Environment | Connecticut Public Radio
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Environment

John Kees / Wikimedia Commons

During this pandemic, most of the day our eyes are glued to our screens as we continue to work from home. This hour, we challenge you to look outside as we talk about bird watching in our state! 

Sales of bird feeders and bird seed have skyrocketed this year. If you are one of the many people that have picked up birding, look out for cardinals and woodpeckers!

And this year, we have seen an inundation of yard rodents such as squirrels and chipmunks so this is a great time to watch for owls and other birds of prey.  

The impacts of climate change could prompt millions of Americans to relocate in coming decades, moving inland away from rising seas, or north to escape rising temperatures.

Judith and Doug Saum have moved already, recently leaving their home outside Reno, Nevada.

Pixabay.com

Winter is a good time to plan for better garden soil. Soil is the soul of your garden. As goes the soil, so grows your plants. In my new book, The Complete Guide to No-Dig Gardening, I talk all about growing vegetables, herbs and flowers without tilling, turning or disturbing the soil. There are many good reasons for gardening this way. 

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Houseplants are popular for adding lush greenery indoors. But what if you don't have space for large floor or tabletop houseplants? The solution is trailing or climbing houseplants. 

Cloe Poisson / Connecticut Mirror

A coalition of 74 cities and towns met this week to discuss the future of the state’s trash. The discussions come as the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority announced it will close its Hartford trash-to-energy plant by July 2022. That closure has some municipal leaders asking a big question about our garbage: Should residents pay for each bag they throw out?

Alex Liivet, Flickr Creative Commons / edited by Chion Wolf


There’s not a lot of great headlines in the news lately. Y’know, between a contentious election, rioting in the Capitol, a raging pandemic, and lots and lots of dangerous misinformation.

Jean-Francois Brousseau (Flickr / Creative Commons)

January is a good time of year to spruce up your houseplant collection. While having a lush, dark green foliage houseplant is soothing, there are some ways to add color to your houseplant jungle without needing lots of light. 

Anonymous (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Happy New Year. This fall while filming the New England Gardening with Charlie Nardozzi: Holiday Edition special for CPTV, I couldn't help but stop at Logee's Greenhouses and pick up some citrus plants. 

stanze (Flickr / Creative Commons)

Winter is here and before we get into the thick of it, we should do some last minute preparations to protect our plants. This is especially true of our evergreens.

Coronavirus Habits Disrupted Connecticut Piping Plovers

Dec 22, 2020

Piping plovers had their worst nesting season in over a decade due to impacts of the coronavirus, while other threatened birds were more productive than usual. That’s according to an annual report released by the Connecticut Audubon Society.

Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is defending the state’s decision to join a new regional green transportation initiative. Critics say it’ll drive up gas prices in the state. 

tree2mydoor (Flickr / Creative Commons)

It’s getting down to the wire for gift-giving this holiday season. One of the people you might still be shopping for may be the gardener in the family. Gardeners can be a bit particular about the tools, supplies and seeds they use. So, let me give you a few ideas for your favorite gardener.

Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

State public health officials have removed a consumption advisory on fish taken from a portion of the Farmington River. That advisory had been in place since June 2019 after a spill at a nearby airport hangar washed thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals into the river.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public

The state’s top environmental official continued to thread an awkward policy needle this week as opponents of a proposed natural gas power plant in Killingly reaffirmed their call for the project’s termination. The commissioner of the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection said the project secured key go-aheads because of problems in broader regional energy markets.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Elected officials across Connecticut testified before state regulators Monday that electric utility Eversource repeatedly failed to provide critical updates on power restoration in the aftermath of Tropical Storm Isaias, which knocked out power to hundreds of thousands of customers earlier this year.

The MIRA trash-to-energy plant in Hartford, which is now slated to shut down in 2022
Cloe Poisson / Connecticut Mirror

For years, Connecticut sent large portions of waste to the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) trash-to-energy plant in Hartford. This, in spite of protests by Hartford residents, who say pollution from the plant has caused health problems. Now, the plant will close in 2022.

Today, we talk with Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) Commissioner Katie Dykes about the state's garbage.

The commissioner has said the state is facing a “waste crisis” in coming years. So what’s the solution?

Three coyote pups in the Bronx, captured in a camera trap image
Gotham Coyote Project

Have you spotted a coyote in your neighborhood? These carnivores can live just about everywhere, from Canada to Central America, from California to -- just recently -- Long Island.

This hour, we talk with two researchers that study coyotes. We learn about how coyotes have expanded their range over the last 200 years to cover much of North America.

As other species have struggled to survive amidst human habitat destruction, why has the scrappy coyote been able to thrive?  We want to hear from you, too. Do you have coyotes in your town or city?

Do you like seeing them or do you worry they will snag your cat for supper?

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With the holiday season upon us, and many people sticking closer to home this year, decorating indoors and outdoors is going full tilt in many households. One of the standards for holiday decorating is an evergreen wreath.

John Kerry is looking to resume climate diplomacy that was disrupted under President Trump.

The former secretary of state is one of several Obama administration officials appointed by President-elect Biden. Their goals include restoring what had been seen as the normal functions of the U.S. government when they were last in it.

After decades of burning trash, the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) will close its Hartford incinerator by July 2022. That means hundreds of thousands of tons of trash will be destined for out-of-state landfills, a costly reality that has state and municipal officials questioning how to quickly reduce trash volumes.

One solution? Recycling leftover food.

Cloe Poisson / Connecticut Mirror

For decades, millions of tons of trash have been put on a truck and shipped to the banks of the Connecticut River in Hartford.

There, inside an incinerator, trash from dozens of communities is burned and turned into power. But recent years brought problems to the plant, as age, mechanical failures and ever-changing energy market forces aligned to cause the plant’s operator to threaten permanent closure.

Weeping Norway Spruce
mwms1916 (Flickr / Creative Commons)

It's taken me awhile to appreciate weeping evergreen trees. For the longest time they reminded me of illustrations from a Dr. Seuss children's book. But used properly, weeping evergreens can be an amazing focal point in your garden and provide winter interest. 

Pixabay

Dogs are man’s best friend, but what’s really going on inside of their heads?

This hour, we talk with canine cognition researcher Brian Hare.

Hare runs Duke University’s Canine Cognition Center, and is the co-author of the new book: Survival of the Friendliest: Understanding Our Origins and Rediscovering Our Common Humanity.

Pixabay.com

One of the big three flowers of the holiday season is the amaryllis. Its trumpet-shaped bright red, pink, salmon, or white colored flowers brighten up any holiday table. And it can be forced to rebloom each year fairly easily.

New Method To Save New England Salt Marshes Piloted In Mass.

Nov 19, 2020
Wenley Ferguson, director of habitat restoration for Save the Bay in Rhode Island, stands by the excavator on the Little Bay salt marsh in Fairhaven.
Eve Zuckoff / CapsandIslands.org

Wearing tall rubber boots, a scientist walked along an overgrown path to the Little Bay salt marsh in Fairhaven, on Cape Cod.

“I'm going to kind of weave us up through this back zone,” said Alice Besterman, the post-doctoral researcher with the Buzzards Bay Coalition.

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There are some houseplants that are great for those gardeners who live or work in a dwelling with little natural light and are a bit forgetful about watering. One of the best is the snake plant.

Snake plant or Sansevieria also has the unfortunate common name of mother-in-law's tongue. That's due to the pointed leaf tips can pinch you unexpectedly if you touch it. The traditional snake plants stand 2- to -3-feet tall with broad, thick leaves. The leaves are dark green and some have yellow edges.

But with the boom in houseplants, there are many different types of Sansevierias that are smaller, more colorful and less likely to pinch you!

Courtesy: Sierra Club

A new study of natural gas infrastructure in Connecticut says harmful amounts of methane are leaking from aging underground gas pipes. The findings add to an emerging body of science demonstrating the scale of methane leaks in America.

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“Essentially, all life depends upon the soil. There can be no life without soil and no soil without life; they have evolved together.” That was Charles Kellogg writing in the USDA Book of Agriculture about 100 years ago.

There's a new appreciation of our soils underfoot, especially as we search for ways to slow the pace of global warming. Soils and plant roots can capture carbon from the atmosphere and hold it in the soil for decades. Soil is also a living entity upon which all life depends. This view can change our gardening practices to be more soil friendly.

State regulators on Friday approved a rate hike for utilities Eversource and United Illuminating. The changes mean that if you’re a customer of those utilities, part of your bill will go up in January. 

The Public Utilities Regulatory Authority said the rate hike is tied to seasonal variations in the energy market.

During the winter, prices for natural gas are higher, and since that fuel is used to generate most of the region’s wholesale power, "supply" portions of your bill go up. 

Some much-needed rain has lowered the threat of drought across the state.

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