Environment

The Salt
1:06 pm
Wed May 15, 2013

Go Fish (Somewhere Else): Warming Oceans Are Altering Catches

Crew members unload a catch of sockeye salmon at Craig, Alaska, in 2005. Researchers say fish are being found in new areas because of changing ocean temperatures.
Melissa Farlow National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 7:39 pm

Climate change is gradually altering the fish that end up on ice in seafood counters around the world, according to a new study.

"The composition of the [global] fish catch includes more and more fish from the warmer areas, and cold-water fish are getting more rare, because the temperatures are increasing," says Daniel Pauly at the University of British Columbia, a co-author of the study.

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The Two-Way
10:38 am
Wed May 15, 2013

Dirty Diapers Pile Up In Portland Recycling Bins: 'It's Not Pretty'

Portland recycling handlers say they've seen more diapers in recycling bins after the city switched to biweekly trash pickups. A file photo shows bags of diapers in a container at a California recycling facility.
David McNew Getty Images

Waste and recycling handlers in Portland, Ore., say they're seeing an unfortunate side effect of the city's reduction in garbage pickups: 120 pounds of dirty diapers a day, tucked into recycling bins.

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Environment
4:56 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

'Ice Shove' Damages Some Manitoba Homes Beyond Repair

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 7:15 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

In northern lakefront vacation spots such as Ochre Beach, Manitoba and Lake Mille Lacs, Minnesota, ice happens even in May. But what happened this past weekend was like something out of a science fiction movie.

(SOUNDBITE OF WIND)

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

This is the sound from a video recorded as constant strong winds pushed huge sheets of ice off a lake and onto the shore. Fingers of ice creeped farther inland and farther. It's as if the ice is alive.

(SOUNDBITE OF ICE SHOVE)

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Environment
3:16 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

With Rising Seas, America's Birthplace Could Disappear

Colonists built the original glass-blowing kiln in Jamestown, Va., at this beach for easy access to the sand. Now the site is just inches above the water level.
John W. Poole NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 7:15 pm

By the end of the century, the birthplace of America may be underwater.

The first successful English colony in America was at Jamestown, Va., a swampy island in the Chesapeake Bay. The colony endured for almost a century, and remnants of the place still exist. You can go there and see the ruins. You can walk where Capt. John Smith and Pocahontas walked. But Jamestown is now threatened by rising sea levels that scientists say could submerge the island by century's end.

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Africa
3:05 pm
Tue May 14, 2013

The Enemy Inside: Rhino's Protectors Sometimes Aid Poachers

Mike Watson (left), CEO of Kenya's Lewa Conservancy, and conservationist Ian Craig identify the carcass of a 4-year-old black rhino named Arthur, whom poachers had killed the night before. The well-armed, well-informed poachers very likely used night vision goggles and a silencer on an AK-47.
Gregory Warner NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 8:19 pm

It says a lot about the state of the war against poachers in Africa that the Lewa Conservancy, a private sanctuary in Kenya with 12 percent of the country's rhinos, recently appointed a CEO who has never studied zoology or biology. Instead, Mike Watson is an ex-captain in the British army.

His training has already come in handy. Take, for instance, a visit to a crime scene earlier this year: a rhino carcass splayed out in the mud.

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The Salt
10:59 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Maybe It's Time To Swap Burgers For Bugs, Says U.N.

A vendor sells edible insects at Talad Thai market on the outskirts of Bangkok. The most popular method of preparation is to deep-fry crickets in oil and then sprinkle them with lemongrass slivers and chilis.
NARONG SANGNAK EPA /Landov

Originally published on Thu May 16, 2013 5:49 pm

Yes, we talk a lot about eating bugs here at The Salt. We know, because some of you have complained about it.

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Environment
10:45 am
Tue May 14, 2013

The Wallops and Assateague Islands Report #11

Robin Rothschild, host of "The Wallops and Assateague Islands Report" and Bill Yoast, the real life hero of "Remember the Titans".
Credit Delmarva Public Radio

A special program today- Robin chats with Bill Yoast, the real-life hero of the movie, Remember the Titans.

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The Salt
3:27 am
Tue May 14, 2013

Michigan Apple Orchards Blossom After A Devastating Year

Apple Blossoms
Amy Irish-Brown

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 8:20 pm

Last year, almost the entire Michigan apple crop was lost because of 80-degree days in March and then some freezing April nights. This year, the apples are back, but everything always depends on the weather. The state was under a freeze warning Sunday night — a scary prospect if you're an apple grower and your trees have just come into bloom.

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Parallels
3:05 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Vietnam's Appetite For Rhino Horn Drives Poaching In Africa

A Vietnamese rhino horn user displays her horn, which was a gift from her well-to-do sister. Last year, rhino horn sold for up to $1,400 an ounce in Vietnam, about the price of gold these days.
Frank Langfitt NPR

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 5:42 pm

Africa is facing a growing epidemic: the slaughter of rhinos.

So far this year, South Africa has lost more than 290 rhinos — an average of at least two a day. That puts the country on track to set yet another record after poachers killed 668 rhinos in 2012.

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The Salt
4:27 pm
Sun May 12, 2013

Is It Safe To Use Compost Made From Treated Human Waste?

Originally published on Wed May 15, 2013 11:46 am

Any gardener will tell you that compost is "black gold," essential to cultivating vigorous, flavorful crops. But it always feels like there's never enough, and its weight and bulk make it tough stuff to cart around.

I belong to a community garden in Washington, D.C., that can't get its hands on enough compost. So you can imagine my delight when I learned that the U.S. Composting Council was connecting community gardeners with free material from local facilities through its Million Tomato Compost Campaign.

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Around the Nation
5:30 am
Sat May 11, 2013

Frozen Lakes Cut Into Minnesota Fishing Tradition

Linda Eno owns Twin Pines resort on Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota. She says business is down this year because of the weather, which has kept the lakes frozen.
Conrad Wilson for NPR

Originally published on Sat May 11, 2013 1:46 pm

On the shores of Mille Lacs Lake in central Minnesota, it finally feels like spring. But the lake still looks like winter.

Saturday marks the opening of the walleye fishing season, and it's usually one of the busiest weekends for the state's resort communities. But this year, many of the northern lakes are still frozen, restricting water access and, potentially, local businesses.

Rick Bruesewitz, a fisheries manager for the Department of Natural Resources, says it would be tough to get a boat in the water in most places around the lake.

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Environment
2:46 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

Atop A Hawaiian Mountain, A Constant Sniff For Carbon Dioxide

Researchers use the 120-foot tower atop Mauna Loa in Hawaii to collect air samples and measure the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. Mauna Kea looms in the distance.
Forrest M. Mims III forrestmims.org

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 1:22 pm

Climate scientists have a good reason to want to get away from it all. To get an accurate picture of the amount of carbon dioxide in the Earth's atmosphere, you have to find places where the numbers won't be distorted by cities or factories or even lots of vegetation that can have a major local impact on CO2 concentrations.

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Environment
12:27 pm
Fri May 10, 2013

'Dangerous Territory:' Carbon Dioxide Levels Reach Iconic High

Carbon dioxide readings at the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii have reached what atmospheric scientist Ralph Keeling calls a "psychological threshold" of 400 parts per million. The amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere has been steadily increasing since near-constant measurements began at the observatory in 1958.
Jonathan Kingston National Geographic/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 7:26 pm

Earth's atmosphere is entering a new era. A mountaintop research station that has been tracking carbon dioxide for more than 50 years says the level of that gas in our air has reached a milestone: 400 parts per million.

That number is one of the clearest measures of how human beings are changing the planet. It shows how much carbon we have put into the air from burning fossil fuels — and that carbon dioxide drives global warming.

This measurement comes from Mauna Loa, Hawaii, a remote volcano where the air is largely free of local influences.

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Environment
3:16 am
Fri May 10, 2013

College Divestment Campaigns Creating Passionate Environmentalists

Students associated with the group Brown Divest Coal protested in front of the Brown University president's office during a rally May 3. The group is demanding that the university stop investing in certain oil and coal companies.
Courtesy of Brown Divest Coal

Originally published on Fri May 10, 2013 11:04 am

At about 300 colleges across the country, young activists worried about climate change are borrowing a strategy that students successfully used in decades past. In the 1980s, students enraged about South Africa's racist Apartheid regime got their schools to drop stocks in companies that did business with that government. In the 1990s, students pressured their schools to divest Big Tobacco.

This time, the student activists are targeting a mainstay of the economy: large oil and coal companies.

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The Salt
5:11 pm
Thu May 9, 2013

Big Ag Agrees to Conserve Cropland, But At What Cost?

Peanut plants grow on a Halifax, N.C., farm that received federal subsidies in 2011.
Robert Willett MCT /Landov

Taxpayers help subsidize crop insurance premiums for farmers to the tune of about $9 billion dollars, a figure that's growing each year. These policies protect farmers from major losses, and help support their income even if there's no loss of crops.

And in return? Well, environmentalists argue that farmers who receive this financial support should be required to be good stewards of the land.

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Business
5:51 am
Thu May 9, 2013

Shell Digs Deep To Tap Into Lucrative Oil, Gas Reserves

Originally published on Thu May 9, 2013 5:56 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

One reason the world is not yet running out of oil and gas is that energy companies keep finding ways to extract those resources from more and more difficult places, including far under the ocean. Royal Dutch Shell announced plans, yesterday, for the world's deepest offshore floating oil and gas facility.

NPR's Debbie Elliott reports.

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The Salt
12:37 pm
Wed May 8, 2013

With Warming Climes, How Long Will A Bordeaux Be A Bordeaux?

A worker harvests cabernet sauvignon grapes at a vineyard near Bordeaux, France, in September.
Caroline Blumberg EPA/Landov

Originally published on Tue May 14, 2013 3:25 pm

Bordeauxs and Burgundys haven't changed much since the days when famous wine-lover Thomas Jefferson kept the cellars of his Parisian home well-stocked with both wines.

But now, some worry that the regional rules and traditions that have defined top winemaking regions like Champagne, Burgundy and Chianti for centuries could melt away as climate change takes effect.

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The Two-Way
7:03 am
Wed May 8, 2013

Head Of Environmental Division Is Leaving Justice Dept.

Assistant Attorney General Ignacia S. Moreno in September of 2011.
Jeff Chiu AP

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 11:38 am

Assistant U.S. Attorney General Ignacia Moreno, the point person at the Justice Department for prosecuting environmental crimes, says she will leave government service next month.

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The Salt
6:12 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Bee Deaths May Have Reached A Crisis Point For Crops

A bee inspector checks on a frame of bees to assess the colony strength near Turlock, Calif., in February. More than 30 percent of America's bee colonies died off over the winter.
Gosia Wozniacka AP

Originally published on Tue May 7, 2013 10:56 pm

According to a new survey of America's beekeepers, almost a third of the country's honeybee colonies did not make it through the winter.

That's been the case, in fact, almost every year since the U.S. Department of Agriculture began this annual survey, six years ago.

Over the past six years, on average, 30 percent of all the honeybee colonies in the U.S. died off over the winter. The worst year was five years ago. Last year was the best: Just 22 percent of the colonies died.

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Environment
4:58 pm
Tue May 7, 2013

Filling In The Gap On Climate Education In Classrooms

Cy Maramangalam gives a presentation about climate change for the Alliance for Climate Education.
Courtesy of Alliance for Climate Education

Originally published on Wed May 8, 2013 2:50 pm

The auditorium at James Blake High School in Silver Spring, Md., is packed when Cy Maramangalam strolls onstage, sporting jeans and a shaved head.

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Technology
1:50 pm
Mon May 6, 2013

Unearthing History: How Technology Is Transforming Archaeology

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 2:40 pm

Transcript

NEAL CONAN, HOST:

Legend has it that the rainforest of Mosquitia hid La Ciudad Blanca, the White City. For centuries, explorers tried to find the fabled city in the jungle of Nicaragua and Honduras. Protected by white water, coral snakes, stinging plants and brutal topography, the White City remained an archeologist dream. But with a new application of recent technology, a documentary filmmaker, not an archeologist, found the White City.

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The Two-Way
5:33 pm
Sun May 5, 2013

The Threat To Indonesia's Biodiversity, Foretold In The 1800s

British naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace was not only a key figure in developing the theory of evolution in the mid-19th century but also had the foresight to call for saving endangered species.

Wallace, who died 100 years ago this year, did his most important research in the rich biodiversity of Indonesia, and his plea for preservation is even more compelling than when he wrote it.

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Around the Nation
5:24 am
Sun May 5, 2013

A Splash Of 'Urban Ocean' On A Southern California Cruise

A cruise run by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., exposes guests to the "urban ocean" in the country's biggest shipping terminal.
Kirk Siegler NPR

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 6:41 pm

A cruise run by the Aquarium of the Pacific in Long Beach, Calif., sounds like a picturesque summer outing. But the Urban Ocean boat cruise highlights the juxtaposition of a powerful port with a fragile ecosystem: You're just as likely to see trash as you are to see marine life.

In front of the aquarium, school kids are running around, eager to go inside and pet the sharks and see the penguins. There's also a marina, where a small passenger boat called the Cristina shoves off from sunny Shoreline Aquatic Park.

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The Two-Way
4:05 pm
Sat May 4, 2013

To Silence Discontent, Chinese Officials Alter Workweek

Protesters demonstrate against plans for a factory to produce paraxylene, a toxic chemical used to make fabrics, in China's Yunnan province on Saturday. In nearby Chengdu, planned protests were thwarted.
STR AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun May 5, 2013 6:03 am

How do you prevent protests in China? Move the weekend.

That's the Orwellian step taken by local authorities in the southwestern city of Chengdu, the capital of Sichuan province. May 4 is a sensitive date commemorating an influential student movement in 1919. It's especially potent in Chengdu, where it marks the fifth anniversary of a protest against the construction of a $6 billion crude oil refinery and petrochemical facility in Pengzhou, 25 miles away.

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The Salt
4:19 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

Unraveling The Mystery Of A Rice Revolution

Rice farmers in Indonesia plant rice seedlings using the "system of rice intensification."
Courtesy of SRI International Network and Resources Center

Originally published on Fri May 3, 2013 5:02 pm

It's a captivating story: A global rice-growing revolution that started with a Jesuit priest in Madagascar, far from any recognized center of agricultural innovation. Every so often, it surfaces in the popular media — most recently in The Guardian, which earlier this year described farmers in one corner of India hauling in gigantic rice harvests without resorting to pesticides or genetic modification.

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The Two-Way
2:55 pm
Fri May 3, 2013

NASA: Warming Climate Likely Means More Floods, Droughts

Flash floods followed heavy rains in northern India in September.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 6, 2013 12:53 pm

The Earth's wettest regions are likely to get wetter while the most arid will get drier due to warming of the atmosphere caused by increased levels of carbon dioxide, according to a new NASA analysis of more than a dozen climate models.

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NPR Story
10:49 am
Fri May 3, 2013

Living Inside the Box

Transcript

IRA FLATOW, HOST:

Here with us now is Flora Lichtman, our correspondent and managing editor for video. Flora, welcome.

FLORA LICHTMAN, BYLINE: Hi.

FLATOW: What wonderful stuff do you have for us this week?

LICHTMAN: Well, from the less practical or the no practical application to the very practical in this week's Video Pick.

FLATOW: Ooh.

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NPR Story
10:49 am
Fri May 3, 2013

17-Year Cicadas Primed To Emerge

This spring the massive "Brood II" batch of 17-year cicadas is expected to emerge from the ground in backyards and parks all along the Eastern U.S. The insects will mate, lay eggs, and start the cycle all over again. Cicada expert John Cooley explains the unusual biology and evolution of periodical cicadas.

Author Interviews
3:51 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Ethical Fashion: Is The Tragedy In Bangladesh A Final Straw?

Casual clothing detail fashion background made in the USA
iStockPhoto.com

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 4:05 pm

A garment factory that manufactures products for international clothing companies collapsed outside of Dhaka, Bangladesh, last month, killing more than 400 workers and injuring scores of others. It came on the heels of a fire at another factory in November 2012; that incident killed 112 workers.

Factories like these in Bangladesh pump out what author Elizabeth Cline calls "fast fashion," or clothes made on the cheap by big chains such as H&M, Zara, Esprit, Lee, Wrangler, Nike, J.C. Penney and Wal-Mart.

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The Salt
3:42 pm
Thu May 2, 2013

Can Salmon Farming Be Sustainable? Maybe, If You Head Inland

These sockeye salmon were raised at a land-based fish farm in Langley, British Columbia.
Courtesy Willowfield Enterprises

Originally published on Thu May 2, 2013 6:43 pm

Is salmon farming ever sustainable?

For years, many marine biologists have argued that the floating, open-ocean net pens that produce billions of pounds of salmon per year also generate pollution, disease and parasites.

In some places in western Canada, the open-ocean salmon farming industry has been blamed for the collapse of wild salmon populations in the early 2000s — though other research has challenged that claim.

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