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Weekend Reads: Chasing Antarctica, Poaching Destroys Humans, Too, Here Lies the Great Barrier Reef...
Five #greenreads to aid in your conscious uncoupling from the work week.

The Madness of Modern Day Poaching
Everyone knows poaching is bad. Most of us have seen photos of dried up elephant carcasses with their faces hacked off and caged wild animals on display in markets. But I still feel the need to warn you about the Paul Kvinta piece featured here today: The people who run poaching operations are not very nice (to put it mildly), and the scenes they create are horrendous. I’m talking about human trafficking, prostitution, and animal mutilation—I mean, someone even kills a kitten. This is the most profoundly whack story I’ve read in a long time. But turning away from it won’t stop it from existing. Outside

After the Whitewash: Facing the Exxon Valdez Disaster after 25 Years
As an orca scientist in Alaska, Eva Saulitis witnessed the Exxon Valdez cough up more than 11 million gallons of oil into Prince William Sound and kill many of the wildlife she’d spent years studying. Her favorite place on Earth would never be the same, and neither would she. In the years following, she couldn’t talk, write, or even think about the disaster. Then Saulitis was diagnosed with cancer, on the same day the Deepwater Horizon rig blew in the Gulf of Mexico and she was once again barraged with images of dirty oil, dead wildlife, and human suffering. Realizing she must confront her old memories, she returns to Alaska to heal as nature heals, forever scarred but continuing on. OnEarth

The Garbage Man
In Mumbai, India, they separate their recyclable plastics via the burn-and-sniff method. One lights a piece of plastic on fire and then puts it into a pile depending on what the smoke smells like. Seriously, this is a thing. But Paul Kvinta tells the story of an engineer named Mike Biddle who wants to change the way Mumbai and the rest of us deal with refuse. And he’s already invented a super-secret way to recycle it, if only the world will let him. Popular Science

The Great Barrier Reef: an Obituary
In just a few decades, the Great Barrier Reef may be neither great nor a reef. Climate change, ocean acidification, and algal blooms are all coral killers, and they are getting worse off the northeastern coast of Australia. In honor of the reef’s impending doom, Oliver Milman helped put together a lovely—if depressing—project that catalogues the reef’s past, present, and future. It’s a beautiful, interactive eulogy. Guardian

The Future of Fracking in California
Billions of barrels of oil may lie beneath California’s Monterey shale. But to getting it might endanger the human health, the tourism industry, and the water supply for growing crops and cultivating wine grapes. Fracking advocates say the extraction methods pose little threat to the community at large, while opponents are calling for a moratorium on drilling. But OnEarth contributor Barry Yeoman introduces us to many of the Californians who are caught between a love for their land, an income-crippling drought, and a drilling place. Sunset Magazine

Tired of Reading Yet? Watch This.

Ice capades: You may remember James Balog from the groundbreaking climate change documentary, Chasing Ice. Well the master is at it again, this time setting up his time-lapse cameras down south, on the Antarctica Peninsula. National Geographic

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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