This year, talk of the environment turned from impending disaster to the case for resiliency. To be sure we are still finding new ways to destroy the planet on both a micro and macro scale. Given what seems like an increasing inability to prevent that, we're now talking instead about how to design around it.
Can that make up for the damage we're doing? The stark images in photo essays about agricultural pollution, mining for precious minerals that power our electronics, and Chernobyl and Fukushima are a heavy reminder that—right now—we've invested a lot more in doing damage than in fixing it.
Last year, we wrote: "Hopefully, by the end of 2013, action will have been taken, breakthroughs will have been made, and there will be more than just a glimmer of hope." (To see 2012's best environment stories, click here.) This year saw the opening of the greenest office building in the country, in Seattle. And you can also read stories below about countries preparing for climate change and rethinking urban buildings to be oases rather than energy sucks. Is this a glimmer? It's a small one, but it's better than none at all.
These aerial images of industrial beef farming operations look less like shots of land and more like a post-apocalyptic nightmare.
A new report ranks the world's countries not on their economic indicators, but on their ability to "safeguard the needs of its future generations." The results might surprise you.
The Bullitt Center is made from totally clean materials, has composting toilets, and catches enough rainwater to survive a 100-day drought. And it’s 100% solar-powered, in a city not known for its sunny days.
Not everyone flees in the wake of a nuclear accident. A new book depicts the people who brave the radiation and stay behind.
With internal farms, walls that convert CO2 to oxygen, and even the ability to personalize itself based on your DNA, this concept for the building of the future is a sight to behold.
Instead of fighting over water, what if each state's boundaries let it get water from one source? Check out the Watershed States of America.
You're not going to feel great about your phone. But photographer Marcus Bleasdale's Price of Precious also captures the positive change happening to the industry.
New research finds that the effect of green space on personal well-being is more than you might guess.
Without bees, there will be no food. And yet while scientists keep noting the bee bodies piling up, no one can come up with a solution. Do we even know what’s causing it?
Read more of our best stories of the year in these categories: Top stories, infographics, photography, maps, buildings, design, cities, food, transportation, innovative workplaces, bikes, collaborative consumption, energy, crowdfunding, robots, environment, health, education