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Russians Love Their Varmints, Too
Morning, sunshine! Open your eyes and update your brain with these #greenreads.

The first morning after a long weekend is never easy, but things could be worse: you could be stuck in a hole in the middle of the road like this prairie dog in Russia. Perhaps the rodent ate one too many pirozhkis this summer, or maybe a passing car collapsed the burrow, trapping the little p-dog. Either way, two tourists came to the rescue! On this side of the world, prairie dogs could use some help, too. Thanks to habitat destruction and mass exterminations, conservationists say all five prairie dog species in the United States deserve protection under the Endangered Species Act (though currently only two are covered).

Other things to know this morning:

A coal ash dump in Pennsylvania may be making prisoners sick at a neighboring penitentiary. According to a new report, high percentages of the inmates suffer from respiratory ailments, gastrointestinal problems, skin rashes, cysts, thyroid disorders, abscesses, and cancer.

The good news is scientists have discovered how to map polar ice caps with more accuracy than ever before. The bad news is those new maps reveal that the ice sheets are melting at record rates.

California hasn’t built a large, state-funded dam since 1979, but the current mega-drought has its lawmakers eyeing new rivers to plug and drain. Umm, probably not a good idea … plus, all the good spots have already been taken.

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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