Ambar Espinoza / RIPR

The New Year is set to usher in a new era of plant research at Brown University with a new greenhouse atop the renovated Building for Environmental Research and Teaching (BERT).

The new greenhouse, formally known as the Plant Environmental Center (PEC), gives university researchers the ability to grow and study plants in multiple environments, allowing plant researchers to study the effects of climate change on plants. For the first time, researchers will be able to simulate various environmental conditions, such as high temperatures and droughts.

One way to reduce your carbon footprint is to donate or repurpose your old clothes and other rags. Textile recycling has a greater impact on reducing greenhouse gas emissions than you might think.

Representatives with the nonprofit Secondary Materials and Recycled Textiles said clothing and textiles are not typically considered recyclable products. But they estimate 95 percent of all clothing and other household textiles can be recycled and repurposed, as long as they are clean and dry.

Federal regulators are being asked to resolve a regional rift over who should pay for new power lines needed to carry renewable electricity to southern New England.

Vermont has joined New Hampshire and Rhode Island to oppose the cost-sharing formula being promoted by Massachusetts, Connecticut and Maine. The question now before federal authorities is how much rate payers in Vermont should pay for a power line project that mainly benefits people in southern New England.

Wikimedia Commons

The Department of Environmental Management said those moths you’ve spotted covering the porch light these past few weeks are an invasive winter moth. These male moths are on the hunt for flightless females.

These nonnative invasive moths have emerged since late November and the DEM expects to receive additional sighting reports through the end of the year. 

The SummerCAM/SnowCAM  is in the RIPR newsroom, looking out at downtown Providence.  It uses Wowza-based streaming technology, provided by ServerRoom.net, which should work on most devices. 

Rhode Island is one of eight states that are petitioning the Environmental Protection Agency for protection from out-of-state polluters.

The multi-state action is directed at Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky Michigan, North Carolina, Ohio, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia. 

The petition cites decades of inaction by these so-called ‘upwind’ states and asks the EPA to require them to join a compact of states committed to reducing pollution.


A University of Rhode Island professor says the state is seeing an unprecedented number of snowy owls this year.

The snowy owl lives in the Arctic, but when its population explodes and there is stiff competition for food, many fly south. That’s what’s happened this year, where sightings of the owl have been seen as far south as Bermuda. University of Rhode Island ecology professor Peter Paton said Rhode Island has received 15 reports of sightings.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee has joined the rest of New England’s governors signing an accord to create a regional power plan.

New England’s six governors say if their states work together, they can share the cost of building natural gas pipelines and power transmission lines delivering Canadian hydro-power, and that will lower energy costs.  Chafee warns it will take a long-term investment to bring down power bills.

Peter Green

A photographer living in downtown Providence has caught amazing photos of hawks, owls and falcons flying above the capital city. He discovered the wild birds by following the pigeons.

It all started when Peter Green moved into an apartment facing the Superman building. He loved to watch the pigeons fly outside his window, and one day he spotted a falcon munching the pigeons that had captured his attention.


Southern New England, in particular Massachusetts and Connecticut, needs more renewable generation to meet their clean-energy mandates. But the supply to meet that demand is mostly in the north wind power from the mountains of Maine, or hydroelectricity from vast reservoirs in Quebec. 

Wikimedia Commons

The founder of Alex and Ani is seeking a grant from the Rhode Island Economic Development Corporation. The grant is to help make Belcourt Castle in Newport more eco-friendly.

Alex and Ani founder Carolyn Rafaelian bought Belcourt Castle, renamed it Belcourt of Newport, and is now refurbishing the place. Rafaelian is seeking a grant of $18,500 for a solar array and a geothermal heating and cooling system.  The grant would come from the EDC’s Renewable Energy Fund.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The state Department of Environmental Management has announced plans to cull the population of Virginia white-tailed deer on Block Island.

The density of white-tailed deer on Block Island is estimated at 80 to 100 per square mile.  That’s eight to ten times the desirable level so the state Department of Environmental Management has decided to cull the herd.

The DEM’s Catherine Sparks says they’ll hire professional sharp shooters to kill some of the deer early next year.

Mystic Aquarium

Hubble the seal is swimming free Friday after spending the summer recovering from injuries at the Mystic Aquarium.

Hubble’s journey began on a beach in Maine where researchers found him abandoned by his mother. He made his way to the Mystic Aquarium, and researchers fattened him up and treated problems with his eyes. Those eyes, said the Mystic Aquarium’s Skip Graf, were what made the curious, young seal so special.

One Square Mile: Bristol's Quahoggers

Oct 11, 2013
John Bender / RIPR

Quahoging has long been a major industry in the town of Bristol, situated right on the waterfront.  But as the population of local fishermen ages, and market prices plummet, the industry faces some serious threats.

Rhode Island Public Radio’s John Bender went out on a boat with a young quahogger to find out more about the town's historic industry.

Brayton Power Point Set to Close

Oct 9, 2013

Environmentalists are hailing a decision to shut down the Brayton Point Power Station in Somerset, Massachusetts.  Owners of the coal-fired plant filed papers Monday indicating the plant will no longer provide power to the grid by 2017.

Federal regulators have called it the heaviest polluter in Massachusetts. Environmentalists have decried the carcinogens that pour from its smokestacks. Now, the Brayton Point Power Station on the Massachusetts/Rhode Island border is closing, according to papers filed by its owner, Energy Capital Partners.