Courtesy of Andy Knight Mitchell

“The one thing you're not supposed to do when filming sharks is to back up."

The first time Andy Mitchell swam with great white sharks proved to be quite an adventure. The Middlebury-based documentary filmmaker was in South Africa, in an area known as "Shark Alley." He and another cameraman had dropped a cage to the sea bottom and tipped it on its side like a soccer goal to provide some protection if an aggressive shark came at them.

“The weather was crap, and the visibility was horrible. You couldn’t see more than five or six feet. So I slowly edged out of the cage.”

Susan Keese / VPR

The Vermont Clean Energy Development Fund has allocated $1.6 million to develop a wood-pellet heating industry in Windham County. The funding group has put out a call for proposals to design and run the program.

The funds are part of a final $5.3 million clean energy payment from Entergy Vermont Yankee, which is closing at the end of the year. At least $2.6 million of that is earmarked for Windham County, the region expected to be hardest hit economically by the closure.

iStock / Thinkstock

Starting this week, over 100,000 Vermonters began getting Home Energy Reports in the mail. They came from the state's energy efficiency utility, Efficiency Vermont.

Office of Sen. Patrick Leahy

The U.S. Senate Tuesday night rejected legislation that would have authorized the construction of the Keystone XL Pipeline. Both of Vermont's U.S. senators voted against the bill.

The $8 billion proposed pipeline is designed to bring oil from the tar sands of Northwest Canada to refineries along the Gulf Coast of the U.S.

Backers of the project say it will create thousands of good paying jobs and help lower oil prices. But Sen. Patrick Leahy views the project very differently.

A leading environmental group says it may appeal a state ruling that rejected stricter controls on farms in the most polluted watershed of Lake Champlain. 

The Conservation Law Foundation wanted the state to require farmers in the Missisquoi Basin to follow best management practices to reduce pollution. These include wide buffers between fields and streams and properly storing manure.

rskvt / Flickr Creative Commons

The state has declined to make best management practices mandatory for farms in the Missisquoi Bay watershed. 

The shallow bay on the northern end of Lake Champlain frequently sees summertime blooms of toxic blue green algae. The algae blooms are fueled in part from farm-run off in the heavily agricultural region.

Toby Talbot / AP/file

A coalition of environmental groups wants Vermont to become the first state in the country to impose a pollution tax on fossil fuels. And one powerful Democratic lawmaker says he intends to make it happen.

East Montpelier Rep. Tony Klein is the Democratic chairman of the House Committee on Energy. He made a roomful of environmental advocates very happy on Thursday when he outlined what he said will be a top legislative priority for him next year.

China and the United States are the world’s top two carbon polluters accounting for about 45% of the world’s carbon emissions. Until now, China has been unwilling to commit to any international agreement to deal with climate change. And while America was once a world leader in recognizing the need for such global action, climate change deniers have made the very phrase “global warming”, a political liability.

Sage Van Wing / Flickr

Among scientists, there is little debate any longer about whether human activity contributes to climate change. However, in politics, and on TV, it is still a matter of debate. So how do the physicists, engineers, and climatologists who do work in this field engage with the public debate?

We talk to Mary Albert, professor of Engineering at Dartmouth and executive director of the U.S. Ice Drilling Program Office, and Jennie Stephens, Professor of Sustainability Science and Policy at the University of Vermont.  (Talk)

Coffin: Before Snow

Nov 12, 2014

Norwich University men’s soccer, a first place battle, game tied. From the stands as the sun lowered I watched autumn’s colors intensify along the Northfield hills. I hoped for overtime, that this splendor and excitement would never end.

North of Maple Corners I entered a tunnel of golden leaves, while from the car radio a Sibelius symphony gathered strength and beauty. Would that this moment of pure joy last forever.