Will Louisiana end up under water? Or what if the world’s ice sheets melt–what would your city look like? This year, there was a growing urgency in communicating the risks of climate change, especially because the window of time for humanity to act to forestall disastrous consequences like those above is running out.
That is not to say people are giving up on smaller design solutions that help the environment, such as a really weird idea that could reduce our use of plastic water bottles or drones that document the abuses on factory farms. You can read more in the stories below that may depress you a little (check out 2013’s list for even more depression!), but will also give you some hope.
Inspired by techniques from molecular gastronomy, the Ooho is a magical way to have your bottled water and eat it, too. Just maybe bring a towel.
Want to live in a beautiful nation that protects your health? It turns out Switzerland is your best bet (the chocolate is also good).
Gritty, detailed scenes from some of China’s most polluted places will make you grateful for the air you breathe.
Tiny “microbeads” in beauty products seemed great, until someone tried to clean them up.
Rising sea levels have turned London into Venice. Buckingham Palace is surrounded by slums that house climate refugees. This is what the future could hold.
You’re going to need to learn the names of some new islands.
After NASA scientists analyzed data from 1,000 meteorological stations from around the globe, they found a strange pattern.
This is really happening: A swath of a U.S. state—and an entire culture—is about to be lost underwater.
How the electronics giant is leading the industry in making sure its products do not fuel war, corruption, and atrocities in mining nations.
Attention coffee snobs: If you don’t care about climate change already, now might be a good time to start.
Some states have made it illegal for people to take photos or video of livestock operations. Drones to the rescue?
In the future, society will have to pay for each puff of carbon emissions emitted today. And the bill from the damages—from rising seas and the spread of diseases—is going to cause sticker shock.
Read more of our best stories of the year, in these categories: Most-read, photos, infographics, lists, videos, maps, buildings, robots, transportation, bikes, food, collaborative consumption, cities, energy, environment, health, education, crowdfunding, innovative workplaces, and privacy.