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Environment

Kohlrabi
Pixabay.com

My kohlrabi transplants are looking great under my grow lights. Kohlrabi, you say? What's that?

Blue Rug Juniper
Lee Wright (Flickr / Creative Commons)

It's hard to know what to plant on a slope. Slopes that are too steep to safely mow can become eroded and turn into an eyesore filled with weeds and invasive flowers and shrubs.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public

A key legislative committee voted Wednesday in favor of a program that could raise hundreds of millions of dollars for environmental programs in Connecticut, but it could also have an impact at the gas pump.  

As the White House slows down fossil fuel development on public lands and offshore, it's ramping up renewable energy with a push to jump-start the offshore wind energy business. Monday's announcement is part of President Biden's effort to fulfill the ambitious climate plan he campaigned on, including making the nation's electricity sector carbon neutral by 2035.

Ryan von Linden / New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Do you see bats where you live? These flying creatures play important roles in ecosystems around the world, from pest control to pollination.

AP Photo/Julio Corte

A new federal report released last week shows U.S. bald eagle populations quadrupling over the course of a decade. It’s an encouraging sign of growth for one of America’s most iconic animals, which comes as eagle populations in Connecticut also reached record-setting levels last year. 

Corydalis elata
Leonora (Ellie) Enking (Flickr / Creative Commons)

With the recent spate of warm weather, everything seems to be popping out of the ground. I'm excited about my snow drops, crocus and early tulips, but I also love some of the wild, native bulbs that will be blooming soon. One that really captures my attention is corydalis.

With so much land under federal control in the West, it's long been said the secretary of the Interior has much more of a direct affect on most people's lives than the president. This experience could arguably be multiplied tenfold on reservations.

In her confirmation hearing earlier this year, Deb Haaland of the Laguna Pueblo in New Mexico nodded to the fact that the department she now leads was historically used as a tool of oppression toward tribes.

'Pica Bella'
cultivar413 (Flickr / Creative Commons)

This is a good time of year to make your wish list of new perennial flowers for your garden. I like to read variety trials from public gardens located in similar growing zones to get ideas. One recent trail of echinacea varieties from the Mt. Cuba Center in Wilmington, Delaware caught my eye.

The interstate highways that were jackhammered through Hartford six decades ago may have increased vehicular mobility, but they did so at great cost to the fabric of the city. Now a new plan — a mix of previous efforts along with new ideas — aims to remedy that.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

A major trash-to-energy plant in Hartford will close next year, raising questions about what will happen with hundreds of thousands of tons of garbage. Now the operator of that plant said it will also cease operations at its nearby recycling facility, effective May 1, 2021.

The Valentine's Day winter storm of 2021 left Texans shivering in the dark, but that didn't stop intrepid volunteers from heading out into the suddenly frigid waters of the Gulf Coast to save thousands of sea turtles at risk of dying. This is the story of the largest sea turtle "cold-stun" event in recorded history, according to scientists.

As the historic storm plunged temperatures into the 20s, boat captain Henry Rodriguez headed out into the choppy waters of the Laguna Madre off South Padre Island.

Uwe Aranas / Wikimedia Commons

Gardening can be really therapeutic. For the second year in the row, seed sellers are selling out of their stock early as more and more people prepare for another pandemic spring season at home. 

This hour, Charlie Nardozzi from Connecticut Garden Journal is here to answer your questions on gardening. 

Irish Moss
beautifulcataya (Flickr / Creative Commons)

In honor of St. Patrick's Day next week, I thought I'd skip the green beer and talk about Irish moss.

In one of his first actions in January, President Biden announced an ambitious plan that he said would create jobs and reduce the federal government's greenhouse gas emissions.

"The federal government also owns an enormous fleet of vehicles," he said Jan. 25, "which we're going to replace with clean, electric vehicles made right here in America by American workers, creating millions of jobs — a million autoworker jobs in clean energy — and vehicles that are net-zero emissions."

Cloe Poisson / Connecticut Mirror

When the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority announced plans to close its trash-burning plant in Hartford by July 2022, the agency said it would turn off the incinerators and transform the site into a transfer station for garbage. But conversations with the state appear to have stopped those plans, which could mean that when the plant shuts down, hundreds of thousands of tons of garbage may no longer make their way into Hartford.

In this file photo, an Amtrak train arrives at Hartford Union Station on October 5, 2018.
Frankie Graziano / Connecticut Public

Ridership on Metro North and the Hartford Line has plummeted as many residents suddenly stopped commuting by public transit during the pandemic.

But as the federal government eyes infrastructure as a recovery priority, will Connecticut benefit?

This hour, we talk to Senator Richard Blumenthal about what this could mean for our region’s rail system.

And some proponents in our region see this as an opportunity to bring high speed rail to Connecticut. Is that a realistic possibility for our state?

Gov. Ned Lamont holds a press briefing at the Community Health Center in New Britain to highlight CHC’s walk-up COVID-19 testing site and to encourage continued testing, June 18, 2020.
Cloe Poisson / CTMirror.org

Members of the state legislature heard testimony Monday on a bill from Gov. Ned Lamont aimed at reducing transportation emissions via a multistate collaborative called the Transportation and Climate Initiative Program (TCI).

Connecticut Solar Developers Enlist Sheep To Cut Grass And Ease Tensions

Mar 8, 2021
Antalexion/Creative Commons

It wasn’t your usual Connecticut Siting Council hearing. 

The petition before the regulators last week concerned a proposed 4.99-megawatt solar project on a tobacco farm in East Windsor. But many of the councilors’ questions for developer Greenskies Clean Energy had little to do with the technicalities of solar. 

Agapostemon splendens bee sitting on a flower
Michael C. Thomas / PNAS

Insects are the most abundant group of animals on the planet. There are an estimated 10 quintillion of them on Earth.

But in recent years, scientists have found disturbing evidence that insect populations are on the decline around the world.

Pixabay.com

If you're looking for a good, native, evergreen shrub that's an alternative or compliment to your rhododendrons, don't forget the state flower, the mountain laurel or Kalmia latifolia.

Newly confirmed Energy Secretary Jennifer Granholm seized on the bruising winter weather that left millions of Texans without heat and electricity last week to press for reform of the state's power systems, arguing that pivoting to a clean energy economy can ensure a dependable grid and help create jobs.

Somewhere near his fifty-sixth straight hour of chasing flames, CalFire Captain Matt Newberry and his crew were hitting a wall. They'd been dispatched to the wildfire days earlier in the middle of the night. By the next morning, the fire had already ripped across 11,000 acres of Napa County, tearing even through the night the way fires do now.

Despite everything they'd done, hundreds of homes were in smolders.

Courtesy: DEEP

Crews worked Thursday to contain a fire at a scrapyard in Waterbury, which environmental officials said impacted the Naugatuck River.

Pixabay.com

Celosia are annual flowers that are getting lots of attention. They come in two different types: Cockscomb and Pampas Plume. The cockscomb looks likes a colorful rooster's comb and, in Victorian times, were exhibited at county fairs with the biggest comb winning. The more popular Pampas Plume varieties have large, feathery plumes that bloom all summer.

Pixabay

Preserving agriculture in our state is important. Farmers have the option to preserve their land as farmland in perpetuity. But this risks pushing potential new residents out of farming communities.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public

Gov. Ned Lamont said last week that he supports an idea to double the 5-cent deposit and refund for certain cans and bottles. And while the so-called “bottle bill” still needs to go through the state legislature, increasing the deposit is an idea that Speaker of the House Matt Ritter recently said he also supports.

Apocalypse When?

Feb 19, 2021
Courtesy of National Nuclear Security Administration / Nevada Site Office / Wikipedia

The Doomsday Clock is a metaphor. It moves closer to midnight depending on how close we are to human-made global catastrophe through climate change, nuclear weapons, and pandemics fueled by misinformation and failed leadership. Y’know, the typical folly of humankind.

Find out what time it is from two members of the Bulletin of Atomic Scientists.

Pixabay.com

While we're still a good month away from starting tomato seeds indoors, it's not too early to plan what varieties to grow. Growing tomato plants from seed indoors is easy if you have a light setup. They only take about 6 weeks of indoor growing to be ready to plant and you get to choose from a wide range of varieties.

Pixabay.com

If you have a sunny, south-facing window in your home or apartment, try growing indoor cactus. Indoor cactus are easy. Many grow slowly over time, don't require frequent watering and tolerate our dry, indoor air conditions in winter. Use cactus potting soil, and water throughly, but infrequently, and don't mist the plants. It's good to choose the right cactus. While all cactus are considered succulents, not all succulents are cactus. Cactus have growth points or areoles where spines, hairs and flowers grow. Here are some of the easiest cactus to grow in your sunny spot.

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