Environment

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Word of Mouth
10:40 am
Mon December 9, 2013

The Not So Dirty Job Of Toilet Testing

Credit Sustainable Sanitation via Flickr Creative Commons

More than a third of the world’s population don’t have access to clean, safe toilets. It’s a humanitarian and global health hazard, that the world bank drains $260 billion off the global economy each year. The Gates Foundation challenged engineers to develop commodes that are clean, cheap, and don’t require electricity, a sewage system, or even water. But as with and new product, you have to test it. That’s where John Koeller comes in. He’s principal engineer at Maximum Performance, a company who tests toilet efficiency, using its own – ahem—patented material.

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Word of Mouth
10:21 am
Mon December 9, 2013

Invasion Of The Tumbleweeds

Skeletons of Russian thistle, better known as tumbleweed, pile up in a yard in Lancaster, California.
©Diane Cook and Len Jenshel/National Geographic

Tumbleweeds rolling? Must be a western. The cinematic signal of high plains desolation has an even more pernicious side: it’s an invasive species known as Russian Thistle, and it’s wreaking havoc across the United States. George Johnson is a writer based in Santa Fe, and a regular contributor to National Geographic, where he wrote about fighting the tumbleweed menace in his own backyard. To see more photos click here.

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All Things Considered
5:12 pm
Fri December 6, 2013

New Hampshire MTBE Testing, Cleanup Initiative Getting Underway

New Hampshire’s program to clean up MTBE contamination is getting underway.

The Executive Council has approved funding for an Remediation Bureau, which will begin testing wells and water sources for MTBE contamination. The gasoline additive was intended to help the state address air pollution, but it was banned in 2007, years after the state began seeking damages from companies that produced and marketed gasoline with MTBE because of its effects on groundwater.

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Environment
5:39 pm
Mon December 2, 2013

RGGI States To EPA: Let Us Regulate Power Plant Carbon

Credit Christian Patti / http://christianpatti.com/

The nine states that are members of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative have written the EPA to ask that RGGI be used as a model for forthcoming national regulations on emissions from existing power plants.

The EPA has already released rules on how much carbon dioxide new power plants are allowed to emit, But the rules that will crack down on existing plants are still in the works.

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Foodstuffs
1:46 pm
Thu November 14, 2013

Could Drones Help Protect Apple Orchards From Disease?

UNH doctoral student Matt Wallhead (left) and assistant professor of plant pathology Kirk Broders, with their unmanned aerial vehicle.
Credit Rachel Rohr / Courtesy UNH

One of the challenges apple growers face is a fungal disease known as apple scab. New research at the University of New Hampshire might yield a better approach to preventing its spread – an approach, by the way, that includes the use of special imaging cameras mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles, also known as UAV’s or drones.
 

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Word of Mouth
2:02 pm
Wed November 13, 2013

Is The Global Carbon Footprint Shrinking?

A view of Typhoon Haiyan from space.
Credit Fragile Oasis via Flickr Creative Commons

The opening of the U.N.'s climate change summit this past weekend in Poland was overshadowed by Typhoon Haiyan. A Filipino envoy broke down in tears when describing the devastation, and received a standing ovation when he announced that he would fast until a "meaningful outcome is in sight."

An increase in weather-related disasters, fluctuating temperatures and rising sea levels are among the discouraging issues being discussed at the 2-week summit in Warsaw. But, there is some encouraging news…a new report by a Dutch agency found that global greenhouse gas emissions showed signs of slowing in 2012. The slackened pace is not attributed to recession, and has, in fact, occurred as wealth continues to climb among the world’s top CO2 emitters. Fred Pearce is environmental consultant for New Scientist, and breaks down the optimistic report for us. 

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Giving Matters
3:39 pm
Tue November 5, 2013

Strafford Rivers Conservancy Protects Country's Oldest Farm

Tuttle Farm in Dover, NH
NHPR, Cheryl Senter

The Tuttle Farm in Dover is the oldest family farm in the United States. When Bill Tuttle and his family, the 11th generation to farm this land, decided to conserve it, they turned to the Strafford Rivers Conservancy.

 

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NH News
9:11 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Learning To Love The Spiny Dogfish

Fishermen process dogfish at sea for the CSF
Credit Josh Wiersma

 

The spiny dogfish is a conservation success story, going from worryingly low levels to incredible abundance. The new challenge is getting people to eat them.


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Word of Mouth
2:09 pm
Wed October 30, 2013

Decrease In Moose Population Has Scientists Puzzled

Credit Barbara via flickr Creative Commons

There are between 800,000 and 1.2 million moose in North America, but scientists are concerned that their numbers are shrinking – and fast. Moose populations from New Hampshire to Minnesota have been plummeting for years – as much as twenty-five percent each year in some cases – and while there are plenty of theories, nobody’s quite sure why.

Jim Robbins is a freelance writer and regular contributor to the New York Times. He wrote about the moose die-off for the Times’ environment section.

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Word of Mouth
12:48 pm
Wed October 23, 2013

Too Many Cars, Not Enough Drivers

Credit kardboard604 via flickr Creative Commons

The data on driving is that for nearly a decade, Americans are driving less – especially younger drivers. With an added drop in vehicle sales and issued driver licenses, some researchers and reporters suggest that the US may have passed “peak car” – and that America’s infatuation with driving may have hit its zenith in the 1990s.

Jordan Weissmann is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he wrote about the concept of “peak car”.

Emily Badger, is a staff writer for The Atlantic Cities, she’s also covered the “peak car” phenomenon.

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Word of Mouth
11:42 am
Wed October 2, 2013

Mapping The Arsenic Seeping Into Our Diet

A screenshot of the U.S.G.S. map of arsenic concentrations in the U.S.

While many Americans struggle to trim sugar and fat from their diets, a far more dangerous ingredient may be seeping in…from the ground. Arsenic is an odorless, tasteless poison that exists in the earth’s crust. Last winter, the U.S. Geological Survey found that low levels of arsenic were present in forty percent of New Hampshire’s groundwater, for example,  with one in five wells measuring above ten parts-per-billion.

Independent researchers have also identified excessive levels of arsenic in water-intensive crops, including rice grown in the U.S. and abroad. Deborah Blum is a Pulitzer Prize-winning science journalist, columnist and blogger for Wired and The New York Times. She was given access to a U.S.G.S. map showing arsenic concentration across the U.S. ahead of its release to the public, and is joining us to share some of the findings. 

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Environment
12:30 pm
Mon September 30, 2013

As Seacoast Development Booms, Water Quality Could Bust

While development trends vary slightly from town to town, in general development is on the rise, and in many communities speeding up
Credit Sam Evans-Brown / NHPR

Meanwhile, many of the stresses that threaten water quality – more waste-water, increased runoff from pavement, and fewer forests to naturally filter water – increase hand-in-hand with development. Those in the conservation community say the cheapest route is to keep water clean by putting land into conservation, instead of trying to clean it up after it’s already a mess. No-where is the tension between environmental quality and more acute, than on the seacoast, in the communities of the Great Bay.

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Something Wild
12:00 am
Fri September 27, 2013

Non-game and Endangered Wildlife Program Celebrates 25th Anniversary

Eagle on East Inlet in Pittsburg, August 2012
Credit Peter Gray / NH Audubon

Twenty five years ago, bald eagles and peregrine falcons were struggling to return from the brink of extinction.  A handful of outdated surveys were all that existed to assess the location and condition of most wildlife species.  Conservationists and biologists from New Hampshire Audubon, the State, and universities raised the call to "do something!"

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Giving Matters
12:00 am
Sat September 21, 2013

AMC Trains The Future Workforce

Cory Arsenault atop a nwely finished staircase on Mount Jasper, Berlin, NH.
Credit NHPR/MacNameeKing

The Appalachian Mountain Club works with Jobs for America’s Graduates (JAG), providing summer work opportunities to North Country students. Students learn about trail stewardship and conservation, and gain practical job skills. Cory Arsenault and Samantha Roux were part of a crew doing trail work.

Roux says the trail work is intensive and demanding, “building rock staircases, bridges. We clean the trail 

  off for people.”

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Word of Mouth
11:59 am
Wed September 18, 2013

Move Over Superman: These Animals Are Real-Life Superheroes

The Dragon millipede can shoot toxic clouds of almond-smelling cyanide gas.
Credit via ecologypad.com

As the curtain falls on another season of superhero blockbusters, Hollywood is already hard at work re-booting  "Batman," "Captain America," and the "Fantastic Four" franchises.  More than sixty high-profile superhero films have been released since the surprise success of "X-Men" in the year 2000.

Joe Hanson points us to a more enduring source of awe-inspiring acts: nature. Hanson is a biologist who writes and hosts the PBS. video series “It’s Okay to Be Smart.”

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