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Will Oscar’s eco-efforts pale compared to last year?

This story has been updated with breaking news about the greening of the Oscars. See below for details. Matt Petersen and Salma Hayek at Global Green's pre-Oscar bash. Photo: Global Green Last year's Academy Awards were a veritable green fest, what with Inconvenient Truth's multiple wins and the Gore/Leo announcement about the Oscars officially going green (albeit via carbon offset). Green itself could have gotten its own award -- perhaps for its role as "the new black." This year, however, things are ... different. For one, green didn't quite make the nominee cut (sorry, Leo). But there also hasn't been …

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Ungreen sport of golf becoming less popular in U.S.

A little birdie told us that the number of bogey men still sand-trapped in the golf club has fallen by 13 percent since 2000. By which we mean, golf is becoming less popular in the U.S. Guess it's just par for the course, as the golfing green is anything but green. If golf enthusiasts are gonna swing it, they'll need to get a grip. OK, we'll stop this w-hole golf pun thing, be-fore it gets old. Tee hee.

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A sci-fi writer and an environmental journalist explore their overlapping worlds

Pump Six and Other Stories, by Paolo Bacigalupi. Science fiction writer Paolo Bacigalupi, author of the new collection Pump Six and Other Stories, envisions a future filled with environmental terrors. His characters move through worlds transformed by climate change, genetic engineering, drought, and toxic waste -- places that seem exotic at first, but on second glance are just a few unwitting steps beyond today's headlines. As Bacigalupi's Colorado neighbor, I've watched his work evolve -- and watched with interest as he borrowed themes from environmental journalism. So I sat down with him to discuss the complicated relationship between environmental reporting …

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Umbra on house siding

Dear Umbra, I have been a homeowner for five years and gradually I am upgrading the 25-year-old house to be more green. I have finished replacing the single-pane windows with Energy Star-rated double-pane windows. Now I am turning my attention to the siding, since the roof is still in good shape. I have wood siding and there is a bit of rot (not to mention my puppy thought the house was a chew toy). I am trying to decide what is best both from an environmental standpoint as well as my budget. I know there are several siding options out …

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Kleenex boxes infiltrated by anti-logging leaflets

Planning to buy some tissues for your February sniffles? Be forewarned: Menacing notes have been found in Kleenex boxes across the U.S. and Canada. "Wiping away ancient forests," says a leaflet found by a reporter in a New York drugstore. "Here's a little secret that Kimberly-Clark, the largest tissue maker in the world and parent company of Kleenex, does not want you to know." Kimberly-Clark has long been under fire from Greenpeace for logging Canadian boreal forests and eschewing recycled fibers; while the leaflets purport to come from Greenpeace, a spokesperson says the stunt is not an official Greenpeace gag. …

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How to green your fridge

Tastes great, less energy billing. Photo: Fred Ferand Home is where the fridge is. Whether it's a top-freezer or side-by-side model, in stainless steel, bisque, or black, that big box in the kitchen is on the job 24-7, rescuing us from hunger, boredom, warm beer, and cravings for Chunky Monkey. Refrigerators made pre-2000, alas, tend to be major energy hogs that waste watts and money. Add to that the unhealthy, unsustainable stuff so many of us stock inside our refrigerators, and the big box starts looking like an eco-villain. To start reforming your fridge -- and make it earth-friendlier, inside …

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Fortune mag: widespread poverty and child labor in the cocoa-producing world

While I was waxing euphoric last week about Fair Trade and ultra-fancy chocolate ahead of Valentine's Day, interesting things were happening in the chocolate world. Regulators in Germany raided the offices of seven corporate chocolate makers -- including Nestle, Kraft, and Mars -- investigating allegations of price fixing. Six food conglomerates process half of the world's cocoa, giving them tremendous leverage on price. Usually, they use their market power to squeeze farmers in the global south; evidently, they may now be using it to squeeze consumers in the global north. Canadian and even U.S. antitrust regulators have launched similar investigations, …

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Why burning a vinyl album is a bad idea

Thursday night, a group of us Grist gals headed out to The Stranger's Valentine's Day Bash -- a yearly purge for Seattle's lovelorn wherein the wronged bring in mementos of their failed relationship and host Dan Savage destroys them on stage in some sick and twisted but totally satisfying way. (Fret not, old boyfriends, I didn't destroy anything of yours ...) Weapons of choice include a sledgehammer, a power saw, liquid nitrogen, men's urinals, a high-powered blender, and a blowtorch. But it was not the dude in a pink furry costume nor the trio of women screwed by the same …

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A breathless appraisal of Lance’s new bicycle mecca and mission

Lance Armstrong will soon unveil his 18,000-square-foot Austin-based bike shop, Mellow Johnny's (named after the Tour de France's yellow jersey -- or "maillot jaune"). The goal of the shop is to promote bike culture and bike commuting: "This city is exploding downtown. Are all these people in high rises going to drive everywhere? We have to promote (bike) commuting..." Showers and a locker room will allow commuters who don't have facilities at their offices to ride downtown, store their bikes at the shop, bathe and catch a ride on a pedicab or walk the rest of the way to work. …

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Depressing ocean news buoyed by Pam Anderson’s striptease

Walking into the office this morning, I saw this headline in bold letters on the front of the Seattle Post-Intelligencer: "Scientists fear 'tipping point' in Pacific Ocean." Then, a news search told me this: "As vast as the oceans are, almost no waters remain untouched by human activities." It's enough to make me wanna strangle myself with me old eyepatch... But then, I turned to my favorite celeb goss site, as I often do in these times of turmoil, and I found this: Former Baywatch star Pamela Anderson followed in the footsteps of French actress Brigitte Bardot on Thursday by …

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