Living

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 …

Come Fry With Me

A sizzling test of seven eco-sunscreen brands

Ah, summer. It’s here at last! Before you rush out to revel in the rays, you’ll (of course) slather on some sun protection. Since you know the problems with conventional sunscreens — which range from coral bleaching to hormone disruption — you’ll choose a brand that’s better for your body and the planet. But which ones really work? The living? Yeah, it’s easy. Over the last several weeks, Grist staffers scooped up several of the readily available eco-brands — four sunscreens, which protect by absorbing ultraviolet rays, and five sunblocks, which provide a physical barrier on your skin — and …

Not so bright

Why you shouldn’t recycle that bright-orange paper

One of the thorniest questions I used to get as a recycling educator for the awesome grassroots recycling company EcoCycle in Boulder, Colo., was why ‘astrobright’ papers weren’t recyclable. You know this stuff: the super-dyed paper used by everyone from bands to Girl Scouts to make posters announcing their bake sales and death-metal guitar battles. It’s often bright orange, but also comes in every other shade imaginable. The dye used to make these papers is so bright that it has the effect of washing your white clothes with one dark blue T shirt and are hence called ‘beater dyes’ — …

Must-see TV on ABC tonight — “Earth 2100: Is this the Final Century of our Civilization?

Tonight at 9 pm on ABC, “Bob Woodruff explores what might be the worst case scenario for civilization.” Hurray for the mainstream media exploring the worst-case scenario aka Hell and High Water! I am very interested in your thoughts on this show — before and after. One of the most commented on posts of this year was “How likely is it that Global Warming will destroy human civilization within the next century?” You can see video excerpts and viewer submissions on what looks to be an excellent website: Experts say over the next hundred years the “perfect storm” of population …

Talking Trash

‘Garbage Dreams’ explores life in Cairo’s garbage villages

Eighteen million people live in Cairo. They produce 13,000 tons of garbage every day, and they have no waste disposal system. Ew. Mai Iskander presents Al Gore with a drawing made by the children at The Recycling School in Cairo.Courtesy Garbage Dreams via FlickrBut the trash also presents an opportunity. For the past 50 years, one group of people in Cairo has made its living collecting and recycling one- to two-thirds of Cairo’s residential waste. Profiled in Mai Iskander’s new documentary film, “Garbage Dreams,” the Zaballeen — Arabic for garbage collectors — daily whisk trash bags from doorsteps in Cairo’s …

Come sail away

Around the Americas mission raises sails — and awareness

Photo: Sarah van SchagenSomewhere off Canada’s Pacific Coast, the wind is filling the colorful octopus-adorned sails of the Good Ship Ocean Watch as it weaves its way clockwise around North and South America on a “voyage of discovery.” Manning that ship is a crew of seasoned sailors, educators, scientists, and writers — with a singular, overarching goal in mind: “raising awareness about important ocean conservation and marine science issues.” But Around the Americas isn’t your average awareness-raising campaign, Captain Mark Schrader explained as his crew readied the boat for their inaugural launch May 31 from Seattle’s Shilshole Marina. “We’re trying …

You Finn some, you lose some

Grist profiled in Finnish paper — read all about it

These editors have begun to slightly hack.Photo: Tom Clements/Vihrea Lanka Grist recently found itself the focus of a feature story in a Finnish newspaper under the headline “Tässä ei ole mitään hauskaa.” We were briefly flattered, as all those umlauts struck us as quite sophisticated, and we’re pretty much suckers for any outside attention. Until we ran the story through Google Translate, which interpreted the headline thusly: “This is not funny.” Ouch. Let’s hope something was lost in translation. It continues: “Will climate change laughs? Humor is a can, and sugar, with online magazine Grist may be the Americans to …

Trampling the rainforest

Greenpeace: your boots are made for climate change

These boots are made for … trampling the rainforest? A lot of eco-minded folks these days generally know where their food comes from. They’d never walk into a supermarket and plunk an anonymous ribeye into their cart. They understand the tremendous greenhouse-gas footprint of beef; if they consume it at all, they do so sparingly, buying directly from nearby farmers who manage their land well. But what about shoes? What about dog chew toys–and car interiors? Leather furniture? Food is only one part of our material culture that comes from agriculture. And these other agricultural products, too, emerge from processes …

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