Environment

Fine Art
3:38 am
Wed February 4, 2015

Beautiful Bird Exhibit Spotted At Smithsonian

Courtesy of the artist and Gallery Wendi Norris Smithsonian American Art Museum

Originally published on Wed February 4, 2015 11:22 am

It's been a cold winter in Washington, D.C., but over at the Smithsonian's American Art Museum, there's a flutter of exotic real and imaginary birds, created by 12 contemporary artists, in an exhibit called "The Singing and the Silence: Birds in Contemporary Art."

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Environment
6:28 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

EPA Push For Massive Munitions Burn Ignites Opposition In Louisiana

Melissa Downer and her family moved to Camp Minden, La., 11 years ago and live on three acres. The mother of three young daughters says they'll move if the M6 is burned in the open air.
Kate Archer Kent Red River Radio

Originally published on Fri February 6, 2015 8:17 pm

Explosions used to be no big deal for residents of sleepy rural towns in north Louisiana's piney woods near the Arkansas border. Blasts meant jobs.

The Army's Camp Minden was the site of a former ammunition factory built during World War II. The factory closed in the 1990s. Still, the place is littered with millions of pounds of leftover artillery waste.

The stuff in question is called M6, a toxic propellant in grenades and artillery rounds. The Army doesn't use it anymore, and tons of M6 are stored in bunkers at Camp Minden.

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The Salt
1:37 pm
Tue February 3, 2015

How Fish Could Change What It Means For Food To Be Organic

At Troutdale Farm in Missouri, farmhand Vince Orcutt pulls out rainbow trout ready to harvest.
Kristofor Husted/Harvest Public Media

Originally published on Tue February 3, 2015 2:58 pm

When it comes to organic certification, food producers must follow strict guidelines.

For an organic steak, for instance, the cow it came from has to be raised on organic feed, and the feed mix can't be produced with pesticides, chemical fertilizers or genetic engineering.

Now, the U.S. Department of Agriculture is considering a set of rules for organic farmed fish. Several consumer groups, though, say the recommended rules don't go far enough to meet the strict standards of other organic foods.

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The Salt
5:04 am
Mon February 2, 2015

Here's How To End Iowa's Great Nitrate Fight

A cereal rye cover crop grows (at left) in a field where corn was recently harvested. Cover crops can capture nutrients such as nitrate and prevent them from polluting nearby streams.
Courtesy of Paul Jasa/University of Nebraska-Lincoln

Originally published on Mon February 2, 2015 1:09 pm

Three weeks ago, Sara Carlson was driving to her job in Ames, Iowa, when she turned on the radio and heard me talking about nitrates in Iowa's water.

"And I was like, 'I really hope he nails this,' " she says.

This topic is Carlson's specialty. She works with a group called Practical Farmers of Iowa. These farmers are devoted to farming in ways that protect the environment.

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Environment
5:40 pm
Sun February 1, 2015

It's Not All Bad News For Earth's Oceans

Originally published on Thu February 5, 2015 12:53 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

A recent report on the health of the oceans includes some welcome good news. Ocean habitats seem to be in pretty good shape, at least compared to things on land. Douglas McCauley is an ecologist at UC Santa Barbara and a lead author of the study.

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Environment
11:39 am
Sun February 1, 2015

The Ice Is Talking. We Just Have To Listen

Giant chunks of ice break away from the Hans Glacier in Svalbard, Norway, in 2013.
Courtesy Oskar Glowacki

Originally published on Thu February 12, 2015 8:14 am

If a glacier cracks and nobody hears it, does it still make a sound?

"Oh, they moan and they groan," says Grant Deane, a researcher at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography. "They crackle and rumble and fizz, and they have all kinds of amazing sounds that they make."

Deane is one of the authors of a new study that interprets the acoustics of glacial melting.

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The Two-Way
5:26 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Scientists, General Public Have Divergent Views On Science, Report Says

Genetically modified rice plants are shown in a lab in 2006. A new report from Pew Research shows a wide gap between perceptions of safety of GM foods between scientists and the general public.
Rich Pedroncelli AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:20 pm

U.S. adults see various science-related topics much differently than do America's top scientists, with the two groups expressing widely divergent views on the safety of genetically modified foods, climate change, human evolution, the use of animals in research and vaccines, according to a new report published by Pew Research Center.

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The Salt
4:56 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

Environmental groups cited Wendy's as "Poor" in the area of packaging sustainability. One reason is that the chain still uses black plastic bowls, which cannot be recycled.
Lynne Sladky AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 6:46 pm

Let's face it: We are people who consume many of our meals on the go. That means we're not eating on real plates or bowls but out of plastic containers and paper boxes. And perhaps daily, we drink our coffees and sodas out of plastic or plastic-lined paper cups.

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The Two-Way
1:21 pm
Thu January 29, 2015

Senate OKs Keystone XL Pipeline, Setting Up Fight With Obama

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., prepares to speak to the media Thursday before the Senate voted to approve the Keystone XL pipeline.
Jim Lo Scalzo EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 5:10 pm

Updated at 5:04 p.m. ET

The Senate in a bipartisan 62-to-36 vote approved Thursday the Keystone XL pipeline project, setting up a faceoff with the White House, which has threatened a presidential veto.

Nine Democrats joined 53 Republicans to pass the measure, which now must be reconciled with a version passed last month by the House. The Senate vote is also not enough to override a presidential veto.

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The Salt
7:12 pm
Wed January 28, 2015

Coffee Horror: Parody Pokes At Environmental Absurdity Of K-Cups

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 3:29 pm

You want a cup of decaf. Your significant other is craving the fully caffeinated stuff. With the simple push of a button, Keurig's single-serving K-Cup coffee pods can make both of you happy.

But those convenient little plastic pods can pile up quickly, and they're not recyclable. And that's created a monster of an environmental mess, says Mike Hachey. Literally.

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The Salt
11:08 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Why Dump Treated Wastewater When You Could Make Beer With It?

Clean Water Services held a brewing competition in Sept. 2014, inviting 13 homebrewers to make beer from its purified wastewater (as well as water from other sources). Now the company is asking the state for permission for brewers to use its wastewater product exclusively to make beer.
Courtesy of Clean Water Services

Originally published on Fri January 30, 2015 11:33 am

Just when we thought craft beer couldn't get any zanier, we learn that Oregonians want to make it with treated wastewater.

Clean Water Services of Hillsboro says it has an advanced treatment process that can turn sewage into drinking water. The company, which runs four wastewater treatment plants in the Portland metro area, wants to show off its "high-purity" system by turning recycled wastewater into beer.

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Politics
5:17 am
Wed January 28, 2015

Obama Moves To Cement His Environmental Legacy

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 3:33 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's a good moment to remember something President Obama told us in December. The president said he'd reached a moment that was quote, "liberating."

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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Environment
5:35 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Southern California's Water Supply Threatened By Next Major Quake

The California Aqueduct carries water from the Sierra Nevada Mountains to Southern California. It is one of four aqueducts in the region that glide across the San Andreas Fault.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 6:30 pm

Southern California gets the vast majority of its water from four aqueducts that flow from the north, but all of them cross the San Andreas Fault.

That means millions of people are just one major earthquake away from drying out for a year or more.

"It's a really concerning issue for the city of Los Angeles," says Craig Davis, an engineer with the LA Department of Water and Power, which oversees the LA aqueduct.

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Energy
4:34 pm
Tue January 27, 2015

Obama Administration To Allow Drilling Off Southeastern Atlantic Coast

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:28 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Around the Nation
6:15 am
Tue January 27, 2015

How Much Oil And Gas Is At Stake In ANWR?

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 11:27 am

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

How much oil and gas is really at stake at ANWR? Well, nobody's really sure. NPR's Martin Kaste reports this decades-old political fight is based on rough estimates of what's really in the ground.

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Politics
6:14 am
Tue January 27, 2015

Murkowski Critical Of Proposal For Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 1:38 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

U.S.
6:52 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Obama's Arctic Refuge Drill Ban Won't Change Much, For Now

A herd of caribou begins the long trek across the Arctic plains in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.
Peter Mather SN/Landov

Originally published on Tue January 27, 2015 12:14 pm

President Obama says he will ask Congress to give wilderness status to protect more than 12 million acres of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. The president announced his intention Sunday in a video, describing the area as a pristine habitat with abundant wildlife.

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The Salt
3:11 pm
Mon January 26, 2015

Tossing Out Food In The Trash? In Seattle, You'll Be Fined For That

Seattle garbage collector Anousone Sadettanh empties a small residential garbage bin into his truck in 2014. It is now illegal to toss out food with the trash in the city. Residents will get warning tags for now; the city will start imposing fines in July.
Elaine Thompson AP

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 1:15 pm

In Seattle, wasting food will now earn you a scarlet letter — well, a scarlet tag, to be more accurate.

The bright red tag, posted on a garbage bin, tells everyone who sees it that you've violated a new city law that makes it illegal to put food into trash cans.

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The Two-Way
3:00 pm
Sun January 25, 2015

Obama Proposes New Protections For Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

A polar bear walks in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge.The Obama administration is proposing new protections in the region that would ban mining and drilling.
Subhankar Banerjee AP

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 8:03 am

The Obama administration is proposing new protections for large portions of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR). The U.S. Department of Interior says it's the first time it's recommended additional protections and that their new recommendations have the potential to be one of the largest conservation measures "since Congress passed the visionary Wilderness Act over 50 years ago."

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The Salt
7:39 pm
Fri January 23, 2015

Will Environmentalists Fall For Faux Fish Made From Plants?

Chef James Corwell's nigiri sushi rolls made with Tomato Sushi, a plant-based tuna alternative, in San Francisco.
Alastair Bland for NPR

Originally published on Thu January 29, 2015 1:15 pm

It's a dead ringer for Ahi tuna sashimi. It cuts into glistening slivers that are firm and juicy. And it's got a savory bite.

But this flesh-like food is not fish. It's made of tomato, and it's what San Francisco chef James Corwell hopes could be one small step toward saving imperiled species of fish, like bluefin tuna.

"What I want is to create a great sushi experience without the tuna," Corwell tells The Salt.

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Environment
9:47 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Ecologist's Airborne Scanners See The Forest And The Trees — All Of Them

A scan produced by Gregory Asner's airborne, laser-and-spectrometer-equipped lab.
Courtesy Gregory Asner

Originally published on Fri January 23, 2015 10:02 am

In today's world it can be easy to feel like there's nothing left to discover, that all the blank bits of the map have long been filled. Gregory Asner begs to differ, and he's developed a lab in the sky to prove it.

In the Carnegie Airborne Observatory, Asner has designed a one-of-a-kind, ultra high-tech, airborne laboratory — inside a twin-turboprop plane. It offers a faster, more exhaustive way to map how humans have destroyed land, from the deserts of the American southwest to the deepest depth of the Amazon.

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The Salt
7:03 pm
Thu January 22, 2015

Investment Fund Pours Cash Into Cleaner, Greener Fish Farming

World Resource Institute

Originally published on Sun January 25, 2015 4:28 pm

Like it or not, our seafood increasingly originates not in the deep ocean but on fish farms hugging the coasts. Aquaculture already supplies about half of the world's seafood, and global production is going to have to more than double by 2050 to meet demand, according to the World Resources Institute.

The business opportunity here is tremendous. Thousands of operations around the world now produce huge numbers of salmon, shrimp, mussels, tilapia and catfish, to name a few fish species that thrive on farms.

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Cities Project
3:32 am
Thu January 22, 2015

Building Sponge City: Redesigning LA For Long-Term Drought

Originally published on Thu January 22, 2015 5:44 pm

For thousands of years, city planners have engineered water into submission — think aqueducts.

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Economy
4:09 pm
Mon January 19, 2015

U.S. Solar Industry Sees Growth, But Also Some Uncertainty

A worker installs solar panels atop a government building in Lakewood, Colo. The industry has added more than 80,000 jobs since 2010, according to The Solar Foundation.
John Moore Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:32 pm

The solar energy business is growing fast, thanks in part to a steep drop in panel prices.

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Environment
4:03 am
Mon January 19, 2015

New Justice Department Environment Chief Takes Helm Of Gulf Spill Case

Cruden ranks the Gulf oil spill as one of the most significant environmental disasters of our time. It "deserves ... all of our energy to make sure nothing like this ever happens again," he says.
Gerald Herbert AP

Originally published on Mon January 19, 2015 7:37 am

John Cruden served with U.S. Special Forces in Vietnam, taking his law school aptitude test in Saigon and eventually becoming a government lawyer.

Earlier this month, he started a new job running the environment and natural resources division at the Justice Department. For Cruden, 68, the new role means coming home to a place where he worked as a career lawyer for about 20 years.

Cruden has been around long enough to have supervised the Exxon Valdeez spill case, a record-setter. That is, until the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

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Goats and Soda
3:35 pm
Sat January 17, 2015

MTV Pimps Cars, Brazil Pimps Trash Carts

A waste picker wheels a trash cart with Mundano's art and spreads the word: "My cart doesn't pollute."
Courtesy of Mundano

The carts that garbage pickers wheel down the streets of Sao Paulo often look as if they came from the Museum of Funky Art. Colorful cartoon faces — with bulging eyes, flared nostrils and thick lips — peer from the sides of the metal and wooden carts.

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The Two-Way
11:17 am
Fri January 16, 2015

It's Official: 2014 Was The Hottest Year On Record, NOAA Says

January–December 2014 blended land and sea surface temperature anomalies in degrees Celsius.
NOAA

It's official: 2014 was the hottest year on record.

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's National Climatic Data Center crunched the numbers and came to this conclusion:

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Environment
4:51 pm
Wed January 14, 2015

New EPA Guidelines Limit Methane Release From Drilling

Originally published on Wed January 14, 2015 6:33 pm

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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The Salt
3:26 am
Mon January 12, 2015

Iowa's Largest City Sues Over Farm Fertilizer Runoff In Rivers

The city of Des Moines, Iowa, sits on the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. The city's water works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in these waterways.
iStockphoto

Originally published on Mon January 26, 2015 7:09 pm

Des Moines, Iowa, is confronting the farms that surround it over pollution in two rivers that supply the city with drinking water. Des Moines Water Works says it will sue three neighboring counties for high nitrate levels in the Raccoon and Des Moines rivers. It's a novel attempt to control fertilizer runoff from farms, which has been largely unregulated.

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Science
5:43 am
Sun January 11, 2015

A Musical Memorial For The Face Of Extinction

Adam Cole NPR

Originally published on Tue January 13, 2015 12:05 pm

Lonesome George was a celebrity tortoise. Millions of humans made the pilgrimage to see him while he lived, and his death was international news.

Why?

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