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Living on Earth


Steve Curwood hosts this weekly environmental news and information program.

Steve Curwood hosts this weekly environmental news and information program.
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Cambridge, MA




Steve Curwood hosts this weekly environmental news and information program.




20 Holland Street Suite 408 Somerville, MA 02144-2749 1-800-218-9988


Democratic Debaters Urge Climate Action, Senator Murkowski Talks Public Lands, After Coal: Stories of Survival in Appalachia and Wales, and more

Democratic Debaters United on Need For Climate Action / Beyond the Headlines / Senator Lisa Murkowski Talks Up Public Lands / Trump Moves to Weaken NEPA / Note on Emerging Science: Plastic-Eating Mushrooms / After Coal: Stories of Survival in Appalachia and Wales At the final Democratic primary debate before the 2020 Iowa caucuses, the six candidates onstage all discussed their concerns about climate impacts and their plans to meet this existential challenge. Also, communities in...


Australia's Wildfires Point to the Future, Climate Fiction As Warnings, Climate Refugees, and more

Australia's Wildfires Point to the Future / Climate Disasters Drive Refugee Crisis / McSweeney's '2040 AD' Climate Fiction Issue / Note on Emerging Science: Deep-Sea Serpents / Beyond the Headlines: The Year in Review / Climate and the 2019 Lexicon / BirdNote®: Encounter with a Cassowary Australia is in the throes of its worst fire season in modern history. As thousands of homes are incinerated and an estimated billion animals perish, the rest of the world is getting a glimpse of some of...


Living on Earth Look Backs at 2019: Regulatory Rollbacks, The Best Science and Nature Writing, Endangered Species Successes, and more

The Rollbacks of 2019 / The Best Science and Nature Writing / Endangered Species Success Stories / Barren-Ground Caribou As we open a new year, Living on Earth looks back on key environmental developments of 2019. Last year saw the rollbacks of more than 80 environmental rules under the Trump Administration. Critics say these changes will harm more than the climate: they'll hurt business, the environment, and human health. Law professor Pat Parenteau joins us for an overview of some of...


Stories from the Borderlands: Water, Bison, the Wall and more

How the Border Wall Could Harm Wildlife / Bison and Sustainable Land Management / Science in Danger at the US-Mexican Border / Water Ranching in Mexico / BirdNote®: Lily-Trotters, Jesus Birds This week on the pod, a special series of stories Living on Earth's Bobby Bascomb reported from the US-Mexico border. In that increasingly fractured landscape, some species struggle to stay connected to populations north and south of the border. The walling off of Mexico from the US also presents...


Bunnies, Bears, and Snails: Stories for the Solstice

Smeagull the Seagull: A True Story / Sammy Snail and the Graneers / Native American Winter Stories Winter is a time for gathering together and celebrating the rich human tradition of storytelling. Sharing Native stories handed down for thousands of years, as well as much younger stories that appeal to young and old alike, brings us together at the Northern Hemisphere's darkest time of the year. And this tradition can also bring us closer to the creatures we share our Earth with, from...


Jane Fonda and Climate Civil Disobedience, Superfund Climate Risks, A Christmas Bird Count for Kids, and more

Democrats "Still In" at Madrid Climate Talks / Climate and Superfund Sites / Jane Fonda and Climate Civil Disobedience / Beyond the Headlines / BirdNote®: Rock Sandpipers Are Tough / A Preschool Christmas Bird Count Jane Fonda has been a Hollywood icon for a half-century and is currently starring in a hit Netflix show, but in 2019 she wants you talking about the climate. She's spearheading the "Fire Drill Fridays" protests at the US Capitol, even getting arrested at 81 years old, and this...


The Outlaw Ocean, Eat Like a Fish, Banning New Gas Hookups and more

Banning New Natural Gas Hookups / Beyond the Headlines / The Outlaw Ocean / Eat Like a Fish / Remembering EPA Head William Ruckelshaus Seventy percent of our planet is covered by the oceans, and in this vast wilderness lawlessness is rampant, with crimes ranging from illegal fishing to slavery at sea. These high crimes on the high seas are the focus of Pulitzer Prize-winning author Ian Urbina's new book, The Outlaw Ocean. Also, overfishing and climate change are hitting fish stocks hard, and...


The Silent Killer Called PM2.5, Reflections on the Native American Tradition of Giving Thanks, Brewing a Specialty Coffee Market, and more

The Silent Killer Called PM2.5 / Beyond the Headlines / Science Note: Toad Mimics Venomous Snake / Cosmic Crisp Apples / Brewing a Specialty Coffee Market / A Typical Carbon Footprint of Thanksgiving / Reflections on the Native American Tradition of Giving Thanks / Cranberries Take Center Stage The fine particulate air pollution known as PM2.5 has been shown to be deadly with correlation to heart attacks and strokes, and a new study links it with three more specific causes of death:...


ExxonMobil Awaits Fraud Ruling, A Public Housing Green New Deal, A Tasty Vegan Thanksgiving, and more

ExxonMobil Fraud Decision Due / UN Climate Ambition Gap / A Public Housing Green New Deal / Beyond The Headlines / Winter Wolf Song / Winter Wolves on the Move / A Tasty Vegan Thanksgiving With federal public housing in urgent need of upgrades, the new "Green New Deal for Public Housing Act" aims to create thousands of jobs while improving public health and reducing carbon emissions. Also, climate loss and damage is already upon us, even as UN negotiators look for fair ways to share...


Tackling Plastic Waste, EPA Seeks Confidential Medical Records, The Pan-Borneo Highway, and more

EPA Seeks Confidential Health Records / The Bottle Deposit Debate / Senator Tom Udall Takes on Plastic Waste / Beyond the Headlines / The Pan-Borneo Highway / Good Housekeeping The EPA sset limits for pollutants in our air and water to protect public health. Now the agency is proposing a controversial rule to require any study used for its rulemaking to disclose raw data including confidential medical records. Also, Senator Tom Udall (D-NM) aims to curb the growing plastic waste crisis with...


Keystone Oil Spill, Baja California's Wildfires, Rainforests 'Worth More Alive Than Dead', and more

Big Keystone Oil Spill / Beyond the Headlines / Wildfires Strike Baja California / BirdNote®: The Butcherbird / Let The Leaves Be And Feed The Birds / Rainforests 'Worth More Alive Than Dead' In late October, nearly 400,000 gallons of crude oil spilled from the existing Keystone pipeline into a North Dakota wetland, reviving concerns about the safety of the proposed Keystone XL extension. Also, the extreme heat and winds that fueled wildfires in the State of California this October also fed...


Fighting Fire with Fire, Healthy People Equal Healthy Forests, Pope Hosts Amazon Synod, and more

Fighting Fire with Prescribed Fire / Beyond the Headlines / Note on Emerging Science: Deforestation and Malaria / Healthy People Equal Healthy Forests / BirdNote®: Green Birds and Brown Birds in the Tropical Rainforest / Pope Hosts Amazon Synod For many of those living in and near tropical forests, one of the only ways to get cash to pay for healthcare is by logging. Now the nonprofit Health in Harmony is providing healthcare that patients can pay for with seedlings or manure. Also, Pope...


Ethane Crackers and Air Pollution, Coastal Living Boosts Mental Health, YouTubers Launch Tree Planting Campaign, and more

Ethane Crackers Spark Pollution Concerns / BirdNote®: Red-Necked Phalaropes, Spinners On The Sea / Living Near The Coast Could Boost Mental Health / Oyster Shell Recycling / Nobel Prize in Chemistry Recognizes Lithium Battery Discoveries / Beyond the Headlines / 'Largest YouTube Collaboration Ever' Aims to Plant 20 Million Trees A glut of cheap natural gas has petrochemical companies turning to ethane, a component of natural gas, to make plastic. But the process comes with massive carbon...


10K Farmers Want a Green New Deal, The Economic Value of the National Parks, Exploring the Parks: Great Smoky Mountains, and more

10,000 Farmers Want a Green New Deal / BirdNote®: Who Likes Suet? / Beyond the Headlines / The Economic Value of the National Parks / Exploring the Parks: Great Smoky Mountains / Arctic Fox Hunting More than 10,000 farmers and ranchers from across the country have signed on to a letter that urges Congress to support a Green New Deal. They're asking for a massive overhaul of food and farming policy in order to address the climate crisis while providing economic security for independent family...


Youth Mental Health Problems From Pollution, Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast, The 2019 Fat Bear Week Champion, and more

Youth Mental Health Problems From Pollution / Beyond the Headlines / Whistleblowers on Trump Science / The 2019 Fat Bear Week Champion / Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast This week on the podcast, the type of air pollution known as PM 2.5 is all around us from the burning of fossil fuels, and it's linked to strokes and heart attacks. Now there is mounting evidence that it may also be harming the mental health of children by worsening depression, anxiety, suicidality and more. Also,...


Reducing the Price of Electricity by Reducing Emissions, Bison for Sustainable Land Management, DNA Barcoding, and more.

Trump Fights California / Beyond the Headlines / Success of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative / DNA Barcoding for Quick Species ID / Bison and Sustainable Land Management The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, RGGI, has lowered carbon emissions in participating states by roughly fifty percent while at the same time lower electricity rates for consumers. Some 30 million bison once roamed the Great Plains of North America, by the turn of the century there were less than 600. One ranch in...


Silencing Spring, Shipping Container Farms, Celebrating the Fattest Bears and more

Silencing Spring / BirdNote®: Snowy Egrets - Killer Hats / Kids Versus the Climate Crisis / Fat Bear Week! / Beyond the Headlines / Container Farming in the City Scientists have documented a staggering decline in North America's birds in recent decades. As many as 3 billion birds have disappeared since 1970, and grassland birds and shorebirds have been hit especially hard. Also, Fat Bear Week is a yearly competition to celebrate the fattest, healthiest brown bears in Katmai National Park....


Rebooting Puerto Rican Power, Naomi Klein's Case for a Green New Deal, Clean Water Rollbacks, and more

UN Climate Action Summit / Beyond the Headlines / Clean Water Rollbacks / Rebooting Puerto Rican Power / Naomi Klein's Case for a Green New Deal When Hurricane Maria swept through Puerto Rico in 2017, it crippled the island's fossil fuel-dependent electrical grid. To improve resiliency, the territory is aiming for a 100%-renewable grid by 2050. Also, stronger hurricanes are a sign that the world is on fire - but so is the movement that's calling for action. In her new book "On Fire", Naomi...


The Border Wall and Wildlife, Coal Plant Ash Disaster for Workers, Andrew Yang's Climate Plan, and more

Coal Ash Cleanup Allegedly Deadly for Tennessee Workers / Andrew Yang's Climate Plan / Beyond the Headlines / Pronghorn Antelope / How the Border Wall Could Harm Wildlife Dozens of workers who helped clean up a 2008 coal ash spill in Tennessee have died and hundreds more fallen ill from diseases linked to the disaster. Now a fight for justice for these workers has won a round in the courts. Also, how President Trump's border wall could sever habitats and migratory paths for wildlife in the...


Climate Crisis Town Hall, The Amazon's Tipping Point, Underland: A Deep Time Journey, and more

Amazon Tipping Point / Democratic Candidates Talk Solutions at Climate Town Hall / Reviewing the Climate Crisis Town Hall / Beyond The Headlines / Underland: A Deep Time Journey The fires in the Amazon rainforest are illuminating the alarming speed of deforestation in one of the most biodiverse places on Earth - and bringing it closer to a "tipping point" transition into dry savannah. Also, Democratic presidential hopefuls spell out their plans to address the climate emergency at town halls...