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Public Radio's Environmental News Magazine (follow us on Google News)

Harvard Finally Divests

 

Harvard University announced that it will no longer invest in fossil fuel companies, following years of refusal in the face of a prominent and vocal divestment campaign. Harvard is the richest University in the world with an endowment totaling nearly 41 billion dollars. And it is now among the largest organizations to divest from fossil fuels, joining thousands of pension funds, faith groups, and other institutions. Host Steve Curwood spoke to Isha Sangani, a student organizer, and Caleb Schwartz, an alumni coordinator of the campaign.

 

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Harvard University announced that it will no longer invest in fossil fuel companies, following years of refusal in the face of a prominent and vocal divestment campaign. Harvard is the richest University in the world with an endowment totaling nearly 41 billion dollars. And it is now among the largest organizations to divest from fossil fuels, joining thousands of pension funds, faith groups, and other institutions. Host Steve Curwood spoke to Isha Sangani, a student organizer, and Caleb Schwartz, an alumni coordinator of the campaign.

The Hummingbirds' Gift

 

Hummingbirds are truly superlative creatures - relative to their size, they are both the world's fastest avians and have some of the longest migratory journeys of any creature. Sy Montgomery focuses on these incredible birds in her latest book, The Hummingbirds' Gift, where she looks back on her harrowing but rewarding time raising two orphaned baby hummingbirds alongside Brenda Sherburn LaBelle, an artist and hummingbird rehabilitator. Living on Earth's Bobby Bascomb visited Sy Montgomery at her home in New Hampshire to learn more. 

 

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A Living Earth Called “Gaia”

 

Next, Host Steve Curwood and the Living on Earth team explore Earth as a complex and self-sustaining organism called Gaia. Over billions of years life has interacted with the air, water and rocks of this planet to keep life in the sweet spots for temperature and resource supplies. With the help of scientists, deep ecologists, children, an astronaut and more, we explore our place on this living planet.

 

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Ecological Conversion and Solidarity

 

Science and policy are vital in building a more sustainable world, but they often don’t convey the values we need in order to engage people to do so. With spiritual guides who carry diverse traditions and teachings, Host Steve Curwood surveys the values that can guide us along this path towards ecological harmony. Indigenous stories, holy scriptures, East Asian cosmologies, papal encyclicals and divine revelation all shed light on our duties and relationship to each other and to our common home.

 

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A Block on Oil Drilling in Alaska

 

A major Alaska drilling project to tap 600-million-barrels of oil has been blocked. A federal judge ruled in favor of Indigenous and environmental groups, finding that the permitting process has yet to fully consider impacts on the climate and polar bears.

 

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Chemicals and Breast Cancer Risk

 

Higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone lead to a greater risk of breast cancer. Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute have shed new light on how chemical exposure can raise those hormone levels in women and found that nearly 300 chemicals increased one or both hormones.

 

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Hummingbirds Citizen Science Project

 

The Rufous hummingbird follows the Rocky Mountains to migrate from Alaska to Mexico (Photo: Diana Douglas for Hummingbirds at Home).

 

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Otters and Climate Change

 

Sea Otters are known for their playful demeanor and cuddly appearance, but scientists at the University of California at Santa Cruz think that the cuddly creatures could help reduce the amount of carbon in the atmosphere. (Photo: Imtiaz333 Flickr Creative Commons)

 

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Antarctic Volcano

 

Many scientists are concerned about the impact global warming is having on Antarctica, and now scientists from Washington University in St. Louis have discovered a new kind of threat lurking beneath the vulnerable West Antarctic ice sheet—an active volcano. (Photo: Doug Wiens)

 

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This Week’s Show
August 13, 1993
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Navy Trash Dumping

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Betsy Bayha of member station KQED in San Francisco reports on the debate over the dumping of trash and toxic waste from Navy ships. The Navy has until the end of this year to comply with the same strict dumping regulations as commercial vessels, but the service says it can't meet the deadline, and has asked for at least another five years to come into line. The issue has come back into focus recently because of the court-martial of a sailor for refusing orders to dump waste into the open ocean.

Driftnet Ban Violations

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Matt Binder reports on violations of the UN's new ban on driftnet fishing. The US Coast Guard has busted at least five illegal driftnetters in the northern Pacific. Watchdog groups say some countries may be tacitly supporting illegal fleets, but Washington says there have been few documented violations, and that compliance with the new law appears to be surprisingly good.

Babbit Makes Good on Grazing Fees Pledge

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Steve talks with Washington Post reporter Tom Kenworthy about the political implications of the Clinton administration's decision to raise the fee for grazing livestock on public lands. Kenworthy says the move by Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt, in the face of strong opposition from important political allies, shows that Babbitt has emerged as one of the President's most influential deputies.

Listener Comments

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Steve reads the mail.


Special Features

Field Note: Sea Lion Cave
Photographer and Living on Earth's Explorer-in-Residence Mark Seth Lender takes us behind the scenes of his encounters with sea lions, at sea and behind the lens.
Blog Series: Mark Seth Lender Field Notes

Field Note: Mother and Son: Sea Otter Bonding
At Elkhorn Slough in Monterey Bay, California, an attentive mother sea otter grooms her young pup's thick fur, and grooms him for the independent life he will someday lead. Living on Earth's Explorer-in-Residence Mark Seth Lender observes and explains.
Blog Series: Mark Seth Lender Field Notes


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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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