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Environment

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

A road that cuts through a dusty Connecticut farm bisects what could be the past and future of Connecticut farming. On one side is broadleaf tobacco, a staple crop of Connecticut farms for generations. On the other, delicate hemp plants, swaying in the July heat. 

NASA

Fifty years ago, man walked on the moon. But before that happened, millions held their breath at each stage of the Apollo 11 mission, starting with the launch.

This hour we talk about the lasting impact of this historic moment--a feat of engineering, science, and political will. 

Amy the Nurse / FLICKR

Sometimes flowers take a while to catch on. Consider the zinnia. This popular annual flower was first discovered in its native Mexico by the Spanish. They thought it was so unattractive they called it “mal de ojos” or sickness of the eyes. Not a great beginning for a flower. But after years of breeding, the zinnia has been transformed into one of my favorite summer bloomers.

Campobello Whale Rescue

A showdown over lobsters and whales appears to be brewing between Maine and the federal government.

Under direction from Gov. Janet Mills, the Maine Department of Marine Resources is telling federal regulators that the state will not accept their targets for reducing risk that endangered North Atlantic right whales will be entangled in rope the state's lobstermen use to tend their gear. 

Unripe mulberries.
Emma Doughty (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Here we go round the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush, the mulberry bush. Here we go round the mulberry bush on a cold and frosty morning. We all know this English nursery rhyme, but ironically, the mulberry bush or tree is native to China, not England.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

An accident at Bradley International Airport caused tens of thousands of gallons of firefighting foam to leak into the Farmington River in June. That foam contains PFAS, a group of chemicals linked to serious health risks. 

This hour, we take a look at how this accident happened, and what threats it poses to our health and environment. Here in Connecticut, some lawmakers are just learning about the risks of these “forever chemicals”.

New Hampshire is at the forefront of a growing debate over PFAS chemical contamination in drinking water. And many of the Democrats campaigning to win the state’s first-in-the-nation presidential primary are taking notice.

They’re using the issue to connect with a highly engaged block of potential Granite State voters – and local PFAS activists are welcoming the attention.


Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Governor Ned Lamont told reporters Monday he's finding out more about the environmental and health risks associated with the family of chemicals known as PFAS.

Environmental activists are livid about revisions to a plastic bag bill in Massachusetts, made by a legislative committee, that they say is worse than doing nothing.

Pxhere / Flickr Creative Commons

Where does your food come from? Most of us go to the grocery store to buy produce, dairy, and meat. And these items aren’t necessarily local; they may come from hundreds or thousands of miles away.

This hour we hear how more people are getting involved in producing the food they eat. It’s called “modern homesteading.”

Malabar spinach
Artizone (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Gardeners love the idea of being independent of the seasons to grow crops whenever we like. For example, I love greens and would love to grow spinach, arugula and lettuce all summer, but I know the heat will cause them to bolt and get bitter. However, there are greens that can tolerate the heat and shine all summer.

Terry Gross / Wikimedia Commons

Fear of sharks spiked last summer after a great white fatally bit a 26-year-old surfer off the coast of Cape Cod. The fever still runs high as reports of great white sightings coincide with people heading to the beach this 4th of July. 

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Residents and state officials met in Windsor on Tuesday, following a chemical spill last month that sent thousands of gallons of contaminated water into the Farmington River.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

The Quinnipiac River was, historically, one of Connecticut’s most polluted. For decades, nineteenth-century factories and densely populated towns poured sewage and industrial waste into the river. 

But recent history has been kinder to the Quinnipiac – thanks to a combination of conservation and environmental laws, which helped to boost its water quality and pave the way for the return of fish and wildlife.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

The operator of Bradley International Airport said it is stepping up pollution control measures following a recent accident that released PFAS – a family of chemicals linked to a variety of negative health effects. 

Chickweed is one of the annual weeds that you can prevent.
Paige Filler (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Ben Franklin once said, “A man of words and not of deeds, is like a garden full of weeds.” Yes, with all the rain, annual weeds are having a hay day!

A woman riding a scooter in downtown Nashville.
WPLN

Electric scooters have taken over American streets from D.C. to Nashville, giving residents a speedy way to get around. But they're also causing headaches for drivers and pedestrians.

Did you know Connecticut lawmakers have passed legislation regulating these zippy rides? This hour, we’ll check in with New Haven on its proposed scooter program and we’ll hear about how New London is thinking of making public buses operate more like an Uber Pool ride.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

The finding comes more than two weeks after an accident at a private aircraft hangar sent thousands of gallons of contaminated water into the river.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

Lawmakers and environmental advocates gathered on the banks of the Farmington River Friday, calling for state and federal action following a chemical spill at a private aircraft hangar, which contaminated the river.

Peter Nelson

A new study finds one quarter of New England wildflower species have disappeared in the last 150 years. Researchers are worried about what that means for local ecosystems. The decrease can be attributed to pollution, urban development, invasive species and climate change.

Cucumber beetle
Katja Schulz (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Happy Summer Solstice. Although gardens are slow to grow this year, the insects know what time of year it is and they're out in force. Particularly, the beetles.

Courtesy: CT Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

There’s increasing concern over a chemical spill into the Farmington River that happened earlier this month. An accident June 9 at Bradley Airport released 50,000 gallons of firefighting foam containing chemicals known as PFAS -- and a substantial amount of it made its way from the sewer system into the waterway. In the days since, it’s become evident that it’s going to be very hard to contain and remove the chemicals from the spill. 

Firefighting foam that spilled into the Farmington River shown contained by a boom.
Courtesy: Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection

A recent accidental dump of firefighting foam into the Farmington River near Bradley International Airport has conservationists concerned.

Ronald T. Gautreau Jr.

Bren Smith began his career as a commercial fisherman, but now is the owner of Thimble Island Oyster Farm, a 3D restorative ocean farm in Connecticut. He’s also the author of the new book, Eat Like a Fish: My Adventures as a Fisherman Turned Restorative Ocean Farmer.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden is once again open to visitors following a series of storms last spring that saw tornadoes touching down just outside the park’s border.

Okra
Rebecca Wilson (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Now that the weather was finally gotten warmer, it's time to grow heat-loving vegetables. This vegetable hails from Africa, was grow by ancient Egyptians, and was brought to this country by slaves. It's related to hibiscus, cotton, and mallow plants. Can you guess the name? It's okra.

The nation's first off-shore wind farm off the coast of Block Island, Rhode Island in October 2016.
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

This hour we take a look at some of the environmental bills the Connecticut General Assembly passed this legislative session, including a new commitment to offshore wind power. We learn what this renewable energy source means for the state’s power grid—and its economy.

And we take a look at one essential component behind offshore wind power, a group of special metals called “rare earth elements”. What does the availability—and environmental impact—of harvesting these materials mean for our energy future?

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

For the past two years, lawmakers have directed more than $100 million earmarked for energy efficiency upgrades to instead, be swept into the state’s general fund.

Last week’s budget agreement got rid of those funding sweeps, but it was unable to reverse a more than $50 million diversion scheduled for July.

Where have all the wild orchids gone?

A recent study finds that about one quarter of native New England wildflower species have been lost in the last 150 years. This means that purple-fringed orchids and pink lady slippers — once abundant in the region — are disappearing from some areas, often replaced by non-native species. Researchers worry that this loss of biodiversity may harm local ecosystems.

Catmint
Jim, the Photographer (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Nepeta, or catmint, is a tough, long blooming perennial that bees and butterflies love. Of course, one of its members, catnip, is a particular favorite of cats. Unfortunately, catnip isn't the most attractive plant, but kitties love to roll, munch and sleep on the plant.

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