Environment

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On the Navajo Nation, kids with the most severe developmental disabilities attend a school called Saint Michael's Association for Special Education.

Dameon David, 8, is waking up from a nap in his classroom. He has come to the school in northeastern Arizona for four years. He has cerebral palsy, seizures and scoliosis. His mom, Felencia Woodie, picks him up from a bed with Superman sheets.

Blink while driving on Highway 34, east of Greeley, Colo., and you might miss the former town of Dearfield.

All that's left of the once-thriving town on Colorado's eastern plains are a rundown gas station, a partially collapsed lunch counter and a former lodge. They are the only indication that there was once a community here. The grass around these buildings is crispy and straw-colored, whipped back and forth by relentless winds. The snowcapped Rocky Mountains barely peek through the haze to the west.

Pesticides based on fungi are just one example of biopesticides, a group that also includes bacteria and biochemicals derived from plants.

Biopesticides are a tiny segment of the market for now – but their use is projected to grow at a faster rate than traditional synthetic pesticides over the next few years.

The growth of the organic produce industry is one factor giving biopesticides a boost. So, too, are regulatory hurdles, says Sara Olson, a senior analyst at Lux Research.

It's a cliché that happens to be true: Bears love honey. And in Maryland, lawmakers have passed a bill making it legal to shoot a black bear if it threatens a beekeeper's hive.

In February, state Del. Mike McKay testified before the Environment and Transportation Committee on behalf of the bill. He wore a vest festooned with the image of Winnie the Pooh.

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It's been 25 years since the National Academy of Sciences set its standards for appropriate scientific conduct, and the world of science has changed dramatically in that time. So now the academies of science, engineering and medicine have updated their standards.

The report published Tuesday, "Fostering Integrity in Research," shines a spotlight on how the research enterprise as a whole creates incentives that can be detrimental to good research.

About a month after an anti-predator device spit sodium cyanide in the face of an unsuspecting boy and killed his dog, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has announced it is ending its use of the M-44 mechanisms in Idaho indefinitely.

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It's a disorienting year in many democracies, and we are trying to define this moment. Last week, writer Francis Fukuyama talked about democracy in crisis.

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President Trump wants America to use more "clean coal" to make electricity. He hasn't elaborated on what kind of coal that might be.

For the second consecutive year, aerial surveys show severe coral bleaching in the Great Barrier Reef off the coast of Australia.

While severe bleaching events have occurred three other times in the past 20 years — in 1998, 2002 and 2016 — this year marks the first time it's known to have happened two years in a row. Scientists say the damage is caused by higher water temperatures due to global warming.

Growing up on the plains of West Texas, Lanny Copeland says there weren't too many options for a young man looking to make a living.

"If you weren't a farmer," Copeland says, "chances were pretty good you were in the oil field."

But from early on, he knew what he wanted to be when he grew up — to follow in his father's footsteps as a cowboy and ranch manager.

"You felt like you were a part of history," Copeland says, "taking part in the great Texas cattle industry."

Decades ago, London suffocated under poisonous smogs. Now, deadly air is back.

Diesel-burning vehicles are causing record levels of pollution linked to thousands of deaths in the UK, and the British government could face fines from the European Court of Justice if the smog is not controlled.

Conditions in London have become so bad that London Lord Mayor Sadiq Khan now suggests children should be given gas masks to protect their lungs.

Before we headed out on our latest road trip for the Our Land series, we put a call out on social media, asking for ideas of places we should go in Arizona and New Mexico. Shannon Miller's suggestion really caught our attention: "White Sands are the only white gypsum 'sand' dunes in the world. They are actually crystals and it is beautiful."

How could we resist?

There's really no place like it on the planet: White Sands National Monument in southern New Mexico. It's the world's largest gypsum dunefield, miles and miles of stunning white landscape.

A new study raises a novel idea about what might trigger celiac disease, a condition that makes patients unable to tolerate foods containing gluten.

The study suggests that a common virus may be to blame.

For people with celiac disease, gluten can wreak havoc on their digestive systems. Their immune systems mistake gluten as a dangerous substance.

It has been quite a while since Californians have seen such green. Riding the coattails of an unseasonably wet season, some valleys have become riots of color, deserts have been blanketed with blooms so suffusive they earn the word "super" — and the state's officials have taken notice.

The Montmorency tart cherry is pretty much the only sour cherry grown in the U.S. And cherry growers in Michigan know the tree really well. It was brought here from France a couple of hundred years ago. "This is older than most people think of as heirloom varieties and it's our main variety to this day," says Jim Nugent, a cherry grower in northern Michigan.

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Speaking Up.

About James Hansen's TED Talk

When climate scientist James Hansen spoke up about climate change in the 1980s, he risked the loss of his job & reputation. But, he says, it was worth it — because he could not be silent about something so important.

About James Hansen

A quiet change to the website photo banner of a relatively obscure federal agency is causing a bit of an outsize stir on social media.

On the top of its home page, the Bureau of Land Management, which manages more than 200 million acres of public land under the U.S. Department of the Interior, swapped out a photo of a young boy and his companion backpacking across a mountain meadow in favor of one showing a massive coal seam at a mine in Wyoming.

Every rush hour, bumper-to-bumper traffic belches out diesel fumes along Madrid's Gran Via, a six-lane artery that bisects the Spanish capital. Art Deco facades line the grand boulevard.

But they're blackened with soot.

"The pollution hurts my eyes, and I can feel it in my throat," says commuter María Villallega, 48, who lives in the city center and walks to work. "I don't own a car myself, and I'll be happy when they're not allowed here anymore. We need to protect the planet, and ourselves."

This story starts with the mystery of a missing cow.

University of Utah researchers placed seven cow carcasses in Utah's Great Basin Desert, and set up cameras to learn about the behavior patterns of local scavengers.

But a week later, researcher Evan Buechley returned to one of the sites and found no sign of the cow.

A rain forest sings with the sounds of insects, birds, maybe a howler monkey or two. But scientists are discovering that some forest dwellers also communicate in ways humans usually can't hear — via ultrasound.

A team from Dartmouth College has recorded these signals in treetops on a pristine Panamanian island called Barro Colorado, and slowed them down to make sense of them.

Earlier this winter, photographer Michael Furtman was driving along the North Shore of Lake Superior in search of great gray owls. Several of the giant, elusive birds had flown down from Canada looking for food.

He pulled off on a dirt road where he had seen an owl the night before. An owl was there, perched in a spruce tree, but a pair of videographers were filming it.

"I backed off; I was going to just let them have their time with the bird," Furtman says. "And then I saw them run out and put a mouse on the snow."

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This weekend bicycles are ruling the road in Yellowstone National Park. Most park roads are closed until later this month, but every spring Yellowstone opens about 50 miles of its main thoroughfares to bikes only.

Humans have long looked to animals for design inspiration. From basic camouflage to a quiet bullet train in Japan to the Wright brothers' wings, the process called biomimicry is a basic tenet of human engineering.

Jonathon Keats has turned it on its head.

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Here in Washington this week, President Trump signed an order to start undoing some key climate change regulations. The president says they're hurting business.

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For the second consecutive year, Japanese whalers have returned to port after an Antarctic expedition with the carcasses of 333 whales. The five-ship fleet, put forth by the country's Fisheries Agency, killed the minke whales during a months-long voyage to southern waters for what it calls ecological research.

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