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Isla Earth


Isla Earth, a production of the Catalina Island Conservancy, is a radio series exploring environmental issues of local, national, and global importance. Our mission is to increase ecological awareness, deepen understanding, and encourage environmentally sustainable choices.

Isla Earth, a production of the Catalina Island Conservancy, is a radio series exploring environmental issues of local, national, and global importance. Our mission is to increase ecological awareness, deepen understanding, and encourage environmentally sustainable choices.


Portales, NM


Isla Earth, a production of the Catalina Island Conservancy, is a radio series exploring environmental issues of local, national, and global importance. Our mission is to increase ecological awareness, deepen understanding, and encourage environmentally sustainable choices.






Coast Report

If we gave our coastlines an environmental report card, what grade should they get? Surprise! There IS a report, and it gives our coasts about a grade "C." It's called the National Coastal Condition Report, and it's the third in a series started by the Environmental Protection Agency in 2001. It's the first truly national assessment of all our coastlines' ecological health, including the Great Lakes, Alaska and Hawaii. Surprisingly, some areas scored better than before. The Northeast and...

Health Factors Threaten Gorillas - But Why?

What's a significant threat to the survival of captive gorillas? Surprisingly it's heart disease. It's ironic. In the wild, gorillas inch closer to extinction daily from habitat loss and poaching. Because of this troubling outlook for wild gorillas, zookeepers especially want to maintain captive gorillas in good health. Yet male gorillas in zoos and preserves have significant rates of chronic heart disease. So high that veterinarian Pam Dennis of the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo describes...

Coal Gasification

It's no news flash that, over the years, one of the dirtiest sources of energy has been coal; in fact, it's among the top contributors to carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. The challenge, according to the U.S. government's Energy Information Administration, is that coal accounts for about fifty percent of all the energy produced in the U.S. Luckily, new technologies already in use are making coal a cleaner-burning fuel. Coal gasification is based on a technology that's been around since the...

Recipe For Plastic Decomposition

It's good to know that tomorrow's scientists are solving environmental problems today. Meet Daniel Burd from Waterloo, Canada. Daniel's interested in science and recycling. As a 16 year old, he was annoyed by the avalanche of polyethylene plastic shopping bags that his mother horded in a closet. Every time he'd open the closet, bags tumbled out. Daniel knew that to just throw the bags away would mean sending them to landfills, where they'd sit, without decomposing, for, oh, millennia. So...

Brighter Bulbs

What do you get when you cross folk art with photonic technology? A very bright idea. Researchers at the University of Glasgow have combined cell phone displays and the craft of punched tin to create a new light bulb that could hit living rooms within three years. LEDs, or "light-emitting diodes" are the lights behind computer screens and cell phones: small, energy efficient -- but weak. That's due to their structure and material, which trap light the way thick lampshades darken a room....

Farming The Wind

Farming has always been subject to the uncertainties of weather and market conditions. But farmers in Huron County, Michigan, have found something they finally can count on. The wind! Blowing across Lake Huron, the wind there is always ripe for harvesting. A patch of thirty two turbines have already been planted. And plans for 42 more are underway. Bob Krohn, a farmer in the area, anticipates reaping up to $30,000 per year from just three windmills on his property. It's a welcome source of...

New Partners On The Range

The words, "holistic," and "cattle range" aren't often heard together. But in California, "holistic range management" is indeed all the rage on the range. And that thanks to the California Rangeland Conservation Coalition, a group of ranchers, conservationists and government officials. Each has far-flung agendas, but one common interest: To keep 25 million acres of Central California grasslands sustainable for both cattle and native species. Steve Thompson, of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife...

Arctic Fisheries

In 1945, John Steinbeck wrote a novel called Cannery Row. In it he told the story of life in Monterey, California -- a thriving fishing port at that time. But the story didn't end well, the ocean's changed, the fishing pressure stayed high and Monterey's sardine industry collapsed. Similar stories are now being played out in fisheries around the globe. In each case, the environmental question is the same. How much fishing can the fishery stand? Take too much of the ocean's bounty too...

High Fashion Green, For Less

Let's talk about high fashion and Target, the big box store. The two seemingly opposites converged, recently, largely because of the environmentally focused business ethic of runway designer Rogan Gregory. Gregory is a 30-something New York-based clothing designer. He's emerging as a style visionary, and he got that way by designing with sustainability in mind. That is, environmental sustainability. Gregory recycles T-shirts and designs urban, ultra-cool denim duds in certified organic...

Glass Bottle Comeback

Believe it or not, just two generations ago, it was unheard of not to recycle glass beverage bottles. Today, that idea itself is getting recycled. Until the 1930s, most beer and soda came in glass bottles that got washed and refilled many times before discarding. Then beer companies introduced disposable cans, and well, the rest is history. In the '70s, some states passed bottle recycling laws or, "bottle bills," that require a refundable deposit, about a nickel, for beverages sold in...

Recycle Payday

Are you wasting your waste? A company called RecycleBank says: maybe! So they've come up with a high-tech way to encourage people to paying them! RecycleBank co-founder Ron Gonen figured that more people would recycle, if they just had some motivation. So he added a computer chip to curb-side recycling bins, the kind that garbage trucks pick up. When a truck picks up a RecycleBank bin, it weights it and records how much that household recycled. The heavier the bin, the more...

Few Plants Thrive With Change

If you can't stand the heat...hang in there? That's what some species are doing in response to climate change. It might sound obvious. But until recently, common wisdom held that climate change prompts native species to migrate, or die. Now, instead, scientists are finding that some species not only adapt to change, but thrive. The star example is humble grassland vegetation in northern Britain. Researchers at Sheffield University studied slow-growing herbs and shrubs there, some more than...

Products For Responsible Consumers

Is it 'hip,' or 'cool,' to be environmentally sustainable? That's a question that some of the biggest companies are asking about the world's most popular products and the answer is 'sweet.' Take Dell. It recently held an "ideas competition" for environmentally sustainable computing. Two of the finalists were a PC that runs on hydrogen fuel cells, and another with a shell made of processed corn! Then there's Nike. It recently launched, "Trash Talk," a high-performance basketball shoe made...

Grasslands Ecosystems Best Left Wild

Which is better? A picture perfect golf course, or a wild and wooly prairie? Well, when it comes to ecosystem health, the more native plants -- the better. Scientists at the University of Minnesota and Nebraska went out to the Cedar Creek research area and created a hundred and sixty eight test plots. In some, they planted a single species of grass -- kind of like a golf course. In others, they planted a variety of native grasses and flowers -- anywhere from four to 16 species. What they...

Saving The Penguin

Sometimes, creating a preserve can help endangered species fast, like South Africa's Cape penguins. Until recently, this endangered bird, and the only African penguin, had a hard time finding food. That's because South Africa's once abundant sardine and anchovy populations had declined dramatically due to over-fishing. That forced the penguins to search farther for food, often causing exhaustion and leading to death. In fact, in just eight years, their numbers dropped 60 percent. But in...