Podcasts

Produced in collaboration with WAMC Northeast Public Radio, Earth Wise focuses on raising awareness about the science that underpins environmental issues. New topics are featured daily, with coverage on climate change, energy, sustainable living, agriculture, and threats to air, water, and wildlife.

Airs Monday through Friday at 11:10 a.m. and 4:04 p.m. on WAMC.

Access the complete archive of Earth Wise podcasts:
www.earthwiseradio.org.

Selected Podcasts

Listening to forest data

Podcast

The forest is playing a symphony. By tapping into environmental monitoring sensors at the Hubbard Brook Experimental Forest in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, a tool called WaterViz captures a real-time audio visualization of the forest’s water cycle.

high line

Ecology and designing future cities

Podcast

When most people hear the word 'ecology' – chances are it conjures up images of scientists working in distant, wild landscapes, such as old growth forests or remote mountain lakes. Increasingly, however, ecological studies are focused on urban and suburban areas.

Beavers: nature’s nitrogen busters

Podcast

Beavers are one of nature's most industrious engineers. Using branches and mud, the intrepid animals create dams that slow moving water. In New York's Hudson Valley, their constructions are a common sight on streams and in wetlands.

Feast before the famine

Podcast

New York's Hudson Valley is experiencing a "mast year." Mast refers to the seeds of woody plants that are eaten by wildlife. "Soft mast" has seeds surrounded by fleshy pulp, and includes berries and fruits. "Hard mast" has seeds protected by an outer coat, such as acorns and hickory nuts.

Acorns and Lyme disease

Podcast

In New York's Hudson Valley, it's hard to go outside without stepping on an acorn. Oaks have 'boom and bust' acorn production cycles. In lean years, trees produce a handful of nuts. In boom years, acorns seem to rain down from the sky. 

Killer air

Podcast

Globally, air pollution kills 3.3 million people per year. And this number could double to 6.6 million people by 2050 if little is done to decrease the dangerous levels of tiny particles, toxins, and ozone in the air.

The trouble with sustainability

Podcast

Since its inception, sustainability has been human-centric. It came into vogue in 1987, with the publication of a UN report called Our Common Future, which defined sustainable development as: "Development that meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs."

Leave leaves alone

Podcast

In natural ecosystems, there is little waste. Nutrients taken up by plants are returned to the soil when plants die and decompose. Ecologists call this nutrient loop a biogeochemical cycle.

Whine while you can

Podcast

There are lots of potential impacts associated with global climate change – shifts in the distribution of plants are among them. Most plant species are adapted to a range of climate conditions. If the climate changes, their habitat can shift as well. This is true for crop and forestry plants, as well as native species.

Mercury and selenium pollution in the Grand Canyon

Podcast

The Grand Canyon Reach of the Colorado River is breathtaking and remote. For hundreds of miles, the rugged landscape renders the river virtually inaccessible to people. Those intrepid enough to explore the area are treated to red rocks, blue skies, and meandering waters.

Plastic shopping bags: a modern blight

Podcast

Single use plastic shopping bags are the norm at grocery stores, pharmacies, and big box retailers. They are also a familiar sight tumbling down roads, waving from trees, clogging storm drains, and polluting lakes, streams, rivers, and oceans.

Outsourcing our emissions

Podcast

The average American is responsible for one of the largest carbon footprints in the world. Some 37% of our carbon emissions is associated with electricity generation; 33% stems from transportation – largely personal automobiles. The remaining 30% is attributed to industry, residential use, and agriculture.

Less beef

Podcast

In the Northeast, grilling season is almost over. While many will miss backyard barbecues, it’s high time that we rethink the American summer ideal of a thick, juicy steak.

Getting the lead out

Podcast

Lead. Romans made pipes out of it. Armies use it for bullets, artists and builders for paint. And, automotive engineers once added lead to gasoline to make engines run better. The problem: lead is toxic to humans.

Wikipedia and controversial science topics

Podcast

Wikipedia is world's most popular online encyclopedia, the sixth most visited website in America, and a source most students rely on. But, according to a recent study, Wikipedia entries on politically controversial science topics can be especially unreliable.

Tech advances provide window into wildlife

Podcast

Since the evolution of our earliest ancestors, people have looked to clues – such as footprints in the mud or rubs on trees – to gain insight into wildlife behavior.

Mosquito migration

Podcast

Globally, there are more than 3,000 mosquito species, with around 150 native to the U.S. To many listeners – a mosquito is a mosquito. But depending on the species that bites you, mosquitoes can be a nuisance or a public health threat.

Nature: a natural stress-buster

Podcast

If you've ever taken a walk outside to "clear your head," it turns out you were onto something. Scientists, doctors, and the average person have long known that time spent in nature can have de-stressing, mood-boosting effects. They just haven't been exactly sure why.

Street trees are good for us

Podcast

Want to feel younger? Live on a street with more trees. That's the finding of University of Chicago researchers who studied the impact of street trees on the real and perceived health of residents of Toronto, Canada.

We need more free-range kids

Podcast

Once-upon-a-time, kids were expected to amuse themselves outdoors. Today, fears of shady neighbors and bodily harm have led to a nation of parents who appear content to keep their kids inside, playing computer games, surfing the web, texting, and watching TV.

Biodiversity is good for us

Podcast

There are many reasons to protect Earth's biodiversity. One of the more underrated is that disease incidence is lower when ecosystems support a variety of plants and animals.

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