Environment

Beyond the Headlines

Apr 16, 2016

This week, Peter Dykstra and host Steve Curwood discuss the fact that the numbers of wild tigers are growing, that responses to replacing lead water pipes differ from city to city and look back on Aaron Burr, who proposed a municipal water system for New York City in the 18th century, but later as vice-president shot Alexander Hamilton. (published April 15, 2016)

I Feel the Earth Move

Apr 16, 2016

Climate change is doing more than melting ice sheets. It’s actually changing the Earth’s rotation. NASA’s Erik Ivins tells host Steve Curwood that the planet resembles a large top wobbling on its axis as the weight of ice lifts, but the wobble has no major effects for humans. (published April 15, 2016)

Living on Earth: April 15, 2016

Apr 16, 2016

Youth Win Right to Sue Feds Over Climate Change / Beyond the Headlines / I Feel the Earth Move / Controversial Arctic Cruise / BirdNote: Spider Silk and Birds’ Nests / Revisiting Africa’s Great Green Wall / Great Green Wonder of the World / Elephant Matriarch Puts Her Foot Down

Revisiting Africa’s Great Green Wall

Apr 16, 2016

As human activity puts pressure on land in Africa and the planet warms, the Sahara desert threatens to overtake the arid Sahel region. But a bold initiative to plant a wall of trees 4,300 miles long across the continent could keep back the sands of the Sahara, improve degraded lands, and help alleviate poverty. We return to a 2012 Living on Earth story on the Great Green Wall, reported by Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb in Senegal. (published April 15, 2016)

A federal judge in Oregon has found that 21 young people have the right to sue the federal government for failing to properly protect future generations from the dangers of climate change. Vermont Law Professor Pat Parenteau tells host Steve Curwood it’s a surprising and perhaps landmark decision that shows climate change is a unique challenge for the legal system. (published April 15, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

BirdNote: Spider Silk and Birds’ Nests

Apr 16, 2016

In nesting season, ingenious birds make use of many objects they find to construct a snug home for their eggs. But as Michael Stein reveals, some small birds like kinglets and hummingbirds have found that spider silk collected from webs is just the thing to hold nests together, the bird equivalent of duct tape. (published April 15, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Great Green Wonder of the World

Apr 16, 2016

Africa’s Great Green Wall is making slow progress, and helping provide employment to keep young people on the land. Living on Earth’s Helen Palmer reports on the hopes for the project to help local economies and the environment. (published April 15, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Living on Earth: April 15, 2016

Apr 16, 2016

Youth Win Right to Sue Feds Over Climate Change / Beyond the Headlines / I Feel the Earth Move / Controversial Arctic Cruise / BirdNote: Spider Silk and Birds’ Nests / Revisiting Africa’s Great Green Wall / Great Green Wonder of the World / Elephant Matriarch Puts Her Foot Down


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Elephant Matriarch Puts Her Foot Down

Apr 16, 2016

On a blistering day at an African watering hole, Living on Earth’s Resident Explorer Mark Seth Lender witnesses a confrontation between basking crocodiles and a small herd of elephants seeking to quench their thirst. (published April 15, 2016)


From Living on Earth ©2016 World Media Foundation

Twenty-four states are suing to block the Obama administration from implementing its new clean power regulations — the cornerstone of a promise that the United States will reduce greenhouse gas emissions to limit global warming. Those rules come out of the Paris Climate Accord, which Secretary of State John Kerry plans to sign on Friday.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Millions of years of Florida's history are lying on a table in Paulette McFadden's office at the University of Florida in Gainesville. It's in long metal tubes containing several feet of sediment from Horseshoe Beach, a community on Florida's Gulf coast.

"This core," McFadden says, "actually spans about 30 million years."

Two major financiers of the Agua Zarca dam project in Honduras have suspended their financial support in the wake of the high-profile murders of Berta Cáceres and Nelson Garcia, activists who opposed the dam.

A solar-powered plane called the Solar Impulse 2 is preparing to resume its flight around the world after nine months on the ground for repairs.

The team's goal: to be the first plane to circumnavigate the globe using only solar power.

NPR's Geoff Brumfiel tells our Newscast unit that the plane is getting ready for liftoff in Hawaii. Here's more from Geoff:

Copyright 2016 KWMU-FM. To see more, visit KWMU-FM.

How Do We Get Our Drinking Water In The U.S.?

Apr 14, 2016

Before you take a gulp of water, try to mentally trace where that water that just gushed out of your taps has been: How did it go from that weird-tasting raindrop to the clear, odorless water that is sitting in your glass now?

Safe drinking water is a privilege Americans often take for granted — until a health crisis like the one in Flint, Mich., happens that makes us think about where it comes from and how we get it.

Chicago's North Broadway Street is always bustling, but in the past few weeks, it has been noisier than ever. There is water flowing from an open fire hydrant, and as traffic inches by, a cement truck backs up and pours concrete down into a big hole in the street.

"Well, we always say there's two seasons: either winter and construction," says Maureen Martino, the executive director of the Lakeview East Chamber of Commerce. This water main upgrade is only the beginning; Martino says the city has plenty more scheduled for the area this year.

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

Springtime is usually beautiful in Mexico City. As the weather warms, the purple jacaranda trees that line boulevards and dot neighborhoods are in full bloom. Everything is prettier, says Fernando Padilla, a driver taking a break in a park.

"It's my favorite time of the year," he says.

But this spring, his eyes are watering, his throat hurts and one day a week he's not allowed to use his car on the road, which means he's poorer too.

Coastal cities across the globe are looking for ways to protect themselves from sea level rise and extreme weather. In the U.S., there is no set funding stream to help — leaving each city to figure out solutions for itself.

New Orleans and Philadelphia are two cities that face very similar challenges of flooding from rising tides. But they've chosen to pay for the solutions in very different ways.

New Orleans: Post-Disaster Payments And Grants Pave Future

On a cold windy morning, Kelly Nissen feeds the cows at the Iowa State University Beef Nutrition Farm. He weighs out specific rations and carefully delivers them to numbered feed bunks.

"When you're feeding, you're always double-checking yourself to make sure it's going in the right lot," Nissen says. It's important — because these cows munch on more than just the common mix of hay, corn and distiller's grain. They're also charged with testing out different formulas developed by the researchers in the animal science department at Iowa State.

A coal-mining giant has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection amid an industrywide slump.

Peabody Energy — which is the biggest coal miner in the U.S. and says it is the largest private-sector coal company in the world — is looking to restructure its heavy debt load and gain relief from its creditors. It hopes to continue operations unimpeded.

Although Flint, Mich., switched water sources six months ago, lead contamination of city tap water persists, researchers say, largely because residents are not using the poisonous water enough.

A leading brand of home and garden pest-control products says it will stop using a class of pesticides linked to the decline of bees.

Ortho, part of the Miracle-Gro family, says the decision to drop the use of the chemicals — called neonicotinoids, or neonics for short — comes after considering the range of possible threats to bees and other pollinators.

"While agencies in the U.S. are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it's time for Ortho to move on," says Tim Martin, the general manager of the Ortho Brand.

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

When it comes to clothes these days, maybe you should ask: What's your waste size?

The federal government is cleaning up a long legacy of uranium mining within the Navajo Nation — some 27,000 square miles spread across Utah, New Mexico and Arizona that is home to more than 250,000 people.

Many Navajo people have died of kidney failure and cancer, conditions linked to uranium contamination. And new research from the CDC shows uranium in babies born now.

Marsh Restoration Revisited

Apr 9, 2016

We revisit a story from a decade ago, a year after the disaster of Hurricane Katrina. Living on Earth’s Jeff Young chronicles miscalculations in the planning of the protections for New Orleans, and experiments to rebuild the marshes that had once absorbed storm surges. (published April 8, 2016)

The Terrifying Math of Melting Ice Sheets

Apr 9, 2016

Recent studies of the physics of ice sheets suggests that we may be vastly underestimating how fast the West Antarctic ice sheet is melting because of global warming. Penn State Climate Scientist Michael Mann tells host Steve Curwood that combined with the melting from other glaciers around the world, seas could rise over six feet by 2100, putting many coastal cities underwater. (published April 8, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Apr 9, 2016

In this week’s edition, Peter Dykstra shares encouraging news about India’s ambitious electric vehicles goal with host Steve Curwood, before complaining about the decline of the DC Metro system and BP’s tax breaks. (published April 8, 2016)

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