Every year, about 8 million tons of fallen leaves end up in landfills.
That's according to Melissa Hopkins of the National Audubon Society, who offers alternatives to raking up leaves and throwing them away.
"A lot of people think that when leaves fall, you need to really quickly scoop them up and get rid of them," she tells NPR's Melissa Block as they take a look Block's backyard in Washington, D.C., covered in a blanket of leaves. "We think about leaves as vitamins. They are free vitamins that naturally occur in your yard."
Thursday in Pittsburgh, Republican presidential candidate and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney appeared to shift his position on climate change. Speaking at the Consol Energy Center, he said, "My view is that we don't know what's causing climate change on this planet." In his book No Apology and in earlier public appearances, Romney has said that he believes climate change is occurring and that humans are a contributing factor. At a campaign appearance in New Hampshire, back in August, Romney emphasized questions about the extent of the human role.
Federal watchdogs now concede they made a mistake when they criticized the Justice Department for paying $16 each for muffins at a conference. But they also say Justice still needs to be careful about how it spends taxpayer money.
A photograph of Iraq War veteran Scott Olsen is seen Thursday at a vigil. Olsen was severely injured during a standoff between police and protesters in Oakland, Calif., two days earlier. He remains hospitalized.
The bloodied face of a 24-year-old Iraq veteran has become a symbol for protesters in Oakland, Calif., drawing attention to the level of force used by police and sparking criticism of the mayor's handling of the Occupy movement.
Scott Olsen came to Occupy Oakland after work Tuesday night to support the protesters. Witnesses say that when clashes broke out, he was struck in the head by a projectile fired by police — either a rubber bullet or a tear gas canister. He was hospitalized with a fractured skull.
Deans from some of the nation's top medical schools met Thursday — not to talk about training doctors or weathering economic challenges — but to size up the people who grade them.
The sit-down between editors at U.S. News & World Report and the top brass at Harvard, Yale, Columbia and several other schools showed how seriously those in medicine's ivory tower take the magazine's annual rankings.
Sat. 9/24 12p: Alicia Smith planned to retire here but instead she is leading New Mexico's Medicaid modernization effort- armed with her experience from other states. She says that changes are necessary.
A few years ago, Father Tomasz Trafny was brainstorming with other Vatican officials about what technologies would shape society, and how the Vatican could have an impact. And it hit them: Adult stem cells, which hold the promise of curing the most difficult diseases, are the technology to watch.
"They have not only strong potentiality," says Trafny, "but also they can change our vision of human being[s], and we want to be part of the discussion."