Environment

Environment
4:59 pm
Mon June 24, 2013

Congress Not Likely To Pass Sweeping Climate Legislation

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 6:10 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And now to an issue that lawmakers are not spending a lot of time debating: climate change. Tomorrow, President Obama will lay out a strategy to address the problem, using executive powers. It's an admission that's sweeping climate legislation stands little chance of passing Congress as NPR's Jennifer Ludden reports.

JENNIFER LUDDEN, BYLINE: Aides say Mr. Obama's plan includes limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants. The reaction from House Speaker John Boehner was blunt.

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The Salt
9:52 am
Mon June 24, 2013

Not Local Food, And Not Afraid To Say It

These organically farmed ingredients travel the world to join forces in a Boloco burrito.
Heather Rousseau NPR

Originally published on Mon June 24, 2013 1:17 pm

A burrito is a thing of beauty. Swathed in tortilla, clad in foil, simple ingredients come together and something magical happens.

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NPR Story
7:35 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Tawny Crazy Ants Invade Southern States

Originally published on Sat June 22, 2013 10:59 am

Tawny crazy ants are invading ecosystems and homes in states including Texas and Florida, wiping out other ant species and overwhelming homeowners. Weekend Edition Saturday host Scott Simon talks to Texas A&M research scientist Robert Puckett, who says the ants are "ecological steamrollers" that reproduce so fast they are nearly impossible to get rid of.

Food
7:35 am
Sat June 22, 2013

Don't Buy That Picnic Salad; Find It Near The Blanket

Nova Kim gathers wild greens for a picnic salad near her home in Fairlee, Vt.
Herb Swanson

Originally published on Sun June 23, 2013 8:52 am

For one Vermont couple, "local" doesn't mean heading to the farmers market. It means finding a natural salad bar at your picnic spot — or maybe even in your backyard.

Nova Kim and Les Hook live on a lush farm between a large lake and the Connecticut River near the Vermont-New Hampshire border. Over the decades, they've become skilled gatherers of edible wild foods, which they sell to high-end restaurants. But on this drizzly day, they're in their own kitchen, making dressing for a picnic green salad.

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Environment
4:48 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

White House Plans Major New Push On Climate Change

Originally published on Thu June 20, 2013 6:42 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

The White House is planning a major new push on climate change. The initiative may include rules to limit emissions from existing power plants. That's a controversial move that environmentalists wanted for a long time. For more, NPR's Ari Shapiro joins us from the White House. And Ari, up until now, where has climate change been on the president's list of priorities, would you say?

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Environment
2:35 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

The Business And Politics Of Air Quality Regulation

In a speech in Germany Wednesday, President Barack Obama said it's time to take "bold action" on climate change. Many believe that major changes to policies on carbon emissions lie ahead, which would mean a host of new regulations for businesses.

The Two-Way
1:07 pm
Thu June 20, 2013

Singapore Endures Record Smog

The sun rises over the Singapore Central Business District as smog shrouds the city-state on Thursday.
Joseph Nair AP

Face mask-clad Singaporeans enduring record-breaking smog got some more bad news from their government on Thursday: The pollution may last awhile.

The choking smog that blanketed the city-state earlier this week, generated by burning clear-cutting fires in Indonesia, has gone well beyond the "hazardous" level on the Pollutant Standards Index, hitting 371 on Wednesday before coming back down to about 250. The previous record was 226, reached in 1997.

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Around the Nation
4:33 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

To Rebuild NYC's Beaches, A Native Plant Savings And Loan

Heather Liljengren, a field taxonomist with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation, examines the seed pods of the Virginia spiderwort at Oakwood Beach, Staten Island. Liljengren collects seeds from across the region for a seed bank of native plants.
Andrea Hsu NPR

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 10:18 pm

Across the New York region, people are still working to rebuild homes and businesses after the havoc wrought by Hurricane Sandy. But the storm also devastated the dunes and native flora of New York's beaches.

When the city replants grasses on those dunes, it will be able to draw on seeds from precisely the grasses that used to thrive there. That's because of a very special kind of bank: a seed bank run by the Greenbelt Native Plant Center on Staten Island.

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The Salt
3:15 pm
Wed June 19, 2013

And The Winner Of The World Food Prize Is ... The Man From Monsanto

James Finley AP

Originally published on Wed June 19, 2013 3:41 pm

Ever heard of the World Food Prize? It's sometimes called the "Nobel Prize for food and agriculture," but it has struggled to get people's attention. Prize winners tend to be agricultural insiders, and many are scientists. Last year's laureate, for instance, was Daniel Hillel, a pioneer of water-saving "micro-irrigation."

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Planet Money
10:58 am
Wed June 19, 2013

How A Used Bottle Becomes A New Bottle, In 6 GIFS

Lam Thuy Vo NPR

Originally published on Thu September 26, 2013 8:39 pm

For more, watch our video: Secrets From The Recycling Plant

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Around the Nation
6:25 pm
Sat June 15, 2013

Water Wars: Who Controls The Flow?

Cattle stand in a heavily irrigated pasture in Oregon's Upper Klamath Basin. The state has ordered ranchers in the region to shut down irrigation. The move is aimed at protecting the rights of Indian tribes who live downstream.
Amelia Templeton for NPR

Originally published on Sat June 15, 2013 7:39 pm

So often, we take water for granted. We turn on the faucet and there it is. We assume it's our right in America to have water. And yet, water is a resource. It's not always where we need it, or there when we need it.

Rivers don't follow political boundaries — they flow through states and over international borders. And there are endless demands for water: for agriculture, drinking, plumbing, manufacturing, to name just a few. And then there's the ecosystem that depends on water getting downstream.

So what are our legal rights when it comes to water? And who decides?

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NPR Story
11:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn Talks Climate and Carbon

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. He's been called Mayor McSchwinn for riding his bicycle to work. He's pledged to turn his town of Seattle into a model for what one city can do to lower its carbon footprint, and for good reason. As the climate changes, coastal cities like Seattle are challenged by rising sea levels.

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NPR Story
11:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

Denis Hayes on Being Green

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Anyone who has taken some time on Earth Day to contemplate the planet has my next guest to thank. Danis Hayes was the first national coordinator for Earth Day back in 1970, and if I might insert a personal note, Earth Day back in 1970 was also the anniversary of my first science story I ever did. So this is very interesting, and I'm very happy to have as my guest today Denis Hayes, who is, and as I say, he's head of the Solar Energy Research Institute under President Jimmy Carter.

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NPR Story
11:27 am
Fri June 14, 2013

With Climate Change, No Happy Clams

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 4:13 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Think for a minute about the victims of climate change. You might envision the polar bear, right? You see a lot of that in the news, atop a block of melting ice or - where there's no ice to grab onto, or the great ice sheet covering Greenland drip, drip, dripping away, or the tiny island of Tuvalu whose people and beaches might soon be swallowed by rising seas.

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The Salt
4:00 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

Why Bill Gates Is Investing In Chicken-Less Eggs

At left: Beyond Eggs' egg-substitute product, a powder made of pulverized plant-based compounds. Right: Mother Nature's version.
Cody Pickens Beyond Eggs

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 1:34 pm

The egg of the future may not involve a chicken at all. In fact, in the high-tech food lab at Hampton Creek Foods in San Francisco, the chicken-less egg substitute has already been hatched.

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Science
1:46 pm
Thu June 13, 2013

What Bird Flocks And Fish Schools Can Teach Us About The Future

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 4:19 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

This is TALK OF THE NATION. I'm Neal Conan.

We've all seen a flock of birds shift direction instantaneously mid-flight, or a school of fish swirl in what looked like tightly choreographed maneuvers. That's called collective behavior and it fascinated and baffled scientists. Why do they do it? How? Telepathy? Now technology is revolutionizing the way researchers can track, visualize and even create swarms, and what they're finding will make you go wow.

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Around the Nation
5:16 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Massive Bat Cave Stirs Texas-Size Debate Over Development

Millions of bats live in Bracken Cave, in a rural area near San Antonio. Conservationists are worried that plans for a multithousand-unit housing development will disrupt the bat colony.
Eric Gay AP

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 6:28 pm

The Bracken Bat Cave, just north of San Antonio, is as rural as it gets. You have to drive down a long, 2-mile rocky road to reach it. There's nothing nearby — no lights, no running water. The only thing you hear are the katydids.

The cave houses a massive bat colony, as it has for an estimated 10,000 years. Bat Conservation International, the group that oversees the Bracken Cave Reserve, wants it to stay secluded, but the area's rural nature could change if a local developer's plan moves forward.

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Animals
4:13 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

To Crack Down On Rhino Poaching, Authorities Turn To Drones

This young female rhinoceros, photographed in Kenya in 2011, was killed by ivory poachers a few months after this photo was taken.
Courtesy of Tom Snitch

Originally published on Tue June 11, 2013 6:20 pm

A crowd of wildlife rangers gathered on a woody hillside in Nepal last year to try something they'd never done before. A man held what looked like an overgrown toy airplane in his right hand, arm cocked as if to throw it into the sky. As his fellow rangers cheered, he did just that. A propeller took over, sending it skyward.

The craft was an unmanned aerial vehicle, also known as a drone, though not the military kind. Its wingspan was about 7 feet, and it carried only a video camera that filmed the forest below.

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Environment
12:09 am
Tue June 11, 2013

The Wallops and Assateague Islands Report #14

A US Navy (USN) E-2C Hawkeye 2000 aircraft assigned to the "Wallbangers" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron 117 (VAW-117) approaches to land on the flight deck of the USN Nimitz Class Aircraft Carrier, USS JOHN C. STENNIS (CVN 74), while the ship is underway in the Pacific Ocean, conducting carrier qualifications. (Released to Public)

Guests: Ted Brown , U.S. Navy Fleet Forces spokesman



Keith Koehler, NASA Public Relations Specialist


NASA and Navy Sign Agreement for Field Carrier Landing Practice Operations at Wallops

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The Two-Way
2:50 pm
Mon June 10, 2013

BP Ends Oil Spill Cleanup In Gulf, Except For Louisiana

BP is scaling back its cleanup efforts from the Deepwater Horizon oilspill in areas outside Louisiana. Here, a photo from last September shows alluvial clay and tar mats on the shore of Elmer's Island, in Jefferson Parish, La.
Gerald Herbert AP

BP is ending its cleanup of the massive Deepwater Horizon oil spill in three Gulf Coast states this month, leaving Louisiana as the only state with ongoing cleanup linked to the company's Deepwater Horizon Response effort. Reports of oil sightings in Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida will soon be the U.S. Coast Guard's responsibility to investigate.

For NPR's Newscast unit, Debbie Elliott reports:

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Animals
4:30 am
Mon June 10, 2013

City Life Disrupts Daily Rhythm Of Birds

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 7:08 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

You've heard the expression Bright Lights, Big City. For many people, city living can mean long hours at work and play and never enough sleep. Now a new study suggests that cities can have a very similar effect on another group of residents: birds. NPR's Rhitu Chatterjee reports.

RHITU CHATTERJEE, BYLINE: Since the 1930s, scientists have noticed that birds in cities, like robins and starlings, can keep different hours than their relatives in forests. Barbara Helm is a biologist at the University of Glasgow.

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Around the Nation
2:57 am
Mon June 10, 2013

Rail Project At Los Angeles Port Draws Environmentalists' Ire

Shipping containers stack up at the Port of Los Angeles.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 12:21 pm

In California, a high-profile lawsuit is seeking to halt construction of a new $500 million rail yard next to the Port of Los Angeles. Activists, including a national environmental group that's spearheading the opposition, say the massive project would mean even more pollution for nearby neighborhoods that already have some of the worst air in the country.

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The Two-Way
5:18 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Report: Accidents Likely In Environmentally Fragile Seas

The bow of the mine countermeasure ship Guardian is removed in March in the Sulu Sea, Philippines. The Guardian ran aground on the Tubbataha Reef in January.
U.S. Navy Getty Images

Many of the world's most accident-prone waters for shipping are also among the most delicate marine ecosystems, according to a new study released Friday by WWF International.

The fear of something like a major oil spill in environmentally sensitive waters comes as the number of vessels plying the world's oceans has risen 20 percent in the past 15 years, from 85,000 to 105,000, the report, released on World Oceans Day, says.

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Around the Nation
4:54 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Plug Pulled On California Nuclear Plant, For Good

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:29 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In Southern California, a nuclear power plant that supplied energy to more than a million homes is shutting down for good. As NPR's Ina Jaffe reports, the San Onofre nuclear plant has been idle for repair since January of 2012.

INA JAFFE, BYLINE: The twin, white domes at the San Onofre nuclear power plant have been landmarks on the California coast for more than four decades.

(SOUNDBITE OF PROTESTERS CHANTING)

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Around the Nation
4:02 pm
Fri June 7, 2013

Salt, Flies, Pickled Tongues: A Perfect Great Salt Lake Swim

Swimmers begin a 1-mile race in the Great Salt Lake in June 2012. The mountains of Stansbury Island rise in the background.
Connie Hubbard

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 8:29 pm

It's the "liquid lie of the desert," as writer Terry Tempest Williams describes it, a vast inland sea so salty it triggers retching when swallowed. Brine shrimp swarm its waters and brine flies blanket the shore. In the right wind and weather its putrid smell reaches Salt Lake City neighborhoods 16 miles away. Storms churn up waves that rival ocean swells.

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NPR Story
11:44 am
Fri June 7, 2013

Strengthening Buildings In Tornado Alley

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 1:33 pm

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY, I'm Ira Flatow. Powerful storms this spring: tornadoes like the ones in Oklahoma have caused damage estimated in the billions of dollars and dozens of deaths. But does the destruction have to be so devastating? What are the engineering challenges to designing and building stronger, more tornado-resistant structures and providing better protection for the people who live there?

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Parallels
7:02 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

Plan For Wind Turbines Off D-Day Coast Spins Controversy

Omaha Beach near Colleville-sur-Mer in Normandy, France, where allied troops landed on June 6, 1944. A plan to build a wind farm off the coast has spurred controversy.
Lars Halbauer DPA/Landov

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:38 pm

Music accompanies a fireworks display set off behind an old German gun battery overlooking Omaha beach in Normandy. Next year, on the 70th anniversary of the allied invasion, work is set to begin on a windmill park off this very coast — 75 windmills, the closest of which will be 6 miles from shore.

The wind is whipping high on a bluff above the British landing beach of Arromanches, where the hastily constructed landing harbor is still intact. Environmental activist Amaury de Lencquesaing opposes the windmill project.

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The Salt
4:49 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

When You Waste Food, You're Wasting Tons Of Water, Too

A worker dumps a bucket of tomatoes into a trailer in Florida City, Fla. Much of the lost and wasted weight in fruits and vegetables is water, according to a report by the World Resources Institute.
Joe Raedle Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 7, 2013 12:29 pm

Tossing out food is clearly a waste of money — and maybe even immoral, according to Pope Francis, who on Wednesday likened food waste to "stealing from the table of those who are poor and hungry." And as we've reported, you also may be creating extra greenhouse gas emissions by sending food to

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The Salt
3:11 pm
Thu June 6, 2013

How To Clean Up Fish Farms And Raise More Seafood At The Same Time

Thierry Chopin from the University of New Brunswick examines a raft that holds strings of seaweed. The seaweed grows around pens of farmed salmon and soaks up some of the nutrients that would otherwise pollute the Bay of Fundy.
Richard Harris NPR

Originally published on Mon June 10, 2013 5:38 pm

Last month, we told you about companies that are growing salmon on dry land. That's an effective — but expensive — way to reduce water pollution caused by fish farms. After all, marine aquaculture provides about half of the seafood we eat.

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Research News
5:19 am
Thu June 6, 2013

Navy Studies Cicadas For Their Amplifying Sound Technique

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 6:40 am

From southern Virginia to New England, lots of people are being treated to a cicada serenade. If these insects sound loud to you, that's because they are. They're so loud that some Navy engineers are trying to borrow their technique.

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