Our Top 24 Stories from 2014

Our most popular pieces of the year, as chosen by you (and a few chosen by us).

1. It’s a Wrap!

1. It’s a Wrap! A Non-Toxic Substitute for Plastic Wrap, That Is

Abeego wraps
Photo: Abeego

This one really took off, because it’s simply a brilliant idea. And we love sharing brilliant ideas.

2. Fracking Hotspots

Fracking hotspots in Canada map

We mapped out not just where fracking is happening, but where shale gas exists and major aquifers so you can identify key areas at risk.

3. Stop Buying Deodorant

Ingredients for DIY deodorant

Worried about questionable ingredients in your underarm armour? Get some recipes and tips on starting your very own body chemistry experiment.

4. Double Feature: How to stop fracking & pipelines in your community

Woman with eagle feather, Elsipogtog
Photo: Aboriginal People’s Television Network reporter Ossie Michelin

9 Ways to Fight Fracking
Fracking is, and will continue to be, a key issue in the fight against dirty energy. Learn how one province fought against it and lessons that can be applied in your own community.

5 Key Lessons from the Keystone XL Pipeline Fight
The Keystone XL fight isn’t over yet but that doesn’t mean it’s too early to review the game tape. Get ready for the next round (Energy East) with 5 strategic observations from activists Cameron Fenton and Sara Shor.

5. How Not to Contribute to Palm-Driven Deforestation

A palm plantation.
Oil Palm Concession in Riau, Sumatra by Hayden \ CC-BY-2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What do the contents of your pantry, laundry room and shower have in common? They might all be contributing to deforestation from palm oil production, a problem that needs our rapid attention.

6. The Ugly Truth About Energy East

The truth about Energy East.
Image: Environmental Defence

Northern Gateway has gotten a lot of attention this year, but there’s also a monster pipeline planned for the East coast. Get the facts in this guest post and infographic from Environmental Defence.

7. Double Feature: Our in-depth look into the sharing economy

Sharing is easy as pie.
Illustration by nik harron

Ours is Better Than Yours is a great read about the potential economic shift from owning to sharing. Thorough, eye-opening and a fast scroll. We also compiled an enormous list of ways Canadians are sharing just about anything and everything. How many have you tried? Share Now: Your How-to Guide to Getting More and Wasting Less.

8. Canadian Judiciary Poised to Redress Environmental Degradation

Courthouse steps

As Canadians, we should all take an interest in the direction of environmental law in our country. This three part story provides cause for both concern and hope for our nation’s future.

9. Why Divestment Won’t Succeed

Stephen Bocking takes a controversial stance on popular fossil fuel divestment campaigns.

10. Fracking’s Return on Investment is a Myth

A shale gas well in Pennsylvania.
A shale gas well in Pennsylvania. Photo by Jeremy Buckingham MLC on the Frack Finding Tour. \ CC BY 2.0

The contents of this article are such that words could not do them justice. Instead, let the graphs do the talking.

11. Incredible Breakthrough Could Boost Solar Power Efficiency to Almost 100%

Solar panels
Photo © Ljupco Smokovski \ Fotolia

Excit(on)ing! New research may have unlocked the key to getting even more energy out of our sunlight!

12. Double Feature: Pollinating Resilience

Stories of Bees and Economies, part of the Beehive Collective's Mesoamérica Resiste poster.
Stories of Bees and Economies, part of the Beehive Collective’s Mesoamérica Resiste poster.

The Beehive Design Collective is an activist art collective whose massive, intricate posters are used the world over as educational and movement building tools. Explore a section of their latest masterpiece in one of our first interactive features – and learn how they’ve been so successful in The Art of Organizing.

13. Are You Having Green Sex?

A green bed.
Photo © poligonchik \

Add another consideration to the procreation discussion. As if it wasn’t already hard enough!
Plus: How to have a sustainable birth, if you do go that route.

14. Control-Act-Delete

Pieter Adongo at the Agbogbloshie e-waste dumping grounds.
Photo by Kevin McElvaney

When rewarding yourself with the newest gadget, reward the planet by recycling the old one properly. Read how you can help prevent ‘monitor bridges’ and other e-waste calamities as photographed inside.

15. Double Feature: CBC’s Wild Canada

Wild Canada bear
Photo: CBC’s Wild Canada

Our readers were wild about Wild Canada – and we obliged with a behind-the-scenes look – twice, in Wild Canada Takes Nature Documentaries to a Whole New Level and Up Close, It’s Personal.

16. Hudbay Minerals: Confronting a Corporate Criminal

Chief Arlen Dumas of the Mathias Colomb Cree Nation speaks to a crowd gathered to confront Hudbay over its illegal operations on their territory and across Turtle Island.
Photo by Clayton Thomas-Muller.

Big business often gets a bad reputation. In this case, it is well deserved.

17. Ontario’s Wind Problem: Accepting the Blame

No Windmills Here
No Windmills Here by Irish Typepad on Flickr \ CC BY-SA 2.0

Success lies in the ability to learn from your mistakes. Unfortunately, Ontario environmentalists have made a lot of them on the wind power front. From an inability to provide an unified message to a lack of community education and participation, see how we have erred and what we need to do better in the future.  

18. New Evidence of Triclosan Toxicity

Hand soap
Photo: © \

Why is the Canadian Government not moving faster to prevent the use of Tricoslan, a chemical found across the entire consumer product spectrum? Here’s a primer on what we are facing and why it is important.
From the Archives: more on how to avoid Toxic Triclosan.

19. Two Words: Jane Goodall

Jane Goodall and chimp
Photo: Michael Neugebauer

There isn’t much to add here. An interview with the legendary Jane Goodall. It doesn’t get much better than this.
(Online, we’ve got video of a Goodall chimp rescue. Order the Education issue for the full interview.)

20. Canada and Australia: Separated at Birth?

Sometimes in life you have friends that are just no good for you. Canada, meet Australia. Try not to get into too much trouble together.

21. Animal Use and Abuse in Fashion and Entertainment

Marineland bears, JoAnne McArthur
Photo: Jo-Anne McArthur

An oft forgotten element of the environmental movement is the fair treatment of animals. Luckily, we have crusaders like Jo-Anne McArthur speaking up where they cannot. Jo-Anne takes a moment to open up about her experiences in this exclusive interview (and photo gallery!).

22. Editors’ Choice

Ruptured Enbridge pipeline
Photo: National Transportation Safety Board

Former Editor-in-Chief Eric Rumble named The Cautionary Tale of Kalamazoo as his top story of the year. Memories fade quickly. Oil spill damage does not. See why one community is fighting to keep its tragedy from becoming just another in a long line of cautionary tales. Also included is a interactive map outlining all current and proposed pipelines across Canada. Take a second to see whether any of these buried giants pose a threat to your community.

23. Web Editor’s Winner

Arctic tundra
Photo: Stu Campana

Web editor Laura McDonald loved reading long-time A\J blogger Stu Campana’s thoroughly enjoyable tale of an Arctic research trip, chasing his tent across the tundra, and how our increasing presence in the Arctic is threatening the local wildlife. Though our latest issue’s Secrets of the Salt Marsh is a strong contender in the same category.

24. Publisher’s Pick

Les Grande Chutes
Les Grandes Chutes on the Romaine River. Photo by Alexis Latham.

Publisher and heart-and-soul of A\J Marcia Ruby easily chose the heart-rending Rage On, Sweet Romaine, a eulogy for one of Québec’s last great rivers. 

Bonus: Creative Director’s Top Photo

Photo © Christian Aslund \ Greenpeace

Our graphics guy, nik harron, says this photo from our piece on the race between conservation and exploitation in the Arctic of activists dressed as heads of state in papier-mâché heads floundering in a life raft is our strongest photo of the year. Definitely worth 1,000 words.

Help us keep telling important stories like these. A subscription – whether for yourself or a gift – is the best way to support A\J and the work we do.

Holiday Survival Guide

The A\J Winter Holiday Survival Guide has also been popular lately, including our 9 Guidelines for Green Giving and 8 Simple Ways to Reduce Your Gift Wrap Waste.

Alex is an MBA candidate at Wilfrid Laurier University with an aspiring green thumb.

Laura is a past A\J managing editor. She has an MA in Communication Studies from Wilfrid Laurier University, is an organizing aficionado, lackadaisical gardener, and former musical theatre producer. @inhabitings