Man pointing up
Environment Technology

XPRIZE launches $100 million climate change competition

Caption: XPRIZE founder Peter Diamandis has steered several competitions toward solving pressing environmental problems. Credit: XDRIVE Foundation. Dear EarthTalk: I’ve heard of XPRIZE, which funds innovations in space exploration technology. Is XPRIZE used to address climate change or other environmental problems?— J.D. via e-mail XPRIZE was launched in 1996 to spur innovation in the commercial […]

Blue car
Environment Technology

Are hydrogen fuel cell-powered cars still viable?

Caption: Consider yourself lucky to see a Toyota Mirai or any other “FCV” (fuel cell vehicle) out in the wild — there are only about 300 on the road in the U.S., with the vast majority of those in California. Credit: Aaron Smart, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: What’s the latest on hydrogen powered fuel cells? Not […]

Women protestors
Environment

‘Climate feminists” make progress

Caption: Climate feminists march outside international climate talks in Poland in December 2018. Credit: Greenpeace. Dear EarthTalk: What exactly is “climate feminism?”— Jim M., Lorton, VA Climate change impacts the everyday lives of all citizens around the globe, but certain communities are disproportionately affected. Women, in particular, shoulder a disproportionate burden as they are most […]

Three people next to passive solar house
Environment Northwest Lifestyles

Is passive solar a good house option?

Caption: Dr. Wolfgang Feist and family pose in front of the world’s first passive solar house, constructed in 1991 in Darmstadt, Germany. Credit: International Passive House Association. Dear EarthTalk: What is a so-called “passive solar” house and can I retrofit my existing house accordingly?— Bill C., Raleigh, NC A passive solar house is typically designed […]

Texas windmills
Environment Northwest Lifestyles

Texas storm Uri is renewable energy wake-up call

Caption: Wind power provides a small fraction of electricity in Texas; frozen natural gas lines caused the state’s power grid to go down recently. Credit: Athena, pexels. Dear EarthTalk: Were frozen wind turbines the reason for Texas’ historic power outages recently? If so, how can we make renewables more reliable moving forward?— G. S., Hartford, […]

Colorful earth model
Environment

Climate models help predict climate change trends

Caption: The paint-like swirls of this visualization from Los Alamos National Laboratory depict global water-surface temperatures, with the cooler temperatures designated by blues and warmer temperatures by reds, as delineated by recent climate modeling efforts. Credit: Los Alamos National Laboratory, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: How does climate modeling work? What is the state-of-the-art in the field […]

Bumblebee on red flower
Environment

Climate change speeds bumblebee decline

Caption: American bumblebee numbers have fallen by 89% over the last two decades across the U.S., and conservationists want the Biden administration to add this little flying stinger to the Endangered Species List. Credit: James Johnston, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: How are bee population numbers doing these days?– B. Turner, via e-mail Whether you’ve noticed it […]

Man with hands on head
Environment

Is global warming making us dumber?

Caption: Could all the greenhouse gases we’re pumping into the atmosphere be compromising our ability to think straight? Credit: Pexels.com. Dear EarthTalk: Is there scientific basis to the assertion that global warming is affecting our ability to make decisions and lowering our collective intelligence?— P.D., Sacramento, CA As we continue to pump carbon dioxide (CO2) […]

two bison grazing in field
Environment

‘Field of Dreams” ecology not so dreamy

Caption: Researchers studying Tallgrass prairie restoration at Illinois’ Nachusa Preserve found that reintroducing Bison there ended up bringing back other native wildlife much faster than merely reseeding bunchgrasses. Credit: Ralph Earlandson, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: What is the “Field of Dreams” ecology restoration theory? — Mary W., Austin, TX The “Field of Dreams” hypothesis is a […]

Blue river and forest
Environment Oregon Outdoor Activities

Should rivers have legal rights?

Caption: In 2019, the Yurok Tribe granted personhood to Northern California’s Klamath River, giving the waterway the same legal rights as a human, — at least under tribal law. Credit: Bob Wick, BLM, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: Should rivers be given the same legal rights as people in order to protect them? — Phyllis T., New […]