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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


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...


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...