The Meaning of Wilderness // The Ocean Is Us #5: Living Underwater

Dr. M. Sanjayan Photo credit Ami Vitale

Dr. M. Sanjayan
Photo credit Ami Vitale

The Meaning of Wilderness (starts 4:30): Fifty years ago last week, President Lyndon Johnson signed into law the Wilderness Act. It was then, and remains today, one of the most significant pieces of environmental legislation. It has protected millions of acres of land. And it established a legal definition of wilderness: “an area where the earth and its community of life are untrammeled by man, where man himself is a visitor who does not remain.” Today, many are questioning what conversation should look like hardly a square inch of land around the world is truly “untrammeled.” Co-host Susan Moran discusses wilderness then and now with Dr. M. Sanjayan, a senior scientist at Conservation International. He was a correspondent on the  Showtime series on climate change, called Years of Living Dangerously. His next  TV series, which will air next February, is called Earth — A New Wild. Dr. Sanjayan will speak this Friday at 4 pm MT at Americas Latino Eco Festival. (www.americaslatinoecofestival.org)

Fabien Cousteau in the Aquarius underwater lab. Photo courtesy Kip Evans.

Fabien Cousteau in the Aquarius underwater lab.
Photo courtesy Kip Evans.

Living Underwater (starts 13:50): This segment continues our series, “The Ocean is Us,” exploring how we all, even in land-locked Colorado, are connected to the ocean, and what’s at stake. Co-host Susan Moran interviews Fabien Cousteau, grandson of Jacques-Yves Cousteau, the late oceanographic explorer who opened a window into the ocean for millions of people worldwide in the 1960s through his revolutionary scuba diving and underwater-living adventures. Fabien, an aquanaut, oceanographic explorer, and documentary filmmaker, discusses Mission 31, his recent 31-day underwater-living experiment (one day longer than Jacques-Yves’ expedition a half century ago).

All features in the “The Ocean Is Us”  series can be found here.  Also, check out KGNU’s year-long series on Colorado water issues. It’s called Connecting the Drops. It’s at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org. To learn more or become active in preserving our watershed and the oceans, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition.

Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Producer: Ted Burnham
Co-hosts: Susan Moran, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Ted Burnham
Additional Contributions: Jane Palmer, Beth Bennett

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The Ocean is Us #4: Sustainable Seafood

MSC-certified "Chilean sea bass" filets and other fish displayed at a Whole Foods market in Boulder, Colo.  Photo courtesy Susan Moran

MSC-certified “Chilean sea bass” filets and other fish displayed at a Whole Foods market in Boulder, Colo.
Photo courtesy Susan Moran

Sustainable Seafood: (start time 5:10) This is the fourth feature interview in The Ocean Is Us series, which explores how we in land-locked states are connected to the oceans and what’s at stake.  Today we discuss sustainable seafood, which to some critics is an oxymoron, given that some 90% of large fish already have been wiped from the sea. To discuss prospects for feeding 9.6 billion people by mid-century, the developments in wild-caught fisheries and aquaculture, and the role of retailers and consumers, we have two guests. John Hocevar is a marine biologist who directs the Oceans Campaign at Greenpeace. Carrie Brownstein develops standards to guide seafood purchasing for the Whole Foods markets throughout the United States, Canada, and the U.K.

All features in The Ocean Is Us  series can be found here. Also, check out KGNU’s year-long series on Colorado water issues. It’s called Connecting the Drops. It’s at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org. To learn more or become active in preserving our watershed and the oceans, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributors: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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The Ocean Is Us #3 : Marine Sanctuaries

marine_sanctuaries_mapMarine Sanctuaries (starts at 5:18) This is the third feature interview In the Ocean Is Us series, which explores how we in land-locked Colorado are connected to the oceans, why they matter so much to us all, and what’s at stake.  Today we discuss marine sanctuaries: the conservation science behind establishing them, and their ecological and economic benefits.  In June, President Obama announced his intention to make a vast area of the central Pacific Ocean off-limits to fishing, energy exploration and other activities. If the plans go through, they could create the marine sanctuary. It would double the swath of ocean that is fully protected globally.  Our guests today are devoted to marine conservation. Billy Causey works in the The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries at NOAA – the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. He is Regional Director of the Southeast Atlantic, Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean Region.  Vicki Nichols Goldstein is founder of the Colorado Ocean Coalition, a nonprofit based in Boulder dedicated to connecting people living inland to ocean conservation efforts. Formerly she directed the marine advocacy organization Save Our Shores.

For more info on how you can get involved in nominating new sites for marine sanctuaries, visit the National Marine Sanctuary Foundation.   All features in The Ocean Is Us  series can be found here.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender, Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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The Ocean Is Us #2 : Endocrine Disruptors in Drinking Water

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Dr. Alan Vajda (CU Denver) and Dr. David Norris (CU Boulder) dissecting fish from Boulder Creek to evaluate effects of wastewater effluent exposure.
Photo courtesy Alan Vajda

Endocrine Disruptors and Drinking Water (starts at 3:12) Today we continue our series called The Ocean is Us, which explores our  vital connection to the oceans. Alan Vajda, an environmental endocrinologist at the University of Colorado Denver, talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about a rare  success story: why fish in Boulder Creek are acting and looking more sexually normal. We also explore broader water-quality issues in Colorado and beyond, and the implications for human health. For more information on studies conducted by CU and USGS scientists on endocrine disruptors related to Boulder Creek, South Platte River and elsewhere, visit BASIN. Check our website for the previous interview in the “The Ocean is Us” series, on Teens4Oceans. And check out KGNU’s year-long series on Colorado water issues. It’s called Connecting the Drops. It’s at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org. To learn more or become active in preserving our watershed and the oceans, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition.

All features in The Ocean Is Us  series can be found here.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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The Ocean Is Us #1 : Teens4Oceans – Marine Science Education

high school students measuring a juvenile green sea turtle off of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands

high school students measuring a juvenile green sea turtle off of Virgin Gorda in the British Virgin Islands
Photo courtesy of Mikki McComb-Kobza

Teens4Oceans (starts at 9:15): Today, we’re kicking off a series of interviews on the show called The Ocean Is Us. We’ll explore how all of us living in land-locked Colorado are connected to the ocean — whether it’s through our watershed that flows into the Gulf of Mexico, or the fish we buy at the grocery store, or the carbon dioxide we emit that acidifies the oceans. Teens4Oceans is a nonprofit organization based in Colorado that is inspiring teenagers nationwide to become passionate ocean lovers and scientists through experiential learning — doing real marine research in the field.

How On Earth’s Susan Moran interviews Mikki McComb-Kobza, a marine biologist and executive director of Teens4Oceans, and Shelby Austin, who recently graduated from Ralston Valley High School in Arvada. For more information on our inland connection to the ocean and you can get involved, visit Colorado Ocean Coalition. And check out KGNUs year-long series, called Connecting the Drops, on Colorado water issues, at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org.

All features in The Ocean Is Us  series can be found here.

Hosts: Susan Moran and Joel Parker
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Sage Grouse Saga // Ocean Health

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Male greater sage grouse courting females on a lek.
Photo credit: US Fish & Wildlife Service

Sage Grouse Saga (start time: 4:04): One of the most spectacular and flamboyant rites of spring is, arguably, the mating ritual of a the greater sage grouse, a chicken-like bird with a long tail, with spiky tail feathers.  Its historic range spans 11 Western states, including Colorado. But that sagebrush-dominated habitat has been chopped up and degraded by oil and gas development, mining operations, cattle grazing and even wind farms–causing grouse populations to plunge. Since 2010 the bird has waited for a milestone decision, due by Sept. 30, by the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service to list it as threatened or endangered.  Biologist Noreen Walsh, director of the  Service’s Mountain-Prairie Region, discusses with How On Earth host Susan Moran the biology of this curious bird and a range-wide collaborative conservation initiative aimed at preserving the grouse and its habitat. Oh, check out this live “lek-cam,” from The Nature Conservancy.

Saved By SeaFragile Ocean (start time: 17:21) David Helvarg, a journalist and author of several books focusing on the ocean—its magnificent and imperiled creatures–discusses his books Saved By the Sea: Hope, Heartbreak and Wonder in the Blue World, and 50 Ways To Save the Ocean.   Founder and executive director of Blue Frontier Campaign, Helvarg shows how residents of land-locked Colorado depend on and affect the ocean. He will speaking in Boulder this Thursday, April 30, at 6:30 p.m. at Ocean First Divers. It’s a “Blue Drinks” event put on by the Boulder-based nonprofit, Colorado Ocean Coalition.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Kendra Krueger
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Beth Bennett

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CO2 from the Amazon // US Smokestacks

amazonAmazon CO2 (start time 04:37) The Amazon basin contains the largest tropical rainforest on the planet. It’s been critical not only for its beauty and biodiversity but also for its ability to store more carbon dioxide than it emits. The soil and above-ground biomass of the Amazon makes it one of the largest reservoirs of carbon dioxide. And that has helped to keep climate change from accelerating even faster. But a new study shows that the Amazon’s tropical ecosystems may actually give off more CO2 into the atmosphere than they absorb. To learn what’s shifting in the Amazon basin and the implications of this shift, host Susan Moran speaks with one of the authors of the study. John Miller is a scientist with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration in Boulder. Specifically, he’s with NOAA’s Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences, which is at the University of Colorado.

cires-joost-in-lab_500Power Plant Smokestacks (start time 14:43) To understand the global greenhouse gas budgets, it’s critical to characterize their sources and sinks. Electrical power generation accounts for about a third of all greenhouse gas emissions in the US. While the actual generation of power is only part of the entire production and use cycle of electricity, power generation stations are an important part of the budget. A definitive study of smokestack gases shows that power plant emissions in the US are down and that combined-cycle gas powered plants have much lower emissions than the coal plants they are replacing. How On Earth host Jim Pullen talks with the study’s lead author, Dr. Joost de Gouw. Joost is also with the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences at the University of Colorado in Boulder and also NOAA’s Earth System Research Laboratory (ESRL), Chemical Science Division.

Hosts: Jim Pullen, Susan Moran
Producer: Jim Pullen
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Jim Pullen
Additional contributions: Joel Parker and Kendra Krueger

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Safer Rocket Fuel // Inland-Ocean Connection

The Tuesday, Sept. 17, show offers two features:
Feature #1 (start time TK): Once hadrazine, now green. Ball Aerospace’s Chris McLean, the Program Manager for the Green Propellent Fusion Mission, talks with co-host Jim Pullen about testing a much safer spacecraft fuel.

Mississippi River Basin
Courtesy U.S. EPA

Feature #2 (start time TK): The 100-year flood ravaging Colorado has shown us painfully clearly the power of water. We’re seeing how surging rainfall and overflowing streams can destroy homes, roads, indeed whole communities in their path.  But what’s less visible is how extreme weather events like this one in the nation’s interior affect oceans in powerful ways. Our watersheds east of the Continental Divide carry water, and tons of nutrients, into the Mississippi River Basin.  Rainfall, storm water, and fertilizer runoff from croplands and backyard lawns contribute to the humongous Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. To discuss our inland connection to oceans Dr. David Guggenheim, a marine scientist and founder of the nonprofit Ocean Doctor, talks with co-host Susan Moran. Vicki Goldstein, founder of Colorado Ocean Coalition, also discusses the inland ocean movement, including the second annual Making Waves event this coming weekend.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Jim Pullen
Producers: Jim Pullen
Engineer: Jim Pullen
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

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Colorado & Oceans // Nitrogen & Snails

Feature #1 (time mark 5:30)  When people think of Colorado, they usually don’t think about “oceans”.  After all, Colorado doesn’t have much of a coastline these days, though it was definitely had oceanfront property a few hundred million years ago.   However, being in a landlocked state doesn’t mean that there isn’t any thing we can do to impact the health and ecology of the ocean and marine biology.  Co-host Joel Parker talks with  Vicki Goldstein, founder and president of the Colorado Ocean Coalition about the “Making Waves in Colorado” symposium and what all of us around the world (leaving near or far from oceans) do that impact and can help oceans.

Feature #2 (time mark 14:10)  Nitrogen – we can’t live without it, but you can have too much of a good thing. In its gaseous form nitrogen is harmless and makes up nearly 80 percent of the atmosphere. The worldwide population never would have reached 7 billion people without nitrogen, in the form of chemical fertilizer. But excess nitrogen –from fertilizer runoff, manure, human sewage and other sources is wreaking havoc on the environment.  Co-host Susan Moran talks with John Mischler, a PhD student at CU Boulder, who is researching worms and snails in Colorado and Africa. He talks about how excess nutrients in ponds, lakes and elsewhere can lead to the spread of parasitic disease from trematodes to snails to us.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Headlines: Breanna Draxler, Tom Yulsman, Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Producer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Tom McKinnon

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Ocean Acidification // Citizen Science

 

 

Top Image: Ocean Acidification process. Bottom Image: New Horizons spacecraft flies by a Kuiper belt object.

 

Feature #1: Many problems plague the oceans and the fish and other species that inhabit them: overfishing, pollution, and much more. But perhaps the greatest threat to sea life – and possibly to humans – is ocean acidification.  That’s when the chemistry of the ocean changes and causes seawater to become more acidic because the ocean is absorbing carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. This increase in ocean acidity makes it difficult for many plants and animals in the ocean to make or maintain their shells or skeletons.  The head of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Jane Lubchenco, recently said that the ocean is becoming more acidic at rates not seen for at least 20 million years, and that’s due mostly to increases in CO2 in the atmosphere.  The threat is so grave that NOAA recently created a distinct Ocean Acidification Program. In May, Dr. Libby Jewett was appointed the first director of the program. We talk with Dr. Jewett find out more about the problem and what she aims to do about it.

Feature #2: Some sciences have a tradition of fruitful interactions between professional researchers and amateurs, and this has been made even more accessible with data being able to be shared over the internet across the world.  Dr. Pamela Gay, an Astronomer at Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, is the architect and participant in many such collaborations. In addition to her teaching and research, she does extensive public outreach to share the excitement of astronomy (such as her podcast AstronomyCast.com) and even finds ways to let anyone with an internet connection make new scientific discoveries and find new worlds that will be visited by spacecraft (IceHunters.org).  We talk with Dr. Gay about the Zooniverse and her hunt for of icy objects in the outer solar system.

Hosts: Susan Moran and Joel Parker
Producer: Joel Parker
Engineer: Tom McKinnon

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