Green

John Draper and I are sitting in the cab of a tractor on the research farm he manages for the University of Maryland, alongside the Chesapeake Bay. Behind us, there's a sprayer.

"So, away we go!" Draper says. He pushes a button, and we start to move. A fine mist emerges from nozzles on the arms of the sprayer.

We're spraying glyphosate, killing off this field's soil-saving "cover crop" of rye before planting soybeans.

Farmers have been using this chemical, often under the trade name Roundup, for about four decades now.

It may seem, to anyone who has driven long stretches of highway across the West, that there is plenty — maybe even more than enough — sagebrush. Sagebrush once covered 250 million acres of western North America, but today that ecosystem is half the size it once was and it's burning more frequently.

Jon Griggs has been running the Maggie Creek Ranch southwest of Elko, Nev., for almost 30 years.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Two years ago, Atlanta was widely lauded when it committed to have all homes, businesses and city operations rely largely on renewable energy in coming decades. It was part of a wave of cities responding to more intense flooding, heat and storms, and setting ambitious goals to tackle climate change even as the Trump administration ignores the issue.

Dan Efseaff, the parks and recreation director for the devastated town of Paradise, Calif., looks out over Little Feather River Canyon in Butte County. The Camp Fire raced up this canyon like a blowtorch in a paper funnel on its way to Paradise, incinerating most everything in its path, including scores of homes.

Efseaff is floating an idea that some may think radical: paying people not to rebuild in this slice of canyon: "The whole community needs some defensible space," he says.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Instagramming Crowds Pack National Parks

May 28, 2019

The dark blue, predawn sky was just beginning to brighten over Mesa Arch — a once-hidden gem in Utah's Canyonlands National Park — as Jonathan Zhang frantically set up his camera and tripod.

The Los Angeles tourist wanted to get the perfect shot of the sun rising over deep, tan canyons and red rock spires, framed by the glowing, orange arch. But he had to squeeze through throngs of other photographers and smartphone-wielding tourists to do so, nearly 50 people total.

American soil.

Those are two words that are commonly used to stir up patriotic feelings. They are also words that can't be taken for granted, because today nearly 30 million acres of U.S. farmland are held by foreign investors. That number has doubled in the past two decades, which is raising alarm bells in farming communities.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

MICHEL MARTIN, HOST:

A carbon tax in South Africa will go into effect on June 1. President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the measure into law on Sunday, making South Africa one of about 40 countries worldwide to adopt a carbon-pricing program.

A possible tornado struck the Oklahoma city of El Reno Saturday night and killed at least two people.

In a news conference early Sunday morning, El Reno mayor Matt White said the storm hit at about 10:30 p.m., and warning sirens sounded at 10:27 p.m.

The storm destroyed an American Budget Value Inn, damaged the nearby Skyview Estates mobile home park and also affected nearby businesses, including a car dealership.

Botswana's government is lifting a ban that protected its elephants from being hunted, part of a series of decisions that could have lasting impacts on the country's conservation efforts.

Plastic bags are not biodegradable and can do great harms to wildlife. Cities and states across the country are banning plastic bags, but those bans may be having unintended consequences.

Copyright 2019 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Nearly 300 coal-fired power plants have been "retired" since 2010, according to the Sierra Club. It's a trend that continues despite President Trump's support for coal. That has left many communities worried that those now-idled places will simply be mothballed.

Pages