NPR News - Environment

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Breaking news on the environment, climate change, pollution, and endangered species. Also featuring Climate Connections, a special series on climate change co-produced by NPR and National Geographic.
Updated: 2 hours 41 min ago

Norfolk Southern reaches a multi-million-dollar settlement over Ohio train derailment

Thu, 2024/05/23 - 3:18pm

Among other fees, they will pay $235 million for the Environmental Protection Agency's past and future clean-up for contaminated air, water, and soil in and around where the train derailed in 2023.

(Image credit: Gene J. Puskar/AP)

Categories: Environment

The 2024 Atlantic hurricane season will be 'extraordinary,' forecasters warn

Thu, 2024/05/23 - 10:22am

The National Hurricane Center is predicting the largest number of storms ever forecast for the Atlantic, putting tens of millions of Americans at risk.

(Image credit: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Categories: Environment

Mangroves protect communities from storms. Half are at risk of collapse, report finds

Wed, 2024/05/22 - 12:04pm

Mangroves are unique coastal ecosystems protecting humans and wildlife. Rising sea levels and storms pose an increasing threat to their survival.

(Image credit: Sia Kambou)

Categories: Environment

Plastic junk? Researchers find tiny particles in men's testicles

Wed, 2024/05/22 - 5:07am

The new study has scientists concerned that microplastics may be contributing to reproductive health issues.

(Image credit: Volodymyr Zakharov)

Categories: Environment

Tucson is one of the first places in line for money to clean up PFAS

Mon, 2024/05/20 - 1:48pm

In April the EPA established new, legally enforceable limits for PFAS contamination in drinking water. It also set aside another $1 billion to help local governments with cleanup.

Categories: Environment

When sea otters lose their favorite foods, they can use tools to go after new ones

Mon, 2024/05/20 - 2:00am

Some otters rely on tools to bust open hard-shelled prey items like snails, and a new study suggests this tool use is helping them to survive as their favorite, easier-to-eat foods disappear.

Categories: Environment

Sperm whale families talk a lot. Researchers are trying to decode what they're saying

Mon, 2024/05/20 - 12:00am

Scientists are testing the limits of artificial intelligence when it comes to language learning. One recent challenge? Learning ... whale! Researchers are using machine learning to analyze and decode whale sounds — and it's just as complicated as it seems.

Curious about other mysteries of nature? Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

Categories: Environment

Tree seeds that flew around the moon are now being planted across the U.S.

Sun, 2024/05/19 - 5:56am

"Moon Trees" are starting to grow on Earth. They got that name because as seeds they spent some time in space.

Categories: Environment

On a trail in the Adirondack Mountains, runners appreciate the spring season

Sun, 2024/05/19 - 5:56am

Spring brings lots to look at in the Adirondack Mountains and the concentration required for trail running means runners can't help but appreciate Spring's beauty.

Categories: Environment

Scientists reveal mysterious origin of Baobab trees, Rafiki's home in 'The Lion King'

Fri, 2024/05/17 - 12:00am

Baobabs are sometimes called the "tree of life" with their thick trunks, crown of branches and flowers that only open at twilight. But theories about their geographic origin was divided among three places: the savannas of sub-Saharan Africa, the Kimberley region of western Australia and the dry forests of the island nation of Madagascar. To solve this mystery, a global research team led by scientists at the Wuhan Botanical Garden at the Chinese Academy of Sciences examined high-quality genomic data from all eight baobab species.

Have another origin story you want us to cover? Email us at shortwave@npr.org.

Categories: Environment

The brown pelican crisis of 2024 is here

Thu, 2024/05/16 - 3:09pm

Brown pelicans are appearing on California's coastline. They are showing up emaciated, starving and weak. Dr. Elizabeth Wood of the Wetlands and Wildlife Care Center of Orange County explains.

Categories: Environment

Biden ending new leases in America's top coal region

Thu, 2024/05/16 - 1:20pm

Citing climate change, federal land managers are moving to end new leasing for coal in the country's top producing region.

(Image credit: Stephanie Joyce)

Categories: Environment

What's worse for disease spread: animal loss, climate change or urbanization?

Wed, 2024/05/15 - 8:08am

Scientists are looking at the ways humans change the planet — and the impact that has on the spread of infectious disease. You might be surprised at some of their conclusions.

(Image credit: John Moore)

Categories: Environment

More than 200 million seniors face extreme heat risks in coming decades, study finds

Tue, 2024/05/14 - 9:00am

A new study warns that millions of people around the world who are 69 years or older will be at risk of dying in heat waves by 2050.

(Image credit: Fred Scheiber)

Categories: Environment

Bringing the wild things back to campus

Tue, 2024/05/14 - 3:00am

The College of New Jersey is making room for native plants, and students are digging it.

(Image credit: Nathaniel Johnson)

Categories: Environment

On this unassuming trail near LA, bird watchers see something spectacular

Mon, 2024/05/13 - 2:01am

At Bear Divide, just outside Los Angeles, you can see a rare spectacle of nature. This is one of the only places in the western United States where you can see bird migration during daylight hours.

Categories: Environment

The USDA's gardening zones shifted. This map shows you what's changed in vivid detail

Mon, 2024/05/13 - 2:01am

There's a good chance your zone shifted when the USDA updated its plant hardiness map in 2023. Zoom in on what that means for your garden.

Categories: Environment

A car-free town in the Amazon serves lessons for pedaling to net zero emissions

Sun, 2024/05/12 - 3:00am
Since 2002, this city on the banks of the Amazon River has been famously off limits to motor vehicles.'/>

Afuá, a remote town in the Brazilian Amazon, banned motor vehicles over 20 years ago. Writer Mac Margolis and photographer Stefan Kolumban paid the town a visit to see what life is like.

Categories: Environment

In Kenya's flooded slums, people mourn their losses and slam their leaders

Fri, 2024/05/10 - 10:25am

The government has declared May 10 a day of mourning to mark the deaths from disastrous floods and pledged to help. But some say the authorities aren't doing enough. And the rains keep falling.

Categories: Environment

Terrible at directions? Tricks to improve your navigation skills

Fri, 2024/05/10 - 5:55am

Yes, it's possible to get around without relying on GPS, say navigation experts. The first step is to let go of your fear of getting lost.

Categories: Environment