Living

Pollution

Ask Umbra: Where do chemical-sucking plants go to die?

Some plants remove nasty contaminants from the soil. What happens to those leafy overachievers when their time is up? Umbra explores.

Cities

Austin gets a super swank zero-energy suburb

How do you build a (nearly) net-zero-energy suburb in 2008, at the nadir of the economic crash, when no bank in the country is convinced you’ll be able to sell your more energy-efficient but pricier homes?

Living

Compost gets you high

“I’m holding a bowl of dirt up to my nose, in hopes of getting high on the fumes of my backyard compost pile.” That’s Pagan Kennedy’s lede for an Atlantic story on the mind-bending properties of M. vaccae, a compost-dwelling …

Green Home

This house is so tiny it fits in your pocket

Two hundred square feet? SO last year. The newest tiny house folds up to fit in your pocket.

Living

The Muppets take on Fox News

Fox News thinks the Muppets have a bias against oil companies. The Muppets point out they spent the movie DRIVING TO FRANCE IN A CAR (uh, spoiler alert). Also, Miss Piggy does not much care for Murdoch and his enterprises:

Green Living Tips

Ask Umbra: Is it OK to pour beer down the drain?

A reader wonders about how to dispose of unwanted beer. Umbra considers everything and the kitchen sink.

Food

Spoil sport: How I learned to stop worrying and love the dumpster

Armed with suggestions from readers, Grist’s green-living pioneer went back to the trash bins in search of sustenance. This time, she emerged with a spread fit for a king.

Living

New toilet paper is recycled and brown, and that’s not QUITE as gross as it sounds

So if you were going to make a recycled toilet paper, would you make a huge deal about it being brown? Is that really the color that will evoke the most pleasant images when paired with the phrase “recycled toilet …

Living

Earth Liberation Front documentary gets Oscar nomination

The list of Oscar nominees was released this morning, and among the five films up for best documentary feature is If a Tree Falls: A Story of the Earth Liberation Front. The doc follows the story of so-called “eco-terrorists” who …