Courtesy of Sara Fehring

The Ohio River Foundation is preparing to plant 10,000-15,000 native trees and shrubs along the banks of three Ohio River tributaries. It's thought to be the largest such habitat restoration project to date in Southwest Ohio.

Activists recently petitioned the Environmental Protection Agency to clean up the Ohio River.

Nick Swartsell

As climate change makes weather more extreme, hot and unstable in other parts of the United States, will residents in those places consider relatively stable Midwestern cities like Cincinnati as their new homes? 

At least a few people have already made that decision, and some city officials expect more to do so in the coming years. 

mark ruffalo
Blair Raughley / Invision for Focus Features, AP

Chemicals known as PFAS were, until a few years ago, commonly used in carpets, clothing, Teflon and water-resistant items — they also contaminated local water supplies in some places and can now be found in the blood of nearly all people, the EPA says. While some exposure to PFAS can leave people relatively unscathed, concentrated levels of it can cause serious health problems. That's why the University of Cincinnati is delving into the issue at its inaugural Environmental Justice and Advocacy Symposium this week.

downtown cincinnati
Ronny Salerno / WVXU

Cincinnati has the 8th highest energy burden for renters and for low-income residents of urban municipalities in the U.S., according to a report from the American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy. That means these residents are paying proportionally more than the average household for energy costs.

Cincinnati skyline
Nick Swartsell / WVXU

We've all heard the story: people streaming out of Midwestern cities for the sunnier climes and bustling activity of America's sunbelt and coastal areas.

But some experts believe the extreme effects of climate change on those regions could drive people to places like the Queen City.

Courtesy of Phil Armstrong

With nine years to go, Cincinnati's 2030 District reports its participating companies have reduced energy usage by 21%, just ahead of where they should be, according to the group's director.

President-elect Joe Biden has pledged to spend $1.7 trillion over the next 10 years to fight climate change by cutting greenhouse gas emissions nationwide.

Advocates of renewable energy in Ohio say the incoming administration has a chance to shape the future of a state where fossil fuels remain major sources of electricity. Ohio’s energy picture has been changing over the last 15 years. Coal is on a downward slide and natural gas has been ascendant.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

What do the lizard's tail, prairie mimosa and the lance-leaf buckthorn have in common? They are all plants UC Biologist Denis Conover has identified as part of the latest Cincinnati plant survey. He says there have been some pretty dramatic changes since the first such survey in the mid-1800s.

Burnet Woods
KEITH LANSER / Wikimedia Commons

The Cincinnati Park Board didn't vote on a proposed new building at Burnet Woods Thursday because the foundation that wanted it withdrew its request.

Styrofoam usage has increased for most people during the pandemic as people rely more than ever on online shopping and curbside services. It's in our to-go containers and packaging and inevitably tends to end up in the trash. But it doesn't all have to end up in a landfill.

joe biden
Michael Dwyer / AP

President-elect Joe Biden has vowed to rejoin the 2015 Paris climate accord as soon as he is inaugurated. Biden has promised to launch a bold climate change plan and restore dozens of environmental safeguards President Trump abolished. But how far can a Biden administration go on climate policy without the support of Republicans? Will he face stiff opposition to his most sweeping programs?

Ann Thompson/WVXU

The COVID-19 pandemic has worsened a crisis already facing our oceans. Thirty percent more waste is finding its way into the world's oceans and that now includes face masks and latex gloves. The coronavirus pandemic has triggered an estimated global use of 129 billion faces masks and 65 billion gloves every month.

holiday lights
Dzenina Lukac / Pexels

There is at least one bright spot to 2020: More residents across Ohio, Indiana and Kentucky have the opportunity to drop off broken or unwanted holiday lights for free recycling this year.


Our cities have been the centers of momentous change over the last seven months. From the global pandemic to mass demonstrations over racial injustice, cities have been transformed. Public space is taking on a significant role in our society as a place to demand justice, while public space also raises serious concerns about public health.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

A coalition has developed a blueprint for improving the Ohio River and its tributaries. The Ohio River Basin Alliance (ORBA) has identified six goals, including clean water, healthy ecosystems, transportation and commerce, education, flood risk management and recreation. 

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

The soil and water conservation districts in Ohio's three largest counties are coming together this week for an annual meeting. It's the first time the districts in Cincinnati, Columbus and Cleveland have held their meetings jointly.


Extreme heat, flooding and worsened air quality will be the most deadly and costly effects of climate change, according to the National Climate Assessment. And these impacts will not affect neighborhoods equally.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A Cincinnati man is on a mission to plant 100 orchards in the next decade as a way to help feed people in food deserts. WVXU recently visited his first one in West Price Hill.

kroger plastic bags
Rogelio V. Solis / AP

The full Cincinnati Council has approved an ordinance banning single use plastic bags in the city.  It would apply to stores that sell food, including restaurants, starting Jan. 1.


Some Cincinnati neighborhoods, including Winton Hills, South Cumminsville and Mount Airy, are carrying a higher burden than others when it comes to energy costs.

origin park indiana
River Heritage Conservancy / WFPL

Plans are underway to transform the banks of the Ohio River in Southern Indiana into a massive park.

Courtesy of Richard Beck

It's hard to believe an ornamental shrub from Asia could cause so many problems in U.S. forests. But the Amur honeysuckle and other invasive plants have spread across the country - including in Hamilton County - and are leading to a monoculture in many places by choking out other species.

Bill Rinehart / WVXU

You may have guessed the air got cleaner near downtown Cincinnati as more people stayed home during COVID-19. Now Southwest Ohio Air Quality Agency has the statistics to prove it.


Amazon Air is starting to use sustainable fuel as part of its promise to be net zero carbon by 2040. What's still unclear is if the e-commerce giant will use it at the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport, its air hub.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Ohio and other states are in the process of determining how to dole out a $15 billion settlement from Volkswagen after allegations in 2016 it cheated on emissions. The Ohio EPA says some of the money will be available this summer to use for electric vans, buses and even tractor-trailers. The money can also fund charging stations.

The state is allowing the reopening of larger entertainment venues on June 10, including movie theaters, museums, and zoos. Health officials say companies will have to look over every facet of their venue in order to comply with the protocols.

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

People are still scared of Asian giant hornets, nicknamed "murder hornets," who bite the heads off of bees and deliver a stinger that slices through beekeeper suits. But the question is, will they make their way from Washington State to the Tri-State?

A Republican-backed bill to prohibit communities from banning plastic bags and other disposable containers passed the Senate on a mostly party line vote, after a significant change related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Courtesy of Gene Kritsky

People in the eastern United States are getting a treat this spring - if you consider more cicadas than usual a treat. Five different cicada broods have emerged instead of the one that was expected.