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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Rainforests ‘Worth More Alive Than Dead’

 

Earth’s rainforests are astonishingly biodiverse ecosystems that can even drive the climates on faraway continents. But they’re disappearing in the name of the kind of economic development that values rainforests more when logged, mined, or turned into farmland. Tony Juniper, author of the book Rainforest: Dispatches from Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines explains the amazing science of how rainforests work and why leaving them intact offers more, not less, economic benefit.

 

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Earth’s rainforests are astonishingly biodiverse ecosystems that can even drive the climates on faraway continents. But they’re disappearing in the name of the kind of economic development that values rainforests more when logged, mined, or turned into farmland. Tony Juniper, author of the book Rainforest: Dispatches from Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines explains the amazing science of how rainforests work and why leaving them intact offers more, not less, economic benefit.

Healthy People Equal Healthy Forests

 

Gunung Palung National Park on the island of Borneo is beloved by the people who live on the Indonesian island, but like many people who live near tropical forests, they have at times had to resort to illegal logging to pay for healthcare. Now the nonprofit Health in Harmony is providing healthcare that patients can pay for with a simple trade of labor, seedlings or manure, so that no one ever has to log to pay cash for essential health services. Founder Kinari Webb and Bobby Bascomb discuss the importance of listening to what forest communities say they need in order to stop logging.

 

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Fighting Fire with Prescribed Fire

 

A century of fire suppression has turned much of the West into a tinderbox. Prescribed fire could help bring nature back in balance, but it’s currently far more common in the Southeast than in the West, where it’s sorely needed, says Pyrogeographer Crystal Kolden of the University of Idaho. She joins Steve Curwood to talk about the opportunities to get communities involved in prescribed burns, and the challenges of building fire-resilient communities.

 

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The Economic Value of the National Parks

 

The National Parks have been famously called “America’s Best Idea,” but they may also be “America’s Best Investment”, thanks to the valuable services they provide such as recreation, carbon storage, and educational programs. In the new book "Valuing U.S. National Parks and Programs," John Loomis and Linda Bilmes attempt to sum up the vast value of the National Parks. Linda Bilmes teaches Public Policy at the Harvard Kennedy School, and joins Steve Curwood in the Living on Earth studios.

 

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Arctic Fox Hunting

 

Living on Earth's Explorer in Residence Mark Seth Lender reflects on the resilient attitude Arctic Foxes display in the cold North Pole environment. 

 

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The 2019 Fat Bear Week Champion

 

The 2019 Alaskan fat bear tournament is over and we have a winner! Fat Bear Week is a yearly competition organized by Katmai National Park and Preserve in southern Alaska to honor the fattest brown bear, since a fat bear has a better chance of staying healthy through the long winter months. Katmai Media Ranger Naomi Boak joined Bobby Bascomb to name this year’s corpulent champion.

 

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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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Solar Powered Ship

 

The world’s largest solar powered boat made history by circumnavigating the globe. The ship is now busy in the Atlantic collecting data about the Gulf Stream.

 

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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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Big Keystone Oil Spill

On Oct 29, a nearly 400,000-gallon oil spill was discovered in the Keystone pipeline system in North Dakota, inundating a wetland with heavy crude oil mined from the Alberta tar sands. A controversial proposed extension of the Keystone pipeline system to the Gulf Coast known as Keystone XL has been the focus of years of protests and court battles. Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes and Steve Curwood discuss the impact of the spill and the ongoing legal battle over Keystone XL.

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Wildfires Strike Baja California

The extreme heat and winds that fueled wildfires in the State of California this October also fed fires in Mexico’s Baja California. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler reports on the recovery efforts already underway, and tells Paloma Beltran about how limited resources made fighting these fires especially difficult.

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Rainforests ‘Worth More Alive Than Dead’

Earth’s rainforests are astonishingly biodiverse ecosystems that can even drive the climates on faraway continents. But they’re disappearing in the name of the kind of economic development that values rainforests more when logged, mined, or turned into farmland. Tony Juniper, author of the book Rainforest: Dispatches from Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines explains the amazing science of how rainforests work and why leaving them intact offers more, not less, economic benefit.

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This Week’s Show
November 8, 2019
listen / download


Big Keystone Oil Spill

listen / download
On Oct 29, a nearly 400,000-gallon oil spill was discovered in the Keystone pipeline system in North Dakota, inundating a wetland with heavy crude oil mined from the Alberta tar sands. A controversial proposed extension of the Keystone pipeline system to the Gulf Coast known as Keystone XL has been the focus of years of protests and court battles. Sierra Club Senior Attorney Doug Hayes and Steve Curwood discuss the impact of the spill and the ongoing legal battle over Keystone XL.

Beyond the Headlines

listen / download
In light of the murder of Indigenous climate activist Paolo Paulino Guajajara in Brazil, Peter Dykstra and Steve Curwood consider the correlation between violence towards environmental activists and authoritarian regimes. They also turn to a dramatic increase in New Delhi air pollution and the measures that the city is employing to fight back, including the distribution of 5 million face masks to school kids. Finally, the two celebrate the Washington Nationals’ World Series Victory with the tale of EPA whistleblower Hugh Kaufman and his alter ego: The Chicken Man.

Wildfires Strike Baja California

listen / download
The extreme heat and winds that fueled wildfires in the State of California this October also fed fires in Mexico’s Baja California. KPBS reporter Max Rivlin-Nadler reports on the recovery efforts already underway, and tells Paloma Beltran about how limited resources made fighting these fires especially difficult.

BirdNote®: The Butcherbird

listen / download
Wander through the open tundra and green taiga forests of northern North America in summer and you might hear the sweet and herky-jerky call of the Northern Shrike. But as BirdNote’s Ashley Ahearn warns: don’t be fooled, this singer has a dark side. It’s a ferocious hunter, a demon butcher of tweet street that impales its prey on thorns or even barbed wire, then slowly tears it apart. That’s why the shrike is also known by another name, the “butcherbird.”

Let The Leaves Be And Feed The Birds

listen / download
Autumn brings fallen leaves in temperate zones and the chore of raking them off the lawn. But it turns out that leaving them put can help feed native birds.

Rainforests ‘Worth More Alive Than Dead’

listen / download
Earth’s rainforests are astonishingly biodiverse ecosystems that can even drive the climates on faraway continents. But they’re disappearing in the name of the kind of economic development that values rainforests more when logged, mined, or turned into farmland. Tony Juniper, author of the book Rainforest: Dispatches from Earth’s Most Vital Frontlines explains the amazing science of how rainforests work and why leaving them intact offers more, not less, economic benefit.


Special Features

Field Note: Arctic Fox Hunting
Living on Earth’s Explorer in Residence Mark Seth Lender reflects on his experience of watching an Arctic fox on the hunt.
Blog Series: Mark Seth Lender Field Notes

Free Event -- Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America
Join best-selling author Christopher Leonard and nationally syndicated environmental radio show Living on Earth for a discussion on Leonard’s new book, “Kochland: The Secret History of Koch Industries and Corporate Power in America.”
Blog Series: LOE events

Part 1/5: “Pa’lante”: Puerto Rican Resilience After Maria

listen / download
Hurricane Maria made landfall on Puerto Rico on September 20, 2017, taking roughly 3,000 lives. Many died not from the storm itself but from morbidity linked to such causes as treatable infections, unsafe water and accidental electrocution. But as Living on Earth’s Bobby Bascomb reports, some communities are looking at Hurricane Maria as a call to be more resilient the next time around.
Blog Series: Our 5-part series: Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico


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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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