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

Bolivia's disappearing lake

Podcast

Bolivia’s second largest lake has nearly disappeared. Lake Poopó, a saltwater lake located in a shallow depression in the Altiplano Mountains, used to cover an area about the size of Los Angeles. While it’s not the first time the lake has dried out, scientists believe its recovery hangs in the balance due to the combined stress of drought, climate change, and water diversion.

dam

Go with the flow

Podcast

Have you ever wondered what happens when a fish encounters a dam or a culvert? Too often, these structures are barriers to breeding and nursery sites, feeding grounds, and vital genetic mixing. In a warming world, barriers also prevent fish from seeking refuge as stream temperatures change.

lake superior

The world’s lakes are heating up

Podcast

Climate change is causing the world's lakes to warm, with repercussions for fisheries and freshwater supplies. So reports an ambitious new study, funded by NASA and the National Science Foundation, and recently published in Geophysical Research Letters.

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Lake Ohrid: Respecting an elder

Podcast

Nestled in the mountainous border between southwestern Macedonia and eastern Albania, Lake Ohrid is a deep, ancient lake. Its waters provide refuge to hundreds of plants and animals that live nowhere else, including seventeen species of fish.

day burners

The fight against day burners

Podcast

A U.S. Department of Energy webpage states that "about 10% of street lights are brightly lit during daytime and essentially waste electricity due to faulty photosensors." Such lights are called "day burners." While some think the 10% figure is a slight overestimate, the electricity day burners waste is significant nonetheless.

Road salt

Podcast

Snow season is here. The chances are good you'll find yourself behind a truck spreading salt on the roads in an attempt to deice them. You may even try a little salt on your own front porch. Annually we spread about 20 million tons of road salt in the U.S., and we've been doing it since the late 1930s.

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.

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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. 

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.

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