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A federal court has rebuked the Environmental Protection Agency and declared that it is no longer legal to spray one of the country's most widely used herbicides. It's causing turmoil in Midwestern agriculture. NPR's Dan Charles has the story.

Tropical Storm Cristobal has reached the southeastern United States, bringing heavy rains and sustained winds of up to 50 mph.

Storm surge warnings have been issued for the southeast coast of Louisiana as well as the Mississippi coast for Sunday.

Cristobal is the third named storm of the Atlantic hurricane season. If the storm maintains its current track, Mississippi could be the state hardest hit, according to Gavin Phillips, a forecaster with the National Weather Service New Orleans.

With the coronavirus pandemic eroding state budgets across the country, many communities risk having this disaster make them less prepared for looming climate-driven disasters.

Still recovering from devastating wildfires, California was poised to spend billions of dollars to prepare for future fires and other extreme weather disasters. The infrastructure projects, designed to make communities and homes more resistant to wildfire, have long been overlooked, fire experts say.

But with a $54 billion budget deficit, the programs are being put on hold.

A month ago, America's pork farmers were in crisis. About 40 percent of the country's pork plants were shut down because they had become hot spots of coronavirus infection.

President Trump is directing federal agencies to bypass requirements of some of the country's most significant environmental laws. The stated goal is to fast-track big new infrastructure projects to boost the economy, which has been hit hard by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. But critics question the legality of the move, and say it would shut down input from those affected by such projects.

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Russian President Vladimir Putin has declared a state of emergency after a giant diesel fuel spill in a remote Arctic region 1,800 miles from Moscow.

After the accident Friday at a power plant owned by Norilsk Nickel, one of Russia's largest mining companies, Putin skewered officials for their sluggish response.

The Trump administration is removing a tool some Democratic states have used to block construction of new fossil fuel infrastructure, such as oil and gas pipelines.

In recent years climate change activists encouraged states and tribes to exercise their power under section 401 of the Clean Water Act. It gives local authorities the right to review new projects to make sure they don't harm local water.

Robin Rokobauer doesn't like to chance it. When there's a hurricane, she almost always evacuates.

Rokobauer lives in Cocoa Beach, Fla., on a barrier island between the Atlantic Ocean and the 153-mile-long Indian River Lagoon. Her mother is 93.

"She's got to have flushing toilets," Rokobauer says of her mother. "She's got to have fresh water. She's just got some physical needs that require that."

The forests of today will not be the forests of tomorrow.

Rising temperatures, deforestation, development and climate-induced disasters are transforming the very makeup of Earth's forests, new research published in the journal Science finds.

Older, bigger trees — stalwarts in their respective ecosystems — are being lost at an alarming rate, making the planet's collective forests shorter and younger.

Do public hearings over Zoom unfairly suppress opponents' comments, or allow even more people to engage?

That's just one point of dispute as the Trump administration pushes ahead with some of its most controversial environmental policy changes this spring despite the coronavirus pandemic. November's vote is driving momentum, since policies finalized too late could be overturned more easily should President Trump lose re-election or Democrats gain control of the Senate.

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Part 1 of the TED Radio Hour episode Climate Mindset

It's easy to feel powerless against looming challenges we cannot control — like climate change. So what should we do? Political strategist Tom Rivett-Carnac says the power is in our mindset.

About Tom Rivett-Carnac

Part 3 of the TED Radio Hour episode Climate Mindset

For some youth, being part of the solution means focusing their entire lives on the climate crisis. For Xiye Bastida, a 17-year-old climate justice activist, there is no hope without action.

About Xiye Bastida

Oliver Jeffers: An Ode To Living On Earth

May 22, 2020

Part 4 of the TED Radio Hour episode Climate Mindset

If you had to explain to a newborn what it means to live on Earth, at this time of crisis — what would you say? Writer, illustrator, and artist Oliver Jeffers gives his answer in a letter to his son.

About Oliver Jeffers

Part 2 of the TED Radio Hour episode Climate Mindset

In 2015, Christiana Figueres helped pave the path to the historic Paris Agreement. She says more than ever we need stubborn optimism — a gritty, determined choice to make change because we have to.

About Christiana Figueres

The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration predicts 2020 will be an above-average hurricane season, with six to 10 hurricanes. NOAA expects three to six to be Category 3 or higher, with sustained wind speeds above 110 miles per hour.

With businesses closed and people at home the country is using a lot less energy and emitting fewer of the greenhouse gases that warm the climate.

The big question is whether any of these energy-saving habits we're developing now will stick as daily life starts to return to normal.

U.S. energy-related carbon dioxide emissions are projected to decrease an extraordinary 11% this year, according to the Energy Information Administration's May Short-Term Energy Outlook.

In March, as states across the country began implementing stay-at-home orders and commuters got off the road, traffic dropped, but a new National Safety Council report finds that the number of motor vehicle fatalities per miles driven increased by 14% compared with the March 2019 rate.

A storm of massive proportions has thumped the coastal border regions of India and Bangladesh, slinging heavy rains and gusts exceeding 100 mph when it made landfall. After days of churning in the Bay of Bengal, Cyclone Amphan came ashore Wednesday afternoon local time on the northeastern coast of India with the strength of a Category 2 hurricane.

Already grappling with effects of a global pandemic, South Asia is now confronting another major cause for concern: Cyclone Amphan, a storm of historic scale, is churning over the Bay of Bengal and about to bear down on the coastal regions bordering Bangladesh and India.

Editor's note: There has been speculation in the media and via Twitter that DNA fragments of the now-defunct 1918 flu pathogen could be preserved under the permafrost and might pose a potential threat to humans if the warming Earth continues to melt layers of frozen soil. A couple of years ago, NPR investigated that question: Could this pathogen — and others — be revived? A version of this story originally ran in January 2018.

Zac Peterson was on the adventure of a lifetime.

Andrea Hoehn of Waseca, Minnesota, told us this week, "I just want to wake up from this nightmare."

Many may feel that way right now. But the experience of the Hoehn family, and other livestock farmers, may be distinctly telling and tragic.

The Hoehn family has run a hog-farm for 6 generations. They can feed and care for about 20,000 hogs at a time, until they're sent to a packinghouse, where, yes, the pigs are slaughtered and packed for food. Hog-farming is a tough business, physically and financially, even in good times.

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He describes it as a "leaf blower with a parachute overhead."

Strap in, and "your body becomes the fuselage" — and you are the pilot. Your knees dangle into open air.

For 15 years, the contraption, called a motorized paraglider, has taken photographer George Steinmetz across 25 different countries. From airport to airport, Steinmetz carried his personal aircraft, which could be disassembled and stashed in three bags, each weighing about 50 pounds, that he would proceed to check in.

Normally, visitors flock to Bryce Canyon National Park this time of year, as the weather gets warmer and animals re-emerge for spring. But since early April, the park in southern Utah has been closed to the public — though still teeming with life.

Peter Densmore, a park ranger who remains on the job at Bryce, now has a front row view of the natural phenomena that millions of tourists come to experience each year.

The COVID-19 pandemic is delivering the biggest shock to the global energy system in seven decades, according to a new report by the International Energy Agency.

Humans came from dust, says Ecclesiastes.

But writer Bonnie Tsui reminds us that humankind also once sprang from — and still seeks — water.

Why do we swim? Tsui takes us from ponds to pools to surfers, racers and a few who have survived icy currents, seeking the answer in her new book, Why We Swim.

Interview Highlights

On the story of Iceland's Guðlaugur Friðþórsson

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