Living

No, <em>Impact</em>, Man

No Impact Man talks about making an impact

First, Colin Beavan donned a superhero nickname and gave up electricity, fossil fuels, un-local food, and buying stuff. He blogged, he wrote a book, he let filmmakers follow his family around (his wife and daughter were roped in too). The New Yorker criticized the stunt, er, experiment. Grist weighed in. Beavan responded to, um, the New Yorker. Whatever, that’s cool. The dialogue continues–here’s an edited transcript of our recent conversation. Grist: The movie leaves viewers wondering, how are you living now that the No Impact experiment is finished? Beavan: We’ve tried to keep the things that actually make sense in …

I will SurvivaBall!

SurvivaBall: Your individual climate-change adaptation strategy

Halliburton’s custom-designed SurvivaBall.The world’s most upstanding corporate citizens, like Halliburton, Monsanto, and ExxonMobil, take climate change seriously.  It’s a serious opportunity for profit.  That’s why, in addition to spending millions to perpetuate the energy, environmental, and subsidy policies that sustain their ongoing operations, they’ve created this “gated community for one” — the SurvivaBall. Specially designed to enable its wearer to withstand months of drought, fierce hurricanes, and catastrophic floods (it floats on water!), the SurvivaBall makes it unnecessary to transition to a low-carbon economy or finance adaptation for the world’s poor. You can even dance in it!  As for procreation …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Tck, tck, tck edition

Clock block.This week saw heated multitudes descend on NYC Their passions were aflame, though some were acting quite icy. A human countdown filled the park with cries of Tck, Tck, Tck And Indy told his corporate pals this problem they could lick. Obama wowed the world by saying nothing much, and how! He met his match in vagueness in our old friend Hu Jintao. Hugh Jackman, Heather Graham, and other pretties lent their heft.(Without celebs we might be feeling much, much more bereft!)And then there were the Yes Men, those wry stunters we love most Who tizzied up the city …

Head to Toe

Highs and lows from the world of green fashion

What? Take away my Aqua Net?!nyki_m via flickrOK, really just one high and one low. It’s been a busy day. The high, fittingly, is related to hair. When I first saw an email subject line that began “Directional Runway Hair” float into my inbox earlier today, I honest-to-god thought it had something to do with airports. Even when I realized it was fashion-related, my brain was still confused, and I found myself picturing a runway model with “directional” hair shaped like an airplane. But the news here has to do with inhalation, not aviation: A company called John Masters Organics …

the crude cost of fuel

Two new documentaries — ‘Crude’ and ‘Fuel’ — examine two sides of our petroleum problem

Two new documentaries show the damaging effects of the world’s addiction to oil, each film from its own unique angle. Crude, which opened in New York on Sept. 9, traces the story of a lawsuit brought by 30,000 rural Ecuadorians against Chevron, which denies responsibility for turning their traditional rainforest home into a dumping ground for crude oil waste, sickening and killing generations of people. And Fuel, which opened in New York, San Francisco, and Washington, D.C. on Sept. 18, follows director Josh Tickell on his quest to convert the world to biofuels, eliminating the need for oil and thus …

A Djimon in the rough

Actor Djimon Hounsou wants to show the human costs of climate change

Djimon Hounsou at the U.N. Climate SummitPhoto: United NationsActor Djimon Hounsou is just as snacky in real life as he was on the big screen in Blood Diamond, The Island, and Gladiator.  Better yet, he’s also a climate activist and humanitarian. As a global ambassador for the aid and development group Oxfam, Hounsou has traveled in sub-Saharan Africa and seen the direct links between climate change and human suffering.  “I’ve witnessed firsthand devastation with drought,” the Benin-born actor told reporters after he helped to kick off the U.N. Summit on Climate Change.  “Year after year, [local farmers are] still expecting …

Hitting the Green Carpet

Umbra reports from the Age of Stupid premiere

What do Stephen Baldwin, the Pope, and the Environment Minister of the Netherlands have in common? They’re all getting hot and bothered about climate change, and they were all at the premiere of Age of Stupid. (OK, the Pope sent a lackey, but he totally would have been there if he could.) Umbra Fisk surveys the scene, talking with Heather Graham, Moby, and others about the future of the planet.

Interior Monologue

Ask Umbra on that new-car smell

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I have an old and dying Cash for Clunker-eligible SUV with well over 210,000 miles on it … My problem is I find the VOC offgassing of new cars intolerable. Is there any way to offgas a new car before I drive it so that I am not inhaling that not so healthy “new-car” smell? Alli K.Spokane, Wash. A. Dearest Alli, Take a deep breath … outside the car.Either you or I or both of us are a little behind the times, as the Cash for Clunkers program ran out of money …

Plastics, the Silent Obesogens

Can plastics make us fat?

Hmm… That title doesn’t quite seem to capture the urgency of the issue, does it? Yet despite rampant skepticism, the data continue to pour in — chemicals in some of the most common plastics and household products, things that surround us every minute of the day, are major culprits in the obesity epidemic. At least now that fact is now getting some well-deserved attention. From Newsweek: Evidence has been steadily accumulating that certain hormone-mimicking pollutants, ubiquitous in the food chain, have two previously unsuspected effects. They act on genes in the developing fetus and newborn to turn more precursor cells …