Grist List

Climate & Energy

What does 56 years of tornado data look like? AWESOME

Here’s 56 years’ worth of tornado tracking data, which makes the eastern half of the U.S. look like it’s exploding in a shower of welding sparks or fireworks. Brighter lines represent more violent storms.

Animals

David Attenborough narrates video of a tortoise humping a shoe

You may remember the internet going mildly crazy for this video of a tortoise with sexual identity issues. (Not his identity, just the identity of his chosen mate, which is a Croc.) It had all the hallmarks of a blockbuster — sexy sexy romance, dubious fashion choices, animals making adorable “enh!” noises. But what it didn’t have was David Attenborough. Well, that has finally been rectified.

Green Home

This guy’s apartment is the size of a closet

Check out a 78-square-foot Manhattan apartment -- just enough space to park a Mini Cooper, or to live a happy urban existence.

IKEA subsidiary accused of cutting down centuries-old trees

Shoppers might pay next to nothing for those cheapy cheap tables and chairs and bookshelves at IKEA, but the planet pays a much higher price, Environmental Leader reports. According to a forest conservation nonprofit, an IKEA subsidiary is clear-cutting forests that are hundreds of years old. [The Global Forest Coalition] — an alliance of NGOs from more than 40 countries — alleges that Ikea’s wholly owned logging subsidiary Swedwood has been clear-cutting forests in high biodiversity value areas and logging very old trees in parts of the Russian Karelia region.

Cities

Ithaca mayor turns his personal parking space into a mini-park

The 25-year-old mayor gave up his car to join the 15 percent of his city's residents who walk to work.

Critical List: Spain’s done with clean energy; coal country locals defend Big Coal

European Union greenhouse gas emissions rose 2.4 percent in 2010. Spain’s done with clean energy — the government is shutting off aid to renewable energy companies. People living in coal country are still willing to defend Big Coal against natural gas. Stockholm syndrome? (Or maybe they just got $50 and a T-shirt.)

Cities

Weird astronomical event in New York City tonight

If you’re in New York City at 8:19 p.m. today, get your ass to a major cross street (the best ones are  14th, 23rd, 34th, 42nd, and 57th) and you can see the street grid take on astronomical significance. Tonight is Manhattanhenge, where the setting sun lines up exactly with Manhattan’s east-west streets. It’ll be an impressive visual spectacle, and a neat moment of urban harmony with nature.

Oil

Russian rivers are clogged with frozen oil

Whatever terrors the U.S. oil industry might come up with, the Russian oil industry is worse. Greenpeace’s Jon Burgwald recently visited Usinsk, a frigid city that’s a major Russian oil outpost. The oil pollution is so bad in this area that thawing rivers run black with oil. There’s even oil ice, which you can see in this footage:

Pollution

World’s oldest trees face country’s worst smog

Sequoia National Park can lay claim to two superlatives — its redwoods are the oldest single organisms on the planet and its air quality is the worst of any national park in the country. The smog pollution in the park is so bad that levels reach L.A.-worthy heights. The park might seem like it’s in the middle of nowhere. But that nowhere happens to be right near the San Joaquin Valley, which is full of food-processing plants, diesel-burning freight trains, and trucks driving down one of the busiest highways in the country.

Got 2.7 seconds?

We've devised the world's shortest survey to find out what kind of actions our readers are taking. You know you want to.

×