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.


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. 

Thaier Al-Sudani/Reuters

In June, House Republicans attached an amendment to the defense authorization bill that stopped the Defense Department from spending money to plan for climate change.

The amendments blocked funding associated with implementing executive orders — some of which go back to President George W. Bush — that resulted from bipartisan efforts to establish goals across the federal government for energy security, conservation, climate resilience and sustainability.

The honey bee gets all the headlines, but other species of bees pollinate our plants and help sustain food production. Take the squash bee, for instance.

There are 20 species of bees that specialize in squash pollination — and one of them, Peponapis pruinosa, is making headlines of its own lately.

The Diablo Canyon nuclear power station in California, which was built in an earthquake zone 30 years ago, is now scheduled to close by 2025. But not far from New York city, the operators of Indian Point, an even older reactor with a history of problems, are resisting calls to shut down.

The next time you’re tooling down the highway somewhere in America, take a look around: Those miles of medians and roadsides along our highways offer unexpected environmental benefits.

All those broad, green strips along the nation’s highways turn out be vital habitats for many small critters, as well as pollinators including bees, butterflies and birds.

Submitted Art / Buffalo Niagara River Keeper, Joe Gould

The state Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating the source of an oil spill in Niagara Falls.

A new book explores the hidden value of urban weeds

Jul 12, 2016

New York City landscape architect David Seiter is on a mission to emphasize the aesthetic and environmental benefits of what he calls "spontaneous urban plants" — what most of us call weeds.

“My intention is to rebrand weeds and get people to think about their ecological and performative values,” Seiter says. “We wanted to use the title, SUP, to get people's attention, and get them to think about what plants might be acceptable in an urban environment.”

For many humans, the great white shark is the scariest fish in the sea. But for scientist Greg Skomal and writer Sy Montgomery, these huge-jawed behemoths are simply fascinating.

Montgomery, the author of 20 books on wildlife, followed Skomal and his team as they searched the waters off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, for these creatures. She and photographer Keith Ellenbogan tell the story in her latest book, "The Great White Shark Scientist."

Congress has passed a long-awaited update of the 1976 Toxic Substances Control Act. The new legislation provides, for the first time, uniform federal standards for thousands of everyday chemicals.

President Barack Obama is expected to sign the measure into law. When he does, the Environmental Protection Agency will gain more powerful and broader authority to review and regulate new and existing chemicals.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and US President Barack Obama recently announced a public and private financing package to leverage $1 billion for solar power development in India.

The deal was announced when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited Washington in June and marks a milestone in cooperation between the world’s second- and fourth-biggest emitters of climate-changing gases.

A startling fact about horseshoe crabs: Their blood is worth about $60,000 a gallon.

Why? Horseshoe crab blood contains a chemical that makes its blood clot in the presence of even the most minute trace of bacteria. So biomedical companies use the crab’s blood to make sure vaccines and medical implants aren't contaminated.

Roundup, the most commonly-used pesticide in the world, faces an existential crisis.

Ever since the World Health Organization in 2015 declared glyphosate, Roundup’s active ingredient, a probable carcinogen, European regulatory agencies have been rethinking its future.

Forty years ago, the National Audubon Society began Project Puffin, an attempt to restore the threatened seabird to its native nesting islands off the coast of Maine. Today, you can watch their success live on the internet. 

From Seal Island National Wildlife Refuge in Maine, a live video stream shows puffins raising chicks in an underground burrow and hanging out on the rocks. These weatherproof cameras provide an intimate look into the homes and lives of puffins.

For years, science has known that pollution from smokestacks and exhaust pipes can promote diseases, including heart disease and asthma. Now, researchers in Sweden say polluted air also appears to be bad for mental health.

The University of Massachusetts has become the first major public university system in America to pull direct investments in fossil fuels out of its endowment.

The Democratic Republic of the Congo is pushing ahead with plans to add a new dam to the largest hydroelectric dam complex in the world — without completing the social and environmental assessments required by law.

The terrible drought afflicting the American West has sparked soul-searching about water management in the region. For the first time in many decades, the viability of dams and other infrastructure that supply water to cities and farms throughout the region has entered the conversation.

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.