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Living with nature: the Endangered Species Act "gone wild"
The California mountain community of Bear Valley Springs is overrun by the endangered condor.
June 21st, 2013
02:04 PM ET

Living with nature: the Endangered Species Act "gone wild"

By Jim Roope, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – Forty years after the introduction of the Endangered Species Act, the California Condor is trying to reclaim its home. The problem is, humans have moved in.                                                                                                           

[0:51] "There are about 420 birds in the world and a little over half of that population are in the wild."

Joseph Brandt, biologist with the US Fish and Wildlife Service's condor recovery program, said for the second year in a row, California condors have come back to roost in the mountain community of Bear Valley Springs, about 90 miles north of Los Angeles. Residents say the curious scavenger birds are wreaking havoc.

[1:26] "They’ll take apart anything plastic or canvas and just shred it. They shred screen doors."

These birds, that stand four-feet tall with wing spans of up to eight feet, can create quite a mess. One woman called the Bear Valley Springs police department to say her car was vandalized. The vandals it turns out, were condors and the graffiti painted all over the car was…not paint.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

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Filed under: Culture • Environment • Soundwaves
Mayor Bloomberg to NYers: Compost your food scraps!
The Brooklyn Botanic Garden's Jenny Blackwell turns nutrient-rich compost.
June 18th, 2013
11:08 AM ET

Mayor Bloomberg to NYers: Compost your food scraps!

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @SKastenbaumCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – First he forced chain restaurants to post calorie counts on their menus. Then he pushed forward with a ban on large size sugary soft drinks.

Now New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg wants people to set aside their food scraps so they can be collected for composting.

"It gives people a way to participate in composting even if you don't want to go whole hog yourself," said Brooklyn Botanic Garden spokesperson Kate Blumm. "So you don't want worms under your sink? Fine. You don't want to have to go out to your backyard with a pitchfork once a week? Fine. This is a way that you can participate, or really I can participate, as well."

FULL POST

Shelter for all, a new mantra in Moore
Tasha Hames rode out the Moore tornado in her shelter that's bolted to the ground in her garage.
May 25th, 2013
07:00 AM ET

Shelter for all, a new mantra in Moore

By Nova Safo, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @Nova_Safo

Moore, Oklahoma (CNN) - In the aftermath of the monster tornado in Oklahoma, there’s been a lot of discussion about storm shelters. Tornadoes are common in the area, but few buildings have basements or above-ground shelters.

Students at the elementary school that collapsed could only huddle in a hallway as 200-mile-per-hour winds tore apart their building. Seven children died.

Now there’s an effort to bring shelters to Oklahoma’s schools, especially in Moore.

Mark McBride, who represents Moore in the Oklahoma legislature, has teamed up with other lawmakers to create a fund. The money will go to placing storm shelters inside schools. They’ve already received a $500,000 donation from an Oklahoma-based company.

This tornado was an F-5. The top of the scale. The last one of the same magnitude was in 1999.

[1:16] "What’s the odds of having two F5 tornadoes in your lifetime? You don’t expect that. A structure like this would withstand an F2 or 3, you know. It’s kinda how we’ve done things." FULL POST

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Filed under: Environment • Nature • Soundwaves • Stories
What awaits beachgoers at Sandy-damaged beaches
Sandy-damaged beaches prepare for summer crowds as Belmar, New Jersey rushes to finish a new boardwalk.
May 24th, 2013
10:07 AM ET

What awaits beachgoers at Sandy-damaged beaches

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) -  There’s a mad dash as the Jersey Shore and the beaches of New York prepare for beachgoers.

The summer season gets under way this Memorial Day weekend and, in the wake of the recovery from super-storm Sandy, conditions vary depending on where you choose to set down your beach blanket.

In Belmar, New Jersey, Sandy demolished the boardwalk and all of the businesses along it. But Mayor Matt Doherty says they've come a long way since then:

[1:26] “Epic Construction came in and built this 1.3 miles of boardwalk through the winter in a little over four months which is phenomenal. Performing work outside seven days a week up against the Atlantic in January, February and March is difficult at best. But they did an outstanding job and it’s because of them we’re going to have this boardwalk built in time for Memorial Day Weekend and this summer."

FULL POST

Can cities keep up with bad weather?
Flooding in the Chicago area is monitored and managed from this control room. The system was overwhelmed by storms last month.
May 20th, 2013
12:06 PM ET

Can cities keep up with bad weather?

By Nova Safo, CNN

Follow on Twitter: nova_safo

(CNN) - By the end of the century, cities on the east coast of the U.S. could experience flooding at Hurricane Sandy levels every couple of years. That’s according to a report in the latest issue of Scientific American.

The study sites updated forecast models which predict climate change will lead to higher sea levels than previously thought.

But climate change is not just a concern for coastal cities. Today, the state of Indiana will just begin assessing flood damage to its public infrastructure. The damage was caused by record rain storms last month. Those same storms also brought flood waters to Chicago.

Those are  just the latest prime examples of the new challenge many cities are facing: an increasing frequency of heavy storms, which cities are not currently designed to deal with.

To see what Chicago is doing, and how the rest of the country might be affected, we visited the control center where flood waters are managed.

What we learned from David St. Pierre, the executive director of the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago, is that climate change has arrived:

[1:00] “We are seeing these extreme rain events that we have never seen before in Chicago. After you get one 100-year rain event, everybody said, 'Well, we won’t see that in another 100 years.' And then two years later, we had another event. And this year, we had yet another. So we are seeing climate change and it is real.”

To find out more about what scientists are predicting will be the new reality for American cities over the next 20 to 30 years, and to find out what states are doing, please listen to our story in the above player.

Subscribe to this podcast on iTunes or Stitcher. And listen to CNN Soundwaves on our SoundCloud page.

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Filed under: Environment • Nature • Soundwaves • Stories
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