Environment

Living on Earth: March 11, 2016

Mar 12, 2016

Honduran Environmental Activist Murdered / Shell Sued In UK Over Nigerian Pollution / Sanders and Clinton on Flint Crisis and Fracking / Rising Seas and Real Estate Prices in Fort Lauderdale / Beyond the Headlines / Emerging Science Note/Carbon-Cleaning Icebergs / Penguin Colony Uprooted by Ice in a Warming World / Stealing Dirt: A Thieving Penguin

Researchers who study Adelie penguins in Antarctica returned to their study site to find most of the birds gone. This follows a massive iceberg blocking the colony from their feeding grounds. Penguin researcher Kerry-Jayne Wilson tells host Steve Curwood what she believes happened to the missing penguins and how climate change could be spawning more icebergs in the southern ocean. (published March 11, 2016)

The south Florida community of Fort Lauderdale lies mostly just two above sea level, and already floods multiple times a year. Yet it’s currently undergoing a home construction boom, and real estate prices are rising. Host Steve Curwood and reporter Katherine Bagley discuss the social consequences of this paradox. (published March 11, 2016)

Living On Earth’s Jaime Kaiser reports on a new study about Antarctic Icebergs, which suggests that as they melt they release nutrients that cause algal blooms that then sequester carbon from the atmosphere in the deep ocean when they die. (published March 11, 2016)

Honduran Environmental Activist Murdered

Mar 11, 2016

Berta Cáceres, an indigenous activist who opposed huge dam projects in her native Honduras, was recently murdered in her home. This draws attention to dangers that environmental activists in her country face. Billy Kyte of the British NGO global witness tells host Steve Curwood that she was one of the bravest people he’d ever met and that Honduras is among the most dangerous countries in the world for environmental campaigners. (published March 11, 2016)

Researchers who study Adelie penguins in Antarctica returned to their study site to find most of the birds gone. This follows a massive iceberg blocking the colony from their feeding grounds. Penguin researcher Kerry-Jayne Wilson tells host Steve Curwood what she believes happened to the missing penguins and how climate change could be spawning more icebergs in the southern ocean. (published March 11, 2016)

The seventh Democratic debate of the election year refocused the spotlight on Flint’s lead crisis, with both candidates calling for Michigan Governor Rick Snyder’s resignation. Secretary Clinton expressed opposition to fracking, with some reservations, while Senator Sanders flatly rejected it and reiterated the urgency of acting on climate change. (published March 11, 2016)

Shell Sued In UK Over Nigerian Pollution

Mar 11, 2016

Countless oil spills over decades have destroyed fishing and farmland and turned the once beautiful Niger Delta into a toxic wasteland. Lawyer Daniel Leader is suing Shell Oil in UK courts on behalf of local Nigerian communities, in an effort to clean up the ecosystems where they live. Daniel Leader discusses the lawsuit with host Steve Curwood. (published March 11, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Mar 11, 2016

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra tells host Steve Curwood about Gov. Chris Christie’s opposition to funding lead poisoning prevention, and a battle against development and support for uranium mining near the Grand Canyon. They also look back at a flap over cyanide-laced Chilean grapes and note the loss of a master of environmental photography, Gary Braasch. (published March 11, 2016)

Living on Earth: March 11, 2016

Mar 11, 2016

Honduran Environmental Activist Murdered / Shell Sued In UK Over Nigerian Pollution / Sanders and Clinton on Flint Crisis and Fracking / Rising Seas and Real Estate Prices in Fort Lauderdale / Beyond the Headlines / Emerging Science Note/Carbon-Cleaning Icebergs / Penguin Colony Uprooted by Ice in a Warming World / Stealing Dirt: A Thieving Penguin

Nevada's home solar business is in turmoil as the state's Public Utilities Commission starts to phase out incentives for homeowners who install rooftop solar panels. Some of the largest solar companies have stopped seeking new business in the state and laid off hundreds of workers.

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

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Here is President Obama yesterday.

(SOUNDBITE OF ARCHIVED RECORDING)

BARACK OBAMA: Canada's joining us in our aggressive goal to bring down methane emissions in the oil and gas sectors in both of our countries.

Plastic makes great food packaging. It's waterproof and flexible. And best of all, it's impervious to all known bacteria — until now. Researchers have found a bacterium in the debris fields around a recycling plant in Japan that can feed off a common type of plastic used in clothing, plastic bottles and food packaging.

Five years after an earthquake and tsunami caused a series of meltdowns at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear plant in Japan, there are signs of progress. Many workers cleaning up the ruined plant no longer need to suit up in full respirators. Some nearby villages that were evacuated are open to residents.

But there are still plenty of problems.

Canada and the U.S. have announced a cooperative plan to tackle climate change by cutting methane emissions from the oil and gas industry, investing in clean energy research and reducing future hydrofluorocarbon use.

At a joint press conference in the White House Rose Garden, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and President Obama praised the strong ties between Canada and the U.S. They also announced plans to further facilitate trade between the two countries and expressed a shared commitment to protect the environment.

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

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Bluefin tuna have been severely depleted by fishermen, and the fish have become a globally recognized poster child for the impacts of overfishing. Many chefs refuse to serve its rich, buttery flesh; many retailers no longer carry it; and consumers have become increasingly aware of the environmental costs associated with the bluefin fishery.

The once routine practice of getting a glass of water before a restaurant meal in Flint, Mich., is now fraught with apprehension, since lead pipes started leaching into the drinking water after officials switched to the highly corrosive Flint River as the city's water supply.

Pittsburgh was named as one of the most livable cities in the United States by the Intelligence Unit of The Economist magazine. That title makes many residents proud, but who exactly is the city "livable" for?

A team of Cambridge University researchers has shown that various wolf species and subspecies howl using clearly identifiable “dialects." 

People can easily detect differences in wolf howls by ear, but these researchers wanted to measure more precisely how and why the howls of some members of the canid species differ from others, says the study’s lead author, Arik Kershenbaum.

The annual letter from the Gates Foundation calls for an "energy miracle" — the creation of a cheap and clean source of energy to get power to the 1.2 billion people on the planet without electricity.

The Great California Almond Pollination

Mar 5, 2016

Eighty percent of the world’s almond supply is grown in California’s Central Valley. Those nut trees need a lot of water and also honeybees to pollinate the blossoms. Living on Earth’s Emmett Fitzgerald visits the orchards with an almond farmer and a migratory beekeeper who have been working together for over 30 years. (published March 4, 2016)

Monarch Butterflies on the Rebound

Mar 5, 2016

As recently as the mid 1990s, a billion or more Monarch butterflies fluttered through US and Canadian meadows in the summer and headed to forests in central Mexico in the winter, but habitat loss, pesticides and climate change have endangered their population. Host Steve Curwood discusses a recent survey indicating a rebound in Monarchs with Tierra Curry, Senior Scientist with the Center for Biological Diversity, and learns what the US and Mexico are doing to ensure that the species continues to recover. (published March 4, 2016)

India’s Solar Power Plans Hobbled by US

Mar 5, 2016

In response to a US complaint the World Trade Organization has found that some provisions in India’s National Solar Mission violate international trade rules. Friends of the Earth’s Sam Cossar-Gilbert tells host Steve Curwood how the ruling could undermine India’s pledges to cut global warming emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement and calls into question the extent of the US commitment to help developing nations fight climate change. (published March 4, 2016)

Living on Earth: March 4, 2016

Mar 5, 2016

India’s Solar Power Plans Hobbled by US / Beyond the Headlines / Monarch Butterflies on the Rebound / Pollinators In Trouble Worldwide / The Great California Almond Pollination / Good Bacteria Could Save Amphibians / Sustainable Coffee Keeps the Planet in the Black

Pollinators In Trouble Worldwide

Mar 5, 2016

One out of every three bites of our food comes to us thanks to pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds. But a new UN-sponsored report details the threats that pollinators are facing around the world, from pesticides to habitat destruction. One of the authors David Inouye, a biology professor from the University of Maryland, discusses the findings with host Steve Curwood. (published March 4, 2016)

Monarch Butterflies Are On The Rebound

Mar 5, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

India’s Solar Power Plans Hobbled by US

Mar 4, 2016

In response to a US complaint the World Trade Organization has found that some provisions in India’s National Solar Mission violate international trade rules. Friends of the Earth’s Sam Cossar-Gilbert tells host Steve Curwood how the ruling could undermine India’s pledges to cut global warming emissions under the Paris Climate Agreement and calls into question the extent of the US commitment to help developing nations fight climate change. (published March 4, 2016)

Pollinators In Trouble Worldwide

Mar 4, 2016

One out of every three bites of our food comes to us thanks to pollinators like bees, butterflies, and birds. But a new UN-sponsored report details the threats that pollinators are facing around the world, from pesticides to habitat destruction. One of the authors David Inouye, a biology professor from the University of Maryland, discusses the findings with host Steve Curwood. (published March 4, 2016)

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