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Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week

Open Thread Plus Cartoon Of The Week | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Opine away! The scariest story of them all….
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Sustain Our Earth
News that effects the sustainability of life on Earth
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Stupidity Is Not A Valid Defense For Us - The Automatic Earth

Stupidity Is Not A Valid Defense For Us - The Automatic Earth | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

If we can't plead stupidity, what else is there? How do we live with ourselves? Is it all the stuff we buy that manages to numb our brains and consciences?

 

When I see a headline like this one at Bloomberg today, World Needs Record Saudi Oil Supply as OPEC Convenes, there’s just one thought that pops into my head: what the world needs is for us to stop doing this thing we’re doing. Even apart from peak oil concerns, it’s obvious we’re going to run out at some point or another, and it doesn’t matter whether that’s tomorrow or at some other point in the future, though we do know it’s not going to take another 100 years, or even 50.

 

And nothing will ever take the place of oil; once those unique carbons are gone, that’s it, we’ll have to find a completely different way of running our societies, and if we’re not smart enough to prepare for that beforehand, we’ll be cats fighting in a sack and use the last scraps to kill off each other. And our legacy won’t be the Greek thinkers and Picasso and Dostoyevsky and Walt Whitman and Maria Callas, since there won’t be the means for our children anymore to share what makes man great between them. Our main legacy will instead be bloodshed, we will have gone the exact same path that any non-thinking or even primitive organism would have taken, who don’t have opera or philosophy or poetry to their name.

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David Collet's curator insight, August 2, 5:26 PM

A thoughtfull read.

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California Is ‘Woefully Unprepared’ For Sea Level Rise, Says A New Report

California Is ‘Woefully Unprepared’ For Sea Level Rise, Says A New Report | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
California likely faces three feet of sea level rise by the end of the century, along with billions in damage to its economy, according to a report from the state's legislature.
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WHO | Anecdotal evidence about experimental therapies

Clinicians working in Liberia have informed WHO that 2 doctors and 1 nurse have now received the experimental Ebola therapy, ZMapp.


The nurse and one of the doctors show a marked improvement. The condition of the second doctor is serious but has improved somewhat.


According to the manufacturer, the very limited supplies of this experimental medicine are now exhausted.


ZMapp is one of several experimental treatments and vaccines for Ebola that are currently undergoing investigation. At present, supplies of all are extremely limited.

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California: Beyond cars?

California has long been famous—or infamous—as a pioneer of the automobile-saturated lifestyle. By 1927, there was already one car for every three people in Los Angeles, while only one for nine in Chicago, and one for every 400 in Berlin. There were many reasons for this reliance on cars, but clearly it was partly due to the fact that folks from the Midwest arrived in cars, and partly to a sprawling real estate market that undermined the existing rail system. To finance these suburban developments, the assets of Pacific Electric Railway, which served the greater Los Angeles area, were consistently raided, rather than being reinvested in rail. These patterns favored auto-dependent infill between the rail lines (Bottles, 1991). In an accident of geology, the Los Angeles Basin sits atop several giant oil fields, whose bobbing pumps riddled the hills next to Hollywood, providing ample fuel for its cars and trucks.

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How California’s carbon market actually works

Almost 10 years ago, California’s legislature passed Assembly Bill 32, the Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006. AB 32 set the most ambitious legally binding climate policy in the United States, requiring that California’s greenhouse gas emissions return to 1990 levels by the year 2020. The centerpiece of the state’s efforts—in rhetorical terms, if not practical ones—is a comprehensive carbon market, which California’s leaders promote as a model policy for controlling carbon pollution. Over the course of the past 18 months, however, California quietly changed its approach to a critical rule affecting the carbon market’s integrity. Under the new rule, utilities are rewarded for swapping contracts on the Western electricity grid, without actually reducing greenhouse gas emissions to the atmosphere. Now that the Environmental Protection Agency is preparing to regulate greenhouse gases from power plants, many are looking to the Golden State for best climate policy practices. On that score, California’s experience offers cautionary insights into the challenges of using carbon markets to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

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Earth sliding into ‘ecological debt’ earlier and earlier, campaigners warn

Earth sliding into ‘ecological debt’ earlier and earlier, campaigners warn | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
World has already exhausted a year’s supply of natural resources in less than eight months, Global Footprint Network says
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'Severe' drought covers nearly 99.8% of California, report says

'Severe' drought covers nearly 99.8% of California, report says | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Drought conditions may have leveled off across California, but nearly 100% of the state remains in the third-harshest category for dryness, according to the latest measurements.
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36% of adults lack retirement savings, including many 65 or older

36% of adults lack retirement savings, including many 65 or older | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
More than a third of American adults have no retirement savings, and 14% of those ages 65 and older also haven’t put money away yet, according to a new study.
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Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola sets new record

Liberian slums barricaded as Ebola sets new record | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

MONROVIA, Liberia (AP)  Riot police and soldiers acting on their president's orders used scrap wood and barbed wire to seal off 50,000 people inside their Liberian slum Wednesday, trying to contain the Ebola outbreak that has killed 1,350 people and counting across West Africa. [...] victims often suffer gruesome deaths, bleeding from the eyes, mouth and ears, and the fatality rate of about 50 percent has provoked widespread panic. 

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Water dispute boils

Water dispute boils | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Ranchers, environmentalists disagree about how water rules should be applied
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Stanford's Water in the West program offers new way to view groundwater resources

Stanford's Water in the West program offers new way to view groundwater resources | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
New website, with interactive graphics, illustrates problems caused by California's over-tapped aquifers.
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If You Think the Water Crisis Can't Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained

If You Think the Water Crisis Can't Get Worse, Wait Until the Aquifers Are Drained | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it

In ten years, the Colorado River Basin has lost the equivalent of two Lake Meads, the largest reservoir in the U.S., pictured here at dusk with Las Vegas in the background.

 

As drought ravages surface water supplies, we're pumping groundwater to save us. And it will-for a while.

 

Aquifers provide us freshwater that makes up for surface water lost from drought-depleted lakes, rivers, and reservoirs. We are drawing down these hidden, mostly nonrenewable groundwater supplies at unsustainable rates in the western United States and in several dry regions globally, threatening our future.

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Maryland Fracking Study Cites Toxic Air Emissions as Top Concern | InsideClimate News

Maryland Fracking Study Cites Toxic Air Emissions as Top Concern | InsideClimate News | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
A state-commissioned report found that air emissions trump water pollution and drilling-induced earthquakes as a top public health threat posed by future fracking projects in Maryland. For nearly a year, experts at the University of Maryland's School of Public Health examined past research into the link between oil and gas activity and health.
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Wind Turbine Syndrome? Courts Aren’t Buying It | Climate Central

Wind Turbine Syndrome? Courts Aren’t Buying It | Climate Central | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Do wind turbines make people sick? Courts and scientists say they don't.
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Americans who contracted Ebola in Liberia released from Atlanta hospital

Americans who contracted Ebola in Liberia released from Atlanta hospital | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Nancy Writebol was discharged on Tuesday. Kent Brantly was released on Thursday.
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Jerry Brown: Climate change policy in California—and beyond

In this interview, California Gov. Jerry Brown talks with the Bulletin’s John Mecklin on the economics of controlling greenhouse gas emissions, the difficulty of gaining Republican support for climate change action, the role of religious leaders in changing public opinion on global warming, the climate change implications of California’s high-speed rail project, and the possibility that the climate could be a major issue in the 2016 elections. The interview is part of a Bulletin special issue on California’s many-faceted policy approach to climate change.

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Adapting to climate change in California

California is in the vanguard of states acting to mitigate and adapt to human-caused climate change, and for good reasons. Public health and safety and trillions of dollars of real assets are at increasing risk from rising sea level and more frequent heat waves, floods, and wildfires. Intensifying droughts, shrinking mountain snowpacks, and growing urban water demand are challenging the state’s already over-tapped water supply system. Changes in precipitation and hotter conditions pose multiple threats to the state’s $43 billion agricultural sector. A hot spot of biodiversity, California leads all states in the number of threatened or endangered animal species and is second only to Hawaii in the number of endangered plant species, and pressures on those species are only likely to increase with climate change. Compounding these concerns is the inexorable growth in the state’s human population, which is projected to rise from 38 million today to 60 million by 2050.

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California’s energy and climate policy: A full plate, but perhaps not a model policy

California is a leader among states in its efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions. Under the California Global Warming Solutions Act of 2006 (Assembly Bill 32), the state has set itself on a course to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions to 1990 levels by the year 2020. In addition to its cap-and-trade program, California aims to accomplish this objective via a large assortment of complementary and overlapping policies. To a significant degree, cap-and-trade is a market-based “dessert” that follows a multicourse menu of other regulatory initiatives aimed at cutting emissions. The reduced cost-effectiveness, political costs, and regulatory costs associated with this approach make it unlikely to form a suitable model for states in which political commitment to climate action is more limited or regulatory capacity is not as great as in California.

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Nearly Half of Americans Think the Recession Is Not Over

Nearly Half of Americans Think the Recession Is Not Over | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Economic well-being is not limited to wealth, earnings, and employment. Without a sense of security, Americans won't become entrepreneurs
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Average cost to raise a child hits $245,000, without college

Average cost to raise a child hits $245,000, without college | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The cost is up $4,260, or almost 2%, from the year before. Estimates can vary widely depending on where you live and how much you earn.
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Microbes thrive below Antarctic ice. A hint of life elsewhere in solar system?

Microbes thrive below Antarctic ice. A hint of life elsewhere in solar system? | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
The discovery of bacteria in an ice-bound lake bolsters the case that similar life could exist elsewhere in the solar system. But on Earth, the find raises the prospect that Antarctic melting will release greenhouse gases.
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New formaldehyde report supports EPA's assessment that chemical is 'human carcinogen'

New formaldehyde report supports EPA's assessment that chemical is 'human carcinogen' | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
WASHINGTON -- The ongoing debate about the risks of formaldehyde is intensifying in light of a new report by the National Academy of Sciences that said the Environmental Protection Agency's labeling of the chemical as a "human carcinogen" is supported by...
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Understanding California’s Groundwater | Water in the West

Understanding California’s Groundwater | Water in the West | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
This series explores groundwater management in California through new research into key groundwater issues, interactive graphics and a synthesis of existing knowledge on groundwater in California, all designed to advance public understanding of this critical issue.
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How the West was Lost

How the West was Lost | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
Just as the settling and development of the arid American West was fueled by harnessing its available fresh water, the growing lack of water availability may well be its undoing. California’s epic ...
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Earthquakes near deep-earth wells raise concerns

Earthquakes near deep-earth wells raise concerns | Sustain Our Earth | Scoop.it
GREELEY, Colo.—A series of small but unusual earthquakes near a well being pumped full of liquid drilling waste north of Denver has reignited a debate about the impacts of oil and gas development near homes.
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Judge rules corps can ignore mining health studies

A federal judge in Charleston ruled this week that the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers does not have to consider scientific studies linking mountaintop removal to public health problems when the agency approves new Clean Water Act permits for mining operations.

 

U.S. District Judge John T. Copenhaver Jr. on Monday turned down an effort by the Ohio Valley Environmental Coalition and other groups to force the corps to consider potential adverse human health effects as part of the review of applications for “dredge-and-fill” permits from strip-mining operators.

 

The case concerned a permit application from Raven Crest Contracting for its proposed Boone North No. 5 Surface Mine, a 725-acre site in Boone County, near the communities of Peytona and Racine.

 

Citizen groups had urged the corps to look closely at four specific studies that examined that increased risks of adverse health effects experienced by residents who live near mountaintop removal mining operations.

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