Living

The worst job in America

Many posts on Grist detail the negative environmental impacts of factory farming and the meat and dairy industries overall. Bottom line: There is probably no personal act more effective at benefiting the environment than reducing meat consumption. But a true environmentalist must also take a hard look at the social dimensions of sustainability; again, the meat industry ranks as the worst form of abuse. As this radio show documents, slaughterhouses in America are places of such immense depravity and illegality that they are the worst places to work in the whole country. The reason these factories persist (more than 100 …

Single stream dream

Boulder, Colo. to join other cities in single stream recycling and composting

“Single stream” isn’t a euphemism for some new and detrimental Army Corps of Engineers water management program. It’s a recycling system being deployed all over the continent in cities like San Francisco, Toronto, Denver, Tucson, San Jose, Philadelphia, and Dallas. Most new recycling facilities are being built with this in mind, and Boulder, Colo. is the newest entrant to the scene thanks in large part to the leadership of grassroots non-profit recycling group Ecocycle. Single stream recycling helps cities divert 50 percent, 60 percent, even 70 percent of their waste from the landfill by allowing households to put all their …

Yaoza!

Yao Ming to serve as UNEP ‘environmental champion’

Yao Ming, Chinese basketball player extraordinaire and eco-activist green Olympian, recently agreed to be the United Nations Environmental Program’s first-ever “Environmental Champion.” Yao accepted the UNEP’s invitation the day after the Olympics opening ceremony in Beijing. Said Yao, “In my role as ‘Environmental Champion,’ I will work with governments, the private sector, and the public to promote good and effective management of our environment so we can preserve the planet for future generations.” UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner was pleased to announce that Yao would serve as the new environmental champion. He said in a press release on Saturday: “As …

More EEStor lore for the hardcore

EEStor founder says things are on track for commercial production in 2009

Those of you have have been following the EEStor saga will want to check out this new article in Technology Review and this blog post, both by Tyler Hamilton. Seems EEStor founder and CEO Dick Weir is finally starting to open up to the press, and he reports that things are on schedule for commercial production in 2009. If you don’t recall, EEStor is working on a solid-state supercapacitor — an electrical energy storage unit , or EESU — that will store three times more power than the best lithium-ion batteries on the market, charge in five minutes, last longer, …

Let's handcuff the property cops

Homeowner associations restrict eco-friendly practices in favor of aesthetics

This post comes to us via the Land Institute’s Prairie Writers Circle. —– Susana Tregobov dries clothes on a line behind her Maryland townhouse, saving energy and money. But now her homeowners association has ordered her to bring in the laundry. The crackdown came after a neighbor complained that the clothesline “makes our community look like Dundalk,” a low-income part of Baltimore. Tregobov and her husband plan to fight for their right to a clothesline, but the odds are against them. Although their state recently passed a law protecting homeowners’ rights to erect solar panels for generating electricity, it is …

Making a stink about green(ish) deodorants

Choosing a deodorant can be the pits. Upon moving to Washington, D.C., about a year ago, I quickly realized two things: Our Nation’s Capitol was built on a swamp and The Hill is called that for a reason. So biking — my chief form of transit in the city — can be quite the damp, smelly affair. After arriving at more than a few congressional hearings smelling certifiably ripe, I realized my hippie stick wasn’t cutting it anymore and decided to try out some new options. Grist’s Pick Naturally Fresh Deodorant Crystal $6.59, 4.25 oz. I spurned traditional deodorant sticks …

The people came

New York City’s inaugural Summer Streets event a big hit

StreetFilms writes … … the New York City Department of Transportation held its first Summer Streets event on Saturday by opening 7 miles of city streets to pedestrians and bike traffic only. From 7 AM to 1 PM, roads were car-free from 72nd Street to the Brooklyn Bridge with Park Avenue serving as the backbone of the route. … The general consensus was that the event succeeded beyond even the most hoped for expectations and would pass even the most pessimistic of measuring sticks. … the future will hold many more large scale street openings for pedestrians, cyclists, runners, children, …

Don't like the sound of that ...

Green music festivals losing money

Music festivals across the country are going green … but losing green in the process. By the numbers, green festivals can be both encouraging and discouraging. Jeremy Stein, one of the producers of Rothbury, which took place over the July 4 weekend, said that by composting waste, using recyclable materials for concessions and taking other basic measures, the festival was able to prevent 94 percent of the garbage from its central concert area from entering a landfill. (Fifty-five percent of the waste from the camping grounds was diverted, he said.) But doing so is not cheap. Rothbury lost money in …

IKEA invests in cleantech, may soon stock solar panels

Heading to IKEA for some meatballs and easy-to-assemble furniture? You may soon be able to pick up solar panels as well. The Swedish manufacturer plans to invest some $75 million in a handful of cleantech startups, focusing on the areas of solar energy, lighting, sustainable materials, energy efficiency, and water conservation. Ultimately, IKEA has a goal of stocking its shelves with products like ABBA smart meters and Ace of Base solar panels (OK, we made up the names). Any cleantech products offered by IKEA, which hosts half a billion shoppers in its 270 stores in 35 countries each year, will …

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