The Grist List: From Poo to Potato

A loo that turns poo into fuel, and more

LooWatt LooWatt, oh baby, me gotta goMeet the LooWatt: a waterless eco-commode made from poop that turns your #1 and #2 into CH4. It’s the diaper genie of the sustainability set.  

Bone of Contention

Ask Umbra on meating your needs

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Hi Umbra, I was shopping in the commissary (our lovely military grocery store) this afternoon when I noticed the “reduced for quick sale” meat section. [As a former vegetarian], I literally feel the weight of the world when I buy meat … but when I saw this meat, it occurred to me that it was going to be thrown away within the next day or two if someone did not purchase it. To me, this is a worse crime: To have had that animal suffer a cruel factory farm existence only to have its …

Would you like frogs with that?

Frogs in the forest: the new canaries in the coal mine

Dr. Kerry Kriger cracks a smile during his visit to Grist’s Seattle HQ.Russ Walker / GristOn Tuesday, the staff at Grist devoured frogs for lunch.  Well, not exactly. We sat down with conservation biologist Dr. Kerry Kriger of the newly minted nonprofit Save the Frogs! — one of several stops he’s making in Seattle during a country-wide speaking tour. As one of the lone voices raising the alarm for amphibians, Kriger dished about the worst disease ever to hit wildlife, why it’s such a big deal that one-third of amphibians are threatened with extinction, and just how many people actually …

It Might as Well Be Spring

Ask Umbra on sparkling water

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dearest Umbra, We and our colleagues use sparkling water as our substitute for cokes, coffee, beer, etc. We have heard some really bad things about bottled water, and are of course aware of the fact that it is up to 10,000 times more expensive than tap water. But oh those sparkles … can you share your astute opinion and a comparison of the brands of sparkling waters with us? (Our favorite happens to be La Croix.) We’re pro-rivers and clean water, but we don’t want to steal other people’s. Cheers, Liz and Cindy Alabama …

Crazy About Carseats But Not Climate?

Child safety? A Father’s Day call for a longer view

Every year around this time, the father in me starts thinking deep thoughts about why I’ve dedicated my career to environmental awareness and, in particular, helping people who don’t consider themselves activists understand why environmental issues should matter to them. In more recent years, it’s morphed into an almost singular focus for me on why the climate crisis should matter to all of us. For me, it’s simple. It’s the kids. As a parent, I want to do everything I can to make sure my kids are exposed to fewer hazards than I was. I always laugh when my own …

Candid Cameron

Cameron Diaz films eco-documentary, takes on role as planet’s publicist

“How do we make this little planet of ours a big star?” asks actress Cameron Diaz in the cover story of Marie Claire‘s July issue. “The planet needs a publicist.” And this bubbly blonde is just the gal for the job. She’s long been an environmental activist — running around with an MTV video crew for her 2005 show Trippin’, which took her to exotic locales all over the world — but it wasn’t until she attended the TED conference recently that she really felt the push to do something a bit more serious. These days, she’s doing a lot …

It Could Be Verse

Climate-news poem: apocalypse edition

This here is a cinquain! My seventh-grade teacher would be so proud. Check out the growing collection of weekly climate-news poems. Report: We’re in trouble. Frost, blight, drought, pests, high seas. We should move to safer ground now! But where? NOAA chief Jane Lubchenco and Obama science adviser John Holdren unveiled the government’s new, massive report on climate change impacts.Kate Sheppard / Grist

Going bananas

Can we be ‘green’ and eat tropical products, too?

In Checkout Line, Lou Bendrick cooks up answers to reader questions about how to green their food choices and other diet-related quandaries. Lettuce know what food worries keep you up at night. ———————- Is your green cred slipping? Dear Checkout Line,We try to buy local food whenever we can. Some things just seem doomed to have air miles on them, though. Is there anywhere in the U.S. that can grow bananas? Or coffee and tea?Best,Pat Dear Pat,Personal confession: If frequent-flyer miles were assigned to my coffee habit, I could probably commute from New England to Tibet for free. After doing …

The House Doctors Are In

Symptom: High utility bills; Diagnosis: Full energy efficiency workup

Photo illustration by Tom Twigg / Grist The red Honda Fit from a local car-sharing service pulls into the driveway of a suburban San Francisco Bay-area home, and two clean-cut young guys in khaki jump out and start unloading a Ghostbusters array of gadgets — something resembling a giant black megaphone, a glowing tube attached to a video screen, and a handheld device that looks like it was pilfered from Dr. McCoy’s sick bay. Meet the “greenup” team from Sustainable Spaces, a four-year-old San Francisco firm that conducts residential energy audits and energy efficiency retrofits to shrink a home’s carbon …

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