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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Oceans Losing Oxygen

 

Warmer water naturally holds less oxygen than cool water, and pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus only add to deoxygenated zones that can be harmful to some creatures. Denise Breitburg, senior scientist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center explains the dangers of deoxygenation for sea creatures, and what needs to be done to address the crisis.

 

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Warmer water naturally holds less oxygen than cool water, and pollutants like nitrogen and phosphorus only add to deoxygenated zones that can be harmful to some creatures. Denise Breitburg, senior scientist with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center explains the dangers of deoxygenation for sea creatures, and what needs to be done to address the crisis.

Secrets of the Whales

 

On Earth Day 2021, National Geographic released Secrets of the Whales, a video documentary miniseries that seeks to unravel the secrets of whale behavior and understand whale cultures of orcas, humpbacks, narwhals, belugas, and sperm whales. National Geographic Explorer and wildlife photographer Brian Skerry joins Host Bobby Bascomb to talk about the experience of filming this epic project and the breathtaking complexity of whale societies across the world. 

 

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Mother and Son: Sea Otter Bonding

 

Mother sea otters spend a lot of time grooming their young pups. It’s a bonding experience as well as a matter of survival. Clean and well-groomed fur keeps these sea otters afloat on the coastal waters where they spend their entire lives. Living on Earth’s Explorer-in-Residence Mark Seth Lender narrates a precious scene of an attentive otter mom and her young pup.

 

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Midtown Coyote

 

In an era of remote learning and spotty Zoom meetings, we humans still have it easier than many animals trying to raise their young. Writer Jennifer Berry Junghans on how a mother coyote manages to eke out a living in the heart of California’s capitol.

 

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Oil Leasing Court Fights

 

One of President Biden’s key campaign promises was to wean the country off of fossil fuels and move towards sustainable energy sources. He’s attempting to achieve this in part by halting the sale of new oil and gas leases on public lands, including at the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, but these efforts have been challenged in the courts. Vermont Law School Professor Pat Parenteau joins host Jenni Doering to discuss the legal issues of pausing oil and gas development.

 

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Hiking in 6-Inch Heels

 

Growing up as a queer person, photographer Wyn Wiley was often told: The great outdoors is for everybody, but only if you look and act a certain way. Now, he works to break down this barrier. His drag queen alter-ego, Pattie Gonia, hikes in 6-inch heels and a full face of makeup, preaching on Instagram that enjoying the outdoors transcends gender identity and sexual orientation. Wyn Wiley speaks with Host Bobby Bascomb as Pattie to discuss her journey as a queer environmental activist and the solace she finds in nature.

 

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Climate Departure Date

 

A group of scientists at the University of Hawaii have figured out a way to project when the climate at a given location will move outside the range of anything we’ve known in modern times. It’s sooner then you think.

 

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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 in the Canyon

 

Watching hummingbirds in Arizona's Madera Canyon gave Mark Seth Lender an up close view of their interactions, and a chance to take spectacular photos.

 

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Amazon Near Climate Tipping Point

New research confirms that the damaged Amazon rainforest is now a net contributor to climate change overall. Kristofer Covey, a biogeochemist and assistant professor at Skidmore College, published research in early 2021 that came to a similar alarming conclusion. He joins host Jenni Doering to talk about this research and how parts of the Amazon are already showing signs of nearing a “tipping point” when the region is no longer able to function as a rainforest and converts into a savanna.

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First Nations Forest Gardens

The Pacific Northwest is known for its lush green conifers, but deep in special pockets of the forest, deciduous and fruit-bearing trees and plants create a mosaic of rich biodiversity. These “forest gardens”, cultivated by First Nations people for millennia, provide a wide array of foods and unique ecosystem functions. Dr. Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University, joins host Bobby Bascomb to discuss her work studying the historical ecology of forest gardens with communities in the Ts’msyen and Coast Salish territories of Northwestern British Columbia.

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Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now

Many of us think in short timescales such as a project due Tuesday, a friend’s wedding next month. Rarely do we think about deep time, that is time on a geologic scale. Vincent Ialenti’s book “Deep Time Reckoning” features anthropological fieldwork among people who use deep time frameworks every day: safety experts in Finland working on how to prudently store nuclear power waste, which can be radioactive for millions of years. Ialenti joins host Jenni Doering to discuss the challenges of envisioning scenarios that might happen thousands of years in the future, as well as the benefits of thinking in deep time.

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This Week’s Show
July 23, 2021
listen / download


Amazon Near Climate Tipping Point

listen / download
New research confirms that the damaged Amazon rainforest is now a net contributor to climate change overall. Kristofer Covey, a biogeochemist and assistant professor at Skidmore College, published research in early 2021 that came to a similar alarming conclusion. He joins host Jenni Doering to talk about this research and how parts of the Amazon are already showing signs of nearing a “tipping point” when the region is no longer able to function as a rainforest and converts into a savanna.

Beyond the Headlines

listen / download
After President Trump removed the roadless rule and other protections for the Tongass National Forest, America’s largest national forest, the Biden administration is set to bring them back, Peter Dykstra of Environmental Health News tells host Bobby Bascomb in this week’s Beyond the Headlines segment. They also talk about Maine becoming the first U.S. state to pass a law requiring packaging manufacturers rather than taxpayers to cover the costs of recycling. For the history segment they go back to the year 1931 when a swarm of grasshoppers overwhelmed farmers who were already struck by the Dust Bowl.

Indigenous Guardians of the Amazon

listen / download
Much of the Peruvian Amazon is under threat of deforestation with up to five percent of indigenous communities’ forest land lost to illegal logging and mining each year. Now an organization is equipping indigenous communities with satellite-based data and empowering them with training to take a stand against illegal logging. Jacob Kopas led research examining the effectiveness of this technique at stopping deforestation and joins host Bobby Bascomb to talk about how it works.

First Nations Forest Gardens

listen / download
The Pacific Northwest is known for its lush green conifers, but deep in special pockets of the forest, deciduous and fruit-bearing trees and plants create a mosaic of rich biodiversity. These “forest gardens”, cultivated by First Nations people for millennia, provide a wide array of foods and unique ecosystem functions. Dr. Chelsey Geralda Armstrong, an Assistant Professor of Indigenous Studies at Simon Fraser University, joins host Bobby Bascomb to discuss her work studying the historical ecology of forest gardens with communities in the Ts’msyen and Coast Salish territories of Northwestern British Columbia.

Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now

listen / download
Many of us think in short timescales such as a project due Tuesday, a friend’s wedding next month. Rarely do we think about deep time, that is time on a geologic scale. Vincent Ialenti’s book “Deep Time Reckoning” features anthropological fieldwork among people who use deep time frameworks every day: safety experts in Finland working on how to prudently store nuclear power waste, which can be radioactive for millions of years. Ialenti joins host Jenni Doering to discuss the challenges of envisioning scenarios that might happen thousands of years in the future, as well as the benefits of thinking in deep time.


Special Features

Field Note: Mother and Son: Sea Otter Bonding
At Elkhorn Slough in Monterey Bay, California, an attentive mother sea otter grooms her young pup's thick fur, and grooms him for the independent life he will someday lead. Living on Earth's Explorer-in-Residence Mark Seth Lender observes and explains.
Blog Series: Mark Seth Lender Field Notes

Field Note: Coyote On The Beach
Living on Earth's Explorer-in-Residence Mark Seth Lender shares field notes from listening closely to the nuanced calls of herring gulls.
Blog Series: Mark Seth Lender Field Notes


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...Ultimately, if we are going prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we are going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them...

-- President Barack Obama, November 6, 2015 on why he declined to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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