Living

App-ily ever after

Grist’s guide to green iPhone apps

Wondering what brand of toothpaste is the most eco-friendly? There’s an app for that. Need to know which species of fish on the menu were caught sustainably? There’s an app for that. Long to plant a tree with every swish of your PhoneSaber? There’s not an app for that … yet. But check out the apps that plant trees — digital and otherwise — that are already available. Contrary to the rest of the going-green retail world, iTunes doesn’t have a “green” category in its app store (For better? For worse? Can’t decide….). And search for “green” in the iTunes …

Coal Country film premiere

Big Coal does not want you to see this film

As a groundbreaking clean energy counterpart to this summer’s extraordinary Food, Inc. documentary on the agribusiness, the long-awaited “Coal Country” film on the cradle-to-grave process of generating our coal-fired electricity will be hitting the theaters next week with the big bang of an ammonium nitrate/fuel oil explosive. And Big Coal ain’t happy. Here’s the trailer: After a year-long campaign of threats and intimidation, the Big Coal lobby plans to have its Friends of Coal sycophants out in force to picket the premiere of the film on July 11, 7pm, at La Belle Theater in the South Charleston Museum in Charleston, …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: Breath-catching edition

They’re not just poems, they’re vaguely educational poems! Check ‘em out. After the fence-jump frenzy, this week is sweet relief.Bill passed! And all react to that with gasps of disbelief. Just breathe.Yet as it was each time the bill got closer to the floor,We must remember that it’s in for hurdles, many more. The good news is the Democrats could soon be pulling rank inClimate votes, thanks to the win of Senator Al Franken. But back to now: assaults are spat at all the House “defectors” Malkin and Beck berate, while Rush randomly hectors. They hardly even cared that California …

Contain Your Excitement

Ask Umbra on moving boxes

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, I will be moving soon, and a friend suggested buying cheap but durable plastic storage bins with lids as an alternative to traditional moving boxes (or whatever empty boxes I can find from local stores). The idea is appealing, especially for a lot of stuff that I typically keep stored in closets or my basement, because I wouldn’t have to unpack when I get to my new home. But I’m sure there has to be an alternative to plastic when it comes to storage bins. What are the alternatives for lidded storage …

Size does matter

Starbucks brews global green-building plan, renovates Seattle shop

Photo: Sarah van SchagenStroll into the newly renovated Starbucks coffeehouse in Seattle’s University Village and the décor may feel more familiar than you’d expect. The menu boards are made from the chalkboards you may have scribbled on at nearby Garfield High School; the shelving is from old bleachers you may have sat upon; the leather accents near the bar are from your old shoes and car seats; and the ash-wood community table that stretches the length of the store and patio (one-third of it is outside) is salvaged from a tree that fell in Seattle’s Wallingford neighborhood. It’s part of …

How about... "prosumer"?

Stop calling Americans “consumers”

I was at a small meeting on peak oil Friday – Executive Summary:  We’re peaking now! James Kunstler, author of The Long Emergency, was there.  He is in the Mad Max/Lovelock/Wall-E school of dystopia, and so I have a number of disagreements with him (see “Why I don’t agree with James Kunstler about peak oil and the “end of suburbia“). He did, however, say one thing that really strike a chord.  He said we should stop calling Americans “consumers.”  It pigeonholes all Americans and also becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. That seems to me a reasonable point, and I will endeavor …

Heavy on the Ice, Light on the Cream

A review of six non-dairy ice creams

This is part two of a two-part series on organic ice cream; see our previous review of conventional, dairy-based ice creams by Tom Philpott. Cow juice alternative?The Sheppard family has what you might call an ice cream problem. When I was 8 and my brother was 5, we went to Disney World. After a day of themepark excitement, my brother started walking with a pronounced limp. My mother asked him what was wrong. “My leg hurts,” he replied. “I need Mickey Mouse ice cream.” Another time, when I was about 12, my father lurched up from his chair in our …

Tuning in

Rothbury Music Festival rocks sustainability mission

Photo: kuba425 via FlickrWhile your standard summer music festival may consider its primary mission to be “rocking out,” the Rothbury Music Festival being held this weekend in Michigan states its purpose to be “harnessing the spirit of the music festival community into a durable social movement.” Then again, Rothbury isn’t your standard summer music festival. The festival organizers consider it a “party with a purpose,” and for the most part, that purpose — as showcased by their greening initiatives and educational events — is sustainability. Now, this is not to say there won’t be rocking out; headliners this year include …

Handle With Care

Ask Umbra on moving cross-country

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dear Umbra, We have to move a small apartment from New York to LA. We can rent a diesel truck that gets 8-12 mpg (yikes — but the best we could find) OR sell the furniture, ship some stuff, and fly. Both options are about the same price, but which is more environmentally friendly (considering airplane pollution, waste of dumping and buying new stuff)? Is there any other cheap and green solution? Much obliged! SarahNew York A. Dearest Sarah, Are you chasing your dream of making it in show business, or just trying to …

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