Environment

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

As the weather teeters between 1997 DJ Jazzy Jeff and 2002 Nelly, we've been spending a lot of time staring out the window, wishing to be anywhere but inside: the beach, the pool, the basketball court, Grand Teton National Park.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

A weathered wooden shed that holds wheelbarrows, hoes and other basic tools is the beacon of the Student Organic Farm, a two-acre swath within the larger horticultural research farm at Iowa State University.

On a warm spring evening, a half-dozen students gather here, put on work gloves and begin pulling up weeds from the perennial beds where chives, strawberries, rhubarb and sage are in various stages of growth.

"I didn't know how passionate I [would] become for physical work," says culinary science major Heidi Engelhardt.

Environmental activists are urging the US government to “keep it in the ground” — that is, to ban any new leases of public lands to fossil fuel companies. The industry already leases more than 67 million federally-controlled acres. A new study details the benefits that could be achieved from this policy.

In California, there is so much solar energy that grid operators have to switch off solar farms. One solution of dealing with the additional power generated is to share the renewable wealth across state borders – but in the West, it's sparking some not-so-neighborly opposition.

Nancy Traweek's job is to balance California's electrical grid at the California Independent System Operator, keeping the lights on for 30 million people. She relies on huge natural gas power plants that put out a steady stream of electricity.

Copyright 2016 Interlochen Public Radio. To see more, visit Interlochen Public Radio.

You've heard that you should eat more kale. Now a small but growing industry wants you to eat more kelp.

Seaweed production has long been a big industry in Asia. But recently, American entrepreneurs have launched new enterprises that grow fresh and frozen seaweed right here in the States.

China Grows More Trees

Jun 4, 2016

After major flooding in 1998, China introduced a national logging ban called the Natural Forest Conservation Program to help protect against erosion and rapid runoff. A recent study in Science Advances of 10 years of satellite data found significant recovery in some Chinese forests. But Andrés Viña, an author of the paper, explains to host Steve Curwood that this reforestation in China is probably shifting deforestation elsewhere. (published June 3, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Coping with Massive Forest Fires

Jun 4, 2016

Fire is natural in the northern boreal forests, but Canadian wildfire expert Mike Flannigan says it has become more prevalent with global warming and puts more communities at risk of massive blazes, like the one that ravaged Fort McMurray in Alberta recently. Flannigan tells host Steve Curwood what communities and homeowners in the midst of fire-prone forests need to do to minimize their risk. (published June 3, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Living on Earth: June 3, 2016

Jun 4, 2016

Coping with Massive Forest Fires / Beyond the Headlines / Climate Change and the National Parks / China Grows More Trees / Iron-eating Bacteria / Heart of a Lion


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Climate Change and the National Parks

Jun 4, 2016

The director of the National Parks recently said that climate disruption represents the greatest threat to the integrity of the park system. National Park Service scientist John Gross tells host Steve Curwood how park managers are rethinking many of their management strategies. (published June 3, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Iron-eating Bacteria

Jun 4, 2016

We revisit a report by Ari Daniel, who traveled into the field with microbiologists to report on some strange bacteria that consume iron and may help filter water in the future. (published June 3, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Garden in the Woods is one of Boston’s local treasures. It aims to recreate the diversity of the region’s different habitats, from bogs to ponds, floodplains to sand plains. 

Coping with Massive Forest Fires

Jun 3, 2016

Fire is natural in the northern boreal forests, but Canadian wildfire expert Mike Flannigan says it has become more prevalent with global warming and puts more communities at risk of massive blazes, like the one that ravaged Fort McMurray in Alberta recently. Flannigan tells host Steve Curwood what communities and homeowners in the midst of fire-prone forests need to do to minimize their risk. (published June 3, 2016)

Iron-eating Bacteria

Jun 3, 2016

We revisit a report by Ari Daniel, who traveled into the field with microbiologists to report on some strange bacteria that consume iron and may help filter water in the future. (published June 3, 2016)

Heart of a Lion

Jun 3, 2016

Mountain Lions have been considered extinct in the Eastern U.S. for decades, but one trekked from his home in the Dakotas to just a few miles outside of New York City. Host Steve Curwood talks with author William Stolzenburg, whose new book, Heart of a Lion, carefully documents this creature’s extraordinary two-thousand-mile journey. (published June 3, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Jun 3, 2016

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra talks to host Steve Curwood about a possible upgrade to the giant panda’s endangered status in China, state officials in Texas trying to hide photos of oil spills caused by recent flooding, the Australian government trying to obscure coral bleaching, and the Arsenic Act of 1851 in England, one of the earliest laws on toxic substances. (published June 3, 2016)

Climate Change and the National Parks

Jun 3, 2016

The director of the National Parks recently said that climate disruption represents the greatest threat to the integrity of the park system. National Park Service scientist John Gross tells host Steve Curwood how park managers are rethinking many of their management strategies. (published June 3, 2016)

China Grows More Trees

Jun 3, 2016

After major flooding in 1998, China introduced a national logging ban called the Natural Forest Conservation Program to help protect against erosion and rapid runoff. A recent study in Science Advances of 10 years of satellite data found significant recovery in some Chinese forests. But Andrés Viña, an author of the paper, explains to host Steve Curwood that this reforestation in China is probably shifting deforestation elsewhere. (published June 3, 2016)

Minhae Kim didn't check air pollution levels before bringing her one-year-old to Seoul's Yongsan Family Park.

Perhaps she should have. On this day — and on most days this spring — the measures of the most dangerous kind of pollution in Seoul exceed the World Health Organization's recommended limit. And Korea ranks near the very bottom for air quality in Yale University's latest 180-country Environmental Performance Index.

The federal government is moving to ban virtually all sales of items containing African elephant ivory within the U.S. For a long time it's been illegal to import elephant ivory. This new rule extends the ban to cover ivory that's already here.

The forest at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is sick, infected by invasive bugs and plants. Matt Moore, Kaleb Lique Naitove and Emily Baird of the National Park Service are some of the field medics trying to keep it alive.

Tom Licence has a Ph.D., and he's a garbage man.

When you think of archaeology, you might think of Roman ruins, ancient Egypt or Indiana Jones. But Licence works in the field of "garbology." While some may dig deep down to get to the good stuff — ancient tombs, residences, bones — Licence looks at the top layers, which, where he lives in England, are filled with Victorian-era garbage.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monarch butterflies are disappearing.

Populations of these distinctive black and orange migratory insects have been in precipitous decline for the past 20 years, but scientists aren't exactly sure what's causing them to vanish.

Copyright 2016 Maine Public Broadcasting Network. To see more, visit Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

Copyright 2016 Valley Public Radio. To see more, visit Valley Public Radio.

Will this summer be hotter than average?

How much rain can we expect?

A key step to answering questions about the weather is to consult the historic record. But what if there were no record? That's the predicament that Rwanda faces. The civil war and genocide that devastated that country in 1994 also destroyed Rwanda's system for tracking weather. The result was that for a roughly 15-year stretch, Rwanda has almost no record of what its weather was like.

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