Environment

Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 23, 2014

One for the Birds of Connecticut (Again)

Connecticut's state bird: the American robin.
Credit Ken Douglas / Creative Commons

It’s an hour for the birds! We are joined by bird lovers and experts to discuss the state of the bird population in our state and to answer your burning bird questions. We also check in with our environmental reporter Patrick Skahill about his recent bird-related reporting.

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Bardarbunga!
1:39 pm
Mon September 22, 2014

Massive Volcanic Eruption Is Making Iceland Grow

A plane flies over the Bardarbunga volcano as it spews lava and smoke in southeast Iceland on Sept. 14. The Bardarbunga volcano system has been rocked by hundreds of tremors a day since mid-August, prompting fears the volcano could explode.
Bernard Meric AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 1:59 pm

The tiny, island nation of Iceland is in the middle of a growth spurt. For the past month, the country's Bardarbunga volcano has been churning out lava at a prodigious rate. And the eruption shows no signs of abating.

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Bridgeport
9:40 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Disclosure of Chemicals Sought After Bridgeport Factory Fire

The smoldering remains of the Rowayton Trading Company factory warehouse building at 2201-2215 Seaview Avenue in Bridgeport on September 12.
Ebong Udoma WSHU

Bridgeport officials are calling for more disclosure of industrial chemicals following the release of chemicals in a factory fire. 

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Space
8:43 am
Mon September 22, 2014

NASA: MAVEN Spacecraft Safely Circling Mars

Artist concept of MAVEN spacecraft in orbit around Mars.
NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 10:44 am

NASA's MAVEN spacecraft conducted a 33-minute burn of its six main engines to ease into an orbit around Mars after a nearly yearlong, 442 million-mile voyage from Earth. The probe's mission is to study the red planet's atmosphere.

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Space
8:02 am
Mon September 22, 2014

Mission To Study Mars' Climate Enters Red Planet's Orbit

In this artist concept provided by NASA, the MAVEN spacecraft approaches Mars on a mission to study its upper atmosphere.
AP

Originally published on Sun September 21, 2014 10:41 pm

This Sunday night, we headed back to Mars: NASA's MAVEN spacecraft fired its six main engines, slowing down enough so it could be captured by the gravity of the red planet and go into orbit.

MAVEN, which stands for Mars Atmosphere and Volatile Evolution, is a distinctly un-sexy name for a project as cool as a sojourn to Mars. But whatever it's called, the probe is on a mission that should be of interest to everyone who likes living on Earth.

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Climate March
8:46 am
Sun September 21, 2014

Large Protests In Hundreds Of Cities Vent Ire Over Climate Change

Demonstrators gather near Columbus Circle before the start of the People's Climate March in New York Sunday. Organizers are hoping 100,000 people worldwide might participate in the rally.
Craig Ruttle AP

Originally published on Mon September 22, 2014 8:07 am

Streets in New York City and other towns were taken over by marchers Sunday in what organizers called the largest climate change protest in history. The People's Climate March was timed to draw the notice of world leaders gathering for this week's U.N. Climate Summit.

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Climate March
4:24 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Climate Marchers Hope to Pressure World Leaders to Combat Global Warming

Organizers say Sunday's People's Climate March in NYC will be the largest climate change protest in history.
peoplesclimate.org

Connecticut is expected to be well-represented at Sunday's People's Climate March in New York City.

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Massachusetts
12:11 pm
Fri September 19, 2014

Report Urges National Limits On Power Plant Emissions

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 9:36 pm

On the eve of the United Nations Climate Summit next week in New York, a Massachusetts environmental group called for aggressive limits on power plant emissions.

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Space Travel
4:37 am
Fri September 19, 2014

How NASA's New Spaceships Stack Up

The new capsules are being built by Boeing and SpaceX. They look similar, but there are differences.
SpaceX, The Boeing Company

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 10:24 pm

Earlier this week NASA announced that two private companies will build spaceships to take astronauts to the International Space Station. NASA hopes that both models will eventually be used by space tourists to get into orbit. Which got us wondering, which one would we rather fly in?

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Cities
4:13 am
Fri September 19, 2014

Some On Staten Island Opt For Buyout Of 'Houses That Don't Belong'

New York state is buying homes like this one in Staten Island's Fox Beach neighborhood as part of a Hurricane Sandy recovery project in the hopes that demolishing them will help nature return and provide a barrier to future storm surges.
Matthew Schuerman WNYC

Originally published on Fri September 19, 2014 8:30 am

Staten Island's Fox Beach neighborhood used to be a working-class area with about 180 homes, mostly small bungalows. Fox Beach is — or rather was — a few hundred feet from the Atlantic Ocean, and after Hurricane Sandy hit in 2012, homeowners decided their neighborhood was dangerous in terms of natural disasters and too expensive because of the rising cost of flood insurance.

So the state has been tearing down the homes.

Bill Bye's home at 16 Kissam Ave. was a recent one to go.

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Cities
6:38 pm
Thu September 18, 2014

A Coastal Paradise Confronts Its Watery Future

Half the land in the city of Satellite Beach is only 6 feet above the waterline.
Jon Hamilton NPR

Originally published on Thu September 18, 2014 6:59 pm

Dan Reiter, 37, is a long-board surfer and contractor who used to live in Tampa, Fla. Then he discovered the surf breaks along a stretch of coast south of Cape Canaveral. "It's one of the most beautiful places in the world to live and surf and raise your kids," says Reiter, 37, as we watch head-high waves roll into Hightower Beach.

But there's trouble in this coastal paradise. It's on a low-lying barrier island that's getting lower as sea level rises. So the cities here are looking for ways to keep the water at bay or retreat from it.

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Springfield
6:43 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Climate Action Planners Confront Biomass Project

Originally published on Wed September 17, 2014 6:16 pm

Activists who have been working for months on a climate change plan for Springfield, Massachusetts say they must factor in an unwanted development — the possible construction of a wood-burning power plant in the city.

Neighborhood representatives, community organizers, and people from health-focused organizations have been brainstorming ways to improve the environment and reduce greenhouse gases with a goal to present a plan to the Springfield City Council by the end of the year.

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Zoning the Morning Star
1:15 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Environmental Worries Pepper Zoning Debate in "Satan's Kingdom"

A proposed industrial development could rezone nearly 60 acres in Canton and New Hartford's Satan's Kingdom.
Wikimedia Commons

A proposed industrial development on 60 acres near the Farmington River is generating pushback from residents in New Hartford and Canton.

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Springfield
6:27 am
Mon September 15, 2014

Mayor Blocks Appeal Against Biomass Plant

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:26 pm

The mayor of Springfield, Massachusetts won’t authorize an appeal to block construction of a wood-burning power plant.

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Warehouse Fire
2:56 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Bridgeport Fire Leads to Environmental Damage

No serious injuries have been reported in the fire at a Bridgeport industrial building.
Titus YouTube

A fishing ban has been imposed on all commercial and recreational fishing from Norwalk to Milford until the environmental impact of a massive overnight fire in Bridgeport can be evaluated. The fire has also forced evacuation of residents and cut electrical power.

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Space Weather
12:15 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

Solar Flare Could Trigger Auroras Tonight For Northern U.S.

NASA's Solar Dynamics Observatory spacecraft captures Wednesday's solar flare eruption.
NASA/SDO

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 1:19 pm

Earth is in the line of fire of a powerful solar flare that has already begun hitting us, but most of the energy from the Coronal Mass Ejection, or CME, will skirt safely by, scientists say, with major disruptions to the electric grid, satellites and communications unlikely.

But if you're lucky — and far enough north — you might see a nice display of aurora borealis.

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Killer Whales
6:47 pm
Thu September 11, 2014

SeaWorld Hopes New Orca Habitats Will Stem A Tide Of Criticism

Visitors watch an orca performance at SeaWorld in San Diego this year. The company has seen attendance slip in the year since the release of a documentary film critical of the company's captive whale program.
Mike Blake Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri September 12, 2014 9:00 am

It's been a strong business year for the nation's theme parks, with a notable exception: SeaWorld.

The company, which has parks in San Diego, San Antonio and Orlando, Fla., saw its attendance drop in recent months. The company blames that, in part, on fallout from Blackfish, a documentary film that's critical of SeaWorld's treatment of its captive killer whales.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu September 11, 2014

Response, Relief, and Rebuilding in the Wake of Disaster

The aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
Wavian Creative Commons

September 11, 2001 changed a lot about America, including many changes that, by now, you barely notice. So did the Hurricanes and tropical storms --Katrina, Irene, and Sandy -- all of which reshaped how and where we live.

The shooting spree that left 26 dead at Sandy Hook Elementary school was the most focused of tragedies, but we’re still adapting and coming to terms with what that disaster means to us.

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Asia
5:55 pm
Wed September 10, 2014

Nepal Struggles To Help Villages Washed Away In Floods

Families carry their belongings while moving to higher ground in the Bardia region of Nepal during the flooding on Aug. 15.
Bhabuk Yogi AP

Originally published on Mon September 15, 2014 8:26 am

In August, monsoon rains brought flooding and landslides to Nepal on a massive scale.

Three days of constant rains inundated valleys and huge swaths of land came tumbling down mountainsides in the western part of the country.

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LOBSTAH
10:37 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Connecticut Lobstermen See End to Catches in Long Island Sound

Lobster traps in Mystic.
Richard Taylor Creative Commons

Fishermen in Long Island Sound won't be allowed to catch lobster for the next three months because of a fishing ban aimed at increasing population numbers.

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Wildlife
10:14 am
Tue September 9, 2014

More Than Half Of U.S. Bird Species Threatened By Climate Change

A Baltimore oriole perches near apple blossoms in Mendota Heights, Minn.
Universal Images Group via Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 9, 2014 8:33 am

People in Maryland love their Baltimore orioles — so much so that their Major League Baseball team bears the name of the migrating bird. Yet, by 2080, there may not be any orioles left in Maryland. They migrate each year and, according to a new report, could soon be forced to nest well north of the Mid-Atlantic state.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue September 9, 2014

Bringing Space Closer to Home

View of the International Space Station from Space Shuttle Discovery.
NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center Creative Commons

This hour, the final frontier comes closer to home. Waterbury native Richard Mastracchio is a NASA astronaut who just returned from six months on the International . He’s done nine space walks - leaving the space station, usually to do maintenance. He’ll talk about his experiences and his amazing twitter feed, full of photos from space.

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WAMC News
10:21 am
Mon September 8, 2014

City Councilors To Meet On Biomass Permit Appeal

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 12:26 pm

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts will hold a special meeting on whether to continue the fight over a wood-burning power plant.

Facing a Sept. 15th deadline to file an appeal to the court ruling that restored the building permit for the controversial plant, city council meeting notices have been posted for both Sept. 10 and 11.   City Councilor Tim Allen opposes the biomass plant, but is uncertain if he’ll vote to appeal last month’s decision by the Massachusetts Land Court.

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Blue Whales
10:12 am
Sun September 7, 2014

U.S. Pacific Blue Whales Seen Rebounding Close To Historic Levels

Off the coast of Southern California, a crowd watches a blue whale rise to the surface earlier this summer. A new study says the population of blue whales off the West Coast is close to historic levels.
Nick Ut AP

Originally published on Sun September 7, 2014 11:16 pm

Decades after the threat of extinction led to them being protected from whalers, there are now about 2,200 blue whales off the West Coast, according to a new study. That's roughly 97 percent of historical levels, say researchers at the University of Washington who call their findings a conservation success story.

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri September 5, 2014

Diverse, Durable, and Edible: Bamboo

Bamboo is one of the most versatile plants in the world.
Héctor García Creative Commons

Bamboo is a lot of things: fast growing, durable, edible, and attractive. Coming up, we take a look at this increasingly popular wood with bamboo experts and enthusiasts. What makes bamboo special?

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Giant Tracts of Panel
8:20 am
Fri September 5, 2014

A Hartford Eyesore Turned Solar Oasis

The solar array is on top of 10 million tons of capped-off waste in Hartford's north end.
Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority

A new solar array in Hartford is the first solar-energy project to be built atop a closed landfill in the state. At peak capacity, it's expected to power about 1,000 homes per day.

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WAMC News
3:00 pm
Wed September 3, 2014

Councilors Weigh Court Challenge To Proposed Biomass Plant

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 1:31 pm

The city council in Springfield, Massachusetts is considering whether to appeal a court ruling that reinstated the building permit for a wood-burning power plant.

Springfield City Council President Mike Fenton said he will poll the council members to determine if they want to hold a special meeting to vote on whether to appeal last months’ ruling by the Massachusetts Land Court.  Fenton said councilors met privately with an attorney this week to discuss the pros and cons of a possible appeal.

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Climate Change
3:30 am
Wed September 3, 2014

Old Ship Logs Reveal Adventure, Tragedy And Hints About Climate

Logbook for the Jeannette, a ship that became trapped in ice, dated Sept. 5, 1879.
Courtesy National Archives and Records Administration

Originally published on Wed September 3, 2014 8:36 am

What can yesterday's weather tell us about how the climate is changing today? That's what an army of volunteers looking at old ships' logs is trying to answer through the Old Weather project.

One of those volunteers — or citizen scientists, as the project calls them — is Kathy Wendolkowski of Gaithersburg, Md.

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WAMC News
8:35 am
Tue September 2, 2014

Proposed Pipeline Expansion Prompts Indian Point Analysis

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 2:25 pm

The Federal Energy Regulatory Commission has put out for public comment a draft environmental impact statement concerning a proposed pipeline expansion project in the Northeast. The expansion includes property belonging to the Indian Point Nuclear power plant.

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Extinction
2:23 pm
Mon September 1, 2014

The Flight Of The Passenger Pigeon, Now 100 Years Extinct

Martha (right), an extinct passenger pigeon, at the Smithsonian's Natural history Museum in Washington. The passenger pigeon was once the world's most plentiful bird. Sept. 1 is the centenary of the bird's extinction.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Mon September 1, 2014 2:56 pm

The Cincinnati Zoo held a commemorative event; the London Zoo stopped the clock outside its bird house at noon. The object of their memorials: Martha, the last passenger pigeon, who died exactly a century ago at the Cincinnati Zoo.

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