Topic: Human Impacts

Current Event October 15, 2020

Native American Cultural Burning Prevents Forest Fires

Culture Human Impacts

Wildfires are burning out of control in California and other western states. Recently, officials have turned to traditional Native American practices to help combat them. For thousands of years before being removed from the land, Native people applied controlled fire to a variety of plants. The technique boosts new growth and helps clear away dead matter that could fuel uncontrolled wildfires. Listen to learn how cultural burning was suppressed in America and why officials believe that bringing it back could help reduce or prevent future blazes.

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Science

Eating Bugs is Good for the Planet

Environment Human Impacts Nutrition

Across the globe, people consume many different types of foods, but some food choices are better for the environment than others. This audio story introduces cricket protein, a different food source than many of us are used to eating and a more sustainable option than animal proteins such as beef or lamb. Listen to learn more about cricket protein and why it is a good protein choice for the planet.

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Science

Wildlife in the City

Animals Human Impacts Ecology

Wildlife in the city? It may seem odd to hear the word “wildlife” linked to the word “city.” However, animals live wherever they can find food and shelter. Cities can provide both for many types of wildlife. Animals use their survival skills to turn just about any environment into their home. Listen to hear a scientist explain which animals can be found in suburbs and cities and how they adapt to these environments.

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Current Event May 5, 2020

Snapping Shrimp Growing Louder

Animals Climate Change Human Impacts Oceans Ecology Marine Biology

Snapping shrimp produce surprisingly loud noises by clicking their claws. The noises they make are so pronounced that they once led to a Navy investigation. Ocean warming is causing the snapping shrimp clicks to become even louder and more frequent. The increase in ocean noise from this and other human impacts can be disruptive to marine ecosystems where sound is important to survival. Listen to hear what snapping shrimp sound like and learn why their sounds might be helpful to some species and harmful to others.

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Current Event March 18, 2020

Ninja Peacock Takeover

Animals Human Impacts

Peacocks are pestering residents of an historic neighborhood in Miami, Florida. It’s mating season, and the male birds are trying to attract attention by showing their feathers, screeching loudly, tearing into flowers, and attacking cars. Some residents admire the birds’ beauty while others complain about noise and damaged property. Listen to learn what the town is doing to solve the peacock problem and why one man compared the birds to ninjas.

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Current Event March 11, 2020

The Warming Earth

Environment Climate Change Weather and Climate Human Impacts

The earth is getting warmer. Records kept for the past century show a steady increase in temperature each decade, and 2019 was the second hottest year ever. As humans send carbon dioxide into the air from cars, factories, and other sources, the trapped heat warms the planet, causing glacial ice to melt, oceans to rise, and big weather events like floods and droughts to increase in intensity. Listen to learn more about changes to the earth caused by global warming and what to expect in the future.

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Science

Garbage in the Sea

Human Impacts Oceans

The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a huge area of ocean where hundreds of millions of tons of plastic garbage floats, brought there by a swirling ocean current. Much of the waste comes from single use items like plastic bags, straws, and water bottles. As time passes the trash breaks into smaller fragments but never disappears entirely, posing a threat to ocean life. Listen to hear a reporter describe what this “island of plastic” looks like, and learn what businesses and individuals, including young people, can do to help clean up ocean pollution.

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Current Event December 4, 2019

Living With Bears

Animals Human Impacts Conservation

Residents of Asheville, North Carolina find bears eating out of dog bowls, rummaging through garbage, and shaking seeds out of bird feeders. Instead of controlling the large population of black bears living in the area, the city lets them roam free. Asheville citizens have found ways to coexist with the large and sometimes dangerous woodland creatures that wander into their neighborhoods. Listen to hear a bear-friendly resident share strategies for living safely with local black bears.

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Current Event October 30, 2019

Birds Are Disappearing

Environment Animals Human Impacts Ecosystems Ecology Conservation

According to a new report, bird populations are generally decreasing throughout North America. Having fewer birds could negatively impact our ecosystems and our lives. However, there are steps we can take to help our feathered friends bounce back. Listen to learn what factors are causing bird populations to decline and some simple steps people can take to help slow the trend.

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Current Event October 23, 2019

Fighting Aggressive Seagulls

Environment Animals Human Impacts

The boardwalk in Ocean City, New Jersey, was plagued by food-stealing seagulls. They would dive down and snatch French fries, pizza, and even ice-cream right out of people’s hands. The city devised a creative solution to remedy this situation–more birds! Listen to learn how bringing in bigger birds made the boardwalk a friendlier place.

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Current Event October 21, 2019

Ocean Warming Is Accelerating

Culture Environment Climate Change Weather and Climate Human Impacts Oceans

A recently released United Nations report looks at changes in the world’s oceans caused by a warming climate. The report found that oceans are rising at a faster rate than ever before and becoming more acidic, threatening human and fish populations. Communities that depend on the sea for their food and way of life are especially vulnerable. Listen to learn more about the challenges humans will face as sea levels continue to rise.

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Current Event October 1, 2019

Climate Change Strike

Politics Environment Climate Change Protest Human Impacts Reform

Frustrated by the slow pace of progress on addressing climate change, millions of young people around the world recently skipped school and took to the streets in protest. The strike came days before the U.N. Climate Action Summit, and protesters of all ages joined the students with signs demanding that their governments take urgent action. Listen to hear more about these worldwide strikes and what the marchers hoped to accomplish.

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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 4, 2019

Condor Comeback

Animals Human Impacts Biology Conservation

In order to prevent the California condor from going extinct, conservationists created a captive breeding program for the unique bird species. In the 1980s, they began gathering all the remaining California condors, breeding them, and releasing their offspring into the wild. Listen to learn more about “chick number 1000” and find out why one scientist thinks California condors are among the most remarkable birds in the world.

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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 July 1, 2019

Regulating Mount Everest Climbs

Human Impacts conservation International

Climbing Mount Everest has long been the ultimate achievement for many mountaineers. Now many more people are able to attempt the climb, making an already dangerous trip even more so. A variety of factors have come together to make 2019 one of the deadliest years for climbers on Mt. Everest. Listen to this story to hear more about what has increased risk on the tallest mountain in the world.

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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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