Welcoming Biodiversity Back To Cities

Photo by Benita Lee

In this week’s How on Earth, we focus on how cities can foster biodiversity in an effort to mitigate the effects of climate change.

First, we speak with author and journalist Tony Hiss (4:29), who says that while the Earth is rapidly losing species, we can still do something about it. In his latest book, Rescuing the Planet: Protecting Half the Land to Heal the Earth (Vintage), Hiss recounts the numerous ways in which grassroots movements around the world are creating habitats that are allowing biodiversity to thrive, including in least obvious of places — cities.

Next, we discuss how this is being done in Colorado by the nonprofit organization, Denver Urban Gardens (DUG). Creighton Hofeditz (14:37), the Director of Permaculture and Perennials at DUG, tells us how he turns empty city lots into “food forests” — a type of agroforestry — for residents in the metro area. The creation of these gathering spaces for humans also gives nature a place to thrive.

Hosts: Beth Bennett, Benita Lee
Producers: Benita Lee, Alexis Kenyon
Engineer: Shannon Young
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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Climate (COP25) Summit Review

At COP25, Tashiana Osborne (far right), Sarah Whipple (2nd from right), CSU Prof. Gillian Bowser (2nd from left) and colleagues. Photo credit: Adewale Adesanya
At COP25, Tashiana Osborne (far right), Sarah Whipple (2nd from right), CSU Prof. Gillian Bowser (2nd from left) and colleagues. Photo credit: Adewale Adesanya

COP25 Postmortem (start time: 3:35) Earlier this month many nation’s leaders, as well as scientists, environmental activists, companies and others gathered in Madrid for a two-week United Nations climate summit. The conference, called COP25, is rooted in the 2015 Paris Agreement, which is a blend of pledges from about 200 nations to dramatically slash their planet-warming emissions. Next year’s meeting is when signatory nations will update their actual commitments. So, what happened at the recent climate summit, and what’s next? How On Earth host Susan Moran today interviews two scientists who attended COP25.  Tashiana Osborne is a PhD candidate in atmospheric and oceanic science at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography, at UC San Diego. And Sarah Whipple is a PhD candidate in ecology at Colorado State University.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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City Nature Challenge BioBlitz Citizen Science enhanced with iNaturalist

Boulder City Nature ChallengeAttention all Nature Lovers and Amateur Naturalists, Friday April 27th kicks of the City Nature Challenge, where Boulder will compete with 65 cities throughout the world to identify the most species within their area over a 4 day period. It’s a competition to identify biodiversity powered by the enthusiasm of citizen scientists. Chip Grandits speaks with Dave Sutherland and Melanie Hill two members of the Wild Boulder Team, which is organizing the City Nature Challenge for Boulder.

Citizen science is enhanced with iNaturalist a crowd sourcing platform developed by the California Academy of Sciences with applications for you smartphone which can help you can tap into a global network of amateurs and experts to help identify what species that thing is which you can never quite identify.

Host: Chip Grandits
Producer: Chip Grandits
Engineer: Chip Grandits
Additional contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker

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Biodiversity Matters // Scientists Implore Trump

Gillian Bowser, research scientist, CSU

This week’s show offers two features:
Global Biodiversity (start time: 1:22): Scientists, NGOs and government representatives from nearly 200 countries have been gathering in Cancun, Mexico, for the UN Biodiversity Conference, known as COP13. They’re meeting to promote protocols and strategic actions related to biological diversity, climate change, food security, and even citizen science.  Gillian Bowser, a research scientist at Colorado State University, has studied international climate and biodiversity conventions, while working on issues such as women in sustainability, as well as citizen science. She discusses with host Susan Moran the importance of COP13, and the impact of citizens in scientific studies, such as identifying and tracking butterflies, birds and other species.

Alan Townsend, ecologist, CU Boulder

Scientists’ Letter to Trump (start time: 12:09) Last week roughly 800 earth and planetary scientists, as well as energy experts, sent an open letter to president-elect Donald Trump, urging him to take six concrete steps to address climate change and to help protect “America’s economy, national security, and public health and safety.” Trump has called global warming a concept created by China to make U.S. manufacturing non-competitive, and he has picked a climate change denialist to lead the Environmental Protection Agency. Many scientists fear that a Trump administration will drastically decrease federal funding for climate research. Indeed, the Trump transition team has already issued a questionnaire to the Department of Energy to identify employees and contractors who have worked on climate change research. Alan Townsend, an ecologist at the University of Colorado Boulder and one of many Colorado scientists who signed the letter, discusses these issues with hosts Maeve Conran and Susan Moran.

Hosts: Maeve Conran, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

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I Contain Multitudes–Our Microbes, Ourselves

Multitudes of Microbes (start time: 3:38): You may find it unsettling to learn that our human cells make up only half of our bodies. The other half is a bunch of microbes (in the neighborhood of 40 trillion), all living and reproducing in, and on, our bodies. What’s more, these invisible machines could have a powerful influence on your brain, and on your overall health. Ed Yong, a staff writer for The Atlantic, found it disconcerting at first to learn this when he researched his book called “I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life.” The book, published earlier this year, explores the mysterious partnerships between humans, and many other species, and the mighty microbes with which we have co-evolved. Today we air the full phone interview that How On Earth host Susan Moran recently had with Yong. We played short clips of the conversation during our fall pledge-drive show last Tuesday. Thanks to you listeners who pledged! And thanks to Yong’s publisher, Ecco, an imprint of HarperCollins, for donating to KGNU several copies, which some generous members are now reading. This interview continues our series called “Our Microbes, Ourselves.”

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

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Pledge Drive//Interview with Ed Yong

I Contain MultitudesThis week’s pledge- drive show features a teaser introduction to Ed Yong’s new book I Contain Multitudes: The Microbes Within Us and a Grander View of Life. We play segments from the interview that host Susan Moran recently had with Yong, a science writer for The Atlantic. There still may be a copy left, so call now to have your own, with a pledge of at least $60 to KGNU. Call 303.449.4885.
The book explores the role that invisible yet mighty microbes play in our lives, as well as the lives of so many species with whom they have co-evolved. Yong highlights the research of many scientists in this emerging field who are studying how our gut microbiome influences our brain chemistry, and our overall mental and physical health. The book deepens our understanding of the ecosystems within our bodies as well as the ecosystems in the natural world.
Next Tuesday, Nov. 4, we will broadcast the complete interview with Ed Yong.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Beth Bennett, Kendra Kruger
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Shelley Schlender
Additional Contributions: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
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Unprocessed Food // Bee Biodiversity

Unprocessed-book coverReal Food (start time 4:20): What we eat , and how we eat, is inextricably connected to our own health as well as the health of the planet.  Every decision we make—whether to bake a chocolate cake or buy it from Safeway or at a Farmer’s Market—is full of nuances and even contradictions. Megan Kimble is a writer who became obsessed with wondering how she could make a difference in the world by examining her eating habits. Her just-published book, called Unprocessed: My City-Dwelling Year of Reclaiming Real Food, is her personal journey into the scientific, public health, environmental and political issues related to food. Kimble will  speak tonight at the Boulder Book Store, at 7:30, and tomorrow night, July 30, at Tattered Cover in Denver, at 7:00 p.m.

Photo credit: Dan Groege
Palaeorhiza (from Papau New Guinea). Photo credit: USGS Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab

The Buzz About Bees (start time 13:49): Across the United States, buzzing pollinators are key to the growth of countless flowering plants. But many bee species are also disappearing nationwide, due to pesticide use, habitat loss, and other threats.  Dr. Sam Droege is a wildlife biologist who studies this vanishing world. He heads up the U.S. Geological Survey’s Native Bee Inventory and Monitoring Lab. For several years he’s also led an effort to photograph bees — very, very close up.  Droege’s bee photos are the basis for a new book called “Bees: An Up-Close Look at Pollinators Around the World.”

Hosts: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Producers: Susan Moran, Daniel Strain
Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Headline contributions: Daniel Strain

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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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