Environment

On a recent weekday, Vamsi Komarala guides me up to the rooftop of the prestigious Indian Institute of Technology in New Delhi, where he teaches physics. Fields of solar panels adorn the buildings.

I swipe an index finger across one of the panels to see if weeks of monsoon rains have washed it clean. My finger comes back filthy with grit.

Vamsi tells me the panels are washed twice a week, then explains the grime: "That is because in New Delhi, we have a lot of dust."

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In 2011, the National Park Service put in place a policy to encourage national parks to end the sale of bottled water. The aim was to cut back on plastic litter.

It was not actually an outright ban — but 23 out of 417 national parks, including Grand Canyon National Park and Zion National Park, implemented restrictions on bottled water sales. The parks encourage visitors to use tap water and refillable bottles instead.

Now, The Trump administration has reversed this Obama-era policy.

When was the last time you used the entire container of fresh herbs you bought at the store? Never? Me, too. Every time a recipe calls for 1-2 tablespoons of freshly chopped sprigs, I head to a supermarket and reach for a plastic container holding at least three times as much as I need. A few days later, I'm standing by the trash can observing a moment of silence before I discard a plastic coffin of wasted, withered basil.

Spectators around the country are gearing up, eclipse glasses at the ready, for the solar eclipse on Monday. But another group — perhaps more anxious than eager — is preparing as well: the people who run California's electric grid.

California is home to almost half of all the solar power in the country. So even a partial loss of the sun will mean a major dip in the energy supply.

President Trump's astonishing press conference on Tuesday was, ostensibly, an announcement about infrastructure. But his brief remarks on the permitting process were entirely overshadowed by his defense of attendees at a white supremacist rally, among other remarks.

As a substitute for coveted elephant ivory, mammoth tusks can sell for hundreds of thousands of dollars. A rush is underway to dig them out of the frozen earth in Siberia and sell them, mostly to China. The hunt is making millionaires of some men living in this impoverished region — but it's also illegal.

Photographer Amos Chapple followed a group of tusk hunters in Siberia on assignment for Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. He recalled his three-week journey with NPR's Ailsa Chang.

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Can We Feed The World With Farmed Fish?

Aug 15, 2017

For years, scientists and activists have sounded the alarm that humans' appetite for seafood is outpacing what fishermen can sustainably catch.

But new research suggests there is space on the open ocean for farming essentially all the seafood humans can eat. A team of scientists led by Rebecca Gentry, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, found that widescale aquaculture utilizing much of the ocean's coastal waters could outproduce the global demand for seafood by a staggering 100 times.

If, for some reason, you find yourself in a situation where you need to wash radioactive material from your body, don't reach for the bottle of hair conditioner. Conditioner can bind radioactive particles to your hair.

This week, you can't reach me by email, or text, or Tweet.

This week, I'm not taking anyone's calls, either.

That's because I'm walking the Appalachian Trail — alone. And while I am, without doubt, scared of being eaten by a bear, I'll be out there looking for that most precious of possibilities: solitude.

More than two weeks after they were first spotted, wildfires on the western coast of Greenland are still burning, worrying local residents and drawing the attention of scientists.

The Trump administration has begun the process of rolling back tough fuel standards for America's car and light truck fleet.

The Environmental Protection Agency and the Transportation Department have opened the public comment period on the rewriting of standards for greenhouse gas emissions for cars and light trucks for model years 2022-2025.

Wild bees, such as bumblebees, don't get as much love as honeybees, but they should. They play just as crucial a role in pollinating many fruits, vegetables and wildflowers, and compared to managed colonies of honeybees, they're in much greater jeopardy.

As investigations continue into whether ExxonMobil misled investors by failing to report its own scientists’ predictions about global warming, the company and other fossil fuel titans are being challenged on another legal front.

On Egypt's Mediterranean coast, August should be prime tourist season. But the seaside restaurants in Alexandria are almost empty. Worries over security are keeping a lot of foreign tourists away. But there's a much bigger worry looming: that hotter weather and a disappearing shoreline could make Egypt's prospects even worse.

Scientists generally agree that human-made climate change – the effect of greenhouse gas emissions from things like cars and factories – is making the sea level higher and its waters warmer.

Three boys walk through a community forest in the village of Pithauli in southern Nepal. One kicks a soccer ball, the other two carry a goat leg in each hand.

They're on their way to feed white-rumped vulture chicks orphaned after a recent hailstorm.

Vulture "restaurants" have sprung up in Nepal over the past decade to offer safe food to the endangered birds, which lost more than 99 percent of their species population across South Asia over about a decade. The restaurants house and raise rescued vulture babies — and also offer food to wild vultures.

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Friday News Roundup - Domestic

Aug 11, 2017

President Donald Trump says he will declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, following the recommendation of a White House commission. This also follows a report that the tens of thousands of recorded opiate deaths might be too low a measurement.

Copyright 2017 NET - Nebraska's NPR Station. To see more, visit NET - Nebraska's NPR Station.

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The year 2016 was the warmest on record for the planet as a whole, surpassing temperature records that date back 137 years, according to an annual report compiled by scientists around the globe.

For global temperatures, last year surpassed the previous record-holder: 2015.

Since President Trump took office in January, enforcement of environmental laws has dropped dramatically, compared with past administrations. A study released by the Environmental Integrity Project finds that $12 million in civil penalties have been collected from violators in 26 cases between January and the end of July.

Copyright 2017 KCAW. To see more, visit KCAW.

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Franklin, the fifth tropical storm to form in the Atlantic so far this year, has intensified into the first hurricane of the season as it prepares to make landfall on Mexico's Gulf Coast.

The storm, with winds of about 85 mph, was moving west at about 13 mph. It is expected to make landfall Wednesday night north of Veracruz.

Most of us think of jellyfish, when we think of jellyfish, as something to be avoided at the beach (or as the protagonists in that one episode of Friends).

Even marine biologists have historically cast aside these bothersome interlopers when conducting surveys of more "important" ocean species.

I entered the packed cafeteria with tray in hand, searching for the right food to eat.

Around me, hundreds of people of all ages spoke excitedly in dozens of different languages, commenting on each other's ideas, asking questions, and thinking of the next steps in their research programs.

Lunchtime at the United Nations?

In a region better known for its ice and snow, it's a fire that now has scientists struggling to learn more. Since at least the end of last month, a stretch of land in western Greenland has been alight with a "sizable wildfire," NASA says.

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ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Baby, It's Cold Inside

Aug 8, 2017

With guest host John Donvan.

Air conditioning does more than keep our temperatures low and utility bills high:

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