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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Pawpaw: America's Forgotten Fruit

 

The largest edible fruit native to the U.S. is unknown to most, yet the pawpaw has earned a loyal following among those who are familiar with it. A new book peers into the pawpaw’s storied past, how it’s popularity has grown today, and why it’s not a staple in the produce aisle.

 

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The largest edible fruit native to the U.S. is unknown to most, yet the pawpaw has earned a loyal following among those who are familiar with it. A new book peers into the pawpaw’s storied past, how it’s popularity has grown today, and why it’s not a staple in the produce aisle.

Conserving the Dark

 

In a world flooded with artificial night, a clear view of the night sky has become increasingly rare, but a National Park Service team is working to reduce light pollution in and around parks to make sure that people can always find a place to see the stars. Emmett Fitzgerald joins one of the rangers for a night walk through Utah’s Arches National Park.

 

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The End of Night

 

Humans have always had a primal fear of the dark, but the advent of electric light in the late 19th century brought the developed world control over the night. But with an explosion of light pollution blocking out the natural night sky in much of the world, and writer Paul Bogard says we may have gone too far.

 

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Kittiwake: A Life on the Edge

 

Iceland is a volcanic country lashed by the North Atlantic. Still, writer Mark Seth Lender finds Black-legged Kittiwake daring to nest on inhospitable cliffs, and to hunt for fish in the tumultuous waves.

 

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Boston's Not-So-Dirty Water

 

Years of pollution and waste dumping earned Boston harbor its infamous title as America’s filthiest harbor, but heavy cleanup efforts have turned it into an environmental success story, of which Deer Island’s state-of-the-art Treatment Plant played a key role.

 

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Flint, A Poster Child for Environmental Racism

 

The case of Flint, Michigan’s lead poisoning and water crisis is a blatant example in a long history of environmental injustice in the United States, and as Prof. Robert Bullard, the “father of environmental justice” says, racism and classism often contribute to incidents like these and slow governmental responses.

 

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Bayou Community Struggles with Sinkhole

 

A huge sinkhole in the tiny swamp community of Bayou Corne is giving residents unique and unpleasant challenges. It is now approximately 20 acres in size.

 

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The Great Lakes and Climate Change

 

In the last 30 years the largest fresh water lake in the world in terms of surface area, Lake Superior, has warmed nearly six degrees Fahrenheight. The increased temperature is a boon to some fish but warmer water is also more suitable for some species.

 

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Beyond the Headlines

 

Peter Dykstra of the Daily Climate and Environmental Health News brings us some far-flung environmental stories from this past week that didn’t make the headlines. This week: salt intrusion in Bangladesh and rare earth mining in Greenland.

 

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Losing Frozen Earth Could Cook the Planet

As temperatures increase globally, thawing permafrost releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane – which, in turn, raises global temperatures. It’s a ‘positive feedback loop’ with very negative consequences, and research shows we are getting close to runaway global warming.

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Turning up the Heat on Frigid Offices

To combat summer’s hot and sultry weather, many US office buildings crank up the air-conditioning. But this sparks conflicts, as men feel comfortable but women shiver and don fleeces. Lou Blouin of the Allegheny Front reports on how these arctic offices became ubiquitous, and Jennifer Amann of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy discusses how much companies could save if they turned the thermostat up a few degrees.

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Pawpaw: America's Forgotten Fruit

The largest edible fruit native to the U.S. is unknown to most, yet the pawpaw has earned a loyal following among those who are familiar with it. A new book peers into the pawpaw’s storied past, how it’s popularity has grown today, and why it’s not a staple in the produce aisle.

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This Week’s Show
August 26, 2016
listen / download


Losing Frozen Earth Could Cook the Planet

listen / download
As temperatures increase globally, thawing permafrost releases large amounts of carbon dioxide and methane – which, in turn, raises global temperatures. It’s a ‘positive feedback loop’ with very negative consequences, and research shows we are getting close to runaway global warming.

U.S. Methane Emissions Drastically Underestimated

listen / download
Measuring the emissions of the powerful climate-changing gas methane emissions is difficult, as it escapes from wetlands and landfills as well as from oil and gas drilling and pipelines around the world. Now, a team of scientists using satellite data with ground observations has found a better way to calculate methane's presence. The study suggests much more methane is escaping than estimates had calculated, and the US could be responsible for up to 60 percent of the extra.

Turning up the Heat on Frigid Offices

listen / download
To combat summer’s hot and sultry weather, many US office buildings crank up the air-conditioning. But this sparks conflicts, as men feel comfortable but women shiver and don fleeces. Lou Blouin of the Allegheny Front reports on how these arctic offices became ubiquitous, and Jennifer Amann of the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy discusses how much companies could save if they turned the thermostat up a few degrees.

Better Office Air Makes For Better Thinking

listen / download
Architects have long focused on ways to make buildings more energy efficient with insulation, but new research demonstrates that good ventilation and healthy indoor environmental quality can have positive effects on our thinking.

Pawpaw: America's Forgotten Fruit

listen / download
The largest edible fruit native to the U.S. is unknown to most, yet the pawpaw has earned a loyal following among those who are familiar with it. A new book peers into the pawpaw’s storied past, how it’s popularity has grown today, and why it’s not a staple in the produce aisle.


Special Features

A River Town in Transition

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Wrangell, Alaska is a small, isolated town at the mouth of the mighty Stikine River and a former a timber capital. But since the saw mills shut down in the ‘90s, the small town has reinvented itself as a tourist destination and a commercial fishing hub. Since both of these industries are dependent on the Stikine, some locals worry that a mining development upriver could put the whole town’s livelihood at risk.
Blog Series: Alaskan River Riches

Cowee, North Carolina

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Living on Earth is giving a voice to Orion magazine’s longtime feature in which people write about the place they call home. In this week’s edition, songwriter Angela-Faye Martin uses her words and music to picture her North Carolina valley on the edge of the Great Smoky Mountains.
Blog Series: The Place Where You Live


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...Ultimately, if we are going prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we are going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them...

-- President Barack Obama, November 6, 2015 on why he declined to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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