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Tipping point: population growth, climate change and environmental damage pushing Earth toward calamitous, irreversible changes

*update* April 4, 2013 In Sign of Warming, 1,600 Years of Ice in Andes Melted in 25 Years

A coal power station in Gelsenkirchen, Germany.

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Earth may be near tipping point, scientists warn
A group of international scientists is sounding a global alarm, warning that population growth, climate change and environmental destruction are pushing Earth toward calamitous — and irreversible — biological changes.

In a paper published in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature, 22 researchers from a variety of fields liken the human impact to global events eons ago that caused mass extinctions, permanently altering Earth's biosphere. "Humans are now forcing another such transition, with the potential to transform Earth rapidly and irreversibly into a state unknown in human experience," wrote the authors, who are from the U.S., Europe, Canada and South America.  read more »

Honor student needs help not jail: supports 2 siblings, runs fr job to job, homework til 7am..too tired for school, missed class

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Diane Tran, Honor Student At Texas High School, Jailed For Missing School
Diane Tran, a 17-year-old honor student in Texas, was forced to spend the night in jail last week after missing too many classes, KHOU-11's Sherry Williams reports.

The Willis High School junior, who helps support two siblings, has both a full time and part-time job. She said that she's often too tired to go to school. "She goes from job to job from school," Devin Hill, one of Tran's classmates, told KHOU-11. "She stays up until 7:00 in the morning doing her homework." Her parents divorced and no longer live near her, so she lives with the family that owns the wedding venue where she works on weekends.

Tran's case has spread online, with dozens of news outlets across the country picking up her story. HelpDianeTran.com, a site set up by the Louisiana Children's Education Alliance in partnership with Anedot and Gatorworks, has raised over $28,000

A petition at Change.org that calls for the judge to revoke the teen's fine and sentencing was approaching 28,000 signatures on Monday afternoon.

*Update May 31, 2012*

Charges dropped against honor student jailed for truancy
The 17-year-old Willis High School honor student whose 24-hour stay in jail for excessive truancy drew national attention had the charge rescinded Wednesday, records show.  read more »

"Bored to death? It really could happen..." Nature gives life, shouldn't life aspire to / be inspired by Nature?

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Science Shows You Can Die of Boredom, Literally
Monthly magazines from Reader's Digest to Cosmopolitan are inundated with tips on how to sleep better, find happiness, and weave seriously sexy hair. Taking nothing away from being happy and blowing your romantic partner's mind on valentine's day, there are few things as valuable as staying alive...Try to withhold your skepticism for a moment as I share a brand new scientific discovery:

The more bored you are, the more likely you are to die prematurely

Over 7,500 London civil servants aged between 35 and 55 were interviewed in the late 1980's. Among other questions, they were asked if they felt bored at work during the past month. These same people were tracked down to find out who died by April 2009. What the researchers found was that civil servants who reported being very bored were 2.5 times more likely to die of a heart problem than those who hadn't reported being bored. You might be asking yourself, what the %$#@ does this mean? To put this into perspective, consider this fact by the American Heart Association: Smokers are two to four times likely to develop coronary heart disease than nonsmokers. People with a molotov cocktail of obesity, high blood pressure, and high blood sugar (that is, all three at once) are twice as likely to have a heart attack and three times more likely to die earlier than the rest of the population. This means that death by boredom is right up there with the favorite targets of media fear mongering, public policy, and pharmaceutical companies. Nobody is talking about boredom while people whine and die quietly at workplaces around the world.  read more »

Again ocean defenders are arrested: New Zealand's Bethune, Tokyo Two, Australian Trio, Dutch Erwin.. Now Canadian Paul Watson

Captain Paul Watson 'not here to watch them kill whales, I’m here to STOP them.'

For over 30 years, determined ocean defender Captain Paul Watson has saved many wildlife, from seals, whales, dolphins, to blue tuna... but his enemies are also determined, and very "powerful, most notably the government of Japan." "Save Captain Paul Watson from a politically-motivated extradition to Costa Rica where he will not receive a fair trial, nor is it likely that he would even survive jail to see the inside of a courtroom. The Taiwanese shark fin mafia in Costa Rica have made threats on Captain Watson’s life. Costa Rica is one of the world’s largest exporters of shark fins, a trade thought to be worth millions of dollars and controlled by the Taiwanese mafia. In January 2011, celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay and his TV crew were allegedly held at gunpoint and dowsed with gasoline during the filming of his documentary on the shark-finning trade in Costa Rica." Newly released video evidence from the documentary "Sharkwater" proves Capt. Watson's innocence, but he is still being extradited from Germany to Costa Rica tomorrow (Fri), May 18. Filmmaker Rob Stewart joins the global call to free Paul Watson.

Arrest of Capt. Watson lawful? A 10-year-old case: no one injured, no property damaged; "the charges were originally dropped once the authorities saw the footage (from Sharkwater Film by Rob Stewart)"?

Sharkwater Film by Rob Stewart Proof Sea Shepherd Captain Innocent -
Fact 1. The event happened in Year 2002, when Sea Shepherd tried to stop illegal shark-finning;
Fact 2. During the event in Year 2002, "no one was injured and no property damaged";  read more »

Olympic flame to be lit in ceremony in Greece before 1800-mile torch relay and the London 2012 Games

The flame is lit from the rays of the sun, representing 'purity'

The Greek relay starts in Olympia and finishes in Athens, taking in Crete

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The flame is lit from the rays of the sun, representing 'purity', by a 'high priestess' who captures the morning sun's rays in a parabolic mirror.

The ceremony comes amid political and economic turmoil in the home of the Ancient Olympics, where a week-long leg of the relay will be held.

The flame flies to Britain on 18 May for a 70-day relay around the UK.

The lighting ceremony takes place in front of the ruins of the Temple of Hera from 11:30 local time (09:30BST).

The flame - an Olympic symbol meant to represent purity because it comes from the sun - is then placed in an urn and taken to the stadium where the ancient Olympic Games were staged.

There, it will light the London 2012 torch of Liverpool-born Greek world champion 10km swimmer Spyros Gianniotis, who will carry it on the first leg of the relay around Greece. He will pass it on to Alex Loukos, 19, the first British torchbearer, a boxer and, in 2005, one of a delegation of east London schoolchildren who travelled to Singapore as part of London's final bid for the Games.

The torch is due to travel 2,900kms (1,800 miles) through the country, carried by 500 torchbearers, on a route circling the country and traveling out to Crete.  read more »

6th Annual Endangered Species Day: Friday, May 18, 2012; one in four of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction

Endangered Species Day, May 2012

top: a red kite, one of several species of Scottish birds of prey to have been found dead from poisoning; bottom: endangered species California Least Tern

endangered species: arctic fox and polar bear

endangered species: sea otters and turtles

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Endangered Animal Photos For Earth Day - On Earth Day, it is important to not only recognize cute animals, but also those whose species may be in peril. For many species across the globe, extinction is a legitimate threat. A 2008 IUCN study found that one in four of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction.

Several of the species seen at above link are what the World Wildlife Fund calls "flagship species." Protection of these species "influences and supports the survival of other species" and "offers opportunities to protect whole landscapes or marine areas," according to the organization.  read more »

Oceans of trash? >9 million volunteers remove 153 million lbs of trash from >312000 miles of coastline and waterways in 26 years

Ocean trash: enough food packaging to get takeout for breakfast, lunch and dinner every day for the next 858 years

top ten items of garbage found in the oceans

ocean trash killing wildlife: fish, mammals, birds, reptiles, invertebrates, amphibians, corals & sponges

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New Data Shows What Trash is in Your Ocean and Waterways
New data released by the Ocean Conservancy highlights the need for humans to clean up their acts. The numbers, generated during the 2011 International Coastal Cleanup last September, are staggering.

With 598,076 volunteers around the world who picked up 9,184,428 pounds of trash from 20,776 miles of shorelines, rivers and lakes, it’s not surprising what is the most prolific item found – cigarette butts. If you are wondering how Ocean Conservancy knows down to the last one, how many butts there were, each volunteer is issued an inventory control sheet to keep tabs.

By now you are probably feeling a little ill, seeing just how much junk is floating around and landing on the world’s shores. But what about the damage being done to our wildlife? We know better — they don’t.

Stop Trash at the Source – You  read more »

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