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Disappearing glaciers: Now you see them, now you don’t

Hot and Bothered - small x  200
Susie Cagle

Momentous change doesn't always leave visual cues. A 2008 Obama looks much the same as a 2012 Obama (minus a few gray hairs and Benghazi wrinkles). In some ways, climate change is similar; we can't exactly see villainous clouds of CO2 strangling the sky. But when it comes to glaciers, climate change leaves marks that can be seen from space.

Our friends at GlacierWorks hope to document those scars. Respected mountaineer and GlacierWorks Executive Director David Breashears retraced the steps of past photographers from the Royal Geographical Society to reshoot photos of famous Himalayan glaciers affected by climate change. Thanks to their hard work and internet magic, we can now compare the severity of ice recession by combining the historic and modern images.

On the left is a photo taken by Major E. O. Wheeler in 1921 on the North slope of 26,906-foot Cho Oyu; on the right is a photo taken by Breashears from a similar perspective  in 2009. Drag the slider to check out the changes China's Kyetrak Glacier experienced.

Now compare the Main Rongbuk Glacier (near Mt. Everest) in a 1921 photo by George Mallory to Breashears'  2007 image:

Read more: Climate & Energy

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Grist readers are less happy than other Americans, because DUH

young woman pondering
Joana Lopes
You're kinda mostly happy, but ...

Thanks to all of you who took the Gross National Happiness survey, a project of The Happiness Initiative. (And if you haven't taken it yet, you still can!) It’s designed to measure your overall satisfaction with life as well as your sense of well-being across a number of specific categories. Do you feel good about your physical health? The educational and cultural opportunities in your community? Your work life? Your time balance? The environment where you live?

We’ve now gotten the results back for Grist readers and compared them to responses from a random sample of U.S. residents. The bottom line: You guys are a mostly happy bunch, but still a little more bummed out than the average American.

Happiness: Grist readers vs. average Americans
Click to embiggen.
Read more: Living

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Here’s how you celebrated Earth Day

We asked, and you shared. From moss walls to local picnics to highway cleanups, check out what your fellow readers got up to on this fine Earth Day:

Read more: Living

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Show us your Earth Day

"Yo -- somebody say something about a party up in here?"
Shutterstock
"Yo -- somebody say something about a party up in here?"

This year, Earth Day annexed a whole weekend for reflection, fun, and simple acts of change. What are you doing to celebrate? Grist wants to know: Show us in words, photos, videos, tweets, Vines, comments, and smoke signals.

Share your pictures and the stories behind them on Facebook, in the comments below, or on Twitter and Instagram using the hashtag #tellgrist.

Read more: Living

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Climate Desk Live: Watch David Roberts and other smarties debate Keystone

Editor's note: The debate's now over, but you can watch a replay of the discussion below.

Be here on Thursday, April 18, at 6:30 p.m. ET (3:30 PT), to watch a live debate and discussion:

Keystone XL: The science, stakes, and strategy behind the tar-sands pipeline fight

Hosted by Climate Desk
Moderated by Chris Mooney
Guests: David Roberts of Grist, May Boeve of 350.org, Michael Levi of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Michael Grunwald of Time

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Crude awakening: Exxon’s Arkansas oil spill ain’t pretty [SLIDESHOW]

One week ago, residents of rural Mayflower, Ark., found a river of reeking, black oil flowing through their backyards and streets. ExxonMobil, the company that owns the ruptured pipeline, evacuated the neighborhood and quickly instated something like martial law, evicting wildlife rescue workers, threatening reporters with arrest, and even winning a temporary no-fly zone over the spill. Here's what the company is hiding, care of the EPA's on-site coordinator web page -- which was locked down shortly after we retrieved these photos. (UPDATE: The page is unlocked again. Feel free to peruse the whole collection.)

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Writer and local-living maestra Christie Aschwanden chats live with Grist readers

Editor’s note: The chat’s now over, but you can replay it in full.

christie aschwanden
JT Thomas

Christie Aschwanden is a prolific magazine writer and author of, among other things, Beautiful Chickens, a coffee-table book packed with glam shots of champion poultry breeds. She is also the daughter of a pilot and a recovering jet setter.

As part of Grist's March theme, "Get Small: Micro solutions to macro problems," Ashwanden wrote about her yearlong experiment in living local. In an effort to reduce her climate footprint, she swore off air travel for 12 months and vowed to stay within a 100-mile radius of her home on a farm in western Colorado.

First World problems, for sure, but some of what she discovered was a little mind-boggling -- the ability of a single plane trip to negate all of our other good green deeds, for example. Perhaps the most surprising discovery of all, however, was just how happy and content she could be living small.

Read more: Climate & Energy

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slideshow

Mini-mansions are all the rage

get-small-x150Houses come in many shapes, but at Grist, we sure do love 'em tiny. The reasons are obvious: Beyond being just. so. darn. adorable, they promote sustainable living, energy efficiency, and serious envy in your lame McMansion-owning neighbors. And they're hotter than Hansel, as both elite industrial designers and industrious teens alike have engineered marvels of mini to cater to every taste. Here are some of our recent favorites.

Read more: Living

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slideshow

Climate change is making animals shrink

Humans might adapt to climate change through some mixture of mitigation, adaptation, and suffering (like relocating Coney Island several miles into interior Brooklyn, or saying goodbye to chocolate). But the animal kingdom? Many species are already coping with rising temperatures by physically getting smaller [$ub req].

get-small-x150

The reasons are complex and vary between species, but the CliffsNotes version is this: Animals (especially cold-blooded ones) often develop faster metabolisms in warmer temperatures, so they burn calories more quickly and reach maturity at smaller sizes. Additionally, smaller animals could have a distinct advantage when competing for dwindling food supplies; like Anne Hathaway, they simply need less to survive. There's also Bergmann's rule, which basically amounts to "colder environments support species of larger morphological size BECAUSE I SAID SO."

As part of this month's Get Small theme, we're profiling minimizing mammals, reducing reptiles, itty-bitty insects, and belittled birds the best way we know how: with a bunch of pretty-ass pictures.

Read more: Climate & Energy