Environment

After major flooding in 1998, China introduced the Natural Forest Conservation Program, a logging ban to help protect against erosion and rapid runoff. A recent study in Science Advances of 10 years of satellite data found significant recovery in some Chinese forests.

But it's not all good news. Andrés Viña, an author of the paper, says this reforestation is probably shifting deforestation elsewhere.

A new way to clean the environment?

Jun 19, 2016

In the quest to mend the ecological damage and imbalances humans are causing, many enterprising scientists are turning to the endlessly inventive natural world — for example bacteria that can metabolize oil spilled into the sea, or plants that take up toxic compounds. And such amazing life forms are everywhere.

Climate change is a huge threat to our national parks

Jun 19, 2016

Climate change is not just incinerating boreal forests — it’s also presenting new challenges for one of America’s most beloved icons — its national parks.

The director of the National Park Service, John Jarvis, recently called climate disruption the single greatest threat to the integrity of the parks that has ever been experienced. And this is causing a wholesale rethink of planning for the future of the parks.

The incredible journey of one 3-year-old mountain lion

Jun 18, 2016

Mountain Lions have been considered extinct in the Eastern United States for decades, but there is one lion who trekked from his home in the Dakotas to just a few miles outside of New York City.

Matt Neidhart/WBFO News

Another attraction has made its home at Canalside and it’s an exhibit with an environmental message. ‘Cool Globes,’ a set of a dozen large globes lined up near the waterfront, is designed to get people thinking about climate change.

The wildfires that swept the Canadian city of Fort McMurry earlier this year are now classified as the biggest natural disaster to ever hit Canada in terms of dollars. Some $6 billion worth of property went up in smoke.

In this era of global climate change, the far north is the fastest warming part of the world, with fires doubling in size over the past 50 years. People are now beginning to rethink how to protect forest communities like Fort McMurray.

Massachusetts kids win a landmark climate ruling

Jun 12, 2016

The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has ruled in favor of four young plaintiffs who claim the state has failed to follow through on laws that require reduction of greenhouse gas emissions. The court, in a unanimous decision, ordered the state to stop dragging its feet and implement the law as written.

Brad Campbell, the president of the Conservation Law Foundation, one of the organizations involved in the lawsuit, calls this a “landmark decision.”

Environmental activists are urging the US government to “keep it in the ground” — that is, to ban any new leases of public lands to fossil fuel companies. The industry already leases more than 67 million federally-controlled acres. A new study details the benefits that could be achieved from this policy.

A majority of Americans — about 64 percent — say they are worried about climate change, according to a recent Gallup poll. At the same time, other polling and survey data show that our public school systems are teaching students almost nothing about it.

Three buses of activists left the NFTA University Station in Buffalo this morning. They are  on their way to the state capitol to call on Governor Cuomo and state lawmakers to support the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act. They expect to be joined by hundreds of other supporters from the labor, grassroots and environment movements for a rally in the noon hour.

As investigations into ExxonMobil’s public versus private communication about climate change continue, the Conservation Law Foundation (CLF) is pursuing another legal avenue to hold ExxonMobil accountable. CLF President Brad Campbell tells host Steve Curwood his organization has taken steps to sue the company for polluting the Mystic River at Everett, Massachusetts and for failing to prepare its Everett storage facility for rising sea levels and other climate impacts. (published May 27, 2016)

Saving the Bay Area

May 28, 2016

In June, San Francisco Bay Area residents will vote on Measure AA, a proposed tax that would fund wetland restoration. Bringing back wetlands would provide habitat for many bird species, and could help save the Bay Area from the rising seas expected from global warming. But some argue the funding mechanism is unfair. Emmett Fitzgerald reports. (published May 27, 2016)

Living on Earth: May 27, 2016

May 28, 2016

Trump’s Other Wall / Local Impacts of Exxon’s Alleged “Climate Deceit” / Kids Win Another Landmark Climate Ruling / Saving the Bay Area / SunEdison Falters; Solar Still Sunny / Beyond the Headlines / BirdNote®: Eastern Wood-Pewee

Trump’s Other Wall

May 28, 2016

Republican Presidential candidate Donald J. Trump says he’ll build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border to block undocumented immigrants. Now Trump is planning to build another wall, this one to hold back rising seas at his luxury golf resort in Ireland. POLITICO’s Ben Schreckinger tells host Steve Curwood how the Trump Organization specifically cites climate change as a reason to build this wall, despite the real estate mogul’s avowed climate skepticism. (published May 27, 2016)

SunEdison Falters; Solar Still Sunny

May 28, 2016

Solar behemoth SunEdison’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing disappointed its investors, yet the industry as a whole is booming, says Nat Kreamer, CEO of Spruce Finance. Mr. Kreamer explains to host Steve Curwood why one company fell so far within a soaring market, and how public-private partnerships could help the growing solar industry take our energy grid to a low-carbon future. (published May 27, 2016)

Twitter

A little over a year ago, the City of Niagara Falls got serious about its curbside recycling program that, for years, was among the worst in Western New York. Although the city hasn’t quite reached the national average, it has improved enough to outpace the City of Buffalo. Investigative Post reporter Dan Telvock reviewed the two programs and found that sometimes, one clever idea and a simple change in the law can make a big difference.


The Politics of Teaching Climate Science

May 23, 2016

The majority of Americans are worried about climate change, yet the subject is barely covered in public school science classes. The Allegheny Front’s Julie Grant reports on the powerful forces and opinions that make global warming a potential minefield for teachers. (published May 20, 2016)

In the US political conservatives often express less concern about environmental issues than liberals. But eco-psychologist Christopher Wolsko of Oregon State University tells host Steve Curwood this is due in part to the liberal framing of issues. His studies indicate reframing environmental topics in ways that reflect conservative values such as respect for authority and patriotism can better engage conservatives. (published May 20, 2016)

Checking Up on Native Plants

May 23, 2016

Spring brings the first native blooming plants, and native wildflowers are springing up at the New England Wild Flower Society’s Garden in the Woods near Boston. But climate change, aggressive invasive species and insects are stressing some iconic plants, so a group of experts assessed the state of New England’s plants now. We revisit a conversation between host Steve Curwood and the Wild Flower Society’s senior research ecologist Elizabeth Farnsworth, as they walked in the woods to find out what’s going on. (published May 20, 2016)

BirdNote®: Drinking on the Wing

May 23, 2016

Most birds drink standing up, but swallows and swifts dip down over ponds to drink on the wing. In this week’s BirdNote® Michael Stein examines where this adaptation come from. (published May 20, 2016)

Beyond the Headlines

May 23, 2016

In this week’s trip beyond the environmental news headlines, Peter Dykstra fills in host Steve Curwood about faltering “clean coal” and carbon capture projects and how critics say chemicals manufacturing safety measures are falling short of protecting the public. The history calendar this week brings a tale of how superstition saved lives, when tornadoes battered one Kansas town on the very same date three years in a row. (published May 20, 2016)

Robert Creenan/WBFO News

As summer approaches, many Western New Yorkers will start paying attention to their local gardens. What they don’t often know about is the neighborhood-altering impacts they can have. WBFO's Robert Creenan reports.


The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has honored four Western New Yorkers as New York Environmental Champions. Dr. William Boeck and Thomas Lowe of Niagara University, Dr. Joseph Gardella of the University of Buffalo and Dr. Sherri Mason of Fredonia State University were recognized for their dedication protecting the public's health and the environment.

Climate change is doing more than melting Earth’s enormous polar ice sheets: It’s actually changing the Earth’s rotation.

As the ice melts and runs off into the oceans, the weight of all that mass shifts, causing the Earth to wobble slightly on its axis, explains NASA’s Erik Ivins, co-author of a new study that documents the change in the Earth’s rotation.

It’s a fascinating phenomenon, Ivins says, but has no major effects for humans.

As global warming melts more of the sea ice in the Arctic, it’s creating new economic opportunities — from shipping, to oil drilling to tourism. This summer, a 1,000-passenger luxury cruise ship will navigate the receding sea ice through the fabled Northwest Passage.

A federal judge in Oregon ruled that 21 young people have the right to sue the federal government for failing to properly protect future generations from the dangers of climate change.

WBFO News File Photo

State environmental conservation officials are issuing guidance on how New Yorkers can avoid conflicts with coyotes as spring temperatures rise and the animals increase foraging.

New research from the London School of Economics estimates that a broad range of global stocks and other financial assets are overvalued because investment managers don’t take the risks of climate change into account.

The LSE research estimates financial assets worldwide are presently overvalued by $2.5 trillion — and, in the worst case, $24 trillion.

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