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

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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Natural Resources Defense Council
Photo by Danielle MacInnes on Unsplash

There's a difference between dieting and being healthy, and often times, overattention to what you consume can lead to disordered eating. Eating disorders are dangerous and can affect anyone, but they're especially concerning in adolescents. Which is why WW (formerly Weight Watchers) is facing intense criticism for its new app, Kurbo, targeted toward kids ages eight to 17.

The app uses a traffic light system to tell kids which foods are a "green light" and can be eaten as much as they want, which foods are a "yellow light" and should be consumed with caution, and which "red light" foods they should probably avoid.

It seems like a simple system to teach kids what's good for them and what's not, but it regulates kids' diets in an unhealthy way. Gaining weight is a normal, healthy part of child development. Putting on a few pounds means your body is doing what it's supposed to do. While the app classifies foods with too much fat or calories as "red," children need to consume some of these foods to develop their brain.

WW is calling the app "common sense." As Gary Foster, the chief science officer of WW, puts it, items in the red foods category "aren't foods that should be encouraged in kids' diets, but they also shouldn't be vilified or demonized, and there has to be a system that's simple and science-based that highlights that so everyone in the family can understand."

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Well Being
via Ostdrossel / Instagram

Lisa is a lifelong bird enthusiast who goes by the name Ostdrossel on social media. A few years ago, the Germany native moved to Michigan and was fascinated by the new birds she encountered.

Upon arriving in the winter, she fell in love with the goldfinches, cardinals, and Blue Jays. Then in the spring, she was taken by the hummingbirds.

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Nature
via Stratford Festival / Twitter

Service dogs are invaluable to their owners because they are able to help in so many different ways.

They're trained to retrieve dropped Items, open and close doors, help their owners remove their clothes, transport medications, navigate busy areas such as airports, provide visual assistance, and even give psychological help.

The service dog trainers at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs in Canada want those who require service dogs to live the fullest life possible, so they're training dogs on how to attend a theatrical performance.

The adorable photos of the dogs made their way to social media where they quickly went viral.

On August 15, a dozen dogs from Golden Retrievers to poodles, were treated to a performance of "Billy Elliott" at the Stratford Festival in Ontario, Canada. This was a special "relaxed performance" featuring quieter sound effects and lighting, designed for those with sensory issues.

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"It's important to prepare the dogs for any activity the handler may like to attend," Laura Mackenzie, owner and head trainer at K-9 Country Inn Working Service Dogs, told CBC.

"The theater gives us the opportunity to expose the dogs to different stimuli such as lights, loud noises, and movement of varying degrees," she continued. "The dogs must remain relaxed in tight quarters for an extended period of time."

The dogs got to enjoy the show from their own seats and took a break with everyone else during intermission. They were able to familiarize themselves with the theater experience so they know how to navigate through crowds and fit into tight bathroom stalls.

via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter


via Stratford Festival / Twitter

"About a dozen dogs came to our relaxed performance, and they were all extremely well-behaved," says Stratford Festival spokesperson Ann Swerdfager. "I was in the lobby when they came in, then they took their seats, then got out of their seats at intermission and went back — all of the things we learn as humans when we start going to the theater."

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The dogs' great performance at the trial run means that people who require service animals can have the freedom to enjoy special experiences like going to the theater.

"It's wonderful that going to the theater is considered one of the things that you want to train a service dog for, rather than thinking that theater is out of reach for people who require a service animal, because it isn't," Swerdfager said.

The Stratford Festival runs through Nov. 10 and features productions of "The Merry Wives of Windsor," "The Neverending Story," "Othello," "Billy Elliot," "Little Shop of Horrors," "The Crucible" and more.

Inclusivity