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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.


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


Jane Goodall on Helping People to Help Nature, Broken Promise for the Arctic, Saving the Second Lung of the Planet and more

Jane Goodall is on a mission to protect habitat worldwide by empowering local communities to develop sustainably. And it all started when she was just ten years old and dreamed of studying wild animals in Africa. Also, a massive new oil drilling project in the Arctic just got the green light from President Biden despite his promises for no new drilling on federal lands. And the Congo Basin in Central Africa is a critical biodiversity hotspot and linchpin in the fight against climate...


The Human Toll of Pollinator Loss, Nature on the Federal Balance Sheet, Indonesia Squelching Biodiversity Research and more

A study finds the decline of pollinators is contributing to an estimated half a million deaths a year worldwide. That’s because yields of nutritious foods that keep us healthy, like most fruits, vegetables, and nuts, are falling as the pollinators they depend on disappear. Also, what’s the worth of a whale, or a tree, or a wetland? The White House wants to know and has announced moves to start officially accounting for natural capital, the economic value of services provided by nature, when...


Dioxin Concerns After Train Crash, CO2 Pipeline Safety Risks, Climate Change and Mating, and more

The train derailment in Ohio last month led to a controlled release and burn of vinyl chloride, which can produce dioxin. Locals are concerned that the soot that fell on their homes in the wake of the disaster may contain this potent neurotoxin. Also, carbon capture and storage involves a network of pipelines that transport carbon dioxide from source to sink so that it can’t warm the planet. But these pipelines carry high-pressure CO2 that can be dangerous, even lethal. And showy traits like...


Chemical Concerns of the Ohio Train Disaster, Workers Left in the Dark About Chemical Risks, The Power of Black History and more

Eleven of the 38 train cars that came off the tracks in East Palestine, Ohio contained hazardous materials including the carcinogen vinyl chloride. Crews intentionally released and burned vinyl chloride to avoid a potential explosion, and residents have lingering concerns about the long-term effects of the chemicals in their community. Also, Safety Data Sheets are supposed to provide key information about the risks of workplace chemicals but they often downplay the risks of known...


Big Oil Bid in Alaska, High Levels of PFAS in Wild Freshwater Fish, Toxic Black Hair Products and more

A plan by oil giant ConocoPhillips to drill in Alaska on federal land is poised to move ahead if it can secure President Biden’s final consent. The Willow project would dump millions of tons of climate disrupting carbon into the atmosphere over its lifetime and pose risks to the health of nearby Alaska Native communities and biological diversity. Also, PFAS “forever” chemicals have widespread health impacts from cancers to reproductive disorders. A recent study revealed high levels of PFAS...


Great Salt Lake Going Dry, Red Tape for Green Buses, Black History: George Washington Carver and more

Some scientists predict that without emergency conservation measures, Great Salt Lake will dry up completely in the next five years, devastating migratory bird populations and creating a public health crisis linked to toxic dust in the lakebed. Also, the bipartisan infrastructure law signed by President Biden in 2021 allots $5 billion over five years for low-income communities to replace diesel school buses with clean electric ones. But an unintended consequence of the measure’s terms...


Designing Whale-Safe Lobstering Gear, EV Price War, The Nutmeg’s Curse and more

The births of at least 11 North Atlantic Right Whales this season is a bright spot for a species on the brink of extinction. And safer lobstering gear is being designed to prevent human-caused whale deaths. Also, despite inflation automakers including Tesla, Ford and General Motors are now in a price war for electric vehicles. The lowered stickers also bring some models under the $55,000 price cap required to qualify for federal tax credits. And examining the dark history of the nutmeg trade...


Big Oil Under Fire in Puerto Rico, Recovery and Resilience in Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria, Hurricanes as a Driver of Evolution, and More!

Municipalities in Puerto Rico sue the biggest fossil fuel companies for damages from category 5 Hurricanes Irma and Maria. The cities and towns allege the fossil fuel companies knew their products would change the climate and intensify storms and colluded to lie about it to the public. And following the devastation of Hurricane Maria many communities in Puerto Rico were isolated for months so they looked to each other for solace and sustenance. Also, Coquí frogs were heavily affected by...


Oil Chief to Lead Climate Talks, Burning Sugarcane Pollutes Communities of Color, Dolphin Casualties of Russia’s War and more

Activists are outraged by the United Arab Emirates’ decision to appoint a high-ranking oil executive to lead the 2023 UN climate treaty negotiations in Dubai. It’s the latest example of how fossil fuel interests are deflecting progress in the treaty process. Also, some Florida sugarcane growers near the Everglades still burn their fields to make harvesting easier, and people of color downwind claim adverse health effects from the smoke and ash. And in addition to the devastating human toll...


Pink Snow and the Climate, Extreme Weather and the Jet Stream, Saving Bats From Deadly Cold and more

Pink snow, also known as “watermelon snow” or “glacier blood,” is the result of a late summer bloom of pink colored algae that flourish in melting snow. And although snow algae are still very understudied, scientists are worried that darker snow will absorb more of the sun’s heat than white snow and cause the snowpack to melt more quickly, amplifying climate change. Also, weather records are routinely being shattered across the United States, with recent severe rainstorms in California,...


Environment and the Law in 2023, Midnight in the Everglades, The Accidental Ecosystem and more

Cases like West Virginia v. EPA and legislation like the Inflation Reduction Act made 2022 a landmark year for environmental law, and now as 2023 gets underway there are even more legal actions and decisions on the horizon including on clean water, environmental justice, and climate racketeering. Also, to learn what alligators in Florida’s Everglades eat, a team of scientists ventures out in the dead of night to catch them and pump their stomachs. And many non-human animals call cities home...


Wildly Magical: Stories of Animal Encounters

From one woman’s dream of swimming with marine iguanas, to uncommon encounters with common rabbits, to a Native American tale of how the dog came to be our loyal companion, and much more, this Living on Earth holiday storytelling special features stories of how other species on this Earth touch human lives. “Wildly Magical: Stories of Animal Encounters”, a storytelling special from PRX. Learn more about your ad choices. Visit


Holiday Season Stories of Warmth and Light

The Power Of Stories / Native American Tales / Stories of the Night Sky and an English Wassail Native American myths and tales help us endure or even enjoy the short days and long nights of winter. Living on Earth's annual celebration of stories helps connect people with the natural world, and includes an Iroquois explanation of why the constellation Pleiades twinkles overhead and an Abenaki custom that asks forgiveness for any wrongs of the previous year. Seasonal stories and more, in this...


Averting the Biodiversity Crisis, Cloud Forest Bird Count, Holiday Décor from Your Own Backyard and more

To try to address the biodiversity crisis that threatens as many as 1 million species with extinction, thousands of delegates from around the world are meeting in Montreal with a goal of updating the United Nations treaty on biological diversity. The stakes are high for places like Palawan in the Philippines, which is one of the most biodiverse places on Earth and has been protected by the Indigenous Batak people for thousands of years. Also, cloud forest ecosystems are biodiversity hotspots...


Drafting a Treaty for the Plastic Waste Crisis, Bipartisan Support for Offshore Wind, Ancient Stories of Sea Level Rise and more

The United Nations is working towards creating a treaty to tackle the plastic crisis all the way from production to disposal – its full “life cycle”. Also, as the Biden Administration moves forward with plans for offshore wind, in Congress there is a bipartisan effort called the Breeze Act that would update offshore revenue sharing rules dating back to the early days of oil and gas production. And the seas are rising because of climate change, but this isn’t the first global sea level rise...


Lobster Industry on the Hook to Save Right Whales, Climate Change and Your Health, Battle for the Sepik River and more

Entanglement in lobster fishing gear is one of the biggest threats to endangered whales, so the Marine Stewardship Council has suspended its sustainability certificate for the lobster fishery in the Gulf of Maine prompting Whole Foods to halt sales of Maine lobsters. Also, shallow water linked to years of drought has severely limited navigation on the Mississippi River, making it harder for farmers to get their corn, soybeans and wheat to market. We discuss the climate connections with the...


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...