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Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

There's something strange happening along the coast of Southern California. It's the latest in a string of rare phenomena that scientists link to unusually warm ocean waters. NPR's Kirk Siegler went to have a look.

It's easy to blame someone else for food waste. If this is really a $2.6 trillion issue, as the United Nations estimates, then who's in charge of fixing it?

Turns out, we the eaters play a big role here.

New data from NASA's GRACE satellites show that many of the world's biggest aquifers are being sucked dry at a rate far greater than they are being replenished. Although scientists don't know how much water is left, they hope their findings will serve as a "red flag" for regions that may be overusing water.

In April this year, on Earth Day, Pope Francis urged everyone to see the world through the eyes of God, as a garden to cultivate.

"May the way people treat the Earth not be guided by greed, manipulation, and exploitation, but rather may it preserve the divine harmony between creatures and creation, also in the service of future generations," he said.

Travel up and down California farm country, the Central Valley, and you hardly hear people lamenting the lack of rain or how dry this past winter was. What you hear, from the agriculture industry and many local and national politicians, are sentiments like those expressed by Rep. Devin Nunes:

"Well, what I always like to say is that this is a man-made drought created by government," the Central Valley Republican says.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

MELISSA BLOCK, HOST:

Taking the salt out of seawater helped Israel move from the constant threat of drought to a plentiful supply of water, but Israel has learned that desalination is not the only answer.

Ben-Gurion University's Institute for Water Research is deep in Israel's Negev desert and away from the sea. Prof. Jack Gilron, head of the Department of Desalination and Water Treatment, and other researchers here test concepts in desalination to see if they might hold promise for industrial development.

Copyright 2015 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

What if farmers, instead of picking up some agricultural chemicals at their local dealer, picked up a load of agricultural microbes instead?

It's something to contemplate, because some big names in the pesticide business — like Bayer and Monsanto — are putting money behind attempts to turn soil microbes into tools that farmers can use to give their crops a boost.

It's a symptom of the soaring interest in the ways microbes affect all of life. In our bodies, they help fight off disease. In the soil, they help deliver nutrients to plants, and perhaps much more.

It's a sunny afternoon on the port of Laki, a fishing village on the Aegean island of Leros. The seaside tavernas are filled with happy tourists and local families listening to traditional violin music and eating fresh grilled fish.

But fisherman Parisi Tsakirios is not celebrating. He's on his wooden fishing boat, cleaning a bright yellow net. Two days at sea, he says, and barely a catch.

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