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The Cookie Monster of the Deep, Don't Call Me the 'E' Word, Save That Sexy Ocean!
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads.

Thanks, but no thanks: Last year, the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources requested grants to monitor water-quality and wetlands in regard to possible contamination from fracking. But when the state received the same funds this year, it promptly sent them back to the Environmental Protection Agency—all $585,000. North Carolina says that it’s simply restructuring and streamlining its environment agency, but environmentalists are concerned that the move signals a shift away from science and regulation (see "North Carolina Self Destructs"). Perhaps because the state's new administration has declared that its environment agency will no longer be, and I quote, a “bureaucratic obstacle of resistance.” Charlotte Observer

Sex sells: Ocean scientist David Helvarg noticed a strange thing a few years ago when he put the word “ocean” on his Google alert list—roughly half of the stories the search engine would send him weren’t about oceans at all, but about hip hop artist Frank Ocean. In a way, one man’s fame had effectively edged out 70 percent of the Earth’s surface. So, without any super celebrities on hand, Helvarg has turned to one proven method to get headlines: sex. Aquatic sex, to be specific. Read on for a delightful riff on the sex lives of otters, groupers, and blue crabs. National Geographic

Those damn environmentalists!: A new study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology concludes that most people are ok with environmentalism, per se. They just want to avoid those dirty environmentalists. Wow. Ouch. Thanks, guys. (If it makes you feel any better, it’s the same story with feminism and feminists—and maybe other forms of activism like gay rights. Wait, that makes me feel worse.) Pacific Standard

Arrrrr!!!: Speaking of activism, the crew of a Greenpeace ship has been arrested in Russia for scaling an offshore oil platform to protest the expanding energy exploration in the Arctic. Now, all the crewmembers may be charged under Russia’s piracy laws. And unlike the jovial atmosphere surrounding last week’s International Talk Like a Pirate Day, the piracy charges carry the possible sentence of 15 years in prison … Russian prison, mind you. New York Times

They're mucked: Remember after the Deepwater Horizon oil spill when BP said there wouldn’t be much of an effect on sea life? Yeah, as if. Study after study has concluded the exact opposite. Now a new one by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration confirms that all that poison has sunk down to the sediment, negatively impacting all the itty-bitty organisms that live there. And it’ll likely take decades for the little guys to recover. Times-Picayune

Hitting home: Good news? A study out of Rutgers has found a surefire way how people can become convinced that climate change exists: They just need to feel its home-obliterating, neighborhood-drowning, Ford-Taurus-gobbling effects for themselves! Unfortunately, that prospect is made all the more likely as the climate warms and the weather acts increasingly like a petulant child. Conservation Magazine


S is for "sea sponge," and that’s good enough for me: Divers in the Caribbean recently captured images of a mysterious, open-mouthed sea creature that rather closely resembles a certain monster you already know and love. Huffington Post

Who’s the biggest of them all?: Humans are quantifiers. We always trying to figure out who is the fastest, strongest, prettiest, or best-singing-est. So it’s no surprise we’ve put a lot of thought into determining the largest living thing on planet Earth. (Hint: If you think it’s the blue whale, you’re wrong.) MinuteEarth


Chinook Run Doesn’t Let Columbia Dams Off the Hook, Activists Say Los Angeles Times

China’s Rotten Fruit Scare Is Unlikely to Bruise US Apple Juice Imports Quartz

Wild Pigs Menace Suburban Atlanta PlanetArk

Battle Over GMO Labeling Has Natural Brands and Corporate Owners at Odds Al Jazeera America

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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