environment

Flourishing green pastures have been transformed by towns and neighborhoods into swampy inhabitable forests. In this episode from May 21, 1992, John Weeks shares his experience returning wetlands to their natural state.

Advice From High School

May 14, 2017

In this episode from May 14, 1992, John Weeks questions the power wielded by those whose jobs are saved through sloppy environmental controls. Weeks remains optimistic though, after interacting with local students.

Bakoko / Flickr

Of all the factors that influence our well-being, our environment itself is one often overlooked. We consider exercise and nutrition, sleep and stress -- but new research suggests that an optimal, “green” environment may be more influential than previously understood, increasing both productivity and overall health in the workplace and beyond.

To learn more about the latest in green environments, “Take Care” was joined by Piers MacNaughton, associate director of the Healthy Buildings Program at the Harvard Center for Health and Global Environment. MacNaughton recently managed a study on environmental influences in the hopes of determining what an “optimal built environment” looks like.

The Nature of Change

Apr 30, 2017

In this archived episode from April 30, 1993, John Weeks gets lost in nostalgia. After reflecting on better ecological times, Weeks calls for environmental awareness to increase.

The swirling winds of spring are clearing away winters’ wrath. In this episode from April 15, 1993, John Weeks shares his Baltimore Woods Nature Center experience observing song sparrows, woodpeckers, bloodroots and magenta lilacs emerging to face the sun.

April Sunshine

Apr 11, 2017

April is truly a superlative month through the eyes of John Weeks. In honor of the months rare sunlight, Weeks expresses his appreciation for the lively rebirth of nature produced by the golden rays throughout the month. This episode originally aired April 8, 1993.

Hackathon aims to clean up Lake Erie

Apr 8, 2017
ELIZABETH MILLER / Great Lakes Today

Pollution and other problems plague areas all over the Great Lakes region. And they can make drinking or swimming dangerous.  There’s plenty of blame to go around for this – city water utilities, agriculture, and politicians to name a few. 

Now an unlikely industry has joined the search for solutions – technology is taking on Lake Erie.

“Hackathons” are widespread throughout the world – weekend-long events aimed at solving a problem with technology and new software.  Teams form, develop an idea, and present it all in a couple of days.

VERONICA VOLK / Great Lakes Today

On a tiny beach at Erie Basin Marina in Buffalo, N.Y., Nate Drag scans the sand and driftwood. He's part of the Alliance for the Great Lakes, and he helps organize beach clean ups.

"The closer you look, you can start seeing the plastic popping out," he says.

Last year, Drag says, hundreds of volunteers picked up thousands of pounds of trash. And lots of plastic bags.

"There you go," he said. "There's a garbage bag, and then there’s a shopping bag."

Trump calls for more Great Lakes cuts

Mar 31, 2017
Elizabeth Miller / Great Lakes Today

President Donald Trump has already called for major slashes to Great Lakes funding in next year’s federal budget, and now he’s recommending a $50 million cut to the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative this year.

The Trump administration would use the $18 billion in cuts to the current budget to increase defense spending and save up for a border wall. The recommendations to Congress also include cuts in programs aimed at Great Lakes education outreach and cleaning up toxic waste sites.

Veronica Volk / Great Lakes Today

Jon Gee of Environment and Climate Change Canada stands on a platform overlooking a part of the Hamilton, Ontario, harbor called Randle Reef. It's one of the most polluted sites on Canada’s side of the Great Lakes. 

Behind him, water runs from a sewer drain into the harbor. This runoff is cleaner now, but years ago, this would be packed with chemical byproducts from the surrounding steel mills and other factories.

Great Lakes targeted for offshore wind farms

Dec 26, 2016
Elizabeth Miller / Great Lakes Today

Charles Brush of Cleveland created the world’s first electric wind turbine in the 1800s. He used it to power his home. And since then, wind turbines have popped up all over the world -- but never in the Great Lakes.

That could change with Project Icebreaker, a six-turbine demonstration to be located eight to 10 miles off Cleveland’s shore. 

It could become the country’s second offshore wind farm; the first just started operating in Rhode Island’s waters.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The two candidates running in the 24th Congressional District converged in Auburn Wednesday to separately address the issue of toxins in Owasco Lake in Cayuga County, each trying to position themselves as better equipped to handle the problem that's affecting drinking water for voters in the region.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Most of northern and central New York is still experiencing a drought, despite some rain this weekend. Groundwater reserves are depleted in wells across the region. Farmers are trucking in water for their livestock, people are digging new wells for their homes and towns are trying to find ways to conserve this now limited resource.

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Democratic candidate running in New York's 24th Congressional District, Colleen Deacon, advocated for a progressive environmental agenda while in Oswego with Rep. Paul Tonko (D-Amsterdam), the former president of the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), Monday. She called for more investment in renewable energy sources, including in upstate.

Governor Andrew Cuomo

Some environmental groups say Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration should reconsider an $8 billion bailout of three upstate nuclear power plants, saying the cost will be passed on to ratepayers.

Cuomo plans to transition 50 percent of the state’s power to renewable energy by 2030. Part of the program includes a multi-billion-dollar subsidy to Exelon, the company that now runs two upstate nuclear power plants — Nine Mile Point in Oswego and Ginna near Rochester — and is hoping to run a third plant, FitzPatrick, also in Oswego.

Julia Botero

A large part of New York state is still in severe to extreme drought. The USDA will now cover the cost of new pipelines and wells for farmers in Jefferson and Lewis Counties to reach more water. But farms in other parts of the state, like the Finger Lakes, are getting more attention.  

Payne Horning / WRVO News

The Utica Common Council has rejected a plan to build an asphalt plant on the north side of the city that many residents said threatened the community's progress. 

At a standing-room only meeting at Utica city hall Wednesday night, the restless crowd waited for the committee meeting to end ahead of the full council session.

Impatience eventually boiled over after they got wind that the council was considering tabling the vote on the sale of the property. So, they stormed into the adjacent room where the council committee meeting was taking place.

Karen DeWitt / WRVO News

As part of the push to end the legislative session by Thursday, state lawmakers representing Hoosick Falls — where water has been contaminated with PFOA — want to extend the statute of limitations to bring lawsuits against polluters.

The bill would extend the current statute of limitations law to allow a three-year window between when a contaminated area is declared a Superfund site and when New Yorkers can file a lawsuit.

The Senate sponsor, Sen. Kathy Marchione, who represents Hoosick Falls, said it’s a top priority for her in the remaining days of the session.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is working towards outlawing boaters from dumping their sewage into the St. Lawrence River. The agency says the river could be designated a “no discharge zone.”

It’s been against the law since the 1970s to dump untreated sewage in U.S. waterways like the St. Lawrence River. But John Martin, with the EPA, says the new proposal would also apply to treated sewage.

“A lot of times boaters for whatever reason will dump untreated sewage into the water. Of course that’s not very easy to enforce if you own a very small vessel,” Marin said.

Constitution Pipeline pushes back its target date

Mar 10, 2016

The Constitution Pipeline Company has changed its planned completion date.

The second half 2017 is the new target for when the Constitution Pipeline will be in service. The previous in-service date was the fourth quarter of this year. 

In a statement on its website, the company says it needs more time to comply with the environmental conditions of federal regulators.

Tug Hill Commission hires its first female director

Feb 2, 2016
Tug Hill Commission

Last week, the Tug Hill Commission hired its first female executive director.

The Tug Hill is full of tiny isolated towns and villages spread out across the plateau. Supervisors of these towns are dealing with populations so small, they’re sometimes the only person on the job.  To handle anything from grant writing to balancing their town's budget, they sometimes reach out  to the Tug Hill Commission for advice. 

Schumer calls on Montreal to halt big sewage dump

Oct 12, 2015
Adam W. / Flickr

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) is speaking out against Montreal’s plan to dump 2 billion gallons of sewage into the St. Lawrence River next weekend.  Schumer is asking the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to sit down with the Canadian government.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

Residents of the village of Fayetteville in Onondaga County voiced their opinions at a public meeting on a proposed deer management program late last week. While some people questioned how the program’s success will be measured, most agreed that something needs to be done.

Jason Fridley, an associate professor of biology at Syracuse University, said the repercussions of deer overpopulation on forests are more immediate than climate change or invasive insects like the emerald ash borer.

Doug Kerr / Flickr, Creative Commons

Montreal Mayor Denis Coderre spoke to the Canadian media Monday explaining that over the weekend, he and city officials had re-examined their plan to release wastewater in the river. He told reporters that despite strong opposition, the plan has to continue.

“Is there a way to take some option in between? Can we use some temporary ways instead of sending that to the River? The answer is no,” Coderre said.

Gas Free Seneca

Federal regulators have denied opponents’ arguments against a proposed natural gas storage facility near Watkins Glen.

Arlington Storage Company wants to build two natural gas storage facilities next to Seneca Lake. Arlington is a subsidiary of Houston-based Crestwood Equity Partners. One of the storage facilities would hold natural gas and the other is for liquefied petroleum gas, or LPG. The federal government is reviewing the natural gas project.
 

Spring Time Episodes

May 13, 2015

In this archived broadcast from April 29, 1990, John Weeks talks about the coming of spring and how fast it happens. He talks about the different birds of the spring and how spring goes by so fast because of the transition into summer that sometimes people don't see the beauty in it.

Onondaga County Comptroller

The Syracuse city council has approved a 20-year contract for garbage disposal, just two days after it voted the deal down.

Rivers on drugs

Mar 4, 2015
Brian Caird / WRVO file photo

They're beautiful on the surface, but, our rivers are on drugs.

The scientists at the Cary Institute of Ecological Studies say their findings show human drug use is having an increasing impact on the amphibious environment.

PPCP’s are leaking into our waterways and changing the ecology.

PPCP'S stands for pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Associate scientist at the Cary Institute Emma Rosi-Marshall says people don’t fully metabolize most of the drugs they take and they’re coming out in our waste products which then seep into waterways.

Kate O'Connell / WXXI

Crude oil from the Midwest is moving by pipeline and rail across the U.S., including parts of the North Country.  Some companies are interested in shipping oil to East Coast refineries by way of the St. Lawrence River.

At a conference organized last weekend by the Thousand Islands-based group, Save the River, environmentalists and state officials voiced concern over the potential of a catastrophic oil spill.

Inergy

The next fight in a long battle over storing liquefied petroleum gas along the western shore of Seneca Lake is an issues conference next month. Opponents to the facility are trying to get a seat at the table along with environmental officials and the gas company.

Storing the liquefied gas, or LPG in an expansive network of empty salt caverns along the southwestern shore of this finger lake was first proposed five years ago.

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