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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The Nature Conservancy of Montana

Pronghorn antelope are one of the fastest land animals on Earth, reaching speeds close to 60 mph. Once, their speed helped them outrun ancient predators, but today the pronghorn faces new challenges that its speed can’t overcome — barbed wire fences that block their ancient migration routes.

Entergy Nuclear/Flickr

In the face of growing safety problems, cheap natural gas and the rising use of renewable energy sources, aging nuclear power plants are closing down across the US, raising questions about the future viability of nuclear energy production.

The Entergy Corporation is the most recent company to announce closings. Entergy plans to shut down the Fitzpatrick nuclear power plant on Lake Ontario near Syracuse, New York, and the Pilgrim Nuclear Power station near Boston, Massachusetts, before the end of this decade.

Meg Sheehan

Energy companies are finding that making plans to close a nuclear power plant doesn’t end the protests and anger.

In Massachusetts, residents who live near Entergy Corporation’s Pilgrim Generating Station, worry about health and environmental threats from the spent radioactive fuel that remains at the plant once the power plant closes. And they’re not being quiet about it.

Living on Earth: November 20, 2015

Nov 21, 2015

New Toxic Substances Control Act Likely / Prenatal Chemical Exposure Linked to Obesity / Health Risks of Water Fluoridation Raise Concerns / Let's Talk Turkey / Cranberries Take Centerstage / Beyond the Headlines / Pawpaw: America's Forgotten Fruit

Let's Talk Turkey

Nov 21, 2015

Almost all of the turkeys eaten in the United States are the same species: the Broad-Breasted White, but as Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb reports, heritage breeds of turkeys, like the Bourbon Red and Blue Slate, are making a comeback. (published November 20, 2015)

Cranberries Take Centerstage

Nov 21, 2015

Living on Earth’s Emily Taylor brings us an audio postcard of an old Thanksgiving standby: the cranberry. (published November 20, 2015)

Inadvertent chemical exposures from dumping can provide epidemiologists with unique insights into the possible effects products can have on human health. Brown University professor Joseph Braun tells host Steve Curwood about a group of pregnant women in Cincinnati with high blood levels of the industrial chemical, PFOA, whose children were fatter, possibly giving them an increased risk of health problems later. (published November 20, 2015)

Two-thirds of Americans have tap water with added fluoride, thought to help prevent tooth decay, but research has raised questions about the additive’s safety. Host Steve Curwood examines the science around fluoride’s health effects and hears from eco-activist Laura Turner Seydel about potential, under-reported risks and measures the public can take for protection. (published November 20, 2015)

Pawpaw: America's Forgotten Fruit

Nov 21, 2015

The largest edible fruit native to the U.S. is unknown to most, yet the pawpaw has earned a loyal following among those who are familiar with it. A new book peers into the pawpaw’s storied past, how its popularity has grown today, and why it’s not a staple in the produce aisle. Writer Andrew Moore tells host Steve Curwood about his mission to find the human story in this forgotten fruit. (published November 20, 2015)

New Toxic Substances Control Act Likely

Nov 21, 2015

The Toxic Substances Control Act was passed in the 1970s, but since then has proved mostly ineffective at regulating toxic chemicals. A bill updating TSCA is moving through Congress now, and Andy Igrejas of Safer Chemicals Healthy Families tells host Steve Curwood that while the bills are weak, it’s a start. (published November 20, 2015)

Beyond the Headlines

Nov 21, 2015

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra tells host Steve Curwood about EPA’s enforcement of federal regulations in states, the claim of a conspiracy to brand red meat as a health hazard, early retirement of Exxon’s PR executive and how opening canals can allow more than just ships to pass between seas. (published November 20, 2015)

At this trail-blazing cemetery, a flock of birders

Nov 19, 2015
Friends of Mount Auburn

Mount Auburn Cemetery was created in 1831 to change people's idea of death and burial. Today, in addition to being the resting place for a host of famous Americans, it is one of the Boston area’s key wildlife sanctuaries.

Bats in North America have suffered a massive decline in recent years due to an invasive fungal disease called white-nose syndrome. But while scientists struggle to get a handle on the disease, one Vermont landowner has redesigned his farm to help keep bats around.

Royal Veterinary College, Richard Kock

The Saiga — tawny, bulbous-nosed antelopes that have roamed the desert steppe of Central Asia by the millions since the days of the woolly mammoth — are suddenly falling to a mysterious disease that has killed nearly 80 percent of the population, and scientists are scrambling to understand why.

Dr. Richard Kock, of the Royal Veterinary College in London, who has studied the saiga population, was actually on the scene when this tragic event began to unfold. He says it was unlike anything he has ever witnessed.

Infrared Technology To Cool Buildings

Nov 14, 2015

The US Department of Energy estimates that air conditioning consumes nearly fifteen percent of energy used by buildings. Now, as Living on Earth’s Jake Lucas reports, a group of Stanford physicists and engineers have developed a technology to keep buildings cooler by reflecting sunlight as infrared radiation out into the coldness of space from the building’s roof. (published November 13, 2015)

The Beekeepers of Ancient Egypt

Nov 14, 2015

Professor Gene Kritsky of Mount St Joseph’s University is an entomologist, but his latest book is a historical look at beekeeping in ancient Egypt. Professor Kritsky discusses honey, hives, and hieroglyphs with Living on Earth’s resident beekeeper Helen Palmer. (published November 13, 2015)

Living on Earth: November 13, 2015

Nov 14, 2015

The Climate Movement Post Keystone / A Demand for a Green Transition / Infrared Technology To Cool Buildings / Big Battery Breakthrough / Beyond the Headlines / Building a Better Honeybee / The Beekeepers of Ancient Egypt

The Climate Movement Post Keystone

Nov 14, 2015

President Obama has struck down the tar sands Keystone XL pipeline and many suggest that’s partly politically motivated and partly in response to the environmental demand to “Keep fossil fuels in the Ground.” Host Steve Curwood and Michael Brune, Executive Director of the Sierra Club, reflect on the defeat of the Keystone XL pipeline, the need for civil disobedience, and what’s next for the environmental movement domestically and as the world heads to the UN’s Paris climate talks. (published November 13, 2015)

A Demand for a Green Transition

Nov 14, 2015

Recent decisions to end fossil fuel extraction, including Shell’s drilling hiatus in the Arctic and President Obama’s veto of the Keystone XL pipeline are offset by new permits in the Arctic. Commentator Derrick Jackson argues that the US must make climate change a priority and act swiftly and responsibly to be a leading climate change activist that the world needs. (published November 13, 2015)

Big Battery Breakthrough

Nov 14, 2015

Expensive lithium-ion batteries fall flat when it comes to storing and discharging large amounts of energy. Last year, Harvard scientists developed a flow battery that stores energy in vats of inexpensive chemicals. Now they’ve improved upon this design with a battery that’s non-toxic as well as cheap and scaleable. Host Steve Curwood tours the lab with inventors Professor Michael Aziz and Roy Gordon and graduate student, Kaixiang Lin. (published November 13, 2015)