environment

Transportation
11:04 am
Thu October 24, 2013

In Almost Every European Country, Bikes Are Outselling New Cars

A mechanic repairs a bike at Calmera bike shop in Madrid in September. As car sales slump across Europe, bicycle sales in Spain are outpacing cars — a trend seen across much of the Continent.
Pablo Blazquez Dominguez Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 1:11 pm

We know that Europeans love their bicycles — think Amsterdam or Paris. Denmark even has highways specifically for cyclists.

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Environment
7:21 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Putting The Spa in Spawn: Tribe Creates Refuge For Exhausted Fish

Joe Blodgett (right), with the Yakama Nation's steelhead rehabilitation center, lifts a fish out a tub where they're fed highly nutritious pellets.
Anna King Northwest News Network

Originally published on Wed October 23, 2013 4:27 pm

The Yakama Nation’s steelhead reconditioning program is like a retreat spa for fish. And it's changing the circle of life for the species.

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Animal Agriculture
7:00 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Report: Meat Producers Ignore Pleas For Health, Environmental Reform

Chickens in a mechanized hatchery in Monroe County, Ala.
Buyenlarge/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 7:41 am

Five years ago, a landmark report excoriated the animal agriculture industry's practices and laid out a road map for how it could do better. But in the years since, the problems are just as bad — and maybe even worse.

That's the conclusion of the Johns Hopkins Center for a Livable Future. This week, the center scolded the industry again with a review of how it has fared in the years since the Pew Commission on Industrial Farm Animal Production released its original report.

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Vitamin D
2:17 am
Thu October 24, 2013

Norwegian Town Uses Mirrors To Try To Come Into The Light

Originally published on Thu October 24, 2013 5:07 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Good morning. I'm Steve Inskeep.

A town in Norway has spent all 100 of its winters in the shade. The town is in the mountains, and when the winter sun sinks low, its rays never reach the people in town. That may change. A local artist campaigned to have mirrors placed on a mountainside. When unveiled on October 31st, they should drop a patch of sunlight in the town square. The artist says it will be good for, quote, "the pale little children in town."

It's MORNING EDITION. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.

Pensions
11:55 am
Tue October 22, 2013

Mayors Argue To Cut Fossil Fuel Stock, But Skeptic Urges Softer Approach

A historic gas pump in Issaquah, Wash. Seattle Mayor Mike McGinn wants his city to divest from fossil energy companies.
John Ryan

Investment advisors from across the country met on Friday in Seattle in hopes of cutting fossil fuels from the stock portfolios they manage.

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Population Impact
5:00 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

How Many Humans Can The Earth Sustain?

Alan Weisman's book "Countdown."

There are 7 billion people on this planet today needing water, food and shelter. There will be another billion in 12 years. How many humans can the earth sustain? Steve Scher talks with Alan Weisman about strategies to ease the human impact on earth. Weisman has written “Countdown: Our Last, Best Hope For A Future On Earth.”

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Rising Seas
4:33 pm
Mon October 21, 2013

The Melting Of Greenland

Boat near Ilulissat, Greenland.
Gretel Ehrlich Photo

Rising tides signal an inarguable remaking of our physical world that is already underway and gaining momentum.

The US is especially vulnerable. The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development has listed the 20 most threatened coastal cities in the world, which include Miami, New York, New Orleans.

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Elections 2013
9:04 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Interest Groups Pour Money Into Whatcom Races Ahead Of Coal Terminal Decision

Predictions are for an even race in the Whatcom County Council races, despite the outspending of environmental groups to coal supporters.
Credit Flickr Photo/Ryan Sitzman

UPDATE: 10/18/13, 2:30 p.m. PT.

This story does not reflect recent donations of approximately $150,000 made to a political action committee that supports Whatcom County Council candidates believed to be sympathetic to the proposed coal terminal in Bellingham, Wash. Donations were made to Save Whatcom, a conservative PAC.

Original Post:

A relatively small county council election in Washington state’s far northwest corner could play a major role in the future of the US coal industry.

The Whatcom County council could end up casting the deciding votes to permit the controversial dock for the Gateway Pacific Terminal, which would transfer coal from trains onto ships bound for Asia. It would be the largest coal export terminal on the West Coast.

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Search And Rescue
12:47 pm
Thu October 17, 2013

Search For Missing Idaho Hiker Turns To Drones, Crowdsourcing

A pair of searchers works across a lava field at Craters of the Moon National Monument near Arco, Idaho.
National Park Service

Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 7:00 am

A search effort for a missing hiker at Craters of the Moon National Monument in Idaho is turning to drone technology for help.

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Technology
4:18 pm
Wed October 16, 2013

Innovation: A Portable Generator Charges Devices With Fire

The FlameStower can charge USB-powered devices with fire.
Courtesy of FlameStower

Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 2:19 pm

Updated Oct. 18 to include comments from BioLite.

In our Weekly Innovation blog series, we explore an interesting idea, design or product that you may not have heard of yet. Do you have an innovation to share? Use this quick form to send it to us.

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Mystery Marine Killer
7:30 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Mass Starfish Die-Off May Be Headed For Washington

Disembodied arms of a diseased sea star near Popham Island, 12 miles northwest of Vancouver, B.C.
Courtesy Vancouver Aquarium

Scientists in two nations are on the lookout for an underwater epidemic that is killing starfish. 

In September, divers in Vancouver Harbour and Howe Sound near Vancouver, British Columbia, noticed the pizza-sized starfish known as sunflower stars wasting away and dying in large numbers.

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Timber
5:43 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Shutdown Halts Logging On Northwest's National Forests

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 4:29 pm

  Loggers are packing up and leaving timber sales uncut across the Northwest. It's another effect of the partial government shutdown. Timber companies say even if a deal is reached soon at the nation's capitol, the effects from the logging hiatus could be felt all the way into next spring.

Timber companies received letters from the Forest Service telling them to cease operations. That's because the employees who oversee and inspect timber sales were furloughed.

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Northwest Arson Cases
1:36 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Eco-Saboteur Changes Plea To Guilty For Role In Firebombing Spree

Booking photo of Rebecca Rubin
Multnomah County Jail

Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 3:11 pm

An eco-saboteur charged in a fire-bombing spree that spanned the American West changed her plea in federal court on Thursday.  Rebecca Rubin pled guilty to conspiracy and multiple counts of arson. 

Rubin is now 40 years old. When she was in her twenties, she joined a cell of radical environmentalists loosely affiliated with the Earth Liberation Front and Animal Liberation Front.

Federal investigators blame the shadowy cell for around 20 arsons spanning five Western states. The attacks happened between 1996 and 2001.

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12:18 pm
Thu October 10, 2013

Bernie Krause's Great Animal Orchestra

Lead in text: 
Bernie Krause was an early pioneer of electronic music. Eventually his interests turned to the chorus of the outdoors. He started recording soundscapes and has amassed an extensive collection of nature sounds. Studying those sounds has given him insight into how animals communicate with one another and the origins of music. In this interview with Anne Strainchamps, Krause describes and plays some selections from his unique collection of sounds.
Nuclear Waste
9:18 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Radioactive Hanford Sludge Ages as Feds To Miss More Deadlines

A tank farm at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation
US Department of Energy

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 11:56 am

Washington officials say they’re disappointed but not surprised by news that the federal government likely will miss several more cleanup deadlines at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. 

At Hanford, radioactive sludge stews in aging underground tanks not far from the Columbia River. A 1989 agreement created the timeline for treating that caustic gunk. But the task has proven extremely difficult: A waste treatment plant has been plagued by whistleblowers, critical federal investigations, cost overruns and delays.

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