Shut-Down Nukes Still Worry Neighbors

Nov 7, 2015

Massachusetts residents who live near Entergy Corporation’s Pilgrim Generating Station worry about threats from spent radioactive fuel that remain once the power plant closes. Host Steve Curwood reports. (published November 6, 2015)

Sudden Deaths For Endangered Antelopes

Nov 7, 2015

The saiga, tawny, bulbous-nosed antelopes, have roamed the Central Asian steppe since the days of the woolly mammoth, but they’re dying by the hundreds of thousands. Dr. Richard Kock of the Royal Veterinary College of London tells host Steve Curwood that bacteria reacting to the effects of climate change may be to blame for this catastrophic event. (published November 6, 2015)

Living on Earth: November 6, 2015

Nov 7, 2015

More Nuclear Power Plants Shutting Down / Shut-Down Nukes Still Worry Neighbors / Sudden Deaths For Endangered Antelopes / Man-Made Barriers to Pronghorn Migration / The Place Where You Live: Wyoming's Red Desert / BirdNote®: Whooping Cranes

Man-Made Barriers to Pronghorn Migration

Nov 7, 2015

For centuries, herds of pronghorn have traveled hundreds of miles across the west in the second longest land migration in the North America. But now pronghorn often encounter barbed wire fences on private land that delay or halt their journey. Now, scientists and wildlife managers are developing fencing systems that allow the pronghorn to cross safely. Clay Scott reports from Montana. (published November 6, 2015)

The election of Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau as Canada's prime minister is raising questions about how the country's extraction-based economy can be reconciled with Trudeau’s conservation ethic.

The New York attorney general is investigating whether Exxon Mobil lied to the public — and investors — about the risks to the environment and its business posed by climate change, according to a report Thursday from The New York Times.


A $900 million project to revitalize New York's state parks, including Niagara Falls and Letchworth, is in full swing with the projects expected to be completed by 2020.

The recent Democratic presidential candidate debate, hosted by CNN in Las Vegas, set a precedent for the debate season and perhaps for the longer campaign, as well: Every one of the candidates directly addressed climate change.

Unlike the Republican debates so far, in which climate change was scarcely mentioned, four of the five democratic contenders referred to the issue in their opening remarks. But they differed about global warming’s importance.

West Virginia's former 'King of Coal' goes on trial

Nov 1, 2015

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship, the man once known as West Virginia's 'King of Coal,’ is on trial in connection with the deadly 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia.

On April 5, 2010, the worst American mine disaster in 40 years occurred at Massey Energy’s Upper Big Branch mine in West Virginia. A huge explosion ripped through the mine, killing 29 of the 31 men working there.

Greening Death

Nov 1, 2015

Each year, five million people die in the US. About half of them choose conventional burial and half choose cremation for their body, both methods that consume resources and pollute the air and earth. Now there’s a greener alternative on the horizon, the Urban Death Project. Katrina Spade, founder and executive director, explains Urban Death Project and tells host Steve Curwood how this environmentally-consciousness choice can bring meaning to death. (published October 30, 2015)

Beyond the Headlines

Nov 1, 2015

Peter Dykstra tells host Steve Curwood about some scary studies: one warns that some major cities will soon be hot as hell, and another cautions that processed meat is a carcinogen, and red meat is a suspected carcinogen. Then, we look athe efforts by some states to send the EPA’s new Clean Air Rules to the grave; and we take a look back on a humpback whale’s rise to fame thirty years ago. (published October 30, 2015)

Building a Sanctuary for Endangered Bats

Nov 1, 2015

Bats around the country are struggling to cope with the invasive European fungus White Nose syndrome. But writer Don Mitchell is trying to help by turning his farm into a sanctuary for the endangered bats that live on his property. Living on Earth’s Emmett FitzGerald reports from the Champlain Valley of Vermont. (published October 30, 2015)

Living on Earth: October 30, 2015

Nov 1, 2015

Better Office Air Makes For Better Thinking / Building a Sanctuary for Endangered Bats / Greening Death / Beyond the Headlines / The Living and Dead in Good Company

The Living and Dead in Good Company

Nov 1, 2015

Massachusetts’ Mount Auburn Cemetery is renowned as the final resting place for American luminaries including Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, Fannie Farmer, and Charles Sumner. But as America’s first garden cemetery, it’s also a brief home for migrating birds every spring and fall. John Harrison and Kim Nagy, co-authors of the book Dead in Good Company: A Celebration of Mount Auburn Cemetery walk through the cemetery with host Steve Curwood and observe the wildlife and visit the deceased. (published October 30, 2015)

Unless you’re a sailor or you work on an oil rig, you’ve probably never seen a common murre. These black and white birds live nearly their entire lives at sea, but this summer starving murres washed up on the Pacific Coast from Southern California to Alaska.

Just about every day since the beginning of August, Eve Egan has gotten a call from a confused beachgoer saying: “I know this is going to sound crazy, but I see a penguin on the beach.” Egan calmlly explains that it’s almost certainly a common murre, a seabird that looks like a mix between a small penguin and a loon. 

For the past 15 years, the battlefield at Gettysburg, Pennsylvania — the scene of the bloodiest fights of the US Civil War — has been undergoing major changes. 

In the late 1990s, the National Park Service began to rehabilitate the natural landscape at Gettysburg, to make it look more like it did in July 1863, when the battles took place. In areas that saw heavy fighting, like the Peach Orchard, the Park Service decided to replant peach trees; in the meadows that had grown into forest since the battle, they removed the trees and restored the meadows.

courtesy Google Maps

The largest island on the Niagara River is getting a touch-up along a portion of its shoreline, as a concrete bulkhead will soon be replaced by what partners call a "living shoreline."

Writer Bill McKibben was so shocked and angered by the revelations of Exxon’s early knowledge of climate change that he protested at his local Exxon filling station and was arrested. He tells host Steve Curwood why he thinks everyone should know about the allegations of Exxon’s misconduct. (published October 23, 2015)

Exxon Denied its Own Climate Research

Oct 24, 2015

Investigations by InsideClimate News and the Los Angeles Times reveal that Exxon’s scientists and top management, informed by the company’s own ambitious climate research, had grasped the import of climate change by the early 1980s. ICN reporter Neela Banerjee tells host Steve Curwood how they discovered the research and how top Exxon management nevertheless cast doubt on the facts of global warming, starting in the late 1990s. (published October 23, 2015)

Canada Shifts Left and Greener

Oct 24, 2015

The newly elected Canadian Prime Minister is Liberal Party leader Justin Trudeau, taking the reins from the Conservative Party’s Stephen Harper. Host Steve Curwood speaks with Reuter’s investigative resources correspondent Mike De Souza about the status of Canada’s environmental policies and how incoming Prime Minister Trudeau might reconcile Canada’s extraction-based economy with more of a conservation ethic. (published October 23, 2015)

The Creole Pig

Oct 24, 2015

In Haiti, the creole pig was a staple of the peasant economy, bringing families economic stability, devouring food waste and occasionally becoming an religious sacrifice. But as Allison Griner reports, disease killed many creole pigs and American efforts to control the swine flu took the rest. Efforts to replace the pig failed, but now peasant farmers are slowly rebuilding the creole pig herd. (published October 23, 2015)

When it comes to global efforts to fight climate change, India quickly becomes Exhibit A. Like other developing countries, it seems stuck in a zero-sum game where it must choose between fast economic growth to bring its people out of poverty or protecting the environment. 

Twenty years ago, the health care industry produced more toxic dioxin emissions than any other business sector, because of medical waste incinerators. Then environmental health advocate Gary Cohen decided to try to clean things up. His efforts have now won him a 2015 MacArthur 'genius' fellowship.

Chris Caya/WBFO News

Legislation proposed by Sen. Tim Kennedy would help keep a toxic chemical out of New York's fresh water supply. Kennedy is proposing a ban on the sale of products containing the anti-microbial chemical.

China, the biggest emitter of global warming gases, announced it would soon implement a nationwide cap-and-trade program, and partner with the US, the world’s second biggest emitter, on other ways to reduce emissions.  

According to Jennifer Morgan, the director of the Climate Change Program at the World Resources Institute, the new commitments from China and its willingness to join forces with the US are significant.

Fall leaf peeping season in full swing

Oct 20, 2015
Elizabeth Licata

The air is getting crisper and the days are getting shorter, sure signs that fall has arrived in Western New York. One of the season's most spectacular visuals is the changing colors of leaves on area trees. WBFO contributor Elizabeth Licata, editor-in-chief of Buffalo Spree magazine, has some advice for leaf peepers on where to find the region's best displays of autumn foliage.

An Amazon tribe fights back against illegal logging

Oct 19, 2015

The Ka’apor tribe of Maranhao, Brazil, which depends on the Amazon rainforest for its livelihood and culture, is using both traditional and high-tech methods to fight back against illegal logging in their territory.

Invasive species threaten native grasslands in the Pacific Northwest

Oct 19, 2015

Several years ago, on a hillside in southeastern Washington state, botanist Mark Darrach found three rare species of flowers, previously unknown to science. Then, not long afterward, he discovered something else: a nasty invasive grass that threatens to overtake the entire landscape.

The King of Coal On Trial

Oct 18, 2015

Former Massey Energy CEO Don Blankenship is on trial in connection with the deadly 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster in West Virginia. Mother Jones writer Tim Murphy recently profiled the coal baron, and speaks with host Steve Curwood about how this one man came to gain and then lose so much power over West Virginia’s economy, politics, and environment. (published October 16, 2015)

Beyond the Headlines

Oct 18, 2015

In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra warns host Steve Curwood that though an overnight deep freeze as portrayed in the movie “Day After Tomorrow” is impossible, Atlantic sea currents seem to be changing. He also describes Donald Trump’s recent anti-wind farm campaign near his Scottish golf resort. Traveling back in the history annals, we remember two prominent tales of whales. (published October 16, 2015)