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Environment

Cupani sweet pea.
Martin Cooper (Flickr) / Creative Commons

One of the best smells of spring are sweet peas. The flowers look like colorful butterflies and many have a heavenly scent. 

New Hampshire wildlife officials have the same message every spring when it comes to bears.

Bring in bird feeders, they say, get chickens inside some kind of bear-proof enclosure and make sure trash is stored away.

But the New Hampshire Fish and Game Department has been running into a very human problem: apathy. 

José Francisco Salgado / Flickr Creative Commons

It could be argued that you will never understand yourself if you don’t understand the universe. And the universe is full of both beautiful and scary things. At least once, something has come roaring out of the skies to reconfigure completely life on earth. So it might be a good idea to study the heavens.

Winterberry is a native plant in Connecticut.
Infiniteswg (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Everyone wants to plant native plants. The advantages to growing native plants are many. These are plants that have stood the test of time. They're adapted to weather, climate, insects, diseases and even human activity. They provide habitat for pollinators, butterflies, birds and other wildlife and, sometimes, food for us. But finding a good, economical source for lots of these trees, shrubs, perennials, fruits and berries can be problematic.

Scott Wallace

Journalist and author Scott Wallace has dedicated years to documenting the so-called "unconquered" tribes of South America. This hour, we sit down with Wallace who, in addition to traveling and writing, is a professor of journalism at the University of Connecticut.

We walk along the path that guided Wallace into the thick of the Amazon, and learn about the issues threatening the forest's most isolated people today. 

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Americans throw out lots of food. Estimates from the EPA say nearly 40 million tons are landfilled or incinerated each year. And in Connecticut, food waste is second only to paper in terms of what people toss in the trash.

So more than five years ago, a new state law began requiring large businesses to recycle their leftover food. The hope was to divert organic waste from the trash bin while enticing recyclers to build in the state.

But getting that recycling industry started has been a challenge.

Pxhere

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.”

We hear from two Connecticut residents who’ve tried this practice. What drove them to pursue homesteading? And what barriers exist for Connecticut residents who want to live off the land? We find out.

Redbud.
Jeff Hart (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There's nothing like a dwarf flowering tree in your yard. While shade trees are beautiful, they take years to get established. But dwarf flowering trees are instant eye candy. They bloom each year, not growing too large and unruly.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Recently, part of Harkness Memorial State Park in Waterford caught fire.

But this shoreline blaze wasn’t a disaster.

It was actually a carefully-planned “burn” aimed at preserving what’s been called the “last remnant” of eastern prairie in Connecticut.

Several members of a powerful science panel for the Environmental Protection Agency expressed doubt at a hearing Thursday about the long-established scientific consensus that air pollution can cause premature death.

The panel was meeting to consider recommendations that would fundamentally change how the agency analyzes the public health dangers posed by air pollution and could lead to weaker regulation of soot.

Pxhere

We all need fresh water to survive, yet it's so ubiquitous most of us barely spare it a thought in our daily lives. This hour we take a look at the state of water in our country, from rivers and streams to the water that comes out of our taps.

Basil
Yamanaka Tamaki (Flickr) / Creative Commons

There's nothing better than having fresh herbs at your fingertips when cooking your favorite recipes. Our tomato sauces always taste better in summer when we can add fresh basil, oregano, and parsley to the mix. But you don't have to have a large herb garden to have fresh herbs. Many herbs grow well in containers on a deck, balcony or patio. This is great because you don't have to venture far to harvest the leaves.

Randy Heinitz / Flickr

It is estimated that 12 million Americans live inside one of our nations roughly 45,000 mobile home communities. Despite these numbers, few people outside these parks truly know what life is like for their residents.

The melty weather in New Hampshire this winter has been a big problem for some kinds of seasonal recreation -- and it’s all part of a long-term warming trend.

As this season comes to an end, some of the region's favorite pastimes are preparing for an uncertain future.

Windblown Cross Country Skiing and Snowshoeing is tucked into the hills of New Ipswich, New Hampshire, not far from the Massachusetts border.

If it's been a few years since you shopped for a lightbulb, you might find yourself confused. Those controversial curly-cue ones that were cutting edge not that long ago? Gone. (Or harder to find.) Thanks to a 2007 law signed by President George W. Bush, shelves these days are largely stocked with LED bulbs that look more like the traditional pear-shaped incandescent version but use just one-fifth the energy.

Patrick Skahill / Connecticut Public Radio

Officials are tightening security and opening up the state’s arson hotline following a series of fires at Silver Sands state park in Milford.

View of a forest from above
Geran de Klerk / Wikimedia Commons

From dying coral reefs to fires and coastal flooding, the effects of climate change are already being felt around the world. And it will only get worse.

A 2018 report from climate scientists from around the globe found that some of climate change’s disastrous consequences will be in full force if Earth’s temperature rises past 1.5 degrees--something that could happen as early as 2040 at current emissions rates.

Nate Steiner (Flickr) / Creative Commons

Broccoli has taken a long road to get to our tables. It's descended from wild cabbages. For over 2000 years, Italian and Greek farmers have carefully selected varieties to produce the current version of the vegetable many love.

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.

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