Living

Sustainabull

Ask Umbra on writer’s block

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I am starting an internship at a sustainability consulting firm and was asked to blog about relevant issues. I am blocked by a few mind obstacles: I can’t help but think that I’m stealing other writers’ ideas, or that my audience is in the same bucket as those that may have already read what I’m referring, or that I do not have the expertise to make substantive claims outside of the claims of the piece I am blogging about. Otherwise, what makes a successful entry? Please help if you can. KangWashington, D.C. …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Strange bedfellows edition

This week brought news that made all sorts of people say, “Well, damn!”: The climate-bill support of one Senator Lindsey Graham. The damners on the left are thrilled that Graham thinks with his head. The damners on the right shout, “Lindsey, why’d you get in bed!” They’ve also had some more choice words, like wussypants and RINO* And douchebag, asshat, Dem in drag — good grief, they sure can whine-o. I hope this douchebag has some spine, and gets more Sens. on board Or climate change will send his critics straight unto the Lord.  * Republican In Name Only. Lindsey …

Gwyn Some, Lose Some

Does being hot make your green website hot, too?

Here at Grist, we like to think of ourselves as trendspotters. And this is one trend we didn’t mind spotting: hot actresses are starting green websites left and right. With the launch of the most recent addition from Alicia Silverstone, we thought we’d take a peek at what lies beneath the glitz and glamour. Oh, and we figured we’d check out the websites, too. Alicia Silverstone, thekindlife.comMotto: “Sign up and spread the kind”Mood: A chat with your spacy childhood friendWorth a damn?: Too soon to tell thekindlife.comSilverstone’s site, a cross-promotion for her book The Kind Diet, kicked off this week …

Infrared, Schminfrared

4.5 things I learned at my energy audit

As my family and co-workers will readily attest, I looked forward to my energy audit with disturbing anticipation after I made the appointment about a month ago. I was nearly giddy at the thought of having all my energy-efficiency questions answered: Should I replace my windows? Insulate? Wrap my water heater? Were there huge drafts in my basement that I didn’t know about? It was a bit like waiting for a first date with someone who came highly recommended. Only with the promise of lower utility bills instead of … well. Other things. I was sure this guy would have …

Investors and companies should pay attention to the service industry that’s emerging to meet these massive new demands for information.

You can only manage what you measure

A decade ago, health-conscious consumers forced manufacturers to list nutritional information on food packages. We’ll soon be able to make buying decisions based on carbon content too - - taming our waistlines and “waste lines” at the same time.

Beware of 'BAD' puns

Bloggers of all stripes grab a piece of the climate pie for Blog Action Day 2009

Maybe you’re a medical student in Hungary who finds release by detailing your daily life online. Or you’re an avid chronicler of the latest baby-name trends. Whatever your background or topic of choice, you’re a blogger — and you probably have an audience of at least one. Now multiply your blog times 9,000 others across the world. Now imagine all of these blogs agreeing to post about the same important topic on the same day, in order to raise awareness and create a dialogue for change with their millions of readers. Bingo: you’ve got Blog Action Day. The theme for …

Knock Me Over With a Paradigm Shift

The best part about climate change

On a recent work day at the JP Green House, volunteers came out of the woodwork.Leise JonesOne of the early effects of climate change was the demise of my marriage. I was living a comfortable, middle-class life that was all wrong for my politics, and my essential devotion to simplicity. At some point in my mid-twenties I had gotten nervous, and opted for the safety of a life much like my parents’. It worked until I encountered the work of James Hansen and Bill McKibben in the late 1990s, and the part of me that longed to live and work …

We Will All Go Down Together

Ask Umbra on climate weapons

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, What does a carbon offset do today for the planet? It seems to me like these vehicles are more for our guilty conscience than for real change. What do you think? Ingrid G.Chicago, Ill. A. Dearest Ingrid, Get involved in the climate fight — become a Climate Citizen today.I am about to leave carbon offsets behind, but I want to use your letter to do two things: clarify a comment I made in Monday’s column, then step up on my cap-and-trade soapbox. First: I got a little too extreme on Monday what …

I Gave at the Office

Ask Umbra on offsetting work trips

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, Lately I have been traveling a lot for work. This has made me seriously consider buying offsets for these trips. I know that it is better to not travel at all, but outside of quitting my job I can’t get around it. I have considered spending money on projects around the house to lessen my footprint, but using a carbon offset seems to give you more bang for the buck. My question is, are these offsets really helping or should I save my money for a bigger ticket item like a solar …

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