Susie Cagle

Climate change is a Big Problem. Moving our energy economy off fossil fuels is a Big Problem. Transforming our factory food system into something healthier? Remodeling our cities around sustainable models? Protecting our air and water? Big Problems, all.

Sometimes the sheer size of these problems can overwhelm us and leave us listless and passive. Which is one reason we’ve picked an offbeat theme for our coverage this month: Get Small — Micro Solutions to Macro Problems.

Can we steer around big obstacles by thinking differently — diminutively — about them? Can we tackle big challenges by breaking them down into smaller ones? Do massive, planetary-scale dilemmas look different at eye height?

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“Small is beautiful,” sure — that idea has a proud and venerable pedigree. But “small is strong”? “Small wins”? “Small saves the planet”? These are the ideas we’re going to kick around.

For example: Did you know that there are entire species of animal that are adapting to climate change by getting smaller? We’ve got ’em here for you!

We’ll look at what climate change looks like up really close — at the level of dust, snowflakes, and molecules.

We’ll explore — from all sides — the hypothesis that neighborhoods and local communities may be better positioned to cope with climate-driven change than nations and megalopolises.

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We’ll take a look at the indomitable online popularity of tiny abodes — mini-apartments and nano-houses.

And we’re planning a contest in which you can help us come up with a better name than “shrinkage” or “downsizing” (or even “rightsizing”) for what happens when something gets smaller so it can be better.

We hope you’ll stick around and get small with us. And do add your own ideas on this theme in the comments below — but keep them, you know, brief.

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