Living

Enviro Mental

Ask Umbra’s Book Club: Does caring about the environment make you crazy?

Umbra kicks off discussion of her Book Club pick, Freedom, with a video of Jonathan Franzen talking about the mental toll of caring for the environment.

Supermarketing

How can clean electrons compete with dirty electrons?

One of the most fundamental challenges facing clean power is that, to put it simply, electrons are electrons. Power from a solar power plant, once it enters the transmission system, is indistinguishable from coal, nuclear, or natural gas power. To the end consumer, it's all just electricity -- or rather, it's all just lights coming on and dishwashers running. Given that, how can consumers be sold on clean electricity?

Not Mao, not ever

Increasing consumer demand in China won't save us

In a much-celebrated recent article, ace reporter David Leonhardt argues that China can bail out the U.S. by transforming itself into the "world's next great consumer society." Given the specter of climate change, is this really the best way out of our economic abyss?

Greenhouse pass

Salad in snowy winter [VIDEO]

I visit Dragsmith Farms, which grows organic vegetables and micro-greens all year round. Although heated greenhouses are a sustainable no-no, a salad in December is a treat.

The new pneumatics

FoodTubes wants to take food distribution back to the future

The brainchild of "a consortium of academics, project planners, and engineers," FoodTubes wants to move our fossil-fuel based transport system underground.

You can never have enough storage

New Agtivist: Chris Chaisson wants to root around in your cellar

Chris Chaisson and Whole Farm Services offer farmers, gardeners, and communities an array of very old-school -- now very hip -- crop storage services. From root cellars to ice houses, these technologies may just become integral to a sustainable food future.

All we are saying is give trees a chance

Ask Umbra on living holiday trees and other options

What?s the most sustainable sapling to celebrate with? Ask Umbra?s holiday primer on live trees, cut trees, fake trees, and more will settle the score

Klatchin'

Smart readers weigh in on behavior change

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post on behavior change that prompted a lot of great feedback and discussion. I've picked out a few interesting bits and pieces from the thread to highlight and respond to.

Beet them, join them

At Youth Farm, kids learn where food comes from and how to enjoy it [VIDEO]

In honor of Congress finally voting on the long-awaited, yet disappointing Childhood Nutrition Reauthorization act, here's a look at a much more effective way to get kids to eat kale and other vegetables.