Green

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Brazilian scientists are reporting a sharp increase this year in the clearing of forests in the Amazon. That's bad news for endangered ecosystems, as well as the world's climate. Deforestation releases large amounts of heat-trapping carbon dioxide.

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Mongolia's Long Road To Mining Wealth

Jul 31, 2019

Gulnara Dariiga has been stuck in traffic for two days in the Gobi Desert in southern Mongolia. The 38-year-old mother of four eats and sleeps in a heavy-duty North Benz truck, assigned to her by her Chinese employer — a coal buyer across the border.

"I think today we will cross," she says with a grin. She shifts from park to drive, clenching her teeth to fight the stiff steering wheel. Her truck is laden with 90 tons of coal from Mongolia's Tavan Tolgoi mine, ready for delivery.

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Like gamblers and tourists, grasshoppers are drawn to the lights of Las Vegas. Every year, they migrate north. This year, there are a lot of them.

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The miniature toiletries in hotel rooms might be cute and convenient to toss in your bag as you're packing up, but they're also the source of a whole lot of plastic waste, and a major hotel group says it is phasing them out.

The avalanche of plastic waste that's rolling over land and sea has inspired numerous potential solutions. Some involve inventing our way out of the mess by creating new kinds of natural materials that will harmlessly degrade if they're thrown away.

Others say it might be quicker to change people's throwaway behavior instead.

Welcome to the coldest capital city on earth — Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia — where the temperature can drop to minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit at night. The city's population has nearly tripled since 1989. Without infrastructure to service all 1.4 million people, residents off the electric grid are burning raw coal to stay warm.

Electric cars are all over the roads these days. But what about electric planes?

Air travel currently accounts for only about 2% of global carbon emissions. But it's expected to grow in the next century, and clean air travel is seen as a key part of slowing global warming.

In Florida, the Army Corps of Engineers is working to combat a growing environmental menace: blue-green algae. Nitrogen and phosphorus runoff from farms and subdivisions combines with warm summer weather to create massive blooms of algae in rivers and lakes that can be toxic.

On a frigid morning in January 2000, Oyutan Gonchig rose at first light to check on his animals. A blanket of snow — over a foot deep — had fallen in the night. He shoveled himself out of his ger, a felt-covered tent traditionally used by semi-nomadic herders. The temperature was minus 10 degrees Fahrenheit, the kind of cold that freezes your eyelashes and stiffens your joints.

Stepping over the threshold and into this blindingly white world, he noticed it was eerily quiet outside.

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

LULU GARCIA-NAVARRO, HOST:

As a fashion brand, Zara has made a name for itself by democratizing the latest clothing styles for consumers at an affordable price. But the rapid pace of that trend-driven business model, known as "fast fashion," can come at high environmental and social costs.

Last week, Zara's parent company, Inditex, announced its plans to grow more sustainable.

It's hot: historically, treacherously hot this week, in surprising places.

It was 109 degrees in Paris, the highest temperature ever recorded there. People plunged into the Jardins du Trocadéro fountains to cool down, while officials worried some of the charred walls of Notre Dame Cathedral that didn't fall in April's fire might now dry out and collapse in the furnace of summer heat.

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