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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


Democrats Deliver on Climate, Medical Plastic Linked to Breast Cancer Relapse, The Reign of Wolf 21 and more

Congress has passed a historic climate bill with the enactment of the 2022 budget reconciliation measure called the Inflation Reduction Act. This first serious federal climate legislation includes about $400 billion to address climate and clean energy over the next decade, as well as major tax reforms and mandated consumer cost cuts for health care. We analyze the new law and take a closer look at its expanded electric vehicle incentives. Also, breast cancer is the leading cause of cancer...


Underwater Wild: My Octopus Teacher’s Extraordinary World, Plastics and Autism, Bald Eagle in Central Park and more

Underwater explorer Craig Foster dives nearly every day in the near-shore waters of South Africa and it’s here that he befriended an octopus, a relationship captured in the documentary “My Octopus Teacher.” He’s coauthor of the 2021 book “Underwater Wild” and joined us for a memorable Living on Earth Book Club event to talk about his encounters with cuttlefish, sharks, and Cape clawless otters, and the power of connecting with wild nature. Also, as the autism rate continues to rise among...


Extreme Drought Causes Famine in East Africa, The Health Toll of L.A.’s Oil Rigs, A Leg Up for a Baby Giraffe and more

A punishing drought in the Horn of Africa linked to climate change has led to mass famine, and some 19 million people in Ethiopia, Somalia, and Kenya don’t have enough to eat. Also, there are about 700 active oil and gas wells in the city of Los Angeles, mostly located in minority communities like the one where young activist Nalleli Cobo grew up, just 30 feet from a well. She and her neighbors have suffered for years from headaches, asthma, and cancer -- illnesses linked to the proximity of...


Biden Punts On National Climate Emergency, Blue Trees to Raise Awareness About Deforestation, The James Webb Space Telescope and More!

President Biden responds to a lack of Congressional action on climate change with new executive orders but stops short of declaring a national climate emergency, disappointing some. Also, painting tree trunks bright blue to raise awareness about deforestation. And, The James Webb Space Telescope has sent back the first images of deep space and distant time. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Biden Boosts Solar Production, A Seaweed Diet for Cows, A Trip to Grand Teton National Park, and More!

President Biden recently invoked the Defense Production Act to stimulate domestic production of clean energy technology including solar panels and heat pumps. And, how a seaweed supplement, currently in the experimental phase, may help reduce methane emissions from cattle. Also, Admiral David Titley, former Chief Operating Officer for NOAA, shares his observations on how climate change is affecting the Greater Yellowstone ecosystem from his home in Grand Teton National Park. Learn more about...


Getting Plastics Out of the Parks, The Sounds of Mars, New Telescope to Unlock Mysteries of the Universe, and more

To help curb the plastic pollution crisis, the US Department of Interior will phase out single-use plastic products sold and distributed in national parks and other federal public lands it oversees. Also, the first successful Mars lander was Viking 1 in 1976, and now, after dozens of missions NASA has finally captured the first ever audio recorded on the surface of the red planet. How sounds on Mars compare to how we experience them here on Earth. And the new James Webb Space Telescope is by...


Supreme Court Limits EPA Power, Saltier Soils in a Warming World, Climate and Punishment and more

In a major 6 to 3 decision with sobering implications for climate policy, the Supreme Court ruled that the Environmental Protection Agency overstepped its authority when it created guidelines for how utilities generate electricity. Also, rising seas and temperatures are exacerbating the perennial problem of increasing salinity on both coastal and inland farmland. And America’s aging prison facilities are largely unprepared for climate impacts and often lack air conditioning, wildfire...


Pregnancy and Heat Waves, Putting Coal Miners Back to Work, UN Climate Talks on the Hot Seat

Extreme heat events such as India and Pakistan recently endured are among the deadliest impacts of climate change, and pregnant women and fetuses are among the most vulnerable to heat stress. Extreme heat is linked to complications of pregnancy including eclampsia, preterm birth and stillbirth. Also, to help revitalize coal country as the mines close, the United Mine Workers of America is teaming up with an electric vehicle battery company on a new factory in West Virginia. And UN climate...


Celebrating Juneteenth, Farming While Black and more

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 across the Atlantic. Fast-forward to today, to the farmers who are working to cultivate justice, root out racism, and find liberation on the land, by reconnecting people of color to the earth. And systemic racism has set Black...


Green Light For Solar, The ‘Danger Season’, 1,001 Voices on Climate Change and more

Threatened by draconian tariffs, the US solar industry has been largely frozen since April and laid off thousands of workers, stalling crucial progress towards climate goals. But on June 6th, President Biden signed executive orders temporarily suspending tariffs and boosting domestic solar panel production. Also, with the start of the Atlantic hurricane season June 1, Tropical Storm Alex has already flooded Cuba, the Bahamas, and South Florida. Wildfires are already ravaging parts of the...


Climate Hopes Up Down Under, Cutting Up Credit Cards to Stop Coal, Taking the A Train to a National Park and more

Australia is a leading coal and natural gas exporter and has stubbornly opposed major climate action for decades, even as climate disasters like fires, floods, and droughts have taken their toll. But now Australian voters have ushered in a more progressive Parliament in the recent elections that signal their country is heading in a new direction on climate. Also, we continue our conversations with this year’s recipients of the Goldman Environmental Prize with Julien Vincent, the winner for...


Toxic Pet Collars, Justice After Oil Spills in Nigeria, the Sounds of Mars and more

In the past decade, the EPA has received over 98,000 reports of harm and over 2500 reports of pet deaths connected to the Seresto brand of pesticide-containing flea collars. But the EPA has never issued any warnings or recalls of these collars. Also, the 2022 Goldman Environmental Prize recipient for Africa is Chima Williams, an environmental lawyer who worked with two communities to hold Royal Dutch Shell accountable for disastrous oil spills in Nigeria. We talk about why Chima and his...


Climate Risk from ‘Zombie’ Rules, Self-Immolation for the Climate, Mass Shooting and Eco-Fascism and more

The 6-3 conservative majority of the U.S. Supreme Court is expected to constrain climate action by the Environmental Protection Agency in a decision before the end of the SCOTUS term in June. Why a loss for EPA in this one case, West Virginia v. EPA, could limit climate policies across multiple agencies. Also, on Earth Day April 22, Wynn Bruce, a Buddhist and environmental activist, set himself on fire on the steps of the Supreme Court to protest inaction on climate change. A conversation...


Drought Threatens Hydropower, “SmartICE” Helps Inuit People Adapt, How to Save the Climate and more

With record low water levels that threaten hydropower generation, the federal government has decided to retain water in Lake Powell and release less to Lake Mead and beyond. But the Colorado River basin still faces a long-term water shortage that imperils the future of cities and farms in the Southwest. Also, the sea ice that Inuit people rely on for travel and hunting is growing dangerously thin. Now, sensors and GPS technology along with Inuit traditional knowledge are helping to measure...


Whistleblowers Say EPA Endangers Public Health, No Mow May to Help Pollinators, The Hawk's Way Book, and more.

Whistleblowers say EPA endangers public health by being too cozy with industry and approving cancer-causing and other unsafe chemicals. Also, "No Mow May." The movement to leave our lawnmowers in the garage for the month of May and give pollinators a chance to access spring flowers. And, in her new book, "The Hawks Way" author Sy Montgomery takes a deep dive into the world of hawks and falconry. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


EV Sales Stuck in the Slow Lane, 150-Year-Old Mining Law Robs Public Lands Riches, and more

Electric vehicles are key to decarbonizing the transportation sector but most cars sold in the U.S. are still gas-powered. Even in Massachusetts, where a climate law requires net zero emissions by 2050, EV numbers are nowhere near where they need to be. Also, the extraction of minerals on U.S. public lands is based on a 150-year-old law that doesn’t require royalty payments or adequate protection for the environment and local people. The antiquated law is impacting the future of renewable...


The Way Forward For People And Our Planet: An Earth Day Special

Our Earth Day special examines 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 adaptation. With the help of deep...


A New Telescope to Unlock Mysteries of the Universe, Massive Government Animal Culling, Climate Risk Disclosure Mandate and more

The new James Webb Space Telescope is by far the most powerful space telescope ever built, able to see up to a hundred galaxies at once and detect the light emitted from some of the universe's very first stars while also checking planets near and far for conditions compatible for life. Also, Wildlife Services, a division of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, killed 1.75 million animals in 2021, including bears, wolves and beavers among 400,000 native animals. USDA claims these...


Shutdowns in the Solar Industry, Resilience Workers for Climate Disasters, Poetry for the Extinction Crisis and more

The U.S. solar installation business has been frozen suddenly in its tracks by a U.S. Department of Commerce investigation into whether China is evading tariffs on solar cells and panels. So at a time when there is more demand than ever for solar power, the solar industry is now experiencing project delays, layoffs, and uncertainty. Also, as climate related disasters worsen, the people who help rebuild cities afterwards are more vital than ever. But advocates say these “resilience workers”...


BPA Asthma Risk for Girls, Conflict Oil and Gas, The Quest for Climate Justice and more

Higher levels of BPA plastic exposure while in the womb is associated with increased risk of asthma and wheezing in school aged girls, a new study has found. It’s the latest danger sign regarding the estrogen-mimicking chemical, which has also been linked to numerous health problems including heart disease and Type II diabetes. Also, fossil fuel markets are often volatile, especially around wars, while renewable energy resources tend to be more isolated from conflict. As oil prices surge the...