Climate & Health | New Hampshire Public Radio

Climate & Health

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The state has found mosquitoes with West Nile Virus for the first time this season.

The Department of Health and Human Services says the positive test came from a batch of mosquitoes in Manchester.

The last time a New Hampshire resident caught West Nile from a mosquito was in 2017. But the state has found the virus in mosquitoes every year for the past decade. It’s more prevalent during drought years, like this one.

State officials are trying a new approach to a long-running issue -- the effects of air pollution on public health -- with a new commission that met virtually for the first time Thursday night. 

The ad-hoc Emissions Commission includes Democratic and Republican state lawmakers, plus members of state agencies and major health, business and environmental organizations.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

A new report from the Union of Concerned Scientists says hundreds of coastal Superfund sites – including several in New Hampshire – face new risks of flooding due to climate change.

The analysis looked at federal toxic waste sites within 25 miles of the East and Gulf Coasts, and found that New Jersey, Florida and New York have the most sites at risk of extreme flooding. Many are concentrated along the I-95 corridor. 

Hemera Collection

The state is launching a broad new effort to find ways to reduce the air emissions that drive respiratory disease and climate change in New Hampshire.

The non-partisan Emissions Commission meets for the first time next week and will include members of state agencies, utilities and the legislature, along with health, business and environmental advocates.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR File Photo

A regional plan to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from power plants also made the northeast healthier, by reducing air pollutants like mercury and sulfur dioxide.

But a new study focused on children found the benefits of the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative, or RGGI, were even greater than previously thought – preventing hundreds of childhood illnesses and saving an additional hundreds of millions of dollars.

The findings were published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives.

Courtesy of Marcus Ponce de Leon

By Degrees is a new climate change reporting project by NHPR. One major focus of the project is the connection between pollution and our health.

Last week, we talked about outdoor air quality in New Hampshire. But scientists are exploring the ways indoor air quality affects us too.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Massachusetts recently announced that it was ending its pandemic moratorium on reusable shopping bags, saying towns could go back to reinforcing their bans on single-use plastic bags. 

Meanwhile, New Hampshire and many other states are still not letting shoppers bring their reusable bags to stores. But is that actually helping to slow the spread of coronavirus?


Wikimedia Commons

The National Weather Service has issued a Heat Advisory in effect until 8 p.m. on Monday.

This kind of heat index, in the mid-90s or higher, poses a serious health risk to the elderly, young children, and those with respiratory issues or other preexisting health conditions. These people should find somewhere to stay cool inside and drink plenty of water.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

New Hampshire is seeing more heat waves due to climate change. And staying cool is even harder this year because of COVID-19. Our new climate change reporting project, By Degrees, has this look at how New Hampshire's cities are coping. 

Courtesy of Charles Driscoll

By Degrees is a new reporting project by NHPR shedding new light on climate change in New Hampshire. That project launches this week.

Air pollution is known to cause health problems like premature deaths, hospitalizations, heart attacks, and childhood asthma. It's also closely connected to climate change.

Syracuse University Professor Charles Driscoll joined NHPR’s All Things Considered host Peter Biello to talk about what air quality in New Hampshire can tell us about the extent of the problem.

Dan Tuohy / NHPR

Our new climate change reporting initiative, By Degrees, begins in an unprecedented time – one where people are making seismic shifts in their lifestyles and attitudes in response to COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement. 

Many of our listeners have wondered: why haven’t people reacted the same way to the climate emergency, and could that be about to change? 

Flickr Creative Commons | chadnorthrup

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, NHPR’s Sam Evans-Brown tracks down answers to questions about the environment and outdoors for our listeners in a segment we call “Ask Sam.” Do you have a question you want Sam to tackle? Click here to submit it!

Virginia from Manchester asks: I was wondering if we are having an abnormally high amount of pollen this season. And if we are having a worse pollen season than usual, I was wondering what the reason might be?