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Name That Spider!, Scientists Flee the GOP, Hey Kansas, Would Ya Stop Hogging Our Water?
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Welcome back!: Did you have a nice Labor Day weekend? Eat lots of yummy food and get your toes wet? Aw, great! Well, now that you’re back at it we should probably talk about this little thing called ocean acidification. I know, I know... I'm such a buzzkill, but the world’s oceans are acidifying at the fastest pace in 300 million years. So they’ll be something like 150 percent more acidic by the end of the century, which doesn't bode well for a lot of marine life, especially shellfish and corals. Happy September! Washington Post

Summer is coming: The North is under attack. As the globe warms, crop pests are taking advantage of new climates and migrating with them at approximately 1.67 miles per year. This means “our defenses, pesticides and fungicides, are being asked to deal with larger and larger numbers of pests and diseases, each of which can evolve fungicide or pesticide resistance.” Scientific American

Smoking kills: Everyone knows smoking is bad for you. But did you know it’s also bad for insects like non-biting midges? According to new research, pesticides used to grow tobacco really mess up the mouthparts of aquatic insects. Non-biting midges in Australia developed physical deformations like missing "teeth," extra teeth, and fused teeth, all of which sound like they’d get you made fun of in non-biting midge middle school. And when farmers stopped growing tobacco in these ecosystems (and stopped lacing the place with poison), well, the midges went back to winning beauty contests. Imagine that. Futurity

The 6 percent: In 1968, Richard Nixon, a Republican, received votes from 31 percent of physicists, 42 percent of biologists, 52 percent of geologists, and 62 percent of agricultural scientists. These days, a poll found that only 6 percent of scientists considered themselves members of the GOP. (Gee, I can’t imagine why…) Salt Lake Tribune

Topeka, we have a problem: Farmers in Kansas are some of the most prolific in the United States, and no wonder—they’re sucking up the region’s groundwater six times faster than it can be replenished. Now a study shows that if the farmers were to reduce their usage by 20 percent, there might just be enough water to go around come 2100. But then, that doesn’t address the heart of the problem—the unsustainable beef industry that eats up all the corn that drinks up all the water. Mother Jones

It’s time to air it out: China’s air pollution is un-ignorable—so much so, tourists in Hong Kong have resorted to faking their vacation photos due to the smog. And this is a good thing! Even if it means economic setbacks, the government now seems more willing to discuss sweeping environmental changes than in years past. “Air pollution was the perfect catalyst,” says Wai-Shin Chan, director of climate change strategy for HSBC Global Research. “Air pollution is clearly linked to health, and the great thing is that everybody—that’s government officials and company executives alike—breathes the same air.” New York Times


We’re surrounded: Hands down, the most beautiful (and terrifying) thing you’ll see today is the footage this snorkeler too while descending into a sea of jellyfish. Actually, it’s a lake of jellyfish—but that only adds to the wonder. Grist

Web of mystery: Quick—what kind of arachnid spins a teepee nest and then protects it with a white picket fence? Wait, you don’t know? Dang it. We were really hoping you’d know. Because none of the world’s top entomologists know, either. And this thing is awesome. Colossal


Fukushima Radiation Levels ’18 Times Higher’ Than Thought BBC

Has the World Reached Peak Chicken? Mother Jones

Wave Energy Technology Produces Both Clean Water and Clean Energy Treehugger

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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