Environment

Can eating insects help people survive a famine?

Are there new ways to help farmers water their crops when drought strikes?

Isn't the basic hunger problem that there's just not enough food to go around?

Those are some of the tough questions that you submitted in April for our monthly #CuriousGoat series.

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Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke is recommending that the boundaries of the Bears Ears National Monument in Utah be shrunk. He also is calling on Congress to give Native American tribes more say in how the new monument is managed.

Neuroscience isn't on many elementary school lesson plans. But this spring, a second grade class at Fairmont Neighborhood School in the South Bronx is plunging in.

Sarah Wechsler, an instructional coach with wide eyes and a marathoner's energy, asks the students to think about the development and progress that they've made already in their lives.

There's no doubt about it: Zika is on the retreat in the Americas.

In Brazil, cases are down by 95 percent from last year. Across the Caribbean, outbreaks have subsided. And in Florida, the virus seems to have gone into hiding. Health officials haven't investigated a new Zika case for more than 45 days in Miami-Dade County.

How Climate Data Is Collected

Jun 11, 2017

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Eight miles down a dirt road through the swamps of southwest Alabama, Lane Zirlott has 1.8 million oysters in the water at his family's farm in Sandy Bay.

"What we've been doing is trying to redefine what people are thinking of a Southern gulf oyster," Zirlott says.

The Murder Point oyster farm covers about two and half acres in the bay. The name changed from "Myrtle Point" in 1929, after a deadly dispute over oyster territory.

Colstrip, Mont., is about 750 miles away from Seattle, as the crow flies. Politically, the two places may be even further apart. And yet, they're connected.

If you're turning the lights on in the Pacific Northwest, some of that electricity may be coming from Colstrip. And if you're in Colstrip, wondering how long your own lights will stay on, you're likely looking west.

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The Green Climate Fund has been thrust into the spotlight of late.

President Trump singled it out for scorn in his Rose Garden remarks last week announcing his decision to pull the U.S. from the Paris climate agreement. Along with that move, Trump noted, he is ending further U.S. contributions to the "so-called Green Climate Fund — nice name."

Zika is a scary virus because of the terrible birth defects it can cause. Now scientists have a clearer sense of the size of that risk.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identified 2,549 pregnant women with the Zika virus in Puerto Rico and other U.S. territories between Jan. 1, 2016 and April 25, 2017. The CDC found that 122 of these women — about 5 percent — gave birth to babies with birth defects such as small heads (known as microcephaly).

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Water stagnating at a construction site. A dwindling number of mangroves along the shore. Lakes choked with algae and hyacinth. Sewage pipes leaking into the sea.

These are common sights in India.

Until recently, the best people could do to try to draw attention to such problems was to tweet pictures to the government or write letters to the newspaper — hoping someone with the power to make changes would take note.

Neil Shook was relaxing at home in Woodworth, N.D., on a Saturday afternoon just over a week ago.

"My wife was outside and she yelled at me to come outside and take a look at this," he recalls.

A massive brown cloud covered the horizon to the west. It was a dust storm — although Shook, who's a scientist with the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, doesn't like to call it dust. "I like to refer to it as soil, because that's basically what it is," he says. "We saw this huge soil cloud moving from west to east across the landscape."

Some of Nevada's largest solar installation companies plan to resume doing business in the state. For the past year-and-a-half Tesla (formerly SolarCity) and Sunrun stopped seeking new customers in this sunny part of the country because the state's Public Utilities Commission chose to phase out incentives for homeowners who install rooftop solar panels.

Hawaii's governor has signed a bill that adopts goals of the Paris climate agreement, despite President Trump's announcement last week that the U.S. is pulling out of the global accord.

"Reducing greenhouse emissions in Hawaii is now the law — the state law," reports Hawaii Public Radio's Bill Dorman. "While the specifics are a bit vague, the political message is clear: to keep pace with environmental commitments made as part of the Paris accord."

If you've ever bought coffee labeled "Uganda" and wondered what life is like in that faraway place where the beans were grown, now's your chance to see how climate change has affected the lives of Ugandan coffee farmers — through their own eyes.

Last week, President Donald Trump announced that the United States will be pulling out of the Paris climate accord. The move comes as a blow to alternative energy advocates who see green power as the most sustainable and environmentally responsible way forward.

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PORTSMOUTH, Va. (AP) - The family of a Virginia inmate who sought emergency medical help days before he died has filed a more than $40 million federal lawsuit against the jail.

Henry Stewart died in August days after filing an emergency grievance form saying he had blacked out twice in less than 24 hours and couldn't hold down food or water.

The lawsuit says Stewart's repeated requests for aid were either ignored or he received substandard care. The medical examiner ruled Stewart died as the result of a perforated gastric ulcer.

The overwhelming majority of bats are friends of humanity. They gobble up the insects that bite us and ruin our crops. They pollinate flowers and they replant forests by spreading seeds around. But as agriculture overtakes rain forests and jungles, humans have come into conflict with one bat species: the common vampire bat.

The Trump administration is taking steps to allow five energy companies to use seismic air guns for oil and gas exploration off the U.S. Atlantic coast even though they would incidentally harass marine mammals. Environmental groups and some coastal communities object.

"The testing would take place over a huge area ranging from the Delaware Bay, south to Cape Canaveral in Florida," NPR's Jeff Brady reports. "Ships would crisscross the ocean shooting loud bursts of sound underwater to map the geology."

Days after President Trump announced that he would be pulling the U.S. out of a global agreement to fight climate change, more than 1,200 business leaders, mayors, governors and college presidents have signaled their personal commitment to the goal of reducing emissions.

In an open letter, the signatories vow to "continue to support climate action to meet the Paris Agreement," even "in the absence of leadership from Washington."

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Let's turn now to Indiana. James Brainard is the Republican mayor of Carmel just outside of Indianapolis. And he joins us from member station WFYI. Thanks for being with us.

JAMES BRAINARD: Oh, it's great to be with you.

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Thousands of protesters gathered around the country in a series of "March for Truth" rallies on Saturday. Demonstrators were calling for a congressional independent commission to investigate connections between the Trump campaign and the Russian government.

In full view of the White House, protesters in Washington, D.C., demanded answers in the ongoing Russia probe. Chants of "Investigate Trump!" and "Resist, resist!" rang across the National Mall.

Some protesters even lined up together to spell out "Investigate Trump."

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Let's talk for a few more minutes about one of the key reasons the president gave for pulling the U.S. out of the climate accord. He said it was to save American jobs such as the jobs in coal.

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This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon.

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