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Published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017 @ 10:17 AM
— More than 15,000 scientists have signed a dire warning letter to humanity, urging society to address major environmental concerns.
"Soon it will be too late to shift course away from our failing trajectory, and time is running out," scientists wrote in the letter signed by 15,364 of their colleagues from 184 countries. "We must recognize, in our day-to-day lives and in our governing institutions, that Earth with all its life is our only home."
Titled as a "Second Notice," the stern warning comes 25 years after similar concerns were expressed in a letter backed by more than 1,700 scientists. However, as the updated warning points out, things have significantly worsened since then.
"Humanity has failed to make sufficient progress in generally solving these foreseen environmental challenges, and alarmingly, most of them are getting far worse," the letter says.
Freshwater resources and vertebrate species have dropped by approximately 25 percent since 1960. At the same time, marine dead zones have increased dramatically by 75 percent and carbon dioxide emissions have risen by 62 percent. The human population has also skyrocketed from 3 billion to roughly 7.6 billion.
Furthermore, human activity has "unleashed a mass extinction event, the sixth in roughly 540 million years, wherein many current life forms could be annihilated or at least committed to extinction by the end of this century," the scientists warn.
The only hopeful part of the letter points to the stabilization of the stratospheric ozone layer. According to Newsweek, scientists revealed this month that the hole in the ozone layer, which hovers above Antarctica, is the smallest it has been since 1988.
But this one positive development isn't enough to curb the impending crisis, according to the scientists.
"Humanity is now being given a second notice ... We are jeopardizing our future by not reining in our intense but geographically and demographically uneven material consumption and by not perceiving continued rapid population growth as a primary driver behind many ecological and even societal threats," they wrote.
The scientists said humanity must quickly "limit population growth, reassess the role of an economy rooted in growth, reduce greenhouse gases, incentivize renewable energy, protect habitat, restore ecosystems, curb pollution, halt defaunation, and constrain invasive alien species ... Humanity is not taking the urgent steps needed to safeguard our imperiled biosphere.”
Drastic solutions are required to solve the coming global crisis, according to the scientists. These include phasing out fossil fuels while encouraging renewable energy sources, transitioning to a more plant-based diet, reducing food waste overall and prioritizing reserves for Earth's land, marine, freshwater and aerial habitats.
"To prevent widespread misery and catastrophic biodiversity loss, humanity must practice a more environmentally sustainable alternative to business as usual," the scientists wrote.
While nations around the world have officially recognized the need to address these concerns and the threat to humanity's existence, the current U.S. administration appears uninterested in heeding such warnings.
President Donald Trump said in June that he would pull the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 Paris climate agreement, joining only two other nations -- Syria and Nicaragua -- which had not signed the international accord.
Since then, Nicaragua agreed to sign the agreement in October, and Syria followed earlier this month.
Instead of addressing greenhouse gas emissions as the Paris accord requires, the White House said it "will promote coal, natural gas and nuclear energy as an answer to climate change,” a decision scientists around the globe have warned against.
Published: Wednesday, April 25, 2018 @ 8:37 AM
MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Police in Memphis, Tennessee, are searching for a man who allegedly attempted a robbery outside a Whitehaven home in broad daylight.
A surveillance camera captured the weekend incident.
One of the victims, who asked not to be identified, told WHBQ that his niece, who was visiting from Florida, took his gun and scared off the bold criminal after she saw that her husband was in trouble.
“She’s bold," he said. "She ain’t scared of nothing.”
In the video, the suspect has his right hand in his waist band as he stands behind the woman's husband. The victims said the man’s hand was on a gun.
Memphis police said Sunday afternoon the man in the blue jacket came to the Whitehaven home and asked to use one of the victims’ phones and then asked for a ride.
While the incident was unfolding outside the house, the woman and her uncle reportedly were inside the house.
Police said that after the woman saw her husband in trouble, she came out the front door with a gun and fired a warning shot.
The uncle told WHBQ: “She said she didn’t want to kill him, but when he fired back at us after she fired the warning shot, she said she was trying to hit him then but didn’t.”
Memphis police told WHBQ that the suspect ran toward the back of the house before getting away.
Police said they are reviewing this surveillance video to get a positive ID on the suspect. If you have any information on who that suspect may be, call CrimeStoppers at 901-528-CASH.
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 4:10 AM
CLAYTON COUNTY, Ga. — Only WSB-TV was in court Wednesday when a Georgia teenager learned she faces a felony vehicular homicide charge in the death of her best friend.
Cristina Pavon-Baker, 17, crashed on Interstate 75 in Morrow during senior skip day. The wreck killed Mikayla Penn, 18.
Pavon-Baker's attorney asked the judge Wednesday not to take her passport since she had a cruise scheduled next month.
That upset the victim's family and the district attorney.
“She doesn't need to be on a cruise enjoying herself,” Clayton County District Attorney Tracy Graham Lawson told the court.
“We would ask the court to allow her to leave the state and not put that restriction on her,” said Pavon-Baker’s attorney, Jackie Patterson.
Lawson responded: “I have an 18-year-old that can't go on a cruise. I have an 18-year-old who can't be with her parents who are in the back of this courtroom."
Jones said the cruise request upset Mikayla Penn's parents.
It was March 26 when Pavon-Baker and Penn reportedly were headed to Southlake Mall on senior skip day. Prosecutors said Pavon-Baker drove 106 mph in a 65 mph zone on the Jonesboro Road exit along I-75.
Pavon-Baker’s Mini Cooper reportedly flipped and crashed, killing Penn.
“We have some information that Snapchat may have been used” during the drive, Lawson said.
Pavon-Baker is facing first-degree vehicular homicide, reckless driving and speeding charges.
Patterson said he meant no harm asking for Pavon-Baker to go on the cruise.
“We were not trying to be insensitive. We were just trying to say, ‘Judge, she has already had these tickets for this cruise,’” Patterson told Jones.
Lawson said Pavon-Baker has received enough special treatment.
“If you look at her history, these parents have covered for her over and over and over again. I believe in my heart of hearts Ms. Penn would be alive if this child had some consequences,” Lawson said.
Lawson was referring to some other traffic troubles Pavon-Baker has had.
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 2:19 AM
BOERNE, Texas — Not all of us will run a marathon in our lifetime. Or a half-marathon, even. Or a 10K. Nope, not a 5K.
But now there’s a running event for those who never thought they could say, “I can’t. I have my race that day.”
San Antonio neighbor Boerne has announced it will host a .5K, or a .31-mile race, May 5. The Facebook page for the event reads, “Underachievers welcome!” and boasts a “doughnut and coffee hydration station.”
The page estimates the event will last “like 10 minutes” and promises finishers a sticker for their car, beer and a medal.
The race also offered participants a VIP option for an additional $25 that would not require them to run at all. VIP “runners” get a larger medal.
The event’s website was updated on April 18 to announce that the race is full and no longer accepting sign-ups.
Published: Thursday, April 26, 2018 @ 1:46 AM
— The Bible’s been around for centuries, but GQ magazine is like, eh? What’s so great about it?
The Good Book makes the mag’s list of “21 Books You Don’t Have to Read.” While allowing “there are some good parts,” the post calls the Bible “repetitive, self-contradictory, sententious, foolish and even at times ill-intentioned.”
The Bible finds itself in the company of works by J.D. Salinger, Mark Twain and Ernest Hemingway on the list of books that GQ is just not that into. “Catcher in the Rye” is dinged as being “without any literary merit whatsoever.” “Huckleberry Finn” is tedious, meandering and hamfisted, GQ says. Hemingway’s sentences? Too short. Even Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” makes the roster of books to skip.