Living

Mercury (Legislation) Rising

Mercury bill clears major hurdle

Great news – we’re one giant step closer to ending needless mercury pollution from chlorine plants in the United States. On Wednesday, the Mercury Pollution Reduction Act (HR 2190) passed a subcommittee vote that allows it to now be considered by the U.S. House of Representatives’ Energy and Commerce committee. The majority of bills die, unsung, in subcommittees. Now the act, which would phase out mercury pollution from chlorine plants within two years of its passage, has a very good fighting chance at becoming law. In the process, two amendments that would have seriously crippled this important bill were defeated. …

Pizza party!

How to turn your backyard into the best pizzeria in town

Photo: Whitney BrownWhat is it about the flicker of a flame, the crackle of burning wood, and the wafting clouds of wood smoke that enchant us so? Combine an outdoor fire with a spring breeze dancing on one’s skin and the sound of leaves rustling in the trees, and merriment abounds. The effect is liberating; the appeal is elemental. Add delicious, smoke-kissed food, and you have a wholly sensory experience. All of my favorite food experiences take place outdoor over a hardwood fire: oyster roasts, hickory-smoked barbecue, and wood-fired pizza. I have come to believe that my happiness and well-being …

Are you for real?

Eat real. Eat local. Eat … Hellmann’s Mayo?

The website is abysmal, full of Flash-animated chaos and tabs that bring up one-line slogans. The message is … twisted. For some reason, Hellmann’s Mayonnaise, a U.S.-based subsidiary of European processed-food behemoth Unilever, has seen fit to subject Canada (Canada?) to an eat-local campaign. Analyzing this bizarre development transcends my gifts as a social critic. To properly parse what’s going on here, you’d have to revive Marshall McLuhan, and genetically modify his brain with DNA from Orwell, Machiavelli, and maybe even propaganda king Goebbels. But I can tell you this: our neighbors to the north don’t need lectures on local …

The Grist List: From Koala to Cap

Lingerie model nudie by nature, and more

Nudie by natureLingerie model Miranda Kerr says she “decided to go au naturel to raise awareness of the environment, specifically koalas.” Well, we’re not sure what her Aussie Stone cover is doing for the koalas, but it’s sure raising a whole lot of something.   (Click below to see the next item in this week’s Grist List—or view them all on a single page.)          

Same Batshit Channel

The digital TV conversion is here — are you e-ready?

We interrupt your life to bring you this reminder: By June 12, all television signals in the U.S. will be digital. Seriously. So here’s an e-guide to ease your mind. Wait, WTF is happening again? The signals from all TV stations, which were analog for decades, will now be digital. This transition actually began in 1996, when Congress gave each station an extra channel for digital transmission. There are three official reasons for the full transition: first and foremost, it frees up analog airspace for public-safety purposes; second, it frees up some space for wireless companies; and third, it will …

Goode Will

George Will hates greens, cartoons … and shopping

Shrewdly waiting until the buzz died down, George Will weighed in today on Mike Judge’s The Goode Family. His verdict: It sorta sucks, but thank god someone’s taking environmentalists down a peg. Let’s take a look at my paragraph-by-paragraph CliffsNotes version of his column: Too many people are asking “us” to save the planet. The media is in on it. The “incessant hectoring” of the “media-political complex” inspired Judge’s show. Drat, it’s too bad cartoons are an effective medium. But it’s great that this cartoon is helping to burst the green bubble. Summary of show and characters. The New York …

Bonnaroo's Green Footprint

An interview with cellist Ben Sollee, who will bike to Bonnaroo

Nestled into a lush farm in Manchester, Tennessee, the blockbuster Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival will roll out an impressive set of sustainability green goals as a backdrop for its amazing slate of shows next weekend, June 11-14. The great lineup notwithstanding—from Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band to Wilco—acclaimed cellist and crooner Ben Sollee may stand out as a singular act in reducing the festival’s carbon footprint. Selected as an NPR Top Ten new artist to watch, Sollee’s unique work has been hailed as a blend of Al Green’s soulful pipes with Yo Yo Ma’s original string compositions. …

Treacherous waters

A new tool for navigating around overfishing and mercury taint

Chart by Neil Banas. Here’s a PDF version.   Not long ago, I arrived at a fishmonger (Carrboro, N.C.’s Tom’s Seafood) just before closing time looking for a main course — preferably one that didn’t wouldn’t contribute to stripping the oceans bare or addle my tired brain with lashings of mercury (courtesy of coal-fired power plants). The workers were breaking down the counter and trying to get out of there — but indicated they’d be happy to serve me. “What’s fresh and from around the North Carolina coast?” I asked the woman behind the counter. She didn’t hesitate. “This tilefish …

Bra Va

Ask Umbra on eco-undies

Q. Dear Umbra, I’ve converted myself to clothing made in the USA, hemp, organic cotton, etc. The issue I am struggling with is the panties and bras. I am a 34D, and I need a decent amount of support. Even sports bras do me no justice (I usually wear my regular bra under them when I mountain bike or hike). Are there any good alternatives for bras and undies? Any advice would be helpful. Coree A. Dearest Coree, Underwear and socks are sticking points in the overall attempt to make a greener wardrobe. Buying other people’s discarded bras and underpants …