Environment

To avoid the crowds at Niagara Falls, why not sail the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, or ogle oil refineries in Port Arthur, Texas? In Visit Sunny Chernobyl: And Other Adventures In The World's Most Polluted Places, Andrew Blackwell describes traveling to the world's most contaminated destinations.

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

Every Day Is Earth Day In Seattle, Wash.

Aug 2, 2012

This month we are collecting your stories about the good things Americans are doing to make their community a better place. Some of your contributions will become blog posts and the project will end with a story that weaves together submissions to make a story of Americans by Americans for Americans.

Near their headquarters in a converted WWII naval building, EarthCorps members — brought in from all over the world — do morning yoga before departing to restore parks and creeks in and around Seattle.

Austin Docter has worked at a shellfish plant in Shelton, Wash., for 18 years and has a lot of words to describe what he calls the flavor profiles of oysters: Minerally. Metallic-y. Sweet. Buttery.

"Wherever oysters are grown, they take on the characteristics of the algae and water that they grow up in," Docter says. "It's a lot like French wine."

Likes Long Walks On The Beach, Collecting ... Plastic?

Aug 1, 2012

After talking to artists Judith and Richard Lang I couldn't stop thinking about the plastic in my life. I looked around my kitchen — at the dish soap bottle, the food storage containers, my kiddo's toys — and realized this stuff might be around for a long, long time.

America's 'Most Polluted' Lake Finally Comes Clean

Jul 31, 2012

Onondaga Lake in Syracuse, N.Y., has often been called the most polluted lake in America. It was hammered by a one-two punch: raw and partially treated sewage from the city and its suburbs, and a century's worth of industrial dumping. But now the final stage in a $1 billion cleanup is about to begin.

Standing in his office amid stacks of reports, scientist Steve Effler glances at an old front-page headline of the Syracuse Herald-Journal: "Divers find goo in Onondaga Lake."

The next time you take a sip of your favorite wine, you might want to make your first toast to hornets. Or, more precisely, European hornets and paper wasps.

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IRA FLATOW, HOST:

This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow.

FLORA LICHTMAN, HOST:

And I'm Flora Lichtman. In 2007, thousands of people in Mexico took to the streets, protesting the price of tortillas. In three months, the price of corn had gone up 400 percent. Why? According to my first guest, it all started with a spike in oil prices triggered by Hurricane Katrina. That led to increased demand for ethanol, and U.S. farmers who grow a lot of the corn that Mexicans eat planted less corn for eating and more corn to make ethanol.

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

The drought is threatening a major event important to one small lake town. For more than 25 years, DePue, Illinois has hosted the American Powerboat Association's national championships. This year, officials discovered the water level in the lake was too low. And so, they embarked on an unusual effort to bring in more water.

Mike Moen of member station WNIJ reports.

(SOUNDBITE OF A MOTORBOAT)

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RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

And I'm Linda Wertheimer.

In the Midwest, the drought is doing a number on the nation's biggest agricultural crop, corn. The USDA says half of the country's cornfields are in poor or very poor condition, and the short supply is driving up the price. Now, a fight between livestock farmers and ethanol producers over the high priced corn crop. Farmers say ethanol factories have an unfair advantage.

NPR's Dan Charles reports.

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