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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Huge Reserves of Mercury Discovered in Arctic Permafrost

 

A new study estimates that Arctic permafrost contains some of the biggest reserves of mercury on the planet. As global warming melts permafrost, this huge pool could enter the food web and increase levels of toxic mercury worldwide.

 

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A new study estimates that Arctic permafrost contains some of the biggest reserves of mercury on the planet. As global warming melts permafrost, this huge pool could enter the food web and increase levels of toxic mercury worldwide.

As Sea Levels Rise, Nantucket Shores Up Crumbling Beaches

 

Nantucket Island is a historical gem and an upscale haven for summer vacationers. As erosion and rising seas threaten expensive real estate, locals weight the pros and cons of an extensive engineering project to hold back the sea.

 

Read More »

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The Telescope in the Ice: The Hunt for the Ghost Particle

 

One of the world’s most sensitive telescopes is buried deep in Antarctic ice, searching for evidence of elusive neutrinos, tiny, subatomic particles. A new book chronicles the decades-long project to build the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which has the ability to spot where neutrinos came from – making it a powerful new tool for understanding many mysteries of the universe.

 

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Solar Market Takes a Dip

 

The US solar market saw a downturn in 2017 for the first time since 2010. But though the fall in jobs coincided with Donald Trump's first year as President, market trends and Capitol Hill policies are more responsible for shaping the future of American solar.

 

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More Pipelines, Fewer Salamanders

 

Large-scale natural gas pipelines often have environmental impacts, but so can smaller ones. In PA, OH, and WV thousands of small pipelines are being built to link fracking wells to the energy infrastructure – and they’ve also been linked to a sharp decline in salamanders.

 

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The End of Epidemics

 

Medicine has come a long way since a deadly influenza pandemic killed as many as 100 million people a century ago. But we still have no truly effective vaccines against the seasonal flu, and it’s proving especially serious this year. A universal flu vaccine, if it can be produced, could control and prevent the next pandemic.

 

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Prairie Rattlesnake

 

A few months ago writer Mark Seth Lender met his first Prairie Rattlesnake up close and personal, and found the snake fascinating, and though venomous, not a threat.

 

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Tibetan Monks Saving Snow Leopards

 

Snow Leopards are among the most endangered of the world’s big cats, but now Tibetan monks are giving the leopard hope. (Camera trap photo of a snow leopard on the Tibetan plateau (photo: Panthera))

 

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Beyond the Headlines

 

Peter Dykstra of the Daily Climate and Environmental Health News brings us some far-flung environmental stories from this past week that didn’t make the headlines. This week: salt intrusion in Bangladesh and rare earth mining in Greenland.

 

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Through the Melting Arctic Seas

For the first time ever in winter, a tanker has sailed without an icebreaker through the Northern Sea Route north of Russia. Newer, tougher ship hulls and shrinking Arctic ice are now opening up this shipping route for business. But oil spills there could spell disaster for fragile Arctic ecosystems.

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As Sea Levels Rise, Nantucket Shores Up Crumbling Beaches

Nantucket Island is a historical gem and an upscale haven for summer vacationers. As erosion and rising seas threaten expensive real estate, locals weight the pros and cons of an extensive engineering project to hold back the sea.

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The Telescope in the Ice: The Hunt for the Ghost Particle

One of the world’s most sensitive telescopes is buried deep in Antarctic ice, searching for evidence of elusive neutrinos, tiny, subatomic particles. A new book chronicles the decades-long project to build the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which has the ability to spot where neutrinos came from – making it a powerful new tool for understanding many mysteries of the universe.

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This Week’s Show
February 23, 2018
listen / download


Through the Melting Arctic Seas

listen / download
For the first time ever in winter, a tanker has sailed without an icebreaker through the Northern Sea Route north of Russia. Newer, tougher ship hulls and shrinking Arctic ice are now opening up this shipping route for business. But oil spills there could spell disaster for fragile Arctic ecosystems.

Beyond the Headlines

listen / download
We explore a surprise museum hit: a chunk of the London sewer-clogging “fatberg” that is drawing crowds; then discuss Alaskan Senator Lisa Murkowski calls to drill-baby-drill yet at the same time tackle climate change. In the history calendar, we wish a happy birthday to Plutonium, the element that for better and worse helped launch the nuclear age.

Huge Reserves of Mercury Discovered in Arctic Permafrost

listen / download
A new study estimates that Arctic permafrost contains some of the biggest reserves of mercury on the planet. As global warming melts permafrost, this huge pool could enter the food web and increase levels of toxic mercury worldwide.

As Sea Levels Rise, Nantucket Shores Up Crumbling Beaches

listen / download
Nantucket Island is a historical gem and an upscale haven for summer vacationers. As erosion and rising seas threaten expensive real estate, locals weight the pros and cons of an extensive engineering project to hold back the sea.

The Telescope in the Ice: The Hunt for the Ghost Particle

listen / download
One of the world’s most sensitive telescopes is buried deep in Antarctic ice, searching for evidence of elusive neutrinos, tiny, subatomic particles. A new book chronicles the decades-long project to build the IceCube Neutrino Observatory, which has the ability to spot where neutrinos came from – making it a powerful new tool for understanding many mysteries of the universe.

Sea Lions at Play

listen / download
Like young humans, young sea lions love to play. Scores of the blubbery mammals dive joyfully through the crashing waves on an inaccessible beach far below the Pacific Coast Highway at Big Sur.


Special Features

Field Note: Sea Lions at Play
Living on Earth's explorer-in-residence Mark Seth Lender writes on the impact of a changing climate and warming seas on California sea lions.
Blog Series: Mark Seth Lender Field Notes

A River Town in Transition

listen / download
Wrangell, Alaska is a small, isolated town at the mouth of the mighty Stikine River and a former a timber capital. But since the saw mills shut down in the ‘90s, the small town has reinvented itself as a tourist destination and a commercial fishing hub. Since both of these industries are dependent on the Stikine, some locals worry that a mining development upriver could put the whole town’s livelihood at risk.
Blog Series: Alaskan River Riches


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...Ultimately, if we are going prevent large parts of this Earth from becoming not only inhospitable but uninhabitable in our lifetimes, we are going to have to keep some fossil fuels in the ground rather than burn them...

-- President Barack Obama, November 6, 2015 on why he declined to approve the Keystone XL Pipeline.

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