In honor of the 38th Earth Day, we hereby present the Second Ever List of Grist Superlatives — our take on the good, the bad, and the weird of the past year. What did we miss? Add your own superlatives in comments below.

Most thoroughly debunked premise: “The Death of Environmentalism”

Amusingest photo op: President Bush in a white lab coat, squinting vacantly at a vial of biofuel-bound liquid

Most overused headline gimmick: any variant of “inconvenient” or “truth” (just stop it!)

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Dick Pombo.

Goodest riddance: Richard “Dick” Pombo

Second-goodest riddance: Conrad Burns

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Refreshingest return from the dead: congressional oversight

Greenest mayor: Rocky Anderson

Driest report we actually read: IPCC’s Fourth Assessment Report

Slogan most likely to sweep the nation: “Coal is the enemy of the human race.”

Company we least expected to beg for carbon caps: ConocoPhillips

Adorablest new eco-heroes: the fourth-grade class at Park School in Massachusetts


Photo: Berlin Zoo

Tie: Knut

Hottest conservative: David Cameron

Hottest Canadian: Stephane Dion

Longest-running federal boneheadedness: Interior Department’s failure to collect royalties from oil companies drilling in the Gulf of Mexico

Hottest peak: peak oil peak coal peak soil peak chances in hell

Biggest beneficiary of the corn ethanol boom: Archer Daniels Midland

Second biggest: politicians in need of something green-sounding to say

Third: nope, just the two

Least likely climate champion: U.S. Supreme Court

Worst substitute for reducing carbon emissions: reducing “carbon intensity”

Hippest, happeningest shindig: Grist’s San Francisco reader party

Awkwardest incorporation of eco-theme into a sitcom: My Name Is Earl‘s “Robbed a Stoner Blind” episode

Going … going …

Photo: iStockphtoto

Depressingest study in Science: seafood to be wiped out by mid-century

Second depressingest: Greenland melting fast

Third depressingest: Melting Siberian permafrost packed with CO2

Weakest attempt by Science to cheer us back up: Land corridors encourage biodiversity

Sexiest congressional clean-energy champion: Jay Inslee

Curmudgeonliest: Bernie Sanders

Most aptly named: Barbara Boxer

Most unexpected: Ted Stevens

Most improved: John Dingell

Taz, we hardly knew ye.

Saddest potential species extinction: Tasmanian devil

Happiest: climate-change skeptics

Hottest concert ticket on earth: Live Earth Antarctica

Eco-issue most likely to be declared “the new black” this coming year: placemaking

Least effective spokesperson for global-warming activism: John Travolta

Most effective: God

Least original glossy magazine idea: the green issue

Ironicalest oversight for a green issue: printing on non-recycled paper

Greenest nudie model: Keeley Hazell

Or was that nudest greenie model?: still Keeley

Gimme a buzz.

Insect we least thought we’d miss: bees

Scourge of society we always suspected was responsible: cell phones

Greenest band with music that isn’t insufferable treacle: Cloud Cult

Climate convert most likely to give you the heebie-jeebies: Pat Robertson

Tie: Newt Gingrich

Blatantest attempt to exploit the climate crisis: nuclear power industry

Best alternative to nuclear power: URGE2

Least newsworthy press release: your product/organization/band/candidate/cousin went carbon neutral

Second least newsworthy press release: your product/organization/band/candidate/cousin is crossing the country in an alternatively powered vehicle to “raise awareness” of issue X

Jon Bon Jovi.

Photo: Stephen Lovekin /

Best eco-apology: Jon Bon Jovi

Favorite source of angry letters to the editor: alien abductees

Second favorite source of angry letters to the editor: brunettes

Bush most likely to receive some karmic forgiveness: Lauren

Worst song ever to still deserve an Oscar: I Need to Wake Up

Dirtiest smear on a halo: Obama’s support for coal-to-liquids

Most creative source of biofuel: Ass fat

Tie: Kitties

Tesla Roadster.

Photo: Tesla Motors

Best reason to skip biofuels and go all-electric: Tesla Roadster

Leakiest pipeline operator: BP

Trivialest issue Umbra addressed: peeing in the shower

Most counterintuitively intriguing: the greenest way to boil water for tea

Most poignant if entirely quixotic gesture: climate resolutions in New Hampshire towns

Most blush-inducing Grist coverage: Outside

Most unlikely Grist coverage: Sports Illustrated

Scariest factoid: China expects to double its oil use in the next five years

Kristen Bell.


World leader we’d most like to give a backrub to: Wen Jiabao

Eco-hero we’d most like to see body slam Dick Cheney: Mexican wrestler Hijo del Santo

Green celeb we just want to hug: Ed Begley Jr.

Green celeb we just want to … talk to: Kristen Bell

Biggest danger posed by all the eco-progress made this year: organic-vodka hangovers