The Science of Sustainability

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Climate Change Could Mean Cloudy Future for Lake Tahoe

Climate Change Could Mean Cloudy Future for Lake Tahoe

Over the last 15 years, more than a billion dollars has been spent to protect Lake Tahoe's clear waters from runoff and erosion. Now, new threats to lake's clarity are emerging, just as restoration funding is drying up.

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The Lost Lagoon

The Lost Lagoon

Oakland Museum curator Christopher Richard and geologist Janet Sowers function as water detectives, looking for clues of the city’s long-lost aquatic past. Recently, they believe, they solved a mystery that had nagged them for years.

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San Bruno Marks a Somber Anniversary

San Bruno Marks a Somber Anniversary

The San Bruno explosion put a spotlight on something most people rarely think about: the vast network of underground pipes that delivers natural gas to millions of homes across the United States.

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California Gets New Environmental Chief

California Gets New Environmental Chief

California's new environmental chief is in the first month of his new position. With budget cuts, environmental lawsuits and a mandate to cut green house gasses, Matt Rodriquez has a big job in front of him.

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From Tunnel to Tap: Quake-Proofing Our Water Supply

From Tunnel to Tap: Quake-Proofing Our Water Supply

The Bay Area's vast Hetchy Hetchy system, "a dream in granite, concrete, and steel," is getting an overhaul. The system carries water 167 miles from Yosemite to Bay Area taps; pretty soon that voyage will include the Bay's first true tunnel.

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Rough Waters for Sea Level Rise Planning

Rough Waters for Sea Level Rise Planning

What do Bay Area airports and some big Silicon Valley companies have in common? They sit right on the edge of San Francisco Bay, where sea level rise is expected to have a big impact by the end of the century.

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Architecture for the Birds

Architecture for the Birds

According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, as many as one billion birds die each year in collisions with man-made structures. Recently, lawmakers have started to do something about this problem.

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Gulls Threaten South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Work

Gulls Threaten South Bay Salt Pond Restoration Work

One of the most ambitious wetland restoration projects in the country is underway in San Francisco Bay. Thousands of acres of those ponds are being restored for shorebirds and wildlife.

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E-Waste Programs Reach Milestone

E-Waste Programs Reach Milestone

Every year, only 18-percent of all American electronic waste is recycled, according to the EPA. Hoping to cut down on the growing mountain of high-tech trash, two dozen states have passed laws that require the electronics industry to pay to set up recycling programs. But navigating this patchwork of legislation has been a challenge.

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Bioplastic Boom

Bioplastic Boom

Companies like Coca-Cola, Pepsi, and Heinz ketchup have determined that plastic made from plants — not oil — makes sense both for the environment and for business. The growing demand has meant a boom in the bioplastic industry. Could this mean the end of the plastic bottle as we know it?

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Revisiting Mandatory Recycling

Revisiting Mandatory Recycling

Until very recently Philadelphians recycled a dismal five-percent of their trash. But all that began to change a few years ago when the city stepped up its mandatory recycling program and cracked down on violators.

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Boom Times For The Recycling Industry

Boom Times For The Recycling Industry

Here's one silver lining to a slow economy: High recycling rates. Americans are wasting far less, and recycling far more. Nowhere is the trend as strong as in California. As Amy Standen reports, this change is sending ripple effects throughout the economy.

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Chemistry By Smell

Chemistry By Smell

The Lighthouse for the Blind recently held its first ever chemistry camp for blind kids. The goal is to engage blind kids in the sciences by teaching chemistry through other senses, like touch and smell.

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Supercomputers Hit an Energy Wall

Supercomputers Hit an Energy Wall

Supercomputers are becoming increasingly vital to modeling complex scientific problems. As they get bigger, they're also becoming massive energy hogs, using as much power as small cities. Now, scientists at Lawrence Berkeley National Lab are hoping reduce that energy load through an unusual source: the technology in your cell phone.

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Changes in the Carpool Lane

Changes in the Carpool Lane

At the end of this month, some hybrid drivers will lose their solo carpool privileges. Beginning July 1, only drivers of all-electric and natural gas powered cars will be allowed to drive alone in California's carpool lanes. How effective was the hybrid perk and what will be the new wave of fuel efficient hybrids that gets this special benefit?

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The Search for Alcoholism's Miracle Drug

The Search for Alcoholism's Miracle Drug

At one hospital in San Francisco, more than half of the patients in an alcohol abuse program refuse medications that could help them stop drinking. So Bay Area scientists find themselves waging two campaigns: to develop drugs that work, and to convince alcoholics to take them.

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The Science of Pain

The Science of Pain

Pain is the most common reason for trips to the doctor's office. So it makes sense that pain treatment is a huge part of our health care system, costing more than $100 billion dollars a year. But how exactly pain works is still a mystery in many ways. As Lauren Sommer reports, some researchers are trying to understand it better by looking at a very unusual creature.

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The Changing Bay

The Changing Bay

Peer into San Francisco Bay and you probably won't see much, thanks to the murky water the bay is known for. But over the past decade, scientists have made a surprising discovery — the bay's water is clearing. As Lauren Sommer reports, clearer water is not always good news.

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Is it Time for SETI to Stop Looking?

Is it Time for SETI to Stop Looking?

Are we alone? For more than 50 years, scientists have listened for a signal from intelligent life on other planets… and come up empty. Now, they're running short of money. Is it time to give up?

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Spotted Owls Face New Threat

Spotted Owls Face New Threat

Spotted owls are one of the most iconic threatened species in the West. But despite two decades of work to bring them back, their numbers are still declining. That may be due in part to a new threat – not from humans, but from other owls. Lauren Sommer has the story.

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