Greenery and foliage on the shore of a body of water. | Featured image for "Earth Focus"

Fueling Change: Two Neighboring Towns Pit the Legacy of Oil Against a Renewable Future

California is famous for implementing policies to protect the environment, yet it has also been one of the biggest crude oil producers in the country since the mid-19th century. Kern County supplies more than 60 percent of the state’s high demand for oil but reserves are running out, leaving only crude that is accessible through fracking methods. 

The mayors of the neighboring towns of Taft and Arvin face off on stark differences in their administrations’ priorities. While Taft mayor Dave Noerr promotes the economic benefits and practical realities of a society demanding petroleum, Arvin mayor Jose Gurrola advocates for the health of residents and their right to clean air and water.

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Lighting A Path: Embracing Solar Power In California and Zanzibar

Solar power is changing lives in unexpected places. At the Barefoot College in Zanzibar, Muslim women who have traditionally been marginalized in the workforce are learning solar installation and bringing it back to their villages, which are primarily powered by candles and paraffin lamps. In East Los Angeles, formerly incarcerated individuals are finding green job opportunities as they transition underserved communities into solar power.

  • 2019-12-05T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-22T11:00:00-08:00
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Young Voices for the Planet

This episode features author and illustrator Lynne Cherry's film series "Young Voices for the Planet" about young adults making positive environmental change.

  • 2019-12-06T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-07T03:30:00-08:00
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Fueling Change: Oil Extraction in Alaska and California

The global demand for oil and gas has long-lasting impacts on the communities that supply it. In Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, powerful native communities are at odds over an oil exploration and drilling plan that will boost their economy but have long-term consequences on native species and their environment. In California’s Kern County, the mayors of two neighboring towns face off on the economic benefits and health risks of oil production and their vastly different visions for the most sustainable path to the future.

  • 2019-12-07T15:00:00-08:00
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Dying Oceans: Abalone Restoration In California

The ocean is a sponge for all the greenhouse gas emissions we produce, and entire aquatic ecosystems are beginning to collapse. Off the coast of California, the disappearing abalone population is raising flags about ocean health and the lasting impact of rising sea temperatures, acidification and pollution. Various teams of scientists, volunteers and businesspeople are collaborating to protect underwater species threatened by the invasion of sea urchins.

  • 2019-12-08T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-10T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-12T23:30:00-08:00
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Neonicotinoids: The New DDT?

Neonicotinoids are the most widely used insecticides in the world. But they've been linked to the decline of honeybees, which pollinate many food crops. And scientists now say neonicotinoids also harm many terrestrial, aquatic, and marine invertebrates. These pervasive insecticides damage sea urchin DNA, suppress the immune systems of crabs, and affect the tunneling and reproductive behavior of earthworms. They kill off insects that many birds, amphibians, and reptiles rely on for food.

  • 2019-12-09T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-11T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-13T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-14T03:30:00-08:00
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Tortoise In Peril

Desert tortoises are a threatened species. Habitat destruction, diseases and other factors have reduced their numbers by up to 90 percent. Now flocks of ravens, that often live off human trash, are eating baby tortoises, reducing the odds of tortoise survival as a species. This documentary explores that impact, pointing out how people can change the environment through seemingly innocent actions.

  • 2019-12-11T17:30:00-08:00
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Avocado Wars: The Battle Over Water Rights In Chile

The popular demand for avocados, once considered an “exotic” item, is having a devastating impact on a drought-stricken community in Chile. Lying within one of the largest avocado producing regions in the country, Petorca avocado plantations are in a battle over water rights, where claims of illegal water diversion are creating civil unrest.

  • 2019-12-14T15:00:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-21T02:00:00-08:00
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Dairy Alternatives: Rethinking Milk In California and Kenya

The realities of milk production are forcing dairy communities across the globe to rethink the dairy production process. In this episode, we travel to a village in Kenya where the commercialization of camel milk is proving a sustainable solution in the face of drought. In Northern California, the heart of the U.S. dairy industry is finding innovative alternatives to limit the use of water and manure emissions.

  • 2019-12-15T11:00:00-08:00
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Killing Bees: Are Government & Industry Responsible?

Honey bees, the essential pollinators of many major U.S. crops, have been dying off in massive numbers since 2006. This threatens the American agricultural system and the one in 12 jobs that depends on it. There is growing evidence that a new class of pesticides -- nerve toxins called neonicotinoids, which are used on many U.S. crops like corn -- may be toxic to bees.

  • 2019-12-15T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-16T03:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-17T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-19T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-20T03:30:00-08:00
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Fracking Goes Global

(Earth Focus: Episode 52) U.S. domestic gas production is on the rise because of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, a controversial method of extracting natural gas from shale rock by pumping millions of gallons of water mixed with sand and chemicals underground at high pressure. Environmentalists say this gas boon threatens water supplies and pollutes air. Now, as fracking expands around the world, so does growing resistance. "Earth Focus" looks at three countries on the new fracking frontline: South Africa, Poland, and the UK.

  • 2019-12-16T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-17T03:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-18T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-20T23:30:00-08:00
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  • 2019-12-21T03:30:00-08:00
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Shades of Gray: Living with Wolves

Gray wolves once ranged across North America. But by the 1930s, they were nearly extinct — trapped, poisoned and hunted by ranchers, farmers, and government agents. With protection under the 1973 Endangered Species Act, the wolf population rebounded. But wolves lost federal protection in 2011. Now, with hunting permitted in many Western states, the future of this once endangered species may again be in question. Can we live with wolves? "Earth Focus" travels to Montana and Wyoming to find out.

  • 2019-12-18T17:30:00-08:00
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Building A Future: Lumber Poaching In Oregon and Brazil

Wood is found in countless products consumers use every day. In fact, lumber is closely connected to the world’s economy – a country’ s importation of lumber tends to rise in correlation with its gross domestic product. Following groups like “Guardians of the Forest,” we explore illegal lumber poaching in the forests of Brazil and Oregon, where citizens and scientists are working together to combat the illegal lumber trade.

  • 2019-12-21T15:00:00-08:00
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