Bears: Beloved & Imperiled

Of Bears & Humans (start time: 1:34) If you live on the Front Range or in the mountains, you’ve probably seen a black bear while hiking or in your neighborhood.  Black bears are thriving, but most of the other eight remaining bear species are struggling to survive. How On Earth host Susan Moran interviews journalist Gloria Dickie about her just-published debut book Eight Bears: Mythic Past and Imperiled Future  (W.W. Norton). It explores conservation efforts to preserve the remaining species. Spoiler alert: the eight bears who inhabit Dickie’s book (and parts of the planet) are the black, brown, panda, moon, sun, sloth, and spectacled bears.  Dickie’s work has appeared in many publications, including  The New York Times, High Country News and National GeographicShe is currently based in London, as a global climate and environment correspondent for Reuters.

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

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Hubble Space Telescope


Today’s show of How on Earth starts with headlines about dark matter, genetic mysteries, jealous monkeys, and polar bears.  We then present a short feature of BBC’s Science in Action about the Hubble Space Telescope.

This is shorter than our usual How on Earth show due to technical difficulties with the phone system for our feature interview with entomologist Jonathan Lundgren; that feature will appear in a future show.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Executive Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Headline Contributions: Susan Moran, Beth Bennett, Joel Parker

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Polar Bears // Climate Scientists

Climate Scientists (starts at 1:00): Climate scientists (scientists in general)  tend to steer clear of speaking out as activists about concerns that are politically volatile.  But that’s changing. Many climate scientists are stepping out of their research comfort zone to offer personal stories of why they care and what we all can do about the crisis.  A group of scientists launched a video campaign last week. It’s called More Than Scientists.  We speak with Dr. Josh Lawler (University of Washington), who one of the founders of the campaign.

StevenAmstrupPolar Bears (starts at 6:30):  It is well known that, right now, life for polar bears looks bleak.  Warming temperatures mean the season for sea ice cover in the Arctic has become shorter and shorter. As sea ice provides a home and hunting ground for polar bears, both the number of bears and their health has suffered.  There is even talk of them becoming extinct.  But is this something that we should worry about in Colorado and other non-arctic regions around the world? We don’t have bears, right now we don’t have ice, and we have plenty of other concerns.  Dr. Steven Amstrup, the Chief scientist for Polar Bears International, joins us on How on Earth to explain why we should care.  He thinks that polar bears are the sentinels of global health and that they provide advance warning of some of the challenges coming to all species. That includes us humans. But he thinks if we act soon, we can save both the bears and ourselves. 

Dr. Amstrup also will be giving a talk in the Old Main auditorium on the CU Boulder campus on Friday, April 3rd at 4:00 pm.  His talk is titled: “Why Should We Care About Polar Bears?”  More details about the talk can be found at:

Hosts: Jane Palmer and Joel Parker
Producer and Engineer: Joel Parker
Additional Contributions: Susan Moran
Executive Producer: Kendra Krueger

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