Environment

Reducing the Costs of Air Pollution

Mar 26, 2016

Particulates and other emissions from burning fossil fuels are costly for human health; the WHO argues 3.3 million people die prematurely due to this pollution. But in the US utilities are shifting from coal power, and the costs of illnesses triggered by pollution is falling. Reid Frazier of the Allegheny Front reports. (published March 25, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Polar Bear Cubs in Danger

Mar 26, 2016

In Akpatok Island in the Canadian arctic, writer Mark Seth Lender watches an enormous male polar bear comes frighteningly close to a mother bear and her two young cubs. Will she flee and surely save herself, or heed her instinct to protect her cubs? (published March 25, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Scientists can spot global climatic changes by tracing slight variations in the isotopes in water molecules. Researcher Myron Mitchell tells host Steve Curwood how his team analyzed the water from the Hubbard Brook research station to show that the Arctic is now sending the Northeast more water than in recent history, especially snow when it comes to snow. This reinforces a theory of Rutgers climate scientist Jennifer Francis that links loss of arctic sea-ice with colder winters in the Northeast.  (published March 25, 2016)


A recent investigation into water-lead levels across the country by USA Today found that 2,000 water systems beyond the troubled one in Flint Michigan pose a risk. USA Today journalist Alison Young sat down with host Steve Curwood to discuss the dangerous legacy of America’s lead pipelines and the health risks involved in ingesting even small amounts of the neuro-toxin. (published March 25, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

People in Flint are still lining up for bottled water. Two years ago, the city switched its drinking water source to the Flint River. But the water wasn't properly treated, damaging city pipes, which have been leaching lead into the drinking water ever since.

Now Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says he has a plan.

On Monday, he released a 75 point-plan to target short-term, intermediate-term and long-term needs in Flint.

Japanese Fleet Kills 333 Whales In The Antarctic

Mar 25, 2016

Japan's whaling fleet has returned to base with the carcasses of 333 minke whales, in apparent violation of a ruling by the International Court of Justice.

Reuters quoted a statement by Japan's Fisheries Agency that said 103 male and 230 female whales were caught during the fleet's summer expedition to Antarctic waters. Ninety percent of the mature females were pregnant.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

The Department of Labor is issuing a long-awaited and controversial rule Thursday aimed at better protecting workers from inhaling silica dust.

The new rule dramatically reduces the allowed exposure limits for workers in a slew of industries, from construction to manufacturing to fracking.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Beekeepers flock from all over the country to California every February and March to watch billions of honeybees buzz around the state's almond trees. Eighty percent of the country's commercial bees visit the Golden State each spring.

So I went to check out the scene at an almond orchard at the California State University, Fresno, in Central California.

"Really, the key is to stay calm around bees, because if you're afraid, then your body physiologically changes and they can sense that," beekeeper Brian Hiatt tells me. "They literally can smell fear."

In India, spring officially begins with the festival of Holi. The date is not fixed, but follows the lunar calendar. It's celebrated on the full moon day, the poornima, closest to the spring equinox – March 24 this year. The spring festival, also called the festival of color, is marked by celebrations that involve bonfires, colored powder and supersoakers.

What is safe drinking water? Is it water that's clear? Smells clean? Tastes good? Comes from a trusted source, like a well or a pipe?

Those factors don't matter if the water is contaminated by tiny microbes or parasites invisible to the human eye.

When a doctor found that Kenicer Carty's 1-year-old daughter had a dangerously high level of lead last year, it triggered an alarm of sorts. Officials sent an inspector to Carty's 1930 row house in northeast Baltimore. It turned out that every single window had hazardous chipping lead paint.

On March 10, Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee held a news conference at the Good Neighbor Healthcare Center in the part of Houston she represents. The mayor and a bevy of other state and local officials stood behind her.

Shackleton, Endeavour, Falcon and ... Boaty McBoatface?

These are some of the names that have been suggested for the United Kingdom's new state-of-the-art polar research vessel that's slated to take to the seas in 2019.

Can you guess which one is leading the vote?

Britain's Natural Environment Research Council asked the public to help think of possible monikers for the new world-class ship, urging them to look for "an inspirational name" that exemplifies the vessel's mission, a historical figure, movement, landmark or a famous polar explorer or scientist.

An Upside To Climate Change? Better French Wine

Mar 21, 2016

While climate change threatens coastal cities and generates extreme weather, the effects of global warming could bring good news to some of France's most esteemed vineyards.

Here, the conditions needed to produce early-ripening fruit, which is historically associated with highly rated wines, have become more frequent, according to research published online Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change.

Living on Earth: March 18, 2016

Mar 21, 2016

Where Kasich Stands on Climate Change / Network TV Cuts Climate Change Coverage / Does Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather? / Late Night Workers Stuck On the Platform / Beyond the Headlines / Big World, Small Planet / BirdNote: The Florida Scrub-Jay

Where Kasich Stands on Climate Change

Mar 21, 2016

After winning his home state of Ohio, Governor John Kasich remains far behind in the delegate count, but is still in the running, and now holds bargaining chips for the Republican convention in July. At a recent CNN Republican debate Governor John Kasich declared humans contribute to climate change and that reducing emissions can create jobs, and help the economy. (published March 18, 2016)

Late Night Workers Stuck On the Platform

Mar 21, 2016

Boston's late night weekend transit service is about to come to a grinding halt, leaving some service workers and other residents wondering how they'll get home after midnight. Living on Earth's Jaime Kaiser spoke with riders and transportation officials about the cutback and has the story. (published March 18, 2016)

Big World, Small Planet

Mar 21, 2016

From global warming to water shortages, humans are beginning to push up against a few fundamental planetary boundaries. Johan Rockström is a professor of environmental sciences at Stockholm University in Sweden and author of the book Big World Small Planet. He tells host Steve Curwood that humans can continue to grow and develop, as long as we respect key planetary limits. (published March 18, 2016)

BirdNote: The Florida Scrub-Jay

Mar 21, 2016

Thousands of years ago, higher sea levels isolated much of Florida from the mainland, and the Florida Scrub-Jay evolved into a unique species found nowhere else. BirdNote’s Michael Stein reports on the habits of this rare bird and the threat of habitat destruction that it faces. (published March 18, 2016)

In a surprising ruling that runs counter to the agreements made at the Paris Climate Summit, the World Trade Organization has said that India may not protect local production of solar energy cells.

The ruling came in response to a complaint from the United States, which claimed that India’s requirement that 10 percent of its solar panels be produced domestically amounts to restraint of trade.

Donna Davis thought she had hit the jackpot with the two bags of mushrooms she collected in the woods of Northern California's Salt Point State Park. Instead, she ended up in the hospital, facing the possibility of a liver transplant, after mistakenly eating a poisonous mushroom known as the death cap.

Network TV Cuts Climate Change Coverage

Mar 19, 2016

From the Paris Climate Agreement to the Pope’s environmental encyclical, 2015 should have been a banner year for climate change in the media. But a recent report from Media Matters for America documents a recent decline in commercial network TV global warming coverage. Andrew Seifter from Media Matters discusses the trend with host Steve Curwood. (published March 18, 2016)

Does Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather?

Mar 19, 2016

Scientists have long avoided attributing specific extreme weather events to climate change, but a recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine suggests that some extreme weather events can be attributed to climate change with a high degree of confidence. Host Steve Curwood talks with Penn State professor and former Navy Admiral David Titley, chair of the report’s committee. (published March 18, 2016)

BirdNote: The Florida Scrub-Jay

Mar 19, 2016

Thousands of years ago, higher sea levels isolated much of Florida from the mainland, and the Florida Scrub-Jay evolved into a unique species found nowhere else. BirdNote’s Michael Stein reports on the habits of this rare bird and the threat of habitat destruction that it faces. (published March 18, 2016)

Living on Earth: March 18, 2016

Mar 19, 2016

Where Kasich Stands on Climate Change / Network TV Cuts Climate Change Coverage / Does Climate Change Cause Extreme Weather? / Late Night Workers Stuck On the Platform / Beyond the Headlines / Big World, Small Planet / BirdNote: The Florida Scrub-Jay

Where Kasich Stands on Climate Change

Mar 19, 2016

After winning his home state of Ohio, Governor John Kasich remains far behind in the delegate count, but is still in the running, and now holds bargaining chips for the Republican convention in July. At a recent CNN Republican debate Governor John Kasich declared humans contribute to climate change and that reducing emissions can create jobs, and help the economy. (published March 18, 2016)

As Californians hope for rain and snow to end the state's extreme drought, a decades-old rule prohibits reservoirs from filling up in the winter, so some water ends up being released.

The rule may sound odd given how chronically dry California is, but it's actually to prevent a bigger disaster: flooding.

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