Outside/In | New Hampshire Public Radio

Outside/In

Outside/In is NHPR's podcast about the natural world and how we use it. Click here for podcast episodes and more.

While sand beaches comprise just over 30% of the world’s ice-free shorelines, the collective idea of the sand beach can sometimes cast a much bigger shadow.

That image can even have an influence on other fields of science - like plastic pollution.

Alex Torrenegra via Flickr.

There are places on the map where the roads end. The Darién Gap, or el Tapon del Darién, is one of them.

Plus, how maps change the world.

Credit Fotologic, https://bit.ly/3ethbI2

In this edition of our occasional series 10X10, in which we take a close look at unusual or overlooked ecosystems, we’re getting our mind in the gutter.  

Starting at the curb and working our way up, we spend this episode learning about which creatures take advantage of our waste-water systems; find evidence of extraterrestrial travel on our rooftops; and we look at how gutters function – or don’t – for the very species that designed them.

Plus, Sam investigates a myth about pot and panels to find out whether the early solar industry got a boost from illegal weed growers in California.  

Credit ESA/NASA

Massive solar flares, mental health in the time of coronavirus (and all the time) and the epigenetics of trauma.

Jungletrax Bengal Cats, with permission

The Bengal cat is an attempt to preserve the image of a leopard in the body of a house cat: using a wild animal’s genes to get the appearance, while leaving out the wild animal personality. But is it possible to isolate the parts of a wild animal that you like, and forgo the parts that you don’t?

Can you have your leopard rosette and your little cat too?

This episode was originally published in 2018.

Sara Plourde

Chris Martin and Dave Anderson from Something Wild join Sam Evans-Brown for a special edition of Ask Sam

A version of this episode was originally published in 2017.

Taylor Quimby

Today on Outside/In, a 2018 trend of "raw water" sparks a road-trip investigation of New Hampshire's roadside springs, and producer Justine Paradis looks into the etymology of the "frost heave". 

Image by Jamie Johannsen from Pixabay

This time on the show it's another edition of Ask Sam, where Sam answers listener questions about the natural world. This time, questions about hugging trees, bumpy roads, objects stuck on power lines, and epic hummingbird battles.

Plus, from our semi-regular series 10X10, we head under the ice of a frozen lake. In this piece, we give the down low on bizarre properties of water, fish that thrive in a capped-off environment, and long beards of algae clinging to the underside of a secret ecosystem few have ever explored.

Justine Paradis

In New England, the Waterman name is like mountain royalty. But beyond a tight circle of outdoors-people, they're not a household name. 

In February 2020, Sam Evans-Brown visited Laura Waterman, one of the most influential voices in American wilderness philosophy, for a conversation about writing, living off-grid, protecting Franconia Ridge, and how she's changed following the death of her husband.

Plus, another round of Ask Sam, in which the team discusses plant hair, shellfish, and birds-as-dinosaurs.

Taylor Quimby

A conversation with Sabrina Imbler, science journalist and author of Dyke (Geology), which tells the story of Kohala - the island of Hawaii’s most ancient volcano - and of a break-up, in a hybrid work combining science writing, poetry, and personal essay.

Cyclical Core on Deviant Art

A lot of us may feel like our time and attention is not our own, and can easily disappear into the ether of work and the internet. But rather than merely suggesting a digital detox, artist and writer Jenny Odell presents a third way.

In her book How to Do Nothing: Resisting the Attention Economy, Odell draws on ecology, art, labor history, and literature, to seek a deeper kind of attention: an attention that probes our sense of selfhood, our relationship to place, time, and other species. An attention that reminds us of our being animal on this planet.

In one version of a sustainable, carbon-neutral future, the world’s cars will transition from fossil fuels to electricity. Right now that vision absolutely depends on lithium, a primary component of the lithium-ion battery.

But there is no “Lithium Central Planning Committee” balancing supply and demand, or making sure that lithium is mined in environmentally and socially responsible ways. In fact, there is almost no lithium mining in the United States at all. So where does it all come from? And who is being affected?

Plus, a report detailing how car dealerships and salespeople are inadvertently (and deliberately) turning customers away from electric vehicles.  


Maja Dumat, https://bit.ly/3nMmp2J

The 8th season of the reality television show North Woods Law – a show that follows  conservation officers from New Hampshire’s Fish & Game Department – kicks off with a skunk rescue, a nosey bear being chased out of town, and a multi-day search and rescue operation that ends with a drowning victim being pulled out of the Androscoggin River. 

In this episode of Outside/In, a closer look at the people who police the natural world and how we use it, as depicted by reality television. 

Roel Wijnants, Creative Commons

One of the most visible participants in the Capitol riot on January 6 was a shirtless man dressed in a fur headdress and Viking horns. 

A “QAnon Shaman,” by his own definition, Chansley is also perhaps the most visible representation of an overlap between New Age communities and Q-Anon conspiratory theorists. 

Depending on who you ask, astrology is a science, an art form, a spirituality, a form of therapy … or, a pseudo-science, a scam, fortune-telling. 

But astrology’s recent popularity is only the latest iteration in several millennia of humans looking to the stars for meaning. What does contemporary Western astrology say about this cosmic moment?

This episode was originally published in January 2020.

The landmark Supreme Court ruling known as Massachusetts v. Environmental Protection Agency held that greenhouse gases were pollutants that could be regulated by the executive branch, and defined de facto federal climate policy in the United States for a decade.

Could it soon be reversed? 

Courtesy Photo

The Outside/In team offers suggestions for a happy and healthy winter 2021, inspired by two Norwegian concepts: friluftsliv, or embracing the outdoors with open-air living; and koselig, getting as cozy as possible.

Phoenix Yung

On dating apps like Tinder and Bumble, plenty of folks describe themselves as "outdoorsy" on their profiles. But "outdoorsy" can mean very different things to different people.

In 2019, the Outside/In team ventured onto the dating apps to ask people about the role of the outdoors in their love lives. Plus, a year and a half later, the team wondered: where are they now?

The Aurora Beacon News | December 23, 1970 | Page 1

In the late '60s, a soap factory in suburban Illinois discovered one of its outflow pipes had been intentionally clogged by an industrial saboteur. Does environmental damage ever demand radical action? And when does environmental protest cross the line and become eco-terrorism?

maurizio mucciola on Flickr.

In the coming decades, the scale of migration linked to climate change could be dizzying. In ProPublica’s projection, four million people in the United States could find themselves “living at the fringe,” outside ideal conditions for human life.

From the ancient charcoal animals of France's Chauvet Cave, to 17th century Dutch windmill paintings, art history can tell us a lot about our evolving view of the natural world. In this episode, producer Taylor Quimby (self-described art-world neophyte) searches for individual works and genres through history that reveal something interesting about human society and the outdoors.  

Martin Bamford, https://bit.ly/3lRH8BU

What if, instead of lowering emissions, a large company could pay someone else to do it instead? That's the basic idea behind carbon offsets: a market-based approach to buying and selling reductions in atmospheric carbon dioxide. In this episode, Sam talks our producers through the scientific hoops required to verify one type of popular carbon offset (planting or conserving trees) to better understand whether offsets are a solid piece of the climate puzzle - or sort of a scam. 

Plus, we remember a singular feline: Marty, the Mount Washington mouser. 

Taylor Quimby

Devastating wildfire seasons have become the normal on the West Coast of the United States - a result of drought (exacerbated by climate change) and poor management practices. But one way to fight out of control burning, is with under control burning. In today’s edition of 10X10, an up close look at a wooded ecosystem that doesn’t just benefit from fire, but actually needs it to survive.

 

And you’ve maybe heard that we’re in the midst of a mass extinction. But not every species suffers equally. On the second half of the show, a tale of two birds: one, a rare specialist that’s struggling to survive … and the other, a grosser species that’s adapting just fine.

Yellowstone National Park

The National Parks are seen as a national treasure, touted by some as “America’s Best Idea.” But restricting access to the natural world as a method of conservation is also part of a history of indigenous erasure. 

 

On this episode, we trace the history of the prejoratively-termed “fortress conservation,” from Robin Hood to Fort Yellowstone and the global spread of national parks and preserves.

 

Plus, what the likelihood of another four years of divided government means for climate action.

Laconia Evening Citizen

Scary stories are often set in the dark and wild woods, but why does nature inspire fear? We look for answers in the forests, cemeteries, and witch trials of New England.

Megan Tan

We're sharing a selection of stories from the show's early days, including an edition of Eat the Invaders and our earliest installments of our 10x10 series looking at vernal pools and traffic circles.

Public domain

Not too long ago, four Outside/In producers waged an epic fruit fight: a good-natured debate of culinary and cultural history, aimed at deciding which seed-bearing delicacy ought to be crowned the GFOAT, or the Greatest Fruit of All Time: the pepper, the gourd, the coconut, or the vanilla bean. 

The debate inspired a handful of well-argued (and listener-submitted) write-in candidates, as well as a thoughtful conversation about the deep connections between food, culture, and colonialism. 

 

Taylor Quimby

This week, during their highly anticipated “Battery Day” event, Tesla CEO Elon Musk laid out the company’s plan to have a $25,000 electric vehicle on the market within three years. He also mentioned that the company will be breaking into the lithium mining business.

 

Experts are skeptical. But why?

James Cridland, https://bit.ly/2DRn1mT

To become a more inclusive movement, environmentalists are re-examining the past. Today on Outside/In, part two of our series looking back at the environmental movement's problematic anxiety around "overpopulation." 

 

Because when people talk about overpopulation … what are they really talking about? 

 

 

James Cridland, https://bit.ly/2DRn1mT

To become a more inclusive movement, environmentalists are re-examining the past. Today on Outside/In, we’re talking about how history is and isn’t remembered, and we’re looking back at a problematic topic that, in environmental circles, used to loom larger than stopping nukes and saving whales: over-population. 

 

But when people talk about over-population … what are they really talking about? 

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