Society

Bringing solar to the masses

Ages ago, Grist ran an interview with Anya Schoolman, a neighborhood activist who organized her Washington, D.C., community into a solar co-op. By forming a coaltion, the group was able to run a daunting gauntlet on the way to installing solar panels on 50 homes. Together, homeowners successfully lobbied for changes in local regulations, forged an agreement with their power… read more →

Repeat after me

In a former life I was a journalist for a national radio news program. Stories about the environment were always difficult to put on air. Whether the topic was rainforests, pollution, ozone, endangered species or one of so many other things that falls to the Environment Desk, we always struggled to make it sound interesting and relevant. The truth is,… read more →

Riding in bike commuter heaven

A welcome side benefit of attending the UN climate talks in Copenhagen earlier this month was the chance to see and experience the city’s legendary support for bicycling. Even in the dead of winter when daylight lasted only seven hours and snow settled over the streets, cyclists of all ages were out in force (see my Biking in Copenhagen photos).… read more →

Holiday cheer: miracle family tours U.S. on bike built for five

Via Streetsblog, I stumbled across the story of the Pedouins, a family of five on a 7,000-mile bike trip from Kentucky to Alaska on a custom-built tandem. Pedouin is a mash-up of pedal + bedouin, I believe, an appropriate moniker for this family of cycling nomads. In addition to mom and dad, the Pedouins consist of Robin, Jasmine, and Cheyenne… read more →

Vampires always available

I discovered a vampire at my house. Not a sexy Edward/Eric/Bill type, alas; mine was downright ugly and acted more like an Alaskan mosquito or a leech. I’m talking about an electricity vampire, a device that sucks power from the wall when it’s turned off. My big bad ugly one: the digital video recorder. The problem with smart-programmable DVRs like… read more →

Fertility rates and climate change

Population, my least favorite topic, is back in the news as the focus of a recent United Nations report that examines the links between gender and climate change. Amid calls for significantly more research into the topic, the report once again points out that improved access to reproductive health services and better economic opportunities for women could have a massive… read more →

Refuting the carbon offset guilt myth — again

On a day when President Obama and President Hu announced new U.S.-China climate agreements in Beijing, the editors at the New York Times chose to give front-page visibility to a story that criticizes carbon offsets. Surely history will judge the progress announced by the American and Chinese leaders as more significant than the offset story. But the prominence of the… read more →

Brother Entropy

Because I'm pretty sure no one actually reads anything on this web site over Thanksgiving, I'm outsourcing today's effort to the ever-funny Dinosaur Comics, today delivering a timely message about man's relationship to the natural world. Click through for the whole thing. read more →

Bike-sharing hits rough spot in Paris

I more or less ignored some of the early reports of trouble with the Velib bike-sharing program in Paris, because they seemed thinly reported. But the recent Times article paints a troubling picture: > With 80 percent of the initial 20,600 bicycles stolen or damaged, the program’s organizers have had to hire several hundred people just to fix them. And… read more →

Are livestock responsible for 51% of greenhouse gas emissions?

Conventional wisdom has it that meat production is responsible for about 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions -- a shocking enough figure as it is. But lately a much higher number has been circulating, with some claiming that meat is responsible for an astonishing 51% of worldwide emissions. Some skepticism is in order here, so I went looking for the… read more →
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