Living

the rhymes they are a-changin'

Eve of Destruction (New Millennium)

Ken rewrote this song — one of our favorites in the “music for the apocalypse” category — as a rallying cry for the Day of Climate Action this Saturday, October 24, everywhere. He had to smoke a whole pack of cigarettes beforehand to get his voice that gritty. We’ll be at the Boston Under Water Festival in downtown Boston.  Please join us in the spirit of 350, wherever you are. (Find an action near you at 350.org.) Eve of Destruction (New Millennium) music, Barry McGuirenew lyrics, Ken Ward The Arctic ice, it is a’meltin’The polar bears, they are swelteringYou’ve heard …

Nothing like a good profit motive to accelerate public policy

Performance anxiety

It’s not just the ads showing a baby-boomer couple sitting in matching bathtubs on a beach at sunset where you can find performance anxiety these days. Try looking in the hardware aisle and at the gas station. Rather than ban inefficient incandescent light bulbs, for example, California lawmakers set an efficiency performance standard — which was adopted by the feds — so in 2012, you won’t be able to buy energy-wasting bulbs. That spurred Phillips to develop and market their “Halogena Energy Saver” incandescent bulb that is 30 percent more efficient than conventional versions. The performance standard approach — instead …

Interns saving the world

Climate Corps interns save Fortune 500 firms $54 million

Climate Corps. Photo: Environmental Defense FundBack in May I wrote about the Environmental Defense Fund’s (EDF) Climate Corps, a cadre of 26 MBA students who were then prepping for summer internships at Fortune 500 companies. Their mission was to green up corporate operations to save money and cut carbon emissions. With winter on the way and school back in session, I checked in to see how successful the Climate Corps was at combining the students’ financial smarts, technological know-how — half are engineers by training — and environmental ethic. Pretty successful, it turns out. According to EDF, the interns identified …

Can't you Hear me noggin

Ask Umbra on bike helmets

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, As a frequent cyclist, I’ve inevitably been in my share of collisions and accidents. Most bike experts recommend replacing your helmet after any crash, even if the damage isn’t visible. Obviously the two most important qualities of a bike helmet are lightweight-ness and strength. That is best achieved by petroleum-based, non-biodegradable substances. Can you recommend how to avoid hurting the environment with these disposable Styrofoam helmets (other than being a more careful cyclist)? Julia A.Washington, D.C. A. Dearest Julia, Small eco-price to pay for an intact head.Please continue to wear your helmet …

Octopus(sy) Galore

James Bond calls for more marine protected areas

There was unfortunate news from PEER recently that the Obamans/NOAA Chief Jane Lubchenco have no plans to consider new marine protected areas. She cited lack of funds as the reason. Hum. In an era where oceans are under so much pressure, we need to prioritize efforts proven to bring life back to the seas, like MPAs. They work. As Jennifer Jacquet points out at the Guilty Planet blog: Research by Callum Roberts et al. (2001) published in Science found: a network of five small reserves in St. Lucia increased adjacent catches of artisanal fishers by between 46 and 90%, depending …

Stripping for a cause

Weatherization will save us all

Doug Letterman via flickrPop quiz: What saves money, saves energy, creates green jobs, fights climate change, can fix the economy, will make America great again, and is both a floor wax and a dessert topping? Answer: It’s weatherization! And both the U.S. government and the European Union are embracing its potential. In a report released today, Joe Biden’s Middle Class Task Force (which, hello: still a terrible name) recommends steps toward a national retrofit program, citing a potential $21 billion in annual energy savings and 40 percent cut in energy use. Specific proposals include: an Energy Star-style labeling program for …

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 …