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In this post: the large versions of the Environment and Humanities & Social Science channel photos, comments from readers, and the best posts of the week.

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Environment. A saguaro cactus in the Arizona desert. From Flickr, by .Larry Page

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Humanities & Social Science. Checking out the surf at Fort Point, California. From Flickr, by Dawn Endico

Reader comments of the week:

In Do We Need Leatherback Turtles?, Sheril Kirshenbaum responds to a question posed by Andy Revkin in the New York Times about the urgency of protecting the severely endangered species. Why should we be so worried about saving the turtles? Can’t we live without them?

Sheril admits we can, but urges us to consider what the decline in turtle populations says about the rest of the oceans. Reader llewelly echoes this idea:

No single species is a linchpin. No single species is essential to human existence in its own right. But each one plays its own complex role in the environment we require to survive. As they disappear, one by one, our environment will become less and less resilient, more unpredictable, less able to provide for us.

Do we want to live in a world without sea turtles?

On the Humanities & Social Science channel, GrrlScientist explores a popular American pasttime in 4th of July: A Fancy Excuse To Blow Up Shit. Though fireworks were illegal in most Western states this year due to fire risk, Grrl saw (and heard) plenty in her hometown of New York City and calls them “lots of noise and expense but overall, a big disappointment.”

Reader Barn Owl agrees, and has a unique strategy to deal with the holiday:

Like my horses and my dog, I’m not at all a fan of fireworks. In fact, I might try a dose of the herbal Dog-Calm.

Wonder how that worked out?

Some other Environment posts we thought were cool this week were:

Carbon Offsets in the World of Flying: A Big Picture – What would it take exactly? How’s about a forest the size of Oregon…

What would academica (need to) look like when gas is $20/gallon?

Secret Report Reveals Biofuels Causing Worldwide Food Crisis

An Earth Systems Science Agency

Climate cartoons

And from the Humanities & Social Science channel:

Nature vs. everyone else?

But What About My Pets?

The Patron Saint of Marine Scientists

The Ineffability of Happiness

The Jedi Gym

Look for highlights from other channels coming up!

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