Living on Earth-logo

Living on Earth


As the planet we call home faces a climate emergency, Living on Earth is your go-to source for the latest coverage of climate change, ecology, and human health. Hosted by Steve Curwood and brought to you by PRX.

As the planet we call home faces a climate emergency, Living on Earth is your go-to source for the latest coverage of climate change, ecology, and human health. Hosted by Steve Curwood and brought to you by PRX.


Cambridge, MA




As the planet we call home faces a climate emergency, Living on Earth is your go-to source for the latest coverage of climate change, ecology, and human health. Hosted by Steve Curwood and brought to you by PRX.




20 Holland Street Suite 408 Somerville, MA 02144-2749 1-800-218-9988

Listen on a live station

Big Oil Under Fire for Climate Disinformation; “They Knew”: The Feds’ 50-Year Climate Failure; Widespread Youth Anxiety About Climate and more

Industry and the US federal government have long worked in tandem to sideline climate concerns and continue to promote Earth-warming fossil fuels. Now the US House Oversight and Reform Committee has summoned top executives from Exxon, Shell, BP and Chevron and two affiliated lobbying groups to testify in front of a committee hearing in October, as part of an ongoing investigation into the fossil fuel industry's promotion of climate disinformation. Also, for the past 50 years, the US...


“Vaccine Apartheid”: A Call to Delay UN Climate Talks, Getting the US Grid to 40 Percent Solar, Harvard Divests Fossil Fuels and more

As COVID-19 spread continues and vaccine access remains limited in some of the countries most vulnerable to climate impacts, civil society is warning of a “vaccine apartheid” and calling for a delay of the upcoming UN climate talks. Also, how solar power can produce up to 40% of the nation's electricity by 2035 to meet President Biden’s goal of decarbonizing the grid by then. And Harvard University announced that it will no longer invest in fossil fuel companies, following years of refusal...


Hurricane Ida Adds Misery to Cancer Alley, ‘The Hummingbirds’ Gift,’ and more

Hurricane Ida left people in the Louisiana region known as ‘Cancer Alley’ with destroyed homes, no electricity, and polluted water. That’s on top of the toxic air they breathe every day because of some 150 petrochemical plants in the area. We hear from grassroots activist Sharon Lavigne, a 2021 Goldman Prize recipient, about what it’s like living through these disasters and what drives her to keep fighting yet another plastics plant. Also, hummingbirds are truly superlative creatures --...


The Way Forward For People And Our Planet

As Living on Earth celebrates 30 years on the air, we examine this decisive moment for the human species and our challenging relationship with our planet. We meet people who envision a future reshaped by an emerging energy system and new power structures, as we wean off of fossil fuels. Next we take a big-picture view of Earth as a complex and sustaining organism known as Gaia. Over billions of years life has interacted with the elements of this planet in cycles of constant change and...


Alaska Drilling Project Blocked, Chemicals and Breast Cancer Risk, Finding the Mother Tree and more

A major Alaska drilling project to tap 600 million barrels of oil has been blocked. A federal judge ruled in favor of Indigenous and environmental groups, finding that the permitting process has yet to fully consider impacts on the climate and polar bears. Also, higher levels of the hormones estrogen and progesterone lead to a greater risk of breast cancer. Researchers at the Silent Spring Institute have shed new light on how chemical exposure can raise those hormone levels in women, and...


U.N. Report Charts Possible Climate Futures, Investing in Green Infrastructure, Sheltering with Thoreau in the Age of Crisis and more

Scientists are once again sounding the alarm about the climate emergency, with a new UN climate report. Hundreds of experts collaborated to bring together the best science on past, present, and future climate change. Also, the $1.2 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill includes some green measures to address and invest in crumbling American infrastructure. But climate and environmental justice advocates say much more is needed now from a much larger budget reconciliation package that’s in...


Tree Deaths and Climate, ‘Forest Bathing’, Journeys North: The Pacific Crest Trail and more

Earth’s complex, interconnected climate system means that changes in one part of the world can impact atmospheric moisture and the climate thousands of miles away. Research shows that when trees die in California from drought, wildfires, and bark beetles, that can hinder plant growth all the way across the continent in Eastern North America. Also, every year, several hundred intrepid hikers walk all the way from Mexico to Canada, along the Pacific Crest Trail. At more than twenty-six hundred...


Anxiety and Bad Air, Colorado River in Crisis, Planetary Health and more

Small particulates from fossil fuels are linked to as many as 300,000 excess deaths in the United States each year. And these small, PM 2.5 particulates may also be harming the mental health of children and teens by worsening depression, anxiety, suicidality and more. Also, the Colorado River that carved the Grand Canyon and now quenches the thirst of much of the American West is parched in a “megadrought.” Two key reservoirs are expected to drop to record low levels this year and trigger a...


The Climate Emergency Warning from Extreme Weather, Eco-Justice40, Imagining Wolves Returning to Scotland and more

As a slew of extreme weather events hits the headlines, the evidence mounts we are headed for dangerous thresholds of climate disruption beyond the reach of adaptation to cope. Why sea level rise could be counted in the dozens of feet by 2100, and how an unchecked climate emergency imperils human civilization. Also, the Biden Administration has now rolled out details of its environmental justice plan called Justice40, which aims to share at least 40% of benefits from federal climate and...


Amazon Near Climate Tipping Point, Indigenous People and Forest Care, Deep Time Reckoning: How Future Thinking Can Help Earth Now, and more

New research confirms that the damaged Amazon rainforest is now a net contributor to climate change overall, and parts of the Amazon are showing signs of nearing a crucial “tipping point”. But there is hope for protecting the forest: Indigenous people have taken care of these forests for millennia, and now with the help of a nonprofit they’re using GPS data to take a stand against illegal deforestation. Also, many of us are fixated on the now, and in fact much of the environmental damage we...


The Troubling Decline in Fertility, Chemicals and Hormone Havoc, Winning a Fight Against Plastic Bags and more

Over the past four decades, sperm counts have dropped by more than 50% in the US, and female fertility is also declining. Some chemicals that disrupt hormones are key culprits, including those found in plastics, cosmetics and fracking solutions. Why this looming fertility crisis hits vulnerable communities especially hard. Also, a recent study finds the toxic class of chemicals called PFAS, also known as “forever chemicals”, is widespread in lipstick, mascara, and other cosmetics. The ugly...


Ocean Warming Speeding Up, Oyster Shell Recycling, Secrets of the Whales and more

Recent data show the Earth’s oceans are warming much more rapidly than previously reported. That means rising sea levels, stronger storms, and more intense droughts. Also, fertilizer runoff can create massive algae blooms in water that suck up oxygen and create dead zones for most other forms of life. The Chesapeake Bay is particularly vulnerable but restaurants in Pittsburgh are pitching in to help. And a documentary miniseries seeks to unravel the secrets of whale behavior and understand...


DNA Barcoding for Quick Species ID, Ubuntu and Unity for Healing, The Butterfly Effect and more

Roughly 1.3 million species have been identified and recorded, but that’s just a fraction of life on our planet. A recent advancement known as DNA barcoding samples small but key parts of genomes to ID species. Also, the U.S. is extremely divided in many ways, from politics to race to wealth. But for a model of unity, we might look to the African concept of Ubuntu as a way to heal the many broken relationships in America. And insects far outnumber us on this planet, and they’ve shaped the...


Line 3 Pipeline Threatens Native Way of Life, Oil Leasing in Court, Plastic Waste Suppliers and more

Activists are ramping up actions against the Line 3 pipeline, which would carry tar sands oil through delicate wetlands and the treaty territory of the Anishinaabe peoples in northern Minnesota. And while that oil would be coming from Canada, President Biden is hoping he can use his executive power to pause oil and gas leasing on U.S. public lands and waters like the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. But this is being challenged in the courts. Also, increasingly the oil and gas we extract...


Celebrating Juneteenth, Farming While Black and more

Juneteenth and African Foodways / One in Five Deaths from Fossil Fuels / Redlined Real Estate and Extreme Urban Heat / Why I Wear Jordans in the Great Outdoors / Farming While Black: A Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land June 19th marks the holiday known as Juneteenth, when African Americans gather to celebrate emancipation of ancestors from slavery with picnics and cook outs. The voyage from Africa isn't often on people's minds, but it is in their stomachs, by way of the foodways from...


The Golden State Going Greener, The Ev Rx, Roadside Pollinator Havens and more

The Golden State Going Greener / Beyond the Headlines / The First All-Electric Ford Pickup / The EV RX / Backup: African Elephant and Chacma Baboon / Running Buffalo Clover / Roadsides as Vital Habitat California has often led the nation in environmental ambition, and now that his state finds itself with a big budget surplus Governor Gavin Newsom wants to invest 14 billion of it in climate initiatives, with a focus on vulnerable communities. We catch up with Jared Blumenfeld, California...


Exxon's New Board and Climate, Brazilian Enviro Officials Accused of Profiting From Illegal Deforestation, Katherine Johnson and One Step Further and More!

Corruption In Brazilian Government / The G7 Gears Up to Talk Climate / Climate Activists Take Board Seats at Exxon / Beyond the Headlines / One Step Further: The Story of Katherine Johnson Brazil's environment minister and nine other government officials face allegations of corruption, including profiting from illegal deforestation in the Amazon. But despite public criticism, the Brazilian government continues to endanger the environment. Also, climate activists take three seats on...


Climate and Infrastructure, Youth Climate Plaintiffs Try Again, Mark Bittman’s “Animal, Vegetable, Junk”, and more

Climate and Infrastructure / Beyond the Headlines / Youth Climate Plaintiffs Try Again / Audio Postcard: Osa Peninsula in Costa Rica / "Animal, Vegetable Junk" President Joe Biden's proposed $2 trillion infrastructure bill presents a rare opportunity to pass climate legislation through Congress. But it won't be easy and will require lots of political maneuvering. Also, back in 2015 a group of young people sued the United States for failing to protect the climate and therefore their rights to...


Brood X Emerges!, Cicada Cuisine, Rescuing the Planet, and more

EPA Updates Signs of Climate Change / Beyond the Headlines / Rescuing the Planet / "Fight Card": Elk at Jasper National Park in Alberta, Canada / Brood X Emerges! / Cicada Cuisine Brood X is here at last: trillions of cicadas, underground for the last 17 years, are emerging in numerous Eastern and Midwestern states to transform, sing, and mate. Many will become a meal for birds, raccoons, squirrels and more. Also, eating cicadas isn't just for the birds. Insects are rich in proteins and...


Youth Activists Win Stronger Climate Action in Germany, Elizabeth Kolbert’s "Under a White Sky", The Colorado River's Shrinking Water Supply and more

Youth Activists Win Stronger Climate Action in Germany / French Climate Bill Disappoints Activists / Under a White Sky: The Nature of the Future / Beyond the Headlines / Note on Emerging Science: Biochar and Irrigation / The Colorado River's Dwindling Water Supply After a trial brought forth by youth climate activists, Germany's highest court recently ruled that present government commitments to reduce greenhouse gas emissions are insufficient to protect future needs. Also, humans have...