Environment

S Bence

If a rain drop were human, a human who liked to hang out in Lake Michigan, it would love to fall on the big parking lot north of Milwaukee County’s War Memorial Center.

“In this situation, all of the stormwater flows directly into the lake,” says Phil Schultz. He's chair of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee's environment and ecology committee.

The club rents space in the War Memorial and holds meetings there.

Susan Bence

The Urban Ecology Center specializes in introducing people to the urban environment. Over the last 25 years, the education-based organization has created three branches.

Below its flagship facility near Riverside University High School, UEC  joined forces with the Rotary Club of Milwaukee joined to create a 40-acre arboretum above the Milwaukee River.

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

In northern New York state, logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew are clearing out an old pasture at the edge of a forest.

"There's a lot of balsam, lot of spruce, thorn apple trees," Hemmerich says. "Ninety percent of this lot is low-grade wood."

In other words, it's no good for furniture or paper or sawmills. But he'll make $80,000 to run the wood through a chipper and truck the chips to a nearby biomass plant.

"Everybody said that green power was supposed to be the wave of the future," Hemmerich says. "So I went full in."

Susan Bence

For people familiar with the Urban Ecology Center, the name Ken Leinbach is often mentioned in the same breathe.

Today, the center shines bright as a model of environmental education and stewardship. However, a quarter century ago, the Urban Ecology Center, or UEC, began humbly in a trailer plunked above the Milwaukee River near Riverside High School.

Leinbach is credited with building its super-green flagship complex, as well as additional centers in Washington Park and the Menomonee Valley.

The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s.

Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher.

About a hundred miles north of Miami on the Atlantic Coast, the town of Stuart is a picturesque waterfront community — with homes, restaurants and parks overlooking the St. Lucie Estuary. But in many areas now, when you approach the water, the first thing you notice is the smell.

"There's no way to describe it," says John Skinner, a boat salesman in Stuart.

But he still tries. "I would say hundreds of dead animals that have been baking in the sun for weeks."

S Bence

The Calatrava has become a landmark on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Its soaring wings welcome people into the Milwaukee Art Museum. Perhaps less obvious is a large bed of white roses outside. 

Jule Groh  is one of the people who tends the flowers every Wednesday during the growing season. and shares its story.

Groh is member of the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club, and says it's the oldest and largest in Wisconsin, dating back to 1921.

Today, members tend one special plant.

Marti Mikkelson

Several hundred tanker cars are parked in a north side Milwaukee neighborhood. They’ve been there for months, and neighbors are afraid the cars could explode.

Rail officials insist the tankers contain only crude oil residue and pose no danger. Yet, community activists demanded action on Wednesday.

A couple dozen people crammed onto a narrow sidewalk near 35th and W. Capitol Drive. Behind them, a row of rail cars stretched over a bridge, as heavy traffic passed underneath. The cars are stamped with stickers reading Haz Mat crude oil.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

Outside Susan Holmes' house in southeastern Oklahoma, visitors are welcomed by an entryway lined with oxygen bottles and a machine that collects and concentrates oxygen from the air.

"I take two inhalers twice a day," Holmes says. "And I have a nebulizer that I use four times a day, and I use oxygen at night."

She says her asthma returned when she moved to Bokoshe, a decaying town of about 500 people that is flanked by old coal mines. The huge pits have now been filled with hundreds of thousands of tons of coal ash.

Robert Sauchelli doesn't have a solar panel, but he's all for the idea — before he retired, he devoted 21 years to energy efficiency work at the Environmental Protection Agency. To show his support, Sauchelli has been paying an extra 7.4 cents per kilowatt-hour to a clean power company, called Green Mountain Energy, through his energy supplier in Brooklyn, Con Edison.

S Bence

Nine small boathouses stand sandwiched on a slip of land that juts out into Chequamegon Bay, just beyond downtown Ashland, Wisconsin.

Gene Brinker says growing up he and friends spent hours exploring the peninsula, which locals strangely call “an island”

“This peninsula here is called Gilligan’s Island and there’s some makeshift areas where kids can hang out and the waters always warm in the inside of here so it’s a great place for people to come and that’s been the case for long before I was here,” Brinker said.

Adelie Penguins In Danger

Jul 3, 2016
Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit NPR.

A massive bloom of blue-green algae has hit four southern Florida counties, blanketing beaches in foul-smelling muck and raising health and environmental concerns.

Pages