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Grist List: Look what we found.


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Why the hell does Michele Bachmann want to drill for oil in the Everglades?

Michele Bachman wants to drill for oil "whether that is in the Everglades or whether that is in the Eastern Gulf region or whether that is in North Dakota." Even Republicans think this is kind of nuts, because even Republicans are willing to agree that the Everglades has some nice stuff that it'd be darn shame to ruin forever. But for Bachmann, it's a "wonderful treasure trove of energy that God has given us in this country." If you're thinking, oil in the Gulf … ok; oil in North Dakota … sure, I read that New Yorker article; but … …

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Peak coal in China means the country's desperate for renewables

China's economic miracle is under severe threat from up to 30 GW in power shortages -- that's more than twice the output of the Three Gorges Dam. Coal plants are shutting down as the cost of fuel outpaces the government-controlled price of electricity. Domestic shortages have driven the price of fuel up 75 percent since 2007, but the Chinese government limits electricity price increases to only 15 percent. "Many coal plants have shut down their generators because the more they produce, the bigger the losses they will suffer," Li Chaolin, a coal and energy industry analyst at Anbound Group told …

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U.S. Navy's wave-power buoy plays chicken with Irene, wins

So last week Irene was all like, "HERE I AM! I'm going to rock you like myself!" And off the coast of Jersey (where else?) the U.S. Navy's PowerBuoy was like "bring it!" Demonstrating that wave power does have its applications, the PowerBuoy not only survived a direct hit by Irene, it apparently spent the duration of the storm doing one-armed pushups while lecturing an implacable force of nature on the Hegelian dialectic: The PowerBuoy emerged from the two-day storm undamaged and fully operational, with all the buoy’s systems having withstood wave heights of up to 15 meters (nearly 50 …

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Critical List: Federally backed solar company closes; London drops carbon offset plan for Olympics

Solyndra, a solar company that had received more than $500 million in federally backed loan guarantees, is shutting down. Vermont's still reeling from Irene. Oklahoma lawmakers are looking for ways to block the Keystone XL pipeline locally. The organizers of the 2012 London Olympics are dropping their plan to offset the Games' carbon emissions. Weak. Environmental activists in China are going after Apple. LEED standards are getting a makeover so that they actually mean something. This coal ash pond has been leaking coal ash into the ground for 20 years, but no one knows what impact it's had because no …

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Secretary of Energy is a Keystone XL booster

Secretary of Energy Steven Chu hasn't said definitively whether he supports the Keystone XL pipeline. But he's heavily implied that he's a fan, laying out the project's potential benefits in an interview with energyNOW!. "It's not perfect," said Chu of the pipeline, which would increase greenhouse-gas emissions and quite probably leak to boot. But he argues that extraction technology is improving, so someday in the future maybe it won't increase greenhouse-gas emissions and probably leak? It's a trade-off, says Chu, between having a reliable oil supply and having an oil supply that isn't super-polluting and gross. He apparently knows that …

Read more: Climate & Energy, Oil

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Super-charming sustainable farming video, featuring Willie Nelson

Okay, so this video was sponsored by Chipotle, but if you can ignore a small amount of logo placement and posturing, it's really adorable. Look at the little propane-canister-looking pigs! Listen to Willie Nelson make a Coldplay song sound genuinely emotional! Watch the rotund farmer guy have a change of heart and let his animals go free-range! RUN FREE, PROPANE PIGGIES!

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Snooki has a call to action on global warming

New Jersey natives, think fast: Who's your most embarrassing resident, your governor or your reality TV stars? Personally I think the scales are tipping in favor of the Jersey Shore cast. Chris Christie basically hates the environment, but Snooki believes in global warming! She may be constructed mostly of tanner and hair, but she knows what's up. Sort of. You probably don't want to watch this whole video, since it's characteristically shrilly-pitched and almost aggressively dumb. If Snooki's persona is made up, which it has to be, it's very close to being brilliant-stupid in the manner of Beavis and Butt-head, …

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Teenager builds tiny home to avoid mortgage trap

Sixteen-year-old Austin Hay of Santa Rosa, Calif., has been sleeping in a work-in-progress 130 square foot "tiny home" in his parents' backyard for months. The project came about because "like every teenager, I want to move out," says Hay. Hay learned basic construction skills in woodshop during his first two years of high school, and has applied those skills to roughing out a fully functional, self-contained home that sits atop a conventional trailer. He says it's "plenty of space" and hopes to live in the home after college. Showing an unusual level of awareness of the roots of America's current …

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The greenest building on Earth

Workers broke ground recently in Seattle on a six-story building that will generate its own power, collect and reuse rainwater, compost its sewage, and depend on daylight instead of halogen lamps. Its owner, the Bullitt Foundation, which supports work in sustainability, set out to build the greenest building on Earth. We'd say they're earning that title. Other green features: The building is being made with sustainably harvested wood and will not contain contaminants like lead or mercury. Occupants will also be able to open the windows and tenants will be required to use technology that automatically turns off when idle. …

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Biodegradable cigarettes: Because why should everything else die with you?

Just because your lungs are blackened doesn't mean you can't be green. San Diego-based company Greenbutts makes cigarette filters that not only biodegrade, but sprout when buried into what have to be the world's least healthy plants. The filters are made out of organic cotton, hemp, and wheat flour, and the company says they "can be combined with a variety of seeds including grass, flower, fruit, herb, or even trees." Hey, if you make them sprout tobacco plants, you can have a fully self-sustaining terrible fucking habit! Greenbutts is looking for investors and also selling panties and dog bandanas to …