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Latest episodes from Earth Wise

Recycling Shingles | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 27, 2022 2:00

Every year in the US, about 13 million tons of asphalt material is removed from old roofs to be replaced with new shingles.  Only about 10% of that is recycled for use in paving and various roadway projects.  The other 12 million tons of asphalt ends up in landfills where it takes a very long […]

Climate Change And The Next Pandemic | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2022 2:00

As the planet continues to heat up, animals big and small are moving towards the poles to escape the heat.  According to researchers, these animals are likely to come into contact with other animals that they normally wouldn't, and are likely to relocate to regions with large human populations.  These factors create opportunities for pathogens […]

Rock Dust And Carbon | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 25, 2022 2:00

According to a new study by Cardiff University in the UK, Britain could achieve nearly half of the carbon removal needed to meet its climate goals by adding basalt rock dust to crop fields.  The process is known as enhanced weathering and has been the subject of ongoing research in the U.S. at Cornell University […]

The Ivory-Billed Woodpecker | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 24, 2022 2:00

The ivory-billed woodpecker was the largest woodpecker in the US.  They were once relatively common, stretching from the Carolinas through the southeast and across to Texas.  Their numbers started to drop sharply in the 19th century because of habitat loss and overhunting.  Many were taken as valuable specimens; some were even eaten by poverty-stricken people. […]

Climate Change And Forest Loss | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 23, 2022 2:00

India is one of the most biodiverse countries in the world.  An estimated 47,000 plant species and 89,000 animal species can be found in India, with more than 10% of each thought to be on the list of threatened species.  India is also among the top ten countries in the world in terms of total […]

Wind And Solar And Meeting Climate Goals | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 20, 2022 2:00

According to a new report from the climate think tank Ember, the rapid growth that has been going on for solar and wind power could allow the global electricity sector to do its part in limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius. In 2021, solar power grew by 23% worldwide and wind power grew by […]

Record Renewable Use In California | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2022 2:00

California, the most populous state, is the second largest electricity user.  Only Texas, the second most populous state, uses more energy, in part because it consumes large amounts in refining fossil fuels. Overall, California uses about 8% of the electricity generated in the U.S. Thus, it was a significant milestone when briefly, on April 3, […]

Managing Pests With Cover Crops | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 18, 2022 2:00

The use of pesticides in global agriculture brings with it many problems including the killing of non-target, beneficial species as well as reversing pest-management gains from the use of conservation agriculture methods. In a newly published study by researchers at Penn State University, the use of plant cover, such as cover crops, was shown to […]

Peak Natural Gas Generation | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 17, 2022 2:00

According to a new report from the Institute for Energy Economics and Finance (the IEEFA), the U.S. most likely hit its peak usage of natural gas to generate electricity in 2020.  Growth in wind and solar power are beginning to erode the use of natural gas. At the moment, natural gas prices are unusually high […]

Electric Cars On The Rise | Earth Wise           

Play Episode Listen Later May 16, 2022 2:00

The first quarter of the year was a tough one for the U.S. auto industry.  Overall sales of cars and trucks were down 15.7% compared with last year.   Automakers have been dealing with shortages of computer chips and other supplies, resulting in slowdowns in production. The one major exception to the trend has been sales […]

Antarctic Heatwave | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 13, 2022 2:00

The Concordia Research station atop Dome C on the Antarctic Plateau is generally considered to be the coldest place on earth.  In mid-March, the normal high temperature for the day is around -56 degrees Fahrenheit.  But on March 18, the high for the day was 11.3 degrees, nearly 70 degrees warmer than normal. The World […]

Unhealthy Air | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2022 2:00

According to the World Health Organization, almost the entire global population – 99% in fact – breathes air that exceeds WHO air quality limits and threatens their health. Air quality is of great concern everywhere.  Over 6,000 cities in 117 countries monitor air quality, but the people living in those cities are still breathing unhealthy […]

Capturing Carbon Dioxide With Plastic | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 11, 2022 2:00

The world is awash in both waste plastic and in carbon dioxide emissions.   Researchers at Rice University have discovered a chemical technique for making waste plastic into an effective carbon dioxide absorbent for industry. Chemists at Rice reported in the journal ACS Nano that heating plastic waste in the presence of potassium acetate produces particles […]

Sand From Mining Waste | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 10, 2022 2:00

The natural resources people use the most are air and water.  It may come as a surprise that in third place is sand.  Sand is used to make glass, computer chips, toothpaste, cosmetics, food, wine, paper, paint, plastics, and more.  It is estimated that 50 billion tons of sand are used each year. Concrete is […]

The Atmosphere Is Thirstier | Earth Wise      

Play Episode Listen Later May 9, 2022 2:00

The American West is in the throes of a two-decade-long drought.  The climate there is getting warmer and drier, which has led to increasing demand for water resources from both humans and ecosystems.  According to a new study by the Desert Research Institute and collaborators, the atmosphere across much of the U.S. is also demanding […]

Fires Are Larger And More Frequent | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 6, 2022 2:00

According to a new study by the University of Colorado Boulder, wildfires have gotten much larger and much more frequent across the United States since the year 2000.  The rise in wildfires in recent years has been attributed to the changing climate and the new research shows that large fires have become more common and […]

Phasing Out Disposables | Earth Wise      

Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2022 2:00

Humans generate a remarkable amount of garbage.  According to the World Bank, humans produce 4.5 trillion pounds of trash every year, with at least 33% of this garbage not managed in an environmentally-safe manner. By 2050, global garbage generation is expected to reach nearly 7.5 trillion pounds a year.  Globally, an average of 1.6 lbs […]

Methane Leaks Are Worse Than We Thought | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 4, 2022 2:00

Methane leaking from oil and gas wells is a real problem for the environment because methane is far more potent at trapping heat than carbon dioxide.   The EPA has estimated that about 1.4% of the methane produced by wells nationally leaks into the atmosphere.   However, environmental experts and energy industry engineers have been concerned that […]

Birds Bees And Coffee | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 3, 2022 2:00

A new study by the University of Vermont in collaboration with researchers from three Latin American countries looked at the effects of birds and bees on coffee crops.  They found that coffee beans are bigger and more plentiful when birds and bees team up to protect and pollinate coffee plants. The real-world study manipulated coffee […]

New York Bight Offshore Wind | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later May 2, 2022 2:00

Late in February, the U.S. completed the most successful offshore wind lease auction in history.  The auction for rights to develop offshore wind in the New York Bight brought in a record $4.37 billion from the companies bidding for them. The New York Bight is an area of ocean off the coasts of New York […]

A Better Way To Capture Carbon | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 29, 2022 2:00

The goal of carbon capture and storage technology is to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and safely store it for the indefinite future.  There are existing industrial facilities that capture carbon dioxide from concentrated sources – like the emissions from power plants.  The technology currently captures and stores only about a tenth of a […]

Computing With Honey | Earth Wise           

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2022 2:00

Researchers are always working to develop faster and more powerful computers.  Some of them believe that the future of computing lies with neuromorphic computers, which are systems designed to mimic the neurons and synapses found in the human brain. The human brain has more than 100 billion neurons with more than 1 quadrillion synapses or […]

More Bleaching In The Great Barrier Reef | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 27, 2022 2:00

Australia's Great Barrier Reef is an ecosystem that can be seen from space.  It has now suffered its 6th mass coral bleaching event since 1998.  Previous events happened in 1998, 2002, 2006, 2016, and 2017.  This latest bleaching has occurred even though this is a La Niña year, when more rain and cooler temperatures are […]

A Solar-Powered Target Store | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 26, 2022 2:00

Many companies have made sustainability commitments of various types. Environmental organizations have urged big-box and grocery stores to install solar panels on their rooftops and parking lots thereby reducing their energy usage and expanding the country's supply of renewable energy.  These places occupy large areas and therefore are capable of supporting large solar arrays. According […]

River Of Dust | Earth Wise               

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 25, 2022 2:00

Every year, more than 100 million tons of dust blow out of North Africa.  Strong seasonal winds lift the dust from the Sahara Desert northward.  A few times a year, the winds from the south are strong and persistent enough to drive the dust all the way to Europe. On March 15, a large plume […]

Turning Pollution Into Cash | Earth Wise     

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 22, 2022 2:00

Power plants and other industrial facilities are a major source of carbon emissions.  There are a variety of techniques under development to prevent those emissions by capturing them rather than releasing them into the atmosphere.  All of them add costs to the functioning of the facility.  A good way to offset those costs is to […]

Floating Offshore Wind | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2022 2:00

According to a new report by the Global Wind Energy Council, floating offshore wind technology is on track to grow from a miniscule market to a substantial contribution to the world's energy supply over the next decade.  Furthermore, the United States represents one of the countries with the greatest potential. Wind power is stronger and […]

The Plight Of Monarch Butterflies | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 20, 2022 2:00

The monarch butterfly is one of the world's best-known butterflies and has become the symbol for a whole class of imperiled pollinators.  Populations of the iconic orange-and-black insects have declined dramatically in recent decades.  According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, the eastern monarch population has dropped 88% between 1996 and 2020.  Habitat loss, […]

Training Corals To Tolerate Heat | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 19, 2022 2:00

When ocean water is too warm, corals expel the algae that lives in their tissues, which causes the coral to turn completely white.  This is called coral bleaching.   When this happens, the coral is not dead.  However, corals are dependent upon the symbiotic relationship with algae and if conditions don't improve, they don't let the […]

Community Solar In New York | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 18, 2022 2:00

New York has now installed 1 GW of community solar capacity, which is more than any other state. Community solar is a solar energy project within a geographic area for which the benefits flow to multiple customers such as individuals, businesses, nonprofits, or other groups.  For the most part, the customers benefit from energy being […]

Getting Rid Of Single-Use Plastics | Earth Wise

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 15, 2022 2:00

Single-use plastics are used only once before they are recycled – or more likely – simply thrown away.  These are things like plastic bags, straws, coffee stirrers, soda and water bottles, and most food packaging.  They are primarily made from fossil fuel-based chemicals. Since the 1950s, over 9 billion tons of plastics have been produced, […]

Large Mammals And Climate Change | Earth Wise         

Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2022 2:00

The natural world has an important part to play in mitigating the effects of climate change.  We mostly think about the role of plant life which absorbs carbon in trees, grasses, and other flora.  However, a new study published by Oxford University looks at the role of large wild animals in restoring ecosystems and reducing […]