Environment and Sustainability | WGLT

Environment and Sustainability

Field where first BNWRD plant was built
BNWRD

The Bloomington and Normal Water Reclamation District will have to spend $160 million-plus over the next couple decades. Businesses, homeowners and apartment owners in the Twin Cities will have to pay for it.

Randy Stein / BNWRD

About 100 years ago, Sugar Creek running through Bloomington-Normal was "pretty disgusting," according to Randy Stein, the director of the Bloomington and Normal Water Reclamation District.

Inside Illinois Capitol building
Seth Perlman / AP

A Bloomington architect is taking her passion for historic architecture to one of the state's most iconic structures: the Illinois Capitol building.

Plant expert in the wild points out grasses,
Illinois State University

As climate change and human industry destroy once thriving habitats, scientists are using samples from herbariums to piece together the history of our ecosystem.

Industrial hemp growers are still working through some kinks to comply with state rules and have a successful growing season.

Aozora Brockman hauling produce
Alex Sing

A documentary that depicts a Woodford County vegetable farmer's struggle with climate change is scheduled to play in a sneak preview at the Normal Theater on Wednesday night.

Lake Bloomington
Staff / WGLT

Bloomington is looking up update its watershed plans for Lake Bloomington and Evergreen Lake to ensure the city's drinking water remains safe.

Rivian Amazon van
Business Wire

The retail giant Amazon announced Thursday it plans to buy 100,000 electric delivery vehicles from Rivian as part of a larger effort to reduce its carbon footprint.

Panelists at climate event in Normal
Breanna Grow / WGLT

Real-feel estimates topped out at a sweltering 120 degrees Thursday; the day before, at 114 degrees. If you struggle to remember many days like that when you were a kid, your memory isn’t failing you, speakers at a climate change panel Thursday warned; it is getting hot in here.

Rivian plant from the sky
Rivian

Rivian has attracted another large investment, this time $350 million from Cox Automotive.

people collecting waste from cars as they drive through a holding area at the Rivian Auto plant.
Michael Brown / Ecology Action Center

Appointments to drop off household hazardous waste Saturday at the Rivian auto plant in Normal are running below what organizers hoped would come in.

Russel Francois in downtown Bloomington
Eric Stock / WGLT

State Farm’s recent decision to demolish its former downtown Bloomington headquarters has left local officials scrambling to prevent an iconic community structure from disappearing.

Recycling carts
City of Bloomington

McLean County’s recycling rate increased for the third year in a row in 2018.

ISU's Office of Sustainability program director, Elisabeth Reed
Office of Sustainability Website / Illinois State University

Starting Thursday, Illinois State University students living in off-campus apartments will have access to recycling as a new Town of Normal ordinance goes into effect.

With that longtime priority off the to-do list, ISU’s new Office of Sustainability program director Elisabeth Reed is planning for the future.

International Documentary on Climate Change Educates B-N

Jul 3, 2019
istart2.blogspot.com

Internationally-known documentary maker and environmentalist Renee Scheltema said "Normal is Over."

RJ and Alex
Rivian / YouTube

UPDATED 12:10 p.m. | The electric automaker Rivian has announced two new sustainability efforts, including plans to grow food outside its Normal manufacturing plant that will be served to its employees.

Jessica Chambes poses with mudpuppy
Ryan Denham / WGLT

If you had to rank the most interesting living creatures that can be found in Central Illinois, the mudpuppy would be near the top of the list.

Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

We are already a water-challenged planet. As global climate change continues, we are likely to become more so, according to Vandana Shiva, a noted environmentalist.

Two electric scooters parked on a sidewalk
Tim Evanson / Flickr

The Town of Normal is considering an electric scooter program.

Patrick on a roof
Patrick Laughlin

Two years ago, Patrick Laughlin was looking to make a career change.

He was doing customer service and sales in an office, but he was itching for something skills-based. He’d always been fascinated by renewable energy, so he signed up for a solar energy installer training program in Bloomington.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker signed an executive order making Illinois the 18th state to join the Unites States Climate Alliance on Wednesday. The alliance was created when President Donald Trump withdrew from the Paris climate change agreement back in 2017. 

Ryan with his bat house
Facebook / Ryan Cavinder

This week when all the little ghouls and goblins roam the street looking for fun size Snickers bars, they’ll trick-or-treat past the usual mix of spooky Halloween decorations—cobwebs, jack-o-lanterns, fake tombstones, and bats.

An international panel on climate change this week warned greenhouse gas emissions will keep increasing if left unchecked and called for urgent action. According to one Illinois scientist, that means frequent heavy rain events and flooding could become the norm.


Rodney Davis speaks at podium
Charlie Schlenker / WGLT

Bloomington-Normal’s transit system will receive a $6 million federal grant to buy electric buses and support construction of a new downtown transfer center, officials announced Thursday.

Bees exiting a hive
Jeff Smudde / WGLT

Jeff Henry of Bloomington is an urban beekeeper, hoping to reverse an alarming decline in pollinators like honeybees that threatens our global food supply.

Downtown Bloomington
Eric Stock / WGLT

It's now easier to recycle in downtown Bloomington.

Ecology Action Center is using a grant to set up four permanent recycling containers on the four corners of the McLean County Museum of History property.

EAC Director Michael Brown said the goal now is to make sure the 90,000 people who come downtown annually actually use them.

“That’s education and that’s the work we’ve been doing now for well over 40 years; use education and outreach and trying to promote these behaviors,” Brown said.

Combine harvests corn in a field
Seth Perlman / AP

In many ways, the history of farming is about its future—how we went from hand tools and horses to self-driving tractors and $10,000-an-acre farmland.

Mary Cullen / WGLT

The Normal Town Council passed an ordinance Monday requiring apartments and other multifamily residences to provide recycling options starting in August 2019.