"#MeToo” At Nature Conservancy, The Secret and Endangered Lives of Freshwater Mussels, Exploring the Parks: Sequoia and Kings Canyon, and more
"#MeToo" at the Nature Conservancy / Beyond the Headlines / How To Be A Good Creature / The Secret & Endangered Lives of Freshwater Mussels / Exploring the Parks: Sequoia and Kings Canyon In this episode of Living on Earth, with $6 billion in assets The Nature Conservancy is among the world's richest environmental nonprofits and since 1950 it has protected 120 million acres worldwide. But a recent sexual harassment, gender discrimination and workplace misconduct scandal has shaken trust in the organization. Also, with names like "spectaclecase", "snuffbox", and "orangefoot pimpleback pearly", freshwater mussels are among Earth's most fascinating and underappreciated species. They're also among the most endangered organisms in the United States. Recently, critical habitat was finally designated for four species of freshwater mussels, but much more must be done to save hundreds more from extinction. And in the latest from our occasional series on America's public lands, we travel to Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks in California, which boast some of the biggest trees in the world and the tallest peak in the contiguous United States along with hundreds of miles of hiking trails. Exploring the parks and more, in this episode of Living on Earth from PRI.
Science at Risk at the US-Mexico Border, HBO's "Ice on Fire" Offers Climate Solutions, US Blocks UN and G20 Climate Action, and more
US Blocks UN and G20 Climate Action / Not Much Presidential Debate About Climate / USDA Kills Thousands of Beavers / Science at Risk at the Border / HBO's "Ice on Fire" Offers Climate Solutions In this episode, scientists working on the US-Mexico border face unique challenges when trying to study borderlands ecosystems, thanks to everything from outright harassment and profiling, to tight restrictions on what can cross the border. Living on Earth's Bobby Bascomb is producing a series of dispatches from the US-Mexico border and discusses the challenges of doing science on the border. Also, the climate crisis took center stage at two major world meetings in June 2019, but major polluters have yet to step forward with promises to increase their Paris Agreement pledges. The United States remains on the sidelines as President Trump prepares to pull the US out of the Paris climate agreement entirely. Meanwhile, the Earth is warming and changing faster than many climate scientists had predicted, and at times the future looks impossibly grim. But a new HBO documentary called "Ice on Fire" focuses on some solutions already at hand. "Game on" for solving the climate crisis and much more, this week on Living on Earth from PRI.
Turning Backyards into Pollinator Havens, Resilient Corals Get a Helping Hand, The Trump EPA's Clean Power Plan Replacement, and more
Trump Clean Power Plan / Beyond the Headlines / Resilient Corals Get a Helping Hand / Repairing Puerto Rico's Corals / BirdNote®: The Auklet's Whiskers -- Not Just for Show / Freshwater Under the Sea / Turning Backyards Into Pollinator Havens / The Mighty Condor Minnesota lawmakers have heeded dire warnings about pollinator declines. They've just approved a new program that pays homeowners to convert their lawns to pollinator-friendly habitat, like that favored by the rusty patched bumblebee, which just became Minnesota's state bee. And despite the double-whammy of ocean warming and acidification, some coral populations are actually thriving. So scientists are working to speed up natural selection by propagating these resilient corals in Costa Rica and elsewhere. Also in this episode, we take stock of the Trump EPA's new Affordable Clean Energy rule, which replaces the Clean Power Plan created during the Obama Administration. The ACE rule is expected to be challenged in the courts, as it does little to actually reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and could even result in up to 1,400 additional deaths from air pollution each year. All that and more, in this episode of Living on Earth from PRI.
Rating 2020 Prexy Candidates' Climate Ambition, Seeking Justice for the Ogoni Nine, Increasing World Climate Action Ambition, and more
Increasing World Climate Ambition / Moving the Paris Climate Deal Ahead / Beyond the Headlines / Bringing Back Butternut Trees / Rating the Climate Promises of 2020 Prexy Candidates / Seeking Justice for the Ogoni Nine / BirdNote®: Brewer's Sparrow, Sageland Singer Polls show climate change is a rising concern for Democratic voters looking towards the 2020 presidential election. Greenpeace has a scorecard for each candidate based on commitments to a Green New Deal and phasing out fossil fuels. Also, many of the 2,000 delegates from 185 nations at UN Climate session in Germany are seeking to raise the ambition of nations in the Paris Climate Agreement, in hopes of limiting planetary warming to no more than 1.5 degrees Celsius. And Ogoni Nine widow Esther Kiobel is one step closer to justice in her battle against Royal Dutch Shell. She has pursued the oil giant for nearly 25 years, since the Nigerian government executed her husband in 1995 on trumped up charges, allegedly encouraged by Shell. Ms. Kiobel's husband was part of a group known as the Ogoni Nine, including Ken Saro-Wiwa which fought against Shell for environmental and economic damages to their homeland near the Niger River Delta. Now Ms. Kiobel will finally have her case heard in a Dutch case in her bid for reparations and the clearing of her husband's name. Seeking justice for the Ogoni Nine and more, in this episode of Living on Earth from PRI.
Sobering Climate Risks / Note on Emerging Science: Hot Potato Blues / Beyond the Headlines / Exploring the Parks: Cactus and Snow in the Desert Sky Islands / BirdNote®: Ponderosa Pine Savanna / Horizon by Barry Lopez If carbon emissions keep going up until 2030 it will be too late to avoid a 'hot house' Earth with a billion climate refugees starting in 2050, according to the Australia-based Breakthrough National Centre for Climate Restoration. These researchers warn the climate is changing faster than politicians and the public are responding, and say interventions on a scale never before seen during peacetime are needed right now. Also, Coronado National Forest, north of Tucson, Arizona is the latest subject of Living on Earth's occasional series on America's public lands. There's plenty of heat and cacti, of course - but also many species that you're more likely to find far north of the desert Southwest, and even enough snow for skiing! We take a trip to the remarkably diverse biomes of Arizona's Sky Islands, with a local biologist as our guide. And in his new book Horizon, 30 years in the making, award-winning writer Barry Lopez asks: "Who is our navigator?" now, in this time of climate change and pervasive inequality. Looking towards the horizon and more, in this episode of Living on Earth from PRI.
NH Fights PFAS Pollution, Global Warming Clues From Henry David Thoreau, Recomposing the Dead and more
New Hampshire Fights PFAS Pollution / Youth Climate Suit Plea / Beyond the Headlines / Recomposing the Departed / Global Warming Clues from Henry David Thoreau / Solid Seasons: The Friendship of Henry David Thoreau and Ralph Waldo Emerson / BirdNote®: Henry David Thoreau and the Wood Thrush New Hampshire may be one of the smallest states in the US, but it's taking on some of the largest chemical companies in the world. The state wants DowDuPont, 3M and six other companies to take financial responsibility for allegedly knowingly polluting the environment with the persistent toxic class of chemicals called PFAS and PFOA while failing to disclose the risks to public health. Also, for most of recent human history, we've laid our dearly departed to rest through burial and cremation. But these can bear an environmental burden linked to land use and greenhouse gas emissions. Now, Washington State residents have a new green option: human composting. And the Nineteenth Century writings of naturalist and transcendentalist Henry David Thoreau are treasured not only by students of environmental literature, but also scientists today using his observations to track how a warming world is affecting trees and flowers. We dive into that research, then sit down with the author of a new book that traces the "Walden" author's rich and fulfilling friendship with fellow transcendentalist Ralph Waldo Emerson. The legacy of Henry David Thoreau and more, in this episode of Living on Earth from PRI.
Green Wave Sweeps Europe, Binge-Watching For Our Planet, Misfit Produce At Your Doorstep, and more
Green Wave Sweeps European Parliament / Beyond the Headlines / The Law of Languages / Misfit Produce at Your Doorstep / Our Planet / BirdNote®: Ruddy Duck Can binge-watching help save our stricken world? The producers of a new Netflix original series are hoping to move viewers enough to demand real action on climate change. Our Planet, narrated by Sir David Attenborough, is streaming majestic scenes of life on Earth -- through the sobering lens of climate change -- to millions of viewers. In fact the public's growing concern about climate change just helped usher in a new wave of Green party members to the European Parliament. And thanks to the increasingly fragmented body, with its multiple competing parties, the Greens have some leverage despite still holding only about 10% of seats. Also, every human language that's been tested follows a curious pattern called Zipf's law. Now researchers are looking to see if non-human languages, like the clicks and whistles used by dolphins and whales, follow a similar structure. The law of languages and more, in this episode of Living on Earth from PRI.
Saving West African Rainforests, Global Warming Poor Tax, Grammy’s Dandelion Feast, and more
Global Warming Poor Tax / Beyond the Headlines / BirdNote®: Recycle Your Egg Shells to Help Nesting Birds / Saving West Africa's Last Rainforest / Grammy Goes A-Gatherin' When an oil palm development in the poor West African country of Liberia uprooted indigenous communities, destroying their religious shrines and burial grounds, and threatened the last major tropical rainforest in West Africa, lawyer Alfred Brownell jumped into action. He was able to get the company to back off, but was then forced to flee for his life. And, as if the crop failures, infrastructure damage, and biodiversity loss linked to climate change weren't already enough, new research finds that global warming appeared to reduce the GDP of the world's poorer countries by 25 percent since 1961. Also, dandelions can be the bane of some who care for lawns. But for 97-year-old Grammy, dandelions are a culinary delight. Grammy goes a-gatherin' and more, this week on Living on Earth from PRI.