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Environment

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

The 18-year-old Jane Jacobs picked a lousy time to leave her hometown of Scranton, Pa., and move to New York City.

It was the fall of 1934 and New York was dragging itself through The Great Depression. During that first year in the city, Jacobs, who'd gone to secretarial school, scrounged for work, riding the subway from the Brooklyn apartment she shared with her older sister, Betty, into Manhattan.

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According to a scorecard released on Tuesday by the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy, New York and Connecticut tied for the fifth most energy efficient states in the country. 

The recent death of two right whales in the Gulf of Maine and the discovery of another entangled in fishing gear is bringing renewed attention to the plight of the endangered species.

Last Thursday, a right whale was spotted off Provincetown, Mass., swimming, but entangled in gear. Friday, a dead female whale was seen off Boothbay and towed to shore, where its death was determined to be from stress caused by entanglement. Saturday a dead whale was spotted off Mount Desert Rock, but could not be recovered.

Mystic Aquarium

Mystic Aquarium is hosting its first-ever Florida manatee -- an 800 pound creature rescued last week from the waters of Cape Cod Bay in Falmouth, Massachusetts.

The Commercial Fisheries Research Foundation is kicking off a new project to collect data on black sea bass, a species that has moved north in search of cooler water.

U.S. Native American tribes and Canadian First Nations are banding together to "collectively challenge and resist" proposals to build more pipelines from tar sands in Alberta, Canada. At least 50 First Nations and tribes signed a treaty on Thursday at ceremonies held in Vancouver and Montreal.

Camilo Rueda López flickr.com/photos/kozumel / Creative Commons

Popcorn is not just that buttery, salty snack you buy at movie theaters. It's actually an ancient and nutritious grain.

(This post was updated at 2:11 p.m. ET.)

Puerto Rico's governor, Alejandro García Padilla, has declared a state of emergency over a power outage that at its peak affected 1.5 million customers.

By morning that number had been cut by a couple hundred thousand, but more than a million customers on the island remained without electricity.

Carl M / Creative Commons

Fall foliage season is right around the corner. But will the summer's lack of rain impact the colors we see on trees? 

Marc van der Chijs / Creative Commons

When town officials, planners, and business advocates from across the northeast talk about self-driving cars, one theme emerges: uncertainty.

Get ready, America.

The White House wants you to know that the era of self-driving cars is closer than you might expect. And the federal government is preparing to roll out the rules of the road that officials say are needed to make sure automated vehicles are safe, accessible and efficient. And if done properly, they say the new vehicles will save time, money and lives.

They also say they want to avoid a "patchwork" of regulations that differ from state to state.

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

Walk a few hundred yards into the woods in Durham, Connecticut, and you'll see something that looks like it's out of "Mad Max" -- large trucks, with big wheels, and giant robotic arms, grabbing trees and slicing them down. 

Ken & Nyetta / Flickr Creative Commons

This hour, we look at the impact of climate change on New England's native plant and animal species. We talk with scientists and science journalists, and we hear from you. Have you noticed anything different about the flora and fauna in your backyard? And what can historical records -- like the observations of naturalist Henry David Thoreau -- teach us about our changing environment? 

NOAA

President Barack Obama has signed an order protecting a section of underwater mountains and canyons off New England's coast. It's the first marine national monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

Laura Nolte flickr.com/photos/laura_nolte / Creative Commons

Japanese anemones, or wind flowers, are actually native to China, but were frequently cultivated in Japanese gardens when European explorers first saw them in the 17th century. 

Liz West / Flickr Creative Commons

Colin has a "pet" raccoon that visits his porch. The raccoon will press her tiny paw up against the outstretched palm of Colin's significant other, which rests on the indoor side of the glass. Eventually, the raccoon gets a bit of food because "she" is too cute to resist. The pleased raccoon now visits on a regular basis. Colin fears this cannot end well.

During the Our Ocean conference in Washington, D.C., President Obama announced the creation of the first national marine monument in the Atlantic Ocean.

The floods that hit Louisiana last month were caused by rainfall that was unlike anything seen there in centuries. Most of the southern part of the state was drenched with up to 2 or 3 inches in an hour. A total of 31 inches fell just northeast of Baton Rouge in about three days; 20 parishes were declared federal disaster areas.

Climate scientists and flood managers suspect there could more like that to come — in Louisiana and in other parts of the country.

From anthrax outbreaks in thawing permafrost to rice farms flooded with salty water, climate change seems to play a bigger and bigger role in global health each year.

Fourteen self-driving Ford Fusions idle in front of Uber's Advanced Technologies Center in Pittsburgh.

On each vehicle, dozens of stationary and spinning cameras collect 1.4 million distance measurements per second, guiding the car on its journey.

Beginning Wednesday, the cars will be deployed on Pittsburgh's streets in a striking experiment by Uber to introduce self-driving technology to its passengers.

Lori Mack / WNPR

Rail commuters on the New Haven Line might have a little more space to stretch their legs with the addition of 60 new M-8 train cars, Governor Dannel Malloy announced Tuesday. On ten of those cars, passengers will have the option to buy a drink at a built-in bar.

A more than 160-year-old Arctic mystery has come to resolution: The HMS Terror, a vessel from a doomed Royal Navy exploration to chart an unnavigated portion of the Northwest Passage, has been found, Aleta Brooke, operations manager for the Arctic Research Foundation said.

The Guardian, which first reported the story, said the vessel is in "perfect condition." The paper reports:

Shever & Kimmrs / Creative Commons

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said Rhode Island and Connecticut both had their warmest summers on record this year. As climate change continues to progress, a panel of scientists is arguing there's an urgent need to improve the way we forecast the impact of climate change. 

In North Dakota, work has stopped on one section of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline. Still, over the weekend protesters continued to stream into camps set up near the construction site.

One protest camp is about an hour's drive south of Bismarck. A prairie there is covered with tepees, tents and RVs. Flags from tribes around the country line the dirt road into the camp.

This fruit's botanical name means “food of the gods.” While most of us are familiar with the Asian versions we find in grocery stores in fall, there is a hardier American type too. The fruits ripen around the first frost into sweet, custardy orbs with a hint of clove. It can even be made into beer. What's this fruit? It's the persimmon.

Connecticut DEEP

State environmental police will now carry naloxone, a drug that blocks the effects of opioid overdoses.

Patrick Skahill / WNPR

New federal rules that make it easier for companies to fly drones could mean big benefits for lots of businesses: news organizations, movie makers looking to get that perfect shot, and one group of workers you might not expect: insurance adjusters. 

Ryan Caron King / WNPR

About a year and a half into operation, the state’s first bus rapid transit system CTfastrak has served its four millionth ride, state officials announced last Tuesday.

Spirou42 / Creative Commons

This native fall blooming perennial flower was supposedly was named after the goddess Astraea, who cried for the dead on Earth killed in wars. 

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