Living

Food

Meet James McWilliams, meat-industry defender — and aggrieved vegan?

James McWilliams has made a career of defending the food industry from what he sees as its hysterical, unreasonable critics (such as yours truly). At several points, this mission has led him to defend industrial meat. All of this makes …

Living

Ask Umbra’s Book Club: Does caring about the environment make you crazy?

Umbra kicks off discussion of her Book Club pick, Freedom, with a video of Jonathan Franzen talking about the mental toll of caring for the environment.

Climate & Energy

How can clean electrons compete with dirty electrons?

One of the most fundamental challenges facing clean power is that, to put it simply, electrons are electrons. Power from a solar power plant, once it enters the transmission system, is indistinguishable from coal, nuclear, or natural gas power. To …

Cities

Increasing consumer demand in China won't save us

In a much-celebrated recent article, ace reporter David Leonhardt argues that China can bail out the U.S. by transforming itself into the "world's next great consumer society." Given the specter of climate change, is this really the best way out …

Food

Salad in snowy winter [VIDEO]

I visit Dragsmith Farms, which grows organic vegetables and micro-greens all year round. Although heated greenhouses are a sustainable no-no, a salad in December is a treat.

Food

FoodTubes wants to take food distribution back to the future

The brainchild of "a consortium of academics, project planners, and engineers," FoodTubes wants to move our fossil-fuel based transport system underground.

Food

New Agtivist: Chris Chaisson wants to root around in your cellar

Chris Chaisson and Whole Farm Services offer farmers, gardeners, and communities an array of very old-school -- now very hip -- crop storage services. From root cellars to ice houses, these technologies may just become integral to a sustainable food …

Living

Ask Umbra on living holiday trees and other options

What?s the most sustainable sapling to celebrate with? Ask Umbra?s holiday primer on live trees, cut trees, fake trees, and more will settle the score

Cities

Smart readers weigh in on behavior change

A couple weeks ago, I wrote a post on behavior change that prompted a lot of great feedback and discussion. I've picked out a few interesting bits and pieces from the thread to highlight and respond to.