Stewart Morris / Flickr Creative Commons

Images of Pope Francis can be found on everything from beer cans to t-shirts leading up to his US visit. But why all the excitement? And what is it about his recent pronouncements on the environment and social justice that have drawn attention from everyone...not just Catholics? University of Dayton Professor Bob Brecha explains with this week’s Climate Commentary.

Columbus Launches Campaign To Plant More Trees In City

Sep 16, 2015

The city of Columbus has paired with 20 nonprofits to launch a campaign aimed at bringing more green to Ohio's capital city.
The Columbus Dispatch reports "Branch Out Columbus" will plant 300,000 medium-sized trees throughout the city by 2020.
Columbus' tree canopy currently covers 22 percent of the city. Mayor Michael Coleman said Tuesday the initiative will grow that number to 27 percent, and that he's shooting for 31 percent.

Dayton Water Great Miami River

A new report calls for the creation of a $250 million trust to fund water protection in Ohio.

Dayton City Commission Passes Water Protection Changes

Jul 30, 2015
The Dayton City Commission has updated the city's water ordinance.

The Dayton City Commission has passed a controversial set of changes to the city’s source water protection program.


The current code regulates the chemicals around Dayton’s well fields, where most of Montgomery County’s drinking water comes from. Since the late 80s, the zoning code has legislated the amount of potentially hazardous substances that can be stored near the wells. A related regulation, which will remain in place, provides incentives for companies that had chemicals grandfathered in to reduce those chemicals.


Activists Renew Concerns About Dayton Water Policy

Jul 22, 2015
Darryl Fairchild (center) appeared at a demonstration outside city hall Wednesday. He is also a candidate for City Commission. water
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

Activists are gearing up for another round of debate over the city of Dayton’s source water protection policy.

After more than a year of discussion, a compromise plan will go before the Dayton City Commission next week that would update the policy, which dates back to the late 1980s.

Ryan Von Linden
New York Department of Environmental Conservation

Across the Midwest and eastern U.S., an estimated 6 million bats have died from a devastating scourge that first appeared nine years ago. And while there’s been a recent glimmer of hope in treating bats with White Nose Syndrome, researchers say it’s going to be hard to recover from the damage done to these flying mammals.

Green Funeral Movement Spreads To Dayton

May 12, 2015
The St. Kateri Preserve at Calvary Cemetery is among a handful of green burial options in the area.
Lewis Wallace / WYSO

The “green” movement is headed underground—to the grave, that is. More and more cemeteries around the country are offering burial options that use fewer materials and less energy; some are landscaped with native plants and trees. These simplified burials can also be cheaper—but there’s often a catch.

At a dedication ceremony for the St. Kateri Preserve at Calvary Cemetery in Dayton, Marge Devito and her husband Bill watch as a priest blesses the site. Bill has a terminal illness—and they love the idea of burying him in a nature preserve.

Bottles of Lake Erie water are tested in a lab.
Brian Bull / WCPN

Researchers at the Northeast Ohio Regional Sewer District (NEORSD) say they’ve begun testing water samples with the latest technology, following last summer’s water shutdown in Toledo.

Hundreds of swimmers will soon take to the lake as the weather warms up. And some swimmers will perhaps pause to ask: “How clean is the water? Are there contaminants, pollutants? Is there a risk of blue-green algae?”

A sign for discounted E85 ethanol fuel. A requirement for alternative fuels in state vehicles has been removed from the Ohio Department of Transportation budget. gas cars
Sweeter Alternative / Flickr/Creative Commons

The Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) budget signed last week includes a change for the state’s vehicle fleet: the budget cuts out a requirement on alternative fuels that had been in place for most of a decade.

The ODOT budget eliminates the 2006 requirement to use a certain amount of ethanol and biodiesel in state vehicles. It’s about time, says Greg Lawson with the conservative think tank the Buckeye Institute.

Ohio Getting Over $4M To Fight Toxic Algae In Lake Erie

Mar 30, 2015
Satellite view of toxic algal bloom on Lake Erie
NASA Earth Observatory

The money will come from the federal the Great Lakes Restoration fund and go toward projects in the Maumee River watershed and the Sandusky River watershed in northwestern Ohio.

The Ohio Environmental Protection Agency says much of the money will toward preventing phosphorus from getting into the lake and fueling the algae.

Some will be used to fund projects that will take cropland out of production, install field runoff retention systems and restore six miles of stream channels to their natural habitat.