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 …


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 …

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