Topic: Environment

Grand canyon

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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Plastic garbage

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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Near pebble beach

Current Event April 3, 2019

Teen Diver Discovers Rotting Golf Balls

Environment Animals Geography Sports 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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Sad salton place

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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Plastic beach

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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Cali drought

Current Event December 5, 2018

Urgent Climate Change Warning

Earth and Space Science Environment Climate Change Weather and Climate Human Impacts

A new government report on climate change warns of the rapidly increasing negative effects of climate change and offers recommendations to help slow down its adverse impact. The report explains that not only are humans responsible for climate change, but our ongoing actions are making it worse. Listen to this interview with a climate change expert to hear about the urgency of this warning and what makes her hopeful.

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Burnt up paradis

Current Event November 26, 2018

Wildfire Destroys a Town Called Paradise

Environment conservation

The deadliest wildfire in California history has devastated a town called Paradise, burning homes and killing dozens of people. The town’s mayor, Jody Jones, lost her own home and has been evacuated along with 26,000 other residents. Jones said the town looks like a war zone, but she and others are committed to rebuilding. Listen to hear the mayor’s reflections on the current state of Paradise and plans for its future.

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Sahara desert

Current Event November 14, 2018

Preventing Expansion of the Sahara Desert

Earth and Space Science Environment Weather and Climate Human Impacts Energy Earth Systems

The Sahara Desert is expanding due to cycles of drought. A scientist at the University of Maryland who studies the earth’s atmosphere has proposed a solution to this problem involving solar panels and windmills. Listen to learn how her proposed solution could change the future climate of the Sahara region and harness energy at the same time.

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Mexico city v2

Current Event November 7, 2018

Why Mexico City Is Sinking

Environment Human Impacts conservation

Mexico City faces a water shortage because an underground aquifer that stores water is being drained faster than it is being replenished. In addition, the imbalanced drainage of the aquifer is causing the city to sink, leading to all sorts of other issues. Listen to this story to learn about the problems this major metropolis is facing because of high demand on its underground water supply.

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Yosemite valley

Current Event November 6, 2018

Yosemite Experiences Rush Hour Traffic

Environment Animals Human Impacts

Traffic, usually considered an urban problem, has been an issue at Yosemite National Park for a long time. While the park is sometimes shut down to all traffic because of forest fires, when it reopens, hundreds of cars come back to enjoy the majestic natural beauty of the park. Figuring out a solution to this problem has become even more important recently with an increase in bear deaths in the park. Listen to hear about how traffic jams in this popular national park are affecting the wildlife there as well as visitors’ experiences.

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Roundup

Current Event November 2, 2018

Debate: Should farmers be allowed to use a powerful weed killer?

Technology Environment Agriculture

A popular, powerful weed killer has been banned in Arkansas, but some farmers are still using it. The herbicide intended for weeds also harms crops and wildlife. Although some farmers are planting new varieties of soybeans and cotton that are resistant to the weed killer, others are not. When farmers with the resistant crops spray the weed killer, it impacts their neighbors’ farms, often with dire consequences. Listen to hear about the battle in Arkansas among neighboring farmers, and then debate: Should farmers be allowed to use a powerful weed killer?

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The globe

Current Event October 24, 2018

UN Report Warns about Climate Change

Environment Climate Change Weather and Climate Human Impacts

A recent report by a United Nations panel indicates that if we do not take action immediately to lessen the impact of global climate change, the negative consequences will be severe. A professor who worked on the report explains that global warming is already influencing our lives and the ecosystems that surround us. Listen to hear more about the rapid pace of climate change and what we can do to decrease the potential for disaster associated with it.

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Monarch butterfly

Current Event September 20, 2018

Creating Urban Habitats for Monarch Butterflies

Life Science Environment Elementary Ecosystems

Monarch butterflies are in danger. In addition to their beauty, monarchs contribute to the ecosystem by pollinating wildflowers and by providing food for birds, small mammals, and insects. However, their life cycle depends on the milkweed plant, and its availability is shrinking. Listen to hear what conservation ecologists recommend as a solution to this environmental problem that many people can help to put into action.

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Stumpp

Current Event September 13, 2018

One Square Inch of Silence

Environment Human Impacts Ecology

Places without any human-made sound are rapidly disappearing. The “One Square Inch of Silence” project aims to preserve one such place in the Hoh River Valley, located in Washington’s Olympic National Park. Listen to a sound specialist guide a trek into the rainforest to experience natural silence.

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Current Event May 3, 2018

Offshore Wind Energy and Fishermen

Environment

Offshore wind can be a big business, and property that is windy with shallow water is perfect for installing and maintaining wind turbines. The federal government has leased sites for developers to build industrial-scale wind farms over the next decade. The area of New Bedford, Massachusetts, which is close to Rhode Island and New York, is an area with a sustainable wind source. The developers are very engaged with fishermen in the area, since the spinning blades confuse the instruments they use to navigate through fog. By working together, turbines can be put in locations that won’t interfere with fishermen’s routes. Listen to hear more about offshore wind projects in this area.

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Current Event May 1, 2018

Gold Mining in California Today

Politics Environment

The rules for mining on public land, which have been around since the 1870s, were used by miners during the Gold Rush. Since then the mining law has not changed. The law doesn’t require mining companies to pay royalties for mining on federal land. Some lawmakers object to the law and say the government is losing out. They’ve sponsored a new bill, but it hasn’t passed. Meanwhile, President Trump has opened more public land to mining in California and Utah. Listen to hear about mining rights on public land.

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Current Event March 21, 2018

Convenience Economy Clutters Up China

Environment Asia China

The demand for convenience is creating problems on sidewalks in China, especially in its largest cities. Shared bikes and food delivery on scooters are causing clutter and congestion on sidewalks. In Shanghai, a city of 24 million people, shared bikes are left on the sidewalk, piled on top of each other. Food delivery scooters have no dedicated lanes in the street, so they speed through pedestrians on the sidewalk trying to make deliveries on time. With such limited walking space left on the sidewalk, people sometimes walk in the road which is dangerous. Listen to hear more about the problems the convenience economy has created in China.

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Current Event January 9, 2018

Wet Wipes Clogging the Sewers Leads to a Court Battle

Environment Law KERA

Wet wipes began as baby products, but now people use them for many things including makeup removal and applying insect repellent. As more people find uses for disposable wet wipes, more of them end up in the toilet. However, even if the company says they are flushable, they aren't always. Wet wipes are causing blockages in sewer systems around the country. Companies that label their wipes as flushable are suing states that have created standards for flushability. Listen to learn where your wet wipes go and how wastewater plants are using a form of forensics to uncover which companies are clogging up the pipes.

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