Environment

The Two-Way
5:51 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

For New York, The '10-Year Storm' Isn't What It Used To Be

Sandbags protect the front of the New York Stock Exchange on Oct. 29, 2012, in preparation for Hurricane Sandy.
Richard Drew AP

New York City is 20 times more likely to flood during a storm than it was in the mid-1800s, partly owing to sea-level rise linked to global climate change, according to a new study.

The maximum water height at New York Harbor during storms such as Hurricane Sandy has risen nearly 2.5 feet since 1844, says the study, which was published in a recent issue of Geophysical Research Letters.

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Environment
2:46 pm
Fri April 25, 2014

WIR 04/25/2014

More from the Robotics Team from Parkside High.

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The Two-Way
6:15 pm
Thu April 24, 2014

Radioactive Leak At U.S. Waste Dump Was Preventable, Report Says

A worker drives an electric cart past air monitoring equipment inside a storage room of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in Carlsbad, N.M., shown in this undated photo.
Anonymous AP

Originally published on Thu April 24, 2014 7:02 pm

A February accident at a nuclear waste dump that resulted in the contamination of 21 workers resulted in part from "poor management, ineffective maintenance and a lack of proper training and oversight," a Department of Energy report concludes.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel says the report, released Thursday, says the release of radioactive material into the environment from the Feb. 14 accident at the underground Waste Isolation Pilot Plant near Carlsbad, N.M., could have been prevented. The facility is a repository for defense-related nuclear waste.

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It's All Politics
6:18 pm
Tue April 22, 2014

Green GOP Group Caught Between 'Rock And A Hard Place'

Volunteer Tom Strain carries debris from an empty lot as part of an Earth Day cleanup effort in Camden, N.J. The Earth Day events celebrated on April 22 promote a sustainable and clean environment.
Mel Evans AP

Originally published on Tue April 22, 2014 7:11 pm

On Earth Day 2014, it wasn't easy being green in the Republican Party. Just ask Rob Sisson, president of ConservAmerica.

ConservAmerica is a membership organization created in 1995 to keep the environmental spirit of GOP President Theodore Roosevelt alive in his party. Back then, the group was known as Republicans for Environmental Protection.

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The Salt
3:26 am
Tue April 22, 2014

Fields And Farm Jobs Dry Up With California's Worsening Drought

Recent rains kept Suzanne and Mike Collins' orange grove alive, but the rainy season is ending. If they don't get federal irrigation water by this summer, their trees will start dying.
Kirk Siegler/NPR

Originally published on Wed April 23, 2014 6:47 pm

On a recent afternoon on the main drag of Orange Cove, Calif., about a dozen farm workers gather on the sidewalk in front of a mini-mart.

One man sits on a milk crate sipping a beer. A few others scratch some lotto tickets. Salvador Perez paces back and forth with his hands stuffed in the pockets of his jeans.

If there is no water, there's no work, he says in Spanish.

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Environment
4:16 pm
Mon April 21, 2014

Forced To Put Its Nets Away, One Fla. Town Clams Up β€” Literally

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 7:26 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Many commercial fishermen in Florida faced a tough decision 20 years ago: retire or find another way to make a living. That reality set in after voters passed a constitutional amendment intended to prevent overfishing. It banned the use of gill nets in state waters. Gill nets are large nets that are suspended vertically in the water. NPR's Greg Allen went to an island where former fishermen have found new careers since the ban.

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Around the Nation
5:00 pm
Sun April 20, 2014

California's Drought Ripples Through Businesses, Then To Schools

Cannon Michael's farm grows tomatoes, melons and onions, among other crops. This year, however, Michael will have to fallow one-fifth of the land due to the drought
Thomas Dreisbach NPR

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 11:16 am

Cannon Michael runs an 11,000-acre farm in California's Central Valley. His family has been farming in the state for six generations.

Michael's multimillion-dollar operation usually provides a wealth of crops including tomatoes, onions and melons. But recently, he's pretty pessimistic about work.

"It is going to be a year that's probably, at best, maybe break even. Or maybe lose some money," Michael tells NPR's Arun Rath.

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The Two-Way
12:01 pm
Sat April 19, 2014

Ancient Landscape Is Found Under 2 Miles Of Ice In Greenland

A new study suggests the Greenland Ice Sheet did not fully melt during previous periods of global warming β€” and that it preserved a tundra beneath it.
Joshua Brown University of Vermont

Originally published on Mon April 21, 2014 1:36 pm

In a surprising discovery, scientists have found evidence of a tundra landscape in Greenland that's millions of years old. The revelation goes against widely held ideas about how some glaciers work, and it suggests that at least parts of Greenland's ice sheet had survived periods of global warming intact.

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Environment
11:40 am
Sat April 19, 2014

Telltale Rainbow Sheens Show Thousands Of Spills Across The Gulf

The 300,000 wells drilled in Louisiana are connected by tens of thousands of miles of pipelines that are vulnerable to leaks, like this one in a coastal marsh.
Gulf Restoration Network

Originally published on Sun April 20, 2014 12:26 pm

Jonathan Henderson of New Orleans-based Gulf Restoration Network is flying Louisiana's coast looking for oil. As usual, he's found some.

"I just noticed something out of the corner of my eye that looks like a sheen that had some form to it," he says. "We're going to go take a closer look and see if there's a rainbow sheen."

It's a target-rich environment for Henderson, because more than 54,000 wells were planted in and off this coast β€” part of the 300,000 wells in the state. They're connected by thousands of miles of pipelines, all vulnerable to leaks.

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Environment
4:08 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Pipeline Put Off, As Keystone Review Is Indefinitely Extended

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:13 pm

The Keystone XL pipeline remains a major point of contention within the Democratic Party, as green voters pull President Obama one direction and pro-energy senators and labor unions pull the other. It looks as though the "comment period" for the project will be extended, delaying a decision past the November elections.

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The Two-Way
3:58 pm
Fri April 18, 2014

Keystone XL Pipeline Review Extended By State Department

A TransCanada Keystone Pipeline pump station operates outside Steele City, Neb. The State Department is extending the review period for the pipeline, given ongoing litigation in Nebraska over the project.
Lane Hickenbottom Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Sat April 19, 2014 8:58 am

  • Tamara Keith's Report For 'All Things Considered'
This post was updated at 6 p.m. ET.

The State Department is giving federal agencies more time to review the Keystone XL Pipeline project. The additional time was given "based on the uncertainty created" by an ongoing legal battle in Nebraska, according to a State Department statement.

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The Two-Way
11:41 am
Fri April 18, 2014

China Admits That One-Fifth Of Its Farmland Is Contaminated

Xiang Zhengming plants rice seedlings in a field in southeast China's Fujian Province earlier this month. A newly released report says nearly 20 percent of the country's farmland is contaminated.
Lin Shanchuan Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:43 pm

Unbridled industrialization with almost no environmental regulation has resulted in the toxic contamination of one-fifth of China's farmland, the Communist Party has acknowledged for the first time.

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Environment
10:22 am
Fri April 18, 2014

WIR 04/18/2014

Robin chats with theΒ  students of Parkside High's Robotics Team 3389.

This is also the final day of our spring membership drive. Call 410-543-6895 or click the red "Support this station" button at the top of this page to help. Thanks!

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Environment
4:23 pm
Thu April 17, 2014

Unlikely Partnerships Spring From California Water Crisis

As California farms struggle amid intense drought, farmers are pressing the federal government to help solve a water crisis.
Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Originally published on Fri April 18, 2014 7:13 pm

At a recent rally in Fresno County, Calif., farmers in plaid shirts stood side by side with migrant farmworkers in ball caps, holding signs that read "sin agua, no futuro" and "no water, no food." Fresno is the top agriculture-producing county in the U.S., with more than $6 billion in annual sales.

Protesters argued that farms could go out of business without more water, and there would be mass layoffs. That rhetoric may be familiar, but the two groups' alliance is decidedly unusual.

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Environment
6:48 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Why Do Some Clouds Drop Rain, While Others Don't?

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Recent storms in California haven't been enough to save the state from a serious drought. And now, the rainy season is winding down. Scientists are trying to understand why some storms unload lots of rain and snow in California and others don't. As Lauren Sommer reports from member station KQED in San Francisco, there could be a link to dust storms thousands of miles away.

LAUREN SOMMER, BYLINE: The sky over the Pacific Ocean is looking pretty ominous - big dark gray clouds in the distance.

I think it feels like rain.

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Environment
5:08 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

Federal Plan To Save Prairie Chickens Ruffles State Feathers

A male lesser prairie chicken in the Texas Panhandle. The bird's entire habitat includes parts of Colorado, Kansas, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas.
Jon McRoberts AP

Originally published on Tue April 15, 2014 5:29 pm

It's prairie chicken mating season!

Still, it's tough being a lesser prairie chicken these days. This type of grouse once spanned an enormous area, though now they survive mainly in pockets of Oklahoma and Kansas. Their numbers are plummeting; in 2012, the population dropped by half.

But after they were recently listed as a threatened species by the U.S. government, complaints of federal overreach and lawsuits have followed.

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The Salt
11:18 am
Wed April 9, 2014

Food Scraps To Fuel Vertical Farming's Rise In Chicago

Arugula plant beds inside The Plant, a vertical farm operation in Chicago.
Plant Chicago, NFP/Rachel Swenie

Originally published on Mon April 14, 2014 1:28 pm

From plant factories fueled by the magenta glow of blue and red LED lights, to the 30-foot tall Ferris wheel for plants in Singapore, we've shown you the design possibilities for growing vegetables up instead of out.

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The Two-Way
12:29 pm
Tue April 8, 2014

NASA Image Shows Volcanic Island Has Annexed Its Neighbor

An image taken by the Landsat 8 satellite last month shows the new, larger Nishino-shima.
Landsat 8 NASA

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 4:07 pm

There's some new, pristine real estate on the remote Japanese island of Nishino-shima.

Volcanic activity has merged the tiny island with a new neighbor that started to form late last year, creating a single landmass, NASA satellite imagery shows. The island is now a bit more than a half-mile across.

According to NASA:

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Around the Nation
5:14 am
Tue April 8, 2014

Washington Mudslide Creates Environmental Hazards

Originally published on Tue April 8, 2014 8:09 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

A landslide last month northeast of Seattle destroyed dozens of homes and killed at least 33 people. Now the small rural community of Oso on the edge of the Cascade Mountains is moving from search and rescue into clean-up mode. Officials are just beginning to assess the environmental and public health risks in the area.

Ashley Ahearn, from member station KUOW in Seattle, visited the site and has more.

(SOUNDBITE OF MACHINERY)

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The Salt
6:14 pm
Mon April 7, 2014

Can Fish Farms Thrive In The USA?

Live tilapia are loaded into a truck bound for New York.
Dan Charles NPR

Originally published on

Why hasn't fish farming taken off in the United States?

It's certainly not for lack of demand for the fish. Slowly but surely, seafood that's grown in aquaculture is taking over the seafood section at your supermarket, and the vast majority is imported. The shrimp and tilapia typically come from warm-water ponds in southeast Asia and Latin America. Farmed salmon come from big net pens in the coastal waters of Norway or Chile.

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Environment
5:40 am
Sat April 5, 2014

Feds Hope $5 Billion Settlement A Lesson For Polluters

A sign at the old Kerr-McGee uranium mill site in Grants, N.M., warns of radioactive material. This week, the Justice Department announced a $5 billion settlement against the mining company to pay for the cleanup of toxic sites the company left across the U.S. over a period of more than eight decades.
Susan Montoya Bryan AP

Originally published on Sat April 5, 2014 11:26 am

This week, the federal government announced a record-breaking $5 billion settlement in a remarkable environmental case. The toxic legacy of the company involved, Kerr-McGee, stretches back 85 years and includes scores of sites across the country.

Kerr-McGee ran uranium mines in the Navajo Nation, wood-treating businesses across the Midwest and East Coast, and a perchlorate plant on a tributary of Lake Mead, the nation's largest reservoir β€” and it was messy.

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Krulwich Wonders...
5:39 am
Sat April 5, 2014

The Power Of Poop: A Whale Story

Robert Krulwich NPR

Originally published on Mon April 7, 2014 1:46 pm

This, I would think, should be self-evident: Generally speaking, big creatures eat smaller creatures that, in turn, eat even smaller creatures, like this ...

And just as obviously, one would expect the food chain to be pyramid-shaped: a few big creatures at the top eating more middle-sized creatures in the middle, that eat many, many, many little creatures at the bottom, like so:

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Environment
4:45 pm
Fri April 4, 2014

Waters Will Flood Part Of Colorado River, For Just A Few Weeks

Thanks to an agreement between the U.S. and Mexico, water is flowing to 35 million people in both countries along the Colorado River Delta. At least for now.
Ted Robbins/NPR

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 8:03 pm

Millions of gallons of water used to flow every day from the Rocky Mountains to the Gulf of California. Now, the Colorado River ends at Morelos Dam on the U.S.-Mexico border. Below it, one of North America's largest wetlands is dry.

Karl Flessa, a geoscientist at the University of Arizona, began researching the damage two decades ago. Then he started asking how much water it would take to bring back some of the habitats.

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The Salt
2:14 pm
Thu April 3, 2014

Farmers Need To Get 'Climate Smart' To Prep For What's Ahead

Farmers participate in a CGIAR climate training workshop on how to interpret seasonal rainfall forecasts in Kaffrine, Senegal.
Courtesy of J. Hansen/CGIAR Climate

Originally published on Thu April 3, 2014 7:39 pm

The planet's top experts on global warming released their latest predictions this week for how rising temperatures will change our lives, and in particular, what they mean for the production of food.

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The Salt
3:28 pm
Wed April 2, 2014

Should We Close Part Of The Ocean To Keep Fish On The Plate?

A tuna fishing boat drags a cage of nets on the Mediterranean sea in 2010. (The Mediterranean is not considered to be part of the "high seas.")
Andreas Solaro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 5:55 pm

For lovers of fatty tuna belly, canned albacore and swordfish kebabs, here's a question: Would you be willing to give them up for several years so that you could eat them perhaps for the rest of your life?

If a new proposal to ban fishing on the open ocean were to fly, that's essentially what we might be faced with. It's an idea that might help restore the populations of several rapidly disappearing fish – like tuna, swordfish and marlin β€” that we, and future generations, might like to continue to have as a food source.

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NPR Story
5:07 am
Wed April 2, 2014

Concerns Linger For N.C. Residents After Coal Ash Spill

Originally published on Wed April 2, 2014 1:04 pm

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A federal criminal investigation is focusing on Duke Energy and a North Carolina state environmental agency. A couple of months ago, as you may recall, a storm water pipe ruptured and poured as much as 39,000 tons of potentially toxic carbon byproduct into the Dan River in North Carolina.

North Carolina Public Radio's Jeff Tiberii reports.

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News
4:37 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

Is The Latest Climate Report Too Much Of A Downer?

According to a new report, unless more is done to combat climate change, extreme weather like the drought now gripping California will only grow more common.
Marcio Jose Sanchez AP

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:08 pm

Reading through the latest report from the U.N.-sponsored Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), it's hard not to feel despondent about the state of the world.

The report's colorful charts and tables tell of droughts and fires; depleted fisheries and strained cropland; a world in which heat-related disease is on the rise and freshwater is growing scarce.

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News
4:37 pm
Mon March 31, 2014

International Ruling Puts Stop To Japan's 'Scientific' Whaling

Originally published on Tue April 1, 2014 12:08 pm

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Whale lovers scored a major victory today. For almost two decades, Japanese whalers have been killing whales in the Antarctic Ocean. The Japanese government claimed it was all for scientific, not commercial, purposes. NPR's Elizabeth Shogren reports that today, an international court rejected that claim and said the whaling must stop.

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The Two-Way
7:15 am
Mon March 31, 2014

U.N. Report Raises Climate Change Warning, Points To Opportunities

The U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's report.
ipcc.ch

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 10:07 am

  • From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Geoff Brumfiel on the U.N. panel's report

"The effects of climate change are already occurring on all continents and across the oceans," and the world is mostly "ill-prepared" for the risks that the sweeping changes present, a new report from the U.N.'s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change concludes.

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NPR Story
5:05 am
Mon March 31, 2014

Researchers Detail How Climate Change Will Alter Our Lives

Originally published on Mon March 31, 2014 7:55 am

A United Nations panel has released a report from scientists who are getting a much better understanding of the effects of climate change.

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