Environment and Sustainability

Bill Majoros / Flickr

It’s a perfect night to watch for nocturnal birds. Calm winds, clear sky and waxing moon just above the horizon.

I’m standing at dusk on the Lexington Blacktop, just east of Lake Bloomington. I’m with Angelo Capparella of the biology department at Illinois State University, and Given Harper, another avid bird watcher and professor at Illinois Wesleyan.

We’re on the prowl for owls.

Jim Suhr / AP Photo

The community's mayors have signed the Mayors National Climate Action Agenda

Town of Normal Mayor Chris Koos and Bloomington Mayor Tari Renner both joined more than 250 other mayors in following the U.N. Paris Climate Accord even though President Trump announced he'd pull the U.S. from pact.

During GLT's Sound Ideas, Koos says cities are "ground zero for action in ameliorating these issues." 

Judith Valente / GLT News

People who garden often say there is more to it than putting plants and flowers in the ground.  They feel a sense of serenity and well-being from getting their hands in the soil, from being outdoors and helping a living thing grow.

On Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., the University of Illinois Extension office and the McLean County Master Gardeners will offer a Horticultural Therapy Workshop at the Community Cancer Center in Normal. Its message: gardening can be healing.

Judith Valente / GLT News

Walking along Shady Hollow Trail at Comlara Park, Sherrie Snyder spots a small flowering plant in the underbrush that contains a series of delicate deep purple blossoms. She stoops to snap a photograph of it on her cell phone.

"I'm going take a picture of this little guy, the dwarf larkspur," she says.

It's all part of a citizen-science project called Flora of Comlara Park. She and other volunteers—you might call them plant Sherlocks—observe and photograph the current plant life so that botanists can compare the plants growing today with those that grew a hundred years ago in central Illinois. 

Cristian Jaramillo / WGLT

Bloomington aldermen will again discuss and eventually vote on a budget amendment to strike a controversial sewer oversizing project on the city's far east side. 

Michael Brown / Ecology Action Center

The energy economy is changing in a way that there may be no way to save coal and coal jobs as President Trump has pledged.  

Staff / WGLT

A new mobility program in the community has “great potential,” according to the Town of Normal Mayor. Bike Share 309, operated by Zagster, launched on Monday. Zagster provides bike share services to small and medium sized populations across the nation.

Staff / WGLT

Two central Illinois men are biking across Death Valley to raise money to fight climate change. 

Michael Brown is the Executive Director of the Ecology Action Center. Proceeds from the ride will benefit the center. Kevin Loeske owns Peeler's Ovenworks, a mobile, rentable, wood-fired pizza oven.  Both are participating in the Climate Ride Death Valley, Feb. 25 to March 2. 

Michigan State University

It all began over a glass of wine at dinner. A friend of Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha told the Flint, Michigan pediatrician that she suspected there was something fundamentally wrong with that city's drinking water. 

The Ecology Action Center

McLean County's future solid waste plan could include provisions that would divert up to 74 percent of items and materials being landfilled today. 

Connect Transit Buses Rolling Into 2017

Dec 1, 2016
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal's transit system is avoiding a planned shutdown at the end of the month.

Emma Shores / WGLT

Future development could someday trigger the need for an East Side Highway. But a new, detailed study of the environmental impact of the possible highway route located approximately a mile east of Towanda Barnes road includes suggestions that could push off the need for decades.  

Steven Depolo/Flickr

Bottled water is a $14 billion-dollar business. Americans consume about eight billion gallons of packaged water each year. But is the water you sip out of the bottle really any better for you than what comes out of your tap? 

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Epiphany Farms Hospitality Group is reaching goals in year 7 of its 10 year business plan. During  an on-location edition of Sound Ideas at Epiphany on Main, co-owner, founder, chef and farmer Stu Hummel said there was never any question of failure when the farm to fork enterprise was started.

Jim Browne / WGLT

An Illinois State University Professor of Economics does not support a move by the McLean County Board last week that prevented a change to the wind farm siting ordinance, sending the proposal back to the Zoning Board of Appeals for review.

Research from Illinois State University's Department of Economics is being used to support legislation increasing the statewide requirement for renewable energy sources, called the Renewable Portfolio Standard or RPS.

Enbridge Fined For Michigan Oil Spill

Jul 20, 2016

Enbridge Energy Partners will pay a $61 million penalty for the costliest inland oil spill in U.S. history under an agreement with federal officials.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Department of Justice announced the settlement over a 2010 pipeline rupture near Marshall, Michigan, that released an estimated 843,000 gallons of crude oil.

A nearly 40-mile stretch of the Kalamazoo River was polluted as shoreline residents fled their homes.

Joan Brehm

MIKE McCURDY: This is Sound Ideas. I’m MM, in the studio with Kevin Bersett, editor of ISU’s Redbird Scholar Magazine and the Ask An Expert column in the Redbird Scholar magazine. Thanks for joining us on Sound Ideas.

Ralph Weisheit

During a Bloomington council discussion of a complete streets policy, 4th Ward Alderman Amelia Buragas introduced two related resolutions. She said the resolutions to add transparency to a traffic committee and to hire a traffic engineer would complement a complete streets ordinance.

David Proffer / Creative Commons

An Illinois State University scholar said climate change is raising the water temperature of a 10-million-year-old lake in East Africa. 

ISU Professor of Geography-Geology Catherine O'Reilly has been studying Lake Tanganyika for 15 years.

Michael Brown / Ecology Action Center

The McLean County Landfill accepted more solid waste last year than any year since 2009 and the county recycled a record amount of waste. Nearly 160,000 tons of solid waste were landfilled and nearly 92,000 tons were recycled. The numbers come from the latest report from the Ecology Action Center.  The 11.3 percent increase in total tons solid waste in 2015 comes after a 15 percent uptick in 2014.

Colleen Connelly

The Twin Cities is about to get a new community fruit and vegetable garden.

Groundbreaking for the West Bloomington Active Garden on Illinois Street will take place Saturday. Colleen Connelly, one of the project's coordinators, says the garden will serve as a learning tool for children and youth.

Michael Gorman

Elena Studier arrived at the 3rd floor WGLT studios by bike, rolling it off the elevator and down the hall.  Not surprising since she's using her bike to explore communities located along passenger rail corridors across the country.

www.pophistory.com

The author and biologist Rachel Carson was a pioneer of modern ecology. In 1962, her seminal book, “Silent Spring,” documented how human practices can adversely affect the natural world.

Her research led to a ban on the pesticide DDT for agricultural use and sparked an environmental movement that eventually led to the creation of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

2016 Bike To Work Day

May 9, 2016

Bloomington-Normal celebrates Bike To Work day, thanks to Bike BloNo, The Friends of the Constitution Trail, Coffee Hound, and Cravin' Donuts! It's all to encourage to you participate in the Good To Go Commuter Challenge!

Judith Valene / WGLT

There have been two oil pipeline leaks in the past month -- one in South Dakota and one in southern Illinois. But the city of Bloomington says it has not yet arranged for more extensive leak detection equipment to be placed along the Enbridge petroleum pipeline in McLean County. The pipeline crosses under three bodies of water that help supply Bloomington's drinking water.

Equinox House Models Rainwater Collection

Apr 18, 2016
Michael Hill / WGLT

An increasing number of people are seeking ways to better conserve water and decrease water contamination. Ty Newell is a retired engineering professor from the University of Illinois.

He's been working to make his home in Urbana a model of conservation and energy efficiency by collecting rain water for use in a range of household purposes. Newell recently gave a tour of his home to WGLT's Michael Hill.

Judith Valente / WGLT

Lake Bloomington is the main source of drinking water for the city of Bloomington. The lake is also a popular recreation destination. In recent years, it’s increasingly become a site for large, and in some cases, year-round homes.

The homes along the lake all use septic systems to dispose of human waste. They discharge treated effluent to within just a few feet of the lake. In Part Two of the investigative series, “How’s The Water?” a growing number of experts question the wisdom of having these septic systems so close to the city’s drinking water supply. WGLT’s Judy Valente has the story.

Native Americans Protest Pipeline

Apr 15, 2016
Enbridge LLC

The Standing Rock Sioux has set up a camp in North Dakota to protest a planned pipeline to carry crude from the Bakken oil fields to Illinois. The ``spirit camp'' at the confluence of the Cannonball and Missouri rivers has been occupied for two weeks. The tribe opposes the $3.8 billion Dakota Access pipeline planned by Dallas-based Energy Transfer Partners because it fears a spill could contaminate its drinking water. The company maintains the pipeline will be a safe and cost-effective way to transport oil, and will create jobs and boost the economy.

Chilly Temps Put Chill On Planting

Apr 14, 2016
Daniel Schwen / Flickr via Creative Commons

Cooler temperatures sometimes dipping below freezing have prohibited Illinois agricultural producers from planting until they find warmer soil.

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