From green business and new environmental legislation to how nature impacts our environment in ways never before considered, Earth Wise offers a look at our changing environment.

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Hydrogen cars are coming

Hydrogen Car

Cars that run on electricity instead of fossil fuels are becoming increasingly common and may eventually replace their internal combustion counterparts entirely. However, it is not at all certain what the source of electricity in cars will be.



Mercury’s toxic legacy



New research from Harvard University indicates that the amount of mercury in the environment is much higher than previously thought. Prior estimates put mercury levels at around 720,000 metric tons; the new study suggests it’s actually two-and-a-half times that number.



Energy from stopping trains


Hybrid cars, buses and trucks are as much as 30% more energy efficient than their conventional counterparts. The bulk of this energy savings comes from regenerative braking. This is the process of recapturing the energy that is lost to friction in the process of slowing or stopping the vehicle. Instead of heating up brakes, the wheels slow down by turning a generator and making electricity that can be put to use to power the vehicle or other onboard systems.



Getting shark fin soup off the menu

Shark Fin Soup

Score one for the sharks. According to a new report by WildAid, sales of shark fin soup have dropped by up to 70 percent. A symbol of wealth and status in China and other parts of Asia, shark fin soup has historically been served at weddings, banquets, and government functions. The dishes’ popularity has had a devastating effect on the world’s shark populations.



Algorithms and ecology: A new partnership.


If you shop online, this is a familiar scenario: You click on a product like a book, and the online merchant presents you with a list of related items. “If you like X, you might also like Y.” Behind the scenes, the merchant has assigned a series of attributes to each product. For instance, the new Sibley Guide to Birds is classified as nonfiction, recent, about nature, about birds, illustrated, a field guide, and so on. Based on that information, the merchant might suggest a different bird book, or a memoir about birding.


Earth Wise is a presentation of WAMC Northeast Public Radio and The Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies Follow us Facebook Twiter RSS Podcast