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[Resource Depletion]: from Vice, Tue Jul 28 2015:
21 of 37 Aquifers: The World Is Running Out of Water
Humans are depleting underground aquifers around the world at alarming rates, threatening hundreds of millions of people who rely on them for survival, according to a comprehensive study conducted by researchers from NASA and the University of California, Irvine. Twenty-one of the world's 37 largest aquifers are losing water at a greater rate than they're being refilled, falling victim to population growth and climate change. Thirteen of those diminishing water sources are experiencing "significant distress," including the Arabian Aquifer System, which supplies Saudi Arabia, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, the Murzuk-Djado Basin in northern Africa, the Indus Basin of India and Pakistan, and the Central Valley Aquifer System in California. "It's very serious," Jay Famiglietti of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory and an author of the report told VICE News. "All over the world, we use more water than we have available to us on a renewable basis." ... "There's serious ecological damage being done right now. The ground is sinking in California, streams are being depleted, the water table is falling, wells are running dry, the quality of water is degrading," Famiglietti told VICE News. "We really are past these sustainability tipping points, so it sure as heck would be good to know how much water is left. We're depleting it very quickly."

Coincidentally, it just happens to overlap with a correlative causation. Thankfully, it has absolutely nothing to do with the rise of radicalism in these countries.
[Read more stories about: tipping point, water issues, aquifers depletion]
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[Resource Depletion]: from Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, Mon Jul 20 2015:
The most powerful abstract the Docs have ever read
Though recorded just previously, we read the abstract of the article "Human domination of the biosphere: Rapid discharge of the earth-space battery foretells the future of humankind" in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and were astonished:

ABSTRACT: Earth is a chemical battery where, over evolutionary time with a trickle-charge of photosynthesis using solar energy, billions of tons of living biomass were stored in forests and other ecosystems and in vast reserves of fossil fuels. In just the last few hundred years, humans extracted exploitable energy from these living and fossilized biomass fuels to build the modern industrial-technological-informational economy, to grow our population to more than 7 billion, and to transform the biogeochemical cycles and biodiversity of the earth. This rapid discharge of the earth's store of organic energy fuels the human domination of the biosphere, including conversion of natural habitats to agricultural fields and the resulting loss of native species, emission of carbon dioxide, and the resulting climate and sea level change, and use of supplemental nuclear, hydro, wind, and solar energy sources. The laws of thermodynamics governing the trickle-charge and rapid discharge of the earth's battery are universal and absolute; the earth is only temporarily poised a quantifiable distance from the thermodynamic equilibrium of outer space. Although this distance from equilibrium is comprised of all energy types, most critical for humans is the store of living biomass. With the rapid depletion of this chemical energy, the earth is shifting back toward the inhospitable equilibrium of outer space with fundamental ramifications for the biosphere and humanity. Because there is no substitute or replacement energy for living biomass, the remaining distance from equilibrium that will be required to support human life is unknown.

The planet might actually be finite?
[Read more stories about: anthropogenic change, tipping point]
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[Resource Depletion]: from UGA, via DesdemonaDespair, Mon Jul 20 2015:
Continued destruction of Earth's plant life places humankind in jeopardy, says UGA research
Unless humans slow the destruction of Earth's declining supply of plant life, civilization like it is now may become completely unsustainable, according to a paper published recently by University of Georgia researchers in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. "You can think of the Earth like a battery that has been charged very slowly over billions of years," said the study's lead author, John Schramski, an associate professor in UGA's College of Engineering. "The sun's energy is stored in plants and fossil fuels, but humans are draining energy much faster than it can be replenished."... Scientists estimate that the Earth contained approximately 1,000 billion tons of carbon in living biomass 2,000 years ago. Since that time, humans have reduced that amount by almost half. It is estimated that just over 10 percent of that biomass was destroyed in just the last century. "If we don't reverse this trend, we'll eventually reach a point where the biomass battery discharges to a level at which Earth can no longer sustain us," Schramski said.... "I call myself a realistic optimist," Schramski said. "I've gone through these numbers countless times looking for some kind of mitigating factor that suggests we're wrong, but I haven't found it."

The iHome battery only lasts how long?
[Read more stories about: death spiral, deforestation, habitat loss, low-energy future, sustainability]
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[Species Collapse]: from Grand Forks Herald, Sun Jul 19 2015:
Bat Reclamation: Bat study hones-in on nesting trees
... The bat seemed fine -- the experts saw no sign of the deadly white-nose syndrome fungus -- and was quickly sent on her way to chase mosquitoes for the rest of the night.... And with northern long-ears newly protected by the federal Endangered Species Act, scientists are scrambling to fill in the blanks on the bat's life cycle. Bats eat lots of bugs. They winter in caves. They fly at night. Beyond that? "It's amazing how much we don't know about them,'' said Ron Moen, biologist for the Natural Resources Research Institute at the University of Minnesota Duluth, who is helping coordinate the effort.

Apocaiku:
The little brown bat
is now deaf. Our next best hope:
the Northern Long-ear.

[Read more stories about: predator depletion, white nose syndrome, ecosystem interrelationships]
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[Climate Chaos]: from Vice, via DesdemonaDespair, Mon Jul 13 2015:
The Wettest Place in North America Is Burning
Vancouver Island is home to the wettest place in North America--and right now it's on fire. Drought has plunged the the Port Alberni-Clayoquot Region, part of Canada's only rainforest, into one of the worst dry seasons on record. Forest fires are spreading quickly through sun-scorched woods that, in the past, have received almost seven metres--or 22 feet--of precipitation per year. The fire, which has been burning since last Saturday on Dog Mountain near Sproat Lake, has reached over 245 hectares and is still spreading....

I fear we're nowhere near Peak Irony.
[Read more stories about: rain forest depletion, drought, weather extremes]
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[Recovery]: from Grist, Sat Jul 11 2015:
This cleantech expert lays down the facts on solar and natural gas
... A materials scientist and professor of engineering at MIT, Trancik would rather help humanity beat the clock by speeding up the development of clean energy technologies and sounding the alarm when a technology looks like it isn't going to scale effectively. In short, she's a cleantech efficiency expert. Whether it's solar cells, wind turbines, electric vehicles, natural gas biofuels, or that "miracle energy" your uncle emailed you about, Trancik wants to know: what materials does it require, how much do those materials cost, how much would we have to use the technology in order to meet emissions targets, how much would materials extraction and refinement have to go up accordingly, how much would that cost, and -- most importantly -- is this a smart or realistic path to go down?

Using science to inform policy: so crazy that it might just work!
[Read more stories about: efficiency increase, sustainability, technological innovation]
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[Climate Chaos]: from Esquire, Fri Jul 10 2015:
Climatologists' Psyches: When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job
... I wanted to meet Box to find out how this outspoken American is holding up. He has left his country and moved his family to witness and study the melting of Greenland up close. How does being the one to look at the grim facts of climate change most intimately, day in and day out, affect a person? Is Box representative of all of the scientists most directly involved in this defining issue of the new century? How are they being affected by the burden of their chosen work in the face of changes to the earth that could render it a different planet?... Among climate activists, gloom is building. Jim Driscoll of the National Institute for Peer Support just finished a study of a group of longtime activists whose most frequently reported feeling was sadness, followed by fear and anger.... And many scientists now think we're on track to 4 or 5 degrees--even Shell oil said that it anticipates a world 4 degrees hotter because it doesn't see "governments taking the steps now that are consistent with the 2 degrees C scenario." That would mean a world racked by economic and social and environmental collapse. "Oh yeah," Schmidt says, almost casually. "The business-as-usual world that we project is really a totally different planet. There's going to be huge dislocations if that comes about." But things can change much quicker than people think, he says. Look at attitudes on gay marriage. And the glaciers? "The glaciers are going to melt, they're all going to melt," he says.... And the rising oceans? Bangladesh is almost underwater now. Do a hundred million people have to move? "Well, yeah. Under business as usual. But I don't think we're fucked." Resource wars, starvation, mass migrations . . . "Bad things are going to happen. What can you do as a person? You write stories. I do science. You don't run around saying, 'We're fucked! We're fucked! We're fucked!' It doesn't--it doesn't incentivize anybody to do anything."

"We're fucked" just isn't scientific.
[Read more stories about: climate impacts, corporate malfeasance, death spiral, global warming, methane release, people rise up, weather extremes]
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[Species Collapse]: from Denver Post, Tue Jul 7 2015:
Thousands of birds abandon eggs and nests on Florida island
The din created by thousands of nesting birds is usually the first thing you notice about Seahorse Key, a 150-acre mangrove-covered dune off Florida's Gulf Coast. But in May, the key fell eerily quiet all at once. Thousands of little blue herons, roseate spoonbills, snowy egrets, pelicans and other chattering birds were gone. Nests sat empty in trees; eggs broken and scattered on the muddy ground. "It's a dead zone now," said Vic Doig, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist. "This is where the largest bird colony on the Gulf Coast of Florida used to be."... First, they tested left-behind bird carcasses for disease or contaminants. Those tests came back negative. Next, they researched possible new predators. Did raccoons swim over from another island? Perhaps some great horned owls flew out at night and started feasting? Traps caught a few raccoons, which is common, but not enough to have created a wholesale abandonment. There were no telltale signs of owls....

It must be the canaries, abandoning ship.
[Read more stories about: weather extremes, migration changes, wetlands, canary in coal mine]
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[Resource Depletion]: from Science, via ScienceDaily, Sun Jul 5 2015:
The oceans can't take any more: Fundamental change in oceans predicted
Our oceans need an immediate and substantial reduction of anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions. If that doesn't happen, we could see far-reaching and largely irreversible impacts on marine ecosystems, which would especially be felt in developing countries. That's the conclusion of a new review study published today in the journal Science. In the study, the research team from the Ocean 2015 initiative assesses the latest findings on the risks that climate change poses for our oceans, and demonstrates how fundamentally marine ecosystems are likely to change if human beings continue to produce just as much greenhouse gases as before.... "To date, the oceans have essentially been the planet's refrigerator and carbon dioxide storage locker. For instance, since the 1970s they've absorbed roughly 93 percent of the additional heat produced by the greenhouse effect, greatly helping to slow the warming of our planet," explains Prof Hans-Otto Pörtner, co-author of the new Ocean 2015 study....

I think I'm hearing my heart explode.
[Read more stories about: ocean warming, carbon sequestration, tipping point]
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[Resource Depletion]: from Desdemona, Sat Jul 4 2015:
World arable land per capita, 1961-2012
... Add these numbers, and there are at least 14.5 million hectares per year of wildlands being converted to human uses, probably mostly for agriculture.... Humans are destroying soil at a rate of 12 million hectares per year, and we’re making up for it by destroying forest and wetlands at a comparable rate. But is all of this destruction of the natural world enabling us to keep up with the ever-growing human population?

I am still hungry.
[Read more stories about: rain forest depletion, food crisis, deforestation, carbon sinks]
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[Biology Breach]: from The Guardian, Sat Jul 4 2015:
Eleven Thousand Cubic Yards of Radioactive Nuclear Test Debris Leaching into Ocean
Officially, this vast structure is known as the Runit Dome. Locals call it The Tomb.... Below the 18-inch concrete cap rests the United States' cold war legacy to this remote corner of the Pacific Ocean: 111,000 cubic yards of radioactive debris left behind after 12 years of nuclear tests. Brackish water pools around the edge of the dome, where sections of concrete have started to crack away. Underground, radioactive waste has already started to leach out of the crater: according to a 2013 report by the US Department of Energy, soil around the dome is already more contaminated than its contents.... "Runit Dome represents a tragic confluence of nuclear testing and climate change," said Michael Gerrard, director of the Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University, who visited the dome in 2010. "It resulted from US nuclear testing and the leaving behind of large quantities of plutonium," he said. "Now it has been gradually submerged as result of sea level rise from greenhouse gas emissions by industrial countries led by the United States."

Where is our new Shakespeare, who can so craft / iambic pentameter to scribe anew / the fix'd irony, the fey tragedy / the hubris, the absurdity, and e'en / the farcical satire named Runit Dome?
[Read more stories about: canary in coal mine, radiation, toxic leak]
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[Biology Breach]: from New York Times, Wed Jul 1 2015:
Oklahoma Court Rules Homeowners Can Sue Oil Companies Over Quakes
The Oklahoma Supreme Court ruled Tuesday that homeowners who have sustained injuries or property damage from rampant earthquakes they say are caused by oil and gas operations can sue for damages in state trial courts, rejecting efforts by the industry to block such lawsuits from being decided by juries and judges. ...

Okla-frackin'-homa, you just changed the game!
[Read more stories about: fracking, people rise up]
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[Climate Chaos]: from InsideClimate News, Mon Jun 29 2015:
Most Extreme Weather Has Climate Change Link, Study Says
In the wake of major hurricanes, floods and heat waves, scientists are quick to say that no single weather event can be attributed to climate change until careful analysis draws that conclusion. Now, a new study argues that thinking is backwards, that all extreme weather has a link to climate change... Trenberth's paper instead suggests focusing on thermodynamic changes caused by global warming, such as increased sea surface temperatures, humidity and sea level rise. ... "Because global warming is real and present, it is not a question as to whether it is playing a role, but what that role is," the authors wrote.

So the sky has fallen, after all.
[Read more stories about: anthropogenic change, weather extremes]
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[Climate Chaos]: from InsideClimate News, Mon Jun 29 2015:
Aid Package for Coal Country Goes Ignored by Congress
A massive $3 billion package to help struggling coal communities transition to a new economy is sitting unappropriated in the Republican-led Congress. And lawmakers are saying little--at least publicly--about if and how they ever plan to support it. As part of the budget proposal released in February, the White House rolled out the POWER+ plan to support towns and communities struggling to cope with the decline in coal production and use. The initiative provides coal country with an influx of cash to reclaim abandoned mines, provide job training to miners, reform health and pension funds and invest in carbon capture technology. But in the four months since the White House announced the plan, leaders in Congress have not addressed it in any detail.

Burn, baby, burn.
[Read more stories about: coal issues, deniers]
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[Biology Breach]: from Rolling Stone, Mon Jun 29 2015:
What's Killing the Babies of Vernal, Utah?
...an alarming number of babies were dying in Vernal -- at least 10 in 2013 alone, what seemed to her a shockingly high infant mortality rate for such a small town... in Vernal, a town literally built by oil, raising questions about the safety of fracking will brand you a traitor and a target... Suspect One: the extraordinary levels of wintertime pollution plaguing the Basin since the vast new undertaking to frack the region's shale filled the air with toxins.

Stillborn: my new band name.
[Read more stories about: airborne pollutants, health impacts, oil issues, people rise up, toxic buildup]
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[Climate Chaos]: from Reuters, Mon Jun 29 2015:
Pakistan morgues run out of space as heat wave kills more than 1,000
The worst heat wave to hit Pakistan's southern city of Karachi for nearly 35 years has killed more than 1,000 people, a charity said on Thursday, as morgues ran out of space and residents rushed to supply over-stretched public hospitals.

There are always rivers.
[Read more stories about: global warming, health impacts]
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[Climate Chaos]: from New York Times, Mon Jun 29 2015:
The Pope's Ecological Vow
...But there is something more profoundly subversive about Laudato Si' than what it says on climate change. On the day it was published, the pope privately told his closest advisers in Rome that the encyclical was not really an environmental document at all. Global warming is merely a symptom of a deeper malaise. Advertisement Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story Advertisement Continue reading the main story The real problem, he insists, is the myopic mentality that has failed to address climate change to date. The rich world's indifference to the despoliation of the environment in pursuit of short-term economic gain is rooted in a wider problem. Market economics has taught us that the world is a resource to be manipulated for our gain. This has led us into unjust and exploitative economic systems that support what Francis calls "a throwaway culture," one that treats not just unwanted things but also unwanted people -- the poor, the elderly and the unborn -- as waste.

Let's not throw away this last opportunity to make things right.
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[Resource Depletion]: from Times of London, Mon Jun 29 2015:
GM 'whiffy wheat' fails to deter aphids
A £3 million publicly funded field trial of genetically modified wheat has failed after the crop was shown to be no better at repelling pests than conventional wheat. The "whiffy wheat" project involved plants modified to produce a pheromone that aphids release when under attack from predators. Scientists thought that the scent would cause the aphids to flee and also attract wasps, which prey on them. However, the trial found no significant reduction in aphids, possibly because they learnt to ignore the continuous alarm scent.

Swing and a miss.
[Read more stories about: GMOs, corporate farming, food crisis]
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[Climate Chaos]: from Philadelphia Inquirer, Mon Jun 29 2015:
'Green' roofs not always the most energy-efficient
... the white-roof craze is based on old and faulty research that has promulgated two myths - that these roofs save energy atop any building and that they decrease global warming... There is a significant heating penalty associated with using white roofs in central and northern climates, where owners use three to five times as much energy to heat their buildings than to cool them. In cities like Philly, white roofs consume more energy, which means they cause more cardon dioxide emissions.

I find this bittersweet.
[Read more stories about: albedo effect, climate impacts]
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[Recovery]: from London Guardian, Mon Jun 29 2015:
Dalai Lama tells Glastonbury of the need to speak out on climate change
The Dalai Lama has endorsed the pope's radical message on climate change and called on fellow religious leaders to "speak out about current affairs which affect the future of mankind"... The Dalai Lama, who will turn 80 next Monday, called for more pressure to be put on international governments to stop the burning of fossil fuels and mass deforestation and invest more in green energy sources.

I bet we could figure out how to turn love into a renewable energy source.
[Read more stories about: people rise up, renewable energy]
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[Resource Depletion]: from London Independent, Mon Jun 29 2015:
Society will collapse by 2040 due to catastrophic food shortages, says study
A scientific model has suggested that society will collapse in less than three decades due to catastrophic food shortages if policies do not change... "In this scenario, global society essentially collapses as food production falls permanently short of consumption."

But will I still be able to have it my way?
[Read more stories about: food crisis, global warming, health impacts]
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[Climate Chaos]: from Arctic News, Sun Jun 28 2015:
Arctic Heat Waves
Warming in the Arctic is accelerating. On June 25, 2015, high temperatures hit North America. Temperatures as high as 30.3 deg C (86.54 deg F) were recorded where the Mackenzie ...
[Species Collapse]: from Vice, Sat Jun 27 2015:
Sea Stars in Death Match With Themselves
But Gong quickly understood that this was different. Her [sea] stars weren't merely shedding their arms. They were tearing them off. They were tearing them off the way a ...
[Climate Chaos]: from Bloomberg, Wed Jun 10 2015:
You're About to See an Incredibly Rare Cloud, and It's Proof the Climate Is Changing
Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on LinkedIn Share on Reddit Share on Google+ E-mail In a few weeks, you may get to see evidence the atmosphere is changing ...
[Recovery]: from London Guardian, Wed Jun 10 2015:
Record boost in new solar power continues massive industry growth
A record amount of solar power was added to the world's grids in 2014, pushing total cumulative capacity to 100 times the level it was in 2000. Around 40GW of solar power ...
[Recovery]: from New York Times, Wed Jun 10 2015:
Court Gives Obama a Climate Change Win
A federal court on Tuesday dismissed a lawsuit by the nation's largest coal companies and 14 coal-producing states that sought to block one of President Obama's signature ...
[Recovery]: from Climate Progress, Wed Jun 10 2015:
New Report Shows EPA'S Proposed Carbon Regulations Will Create Tens Of Thousands Of Jobs
By 2020, the Environmental Protection Agency's (EPA) proposed Clean Power Plan will create nearly 100,000 more jobs than are lost, according to a new report from the Economic ...
[Climate Chaos]: from Washington Post, Wed Jun 10 2015:
Your neighbors may be turning you into an environmentalist
Recently published research in the journal Environment and Behavior has detected another factor involved in the shaping of an environmentalist, and this one is social rather ...
[Climate Chaos]: from Indiana Living Green, Wed Jun 10 2015:
Geoengineering debate
On Tuesday, May 12, at 1 p.m., students from the Decatur Township School of Excellence (DTSE) gathered in a nearby community center to engage in a debate. Nothing particular ...
[Climate Chaos]: from InsideClimate News, Wed Jun 10 2015:
Global Warming's Great Hiatus Gets Another Debunking
...A new study by researchers at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration finds that the world's warming never really stalled during the last 15 years--it was just ...

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The ApocaDocs try to make fun of the horror of environmental collapse by locating a handful of news items every day, and giving each a punchline. The stories are categorized into five main topics: Species Collapse (ecosystem interrelationships, invasive species, the sixth extinction, pesticide effects, and more); Resource Depletion (peak oil, peak phosphorus, overfishing, topsoil loss, aquifer declines, and more); Biology Breach (toxic runoff, radiation, GMOs, pharmwater, contamination, and idle destruction); Climate Chaos (global warming, weather extremes, ocean warming, and more); and Infectious Disease (pandemics, viruses, antibiotic resistance). To avoid deep depression, we also include stories of Recovery (alternative energy, innovations, species restoration, better policies, social change, and the like). For more information, see About The ApocaDocs.
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