From Listen Current, May 10, 2016 -- The Himalayan country of Nepal was rocked by a devastating earthquake that killed almost 9,000 people one year ago. Today, the country still suffers from widespread homelessness, power outages and a serious lack of basic supplies. Even with the large amounts of money pledged to Nepal, none of that money actually arrived to help the people. Monsoon season is approaching and the people need more secure living situations in order to survive. Listen to hear more about the conditions in Nepal after the earthquake.
From Listen Current, April 28, 2016 -- Outside Reno, Nevada, the company Tesla is constructing a giant battery factory. The batteries will be made for the company’s electric cars as well as other things. Known as the Gigafactory, the building will allow the company to scale up battery production and reduce the price of their electric cars. Tesla is planning to revolutionize energy use by producing something new in their Gigafactory: a “Powerwall,” or a battery for the home.
From Listen Current, April 2016 -- The glaciers in the European Alps started melting rapidly in the 1860s. But that didn’t correspond with the warming of the European climate at the end of what is known as the Little Ice Age. That warming didn’t occur until the 1910s. To understand the causes of the glacial melt, scientists considered the possible impact of the Industrial Revolution, which began in the 1840s. The recent melting in the Rocky Mountains of America could be caused by the same reasons.
From Listen Current, 04/06/2016 -- The severe drought in California resulted in a state-wide mandate of 25% reduction in water use last year. This affects many residents, especially those who make a living in farming and agriculture. The snowpack in the Sierra Nevada mountains feeds water into the state’s reservoirs, which supplies about 30% of the state’s water needs. Last year the snowpack was 5% of average. This year, it’s about 95%. Even though it’s just below average, this is a great improvement.
From Listen Current, 03/10/2016 -- After living in space for almost a year, NASA astronaut Scott Kelly returned safely to Earth. Kelly stayed aboard the International Space Station, conducting experiments and taking photographs of Earth. Throughout the year, he was able to communicate with people at NASA and update them on his activities and status. Researchers at NASA have also tracked Kelly’s physical and mental health after one of the longest missions in space. Listen to the story to hear more about this astronaut’s admirable and historic journey.
From Listen Current, 02/21/2016 -- Scientists recently announced a huge discovery—gravitational waves. The waves were detected when a collision of two black holes created ripples or waves, similar to ripples on a pond. These ripples were predicted by Albert Einstein a century ago as a part of his theory of relativity. Scientists have been working to detect these waves for decades and are excited about the information that can be learned from them. In this story you will hear what gravitational waves sound like and learn more about their discovery.
From Listen Current, 01/25/2016 -- For more than a year, Flint Michigan’s tap water has been unsafe to drink. The problem started in 2014 when the city decided to switch the drinking water supply to the Flint River to save money. This water damaged the pipes and lead seeped into the drinking water. But the state ignored complaints about the smell and taste of the water. It wasn’t until January 2015 that the governor of Michigan declared a state of emergency because of the high lead levels in the water.
From Listen Current, 12/09/2015 -- Oklahoma has experienced more than 5,000 earthquakes this year. Some scientists tie these earthquakes to fracking, the extraction of oil and gas from deep within the earth. Fracking uses water to extract the oil and gas and is then injected into underground wells for storage. This can put pressure on faults and cause them to slip and trigger an earthquake. After inspections were ordered, state regulators shut down the water disposal wells, which slowed the earthquakes. But once the wells came back online the earthquakes started again.
November 29, 2015 -- This week the United Nations Conference on Climate Change begins in Paris, France. This is an annual meeting of all countries that want to work together to improve the climate. To help discuss this with your students, Listen Current has highlighted their resources about climate change.
Access the audio file and lesson plans at the Listen Current website (you can register for a free account to access all these teaching materials and more):
October 29, 2015 -- The Amazon in the north of Brazil is being deforested, and it is estimated that 80% of the wood harvested is illegal. Many environmental groups are fighting deforestation on the basis of its effects on global warming. But there’s one group of indigenous people in Brazil is fighting back against illegal loggers. This tribe is trying to preserve the trees because they are central to their way of life. They surround and warn illegal loggers and then drive them away with bows and arrows.