environment

Tatiana Schlossberg looked into the environmental footprint of several sectors of the fashion industry.
Emily Orpin, https://tinyurl.com/yxp7kry9

We've all heard of conspicuous consumption -- big fancy houses, big fancy cars, designer clothes, and luxurious vacations. That kind of lifestyle comes with a big price tag and a big carbon footprint. But here's the thing. We are all consumers. And the food we buy and the clothes we wear have environmental impacts that we often underestimate or ignore altogether.

Sy Montgomery with a cheetah in Namibia.
Nic Bishop / Courtesy of Sy Montgomery

We typically hear what scientists have learned about animals. And Sy Montgomery’s career as an author and naturalist has taught her plenty about animals, from octopuses to moon bears.

Alva Pratt / unsplash

When it comes to sharks, great whites and the risk to human swimmers have dominated public attention in the northeast recently. But, there are hundreds of species of sharks, and for most of them, in most of the world, humans are a far greater threat to sharks than the other way around. That’s why Anna Oposa is working to establish a shark shelter in the waters around the Phillippines.

Hayley Fager

 

Spring in our region typically means strong storms and serious erosion, and that’s getting worse with rising seas. Some beachfront property owners are shelling out thousands of dollars for a temporary fix.

Laura Wing lives in a beachfront home in Sandwich. She inherited the house from her parents 40 years ago, but the beach has changed a lot since then.

"The dunes went much further out on the beach, so over all this time it's just eroded away to what it is now," she said.

The shore of Walden Pond.
wiki commons

For many, the longer, warmer days of spring offer a chance to renew our connection with the outdoor world and activities we’ve put aside for winter. And nothing says communing with nature like Walden Pond.

A frog infected with a fungus which has been dubbed the most destructive pathogen ever for biodiversity.
Forrest Brem / https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/deed.en

An unassuming fungus that dwells in lakes and damp soil has proved to be the most potent killer of a large group of species ever documented. The victims are members of at least 501 species of frogs and other amphibians that have succumbed to a disease inflicted by Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis, or Bd.

The EPA has released an action plan for addressing the risks posed by a large class of chemicals known collectively as PFAS, which are used as flame retardants and non-stick or stain-resistant coatings. These chemicals have been linked to a range of human health impacts, including certain cancers, immune disfunction, and obesity. And they have been found in drinking water around the country.

Mk2010, https://tinyurl.com/y5wl6vmc

Fire fighting foams, non-stick pots and pans, stain-resistant furniture, and water-proof outerwear. They sound like inventions of the Jetsons.

The chemicals that give these items their nearly magical properties are known as PFAS - perfluoroalkyl substances. And they’re not staying in our clothes and cookwear. These chemicals have also been found in drinking water supplies around the country and in the vast majority of people’s bodies.

Brian Yurasits / unsplash

Earlier this month, a young sei whale washed up on a North Carolina beach with an empty stomach and a plastic bag caught in its throat. Last November, a dead sperm whale in Indonesia made international headlines when more than thirteen pounds of plastic were found in its stomach.   

Toa Heftiba / unsplash

The world has produced more than eight billion metric tons of plastic since around 1950. And the vast majority of that – almost 80 percent of it – has ended up in landfills or out in the environment. In fact, millions of tons of plastic waste enter the ocean each year, and tiny pieces of plastic have been found in the stomachs or tissues of turtles, birds, fish, and whales. 

Now, researchers from McGill University are turning this story upside down.   

Ponds like this one in Wisconsin would no longer be covered because they are not always filled with water.
Joshua Mayer

The Clean Water Act is a federal law that gives the EPA authority to regulate pollution that affects the waters of the United States. But exactly what that last phrase means has been the subject of a long and contentious debate.

Samantha Fields

Visitors to the Cape Cod National Seashore this summer will likely notice changes at some of the beaches. At Nauset Light in Eastham, there is now a long path down to the beach, instead of a staircase. And at Marconi in Wellfleet, there’s a brand new staircase for the second year in a row.

Both beaches seem to be hotspots for erosion right now. And the Seashore is trying to adapt. 

Samantha Fields

The town of Sandwich is currently trying to pull off the biggest beach nourishment project that’s ever been done on Cape Cod, and one of the biggest in the state.

For more than 100 years, the town’s main beach has been starved of sand by its neighbor, the Cape Cod Canal.  

And that’s left both the beach, and the town, increasingly vulnerable to climate change. 

Small gasoline-powered engines help create air pollution on sunny days.
piviso.com / http://bit.ly/2FSkjID

This past week brought the first real taste of spring or maybe even summer weather. Along with the warmth came something less desirable -- air quality alerts. From Connecticut to southern Maine, ozone levels mid-week rose to what the EPA considers unhealthy for those with asthma or other lung problems.

Autumn Oczkowski made headlines earlier this month, not for her science, but for the fact that EPA leadership told her she couldn’t present that science at a conference about the future of Narragansett Bay. EPA leadership never said why they made that decision, but many assumed it was because climate change would be a major theme. A week later, though, Oczkowski was allowed to present her research at a different conference.

Pages