Environment

A weathered wooden shed that holds wheelbarrows, hoes and other basic tools is the beacon of the Student Organic Farm, a two-acre swath within the larger horticultural research farm at Iowa State University.

On a warm spring evening, a half-dozen students gather here, put on work gloves and begin pulling up weeds from the perennial beds where chives, strawberries, rhubarb and sage are in various stages of growth.

"I didn't know how passionate I [would] become for physical work," says culinary science major Heidi Engelhardt.

Photo courtesy of The Racine Journal Times

A state of emergency exists in Racine County for about a dozen homes along the lakefront. The eroding lake bluff is threatening to pull down the houses. 

Emergency officials will meet with residents Tuesday evening to talk about possible solutions.

Roger Tietz is in the business of preventing lake bluff erosion. He works for Edward E. Gillen Marine, a Mequon company that installs shore protection. Tietz says this year a lot of areas without protection are vulnerable.

In California, there is so much solar energy that grid operators have to switch off solar farms. One solution of dealing with the additional power generated is to share the renewable wealth across state borders – but in the West, it's sparking some not-so-neighborly opposition.

Nancy Traweek's job is to balance California's electrical grid at the California Independent System Operator, keeping the lights on for 30 million people. She relies on huge natural gas power plants that put out a steady stream of electricity.

Copyright 2016 Interlochen Public Radio. To see more, visit Interlochen Public Radio.

You've heard that you should eat more kale. Now a small but growing industry wants you to eat more kelp.

Seaweed production has long been a big industry in Asia. But recently, American entrepreneurs have launched new enterprises that grow fresh and frozen seaweed right here in the States.

Minhae Kim didn't check air pollution levels before bringing her one-year-old to Seoul's Yongsan Family Park.

Perhaps she should have. On this day — and on most days this spring — the measures of the most dangerous kind of pollution in Seoul exceed the World Health Organization's recommended limit. And Korea ranks near the very bottom for air quality in Yale University's latest 180-country Environmental Performance Index.

The federal government is moving to ban virtually all sales of items containing African elephant ivory within the U.S. For a long time it's been illegal to import elephant ivory. This new rule extends the ban to cover ivory that's already here.

The forest at Great Smoky Mountains National Park is sick, infected by invasive bugs and plants. Matt Moore, Kaleb Lique Naitove and Emily Baird of the National Park Service are some of the field medics trying to keep it alive.

Tom Licence has a Ph.D., and he's a garbage man.

When you think of archaeology, you might think of Roman ruins, ancient Egypt or Indiana Jones. But Licence works in the field of "garbology." While some may dig deep down to get to the good stuff — ancient tombs, residences, bones — Licence looks at the top layers, which, where he lives in England, are filled with Victorian-era garbage.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Monarch butterflies are disappearing.

Populations of these distinctive black and orange migratory insects have been in precipitous decline for the past 20 years, but scientists aren't exactly sure what's causing them to vanish.

Copyright 2016 Maine Public Broadcasting Network. To see more, visit Maine Public Broadcasting Network.

Copyright 2016 Valley Public Radio. To see more, visit Valley Public Radio.

Will this summer be hotter than average?

How much rain can we expect?

A key step to answering questions about the weather is to consult the historic record. But what if there were no record? That's the predicament that Rwanda faces. The civil war and genocide that devastated that country in 1994 also destroyed Rwanda's system for tracking weather. The result was that for a roughly 15-year stretch, Rwanda has almost no record of what its weather was like.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

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