millions of people are without power after the weekend's snowstorm. But the most severe damage the storm wreaked was on trees. Snow is particularly harsh on trees that still have green leaves on them: It's as if a person were caught out in a snow storm wearing a light sweater, fall skirt, and cute ballet flats instead of bundled up in a coat, scarf, and boots. Since this snow was so heavy and wet, it weighed down branches, which started cracking or bringing whole trees down. (That's why so many people lost power -- …

Read more: Climate & Energy