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Monarchs in Decline, BPA on the Rise, Oklahoma Is Not OK!
Our top picks: today's environmental news and best #greenreads

Fall of the monarchy: Scientists in Mexico are eagerly awaiting the arrival of millions of wintering monarch butterflies. Unfortunately, only 30 million or so may make the journey. That may sound like a lot of fluttery insects, but the population used to be more than a billion (with a "b") strong. (So many butterflies, the beating of their wings sounds like running water.) Experts conclude that a combination of deforestation, severe weather, and herbicides has been pecking away at monarch numbers each season—and every year, fewer and fewer flutter back to Mexico. Washington Post

If this state’s a rockin’: Between 1975 and 2008, earthquakes measuring 3.0 or higher were a rarity for Oklahoma. But since 2009, the state has experienced an average of 40 such quakes a year. Seismologists are still trying to figure out what’s causing the tremors, but one theory pins the blame on fracking. This would make sense, as the process requires drillers to jam millions of gallons of water, sand, and various chemicals into tiny cracks underground to force out fossil fuels. While scientists debate the cause, Sooners accustomed to the wrath of tornadoes are now turning their eyes to earthquake insurance policies and preparedness plans. (But hey, it could always be worse?) Associated Press

BPA boom: There’s no question as to whether the chemical Bisphenol A is dangerous. Last year, the Food and Drug Administration forbid the endocrine disruptor from being used in the manufacture of baby bottles (darn babies get all the good legislation). But somehow a new report suggests that the market for BPA has never looked rosier. Fueled by growing demand in the Asia-Pacific region, the report projects global sales to reach $18.8 billion by 2019, an increase of 44 percent. Mother Jones

Climate surprise party: A new report from the National Research Council panel on climate change contains good news and bad news. The good news is a sudden burst of Arctic methane probably won’t fry us in the next century. Nor is it likely the Atlantic Ocean will soon stop circulating heat, creating a Day After Tomorrow-like event. As for the bad news ... the panel believes climate change has many surprises yet in store, including the collapse of polar sea ice, mass extinctions, and swaths of ocean dead zones. New York Times

Where to now?: So New Zealand rejected the idea that people escaping sinking island nations should be considered “climate refugees.” And while the judge had his reasons—like not setting a precedent for millions of immigrants to invade New Zealand—the decision does nothing to address the fact that we will need to confront this issue soon. As sea levels rise, Kiribati, Tuvalu, Tokelau, the Maldives, and the Marshall Islands will all be under threat (or under water to be specific). Where will the residents of these islands go? Well, some say climate justice would dictate that the countries who have contributed the most greenhouse gases should roll out the welcome mat. In which case, you may have a new neighbor from Kiribati before too long. New Republic

Pachyderm plight: The Elephant Summit opened in Botswana this week, with a new report suggesting dire times are ahead for these mammals (see "Breaking Bad Ivory"). According to the data, if poaching continues at the rate it has in recent years, 20 percent of Africa’s elephant population will die within the decade. The news is sobering but not unexpected as the continent is still reeling from the worst single elephant massacre in recent memory, where poachers in Zimbabwe’s Hwange National Park poisoned a lake with cyanide and killed more than 300 elephants. Associated Press

DAILY DISTRACTION

Filled to the brim: Did you ever wonder what the Grand Canyon would look like filled with cotton balls and ghosts? Ok, me neither. But a temperature inversion creates this phenomenon a couple times a year—and someone got it on camera. Dive in! (But don't, y'know, really dive in.) Colossal

OTHER HEADLINES

How Scientists are Using Drones to Fight the Next Big Oil Spill The Atlantic

Dandruff Shampoo Could Mess Up Waterways Scientific American

How Climate Change Is Helping Al Qaeda (Video) Global Post

Tips: @OnEarthMag (tag it #greenreads)

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