Search for episodes from Earth Wise with a specific topic:

Latest episodes from Earth Wise

A Groundwater Crisis | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 22, 2023 2:00

The majority of U.S. drinking water systems rely on groundwater, as do America's farms.  Even though groundwater is a crucial resource for the country, there is no central oversight or even monitoring of its status across the country.  The health of the country's aquifers is difficult to gauge. The New York Times spent months amassing […]

Too Many Bison | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 21, 2023 2:00

In the northern part of Yellowstone National Park, an historically large bison herd is hampering the comeback of quaking aspen trees, whose numbers were greatly diminished by decades of over-browsing by elk.  Restoring the balance of ecosystems at Yellowstone is proving to be a complicated matter. Long ago, the bison population in the Great Plains […]

Deadly Heatwaves On The Rise | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 20, 2023 2:00

The European heatwave in the summer of 2003 resulted in at least 30,000 deaths with more than 14,000 in France alone. At the time, such a heatwave was considered to be a once-in-a-hundred-year event. But the warming climate is dramatically changing the odds for deadly heatwaves. A new study by the ETH Institute in Zurich has […]

Grid-Scale Gravity Energy Storage | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 19, 2023 2:00

As wind and solar energy play a growing part in our energy system, the need for grid-scale energy storage is growing as well.  An historic form of energy storage and still the largest in installed capacity is pumped hydro storage, which makes use of the potential energy contained in having water sitting at a higher […]

Trouble For Emperor Penguins | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 18, 2023 2:00

Emperor penguins are the tallest and heaviest of all living penguin species.  The loss of sea ice in Antarctica last year has led to unprecedented breeding failure in some emperor penguin colonies. In a study published by the British Antarctic Survey, researchers found that no chicks survived from four of the five known emperor penguin […]

Aphids And Monarchs | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 15, 2023 2:00

Last year, the monarch butterfly was officially designated as endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature.  Estimates are that the overall population of the species has dropped between 20% and 90% over the past several decades.  The migratory western population of monarchs is at the greatest risk of extinction, having declined by as […]

Better Plastic Recycling | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 14, 2023 2:00

Many of us are careful to put our plastic trash into the appropriate recycling bins hoping that we are helping to stem the global tide of plastic waste.  But many plastics are not recyclable at all and recycling those that are is not even always a good thing.  Breaking down plastics can generate polluting microplastics […]

More Offshore Wind Proposed For New Jersey | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 13, 2023 2:00

There have been three offshore wind projects previously approved by utility regulators in New Jersey.  New Jersey is vying to become an East Coast leader in the fast-growing offshore wind industry and now developers have proposed four new projects off the New Jersey Shore. Two of the projects would be located far out to sea […]

Top Fish Predators And Climate Change | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 12, 2023 2:00

Climate change is taking its toll on forests, farms, freshwater sources, and the economy, but ocean ecosystems remain the epicenter of global warming.  In fact, oceans have absorbed more than 90% of the excess heat from greenhouse gas emissions since the 1970s. As a result, many marine fish species are responding to ocean warming by […]

Lakes Are Shrinking | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 11, 2023 2:00

A study by the University of Colorado Boulder has found that more than half of the world's largest lakes have shrunk over the last three decades.  This is a very big problem because about one-quarter of the Earth's population lives in the basin of a drying lake.  People depend on lakes for drinking water and […]

Planting Rocks To Capture Carbon | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 8, 2023 2:00

Getting humanity to stop dumping carbon dioxide into the atmosphere continues to be very challenging regardless of how increasingly apparent the need to do so becomes.  For this reason, climate change mitigation strategies increasingly include interventions in the form of removing carbon dioxide that is already there.  There are a variety of ways to draw […]

Air Pollution And Insects | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 7, 2023 2:00

Insects can be found in every environment on Earth and play critical roles in the planet's ecosystems.  Insects pollinate more than 80% of plants, including those that we eat and those that provide food and habitat for other species.  Without insects, we wouldn't have the rich biodiversity that supports life on earth today. But the […]

Saving Florida's Corals | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 6, 2023 2:00

When corals are exposed to extended periods of excess heat, they are subject to bleaching, which occurs when they expel the algae that live within their structure.  Bleaching can lead to coral death. This summer, temperatures in the Florida Keys crossed the bleaching threshold in mid-June and remained above it for extended periods of time.  […]

Protecting The Amazon Rainforest | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 5, 2023 2:00

The Amazon rainforest absorbs one-fourth of all the carbon dioxide absorbed by the land of the Earth.  It is by far the world's largest rainforest, bigger than the next two largest – in the Congo Basin and Indonesia – combined.  Nearly two-thirds of it is found in Brazil but the more than 2 million square […]

Why Was the Summer So Hot? | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 4, 2023 2:00

Many places around the world have experienced extraordinary heat waves this summer.  The 31 days of high temperatures 110 degrees or more in Phoenix is a prime example but many other places suffered from extreme and relentless heat.  Why did this happen? The overarching reason is climate change, which has warmed the Earth by 2.2 […]

Aluminum In Batteries | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Sep 1, 2023 2:00

Batteries are playing a bigger and bigger role in our lives.  Apart from their use in ubiquitous smartphones, laptops, and other devices, millions of electric vehicles are hitting the roads, and utilities are installing giant banks of batteries to store energy generated by wind and solar farms. The necessary characteristics of batteries are high energy […]

Endangered Plants And The Changing Climate | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 31, 2023 2:00

Plants are a critical resource because of the countless ways they support life on Earth. Plants release oxygen into the atmosphere, absorb carbon dioxide, and provide food and habitat for humans and wildlife.  Plants are also used to produce fibers, building materials, and medicines.  Plants form the backbone of natural ecosystems, and absorb about 30% […]

Missing Antarctic Sea Ice | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 30, 2023 2:00

It is summer here in the United States, but it is winter in Antarctica.  Antarctic sea ice is water that forms and melts entirely in the ocean and it has a pattern of growth and reduction that has been monitored by satellites for the past 44 years.  The area of sea ice that surrounds the […]

Electric Steel Furnaces | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 29, 2023 2:00

Steel was first made thousands of years ago.  The discovery that heating up iron ore in a hot enough charcoal fire could purify the iron into a strong and valuable material was the start of the Iron Age.  In many ways, things have changed very little since then. Global iron and steel production accounts for […]

Plastic In Lakes | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 28, 2023 2:00

We are always talking about the millions of tons of waste plastic that finds its way into the oceans and about the challenges of trying to remove it.  A new multinational study has found that the concentration of plastics and microplastics in some lakes is even worse than in the so-called garbage patches in the […]

Solar Panels On Canals | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 25, 2023 2:00

There has been growing interest in installing solar panels on top of reservoirs to make use of the available space to make electricity and reduce evaporation.  There has been far less interest in installing solar on canals and aqueducts.  But that is changing and a new project in California is part of that change. A […]

The Climate Impact Of Diets | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 24, 2023 2:00

The food system is responsible for 70% of the world's freshwater use and almost 80% of freshwater pollution.  About three-quarters of the ice-free land area of the planet has been affected by human use, primarily for agriculture.  Land-use change such as deforestation is a major source of biodiversity loss.  What we choose to eat has […]

Upcycling Plastic Waste | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 23, 2023 2:00

People have generated 8 billion tons of plastic waste over time and less than 10% of it has been recycled.  Millions of tons of it escapes into the oceans.  Plastic piles up virtually everywhere on earth. There are many approaches to dealing with the plastic waste problem and no one of them is a magic […]

Biosurfactants And Oil Spills | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 22, 2023 2:00

About 400 million gallons of oil leaks into the ocean every year.  This is a major source of environmental pollution.  Oil contains many hazardous compounds that are toxic or mutagenic for marine organisms.  When oil spill incidents occur, large quantities of chemical dispersants, sometimes as much as millions of gallons, are applied to dissolve oil […]

Methane Emissions And The Paris Agreement | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 21, 2023 2:00

The Paris Agreement is a legally binding international treaty on climate change adopted at the UN Climate Change Conference in 2015.  Its goal is to strengthen the global response to climate change by committing to limit the rise in global average temperature to well below 2°C above pre-industrial levels, and pursue efforts to limit that […]

Beaver Believers | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 18, 2023 2:00

Beavers are ecosystem engineers based on their ability to construct dams and create ponds.  By doing so, they create wetland habitat for other species.  They create biodiversity by allowing plant species to emerge in new places as they clear out existing trees and other plants.  Beavers improve water quality and their dams store water during […]

Marine Heat Waves | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 17, 2023 2:00

In late July, the ocean temperature measured in Florida Bay, between the southern end of the Florida mainland and the Florida Keys, was 101.1 degrees Fahrenheit, a possible world record for sea surface temperature.  There is no official record keeping for ocean temperatures, but the highest previous reading ever reported was 99.7 degrees in the […]

Floating Solar And Hydropower | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 16, 2023 2:00

Installing solar panels on the surface of reservoirs is an up-and-coming trend.  The arrays of solar panels produce renewable energy while at the same time shielding significant expanses of water from the sun's heat, thereby reducing evaporation.  The panels also help to inhibit the growth of algae. Two recent floating solar installations are demonstrating the […]

Phoenix Is Frying | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 15, 2023 2:00

The mythical Phoenix is a bird that repeatedly dies in a fire of its own making.  During July, the five million inhabitants of greater Phoenix Arizona may have felt like they were reliving that myth as multiple temperature records were shattered in a massive heatwave. On June 30, the high temperature in Phoenix was 110 […]

Cleaner And Greener Steel | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 14, 2023 2:00

Producing construction materials like concrete and steel is a major contributor to greenhouse gas emissions.  Between 7 and 8% of emissions are due to steelmaking alone, which has been done pretty much the same way for more than a century. Iron ore is smelted with high-carbon fuel and is turned into so-called pig iron in […]

Harvesting Water From The Air | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 11, 2023 2:00

Engineers at MIT have created a superabsorbent material that can soak up significant amounts of moisture from the air, even in desert-like conditions. The material is a transparent, rubbery substance made from hydrogel, which is a naturally absorbent material that is already widely used in disposable diapers.  The MIT researchers enhanced the absorbency of hydrogel […]

Cutting Deforestation | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 10, 2023 2:00

Deforestation is a major contributor to climate change because the destruction of tropical rainforests worldwide eliminates a crucial natural sink for carbon.  Between 2015 and 2020, roughly 39,000 square miles of forest were cut down, an area about 70% the size of the entire state of New York.  In many places, such as the Amazon […]

Global Aquaculture And Environmental Change | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 9, 2023 2:00

Blue foods are fish, invertebrates, algae, and aquatic plants that are captured or cultured in freshwater and marine ecosystems.  They include approximately 2,200 species of fish, shellfish, plants and algae as well as more than 500 species farmed in freshwater.  Blue foods play a central role in food and nutrition security for billions of people, […]

Solar Power And Water | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 8, 2023 2:00

Solar power is a prime example of clean energy, but it does not come without complications and potential problems.  One problem that has arisen in the Californian desert is the effect on scarce water supplies.  Solar farms don't use up water when they are operating but they consume it when they are being built. One […]

The Value Of Seagrass | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 7, 2023 2:00

Seagrasses are found in shallow salty and brackish waters in many places around the world, from the tropics to the Arctic Circle.  They get their name from their long green, grass-like leaves.  They are not seaweeds at all but are more closely related to flowering plants on land.  We hear a lot about threatened ocean […]

How To Support Pollinators | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 4, 2023 2:00

Pollinators of all sorts have been in decline for a while.  This is especially true of bees, bats, and monarch butterflies.  Without pollinators, fruits, vegetables, and other plants cannot provide their contributions to our food supply.  According to experts, about 30% of the food that ends up on our tables gets there because of pollinators. […]

Wind And Solar Pass Coal | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 3, 2023 2:00

For the first five months of this year, wind and solar generated more electricity than coal in the United States.  This is a first.  Total renewable energy generation exceeded coal-fired power in both 2020 and 2022, but that counted hydroelectric power as one of the renewable sources. This year, wind and solar alone generated a […]

Cryo Conservation | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 2, 2023 2:00

Recent studies have shown that there has been a 69% decline in global animal populations since 1970.  There is a biodiversity crisis in the world.  In the face of this situation, there is a growing interest in using cold storage to preserve genetic samples taken from animals threatened with extinction. Just as egg-freezing is used […]

Shrinking Glaciers And Methane | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Aug 1, 2023 2:00

The Arctic region is warming much faster than the rest of the planet.  In fact, according to a study published last year in the journal Nature, the Arctic has been warming nearly four times faster than the rest of the globe during the last 43 years.  This rapid warming is leading to substantial reductions in […]

An Electric Cruise Ship | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 31, 2023 2:00

The shipping industry accounts for about 3% of global manmade greenhouse gas emissions.  In 2018, the International Maritime Organization, the UN body that regulates global shipping, set a target to cut the industry's greenhouse gas emissions by at least half by 2050. This goal has led to a variety of designs for eco-friendly ships, including […]

earth wise electric cruise ships international maritime organization
Renewables In China | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 28, 2023 2:00

A couple of years ago, China set an ambitious goal for renewable energy capacity – which includes wind, solar, hydroelectric, and nuclear power – for it to exceed fossil fuel capacity by 2025.  According to a recent report by Reuters, China has hit this goal two years ahead of schedule.  Renewables now make up 50.9% […]

The World's Hottest Day | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 27, 2023 2:00

Early in July – for four days in a row – the average global temperature was the highest ever recorded.  As many places around the world endured dangerous heatwaves, the average global temperature on the fourth of July reached 62.92 degrees Fahrenheit, the highest ever recorded by human-made instruments.  On July 6th, the global temperature […]

Fungus And Carbon Storage | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 26, 2023 2:00

It is well-known that plants and trees store enormous amounts of carbon.  What has not been common knowledge is that the vast underground network of fungi across the world's lands stores billions of tons carbon, roughly equivalent to 36% of yearly global fossil fuel emissions. These mycorrhizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with almost all land […]

earth wise fungus carbon storage
Electric Motors For Aviation | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 25, 2023 2:00

Aviation contributes about 3% of global greenhouse gas emissions.  Its carbon footprint is one of the more difficult ones to reduce.  Electrifying planes would shrink that footprint considerably, but it represents a significant technical challenge.  To date, only small all-electric planes have gotten off the ground.  The electric motors in those planes generate hundreds of […]

Decontaminating Drinking Water | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 24, 2023 2:00

At least two billion people around the world often drink water that is contaminated with disease-causing microbes.  Waterborne diseases are responsible for two million deaths each year, mostly among children under the age of five. There are various ways to decontaminate water, including chemicals that can themselves produce toxic byproducts as well as using ultraviolet […]

Greenhouse Gas Emissions Are Still Increasing | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 21, 2023 2:00

Recent research has found that the level of greenhouse gases emitted by human activity has reached an all-time high level of nearly 60 billion tons a year.  Despite increasing public attention, policy measures, and adoption of green technologies, the pace at which these changes have been taking place has simply not kept up with the […]

A Below-Average Dead Zone In The Gulf of Mexico | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 20, 2023 2:00

The Gulf of Mexico dead zone, or hypoxic area, is an area of low oxygen content that can kill fish and other marine life.  It occurs every summer and is mostly a result of excess nutrient pollution from human activities in cities and farms throughout the Mississippi River watershed.  The nutrients carried by the river […]

A Big Year For Rooftop Solar | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 19, 2023 2:00

The global capacity of rooftop solar power grew by 49% in 2022.  Overall, the installed amount of rooftop solar grew from 79 gigawatts to 118 gigawatts last year and it is projected to reach 159 gigawatts by the end of this year.  By comparison, a typical nuclear power plant can produce 1 gigawatt; a gas-powered […]

Moss And Carbon Storage | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 18, 2023 2:00

All plants, including algae and cyanobacteria, carry out photosynthesis. During the process of photosynthesis, plants remove carbon dioxide from the air and release oxygen to the air.  As a result, plants play a crucial role in the fight against climate change.  According to a new study recently published in the journal Nature Geoscience, mosses – […]

earth wise moss carbon storage nature geoscience
Water For Arizona | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 17, 2023 2:00

The Phoenix area is the fastest growing region in the country.  Arizona's two major sources of water – groundwater and the Colorado River – are dwindling from drought, climate change, and overuse.  Officials in the state are considering a radical plan to construct a desalination plant off the Mexican coast that will take the salt […]

Saving Our Soil | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Jul 14, 2023 2:00

The majority of food we eat is grown in topsoil, that carbon-rich, black soil that nurtures everything from carrots to watermelons.  The fertility of this soil has developed over eons.     But over the past 160 years, the Midwestern United States has lost 63.4 billion tons of topsoil due to farming practices.  In fact, Midwestern topsoil […]

earth saving wise soil midwestern midwestern united states

Claim Earth Wise

In order to claim this podcast we'll send an email to with a verification link. Simply click the link and you will be able to edit tags, request a refresh, and other features to take control of your podcast page!

Claim Cancel