Living

Sustainababy

Mom-powered politics

Editor’s note: Anna wrote this post (and a few more) before she left on maternity leave. She gave birth to a healthy baby girl — Audrey — in December. All moms have a stake in public policies that affect the health and safety of their families. But as I’ve found throughout this series, pop-culture resources for pregnancy and motherhood only occasionally point out the risks of toxics and almost never make the connection between pollution and political action. It’s a missed opportunity. Moms have the potential for massive political clout, but so far that potential is largely untapped. Concerned mothers …

CONTESTUAL ANALYSIS

Win a signed copy of ‘Antarctica 2041’! [updated]

Update: The contest is over–congrats to our five winners! Look for more literary competitions and lots of great reading tips at our new books page. Welcome, dear readers, to Grist’s first book review contest. There are prizes to be won, so listen up. We’re giving away five autographed copies of explorer Robert Swan’s arresting new book Antarctica 2041. To nab one, all you have to do is submit your very own review of another terrific book: Crude World: The Twilight of Oil by Peter Maas. (Read more about both titles at our new books page.) To submit your review just …

Me, in the New York Times

Taking distributed energy seriously

This week, in The New York Times’ Room for Debate, I was involved in a discussion on the brewing war among environmentalists over building large power plants on sensitive land — specifically, in this case, a solar thermal power plant in the Mojave desert. “Green Civil War: Projects vs. Preservation” saw contributions from: Randy Udall, energy analyst Vaclav Smil, professor, University of Manitoba Daniel M. Kammen, professor of energy, U.C. Berkeley Ileene Anderson, Center for Biological Diversity Winona LaDuke, Honor the Earth Fund And me! Turns out it’s very difficult to make a point in 300 words, at least for …

California schools are failing and it's because of... school gardens?

Failure to cultivate: Why school gardens ARE important

In the latest edition of The Atlantic magazine, Caitlin Flanagan has written a surprisingly harsh critique of the popular and growing movement to include gardens in our public schools. In a nutshell, she states that pursuing this activity over and above the three R’s will turn our children into illiterate sharecroppers. Right from the start, though, she gets it wrong. She has the reader picture the son of undocumented migrant workers entering his first day at Martin Luther King Middle School in Berkeley, home of the well-known Edible Schoolyard project, “where he stoops under the hot sun and begins to …

Salt of the dearth

Food giants pile on salt to tart up flavorless dreck

Piled on my desk on either side of my computer are several packages of convenience foods and one chocolate bar. The foods range from instant macaroni and cheese and cornbread mixes to canned soup, canned tuna, canned beans, and a Styrofoam container of instant, microwaveable macaroni and cheese. Of the eight items, only two – the tuna and the chocolate bar–have sodium levels in the single digits. Of the double-digiters, only two have sodium levels less than 20 percent. I’m looking at sodium content not because I’m watching my salt intake–although that’s hardly a bad idea–but because I wanted to …

Kimchi, comme ça

Winter cold no match for spicy kimchi stew

Kimchi: king of condiments. Photo: April McGreger I love how my cooking business binds me to the seasons. The seasons change, and I fall in line. August provides me more work than I can complete in a day; late January cuts me some slack. Every year I seem to overdo it as the busy harvest season runs right into the busy holiday season, and I end the year utterly exhausted and frazzled. And then, at last, January brings the cold and darkness t that I have come to crave. Winter is also the season for comfort food, but all too …

driving change?

Ford Fusion Hybrid wins 2010 Car of the Year, no green spin needed

The Ford Fusion Hybrid. Photo courtesy Ford Motor Company via FlickrNo green spin necessary, the Ford Fusion Hybrid sedan was soundly voted the 2010 Car of the Year. While not the first-ever hybrid vehicle to win this award (even for Ford), it is notable that the 2010 North American Car of the Year (NACOTY) was given to a U.S. automaker for a hybrid amidst one of the worst times to be selling any kind of car, much less a hybrid. And yet, the Fusion Hybrid helped Ford set record sales in hybrids in a year when overall industry demand for gas-electric …

Winter Warmers

Ask Umbra on water bottles, gas dryers, and tea lights

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, Hey! This whole freakin’ deal about aluminum, steel, and plastic bottles is bewildering. I wanted to get a BPA-free Nalgene, but should I buy an aluminum instead? I don’t have or see the use to spend $20USD for a darn bottle. What’s the best way to go? JayDayton A. Dearest Jay, To sip, perchance to dream.Hey yourself! This can indeed be a bewildering topic, made even more so by recent revelations that one trusted brand of aluminum bottle contained BPA in its lining. Even though it’s a New Year, I’m going to …

Renewable energy is in big demand as states try to cut carbon emissions

Everyone Poops – – and a few spin gold

Thanks to the global effort to cut carbon, we could soon be spinning waste of all kinds -- including poop -- into big bucks.