Environmental groups are fighting to stop the leveling of 154 acres of coast redwoods and Douglas firs to make way for grapevines.
Credit Courtesy Friends of the Gualala River
Coast redwood trees stand at Muir Woods National Monument in Mill Valley, Calif. Redwoods are the biggest trees on Earth by height — they can grow more than 350 feet tall. But their range is quite limited: They only grow along the coast of Northern California and southern Oregon.
Originally published on Fri October 18, 2013 6:18 pm
In the California wine mecca of Sonoma County, climate change is pitting redwood lovers against red wine lovers.
This Friday morning, a coalition of environmental groups are in a Santa Rosa, Calif., courtroom fighting to stop a Spanish-owned winery from leveling 154 acres of coast redwoods and Douglas firs to make way for grapevines.
If you've ever walked through the jungle, you'll know it can be surprisingly dark down on the forest floor. You see trees soaring up all around. You're creating a dense canopy overhead. And climbing toward that canopy, snaking up the trees are the vines.
This year is the 40th anniversary of the OPEC oil embargo - an event that has shaped our nation's politics and the cars we drive ever since. In 1973, the Arab world decided to cut oil exports to punish nations that supported Israel during its war with Egypt and Syria. While the embargo only lasted several months, it triggered an energy crisis that lasted for years. NPR's Richard Harris reports on the ways we are still feel those effects today.
Originally published on Wed October 16, 2013 6:33 pm
Wednesday is World Food Day, an occasion food activists like to use to call attention to world hunger. With 842 million chronically undernourished people on Earth, it's a problem that hasn't gone away.
This year, activists are trying to make the day a little spicier with pots full of disco soup to highlight the absurd amount of food thrown away that could feed people: one-third of all the food produced every year.
Workers stand inside the gold mine in Greenland's Nulanaq mountain in 2009. The Danish territory's underground wealth was at the forefront of elections in March. Now, Greenland faces another dilemma: whether to end a zero-tolerance policy on uranium extraction.
The record-breaking wildfire in Yosemite National Park is almost fully contained, two months after it started. The blaze calls attention to a problem across the western U.S.: After a century of having its fires routinely extinguished, the forests are overloaded with fuel.
A heated debate has flared up about what to do with that forest fuel. California is hoping to reduce its fire risk through renewable energy, but some worry about the environmental costs of thinning the forests.
Corn prices are down and the farm bill is stalled in Congress. So there's a lot of uncertainly in the air as harvest season gets into full swing across the Midwest. But this is a time of year when farm families like the Friesens in Henderson, Neb., come together to focus on the big task at hand: the corn harvest.
Everyone in the family has a job to do.
"Like my dad — he drives auger wagon," Curt Friesen says. "He drives auger wagon only. That's all he's done since 1976, I think. ... My wife, Nancy, she drives the combine; that's her job."
Villagers eat at a temporary cyclone shelter in Chatrapur, India, on Saturday. India evacuated nearly 1 million people before Cyclone Phailin made landfall. The effort appears to have paid off. As of Tuesday, there were fewer than 30 deaths.
Originally published on Tue October 15, 2013 5:19 am
Two explorers have discovered more than a mile of caves underneath a glacier on Mt. Hood near Portland, Oregon. They suspect the beautiful formations account for a significant loss of the glacier's ice, and they have set out to measure how much the inside of the glacier is melting each year. It's dangerous work, but it could reveal that some glaciers in the Pacific Northwest are retreating faster than anyone realized.
The handling of an oil spill in North Dakota is raising questions, after a state agency waited to tell the public it had taken place. A wheat farmer was the first to recognize the spill had happened; it became public knowledge nearly two weeks later.
Here's how the AP describes the spill's discovery:
"Farmer Steve Jensen says he smelled the crude for days before the tires on his combines were coated in it. At the apparent break in the Tesoro Corp.'s underground pipeline, the oil was 'spewing and bubbling 6 inches high,' he said in a telephone interview Thursday."
Originally published on Thu October 10, 2013 11:49 am
South of Florida's Lake Okeechobee, hundreds of thousands of acres of sugar cane thrive in the heart of one of the world's largest wetlands. The Everglades stretches from the tip of the peninsula to central Florida, north of Lake Okeechobee.
"The Everglades actually begins at Shingle Creek, outside of Orlando," says Jonathan Ullman of the Sierra Club.
That's nearly 200 miles north of the agricultural land that Ullman and other environmentalists say is crucial to state and federal efforts to restore the wetlands area to a healthy ecosystem.
A fishmonger tosses a just-purchased fresh salmon to a colleague behind the counter at the Pike Place Fish Market in Seattle.
Credit Elaine Thompson / AP
An Almadraba tuna is lifted by a crane in the port of Barbate, Cadiz province, southern Spain. Almadraba tuna is caught by an elaborate and ancient Andalusian fishing method used in Spanish coastal areas close to the Strait of Gibraltar since Phoenician times.
Credit Emilio Morenatti / AP
A halibut is seen on the line of a fisherman in Ilulissat, Greenland.
Credit Joe Raedle / Getty Images
A fisherman checks the measurements of a Dungeness crab he just pulled in from the Pacific Ocean off Marin County, Calif.
Credit Eric Risberg / AP
A swordfish chills on ice.
Credit PA Photos/Landov
A fisherman holds freshly caught potted brown shrimp in Southport, England.
President Obama speaks at the southern site of the Keystone XL pipeline in Cushing, Okla., in March 2012.
Credit Tom Pennington / Getty Images
Thousands of protesters gather on the National Mall in Washington in February 2013 calling on President Obama to reject the Keystone XL oil pipeline from Canada and act to limit carbon pollution from power plants.
Credit Manuel Balce Ceneta / AP
A road near the proposed route for the Keystone XL pipeline several miles north of Neligh, Neb. After its original route through the Nebraska sand hills was blocked, Calgary-based TransCanada submitted to Nebraska environmental officials a preferred alternative route that runs north of Neligh.
Journalist Ryan Lizza says there's one far-reaching, controversial issue President Obama will soon get to decide all by himself, without having to ask Congress. He alone can approve or reject construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, designed to take heavy crude oil extracted from Alberta, Canada, through America's heartland to refineries on the Gulf Coast.
Originally published on Thu October 17, 2013 10:12 am
Until recently, if you wanted to find out the rules for raising goats in Hollywood, bees in Bel Air or squash in a community garden in South Central Los Angeles, it would have been pretty tough — like standing in various lines at the DMV.
This is SCIENCE FRIDAY. I'm Ira Flatow. According to the population institute, it took only 14 years, from 1999 to today, for the global population to increase by one billion people, just 14 years. Every four and a half days we add another million people. That's adding a city the size of Dallas. Is this sustainable? Can the population of the Earth continue to grow and still supply the people on it with the raw essentials they need, like food, housing, shelter?
Originally published on Thu October 3, 2013 2:07 pm
Newly formed Tropical Storm Karen, which could reach hurricane strength by Friday, is expected to make landfall on the U.S. Gulf Coast sometime over the weekend.
The National Hurricane Center in Miami says the late-season storm formed Thursday morning about 485 miles south of the Mississippi Delta, with maximum sustained winds of 65 mph. It was moving north-northwest at 12 mph, but was expected to speed up.
Forecasters say it will make landfall in the U.S. either Saturday or Sunday.
Scientists think they've identified the source of a massive volcanic eruption that occurred in A.D. 1257 and spread telltale traces across the globe.
The culprit in the "mystery eruption" appears to be the Samalas volcano, part of the Mount Rinjani Volcanic Complex on Indonesia's Lombok Island, an international team of scientists publishing in PNAS journal says.
<strong>Party On: </strong>Legislation passed last week allows the Federal Helium Reserve to continue selling the stockpiled gas. Above, Jonathan Trappe launches his 370-balloon craft from Caribou, Maine, in an attempt to cross the Atlantic Ocean on Sept. 12.
With the government on the brink of a shutdown, Republicans and Democrats in Congress have come together to compromise on helium. Legislation passed late last week will keep the gas used in party balloons flowing from a national reserve.
The helium bill's passage shows that compromise is still possible in the fractious political climate. But finding agreement over this inert gas was tough. The new law came after more than a year of intensive lobbying by some of America's largest businesses and academic institutions.
On the first Monday of the rest of your life, it's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.
DAVID GREENE, HOST:
And I'm David Greene. Climate change is melting ice in the Arctic. And that is opening up the top of the world to drilling, shipping traffic, and also concerns about the environment. Earlier this month, Greenpeace activists were arrested trying to board an oil platform that's owned by Russia's state gas company.
It has been a deadly year for the people who fight wildfires. In total, 32 people have lost their lives fighting fires in 2013; the highest number in nearly 20 years, according to the National Interagency Fire Center.
Just one incident accounts for most of those deaths, the Yarnell Hill fire in Arizona. In June, the blaze blasted through a firefighting crew known as the Granite Mountain Hotshots; 19 of the 20 men died.
Officials from BP, formerly British Petroleum, will be back in a New Orleans courtroom next week. It's part of a complex federal case that will ultimately determine responsibility in damages for the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. And that's the 2010 oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. NPR's Debbie Elliott's been following the trial and joins us. Deb, thanks for being with us.
DEBBIE ELLIOTT, BYLINE: Glad to be here.
SIMON: Remind us of what's at stake in this phase of the case.
The United Nation's Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change releases its latest assessment today. This is the fifth since 1990. The reports project the rate of global warming, sea level rise and other expected effects that result largely from our use of fossil fuels, which puts billions of additional tons of carbon dioxide into the air every year.