Tackling Plastic Pollution (starts at 3:09): It is, sadly, common for beachcombers around the world to see, along with clam shells and sand dollars, plastic bottles, bottle caps, cigaret filters and fish nets washed up on shore. According to estimates by World Economic Forum, our oceans will be populated by more pounds of plastic waste than fish by 2050. About a third of all plastic that is produced does not get properly collected; instead, much of it ends up floating in the ocean, or clogging the guts of innocent albatross, other birds and sea mammals. It could take 450 years, or forever, for plastic to completely biodegrade. Plastic waste just breaks down (photo-degrades) into tiny bits, causing harm to wildlife and, potentially, humans. How On Earth host Susan Moran and contributing host Jeff Burnside interview two guests who are working in different ways to assess the extent of the problem and its impacts, to educate people about it, and to effect positive change. Dr. Jenna Jambeck, an associate engineering professor at the University of Georgia, lead-authored a seminal paper in 2015 that estimated how much plastic waste is in the ocean. She will soon co-lead an all-female National Geographic expedition to study plastic pollution in India and Bangladesh. Laura Parker is a staff writer at National Geographic magazine covering climate change and ocean environments. She won the Scripps Howard award for environmental reporting her June 2018 National Geographiccover article titled “Planet or Plastics?”
Hosts: Susan Moran, Jeff Burnside Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Evan Perkins Executive Producer: Joel Parker
This week’s show brings you the following feature interview: Protecting Ocean Biodiversity (start time: 2:42) In honor of World Environment Day (today), World Oceans Day (Friday) the March for the Ocean (Saturday), and Capitol Hill Ocean Week (all week), we examine one of the biggest marine conservation tools: Marine Protected Areas. What’s working? What’s not, and why? And what does this have to do with residents of landlocked states such as Colorado? A lot. Hoe On Earth hosts Susan Moran and Sadie Babits interview Dr. Kirsten Grorud-Colvert, an assistant professor of marine ecology at Oregon State University. This interview expands our series called The Ocean Is Us. For info on this week’s local March for the Ocean events, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition. National events and resources at Capitol Hill Ocean Week, March for the Ocean, and Blue Frontier Campaign.
Hosts: Sadie Babits, Susan Moran Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Today’s show offers two features: High School STEM Stars (start time: 5:00): Developing polymers to reduce waste from biodiesel production. Using 3D printing to design ocean textures, such as fish gills and waves, that blind students can use in textbooks to better understand nature. These are the kind of vexing challenges of seasoned scientists. Well, a select group of high school students here on the Front Range are also diving into this research, through the University of Colorado’s Photo-Origami Research Project. It’s part of the Research Experience and Mentoring (REM) program. Our guests–Lindsey Welch, a sophomore at Centaurus High; and Tyco Mera Evans, a senior at Northglenn High– will give poster presentations at the Emerging Researchers National Conference in STEM, in Washington, D.C. this week. Joining them in the studio is Kathryn Penzkover, who directs high school programs through CU Science Discovery.
Sex & Evolution Beneath the Waves (start time: 14:45) Ever wonder about the sex lives of gender-bending fish, desperately virgin elephant seals, and other creatures of the sea? Marine ecologist Marah Hardt has made a career out of it. She speaks with host Susan Moran about her newly published book, Sex in the Sea: Our Intimate Connections with Sex-changing Fish, Romantic Lobsters, Kinky Squid, and Other Salty Erotica of the Deep. Dr. Hardt, who works with the nonprofit Future of Fish, illuminates how sex in the sea is at the heart of healthy and sustainable oceans. The oceans, along with their inhabitants, are under many threats, including overfishing and climate change. She will speak tonight about her book at the Boulder Book Store. For more information on ocean conservation issues, and to get involved here in land-locked Colorado, check out the nonprofit Colorado Ocean Coalition. And listen to previous related interviews, in our series “The Ocean Is Us.”
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Additional contributors: Beth Bennett Executive Producer: Joel Parker
On today’s show we offer three feature interviews, including a short opening interview.
Alcohol and weight gain (starts at 3:34): Science journalist Jill Adams shares the latest science on the connection between alcohol and weight gain. The science is murky, as she states in her recent column in the Washington Post.
Climate Clues in Coral (starts at 9:02): Despite certain appearances and rumors to the contrary, global warming has not been on holiday for the past decade. But increases in temperature at the Earth’s surface have slowed down, prompting scientists to work hard to figure out why. It seems that a lot of heat that has been building up in our planet’s climate system due to greenhouse gas emissions has winded up deep in the Pacific Ocean. Why? Diane Thompson, a post-doctoral scientist at NCAR and lead author on a new study, discusses with HOE’s Tom Yulsman how a sample of coral from a remote atoll in the tropical Pacific revealed some important answers.
Tropic forests love CO2 (starts at 16:04) It’s been known for some time that tropical forests are not only rich in biodiversity, but they also absorb a lot of carbon dioxide that humans spew into the atmosphere. But just how much greenhouse gases—namely CO2–these forests take up, say, compared with temperate and boreal forests, has been eluding researchers. Britton Stephens, an atmospheric scientist at NCAR, discusses with HOE’s Susan Moran a new study he co-authored. It suggests that tropical forests may be absorbing far more CO2 than many scientists had previously thought.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Tom Yulsman Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Shelley Schlender Executive Producer: Kendra Krueger
Sustainable Seafood: (start time 5:10) This is the fourth feature interview in The Ocean Is Us series, which explores how we in land-locked states are connected to the oceans and what’s at stake. Today we discuss sustainable seafood, which to some critics is an oxymoron, given that some 90% of large fish already have been wiped from the sea. To discuss prospects for feeding 9.6 billion people by mid-century, the developments in wild-caught fisheries and aquaculture, and the role of retailers and consumers, we have two guests. John Hocevar is a marine biologist who directs the Oceans Campaign at Greenpeace. Carrie Brownstein develops standards to guide seafood purchasing for the Whole Foods markets throughout the United States, Canada, and the U.K.
All features in The Ocean Is Us series can be found here. Also, checkout KGNU’s year-long series on Colorado water issues. It’s called Connecting the Drops. It’s at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org. To learn more or become active in preserving our watershed and the oceans, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Joel Parker Additional Contributors: Beth Bennett Executive Producer: Joel Parker
Endocrine Disruptors and Drinking Water (starts at 3:12) Today we continue our series called The Ocean is Us, which explores our vital connection to the oceans. Alan Vajda, an environmental endocrinologist at the University of Colorado Denver, talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about a rare success story: why fish in Boulder Creek are acting and looking more sexually normal. We also explore broader water-quality issues in Colorado and beyond, and the implications for human health. For more information on studies conducted by CU and USGS scientists on endocrine disruptors related to Boulder Creek, South Platte River and elsewhere, visit BASIN. Check our website for the previous interview in the “The Ocean is Us” series, on Teens4Oceans. And checkout KGNU’s year-long series on Colorado water issues. It’s called Connecting the Drops. It’s at kgnu.org and yourwatercolorado.org. To learn more or become active in preserving our watershed and the oceans, go to Colorado Ocean Coalition.
All features in The Ocean Is Us series can be found here.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Kendra Krueger Producer: Susan Moran Engineer: Maeve Conran Executive Producer: Joel Parker
The Tuesday, Sept. 17, show offers two features: Feature #1 (start time TK): Once hadrazine, now green. Ball Aerospace’s Chris McLean, the Program Manager for the Green Propellent Fusion Mission, talks with co-host Jim Pullen about testing a much safer spacecraft fuel.
Feature #2 (start time TK): The 100-year flood ravaging Colorado has shown us painfully clearly the power of water. We’re seeing how surging rainfall and overflowing streams can destroy homes, roads, indeed whole communities in their path. But what’s less visible is how extreme weather events like this one in the nation’s interior affect oceans in powerful ways. Our watersheds east of the Continental Divide carry water, and tons of nutrients, into the Mississippi River Basin. Rainfall, storm water, and fertilizer runoff from croplands and backyard lawns contribute to the humongous Dead Zone in the Gulf of Mexico. To discuss our inland connection to oceans Dr. David Guggenheim, a marine scientist and founder of the nonprofit Ocean Doctor, talks with co-host Susan Moran. Vicki Goldstein, founder of Colorado Ocean Coalition, also discusses the inland ocean movement, including the second annual Making Waves event this coming weekend.
Hosts: Susan Moran, Jim Pullen Producers: Jim Pullen Engineer: Jim Pullen Executive Producer: Susan Moran