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Environment

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Renewable energy projects have been growing across New England in recent years. And while offshore wind and grid-scale solar have gotten lots of the attention -- a smaller, more community-oriented way of getting power has been steadily taking hold: “shared clean energy.”

David DesRoches

About 200 young people and their supporters gathered at the capitol in Hartford on Friday to demand action on climate change.

Updated at 4:51 p.m. ET

Tens of thousands of students around the world skipped school school Friday to protest inaction on climate change. It was one of the largest turnouts so far in a months long movement that included the U.S. for the first time, in an event organizers call the "U.S. Youth Climate Strike."

Maja Dumat (Creative Commons) / Wikimedia

While green carnations are all the rage on St. Patrick’s Day, I would rather give a shamrock plant to a loved one. Oxalis, or the shamrock plant, can be an invasive weed in warm climates, a sour-tasting ground cover in cold climates or a cute houseplant. I want to focus on the houseplant versions.

When NPR interviewed Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez in February about her Green New Deal, she said that her goal was bigger than just passing some new laws. "What I hope we're able to do is rediscover the power of public imagination," she said.

Well, we're unleashing our imagination and exploring a dream, a possible future in which we're bringing global warming to a halt. It's a world in which greenhouse emissions have ended.

Cathy Malin / RiverQuest

They are one of our most recognizable national symbols, but have you ever seen a bald eagle in the wild? This hour we head out of the studio and into the field to see these birds of prey in their natural habitat--right here in Connecticut! We take you along with us on a Winter Wildlife Eagle Cruise down the Connecticut River to view these majestic birds, who nearly faced extinction in this state just a few decades ago.  

And we learn about another fish-eating raptor that is thriving on our waters today. Have you ever seen an osprey on Connecticut’s shoreline?

David Abel / Lobster War

There’s a section of the ocean along the border between the U.S. and Canada that’s considered a “gray zone.” It’s a stretch of over 200 square miles that the United States and Canada both have claimed. And in recent years, as seas warm and lobsters move north, the "gray zone" has become prime lobster fishing ground, sparking tension between American and Canadian lobstermen, both trying to capitalize on the catch.

Elderberries.
Andy Rogers (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Native shrubs are great in the landscape to attract birds, bees and butterflies. It also helps when they're beautiful and produce edible fruits. That's why I like elderberries.

As the climate warms, Americans – and New Englanders – appear to be finding abnormal temperatures less and less remarkable.

David Siu / Creative Commons

Nobody likes the termite. They get into the wood in our homes that can lead to infuriating and expensive repairs. What's to like.

It turns out, there's a lot to like about the termite; scientists study how termites build their "mounds" for clues to solving some of the world's most pressing problems, like mitigating the effects of drought, building colonies on Mars, and the creation of biofuels. 

Courtesy of Vermont Yankee

A recent article from The Boston Globe caught our eye. In it, reporter Joshua Miller reports on the casks of nuclear waste that are sitting at nuclear power stations in our region, plants that were closed decades ago. Scientists, plant operators, and lawmakers insist they’re safe, but how much are taxpayers shelling out to keep this waste on-site?

Video Screengrab By Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

Nearly 6,000 miles of river run through Connecticut. But only a few of these miles are designated “Wild and Scenic.” Now, more miles of river are poised to be added to that list.

Hydrangeas.
Memphis CVB (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Late winter is the time to prune some trees and shrubs. One shrub that perplexes many gardeners is the hydrangea. With many different types of hydrangeas available that bloom and grow differently, it's easy to get confused about when and how to prune. Let me give you some tips on pruning three common types of hydrangeas.

Matt O'Brien / AP

Last June, Rhode Island kicked off the nation’s first statewide truck-only tolling program, at two spots on Interstate 95, and so far, it’s been successful. This year, it plans to expand to ten more locations: tolling large tractor trailers. Connecticut Governor Ned Lamont is looking at mimicking the plan in his state. But the trucking industry is challenging the arrangement in federal court.

Ryan Caron King / Connecticut Public Radio

It’s something you might expect to see on a poster in a dorm. Bright green leaves, fanned and serrated.

It’s cannabis. Except today, it’s center stage on a table in the biggest lecture hall on UConn’s campus. But first, it had to get there.

Scientists have launched a major new phase in the testing of a controversial genetically modified organism: a mosquito designed to quickly spread a genetic mutation lethal to its own species, NPR has learned.

For the first time, researchers have begun large-scale releases of the engineered insects, into a high-security laboratory in Terni, Italy.

"This will really be a breakthrough experiment," says Ruth Mueller, an entomologist who runs the lab. "It's a historic moment."

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Volunteers and state officials are optimistic Sleeping Giant State Park in Hamden will reopen this spring, but have yet to set a specific date. The news comes following months of cleanup work after a series of devastating storms last year.

woodleywonderworks (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Happy Valentine's Day. If you haven't made plans for the big day yet, perhaps try a different gift, such as a hot pepper plant? After all, it does have red fruits and may spice up the evening for you.

Sarah McAnulty

Have you ever looked closely at a squid? No, the calamari on your plate doesn’t count.

A live squid?

Sure, it might seem to have come from the pages of a science fiction novel. But squid are far from fictional. 

The Marine Stress and Ocean Health Lab at the New England Aquarium looks like your typical laboratory. It’s full of humming and whirring machines, beakers and test tubes, digital scales and centrifuges.

What sets it apart is the freezer. At negative 80 degrees Celsius, it houses the world’s largest collection of right whale poop.

Yes, poop.

Cyclamen
Hornbeam Arts (Flickr) / Creative Commons

This Valentine’s Day, don't just give roses to your paramore, give the flower of lasting love. Cyclamens are great gifts because they can grow indoors as houseplants or outdoors a shade-loving ground cover. And like your love, they'll last for years if taken care of properly.

Susy Morris (Flickr) / Creative Commons

I used to place onions in the same category as potatoes when it comes to growing them in our garden. It's so easy to buy fresh onions in markets and grocery stores, why bother growing them?

Scott M Salom, Virginia Tech / U.S. Department Of Agriculture

Hemlock trees in Connecticut have been having a tough go of it thanks, in part, to a small sap-sucking insect: the hemlock woolly adelgid.

Amar Batra / Connecticut Public Radio

Connecticut drivers are the worst. At least when it comes to skipping out on highway tolls in neighboring Massachusetts.

Clivia.
Peter Miller (Flickr) / Creative Commons

When I first saw the houseplant clivia, I thought it was an amaryllis. It has the same, dark green, strap-like leaves and is also from South Africa. It was brought to England in the 1800s by plant explorer James Bowie. He cultivated plants in Lady Clive’s conservatory in London, hence the common name.

For more than a decade, the impact of sea level rise and tidal flooding has been making waves on the real estate market of coastal New England, costing homeowners more than $400 million in lost value.

That’s according to a report from First Street Foundation, a Brooklyn-based nonprofit that studies the impact of sea level rise and flooding.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Inside a lab in northwest Connecticut is a bobcat. Its bright eyes and black-tufted ears are separated from me only by the metal grill of a large carrier. She’s sleepy, but waking up.

Matthew Messina / www.matturalist.com

With each new year come the same old resolutions. Go on a diet. Join a gym... But what if this year, we vowed to try something different? Unplug from technology. Spend more time in nature.

This hour, we consider ways to become better connected to the natural world.

What seeds are you going to plant this year?
kt.ries (Flickr) / Creative Commons

January is peruse the vegetable seed catalog month. First, I take an inventory of my leftover seed and decide what I can use again this year. When in doubt, I do a seed germination test. If less than 80 percent of the seed sample germinates, I buy fresh seed. 

Seth Wynes and Kimberly Nicholas / Enviromental Research Letters

It takes more than just recycling to make a difference to the climate crisis. Small steps like eating less meat can reduce methane gases and make a positive impact on the environment.

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