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The Risky Business of Building on Sand

In Review: Shored Up

Three years ago, when I was reporting on a story on climate change adaptation, the Environmental Protection Agency’s sea level rise expert James Titus told me that “managing human expectations” was by far the toughest part of figuring out how to adapt…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – October 3, 2014

Barefoot Biologist

Untamed: The Wildest Woman in America and the Fight for Cumberland Island
By Will Harlan
Grove Press, 2014, 307 Pages

When the first few pages of a biography include lines like, “She is as tough as the sea turtle carapaces that line her museum. But beneath that hardened shell is a soft, bruised being,” a reader can’t but proceed with some trepidation. But for those who have the fortitude to soldier on, Untamed offers an unexpectedly intimate account of the swashbuckling life of Carol Anne Ruckdeschel – a self-taught biologist who has…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – Autumn 2014

Federal Judge Overturns Kaua‘i GMO, Pesticide Regulatory Law

Ordinance 960 preempted by state law, says ruling; appeal likely

A federal judge yesterday overturned Kauai’s new law regulating the transgenic seeds industry on the Hawaiian island, ruling that it was preempted by state law and was therefore invalid. The ruling is a setback for activists and citizens fighting to protect local…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – August 26, 2014

Ocean Acidification Is an Imminent Threat for Alaska Fishing Communities

Communities in southeast and southwest Alaska face the highest risk, says NOOA-led report

Keeping Alaska’s fisheries wild and sustainable is going to be a serious challenge in the years ahead as our oceans become more acidic, and that in turn, is going put many Alaskans’ subsistence way of life at risk, says a new report.…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – July 29, 2014

31-Day Undersea Mission has Been a Boon for Marine Scientists

A young researcher talks about Fabien Cousteau’s underwater living experiment

Three years ago, I dove 63 feet undersea at the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary to visit Aquarius — the world’s only remaining underwater research lab — and gawked through the portholes at the researchers (they are called “aquanauts,” by the way)…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – July 1, 2014

Feeding Hawai‘i

Could small, biodiverse farms help the Aloha State transition to growing enough food to feed itself?

For Chris Kobayashi and her husband, Dimi Rivera, it all started with Japanese cucumbers. “In 1997 we said, ‘OK, let’s grow Japanese cucumbers, but let’s grow it organically,’” Kobayashi tells me as we walk around her farm in Hanalei Bay on Kaua‘i’s…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – June 18, 2014

That ‘Natural’ Vanilla in Your Ice Cream May Soon Be Coming from a Biotech Lab

Synthetic biology firms’ foray into food and fragrances faces resistance from greens and consumer groups

The first time I ever tasted real vanilla was in a scoop of French vanilla ice cream back in 2000 when I was visiting the United States. The ice cream’s smooth, rich flavor was far superior to the artificial, overly-sweet, “vanilla essence”…
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by: Maureen Nandini Mitra – June 12, 2014

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