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Environment

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.

Connecticut, Rhode Island Vie For Roles In Emerging Offshore Wind Industry

Sep 12, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

When Connecticut Gov. Ned Lamont signed legislation last June authorizing up to 2,000 megawatts of offshore wind development, the new law signaled big ambitions.

“Connecticut should be the central hub of the offshore wind industry in New England,” Lamont proclaimed at the time. 

Neil Palmer/CIAT / CIFOR

As fires burn in the Amazon rainforest, we ask: To what extent is deforestation responsible for the flames? Coming up, we check in with climate scientist Dr. Carlos Nobre.

But first, we talk to Scott Wallace about his reporting on illegal logging in the Amazon. What impact does it have on the rainforest? And what is being done to stop it? 

Stairway on path in Walnut Hill Park in New Britain, Connecticut
John Phelan / Wikimedia Commons

When you head to New York, do you ever take a break from the city and get lost on a trail in Central Park? This hour, we take a look at the life of the man behind that beloved and iconic city park: Connecticut native Frederick Law Olmsted.

Amaranth.
Kristine Paulus (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Some late blooming annual flowers are really shining this time of year. One of my favorites is amaranth. If that name sounds familiar, you're probably munching on it in the morning, as the grain is a popular breakfast cereal.

Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public Radio

Governor Ned Lamont signed the third executive order of his administration Tuesday, setting an ambitious environmental goal, a zero carbon energy grid by 2040.

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A commercial satellite image shows just how much of Grand Bahama Island is underwater following days of torrential rain and massive storm surge from Hurricane Dorian.

Wikimedia Commons

The early weeks of September provide some of the best times to watch migrating birds of prey, and over the years, there have been big changes to what you can see in Connecticut.

Jesse Steinmetz / New England News Collaborative

A new natural gas-fired power plant is slated to open in the Hudson Valley in 2020. The plant is only a few miles from the border with Connecticut, and from several schools. That has some residents in both states concerned.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

State Attorney General William Tong is directing his staff to provide “any assistance we can” in an ongoing investigation into questionable conduct and purchases at the Connecticut Port Authority.

Pears.
Forest Starr and Kim Starr (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Pears are great backyard fruits. New Englanders have been growing pear trees since the 1600s. While the commercial industry has shifted to Washington and Oregon because of better growing conditions and fewer disease problems, pears still make great backyard fruits.

A year after a young man was killed by a shark off Cape Cod — the first such death there in more than 80 years — beach towns full of vacationers are struggling to manage an influx of great whites.

Sharks off the coast have become more common in recent years as the seal population they hunt has increased. Scientists point out that sharks do not target humans, though they can mistake them for prey. But many officials believed the attack was only a matter of time.

Can The U.S. Offshore Wind Industry Survive Without A Federal Tax Credit?

Aug 26, 2019
Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

The Trump administration’s decision to delay the Vineyard Wind project will impact the offshore wind developer’s ability to take advantage of a big federal tax credit that expires in December.

Democratic lawmakers say the administration’s decision was a political move to stall the project and could endanger the future growth of the industry. Lawmakers are scrambling to pass legislation to get the tax credit extended.

But some industry observers say offshore wind may be able to survive just fine without it. 

woodleywonderworks / Creative Commons

For the past decade, Connecticut’s residential electric customers have paid bills that are among the highest in the continental United States, but there isn’t one grand explanation for Connecticut’s sky-high electric bills.

Ballista, George Edward Lodge, Michael L. Baird / Wikimedia Commons

What would it have been like to see a huge, elephant-like mastodon roaming our state? 

The earth has been home to some spectacularly large animals. A few of them still roam or swim our world today.

This hour, we take a look at the biology of these giants. 

Sneeze weed.
Virginia State Parks (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Some plants have unfortunate common names. Take sneezeweed for example. Sneezeweed, or helenium, is a native perennial that's blooming now with colorful flowers on 3 to 5 foot tall plants. It's great to grow in your garden because it flowers as the summer perennials, such as bee balm, are finishing but before the fall perennials, such as sedum and asters, begin.

The U.S. used to send a lot of its plastic waste to China to get recycled. But last year, China put the kibosh on imports of the world's waste. The policy, called National Sword, freaked out people in the U.S. — a huge market for plastic waste had just dried up.

Where was it all going to go now?

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

In recent years, an invasive insect called the gypsy moth has spelled doom for countless New England trees. From 2016 through 2018, it’s estimated gypsy moths defoliated more than 2 million acres in southern New England, which means a lot of cleanup for foresters.

But among all that destruction there is some good news: gypsy moth populations are, finally, declining.  

If you want to know what climate change will look like, you need to know what Earth's climate looked like in the past — what air temperatures were like, for example, and what ocean currents and sea levels were doing. You need to know what polar ice caps and glaciers were up to and, crucially, how hot the oceans were.

Sources: Vineyard Wind Decision Delayed Until December 2020

Aug 18, 2019
Nadine Sebai / The Public's Radio

Final approval for the Vineyard Wind Project will likely not happen for at least another 18 months, according to information received from multiple sources by The Public’s Radio. This means the country’s first large scale offshore wind farm won’t begin construction in time to take advantage of a lucrative federal tax credit that expires at the end of the year. 

Ray Hardman / Connecticut Public Radio

Monarch butterflies famously migrate to Mexico in the winter, traveling along well established routes. One of those routes runs along the shoreline of Connecticut. An organic gardener whose mission is to increase the population of migrating monarchs will be in New Haven this weekend to show people how to raise and release these amazing creatures.

A garden after the first freeze.
woodleywonderworks (Flickr) / Creative Commons

I've been rereading an old classic, 1973 gardening book by a former Redding, Connecticut resident Ruth Stout. In her book, No Work Gardening, she touts using deep layers of organic mulches as the solution to pretty much everything in the garden. She uses deep mulching for weed control, fertility management, and pest control and got huge yields with little work. Ruth passed many years ago, but her book got me thinking about simplifying my garden work.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Representative John Larson took to the banks of the Connecticut River Monday to promote federal legislation he said will strengthen roads and bridges while taxing polluters and providing rebates to American taxpayers. 

Santa Clara Weekly / Facebook

An accident earlier this summer at Bradley International Airport caused thousands of gallons of toxic chemicals to spill into the Farmington River. The aviation support company responsible for that accident was also involved in a similar incident in California in 2016.

In June, a faulty manual fire alarm in an airplane hangar at Bradley triggered the release of firefighting foam containing PFAS, a group of chemicals that are highly toxic, and hard to remove from the environment. An estimated 50,000 gallons of the foam eventually made its way into the Farmington River.

Connecticut Department of Energy and Enviromental Protection

Connecticut Attorney General William Tong says the state is working aggressively to deal with toxic chemicals known as PFAS in the Farmington River. In June, thousands of gallons of the chemicals were accidentally released into the Farmington near Bradley International airport.

On Thursday, Tong was joined by legislators and environmental officials at the banks of the Farmington River in Windsor near where the spill originated. He said before any action is taken, the state needs more information.

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change is out with a new report Thursday examining how land use contributes to climate change and other environmental problems.

Tomato hornworm.
Christine Kalina (Flickr) / Creative Commons

I remember my first encounter with the tomato hornworm. I came back after being away from my garden for a few days and noticed the tops of my plants were all munched. I naturally blamed the deer, but after further inspection I came face to face with this 4-inch long, green monster. It was happily munching away on the leaves. I swear I could hear it chew.

Humans must drastically alter food production to prevent the most catastrophic effects of global warming, according to a new report from the United Nations panel on climate change.

The panel of scientists looked at the climate change effects of agriculture, deforestation and other land use, such as harvesting peat and managing grasslands and wetlands. Together, those activities generate about a third of human greenhouse gas emissions, including more than 40% of methane.

Seals On Cape Cod Are More Than Just Shark Bait

Aug 6, 2019
Miriam Wasser / WBUR

There are tens of thousands of seals on Cape Cod and the Islands, and everyone seems to have an opinion about them. Some see them as an adorable tourist attraction that helps the ecosystem. But to others, they’re Public Enemy No. 1 — a messy, fish-eating shark magnet that needs to be culled. 

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