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67-year-old woman fights company on tree removal despite previous restraining order

A Dallas woman prefers the high life – up in a tree.

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Jeri Huber, 67, climbed a tree outside of her home to stop Oncor, an electrical company, from removing it, the Houston Chronicle reported.

Huber was briefly successful in stopping removal of the tree after she refused to descend, but the electrical crew said they would return with a restraining order.

This isn’t the first time Huber has met adversity while attempting to save trees. Six years ago, she climbed another tree with a BB gun to stop Oncor, an effort which was ultimately unsuccessful and earned Huber a temporary restraining order.

In a statement from Oncor, officials explained the necessity of tree trimming “to keep local residents safe” and to “ensure reliable service to … the city.”

The Texas electrical company was true to their word this time around, and Huber was served with a second temporary restraining order. 

In an interview with CBS after she was forced out of the tree, Huber expressed her concerns.

“When did we lose our rights as property owners?” she asked.

10 easy ways to reduce your carbon footprint

If you want to feel better about how you are affecting the environment, here are 10 things you can do to reduce your carbon footprint:

1. Reuse and recycle

Estimates say 29 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the “provision of goods,” which means the extraction of resources from the earth, manufacturing, transport and final disposal of consumer products and packaging, building components and passenger vehicles, among others.

By buying used and reselling or recycling items you no longer use, you dramatically reduce your carbon footprint from the “provision of goods.”

2. Eat locally produced and organic food

 More than 10 percent of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions come from the production and transport of food. Eating local foods means that they were not as transported as far, meaning less fossil fuel to get to you.

Organic fertilizer avoids the fossil fuel component that appears in some non-organic fertilizers.

3. Cut back on the beef and dairy

It takes a lot of resources to raise cows, and it’s especially controversial if you buy beef from somewhere like Brazil, where it was grazed on land that used to be tropical forest but was cleared for agricultural use. Deforestation is a top contributor to carbon emissions and climate change.

4. Fly economy

As comfortable as it can be to fly first class, your carbon footprint drops if you fly economy, the same way it does if you carpool or use public transportation. Each flyer’s share of a flight’s carbon emissions is relatively less because it’s spread out over more people.

If you must fly first or business, avoid private jets.

5. Drive a low carbon vehicle

High mileage cars doesn’t always mean low carbon dioxide emissions. Electric cars emit no carbon dioxide if they are charged with clean electricity (no coal). Electric cars and hybrids will save you money and help the environment.

6. Get a hitch-mounted cargo rack

Don’t buy a minivan or SUV if you only occasionally need the extra space. The bigger cars will use more gas and oil. A receiver hitch and a rack are relatively inexpensive.

Avoid roof-top boxes, which cost much more, increase aerodynamic drag and decrease fuel economy.

7. How you drive and how you care for your car matters

Take your time and be patient. Speeding and unnecessary acceleration reduce your gas mileage up to 33%, according to studies. Properly inflated tires can help improve your gas mileage by up to 3%. It also helps to use the correct grade of motor oil, and to keep your engine tuned. Some maintenance fixes, such as fixing faulty oxygen sensors, can increase fuel efficiency by up to 40%.

8. Reduce your home’s energy loss

Reduce drafts and air leaks with caulk, insulation, and weather stripping. Many states offer programs and incentives to facilitate this.

Turn off lights you’re not using and when you leave the room. Replace incandescent light bulbs with LED bulbs.

9. Lower your water usage

Lower the amount of energy used to pump, treat, and heat water by washing your car less often, using climate-appropriate plants in your garden, installing drip irrigation so that plants receive only what they need.

10. Search for Energy Star

Make energy efficiency a primary consideration when choosing a new furnace, air conditioning unit, dishwasher, or refrigerator. These are the biggest energy users in your home, so choose accordingly.

Products bearing the Energy Star label are recognized for having superior efficiency

More than 80 false killer whales found dead off Florida coast

Wildlife officials are working to save false killer whales stranded in the area of Everglades National Park.

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NOAA Fisheries said that 95 false killer whales were reported stranded off Hog Key on Saturday afternoon.

The agency tweeted Saturday, saying that 81 are dead, one has been seen alive and 13 are unaccounted for. NOAA and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission have asked for boaters and aircraft to stay away from the area.

False killer whales are named as such because of their resemblance to orcas. They are members of the dolphin family and range in size from 15 feet to 20 feet. In adulthood, false killer whales can weigh approximately 1,500 pounds.

False killer whales have a small conical head without a beak. Their dorsal fin is tall and their flippers (pectoral fins) have a distinctive hump or bulge in the middle of the front edge. False killer whales have dark coloration except for some lighter patches near the throat and middle chest.

95 false killer whales strand off south Florida - details here starting at 1pm pic.twitter.com/tYekMGfmIt— NOAA Fish Southeast (@NOAAFish_SERO) January 16, 2017

NOAA briefing on stranded whales-southeast stranding network received report of whale swimming off Hog Key in Everglades Saturday afternoon pic.twitter.com/AL4KVAZrJr— NOAA Fish Southeast (@NOAAFish_SERO) January 16, 2017

Patagonia to donate $10 million from Black Friday revenue

Before Thanksgiving, outdoor clothing and gear company Patagonia promised to donate 100 percent of its Black Friday sales revenue to  "grassroots organizations working in local communities to protect our air, water and soil for future generations."

>> Read more trending stories  

The company expected to reach $2 million in sales online and across its 80 stores, but that goal was met many times over -- five times to be exact. 

The company sold $10 million worth of merchandise. 

"We're humbled to report the response was beyond expectations ... Patagonia reached a record-breaking $10 million in sales," the company said in a statement. "The enormous love our customers showed to the planet on Black Friday enables us to give every penny to hundreds of grassroots environmental organizations working around the world." 

Lisa Pike Sheehy, vice president of environmental activism at Patagonia, told CNN that the decision to donate the funds to hundreds of environment-conscious organizations across the country came after Election Day.

"This is a difficult and divisive time for our country. I believe the environment is something we can all come together on," Sheehy said. "Environmental values are something we all embrace."

"The threats facing our planet affect people of every political stripe, of every demographic, in every part of the country," CEO Rose Marcario said in a Nov. 21 statement. "We all stand to benefit from a healthy environment." 

The funds raised on Black Friday will go to environmental groups in more than 20 countries. 

"The majority of the grantees are grassroots environmental nonprofit organizations working to address the effects of climate change and other issues affecting our planet," a spokeswoman for the company said. "(Most) of them are local and underfunded and they are in countries and communities where Patagonia has people on the ground -- from Ventura, California, to Osaka, Japan. It will take six to 18 months to disburse the funds." 

Why are Facebook users checking in to Standing Rock Indian Reservation?

If you've been on Facebook Monday, you might have noticed an influx of friends who are suddenly checking in to North Dakota's Standing Rock Indian Reservation.

Hundreds of people took to the social media site to stand in digital solidarity with demonstrators protesting the construction of the $3.7 billion Dakota Access Pipeline in Morton County, North Dakota.  Authorities dressed in riot gear last week arrested more than 140 protesters, NPR reported.

>> Read more trending stories

The check-ins appear to stem from rumors that the Morton County Sheriff's Department has been using Facebook's check-in feature to identify the protesters in an attempt to disrupt their demonstrations. It's unclear whether deputies are using social media to identify people, although the tactic is not unheard of in law enforcement.

A viral plea posted on Facebook asked users to help stymie police efforts with a simple check-in:

"The Morton County Sheriff's Department has been using Facebook check-ins to find out who is at Standing Rock in order to target them in attempts to disrupt the prayer camps. SO Water Protectors are calling on EVERYONE to check in at Standing Rock, ND, to overwhelm and confuse them. This is concrete action that can protect people putting their bodies and well-beings on the line that we can do without leaving our homes. Will you join me in Standing Rock? "If you're sharing your location at Standing Stock: 1) Make it public. 2) Make the clarification post SEPARATE, and limit post visibility to your friends only. 3) Don't clarify on your check-in post; privately message friends who say "Stay safe!" to let them know what's up. 4) Copy/paste to share clarification messages (like this one) because making it public blows our cover. 5) Use an alternate name in clarification posts so that when they filter out/search those terms, your post is visible to the right people."

Whether the post will have any effect on the protests remains to be seen.

Sheriff's deputies said in a Facebook post Monday that they do not follow Facebook check-ins as part of their duties.

<script>(function(d, s, id) {  var js, fjs = d.getElementsByTagName(s)[0];  if (d.getElementById(id)) return;  js = d.createElement(s); js.id = id;  js.src = "//connect.facebook.net/en_US/sdk.js#xfbml=1&amp;version=v2.8";  fjs.parentNode.insertBefore(js, fjs);}(document, 'script', 'facebook-jssdk'));</script> In response to the latest rumor / false claim circulating on social media we have the following response: The Morton...Posted by Morton County Sheriff's Department on Monday, October 31, 2016

 Authorities told Snopes the posts contribute nothing to investigations.

"Check-ins were voluntary, and there was no reason to believe folks would continue to check in if it presented that risk," according to Snopes.

The myth-busting site also contacted Sacred Stone Camp, a large camp housing protesters, to determine whether organizers from the campsite were responsible for the viral post.

 "There is no solid line between 'organizers' and 'others' -- this is a movement, not an organization," a representative told Snopes. "There are many camps and points of contact. We can only verify that it did not originate from the Sacred Stone Camp FB page. We support the tactic, and think it is a great way to express solidarity."

The Facebook check-in can show solidarity, but it's unlikely to have any effect on protests on the ground.

Heat wave in New York makes roaches want to fly

New Yorkers have a lot to deal with: sky-high rent prices, an overcrowded metro system and a heat wave reaching dangerous temperatures. And now? Flying cockroaches.

DNAinfo published a study on Friday that said the heat wave taking over the Upper East Side apparently signals to the city's roach population that it's time to take flight -- and people aren't having it. 

>> Read more trending stories  

Ken Schumann, a researcher at Bell Environmental Services, said, "When it's warm and steamy that seems to be what they like."

The study claims the higher the temperatures, the more the roaches are able to use their muscles. And the more activity they get, the chance of them stopping goes down. That's probably why in humid states, like Texas and Florida, the flying insects are simply a part of life.

Researchers say the ample trash supply in New York has encouraged the roaches to stick to the ground over the years. On the plus side for the bugs, that trash supply can now provide all the energy needed for the pests to infest the air.

But New Yorkers shouldn't worry too much. The roaches can't fly long distances. Instead, Schumann said, "It's almost like they just glide down."

Florida man taking on Rio's water problem by himself

It has been well-documented that the conditions of Rio’s water prior to the Olympics were not ideal. While the country was unable to do anything about it, a Florida man said he's going to try.

Brad Funk, of Fort Lauderdale, is in Rio primarily to support his girlfriend, windsurfer Bryony Shaw from Great Britain. But he's using the rest of his time to try and help clean up the massive heaps of trash, debris and fecal matter polluting the water in the city, the Bradenton Herald reported.

>> Read more trending stories  

"No Olympic medal should be won or lost because of trash in the water," he said. "Rio is my favorite place in the world to sail, and it would be a shame if the regatta was compromised by pollution." 

Funk, who has missed out on making the U.S. Olympic sailing team in three attempts, said he has scooped around 800 pounds of trash out of the water.

"If I helped one person, I’ll be happy that I was useful to the Olympics," he told the Herald. "This is our playground. We all live on a water planet. We’ve got to pitch in and save the environment before it’s too late."

Funk said he spent thousands of his own dollars to hire a fishing boat captain who allows him to fill his boat with garbage bags of trash. "I'd give anything to sail in the Olympics," he said. "I hope people will see how beautiful this bay can be."

An Associated Press report found "disease-causing viral levels 1.7 million times higher than normal" in areas of the bay where Funk is sailing, the Herald added. Olympic officials maintain that it's safe for competition.

Read more at the Bradenton Herald.

Most of the world's largest animals could be extinct by 2100

Video includes clips from World Wildlife Fund, CCTV, BBC, CNN and National Geographic.

A majority of the world's largest animals could be extinct by 2100. 

Researchers say roughly 60 percent of large carnivores and herbivores are currently at risk. 

>> Read more trending stories  

The situation is especially alarming in sub-Saharan Africa and Southeast Asia.

Overhunting and poaching are huge problems, but the growth in the human population and its increased land use are contributors, as well. 

When people eliminate large animals, they also eliminate their positive effects on the ecosystem. 

A team of conservation biologists says the threat can still be reversed. 

But they wrote last week that doing so will take significant social, political and financial commitments around the world. 

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BP puts price on its massive oil spill: $61.6 billion

BP has put a final number on the cost of the 2010 oil spill: $61.6 billion.

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The April 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 BP workers and sent crude oil spewing into the ocean. Over the next 87 days, millions of barrels of oil leaked into the Gulf of Mexico.

In the years since the disaster, BP has slowly been analyzing the cost of its mistake. 

Last year, the company settled on a $20 billion agreement with state and federal governments to resolve some claims related to economic damages and water pollution issues.

And last month, BP agreed to pay investors $175 million to squash accusations that the company lied about the size of the spill to protect its stock value.

But by far, the number released Thursday is the biggest. BP's chief financial officer said, "We have a clear plan for managing these costs and it provides our investors with certainty going forward."

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