Testing the Water

Mark Williams

Mark Williams, co-founder and director of the Colorado Water and Energy Research Center

Testing the Water (Start time 3:30) What exactly is in our water—the stuff we drink, shower in and use to wash our vegetables? This is a question lots of Coloradans have started to ask in the last few years as oil and gas operations have ramped up in the state. Several communities have become very concerned how nearby drilling operations might be adversely affecting the quality of their water supply. We’ve seen the videos of people living near to fracking wells lighting their tap water, and we’ve heard the stories about the possible health impacts but how much of this is anti-fracking dramatization and how much is there really to be concerned about?  How much is energy development in Colorado affecting the water supply and how can we, that is Jane and Joe public, find out the vital statistics of our water quality?

Co-host Jane Palmer discusses these questions with hydrologist Mark Williams from the University of Colorado. Williams is the co-founder of the Colorado Water and Energy Research Center (CWERC) and he has conducted projects around the state looking at the impacts of energy operations on both water and air quality.  He has also developed a guide to help residents who live near oil and gas development test their water. The “how to” guide shows well owners how energy-related or other activities might affect their groundwater.

Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Producer: Jane Palmer
Co-hosts: Jane Palmer, Ted Burnham
Engineer: Ted Burnham
Additional Contributions: Shelley Schlender

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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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Solar Flares — High-Tech Armageddon?

Coronal Mass Ejection (Solar Flare) courtesy NASA

Coronal Mass Ejection (Solar Flare) courtesy NASA

Recent headlines  warn that Coronal Mass Ejections, better known as Solar Flares, could trigger a high-tech Armageddon, disabling power and communication on a global scale, for months.  Today we talk with Boulder scientists Dan Baker, Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics, and Doug Biesecker,  National Space Weather Prediction Center, about the risks from Solar Flares, what to worry about, and what is being done to protect us.

In today’s science show, we also feature upcoming talks on Science.
* This Wednesday at 7 PM, How on Earth’s Joel Parker will talk about Chasing Comets: The Rosetta Mission, at the Denver Science Museum.
* This Friday at 7:30, Conservative Christian and Prominent Atmospheric Scientist, Katharine Hayhoe, will talk about, Climate Change with Mind & Heart,” at Boulder’s Chautauqua Auditorium.

Hosts: Shelley Schlender
Producer: Shelley Schlender
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Additional Contributors: Susan Moran, Jane Palmer
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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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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Greenback Cutthroat Trout // Migraines

serverGreenback Cuttthroat Trout (starts at 6:06)  Colorado has always been a state of nature lovers, which is why, in the era of our great great grandfathers, citizens even designated an official state fish. It’s the Greenback Cutthroat Trout that thrived in the mountain streams above Boulder and Denver. Colorado wildlife officials had long assumed that Greenback Cuttthroat Trout still live in our mountain streams. The problem is, they were wrong. Through a complex set of Sherlock Holmes investigations begun in recent years, scientists at CU-Boulder figured out a “fish switch” decades ago, meant Greenback Cutthroat Trout were missing from our streams, and possibly extinct. Since then, we have much better news about the fish that “almost” got away.  In this feature, How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender, speaks with CU-Boulder biologist, Jessica Metcalf. (To access photos of greenback cutthroat trout go to http://photography.colorado.edu/res/sites/news/ and type “cutthroat” in the search box.)

mmmMigraines (starts at 14:28) One of the most painful conditions to suffer through is a migraine headache.  Sometimes, these headaches begin with strange visual auras or loss of vision; sometimes they’re accompanied by nausea.  Most of all, they’re a head-splitting pain.  Interestingly, these headaches are rare among the world’s few remaining hunter-gatherer populations.  In contrast, they’re common in modern western life.  Roughly 10% of Americans have suffered from a migraine headache.  One of the people who used to suffer from them frequently is a medical doctor with advanced degrees in neurology.  He’s Doctor Josh Turknett.  Dr. Turknett used to get 60 migraines a year – on average, that’s over one a week.  As a board certified neurologist, Turknett treated the migraines of his clients, and his own migraines, in typical medical ways – urging people to drink enough water, get enough sleep, avoid too much stress, try to figure out triggers, such as maybe foods or smells, and to take strong medications when the headaches got unbearable.  For Turknett, his whole life changed dramatically when he made a basic lifestyle change that he believes many neurologists and migraine sufferers overlook.  In his own case, his change meant that the number of migraines he suffers these days has gone from around 60 headaches a year, down to only two or three. While his approach is controversial, Turknett believes it could help many, perhaps most, migraine sufferers.  How on Earth’s Shelley Schlender caught up with Turknett this weekend at the Ancestral Health Symposium in Berkeley, California, where Turknett was a speaker.  Up next, here’s Neurologist and former big time migraine sufferer, Josh Turknett.

Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker
Producer & Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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A Tough Summer Vacation

The 10th RESESS cohort, summer 2014. For more: resess.unavco.org

The 10th RESESS cohort, summer 2014. For more: resess.unavco.org (Photo/Beth Bartel)

A Tough Summer Vacation (start time 10:52) It’s summer! And although the town feels empty of students for many around here, some researchers may be feeling a sad little void this week as summer internships tie up and interns leave town for a short break before beginning their normal school years. Three Boulder institutions run and coordinate comprehensive research internship programs that just finished on Friday of last week, ending with a bang: Colloquiums and poster sessions for the young scientists to show off their work. The three institutions are UCAR, the University Corporation for Atmospheric Research, NEON, the National Ecological Observatory Network, and UNAVCO. UNAVCO’s internship program is geared towards bringing underrepresented populations into the Earth sciences. The program is called RESESS, and no, it’s really not a playful break like recess was in elementary school. RESESS stands for Research Experiences in Solid Earth Science for Students. And this internship is intense.

Thanks to 2014 RESESS interns Josh Russell, Ann Marie Prue, Brian Chung, Wesley Weisberg, Amy Asanuma, Belinda Gonzalez, Garth Ornelas, Ashlyann Arana-Morales, Jaqueline Romero, and Diana Rattanasith.

The UNAVCO RESESS program, for solid Earth sciences
The UCAR SOARS program, for atmospheric sciences
The NEON Internship Program, for ecological sciences

Hosts: Kendra Krueger, Joel Parker
Producer: Kendra Krueger
Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Beth Bartel
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Rosetta // Autism & the Microbiome

Caltech Scientist Sarkis Mazmanian

Caltech Scientist Sarkis Mazmanian

We talk with Joel Parker about his Denver Science Museum presentation.  Joel is a project leader for one of the scientific instruments on board the Rosetta space mission.  We also discuss new findings about how improving the health of the human digestive tract, with the use of beneficial microbes, might improve mood disorders, including reducing the anxiety that’s common with autism.

Producer: Shelley Schlender
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Earth-friendly Landscaping

novak salvia darcyii and bee close upSummer is a time to celebrate our bursting gardens. But you may be wondering why your neighbor’s garden seems to be attracting all the butterflies, honeybees and hummingbirds, while yours seems to be attracting mostly aphids and raccoons. Our guest, Alison Peck, owner of Matrix Gardens in Boulder, talks with How On Earth host Susan Moran about how we make our gardens beautiful, biologically diverse, homes for native wildlife. She’s a landscape designer specializing in xeriscape, native plant and other earth-friendly landscapes.
Some resources for gardening for wildlife:
* Xeres Society’s pollinator resource guide.
* Xeres Society’s book, Attracting Native Pollinators.
* Bio-Integral Resource Center, Berkeley, Calif.
* National Wildlife Federation’s “Garden for Wildlife” Program.

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

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The Oso Landslide

14_03-Oso-6Jim Pullen speaks with Dr. David Montgomery, Professor of Earth and Space Sciences at the University of Washington about the landslide that buried Oso, Washington, in March 2014.

Host: Kendra Krueger
Producer: Jim Pullen
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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