Environment & Nature | KERA News

Environment & Nature

From Texas Standard:

The fall flounder run is a treasured Texas angling tradition.

Southern flounder – the flat fish with both eyes on one side of its head – migrate from the bays and straits of the coastline for the open waters of the Gulf to spawn each fall. Fishers flock to the coast to catch them.

But new regulations will bring big changes to the flounder run.

Gardening Restores Control To Lockdown Life

May 24, 2020

From Texas Standard:

The pandemic didn’t make Jennymarie Jemison take up gardening. But it did give her a new sense of purpose while tending to her plants.

Robin Koretsky

When Katherine Leal Unmuth walks her dog along the Santa Fe Trail in Dallas, she pauses to admire the birds and wildflowers in bloom.

Seeing spring in action has helped her keep things in perspective during the coronavirus epidemic. 

Garden teacher Catherine Southwick surveys the garden she's built with student at Kramer Elementary School. Southwick has been tending to the garden during the COVID19 outbreak.
Hady Mawajdeh/KERA News

COVID-19 may have forced Texas schools to cancel in-person classes for the rest of the semester, but that doesn't mean campuses are completely abandoned. Districts still have to mow lawns, blow leaves — and at some schools, tend gardens.

Louis Vest / Provided by The Texas Tribune

Eight years ago, two environmental nonprofits sued the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency was a decade overdue in updating limits on how much hazardous air pollution the country's oil refineries could emit; the groups hoped a lawsuit would force it to act.

Courtney Collins

Autumn at the Dallas Arboretum burst into being over the weekend. From now through Halloween, visitors can catch the mammoth display of pumpkins, squash and gourds.

Plastic Bags Are Killing Horses And Cows Across The State. What's Texas To Do?

Aug 14, 2019
Callie Richmond / The Texas Tribune

Kristie West was driving down the highway in rural South Texas when she saw it.

The drive from her ranch to the nearby town of Poth was usually uneventful. But on that day in 2017, West saw something that made her slam on the brakes of her pickup.

As more cities and states try to cut carbon emissions, some are taking aim at a new target: natural gas inside homes. Buildings, through heating and cooking, use almost a third of the natural gas consumed in the U.S.

In July, Berkeley, Calif., became the first city in the country to ban natural gas in new buildings, starting next year. City officials say new efficient electric appliances have lower carbon footprints than gas-powered furnaces and water heaters.

A bloom of toxic algae has forced Mississippi to close 25 beaches along its Gulf Coast. State environmental officials say people can still visit the sandy beaches — but they should avoid any contact with the water.

The blue-green algae "can cause rashes, stomach cramps, nausea, diarrhea and vomiting," the Mississippi Department of Environmental Quality says. And it warns that exposure can affect pets.

Emaciated gray whales have been washing up on the West Coast at a rate that’s alarming scientists.

At least 64 gray whales have turned up dead along the coasts of California, Oregon and Washington this year — the highest number since 2000.

Arbor Hills Nature Preserve in Plano, Texas. One reason Plano's ParkScore is so high is because it invests in its park system, spending about $210 per resident.
David Kobuszewski / Flickr

Once again, Plano is getting high marks for its park system. In its annual ParkScore index, The Trust for Public Land ranked Plano 15th out of the 100 largest U.S. cities. Last year, it ranked 18th.

Children who live in areas with bad air pollution are more likely to develop asthma, which is the most common chronic illness among young people. But when you clean up the air does that actually protect the health of kids?

A study published Tuesday in JAMA, the journal of the American Medical Association, looked to answer that question.

When a marine biologist from Australia traveled to a remote string of islands in the Indian Ocean to see how much plastic waste had washed up on the beaches, here's just part of what she found: "373,000 toothbrushes and around 975,000 shoes, largely flip-flops," says Jennifer Lavers of the University of Tasmania in Australia.

And that's only what was on the surface.

From Texas Standard:

On Sunday thousands of fish, crabs and other sea life washed up dead on beaches surrounding Galveston Bay. The Texas Department of State Health Services has warned people not to eat any seafood from the area, and it halted oyster harvesting in the bay indefinitely.

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez blasted "middle of the road" approaches on climate change, an apparent criticism of former Vice President Joe Biden.

If you're looking for a new hobby this summer, here's an idea. It's something that gets you out of the house and into the fresh air. It demands concentration and rewards you with beauty. Welcome to the world of birding.

Last week, the Austin City Council voted to back the Green New Deal, a national plan to tackle climate change that would overhaul the U.S. economy and energy sector. It was a big gesture from a city that prides itself on its environmental leadership. But, critics say, that gesture was undercut by a vote some local leaders took earlier that week – one that would drastically expand Interstate 35.

Miguel Perez / KERA News

In Texas, there's a group of trained volunteers so committed to caring for the state's natural areas, they're known as Master Naturalists.

The program is sponsored by the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department, and students have to go through an in-depth course to earn the title. 

It's early morning in an operating theater at Providence Hospital in Portland, Ore. A middle-aged woman lies on the operating table, wrapped in blankets. Surgeons are about to cut out a cancerous growth in her stomach.

But first, anesthesiologist Brian Chesebro puts her under by placing a mask over her face.

Up to 1 million of the estimated 8 million plant and animal species on Earth are at risk of extinction — many of them within decades — according to scientists and researchers who produced a sweeping U.N. report on how humanity's burgeoning growth is putting the world's biodiversity at perilous risk.

On its face, you might think a bill to treat wastewater from oil and gas operations would get the support of environmental groups. But you'd be wrong.

This big, beautiful carrot has nicks and dings, but "it doesn't affect the taste," says Imperfect Produce's Tony Masco. "If you're looking for something big and bold, you're still going to get it."
Rachel Osier Lindley / KERA News

Think of the last time you shopped for food. Those sliding glass doors open, and you're greeted by orderly rows of apples, pears and leafy green lettuce.

That's because the supermarket produce aisle is like a popular nightclub — not everyone gets in.

From Texas Standard:

In many parts of Texas, it has become a lot easier to recycle in recent years. Got a plastic bottle or an aluminum can? Just throw them into the blue bin instead of the gray one. But problems inside and outside of Texas have led to issues with our recycling system.

For one thing, not everything can go into the blue bin. Lots of things aren’t recyclable, so let’s sort out some of those misconceptions first.

New Research Center Will Study Texas Sea Turtles

Apr 29, 2019

From Texas Standard:

The time of year for an annual ritual on the Gulf Coast is approaching  –  when Texans take to the beach to watch dozens of tiny turtles toddle from the sand down to the surf. There's certainly something special about watching sea turtles hatch, but there's some mystery, too. We still don't about where the turtles in the Gulf travel, and what habitats they use. That's why this week, Texas A&M University at Galveston announced the establishment of the new Gulf Center for Sea Turtle Research.

A sign posting an alert for bad air quality is shown along Interstate Highway 635 in Dallas, Tuesday, Sept. 8, 2009.
Associated Press

Ozone and particle pollution found in unhealthy air can be hard on the respiratory system. But the particle pollution also can affect your heart. Cardiologist Dr. Amit Manhas explains why.

From Texas Standard:

A new study shows Texas homeowners along the Gulf Coast have lost tens of millions of dollars of property value over a 12-year period ending in 2017 due to rising sea levels. The hardest hit city has been Galveston, followed by three other cities within 40 miles: Jamaica Beach, Bolivar Peninsula and Surfside Beach.

Meal kit delivery services like Blue Apron or HelloFresh promise gourmet meals without the hassle of shopping for ingredients. But the environmentally conscious consumer may feel guilty about seeing all the plastic and cardboard it takes to bring that Pork and Veggie Bibimbap to their doorstep.

klydewarrenpark.org

Built over a busy downtown Dallas freeway, Klyde Warren Park offers visitors over five acres of green space to eat, play and relax.

Bluebonnets and Texas Indian paintbrush in Ennis, Texas
Shutterstock

It's wildflower season in North Texas. And Tiana Rehman says the season is more than just beautiful flowers like bluebonnets or wine cups along highways.

Our Planet is the kind of nature show where every image could be a screen saver: sweeping, dramatic landscapes are full of colorful animals.

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