Environment

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.

Deep in the forests of Hawaii, a native tree called 'ōhi'a reigns king. The tall canopy tree dominates the island's forests, especially on the Big Island. 'Ōhi'a makes up approximately 80 percent of Hawaii's native forests and more than half of 'ōhi'a grows on Hawaii Island.Often the first plant to grow from a fresh lava flow, 'Ōhi'a is known for its resilience. That's what makes a recent discovery all the more tragic: 'ōhi'a is dying.

The tiny Samoan islands have among the highest rates of obesity and Type 2 diabetes in the world — and diet and weight-related health issues have been rising in these Pacific nations since the 1970s. Now 1 in 3 residents of American Samoa suffers from diabetes.

Sardines, herring and other small fish species are the foundation of the marine food web — they're essential food for birds, marine mammals and other fish. But globally, demand for these so-called forage species has exploded, with many going to feed the livestock and fish farming industries.

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North Point Lighthouse Friends spent years raising money to transform the 1888 station in Milwaukee's Lake Park from a decaying structure to gleaming public space.

Residents of Flint, Mich., may tell you lead is a serious menace, but for most of the last 5,000 years, people saw lead as a miracle metal at the forefront of technology.

"You can think about lead as kind of the plastic of the ancient world," says Joseph Heppert, a professor of chemistry at the University of Kansas. He says it was because lead is easy to melt — a campfire alone can do it. Unlike iron, lead is malleable.

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

Americans throw away about a third of our available food.

But what some see as trash, others are seeing as a business opportunity. A new facility known as the Heartland Biogas Project is taking wasted food from Colorado's most populous areas and turning it into electricity. Through a technology known as anaerobic digestion, spoiled milk, old pet food and vats of grease combine with helpful bacteria in massive tanks to generate gas.

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