Water Recycling for Climate Resilience (start time: 7:54) When you poured tap water into your coffee maker this morning, or flushed the toilet, you may not have been thinking about where that water came from, or where it flowed to next. Pegged to World Water Week, on this week’s How On Earth host Susan Moran interviews Austa Parker, PhD, an environmental engineer who is a consultant for the firm Brown and Caldwell on national water-reuse issues. She formerly worked for Denver Water and as an adjunct professor at CU Boulder. Our discussion focuses on direct potable reuse (DPR), the process of transforming treated wastewater, including human effluence, into drinking water. Climate change, intensifying droughts and population growth in the already parched U.S. West are pressuring states and cities to pursue DPR as a means of becoming more climate-resilient. Resource links: WateReuse Colorado WateReuse Association (national) Colorado’s regulations (passed in late 2022) on direct potable reuse
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Show Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Beth Bennett
Listen to the show here:
Unruly Planet (start time: 5:31) This week on How On Earth Susan Moran interviews science journalist Madeline Ostrander about her recently published book, At Home On An Unruly Planet: Finding Refuge On A Changed Earth. The author reflects on what it means to reimagine the concept of home, and to literally find a secure home, in this era of upheaval and change. The book, and our conversation today, explore the predicament of climate refugees as well as heroic individuals who are proactively working to preserve and recreate communities.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Susan Moran Headline Contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
How on Earth’s Beth Bennett talks with authors Ridge Shinn and Lynne Pledger about how regenerative grazing can replace corn-based feedlots, which are responsible for significant climate emissions, nitrogen pollution, and animal suffering. Their book, Grass-Fed Beef for a Post-Pandemic World, outlines a hopeful path out of our broken food system via regional networks of regeneratively produced meat. They talk about how this ancient method of animal husbandry can restore degraded farmland, increase biodiversity, combat climate change by reducing emissions and sequestering carbon and produce nutrient-dense, healthy meat for consumers. More information at Big Picture Beef.
Also, Shelley Schlender talks with Sarah Johnson, a professor of food, science and human nutrition at Colorado State University, about a recent study indicating that in mice prone to artery disease, those that ate belgian endive reduced the instability of artery plaques. That may be important, because in people, unstable plaques can trigger heart attacks.
Hosts: Joel Parker, Beth Bennett Producer: Joel Parker Additional contributions: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Recycling: Obstacles and Progress (start time: 4:35): This week’s How On Earth focuses on the state of recycling and composting in Colorado and well beyond. A newly published report by Eco-Cycle and CoPIRG shows that Colorado ranks well below the national average, and below its own goals, on recycling and composting. But the report also highlights some recently passed legislation that could help dramatically improve the landscape, by holding producers responsible for the waste that their products generate. Host Susan Moran interviews Suzanne Jones, executive director of Eco-Cycle; and Anja Brandon, the U.S. plastics policy analyst at Ocean Conservancy, an environmental nonprofit organization.
Host, Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Shannon Young Executive Producer: Susan Moran Headline Contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender
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
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
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
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
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
This 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.