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

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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

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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

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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

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Sounds Wild and Broken

Nature’s Songs and Cries (start time: 0:59) In this week’s show David George Haskell, a biologist at the University of the South, in Sewanee, Tenn., talks with How On Earth’s Susan Moran about his newly published book, Sounds Wild and Broken: Sonic Marvels, Evolution’s Creativity, and the Crisis of Sensory Extinction. The book is at once a meditation and an urgent call to action.

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

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KGNU Fund Drive with The Last Stargazers

On this week’s show  – part of the annual KGNU Spring Fund Drive – we play excerpts of an upcoming interview with astronomer and author Dr. Emily Levesque about her book, The Last Stargazers: The Enduring Story of Astronomy’s Vanishing Explorers. The book is a modern history of observational astronomy, and shares an inside look at the lives and stories of astronomers past, present, and possible future.

Thanks to independent publisher Source Books for offering several copies to KGNU to help with the fund drive, and to those listeners who donated and received copies of the book.

Hosts: Joel Parker, Susan Moran
Headlines: Benita Lee, Beth Bennett
Show Producer & Engineer:
Joel Parker
Executive producer
: Susan Moran

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The Science of Heartbreak

Heartbreak in Our  Bodies: (start time: 6:58) This week on How On Earth, host Susan Moran talks with science journalist Florence Williams about her newly published book, Heartbreak: A Personal and Scientific Journey, in which she goes on a quest to understand why, and how, the heartbreak she felt when her marriage fell apart was wreaking havoc on her body. The book, and this interview, also explore various methods of healing and the science behind them.

Host: Susan Moran
Engineer: Rossana Long
Headline contributors: Beth Bennett, Shelley Schlender

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Beloved Beasts // Fund Drive Show

On this week’s show journalist and author Michelle Nijhuis talks with How On Earth host Susan Moran about her recently published book, Beloved Beasts: Fighting for Life in an Age of Extinction. It’s a book of hope, history, and even humor. Special thanks to listeners who donated and received copies of the book. And thanks to WW Norton & Company for offering several copies to KGNU to help with the fund drive.

Show producer: Susan Moran
Hosts: Chip Grandits, Susan Moran

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Stem Cell Science // Decoding Science

Stem-Cell

Stem cell science v. hype (start time: 00:57) Clinics offering stem cell therapies and other forms of so-called regenerative medicine are cropping up in many states, including Colorado. Practitioners of stem cells, are touting them as repairing damaged cartilage, tendons and joints, and even treating diseases such as Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. While the science looks promising, it seriously lags the marketing of stem cell therapies. Last year the FDA, which has yet to regulate the clinics, issued a warning about stem cell therapies.
Laura Beil, a science journalist and producer of the podcast Bad Batch, recently wrote a cover article in Science News about the hype and the latest science of stem cells. She talks with host Susan Moran about her reporting. (For more info, check out this new BBC program on stem cell “hope and hype.”)

cover image Craft of Science WritingScience for the Rest of Us (start time: 16:38)  At a time our own government leaders vilify science and reinvent facts, it seems as important as ever that journalists and the public at large grasp and  translate scientific research. A new book, The Craft of Science Writing, offers tips on how to find credible experts (whether on the corona virus or vaccines or climate change), separate truth from spurious assertions, and make sense of scientific studies. The book is aimed at science writers, but it can be a guidepost for anyone who wants to make science more accessible.   Alex Witze, a science writer who co-authored the book Island On Fire: The Extraordinary Story of a Forgotten Volcano, is a contributor to the new book. She discusses the art of decoding and appreciating science with hosts Susan Moran and Joel Parker.

 

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Beth Bennet

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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

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