Environment

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

Springtime is usually beautiful in Mexico City. As the weather warms, the purple jacaranda trees that line boulevards and dot neighborhoods are in full bloom. Everything is prettier, says Fernando Padilla, a driver taking a break in a park.

"It's my favorite time of the year," he says.

But this spring, his eyes are watering, his throat hurts and one day a week he's not allowed to use his car on the road, which means he's poorer too.

Coastal cities across the globe are looking for ways to protect themselves from sea level rise and extreme weather. In the U.S., there is no set funding stream to help — leaving each city to figure out solutions for itself.

New Orleans and Philadelphia are two cities that face very similar challenges of flooding from rising tides. But they've chosen to pay for the solutions in very different ways.

New Orleans: Post-Disaster Payments And Grants Pave Future

The majority of Wisconsin's Conservation Congress recommends that the state change the way it selects its DNR secretary, repeal its new iron mining law and cease issuing permits for frac sand mining operations.

The WCC is the only state-recognized citizen advisory body to the Natural Resources Board, and as such, can pass-along opinions to state leaders. 

On a cold windy morning, Kelly Nissen feeds the cows at the Iowa State University Beef Nutrition Farm. He weighs out specific rations and carefully delivers them to numbered feed bunks.

"When you're feeding, you're always double-checking yourself to make sure it's going in the right lot," Nissen says. It's important — because these cows munch on more than just the common mix of hay, corn and distiller's grain. They're also charged with testing out different formulas developed by the researchers in the animal science department at Iowa State.

Although Flint, Mich., switched water sources six months ago, lead contamination of city tap water persists, researchers say, largely because residents are not using the poisonous water enough.

Erick Shambarger

The 13th annual Sustainability Summit begins Wednesday in Milwaukee.  It's taking place, for the first time, at Potawatomi Hotel & Casino in the Menomonee Valley.

This year’s theme is engaging community, business & academia in sustainable action.

The summit, which brings local, regional and national leaders to address a variety of sustainability-related topics, has a new director, Mark Felsheim.

A leading brand of home and garden pest-control products says it will stop using a class of pesticides linked to the decline of bees.

Ortho, part of the Miracle-Gro family, says the decision to drop the use of the chemicals — called neonicotinoids, or neonics for short — comes after considering the range of possible threats to bees and other pollinators.

"While agencies in the U.S. are still evaluating the overall impact of neonics on pollinator populations, it's time for Ortho to move on," says Tim Martin, the general manager of the Ortho Brand.

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

When it comes to clothes these days, maybe you should ask: What's your waste size?

Water Tainted with Lead, Copper at Two Wisconsin State Prisons

Apr 10, 2016
Kate Golden / Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism

Some inmates, staff and visitors at two Wisconsin state prisons say the water there is unsafe to use because of lead and copper contamination.

At Fox Lake Correctional Institution, 55 miles northeast of Madison, about a dozen inmates told the Wisconsin Center for Investigative Journalism that the water at the 56-year-old prison is routinely yellow or brown with dark sediment and an unpleasant flavor.

The federal government is cleaning up a long legacy of uranium mining within the Navajo Nation — some 27,000 square miles spread across Utah, New Mexico and Arizona that is home to more than 250,000 people.

Many Navajo people have died of kidney failure and cancer, conditions linked to uranium contamination. And new research from the CDC shows uranium in babies born now.

As a drought in Venezuela pushes the country's water levels to extreme lows, President Nicolas Maduro has declared every Friday for the next two months a holiday for public employees to save electricity and water.

Poaching and destruction of habitat have decimated wild tiger populations around the world, especially in Cambodia.

There are no longer any breeding tigers left in the wild in that country, and the species is considered "functionally extinct" there, according to the World Wildlife Foundation.

Renewable energy and new technologies that are making low-carbon power more reliable are growing rapidly in the U.S. Renewables are so cheap in some parts of the country that they're undercutting the price of older sources of electricity such as nuclear power.

The impact has been significant on the nuclear industry, and a growing number of unprofitable reactors are shutting down.

When the first nuclear power plants went online 60 years ago, nuclear energy seemed like the next big thing.

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