Environment

EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun May 20, 2012

The Gulf of Mexico Two Years After the BP Disaster

U.S. Coast Guard

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve seen a lot of warm and fuzzy TV ads, some sponsored by BP Oil, urging me to vacation in the Gulf of Mexico. But are things really “back to normal?”    --Paul Shea, Dublin, OH

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun May 20, 2012

Lead in Airline Fuel

iStock Photo

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Lead was long ago phased out of automobile gasoline, but it is still in aviation fuel and is now the largest source of lead emissions in the U.S. What’s being done?    -- L. Eber, Rye, NY

 

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun May 13, 2012

Motorized Vehicles in Wilderness Areas.

Comstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I understand there is an effort underway to allow all-terrain vehicles, snowmobiles, motorbikes, motorboats and other motorized vehicles into wilderness areas, which would overturn a long-standing ban. What’s behind this?              -- Harry Schilling, Tempe, AZ

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun May 13, 2012

The 2012 Farm Bill

Stockbyte

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How do green groups feel about the new 2012 Farm Bill draft recently released by the Senate? -- Roger Wheeler, Miami, FL

 

Like so much of the legislation coming out of Washington, D.C., green groups are mixed on the new Farm Bill now making its way toward a floor vote. No doubt there are some conservation bright spots in the bill, but the question is: Are there enough and do they go far enough?

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Word of Mouth
12:53 pm
Wed May 9, 2012

Sustainability on the Home Front

Photo by Keving Matteson, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

 A decade ago, few people were talking about sustainability, especially in the South Bronx. It was there that Majora Carter founded programs for green-collar jobs, spearheaded policy changes, and helped transform a toxic dump into a riverside park. From a local movement to “green the ghetto,” she has inspired people across the nation to secure the environmental, educational and economic futures of their own communities.

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The Exchange
9:00 am
Wed May 9, 2012

The Battle over Bottled Water

Recently, several communities have voted to ban bottled water in their towns,  citing concerns over plastic waste and environmental impact.  But a backlash is also emerging from those who say singling out water is silly,  given the many other sources of packaging that are just as harmful and that these efforts are “all wet”.

Guests:

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun May 6, 2012

The “Fair Trade Your Supermarket” Campaign

International Fairtrade Certification Mark

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is the “Fair Trade Your Supermarket” campaign? -- Brian Howley, Washington, DC

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun May 6, 2012

Coming Soon: Oil Drilling on the Arctic Ocean's Outer Continental Shelf

Tom MacKensie, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: The oil industry is planning what some call a dangerous strategy of drilling for oil on the Outer Continental Shelf in the Arctic Ocean. What’s going on?   -- Vera Bailey, New Hope, PA

 

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun April 29, 2012

The Upcoming "Rio+20" Earth Summit

Artyom Sharbatyan

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: I understand there is to be another Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in June 2012, 20 years since the last one was held in the same city. What’s on the agenda this time?

                                                                                                -- Janet Grayson, Albuquerque, NM

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun April 29, 2012

"Cloud" Computing's Substantial Footprint

Wichary, Flickr/CC

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Why is Greenpeace upset with some leading tech companies for so-called “dirty cloud computing?” Can you explain?                                                          -- Jeremy Wilkins, Waco, TX

 

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Word of Mouth
10:48 am
Mon April 23, 2012

Garbology

(Photo by Stinkenroboter via Flickr Creative Commons)

You may have heard that Americans throw away more than any other nation, but any idea of just how much? Each of us is on track to toss 102 tons of garbage in our lifetime. More than 7 pounds a day, and twice what we chucked out in 1960. Pulitzer Prize winner Edward Humes believes we are living in a state of garbage denial. His new book is called Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair with Trash. In it, he looks at the science, politics, and economics of waste.  

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun April 22, 2012

Non-Toxic Air Fresheners

iStock/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

 

Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard that many air fresheners contain toxic chemicals. Are there any green-friendly, non-toxic air fresheners out there, or how can I make my own?      -- Jenny Rae, Bolton, MA

 

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun April 22, 2012

"Catch Shares" for Saving Fish Populations

iStock/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What are “catch shares” as a strategy for rescuing fish populations that are on the brink?                                                                                              -- Peter Parmalee, New Orleans, LA

 

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The Disappearing Coast
6:17 pm
Fri April 20, 2012

Two Years Later, BP Spill Reminders Litter Gulf Coast

Pictured here on April 13, 2011, Barataria Bay — part of Louisiana's Barataria Basin — was one of the hardest hit areas in the aftermath of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion. Today, obvious signs of the spill have faded, but communities are still reeling from its effects.
Mario Tama Getty Images

It's been two years since the Deepwater Horizon exploded in the Gulf of Mexico, killing 11 rig workers and unleashing the worst oil spill in U.S. history. The oil has long stopped flowing and BP spent billions of dollars to clean up oiled beaches and waterways, but the disaster isn't necessarily over.

Oil fouled some 1,100 miles of Gulf Coast shoreline, but today, in most spots, you can't see obvious signs of the spill. In Orange Beach, Ala., the clear emerald waters of the Gulf roll onto sugar-white sand beaches.

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NPR News
9:45 am
Thu April 19, 2012

How A 'Western Problem' Led To New Drilling Rules

Oil field workers drill into the Gypsum Hills near Medicine Lodge, Kan., on Feb. 21. The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.
Orlin Wagner AP

The Environmental Protection Agency's new air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry may seem like odd timing, as President Obama has been trying to deflect Republican criticism that he overregulates energy industries. But the rules weren't the Obama administration's idea.

Several years ago, communities in Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming complained about air pollution from natural gas booms in their local areas.

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Energy
7:34 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

New Rules To Curb Pollution From Oil, Gas Drilling

Oil and natural gas drillers use equipment like this to separate the liquid, gas and sand that come out of wells at the beginning of hydraulic fracturing operations.
David Gilkey NPR

The Environmental Protection Agency announced new rules Wednesday to control the problem of air pollution coming from wells being drilled by the booming oil and natural gas drilling industry.

Currently, waste products from the drilling operations, which include a mix of chemicals, sand and water, can be pumped into open enclosures or pits, where toxic substances can make their way into the air. The new rules will require this fluid to be captured by 2015, and flared — or burned off — in the meantime.

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Word of Mouth
12:02 pm
Wed April 18, 2012

Gaming the Forest

(Photo by Kevin Poh via Flickr Creative Commons)

A new app transforms tree leaves into currency…kind of changes your mind about raking season, eh?

The game, called Forest, will be demonstrated at the Computer-Human Interaction (CHI) conference in Austin, Texas, in May. It was designed by Jason Linder and Wendy Ju of the California College of the Arts in San Francisco.  

 

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun April 15, 2012

LED Lightbulb Concerns

iStock/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: Are there health or environmental concerns with LED lightbulbs, which may soon replace compact fluorescents as the green-friendly light bulb of choice?     -- Mari-Louise, via e-mail

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EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun April 15, 2012

Pesticide Drift

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: What is “pesticide drift” and should I be worried about it?

                                                                                                 -- Nicole Kehoe, Burlington, VT

 

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All Things Considered
4:40 pm
Thu April 12, 2012

UNH Smartphone App Helps Ships Avoid Endangered Whales

A screenshot of the WhaleALERT app on an iPad.
Courtesy NOAA

It’s believed that the population of North Atlantic right whales off the New England coast is down to just 300-400.

The whales have been classified as endangered for decades, yet the remaining whales still face threats – including the often large threat of collisions with ships.

Researchers at the University of New Hampshire’s Center for Coastal and Ocean Mapping have developed an early warning system of sorts – through a smartphone app called WhaleAlert.

EarthTalk
12:00 am
Sun April 8, 2012

How Do Dams Hurt Rivers?

iStockPhoto/Thinkstock

EarthTalk®
E - The Environmental Magazine

Dear EarthTalk: How is it that dams actually hurt rivers?-- Missy Davenport, Boulder, CO

Dams are a symbol of human ingenuity and engineering prowess—controlling the flow of a wild rushing river is no small feat. But in this day and age of environmental awareness, more and more people are questioning whether generating a little hydroelectric power is worth destroying riparian ecosystems from their headwaters in the mountains to their mouths at the ocean and beyond.

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Environment
3:35 am
Thu April 5, 2012

Shake It Off: Earth's Wobble May Have Ended Ice Age

A wobbling of the Earth on its axis about 20,000 years ago may have kicked off a beginning to the end of the last ice age. Glaciers in the Arctic and Greenland began to melt, which resulted in a warming of the Earth, a new study says. Above, Greenland's Russell Glacier, seen in 1990.
Veronique Durruty Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 9:25 am

The last big ice age ended about 11,000 years ago, and not a moment too soon — it made a lot more of the world livable, at least for humans.

But exactly what caused the big thaw isn't clear, and new research suggests that a wobble in the Earth kicked off a complicated process that changed the whole planet.

Ice tells the history of the Earth's climate: Air bubbles in ice reveal what the atmosphere was like and what the temperature was. And scientists can read this ice, even if it's been buried for thousands of years.

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NPR News
5:25 pm
Wed April 4, 2012

Pollution Playing A Major Role In Sea Temperatures

This NASA map shows the size of aerosol particles in the atmosphere. Green areas indicate larger, more naturally occurring particles like dust. Red areas indicate smaller aerosol particles, which can come from fossil fuels and fires. Yellow areas indicate a mix of large and small particles.
NASA Earth Observations

Originally published on Wed April 4, 2012 6:20 pm

The Atlantic Ocean, especially the North Atlantic, is peculiar: Every few decades, the average temperature of surface water there changes dramatically.

Scientists want to know why that is, especially because these temperature shifts affect the weather. New research suggests that human activity is part of the cause.

Scientists originally thought that maybe some mysterious pattern in deep-ocean currents, such as an invisible hand stirring a giant bathtub, created this temperature see-saw.

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NPR News
4:15 pm
Mon April 2, 2012

Gold Miners Dig Deep — To The Ocean Floor

A robotic arm breaks off a chunk of mineral-rich rock deep underwater. Nautilus Minerals of Australia hopes to develop and expand undersea mining by extracting copper, gold, silver and zinc from the seafloor.
Nautilus Minerals

Filmmaker James Cameron recently reminded us of the wonders of the sea by diving solo in a submarine to the deepest spot in the ocean. Next year, if all goes as planned, a rather different expedition will take place 1,000 miles south of that dive: An Australian company will start mining for copper, gold, silver and zinc on the seafloor off the shore of Papua New Guinea.

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Around the Nation
2:02 pm
Wed March 28, 2012

In Colorado, Chaotic Evacuation After Initial Blaze

A home at left stands untouched while the one at right smolders after burning in the Lower North Fork Wildfire in the foothills southwest of Denver on Tuesday.
David Zalubowski AP

Originally published on Wed May 23, 2012 10:55 am

A wildfire in the foothills southwest of Denver continues to burn out of control. It's destroyed dozens of homes and buildings, and with two people confirmed dead and another missing, it looks to be Colorado's deadliest wildfire in decades.

A day and a half after the fire started, the weather at the command post is so beautiful it's hard to imagine the nearby blaze is raging almost out of control. Mark Techmeyer of the Jefferson County Sheriff's Department calls the Lower North Fork Wildfire a monster.

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Something Wild
9:42 am
Wed March 28, 2012

The Lorax

Reuters/San Diego Police Department/Handout

The box office success of the new Universal Pictures animated feature film “The Lorax” - based on a classic Dr. Seuss tale – creates a window of opportunity to consider environmental messaging to a new generation of future leaders. The original Seuss tale is beloved. I can still recite it from memory. “Tell us ‘The Lorax’ Dad!” my kids would beg. Like all Seuss books, The Lorax features rhymes, nuances and a moral.

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NPR News
12:01 am
Mon March 26, 2012

Pipe Down! That Noise Might Affect Your Plants

Pinon pine trees like this one dominate Rattlesnake Canyon.
Jeff Mitton

Researchers haven't given much thought to the effect of noise and noise pollution on plants. After all, plants don't have ears — at least, not the kind you hear with — so there doesn't seem to be much point. But thanks to ecologist Clinton Francis, that could be about to change.

Francis is a postdoctoral researcher at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in North Carolina. But he has spent the past few years in northwestern New Mexico, studying noise pollution in Rattlesnake Canyon.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
11:52 am
Tue March 20, 2012

Thrown to the Wolves...

Photo by Dovak, courtesy of Flickr Creative Commons

In Wisconsin, a bill that would authorize a hunting and trapping season for wolves sits on Governor Scott Walker’s desk.  The bill pits republican and democratic supporters against environmental and conservation groups who say the proposal has no basis is the science of wildlife management.

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Energy
3:57 am
Tue March 20, 2012

Native Alaskans Divided On State's Oil Drilling Debate

A drilling rig sits on Oooguruk Island off the coast of Alaska's North Slope. The 6-acre island was built by Pioneer Natural Resources so it could drill for oil on the Arctic Ocean.
Steve Quinn AP

Originally published on Tue March 20, 2012 9:06 am

Shell Oil plans to explore for petroleum off Alaska's north coast this summer. The native people of Alaska have a big stake in both oil revenue and environmental protection. That conflict has played out in recent trips by Inupiats to Washington, D.C., to argue their case.

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Word of Mouth - Segment
10:51 am
Mon March 19, 2012

What happens when all the fuel is gone?

Photo by Karen Johnson for Creative Commons via Wordpress

Rising gas prices have again shifted the political debate between those calling for more drilling to meet America's fossil fuel dependency and those advocating for investment in alternative energy sources. Many environmentalists are convinced that we are nearing the day when fossil fuels are tapped out, or too expensive or too harmful to extract.

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