Environment

WNPR's Environmental Reporting Initiative is made possible by United Technologies Corporation.

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In a major environmental statement, Pope Francis said cap and trade programs aren't effective at solving global climate change. But New England has made cap and trade a big part of its environmental policy. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Connecticut’s dangerous, winding roads usually restrict Nutmeggers to their cars when they’re getting around rural parts of the state. So, when it comes to the carless -- the elderly, the disabled, and the poor -- how are they able to get where they need to go? 

The federal government's new rules aimed at preventing explosive oil train derailments are sparking a backlash from all sides.

The railroads, oil producers and shippers say some of the new safety requirements are unproven and too costly, yet some safety advocates and environmental groups say the regulations aren't strict enough and still leave too many people at risk.

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Pope Francis's highly anticipated statement on the environment says climate change is happening, but the question is whether or not rank-and-file Catholics will accept the Pope's idea.

James Brooks / Creative Commons

Fishery regulators are in process to approve a plan to reconfigure closed fishing areas on Georges Bank, a 10,000 square mile area of elevated sea floor off the coast of New England.  

davejdoe / Flickr Creative Commons

The idea that fishing for fun at your favorite lake could change how a fish evolves is relatively new, but Jan-Michael Hessenauer says it's real. He says fish seem to be developing slower metabolisms. That means they're less hungry, and less eager to take the bait from a fisherman.

In April this year, on Earth Day, Pope Francis urged everyone to see the world through the eyes of God, as a garden to cultivate.

"May the way people treat the Earth not be guided by greed, manipulation, and exploitation, but rather may it preserve the divine harmony between creatures and creation, also in the service of future generations," he said.

State Acquires Development Rights for North Canaan Farm

Jun 15, 2015
Lisa Ruokis / Creative Commons

A 220-acre farm in North Canaan is the latest to be protected under Connecticut's Farmland Preservation Program.

Sherman Geronimo-Tan / Creative Commons

Is scientific progress suffering from a lack of creativity?

This hour, we talk to the author of The Creativity Crisis: Reinventing Science to Unleash Possibility to find out how increasingly cautious funding decisions are impacting scientific innovation and discovery. 

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Hunting with a bow and arrow on Sundays could soon be legal on private properties in Connecticut. The state says it's a necessary move to control deer populations, especially in Fairfield County.

The engineer at the controls of the Amtrak train that derailed in Philadelphia last month was not using his cellphone during the time he was operating train No. 188.

The National Transportation Safety Board on Wednesday released a long-awaited analysis of cellphone records to determine whether the engineer was distracted at the time of the May 12 accident. Eight people died and some 200 others were injured in the derailment.

The NTSB states:

The opening date for the MGM Springfield casino may be pushed back by as much as a year

Springfield city officials Tuesday disclosed that MGM is seeking to coordinate the opening of the casino with the completion of the reconstruction of I-91.  The highway project is not expected to wrap up until 2018, a year after the projected opening date for what would be the state’s first resort casino.

An MGM spokesperson said the company planned to discuss the project timetable with the Massachusetts Gaming Commission at a June 25th meeting.

DearEdward / Creative Commons

CTfastrak will expand to East Hartford and Manchester by the summer of 2016. The bus rapid transit system currently runs along a 9.4-mile bus only route between New Britain and Hartford, and Governor Dannel Malloy announced Monday that the state's new two-year budget includes funding to expand CTfastrak east of the Connecticut River.

Chion Wolf

Squaring growing demand for locally grown food with new national farm regulations has been a point of frustration for many in agriculture and farm officials from around the northeast are meeting in New Haven this week to talk about it.

slack12 / Creative Commons

The results of a year-long study about the health of the Long Island Sound were released on Monday. 

 

The Integration and Application Network at the University of Maryland conducted the study. The “Long Island Sound Ecosystem Health Report Card” was initially funded by the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation's Long Island Sound Futures Fund in January 2014.

Winter Conditions Ideal for Start of Strawberry Season

Jun 8, 2015
James Lee / Creative Commons

Connecticut's strawberry growers are predicting they'll have a robust crop despite a dry spring.

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Biologists think they have identified a possible cause for a massive fish-die off that's resulted in thousands of fish washing ashore in Connecticut. 

Many investigators say Positive Train Control (PTC), an automated safety system, could have prevented last month's Amtrak train derailment. Amtrak officials have said they will have PTC installed throughout the northeast corridor by the end of this year, which is the deadline mandated by Congress.

But the vast majority of other commuter railroad systems, which provided nearly 500 million rides in 2014, won't be able to fully implement positive train control for several more years.

Irina Pechkareva / Flickr Creative Commons

Patterns are everywhere: both in the wonders of nature and in the man-made world. They exist in the formations of crystals and clouds, in art and music, and in math and science. It is therefore no surprise that we, as inhabitants of this pattern filled world, are wired to find them.

And it's not only humans that have this ability; pattern recognition is a skill shared by all mammals. Since the first primates learned that certain weather patterns meant a storm and others meant it was time to hunt, life on this planet has both created and responded to patterns for survival. 

Federal and local officials Monday highlighted the rebuilding and recovery that occurred since a powerful tornado tore into western Massachusetts four years ago.

   Top officials with the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development got a first- hand look at the new homes built, businesses re-opened, public parks renovated, and trees planted along the 6.2 mile path the tornado carved through several neighborhoods in Springfield.  

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

When Alice Shea decided to start biking to work, it wasn’t easy at first. The ride from her house in East Windsor to her job at Travelers Insurance in Hartford was about 17 miles, and at the time, she wasn’t an active cyclist. 

Shea thought that taking a local bus line part of the way until she built up her stamina would be the easiest solution. There was only one complication: in 2006, there was no place for Shea to put her bike on the bus. 

LiveNation

The Oakdale Theater and the town of Wallingford are at odds over noise levels.  

Chion Wolf / WNPR

Legislators are weighing in on a proposal by Governor Dannel Malloy to cut funding from the Community Investment Act -- a program established years ago to fund open space and land preservation in the state.

DMAHENDRA / Creative Commons

With a week left in the legislative session environmental watchdogs are keeping close tabs on budget dealings at the state capitol and say, for now at least, things aren't looking as bad as they did a few months ago.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

If you've ever moved, you know how tricky it can be to transport a mattress. They're bulky, tough to carry, and take up lots of space. They're also really hard to throw out.

Now Connecticut is looking to solve that problem by introducing the nation's first-ever mattress recycling program. The goal is to get old beds off the curb and into the renewable waste stream.

Flickr Creative Commons / Nanagyei

Two graduates of the Yale School of Forestry are hoping to make it easier for residents to conserve land and open space. 

Updated at 4:38 p.m. ET

Storms continued to move through Texas and Oklahoma, bringing tornadoes and dumping torrential rains that led to deadly flooding.

David Goehring / Creative Commons

With the latter half of the 20th century came the rise of a new land conservation movement. Private, non-profit land trusts became increasingly popular among those interested in preserving land across the United States. 

Understanding Hierarchies in Nature and Society

May 20, 2015
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Social structures, in almost all cases, are defined by some form of hierarchy. Whether in academics, sports, religion, business, or politics, there's usually someone at the top and others whose goal it is to get there. But while it's easy to think that we've designed our world to be this way, the truth may be that we had no choice.

Bruce Fingerhood / Creative Commons

The recent derailment of an Amtrak passenger train in Philadelphia has brought attention across the northeast to safety on the rail lines. A computerized system to slow or stop trains automatically, called Positive Train Control, could help avoid accidents like this in the future.

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