Environment

We sit down with New Hampshire Department of Environmental Services Commissioner Thomas Burack.  The state’s environment has seen some hopeful trends recently, particularly when it comes to air quality. The story changes, however, when it comes to our lakes and coastal waters. We’ll get an update on what’s been working in addressing these issues, and what still needs to be done.

Guest

  • Tom Burack - New Hampshire Commissioner for Environmental Services
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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I hear the term “greenwashing” a lot these days but am still not sure exactly what it means. Can you enlighten?-- Ruth Markell, Indianapolis, IN

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What’s the prognosis for Hawaii’s coral reefs in the face of global warming, invasive algae and other environmental threats?-- Bill Weston, San Francisco, CA

greyloch via flickr Creative Commons

Thirty years ago, a North American ship dumped ballast water containing comb jellyfish into the black sea and triggered a catastrophic decline in marine life. A decade later, discharged ballast containing a strain of cholera contaminated shellfish of the coast of Peru, killing more than 12,000 Latin Americans. These cases of biological stowaways are being targeted by the United Nations for regulation – but the treaty that would prevent future catastrophes has yet to be ratified. Fred Pearce is the environment consultant for New Scientist discusses the stowaway problem and potential solutions with us.

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: My kids just want to play videos games and watch TV all day. Do you have any tips for getting them outside to appreciate nature more?-- Sue Levinson, Bowie, MD

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: How are populations of African elephants faring these days? What conservation efforts are underway and are they working?-- Libby Broullette, Salem, MA

Cody York via cloudcult.com

You may know the band cloud cult from an animated commercial that aired during the Super Bowl a few years ago. In exchange for the work, e-Surance helped fund some of the band's costs for greening the recording of album. The fact that Cloud Cult chooses deals like that--writes heart-warming songs, and travels across the country to perform for good causes--may have you wondering if they are for real. But doing good and staying positive are deeply embedded in the DNA of Cloud Cult. This evening the band will perform a live acoustic set during a yoga class at the At Om Yoga studio in Concord. It’s a benefit for a local child with pediatric cancer. I talked with Craig Minowa, singer, guitarist, and leader of Cloud Cult before they headed to New Hampshire and can say that the whole kind-hearted thing is not just PR. In fact, I told him that they are just about the least cynical indie band I can think of.

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I know that some of us are genetically predisposed to get cancer, but what are some ways we can avoid known environmental triggers for it?-- B. Northrup, Westport, MA

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EarthTalk®
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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the theme of this year’s Earth Day festivities? -- J. Worden, Austin, TX

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: What is the "Production Tax Credit" and why is it so important to developing alternative renewable energy?-- Sean Gallagher, Boston, MA

Environmentalists and wind energy boosters breathed a sigh of relief this past January when Congress voted to reinstate the Production Tax Credit (PTC), a federal tax incentive for companies that generate renewable energy from wind, geothermal or “closed-loop” biomass (dedicated energy crops) sources.

Win Henderson, FEMA photo library

EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: What does the budget sequester that recently took hold mean for the environment?-- Jane Burgos, Los Angeles, CA

Tai Viinikka, courtesy Flickr

EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: I’m getting my roof redone and have heard about solar shingles. Are they available—and are they practical for the Northeast?-- John Denson, Glastonbury, CT

Getting Kids Excited About Science On The Seacoast

Mar 23, 2013
Cheryl Senter / NHPR

At the Seacoast Science Center at Odiorne Point in Rye, visitors learn about the science and beauty of marine life and the Gulf of Maine. Myra Sallet is a 13-year-old volunteer who particularly likes working with younger kids who come to explore.

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Mar is sea Y, courtesy Flickr

EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: I understand that the “environmental justice” movement seeks to protect the poor and non-white communities from being unfairly targeted to host activities like sewage treatment plants, landfills and polluting factories. Have there been notable victories? -- P. Silver, Peekskill, NY

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: There’s been a lot of coverage on the topic of organic foods and how they aren’t actually any healthier than conventional foods. Is this true? -- Gina Thompson, Salem, OR

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: I understand that many of the world’s fisheries are on the brink of collapse, “fished out,” to put it bluntly. How did this happen and what is being done about it? -- Mariel LaPlante, New Orleans, LA

harry_nl, courtesy Flickr

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Has the McDonald’s restaurant chain made significant improvements in recent years with regard to the environment?                           -- Max Andria, Laval University, Quebec

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EarthTalk®

E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How are droughts and wildfires caused by global warming? I thought warming mostly brought on wet and flooded conditions. -- David Mossman, Albuquerque, NM

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EarthTalk®
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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: What is “biomass” and why is it controversial as a potential source of energy?-- Edward White, New Bedford, MA

Biomass is plant matter that is burned as a source of energy. Fallen or cut wood that is burned for heat is one primary form of biomass, but another includes plant or animal matter that is converted into biofuels.

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the purpose of National Wildlife Week, which I understand will take place in March 2013? -- Melissa P., Burlington, NJ

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: My family has bad allergies and I’d like to improve our indoor air quality. What are some steps I should take?-- Marcia Lane, Scranton, PA
 

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EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: What are some tips for keeping my dogs and cats healthy?-- Kim Newfield, via e-mail

Believe it or not, our pets may be exposed to more harsh chemicals through the course of their day than we are. Researchers at the non-profit Environmental Working Group (EWG) found that pet dogs and cats were contaminated with 48 of 70 industrial chemicals tested, including 43 chemicals at levels higher than those typically found in people.

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EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Why is it that airplane exhaust is so much worse for the environment than engine emissions on the ground?-- Winona Sharpe, New York, NY

For nearly a decade, New Hampshire has been seeking hundreds of millions of dollars from oil companies over the chemical additive MTBE, which the state says caused contamination in the state’s groundwater. The legal proceedings originally involved 26 oil companies; as trial began this week, there were just two left, ExxonMobil and Citgo, and now there may be just one.

Joe Wolf via Flickr

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

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EarthTalk®
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Anjum Malkana, courtesy Flickr

EarthTalk®
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Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard of Eco-Tourism, but what on Earth is “Geo-Tourism? -- Sally Kardaman, Sumter, SC

“Geotourism” describes tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a given place, including its environment, culture, aesthetics, heritage and the well-being of local residents. The idea is that tourism can be a positive force that benefits both travelers and local environments and economies.

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