Environment

UK officials have confirmed that a five-year beaver reintroduction pilot program in England was a success and the first beavers to live in England for centuries will be allowed to stay.

The Eurasian beaver is native to the British Isles but was hunted to extinction nearly 500 years ago. Not long ago, however, a beaver family mysteriously turned up in the River Otter in Devon, England.

Douglas Levere / University at Buffalo

University at Buffalo researchers are working on a new way to use free solar power to provide clean water, potentially changing many aspects of life in the Third World and elsewhere.


In times of danger and stress, our minds tend to incline toward negative thoughts. It’s human nature. But in her new book, family therapist and executive coach Rosamund Stone Zander argues that we can train ourselves to resist this impulse and harness an optimistic mindset that will carry to carry us through difficult times. 

Interstate I-70 is an engineering marvel that crosses the Rocky Mountains, linking East to West. Earlier this summer, the highway was closed for two weeks because of the Grizzly Creek Fire in Glenwood Canyon. Experts say it’s just one example of the transportation disruptions that will likely worsen as the effects of climate change increase nationwide.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett, President Donald Trump's latest nominee to the Supreme Court, is an acolyte of the late conservative Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia. At age 48, she would become the youngest justice on the court. Like her mentor, Barrett seems likely to rule against important environmental legislation, which could hinder US efforts to mitigate climate change.

Now that New York state has begun enforcement of its plastic bag ban, after an unsuccessful lawsuit by the plastics industry, the state’s environmental agency and an advocacy group want to know whether stores are complying.

Every four years, a 6000-mile marathon run called Peace and Dignity Journeys unites Indigenous runners from all over North and South America, seeking to heal the wounds left from colonization and displacement.

In his memoir, “Spirit Run: A 6,000-Mile Marathon Through North America's Stolen Land,” Noe Álvarez shares how the communal run helped him reclaim a relationship with the land and reconnect with his parents' migration and life of labor in the agricultural fields of the Northwest.

Appalachian miners who experience the debilitating, terminal condition known as black lung disease have to fight to get the care and government support they need, even in the best of times. Now, the COVID-19 pandemic is making life even harder.

“You gotta wear a mask, and with your breathing problems and stuff, it’s hard to walk around and breathe through the mask. It's like sucking in hot air."

Jerry Coleman, former coal miner, Cabin Creek, West Virginia

Research shows Black and Latinx voters are generally more likely than white voters to list the environment and climate as top concerns. Yet, often due to voting obstacles, Black and especially Latinx voters are less likely to exercise their right to cast ballots. So, the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) and other environmental advocates are pushing get-out-the-vote efforts among these groups.

Michael Mroziak, WBFO

State leaders gathered in Lackawanna Tuesday to announce a court-backed plan in which the owners of former Bethlehem Steel land in Lackawanna will spend at least $35 million to remediate 489 acres for future new uses.

A recent Supreme court ruling has given Native Americans in Oklahoma renewed sovereignty over their tribal lands — an area of roughly 19 million acres.

The land in question marked the end of the Trail of Tears for the five tribes that underwent forced relocation in the mid-1800s: the Cherokee, Chickasaw, Choctaw, Seminole, and Muscogee Creek. They built a new life in eastern Oklahoma, only to have their land stripped away, bit by bit, over the next century and a half.

Buffalo.edu

The University at Buffalo  has become a player in the debate about climate change as its Geology Department probes ice cores, the long tubular piece of ice drilled out from glaciers and vast spreads of ice accumulated over centuries.


Supreme Court Justice and liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who recently passed away at the age of 87, was best known for championing women’s rights. But she also leaves behind a remarkable environmental legacy.

Creative Commons

On Oct. 19, more than seven months after the law took effect, New York State’s environmental agency will begin enforcing a ban on single use plastic bags at grocery stores and other retailers.

Courtesy of Western New York Youth Climate Council

A proposed resolution submitted to the Buffalo Common Council by local youth activists that is scheduled to be debated Tuesday is asking the City of Buffalo to declare a climate emergency.


WBFO Photo

After neighbors documented a thick plume of black smoke rising from Amigone Funeral Home's crematory on Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda last week, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has cited the facility for two violations of its air quality permit.

WBFO file photo

The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is investigating a complaint of black smoke that could be seen rising Wednesday from the crematory at Amigone Funeral Home on Sheridan Drive in the Town of Tonawanda.

Mike Desmond / WBFO News

Lake Ontario is around 2' lower than last year at this time, a relief for those who live on the periphery. With summer nearing an end, the International Joint Commission, which manages lake outflows, will allow Lake St. Lawrence levels to decline to the normal navigation season minimum following the September long weekend. This decision will allow for slightly more water to be released from Lake Ontario during the fall.

WBFO's Mike Desmond spoke with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Buffalo District Public Affairs Chief Andrew Kornacki about the plans.


Vice President Joe Biden’s choice of Sen. Kamala Harris as his running mate is historic. Harris is the first Black woman and Asian American on a major US presidential ticket,

But their pairing is historic in another way, too: On issues of climate and environmental justice, Biden-Harris is one of the most progressive presidential tickets this country has ever seen, thanks in part to substantial pressure from the party’s left for strong climate action.

Nick Lippa / WBFO News

New York's ban on single-use plastic bags has been upheld in State Supreme Court after the plastics industry challenged it, and it will now take effect in September.

Nick Lippa / WBFO News

New York's never-enforced ban on single-use plastic bags has survived a lawsuit lodged by a plastic bag manufacturer and convenience store owners, but a state judge ruled Thursday that state regulators went too far by allowing stores to hand out thicker plastic bags one day.

NY Renews

Local advocates joined state-wide partners in a virtual rally focused on the overlapping of the environment, COVID-19, racism, and the economy.


It was on this date in 1966 when President Lyndon Johnson visited Buffalo. While the visit would lead to a change in the health of the region's polluted waterways, it was also the day the spotlight was placed on the uncommon efforts of a common man, Stan Spisiak. Author and legendary radio news anchor John Zach details the man and how he changed the environmental course of the region's waters in his new book, "The Day the Buffalo River Burned: The Incredible Story of Stan Spisiak."

 

WBFO/Michael Mroziak

A solar-energy house built by University at Buffalo students is being reassembled on the school’s North Campus, as part of UB's broader renewable energy plan.

Chinese fishing fleet threatens Galápagos Islands

Aug 17, 2020

Ecuador is on alert after its navy discovered a fleet of more than 200 Chinese fishing vessels near the Galápagos Islands.

The famous archipelago, located more than 600 miles off Ecuador's coast, helped inspire Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution and is home to the second-largest marine reserve in the world. Ecuadorian officials worry that the Chinese fleet will capture fish that wander out of the formal boundaries of the marine reserve, threatening the balance and diversity of one the Earth’s most important ecosystems.

Facebook / Olcott Yacht Club

More than 140 businesses along Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River will get state money to make their properties less vulnerable to flooding.

COVID-19 has thus far cost the world over 700,000 lives and vast sums of money in lost gross domestic products and government rescue plans. A new study published in the journal Science suggests we might avoid the next pandemic and save trillions of dollars by spending just a fraction of that amount to curb deforestation and the wildlife trade.

As the United States confronts its long history of racial injustice, powerful environmental groups like the Sierra Club are coming to grips with their own history of racism and white supremacy.

The national environmental movement in the United States is still dominated by white voices and often excludes people of color. The environmental justice movement, which is typically community-based and more often driven by people of color, is frequently an afterthought among large green organizations and the foundations who fund them.

The United States has lost more than 11 million of acres of farmland to development over the last 20 years, according to a new report.

A series of studies by the American Farmland Trust shows that agricultural land is increasingly being converted, fragmented, or paved over — threatening the integrity of local and regional food systems. Of special concern, the report notes, are the loss of farmland to low-density residential development at the edge of urban and suburban areas.

In another attempt to undo decades of environmental regulations, the Trump administration recently released a revised regulatory interpretation of NEPA, the National Environmental Policy Act, that will weaken it significantly.

For the past 50 years, NEPA has underpinned virtually all federal environmental law in the United States. It requires that the federal government study the potential consequences of major infrastructure projects such as pipelines, dams and highways.

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