ApocaDocs
Today is December 5, 2021.
On this day (12/5), we posted 13 stories, over the years 2009-2016.


Converging Emergencies: From 2009 to 2016, 'Doc Jim and 'Doc Michael spent 30 to 90 minutes nearly every day, researching, reading, and joking about more than 8,000 news stories about Climate Chaos, Biology Breach, Resource Depletion, and Recovery. (We also captured stories about Species Collapse and Infectious Disease, but in this "greatest hits of the day" instantiation, we're skipping the last two.)
      We shared those stories and japes daily, at apocadocs.com (see our final homepage, upon the election of Trump).
      The site was our way to learn about what humans were doing to our ecosystem, as well our way to try to help wake up the world.
      You could call this new format the "we knew it all back then, but nobody wanted to know we knew it" version. Enjoy these stories and quips from a more hopeful time, when the two ApocaDocs imagined that humanity would come to its senses in time -- so it was just fine to make fun of the upcoming collapse.

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Biology
Breach


December 5, 2013, from Environmental Health News

New report: Unregulated contaminants common in drinking water

Isn't it wonderful to be experimented on every day?
Traces of 18 unregulated chemicals were found in drinking water from more than one-third of U.S. water utilities in a nationwide sampling, according to new, unpublished research by federal scientists. Included are 11 perfluorinated compounds, an herbicide, two solvents, caffeine, an antibacterial compound, a metal and an antidepressant. "The good news is the concentrations are generally pretty low," said Dana Kolpin, a research hydrologist with the USGS who participated in the study. "But," he added, "there's still the unknown. Are there long-term consequences of low-level exposure to these chemicals?"


December 5, 2009, from Daily Times

Mysterious disease strikes children in coastal areas of city

What are these "experts" expert in, panicking the populace?
A strange disease has spread in the coastal belt of Karachi paralysing the lower limbs and some times the arms and other body parts of the victims, the majority of whom are children... the disease are first afflicted with fever for a few days and then their lower limbs and sometimes the arms and other body parts are completely paralysed. Though this disease remains unidentified, geologists contend that it is caused due to the consumption of fluoride-contaminated underground water. Experts have also expressed fear that the disease could engulf the entire coast of Sindh.

Climate
Chaos


December 5, 2013, from London Guardian

ALEC calls for penalties on 'freerider' homeowners in assault on clean energy

The people united will never be defeated (by ALEC).
An alliance of corporations and conservative activists is mobilising to penalise homeowners who install their own solar panels -- casting them as "freeriders" -- in a sweeping new offensive against renewable energy, the Guardian has learned. Over the coming year, the American Legislative Exchange Council (Alec) will promote legislation with goals ranging from penalising individual homeowners and weakening state clean energy regulations, to blocking the Environmental Protection Agency, which is Barack Obama's main channel for climate action.


December 5, 2013, from New York Times

Large Companies Prepared to Pay Price on Carbon

Watch me control global warming.
More than two dozen of the nation's biggest corporations, including the five major oil companies, are planning their future growth on the expectation that the government will force them to pay a price for carbon pollution as a way to control global warming.


December 5, 2013, from BBC

Meet the US Army's hybrid hellion

Next thing you know, soldiers will be drinking iced lattes.
A fuel-efficient, lightweight hybrid vehicle that could keep soldiers safe? It might sound like mission impossible, but such a machine is already roaming the earth -- albeit on a tight leash....it's a fuel-efficient hybrid vehicle, its rear-mounted lithium-iron phosphate battery charged by a 175-horsepower Subaru turbodiesel boxer engine. And although it is smaller and lighter than other similar Army vehicles, such as the long-serving Humvee, it still offers vanguard blast-mitigation and survivability features.


December 5, 2012, from The New Yorker

Paying for It

Logical? Fair? Not in my America!
...One way to think about global warming is as a vast, planet-wide Pigovian problem. In this case, the man pulls up to a gas pump. He sticks his BP or Sunoco card into the slot, fills up, and drives off. He's got a full tank; the gas station and the oil company share in the profits. Meanwhile, the carbon that spills out of his tailpipe lingers in the atmosphere, trapping heat and contributing to higher sea levels. As the oceans rise, coastal roads erode, beachfront homes wash away, and, finally, major cities flood. Once again, it's the public at large that gets left with the bill. The logical, which is to say the fair, way to address this situation would be to make the driver absorb the cost for his slice of the damage.


December 5, 2011, from New York Times

Carbon Emissions Show Biggest Jump Ever Recorded

Another year, another record. I bet Nature's about ready to cry uncle!
Global emissions of carbon dioxide from fossil-fuel burning jumped by the largest amount on record last year, upending the notion that the brief decline during the recession might persist through the recovery. Emissions rose 5.9 percent in 2010, according to an analysis released Sunday by the Global Carbon Project, an international collaboration of scientists tracking the numbers. Scientists with the group said the increase, a half-billion extra tons of carbon pumped into the air, was almost certainly the largest absolute jump in any year since the Industrial Revolution, and the largest percentage increase since 2003. The increase solidified a trend of ever-rising emissions that scientists fear will make it difficult, if not impossible, to forestall severe climate change in coming decades.


December 5, 2009, from Mother Jones

Blowing In The Wind

Our backyard now is ALL of earth.
Cape Wind, the bitterly contested proposed offshore wind farm in Massachusetts' Nantucket Sound, is approaching a critical juncture. After eight years of delays, the project will likely be approved or denied before the end of 2009. If it proceeds, the 24-square-mile, 130-turbine wind farm could generate enough electricity to power 420,000 homes -- and kick-start an offshore wind industry in the United States. But opposition to the project has been fierce, and Cape Wind needs all the help it can get. So where is the state's senior senator? John Kerry is among Capitol Hill's most ardent advocates of addressing climate change, but he has refused to weigh in on one of the most significant debates over the future of alternative energy -- and one that's occurring in his own backyard.

Resource
Depletion


December 5, 2014, from Reuters, via DesdemonaDespair

São Paulo taps emergency water reserves which may last for two months - 'If it doesn't rain, we won't have an alternative but to get water from the mud'

Twenty million people without showers is an aesthetic nightmare!
São Paulo, Brazil's drought-hit megacity of 20 million, has about two months of guaranteed water supply remaining as it taps into the second of three emergency reserves, officials say. The city began using its second so-called "technical reserve" 10 days ago to prevent a water crisis after reservoirs reached critically low levels last month. This is the first time the state has resorted to using the reserves, experts say.... Brazil's southeast region is suffering its worst drought in at least 80 years after an unusually dry year left rivers and reservoirs at critically low levels.


December 5, 2009, from TIME Magazine

The Tragedy of the Himalayas

My cup runneth not over.
...Scientists call it the third pole -- but when it comes to clear and present threats from climate change, it may rank first. The high-altitude glaciers of the Himalayas and the Tibetan Plateau -- which cover parts of India, Pakistan, Nepal, Bhutan and China -- are the water tower of Asia. When the ice thaws and the snow melts every spring, the glaciers birth the great rivers of the region, the mightiest river system in the world: the Ganges, the Indus, the Brahmaputra, the Mekong, the Yellow, the Yangtze. Together, these rivers give material and spiritual sustenance to 3 billion people, nearly half of the world's population -- and all are nursed by Himalayan ice... a new report from the international consulting group McKinsey & Co. estimates that by 2030, India alone will have only 50 percent of the water that it needs under a business-as-usual scenario. Nor is Asia the only region that will grapple with water scarcity in a warmer world: the McKinsey report estimates that the globe will have 40 percent less water than it needs by 2030 if nothing is done to change current consumption patterns.

Recovery


December 5, 2013, from The Nation

The Pope Versus Unfettered Capitalism

What is he, some kind of religious zealot?
Condemning the "new tyranny" of unfettered capitalism and the "idolatry of money," Pope Francis argues in a newly circulated apostolic exhortation that "as long as the problems of the poor are not radically resolved by rejecting the absolute autonomy of markets and financial speculation and by attacking the structural causes of inequality, no solution will be found for the world's problems or, for that matter, to any problems."... "Such an economy kills," he explains. "How can it be that it is not a news item when an elderly homeless person dies of exposure, but it is news when the stock market loses two points? This is a case of exclusion. Can we continue to stand by when food is thrown away while people are starving? This is a case of inequality. Today everything comes under the laws of competition and the survival of the fittest, where the powerful feed upon the powerless. As a consequence, masses of people find themselves excluded and marginalized: without work, without possibilities, without any means of escape."


December 5, 2012, from New York Times

To Stop Climate Change, Students Aim at College Portfolios

Nice metaphor: instead of whites vs. blacks it's people vs. nature.
... In recent weeks, college students on dozens of campuses have demanded that university endowment funds rid themselves of coal, oil and gas stocks. The students see it as a tactic that could force climate change, barely discussed in the presidential campaign, back onto the national political agenda. ... Students who have signed on see it as a conscious imitation of the successful effort in the 1980s to pressure colleges and other institutions to divest themselves of the stocks of companies doing business in South Africa under apartheid.