Living on Earth

Sunday 4PM
  • Hosted by

Hosted by Steve Curwood, the award-winning environmental news program "Living on Earth" delves into the leading issues affecting the world we inhabit. As the population continues to rise and the management of the earth's resources becomes even more critical, "Living on Earth" examines the issues facing our increasingly interdependent world.

"Living on Earth" presents riveting features and commentary on everything from culture, economics and technology to health, law, food and transportation. It covers topics from the small challenges of everyday life to the future state of the environment and the health and well-being of the world's inhabitants.

Curwood and company draw from an impressive array of experts, commentators and journalists, including Neil deGrasse Tyson, director of New York's Hayden Planetarium; Mark Hertsgaard, author of "Earth Odyssey"; Janet Raloff of "Science News"; author Sy Montgomery; and award-winning producer Terry Fitzpatrick.

"Living on Earth" is a truly compelling hour of radio journalism.

Living on Earth Website

HIgh Court Puts Clean Power Plan On Hold

12 hours ago

The Supreme Court has issued a stay on implementation of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan. This could delay mandatory emissions cuts from the electric power sector. But other legal options that were strengthened by the Paris Climate Agreement might be better suited for tackling climate change domestically and internationally. Vermont Law School Professor Pat Parenteau and host Steve Curwood discuss the stay and its affect on the President’s strategy for tackling climate change. (published February 12, 2016)

Californians hope two months of plenty of snow could ease the 4-year drought. But Living on Earth’s Emmett Fitzgerald reports that high snowfalls in the Sierra Mountains this winter won’t end the water problems and the state needs to manage the resource creatively and efficiently for the foreseeable future. (published February 12, 2016)

Sex and Sustainability in the Sea

12 hours ago

The extensive ecosystem under the waves depends on the intricate, complex and mysterious mating rituals of its inhabitants. Host Steve Curwood speaks with Marah Hardt, a marine biologist and author of a new book, Sex in the Sea about some clever and unusual reproductive strategies unique to sea-dwellers and why understanding this is critical for maintaining the resource.

Beyond the Headlines

12 hours ago

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra and host Steve Curwood talk about a college committing to 100 percent solar power and an effort to open up buried streams in Detroit, Michigan. Also, they remember a 1950s television personality who vividly predicted the impacts of climate change and sea-level rise. (published February 12, 2016)

Living on Earth: February 12, 2016

12 hours ago

HIgh Court Puts Clean Power Plan On Hold / Beyond the Headlines / Sierra Snows Ease, But Won't End California Drought / Sex and Sustainability in the Sea

Looking for parking in a city is frustrating for the driver, and bad for the climate as circling cars emit unnecessary carbon dioxide. But as reporter Clive Thompson tells host Steve Curwood, fleets of coordinated, self-driving cars could bring an end to parking as we know it and help make our future cheaper, as well as more efficient, pleasant and green. (published February 5, 2016)

Eighty-five percent of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia is now protected from logging, after decades of negotiations among environmental activists, the timber industry, First Nations, and the BC government. Temperate rainforests are one of the most rare ecosystems on Earth.Host Steve Curwood discusses how these groups came together with reporter Andrew MacLeod of the magazine The Tyee, who explains what’s been protected and what’s open for logging. (published February 5, 2016)

Storing solar energy is an enduring challenge for scientists, but now a team of MIT researchers has developed a new material that can trap it and release it as heat on demand. Host Steve Curwood visits the MIT lab to hear from postdoc David Zhitomirsky and graduate student Eugene Cho about their material and how it might be used to do such things as defrost windshields and warm our clothes. (published February 5, 2016)

What's New for Electric Cars

Feb 6, 2016

Gasoline prices are low right now, yet some manufacturers are poised to launch affordable electric cars with a 200 mile range. Host Steve Curwood speaks with green transportation reporter Jim Motavalli about electric cars and the future of renewable sources for electricity-- how Tesla’s Powerwall and a large fleet of electric cars could help stabilize the grid, and add flexibility to our greener energy future. (published February 5, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Feb 6, 2016

Peter Dykstra shares some good news this week with host Steve Curwood. There are large reductions in air pollution costs and less toxins in fish. They also look back at Donald Trump’s battle against Scottish wind power. (published February 5, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Jan 30, 2016

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra tells host Steve Curwood that President Obama’s ambitious goal for electric vehicles has fallen short but a non-profit that tracks environmental crimes and accidents from the skies is a great success. Also, we mark the anniversary of the Ramsar Convention, an international agreement to protect wetlands. (published January 29, 2016)

Abandoned coal mines must be cleaned up for the health of the environment and regional waterways. But much of the funding for these projects comes from fees on new mines. Now with the slump in coal use, there’s less money to straighten up the toxic legacy of coal mining's past. The Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier reports. (published January 29, 2016)

BirdNote: Costa Rica's Morning Chorus

Jan 30, 2016

In Costa Rica, the vibrant colors of a winter sunrise are closely rivaled by the exuberance of its birdsong. BirdNote’s Mary McCann reports that while some of Costa Rica’s bird species hide from sight, their calls are highly distinguishable. (published January 29, 2016)

Zika’s Emergence in a Changing Climate

Jan 30, 2016

An emerging Zika epidemic and its association with a worrisome birth defect has pushed a formerly obscure infection into the spotlight. Along with other vector-borne diseases such as dengue and West Nile, climate change is probably accelerating the spread of Zika, as mosquitoes also spread to new areas. Dr. Kamran Khan, an infectious disease physician, tells host Steve Curwood about growing global public health concerns and how the virus might be controlled. (published January 29, 2016)

Flint and Environmental Racism

Jan 30, 2016

Prof. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice”, says that the lead water disaster in Flint, Michigan is just the latest example in a long history of environmental injustice in the United States. Prof. Bullard, Dean of the School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University, tells host Steve Curwood that the working class and communities of color like those of Flint are far more likely to be exposed to toxic substances like lead. (published January 29, 2016)

Around the country, coal-fired power plants are racing to comply with new EPA rules to keep sulfur dioxide and mercury out of the air.

The Homer City Generating Station is one such facility. It rises like a cathedral out of a valley in Indiana County, an hour east of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. You can see its smokestacks and hourglass shaped cooling towers from miles around.

The construction project to install new pollution controls at Homer City is a huge and expensive project. Total cost is estimated at $750 million. What makes the project so costly?

2015's heat and drought in Montana forced many black bear families to forage far from their natural habitat. Quite a few of the wandering bears wound up being shot or hit by cars. And that means there were a lot of orphaned black bear cubs this year.

“We’ve been really, really busy with bears, all throughout the state this year,” says Brady Murphy, a game warden in Augusta, Montana. “We’ve handled a lot of different urban wildlife bear complaints.”

While wildlife in the West is often protected by authorities, the animals' presence is not always appreciated residents.

President Obama recently delivered his final State of the Union address, outlining his vision for the last year of his Presidency and beyond. Host Steve Curwood chats with Peter Dykstra of Environmental Health News about the speech and what signals it sends about President Obama’s environmental agenda in the months ahead. (published January 15, 2016)

Saving a Bear Cub

Jan 16, 2016

2015's heat and drought in Montana forced many black bear families to forage far from their natural habitat, and many young cubs were orphaned during the trek. Reporter Clay Scott follows game wardens as they rescue one such cub and transport him to safety. (published January 15, 2016)

Polar Bear Summits Talus Mound

Jan 16, 2016

Up in the arctic north of Canada’s Akpatok Island, a large, male polar bear climbs crags in search of murre fledglings, but instead finds a plane full of sightseers rounding the bluff, surprising each other. Writer Mark Seth Lender reports from the Qikiqtaaluk Region of Nunavut, Canada. (published January 15, 2016)

GOP Campaigns Diverge on Climate Questions

Jan 16, 2016

In the mere weeks leading up to the nation’s first presidential primary election in New Hampshire, Republican candidates are campaigning heavily in a vital effort to sway voters. Host Steve Curwood tracked down Florida Governor Jeb Bush, Ohio Governor John Kasich and Florida Senator Marco Rubio to find out how the candidates would address climate change, if they occupied the White House. (published January 15, 2016)

Financing the Renewable Revolution

Jan 16, 2016

During the December 2015 climate summit in Paris, nearly 200 countries have effectively pledged to phase out fossil fuels by 2050 to help curb global warming. Host Steve Curwood and green financier Tom Steyer discuss the economics of this transition, including how California’s carbon pricing system is creating jobs and growth, and what could work in developing countries like India. (published January 15, 2016)

Living on Earth: January 15, 2016

Jan 16, 2016

President Obama and the State of the Environment / GOP Campaigns Diverge on Climate Questions / The Changing Climate in the GOP Race / Financing the Renewable Revolution / Saving a Bear Cub / Polar Bear Summits Talus Mound

Cleaning Up A Coal-Fired Power Plant

Jan 13, 2016

Coal-fired power plants must clean up their emissions to comply with expected EPA air rules. The Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier visits the Homer City Generating Station in Indiana County, Pennsylvania as they install upgrades to reduce toxic mercury emissions. (published January 8, 2016)

Debunking the Myths About Hunger

Jan 13, 2016

In their new book, World Hunger: 10 Myths, Frances Moore Lappé and coauthor Joseph Collins make the case that there’s plenty of food to go around, but it’s just not getting to those who need it most. Lappé and host Steve Curwood discuss how tackling inequality and expanding democracy can feed the world. (published January 8, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Jan 13, 2016

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra and host Steve Curwood discuss the armed takeover of a wildlife refuge facility in Oregon, debate a new ban on microbeads, and remember the implementation of the 55-mile per hour speed limit. (published January 8, 2016)

Living on Earth: January 8, 2016

Jan 13, 2016

Massive Natural Gas Disaster Hits Los Angeles / Renewable Energy Boosted in Federal Budget Compromise / Cleaning Up A Coal-Fired Power Plant / Beyond the Headlines / Debunking the Myths About Hunger