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A review of Tom Friedman’s Hot, Flat, and Crowded

I have a book review in the latest issue of the American Prospect, covering three books: Hot, Flat, and Crowded: Why We Need a Green Revolution -- and How It Can Renew America, by Thomas L. Friedman Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 438 pages, $27.95 Earth: The Sequel: The Race To Reinvent Energy and Stop Global Warming, by Fred Krupp and Miriam Horn, W.W. Norton, 279 pages, $24.95 Coming Clean: Breaking America's Addiction To Oil and Coal, by Michael Brune, Sierra Club Books, 269 pages, $14.95 The review mostly focuses on Friedman's book. You can read the first three paragraphs here …

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A review of non-clay cat litters

It's time to let the cat out of the bag about the icky stuff in your cat's litter box. (No, not that stuff.) If you're using clay-based kitty litter, you could be making a mess of the environment -- and your health. Most conventional cat litter is made from natural clay, or sodium bentonite, which is formed into pellets and dried. The clay is strip mined from the earth in a destructive process that seems quite silly when you think about what happens to it once it hits the litter box: It is shat upon and then tossed in the …

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Urban farmer awarded ‘genius’ grant

Will Allen. Urban farmer Will Allen has been named one of this year's recipients of the prestigious "genius" grant from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation. The grant recognizes Allen's work bringing affordable fresh produce and quality grass-fed meats to the urban poor and educating communities about sustainable farming. Allen co-founded the group Growing Power in Milwaukee in the early '90s to engage kids in food production and educate them about where food comes from. At the same time, the organization also worked to ensure that low-income neighborhoods had access to fresh fruits and vegetables via farmers' markets …

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Umbra on the importance of voting

Dear Umbra, I have a friend who is a fellow environmental studies major, and he says he's not going to vote because he "doesn't agree with the system." I've had numerous discussions with him about how important it is to vote, especially when it comes to environmental issues, but he doesn't seem to want to listen. My question to you is this: Why, as an environmentalist, should I vote? Nick Wyoming, Minn. Dear Nick, I grant you, our particular system of democracy is flawed. But pouting on the sidelines is not effective. Politics contains no über-moms who will take your …

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15 Cities, 15 Days, Destination: Green

Grist and Dell hit the road in search of a sustainable future

It feels like just a year ago that I was traveling down the Mississippi in search of sustainable cities. Well, I'm on the road again -- this time with a much more ambitious itinerary: 15 cities, 15 days, destination: green. I'm in San Francisco right now, but I'm headed all the way across the country, baby. And dude, I'm getting a Dell! Actually, I'm getting a Todd Dwyer, head blogger for Dell's eco-minded site ReGeneration.org. The two of us are hitting the road (in a Prius!) seeking the leaders, big and small, of our sustainable future -- whether that means …

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An interview with Wikia’s Jimmy Wales about his new green venture

Jimmy Wales. Jimmy Wales, best known as a cofounder of Wikipedia, is now channeling some of his energy and ambition into the environmental realm, aiming to build "the world's handbook for going green." Wikia, Inc., Wales' for-profit company (not to be confused with Wikipedia, a project of the nonprofit Wikimedia Foundation), announced this month that it's launching Wikia Green, which Wales describes as "an encyclopedia from a green perspective." Built on a wiki platform, which allows anyone to contribute or edit content, Wikia Green aims to amass a collection of articles on all kinds of eco-topics -- how-to advice, explanations …

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From Eva to Earthquake

Happily Eva after What do you do when Eva Mendes and Scarlett Johansson want your number? You answer the call. Brother, can you spare me some climate change? Booted from the Arctic by the subprime mortgage crisis global warming, the population of homeless polar bears in D.C. is exploding. And any of them with hopes of ever returning home are facing a cold, hard reality. Photo: Courtesy Greenpeace Drawn on the dumps Can the litterati design wastebaskets for charity? Yes, they (trash) can! Hmm ... wonder if Mena Suvari will find her career in there? William, tell At age 12, …

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When the basil plants get out of control, reach for the mortar and pestle

Mortarin' pesto. September in Iowa always brings the same delicious dilemma -- what to do with all that basil. Few herbs are as surrounded by mythology and folklore as basil. Its origins are debated, but most seem to think it came from India. There, the plant offered innumerable culinary uses: A devout Hindu has a leaf of basil placed on his breast when he dies, as a passport to paradise. Basil figures in Christian tradition as well. It was the herb Salome used to cover the smell of decay from John the Baptist's head. Then there's Haitian Voodoo practice, where …

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Jon Bon Jovi will play Live Earth concert in Mumbai

After seven concerts on seven continents on 7/7/07, Live Earth has downsized (you may have noticed that 8/8/08 passed by with nary a warble). On Thursday, organizers Al Gore and Kevin Wall announced plans for a Dec. 7 Live Earth concert in Mumbai, India. The show will feature "some of the biggest artists from India to the U.S. and beyond," says Wall. Jon Bon Jovi and Bollywood star Amitabh Bachman are already signed on. Organizers will aim to minimize waste, recycle as much as possible, and employ Indian companies for lighting, staging, and video. Proceeds will go to charities that …

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A recent grad follows her passions and finds a green job she digs

All college students know the feeling -- that squeaky little hamster wheel of doubt about life post-diploma. What if I can't find a job? What if I can't find a job I like? What if I can't find a job that aligns with my values? Ditch that hamster wheel and climb on two wheels that can take you places, Maya Donelson would tell you. A 2006 graduate of New York's Syracuse University, Donelson knew she wanted to do something green in her life. But it took a random adventure -- a cross-country cycling-trip fundraiser for Greenpeace -- to help show …

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