Living

How about water hockey?

Canadian activist warns warming could cripple winter sports

Vancouverite David Suzuki and his namesake foundation surface in the U.S. news from time to time, typically through climate initiatives and ocean conservation initiatives such as its estimate of the carbon impact of the 2010 Winter Olympics. But for our Northern neighbors, the 73-year-old Suzuki is a household name. He’s become the Canada’s preeminent environmental activist — David Roberts likened him to the Canadian Al Gore. At this weeks’ World Conference on Sport and the Environment, I asked some youngish Canucks about his first claim to fame. They weren’t sure, they said.  He’s sort of always been around. (The often-helpful …

Snot Your Problem

Umbra on composting mucus and other conundra

Dear Umbra, My girlfriend and I are having a bit of a disagreement. When she is in the kitchen she uses paper towels to wipe her nose. She then proceeds to put the used paper towel into the compost bin in the kitchen. I’m sure that the microbes and worms in the compost pile could care less, but when I empty the bin into the pile it is gross to have to remove the snot-filled paper towels from the container. She doesn’t understand why I find this to be gross. Thoughts? Matt D.State College, Penn. Dearest Readers, Blowin’ in the …

The Grist List, 27 March 2009

From Edge to Energy

Photo: Samira Khan via Flickr. On EdgeNeighbors of U2 guitarist The Edge are Malibu-hooing about his real estate plans that involve leveling One Tree Hill (and causing eco-worries in the process). Too bad he’s probably gonna move forward on the deal with or without view. (Click below to see the next item in this week’s Grist List — or view them all on a single page.)              

Punch your lights out

Hit the switch for Earth Hour this Saturday

CFLs everywhere will go dark Saturday night for the global Earth Hour event scheduled for 8:30 p.m. local time (wherever your locality happens to be). The aim of the annual effort — brought to us by the folks who invented Outback Steakhouse — is to make a “statement of concern about climate change,” rather than, say, save a few watts. Hollywood sets, national landmarks, and more than 2,000 cities worldwide have pledged to go dark to help bring solutions to light. (What a turn-off!) For Earth Hour to make a difference, though, there’s gotta be big participation, and this year, …

You bin had

Seattle updates recycling rules

Seattle’s adding a fourth “R” to the “reduce, reuse, recycle” mantra: required. Starting Monday, all single-family homes in the city will be required to sign up (and pay) for food/yard-waste service — though, curiously, not required to actually use it. The city is hoping to boost recycling stats to 60 percent of total waste — and avoid building a third transfer station. More items will be recyclable, including milk cartons, paper and plastic cups, and aluminum foil; glass items no longer have to separated; and all food scraps (even meat, fish, and dairy) can go into the food/yard-waste bin. Plan …

Press release fun

Just got a press release that begins thusly: David, Who knew that saving the earth could be as simple as switching brands of paper towels, napkins, facial or bath tissue? And I’d been so worried!

A Green Festivus for the rest of us

Green Festival hits Seattle

Seattle’s Green Fest may be lacking feats of strength and the airing of grievances, but there’s plenty else to do when this “party with a purpose” hits the PacNW this weekend. Listen as presenters including actor Danny Glover, Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels, and celeb-foodie Alice Waters offer thoughts on everything from racism to the green economy; see what’s cookin’ at the PCC recipe demo stage; or just mosey through the exhibit hall collecting bits of wisdom and free stuff. Festival passes range from $10-15, but the experience (and the gratis gewgaws) are priceless! And if you’re headed to the festival …

Each In Its Place

Umbra on burning wood and gas

Hey Umbra, I’m from Quebec and there is a movement underway to prohibit the new installation of wood burning fireplaces. I’m curious about how much carbon is produced by burning a cord of wood in a fireplace, compared to a tank of gasoline burned by an automobile. Ron F.Montreal, Quebec How does firewood stack up?   Dearest Ron, Greetings from the less-frozen south, where I can now see actual expanses of dead grass. I read a little about the wood stove/fireplace ban you mention. Quebec’s gripe with wood heat seems to be the resultant particulate matter, not carbon emissions. But …

Here Comes the Airplane

Putting organic baby foods to the test

Mmm. When I had my son last year, I wasn’t lulled into thinking his body was a pure, unsullied canvas. I knew that babies are born polluted and that breast milk is full of rocket fuel. Still, it’s nice to maintain the illusion of purity, so as not to go completely insane. So I buy organic baby food, and I’m not alone: by 2007, parents were spending $116 million on organics for their babies, a 21.6 percent increase from the previous year alone. Though that’s still a small slice of the $3.6 billion baby food pie, it’s nothing to sneeze …

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