Current Event March 14, 2021
Listen to hear about an endangered Australian mouse that has proved to be a survivor.
Vocabulary: rodent, location, extinct, endangered
Current Event February 22, 2021
A huge power outage in Texas has left millions of people without electricity. The crisis occurred when a storm brought frigid temperatures causing equipment to freeze in every part of the state’s power generation system, including wind turbines, natural gas wells, and coal and nuclear plants. The cold weather was unusual for Texas, but experts say the state needs to prepare its power systems for more extreme weather events in the future. Listen to learn more about the crisis and how politicians are discussing it in the media.
Hurricanes are huge storms that can cause major damage and destruction. Scientists predict that hurricanes will gain in strength due to climate change. Since nothing can be done to stop hurricanes, scientists are working on methods to better predict hurricanes so that people can prepare well in advance. This audio story describes how climate change affects hurricanes. Listen to hear how hurricanes affect land and why predicting a hurricane is so challenging.
Current Event March 11, 2020
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.
Current Event February 12, 2020
A new NASA study is looking for ways to predict snowstorms more accurately. Weather forecasters can tell when a snowstorm is approaching, but they cannot predict how heavily the snow will fall. To help improve forecasts, the study is sending aircraft directly into the center of storms to gather information. Listen to hear a NASA scientist explain what they are looking for and how the data they collect will help forecasters make better predictions.
Current Event January 14, 2020
Wildfires are raging in Australia, threatening human and animal life. As the climate warms and rainfall and humidity decrease, large parts of the land have become dry and brittle – ideal conditions for fires to start suddenly and spread quickly. Listen to hear how intense heat and smoke are affecting daily life and what residents are doing to stay cool when temperatures reach 120 degrees Fahrenheit.
Current Event November 5, 2019
Wildfires are raging across California, forcing thousands of people to flee their homes and prompting neighboring states to send supplies to help fight the blazes. Adding to the confusion, some areas have gone dark as California’s biggest electric company has shut off service. The company claims blackouts are necessary to contain the fires, but California’s governor blames the company for creating the problems that led to an unsafe electric grid. Listen to hear the governor of California describe how Californians can stay safe and why he feels such urgency about the electric company fixing the power grid.
Current Event October 21, 2019
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.
Current Event October 8, 2019
Hurricane Dorian, one of the most powerful storms ever recorded in the Atlantic, destroyed people’s homes in the Bahamas and sent thousands of islanders fleeing to Florida for refuge. The refugees are facing many challenges, such as gaining entry to the U.S. without proper documents, finding schools for their children, and supporting themselves. Listen to learn how some Bahamians are coping with the effects of a devastating hurricane and what they are doing to move forward with their lives in a new country.
Current Event June 4, 2019
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.
Current Event May 22, 2019
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.
Current Event February 7, 2019
A polar vortex caused temperatures in parts of the country to fall to historically low levels. In Chicago, temperatures dropped to 21 degrees below zero. A real estate investor in Chicago realized that the cold temperatures would be dangerous to those who sleep outside and decided to help homeless people by renting some hotel rooms for them. After her social media post about the act of kindness went viral, others decided that they wanted to help as well. Listen to hear how this good Samaritan made a positive impact on her local community.
Current Event January 29, 2019
Scientists from the Desert Research Institute in California are recruiting some very young researchers to help them better understand snow storms. The researchers have opened up data collection to citizen scientists, as they will need many snowflake pictures to answer their questions. The 4th and 5th grade students participating in the “Stories in the Snow” project are learning how to take very detailed pictures of snowflakes. Listen to this story to hear more about what the scientists hope to learn from their snow research, what students are learning from participating, and who will benefit.
Current Event December 5, 2018
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.
Current Event November 14, 2018
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.
Current Event October 26, 2018
In the wake of Hurricane Florence, extreme flooding caused an enormous amount of damage along the coast of North Carolina. Many of the affected areas have experienced repeated flooding, yet the majority of these homes and businesses are not covered by flood insurance. Some people want to rebuild in the same spot, and others want to move inland away from waterways that could flood again. Listen to hear about the dilemma facing eastern North Carolina residents, and then debate: Should people rebuild on coastal property after major storms?
Current Event October 24, 2018
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.
Current Event October 17, 2018
An earthquake and 18-foot tsunami hit the Indonesian island of Sulawesi on September 28th, devastating the coastline. Tens of thousands of people have lost their homes, and thousands more are dead or missing. Communication is difficult, and recovery efforts face significant challenges. Listen to hear a reporter in Palu, Indonesia describe the aftermath of the tsunami and its impact on people’s lives.
Current Event October 3, 2018
There is so much flooding in Bangladesh that many students cannot travel safely to school. In order to ensure that students in isolated villages have access to education, a nonprofit organization has created floating schools that pick students up at their homes and hold class right on the boat. Listen to learn about how and why these special schools are helping students in Bangladesh.