Environment

WBFO's Angelica Morrison

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation has notified local officials confirming the presence of a harmful algae bloom in Hoyt Lake at Delaware Park.

Twelve images that capture the beauty and character of the Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor have been selected as winners of the 11th Annual Erie Canalway Photo Contest. Winning images will be featured in the 2017 Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Calendar, to be available for free in December.

Photo from the St. Mary's School for the Deaf music video

September marks National Deaf Awareness Month and we bring you a story about students at St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo. WBFO's senior reporter Eileen Buckley says they recently created an American Sign Language music video.  

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How Hwee Young/Reuters

The United State and China, the two nations with the most global warming emissions, have now ratified the landmark Paris Agreement, with other countries expected to follow suit.

US President Obama and Chinese President Xi formally ratified the Paris climate agreement as heads of state gathered at the G20 meeting in China earlier this month.

Alden Meyer of the Union of Concerned Scientists, says this is a huge step toward implementation of the Paris Agreement.

Fracking companies in Pennsylvania want to expand their network of pipelines for the export of liquid by-products of natural gas, such as ethane and butane, which are used to make plastics — and to achieve this they are using the legal principle of eminent domain to seize private land.

The worst smallpox epidemic in Boston history was a turning point for control of the ferocious disease in the Massachusetts Bay Colony. It also helped launch America's first independent newspaper and set the stage for the American Revolution.

That's according to a new book called "The Fever of 1721," by Stephen Coss. 

The Future of the Ecological Landscape

Sep 20, 2016

Host Jeff Young looks at the next decade of our planet. Jared Diamond, author of "Collapse," says our "present consumption rates just can't be sustained." But urban farmer Will Allen suggests that mounting food demands can be met by growing food everywhere  ? in vacant buildings, on rooftops, asphalt, and on concrete. And Camille Parmesan, biology professor at University of Texas-Austin, suggests that the survival of wildlife may depend on our willingness to transport creatures out of the path of climate disruption.


Highly polluted air is bad for your health — and that's particularly true when it's air full of small particles from coal-fired power plants, as studies going back for years have shown.

But just how bad? For the first time, there's a study that actually quantifies how many years of life expectancy are lost based on a given amount of particulate exposure.

The typically brilliant colors of fall may soon become the latest casualty of the severe drought affecting Rochester and other parts of Western and Central New York.

Plants cool when water evaporates from their leaves. When there is little or no rain, that process shuts down.

This is your brain on parasites

Sep 18, 2016

Parasites. They range from microscopic bacteria and viruses to 50-foot long tapeworms. They've been living on and in their host organisms for millions of years. They are rather disgusting to think about, but the world would be a drastically different place without them.

Writer Kathleen McAuliffe’s recent book, "This Is Your Brain On Parasites," describes some of the many ways these creatures manipulate their hosts’ behavior to ensure their survival and successful reproduction.

A band of protesters in New Orleans recently tried to block the government auction of oil leases in the Gulf of Mexico. They failed to stop the event, but it turned out the auction was a flop anyway.

The Bureau of Ocean Energy Management refused to cancel the sale of leases, but only 24 out of 4,400 leases were actually taken up and a record low $18 million in revenue was offered.

Climate disruption is fueling stronger storms

Sep 17, 2016

Familiar weather patterns are a thing of the past, and the U.S. may face more extremes in the coming decades, says a noted meteorologist.

“I don't recognize the climate anymore,” says Jeff Masters, the director of meteorology for Weather Underground. “I look at the weather maps in the morning, sometimes afraid of what I'm going to see. It's just gotten so insane. The climate of the 20th century is gone. The climate I knew is not here anymore. We're in an entirely new climate regime, and it is extremely intense.”

Chris Caya WBFO News

The toll taken by the Emerald Ash Borer is expensive. Sen. Tim Kennedy says he has heard from many people who have paid $500 for removing one dead tree that has been infested by the invasive species.

A group of state lawmakers is teaming up with environmental groups to ask Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration to ban the use of wastewater from hydrofracking and other oil and gas extraction from being spread on public roadways.

U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

The Environmental Protection Agency is looking for public comment on the cleanup of the Creek Corridor portion of the Eighteen Mile Creek Superfund Site in Lockport. A public hearing will be held Wednesday beginning at 7 p.m. at the 4-H Training Center on the Niagara County Fairgrounds.

When you hear the term millennials, camping probably isn't the first word that comes to mind. But a recent report suggests more millennials are putting down their phones and exploring nature, shattering the stereotypes many have of young people.


Like his more famous Jesuit boss (Pope Francis), Father Albert Fritsch believes caring for the Earth and addressing the consequences of climate change are urgent moral and religious issues.

Fritsch has dedicated much of his life to environmental work, through his website, Earth Healing, and his work with advocacy groups in both Washington, DC, and rural Kentucky, where he grew up on a farm.

Drought prompts 'disaster area' declaration

Aug 31, 2016
Julia Botero / WRVO News

Federal agriculture officials have declared 15 upstate New York counties as "primary natural disaster areas" because of this summer's drought.

Living on Earth's explorer-in-residence Mark Seth Lender visited Iceland and found Black-Legged Kittiwake daring to nest right on the cliffs, despite the wild waves lashing the shore below. These are his impressions:

Lava works its way down, steams and smokes and spits as it meets cold water. Then, wears away, retreating inland till only the core remains: Black basalt crystalized in octagons like giant’s teeth, a long wall grinning and gnashing towards an ancient sea, while the sea grins back.

In the Pacific Northwest, a nautical hub for ships and naval training, endangered orcas and other marine life are struggling to be heard over the noise.

While orcas are not endangered globally, the orca population near Seattle is. To communicate above the din of ocean traffic and industry, orcas must increase the volume of their calls. This extra effort requires them to eat more, and could be stressing the whales, according to new research at NOAA’s Northwest Fisheries Science Center in Seattle.

A study on mice suggests that the chemical Bisphenol A, or BPA, could have adverse effects on parenting behavior.

BPA has become one of the most visible and controversial of the thousands of chemicals known to affect human bodies and minds. BPA is an endocrine disrupting chemical that has been implicated in a host of adverse health effects, including cancers, reproductive deficiencies in males and females, neural behavior deficits and immunological problems.

Woman farmers take center stage in US agriculture

Aug 21, 2016

Women farmers are increasingly challenging traditional, male-centric notions about farming in the US, and a recent book aims to encourage more women to join the movement.

The book is called "Woman-Powered Farm: Manual for a Self-Sufficient Lifestyle from Homestead to Field." As its title suggests, it is a handbook for women contemplating the jump to farming. 

Underfunding and low prioritization of wildlife crimes are hampering efforts to clamp down on wildlife poaching in the Pacific Northwest.

While poaching of animals like rhinos and elephants makes global headlines, in the US, species with horns are also ripe for targeting. The trophy antlers of a western mule deer can fetch $1,000 or more. In the face of strict limits on hunting, poachers often step in to meet the demand.

Elizabeth Licata

The study of biodiversity, the variety of life on Earth, is crucial to understanding ecosystems, on both large and small scales. An expert on the subject, who recently visited Buffalo, shared his thoughts on biodiversity in the plant world with Buffalo Spree editor-in-chief and WBFO contributor Elizabeth Licata.


www.entergy-nuclear.com

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday that a new company has agreed to take over the Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power plant in Oswego and keep it running.  It is part of the governor’s strategy for 50 percent of the state’s power to come from renewable energy by 2030.

Critics have long argued that the royalties coal companies pay for mining on US public lands are well below fair market values. Now, the Department of the Interior has moved to close a major loophole to address this criticism.

Leasing public land for coal extraction is a three-step process — and two of those steps are problematic for the public, says Michael Greenstone, a former chief economist for the Obama White House who now teaches at the University of Chicago.

File photo

The City of Buffalo will continue its weekly recycling collections under a new contract approved by the Common Council this week.


New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

The State Department of Environmental Conservation is encouraging New Yorkers to participate in a wild turkey of a survey this August.

With nurturing, even a degraded backyard can yield a delicious bounty of produce — and maybe even true love. 

Eric Toensmeier and Jonathan Bates have become accomplished permaculture gardeners in an unlikely place: a small, degraded backyard in Holyoke, Massachusetts. Permaculture is an agricultural system that is highly integrated, sustainable and self-sufficient. “Permaculture is meeting human needs while improving ecosystem health,” Toensmeier says.

Mike Desmond/WBFO News

The shaded areas of North Buffalo's Shoshone Park are not going to be shaded for much longer, as the invasive emerald ash borer has taken its toll on most of the trees in the park. 


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