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for people who care about the West

Tickling the green funny bone

  In the increasingly crowded world of Web magazines focused on the environment, it's getting hard for the green at heart to decide what to bookmark. Which is why the founders of Grist magazine have injected something rare into their coverage of the often depressing retreat of the natural world: humor.

"We've tried to cut through the stereotype of doom-and-gloom environmentalism by pairing provocative environmental journalism with humor," says publisher/editor Chip Giller.

The self-described "beacon in the smog" was launched in the spring of 1999 as part of Denis Hayes' Earth Day Network, a nonprofit coordinating body for worldwide Earth Day activities. The Seattle-based publication includes an attractively presented mix of original news reports, commentary, cartoons and features along with summaries of top stories from other publications. Contributors include everyone from researcher Lester Brown and columnist Donella Meadows, to actor/activist Ed Begley Jr, and longtime HCN writer Lisa Jones.

Giller and his managing editor, Lisa Hymas, are veterans of Greenwire, the Washington D.C.-based environmental news service. One of the first things they did was start a daily electronic newsfeed - the Daily Grist - which, like Greenwire, feeds environmentalists a steady stream of environmental news from around the globe.

But the Daily Grist is free, and its headlines are a daily odyssey into the world of pop culture and puns. A recent Daily Grist featured the headlines, "More Bangkok for your Buick," "A Slade of Hand," and "On Fraudway."

Giller says 30,000 people have signed up for the Daily Grist, including one woman who wrote, "I have a warped sense of admiration for the person who does the headlines. They are brilliant in a childlike sort of way."

Check out Grist at www.gristmagazine.com.