All Things Considered

What Is The Mystery Goo That Killed Seabirds In The Bay Area?

More than 200 birds died earlier this year. Now, scientists and federal agencies are running forensic tests and looking for clues to the goo as part of a national investigation.

Calif. Governor Can't Make It Rain, But Can Make Relief Money Pour

California Gov. Jerry Brown signed his sweeping $1.1 billion emergency drought relief bill Friday. It funds water infrastructure improvements like flood control and aid for farmworkers.

Official Report: Nuclear Waste Accident Caused By Wrong Cat Litter

An official investigation into a 2014 accident at the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant has concluded that cat litter is the culprit. Organic material in the litter caused a drum to burst.

Think Nobody Wants To Buy Ugly Fruits And Veggies? Think Again

As much as a third of the produce grown on some farms is rejected because it doesn't meet beauty standards. But it's still tasty and healthy. One big firm is now telling growers: Give us your uglies.

All Things Considered

'Super-Termite' Could Be Even More Destructive Than Parent Species

In South Florida, the world's two most destructive termite species could be mating because of climate change. Researchers say if the hybrids colonize, they could pose an even greater economic threat.

Meet The Cool Beans Designed To Beat Climate Change

Researchers in Colombia have created new types of beans that can withstand high heat. Many of these "heat-beater" beans resulted from a unique marriage, 20 years ago, of tradition and technology.

All Things Considered

California Plastic Bag Referendum Could Spark Environmental Showdown

A referendum to repeal California's statewide ban on plastic single-use bags has been added to the November 2016 ballot. The measure was backed by the plastic bag industry.

A Top Weedkiller Could Cause Cancer. Should We Be Scared?

A respected scientific group says that glyphosate, also known as Roundup, is "probably carcinogenic to humans." Yet the actual risks — which are mainly to farmers, not consumers — remain uncertain.

Morning Edition

Sea Turtles Test Urban Waters In Southern California 'Jacuzzi'

Even with the warm outflow from nearby power plants, the San Gabriel River's an odd new habitat choice. Volunteers and researchers are working to study and track the population that's popped up there.

Even Neil DeGrasse Tyson Is Now Munching On Bugs

At an event to honor the modern-day science hero, $15,000 worth of edible insects were on the menu. So Tyson was willing — if not exactly eager — to explore the delicacies on offer. For science.

Report: Climate Change Driving Native Plants Out Of New England

March 27, 2015
The Ponkapoag bog at Blue Hills Reservation, where there are many interesting and unusual plant species. (Keith Simmons/Flickr)

One of the report’s most dramatic findings: 22 percent of all native plant species in the region are either extinct, rare or disappearing.

Tornado Hits Oklahoma On Anniversary Of Historic 1948 Forecast

March 26, 2015
This frame taken from video provided by Brenton Leete shows a funnel cloud in part of a storm Wednesday, March 25, 2015, in Sand Springs, Okla. The slow start to the nation's tornado season came to a blustery end Wednesday when tornadoes hit Arkansas and Oklahoma. (Brenton Leete/AP)

A tornado hit the Tinker Air Force Base in Oklahoma 67 years ago, but there were no fatalities because it had been predicted.

Lilac, Hemlock, Maple: How Climate Change Is Transforming New England Plant Life

March 26, 2015
The Middlesex Fells Reservation is seen on March 10. (Albert Lew/Flickr)

The most thorough report yet on the state of New England plant life includes climate change as one of the threats the plants face; already, global warming has led to earlier bloom times for flowering plants like lilacs, and if current trends continue, in 50 years Massachusetts could have the climate of current-day Georgia.

Hey Kids! Go Outside, Already

March 26, 2015
A child walks through a forest landscape. (Rudolf Vlček / Flickr)

American kids today spend only four to seven minutes a day playing outdoors. We hear a new call to raise the “wild child.”

Using Technology To Get Your Kids Outside

March 26, 2015
A view of winter constellations on a starry, clear night. (Phillip Chee / Flickr)

The latest and greatest — using apps to make natural exploration more fun for your kids.

A Crisis In Slow Motion: California Enters Fourth Year Of Drought

March 25, 2015
Low water levels are visible at Lake McClure on March 24, 2015, in La Grange, California. More than 3,000 residents in the Sierra Nevada foothill community of Lake Don Pedro who rely on water from Lake McCLure could potentially run out of water in the near future if the severe drought continues. Lake McClure is currently at 7 percent of its normal capacity and residents are under mandatory 50 percent water use restrictions. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)

Is the California government doing enough to deal with the serious drought? Katie Orr of Capital Public Radio weighs in.

Manatee Count Is Up And How Dogs Helped Take Neanderthals Down

March 25, 2015
A baby manatee born on April 24, 2014, swims at the Zoo Parc of Beauval on July 19, 2014. (Guillaume Souvant/AFP/Getty Images)

Vicki Croke of WBUR’s The Wild Life discusses manatees and other animal news, including elephants and the downfall of Neanderthals.

Researchers Say Global Warming Is Slowing Ocean Currents

March 24, 2015
Cold melt water coming of the Greenland Ice Sheet is thought to be one of the causes of the disturbance in Atlantic currents. (NASA GISS warming map 1901-2013/Press Release)

A new study suggests that human-caused melting of polar ice has slowed down currents in the Atlantic Ocean, and that the Gulf Stream could shut down far sooner than initially predicted.

Supreme Court To Hear Case On Power Plant Emission Standards

March 24, 2015
A power plant in Holland, Mich. A lawsuit is challenging the EPA's emission standards for power plants. (Norm Hoekstra/Flickr)

The lawsuit argues the regulatory agency improperly adopted the standards without first considering how much it would cost to reduce emissions

Flushable Wipes Wiping Out Sewer Systems

March 24, 2015
London sewers are getting clogged with massive "fatbergs" -- major blockages when congealed fat mixes with ostensibly flushable wipes, which actually turn out not to be septic-safe. (sub-urban.com/Flickr)

It turns out flushable wipes aren’t septic-safe — and they’ve been wreaking havoc on London’s sewer system and systems around the world.

Proposed Natural Gas Liquids Pipeline In Kentucky Raises Concerns

March 24, 2015
A valve station for the pipeline near Lebanon. (Erica Peterson/WPFL)

A company wants to convert an existing natural gas pipeline to carry the volatile byproducts of gas drilling.

Coal And American Energy Futures

March 24, 2015
In this Jan. 5, 2015, photo, dozens of people rally in Santa Fe, N.M., as the New Mexico Public Regulation Commission considers a proposal that calls for shutting down part of the coal-fired San Juan Generating Station.  (AP)

The new battle over American coal, before the Supreme Court and beyond.

China’s Top Weather Official Warns Of Climate Change Risks

March 23, 2015
A man wears a mask amid heavy smog on the Bund in Shanghai on November 12, 2014. (AFP/Getty Images)

In rare public statement, Zheng Guoguang said climate change could have devastating ecological impacts on China.

New Solutions For Dire California Drought

March 23, 2015
In this Thursday, Oct. 30, 2014 file photo, houseboats sit in the drought lowered waters of Oroville Lake, near Oroville, Calif. California voters overwhelmingly see the state's ongoing water shortage as a serious problem. A Field Poll released Thursday, Feb. 26, 2015 says 94 percent consider the shortage serious, and of those 68 percent find it extremely serious. (AP)

California Governor Jerry Brown, and his billion-dollar emergency drought plan. We’ll look at dry California’s options, including turning to the sea.

First Anniversary Of Deadly Washington Landslide Approaches

March 20, 2015
Oso Fire Department Chief Willy Harper said one of the most challenging parts of the immediate aftermath of the mudslide was handling all of the community volunteers who showed up to assist in recovering and rescuing victims. Most of the volunteers were untrained to deal with the traumatic scene. He is himself a volunteer. "I would see it on their faces," Harper said. "They came back changed people. They weren't ready to see what they had to see." (Daniel Berman/KUOW)

Sunday marks one year since the landslide in Oso, Washington, that killed 43 people.

2,000 Snow Geese Die In Idaho

March 19, 2015
2,000 snow geese in Idaho died this month as a result of avian cholera. (hjhipster/Flickr)

Idaho Fish & Wildlife officials say they are taking precautions to prevent the spread of avian cholera, which they blame for the mass die-off.

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