Beavers: Engineers for Our Planet

Photo credit: Chris Canipe

Today’s show features:
Employing Beavers (start time: 11:12):  Some consider them pests. Others praise them as saviors of the environment. Whatever your impression of these furry swimming rodents, beavers are gaining more proponents for their ability to make landscapes, and thus humans, more resilient to climate change. Through their dams and lodges, beavers raise water levels, moisten fire-prone forest soil, slow water speed, and thus prevent flooding while storing more water. Host Susan Moran talks with Jessica Doran, a wildlife biologist with EcoMetrics Colorado; and Aaron Hall, senior aquatic biologist with Defenders of Wildlife, about the promises and complexities of employing beavers as ecosystem engineers.
Beaver resources:
iBeaver (crowdsourcing App from Defenders of Wildlife)
How On Earth 2018 interview with Eager author Ben Goldfarb
Rewilding the American West (Ripple et al, BioScience, 2022)

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Show Producer: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Headline contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender, Tom Yulsman

Listen to the show here:

Play

Colorado River Basin Crisis: Pt. II

Colorado River Basin Crisis Pt. II (start time: 6:19): This week’s How On Earth show focuses on the implications and future prospects after the federal government in June ordered the seven Western states that rely on the river to come up with a plan to save trillions of gallons of water from the shrinking river) — and after the August 15 deadline came and passed without a deal. (Here’s the Bureau of Reclamation’s news release.) How On Earth host Susan Moran interviews Aaron Citron, senior policy advisor with The Nature Conservancy’s Colorado chapter; and journalist Jerd Smith, editor of Fresh Water News. (For background, check out our July 26th show, Pt. I on the Basin’s Basin’s climate, drought, and overuse crisis. Also, see how you can make a difference by taking advantage of this recently signed legislation that helps Colorado residents convert their grass lawns into water-saving landscapes.)

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Headline contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

Listen to today’s show here:

Play

Colorado River Basin Crisis

Lake Mead’s “bathtub ring” (July 2022)
Photo credit: Tom Yulsman

This week on How On Earth:
Colorado River Basin Crisis (start time: 5:31–scroll down for arrow)
The Colorado River is the life blood for about 40 million inhabitants. And it’s in dire straights. The river’s two reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are at historically low levels, due primarily to climate change and overuse. The water-supply crisis is affecting Colorado and six other states, as well as some 30 tribes, that rely on the Colorado River for water and electricity. Last month the federal government ordered the seven states to jointly come up with a plan to dramatically cut their consumption from the river. They have until mid-August to deliver–or they’ll face mandatory cuts. Host Susan Moran discusses with two guests the underlying causes of the water crisis, what’s at stake, and potential solutions. Jennifer Gimbel is a senior water policy scholar at the Colorado Water Center, located at Colorado State University. Formerly she was an undersecretary of the Department of Interior, and executive director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.  Tom Yulsman is a science journalist focusing on climate change. He runs the ImaGeo visual blog for Discover magazine, and he is director of the Center for Environmental Journalism at CU Boulder.
Some relevant resources for more info and the basin’s water crisis:
*  2022 Science paper, What Will It Take To Stabilize the Colorado River?
* Fresh Water News (Water Education Colorado)
* The Water Desk

Show Host & Producer: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Headline Contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

Listen to the show here:

Play

Climate Change: A Laughing Matter?

Image credit: NASA

Comedy+Climate Change: (start time: 5:50)  In this week’s show we look ahead to Earth Day by discussing the latest science about climate change, as reported in the recently released assessment report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. And we explore the role that performing arts, especially comedy, can play in communicating, and processing emotions around, climate change. Our guests are Max Boykoff, a professor in, and the chair of, the Environmental Studies Department at the University of Colorado Boulder, and a contributing author of the recent IPCC report; Beth Osnes, a professor of Theatre and Environmental Studies at CU Boulder, and co-director of Inside the Greenhouse, a project at the university for creative climate communication; and Henrique Sannibale, an undergraduate student at CU Boulder studying environmental studies and business.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Additional contributions: Benita Lee

Listen to the show here:

Play

The Shale Revolution: Weld County’s Golden Goose- Part One

Left: Image courtesy of EcoNation, NZ. Right: Map of active oil and natural gas wells in Colorado.
Left: Image courtesy of EcoNation, NZ. Right: Map of active oil and natural gas wells in Colorado.

This week on How on Earth, we look at the shale industry, which has transformed this country in ways we could not have imagined a decade ago.    How did this happen?   Where do experts think the fracking industry might be going?     In this two-part series, we consider why Wall Street and environmentalists are becoming strange new allies.

We interview Paula Noonan from Colorado Watch, the platform for tracking Colorado Legislature.   We also listen to excerpts from Bethany McLean, author of Saudi America:   the Truth about Fracking and how it’s Changing the World.

Host/Producer:     Jill Sjong
Engineer:   Maeve Conran
Executive Producer:   Susan Moran

Listen to the show:

Play

Peer Pressure can Influence Your Carbon Footprint // CoVid19 Update

9780691193083This week on How on Earth we start with an update on the corona virus, focusing on treatments and vaccines. At 12 minutes, we begin our interview with Bob Frank, author of Under the Influence, Putting Peer Pressure to Work. This book explains how we could redirect trillions of dollars annually in support of carbon-free energy sources, all without requiring painful sacrifices from anyone. Dr Frank has developed some novel strategies relying on peer pressure to get people to change their actions so as to reduce carbon emissions and climate change. He also details many prior and successful examples of this type of peer pressure. You can see more at the publisher’s website.

Hosts: Beth Bennett & Angele Sjong
Producer: Beth Bennett
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Additional Contributions: Angele Sjong
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

Listen to the show:

Play

Who Pays for Climate Change?

merlin_166536642_24b1e96c-327a-4b9c-9979-f87ed8a0b502-articleLargeThis week, Beth and Angele speak with with Brenda Ekwurzel in the studio. Brenda is the director of climate science for the Union of Concerned Scientists. She was in Boulder for a panel on Air Quality and Climate Change. She spoke about some Colorado issues e.g. wildfire and drought, and assigning responsibility for specific events to fossil fuel producers. She is a widely quoted expert on climate change, and co-authored the UCS guide Cooler Smarter: Practical Steps for Low-Carbon Living. For more information you can visit her website.

Hosts: Angele Sjong and Beth Bennett
Producers: Angele Sjong and Beth Bennett
Engineer: Beth Bennett
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett

Listen to the show:

Play

Climate Watch // Extreme Conservation

Today’s show features the following interviews, by How On Earth’s Susan Moran and guest host Ted Wood.

Photo credit: Mike Fernandez/Audubon
Photo credit: Mike Fernandez/Audubon

Audubon’s Climate Watch (start time: 4:03) Starting on Jan. 14, the Audubon Society will launch a month-long citizen science program to better understand how birds are responding to climate change. This comes at a time when, according to a 2019 Audubon report, up to two-thirds of North American birds are vulnerable to extinction due to climate change. But the Climate Watch program is one of many opportunities to protect birds.  Alison Holloran, executive director of Audubon Rockies, discusses the program and how you can get involved.

cover image U ChicConservation on the Edges (start time: 13:26) Charismatic predators like polar bears, grizzlies, and tigers, get lots of attention, and for good reason. But many lesser known species, particularly those living in extreme environments–including muskoxen, wild yaks, takins and saigas–are also important species. They have been the research focus of Joel Berger, a professor of wildlife conservation at Colorado State University. He’s also senior scientist at Wildlife Conservation Society.  Berger’s latest book is Extreme Conservation: Life at the Edges of the World. 

Hosts: Susan Moran, Ted Wood
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Maeve Conran
Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Additional Contributor: Beth Bennett

Listen to the show here:

Play

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

Listen to the show here:

Play

COP25 Global Climate Summit

Field_Work_Weather_Balloon-Osborne
Tashiana Osborne launching weather balloons in Ukiah, Calif. Photo credit: Maryam Asgari-Lamjiri

COP25 & Climate Change (start time: 1:07): Next month (Dec. 2-13), the United Nations global climate change summit, known as COP25, will take place in Madrid. Many scientists, environmental nonprofits, students, activists will also attend side events related to the UN sustainable development goals (SDG). The goal of COP over the years has been to reduce emissions of planet-warming gases. The talks stem from the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, which essentially is a mix of pledges from about 200 nations to dramatically cut their greenhouse emissions. The countries are not legally bound to meet their targets, but they are supposed to report their progress to the UN. Under the Obama administration, the U.S. vowed to reduce emissions about 28 percent below 2005 levels, by 2025. But earlier this month, the Trump administration announced that it will begin a year-long process to withdraw the U.S. from the international accord. The stakes are extremely high.

How On Earth’s Susan Moran and guest-host Tom Yulsman discuss COP25 and what’s at stake with Gillian Bowser, an ecologist and research scientist at Colorado State University who has studied international climate and biodiversity conventions and has attended several COP summits; and Tashiana Osborne, a PhD candidate at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at the University of California, San Diego, who is studying the effects of atmospheric rivers, and who will attend COP25. Tom Yulsman, a CU Boulder journalism professor and blogger, offers his expertise as a climate-focused science journalist.

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

Listen to the show here:

Play