Plastic Pollution in Ocean

Photo credit: Conserve Energy Future
Photo credit: Conserve Energy Future

In today’s show we offer two related features:
Plastic Pollution in the Arctic, Green Chemistry  (start time: 7:48) Try to wrap your brain around this statistic: by mid-century the mass of plastic in the oceans will weigh more than the total mass of fish if we continue with ‘business as usual,’ according to the World Economic Forum. Plastic debris, ranging from plastic water bottles to fish nets to invisible fragments, is choking seabirds and mammals all the way up to the Arctic, and quite possibly harming human health. How On Earth host Susan Moran recently attended the Arctic Frontiers conference in Tromso, Norway, where she interviewed one of the speakers, Jenna Jambeck, an environmental engineer at the University of Georgia. Dr. Jambeck directs the Center for Circular Materials Management, where researchers are designing materials and processes that both reduce waste and, like nature itself, reuse waste.

Photo credit: Chris Jordan
Photo credit: Chris Jordan

Grassroots Efforts Curb Plastic Pollution (start time: 20:24) In case you’re wondering what’s land-locked Colorado and your daily life got to do with plastic pollution in the ocean, our guest, Vicki Nichols Goldstein, founder and executive director of the Inland Ocean Coalition, discusses regional and national campaigns to curb plastic waste. The Suck the Straws Out campaign is one of many. You can get involved, starting with attending the Colorado Ocean Coalition‘s Blue Drinks happy hour on Feb. 15 in Boulder.

Hosts: Chip Grandits, Susan Moran
Producer: Susan Moran
Engineers: Maeve Conran, Chip Grandits, Evan Perkins
Executive Producer: Susan Moran

Listen to the show here:


Safer Rocket Fuel // Inland-Ocean Connection

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.

Mississippi River Basin
Courtesy U.S. EPA

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

Listen to the show:

Colorado & Oceans // Nitrogen & Snails

Feature #1 (time mark 5:30)  When people think of Colorado, they usually don’t think about “oceans”.  After all, Colorado doesn’t have much of a coastline these days, though it was definitely had oceanfront property a few hundred million years ago.   However, being in a landlocked state doesn’t mean that there isn’t any thing we can do to impact the health and ecology of the ocean and marine biology.  Co-host Joel Parker talks with  Vicki Goldstein, founder and president of the Colorado Ocean Coalition about the “Making Waves in Colorado” symposium and what all of us around the world (leaving near or far from oceans) do that impact and can help oceans.

Feature #2 (time mark 14:10)  Nitrogen – we can’t live without it, but you can have too much of a good thing. In its gaseous form nitrogen is harmless and makes up nearly 80 percent of the atmosphere. The worldwide population never would have reached 7 billion people without nitrogen, in the form of chemical fertilizer. But excess nitrogen –from fertilizer runoff, manure, human sewage and other sources is wreaking havoc on the environment.  Co-host Susan Moran talks with John Mischler, a PhD student at CU Boulder, who is researching worms and snails in Colorado and Africa. He talks about how excess nutrients in ponds, lakes and elsewhere can lead to the spread of parasitic disease from trematodes to snails to us.

Hosts: Susan Moran, Joel Parker
Headlines: Breanna Draxler, Tom Yulsman, Susan Moran
Engineer: Joel Parker
Producer: Joel Parker
Executive Producer: Tom McKinnon