Environment

Over the past few years, so-called ugly fruit and vegetables have been gaining a host of admirers.

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Citing "a culture of deeply-rooted corporate arrogance," New York, Massachusetts and Maryland have filed civil lawsuits against Volkswagen, accusing the automaker of violating those states' environmental laws when it sold cars under the "clean diesel" label that were actually rigged to trick emissions tests.

The Smoggy Seas: Cargo Ships Bring Pollution, Health Risks

Jul 19, 2016

"Made in China" labels have multiplied over the past decades — and so have the trade ships docking in East Asian ports.

More shipping containers go through Shanghai than any other port in the world — and most of the world's 10 busiest ports are in China. Asian ports loaded or unloaded almost 50 percent of shipped goods in 2013, according to a U.N. report.

In the summertime, the air is thick with the low humming of bees delivering pollen from one flower to the next. If you listen closely, a louder buzz may catch your ear.

Susan Bence

The Milwaukee County Parks system seems to swing between two extremes. On one hand, its green space creates a ring,  some compare to an exquisite emerald necklace. On the other, parks are crippled by deferred maintenance.

One example is Lake Park, where officials closed a 110-year-old footbridge because it is crumbling.

The fate of the bridge that spans a ravine, and a winding roadway below, will be the topic of a public information meeting this evening at Lake Park.

The first time he encountered a tiger shark in the water, marine ecologist Neil Hammerschlag was in the Bahamas conducting research. His team was on a boat and hadn't seen many sharks, so when someone yelled, "Tiger shark!" he grabbed his snorkel gear and camera and jumped into the water.

"One [tiger shark] moved right in toward me and came close," Hammerschlag tells Fresh Air's Dave Davies. "It opened its mouth, and I was looking through its mouth down its gut and seeing its gills from the inside."

S Bence

If a rain drop were human, a human who liked to hang out in Lake Michigan, it would love to fall on the big parking lot north of Milwaukee County’s War Memorial Center.

“In this situation, all of the stormwater flows directly into the lake,” says Phil Schultz. He's chair of the Rotary Club of Milwaukee's environment and ecology committee.

The club rents space in the War Memorial and holds meetings there.

Susan Bence

The Urban Ecology Center specializes in introducing people to the urban environment. Over the last 25 years, the education-based organization has created three branches.

Below its flagship facility near Riverside University High School, UEC  joined forces with the Rotary Club of Milwaukee joined to create a 40-acre arboretum above the Milwaukee River.

Copyright 2016 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

In northern New York state, logger Greg Hemmerich and his crew are clearing out an old pasture at the edge of a forest.

"There's a lot of balsam, lot of spruce, thorn apple trees," Hemmerich says. "Ninety percent of this lot is low-grade wood."

In other words, it's no good for furniture or paper or sawmills. But he'll make $80,000 to run the wood through a chipper and truck the chips to a nearby biomass plant.

"Everybody said that green power was supposed to be the wave of the future," Hemmerich says. "So I went full in."

Susan Bence

For people familiar with the Urban Ecology Center, the name Ken Leinbach is often mentioned in the same breathe.

Today, the center shines bright as a model of environmental education and stewardship. However, a quarter century ago, the Urban Ecology Center, or UEC, began humbly in a trailer plunked above the Milwaukee River near Riverside High School.

Leinbach is credited with building its super-green flagship complex, as well as additional centers in Washington Park and the Menomonee Valley.

The way clouds cover the Earth may be changing because of global warming, according to a study published Monday that used satellite data to track cloud patterns across about two decades, starting in the 1980s.

Clouds in the mid-latitudes shifted toward the poles during that period, as the subtropical dry zones expanded and the highest cloud-tops got higher.

About a hundred miles north of Miami on the Atlantic Coast, the town of Stuart is a picturesque waterfront community — with homes, restaurants and parks overlooking the St. Lucie Estuary. But in many areas now, when you approach the water, the first thing you notice is the smell.

"There's no way to describe it," says John Skinner, a boat salesman in Stuart.

But he still tries. "I would say hundreds of dead animals that have been baking in the sun for weeks."

S Bence

The Calatrava has become a landmark on Milwaukee’s lakefront. Its soaring wings welcome people into the Milwaukee Art Museum. Perhaps less obvious is a large bed of white roses outside. 

Jule Groh  is one of the people who tends the flowers every Wednesday during the growing season. and shares its story.

Groh is member of the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club, and says it's the oldest and largest in Wisconsin, dating back to 1921.

Today, members tend one special plant.

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