Environment

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Each spring, barnacle geese migrate more than 1,800 miles from the Netherlands and northern Germany to their breeding grounds in parts of Russia above the Arctic Circle.

The journey north usually takes about a month, and the geese make multiple stops along the way to eat and fatten up before they lay their eggs, says Bart Nolet of the Netherlands Institute of Ecology and the University of Amsterdam.

When WAMU photographer Tyrone Turner got the opportunity to travel to Antarctica, he thought he would be fascinated with the continent's wildlife.

But instead, it was the ice — in its myriad shapes and textures, "bathed in polar light that morphed from powerfully sharp and blue, to gentle and pink" — that Turner says mesmerized him.

"Antarctica just seemed to me absolutely 'the other world,'" Turner says. "There is no other landscape like it."

The days of plastic straws are drawing shorter.

Marriott International on Wednesday became the latest big company to announce it will stop using plastic straws, saying it would remove them from its more than 6,500 properties by next July. The giant hotel chain said it will stop offering plastic stirrers, too.

A basketball-sized lava bomb slammed through the roof of a tour boat near an active fissure of Hawaii's Kilauea volcano early Monday morning, showering the vessel with debris and injuring 23 people, according the Hawaii County Civil Defense Agency.

Officials described the incident on Facebook writing that an explosion off the coast of Kapoho hurled several lava bombs onto the boat — called Hotspot — at about 6 a.m. local time.

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

The dense network of cables that make up the Internet is likely to be inundated with saltwater as sea levels rise, a new analysis suggests, putting thousands of miles of critical infrastructure along U.S. coastlines underwater in the next 15 years.

Can't cool off this summer? Heat waves can slow us down in ways we may not realize.

New research suggests heat stress can muddle our thinking, making simple math a little harder to do.

As immigration issues along the US southern border continue to roil the country, one driving force of migration from troubled Central American countries has received relatively little notice: climate change.

Ecological statistics pertaining to bees carry a sting: More than 75 percent of the world's 115 primary crops require pollination or thrive better through interaction with pollinators.

Bees are the primary pollinators in the animal kingdom, yet sudden and massive die-offs of these insects began in 2006 and continue now, with a 30 percent annual loss reported by North American beekeepers.

The photographs are stunning: a giant mountain of ice towers over a tiny village, with colorful homes reminiscent of little doll houses against the stark, blue-gray landscape.

But for the people living in those houses, that beauty could be life-threatening.

"It's kind of like, if you lived in the suburbs, and you woke up one morning and looked out, and there was a skyscraper next to your house," says David Holland, an oceanographer at New York University who does research in Greenland during the summer months. "I'd be the first to get out of there."

The 2018 farm bill stirs conflict and controversy

Jul 14, 2018

The US Congress took almost two years to negotiate the 2014 Farm Bill. The 2018 Farm Bill is shaping up to be possibly even more divisive.

The humpback whale population is recovering

Jul 14, 2018

Rapidly melting Antarctica ice poses a threat to coastal cities, but there is at least one species that is benefiting: Humpback whales are flourishing these days, due to an abundance of krill.

Nineteenth-century commercial whaling killed the vast majority of the world’s whales, so this current revival of the humpback whale should be celebrated as a conservation victory, says University of California, Santa Cruz, researcher Ari Friedlaender. Nevertheless, there are questions about how long the krill boom might last.

A drone flight and a lingering dry spell have exposed a previously unknown monument in Ireland's Boyne Valley, forgotten for thousands of years and long covered by crops — which, struggling to cope with a lengthy drought, finally revealed the ancient footprint.

The Republic of Ireland took a crucial step Thursday toward becoming the first country in the world to divest from fossil fuels. Lawmakers in the Dail, the lower house of parliament, advanced a bill requiring the Irish government's more than $10 billion national investment fund to sell off stakes in coal, oil, gas and peat — and to do so "as soon as practicable."

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NOEL KING, HOST:

Copyright 2018 Michigan Radio. To see more, visit Michigan Radio.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AILSA CHANG, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Walla Walla County in Washington state might just be the only place on Earth where you have to brake for bees.

"You can see the signs here," says Mike Ingham, as he drives by a 20 mph speed limit sign with a smaller one below stating "Alkali Bee Area."

"There's actually a county ordinance to slow the cars down who go by here, because a speeding car can kill a lot of alkali bees," Ingham says.

Copyright 2018 Fresh Air. To see more, visit Fresh Air.

TERRY GROSS, HOST:

From June to September, monsoon rains fall on Mumbai, India's largest city, delivering relief from stifling heat and vital nourishment to surrounding farmland. But they also bring an unwelcome visitor: Tons of garbage wash up on the city's shores.

When Mumbai floods, the water flushes waste out of city streets, storm drains and slums and sends it to the Arabian Sea. Then the tides ebb and blanket the beaches in that trash — most of it, plastic.

And now the government is taking action with a ban on plastics.

There's new evidence to support a decades-old strategy for preventing the tick bites that lead to all sorts of nasty diseases, including Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

The remedy involves spraying your clothing with permethrin — a pesticide that's chemically similar to extracts of the flowering chrysanthemum plant.

There is a moment as heatstroke sets in when the body, no longer able to cool itself, stops sweating. Joey Azuela remembers it well.

"My body felt hot, like, in a different way," he says. "It was like a 'I'm cooking' hot."

Three summers ago, Azuela, then 14, and his father were hiking a trail in one of Phoenix's rugged desert preserves. It was not an unusually hot day for Phoenix, and they had gotten a later start than usual. By the time they reached the top, Azuela was weak and nauseous. They had run out of water.

Climate Change Scorecard

Jul 8, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Excessive heat and fire warnings remain in effect from the National Weather Service across much of California, where crews are battling a number of powerful wildfires.

As of Saturday morning, a spokesperson for the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection said, there were close to a dozen fires that crews were working to contain. A map from the department shows they span from the Oregon border south to San Diego County, and from the west, in Santa Barbara County, to the east, on the border with Nevada.

Pruitt's Impact On The EPA

Jul 7, 2018

Copyright 2018 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Smack in the middle of the Florida peninsula, Lake Okeechobee, one of the largest lakes in the U.S., has a nagging problem. Nearly every year now, large blooms of algae form in the lake.

On a recent visit, even Steve Davis, a senior ecologist with the Everglades Foundation, was surprised.

"Oh my gosh," he exclaimed, "look how thick this blue-green mat is right here."

Pages