Environment

For the first time in more than four decades, the Yellowstone grizzly bear is set to lose its federal protections under the Endangered Species Act. Citing a rebound in the bear's population, the U.S. Department of Interior announced its intention Thursday to end these protections and return oversight of the animal's status to the state level.

The agency says the rule to remove the grizzly from the endangered species list will be published "in coming days" and "will take effect 30 days after publication."

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

If you're standing in the blazing sun struggling to read this on your cellphone, there may be some relief in sight.

And you'll have a moth to thank.

The reason you have to find shade to read your phone is the way the light reflects off the screen. The reflection reduces contrast, washing out images.

One of the biggest threats to global agriculture these days is a tiny, bright red weevil.

These little crimson devils eviscerate coconut, date and oil palms, and are native to South Asia. But thanks to globalization, and the fact that these tenacious buggers can fly up to 30 miles a day — over the last three decades they've spread to more than 60 countries from the Caribbean to Southern Europe.

Some coastal areas in Texas and Louisiana are under a tropical storm warning and forecasters are warning of potential heavy flooding as Tropical Storm Cindy moved inland from the Gulf of Mexico Thursday morning.

Severe weather and flooding have already been reported over the past two days along the Gulf Coast. The storm made landfall early Thursday morning near the Texas/Louisiana border, according to the National Hurricane Center.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Let's ask why some of the nation's biggest energy companies say they're willing to support the fight against climate change. They say they are willing to be taxed for the pollution they create.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Steven Somsen's farm got a new addition last year, breaking up fields of wheat and soybeans that span as far as the eye can see from his rural North Dakota home.

"We ended up with some towers on our property," he says, nodding toward the giant, spinning, white wind turbines dotting the farmland around his house.

Xcel Energy, a Midwest-based utility, installed three on his land, among the 100 turbines placed near his remote community of Courtenay.

Firefighters in Portugal have gained control over a wildfire that swept through central Portugal over the weekend and killed at least 64 people, authorities said Wednesday. But the investigation into what ignited the wildfires, and why they proved so deadly, is just beginning.

The fire near the town of Pedrogao Grande "is no longer progressing," Civil Protection Agency spokesman Vitor Vaz Pinto told reporters, according to The Associated Press. The blaze, one of dozens that erupted Saturday, quickly swept through the hilly area about 120 miles northeast of Lisbon.

CITY AS LIVING LABORATORY

The City of Milwaukee is putting the finishing touches on a water and land use plan to help guide the future of the harbor’s 1,000 water-edged acres. The idea is to combine a robust working function while also breathing vitality into areas where there currently is none.

Lots of ideas are floating around.

Enter a New-York based artist by the name of Mary Miss. She uses the environment in unexpected and artful ways to draw people to outdoor spaces.

Copyright 2017 Minnesota Public Radio. To see more, visit Minnesota Public Radio.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

At the wine tasting room of Taylors Wines in Sydney, Australia, bottles are uncorked, poured, swished, sniffed and sipped. There's a lot for employees to toast this year.

"The Australian wine sector is growing at a fast rate," says Mitchell Taylor, the winery's managing director. "And what is exciting is the top level, about 20 to 30 dollars a bottle and above, that segment is growing at 53 percent."

That's thanks, in part, to China.

What if you could go back in time and follow your food from the farm to your plate? What if you could see each step of your meal's journey — every ingredient that went into its creation, and every footprint it left behind?

Ethiopia gave the world Coffea arabica, the species that produces most of the coffee we drink these days. Today, the country is the largest African producer of Arabica coffee. The crop is the backbone of the country's economy – some 15 million Ethiopians depend on it for a living.

The Endangered Species Act is facing a growing number of calls for significant changes. Momentum in Congress and in western states is building to give states more of a say when making changes to the landmark regulation that protects about 1,600 animal and plant species, and their habitats.

Animals like the Wyoming toad.

Back in 1985, there were only 16 of these palm-sized amphibians left at the Mortenson Lake National Wildlife Refuge in Laramie, Wyo.

Susan Bence / Milwaukee Public Radio

The City of West Allis has been providing curbside recycling pickup for over two decades, but this week residents will find gleaming blue carts at their doorsteps. Up until, the city has used 30-gallon plastic bags.

West Allis is one of a handful of municipalities using the"bag" method.

Melissa Oberdorf remembers the days before West Allis trucks started hauling away recyclables. Her family members were early adopters.

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