Living On Earth

Wednesday 8:00AM - 9:00AM
  • Hosted by Steve Curwood

Weekly environmental news and information program; from NPR.

The ELF Gains Traction

Apr 27, 2015
Joanna Rifkin via

Wed.  04/29 8a: ELF stands for Electric, Light and Fun, And this particular Elf is an invention that launched with a kickstarter in 2013. As Living on Earth’s Helen Palmer reported, it's a human and solar powered covered tricycle that aims to create a commuting revolution, and might just help combat climate change. Now two years on from the Elf’s kickstarter campaign, its designer and developer, Rob Cotter, tells Living on Earth's Helen Palmer how successful the invention has proved, and how much of a contribution it’s making to cutting CO2 emissions.

First Warnings of Endocrine Disruptors

Apr 20, 2015
Environmental Illness Network via Flickr

Wed. 04/22 8a: Common synthetic chemicals that surround us and are in countless products can get into the human body and affect the immune system, intelligence and the reproductive system. In 1994, host Steve Curwood followed the investigative trail of these endocrine disruptors, and spoke with Theodora (Theo) Colborn, one of the first scientists to sound the alarm about the effects these chemicals can have on organisms and the environment.

This and more on the show!

Bill McKibben on Earth Day and the Power of Protest

Apr 13, 2015
Bruce Irving via Flickr

Wed. 04/15 8a: Earth Day is typically seen as a time for environmental mindfulness—to ride your bike to work or pick up litter along rivers and streams, but environmental writer turned activist Bill McKibben says we need to take to the streets en mass to solve the massive problem of climate change.

This and more on the show!

Liter of Light

Apr 6, 2015
Joimson via Flickr

Wed. 04/08 8a: Countries in the developing world often have limited access to affordable electricity, and extreme weather linked to climate change makes the problem worse. Now, disaster rehab specialist and social entrepreneur Illac Diaz’s “Liter of Light” project has created a clever, affordable solution, recycling discarded plastic water bottles into solar light bulbs. He showed his invention to Living on Earth’s Helen Palmer and explained how US school children are building the lights to help transform lives for people in energy-poor regions.This and more on the show!

Defending Darwin

Mar 30, 2015
Brent Danley via Flickr

Wed. 04/01 8a: The University of Kentucky, is located in the heart of the Bible Belt, a region with many Fundamentalist Christians who are skeptical of the theory of evolution. Today, Jim Krupa is a biology professor at UK who has taught evolution to thousands of students, some of whom believe that the idea of evolution, as posited by Charles Darwin, is fraudulent and the Earth and its creatures are only about 6000 years old. Prof.

Oil Train Safety Off Track

Mar 23, 2015
John Turner via Flickr

Wed. 03/25 8a: In the past five weeks, there have been 5 oil train derailments resulting in large fireballs, and more oil was spilled in 2014 than in the last 38 years combined. Steve Kretzmann, Director and Founder of Oil Change International, and Sarah Feinberg, Acting Administrator of the Federal Railroad Administration, discuss rail safety with host Steve Curwood and offer different solutions to this multifaceted problem.

This and more on the show!

Belated El Niño May Mean Hotter Times Ahead

Mar 16, 2015
NASA Goddard Space Flight Center via Flickr

Wed. 03/18 8a: When the Pacific becomes very warm, it usually heralds the weather phenomenon El Niño, with west coast storms and a quiet Atlantic hurricane season. Despite Pacific heat, it barely happened last year, but has finally arrived. We examine the effects that this El Niño might have on the world’s weather, and that this may mean we are entering a new phase of global warming.

This and more on the show!

The Federal Animal Killing Program

Mar 2, 2015
U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Southeast Region via Flickr

Wed. 03/04 8a: For more than a century, a US federal program called Wildlife Services has been killing millions of animals—some allegedly inhumanely and unwarranted—funded by private interests and taxpayer money. But critics say the program, which is administered by the Animal and Plant Health Inspection Division of the US Department of Agriculture (APHIS), is too often not in service of the animals or ecosystem, and with little regulation, transparency and accountability, it will continue to violate environmental laws and profit from animal deaths.

babyben via Flickr

Wed. 02/25 8a: Scientists continue to sound the alarm about some common chemicals, including the herbicide atrazine, and link them to changes in reproductive health and development. Endocrine disrupting chemicals have been found to feminize male frogs and increase the incidence of homosexual behavior among those amphibians. Ashley Ahearn reports on how these substances may be affecting human development and behavior.

This and more on the show. 

shannonpatrick17 via Flickr

Wed. 02/18 8a: Pipelines that carry natural gas from well to refinery stretch hundreds of miles in the US, crossing public and private land. But as the Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant reports, landowners who learned that the proposed Nexus pipeline from southeast Ohio to Canada was to run across their property and carried risks of explosion, they banded together to protect their safety and property rights.

This and more on Living on Earth.

Cuba's Unspoiled Tropical Reefs

Feb 9, 2015
Reef Libre: The Last, Best Reefs in the World is diver and photographer Robert Wintner’s most recently published book. (Photo: courtesy of Robert Wintner)

Wed. 02/11 8a: Cuban reefs are some of the most beautiful and well-preserved in the world, partly due to the country’s economic isolation. But with relations between the US and Cuba thawing, diver and photographer Robert Wintner had the chance to dive Cuba’s unspoiled reefs and has detailed the experience in his new book Reef Libre: The Last, Best Reefs in the World

Alaskan Oil Economics

Feb 2, 2015
Day Donaldson via Flickr

Wed. 02/04 8a: Although the Obama Administration wants to ensure the vast bulk of the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge could never be opened to fossil fuel extraction, the Interior Department is offering up new areas for potential fossil fuel leasing elsewhere in Alaska, as well as off the East Coast of the US, as detailed in the Administration’s 5-year plan. But with the low price of oil in 2015, producers are slowing down the development of new fossil fuel infrastructure.

This and more on the show.

2015 Target For A Strong Climate Treaty

Jan 26, 2015
Philippe 2009 via Flickr

Wed. 1/28 8a: 2015 is a vital year for international climate negotiators. Jennifer Morgan, Global Director of the Climate Program at the World Resources Institute, discusses the reasons and the difficulties with host Steve Curwood, in light of last year’s Lima Climate Talks, and the need to agree to a strong new treaty at the Paris summit in December. (12:10)

This and more on Living on Earth.

Recreating Aldo Leopold's Soundscape

Jan 12, 2015
Forest History Societ

Wed. 01/14 8a: Each morning, the conservationist Aldo Leopold took meticulous notes of the dawn bird chorus heard at his Wisconsin cabin. A team from the University of Wisconsin have used Leopold’s journals to recreate the soundscape that Leopold heard in 1940. Professor Stanley Temple talks about the project and Leopold’s influence on the environmental movement.

This and more featured on the show.

Fossil Free Stanford

  Wed. 5/14 8a: Stanford University has given the divestment movement a huge boost by promising to pull their 18 billion dollar endowment from coal companies. Student activist Michael Peñuelas tells host Steve Curwood that he’s proud of his University, but the students will keep pushing for divestment from all fossil fuels.

High Court for the Environment

Apr 8, 2013

Wed. 4/10 8a: President Obama is having trouble enforcing environmental and other regulations as vacancies continue on the second most important federal court in the country, the DC Circuit Court of Appeals. 

Bee Keepers Sue EPA

Apr 2, 2013

Wed. 4/3 8a: A coalition of beekeepers and environmental organizations are suing the EPA to ban certain uses of a group of chemicals called neonicotinoids.

India’s Coal Killing Thousands

Mar 18, 2013

Wed. 3/20 8a: India is developing rapidly, and much of that growth is fueled by one of the dirtiest energy sources, coal.

National Parks on the Chopping Block

Feb 26, 2013
National Park Service

Wed. 2/27 8a: Unless there's a last minute deal between Congress and the White House, draconian spending cuts will take effect across the federal government on March 1st. 

Starving Polar Bears

Feb 19, 2013
Andrew Derocher

Wed. 2/20 8a: Polar Bears have long been the poster species for the problem of climate change.

Wed. 2/6 8a: UNESCO is threatening to take the Great Barrier Reef off its list of World Heritage sites in the wake of Australia’s decision to build new coal transport facilities on the Queensland coast.

Wed. 12/5 8a: As one of the hottest years on record comes to a close, the CIA has decided to shutter its Center on Climate Change and Security.

Superman of Astrophysics

Nov 26, 2012
User Phil Plait / Flickr

Wed. 11/28 8a: He's an astrophysicist extraordinaire, and director of the Hayden Planetarium in New York City.

Denying Math and Science

Nov 20, 2012

Wed. 11/21 8a: Republican pundits often speak skeptically about climate change, just as they chose to ignore the mathematics projecting that their candidate would lose.

Wed. 10/31 8a: Canada’s tar sands cover an area the size of New York State. Now Shell Canada wants to expand its Jackpine tar sands mining operations, but several First Nations communities who live there fiercely protest the plans. 

Amtrak's Uncertain Funding Future

Sep 18, 2012

Wed. 9/19 8:00a: Amtrak's ridership is up and subsidies from the government are down. Yet many in Congress and Presidential hopeful, Mitt Romney, are calling to end federal funding for the national train system. Living on Earth’s Steve Curwood talks with Amtrak representative Steven Kulm.

Wed. 7/18 8a:  The hairs on bats’ wings bend in the breeze and trigger super-sensitive cells that help them register the speed and direction of the wind. Researchers want to use this information to improve wind sensors on airplanes.   This and more on Living on Earth.

Limiting Carbon From Future Power Plants

Apr 3, 2012

Wed. 4/4 8a: The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed the first national standards to limit CO2 emissions from new power plants. Eric Schaeffer heads the watchdog group, the Environmental Integrity Project. He tells host Bruce Gellerman that the EPA’s rules have some loopholes but could be a big tool in fighting climate change.

National Park Service

Wed. 01/18 8:30a: Interior Secretary Ken Salazar recently signed a 20 year moratorium on mining for uranium near the Grand Canyon National Park. Jane Danowitz of the Pew Environment Group tells host Bruce Gellerman that it would protect close to the park but surrounding lands are still under threat.

Endangered Reindeer

Dec 19, 2011

Wed. 12/21 8a: Reindeer – also called caribou – are ubiquitous in the world’s northern latitudes, but the populations closest to the North Pole are dwindling because of climate change. Now there is a push to list the large deer as endangered.