Living

MONDAY INSPIRATION

A movement far larger than the Tea Party

As an antidote to news of the oil spill on the Great Barrier Reef, here’s Paul Hawken giving last May’s commencement address at Portland University. From the entrepreneur, author, and ideas guy: There is invisible writing on the back of the diploma you will receive, and in case you didn’t bring lemon juice to decode it, I can tell you what it says: You are Brilliant, and the Earth is Hiring. The earth couldn’t afford to send recruiters or limos to your school. It sent you rain, sunsets, ripe cherries, night blooming jasmine, and that unbelievably cute person you are …

Tom's Kitchen

Pasta con sarde: the gateway drug for sardine obsession

Sardines at a market in Portugal. We’re wasting this magnificent resource on low-quality, mercury-laden farmed salmon? Not in Tom’s Kitchen! In Tom’s Kitchen, Grist’s food editor discusses some of the quick-and-easy things he gets up to in, well, his kitchen. Forgive him for the lame iPhone photography. —— A while ago, my colleague Jon Hiskes requested a recipe for sardines. He said he knew he should eat more of them, but didn’t know how to make them in an appealing way. Moreover, his wife, like lots of folks, was predisposed to hate them. Ah, I thought to myself, I’ve got …

Turn that clown upside down

Ask Umbra on Ronald McDonald’s retirement, card games, and a coffee stirring stir

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, After close to 50 years of hawking fatty food directly to kids, a groundswell of parents, health experts, and children’s advocates are calling on McDonald’s to retire Ronald McDonald. A new report and national poll released by Corporate Accountability International found that close to half of the public favors the clown’s retirement. What do you think? MyriahBoston A. Dearest Myriah, Did you happen to catch one of Grist‘s (sadly) more believable April Fools’ articles last week? Who knew so many people would actually believe that McDonald’s food wouldn’t break down in 1,000 …

Vive la différence

My family (yours, too) needs rich social spaces–not cars–to be happy

Lisa’s fantastic essay, “Say it loud: I’m childfree and I’m proud,” had 196 comments last time I checked. If you haven’t read it, you really should. I’ll wait here. … It got me thinking. Pardon a weekend ramble. Me and my little resource hogs.I’m a father of two boys and I’ve absolutely loved it. I was making pretty poor use of being childless anyway, and it turns out having kids suits me better than independence ever did. But my first reaction to Lisa’s essay was not defensiveness. It’s not like we’re taking a quiz and there’s only one right answer. …

eggcellent timing

Easter and plastic eggs

There’s always a place for some old-fashioned hating on plastics, especially if there’s a timely hook: “If the traditional Easter egg is a symbol of resurrection, or a more paganesque generalized celebration of fertility, than what does a plastic Easter egg signify?” Andrew Leonard asks at Salon. He learns that Easter, historically a high-sales season for chicken-laid eggs, no longer brings a boom for the egg industry. Because the plastic variety is winning out: This weekend, millions of children will, knowingly or unknowingly, reenact ancient rituals honoring the mystery of life by hunting for plastic eggs that symbolize the exact …

The GINK Chronicles

Debunking the “you’d be a great green parent” argument

A number of commenters on my “I’m childfree and I’m proud” post, both here and on Facebook, argued that I’m just the sort of smart, eco-groovy person who should be having kids, to ensure that there’s a new generation of thoughtful and active citizens to carry on the good fight.  Thanks for the compliment!  But I have to respectfully disagree.  For starters, I’ll turn again to wise words from Stephanie Mills, who heard similar arguments after she announced her intention to remain childfree in 1969: There were well-intentioned folks who told me that I was just the kind of person …

A job for you(tube)

Al Gore wants Earth Day volunteer videos

Al Gore is calling on volunteer videographers to create short videos about their favorite organization working on climate-change solutions. Three of them will appear on YouTube’s homepage on Earth Day, April 22. Then millions of YouTube viewers will have their climate awarenesses raised. For one whole day … Can’t hurt, right? “This year on Earth Day, we need more than just another celebration,” says the Goreacle. “We need a revolution, a clean energy revolution.” Here’s the video from Gore’s Repower America:

Sex sells

Ask Umbra on Babeland’s boinking for bucks

Birds do it. Bees do it. You know what I’m buzzing about. And as long as you’re doing it, why not do it for Grist? For the entire month of April, Babeland will be donating 20 percent of sales of all their eco-friendly sex toys to Grist. You might remember this video about breaking up with your blow-up doll revealing the toxins hiding in your bedside drawer. Your privates deserve better than phthalates. So take this opportunity to support two of your passions: the eco-news and advice you love and, well, you know …

Take a bite out of grime

Ask Umbra’s pearls of wisdom on spring cleaning

Dearest readers, Ah, spring is on the calendar and in the air. Birds are singing, bees are buzzing, flowers are making me sneeze—or perhaps it’s this dust that’s been building up all winter. Time for the annual washing, scrubbing, wiping, sweeping, and general expunging of stuff known as spring cleaning. I scoured the archives for some past advice on all things tidy, hygienic, and sparkling. Got any special tips for getting the grime out? Hit me up in the comments below. DIY not? Forgo commercial chemical cleaners, and make your own. All homebrew cleaning recipes involve four simple ingredients: white …

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