Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 3:18 pm
Air pollution is clogging the skies of our planet. Now one scientist thinks Earth may be just one of many polluted worlds â€” and that searching for extraterrestrial smog may actually be a good way to search for alien intelligence.
"People refer to 'little green men,' but ETs that are detected by this method should not be labeled as green," says Avi Loeb, an astronomer at Harvard University.
The idea of finding alien polluters may be a bit of a long shot, but Loeb says it's possible.
Ever wonder what happens to all the stuff you throw away?
Chances are, you've watched it get hurled into the back of a garbage or recycling truck. But what happens after it leaves the curb? Well, the story of trash is a lot more fascinating and complex than you probably think.Â
A new report says nitrogen pollution discharged into Long Island Sound continues an overall decline. That's good news for marine life because too much nitrogen can fuel the growth of algae, which dies, settles on the ocean floor, and decays, using up oxygen in the process.
The former CEO of a New London company has pleaded guilty to violating the Clean Water Act. According to federal prosecutors, the infractions date back to 1986 and involve toxic discharges into the city's sewer system.
A new project at Eastern Connecticut State University is looking at arsenic contamination in privately-owned wells. The question of where that arsenic is coming from has attracted surprisingly littleÂ attention, until now.Â
New federal regulations announced Monday aim to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants by 30 percent by 2030.
The draft proposal from the Environmental Protection Agency has sparked opposition from industry groups who say the changes would be prohibitively expensive. But the proposal's backers say the rules are needed to cut carbon pollution that scientists say contributes to climate change.
Inspections in New Haven harbor have led to $1.2 million in fines for a Singapore-based shipping company. The penalty was tied to illegal dumping in international waters using something called a "magic pipe."
Workers use excavators with environmental clamshell buckets mounted on flat, anchored platforms to dredge the river. The PCB-contaminated sediment is emptied onto 35-foot-wide, 195-foot-long floating barges.
Connecticut lawmakers are considering a ban of waste from â€śfracking,â€ť the controversial method of obtaining natural gas cheaply. This comes less than a year after the state approved a major expansion of its natural gas infrastructure to capitalize on production in nearby states. Now, some are wondering whether Connecticut can avoid the environmental risks of the fracking boom.
Biologist Paul Ehrlich became famous in the 1970s with his book The Population Bomb, which outlined a doomsday scenario in which the worldâ€™s supply of food and resources couldn't keep up with overpopulation.
Hundreds of advocates for prohibiting the storage of wastewater from hydraulic fracturing, or â€śfracking,â€ť as itâ€™s called, delivered petitions with overÂ 5,600 signatures to lawmakers at a rally on Wednesday at the LOB. Though Connecticut doesnâ€™t have the natural resource deposits to engage in the process of digging for natural gas,Â many fear that companies seeking to store the waste created by the process will make their way to into Connecticut from outside the state. They want Governor DannelÂ Malloy and lawmakers to prohibit it.
A new report from the United Nations' panel on climate change says major action is needed, and fast, if policymakers want to limit global warming to acceptable levels.
There's an international target to control climate change: keeping the global temperature rise to just 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels â€” that's 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now says it's technically possible to meet that goal. But doing so will require rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use.
In January, West Virginiaâ€™s Elk River was contaminated by a chemical spill from a nearby coal processing plant, affecting 300,000 local residents. People were without water for days. Now months later, is the water safe to drink?Â
Each time you go to turn on the faucet, flush the toilet, or water the lawn, youâ€™re connecting yourself to a complex water system with nearly two and a half thousand years of history. The structure of our modern network of reservoirs, pipes, and drains owes much of its influence to designs dating back to ancient Rome.Â
A report released by the World Health Organization last week found that some 7 million people died from air pollution exposure in 2012. In other words, one in eight of all global deaths that year resulted from breathing bad air.Â
Today, the WHOÂ considers air pollution to be the single greatest environmental health risk, linking it to cases of asthma, heart disease, stroke, and even cancer.
Connecticut is running a contest to boost sales of electric vehicles: The dealer that sells the most electric cars between now and July gets an award. There's no prize money, but the contest is part of an effort to meet an ambitious quota.
Car salesman Joe Quistorff just sold a plugin hybrid car (a car that can run on either gas or electricity) a few days ago.
"My sales effort was actually fairly simple, fortunately," he said. "These are the kind of people that buy those vehicles."
As we began working on a Colin McEnroe Show about composting, Colin made sure we included Susannah Castle, who runs Blue Earth Compost. She provides pails to subscribers in the Hartford area, and for a monthly fee, picks up the pails full of food scraps and other compostable materials from the household once a week.Â
You may think that composting all your kitchen waste sounds like a good idea, but you probably don't realize how many things really can be composted, what services are available if you can't get yourself organized to do it, and if you do have a compost pile, which animals visit it at night, and for what purpose?
The mayor of Charleston, W.Va., says the company behind the chemical spill that essentially shut down his city for days was run by "a small of group of renegades," who in his opinion knew there were problems with the tanks that leaked dangerous chemicals into the city's water supply.
"I'm not even sure they cared what happened to the public," Danny Jones told Melissa Block on Tuesday's edition of All Things Considered.
Jones said he knows some of the people in charge of Freedom Industries and he considers them "to be a little edgy."
On 'Morning Edition': Ashton Marra reports from West Virginia
Relief is finally arriving for the 300,000 or so people in nine West Virginia counties who haven't been able to drink, cook or clean with their tap water for more than four days.
Officials announced at noon Monday that tests show the level of a potentially harmful chemical have fallen to the point where the water can be turned back on. But, they cautioned that the process of bringing customers back on line will take several days and has to be done systematically.