Environment

As part of Texas Public Radio's on-going focus on the environment, we are proud to bring the public and our members special events, stories and initiatives to help improve and draw attention to the city's health and environment.

Nikodem Nijaki / Wikimedia Commons

MIAMI — With the killers hiding in the trees, heat-sensing drones are launched into the air. When their whereabouts are narrowed, the dogs are sent in. When it comes to protecting the world’s supply of guacamole, no weapon can be spared.

On subtropical farmland in South Florida, researchers are doing battle with the deadly fungus, laurel wilt, which is spread by a tiny beetle and has the potential to decimate Florida’s avocado crop. The hashtag they have adopted for their mission: #savetheguac.

“This is probably the biggest threat to the Florida avocado that’s ever been seen,” said Jonathan H. Crane, a tropical fruit crop specialist at the University of Florida.

From Texas Standard

As we look back on the last five years since the Deepwater Horizon disaster, some big questions linger: What will the next disaster be, and can we prepare for it?

Courtesy: U.S. Geological Survey

WASHINGTON — With real-time monitors, scientists have linked a swarm of small earthquakes west of Fort Worth, Texas, to nearby natural gas wells and wastewater injection.

In 84 days from November 2013 to January 2014, the area around Azle, Texas, shook with 27 magnitude 2 or greater earthquakes, while scientists at Southern Methodist University and the U.S. Geological Survey monitored the shaking. It’s an area that had no recorded quakes for 150 years on faults that “have been inactive for hundreds of millions of years,” said SMU geophysicist Matthew Hornbach.

When the volume of injections decreased significantly, so did the shaking.

Pam Toth / Texas Public Radio

The spring rain has fallen, the air has warmed, and the flowers are blooming. A drive in almost any direction will lead you to bluebonnets.

There are bluebonnets all over Texas right now. And with this being called a good year to see them, many people will be taking drives into the country this weekend.

Texas Scientists Find Antibiotic Resistance Blowing in Wind

Mar 30, 2015
Eva Hershaw / The Texas Tribune

COTTON CENTER — After years spent studying the dust that blows across the southern Great Plains, Phil Smith no longer looks at the dark haboobs that routinely rise over Lubbock without a healthy dose of apprehension. 

In a study slated for publication next month, he and Texas Tech University colleague Greg Mayer may have made their biggest discovery yet: DNA from antibiotic-resistant bacteria in cattle feedlots is airborne.   

For years, scientists have known that humans can contract antibiotic-resistant bacteria by consuming contaminated meat or water. The findings by Smith and Mayer indicate that humans could also be exposed to so-called “super bugs” or “super bacteria” traveling through the air. 

Pages