Environment

An image of poster for 'The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony'
Richard Blackford

The noises of the natural world are filled with sounds of joy, sorrow and survival. Step outside and you may hear the sound of a wren singing into the air or a beaver who is mourning the loss of an offspring.

These sounds and more are featured in The Great Animal Orchestra Symphony. The musical work combines the sounds of live orchestral music with animals in their natural environments.
 

A Nature Conservancy crew member sets a backfire at Nags Head Woods Preserve.
Aaron McCall/The Nature Conservancy

The fire began Tuesday night and has since burned 200 acres--about a fifth of the preserve. Several vacation homes are in the path of the flames.

Crews with the state forest service and the Nature Conservancy are trying to contain the flames by digging fire lines, and by burning portions of land in the fire's path to reduce fuel.

Nature Conservancy spokeswoman Debbie Crane said Thursday, gusty conditions aren't helping crews' efforts.

An image of fracking natural gas
AP Images

In February, the N.C. Utilities Commission gave Duke Energy approval to build two natural gas-fired units at an Asheville power plant.  Natural gas is considered a "bridge fuel" between fossil fuels and renewable energy, but experts warn that it can actually be worse than coal for the environment. 

Cutting down on coal in Asheville stems from a plan to reduce carbon dioxide emissions, but relying on natural gas ignores dangerous emissions of methane. 

Jordan Lake, Durham, NC
Dave DeWitt

The state is asking the public to weigh in on how Jordan Lake's water will be divvied up for the next 30 years.

President Obama Halts Offshore Oil Drilling Plan

Mar 15, 2016
Oil drilliing
Wikipedia

A federal plan to drill for oil off the North Carolina coast has been shelved.

U.S. Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced Tuesday the Obama administration will not pursue oil and gas exploration in the Atlantic.

“We heard from many corners that now is not the time to start leasing off the Atlantic coast,” said Jewell. “This includes many whose livelihoods depend on shipping, tourism and commercial activity.”

Last year, President Obama proposed opening coastlines from Virginia to Georgia to offshore drilling.

Grey catbird on a beautyberry shrub.
Will Stuart / bcdcideas.com

Audubon North Carolina is encouraging nurseries to raise more native plants. The conservation organization is also asking more residents to plant them in their yards and gardens.

Green Swamp
The Nature Conservancy

Eastern North Carolina is a part of one of the most ecologically diverse locations on the planet. But because of human activity, it is also one of the most threatened.

Thanks to those two factors, the entire North American Coastal Plain – stretching from Cape Cod to northern Mexico - has been designated as one of three-dozen global biodiversity hotspots.

NOAA

The Monitor is one of the most famous ships – and shipwrecks – in U.S. naval history. After several battles in 1862, the Union ironclad sunk 16 miles off the coast of Cape Hatteras during the Civil War.

The wreck was discovered in 1973, and two years later the Monitor National Marine Sanctuary was created, protecting the site and one-mile of water that encircles it.

Now, NOAA wants to create similar sanctuaries around other important historical shipwrecks off the North Carolina coast.

Image of two polar bears on ice sheet suffering the effects of climate change
Jessica Robertson / U.S. Geological Survey

Climate change was a prominent global topic in 2015, with both the Paris climate talks and the Pope’s encyclical stirring up conversation about the future of the planet.

But questions remain about what role businesses and community institutions should play in the ongoing effort. Some say that the Pope’s encyclical speaks to a need for religious leaders to step up in the movement, while others say that the business community needs to take the lead.

A picture of sleet
Mike Epp / Wikipedia

A wintry mix is falling north of the Triangle, with snow covering Granville, Vance, and Person Counties.

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