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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Defending Darwin

 

The University of Kentucky, is located in the heart of the Bible Belt, a region with many Fundamentalist Christians who are skeptical of the theory of evolution. Today, Jim Krupa is a biology professor at UK who has taught evolution to thousands of students, some of whom believe that the idea of evolution, as posited by Charles Darwin, is fraudulent and the Earth and its creatures are only about 6000 years old. Prof. Krupa says that despite opposition from some students, he’s following in the footsteps of UK educators who have defended academic freedom and scientific fact.

 

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The Place Where You Live: Omaha, Nebraska

 

In his essay for Orion Magazine, Patrick Mainelli, a writer and community college professor in Nebraska, describes his morning commute through the wilds of urban Omaha.

 

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How Beavers Help Save Water

 

In the drought-ridden West, some people are partnering with beavers to restore watersheds, where, before trappers arrived, the large rodents once numbered in the millions. Film-maker Sarah Koenigsberg captures various efforts to reintroduce beavers to their former habitat in her documentary The Beaver Believers and illustrates why beavers are essential for a healthy ecosystem.

 

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Insuring Wildlife and the Lives of Endangered Rhinos

 

South African game reserves are eager to earn tourist dollars with elephants, giraffes and rhinos. But to protect the rhinos and their prized horns from poaching, reserve owners are insuring their animals and also poisoning the horns. Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb reports.

 

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Stewardship Saturdays in Boston Harbor

 

Boston’s Harbor Islands offer a scenic retreat from the bustle of the city, but they’re very vulnerable to inundation by invasive plant species. Living on Earth’s Olivia Powers visited Grape Island on a “Stewardship Saturday” to watch young conservationists pull buckthorn.

 

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Ancient Wheat and the Rise of Agriculture

 

The discovery of 8,000 year-old wheat DNA off the coast of England 2000 years before people began farming there has archaeologists rethinking their theories about the rise of agriculture.

 

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Migrations Off Schedule

 

The monarch butterflies are late, the wildebeest have turned around, and the North Atlantic right whales are missing. What’s going on with the world’s great animal migrations?

 

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Baby Polar Bear Rescue

 

Climate Change is making life difficult for polar bears across the world. But an orphaned Alaska bear cub is about to get a new home, and a new sibling, at the Buffalo Zoo in upstate New York.

 

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White House Confronts Climate Deniers

 

Some skeptical pundits have used the recent deep cold snap to suggest that climate change isn’t real. White House Science Advisor John Holdren says not so fast.

 

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Obama Slashes Federal Global Warming Gases

President Obama orders the US government to slash federal global warming gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. The Obama Administration also cuts off disaster preparedness funding for those states that refuse to acknowledge the risks of climate disruption.

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Melting Ice Slows Down Ocean Circulation

The Atlantic “conveyor belt” is a system of ocean currents including the Gulf Stream that bring warm temperatures and important nutrients to the waters off East Coast America and Western Europe. But as global warming melts ice in Greenland, the influx of fresh water could shut the system down altogether, which could spell trouble for the ocean and the economy.

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Defending Darwin

The University of Kentucky, is located in the heart of the Bible Belt, a region with many Fundamentalist Christians who are skeptical of the theory of evolution. Today, Jim Krupa is a biology professor at UK who has taught evolution to thousands of students, some of whom believe that the idea of evolution, as posited by Charles Darwin, is fraudulent and the Earth and its creatures are only about 6000 years old. Prof. Krupa says that despite opposition from some students, he’s following in the footsteps of UK educators who have defended academic freedom and scientific fact.

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This Week’s Show
March 27, 2015
listen / download


Obama Slashes Federal Global Warming Gases

listen / download
President Obama orders the US government to slash federal global warming gas emissions by 40 percent over the next decade. The Obama Administration also cuts off disaster preparedness funding for those states that refuse to acknowledge the risks of climate disruption.

New Fracking Rules Protect Groundwater on Federal Lands

listen / download
On March 20th, the Obama Administration announced rules for hydraulic fracturing of gas and oil wells (“fracking”) on federal lands. The move is aimed at preventing groundwater pollution and creating a baseline for industry practices and future analyses.

Melting Ice Slows Down Ocean Circulation

listen / download
The Atlantic “conveyor belt” is a system of ocean currents including the Gulf Stream that bring warm temperatures and important nutrients to the waters off East Coast America and Western Europe. But as global warming melts ice in Greenland, the influx of fresh water could shut the system down altogether, which could spell trouble for the ocean and the economy.

What a Record-Low Snowpack Means for Summer in the Northwest

listen / download
Snowpack is important for summer life in the Northwest—in the winter, it accumulates on mountaintops and as temperatures rise, snowmelt recharges water systems and generates hydropower throughout the region. This year, snowpacks are at record lows and many fear that this supply won’t be enough to last throughout the drought season. But as EarthFix’s Ashley Ahearn reports, it’s not time to hit the panic button just yet.

Beyond the Headlines

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In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra discusses Japan’s refusal to eat whale meat contaminated by toxic chemicals that bio-accumulate in the ocean food chain. Also, more evidence of the governor of Florida’s alleged antipathy to climate change-related words, and President Obama’s ill-timed confidence in the safety of offshore oil rigs.

Defending Darwin

listen / download
The University of Kentucky, is located in the heart of the Bible Belt, a region with many Fundamentalist Christians who are skeptical of the theory of evolution. Today, Jim Krupa is a biology professor at UK who has taught evolution to thousands of students, some of whom believe that the idea of evolution, as posited by Charles Darwin, is fraudulent and the Earth and its creatures are only about 6000 years old. Prof. Krupa says that despite opposition from some students, he’s following in the footsteps of UK educators who have defended academic freedom and scientific fact.


Special Features

New Orleans, Louisiana

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Living on Earth is giving a voice to Orion Magazine’s long-time feature, The Place Where You Live, where essayists write about the place they call home. This week, we travel to New Orleans, Louisiana, where ecology student Erik Iverson describes the beauty of his state’s fragmented deltas, and how this threatened land unites a people.
Blog Series: The Place Where You Live

Mémé’s Meat Pie
Maine singer/songwriter Denny Breau shares his Mémé’s Meat Pie recipe, a holiday season tradition.
Blog Series: Cooking on Earth


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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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