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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Fascinating, Toxic Moroccan Tanneries

 

Leather is a popular tourist commodity, especially in Fez, Morocco where traditional tanners stand in toxic, chromium laden waters everyday sloshing around animal hides to soften and dye them. Amulya Shankar reports that prolonged chrome exposure and inappropriate disposal of chrome waters cause serious health and environmental problems, but modern tanning techniques can help mitigate these issues and keep some of the old-world charm.

 

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Cheap Oil and the Case for Divestment

 

In many places throughout the US, gas prices have dropped below three dollars a gallon. In the short term low oil prices can lead to more driving and thus more pollution, but divestment advocates are wondering if the recent downturn is part of a fundamental change of fortune for the fossil fuel industry.

 

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Prairie Rattlesnake

 

A few months ago writer Mark Seth Lender met his first Prairie Rattlesnake up close and personal, and found the snake fascinating, and though venomous, not a threat.

 

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Cape Wind in Doubt

 

Wind turbines in the Irish Sea. The United States has yet to establish offshore wind, but countries in Europe have taken the plunge (photo: Andy Dingley)

 

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Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

 

New research finds that every 1 degree Celsius of temperature rise eventually equates to 2.3 meters of sea level rise. Anders Levermann tells host Steve Curwood about the expectations for sea level rise over the next 2,000 years.

 

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Baby Polar Bear Rescue

 

Climate Change is making life difficult for polar bears across the world. But an orphaned Alaska bear cub is about to get a new home, and a new sibling, at the Buffalo Zoo in upstate New York.

 

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Ancient Underwater Forest in the Gulf of Mexico

 

Sixty feet beneath the water off the coast of Alabama is a forest of cypress trees that is more than 50,000 years old.

 

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Deepwater Disaster Three Years On

 

Just three years ago, the Deep Water Horizon oil spill poured 200 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Now, a team of chemists, engineers, and biologists is attempting to assess the damage to the Gulf ecosystem.

 

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Russia Nixes Antarctic Marine Reserve

 

Negotiators from 25 countries met in Germany recently in a bid to create a massive marine reserve in the seas around Antarctica. But at the last minute, Russia backed out of the deal.

 

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Cancer Risks from Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining

Mountain top removal coal mining in Appalachia blasts dust into the air that is carried on the wind for miles and inhaled by nearby residents. Dr. Michael Hendryx is a Professor of Applied Health Science at Indiana University Bloomington and co-author of a study linking that dust to lung cancer. He calls for a halt for this type of coal mining.

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Carbon Capture and Recycling

A Texas company has just started capturing CO2 from a cement plant in San Antonio, and is set to recycle 75,000 tons a year of the global warming gas into profitable products, including baking soda, hydrochloric acid and bleach. The Skyonic Corporation’s process can also be used for fossil fuel power plants. Acting Assistant US Energy Department Secretary Christopher explains why the federal government invested $28 million in the venture.

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Recycling E-Waste

Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, and a new survey from Best Buy found that only about a third of people in the United State recycle their electronic waste, even though many more would like to. Most of this e-waste ends up in landfills overseas, but stores including Staples and Best Buy are helping to close this gap with free e-waste environmentally responsible recycling programs.

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This Week’s Show
October 24, 2014
listen / download


Cancer Risks from Mountain Top Removal Coal Mining

listen / download
Mountain top removal coal mining in Appalachia blasts dust into the air that is carried on the wind for miles and inhaled by nearby residents. Dr. Michael Hendryx is a Professor of Applied Health Science at Indiana University Bloomington and co-author of a study linking that dust to lung cancer. He calls for a halt for this type of coal mining.

Lead In Licorice

listen / download
The popular candy black licorice can come with a dangerous neurotoxin, lead, California public health officials have found. Youth Radio’s Rafael Johns reports on the lead’s origin and the Californian Center for Environmental Health’s legal efforts to make consumers sweet on licorice again.

Carbon Capture and Recycling

listen / download
A Texas company has just started capturing CO2 from a cement plant in San Antonio, and is set to recycle 75,000 tons a year of the global warming gas into profitable products, including baking soda, hydrochloric acid and bleach. The Skyonic Corporation’s process can also be used for fossil fuel power plants. Acting Assistant US Energy Department Secretary Christopher explains why the federal government invested $28 million in the venture.

It’s Tough To Turn Frack Water into Profits

listen / download
The oil and gas industry produces a high volume of dirty wastewater from fracking and that water has to go somewhere, like down an injection well. A lot of businesses think they have the technology to clean it up. But as the Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier reports, that's a bigger task than it might seem and profits can be elusive.

Recycling E-Waste

listen / download
Electronic waste is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the world, and a new survey from Best Buy found that only about a third of people in the United State recycle their electronic waste, even though many more would like to. Most of this e-waste ends up in landfills overseas, but stores including Staples and Best Buy are helping to close this gap with free e-waste environmentally responsible recycling programs.

Beyond the Headlines

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In this week’s trip beyond the headlines, Peter Dykstra and host Steve Curwood discuss the passing of Rick Piltz, the famous environmental whistleblower and remember a deadly smog attack in Donora, Pennsylvania.

All-There-Is in Ten Hundred Words

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Describing the complex and evolving story of the cosmos is tough enough without being limited to the one thousand most common words in the English language, but the Imperial College London’s astrophysicist Roberto Trotta did in his new book, The Edge of the Sky: All You Need to Know About the All-There-Is. Prof. Trotta tells us about the challenges of his project, the importance of using non-scientific speak to make science accessible to all, and the many mysteries of our universe that still remain.


Special Features

Listener Haikus
To honor Earth Day 2014 we asked you - our listeners - to tap your own creative muse and send us your haiku. The topic could be anything Earth Day inspired. The response was tremendous. In fact, we received more haiku than we could put on the air. Fortunately we can share them with you here.
Blog Series: Living on Earth

Arctic Reveal
Mark Seth Lender makes it to Greenland in his second dispatch from the arctic for Adventure Canada.
Blog Series: Mark Seth Lender: Farthest North


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We need more women in science and if by presenting a scientist as a female character I can help inspire some young girls to be interested in science and to pursue a career in science, then that would be a fantastic result for me.

-- Dr. Roberto Trotta, astrophysicist with Imperial College London

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