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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

On Guard

 

Located in Saskatchewan, Canada is Grasslands National Park—one of North America’s few remaining natural grasslands. Walking through the dry prairie, writer Mark Seth Lender observed a family of prairie dogs and other creatures of the plain going about their daily business, while the family’s prairie dog on guard did the same.

 

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Climate Change Fuels Wildfires

 

Wildfires raging in Alaska and the Pacific Northwest are on pace to be some of the worst in the region’s history. As climate change is accelerant for these wildfires, experts fear that these extreme fires perpetuate a climate change feedback loop and this will be the “new normal.”

 

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The Power Plant that's Draining the Colorado

 

Water-bans and wells running dry in the west isn’t only about the lack of rain. A coal fired power plant in Arizona is helping to drain the Colorado River and aggravate the Southwest’s water problems.

 

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BP's To Pay $18.7 Billion to Settle Gulf Oil Spill Fines and Govt Claims

 

Five years ago, the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster caused billions of dollars in economic and environmental damages to the Gulf region. Ensuing civil and criminal lawsuits have kept BP in court for years, but an agreement might soon bring relief for those government agencies seeking fines and compensation. The judge still has to accept the $18.7 billion proposed settlement and private law suits aren't part of the deal.

 

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Restoring Giant Kelp Forests

 

Ripped from the seafloor by strong swells, massive amounts of kelp recently washed ashore in southern California. But the uprooted algae may actually be a sign of successful kelp restoration efforts. Marine biologist Nancy Caruso discusses the fragile ecosystem and how she and a community are helping to rebuild the majestic kelp forests.

 

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Louisiana's Moon Shot

 

Louisiana is disappearing faster than any land in the world. Sea level rise and coastal erosion threaten some of the nation’s crucial oil, gas and fishing industries. But Louisiana has a “Moon shot” plan to save it. ProPublica reporter Bob Marshall tells us about the state’s ambitious, first-of-its-kind plan to preserve the region, and the cost if they fail.

 

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Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

 

New research finds that every 1 degree Celsius of temperature rise eventually equates to 2.3 meters of sea level rise. Anders Levermann tells host Steve Curwood about the expectations for sea level rise over the next 2,000 years.

 

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Bayou Community Struggles with Sinkhole

 

A huge sinkhole in the tiny swamp community of Bayou Corne is giving residents unique and unpleasant challenges. It is now approximately 20 acres in size.

 

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Hummingbirds Citizen Science Project

 

The Rufous hummingbird follows the Rocky Mountains to migrate from Alaska to Mexico (Photo: Diana Douglas for Hummingbirds at Home).

 

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Coal Dethroned: Now What?

Recently, natural gas overtook coal as the dominant fuel for energy generation in the United States though, in much of the world, coal is still thriving. But in the case of climate change, how much will switching to natural gas really help?

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Pollinator Declines Threaten Public Health

From vitamin deficiency to heart disease and even death, the consequences of eating less nutrient-rich foods that prevent these ailments can be severe. New research suggests that partial and total loss of bees and other pollinators worldwide will limit the availability of staple foods and their vital vitamins and nutrients, making everyone around the world sicker.

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Why Are We Waiting To Save Ourselves?

Scientists say that climate change is already happening, but despite a narrowing window for response, the world is reluctant to take action. In frustration, British economist Nicholas Stern, who wrote the authoritative Stern report on the costs of climate change, authored a new book “Why Are We Waiting?” He explores why societies are reluctant to make the changes necessary to preclude effects from global warming, the cost of continued stalling, and why there is reason to remain optimistic.

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This Week’s Show
July 24, 2015
listen / download


Coal Dethroned: Now What?

listen / download
Recently, natural gas overtook coal as the dominant fuel for energy generation in the United States though, in much of the world, coal is still thriving. But in the case of climate change, how much will switching to natural gas really help?

Beyond the Headlines

listen / download
In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, we discuss the cost residents pay for North Carolina’s stinky hog farms, the global decline of seabird populations, and how, despite warnings, toxic algae blooms in Lake Erie keep putting Toledo, Ohio’s drinking water at risk.

Emerging Science: Undervaluing Wild Bees

listen / download
Climate change, disease and insecticides threaten the welfare of domesticated honeybee species vital to crop pollination, but as Living on Earth’s Shannon Kelleher explains, wild bees are just as valuable as pollinators, helping to maintain global food supplies and biodiversity, as their domestic counterparts.

Pollinator Declines Threaten Public Health

listen / download
From vitamin deficiency to heart disease and even death, the consequences of eating less nutrient-rich foods that prevent these ailments can be severe. New research suggests that partial and total loss of bees and other pollinators worldwide will limit the availability of staple foods and their vital vitamins and nutrients, making everyone around the world sicker.

Prairie Dogs: Saving Mexico’s Prairie from the Desert

listen / download
Black-tailed prairie dogs once numbered in the billions across the grasslands of the Western US and Mexico, but encroaching ranchers essentially exterminated the rodent to make way for livestock. Without prairie dogs, the terrain turned to desert, unable to support native plants and livestock. Today, activists are working to revive the once-thriving prairie dog community and the Mexican prairie along with them.

On Guard

listen / download
Located in Saskatchewan, Canada is Grasslands National Park—one of North America’s few remaining natural grasslands. Walking through the dry prairie, writer Mark Seth Lender observed a family of prairie dogs and other creatures of the plain going about their daily business, while the family’s prairie dog on guard did the same.

Why Are We Waiting To Save Ourselves?

listen / download
Scientists say that climate change is already happening, but despite a narrowing window for response, the world is reluctant to take action. In frustration, British economist Nicholas Stern, who wrote the authoritative Stern report on the costs of climate change, authored a new book “Why Are We Waiting?” He explores why societies are reluctant to make the changes necessary to preclude effects from global warming, the cost of continued stalling, and why there is reason to remain optimistic.


Special Features

East Claridon, Ohio

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In this week’s trip to the place where you live, Anne Kelsey takes us to East Claridon, Ohio, where her family has owned land for 100 years and the morning quiet on the pond is sacred.
Blog Series: The Place Where You Live

A River Town in Transition

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Wrangell, Alaska is a small, isolated town at the mouth of the mighty Stikine River and a former a timber capital. But since the saw mills shut down in the ‘90s, the small town has reinvented itself as a tourist destination and a commercial fishing hub. Since both of these industries are dependent on the Stikine, some locals worry that a mining development upriver could put the whole town’s livelihood at risk.
Blog Series: Alaskan River Riches


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You know, Alaska is the jewel of the world when it comes to fisheries management. This state is second to none, and that's because you don't see dams on our rivers. You don't see a lot of development that will have a negative impact.

-- Mike Erikson, CEO of Alaska Glacier Seafoods

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