The Science of Sustainability

KQED serves the people of Northern California with a public-supported alternative to commercial media. Home to the most listened-to public radio station in the nation, one of the highest-rated public television services and an award-winning education program, and as a leader and innovator in interactive technology, KQED takes people of all ages on journeys of exploration — exposing them to new people, places and ideas.

Exploring Crissy Field

Exploring Crissy Field

Crissy Field is a stunning park site within the Golden Gate National Parks. Crissy Field's 100 acres of wild, windswept shoreline are a favorite place for walkers, joggers, board sailors, bicyclists, thousands of birds and even the occasional seal.

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Paper or Plastic?

Paper or Plastic?

Last November, San Francisco became the first city in the country to outlaw plastic check out bags at large supermarkets, arguing that the bags are dangerous to marine life and hard to recycle. But some studies say paper bags can be just as harmful for the environment. So why target plastic?

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Rising Seas

Rising Seas

What will global warming mean to the San Francisco Bay? QUEST explores how sea level rise could affect Bay Area wetlands, following researchers who are taking sediment cores from local marshes to discover climate history and to get a glimpse of the bay's future.

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Exploring Mt. Diablo State Park

Exploring Mt. Diablo State Park

This park is one of the ecological treasures of the San Francisco Bay Area. Every season in the park has its special qualities. Discover for yourself the mountain's beautiful wildflowers, its extensive trail system, fascinating wildlife distinctive rock formations and fossils.

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The Traffic Tax

The Traffic Tax

San Francisco is studying a London-style plan to charge drivers a fee when they travel to high-traffic areas, like downtown San Francisco, or Doyle Drive during peak commute hours. But is congestion pricing a boon for public transportation? Or the death of downtown?

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Nature Deficit Disorder (radio)

Nature Deficit Disorder (radio)

A growing number of parents, children's advocates and political leaders are worried that our culture's disconnection from nature is harming kids. Concerns about long-term health consequences like obesity have spawned a movement to "leave no child inside."

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Cleaning Up Oil in the Bay

Cleaning Up Oil in the Bay

It has been nine days since a Chinese freighter hit the Bay Bridge spilling 58-thousand gallons of bunker fuel into the Bay. After a massive effort only 25 percent of the oil has been cleaned up. And experts say they may not be able to recover much more. Amy Standen reports.

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Below the surface of the spill

Below the surface of the spill

Oil booms at Crissy Field. Credit: fredsharplesJust two days before a container ship hit the Bay Bridge, spilling 58,000 gallons of oil into the waters of San Francisco Bay, QUEST web producer Craig Rosa and I were at Crissy Field beach. We were photographing pelicans and recording dogs playing in the sand for an upcoming […]

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To the Moon

To the Moon

NASA has announced a new effort to send humans back to the moon, possibly to build an outpost by 2020. Mountain View's NASA Ames Research Center identifies scientific investigations that could be performed there on everything from geology to global warming. But some critics question the space agency's priorities.

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Robot Car Race

Robot Car Race

It's one of the most unusual car races in the world. In the DARPA Grand Challenge, the cars drive themselves – no remote controls needed. And the contest is not a game. It could change the way all of us drive.

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The Return of the Canal

The Return of the Canal

Is California's most controversial water proposal making a comeback? QUEST reports on the fervent politics behind the Peripheral Canal – a $5 billion plan to build a pipeline around the delta, sending Sierra water directly to the state water project.

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One Fish, Two Fish: The Science of Protecting Sea Life

One Fish, Two Fish: The Science of Protecting Sea Life

This fall, fishing was banned or sharply limited in 18 percent of California's ocean waters from Half Moon Bay to Santa Barbara under a landmark state plan. But that was only the first part. Now, scientists need to see how fast sea life recovers. QUEST finds out: how do you count the fish in the sea?

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Geothermal Heats Up

Geothermal Heats Up

When it comes to alternative energy, most people think of solar or wind. But the hills just north of Sonoma wine country are a world leader in another kind of clean power, and under an ambitious new project, they are about to produce even more.

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Wild Birds Gone Wild

Wild Birds Gone Wild

Or rather, Wild Birds who Tried to Go Wild but Were Instead Captured for the Pet Industry. Brock, a Yellow Naped Amazon Parrot recused by the USDAWould you like a baby kinkajou? How about a little cougar cub or maybe a herd of giraffe? All is possible with the help of the internet and the […]

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What's for Lunch

What's for Lunch

We've all heard the latest health advice: avoid transfats. Eat more fruits and vegetables. But for many school children, their cafeteria lunch menus haven't caught up. This year, an effort to get healthy foods to the school lunch table is tied up in a much larger debate– national farm policy.

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Oysters on the Outs

Oysters on the Outs

QUEST radio takes a trip to Point Reyes, where a tug of war is underway over the management of an estuary. What is most ecologically healthy for the estuary– the preservation of pristine wilderness, or the sustainable stewardship of land and water through farming?

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Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire

Into the Inferno: The Science of Fire

In dry years, fires in California cost billions of dollars and often result in lost lives. As fire crews rest from a rough year and prepare for this one, QUEST looks at how the history of forest management could be feeding today's flames.

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Do-it-Yourself Science: The Maker Faire

Do-it-Yourself Science: The Maker Faire

It's been called "Burning Man for science geeks." The annual Maker Faire attracts thousands of amateur inventors and scientists, displaying their home-made prototypes and gadget hacks. In a world where the technological race is speeding up, the Maker movement has revealed that the do-it-yourself culture is in no danger of dying out.

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Second Life: Big Avatar on Campus

Second Life: Big Avatar on Campus

It's a virtual world, but the transactions are real. Go inside Second Life, an online game where millions of people are creating digital personalities called avatars and are living virtual lives– meeting other avatars, going to events, and even buying property with real money.

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Perilous Diesel (radio)

Perilous Diesel (radio)

Your tennis shoes. That radio you're listening to. If it wasn't made in the U.S., chances are it passed through the Port of Oakland, the fourth busiest Port in the country. But there's a downside to that convenience and those affordable prices, as Amy Standen reports.

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