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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

The Outlaw Ocean

 

Seventy percent of our planet is covered by the oceans, but the high seas are among the least-explored frontiers on Earth. And lawlessness is rampant in this vast wilderness, with crimes ranging from illegal fishing to slavery at sea. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Urbina wrote The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier to tell the harrowing stories of high crimes on the high seas.

 

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Seventy percent of our planet is covered by the oceans, but the high seas are among the least-explored frontiers on Earth. And lawlessness is rampant in this vast wilderness, with crimes ranging from illegal fishing to slavery at sea. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Urbina wrote The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier to tell the harrowing stories of high crimes on the high seas.

Eat Like a Fish

 

Overfishing and climate change are hitting fish stocks hard, and at the same time most of the food grown and raised on land is carbon-intensive and unsustainable. The answer, says former industrial fisherman Bren Smith, is restorative ocean farming. In his book Eat Like a Fish, Bren Smith chronicles some of his adventures at sea and what he’s learned about sustainable food production as he has transitioned to ocean farming.

 

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The Silent Killer Called PM2.5

 

The fine particulate air pollution known as PM 2.5 is so small that it can work its way through the lungs into the bloodstream, and from there into major organs including the heart, brain, and kidneys. A new study finds a link between PM 2.5 air pollution at levels considered safe by the EPA and the deaths of 200,000 veterans over a decade. Earlier research linked PM2.5 with many disorders, including heart attacks and strokes, and this latest study adds three previously uncorrelated specific causes of death: dementia, kidney disease, and hypertension.

 

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Brewing a Specialty Coffee Market

 

Coffee is no longer simply a generic drink to wake you up as there is now a sizable market for specialty coffees with unique flavors. To link up coffee growers with that market and ensure they get a fair price, a Portland, Oregon-based nonprofit started a coffee tasting “cupping” and auction.

 

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Reflections on the Native American Tradition of Giving Thanks

 

Thanksgiving is a time for American families and friends to gather and be thankful, but for Native Americans it can also be a reminder of the displacement, violence and disease brought by the white colonists. Joe Bruchac, an author and storyteller of the Nulhegan Abenaki tribe, reflects on Thanksgiving’s complicated legacy for Native Americans and the long Native tradition of giving thanks.

 

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UN Climate Ambition Gap

 

Climate negotiators from the world are gathering in Madrid, Spain starting December 2, with challenging items on the agenda. One issue concerns cooperation between developing and developed nations and emissions trading. Another concerns how to handle loss and damage from climate-related disasters. And front and center is the enormous gap between the present commitments of the 195 nations that are party to the Paris Climate Agreement and what UN scientists say are needed to avoid catastrophic climate disruption. Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists explains.

 

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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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Turkish Development Threatens Marine Life

 

Recent protests in Turkey were sparked by the government's plans to pave over a public park. Journalist Sulmaan Khan joins host Steve Curwood to explain how rapid development in Turkey is causing a host of environmental problems. (photo: bigstockphoto.com)

 

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Beyond the Headlines

 

Peter Dykstra of the Daily Climate and Environmental Health News brings us some far-flung environmental stories from this past week that didn’t make the headlines. This week: salt intrusion in Bangladesh and rare earth mining in Greenland.

 

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The Outlaw Ocean

Seventy percent of our planet is covered by the oceans, but the high seas are among the least-explored frontiers on Earth. And lawlessness is rampant in this vast wilderness, with crimes ranging from illegal fishing to slavery at sea. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Urbina wrote The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier to tell the harrowing stories of high crimes on the high seas.

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Eat Like a Fish

Overfishing and climate change are hitting fish stocks hard, and at the same time most of the food grown and raised on land is carbon-intensive and unsustainable. The answer, says former industrial fisherman Bren Smith, is restorative ocean farming. In his book Eat Like a Fish, Bren Smith chronicles some of his adventures at sea and what he’s learned about sustainable food production as he has transitioned to ocean farming.

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Remembering EPA Head William Ruckelshaus

Only one person has ever served as an Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under two Presidents, and that’s William D. Ruckelshaus, who died November 27th. He was the first and fifth EPA Administrator, appointed by President Nixon in 1970, and returned to the agency during the Reagan Administration, to help “straighten the agency out” after a scandal over the mismanagement of the Superfund program. Speaking with host Steve Curwood back in 2010, William Ruckelshaus reflected on his storied career.

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This Week’s Show
December 6, 2019
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Banning New Natural Gas Hookups

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As scientists warn that time is running out to curb greenhouse gas emissions and transition away from fossil fuels, some towns and cities are enacting bylaws to codify the use of alternatives to natural gas and oil for heating and cooking. Brookline, Massachusetts is the latest town and the first east of the Mississippi to pass a bylaw banning almost all new gas piping in construction major renovations. Architect and co-petitioner Lisa Cunningham joined Steve Curwood to talk about the movement to get gas out of homes.

Beyond the Headlines

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This week, Peter Dykstra and Steve Curwood discuss how China and India are burning more coal. Then, in Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, two years of delays are preventing islanders from accessing the FEMA aid needed to recover after hurricanes Maria and Irma. Finally, from the history calendar, the two turn to President James Polk’s 1848 speech that noted the discovery of gold in California, which brought thousands of gold seekers West and launched California into statehood just a couple years later.

The Outlaw Ocean

listen / download
Seventy percent of our planet is covered by the oceans, but the high seas are among the least-explored frontiers on Earth. And lawlessness is rampant in this vast wilderness, with crimes ranging from illegal fishing to slavery at sea. Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Urbina wrote The Outlaw Ocean: Journeys Across the Last Untamed Frontier to tell the harrowing stories of high crimes on the high seas.

Eat Like a Fish

listen / download
Overfishing and climate change are hitting fish stocks hard, and at the same time most of the food grown and raised on land is carbon-intensive and unsustainable. The answer, says former industrial fisherman Bren Smith, is restorative ocean farming. In his book Eat Like a Fish, Bren Smith chronicles some of his adventures at sea and what he’s learned about sustainable food production as he has transitioned to ocean farming.

Remembering EPA Head William Ruckelshaus

listen / download
Only one person has ever served as an Administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency under two Presidents, and that’s William D. Ruckelshaus, who died November 27th. He was the first and fifth EPA Administrator, appointed by President Nixon in 1970, and returned to the agency during the Reagan Administration, to help “straighten the agency out” after a scandal over the mismanagement of the Superfund program. Speaking with host Steve Curwood back in 2010, William Ruckelshaus reflected on his storied career.


Special Features

Field Note: Winter Wolves on the Move
Living on Earth's Explorer in Residence Mark Seth Lender describes the necropsy of an elk taken down by Yellowstone wolves, and remarks on how predation has changed the landscape and inhabitants of the iconic National Park.
Blog Series: Mark Seth Lender Field Notes

Field Note: Good Housekeeping
Living on Earth's Explorer in Residence Mark Seth Lender contemplates a seemingly human gesture made by two Gentoo penguins as they test out promising nesting sites.
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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