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Grist List: Look what we found.


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The greenest man in America doesn’t drive a Prius or shop at Whole Foods

lipo.jpg

With all due apologies to the Banner boys, Bruce and David, people are calling Lipo Chanthanasak the greenest man in America. What has the Incredible Chanthanasak done to deserve the title? Well it turns out trashing the environment makes Chanthanasak angry, and if you’re a polluter, you wouldn’t like him when he’s angry.

As leader of the Asian Pacific Environmental Network (APEN), a group coordinating refugee and immigrant communities around Richmond and Oakland, Calif., the 73-year-old Laotian immigrant fights for clean energy and environmental justice. Lipo and the APEN team work, Avengers-style, to create green jobs and block the dumping of toxic and dirty facilities in their neighborhoods. Lipo helps lead a crusade against Chevron’s dirty refinery in Richmond and the proposed billion-dollar expansion that could be devastating for the health of residents.

Good work, Chanthanasak, and when it comes to Chevron and the other Big Oil bad guys, we say, “Lipo Smash!”

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Ship to be square

This pop-up solar station looks like Optimus Prime, goes anywhere, and has wifi

Ecos PowerCube
ecospheretech.com

If there's anything your average irony-loving, trucker-cap-wearing hipster can't get enough of these days, it's pop-up shops. Mobile couture boutiques, indie-label record store shopping pods, artisanal mac-and-cheese food trucks — you name it. But now Florida-based tech company Ecosphere Technologies has taken the pop-up concept and attached it to something even more powerful than tacos: the sun.

The Ecos Powercube sounds like a video game console but is actually a fully functioning solar-powered energy station. The company describes it as "the world's largest mobile solar-powered generator." The technology is housed in shipping containers, so the Ecos Powercube can be brought in by boat, rail, or plane and dropped (gently) anywhere in the world for disaster relief, refugee situations, and military operations that sometimes cause refugee situations.

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Watching polar bears swim for ice will make you want to hug them (but maybe don’t)

polar butt

The revolution in tiny tough video cameras has opened new worlds to the human eye, but this GoPro video by Adam Ravetch at Arctic Bear Productions has completely changed the way we see polar bears. For instance, they never once drink a Coca Cola or play country music with a penguin. Even more impressive than that was just how beautifully at home these majestic beasts are in the water.

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living

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Put your spare change to good use with crowdfunded science

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Shutterstock

Wondering what to do with that $9 burning a hole in your PayPal account? Sure, you could kick it to Indiegogo and help send your old college roommate to his brother’s wedding in Aruba. And there’s always Kickstarter: That kid from the coffee shop is trying to fund her short documentary on the history of philanthropy in the Kansas City Zombie Crawl scene.

On the other hand, you could give to Experiment.com, a crowdsourcing site for science funding, to help uncover fracking’s impact on air pollution, find a better way to clean up oil spills, or figure out what’s killing Caribbean corals.

Nelson Harvey at High Country News focused specifically on the fracking studies finding funding through the site:

A scientist from the University of Missouri who recently found elevated levels of endocrine disrupting chemicals in parts of Garfield County, Colo., where spills of wastewater from natural gas drilling occurred is now planning the second phase of her research, but with a surprising funding mechanism this time. Rather than seeking backing from government agencies or private foundations, Dr. Susan Nagel and her team are drumming up donations in the same way that many before them have started small businesses, made documentary films, or produced t-shirts adorned with images of Miley Cyrus twerking: They’re crowdfunding their research through a new website called Experiment.com.

Nagel’s crowdfunding attempt -- she’s seeking $25,000, has raised about $11,000 since March 24 and has 36 days to go -- represents at least the fourth time in recent years that U.S. scientists have turned to the general public for financial help researching the health effects of the gas drilling technique called hydraulic fracturing, or fracking ... . Earlier this year, a team of researchers from the University of Washington raised $12,000 through Experiment.com to study how much gas drilling contributes to ozone in Utah’s Uinta Basin, and last year a team from Pennsylvania’s Juniata College raised $10,000 to examine the impact of fracking on stream ecology throughout the state.

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A beetles invasion threatens your cup of coffee

tea mug
Shutterstock

Mornings can be tough. Sure the cat puked on your pillow and the basement was flooded and some moron parked in the bike lane and today is your six month review and so it’s kind of a poopy day, but there’s one thing that keeps you going: Your good friend and most culturally acceptable addiction (ever notice they don't make these for heroin?) coffee.

Well not anymore, sucker!

Turns out there’s a tiny little beetle half a world away that hates you and wants your last shred of joy. Rajendra Jadhav of Reuters Africa has the scoop, which, instead of delicious coffee beans, is sadly full of hideous squirming segmented larvae. Enjoy!

It's 10 o'clock in the morning and a dozen workers are uprooting coffee plants, piling them in the corner of a field at M.G. Bopanna's plantation in southern India where they lie ready to be burned.

The plants are bursting with green cherries but inside their hard bark lurk destructive white stem borer beetles. The bushes have to be destroyed to prevent the tiny winged creature from threatening Bopanna's entire crop of arabica coffee.

The beetle, which bores through plants' bark and feeds on their stems, is thriving this year due to unusually warm weather and scant rains in arabica growing areas in India, the world's sixth biggest coffee producer.

If the hot spell continues and the pest continues to spread, India's coffee crop could fall to its lowest in 17 years when the harvest starts in October, pushing up global prices that are already rallying due to drought in top exporter Brazil.

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The shipping blues

Cargo ships carry a lot of climate baggage

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Slawos

Buying local has become a bit of a mantra. We understand that it takes a heck of a lot of climate-killing carbon to get that hula hoop from China to Chicago, but it’s easy to let the details slip. Here's some perspective: Maersk Triple E’s, the world’s largest container ships, measure 1,312 feet from stem to stern and contain 55,000 tons of steel alone. To put that into more relatable terms, that’s 196 LeBron James long and more than a million Rottweilers in weight.

These giant vessels are giant polluters. The largest vessels burn around 16 tons of low-grade, high-sulphur diesel fuel per hour as they ceaselessly plow the world’s oceans at over 25 knots. One study estimates just one of these gigantic ships spews out as much cancer-causing pollutants as 50 million cars every year, and there are an estimated 90,000 cargo ships around the world. Unfortunately, pending legislation aimed at cleaning up these ships focuses exclusively on sulfur emissions and misses the boat on CO2, one of the driving causes of climate change.

A recent study from the University of Manchester's Tyndall Center for Climate Change Research comes with a dire warning:

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Can't Harley Wait

Attention, Hells Angels: Your electric Harley is now ready

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Harley Davidson

There’s an old saying among motorcyclists that 95 percent of the Harley Davidson’s built since The Motor Company opened in 1903 are still on the road. The rest made it back.

The point is, Harley doesn’t exactly have a reputation for innovation. The company proudly embraces its 50-year-old air-cooled engine technology because its customers are rabidly loyal to that old-school stuff. Heck, in 2001, when the company finally leapt into the 1970s with its first liquid cooled offering, faithful Harley riders collectively vomited in their mouths just a little bit.

With that history in mind, the idea of Harley building an electric motorcycle is akin to the Amish having a space program. But that’s just what the company is doing, touring the country with a prototype electric bike called Project Livewire.

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to bee or not to bee

This is what your dairy aisle would look like if all the bees died off

Remember the last time we freaked out about what would happen if the world's pollinators suddenly perished? Someone get me a paper bag, because I'm starting to hyperventilate again.

To raise awareness about colony collapse disorder, a mysterious disease that started taking out entire beehives in 2006, Whole Foods brought the fight to suburban grocery aisle by showing us what our supermarkets would look like without any food that had been helped along by a bee. That's right: Your greek yogurt, butter, cream cheese, organic milk, and -- gasp -- ice cream, are in peril.

Whole Foods Market/PRNewsFoto  Huffington Post

Read more: Food, Living

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Why Big Oil is giving piles of money to the NRA

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Shutterstock

Everybody needs one friend who, if things ever go south in a big way, will show up to help. And bring a gun. At least that’s what Big Oil thinks, and so it’s gone one better: It’s made friends with the guys who have all the guns -- the NRA.

We all know guns and oil are a natural pairing, like Milli and Vanilli, or Rodman and Van Damme -- just check out this footage from the guns and oil documentary series:

But what, you might wonder, do these two interests really have in common?

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Killing is the sweetest thing there is

Philadelphia Zoo names adorable kittens after Game of Thrones’ deadliest pets

The Philadelphia Zoo is really playing with fire these days. The zoo’s resident black-footed cats, Ascari and Aza, gave birth to three kittens on April 8. Because the zoo employees enjoy goading the Old Gods and the New, they named the kittens Drogon, Rhaegal, and Viserion.

“Wow, those names are pretty goofy!” you may be thinking. O, blissful ignorance! They’re taken from Game of Thrones, and are the names of Daenerys Targaryen’s three pet dragons.

Here are a few reasons one may find it appropriate to name a cuddly, sweet kitten after an extremely destructive mythical creature:

Read more: Climate & Energy, Living