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The Voter’s Speakeasy featuring unbiased reporting and insight into life at Project Vote Smart from our staff, interns, and volunteers.

The Acidification of our Oceans

2016 November 14

According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) the ocean absorbs about a quarter of the CO2 released into the atmosphere each year. Initially, this was viewed as a positive outcome, as it was removing some of the greenhouse gases that would otherwise be released into the atmosphere.


However, scientists now realize that when large amounts of CO2 are absorbed by the ocean, it chemically alters the structure of the seawater. It reduces the pH carbonate ion concentration, and saturation states of calcium carbonate minerals. This is important because these minerals compose the structure for the shells of many crustaceans and skeletons of other marine organisms.


The process of the ocean absorbing this excess CO2 is called ocean acidification (OA) and is causing the ocean to become undersaturated with these essential minerals.


NOAA marks the Industrial Revolution as the point when humans started releasing significant amounts of CO2 into the atmosphere. Since that time, the pH of the ocean has decreased .1 pH unit. While this may sound insubstantial, it actually equates to about a 30% increase in acidity.


As President Barack Obama described it at the Our Ocean Conference in September of 2016, “The ocean acts like a sponge, absorbing most of the extra heat caused by our greenhouse gases. And it's been growing warmer and more acidic for decades now. In other words, the very chemistry of our oceans is changing, which is risking marine life and rippling all the way up the food chain.”


This issue didn’t really break ...

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Pros and Cons of Common Renewable Energies

2016 November 02

Renewable energy has grown increasingly popular as evidence of human-caused global climate change accumulates. Solar, hydroelectric, and wind energies make up a large majority of the renewable energy sector, and are seen by some as preferable alternatives to fossil fuel and nuclear energies.

2016 Congressional Political Courage Test Results

2016 October 26

The Political Courage Test, which has been endorsed by major media in every election since 1992, asks candidates to demonstrate their political courage by providing voters with that essential information, in spite of the fact that opponents might use their answers in political attacks. 

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 Even in the earliest years of the United States, women have been filling vital roles to support United States military operations.

Recent K-12 Curriculum Legislation

2016 October 20

 State legislatures in the previous months have been passing bills to alter and add to their public school systems’ curriculums.

The Clean Power Plan: Economic or Environmental?

2016 October 14

 On August 3, 2015, President Barack Obama introduced the highly controversial Clean Power Plan (CPP) as part of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) attempt to combat climate change.

Political Ignorance as a Preference

2016 October 07

 Voting smart can require enormous effort or minimal effort, but to vote smart takes effort.

Presidential Pardons in 2016

2016 October 05

 On Wednesday, August 3rd, 2016, President Obama granted clemency, forgiveness of a sentence, to 214 incarcerated individuals, 67 of which were serving life sentences in federal penitentiaries. This raises some questions about what clemency actually entails. Clemency, under the US Constitution, allows the President to grant pardons and commutations to federal prisoners.

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