Living On Earth

News & Information: Sat • 10am-11am | Sun • 7pm-8pm
  • Hosted by Steve Curwood

An in-depth exploration of the latest scientific, political and social elements related to environmental change. 

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NOAA

The extreme weather events unfolding around the world as a result of El Niño may give nations an opportunity to learn how to plan for the expected effects of global warming.

“In some sense, what we're seeing around the world right now is an advanced view of the sort of things that we'll see more of in the future — all of the weather systems being somewhat more vigorous than they have been in the past, the risk of both droughts in some regions and flooding in other regions,” says climate scientist Kevin Trenberth of the National Center for Atmospheric Research.

Living on Earth: February 5, 2016

Feb 6, 2016

Great Bear Rainforest Protected From Massive Logging / Beyond the Headlines / A Novel Way to Capture and Release the Warmth of the Sun / What's New for Electric Cars / A Vision to End the Hassle of Urban Parking

Looking for parking in a city is frustrating for the driver, and bad for the climate as circling cars emit unnecessary carbon dioxide. But as reporter Clive Thompson tells host Steve Curwood, fleets of coordinated, self-driving cars could bring an end to parking as we know it and help make our future cheaper, as well as more efficient, pleasant and green. (published February 5, 2016)

Eighty-five percent of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia is now protected from logging, after decades of negotiations among environmental activists, the timber industry, First Nations, and the BC government. Temperate rainforests are one of the most rare ecosystems on Earth.Host Steve Curwood discusses how these groups came together with reporter Andrew MacLeod of the magazine The Tyee, who explains what’s been protected and what’s open for logging. (published February 5, 2016)

Storing solar energy is an enduring challenge for scientists, but now a team of MIT researchers has developed a new material that can trap it and release it as heat on demand. Host Steve Curwood visits the MIT lab to hear from postdoc David Zhitomirsky and graduate student Eugene Cho about their material and how it might be used to do such things as defrost windshields and warm our clothes. (published February 5, 2016)

What's New for Electric Cars

Feb 6, 2016

Gasoline prices are low right now, yet some manufacturers are poised to launch affordable electric cars with a 200 mile range. Host Steve Curwood speaks with green transportation reporter Jim Motavalli about electric cars and the future of renewable sources for electricity-- how Tesla’s Powerwall and a large fleet of electric cars could help stabilize the grid, and add flexibility to our greener energy future. (published February 5, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Feb 6, 2016

Peter Dykstra shares some good news this week with host Steve Curwood. There are large reductions in air pollution costs and less toxins in fish. They also look back at Donald Trump’s battle against Scottish wind power. (published February 5, 2016)

Living on Earth: February 5, 2016

Feb 6, 2016

Great Bear Rainforest Protected From Massive Logging / Beyond the Headlines / A Novel Way to Capture and Release the Warmth of the Sun / What's New for Electric Cars / A Vision to End the Hassle of Urban Parking

Looking for parking in a city is frustrating for the driver, and bad for the climate as circling cars emit unnecessary carbon dioxide. But as reporter Clive Thompson tells host Steve Curwood, fleets of coordinated, self-driving cars could bring an end to parking as we know it and help make our future cheaper, as well as more efficient, pleasant and green. (published February 5, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Feb 6, 2016

Peter Dykstra shares some good news this week with host Steve Curwood. There are large reductions in air pollution costs and less toxins in fish. They also look back at Donald Trump’s battle against Scottish wind power. (published February 5, 2016)

Eighty-five percent of the Great Bear Rainforest in British Columbia is now protected from logging, after decades of negotiations among environmental activists, the timber industry, First Nations, and the BC government. Temperate rainforests are one of the most rare ecosystems on Earth.Host Steve Curwood discusses how these groups came together with reporter Andrew MacLeod of the magazine The Tyee, who explains what’s been protected and what’s open for logging. (published February 5, 2016)

Storing solar energy is an enduring challenge for scientists, but now a team of MIT researchers has developed a new material that can trap it and release it as heat on demand. Host Steve Curwood visits the MIT lab to hear from postdoc David Zhitomirsky and graduate student Eugene Cho about their material and how it might be used to do such things as defrost windshields and warm our clothes. (published February 5, 2016)

What's New for Electric Cars

Feb 6, 2016

Gasoline prices are low right now, yet some manufacturers are poised to launch affordable electric cars with a 200 mile range. Host Steve Curwood speaks with green transportation reporter Jim Motavalli about electric cars and the future of renewable sources for electricity-- how Tesla’s Powerwall and a large fleet of electric cars could help stabilize the grid, and add flexibility to our greener energy future. (published February 5, 2016)

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Courtesy of Dennis Sparks

The drinking-water disaster in Flint, Michigan, occurred not just as a result of mistakes and bad decision-making — it was the result of lies, falsified science and a deliberate coverup.

“What's happened is an entirely preventable man-made disaster that started out by not following federal law that requires addition of a corrosion control chemical to the water supply to protect the iron and lead pipes from corrosion,” says Virginia Tech water treatment and corrosion expert Marc Edwards.

Flint and Environmental Racism

Jan 30, 2016

Prof. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice”, says that the lead water disaster in Flint, Michigan is just the latest example in a long history of environmental injustice in the United States. Prof. Bullard, Dean of the School of Public Affairs at Texas Southern University, tells host Steve Curwood that the working class and communities of color like those of Flint are far more likely to be exposed to toxic substances like lead. (published January 29, 2016)

The US Congress is unlikely to pass new carbon pricing legislation any time soon. But Columbia Law Professor Michael Burger tells host Steve Curwood there’s a little used provision in the Clean Air Act, Section 115, that gives the EPA the authority to go beyond the Clean Power Plan and institute broad market-based mechanisms such as cap and trade to combat climate change in conjunction with other nations.The Paris Agreement could make Section 115 a game-changer. (published January 29, 2016)

Living on Earth: January 29, 2016

Jan 30, 2016

Zika’s Emergence in a Changing Climate / The Campaign and Climate Change / Flint and Environmental Racism / Defunding the Clean up of Abandoned Coal Mines / The Paris Climate Accord Could Activate A Powerful Part of the Clean Air Act / Beyond the Headlines / BirdNote: Costa Rica's Morning Chorus

The Campaign and Climate Change

Jan 30, 2016

Host Steve Curwood tracks down more presidential candidates to report on their climate change stances prior to the New Hampshire primary. Seeking the Republican nomination, Texas Senator Ted Cruz expresses skepticism about the science and argues that acting on climate change kills jobs. Meanwhile, chasing the Democratic nomination, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton believes renewable energy could be a boon to the American economy, and Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders invokes the moral outrage of future generations to drive home the urgent need to act. (published January 29, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

Jan 30, 2016

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra tells host Steve Curwood that President Obama’s ambitious goal for electric vehicles has fallen short but a non-profit that tracks environmental crimes and accidents from the skies is a great success. Also, we mark the anniversary of the Ramsar Convention, an international agreement to protect wetlands. (published January 29, 2016)

Abandoned coal mines must be cleaned up for the health of the environment and regional waterways. But much of the funding for these projects comes from fees on new mines. Now with the slump in coal use, there’s less money to straighten up the toxic legacy of coal mining's past. The Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier reports. (published January 29, 2016)

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