146: Urban Nature

146: Urban Nature

Dec 10, 1999
Stories of nature creeping into man-made environments. Of nature sneaking in places where its very presence is a rebuke to the notion that we as a species have things under control.
  • Stories about rats in the city, from Kate Aurthur (former rat columnist for New York magazine), and from a Mark Lewis documentary called Rat. When rats arrive in our homes, we remember why we as a species wanted to tame nature in the first place. It feels like a contest of man versus nature in which nature actually has a fighting chance. (5 minutes) AnimalsCityJournalism

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  • Building everything that comprises modern life—constructing cities and suburbs both—means trampling nature. And that bothers some people. They want to keep nature at hand, even in the city. David Rakoff visited Reykjavik, Iceland, where the government is careful not to disturb certain boulders when it builds roads because some people believe that invisible "hidden people"—like elves—live at those sites. (17 minutes) City

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  • Unlike Reykjavik, some cities don't coddle citizens in their idiosyncratic beliefs about nature. We hear New York mayor Rudolph Giuliani react (with vehemence) to a man who believes New Yorkers should have the right to keep ferrets in their homes. (5 minutes)AnimalsCityGovernmentPolitics

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  • Scott Carrier tells the story of trying to bring a part of the outside world inside the house when he was a boy. His brother wanted to capture a rattlesnake and bring it home and keep in the basement, as a secret. It didn't work out as they planned. (10 minutes) AnimalsChildhoodFamilysiblings

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  • True stories of what happens when children are allowed to bring nature's own creatures into the house as pets. When it comes to rodents, fish and amphibians, it often works out badly...for the pets. We hear especially from one Chicago high-school freshman, who spoke with producer Starlee Kine. If you're looking for "bite toad," this is it. (5 minutes) AnimalsChildrenDeathsiblingsTeenagers

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  • We end our show with a story of city life and the natural world co-existing peacefully. Iggy Scam went on a mission seeking urban fisherman—guys who throw down fishing poles right down in the middle of the big city, often in the most polluted industrial environments possible. (11 minutes) CityEnvironmentJobs/EmploymentTravel

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