Living

Jam session

I find my thrill in blueberry preserves–and so can you

As we approach the summer solstice, long, hot days spur a growth frenzy in the garden. That explosion of fertility produces the excesses that I live for. I love being swamped by 100 pounds of the fragile soft fruits of summer. It is a race against time. I must work quickly in order to get the fruit processed while it is at its prime. There is no satisfaction quite like turning the problem of too large a harvest, bound for the compost heap, into a prized condiment that will brighten the rest of the year. Have you pancakes and eat …

Welcome to the JP Green House

In which we chronicle the creation of a groundbreaking eco-home

Editor’s note: This month, Grist contributor Ken Ward and his partner Andrée Zaleska begin chronicling their conversion of a rundown, 100-year-old store into a green home that serves as both family living quarters and a public space for climate activism, green building education, and community gatherings. Recently, I visited the pair for a tour of the space — and an up-close glimpse of their dreams. When the JP Green House is finished, it will be a marvel to behold. From the eco-insulation to the stage for community performances, from the backyard beekeeping to the front-stoop organizing, the house will be …

Mother Earth? Try Father Earth

Slideshow: Green dads we heart

When it comes to eco-parenting, mothers tend to get the spotlight — everything from cultural references (Mother Earth and Mother Nature, anyone?) to marketing blitzes (hello, Big Green Purse!). But there are plenty of fathers out there doing their part for both progeny and planet. We showcase a few of them here, including our own Grist staff dads.

Sparkling Wit

Ask Umbra on rinse aids

Send your question to Umbra! Q. Dearest Umbra, While pleased as pie to have a new super-efficient dishwasher, I remain curious as to the chemical composition of the required rinse aid. This dishwasher relies on a hot water rinse and its stainless steel tub to somehow dry the dishes — there is no energy-sucking, plastic-melting heating element to accomplish dryness. However, this dishwasher will not run unless its rinse aid receptacle is filled. While I could probably trick it by filling the rinse aid reservoir with water … that would seem likely to promote unsightly spotting. While I enjoy the …

On pins and needles

Fiber Arctic show ties crafty art to climate change

“Ice Cold” by Kris GarlandPhoto: Sarah van SchagenGlobal warming got you in stitches? Trying to understand all the tightly knit issues by looking for common threads? Weave your way down to Schmancy (part of the “trilogy of awesome“) in Seattle, Wash., for an artsy display of embroidery, quilting, felting, and otherwise fiber-fab interpretations of the Arctic’s plight. The Fiber Arctic show, on display through July 9, features sculpted icebergs, sequined whales, stranded polar bears, and one very sassy reindeer. Though Schmancy regularly hosts group shows, this one was unique in terms of the environmental theme, offering the artists more of …

Short Answer: Yes

Quiz: Should I see the critically acclaimed documentary ‘Food, Inc.’?

A quiz, dear Grist reader, to determine if you should see the new documentary ‘Food, Inc.‘ (You start with 0 points. Total your points as you answer the questions.): Farmer Joel Salatin of Polyface Farm in Virginia.Photo: Food, Inc. Do you eat food? Yes, three-square meals a day. Add 1 million points. No, I’m not into that right now. Subtract 50 points. Have you read The Ominvore’s Dilemma? Yes, I loved it.  I own a signed first edition, and I have a poster of Michael Pollan in my bedroom. I can probably recite the text of the 2008 Farm Bill …

Roberts' Rules of Offspring

This Father’s Day, don’t be green — be good

Aim high.With Father’s Day looming, it’s my duty to come up with related content on Grist, and I’ve been giving a lot of thought to how we should best mark the occasion. A list of eco-friendly gift ideas? Nah, we did that last year — plus with all the other lists of eco-friendly Father’s Day gifts out there, that’s getting almost as stale as the classic tie-or-hankie conundrum anyway. Maybe a round-up of our parenting advice? Like our Ask Umbra columns on diaperless parenting and the never-ending diaper ado and recycling car seats. Or our whole special series on parenting …

Best Served Cold

A tasting of seven organic ice cream flavors

This is part one of a two-part series on organic ice cream; look for our review of select non-dairy brands later this month. In my four-plus decades on this planet, I’ve gone through many transformations. One constant has been a devotion to ice cream. Tastes like heaven.Somewhere, there exists a photo of three-year-old me with an ice cream cone rammed into my face, which is marked with splotches of Rocky Road. My expression is focused, beatific, like a religious fanatic at prayer. To this day, I remember howls of adult laughter echoing around me. I didn’t give a damn — …

Lazy Eye

Can a lazy environmentalist really change the world?

“You can guilt-trip me and you can moralize and you can gloom-and-doom about it, but there are probably certain behaviors I have that I’m just not going to change. But if you presented me with solutions … if we can figure out ways to reduce my impact — that I can afford — great! I’m going to do them … I don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing, but I think that this is the reality and there are probably hundreds of millions of Americans who feel like I do. I’m a lazy environmentalist.”– Josh Dorfman And thus was born …

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