Environment

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

Saying Scajaquada Creek has been a mistreated waterway, local representatives to the New York State Senate and Assembly joined other stakeholders to announce public funding for a project that aims to clean the creek waters as they travel through Buffalo's Forest Lawn Cemetery.


Nowhere in the United States has been experiencing the impacts of climate change in a more rapid fashion than Alaska where a steep rise in temperatures has been melting permafrost and causing sea levels to rise.

Last fall, a group of 16 Alaska youth decided to sue their home state through a non profit called Our Children’s Trust, claiming their fundamental human rights are being threatened by climate change.

As EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt faces mounting allegations of legal and ethical violations, Democratic lawmakers last month recruited a record number of federal lawmakers for a joint, non-binding resolution calling for his resignation: 39 Senators and 131 House representatives.

A group of six Democratic senators wrote to the Trump administration last month asking it to explain its ties to the conservative fossil fuel magnates Charles and David Koch.

The Koch brothers have claimed credit for administration policies such as shrinking national monuments, gutting the Obama-era Clean Power Plan, killing a moratorium on coal leasing on public lands, and pulling out of the Paris Climate Agreement. Leading the Senate call concerning undue influence by the Kochs is Rhode Island’s Democratic Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse.

Just five years ago, Kerala, a tropical state in southwestern India, imported almost 70 percent of its food. But today, the state is about halfway toward its ambitious goal of going 100 percent organic and agriculturally self-sufficient by 2020.

Kerala hosts a highly literate workforce, and many people choose to work abroad, so the state used to rely on imported food. When doctors and the public started to blame rising cancer rates on chemical pesticides from this imported food, it kickstarted an urgency to go organic.

April 2018 was the coldest and snowiest April on record for much of North America. That spelled trouble for migrating birds who arrived in the north expecting to bulk up on the spring emergence of bugs — and often found two feet of snow instead.

The extreme weather also worries bird experts like Andrew Farnsworth, a research associate at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology. One bad season can take a terrible toll on bird populations, he says.

USDA conducting Fruit Fly surveys this year

May 21, 2018
Niagara County Sheriff

The U.S. Department of Agriculture will be conducting survey work in Niagara County this year to assess the presence of the European Cherry Fruit Fly.

Two grassroots heroes who defended their environments against powerful industries are among the seven recipients of the 2018 Goldman Environmental Prize.

They are Claire Nouvian, a French marine life advocate who advocated relentlessly for a more sustainable fishing policy in the European Union; and Manny Calonzo of the Philippines, who pushed his country to ban paint containing the neurotoxin lead.

Two women from South Africa who joined forces to stop a secret nuclear power deal between South Africa and Russia are among the seven recipients of this year’s Goldman Environmental Prize.

The prize recognizes individuals who have stood up to vested interests, corruption, industry bullying and political repression to protect their communities and the environment. It is awarded to activists in each inhabited region of the world.

File photo/courtesy Maid of the Mist Twitter account

It was the black blob that gave a black eye to Niagara Falls, New York last summer. A discharge of wastewater near the Maid of the Mist docks very quickly gained international attention. The city's water authority has taken steps to address what happened. The question WBFO asked a representative of the Niagara Falls Water Board: As summer approaches and with it an increase in tourism, how prepared is the city to avoid a similar water incident?

Activists in British Columbia are trying to stop Kinder Morgan’s Trans Mountain pipeline expansion project, which would nearly triple the flow of oil sands crude from Alberta to the port at Vancouver. The protestors say the project endangers the climate.

On October 11, 2016, American climate activists closed valves on five pipelines, halting most of the oil flowing into the US from Canada’s oil sands. They waited for arrest and when police arrived, they went quietly. They faced criminal charges in court.

Residents worry Massachusetts waste incinerator is contaminating waterways

May 12, 2018

Anyone who spends time in Revere, Massachusetts, can see the close relationship between this small industrial town north of Boston and the surrounding waterways.

The area is so used to the water that Revere resident Sandra Hurley Jewkes says that her mother’s house “becomes an island” five to seven times a year when the area is flooded.

Three generations of Jewkes’ family has lived in the house situated right next to the Rumney Marsh Reservation, a 600-acre state park that is a haven for various species of birds and marine life.

Town of Hamburg Police

Hamburg residents are being advised to bring their pic-i-nic baskets indoors.

A growing list of US cities and counties are suing fossil fuel companies for damages linked to climate change.

Among the defendants are Shell and ExxonMobil. Emerging evidence suggests that these companies understood the warming effects of greenhouse gas emissions decades ago, yet engaged in a massive campaign to persuade the public otherwise and to discredit the science.

New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

If you think you hated the cold, wet spring, think about mama turkey who has to keep her chicks warm and dodge the growing number of predators out there looking for a quick meal.

Kerala’s making an ambitious pledge to go organic

May 7, 2018

Despite its congenial climate, the Indian state of Kerala is not agriculturally self-sufficient. Relying on produce from neighboring states wasn't a problem for Keralans, who have high literacy rates and tend to choose better paying jobs over farm positions.

But then chemicals on imported food were blamed for high cancer rates. This, in turn, has sparked a revolution: A push by the state government to ensure its agriculture is 100 percent organic by 2020.

While reporting from 90 different countries, Ami Vitale has come to realize some dire realities. "We're witnessing extinction on our watch." Vitale shares her insights and experiences during "Rhinos, Rickshaws and Revolutions," a multi-media presentation showing Tuesday at 7 p.m. at Kleinhans Music Hall.


They have been around since the dawn of time, but until 25 years ago certain natural habitats never had rights — at least, not in a legal sense.

That changed in a landmark legal challenge in the Philippines in 1993, when a lawyer named Tony Oposa represented his children and another group of children in a case that argued that deforestation practices in their country violated the children’s rights to live in a healthy environment under the Filipino Constitution. The Supreme Court of the Philippines sided with Oposa and the children.

In January, the EPA announced it was withdrawing the 23-year-old pollution control policy known as “once in, always in.” In response, seven environmental groups and the State of California have sued the EPA, saying the rollback opens the door to huge increases in the release of dangerous air pollutants.

The majority of dog owners dutifully pick up after their pets in cities or neighborhoods, but sometimes they forget or don’t think about it when out in nature. Though this may not seem like a big deal, some experts say our dear dogs may pose a public health problem for nature — and for us.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Downtown Buffalo's Central Library is a good walk from the Buffalo River or Canalside, but the river was the focus Thursday night during a public forum.

The Island of Nantucket, off the coast of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, is home to a rich ocean ecosystem and host to scientists dedicated to understanding it — including UMass student Matt Souza, who conducted a foundational study of crab populations in the harbor on the north shore of the island.

Souza, a student at the School for the Environment at UMass Boston, is getting his Bachelor of Science degree in environmental science. 

Government agencies from the Environmental Protection Agency to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to the United States Geological Survey are breathing sighs of relief, as they will keep their federal funding or even see budget increases, thanks to a bipartisan federal spending measure enacted March 23.

There are several chemicals that have no taste or smell that could reach our drinking water without us realizing the inconspicuous harm they are causing. Then, there are some that have a particular property to them — such as smelling like licorice.

That is the case for MCHM, a chemical that was created to help in the washing of coal. Labeled as a coal flocculant, it has the ability to separate burnable fossil fuel from dirt and rock and other materials.

The mysterious aurora known as 'Steve,' explained

Apr 28, 2018

Thanks to collaboration between citizen scientists and astronomers, a strange phenomenon in the night sky, dubbed “Steve,” has finally been explained.

In 2017, a glowing purple-and-green ribbon across the heavens mystified sky-watchers because it showed up much further south than the famous northern lights, or aurora borealis. These observers decided to call it “Steve,” echoing the woodland creatures in the children’s movie "Over the Hedge."

Zach Anderson

Chestnut Ridge Park is a destination for hiking and tobogganing but although it is lush with flora and fauna, many Western New Yorkers may be surprised to learn the park doesn’t actually contain any chestnut trees.

File Photo / WBFO News

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has proposed a bill to ban plastic grocery bags in New York, but not everyone is praising him for it.

Karen Dewitt / WBFO Albany Correspondent

Two of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s political opponents were at an Earth Day rally on climate change attended by hundreds at the State Capitol, where they said the governor’s energy policies are far from adequate.


EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt recently announced that the agency will start the process of scrapping Obama-era auto emissions standards negotiated with the automakers, a move that, if completed, would double allowable vehicle pollution in 2025, compared to existing rules.

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