The air in rural areas may be just as toxic as the pollution in cities

URBANA — A new study suggests the notion of clean, country air might be misleading. Traditionally, air quality has been measured by the size of pollution particles or, more scientifically, particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometers or less. Considered that way, urban air tends to be more polluted than rural air because the […]

Illinois just experienced one of its warmest Decembers on record

URBANA – If you felt like December’s weather was mild – you’re right. According to provisional data, December 2021 was the fifth warmest December on record. The average statewide temperature was 39.4 degrees Fahrenheit – more than nine degrees above average. It was the warmest December on record in Carbondale, the third warmest in St. […]

C-U at Home staffing challenges prevent emergency winter shelters from opening on time

CHAMPAIGN – Staffing shortages persist at C-U at Home – which provides services to those living in Champaign-Urbana without a home. Two emergency shelters that were scheduled to open Monday in Champaign-Urbana are delayed due in part to a lack of staff. The delay comes after the organization’s main shelter closed for several months earlier […]

Food banks scramble to overcome snags in the supply chain and inflation

Clogged supply chains and budget-busting food prices have food banks scrambling to stock pantry shelves. That crunch comes as food banks see increased demand from families struggling to afford meals. Food banks saw a huge increase in demand at the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. And while that’s leveled off somewhat, demand remains higher than […]

More agricultural guest workers came to the Midwest this year than ever before

The Midwest saw a record rise in the number of agricultural guest workers this year helping out on farms, in meatpacking plants and with landscaping companies. That jump fits with a national trend. The Department of Labor says the U.S. let in a record number of H-2A visa workers this year. Illinois, Iowa, Indiana, Kansas […]

Do you know what’s in your tap water? This database will tell you

CHAMPAIGN — Do you know what’s in your drinking water? Depending on where you live, you could be ingesting contaminants linked to cancer, brain damage and other serious health effects. That’s why scientists at the Environmental Working Group developed the Tap Water Database – a searchable tool, based on zip code, that tells you what […]

The Midwest lost two species to extinction, and humans are largely to blame

A century ago, people throughout the Midwest could hear the high-pitched staccato call of the ivory-billed woodpecker echoing in old-growth forests throughout the Mississippi River basin, from Montana to Louisiana. Now that call has been permanently silenced. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service recently declared 23 species, including birds, freshwater mussels and a flower, extinct. […]

As Climate Change Ramps Up Heat, Farmers Struggle To Keep Animals Cool

RAYMOND — A pig’s ideal temperature is 65 degrees Fahrenheit. So on a 90-degree day in the middle of July, Phil Borgic keeps a close eye on his herd. “A pig can’t sweat,” he says. “So the only way that it can transfer the heat is by panting.” The air is humid and heavy […]

Health Or A Paycheck: New Report Shows How Extreme Heat May Hurt Farmworkers

People who work outside increasingly risk their income, illness and even death as climate change ramps up extreme heat. That’s according to a first-of-its-kind study from the Union of Concerned Scientists, titled “Too Hot To Work.” The study focused on workers who spend some or all of their work time outside, including construction workers, emergency […]