Solar panels on the rooftops of passive house buildings at the Hillside Center.

Wildfire smoke ‘significantly’ reduced solar power production in New England this week

June 9, 2023

The smoke from Canadian wildfires didn’t just block the sun and make the air unhealthy to breathe in much of New England this week. It also blunted solar power production and made it harder to forecast electricity demand in the region, according to the regional grid operator. “At a simple level, the smoke is is inhibiting the…

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A map showing how smoke from wildfires in Canada was impacting the eastern portion of the United States.

Smoke from Canadian wildfires continues to impact air quality in New England

June 7, 2023

Smoke from Canadian wildfires continued to impact air quality in New England Wednesday. And some medical experts are urging people to take steps to protect themselves. Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield says it has seen a recent uptick in respiratory illness cases in its emergency room, but several other hospitals in western Massachusetts said Wednesday…

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A rarely seen Sowerby's beaked whale beached itself in Gloucester last week.

A unique whale species washed up in New England, giving a rare glimpse of a deep sea diver

May 25, 2023

The calls started coming in around 9:30 a.m. last Thursday. A funny looking whale, or maybe a dolphin, had washed ashore on Wingaersheek Beach in Gloucester, Mass. Brian Yurasits, part of the Marine Mammal Rescue team based at the Seacoast Science Center in Rye, was one of the first on the scene. “It was alive…

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Farmer Meg Riley with some of her Shetland sheep in Middleborough, Mass.

Farmers are helping one another manage stress and mental health

May 5, 2023

Being a farmer has always been hard and stressful work, but there’s now a growing awareness that the demands of the job and its increasing unpredictability from climate change is taking a rising toll on the mental health of those who work in agriculture. As a result, the state launched a program to train farmers…

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Brass shell casings for the .50 caliber machine gun, informally known as “Ma Deuce.” Many Massachusetts soldiers must travel to Vermont to qualify with the weapon.

EPA deals major blow to Cape machine gun range; report finds significant danger to public health

April 27, 2023

A proposed machine gun range on Joint Base Cape Cod could create a “significant public health hazard” by contaminating drinking water for 220,000 year-round residents on the Cape, according to a much-anticipated draft report by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For the last 20 months, the EPA has conducted an “exhaustive” scientific review of the…

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Climate change is affecting NH’s streams and rivers. Dartmouth researchers are tracking how.

April 25, 2023

As the climate changes, New Hampshire is getting warmer and wetter. A new study from Dartmouth shows how that could impact local waterways — and how much there still is to learn. The study explored how things like snowfall, winter rain and springtime snowmelt impact streamflow – the amount of water moving through streams. Being able to project…

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Salt marshes behind the the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Conn.

An experiment in Connecticut aims to make New England’s salt marshes more resilient

April 21, 2023

Employees of the Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut are in an alcove out back by the river, building greenhouses — hammering, sawing and drilling. “Cutting PVC to shape, cutting greenhouse plastic and assembling these one-meter-volume cubes,” said Justin Susarchick, the aquarium’s projects director. His colleague Rebha Raviraj fires up a power saw and cuts a…

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Cows graze in a silvopasture area on April 19, 2023, on Wild Harmony Farm in Exeter, R.I.

For New England farmers, silvopasture could be a key adaptation to a changing climate

April 21, 2023

To understand silvopasture, imagine you’re a cow grazing under full sun on a hot August day. It’s 95 degrees and the humidity is brutal. “Do you want to be out there eating a full buffet?” asked Joe Orefice, a beef cattle farmer at Hidden Blossom Farm in northeastern Connecticut. “You don’t want to do that. As a…

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A perched view, through a line of trees, of the headstones down below at Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier. That’s where bodies can decompose underground, without the use of embalming fluids or concrete vaults.

Natural burials were illegal in Vermont. Now they’re having a resurgence

April 20, 2023

At the entrance of Green Mount Cemetery in Montpelier is a white marble building. Inside were six bodies, on a visit in early April. They were being stored by a local funeral director while the ground was still frozen. When Patrick Healy started working at the cemetery 35 years ago, the vault building was full…

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Nashua residents Pat Lyons, an older woman with short white hair and wearing a yellow cardigan sweater, and Irene Oliveira, wearing a pink sweater with a blue-ish scarf, are seated at a city meeting and look at informational sheets on April 5, 2023, during a meeting about community power at City Hall in Nashua, N.H.

Community power programs are launching in New Hampshire. How could they help stop climate change?

April 19, 2023

Keene was one of the first cities in New Hampshire to adopt commitments to 100% clean energy, in 2019. But then came the challenge of following through. “The city of Keene, we have a limited number of levers that we can use to effect change,” said Mari Brunner, a senior planner with the city’s community…

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