What if one of the Earth's natural recycling methods stopped working? Because that just happened.
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Natural Resources Defense Council

Remember "the water cycle" from like 2nd grade?

To recap: Liquid water gets evaporated by the sun and turns into condensation in the sky, which moves with the clouds and then gets turned back into rain (or snow, or sleet, or...), which falls back down to Earth and eventually runs off back into a major body of water and evaporates again, and so on and so forth ad infinitum.

Hooray Earth!


Now for a visual:


Image by John Evans and Howard Periman/U.S. Geological Survey.

If you don't remember this from elementary school, it's probably because you were distracted by this other incredible (fictional) feature of the ocean:

GIF from "The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure."

It's one of Earth's built-in features and a crucial component of our ecosystem. It would totally suck if we broke that.

Clouds and rain and sunshine and, well, everything that qualifies as "weather" are affected by water circulation — and it makes life on earth possible.

It causes things like how water from the Pacific gets dumped over London, or how the cold fronts collaborate with winds to spread seeds across across the Amazon rain forest that get buried by soil runoff (and fertilized by rain from the Arctic Circle) and sprout into trees that bear fruit, which feed the animals and humans alike, and then —

You get the picture, right?

Aquaman <3 water circulation. GIF from "The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure."

Water circulation isn't just a neat little feature like that weird backup-assist camera on your car (those things freak me out). It's the wheels that keep the world in motion. (Wheels ... cycles ... seasons — are you sensing a motif here?)

It's what has allowed the Earth to keep running these past 3.5 billion years without having to go back into the shop for a tune-up or left for weeks with GalactiCare tech support.

Too bad it's already broken. ¯\\_(ツ)_/¯


GIF from "The All-New Super Friends Hour."

See, while global temperatures continue to rise, there's one patch of Atlantic Ocean up near Greenland that insists on keeping cool. It doesn't sound like the worst thing, until we consider the global ramifications.

Why is this happening? In the same way that hot air rises, warm saltwater is less dense than cold saltwater, and when the cold saltwater sinks below the warm, it helps create currents in the water. (This is called Thermohaline Circulation, or THC. No, not that THC.)

But! Cold freshwater stays near the top. And right now there's a lot more cold freshwater pouring into the Atlantic Ocean due to melting ice sheets.


Poor Aquaman. GIF from "Batman: The Brave and the Bold."

So instead of warm saltwater rising to the top and evaporating into warm clouds to be carried by wind across the rest of the European continent, the cold freshwater is evaporating into the cold clouds and ... just kind of staying there, because the Earth's automatic air cycles are expecting a salty warm front and not a dense mass of cold freshwater.

Then, when it finally rains, the cold freshwater goes right back into the ocean and floats back to the top and the same water keeps on circulating in the exact same place.

Kind of defeats the point of that whole interconnected global climate system, huh?

While there's no GalactiCare tech support for planets, we still have a chance to help the Earth heal itself.

Breaking one of the Earth's core functionalities is a lot harder than, say, breaking your iPhone screen by dropping it on the floor again. (Seriously, you should probably get a case for that.)

Even more frightening is that this worsening water circulation problem is just one of the symptoms of the larger climate change issues the world is facing.

Fortunately, we haven't quite passed the point of no return, and it's still possible to fix some of the damage that we've done to the environment.

YAY! GIF from "The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure."

Unfortunately, at the rate we're going, that could all change tomorrow. So we should probably get on that like ASAP.

Sigh :( GIF from "Batman: The Brave and the Bold."

President Obama recently announced a Clean Power Plan for the United States, but we can still come together and demand global climate action before it gets too late.

GIF from "The Superman/Aquaman Hour of Adventure."


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Frito-Lay

Did you know one in five families are unable to provide everyday essentials and food for their children? This summer was also the hungriest on record with one in four children not knowing where their next meal will come from – an increase from one in seven children prior to the pandemic. The effects of COVID-19 continue to be felt around the country and many people struggle to secure basic needs. Unemployment is at an all-time high and an alarming number of families face food insecurity, not only from the increased financial burdens but also because many students and families rely on schools for school meal programs and other daily essentials.

This school year is unlike any other. Frito-Lay knew the critical need to ensure children have enough food and resources to succeed. The company quickly pivoted to expand its partnership with Feed the Children, a leading nonprofit focused on alleviating childhood hunger, to create the "Building the Future Together" program to provide shelf-stable food to supplement more than a quarter-million meals and distribute 500,000 pantry staples, school supplies, snacks, books, hand sanitizer, and personal care items to schools in underserved communities.

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via Lorie Shaull / Flickr

The epidemic of violence against Indigenous women in America is one of the country's most disturbing trends. A major reason it persists is because it's rarely discussed outside of the native community.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, murder is the third-leading cause of death among American Indian and Alaska Native women under age 19.

Women who live on some reservations face rates of violence that are as much as ten times higher than the national average.

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$200 billion of COVID-19 recovery funding is being used to bail out fossil fuel companies. These mayors are combatting this and instead investing in green jobs and a just recovery.

Learn more on how cities are taking action: c40.org/divest-invest


The legality of abortion is one of the most polarized debates in America—but it doesn’t have to be.

People have big feelings about abortion, which is understandable. On one hand, you have people who feel that abortion is a fundamental women’s rights issue, that our bodily autonomy is not something you can legislate, and that those who oppose abortion rights are trying to control women through oppressive legislation. On the other, you have folks who believe that a fetus is a human individual first and foremost, that no one has the right to terminate a human life, and that those who support abortion rights are heartless murderers.

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Every day, I wake up feeling like Peeta at the end of "The Hunger Games" series asking Katniss what's real and what's not real.

The first thing I do is run through a series of thoughts to orient myself to this bizarre reality we're currently in: "What day is it today? Umm...Tuesday, I think. Who is president of the United States? Donald Trump. Wait, is that right? That can't be right....No, yes, that's right. Wow. Are we still in the middle of a global pandemic that has killed 200,000+ Americans in six months? Yes. Are people still acting like it's a hoax? Apparently so. Is there still a ridiculous number of people who believe that an elite cabal of Satan-worshipping pedophiles is secretly running the world and trafficking children to harvest fear hormones from their blood, and that Donald Trump is going to save us all from it? Yup."

Then I lie there in dumbfounded disbelief before semi-rallying: "Okay, here we go."

It's not really okay, though. How any of us are expected to be able to function in this reality is beyond me. When we've gone beyond merely having different perspectives on issues and instead are living in completely different versions of reality, I can't figure out how to feel okay. Or, to be more accurate, when some of us are living in objective reality and a not-insignificant-enough number of us are living in a completely made-up land of alternative facts and perpetual gaslighting, it's hard not to feel like I'm the one losing my grip.

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