Living on Earth

Wednesdays at 8pm

Living on Earth with Steve Curwood is the weekly environmental news and information program distributed by Public Radio International. Every week approximately 250 Public Radio stations broadcast Living on Earth's news, features, interviews and commentary on a broad range of ecological issues. Living on Earth is located at the School for the Environment at the University of Massachusetts/Boston.

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In Puerto Rico, volunteers and farmers are working together to rebuild after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico’s small agriculture sector.

Even before Hurricane Maria roared across the island, Puerto Rico imported roughly 85 percent of its food. After the storm, that number shot up to about 95 percent imported food — if you could get it. Road closures and shuttered grocery stores left many Puerto Ricans with no choice but to skip meals and live on canned and shelf-stable food for weeks and months.

When Christine Nieves and her family emerged from their home after Hurricane Maria struck, the forest outside their house looked like a giant chainsaw had come through, cutting the tops off everything and stripping the sides off the trees.

“It was like a bomb exploded,” Nieves says. “It was like all the movies that you’ve seen of Armageddon, of destruction, of the end of days. And the fact that the communication collapsed meant that we couldn’t hear the government, but we couldn’t hear each other. All we had was the people next to us.”

Many Americans would like to believe that climate change is a problem of the future. But as ocean levels rise, coastal communities from Louisiana to Staten Island to Pensacola, Florida are contending with higher floods, stronger hurricanes and saltwater intrusion. Some are even being forced to retreat to higher ground.

Writer Elizabeth Rush set out to document some of the stories of people caught in these rising tides in her new book, "Rising: Dispatches from the New American Shore."

When Hurricane Maria struck Puerto Rico in 2017, the direct hit turned a green island brown. Vast areas of forest were stripped of their leaves and branches. From mangroves to cloud forests, every ecosystem on the island was devastated by the massive storm.

A new study finds that global warming will bring with it an increase in agricultural pests, which will lead to significant crop loss across the globe.

Scientists have already raised grave concerns about the effects of climate disruption on global agriculture. Research has shown that rising temperatures can reduce nutrient quality in staple grains, and that droughts and flooding can reduce yields. The recent report adds an additional worry.

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