Dear EarthTalk: I couldn’t believe my ears: “genetically engineered mosquitoes?” Why on Earth would they be created? And I understand there are plans to release them into the wild?-- Marissa Abingdon, Sumter, SC
A Something Wild listener recently asked for a recommendation for binoculars—preferably in the low- to medium-price range. It's a great subject. My favorite word heard on field trips is "Ohmygod," an exclamation involuntarily emitted when someone sees a bird or butterfly—or just about anything—up close through good binoculars.
Often called New Hampshire’s “hidden coast, the Great Bay is considered an estuary of national significance. Yet, its future seems in question both because pollution has taken a toll on its ecosystem and because nearby communities, activists, and officials can’t agree on how best to eradicate it, even as all realize something must be done. We'll look at the Great Bay debate and see if some sort of compromise can be made?
Dear EarthTalk: Has an alternative to air conditioning to keep rooms cool been invented that is significantly cheaper and/or that uses significantly less energy than traditional air conditioning?--Ashutosh Saxena, Allahabad, India
Dear EarthTalk: I was appalled by the pollution haze I saw on a recent visit to Acadia National Park in Maine, and was told by a ranger that it was from smokestacks and tailpipes hundreds of miles away. Is anything being done to clear the air in Acadia and other natural areas where people go to breathe fresh air and enjoy distant unobstructed views?-- Betty Estason, via e-mail
We continue to evolve and learn from Nature itself. The Missoula Montana-based "Biomimicry Institute" promotes the study and integration of natural design principles and serves as a resource for students and researchers through workshops and curricula.
Bio-mimicry adapts natural systems which have evolved over 3.8 billion years of evolution to create more sustainable human technologies. Elegant and functional designs found in Nature have been used to create structures, complex machines, electronics and even transportation and communication networks.
Dear EarthTalk:We’ve been hearing for years how producing red meat is bad for the environment while consuming it is bad for our health. How do other types of meat, fish, dairy and vegetable proteins stack up in terms of environmental and health impacts? -- Julia Saperstein, via e-mail
"Socially Responsible", its a catchword used by many businesses these days whether they want to promote their environmental friendliness, political awareness or by the way they treat their employees. "We talk to the author of a new book who says there are many issues to consider when deeming a business socially responsible, both for the consumer and for the companies themselves. In some cases, there are uncomfortable tradeoffs, it’s nearly impossible to fulfill every ideal. And then there’s making a profit still a necessity, even if you’re eco-friendly.
How energy efficient is the Granite State? A new reports says not very, at least in terms of our buildings. Three years after Governor Lynch issued a Climate Action Plan, which included a call for more efficient homes and offices, UNH researchers find the state is way behind where it had hoped to be. We're examining what the problems are, as well as the prospects for future improvement.
Dear EarthTalk: I recently saw an article extolling the virtues of natural gas as an abundant, inexpensive and domestically produced automotive fuel. Is this going to be the automotive fuel of the future and how green is it? -- Jason Kincaide, New Bedford, MA