environment

Jessica Lucia flickr.com/photos/theloushe / Creative Commons

Hunting for fireflies at dusk is a staple of summertime fun, but for years, no knew exactly how the bugs emitted their signature glow. Now, new research claims to have the answer. 

Ben Byrne / Creative Commons

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service would like to acquire more than 160,000 acres of land in 22 locations in the four states along the Connecticut River.

Cindy See / Creative Commons

This fall flower is a native of Central America, but the Aztec grew them for food and medicine. It wasn’t until the 1800’s that Europeans starting hybridizing this plant for its flowers and now there are over 50,000 named varieties of dahlias.

Some 30,000 African elephants die each year as a result of poaching, and many of their ivory tusks wind up hundreds or thousands of miles away. Investigative journalist Bryan Christy wanted to track the route of the poached tusks, so he commissioned a taxidermist to create two fake ivory tusks, which he embedded with specially designed tracking devices.

"These tusks ... operate really like additional investigators, like members of our team, and almost like a robocop," Christy tells Fresh Air's Terry Gross.

Set your alarm clocks. The Perseid meteor shower, the annual celestial lightshow that Space.com com calls the most widely observed and dependable meteor display of the year, will peak tonight and early tomorrow morning.

Börkur Sigurbjörnsson / Creative Commons

Today, our show about poo.

First, the 'no-poo' movement. Before the last century, people washed their hair a lot less often than we do today. A little Castille soap, an egg yoke for extra shine, and one hundred strokes with a boar bristle brush would do the trick. It wasn't until John Breck introduced his golden shampoo that everyone wanted to have the long lustrous locks of a Breck Girl. Today, 'no-poo' converts are going back to the basics and they say they're hair has never looked so good.

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Interstate fishery managers on the Atlantic coast are signing off on a management plan for a species of crab that is growing in value and volume of catch.

Where Presidential Candidates Stand On Climate Change

Aug 11, 2015

Last week, President Obama released a plan to cut carbon emissions from power plants. Climate change has also been cropping up on the presidential campaign trail — both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders have released their own proposals.

DEEP

Connecticut officials will be unveiling plans to make wide-ranging improvements to the Silver Sands State Park in Milford.

In an event that has led to health warnings and turned a river orange, the Environmental Protection Agency says one of its safety teams accidentally released contaminated water from a mine into the Animas River in southwest Colorado.

The spill, which sent heavy metals, arsenic and other contaminants into a waterway that flows into the San Juan National Forest, occurred Wednesday. The EPA initially said 1 million gallons of wastewater had been released, but that figure has risen sharply.

From member station KUNC, Stephanie Paige Ogburn reports for our Newscast unit:

Cynthia Fowx / The Nature Conservancy

A high school internship from the Nature Conservancy is working to improve students’ understanding of the natural world.

Take a close look at a house cat's eyes and you'll see pupils that look like vertical slits. But a tiger has round pupils — like humans do. And the eyes of other animals, like goats and horses, have slits that are horizontal.

Scientists have now done the first comprehensive study of these three kinds of pupils. The shape of the animal's pupil, it turns out, is closely related to the animal's size and whether it's a predator or prey.

Sanofi Pasteur / Creative Commons

Officials say mosquitoes in six Connecticut towns have tested positive for West Nile virus.

Sonny Abesamis / Creative Commons

This time of year, there’s a bevy of tomatoes, cucumbers, squash, beans, and other veggies to eat and share. Even giving them away is a challenge, as I see my neighbor cringe when I walk up their driveway with yet another gift of zucchini. 

M 93 / Creative Commons

You don’t have to be an expert to see the auto industry is finally back on track. After the financial crisis several years ago and the $80 billion government bailout of GM and Chrysler, car manufacturers around the country seem to be doing quite well on their own these days.

James Gathany / Creative Commons

Connecticut health officials have found West Nile virus in mosquitoes in three towns.

Natalia Rivera / Creative Commons

It's summer and 90 degrees -- so why am I freezing at the office?

A recent New York Times article on air conditioning has sparked a debate on whether air conditioning is a necessity or an indulgence.

Some say air conditioning has been a part of our lives for less than a century, yet we increasingly rely on it as soon as the weather makes us feel the slightest bit uncomfortable. We're not only losing our ability to adapt, the resulting green-house gas emissions are contributing to climate change. And public buildings are way colder than they need to be for comfort.

Erdenebayar / Pixabay

The commissioner of Connecticut's Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said he's confident the state can comply with President Barack Obama's plan to impose stricter carbon dioxide limits on states.

An epic legal battle is about to begin over President Obama's plan to address climate change, in which the Environmental Protection Agency is putting in place new limits on greenhouse gases from power plants. Critics argue the plan is on shaky legal ground, but the administration says it's prepared to defend the regulations in court.

In announcing the "Clean Power Plan" on Monday, Obama predicted some of the arguments his critics would make.

Common Ground

Common Ground is a bit of a misnomer -- there’s not a whole lot that’s common about this high school. Started in 1997, the school uses agriculture as a key component of its curriculum.

Pesticide Drift Threatens Organic Farms

Jul 31, 2015

Chert Hollow Farm sits nestled between rows of tall trees and a nearby stream in central Missouri. Eric and Joanna Reuter have been running the organic farm since 2006. That means they don't plant genetically modified crops and can only use a few approved kinds of chemicals and fertilizers.

"We've traditionally raised about an acre and a half of pretty intensively managed produce, so it's a very productive acre and a half," Eric Reuter says.

Jimmy_Joe / Creative Commons

This iridescent, copper-colored beetle hails from Japan, has been around since 1916, and is not a picky eater. Japanese beetles feast on grapes, cherries, raspberries, cannas, basil, roses, and lots of other plants. They often feed en masse, devastating plants. 

Wikimedia Commons

On a recent visit to Kenya, President Obama proposed changes to U.S. laws governing the sale of ivory. 

The measure is largely in response to a poaching crisis that's pushing elephants, rhinos, and other species to the brink of extinction.

Connecticut was once a hub for the global ivory trade, so musicians and museums are wondering what the future holds for their ivory-containing instruments, art, and antiques.

Ed Yourdon / Flickr Creative Commons

It’s the middle of summer and for those lucky enough to live in a coastal state, like us here in Connecticut, that means it's beach time! Whether you’re looking for an inexpensive outing with the family, to catch a tan, or simply to get away from the daily grind, beaches offer it all.

LOLren / Creative Commons

White House officials hosted 13 of the largest companies from across the American economy on Monday to discuss ways business can help reduce America’s greenhouse gas emissions 26 percent over the next ten years. 

The state of Vermont and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission don't always see eye to eye. The state and the feds disagreed over the future of the Vermont Yankee nuclear plant when the Vernon reactor was operating. And now that the plant is shut down, the state has challenged the federal agency over emergency planning and decommissioning.

Connecticut Wildlife Plan Available for Public Comment

Jul 27, 2015
Shane Kemp / Creative Commons

Connecticut's 2015 draft Wildlife Action Plan, which outlines future wildlife conservation efforts in the state, is available for public review.

The Department of Energy and Environmental Protection will accept comment on the document through August 21.

The Fish Creek Fire in Interior Alaska isn't much to look at. It's about 7,500 acres in size, sitting about an hour south of Fairbanks near the twisty Tanana River. The main fire front — the made-for-TV part, with torching trees and pulses of orange heat — flamed out more than a week ago, leaving behind a quiet charred landscape.

More than 1 million people die in traffic deaths around the world each year — that's drivers, passengers, cyclists and pedestrians combined.

It's a problem in the United States: There are 11.4 deaths a year per 100,000 population. It's a problem in low-income countries like Zambia, where the comparable figure is 23.8 deaths. And it's a huge problem in the middle-income world. The Dominican Republic records 41.7 deaths per 100,000, and was ranked in 2013 as the most dangerous country in the world for drivers.

Deepwater Wind started to put steel in the water this week for the Block Island Wind Farm. Island residents have mixed feelings about the construction.  

Susan Torrey lives on Block Island all year. She and her husband have been waiting to see visible signs of what is expected to be the nation’s first offshore wind farm.

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