Covering Climate Now

A tap at in a sugar maple on the property where Gray Jay Mapleworks operates. (Esta Pratt-Kielley/Maine Public)

This year for Earth Week, the New England News Collaborative is bringing stories on how climate change is affecting food systems in our region — and ways that New Englanders are adapting to a warming world.

This collection of stories through Earth Day, April 22, 2022, is produced in collaboration with NENC stations.

Climate change is overwhelming, but many New Englanders are looking for ways to do something about it by “living greener.” WBUR wants to help with their new 3-week newsletter “Cooked: the search for sustainable eats.” Understand how to reduce your impact on climate change through the food you eat & take actionable steps so you can make a difference! Sign up here.

For more climate coverage, visit Maine Public’s Climate Driven series and NENC partners including NHPR’s By Degrees, VPR, Connecticut Public, WSHU, NEPM, CAI Cape and Islands and GBH.

This page includes our archive from Earth Day 2021, featuring stories of people living through our climate emergency and what our region is doing to lower emissions. These stories dovetailed with Covering Climate Now, a global journalism collaboration strengthening coverage of the climate story. 

I tried to eat like a hardcore locavore in New England for a week. Here’s what I learned

Andrea Shea | May 7, 2022

Essay from WBUR reporter Andrea Shea. On a drab April morning I opened my eyes and immediately felt bereft. I sighed, then pouted. My usual cup of comfort and courage was off limits. While the beans in my coffee press are roasted in Sudbury, they’re harvested in Ethiopia. If you’re like me — and about 66% of Americans —…

Nuts and dried fruit items at a grocery store.

It’s hard to avoid plastic while grocery shopping — even for a week

Martha Bebinger | April 29, 2022

Essay from WBUR reporter Martha Bebinger. The thin plastic thread running between one leaf on my pineapple and its tag does me in. I don’t see it when I put the pineapple in my shopping cart, when I load the check out conveyor belt or when I unpack groceries at home. It isn’t until I…

Eating less meat is better for the planet. Could my family go vegan for a month? Could I?

Barbara Moran | April 28, 2022

Commentary from WBUR reporter Barbara Moran. One of my son’s favorite recipes is “dinner en papillote” — it sounds fancy but it’s just sausage, potatoes, onions and mushrooms, wrapped in aluminum foil and baked for an hour. Voila — dinner is served! I expected the vegan version would be a hit. The soy chorizo looked…

New England youth activists resist paralyzing climate anxiety with food sustainability

Megan Briggs | April 26, 2022

A survey of 10,000 young people found that climate change is causing severe “eco-anxiety” in young people around the world. Climate news — like the grim UN reports of global warming intensifying— is ripe for “doomscrolling,” a toxic habit of despairing over seemingly endless social media and information overload. Young climate activists in New England — which is heating…

Inquisitive cows at Burley-Demeritt Organic Dairy Research Farm in New Hampshire.

Cow burps drive global warming. Scientists think feeding them seaweed could help

Walter Wuthmann | April 22, 2022

On a recent winter afternoon, a long line of brown Jersey cows lined up for feeding time, jostling for position. At the end of the railing, Blueberry snorted in anticipation. Today, her meal at the University of New Hampshire’s organic dairy farm was a standard mixture of hay and grain. But soon, she and her fellow dairy…

A Peels & Wheels Composting worker dumps a wheelbarrow of chopped food scraps and leaves into a bin that will be filled and left to decompose. The business uses bicycle trailers to pick up food scraps from subscribers around New Haven, Conn. The compost is then given to subscribers or donated to local community gardens.

Out of the trash, saving cash: How food waste could transform New England’s garbage

Patrick Skahill | April 21, 2022

Tucked away inside a trash facility in central Connecticut is a pile of nondescript orange and green plastic bags. To the untrained eye, the mound of rotting waste looks like all the other trash piled up here, but Jack Perry, one of the owners of HQ Dumpsters & Recycling, said this trash is special. “The…

From field to pint: How cans of craft beer are supporting regional farmland

Andrea Shea | April 20, 2022

When you see a can of beer do you think of agriculture? Well, grain — an essential ingredient in beer — grows on farms that are usually far away from the Northeast. Now an alliance is working to build a regional grain supply chain that supports local farmland, one pint at a time. To find…

VIDEO: How making compost could help fix our trash problem

Ryan Caron King | April 20, 2022

Getting food scraps out of the trash and into the soil will save money and protect the environment. Expert composter Domingo Medina shows you the best ways to do it. This video by Connecticut Public’s Ryan Caron King is part of special coverage from the New England News Collaborative on how climate change is affecting…

More local food could increase New England’s climate resilience. Animal processing capacity isn’t ready.

Mara Hoplamazian | April 19, 2022

Jeff Backer and Dave Viola are raising about 400 pigs on their farm in Northwood, New Hampshire. The pair sell specialty sausage and salami to customers throughout New England. But they’ve had some trouble getting appointments to bring their animals to the slaughterhouse and process their meat into the products they sell. Backer and Viola…

A tap at in a sugar maple on the property where Gray Jay Mapleworks operates.

Maine county may become last bastion of maple syrup producers in New England

Steve Mistler, Esta Pratt-Kielley | April 18, 2022

The iconic maple syrup industry is an economic driver in New England and in Maine, the third largest producer in the U.S. But rising temperatures and erratic sap runs are posing big challenges and foreshadowing even bigger changes. If scientists’ predictions are correct, the northernmost reaches of Somerset County could become one of the last…