The Wild Mile floating wetland in the Chicago River, October 2022. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Researchers from Shedd Aquarium and Chicago-based Urban Rivers teamed with counterparts in Boston and Baltimore and confirmed that floating wetlands can improve water quality and provide vital habitat.

(Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

The only violence people wanted to hear about was the harm being done to their health due to decades of pollution from surrounding industries.

Mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas made their case to voters at a packed forum held in Pilsen, and the words “crime” and “police” didn't come up once.

Chicago mayoral candidates Brandon Johnson and Paul Vallas. (Provided)

Much of the focus has been on the mayoral candidates’ public safety plans, but whoever emerges victorious on April 4 will also inherit environmental and climate-related challenges.

(Oliur Rahman / Pexels)

The Illinois House of Representatives passed legislation that would phase out single-use polystyrene foam foodware beginning in January 2024.

(WTTW News)

Coal ash, the byproduct created when plants burn coal for power, contains potentially dangerous materials like arsenic, mercury and cadmium that can endanger nearby water supplies. Since coal-fired power plants use a lot of water to keep their equipment cool, they’re often near bodies of water like Lake Michigan.

An aerial view of the Chicago Area Confined Disposal Facility, a 45-acre site on Chicago’s Southeast Side that has been in operation since 1984. Inset: The CDF is outlined in red. (Credit: Army Corps of Engineers)

Opponents of a toxic sludge landfill on Lake Michigan have filed a lawsuit to stop a plan by the U.S Army Corps of Engineers to expand the dump by 25 vertical feet.

A still image from a video taken of the demolition of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack, April 11, 2020. (Alejandro Reyes / YouTube)

A recent confidential watchdog report found that Chicago officials could and should have prevented a botched smokestack implosion in Little Village, rekindling conversations about the role of industry in neighborhoods and where accountability lies when violations occur.

A still image from a video taken of the demolition of the Crawford Coal Plant smokestack, April 11, 2020. (Alejandro Reyes / YouTube)

The 94-page report obtained by the city's former inspector general details lapses by the Chicago Department of Public Health and the Department of Buildings. Mayor Lori Lightfoot declined repeated calls to make it public. 

Candidates Ja’Mal Green, Ald. Sophia King (4th Ward), state Rep. Kam Buckner and Willie Wilson at the WTTW News mayoral forum on Feb. 7, 2023. (Michael Izquierdo)

During press interviews held after WTTW's mayoral forum Tuesday evening, challengers to Mayor Lori Lightfoot pledged to reestablish a Department of Environment — disbanded in 2011 under Rahm Emanuel — if elected.

A helicopter hauling the type of sensor that will be seen flying over parts of Illinois, including the southern portion of the greater Chicago region. (U.S. Geological Survey)

A low-flying helicopter, towing what looks like a giant hula hoop, is set to pass over a wide swath of the state's midsection into Northwest Indiana, surveying the Illinois River watershed. 

A view of the Suncor Energy oil refinery in Commerce City, Colo., on Nov. 23, 2020. (Rachel Ellis / The Denver Post via AP, File)

The funding, established through the 2022 climate and health law signed by President Joe Biden, marks the largest environmental justice grants the agency has ever offered.

Zebra shark. (Brenna Hernandez / Shedd Aquarium)

From industrious sharks to the bird of the year, here’s what caught our attention this week on the climate and nature beat.

The Damen Silos, former grain elevators. (WTTW News)

Activists in McKinley Park are calling on the state to postpone the sale and give the community an opportunity to weigh in on the decision.

(webandi / Pixabay)

To keep jack-o'-lanterns from clogging landfills, dozens of pumpkin smash events will take place Saturday. Pumpkins will be collected and composted instead of trashed.

A heavily salted sidewalk crossing along the North Branch of the Chicago River, in early 2022. (Patty Wetli / WTTW News)

Meltwater carries dissolved road salt into streams and rivers, which can cause salinity to spike to deadly concentrations for freshwater fish and other wildlife. 

Transformation of a parking lot in Detroit demonstrates what depaving can do. (Courtesy Prince Concepts and The Cultural Landscape Foundation)

As part of a grassroots "depaving" movement, communities are ripping up strips of asphalt and concrete to make way for pocket parks, gardens and nature play spaces. The newly launched Depave Chicago is aiming for a spring 2023 pilot project.