Earth Notes

The Colorado Plateau is one of North America’s human and environmental treasures. Ancient cultures have called this land of sun-baked deserts and lush mountain landscapes home for centuries. Earth Notes, KNAU’s weekly environmental series, explores the Plateau by telling stories of the intricate relationships between environmental issues and our daily lives.

Rooted in science and wrapped in human interest, the two minute long segments encourage listeners to think of themselves as part of the solution to environmental problems. Upbeat and informative, the program tries to foster hope and dampen despair about the environment, and motivate listeners to become more conscious and informed stewards of the Colorado Plateau.

Ethan Miller/Getty

Most scientists today prefer the term “climate change” to “global warming,” since human-caused changes to the Earth’s atmosphere produce many changes beyond temperature. But especially in the southwestern states “warming” is an apt term too.

According to a new analysis of monitoring data by Climate Central, the U.S. is warming across the board—but to different extents in different places. And the effect varies by season, too.

Have cellphone, will travel: that’s the mantra in today’s device-driven world. Now, with a smartphone camera and a special app, a new project is providing virtual tours of archaeological sites in northern Arizona.


Westerners used to use all kinds of markers to identify the locations of mining claims, such as wooden posts and large stone cairns. The modern way is easy: sink an un-capped PVC pipe into the ground. It’s easy and effective. But there’s a dark side to these innocuous plastic tubes.


Insects and the plants they pollinate have evolved to fit like a key and a lock. 


Pronghorn antelope evolved roaming across large tracts of land undivided by roads and fences. But the highways that now crisscross their grassland habitats in the Southwest form barriers to mingling and interbreeding. They’re like giant swim-lane dividers in the gene pool. 


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