stop your whining and do something!

Bill McKibben on International Climate Action Day

Hundreds of thousands of people around the world turned out for last Saturday’s International Day of Climate Action. The global climate event was organized by Grist caught up with 350’s founder, writer Bill McKibben, in New York’s Times Square. McKibben talked about the event, the worldwide turnout and what it may all mean for the upcoming climate talks in Copenhagen this December.

Flash in the Pan

Ask Umbra on canned and frozen foods

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, For those times when fresh vegetables are not available, are canned or frozen veggies the way to go from a sustainable and nutritional standpoint? Assume that we recycle in our household. Cheers! Mark L.Sanford, Fla. A. Dearest Mark, I thought you Floridians would just live on fresh oranges and lemons all winter. Scurvy must have its opposite, I suppose, and one never hears of orange casserole or orange stew. On the sustainability front, there is no clear and dominant difference between canned and frozen veggies — or, to say that another way, …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Protest edition

The International Day of Climate Action spearheaded by has already kicked off, and will involve more than 4,800 events in 171 countries. Find one near you — and then tell Grist about your big time! Sometimes it can be quite expedient To act all quiet and obedient. But now’s the time, across the land:Get off your butt and take a stand! On October 24, climate voices ring — from Mongolia to

EMA, meet Uma

Happy birthday, EMA Awards … and you other groups, too

This weekend marks the twentieth annual occurrence of a vaunted celebration you’ve quite possibly never heard of: the Environmental Media Association awards. The EMAs actually do a pretty good job of attracting A-list stars, or at least A-minus, and are the original “green-carpet” event. Each year, there are a handful of honorary awards (this year’s recipients include Richard Branson and Jason Mraz) and several others given in various film and TV categories. Sometimes it can feel like a stretch: for instance, while the nominating committee must have been thrilled with the documentary selections available to them this year — Fuel, …

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 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 …

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