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A fool and his money

I'm guessing these people just want attention, so I'll give them a little: Conservative grassroots group Grassfire.org wants people to waste as much energy as possible on June 12 by "hosting a barbecue, going for a drive, watching television, leaving a few lights on, or even smoking a few cigars." But only a little.

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City residents emit less CO2, study says

Residents of the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States emit less carbon dioxide pollution per capita than the U.S. average, according to a new study. The Brookings Institution analyzed data on household and transportation energy use and found that the average U.S. resident was responsible for about 2.87 tons of carbon pollution a year, but that residents of the U.S.'s 100 largest metro areas had footprints of just 2.47 tons a year on average. Among the 100 largest cities, Honolulu residents were responsible for the least per capita emissions: about 1.5 tons per person per year. Lexington, Ky., …

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Heating heaven

Early appearances of climate change in popular literature

Last week, I picked up a copy of the newly reissued 1971 Ursula Le Guin classic The Lathe of Heaven, which takes place in dystopic, post-collapse Portland, Ore., circa 2002 or so. It's typical brilliance from Le Guin, of whom I can't read enough, but I was interested to see that the novel begins by describing Mt. Hood devoid of snow due to the greenhouse effect. The climate is entirely different from that of the 1960s, with blue skies a thing of the past and rainfall patterns completely shifted. It's the earliest "popular literature" mention of global warming I've come …

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Recount

I watched Recount last night, and my god, it is a gut punch.

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Michigan WIC whacks organic

Evidently, women, infants, and children in need don’t deserve organic

The Women, Infants, and Children program provides food aid to "low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk," according to the USDA website. The federal government funds the program through grants to states, which then decide how to allocate the cash. Evidently, in Michigan -- a state undergoing severe economic strain -- some bureaucrats have bought into the whole notion that organic food is a luxury for the elite. Check out this extraordinary document [PDF]. It lists product after product available to Michigan WIC …

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Confirmed it through the grapevine

Brangelina drink to life on an organic vineyard

Back in August, we hinted at the possibility that Brad and Ange were looking to sample some eco-friendly wineries. But now we've heard official word (through the grapevine) that they've chosen a lovely organic variety in the south of France. The Jolie-Pitts have purchased Château Miraval, a 1,000-acre property featuring two swimming pools, two gyms, 20 fountains, a lake, a moat, and a lush organic vineyard. The $60 million estate also includes 35 bedrooms -- presumably enough to house Maddox, Zahara, Pax, Shiloh, twin #1, twin #2, and the 29 other children the Brangelina clan have on order.

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Miles Outlandish

How to green your commute

Greening your life in lots of areas is a relatively simple affair, involving you, your conscience, and your wallet. Greening your commute is a tad bit more complicated, involving you, your conscience, and your job -- that annoyingly mandatory life entity that puts scratch in the aforementioned wallet. Complicating matters further, the eco-level of your commute depends to a great extent on where you live. It's one thing to rideshare in New York or Chicago. In Shelby, Mont., it's quite another -- unless, that is, you don't mind hitching lifts on tractors and 18-wheelers. This doesn't mean you should kick …

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Gonna wash that orangutan right out of my hair

New website shows which shampoos, foods kill lovable primates

While doing the research for a Los Angeles Times op-ed about the dangers and prevalence of palm oil, I came across a great new website from the Rainforest Action Network. It lists hundreds of products that contain this orangutan-killer. (In case you haven't been following palm oil coverage on Grist and elsewhere, rainforests -- the homes of the orangutans and many other rare creatures -- are being destroyed at the fastest rate in history in Indonesia and Malaysia to make way for palm oil plantations, accounting for between four and eight percent of annual global greenhouse-gas emissions.) The site, The …

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Jason Mraz sings the praises of a simpler life

Jason Mraz is strumming up support for sustainability. Jason Mraz may still be the geek in the pink, but these days, the pop-rock-rhymer is hoping to distance himself from his cigarette-puffin', girl-chasin' past and move toward a simpler, more sustainable life. Since returning from his Mr. A-Z tour two years ago, Mraz has focused his attention on greener, non-music-related pastures. Last year, he partnered with two friends to launch Blend Apparel, a line of bamboo T-shirts. This year, he'll publish his first book, printed on Forest Stewardship Council-certified paper that's 20 percent recycled and wood-free. The book also happens to …

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