Want to Save the Amazon? Think Like an Ant.

Local guides take visitors deep into the Yasuni National Park where they share knowledge about wildlife and traditional uses of native plants.
Local guides take visitors deep into the Yasuni National Park where they share knowledge about wildlife and traditional uses of native plants.

The Yasuni National Park in Ecuador is one of the most biodiverse places on earth, but it is currently at risk from oil development. Some of the park’s inhabitants, however, are trying to forge a more sustainable, and less destructive path out of poverty.  These indigenous Kichwa people, who have already been caretakers of the rainforest for hundreds of years, have developed ecotourism in the region, providing all the jobs, schools and healthcare that they need. How did the community find the commitment and tenacity required for such a project? By thinking like Leafcutter ants.

To find out about the award winning model of conservation and sustainability H20 Radio’s Frani Halperin and Jamie Sudler visited the region earlier this year and produced the podcast   Want to save the Amazon? Think like an Ant. We play this feature [4:15] on this week’s show and afterward [18:30] talk with Frani and Jamie about the project and what Coloradoan’s can learn from the Kichwa community’s efforts.

Hosts: Jane Palmer, Beth Bennett
Producer: Jane Palmer
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producers: Kendra Krueger, Jane Palmer

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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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