The Science of Sustainability

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Saving Our Parks

Saving Our Parks

It may seem that California's parks dodged a bullet recently when the Governor announced that all of the state's financially strapped parks will remain open, but state parks still have to cut $14 million in spending this year. This may lead to rolling closures, maintenance cuts and layoffs. Hoping to solve a chronic funding problem, environmentalists are considering a ballot proposal that would place a fee on car registrations to help fund parks.

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Catching the Drift – Part Two

Catching the Drift – Part Two

Conflicts over pesticide use have increased as new suburbs push up against farming areas in California. In the second part of our series, Sasha Khokha looks at how community residents are looking to document the impact of pesticides on their own health when those chemicals drift off the farm.

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Catching the Drift

Catching the Drift

Every year California farmers spray more than 150 million pounds of pesticides to keep insects from ravaging crops like almonds, oranges, and grapes. But when those toxins drift onto nearby farmworkers and communities, they sicken hundreds of people each year. California legislators tried to fix the problem five years ago, but new laws don't appear to have made much of a difference.

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Predicting the Next Big One

Predicting the Next Big One

It's been twenty years since the Loma Prieta Earthquake ravaged downtown Santa Cruz and damaged San Francisco's Marina District and the Bay Bridge. QUEST looks at the dramatic improvements in earthquake prediction technology since 1989. But what can be done with ten seconds of warning?

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How to Identify a Bullet

How to Identify a Bullet

Last month, the FBI released a report showing violent crime has dropped for the second year in a row… down nearly two percent in 2008, from a year earlier. Still, many homicide cases go unsolved. A new technology called "bullet microstamping" aims to help change that. But will it work? Amy Standen reports.

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Predicting Swine Flu

Predicting Swine Flu

Why do some people get severely sick from swine flu and others barely feel it? As flu season ramps up, scientists at UCSF's Viral Discovery Center are racing to learn more about the 2009 H1N1 virus, including how it's evolving, and whether our current treatments will remain effective.

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Personalized Medicine

Personalized Medicine

We all know that, thanks to our DNA, each of us is a little bit different. Some of those differences are obvious, like eye and hair color, but others are not so obvious, like how our bodies react to medication. Researchers are beginning to look at how to tailor medical treatments to our genetic profiles. Some of the biggest breakthroughs have been in cancer treatment.

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The Politics of Green Wine

The Politics of Green Wine

Wine grapes are one of the most sprayed crops in California. A growing number of farmers are choosing not to spray and are doing other things for the environment, too. The challenge is there are now so many choices when it comes to green wines, it can be baffling for the eco-conscious consumer. Organic, sustainable, biodynamic, natural… what does it all mean?

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Getting to Zero Waste

Getting to Zero Waste

As of September 2009, San Francisco residents faced warnings, and even fines, if they failed to recycle, as the city aims to keep ever more garbage out of its landfills. But, after twenty years of curbside recycling and, more recently, composting programs, Californians produce more waste than ever.

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New Nuclear

New Nuclear

In California, nuclear power has long been a subject that's "radioactive." But recent polls suggest that Californians may finally be warming up to the idea and a new study suggests that a clean energy future may not happen without it. Craig Miller reports on the prospects for a "nuclear revival" in the Golden State.

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Playing with Lead – Part 2

Playing with Lead – Part 2

Months after the federal government enacted stricter standards intended to keep lead out of children's toys, a KQED investigation found merchandise that violates the law still sitting on many Bay Area store shelves. In part two of the series, QUEST looks at the challenges of keeping leaded toys out of stores.

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Playing with Lead – Part 1

Playing with Lead – Part 1

Congress recently passed tougher limits on lead levels due to the large number of recalls of imported toys. But the new law, which went into effect in February, doesn't seem to be keeping dangerous items off store shelves, as reporter Oanh Ha found out.

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The Economics of Household Recycling

The Economics of Household Recycling

Once they leave your driveway, your discarded bottles, newspapers, and other recyclables become part of a multi-billion dollar global commodities market. Last month's phone bill, for example, might be sent to China to be reincarnated as next month's iPhone packaging.

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Journey to the Farallones

Journey to the Farallones

They've been called "California's Galapagos." Nearly 30 miles west of the Golden Gate Bridge lie the Farallon Islands. This year marks their 100th anniversary as a national wildlife refuge. While the islands are off limits to tourists, reporter Lauren Sommer caught a ride with marine researchers to learn about how changes are affecting life there.

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Depression Advancements

Depression Advancements

One in six Americans will experience a major episode of depression at some point in their lives. And yet the drugs commonly used to treat the disease have been described as "blunt instruments"

by researchers. Newer approaches use magnets to stimulate some of the neurological signals that underlie depression.

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Museum 2.0

Museum 2.0

Call it Museum 2.0. One of our most traditional institutions is undergoing a 21st century re-design. In an effort to keep up with changing times, more and more museums are turning to Twitter, Wikis and online communities to ask for the public's help in designing their exhibits.

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Stem Cells and Horses

Stem Cells and Horses

At UC Davis Veterinary Hospital, competitive performance horses receive stem cell treatments that are still off limits to humans. Veterinarians say their success may pave the way for other animals… like us.

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Where's my Hydrogen Highway?

Where's my Hydrogen Highway?

Five years ago, Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger announced his vision for the Hydrogen Highway, an ambitious program that promised to launch an alternative energy revolution in California. Right now, that highway is not as smooth as planners had hoped and government funding is in danger of drying up.

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Cash for Clunkers

Cash for Clunkers

How would you like the government to help you buy a newer, more fuel-efficient set of wheels? That's the idea behind a so-called Cash for Clunkers program that Congress is considering. But is it a boon for the environment or just a hand-out to Detroit automakers? The plan is not so novel. California has had a similar program for a decade.

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Crash Landing

Crash Landing

NASA scientists in Mountain View are building a spaceship that they will deliberately crash into the moon in 2009, sending up a 37-mile high cloud of debris. Their goal? To possibly find water in the form of ice buried deep within one of the moon's poles.

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