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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


Low Ambition Climate Summit, Breakthrough for Loss and Damage, Cleaning Up Crypto and more

The United Nations climate talks in Egypt produced an unprecedented agreement for rich nations to pay for loss and damage from climate disasters in poor countries. But no money has been provided yet to stricken nations and many details still need to be worked out. And COP27 added no new brakes to keep the Earth from hurtling past the 1.5 degrees Celsius warming target of the Paris Agreement. Also, cryptocurrencies like Bitcoin typically involve massive amounts of computation needing lots of...


Plant and Planet-Centered Eating, Celebrating the "Seven Sisters," The Reign of Wolf 21 and more

As Americans prepare to gather to give thanks over a feast, a look at how embracing the plant world in our diets connects to climate, health, and democracy. Also, in some Native cultures four more crops join the “Three Sisters” of corn, beans, and squash. The “Seven Sisters” and the importance of saving Native seeds. And “The Reign of Wolf 21” is the true love story of an alpha pair who lead their Yellowstone pack with grace, courage, and an unbreakable bond. What these wolves can teach us...


Climate at the Ballot Box, Ozone-Killing Chemicals Declining, Extreme Wildlife Loss and more

California Democratic Governor Gavin Newsom handily won re-election and now has 4 more years to work towards his goal of achieving carbon neutrality in the state by 2045. Mr. Newsom and other Governors have billions of dollars in climate funding at their disposal that was allocated by the U.S. Congress this summer. These state governments will play a crucial role in helping cities, universities, and the private sector make the most of it. Also, emissions of chemicals that tear holes in the...


Toxic Air In Utero, New President to Protect Amazon, An Immense World: How Animal Senses Reveal the Hidden Realms Around Us and more

Before they’ve even taken their first breath, most babies are exposed to air pollution that passes from their mother’s blood stream through the placenta and has now been found in fetal tissues. Also, Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, a.k.a. “Lula,” is headed back to the Brazilian Presidency. In sharp contrast to defeated incumbent Jair Bolsonaro, Lula has pledged to protect the Brazilian Amazon and indigenous communities from illegal mining, agriculture and land grabbing. And every animal species...


Fishing for Plastic, Climate Disasters and Debt, Cool Season Gardening and more

By some estimates there could be more plastic, by weight, than fish in the oceans in less than 30 years. A UN “Young Champion of the Earth” is helping Greek fishermen be part of the solution by collecting plastic along with their fishing haul. Also, the rich nations of the global north are primarily responsible for greenhouse gas emissions. But some of the poorest nations are being crippled by debt related to loss and damage from storms, fires, droughts, and more. And for gardeners based in...


California Wind Power Breakthrough, Saving Big Forests to Save the Planet, Fat Bear Week and the Salmon Behind It All, and more

The federal government is leasing sites for innovative floating offshore wind farms in the deep waters along the California coast, and the oil and gas industry has expertise that can be put to good use for this untapped resource. Also, Fat Bear Week celebrates the bears of Katmai National Park in Alaska who stock up on plenty of fat reserves to get them through the long frigid Alaskan winter, and salmon are the unsung heroes. And protecting “megaforests,” the remaining intact big forests on...


Wetlands on the Line at Supreme Court, Building Codes and Hurricane Resilience, Protecting Coral Reefs with “Sponge Bobbie” and more

In 1972, Congress passed the Clean Water Act, the first significant federal regulation to protect the waters of the United States, or “WOTUS.” The rules that define WOTUS, however, have often been contested over the years. Now, WOTUS is back with the Supreme Court case Sackett v. EPA. Also, some homes in the direct path of powerful Hurricane Ian were left intact and mostly unharmed thanks to strong doors, windows, and roofs mandated by newer building codes. We’ll hear about how to build more...


Hispanic Heritage Month: Powering Puerto Rico With the Sun, Many Hazards for Farmworkers, Ecological Farming, and more

Puerto Rico’s antiquated power grid has repeatedly failed catastrophically after hurricanes. Rooftop solar offers a more reliable way to power the island. Also, as extreme heat, wildfires, and severe storms intensify, the already hazardous work of farmworkers is likely to become even more dangerous. But these essential workers continue to be excluded from crucial safety protections. And young Puerto Ricans are working to improve the sustainability of farming on the island by applying...


Steady Light for Solar, Extinction Threatens 1 in 6 U.S. Trees, The Grand Canyon of the Atlantic Ocean, and more

For years solar and wind power have had on again, off again financial support from the US government, limiting renewable energy development to fight the growing climate crisis. A utility scale solar CEO explains how the Inflation Reduction Act gives solar and wind a new day. Also, as many as 1 in 6 U.S. tree species are at risk of extinction, largely due to pests, disease, and climate change. Even well-known species could face extinction: oaks, ash trees, and the Frasier fir, a common...


Victory in ‘Cancer Alley,’ Fiona and Landslides, Methane Supercharges Climate Change and more

Environmental justice advocates are declaring victory after a Louisiana judge canceled permits for a plastic factory in the region known as ‘cancer alley’ for the high rate of the disease linked to emissions from some 150 petrochemical plants. Also, the new climate law contains billions of dollars aimed directly at addressing environmental and climate injustice. What it will take to ensure low-income communities and people of color can access those funds. And Puerto Rico was still recovering...

The Green King, Greening the Golden State, “Forever Chemicals” Are Now Everywhere, Too – and more

King Charles III, the former Prince of Wales, has acceded to the throne and brings with him a lifelong passion for nature and environmental causes. As His Majesty takes on a new role as sovereign, the environment and climate torch now passes to his son William, the new Prince of Wales. Also, California has been a national leader on tackling climate change and recently announced two changes to further green the golden state. First, California will ban the sale of most new gas-powered vehicles...


Extreme Weather and Climate Science, Renters and Climate Change, Green Voters and the 2022 Midterms and more

Scientists have understood for decades how global warming would put more moisture in the atmosphere, promoting climate disruption and extremes such as floods, wildfires and record-breaking heat. But there may be more impacts to come as climate models haven’t captured all the complex interactions of a warming world. Also, as climate change brings higher temperatures and extreme weather to American cities, our rental and affordable housing stock remains largely under-equipped to deal with...


Mapping Cancer-Causing Air, EPA Whistleblowers Expose Health Concerns, Guardians of the Trees and More

Whistleblowers at the EPA say they have been forced to delete cancer warnings about new chemicals. Also, flaws in the way EPA calculates cancer risk. And a discussion about keeping people healthy by keeping the planet healthy, with a healthcare clinic in Indonesian Borneo. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Plastic Planet, Rising Seas Threaten Landfills, A New African Voice on Climate and more

Greenhouse gas emissions from plastic production in the United States are on track to outpace domestic coal emissions. Also, until recently landfills in America were often sited in coastal wetlands. Now rising seas are threatening to unleash their trash, toxics, and even nuclear waste into coastal areas. And a conversation with Ugandan climate activist Vanessa Nakate about how the climate crisis is impacting Africa and the discrimination she’s faced in speaking up. Learn more about your ad...


Zen and the Art of Saving the Planet, Widespread Youth Anxiety About Climate, 150-Year-Old Mining Law Robs Public Lands Riches and more

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. We talk about a proposed lithium mine in Nevada and efforts to reform the antiquated mining law. Also, a study found that three-quarters of young people surveyed believe the future is frightening because of climate change. What young people are expressing about their eco-anxiety and how parents can safely talk to their...


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...