Living

Babies r'nt us

Grist editor talks childfree living and population on MSNBC [VIDEO]

Today I went on MSNBC’s Dylan Ratigan Show to talk about my recent post on being a GINK: green inclinations, no kids. (For the record, I have never said, “Kids are killing the planet,” and I would never want to drag any happy parent away from their adorable newborn in the hospital nursery.) —– Read more about population and the childfree option: The GINK manifesto: Say it loud: I’m childfree and I’m proud Childfree messages in Sex and the City 2 and Eat, Pray, Love Pundits criticize Elena Kagan for being childfree How green are the ‘childless by choice’? Women’s …

Curious, George

Prez steals, owes fines

OK, so you couldn’t tell a lie, Georgie boy, but apparently you made no bones about stealing a couple of library books and not paying your fines. Gasp! That’s right, Pres. George Washington was just as big a fan of the library as Ask Umbra (woot for reusing, Mr. Prez); however, according to an old ledger book (and Boing Boing), Washington checked out two books from the New York Society Library in October 1789—one on international law and one a transcript of debates in the British House of Commons—and never returned them. His inflation-adjusted fines are now more than $100,000. …

Show the Tea Partiers what a real crowd looks like

Come to the largest climate rally ever on the D.C. mall on April 25

Guest blogger Denis Hayes was national coordinator for the first Earth Day in 1970, and director of the federal Solar Energy Research Institute from 1979 to 1981. He is now president of the Bullitt Foundation and international chair of Earth Day 2010. Find out about the Earth Day big rally in Washington, D.C., as well as other actions you can take, at the Earth Day Network website. Earth Day Network is organizing a huge event on the Mall in Washington D.C. on April 25. The goal is to demand tough, effective climate legislation and a swift transition away from 19th …

Happy effing Earth Day...um Week

Deep thoughts from founder Chip Giller

Every year as Earth Day approaches, there’s a moment when we here at Grist stare at each other around a conference table and say, “What the hell are we going to do this time?” I imagine it’s the same way the window dressers at Macy’s feel when the winter holidays are approaching. How do you make an annual event feel fresh, exciting, and fun? One obvious solution, of course, is profanity. Last year, our “Screw Earth Day” campaign was a wildly successful reminder that eco-awareness shouldn’t be limited to one day; this week, we’re launching the similarly sailor-worthy “Earth: FML.” …

Dry it, you’ll like it

Ask Umbra on food dehydrators, cage-free and free-range poultry, and e-readers

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I am enthusiastic about growing my own food in my small garden and I am looking for ways to preserve my produce for use out of season. I cook and freeze some things and have done some canning, but this year I thought I would make things easier with the tomatoes and try drying them. Looking into purchasing a dehydrator (the weather here in the Midwest doesn’t lend itself to sun drying) the only ones I have found so far are made of plastic. This doesn’t sound very healthy or helpful to …

Limp Biscuits

Eco dog treats confound canines and humans alike

Everyone’s a critic: one of our panelists gropes for a sniff of biscuit.Photo: Jason Houston I’ve got a bone to pick with conventional dog biscuits. Like commercial dog food, they are made with un-green or even potentially dangerous ingredients. Surely, they’re unworthy of a companion who greets your return from the mailbox with nothing less than rapture. But are the spendy, natural and/or organic versions worth the price of reducing Rover’s carbon pawprint? Will your dog eat them, or even prefer them to cheap, commercial Milk-Bones? Our esteemed critics are ready for their treats. Photo: Jason HoustonTo find out, I …

Updating the "Granny Cart"

Transport guru Todd Litman says the biggest vehicular breakthrough of recent decades is the rolling suitcase. That’s not the conventional wisdom. Most recent attention to the wheels of the future focuses on electric cars, and they are clearly essential. Still, for some, they are also a false hope, suggesting that all we need to change is our drive trains, not our auto-centered way of life. If our future is to be sustainable, however, the role of cars—electric or otherwise—will have to diminish. The obesity epidemic, the range limits of electric batteries, the pressing need to get off the carbon-fuel rollercoaster …

Relieve Yourself

Ask Umbra’s pearls of wisdom on stress

Dearest readers, Achy muscles from hunching over your computer? Tumultuous tummy from crazy deadlines? Tension headache from staring at that tiny cell phone screen too long? Well, April is National Stress Awareness Month and today is National Stress Awareness Day, so step away from the laptop, the calendar, and the phone for some deep breathing and your fave anxiety-reducing activity. Otherwise, stress may land you in the doctor’s office, and then you’ll just be fretting about all the pharmaceuticals you’re popping (and leaching into our waterways), and medical bills piling up, and time lost from work, and and AND! That’s …

pie in the sky

Bundles of balloons a new form of carbon-free travel?

Move over Balloon Boy. Cluster ballooning’s as real as it gets.Photo: omnibus via FlickrIt’s carbon-free, it flies, and it has lots of balloons. How are cluster balloons not catching on? Well at least one man is getting around the way Balloon Boy pretended to do and the way the old man in UP does. Last weekend, Jonathan Trappe flew “The Spirit Cluster” — 57 helium-filled balloons and a small harness — 109 miles in 14 hours above his home state of North Carolina, AOL News reports. “Flying a gas balloon is unlike any other experience. There is no sound. No …

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