ApocaDocs
Today is April 24, 2024.
On this day (04/24), we posted 17 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


April 24, 2012, from AP, via HuffingtonPost

Ohio 'Pooling' Laws Allow Drilling Even Where Owners Object

Oh, that's right: the corporate economy always evolves into corporate fascism.
Retired police officer Ed Hashbarger is watching in anger as drillers converge on his part of eastern Ohio, at times gaining access to coveted oil and gas deposits through a state law that can trump objections of individual property owners. The U.S. Army veteran contends the practice called mandatory pooling violates his constitutional rights, his Catholic faith -- which calls for safeguarding the environment -- and what his country stands for. "We do not defend the United States of America so the government can strip me of my rights to my land," said Hashbarger, who expects his land in Bloomingdale will soon be pooled as such deals engulf neighboring properties. "I'm furious over the whole thing." Mandatory pooling gives drillers the ability to overcome a landowner's objections to drilling on his property if enough neighbors have agreed to the well drilling. The resisting landowner is paid for the oil or gas taken.... He said the well has marred the air in his neighborhood, the view and quiet enjoyment of his property. He's now saddled with a ruling that he said appears to make him legally responsible for spills and other damage. Chodkiewicz said he felt he didn't have a chance before the state board that considers mandatory pooling requests, the Technical Advisory Council, because it is dominated by energy industry executives.


April 24, 2009, from San Francisco Chronicle

Group says flea collars for pets endanger kids

Man's best friend is kid's worst enemy!
Some cat and dog flea collars leave chemicals on fur that are hazardous to the pets and their owners, in violation of California's anti-toxics laws, according to a national environmental group's lawsuit Thursday. The Natural Resources Defense Council urged federal regulators to remove the products from the market. Two chemicals in the pet collars left residue sufficient to pose the risk of cancer and neurological damage to children - as much as 1,000 times higher than levels established by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the group said.

Climate
Chaos


April 24, 2013, from RTCC

CO2 level nears 400ppm climate milestone

What's a number, anyway, but some arbitrary identification of a measurable amount?
Global atmospheric CO2 concentration is edging towards the 400 parts per million (ppm) mark for the first time in millions of years. That's the expectation of scientists at the Mauna Loa recording station in Hawaii, widely regarded as the most reliable record of atmospheric CO2.... The annual peak is in May just before summer plant growth sucks more CO2 out of the atmosphere. Levels have risen every year since recording began. Scripps estimates that the 400ppm mark could be breached this year and if not, it will definitely be broken in 2014. These levels were last sustained 3.2-5 million years ago when temperatures were 2-3 degrees C warmer. "I wish it weren't true, but it looks like the world is going to blow through the 400ppm level without losing a beat," said Scripps geophysicist Ralph Keeling, whose father Dave established the network of remote CO2 monitoring. "At this pace we'll hit 450ppm within a few decades," said Ralph Keeling.


April 24, 2012, from The Independent

New climate threat as methane rises from cracks in Arctic ice

That tipping point is tap-tap-tapping, tap-tap-tapping on our climate door....
A new source of methane - a greenhouse gas many times more powerful than carbon dioxide - has been identified by scientists flying over areas in the Arctic where the sea ice has melted.... Eric Kort of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, California, said that he and his colleagues were surprised to see methane levels rise so dramatically each time their research aircraft flew over cracks in the sea ice. "When we flew over completely solid sea ice, we didn't see anything in terms of methane. But when we flew over areas were the sea ice had melted, or where there were cracks in the ice, we saw the methane levels increase," Dr Kort said. "We were surprised to see these enhanced methane levels at these high latitudes. Our observations really point to the ocean surface as the source, which was not what we had expected," he said. "Other scientists had seen high concentrations of methane in the sea surface but nobody had expected to see it being released into the atmosphere in this way," he added.


April 24, 2011, from University of Kansas Biodiversity Institute via ScienceDaily

Brown Recluse Spider: Range Could Expand in N. America With Changing Climate

Now I am truly terrified by climate change!
One of the most feared spiders in North America is the subject a new study that aims to predict its distribution and how that distribution may be affected by climate changes...The researchers concluded that the range may expand northward, potentially invading previously unaffected regions. Newly influenced areas may include parts of Nebraska, Minnesota, Wisconsin, Michigan, South Dakota, Ohio, and Pennsylvania.


April 24, 2011, from London Observer

Spring may lose song of cuckoos, nightingales and turtle doves

That sound you hear is the rejoicing of worms.
Some of Britain's most cherished spring visitors are disappearing in their thousands. Ornithologists say species such as the cuckoo, nightingale and turtle dove are undergoing catastrophic drops in numbers, although experts are puzzled about the exact reasons for these declines. The warning, from the RSPB, comes as the songs of the cuckoo, nightingale and wood warbler herald the return of spring...There is almost certainly a significant problem caused by climate change. Migrant birds arrive and breed and then have chicks at times which are no longer synchronised with the best periods when food, such as insects, is available.


April 24, 2011, from Associated Press

Costly gasoline clouds Obama re-election prospects

This Easter, give your car a big bunny hug because it's the most important thing on the planet.
With gas prices climbing and little relief in sight, President Barack Obama is scrambling to get ahead of the latest potential obstacle to his re-election bid, even as Republicans are making plans to exploit the issue....As Obama well knows, Americans love their cars and remain heavily dependent on them, and they don't hesitate to punish politicians when the cost of filling their tanks goes through the roof.

Resource
Depletion


April 24, 2012, from CBC News

Arctic fishing moratorium needed, thousands of scientists say

But it's brand new territory to suck dry! I can't resist!! Gold rush!!!
A group of more than 2,000 scientists from 67 countries has called for a moratorium on commercial fishing in the Arctic until more research can be completed on waters that were once covered by ice year-round. The scientists said the loss of permanent sea ice has opened up as much as 40 per cent of the Central Arctic Ocean during recent summers, making industrial fishing viable for the first time. But they said such activities should be prohibited until there's a better understanding of the area and sustainable fishing quotas can be set. "The ability to fish is not the same as having the scientific information and management regimes needed for a well-managed fishery," the scientists said in an open letter released Sunday by the U.S.-based Pew Environment Group.... "In the absence of this scientific data and a robust management system, depletion of fishery resources and damage to other components of the ecosystem are likely to result if fisheries commence."


April 24, 2009, from National Science Foundation via ScienceDaily

As World Warms, Water Levels Dropping In Major Rivers

Old Man River is getting decrepit!
Rivers in some of the world's most populous regions are losing water, according to a comprehensive study of global stream flows. The research, led by scientists at the National Center for Atmospheric Research (NCAR) in Boulder, Colo., suggests that the reduced flows in many cases are associated with climate change, and could potentially threaten future supplies of food and water... The scientists, who examined stream flows from 1948 to 2004, found significant changes in about one-third of the world's largest rivers. Of those, rivers with decreased flow outnumbered those with increased flow by a ratio of about 2.5 to 1.

Recovery


April 24, 2013, from Washington Post

Why aren't younger Americans driving anymore?

Why drive when you have a smart phone that goes everywhere.
Ever since the recession hit in late 2007, Americans have been driving less and less. Was that because of the horrible economy? To some extent, perhaps. But it's striking that Americans are still cutting back on driving even though the economy is growing again.... another huge part of the story is that young Americans are driving much, much less. Between 2001 and 2009, the average yearly number of miles driven by 16- to 34-year-olds dropped a staggering 23 percent. The Frontier Group has the most comprehensive look yet of why younger Americans are opting out of driving. Public transportation use is up 40 percent per capita in this age group since 2001. Bicycling is up 24 percent overall in that time period. And this is true even for young Americans who are financially well off.


April 24, 2013, from Midwest Energy News

How wind energy helped Iowa attract Facebook's new data center

Iowa: the new Silicorn Valley.
After 18 months of courtship and competition, Iowa officials announced Tuesday that Facebook has selected a Des Moines suburb as the site for its next data center. The social media giant plans to break ground this summer in Altoona, Iowa, on a $300 million data center that could be the first of three facilities there. Much of the news coverage has focused on the $18 million in tax credits awarded by the state, but Facebook had another reason to "like” Iowa: wind power.... As part of a December 2011 truce with Greenpeace, Facebook adopted a policy that gives preference to building data center in places with access to clean and renewable energy.


April 24, 2013, from NASA/Jet Propulsion Laboratory

Galaxy Goes Green in Burning Stellar Fuel

And it all probably started with recycling.
Astronomers have spotted the "greenest" of galaxies, one that converts fuel into stars with almost 100-percent efficiency. The findings come from NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE), NASA's Hubble Space Telescope and the IRAM Plateau de Bure interferometer in the French Alps. "This galaxy is remarkably efficient," said Jim Geach of McGill University in Canada, lead author of a new study appearing in the Astrophysical Journal Letters. "It's converting its gas supply into new stars at the maximum rate thought possible."


April 24, 2011, from Toronto Star

Activists embark on five-day walk to protest 'mega quarry'

Sometimes, just getting up off your butt is the hardest part.
Farmers, ranchers and First Nations groups embarked on a 115-kilometre trek to Melancthon Township on Friday to show their opposition to a "mega quarry" planned for the region. The group departed on foot from Queen's Park, where roughly 200 people had gathered to discuss the project's potentially negative impact on the region's water, farming and quality of life.... "It's going to be the second-largest quarry in North America["]...The application for the project, put forward by The Highland Companies, says the limestone quarry planned for Dufferin County will use 600 million litres of groundwater every day...


April 24, 2011, from Edinburgh Scotsman

Greenpeace activists hijack Scots oil rig bound for Greenland

This has all the makings of an ongoing drama.
GREENPEACE activists climbed aboard an oil rig off Turkey yesterday to prevent it leaving for Greenland to begin deep-water drilling in the Arctic. Eleven activists used speedboats to intercept and then climb on to the Leiv Eiriksson after it had left a port in Istanbul. They climbed the rig's derrick, unfurling a banner that read: "Stop Arctic destruction" and "Go Beyond Oil, Choose Clean Energy." The platform, bound for Greenland's Baffin Bay, did not stop and stayed on course, heading towards the Dardanelles strait with the activists on board, Deniz Sozudogru, a Greenpeace spokeswoman said.


April 24, 2009, from Yale Environment 360

Bill McKibben on Building A Climate Action Movement

We ALL need to start working fulltime on this.
Author Bill McKibben first warned about global warming and its implications for the planet in his 1989 book, The End of Nature. But in the last few years, it has become the focus of his work as an organizer of 350.org, an advocacy organization promoting global action to tackle climate change. In an interview with Yale Environment 360 editor Roger Cohn, McKibben described why he is working fulltime on the issue, why he thinks a citizens movement is essential for giving President Obama the "political space" necessary to address climate change, why a "cap-and-dividend" system might offer the most potential, and why he believes the jury is still out on whether the most serious impacts of climate change can be avoided. "For the moment, I am not spending my time being either optimistic or pessimistic," he said. "I am just working."


April 24, 2009, from Sacramento Bee

Fuels must clean up act

It's super important my financial portfolio is robust during the Apocalypse!
California became the first state in the nation Thursday to mandate carbon-based reductions in transportation fuels in an attempt to cut the state's overall greenhouse gas emissions. The California Air Resources Board approved a phased-in reduction starting in 2011, with a goal of shrinking carbon impacts 10 percent by 2020. Fuel producers can comply in different ways, such as providing a cleaner fuel portfolio, blending low-carbon ethanol with gasoline or purchasing credits from other clean-energy producers. California's low-carbon fuel standard could lead to a national measure under President Barack Obama, as well as shape how the transportation sector evolves. But businesses and oil industry critics warned that more research is necessary and that its action would lead to higher costs for consumers in a recessionary economy.