Max Schulte/WXXI News

On Earth Day, environmentalists are calling attention to the pollution caused by disposable face masks.

The marine conservation organization Oceans Asia estimates that 1.5 billion of them ended up in the world's oceans in 2020.

Most disposable masks are made from multiple types of plastic.

Max Schulte / WXXI News

The Lake Guardian that was docked at the Port of Rochester for little more than a day set sail Tuesday without fanfare. It’s a working ship, after all, not a showpiece, despite attracting much attention from passers-by.

Operated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the 180-foot Lake Guardian is the largest research vessel on the Great Lakes.

When the ice melts each spring, the ship visits each of the five lakes to measure basic water quality and sample the “lower food web” -- the tiny animals, plants, and algae that support fish and other aquatic life.

Local climate activists are launching a new campaign to educate people about the advantages of heat pump systems as a cleaner alternative to fossil fuels.

The HeatSmart Monroe campaign is an expansion of the Sustainable Rochester Homes program, which has been underway for over a year.

The Rochester People's Climate Coalition has a new name, a new website, and an updated mission.

It will now be known as the Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region, or "The Accelerator" for short.

Executive Director Abby McHugh-Grifa said it better reflects who they are as an organization, what they do, and where they do it. 

The group's work is not limited to the city of Rochester. It covers a nine-county region.

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.

Many of the state’s retail chains have already taken steps to eliminate the single-use plastic bags, which were technically banned since March 1 of this year. Some stores are offering paper bags instead, but many are charging a fee to receive the paper bags.

Cuomo scraps $3 billion environmental bond act

Jul 30, 2020
New York Now

New York, fearing the financial implications of the COVID-19 pandemic, has decided to pull an item from this year’s ballot that would have asked voters to decide if the state should borrow $3 billion to fund a series of environmental projects related to climate change.

The Restore Mother Nature Bond Act, as it was called, was pulled from the ballot Thursday by the state Division of Budget over concerns about the state’s finances.

James Brown/WXXI News

Legislation that would allow Monroe County to be part of a state climate action program has been referred to committee for review.

County Executive Adam Bello had submitted the measure, which asked legislators to adopt a resolution necessary for the county to join New York’s Climate Smart Communities program.

During a meeting of the Monroe County Legislature on Wednesday, President Joe Carbone referred the legislation to the Climate Action Plan Advisory Committee. The move preempted legislators from discussing the proposal.

A year ago, Marielle Jensen-Battaglia gave up plastic for Lent. She decided that she wanted to live differently. She wanted to find ways to eliminate plastic use -- and it turns out, there's plastic just about everywhere.

Her story received some of the most feedback from any show in 2019, so we've invited her back to discuss whether she's been able to sustain a mostly-plastic-free lifestyle. Our guest:

  • Marielle Jensen-Battaglia, local resident

We sit down with Patricia Wright, a woman sometimes described as the Jane Goodall of lemurs. Wright’s work in Madagascar has led to a massive change in public understanding, conservation, and preservation. She’s had a long partnership with the Seneca Park Zoo, and this week she’s back in Rochester.

We discuss how much has changed since the 1980s, and what the world can do next to preserve habitats, understand the impact of climate change, and more. In studio:

Do you compost? According to the EPA, nearly 30 percent of what we throw away is made up of food scraps and yard waste. Nationally, composting is on the rise, and the practice is becoming more accessible to people who live in different settings – from apartments to houses, from cities to suburbs.

This hour, we continue our ongoing discussions about composting with local composters who share their methods. In studio:

  • Robert Putney, co-founder of Impact Earth
  • Brent Arnold, co-founder of Community Composting
  • Emmett Wilson, Ph.D. candidate at the University of Rochester, and adjunct lecturer at Nazareth College
  • Tom Moore, teacher at Ellwanger-Barry Nursery School and Kindergarten