Environment

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The 700 cows on Brett Reinford's dairy farm are making more than just milk.

Each day, the girls are producing 7,000 gallons of manure. And that smells exactly like you'd imagine. "We had gotten complaints from neighbors in the past that had said, 'Hey, it stinks too much. Can you do something about it?' " Reinford says.

So he looked around for a solution and landed on a device called a digester. A digester tamps down the smell a bit, but, more importantly, it takes all that cow poop and converts it to electricity.

Nasir Abdullahi is sitting in a mall in downtown Abuja, sipping fresh juice and eating plantain chips. Small, distinguished with an embroidered cap, Nasir looks like your typical Northern Nigerian businessman, but he's also a farmer.

A few years ago he got a call from an employee on his millet farm in Jigawa, Nigeria.

"He was even crying when he called me," Abdullahi says. "I said, 'Talk!' He said, 'There is something serious, there is something serious!' I said, 'Did anybody die? What is it?' He said, 'No, it's cattle herdsmen.'"

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It's Earth Day, and across the country and around the world, there are demonstrations taking place in the name of science. Organizers say there were events in more than 600 cities and towns around the world.

Just thinking about the impacts of a shifting climate is making some people feel anxious and overwhelmed. A support group in Utah is helping people cope, and the idea has drawn interest in other states.

In a split level outside Salt Lake City, eight people gather for a weekly meeting. The group, called Good Grief, has members ranging from millennials to grandparents.

The foods we choose to put on our plates — or toss away – could have more of an ecological impact than many of us realize.

On Earth Day, here are some ways to consider how our diet impacts the planet.

Waste not, want not

You've heard the numbers on food waste. More than 30 percent of available food is tossed each year in America. It's enough to fill Chicago's 1,450-foot-tall Willis Tower (formerly known as the Sears Tower) 44 times over.

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U.K. May Have 24 Hours Without Coal Power

Apr 21, 2017

The United Kingdom may be in its first full day without coal power in more than a century, its National Grid announced Friday.

"It looks likely that today will be the first ever working day in Britain without #coal since the industrial revolution!" the agency tweeted.

Is It Safe To Eat Moldy Bread?

Apr 21, 2017

Like politics and music, the question of whether to eat moldy food can divide families, with relatives' admonishments reverberating in one's head for years.

"Every time I throw out moldy bread, I can still hear my dad lecturing me: 'That's perfectly good! Just cut that part off! It's penicillin!' " says Shawna Iwaniuk, a graphic designer in Alberta, Canada. "But ... I just can't."

So, who's right? Is the furry green stuff a death knell for a baguette, or just a minor setback?

For food safety experts, the answer is clear: Moldy bread is bad news.

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We usually turn to NPR blogger Adam Frank to explore ideas about outer space. Today, he has this commentary on the messy business of politics and how it's affecting the climate.

Louisiana Gov. John Bel Edwards has declared a state of emergency over the state's rapidly eroding coastline.

It's an effort to bring nationwide attention to the issue and speed up the federal permitting process for coastal restoration projects.

"Decades of saltwater intrusion, subsidence and rising sea levels have made the Louisiana coast the nation's most rapidly deteriorating shoreline," WWNO's Travis Lux tells our Newscast unit. "It loses the equivalent of one football field of land every hour."

People love seeing black bears when they visit Yosemite National Park in California. But encounters don't always go well. The park has come up with a new way to keep humans and bears safe.

Fresno State University student Quiang Chang was walking recently with his friends along the rushing Merced River. It was his fifth time visiting Yosemite National Park, and he hadn't seen a bear.

But if they appear, Chang said, "I probably would just quietly ... just observe them and take a picture."

Residents of the Canadian town of Ferryland, a small fishing village in Newfoundland, recently welcomed a new visitor: a huge iceberg that ran aground just offshore.

With its spindly legs, distinctive patterning, and absurdly long neck, the giraffe makes a compelling figure on the savanna. But the population of the world's tallest mammal has dropped sharply in recent decades – from about 150,000 in 1985, to fewer than 100,000 today.

After three years of confusion and chaos, Flint, Mich., residents may go back to the water source they used before lead contamination showed up in their drinking water.

In a press conference today, Mayor Karen Weaver recommended the city get its water from Detroit's system long-term. Flint was using Detroit water before switching in April 2014 to water from the Flint River as a cost-saving measure.

There's an unplanned experiment going on in the northern Rocky Mountains. What's happening is that spring is arriving earlier, and it's generally warmer and drier than usual. And that's messing with some of the fish that live there.

The fish is the iconic cutthroat trout. It's a native North American fish that thrives in cold, small streams. Explorer Meriwether Lewis of Lewis and Clark Expedition fame was among the first European-Americans to catch this spangly, spotted fish. He used deer spleen as bait.

On Friday, employees of BP Exploration Alaska discovered an uncontrolled gas leak in an oil and gas well on Alaska's North Slope, near the community of Deadhorse. Soon after, they determined that the well was also spraying a mist of crude oil.

BP reported the leak and formed a "unified command," which included responders from Alaska's Department of Environmental Conservation, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and the North Slope Borough.

Kevin Butt's job is to find cleaner ways to power Toyota. One of the hardest places to do that is at the automaker's sprawling plant in central Kentucky, a state where nearly 90 percent of electricity still comes from coal.

Butt points out a new engine assembly line, where a conveyor belt moves in a slow circle. He says it was specially designed with a more efficient motor. There are also enormous fans overhead and LED lights, all changes that save millions.

In California, an extremely wet winter put an end to the state's record-breaking drought. Heavy rainfall also produced welcome spring scenes — like replenished reservoirs and fields in bloom.

"It's a completely different look," says Justin Sullivan, a Getty Images photographer who took before-and-after style photos of drought-stricken areas. "It's just like a velvety green, lush landscape now — compared to just dry, brown, almost like a moonscape before."

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What kind of interior secretary will Ryan Zinke be?

Apr 16, 2017

When it comes to the federal government’s stewardship of the environment, there is perhaps no more important official than the secretary of the interior. Ryan Zinke, a former Montana Republican congressman, recently took on the job, and he is being watched closely by organizations on both sides of the political divide.

What will our dinners look like when temperatures and sea levels rise and water floods our coastal towns and cities?

Allie Wist, 29, an associate art director at Saveur magazine, attempts to answer that question in her latest art project, "Flooded." It's a fictional photo essay (based on real scientific data) about a dinner party menu at a time when climate change has significantly altered our diets.

Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry is the new US energy secretary. It’s an ironic choice: During his 2012 presidential bid, Perry said the Energy Department could easily be abolished — and some observers have suggested Perry didn’t actually understand the job he was taking when it was offered to him.

Researchers have come up with a new way to extract water from thin air. Literally.

This isn't the first technology that can turn water vapor in the atmosphere into liquid water that people can drink, but researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the University of California, Berkeley, say their approach uses less power and works in drier environments.

Young black and Latino men are more likely than any other group to be the victims of violent crime, but American society has devoted too few resources to helping these young men heal after their violent encounters, according to researchers with New York City's Vera Institute of Justice.

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