We’ve covered a lot at Grist this year. From meat month and the Paris climate talks to ghost bikes, beauty secrets, and the real sharing economy, we’ve put plenty of words on these here pages in 2015: Around 2 million words, to be exact, in 4,600 articles. And we had some favorites among those articles — writing that took time and investigation and often required getting out of the office and into the world. Chances are the weather is unseasonably warm where you are, so make yourself a nice, cold Arnold Palmer, stick your feet in a bag of ice, sit back, relax, and enjoy a few of our favorite longreads from the year.

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Nick Shapiro

People are still living in FEMA’s toxic Katrina trailers — and they likely have no idea

Heather Smith

This map shows that the formaldehyde-laced trailers went on an odd journey, and our reporter explains why.

 


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Mike Linksvayer

With the threat of coal exports, Oakland piles more pollution on a polluted community

Raven Rakia

Two community organizers explain why they’re on the front lines to stop coal exports from coming to Oakland.

 


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Eve Andrews / Grist

A Seattle high school is taking birth control access to the next level

Eve Andrews

Now, it’s easier for a Chief Sealth student to get an IUD than it is to get a Coke.

 


Willie Nelson
Grist / Amelia Bates

Willie Nelson: The man, the myth, and what he means to farmers

Darby Minow Smith

The country icon talks 30 years of Farm Aid, pot legalization, and more.

 


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Shutterstock

How human composting will change death in the city

Katie Herzog

The costs of burial and cremation are high, but there could be a better way.

 


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Shutterstock

Is there a moral case for meat?

Nathanael Johnson

Philosophers don’t have a strong argument for eating animals. So why do we do it anyway?

 


Terra Moore KillsMany protests against the Keystone XL Pipeline, in Arcadia, California
Reuters / Lucy Nicholson

The inside story of how the Keystone fight was won

Ben Adler

The fight shows that activists can take on the fossil fuel economy and win.

 


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Grist / Amelia Urry

Coral reefs are in trouble. Meet the people trying to rebuild them

Amelia Urry

From replanting reefs to evolving stronger corals, humans are trying to engineer reefs to withstand climate change.

 


John Delaney
Grist / Amelia Bates

How do you study an underwater volcano? Build an underwater laboratory

Suzanne Jacobs

John Delaney is taking the internet underwater, and bringing the deep ocean to the public.

 


A large encampment dots the top of the top of the banks of the Arroyo Seco in Lincoln Heights, Calif.
Aura Bogado

Homeless Angelenos call the riverbank home. What will happen when El Niño hits?

Aura Bogado

Will climate change spell disaster for this vulnerable population?

 


deforestation in action
Rich Carey / Shutterstock.com

What’s the best way to protect forests? That’s a big question at the Paris climate talks

Clayton Aldern

Countries and companies are making pledges to halt deforestation, while indigenous activists are arguing for different approaches.

 


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Shutterstock

We just had a record-breaking wildfire season. Is that climate change?

Ted Alvarez

An on-the-charred-ground report of this year’s massive wildfires — and what we had to do with them.