So Long, Saturn

I sold my car, and I couldn’t be happier … I think

It’s all yours.iStockI recently committed a subversive act: I sold my car, and I’m not buying a new one. I’d thought that I’d feel virtuous and free — and I do — but it’s turned out to be a bit more complicated than that. Never too attached to my particular car, I considered it transportation, not a reflection of who I am. My job as an environmental reporter has taught me about the hazards of car ownership, from pollution and materials waste to sprawling, disconnected communities to oil politics — even obesity. Yet in spite of living for 14 years …

One Word, Infinite Possibilities

Plastic bags get a new life in Jerusalem

Read more about Eric Pallant’s West Bank wanderings in his story about keynoting a green-building conference there. There is a hamsin today, so the wind is whipping hot Saharan air and dust across the landscape. Despite the limited visibility, I can see that the cities that string south back from Ramallah, where I lectured at Birzeit University, to Jerusalem are well-kept and orderly. Palestinian military personnel stand in pairs every few miles. There is no trash in the street or in yards. Tall apartment buildings are tidy; no laundry is hanging from windows the way it does in Israeli tenements. …

Love Your Mother(s)

Gobs of green ideas for Mother’s Day

Look, Ma, no pesticides!iStock OK, it’s one thing to say Screw Earth Day, but there are some holidays you just don’t toy with. We know enough to leave Mother’s Day alone. You don’t have to pull this car over. In honor of the day, we hereby present great green gift ideas for ma. Not that you still need a gift, what with having procured the perfect item several weeks ago. But, you know, just in case: Check out our exclusive Mother’s Day eco-gift guide, covering everything from totes to treats Find out why you should buy organic flowers (and really …

The Grist List

From Uranus to You’re Welcome

Fancy pants These little eco-friendly “soy shorts” are made from tofu by-products, allowing you to help save planet earth starting with Uranus. (Click below to see the next item in this week’s Grist List—or view them all on a single page.)

Flushed Away

For some eco-pioneers, solving the sludge problem means getting their hands dirty

Part 3 of Grist’s special series on poop. Laura Allen, a 33-year-old teacher from Oakland, California, has a famous toilet. To be honest, it’s actually a box, covered in decorative ceramic tiles, sitting on the cement floor of her bathroom like a throne. No pipes lead to or from it; instead, a bucket full of shavings from a local wood shop rests on the box next to the seat with a note instructing users to add a scoopful after making their “deposit.” Essentially an indoor outhouse, it’s a composting toilet, a sewerless system that Allen uses to collect her household’s …

Where in the world is the junk wall?

Behind the scenes at Fortune Brainstorm Green 2009

What’s better than attending the Fortune Brainstorm Green 2009 and hearing Ford Chairman Bill Ford and Founder and CEO of A Better Place Shai Agassi speak? Shaking hands with Former President Bill Clinton, of course!  Not too shabby for a couple of days in Orange County.  Beyond the speakers and the networking, the artistic angle of the conference was phenomenal. “Ultimately, it was the most comfortable and eye-pleasing conference I’ve ever attended.” Herman Miller Who would have thought that a chair could be chique, ergonomic, and green all at the same time? Herman Miller did. “One of Fortune’s Most Admired …

Zac and Forth

Catching up with eco-model Summer Rayne Oakes

We first profiled Summer Rayne Oakes in 2006, introducing readers to a belly-baring, sludge-loving 22-year-old with “superhuman ambition” and a moniker that was just too fitting to be made up. Since then, Oakes has been a loyal friend to Grist; she’s done occasional fashion blogging for us, and she participated in one of our fundraising appeals. Now, a month shy of her 25th birthday, she’s almost too busy to breathe. This spring saw the launch of a shoe line and a book, and she has spoken at venues ranging from the Fashion Institute of Technology to the Fair Trade Expo …

Use the Course

Ask Umbra on hydro power at home

Q. Dear Umbra, Please tell me you didn’t just imply that hydroelectric is a clean energy source. You didn’t just say that, did you? Brian K.Eugene, Ore. You’ve got the power in your hands.iStockA. Dearest Brian, In my recent column on living off the grid, I pledged to discuss micro-hydro as a power source for homeowners. Your question, which dates from a while back, is the most related I could find in my inbox — although it sets a bit of a sad and awkward tone. As Brian suggests, large-scale hydropower is a renewable energy source that does have problems. …

A change (a change!) would do you good

Is ‘lifestyle change’ to be feared?

Brad Plumer has a nice little video over at TNR today, playing off Oregon governor Ted Kulongoski’s comment that meeting our climate goals will mean cutting back on consumption and consumerism — that is, it will require the dread “lifestyle changes.” Brad notes that efficiency and renewable power don’t necessarily force any lifestyle changes. (A vacuum cleaner that uses less electricity, and gets its electricity from wind power, is still a vacuum cleaner — you still vacuum with it.) There may be some, particularly in transportation (smaller cars), but a low-carbon America will look a lot like a high-carbon America, …

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