Water recycling: "Toilet to tap" is future of clean drinking water

As droughts threaten water supplies across the planet, some municipalities aim to utilize an untapped resource: sewage water.

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  • Water recycling, or water reclamation, involves cleaning water with filters and chemicals to make it environmentally safe.
  • In Texas, El Paso's water utility is taking this a step further by building a closed-loop system that will directly convert sewage water into drinkable water.
  • Unsurprisingly, surveys show that most people don't like the idea of drinking recycled water, but public outreach programs seem able to change minds.
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Climate catastrophes can reshape religion

There were at least four major climate catastrophes that reshaped global religion. It could be happening again.

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  • Climate-related catastrophes have struck the world in several previous eras, such as gigantic volcanic eruptions.
  • From the 1300s to the 1800s, four major climate catastrophes reshaped global religion.
  • We must be wary that religion or ideology combined with external shocks like climate change can cause war or revolution.
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'Ghost forests' visible from space spread along the coast as sea levels rise

Seawater is raising salt levels in coastal woodlands along the entire Atlantic Coastal Plain, from Maine to Florida.

Photo by Anqi Lu on Unsplash
Trekking out to my research sites near North Carolina's Alligator River National Wildlife Refuge, I slog through knee-deep water on a section of trail that is completely submerged.
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World’s blackest black? Purdue made the world’s whitest white

In paint form, the world's "whitest white" reflects so much light that surfaces become cooler than the surrounding air.

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  • Scientists at Purdue University announce the whitest white ever developed. It will be available as paint and a nanofilm.
  • The new paint can actually cool surfaces on which it's applied, potentially reducing the need for climate-unfriendly air conditioners.
  • This is the second whitest white to come from these researchers, and they believe this is about as white as any material could ever be.
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Lightning strikes will double in Arctic as climate warms

The uptick in Arctic lightning could cause more wildfires, potentially triggering a feedback loop that releases massive amounts of carbon into the atmosphere.

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  • In recent years, researchers have recorded unusually high numbers of lightning strikes and wildfires in Arctic regions.
  • A new study explored how increased lightning could cause a "lightning-fire-vegetation feedback loop" that could accelerate permafrost loss.
  • To better monitor changing conditions in the Arctic, the researchers called for more high-quality lightning monitoring systems.
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