Trade-offs and trade winds

Ask Umbra’s Book Club: Would you blow up a mountain to save a bird species?

Umbra's discussion of her Book Club pick "Freedom" kicks off with a video of author Jonathan Franzen talking about compromises and energy options.

On the lookout for bushy tail

Hunting, cooking, and eating squirrel [VIDEO]

You've heard about bugs being the next sustainable protein source, but what about squirrel? You may shudder, but plenty of cultures enjoy this plentiful, tasty meat -- and now, so do I.

the ass is always greener

Sex: the next ethical industry?

Few sectors rival the global economic importance of sex, but so far sustainability professionals have left it completely untouched.

Sustainable IQ

EPA names the nation's top smart-growth cities

When it comes to smart growth, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says the smartest cities are New York, Baltimore, Portland, and San Francisco.

Company man

Meet James McWilliams, meat-industry defender — and aggrieved vegan?

James McWilliams has made a career of defending the food industry from what he sees as its hysterical, unreasonable critics (such as yours truly). At several points, this mission has led him to defend industrial …

Enviro Mental

Ask Umbra’s Book Club: Does caring about the environment make you crazy?

Umbra kicks off discussion of her Book Club pick, Freedom, with a video of Jonathan Franzen talking about the mental toll of caring for the environment.


How can clean electrons compete with dirty electrons?

One of the most fundamental challenges facing clean power is that, to put it simply, electrons are electrons. Power from a solar power plant, once it enters the transmission system, is indistinguishable from coal, nuclear, …

Not Mao, not ever

Increasing consumer demand in China won't save us

In a much-celebrated recent article, ace reporter David Leonhardt argues that China can bail out the U.S. by transforming itself into the "world's next great consumer society." Given the specter of climate change, is this …

Greenhouse pass

Salad in snowy winter [VIDEO]

I visit Dragsmith Farms, which grows organic vegetables and micro-greens all year round. Although heated greenhouses are a sustainable no-no, a salad in December is a treat.