Environment

Recent years have been among the warmest on record, with a spike in record-high temperatures. Heat waves are also projected to become more frequent, more severe and longer.

NPR is working on a series of stories on what happens when people, animals and plants can't cool down. We would like to know how rising temperatures are affecting your life, business or community.

Updated at 5:30 p.m. ET

Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt, already battling roughly a dozen ethics investigations, allegedly asked a top aide to obtain a used mattress from President Trump's Washington, D.C., hotel.

Millan Hupp, Pruitt's director of scheduling and advance, told House investigators last month that she couldn't track down the mattress, and didn't know if Pruitt ultimately got one.

A spokeswoman for the Trump International Hotel had no comment on any aspect of the story.

A new study published in The New England Journal of Medicine places the death toll in Puerto Rico from Hurricane Maria at 4,645. That’s far higher than the government’s official count: 64 people. The report, done by researchers at Harvard, follows other studies and reports that said over 1,000 people died.

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Canadian Government To Buy Oil Pipeline

Jun 3, 2018

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Bob Fitzgerald lives on the edge of a flat field that's just a few feet above sea level. It's the same spot on Maryland's Eastern Shore where his ancestors settled before the U.S. became a country.

"The land grant came into the family in 1666," he says.

When he was a child his parents grew tomatoes, cucumbers and string beans. Now nearing 80, Fitzgerald plants corn and soybeans to supply local chicken farms.

President Trump has ordered Energy Secretary Rick Perry to take immediate steps to help financially troubled coal and nuclear power plants.

Saving Kerala’s Fresh Water

Jun 1, 2018

Heavy monsoons are typical in Kerala, India, where the rain irrigates crops and fills drinking wells. But over the past decade, the rains have been more volatile, partly due to a changing climate. The unreliable rains have heightened fears of drought, which could be devastating for an area trying to increase its organic agricultural production.

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Slurping up smoothies, sodas and slushies through disposable plastic straws could one day become a thing of the past.

The call to toss plastic straws out of our food system is growing louder and louder. On Thursday Bon Appétit, a large food service company, announced it is banning plastic straws in all 1,000 of its cafes in 33 states, including locations like AT&T Park, home of the San Francisco Giants. The company says it plans to complete its transition to paper straws by September 2019.

It's the latest salvo in a growing war against straws.

Of the U.N.'s 17 goals to make the world a better place by 2030, one goal gets much less respect than the others.

It's not improving education. It's not wiping out poverty and hunger.

It's Goal #14 — which aims to "conserve and sustainably use the oceans, seas and marine resources for sustainable development."

The images from the eruption of Kilauea are breathtaking. Lava is gushing from cracks in the earth, spraying — at times — more than 200 feet in the air. Eruptions from the Halema'uma'u crater continue to punch plumes of gas and ash into the Hawaiian sky.

For those living in the southeast corner of the Big Island, the eruption is devastating. Thousands have been evacuated, as rivers of lava slowly burn their way down the flanks of the long-active volcano, consuming homes and blocking roads.

On Aug. 24, 1952, the Silook and Oozevaseuk families of Gambell, Alaska, welcomed a baby girl into the world and introduced her to the island that had been their home for centuries. Gambell is at the western edge of St. Lawrence Island in the Bering Sea. When the weather is clear, you can see Siberia in the distance.

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Here in the United States, cars and industry are the biggest emitters of greenhouse gases. In Africa, it's different. There, it's agriculture and a lot of it is cows. NPR's Eyder Peralta visited a lab trying to understand cow emissions.

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All right, let's get some reaction now from Puerto Rico, which is where we find our colleague, NPR's Adrian Florido. Hey, Adrian.

ADRIAN FLORIDO, BYLINE: Hi, Mary Louise.

Watch the video here.


The maned wolf is a weird-looking beast.

Its huge ears and lanky black legs have earned it the nick name "fox on stilts". But the maned wolf is neither fox nor wolf. It is a distinct species in the Canidae family.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says that the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline is "a vital project in the national interest" and that its purchase will ensure the expansion is built, despite protests from environmentalists and other groups.

Canada will control both the 715-mile pipeline and its expansion, which is meant to increase capacity to 890,000 barrels a day. To do so, Canada will pay the pipeline's current owner, Kinder Morgan, $4.5 billion in Canadian dollars — about $3.5 billion in U.S. currency.

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The first named storm of the season, Subtropical Storm Alberto, came ashore Monday along the Florida Panhandle, bringing heavy rain to a wide swath of the Southeast and claiming the lives of two journalists on duty in North Carolina.

Anchor Mike McCormick and photojournalist Aaron Smeltzer of WYFF News 4 were killed when a tree fell on their SUV, officials and WYFF said.

Fast-moving flood waters caused mayhem in Ellicott City, Md., on Sunday, triggering an emergency declaration and urgent messages for residents to seek higher ground. One man remains missing, as crews work to clear the area.

Howard County Police say Eddison Hermond, 39, of Severn, Md., is unaccounted for; they're asking the public to help find him. Washington-area radio news outlet WTOP describes Hermond as "an Air Force veteran and a member of the National Guard."

Great white sharks have a "hidden life" that is becoming a lot less hidden thanks to a scientific expedition that has been years in the making.

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West, Midwest Prepare For Wildfire Season

May 27, 2018

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Updated at 7:01 p.m. ET

Florida Gov. Rick Scott declared a state of emergency in all 67 counties on Saturday in preparation for Subtropical Storm Alberto.

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Johanna Humphrey has a crayon problem.

The Philadelphia resident ordered 24 boxes of crayons to hand out at her son's third birthday party. But retailer Amazon accidentally sent her twice that many and doesn't want the extras back.

"Parents don't need this many crayons in their house," jokes Humphrey as she takes photos of the boxes with her smart phone to list them on her local "Buy Nothing Project" Facebook group. Humphrey wants to give the extra crayons to a local teacher.

Grains are the bedrock of civilization. They led humans from hunting and gathering to city-building. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization, the fruits of three grasses provide the world with 60 percent of its total food: corn, wheat and rice. Aside from energy-rich carbohydrates, grains feed us protein, zinc, iron and essential B vitamins.

But rice as we know it is at risk.

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