The Basics

Nikki Burch |

Keystone komics: The incredible, illustrated history of the Keystone XL oil pipeline

Ever wonder who cooked up the idea of digging up all of Canada’s tar sands and piping them across the continent? All of your questions are answered here, cartoon style.

Surf’s way, way up: Sea-level rise, explained

It's choose your own adventure: sea-level rise apocalypse edition! Here’s your chance to decide what the future will look like.

How to make gasoline from tar sands, in six simple steps

They've been compared to blood diamonds and cluster bombs, but tar sands aren’t so bad. Here’s a handy step-by-step guide to spinning gold from “natural asphalt.”

The sharing economy, from soup to nuts

Tool libraries! Coworking spaces! Car sharing! The “collaborative consumption” revolution is upon us. Here’s what you need to know to take part.


WTF is the deal with high-fructose corn syrup?

The average American downs 60 pounds of this processed sweetener each year. Is that a bad thing? In this latest edition of The Basics, we explain it all.

Confined dining: A primer on factory farms and what they mean for your meat

More and more of the meat you buy in the supermarket is produced in meat factories, a.k.a. CAFOs. Hold your nose and have a look, then think hard about that next hot dog.

You're fracked

Fracking FAQ: The science and technology behind the natural gas boom

Find out six things you should know about the high-tech drilling explosion that’s coming soon to a backyard gas field near you.

The Anthropocene explained, game-show style [AUDIO]

Everything you need to know about the Age of Man in just five – OK, seven, minutes.

The carbon tax, demystified

Taxes aren’t exactly popular, but the idea of using them to fight climate change is surprisingly resilient. Here’s a primer.