With record high temperatures along with record low snowpack, the Colorado Front Range has been ravaged by increasingly expensive wildfires. For today’s show, How on Earth brings in two fire experts for a panel discussion. John Daily is a professor of mechanical engineering at the University of Colorado and the director of the Center for Combustion and Environmental Research. Michael Kodas is a journalist and principal at Narrative Light. He has been reporting on fire for over a decade and is currently working on a book on megafires.
Hosts: Beth Bartel and Jim Pullen Producer: Tom McKinnon Engineer: Jim Pullen Additional contributions: Shelley Shlender Executive Producer: Susan Moran
Mining retention pond in Colorado. Image courtesy of the EPA.
Clean Water Struggles. Co-host Susan Moran interviews journalist Judith Lewis Mernit about how small rural communities in the West are struggling to afford complying with federal water-quality standards as they relate to water pollutants. Mernit wrote an article on the topic in High Country News’ Dec. 12 issue. She explores the unintended consequences of complex federal standards, which place a disproportionately heavy burden on small communities. A big bone of contention, and a source of a flood of lawsuits, is a provision in the Clean Water Act that forces states to assess their impaired waterways and set maximum limits, or loads, for nitrates and other pollutants in them.
2011’s Big Sci-Enviro-Tech Stories. In the second feature co-hosts Susan Moran and Tom Yulsman are joined by How On Earth’s Tom McKinnon and Shelley Schlender, as well as photojournalist Michael Kodas (author of a forthcoming book on megafires) to reflect on 2011’s major science, technology and environment stories. The list includes extreme weather events, record-high carbon dioxide levels, the Fukushima nuclear disaster, Boulder’s November vote to consider municipalizing its electricity, and advancements in proteomics. Stay tuned for plenty more coverage of these topics on How On Earth in 2012. (Scroll down to download the audio file of the show.)
Hosts: Susan Moran, Tom Yulsman Producer: Susan Moran Engineers: Tom McKinnon, Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Tom McKinnon