Topic: Environment

Current Event September 23, 2019

Fires Burning in the Cold Arctic

Environment Climate Change Human Impacts

The Arctic may seem like an unlikely place for fires, but every year wildfires burn millions of acres of forest in Alaska, northern Canada, and Siberia. This century, the blazes have grown bigger, hotter, and more frequent, causing health problems for local residents and releasing harmful greenhouse gases into the environment. Listen to hear a climate scientist describe the effects of wildfires in the Arctic and how the global community can respond.

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Current Event September 14, 2019

Unsafe Drinking Water

Health Environment Natural Resources

In Newark, New Jersey, and other places like Flint, Michigan, the water that comes out of the tap is no longer safe to drink. Lead that was used to prevent old pipes from rusting has now contaminated it. Listen to hear more about how this water crisis is affecting people’s daily lives and how New Jersey Senator Cory Booker is trying to change the law and use state funds to replace Newark’s old water pipes.

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Current Event September 11, 2019

Edible Art Garden

Environment Engineering Arts Nutrition Plants

When a vacant lot in Sacramento was up for sale, one neighbor had an idea for what it could become. She envisioned an urban farm, so she bought the lot and invited a local nonprofit group to help turn it into an “edible art garden” after gathering input from other community members. Listen to learn what this once bare lot looks like today and how it benefits the neighborhood surrounding it.

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Current Event September 10, 2019

Preparing for Earthquakes in California

Environment Earth Systems

Southern California recently experienced several large earthquakes. Fortunately, the damage caused by these events was minimal, and mostly confined to the desert, where fewer people live and work. However, some experts are concerned about what might happen if a severe earthquake occurred in urban Los Angeles, for example, where the potential damage to infrastructure could cause major problems. Listen to learn how Californians should prepare for a future major earthquake.

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Current Event September 9, 2019

Amazon Rainforest Fires

Politics Environment Climate Change Conservation

Fires are raging in the Amazon rainforest at an unusually high rate. The flames are destroying hundreds of acres of forest, killing wildlife, and spreading smoke across thousands of miles. Scientists are concerned that, since trees take in carbon dioxide from the air, the loss of so much forest could speed up climate change. Some environmentalists argue that this is a man-made disaster, caused by intentional deforestation. Listen to learn more about the enormous scale of the fires burning in the Amazon rainforest and the ongoing debate about who is responsible.

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Current Event August 14, 2019

Working on a Trash Mountain in Delhi

Health Environment Human Impacts International Industry Entrepeneur

As India produces more and more garbage, giant mountains of trash are growing around its cities. The mountain of waste in New Delhi is nearly as tall as the world famous Taj Mahal. This creates an awful smell and a variety of safety issues, but some poorer Indians have also used it as an opportunity to create their own waste-based businesses. Listen to learn more about how these entrepreneurs turn trash into treasure and the risks they take in mining these man-made garbage mountains.

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Current Event July 24, 2019

Star Gazing Parties

Technology Environment Space Systems Human Impacts Astronomy Light

Far from the bright lights of cities and suburbs, amateur astronomers gather to stargaze in the dark at events known as “star parties.” Stargazers enjoy sharing the experience with others who are passionate about dark skies and the faraway places they make visible. Listen to hear about what happens at star parties and what amateur astronomers are viewing in the dark night sky.

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Current Event July 17, 2019

Changing Consumers' Minds About "Ugly" Produce

Environment Climate Change Human Impacts KERA Agriculture Nutrition Business Industry Plants Conservation

Would you eat a scarred, lumpy carrot or an apple that is oddly shaped? Grocery stores do not typically sell these types of “ugly” produce, but some new companies aim to reduce food waste by selling fruits and vegetables that are rejected by stores. Listen to learn about the benefits of these efforts and find out what else you can do to reduce food waste.

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Current Event June 24, 2019

Life and Death Across the Geologic Ages

Environment Climate Change Human Impacts

About 250 million years ago, there was a widespread extinction on earth. Scientific investigations into the climate conditions leading to this prehistoric “Great Dying” can shed light on how climate change in the modern world might impact life on the planet. The “Deep Time” exhibit at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History explores the state of the earth and its inhabitants in that era. Listen to hear about how the “Great Dying” happened and why it is relevant today.

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Current Event June 12, 2019

Students Protest Climate Change

Politics Economics Education Environment Climate Change Protest Human Impacts Trade Industry Branches of Government Conservation

Students around the world have been skipping school to protest their governments’ lack of action on climate change. Now, this movement has come to the United States. American students are gathering together to demand that Congress take action to protect them from the effects of climate change. Listen to find out more about what students are asking of their government leaders and why.

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Current Event June 4, 2019

Preventing Mass Extinction

Environment Animals Weather and Climate

Up to one million species of flora and fauna are at risk of extinction, according to a new U.N. report on biodiversity. While the findings from this research are alarming, climate scientists believe that there are still a variety of actions that citizens and politicians can take to try to prevent this impending disaster. Listen to hear about this global crisis and what people can do to help make the situation better.

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Current Event May 29, 2019

Plastic in the Air

Health Animals Environment Geography Human Impacts Ecosystems Plants Conservation Air Pollution Earth Systems

The air thousands of feet high in France’s Pyrenees Mountains should be some of the cleanest on Earth. However, recent research revealed that the air at the top of the mountains actually contains microscopic plastic. Listen to learn more about the experiment that revealed this surprising fact, why it matters, and what researchers plan to investigate next.

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Current Event May 22, 2019

Burning Down a House to Test Fire Safety

Technology Environment Climate Change Weather and Climate Business Earth Systems

A new natural disaster lab uses extreme methods to test which building materials are safest to withstand major storms and wildfires. Listen to find out why insurance companies want to invest millions of dollars in this lab and why climate change makes the lab’s experiments more important than ever before.

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Current Event May 8, 2019

Snake Charmer

Education Environment Animals Conservation Business

What would you do if you spotted a rattlesnake? A Texan man is in the business of removing unwanted snakes from underneath people’s houses. He has been fascinated with snakes all his life, and he has figured out a way to earn a living helping people and snakes at the same time. Listen to this interview with the man to learn about his passion for snakes and how it inspired his work.

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Current Event April 16, 2019

Grand Canyon Love Notes

Environment Writing

The Grand Canyon National Park recently celebrated its 100th birthday. A park ranger there created a “pop-up project,” placing an old typewriter on an overlook more than six miles into the canyon and inviting people to write notes reflecting on the moment. Listen to learn what inspired the project and hear some of the writing that hikers left behind.

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Current Event April 8, 2019

Plastic Waste Has Nowhere to Go

Environment Ecology Pollution

For years, China bought plastic waste from the U.S. in great quantities, but they are no longer doing so. Now the U.S. must find alternatives to exporting plastic waste to China. Listen to this story to hear about why the recycling landscape has changed, what happens to the plastic that Americans throw away, and what can be done to address this mounting problem.

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Current Event April 3, 2019

Teen Diver Discovers Rotting Golf Balls

Environment Animals Geography Sports Elementary Ecosystems Human Impacts Oceans Conservation

When a young diver found thousands of golf balls underwater, she decided to collect them and ask a scientist about the risks they might pose to the marine environment. They began investigating the situation together. Listen to find out what they learned and why the diver thinks “people would be shocked.”

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Science

Quest to Prevent Us from Drowning in Plastic

Life Science Environment Reform Earth Science

Do you ever wonder what happens to the trash you throw away? Jenna Jambeck is an environmental engineer specializing in waste management, and she is on a crusade to raise public awareness of plastic waste and its impact on the environment. As she takes a reporter on a tour through a landfill, she explains what happens to different types of trash. Listen to this story to hear about how scientists and their research shape public policy and behavior, and what everyone can do about the problem of too much plastic.

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Current Event March 6, 2019

Living in One of the Most Polluted Places in California

Environment Human Impacts Air Pollution

While living in California is often associated with beautiful beaches, mountains, and movie stars, millions of Californians actually live in areas with high levels of pollution in both the air and the soil. Imperial County is one of three areas in California that does not meet the federal standards for air quality. This pollution has caused major health issues for its mostly low-income residents. Some who moved there for opportunity now worry about the health of their children. Listen to a family that moved to Imperial County to pursue their own California dream discuss how living in a highly polluted environment has affected them.

This story was produced as part of the California Dream series.The California Dream series is a statewide media collaboration of CALmatters, KPBS, KPCC, KQED and Capital Public Radio with support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the James Irvine Foundation.

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Current Event February 13, 2019

Ocean Plastic Cleanup Hits a Snag

Technology Environment Engineering Oceans

An ocean cleanup project in the Pacific has run into some problems cleaning up a floating debris field known as the Great Pacific garbage patch. The 2000-ft. long, U-shaped floating barrier is designed to catch plastic trash in the Pacific ocean, where an enormous garbage patch has collected. The ambitious system is the brainchild of a 17-year-old scientist. The device is not yet working exactly as hoped, but engineers are trying to address the issues that are getting in its way. Listen to hear more about this creative pollution solution and the inventor’s optimistic outlook on its potential to help the environment.

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