Moutain range

Mine tailings may be a pollution solution

Caption: Mine tailings like this could sequester lots of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Credit: wild trees, flickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that wastes left over from mining operations could be used to absorb carbon dioxide and help solve the climate crisis? — D. Moore, Richmond, VA Yes, mining wastes (“tailings”) could indeed be part of […]

Donald Trump giving speech

Trump weakens environmental protections

Caption: Donald Trump’s actions and words make it known loud and clear that he is no friend to the environment. Credit: Matt Johnson, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: I’m wondering what President Trump’s perspective is on our environment? He doesn’t seem to be doing much about preserving it let alone healing it? –Sheila Kaye, via e-mail From the […]

Underground city

Underground living could be big win for environment

Caption: This view shows off Helsinki’s underground water works. The Finnish capital is a world leader in moving people and their infrastructure below the surface where they can live more energy-efficient lifestyles. Credit: Jordi Cueto-Felgueroso Arocha, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: If we lived in underground buildings (and cities), would it be better for the environment overall? […]

satellite in space

‘Sky pollution” on the rise

Caption: Some 9,000 satellites already orbit the ionosphere hundreds of miles above Earth’s surface, shedding parts that turn into hurtling “space junk.” Credit: Pixabay. Dear EarthTalk: Elon Musk plans to put thousands of new satellites into space to blanket Earth with high speed Internet. What are the environmental implications of this? — M. C., Atlanta. […]

Cascading waterfall

Waterfalls create positive vibes

Caption: Being around waterfalls — like this 88-foot doozy along the North Fork of the Nooksack River in Washington State — could help us with a little mental uplift courtesy of the “negative ions” floating around crashing water molecules. Credit: Roddy Scheer. Dear EarthTalk: Is it true that being around a waterfall makes you feel […]

Mosquito on skin

Is DEET mosquito repellent safe?

Caption: Experts think the benefits of using DEET-based bug repellent to scare off mosquitoes and other biting insects outweigh the health and environmental risks. Credit: Laurie Wilson, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: Is DEET natural and is it safe to use topically as a mosquito repellent? And which formulations and concentrations are advised?— M. Frey, Milwaukee, WI […]

Man looking at bulk foods

Tips to avoid disposable packaging

Caption: Green-minded grocery shoppers spend more time in the bulk aisle than your average consumer given their preference for avoiding disposable packaging on single-use food items and products. Credit: leyla.a, FlickrCC. Dear EarthTalk: Any tips for reducing the amount of disposable plastic I use for food storage? — J. Spencer, Gaithersburg, MD Analysts estimate that […]

Ape in jungle

Coronavirus may devastate great apes

Caption: Coronavirus could be the knock-out punch for African mountain gorillas already on the brink of extinction. Credit: Francesco Ungaro, Pexels. Dear EarthTalk: I overheard someone saying the Coronavirus could drive mountain gorillas extinct? Is this because they are susceptible to the virus?— Spencer S., Tukwila, WA While we don’t know for sure whether mountain […]

Man installing silk pavilion

Silkworms may help build our future

Caption: The best-known example of Neri Oxman’s work to date in “Material Ecology” is the so-called Silk Pavilion whereby 6,500 silkworms were fed and released onto a human-designed, robot-created cocoon-like dome structure, eventually completing the human/natural architecture by weaving a silk cover. Credit: Mediated Matter Group, MIT. Dear EarthTalk: Can you explain the concept of […]

outside sleeping bag
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Top 3 Best Sleeping Bags for Camping in 2020

It’s that time of year. The northwestern soil begins to dry and the near ever-present miasma of inclement weather lifts for the fleeting weeks of summer. And you, trapped inside throughout the spring, trapped and taunted by those tantalizing days of forbidden sunlight, you need to get out. Need to explore and reconnect with the […]