Environment

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

The most powerful hurricane ever recorded in the eastern Pacific will make a "potentially catastrophic landfall" in southwestern Mexico Friday, the National Weather Service says. Hurricane Patricia is bringing winds that now top 200 mph; it's expected to strike Friday afternoon or evening.

Susy Morris / Creative Commons

Being an Italian-American from Waterbury, Connecticut who likes to cook, I eat a lot of garlic. Luckily for me, growing garlic is almost as easy as eating it. 

Editor's Note: In some cities, transportation of the future may resemble the transportation of the past. From Washington, D.C., to Guangzhou, China, cities are looking to streetcars. NPR's Franklyn Cater looks at the struggles to revive them in Washington, while Anthony Kuhn examines the new technology that's up and running in Guangzhou.

New streetcars glide along tracks set into a grassy strip along the Pearl River in southern Guangzhou city. The first tramline covers five miles in the city's up-and-coming Haizhu district.

Every other Saturday, a huge semi truck with a 42-foot trailer pulls up in a parking lot in Putnam, Connecticut. Amid the barking of dogs in the background, a burly man named Greg Mahle hops out.

For the past 10 years, Mahle has made it his mission to find homes for rescue dogs. He brings them up from the South to what he calls “forever families” here in the North. He estimates he has saved some 50,000 dogs.

Chris Lewis flickr.com/photos/chrissam42/10024722525 / Creative Commons

Environmental officials in Connecticut are trying to preserve 21 percent of the state's land as open space in the next eight years. So far, the state is making ample progress toward the goal.

Few images can put life's trivialities into perspective quite like the sight of our planet in the interminable blackness of space.

And at the very least, it's a cool view.

On Monday, NASA announced that this view will be available every day on a new website dedicated to publishing images from a satellite camera 1 million miles away from Earth.

Is Summer Foliage in Connecticut’s Future?

Oct 19, 2015
Emily Prince flickr.com/photos/emilyprince / Creative Commons

Changing leaf colors in New England can be beautiful to behold at this time of year. But since it’s an annual biological event, the weather can have a big influence over when it happens, and just how colorful it can be.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Since the dawn of the steam engine, rails and trains have run through the city of Hartford. But today, the commuter rail corridor in central Connecticut is not so robust. 

The U.S. government is backing away from Arctic offshore oil and gas drilling on two fronts.

On Friday, the Department of the Interior announced the cancellation of two potential lease sales off the Alaskan coast in the Beaufort and Chukchi seas. The Bureau of Safety and Environmental Enforcement also denied lease extension requests from two companies, Shell and Statoil, that were exploring the seas for fossil fuels.

The combustion engine is dominant. In the United States, according to the latest estimates from the Census, more than 76 percent of us get to work alone in a car. The numbers are not quite as lopsided in some big cities, where public transit and other options are more widely available.

Bats in New Hampshire have been struggling with White Nose Syndrome for the past few years. So we sat down with Wildlife Biologist Emily Preston from NH Fish and Game and Endangered Species Biologist Susi von Oettengen from U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service to find out how they’ve been faring recently. 

In one photo, apples, crispy bacon, shredded cheddar cheese and a couple of sprigs of fresh sage rest on a weathered wooden cutting board, ready to be made into savory scones.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Getting around by car is the most common way people get to work and back in Connecticut -- and the state's infrastructure isn't set up as well as it could be to support the volume. For many drivers, that means a challenging commute every day.

Carter Roberts / NASA

A star in the direction of the constellations Cygnus and Lyra has some astronomers scratching their heads. It's pretty run-of-the mill by stellar standards, but what appears to be passing in front of the star is a bit of a mystery.

Shandi-lee Cox flickr.com/photos/shandilee/8983279962 / Creative Commons

Fall is not only for pumpkins, corn stalks, and colorful leaves. It's also bulb planting time. 

Creative Commons / redplanet89

The price to put a solar panel on your home has dropped in recent years, spurring a growth in residential solar energy installations. But at least one researcher said consumers still need to be diligent before deciding to put a panel on their house.

Fracking Opponents Shift Focus To Gas Pipelines

Oct 14, 2015

Hydrofracking has been banned in New York State for nearly a year now,  but opponents of the natural gas extraction process have other concerns, including new pipelines.

Almost a year after its shutdown, the Vermont Yankee nuclear power plant is still sparking debate over safety, spending and the disposal of nuclear waste.

Nuclear Regulatory Commission flickr.com/photos/nrcgov/6517600977/ / Creative Commons

Federal regulators have begun an inspection of the Millstone Unit 2 nuclear power plant to review problems associated with a leaking relief valve.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Follow a stream in Connecticut and eventually, you're likely to encounter a dam.

The Environmental Protection Agency has updated its cleanup plan for the Housatonic River, which was contaminated by chemicals from Pittsfield’s General Electric facility.

The Vermont Council on Rural Development wants the state to become a leader in growing the green economy as scientists, governments and entrepreneurs confront the effects of climate change.

The council is going around the state to gather input on these issues, and held a forum in Brattleboro.

Mars is cold and dry, but billions of years ago, it was cold and wet. That's according to new evidence from NASA's Curiosity rover, which is currently exploring a large crater on Mars.

Dan Schultz / WNPR

Widening highways can be a controversial topic. Some say it just encourages congestion, but the governor said it’ll improve the state's bottom line.

Frenchtowner / Creative Commons

Pumpkins line farm stands and garden centers along with mums and corn stalks this time of year. Soon, that age-old tradition of pumpkin carving will happen, but did you know the first Jack-o’-Lantern was actually a turnip?

It’s October, and it’s supposed to be foliage season. But the splendor of the foliage in Northern New England isn’t what it used to be. Climate change, local pollution, invasive species, disease and development have all conspired to change the multicolored landscape to make it less so. NHPR's Peter Biello spoke with David Brooks, a reporter for The Concord Monitor and writer at GraniteGeek.org

Patrick Lynch/Yale University

Earth is home to thousands of different species of birds with an amazing array of behaviors, body types, and colors. For biologists studying evolution, that diversity has presented a fundamental question: How did so many different types of birds evolve? And how do they relate? 

General Electric says it has completed its sixth and final year of dredging sediment contaminated with polychlorinated biphenyls from the upper Hudson River.

Investigation Probes Amtrak Derailment In Vermont

Oct 7, 2015

Federal investigators are probing the derailment of a Washington, D.C.-bound Amtrak train in Vermont that left seven people hurt this week. The train carrying 98 passengers and four crew members derailed at about 10:30 Monday morning.

Wikimedia Commons

As NASA contemplates more voyages exploring our inner solar system, it’s tapping the talents of some scientists here in Connecticut. One scientist hopes to send a probe to Venus.

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