Environment

Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri June 6, 2014

Walking Into the Flames: Discussion With Connecticut Firefighters

After thousands of years, the best tool to fight fire is still water.
Jessica Whittle Creative Commons

One of the most basic functions of local government is to protect its citizens. We talk with a panel of local firefighters who do just that.

When a fire breaks out, many Connecticut towns have volunteer forces that go to the rescue. What draws firefighters to this profession that includes a lot more than just fighting fires? Some Connecticut firefighters are even taking it a step further, and are going out west to help fight forest fires.

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Downtown Campus
2:13 pm
Tue June 3, 2014

UConn, City of Hartford Mark Development Agreement

The former Hartford Times building on Prospect Street will be refurbished and incorporated into a UConn Hartford campus.
Peter Morenus UConn

UConn officials and the city of Hartford marked a development agreement milestone on Tuesday. The university is capping an effort to move its West Hartford campus to a new location called UConn Hartford.

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What's in a Name?
5:36 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Study: Americans Less Fearful Of Storms Named After Women

In 1992, Hurricane Andrew destroyed more than 25,000 homes in Florida. But its death toll was far less than "female" storms such as Audrey, Camille and Katrina.
Lynn Sladky AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 5:59 pm

A study published Monday suggests Americans are less afraid of hurricanes with female names.

This is a real study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences — not The Onion.

Researchers at the University of Illinois and Arizona State looked at deaths caused by hurricanes between 1950 — when storms were first named — and 2012.

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Underwater Lab
1:28 pm
Mon June 2, 2014

Jacques Cousteau's Grandson Plans To Spend A Month Underwater

Fabien Cousteau sits inside Aquarius Reef Base in 2012. If he is able to remain under water for 31 days, he will have lasted one day longer than his grandfather, Jacques Cousteau.
Mark Widick AP

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 2:43 pm

Fabien Cousteau has been following in his grandfather Jacques Cousteau's flipper-steps for years — scuba diving around the world and making underwater documentaries of his own. Now he's seeking to break the elder oceanographer's record for the longest period of time spent underwater.

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Carbon Emissions
11:53 am
Mon June 2, 2014

EPA Unveils New Proposal Targeting Greenhouse Gases

The EPA is proposing rules that would govern carbon dioxide gas emissions by U.S. power plants. Here, coal is transported via conveyor belt to the coal-fired Jim Bridger Power Plant outside Point of the Rocks, Wyo., in March.
Jim Urquhart Reuters /Landov

Originally published on Mon June 2, 2014 11:52 am

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.

Update at 10:45 a.m. ET: Proposed Rule Published

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Hurricanes
12:59 pm
Sun June 1, 2014

In The Midst Of A Historic Lull, Atlantic Hurricane Season Kicks Off

Barbara Cassidy stands in front of her Davie, Fla., mobile home one month after Hurricane Wilma destroyed her home in 2005. Wilma was the last major storm to make landfall in the U.S.
J. Pat Carter AP

Originally published on Sun June 1, 2014 1:57 pm

The 2014 Atlantic hurricane season is now officially upon us. And it comes in the midst of a historic lull.

Time explains that it's been 3,142 days since a Category 3 hurricane or stronger made landfall in the United States. The last one was Hurricane Wilma, which at its peak had winds of 185 mph and made landfall in Florida in 2005.

"That's an unprecedented streak, going back to 1900—the longest drought before the current one was nearly 1,000 days shorter," Time goes on.

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Eel of Fortune
5:26 pm
Fri May 30, 2014

How Did Glass Eel Prices Get So High?

Glass eel markets in Maine and South Carolina have reached $40 million in recent years. That number is 20 times greater than the average value for the past eleven years.
Uwe Kils Creative Commons

Governor Dannel Malloy has vetoed a bill that could have brought a glass eel fishing season to Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of American eel that can sell for hundreds of dollars per pound, but how did those prices get so high?

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Environmental Law
3:41 pm
Thu May 29, 2014

Can More Environmental Violations Actually Be a Good Thing?

Flickr Creative Commons

The Council on Environmental Quality issued its annual report on state environmental data on Wednesday, and one number seems to be at the center of some questions: 72.

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Global Warming
9:34 am
Wed May 28, 2014

Connecticut Meteorologists (Reluctantly) Talk Climate Science

Bruce Berrien Creative Commons

Earlier this month, the National Climate Assessment was released, and the results are less than stellar. The report says, “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present.” The release of the climate assessment report prompted both of our local talk shows to tackle climate change last week, from very different perspectives.

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WAMC News
4:59 pm
Mon May 26, 2014

Wind Developer Withdraws Vermont Proposal

Originally published on Fri May 23, 2014 10:47 pm

A company is withdrawing its plans for a 20-turbine industrial wind project on Vermont's Seneca Mountain in the Northeast Kingdom.

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Satellite View
5:02 pm
Thu May 22, 2014

Mars Weathercam Spots Big New Crater

A photograph of the new crater (large, center). Take by the Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter's High Resolution Imaging Science Experiment.
NASA/JPL-Caltech/University of Arizona

Before and after shots taken by a Mars-orbiting satellite have detected a newly created impact crater half the size of a football field near the planet's equator.

NPR's Joe Palca says that while objects are striking Mars all the time (with big chunks surviving until impact, thanks to the Red Planet's thin atmosphere), this is the first time scientists have been able to determine the exact day a meteor struck – in this case, sometime on March 28, 2012.

But it wasn't noticed until two months ago.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
11:48 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Meteorologists Talk Climate Change

Ryan Hanrahan is a meteorologist at NBC CT
Chion Wolf

When President Obama introduced the National Climate Assessment a couple of weeks ago, he asked eight special people to help him. They were national and local weather casters including Al Roker.

It was an interesting choice.  

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Climate Change Is Here; How Do We Adapt?

International Space Station view of a winter storm forming in Australia.
NASA

The National Climate Assessment released earlier this month paints a bleak picture of the effects of climate change on not only the world - but right here in the northeast. “Climate change, once considered an issue for a distant future, has moved firmly into the present,” the report says.

We’re teaming up with The Colin McEnroe Show for a big discussion on climate change and how we’re adapting to a changing world.

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The Colin McEnroe Show
10:21 am
Wed May 21, 2014

Bringing Back the Woolly Mammoth

Credit Funk Monk / Wikimedia Commons

Science writer Carl Zimmer names the Dodo and the Great Auk, the Thylacine and the Chinese River Dolphin, the Passenger Pigeon and the Imperial Woodpecker, the Bucardo and Stellar Sea Cow among the species that humankind has driven into extinction. What's notable about that list is that most of us would recognize maybe three or four of those names.

Think about that. We have obliterated entire species whose names we don't even know.

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Elevated Highways
10:12 am
Wed May 21, 2014

New Plan for I-91 Viaduct In Springfield Said to Address Residents' Concerns

An elevated portion of I-91 through Springfield, Massachusetts.
Rusty Clark Creative Commons

Massachusetts transportation officials said a new construction plan for replacing the Interstate 91 viaduct in Springfield will cause fewer traffic headaches than a previous version. 

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Living Large
3:33 pm
Tue May 20, 2014

Look Up In The Sky And Live Big

The Milky Way arches above the European Southern Observatory's facility at Cerro Paranal in Chile's Atacama Desert.
Y. Beletsky ESO

Originally published on Tue May 20, 2014 10:06 am

We live in a galaxy of 100 billion stars. That's a one-hundred-thousand million suns, joined together by their mutual gravity in the shape of disk, all swirling around a common center.

A 100 billion stars in our Milky Way galaxy and how many have you seen in the last week? How many have you stopped to notice?

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The Colin McEnroe Show
6:00 am
Tue May 20, 2014

Filling You In On the World of Taxidermy

A taxidermied squirrel at the Institute Library in New Haven.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

Taxidermy stops time. Creatures are born, they live they die, they decay into dust. But taxidermy catches the wolf or the woodpecker in the middle of the cycle and keeps it there. That's why there's something unsettling and a little creepy about taxidermy. Never forget, the most memorable taxidermist in cinema history was Norman Bates.

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Crime and Punishment
4:21 pm
Mon May 19, 2014

Illegal Dumping Through a "Magic Pipe" Leads to a $1.2 Million Penalty

rabiem22 Flickr Creative Commons

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."

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Big Ideas (That Didn't Work)

Fire Island Inlet Bridge (part of the Robert Moses Causeway).
Credit tsaiproject / Creative Commons

If you watch "House of Cards," you might have noticed a main storyline about a bridge from Long Island to Connecticut. Sounds crazy, right? Well, here's the thing: it was a real idea!

From bridges, to highways, to malls, Where We Live takes a look at some outlandish project ideas that -- for some reason or another -- just never worked. Why isn’t there a bridge connecting Connecticut and Long Island? And why wasn't the New Haven Galleria mall ever built?

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Spring Migration
8:12 am
Mon May 19, 2014

Dust Off Your Bird-Watching Binoculars

Have you seen this bird? It's a yellow-throated warbler.
Credit Ding Darling / Creative Commons

If you're a birder, now is the time to grab your binoculars. The Connecticut Audubon Society said May is turning out to be a great time to watch birds.

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Turtle Time
1:03 pm
Fri May 16, 2014

WNPR Listeners and Staff Share Their Turtle Photos

Painted turtle hatchlings visit WNPR.
Chion Wolf WNPR

During this morning's Where We Live, "Everything You Want to Know About Turtles," we shared some of our favorite turtle photos and asked listeners to do the same. Below are some of the awesome photos we received. Enjoy!

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Where We Live
9:00 am
Fri May 16, 2014

Everything You Want to Know About Turtles

Red-eared slider.
Catie Talarski

There are currently some 57 turtle species living in the United States and Canada, 12 of which can be found right here in Connecticut -- including some sea turtles!

Chances are, you’ve probably seen a few of them poking around a nearby pond or basking on some sunlit rocks. Perhaps you’ve even rescued a few from the peril of oncoming traffic.

But there’s a lot more to these terrestrial critters than meets the eye.

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California
2:14 pm
Thu May 15, 2014

Wildfires In San Diego County Continue To Rage Out Of Control

Residents photograph the burning ruins of their home in Carlsbad, Calif., that was destroyed in the Poinsettia fire, one of nine wildfires that have erupted in San Diego County.
David McNew Getty Images

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:26 pm

Updated at 10:20 p.m. ET.:

Authorities in San Diego County ordered additional evacuations Thursday afternoon as a wildfire began "making an extreme run," as one state fire captain said.

The Associated Press is reporting that a badly burned body found in a transient camp in Carlsbad is the first reported fatality from the wildfires. The city says it had no information about person who died.

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WAMC News
10:37 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Job Training Planned In Springfield Neighborhoods Hit By 2011 Tornado

The South End Community Center was destroyed by the tornado on June 1, 2011. People in the neighborhood will get job training funded by a federal disaster recovery grant

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 7:47 pm

The city of Springfield, Massachusetts is soliciting bids from organizations to do workforce training in poor neighborhoods hit by the tornado three years ago.

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Transportation
3:05 am
Thu May 15, 2014

Across The U.S., Bicycle Commuting Picks Up Speed

The ranks of bicycle commuters are growing, though men are almost three times more likely than women to ride to work.
Tobias Ackeborn iStockphoto

Originally published on Thu May 15, 2014 10:55 am

As bicycling goes, America is far behind Copenhagen, the promised land where roads look like bicycle highways as people pedal to work. But commuting by bike in the U.S. is catching on — though geographic, income and gender disparities persist.

In Chicago, busy Sheridan Road is the start of the Lakefront bike trail on its north side. That's where you can find plenty of bicyclists commuting to work early in the morning.

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Rick In Space
1:37 pm
Wed May 14, 2014

Rick Mastracchio Ends Six-Month Journey In Space

Rick Mastracchio during a Christmas Eve spacewalk outside the ISS.
NASA

Waterbury astronaut Rick Mastracchio has returned from a six month journey aboard the International Space Station. During 188 days in space, the UConn graduate orbited Earth more than 3,000 times, traveling nearly 79.8 million miles.

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Eel of Fortune
10:26 am
Tue May 13, 2014

Could a Glass Eel Gold Rush Come to Connecticut?

Glass eels have prompted a gold rush in recent years, with worldwide shortages pushing prices as high as $800 per pound in 2014.
Uwe Kils Creative Commons

A bill headed to Governor Dannel Malloy's desk could establish a fishing season for glass eels in Connecticut. Glass eels are a juvenile species of the American eel, about as long as your pinky finger, and called "glass" because of their translucent skin.

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Climate Change
5:19 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

Melting Of Antarctic Ice Sheet Might Be Unstoppable

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 6:31 pm

Scientists have long worried about climate change-induced melting of the huge West Antarctic Ice Sheet. Now they say that not only is the disintegration of the ice already underway, but that it's likely unstoppable.

That means that in the coming centuries, global sea levels will rise by anywhere from 4 to 12 feet. As NPR's Nell Greenfieldboyce reports, that's a larger increase than the United Nations expert panel noted last year. But it would occur over a longer time frame — centuries instead of decades.

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Transportation
12:16 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

More Cyclists Can Now Call AAA For Help

Cyclists can now call AAA and other groups for help when they run into trouble during a ride. Here, cyclists ride near the White House in Washington, D.C., last autumn.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon May 12, 2014 3:23 pm

It's not going to change its name anytime soon, but auto membership club AAA is increasingly in the business of fixing bikes and giving rides to cyclists who run into trouble. AAA clubs in Colorado and Southern New England announced the new service in time for this week's Bike to Work Day, following the lead of other regional auto clubs.

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Climate Change
9:06 am
Fri May 9, 2014

Could Climate Change Spread Ticks and Mosquitoes In Connecticut?

Around 30 million people in the Northeast could be exposed to West Nile virus-carrying mosquitoes by the end of the century.
James Gathany CDC/ National Climate Assessment

Climate change is linked to more floods, hotter and drier weather, and melting sea ice, but it could also affect infectious diseases like Lyme disease and West Nile Virus. The problem is we don't know how.

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