Environment

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

Susan Bence

Tuesday all eight Great Lake states said “yes” to Waukesha's request to draw water from Lake Michigan. It was a historic moment because it was the first test of the Great Lakes Compact, which restricts diversions outside the basin.

The city's underground water supply is dwindling and increasingly contaminated with cancer-causing radium, so Waukesha spent years building its case that the Great Lakes are its only sustainable source for clean drinking water.

The U.S. Department of Energy is considering the future of a public asset worth tens of billions of dollars: the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

A solar-powered airplane took off from New York's John F. Kennedy International Airport early Monday, in a bid to have the Solar Impulse 2 craft cross the Atlantic Ocean and land in Spain on Thursday.

Temperatures are expected to reach potentially lethal levels this weekend in parts of the Southwest and the Plains. Forecasters say major cities including Phoenix, Las Vegas and Tucson, as well as parts of Kansas and Oklahoma, will reach highs above 110 degrees Fahrenheit.

Neumann Companies

Renewable energy, and the movement to make it more widespread, was partially pioneered in Central Wisconsin in the 1960s and 1970s. And from those first forays into that new technology the Midwest Renewable Energy Association – or MREA - was born.

This weekend the organization is staging its 27th annual Energy Fair – a tradition that attracts thousands of people from around the country.

Ahead of the fair’s kickoff today, we talked with three Milwaukee-based renewable energy proponents.

If you're a home gardener in most of the country, your tomato plants are probably just getting started. It's not even officially summer.

Yet if you go to the grocery store, you'll probably see tomatoes that come from even farther north: Canada!

Our cold-weather neighbor sends us more tomatoes, peppers and cucumbers than we send the other way. Despite all the vegetable fields of California and Florida.

When I discovered this fact, I was so shocked that I decided to investigate.

This is what passes for good news about coral reefs these days: Around the world, some reefs aren't dying as quickly as scientists thought they would.

Russia launched the world's biggest, most powerful icebreaker on Thursday in St. Petersburg.

The Arktika is 568 feet long and powered by two nuclear reactors. It can break through ice 13 feet deep, NPR's Mary Louise Kelly reports.

The ship set forth early, ahead of its planned 2017 launch, according to Sputnik News and the shipyard where the Arktika was built.

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

S Bence

Water policy makers, scientists, corporate leaders and entrepreneurs are all together this week in Milwaukee. And while that’s not so unusual, given global discussions around water security and climate change, the Milwaukee-based Water Council is trying something new as it convenes its 9th annual Water Summit.

Instead of the typical breakout session format, the organizers are trying something called “One Room. One Moderator. One Water.”

Climate change is a global issue. But for Betty Barkha, it's personal.

The 25-year-old grew up in the city of Lautoka in Fiji, a couple of minutes from the Pacific, amid the fish markets and flocks of tourists roasting on the beach.

A few months ago, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention published a startling map that showed the parts of the U.S. that could harbor mosquitoes capable of carrying Zika.

Many readers, including myself, thought, "Zika could come to my town! It could come to Connecticut! To Ohio and Indiana! Or to Northern California! Oh goodness!"

The map made it look like a vast swath of the country was at risk for Zika, including New England and the Upper Midwest.

Well, not quite.

Some people may be dimly aware that Thailand's chilies and Italy's tomatoes — despite being central to their respective local cuisines — originated in South America. Now, for the first time, a new study reveals the full extent of globalization in our food supply. More than two-thirds of the crops that underpin national diets originally came from somewhere else — often far away. And that trend has accelerated over the past 50 years.

Susan Bence

Milwaukee recently found itself on a list of 33 cities accused of concealing dangerous levels of lead in its drinking water. The Guardian claims the city’s testing methods are faulty because testers run faucets – or pre-flush a water system – before collecting the samples.

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