Environment | New Hampshire Public Radio

Environment

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. 

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The U.S. Department of Agriculture has declared a drought disaster across all 10 New Hampshire counties.

It comes as the drought worsens again in the Southeastern area of the state, surrounding Strafford County.

An arsenic filter pitcher
Courtesy NHDES

The state has a new effort to protect low-income pregnant women and their babies from arsenic exposure using the WIC food assistance program.

The program will give out water pitchers with a three-year supply of arsenic filters to pregnant WIC users with unsafe arsenic levels in their home wells. It’s paid for by the state drinking and groundwater trust fund.

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.

Flickr Creative Commons | Matthew Prosser

 

 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."

 

Zach from Maryland asks: "I was riding my bike recently along the Anacostia River, and I noticed big pieces of wood through which the power lines were growing. How does this happen? How do power lines grow through pieces of trees - that are then presumably cut off so you just have these pieces of trees hanging there?

NHPR file

New Hampshire wants the Air Force to cover the cost of drinking water assistance for three homes near the former Pease Air Base with PFAS chemical contamination in their home wells.

It's the latest escalation in a dispute over whether the Air Force has to follow New Hampshire's new limits on PFAS in drinking water as part of ongoing groundwater cleanup around Pease. 

Sargent Corporation

Advocates are challenging the state’s approval of a plan to expand the North Country’s largest private landfill, in Bethlehem.

New Hampshire gave permission last month for Vermont-based Casella to add six acres to the facility, extending its life through 2026.

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.

NHDES

October was New Hampshire's wettest month since April, but the state's drought is still extreme in and around Strafford County.

All of the rest of the state remains in moderate drought. At a virtual multi-agency meeting Thursday, state officials said there hasn’t been enough rain recently to alleviate this.

Jonathan W. Chipman / Dartmouth College

Researchers at Dartmouth College are studying ways that doctors can encourage more homeowners to test their private water wells for toxins such as arsenic.

New Hampshire has lots of natural arsenic in its groundwater, and is working toward halving its limit on arsenic in public water systems – joining New Jersey as the only states to differ from the default federal standard.

But as much as half of New Hampshire and the rest of Northern New England relies on unregulated private wells for drinking water. 

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.

Flickr Creative Commons | liz west

Sam Evans-Brown is the host of NHPR's Outside/In podcast and radio show. Do you have a question for Sam? Call 1-844-GO-OTTER or email outsidein@nhpr.org.

Loon.org

New Hampshire is suing the giant agrochemical company Monsanto for allegedly knowingly causing water contamination with cancer-causing chemicals called PCBs, which have tainted fish and harmed loon populations across the state.

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.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

The state is offering emergency aid and bottled water for low-income homeowners whose drinking water wells are running dry due to the ongoing drought.

The state’s Drinking Water and Groundwater Trust Fund is putting up $1.5 million for the relief program, which is the first of its kind in any drought. 

Low-income homeowners whose private wells have run dry can request temporary free deliveries of bottled water for drinking and cooking.

Shawn St. Hilaire / Courtesy

New Hampshire’s dry conditions are improving after recent rain, but the southeastern part of the state is still in extreme drought. 

The latest update from the National Drought Monitor shows two areas of extreme drought left all across New England. One covers parts of southern Maine across the upper Seacoast toward I-93. The other spans from Cape Cod into Rhode Island.

NH Forest Rangers / Twitter

The state has lifted its restrictions on smoking and campfires near public woodlands after recent wet weather.

The ban was a rare step taken in late September amid extreme drought conditions. Now, the state says it's going back to its normal permitting system for open burning.

Officials say a rainy spell and higher humidity have eased the risk of wildfires despite the ongoing drought.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR file

A new federal water permit is out for a state fish hatchery in New Durham that's accused, in a federal lawsuit, of polluting waters that feed into Lake Winnipesaukee.

The long-awaited permit could prompt costly upgrades at the Powder Mill Fish Hatchery, the state’s largest, in the next several years.

Outside/In: The Olive and the Pine

Oct 17, 2020
Courtesy Liat Berdugo

Planting a tree often becomes almost a metaphor for doing a good deed. But such an act is not always neutral. In some places, certain trees can become windows into history, tools of erasure, or symbols of resistance.

Liz West, https://bit.ly/33Yig5a

 

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.” This time, producer Taylor Quimby stepped in to answer one. 

Donna from Campton asks: “Why can’t I get the same type of apple if I plant an apple seed? Are apples the only kinds of fruits like this or are their others?”

 

Casella

The state has approved an expansion for the North Country’s largest private landfill, allowing the Bethlehem facility’s owner to add six acres or about 1.2 million cubic yards in capacity.

Get stories about climate change and the environment in your inbox - sign up for our newsletter today.

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. 

 

Photo by Jonathan Combe, https://bit.ly/2BhLrRu

Every other Friday on Morning Edition, Outside/In host Sam Evans-Brown tackles a question from a listener. This week, we're buzzing because...

...Patty from Northampton asks: "I should understand the tides but I really don't. So in North Hampton, we have a very small beach even at low tide. And I was recently at Ogunquit beach with a friend, and the tide goes the way the heck out at low tide. And I don't know why!"

Note: This edition of Ask Sam originally aired in October, 2019.

Thursday marks the restart of widespread testing for PFAS chemicals in New Hampshire’s public water supplies, after a year-long delay due to a lawsuit from PFAS-maker 3M.

PFAS are industrial chemicals, widely found in groundwater and linked to health problems including liver and kidney disease, high cholesterol and reproductive, developmental and immune issues, as well as potentially some cancers.

Annie Ropeik / NHPR

Parts of New Hampshire continue to experience extreme drought conditions. The state has put a ban on campfires near public woodlands in response, and well drilling companies are overwhelmed with calls.

Michael Casey / AP

New Hampshire will offer a new federal grant program to rehabilitate some of its dozens of so-called “high hazard” dams – ones that would threaten life and property if they failed.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency launched the program this year, giving New Hampshire close to half a million dollars to give to towns, nonprofits and dam owners.

Google Earth

The Environmental Protection Agency has approved a new ocean dumping site for dredged material just off the Seacoast, after a years-long permitting process.

The site is in federal waters past the Isles of Shoals, about 14 miles directly east of Wallis Sands State Beach. It covers a circle just over a mile and a half in diameter, in water about 300 feet deep.

NH Forest Rangers / Twitter

New Hampshire is taking the rare step of banning most campfires and smoking near public woodlands to prevent forest fires as drought conditions get worse.

The new ban prohibits the burning of debris on public property, as well as most kinds of campfires. Also banned are the smoking of pipes, cigars or cigarettes on or near public woodlands and trails.

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?

Pages