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India's plan to reroute rivers could have unintended consequences on rainfall

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2024/07/19 - 12:00am
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More than a hundred years ago, a British engineer proposed linking two rivers in India to better irrigate the area and cheaply move goods. The link never happened, but the idea survived. Today, due to extreme flooding in some parts of the country mirrored by debilitating drought in others, India's National Water Development Agency plans to dig thirty links between rivers across the country. It's the largest project of its kind and will take decades to complete. But scientists are worried what moving that much water could do to the land, the people — and even the weather. Host Emily Kwong talks to journalist Sushmita Pathak about her recent story on the project.

Read Sushmita's full story here.

Interested in more science stories like this? Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

(Image credit: STRDEL / Stringer)

Categories: Environment

Rogue waves can strike without warning. These scientists found a way to predict them

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2024/07/18 - 8:05am

Scientists have created a new tool that can give 5 minutes advance warning of a dangerous rogue wave in the ocean.

(Image credit: Alexis Delisi)

Categories: Environment

Tons of dead fish cover a river in Brazil after alleged dumping of industrial waste

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2024/07/18 - 2:29am

An estimated 10 to 20 tons of fish died on the Piracicaba River, prosecutors said. An initial investigation points to an "irregular discharge of wastewater" from a sugar and ethanol plant.

(Image credit: Andre Penner)

Categories: Environment

The next generation of firefighters learned how to fight fires while in prison

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2024/07/18 - 2:00am

A nonprofit in California is aiming to remove roadblocks for previously incarcerated firefighters and expand the profession in the process.

(Image credit: Ed Kashi)

Categories: Environment

U.S. Fish and Wildlife invokes federal water rights to protect huge swamp in Georgia

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2024/07/17 - 2:43pm

Parts of the massive Okefenokee Swamp are a wildlife refuge. Georgia is on the cusp of permitting a titanium dioxide mine next to it, prompting the federal government to invoke federal water rights.

Categories: Environment

The magic — and science — of synchronous firefly displays

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2024/07/17 - 12:00am

Every year for two weeks between mid-May and mid-June, Congaree National Park in South Carolina is home to a fairy-tale-like display of flashing lights. These rhythmic performances happen all because of thousands of fireflies, flashing their belly lanterns at exactly the same time. According to the National Park Service, there are just three types of these synchronous fireflies in North America, making the experience all the more magical for the lucky visitors who get the chance to see them.

Firefly scientists and enthusiasts hope these displays in places like Congaree will inspire people to care about other kinds of fireflies, also known as lightning bugs, in the U.S., which are not as well-studied – or well-protected – as synchronous ones. Some community scientists are already taking on this mission with projects like the Firefly Atlas, where volunteers can help survey for fireflies and report sightings.

This story was originally reported for NPR by science correspondent Pien Huang. Read Pien's full story here.

Want more of the science behind wildlife wonders? Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

Categories: Environment

California’s wildfires are burning far more land so far this year than in 2023

NPR News - Environment - Tue, 2024/07/16 - 2:00am

Cal Fire Chief Joe Tyler said the agency and its partners are equipped with with fire trucks, bulldozers, and newly introduced Blackhawk helicopters that can fly at night.

(Image credit: Eric Thayer)

Categories: Environment

To protect mangroves, some Kenyans combat logging with hidden beehives

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2024/07/14 - 10:53pm

As part of a local conservation effort, beehives dot a section of coastline in Mombasa to try to deter people who chop mangroves for firewood or home construction.

(Image credit: Gideon Maundu)

Categories: Environment

Biden faces criticism over his gas car ban. But he doesn’t have one

NPR News - Environment - Sun, 2024/07/14 - 2:15am

Swing state voters are seeing ads warning them about a federal ban on their gas-powered vehicles. But there is no such ban, even as candidates campaign on it.

(Image credit: Sean Gallup/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Why the next president's judicial appointments will impact climate action

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2024/07/13 - 2:15am

The Supreme Court's recent term illustrates the judiciary's outsized role in government's ability to address climate change. The coming election could shape the judicial landscape for decades to come.

(Image credit: Drew Angerer)

Categories: Environment

These New Mexico fire victims are starting to give up on FEMA

NPR News - Environment - Sat, 2024/07/13 - 2:00am

As Ruidoso, N.M., starts recovering from a deadly wildfire, people who survived the state's largest fire two years ago say FEMA still isn't giving them what they need.

(Image credit: Kirk Siegler)

Categories: Environment

Climate change is making Colorado mountain streams more acidic and polluted

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2024/07/12 - 1:54pm

New research says climate change has caused toxic metal pollution to double in some Colorado rivers and mountain streams. It's complicating efforts to clean up abandoned mining sites.

Categories: Environment

AI brings soaring emissions for Google and Microsoft, a major contributor to climate change

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2024/07/12 - 2:13am

The tech giants both report surges in greenhouse gas emissions as they double-down on adding artificial intelligence to all of their products.

(Image credit: Josh Edelson)

Categories: Environment

How to live without plastics for a month, according to the founder of a global movement

NPR News - Environment - Fri, 2024/07/12 - 2:00am

Plastic Free July is upon us! Rebecca Prince-Ruiz, founder of Plastic Free July, encourages people to take the challenge with friends, start small and keep a “plastic-free kit” on hand.

(Image credit: Zayrha Rodriguez)

Categories: Environment

Marathon Oil reaches a $241 million settlement with EPA for environmental violations

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2024/07/11 - 2:35pm

The federal government announced a settlement with Marathon Oil for alleged air quality violations at the company's oil and gas operations on the Fort Berthold Indian Reservation in North Dakota.

(Image credit: Matt Brown)

Categories: Environment

These monkeys were 'notoriously competitive' until Hurricane Maria wrecked their home

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2024/07/10 - 3:00am

Rhesus macaques on Cayo Santiago are known for being intolerant, hierarchical and aggressive. After 2017's Hurricane Maria destroyed their home, the monkeys' society underwent surprising changes.

Categories: Environment

Sharks often get a bad rap, but oceans need them

NPR News - Environment - Mon, 2024/07/08 - 12:00am

It's that time of the year again: Shark Week. The TV program is so long-running that if you're under 37, you've never known a life without it. In honor of this oft misunderstood critter, we revisit our conversation with shark scientist Melissa Christina Marquez. She explains just how important sharks are to keeping the oceans healthy, including their role in mitigating climate change. Plus, there may be some talk about shark poop.

Have another animal with a bad rap you want us to clear the reputation of? Email the show at shortwave@npr.org — we'd love to hear from you!

(Image credit: Cultura RM Exclusive/Richard Robinson)

Categories: Environment

16,000 people remain evacuated due to Thompson Fire in northern California

NPR News - Environment - Thu, 2024/07/04 - 3:40pm

Nearly 16,000 people in northern California are still evacuated due to the Thompson Fire. Those staying at local shelters say they're fearful of what they may find when they're allowed to return.

Categories: Environment

To save spotted owls, officials plan to kill a half-million of another owl species

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2024/07/03 - 11:21pm

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service strategy is meant to prop up declining spotted owl populations in Oregon, Washington and California by killing barred owls that have encroached into their territory.

(Image credit: Don Ryan)

Categories: Environment

Thousands evacuate as Northern California wildfire spreads. More hot weather is expected

NPR News - Environment - Wed, 2024/07/03 - 3:30pm

Firefighters are battling a growing wildfire in Northern California that has forced at least 26,000 people to evacuate. The fire's cause is being investigated.

(Image credit: Noah Berger)

Categories: Environment
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