RENewsletter | January 8, 2017
The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com
“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”
*Note: Henceforth ‘environment’ means ‘our life support system.’
[1/01/2017 – 1/08/2017]
Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change in a way that sustains all life while striving to do so equitably is the defining issue of our time. How we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire will reveal our true nature. Frank J. Regan
* Having trouble reading this newsletter? Read it online here.
Opening Salvo: “Climate Change educational centers”
While we wait for the Trump administration to come to life
While we wait to see what the Trump administration is actually going to do or undo about addressing Climate Change, we can speculate about something other than gearing up for a lot of environmental fights. Of course, it’s prudent for environmental groups and states to protect our environment and not allow any backsliding on environmental protections we’ve already achieved. Our environment is our life support system, not a special interest; so those who ‘get it’ aren’t likely to let go of hope.
Along with preparations for traditional environmental strategies, environmental groups should be trying to figure out what went wrong in the last elections such that climate denial is now in vogue. We assumed that the public understands Climate Change—instead, they just thought other issues were more important, which is absurd. If the public knew that Climate Change is an existential threat that has to be adapted to, the US Presidential elections wouldn’t have even been close. I know, many people do not believe that Climate Change is a threat to our future, but this is an opinion based on many assumptions about past climate changes, past human endeavors, and probably a healthy dose of the will not to believe. (One can think of the ‘will not to believe’ in the context of Germany under Hitler where too many Germans chose not to believe what they were hearing about what came to be known as the Holocaust.)
My thesis that everyone must know Climate Change
My thesis about our failure at the polls last November is that environmentalists, scientists, bloggers, and our media failed to communicate to the entire public that Climate Change is unavoidable, that it must be addressed whether we like it or not. I don’t mean to say heroic efforts were not made by many parties to present evidence of this crisis, but that we failed to reach enough. I believe that if the entire public really understood the evidence supporting Climate Change and the threat to our life support system that this crisis presents, they would not have allowed Climate Change to simmer on the backburners during our last election. Many civilizations— Mississippian culture, Ancestral Puebloans, and early Easter Island, just to name a few—failed in conditions of changing climate and/or environmental failure. Of course, these civilizations didn’t know they were wrecking their environment or failing to notice ominous changes. There is no such lack of information and evidence for Climate Change today.
(You could say that there are many instances where people know cigarette smoking will kill them, yet they do it anyways. I would argue that they don’t know it. They think they know it, but convince themselves that it won’t be them that gets nailed. Just look at their 95-year old grandfather who’s been smoking all his life. Or, there are folks whose doctor has told them they are going to die of smoking but continue regardless. These folks know that their number is up and figure it won’t make any difference now if they keep smoking. But, for my argument, civilizations don’t think like that. Civilizations don’t say that our way of life is killing us and continue business as usual anyways. Not knowingly. I believe humanity, everyone, hasn’t been presented with the full picture of how environments work and how they fail. They may know other climate changes, but they don’t know Climate Change.)
There is already overwhelming evidence from our most credible sources that Climate Change is happening and that this crisis is a threat to our future. There are innumerable ways to get this information free. So there is no lack of expert climate information readily available. But here’s the rub: Somehow those who know Climate Change need to communicate this information to everyone on a scale and time frame that will matter. Pandering to people’s comfort zone is pointless; it encourages the wrong-headed notion that Climate Change can be addressed without challenging our way of life. If we could conduct a massive Spock-like mind-meld, I think we could go far in gaining a world-wide consensus on the urgency behind addressing Climate Change. We’d make the incorporeal jump between minds and bodies, clear of self-interests, beliefs, assumptions, politics and get to the heart of the matter.
Short of that, there may be a way to bake the reality of Climate Change into our present social and political zeitgeist so that it’s more comfortable for the majority of the public to accept it than deny it.
Climate Change Central
My thoughts strayed in this direction as I remembered the Climate Change Central project in Rochester back in 2008-09. So, for the record, I’m anchoring my idea on the great effort of two local women who spent their own money to set up a meeting place on Park Avenue to educate the public on Climate Change. They showed films, created a small library of books and pamphlets by local groups addressing Climate Change. They invited passersby to come in and just talk about Climate Change. It was a wonderful showcase for communicating with people about this crisis. Eventually, these women ran out of funds and the project vanished.
But this project could be resurrected in many ways and set on a much larger stage.
I’d like to see brick-and-mortar institutions focused on Climate Change education in Rochester, and in every community. But first, I’d like to shoot for the stars with my vision of what could be: A climate institution where there would be a curator and staff of experts. There would be similar institutions in each community. Using our best communication tools, there would be displays explaining what climate change is and how this Climate Change is different. Each community would have Climate Change brought home through photo galleries, films, and artistic works that demonstrate how each community was contributing to Climate Change and how each community would be affected. For example, Climate Change in Rochester won’t look the same as Climate Change in Alaska (which is warming faster and more dramatically).
This climate institution would have books. It would have examples of climate models, with scientists describing how such systems worked. More public knowledge about climate modeling would convince many more people how rigorous predicting our future climate has become.
Check this out:
Demystifying Climate Models By Andrew Gettelman, National Center for Atmospheric Research Richard B. Rood, Climate and Space Sciences, University of Michigan Springer 2016 Download PDF from Springer Open Access “Uncertainty is not a weakness. Understanding uncertainty is a strength, and a key part of using any model, including climate models.”
There would be interactive displays where various scenarios were modeled so the public could see the local advantages of taking action and the disadvantages of not doing so. It could be a sliding scale that would demonstrate various scenarios—like a scenario where we started building up our various infrastructures, like our sewer systems and highways, and then see what happens when there is more flooding—as predicted by climate studies. Activists and environmentalists would be able to set up booths explaining how climate justice for challenged communities are a vital component of addressing Climate Change. Projects would demonstrate likely outcomes in the future of where we took proper action and where we didn’t. There would definitely be an Internet station with online portals that would help visitors navigate and interpret the great wealth of data and information on this crisis.
My special climate educational dream project:
In the center of each institution would be a gigantic hologram, a 3-D image of Earth projected into a space where the public could walk around it and climb via a spiral staircase to perhaps several stories. This Earth hologram wouldn’t just be an image; it would be a computerized composition that visualized data from past and present monitoring data. It would be the ultimate pedagogical tool for Climate Change. The public would be able to see Earth breathe and react to the slightest biological and physical forces. The public would see various scenarios tested on this hologram and see what climate scientists see when they run possible situations in their models. Seeing Climate Change in this way would give the public, at every level of education and background, the feedback they need in order to grasp this extremely complex crisis.
The Climate Museum
While many will see this idea as unlikely, wildly expensive, and completely improbable, something like it is actually is happening in New York City.
“We are launching a climate museum in New York City to serve as a hub for climate engagement and leadership in a challenging world. The Paris Agreement of 2015 holds great promise for the transition to a clean energy economy and culture. Despite the range of efforts across society to make this transition real, the threats of denialism and obstruction are more potent than ever. We must rise to this challenge together. To do so, we need something new: a public space where we can gather to learn about climate change, face our fears, share solutions, and commit to change. The Climate Museum will be this place: a cultural and educational institution dedicated to climate issues and solutions.” The Climate Museum
The Climate Change imperative
This idea of a public space to learn about Climate Change must work. Traditional environmental actions—marching*, publishing newsletters, protesting, fighting in the courts, and even joining environmental groups–don’t get our entire public engaged. It gets lots of folks engaged, but obviously not enough. In fact, these activities may be distancing ourselves from the very public we are trying to reach. The NYC museum project must be scalable, in order for millions of people in all walks of life. Nobody doesn’t like museums, as millions already visit them each year.
A smaller vision is involves relatively inexpensive public spaces where volunteers would explain Climate Change and connect with the public—as was the case with Climate Change Central. After rent for a room, utilities, and insurance are accounted for, in-kind services, donations, and volunteers could make this project doable. Given the imperative of getting the public up-to-date on Climate Change, the cost would be minimal. Discovering the god particle, the Higgs Boson particle, cost billions and billions of dollars. Though a very interesting particle, it won’t save humanity. Just saying…
* I don’t mean to undermine the importance of marching, rallying, and demonstrating in any way—as I have been a part of the largest environmental marches in and around the Northeast for many years. For the purposes of this essay, I want to highlight in the importance of reaching folks who wouldn’t even think of marching in the streets to save their environment, which I suspect is a lot of people. Those are the people we need to reach.
FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com (Click on my email for feedback)
* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts – Rochester, NY or Tweet me @ http://twitter.com/#!/FrankRrrr On Twitter and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterEnvironment and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment, Also: If you wish me to include your event or news in this newsletter, which gets sent out on Sunday morning, please send the blurb to me by Friday evening: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com
I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. The ability of this newsletter to inform and get the public focused on our local environment is dependent on reaching a lot of folks. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up. We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news. One way to do that is to join this Google+ Group. “Become The Media” BTW: This newsletter looks and works great on your tablet device.
The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region–supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose. How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms–in enough time to save ourselves?
“Anything else you’re interested in is not going to happen if you can’t breathe the air and drink the water. Don’t sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” — Carl Sagan
My companion book to RochesterEnvironment.com written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on Amazon.com and Kindle Amazon.com: We Don’t Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books
NewsLinks – Environmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]
- Coral Reef Conditions Are About to Get a Lot Worse (January 5, 2017) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]
- Predicting the unpredictable (January 5, 2017) The Mining Journal [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]
- Campaign could lead to ban on plastic shopping bags in Duluth (January 6, 2017) Twin Cities Pioneers Press [more on Recycling and Water Quality in our area]
- A BIOLOGIST’S MANIFESTO FOR PRESERVING LIFE ON EARTH . (December 12, 2016) Sierra Magazine [more on Environmental Health in our area]
- Potential for Collapse of Key Atlantic Current Rises (January 5, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
- U.S. had more floods in 2016 than any year on record (January 4, 2017) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]
- Groups’ call for EPA clean-up of western Lake Erie has importance to Buffalo (December 25, 2016) The Buffalo News [more on Water Quality andGreat Lakes in our area]
- Project Censored (January 4, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]
- Ontario study: Other sites too costly to store waste (January 3, 2017) The Detroit News [more on Energy, Water Quality, and Great Lakes in our area]
- Signs of climate change hit Great Lakes (January 4, 2017) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]
- Bike-share program seeks community support (January 4, 2017) Rochester Business Journal [more on Transportation in our area]
- 2017: Agriculture Begins to Tackle Its Role in Climate Change (January 4, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]
- Panel discusses future of transportation in Rochester (January 3, 2016) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]
- Great Lakes pollutant lurks in your laundry (January 2, 2017) WRVO Your Source for NPR News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]
- RIT-led consortium wins $70M in funding for clean energy institute (January 3, 2017) Rochester Business Journal [more on Green Business in our area]
- Artificial turf and cancer risk (January 3, 2017) OUPblog Oxford University Press’s Academic Insights for the Thinking World [more on Environmental Health in our area]
- Environmental Protection Belongs to the Public: A Vision for Citizen Science at EPA (December 20, 2016) EPA Connect [more on Environmental Education in our area]
- Climate change driving birds to migrate early, research reveals December 28, 2016) The Guardian [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
- Spread by trade and climate, bugs butcher America’s forests (January 1, 2016) AP [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]
- Broad Coalition Of States And Localities Urge Continued Defense Of Clean Power Plan In Letter To President-Elect Trump (December 29, 2016) New York State Attorney General Schneiderman [more on Climate Change in our area]
- Trump and the Climate: His Hot Air on Warming Is Far From the Greatest Threat (December 29, 2016) ProPublica [more on Climate Change in our area]
- Where to Follow the Climate Action in 2017 (January 2, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
- Climate calendar: key dates for your 2017 diary (December 30, 2016) Climate Group [more on Climate Change in our area]
- Climate Change 2016: The Year the Future Arrived (December 29, 2016) Truthout [more on Climate Change in our area]
- New and Improved Tools Help Adapt Forests to Changing Conditions (October 5, 2016) US Dept. of Agriculture [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]
Updates – Daily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments. Text in BOLD are my comments.]
- 1/07/2017 – Find out what coral bleaching is, how it’s connected to Climate Change, and why you should care. Coral Reef Conditions Are About to Get a Lot Worse Thanks to climate change Last year was a devastating one for coral reefs around the globe, but according to new research, it may have been just the tip of the iceberg. A new study published in the journal Nature Scientific Reports shows that coral bleaching—a process that sometimes precedes death where corals lose their color—will affect 99% of reefs each year by the end of the century if current climate change trends continue. “We are going to need to be much more innovative and proactive if we want to see coral reefs thrive into the next century,” says study co-author Gabby Ahmadia, a marine scientist at the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). “Conventional conservation is not going to cut it against the impacts of climate change.” (January 5, 2017) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 1/07/2017 – Predicting the future climate around the Great Lakes basin won’t be so unpredictable when climate models are factored in. Hint: For a while, as the Arctic warms up, things will get more unpredictable, aka disruptive (lake-effect snow and local flooding). Then, eventually our climate will get predictability warmer—with all the predictable warmer water implications, lower lake levels due to less ice and more evaporation, and dramatic changes to our environment in the largest fresh water system in the world. There’s a lot we don’t know about the future climate in the Great Lakes region and there’s a lot we do know. We should plan for life in the Great Lakes region because we already know a lot about Climate Change and the Great Lakes. Time passes. Predicting the unpredictable Great Lakes climate the subject of MTU computer model A Michigan Tech University researcher is leading the effort to create a comprehensive model for the complicated and diverse climate of the Great Lakes region. Pengfei Xue, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, developed a model combining climate and water models with assistance from Loyola Marymount University, LimnoTech and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. (January 5, 2017) The Mining Journal [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]
- 1/07/2017 – I suspect that as more people learn about the threats of plastic pollution in our environment there will be more efforts to ban the use of instant plastic trash—stuff like plastic cutlery, plastic bags, and other things used once and then thrown away. While banning items like instant plastic trash seems unlikely at this point in time, remember that plastic bags didn’t even exist before the 1960’s and now they cover the globe. Also, at some point in the future people will look aghast at photos of plastic pollution in our times and wonder what the heck were we thinking. “They just used this toxic stuff and then they just threw it into the landfills, into their forests and city streets, and into their lakes and rivers? Really?” Campaign could lead to ban on plastic shopping bags in Duluth The global effort to stop plastic shopping bags from lining roadside ditches, choking waterways and filling landfills will blow into Duluth soon if a new group gets its way. Bag it Duluth on Thursday announced a campaign for a city ordinance that would ban thin plastic shopping bags and impose a minimum 5-cent fee on all paper bags distributed within the city. The ban would be phased in over a year to allow retailers and consumers time to adjust. (January 6, 2017) Twin Cities Pioneers Press [more on Recycling and Water Quality in our area]
- 1/07/2017- Along with Climate Change, the loss of biodiversity threatens our life support system with a loss of resiliency and health it used to have. We should have left large segments of our environment alone back in the day (say 500 years ago) to keep our environment heathy and strong. But we didn’t. Humanity should consider giving back some of the environment we took so we and other species can survive. On one level it seems absurd that humanity would suddenly leave large swaths of land and water completely alone so the plants and animals that help create our environment can do their job. On another level, it seems absurd that we would find it absurd that our environment needs room to function properly. At some point, our attitudes about our environment must get in sync with science. Time passes. A BIOLOGIST’S MANIFESTO FOR PRESERVING LIFE ON EARTH An eminent scientist offers a bold vision for preserving Earth’s biodiversity We are playing a global endgame. Humanity’s grasp on the planet is not strong; it is growing weaker. Freshwater is growing short; the atmosphere and the seas are increasingly polluted as a result of what has transpired on the land. The climate is changing in ways unfavorable to life, except for microbes, jellyfish, and fungi. For many species, these changes are already fatal. (December 12, 2016) Sierra Magazine [more on Environmental Health in our area]
- 1/07/2017 – I suspect in the near future there will be a lot more scary climate studies that will indicate possible scenarios that demonstrate a dramatic shift in our climate and the functioning of our environment. We were getting studies decades ago about climate potentialities of Climate Change that turned out to be true. Some didn’t. What has happened over time is that climate scientists are getting better at predicting climate changes and they are doing so as Climate Change is already wreaking the havoc previous studies anticipated. Humanity shouldn’t be sitting around hoping and betting the climate scientist are wrong. Humanity should be trying to stop the warming and prepare for the heat we’ve already put into the system. Time passes. Potential for Collapse of Key Atlantic Current Rises The large, looping Atlantic Ocean current that keeps northwestern Europe fairly warm and influences sea levels along the U.S. coast is a key component of the Earth’s climate system. But because of global warming, it may be more likely to substantially slow down — or even collapse — than previously thought, according to two new studies If that current, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, were to slow down substantially, it could lead to chillier weather in northern and western Europe, starve economically important fisheries and cause waters to rise along the U.S. coast, leading to more so-called “sunny day” flooding and storm surge when hurricanes come ashore. It could also shift tropical rain belts, causing major disruptions to regional climate in Central and South America. The new studies factor in elements that have been missing from previous projections of how likely the collapse of the current is. One study factors in the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which is adding a pulse of freshwater into the North Atlantic, but is difficult to incorporate into current climate models. The other attempts to correct a bias in climate models that underestimates how unstable the AMOC really is. (January 5, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 1/06/2017 – Insurance companies are not climate scientists. But if they think more extreme weather is associated with Climate Change (attribution), you’d better pay attention. Many people will finally discover the truth behind Climate Change when they can no longer afford home insurance, or think they have adequate insurance and then insurance companies just cannot handle the increase in disasters. U.S. had more floods in 2016 than any year on record 2016 really was the year of the flood in the U.S.: In total, 19 separate floods swamped the nation last year, the most in one single year since records began in 1980. This is according to an analysis by Munich Re, a global reinsurance firm. The worst flood was in August in Louisiana. At least 13 people were killed and roughly 60,000 buildings were destroyed. The disaster cost $10 billion, Munich Re reported, which noted it was the worst natural catastrophe in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. (January 4, 2017) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 1/06/2017 – According to IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature, If it wasn’t for the oceans sucking up the heat of human-caused Climate Change “…the surface of the Earth would have warmed by a devastating 36C, rather than 1C, over the past century…” (“Soaring ocean temperature is ‘greatest hidden challenge of our generation’” (September 15, 2016, The Guardian) BTW: “Thirty-six degrees Celsius is equal to 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it should come as no surprise that one of the repercussions of this is “Rising carbon dioxide levels threaten to permanently disrupt vital ocean bacteria”. Climate Change is happening at a very rapid pace and it looks like many of the consequences are going on unseen (like deep in the ocean). Without the aid of expert climate scientists, we wouldn’t notice some of the most profound changes in our environment, our life support system. Science is now under threat because its findings in climate science have been undermined by wrong-headed ideology that is dismissing science when we need it the most. We purposely blind ourselves when we prioritize ideology over science. Project Censored 3. Rising carbon dioxide levels threaten to permanently disrupt vital ocean bacteria Systemic changes associated with global warming threaten human welfare and all life on earth through a multitude of different pathways. These remain largely hidden from public view. One potential pathway — directly dependent on carbon, not temperature — is through the catastrophic overproduction of Trichodesmium bacteria, which could devastate the entire marine food chain in some regions. It lives in nutrient-poor parts of the ocean, where it fixes atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium, an essential nutrient for other organisms — from algae to whales. (January 4, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 1/05/2017 – The nuclear waste pickle in our Great Lakes highlights the problem with present nuclear facilities: Too expensive to not put nuclear waste near environmentally sensitive regions and too environmental dangerous to do so. Why didn’t those who created nuclear energy producers know back in the day the job was dangerous when they took it—in other words, why hasn’t wasn’t the nuclear power waste problem anticipated properly? Which leads us to ask, what issues will we face with the present production of nuclear energy power facilities years down the road? Are we going to just hope these problems with nuclear power will just get solved in the future? Ontario study: Other sites too costly to store waste Government-owned Ontario Power Generation — the Canadian energy provider proposing underground nuclear waste storage along the shore of Lake Huron — said alternate sites for the facility increase environmental impacts as well as costs. The province’s minister of environment and climate change called for OPG to investigate alternate sites for the controversial project that has been opposed by many Michigan lawmakers, originally sited near Kincardine. For roughly a dozen years, the company has pursued approval to bury low-level to-mid-level radioactive wastes deep underground. (January 3, 2017) The Detroit News [more on Energy, Water Quality, and Great Lakes in our area]
- 1/05/2017 – The Great Lakes, the largest fresh water system in the world, is changing because of Climate Change. There are many issues of water quality, invasive species, lake levels, diversion (where other communities outside the Great Lakes basin want these waters), plastic pollution, and much more involved in our Great Lakes besides Climate Change. But Climate Change will accelerate and amplify all the other challenges to this major ecosystem. We in Rochester, part of the Great Lakes basin, should be focusing major efforts and planning with other Great Lakes communities on addressing Climate Change. Signs of climate change hit Great Lakes Climate change is an issue of concern for many around the world. Scientists say the signs are everywhere, and here in the Great Lakes region, the evidence of regional climate change can be seen in every day. The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center in Michigan specializes in presenting climate change information specific to this area. Researcher Laura Briley said one sure sign of regional climate change can be found in the water. (January 4, 2017)North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]
- 1/05/2017 – Been looking for some great educational videos on Climate Change to help folks understand the science behind this crisis? Check out NASA’s videos. Very elucidating. Featured Videos (NASA Global Climate Change)
- 1/05/2017 – As we move further into Climate Change it’s useful to remember that we go into Climate Change with the environment we have. That is, an environment that is more robust and resilient is more likely to be able be sustainable longer in a warmer climate. An environment rich in biodiversity, good soil, clean water, and healthy plants and animals is more likely to be able to adapt to the challenges of Climate Change than an environment that is not. Many people assume that we and our environment can endure the quick warming that has already started with Climate Change based on the assumption that both humanity and our environment has weathered great changes before. That our environment can handle what is thrown at it. But we are learning that our environment, even in the New World, has been profoundly altered by humanity even before the Europeans came to these lands. Then, of course, since the Europeans came 500 years ago, humanity suddenly ratcheted up the challenges to our environment exponentially. This is all to say that by the time Climate Change kicks in, our environment has already been reeling from humanity’s impacts. We should be finding out as much as we can about the workings of a healthy environment before we plan for major changes coming with Climate Change. This video challenges some of our ideas of pristine New World in 1491 and urge us to search for a proper baseline from which to plan for Climate Change. In other words, as we plan for Climate Change, which environment should we attempt to preserve? Where we are now, or some other point in the past? If so, what point? Check out this video: Native America before European Colonization – (YouTube Apr 8, 2013 – Uploaded by Thomas Oklahoma)
- 1/05/2017 – Agriculture plays a big role in Climate Change emissions. “There’s a lot of fatigue with the negativity on climate change,” said Thomas Driscoll, policy director at the National Farmers Union, the U.S.’s second largest farm group. “Agriculture and climate change is exciting because there’s a lot that can be done. Doing the right thing for the climate can save farmers money.” 2017: Agriculture Begins to Tackle Its Role in Climate Change After years of being off the table in climate talks, agriculture is now being considered widely by countries trying to reach their Paris emissions cuts pledges. By allowing countries to decide how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the landmark Paris climate agreement opened the door to new solutions. And over the past year, many countries, particularly in the developing world, decided that an especially effective way to reach those targets is through their farms. Nearly 80 percent of the countries said they would use agricultural practices to curb climate change, and more than 90 percent said they would use those practices in addition to changes in forestry and land use linked to farming. (January 4, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]
- 1/04/2017 – And there is more and more evidence that plastics in our Great Lakes is occurring and we should get on that. We are getting more and more evidence that plastics (in the form of microbeads, plastic bits from litter, and now our laundry) are already in the largest fresh water system in the world. We need to get the plastics out of our Great Lakes waster by better water filtering systems from water we pull in and water we put out in the form of sewage waste treatment and stormwater releases. We need more research on how pervasive and in what ways plastics are entering our water. We need more public education about this issue. And, it might be nice to know if we are drinking in plastics, as plastics tend to accumulate toxins. Great Lakes pollutant lurks in your laundry The United States and Canada are moving to ban microbeads — the tiny plastic bits in toothpaste and facewash that are big water polluters. Now scientists are focusing on a similar problem — and it’s lurking in your laundry hamper. When you do laundry, take a look at the tags on your clothes. You’ll find that most shirts and pants have some synthetic material — like polyester, nylon or spandex. Every time you wash them, tiny plastic fibers go down the drain. Melissa Duhaime, part of a University of Michigan research team, says most fibers are captured by wastewater treatment plants. But not all of them. (January 2, 2017) WRVO Your Source for NPR News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]
- 1/04/2017 – From our friends over at Reconnect Rochester: “Help Launch Rochester’s Bike Share Campaign Ends 1/31 As you may know, this spring the City of Rochester will attempt to launch a Bike Sharing system. However, this system will not be funded by the City. The bike share will be operated by Zagster and each bike station will require a community sponsorship of $9,000 per year or they will not be placed. So we’ve set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for bike share stations in neighborhoods which might not otherwise be funded by a corporate sponsor. Our goal is to fund five (5) stations in the neighborhoods along the northern edge of downtown — including Upper Falls / Amtrak Station and South Marketview Heights / Public Market areas (see map above).You can help. Please visit our campaign page for more info and consider making a tax-deductible contribution today. Then share this message with you friends, co-workers, and other community groups you may be involved with. Thanks!!”
- 1/04/2016 – Citizen science, trained citizens to monitor and educate about our environment, need to be an important component of our Climate Change adaptation. “In citizen science, members of the public participate in scientific and technical work in a variety of ways, including formulating research questions, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and solving problems. In particular, community citizen science addresses questions defined by communities and allows for community engagement throughout the entire scientific process, empowering people to ask their own questions, collect their own data, and advocate for themselves.” Environmental Protection Belongs to the Public: A Vision for Citizen Science at EPA At EPA, we can’t protect the environment alone. Environmental protection belongs to all of us, and participating in environmental science is one way that members of the public can have an impact. Citizen science broadens environmental protection by enabling people to work together with government and other institutions toward shared goals. In citizen science, members of the public participate in scientific and technical work in a variety of ways, including formulating research questions, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and solving problems. In particular, community citizen science addresses questions defined by communities and allows for community engagement throughout the entire scientific process, empowering people to ask their own questions, collect their own data, and advocate for themselves. (December 20, 2016) EPA Connect [more on Environmental Education in our area]
- 1/04/2017 – Wildlife can adapt to Climate Change if the warming doesn’t occur too soon where they arrive before their food arrives. Changing migrating bird schedules are demonstrating that Climate Change is now happening and because it is happening so quickly many species are getting thrown out of sync with their environment. Climate change driving birds to migrate early, research reveals A University of Edinburgh study finds birds are arriving at breeding grounds too soon, causing some to miss out on food Migrating birds are responding to the effects of climate change by arriving at their breeding grounds earlier as global temperatures rise, research has found. The University of Edinburgh study, which looked at hundreds of species across five continents, found that birds are reaching their summer breeding grounds on average about one day earlier per degree of increasing global temperature. The main reason birds take flight is changing seasonal temperatures and food availability. The time they reach their summer breeding grounds is significant, because arriving at the wrong time, even by a few days, may cause them to miss out on vital resources such as food and nesting places. This in turn affects the timing of offspring hatching and their chances of survival. (December 28, 2016) The Guardian [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
- 1/04/2017 – From our friends over at the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’ December newsletter, eco-logue, we find that Aaron Mair, President of The Sierra Club, will be speaking at the club’s Environmental Forum this year. Probably around Earth Day. “Aaron Mair, came to environmental activism via the social justice pathway. In the 1980s, he joined a fight to shut down a solid waste incinerator in Albany, NY. Plumes of polluting smoke from the incinerator swept over his home in an inner city neighborhood, sickening Mair’s young daughters and other kids in the neighborhood. His efforts ultimately led to the facility’s closure and a $1.6 million settlement award to the community. Aaron has worked as an epidemiological-spatial analyst with the New York State Department of Health. He will speak about the ways in which we must address the history and policies that led to the divisions and injustice in our society today to successfully mitigate climate change and protect our planet for the future.” Stay tuned for more information on this event. Meanwhile read some interesting articles on our environment in the December eco-logue.
- 1/03/2017 – From many of our Attorneys General across the nation on addressing Climate Change (especially our NYS Attorney General Schneiderman): Broad Coalition Of States And Localities Urge Continued Defense Of Clean Power Plan In Letter To President-Elect Trump Clean Power Plan Builds On Successful State And Local Efforts To Reduce Emissions While Creating Jobs And Growing Economies Schneiderman: The Science Is Clear – Too Much Is At Stake To Turn Back The Clock On Climate Efforts NEW YORK – A broad coalition of 19 states and localities, led by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, called on President-Elect Trump to continue the federal government’s defense of the Clean Power Plan in a letter sent today, urging him to reject “misguided advice” from a group of Attorneys General led by West Virginia to discard the plan, The letter details why the Clean Power Plan is vital to efforts to limit carbon pollution, and pushes back against ill-conceived efforts to urge the President-Elect to unravel the plan — which, the letter explains, would be contrary to the law. (December 29, 2016) New York State Attorney General Schneiderman [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 1/03/2017 – The Trump Effect is emerging as one of the unknown unknowns on Climate Change. In Rumsfeld speak, unknown unknowns are the ones we don’t know we don’t know. Scientists, while investigating and modeling Climate Change on a very complex system like Earth’s, knew they’d be trying to understand and predict what a quick warming phenomenon would do to our life support system. Scientist knew that our glaciers would melt but not as fast as they have. That was a known unknown. But scientist did not anticipate that science itself would be on the chopping block. This is an unknown unknown and now the Trump Effect is going to have to be factored into our climate modeling. This would be the stronger likelihood that the worst scenarios in climate modeling are going to occur; and, the best scenarios will be less likely. The best scenarios, where we dramatically shift to renewable energy and plan and educate the public about our warming world, means we get to have a future—though it will still be a struggle. The worst scenarios are where we continue to ignore climate scientist warning and listen to our worst angels and put our future in jeopardy. Time passes. Trump and the Climate: His Hot Air on Warming Is Far From the Greatest Threat Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, has frightened many with his embrace of fossil fuels. What’s truly scary, scientists and others say, is how much larger the problem is than one American president. President-elect Donald J. Trump has long pledged to undertake a profound policy shift on climate change from the low-carbon course President Obama made a cornerstone of his eight years in the White House. “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop,” Trump tweeted a year ago. In recent weeks, Trump doubled down, nominating champions of fossil fuels to several cabinet positions and peppering his transition team with longtime opponents of environmental regulations. Both the rhetoric and the actions have provoked despair among many who fear a Trump presidency will tip the planet toward an overheated future, upending recent national and international efforts to stem emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas. (December 29, 2016) ProPublica [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 1/02/2017 – It’s so divisive and upsetting to mention Climate Change tipping points that we fail to see that it’s the point. Humanity has put off the kind of change that is necessary to avoid cascading climate disasters for so long that the only solution seems to avoid even thinking about it. Tipping points are when our climate tips over that edge towards a direction where we cannot sustain our existence. A tipping point often occurs long before you notice that you’ve passed it, allowing you the delusion that you haven’t. The only thing we can be sure about with tipping points is that ignoring the possibility that warming our planet quickly will trigger them is how tipping points occur. Climate Change 2016: The Year the Future Arrived Our planet’s systems have a tremendous capacity to absorb punishment before they begin to show signs of degradation. Earth’s ecology self-heals like a cut on a finger. It assimilates pollution by chemical, physical and biological means — it changes pollutants into non-hazardous materials and proceeds upon its merry way as if there had been no pollution at all. Up to a point. Acid rain is an excellent example of how our planet can self-heal. By the late 1960s, the United States was emitting so many sulfate and nitrate pollutants (smog) from burning fossil fuels, that sulfuric acid washed from the sky was killing forests and lakes. President Richard Nixon’s Clean Air Act stopped about half of the sulfur from going into our atmosphere. This was enough to allow nature to take over again and our forests and lakes began to heal. Global warming didn’t really get started in a big way until the 1950s. Today, the warming rate is seven times greater than it was in the 1950s and the carbon emission rate is four times greater than in the ’50s. (December 29, 2016) Truthout [more on Climate Change in our area]
- 1/02/2017 – Important environmental newsletter from our friends over at THE ROCHESTER PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE January 2017 Newsletter “Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”
- 1/02/2017 – Climate Change is changing our forests and these massive ecosystems need humanity’s help in order for them to adapt. If our forests can’t adapt to Climate Change, it’s unlikely that we will be able to either. “Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for forest ecosystems across the world. Many impacts are expected to remain into the future. This means forest managers, conservationists and woodland owners continually need to address climate change to ensure forests can provide a broad array of benefits and services. The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the U.S. Forest Service provide tools to help address this need.” New and Improved Tools Help Adapt Forests to Changing Conditions Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for forest ecosystems across the world. Many impacts are expected to remain into the future. This means forest managers, conservationists and woodland owners continually need to address climate change to ensure forests can provide a broad array of benefits and services. The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the U.S. Forest Service provide tools to help address this need. Collaboration between scientists and managers resulted in the publication Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers. This publication provides a suite of materials enabling land managers to consider the likely effects of climate change and increase the ability of forests to cope with climate change impacts. (October 5, 2016) US Dept. of Agriculture [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]
Events – Rochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.] If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.
- Sunday, January 8th, 4:00 pm Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Avenue, Rochester
- Eating You Alive 4:00 pm Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Avenue, Rochester Please see the new film “Eating You Alive,” a documentary about the American health care system and the healing powers of a plant-based diet. WHAT: Feature-length film: “Eating You Alive” WHEN: January 8, 2017 at 4:00 PM WHERE: Rochester Academy of Medicine, 1441 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14610 TICKET PRICE: $15 You can watch the trailer here: Here is the link where you can buy your tickets:
- Monday January 9th, 2:00 UB North Campus!
- From our friends over at Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo: Rally to Stop the Fracked Gas Pipeline – Monday, January 9th RALLY outside Governor Cuomo’s ‘State of the State’ speech Monday January 9th, 2:00 UB North Campus! Say NO to the Northern Access Pipeline! In the days before his SOS speech, CALL GOVERNOR CUOMO. Dial (518) 474-8390 Press 3 to talk with a representative To see suggested messages, Click Here. or Use your own…there are plenty of compelling reasons to say NO NOrthern Access 2016! We need Gov. Cuomo and the DEC to Deny the DEC 401 Water Quality Permit for National Fuel’s proposed Northern Access 2016 Pipeline Project WE NEED TO COMPLETE THE BAN ON FRACKING by SAYING NO TO FRACKED GAS INFRASTRUCTURE CONTACT: Diana – Niagara Sierra Club email@example.com
- Monday, January 9th, from 7 to 8 pm – online Here
- From our friends over at Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo: “Webinar: NY Renews Community– Monday, Jan.9, 7:00PM NY Renews Community, Looking for ways to make a difference? NY Renews is looking for you! A year after our launch, NY Renews is building rapid momentum toward timely, just, and equitable action on climate change in New York State. Our coalition has grown to unite more than 100 environmental, social, labor and economic justice organizations with a mission to move the state’s economy off of fossil fuels and foster a just transition to renewable energy, create well-paying, safe jobs and revitalize impacted communities. Facing a President-Elect who has stacked his cabinet with climate deniers and Big Oil, our best chance for progress is at the state and local level, and New York can show the way. In recent weeks, hundreds of New Yorkers have turned out to town halls and press conferences, asking the Governor to stand up to Donald Trump by passing the nation’s most ambitious climate policy. We need as many New Yorkers as possible to play an active part in pushing Governor Cuomo to be a real climate leader. Ready to get involved? Join us for a Webinar on Monday, January 9th, from 7 to 8 pm Find out how you can take action with NY Renews at this critical moment *RSVP for the Webinar Here: Spread the word widely onFacebook: In the meantime, please keep up the pressure by calling the Governor’s office nonstop. Click here to go to our call-in tool (or here for Spanish). Urge him – soon and often – to stand up to Trump and make the Climate and Community Protection Act part of the 2017 NY State budget. We look forward to your joining us on Monday, January 9th to discuss next steps. Onwards, in solidarity, Marc Weiss for NY Renews Organizing Committee
- Thursdays January 12th and 26th at 7:00 PM at First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd S
- COME TO OUR ENVIRONMENTAL CLIMATE TASK FORCE BOOK DISCUSSION SERIES On Thursdays January 12th and 26th at 7:00 PM at First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd S We will be discussing points raised in Richard Heinberg’s AFTERBURN- Society Beyond Fossil Fuels Afterburn gives us a sense of a survivable future – hope fed by Heinberg’s realistic deeper analysis, a sense of the trends ahead, and a bold (largely local) plan. Few are as good at synthesizing this powerful package (as) Richard Heinberg. This book will help fuel the future. – Randy Hayes, Rainforest Action Network founder & Director of Foundation Earth. We will have several tables discussing several issues he raises, and rotate so all can participate.
- Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM | Sign up online
- Climate-Adaptive Design: Creating Resilient Waterfronts Thursday, January 12, 2017 at 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM How can municipalities create waterfronts that are both welcoming and resilient to climate change? This Climate Smart Communities webinar will describe how several communities along the Hudson River are working with Cornell students to develop waterfront designs that are beautiful and resilient to climate risks like flooding. The Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) studio is a partnership between Cornell Landscape Architecture, Cornell Water Resources Institute, and the DEC Hudson River Estuary Program. Speakers will describe how the CAD studio uses the design process to inspire new thinking and provide technical assistance at little or no cost to participating municipalities. Please provide us with your name and community affiliation, either via email or telephone to the Office of Climate Change at firstname.lastname@example.org or 518-402-8448. In the event that we cancel or postpone this webinar, respondents will be notified. (December 9, 2016) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
- January 13, 7:30 pm, St. John’s Meadow’s, Briarwood Bldg., 1 Johnsarbor Dr. (14620)
- “Natural New Zealand” January 13, 7:30 pm, St. John’s Meadow’s, Briarwood Bldg., 1 Johnsarbor Dr. (14620) Burroughs Audubon Nature Club Naturalists Carol and David Southby will share pictures and information about the trees, flowers, ferns, and birds that have evolved over millions of years. Facebook, http://www.bancny.org/
- Sunday, January 15th, 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm |Brighton Town Lodge, 777 Westfall Road, Rochester, NY
- Rochester Area Vegan Society 5:30 pm and 7:00 pm Brighton Town Lodge, 777 Westfall Road PLEASE ATTEND the January 2017 meeting of the Rochester Area Vegan Society to hear Sherry Colb, JD speak on Feminism and Using Animals for Food Sherry Colb is Professor of Law and Charles Evans Hughes Scholar at Cornell University, where she teaches courses in animal rights. She is the author of Mind If I Order the Cheeseburger? and co-author of Beating Hearts: Abortion and Animal Rights. WHEN: Sunday, January 15, 2017; 5:30 PM Vegan Dinner, 7:00 PM Program WHERE: Brighton Town Park Lodge, 777 Westfall Road DINNER: Dinner is a vegan potluck. Vegan means no animal products (no meat, poultry, fish, eggs, dairy products or honey). Please bring a dish with enough to serve a crowd, and a serving utensil; also bring a place setting for your own dinner. We can help non-vegetarians or others uncertain about how to make or bring a vegan dish; please call 234-8750 for help. DIRECTIONS: The Brighton Town Park Lodge is on Westfall between E. Henrietta Rd (15A) and S. Clinton Rd. From Route 390, take Exit 16 onto 15A and go north to traffic light. Turn right on Westfall Rd. The Lodge is on the south side of Westfall. It is a log cabin set well back from the road, and the driveway leading to the Lodge is called “Haudenosaunee Trail.” Look for the “Brighton Town Park” sign. COST: Free to RAVS members. $3 guest fee for non-members, plus bring a vegan dish. MORE INFORMATION: rochesterveg.org
- Monday, January 16th, 7:00 pmFirst Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Road S. – Room 220 Newcomers: Join us at 6:30
- January 20, 2017 7-9 p.m. (please arrive at 6:30 so we can start promptly, dancing and music will follow for those who wish to stay) Where: First Unitarian Church of Rochester, 220 Winton Rd. South Rochester, NY 14610
- Inaugurating Hope What: Join with others to shift from powerlessness and anxiety into hope-filled action on a night of profound change in our world. When: January 20, 2017 7-9 p.m. (please arrive at 6:30 so we can start promptly, dancing and music will follow for those who wish to stay) Where: First Unitarian Church of Rochester, 220 Winton Rd. South Rochester, NY 14610 Cost: The event is free, but please register to assure that there is seating for everyone. Donations will be gratefully accepted to help defray costs Facebook event page here.
- Wednesday, January 25, 2017: 6:30PM, Brighton Memorial Library in the Friends Learning Center, Brighton, NY.
- ColorBrightonGreen.org presents The 2017 Winter Film/Speaker Series at the Brighton Memorial Library in the Friends Learning Center. All presentations begin at 6:30pm. Wednesday, January 25, 2017: “Climate Action at the Local, State, and Federal Levels: We Can Do It!” There are currently actions that can be taken at the local and State level to fight climate change, and there is a need to coalesce people to lobby for carbon fee and dividend at the federal level. Representatives of the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition will be presenting information on Community Choice Aggregation, the New York State Climate and Community Protection Act, and the Citizen’s Climate Lobby proposal for carbon fee and dividend. There will be a presentation and discussion on each of these topics. Efforts are already under way to create a Community Choice Aggregation program in the Rochester metropolitan area. This is very exciting because it would result in a lower fixed-rate for electricity for residents and small business in participating municipalities, and a mechanism to grow our local renewable energy supply. (ColorBrightonGreen.org )
- Thursday, February 9th, 7:00 PM @ First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd S
- DO YOU FIND GLOBAL WARMING TOO DEPRESSING TO DO ANYTHING ABOUT IT? Come to our book discussion on Thursday, February 9th, 7:00 PM to participate in a discussion of Joanna Macy & Chris Johnstone’s ACTIVE HOPE: How to Face the Mess We’re in without Going Crazy Ecophilosopher Joana Macy, PhD, is a scholar of Buddhism, general systems theory, and deep ecology. A respected voice in movements for peace, justice and the environment, she interweaves her scholarship with five decades of activisim. Physician and coach Dr. Chris Johnstone is a specialist in the psychology of resilience, happiness, and positive change. Copies of the above books are available at discount at the First Unitarian bookstore open most Sundays after services, or by using the link to Amazon that benefits the church here. Free, and the public is invited to participate. RSVP to email@example.com is encouraged but not required.
- Wednesday, March 22, 2017:6:30pm.| Brighton Memorial Library in the Friends Learning Center, Brighton, NY.
- Wednesday, March 22, 2017: “Merchants of Doubt” Merchants of Doubt is a 2014 American documentary film directed by Robert Kenner and inspired by the 2010 book of the same name by Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. The film traces the use of public relations tactics that were originally developed by the tobacco industry to protect their business from research indicating health risks from smoking. The most prominent of these tactics is the cultivation of scientists and others who successfully cast doubt on the scientific results. Using a professional magician, the film explores the analogy between these tactics and the methods used by magicians to distract their audiences from observing how illusions are performed. For the tobacco industry, the tactics successfully delayed government regulation until long after the establishment of scientific consensus about the health risks from smoking. As its second example, the film describes how manufacturers of flame retardants worked to protect their sales after toxic effects of the retardants were discovered. The central concern of the film is the ongoing use of these tactics to forestall governmental action to regulate greenhouse gas emissions in response to the risk of global climate change.
- April 21, 2017 The Links, East Syracuse, New York
- Symposium on Energy in the 21st Century Thirteenth Annual Symposium on Energy in the 21st Century CAN WE STILL REACH OUR RENEWABLE ENERGY GOALS *New York State 50% by 2030 *United States 30% by 2025 Hear from National & NYS experts. April 21, 2017 The Links, East Syracuse, New York 7:30am – 2:00pm Optional Tours following ****REGISTER NOW ****
- April 29th, 2017 | Where: “hundreds of actions around the country. In every corner of the nation ”
- New Year, new resolve. Time to mark your calendars for April 29th, 2017. That’s the date of the People’s Climate Mobilization, a major march in Washington, D.C., when we will come together with hundreds of thousands of people to reject Trump’s attack on our communities and climate, and push forward with our vision of a clean energy economy that works for all. Sign up to be part of it here, and connect with others near you who will be taking action in the run-up to April. We believe that in this moment of division, turmoil, and fear, it’s important to put forward an alternative vision that inspires and connects. If we don’t put forward our own vision — of an economy built on justice and powered by clean, renewable energy — then we let fossil-fuel-soaked nationalism, xenophobia, and hatred win. We need to show that more people still believe in our shared vision for the future than in Donald Trump’s. That’s where you come in: The only way this mobilization will work is if it’s driven from the bottom up by people like you. That’s why we want to get you involved with the People’s Climate Mobilization starting today — whether you’ve helped organize a dozen marches before, or if you’re a first-time participant.
Action – Take Action – Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date.
- ACTION: Due Date: January 24, 2017
- Got three days of your time? Been thinking that now, really now, our Rochester region needs someone from Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and work with former US Vice President Al Gore and renowned climate scientists and communicators to learn about what’s happening to our planet? And that someone could be you? Then, sign up here. The dates for this training are March 2-4, 2017 in Denver, Colorado. APPLICATION DEADLINE IS JANUARY 24, 2017. More: “You know our climate is changing. You want to make a difference. We’ll show you how. Join us for a Climate Reality Leadership Corps training and work with former US Vice President Al Gore and renowned climate scientists and communicators to learn about what’s happening to our planet and how you can use social media, powerful storytelling, and personal outreach to inspire audiences to take action. Give us three days. We’ll give you the tools to change the world.”
- ACTION: Due Date: Short film submissions due by February 27th, 2017
- From our friends over @FastForwardRoc “The Fast Forward Film Festival Call for Entries is now OPEN! “Accepting submissions from novice and veteran filmmakers who live in the Greater Rochester region NOW through February 27th, 2017! If you already have your film ready, please submit. If you haven’t yet started filming, get your gear ready, and don’t miss out on making the most of Rochester’s beautiful summer weather!” Find out more here.
- ACTION: Due Date Now!
- stop the Cuomo tax.Governor Cuomo wants to increase our electric bills to bail out old, unprofitable nuclear power plants It will cost hard working New Yorkers nearly $8 billion dollars. Your money will go to plant owner Exelon, a Chicago-based Fortune 100 company with annual revenues over $34 billion. The Governor says it’s about preserving jobs and fighting climate change, but we know better. Energy efficiency and wind and solar cost less, lower your energy bills, create more jobs and give us cleaner air and healthier communities. ⇢ New Yorkers deserve better. Join us, and stop the Cuomo tax.
- ACTION: Due Date Now!
- Act on giving bicyclists a 3-ft break from vehicles, making biking safer, and reducing greenhouse gases. 3 FT PASSING LAW Thanks to the strong leadership of Board President Jim Reed and Board Member Emeritus Ivan Vamos, who himself was hit by a car, and support from Transportation Alternatives, the New York Bicycling Coalition (NYBC) has launched an all-out campaign this legislative session in Albany to amend the vague and impossible to enforce 2010 Safe Passing law. At the very least, we think there should be a 3 feet passing standard, which is now the law in 26 other states across the country. Email your legislators now by sending an email through this very easy-to-use form.
- ACTION: Due Date: Now!
- Save Seneca Lake and the Finger Lakes Region from LPG Gas Storage! New York has banned fracking, but related infrastructure for transporting and storage of fracked gas continues to threaten our communities. In the Finger Lakes region of New York, we are fighting plans to store dangerous, explosive liquefied petroleum gases (“LPG” – propane and butane) in abandoned salt caverns under the shores of Seneca Lake, near Watkins Glen, the heart of the Seneca Lake Wine Trail. The facility poses unacceptable risks of catastrophic accidents, injuries, air pollution, and contamination of Seneca Lake, which is the largest body of freshwater within New York State and the drinking water source for 100,000 people. It would also undermine the economy of the entire Finger Lakes, which is built on the region’s beauty, tourism, and wineries. Transportation of the LPG via rail to the facility puts the 750,000 annual visitors in Watkins Glen State Park at risk.
- ACTION: Due Date: Now!
- Stop Explosive Oil Trains! Find out if you are in the blast zone and sign the petition. There is a fiftyfold increase in local transport of volatile crude oil trains (which are not and cannot be properly designed to carry this dangerous oil) through our region. Check to see if you are in the blast zone, and Take action and put a stop to this! From our friends over at Mothers Out Front! Really take a moment to find out about this clean and present danger in our community and take action here.
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- “Call on Governor Cuomo and The Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to take immediate action to protect the public and the environment from the dangers of crude-by-rail.” Stop the Bomb Trains “As much as 7 billion gallons of crude oil could move by train through New York State annually under current and proposed permits as the nation’s “virtual pipeline” for crude oil expands. The Department of Transportation can take immediate action to reduce the risks of derailments, which have caused catastrophic spills of crude oil elsewhere in the United States and Canada, including the tragic loss last year of 47 lives and the destruction of a business district in Lac-Megantic, Quebec. The volatility of Bakken crude oil combined with the inadequacy of the DOT-111 railcars used to transport much of this cargo has led rail workers to dub them “bomb trains.” Spills of heavy crudes, such as those from Alberta, Canada, tar sands, would have particularly damaging impacts to water and the ecosystems they support – because heavy crude oils can sink, clean-up is next to impossible. “Riverkeeper
- ACTION: Due Date: Now!
- New York needs to transition to renewable energy (like Wind Power) now: “New York has been slow out of the gate when it comes to opportunities like offshore wind. We can change that. Few states have the potential to be a national and global clean energy and climate leader like New York. And right now, the state Public Service Commission (PSC) is accepting public comments on how to structure a new Large Scale Renewable Energy Program – and Environmental Advocates is urging the PSC to act on three critical fronts: Establish enforcement mechanisms to hold the state and utilities accountable for supplying 50 percent of our energy from clean renewables by 2030. Make the state’s Large Scale Renewables Program statewide (currently Long Island is excluded from the Renewable Portfolio Standard). Add offshore wind power to New York’s energy mix. You can urge them to prioritize these initiatives, too! Despite our state being home to some of the most attractive and productive wind farm locations in the nation, this plentiful source of renewable energy remains completely untapped. With Rhode Island constructing the nation’s first offshore wind farm, and Europe utilizing this same renewable energy source on a large scale, New York can step up and become a global clean energy leader. Governor Cuomo has made a commitment to ensure 50 percent of our energy comes from clean, renewable sources by 2030. That means dramatically reducing our reliance on fossil fuels and building a clean, green energy economy with offshore wind and other sources of renewable energy. Take Action Today! ” (from Environmental Advocates of New York)
- ACTION: Due Date, NOW!
- Fracking ain’t over in New York until it’s over: Take action: Call on the NYS Senate and Assembly to ACT NOW to pass the Hazardous Waste Loophole Bill! Read more:Time to Close New York’s Fracking Waste Loophole Despite the recent historic ban on high-volume fracking, New York still has a fracking waste problem. More than 510,000 tons and 23,000 barrels – and counting – of waste from oil and gas extraction operations in neighboring Pennsylvania have been shipped to New York landfills for disposal. Leachate from those landfills is then sent to nearby wastewater treatment facilities. And New York State continues to allow the use of certain kinds of waste from low-volume oil and gas extraction on our roads for de-icing and dust control. Fracking waste can contain a number of pollutants, such as chemicals, metals, excess salts, and carcinogens like benzene and naturally-occurring radioactive materials. Due to a loophole in state law, oil and gas industry waste is exempt from hazardous waste requirements, meaning that – no matter what it contains – fracking waste is not classified as hazardous. This “hazardous waste loophole” also means that fracking waste can be disposed of at facilities unequipped to handle it, and in ways that can put our health and environment at risk. (June 3, 2015) Riverkeeper [more on Fracking in our area]
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Submit letters to the Democrat and Chronicle Editors about oil trains passing thru Rochester and gas storage in the Seneca Lake salt mines concerns: Editorial submissions
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Sign the petition to Get Exploding Oil Trains Off the Tracks: http://explosive-crude-by-rail.org/
- ACTION: Due Date Now!
- Considering signing a petition or donating to help this cause to reject Inergy Midstream‘s (now Crestwood) proposal to store Liquefied Petroleum Gas and expand natural gas storage at facilities on the shore of Seneca Lake in Reading, NY. More at Gas Free Seneca Even folks in the Rochester area should care about the health of our Finger Lakes. Airman-turned-activist arrested for ‘civil disobedience’
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Pound for pound, getting community leaders to pledge to the state’s ‘Climate Smart Communities’ program is one of the most effective things people can do to address Climate Change. Take action! It’s all spelled out for you here: Take Action on ‘Climate Smart Communities’: New York State’s Climate Smart Communities (CSC) program supports municipalities as they identify, plan and carry out projects that reduce greenhouse gas emissions, promote energy efficiency and renewable energy sources, and prepare for the challenges climate change will bring. This program provides resources that enable localities to act on climate, without mandating which programs or policies they should adopt.
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Interested in the water quality of our rivers and streams and want to get trained to help monitor them? “Reminder — Volunteers for Stream and River Monitoring Wanted: DEC is looking for citizen scientist volunteers for stream and river monitoring as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project. Volunteers visit stream sites once between July and September to collect macroinvertebrates — insects and other small organisms — from the rocks and rubble on the stream bottom. In 2014, volunteers can participate by joining a local WAVE group led by a trained local coordinator, or by sampling independently. Volunteers working under a trained local coordinator do not need to attend a training session; however, volunteers who want to work independently must attend a training session. WAVE training sessions rotate around the state on a five-year schedule, targeting those basins that will be sampled by DEC’s Stream Biomonitoring Unit the following year. Three training sessions remain for 2014: June 14 in Esperance, June 21 in Wyoming and June 29 in New Hartford. ” (June 13, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Chance to volunteer and help largest wetland in Northeast. “Montezuma Audubon Center Seeks Volunteers Savannah, NY – September 20 – The Montezuma Audubon Center (MAC), located at 2295 State Route 89 in Savannah, is seeking volunteers to strengthen the current staff’s ability to fulfill Audubon’s mission in conservation. The MAC is dedicated toward providing opportunities for youth, families, and communities to connect to conservation and enhance the Montezuma Wetlands Complex as an Important Bird Area. We are looking for volunteers interested in routinely supporting day to day needs as an information desk receptionist, animal caretaker for our live reptiles and amphibians, and office supporter to help with clerical tasks. Please call Chris Lajewski at 315-365-3588 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to sign up today! “
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Thinking it’s about time to do something on a big scale to combat Climate Change? Think about joining Citizen’s Climate Lobby. Here’s what Dr. James Hansen, head of Goddard Institute for Space Studies, NASA say’s “Most impressive is the work of Citizens Climate Lobby, a relatively new, fastgrowing, nonpartisan, nonprofit group with 60 chapters across the United States and Canada. If you want to join the fight to save the planet, to save creation for your grandchildren, there is no more effective step you could take than becoming an active member of this group.” The contact information for the local Rochester group:email@example.com We meet monthly, and people can contact us for more info on getting involved!
- ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
- Can you imagine what our world would look like if everyone used their smartphones to report environmental crimes? Healthier! Become an environmental crime stopper Polluting a stream and getting away with it? Violating the Clean Air Act without detection? Now, anyone with a smartphone can help bust abusers of the environment. New York State Crime Stoppers announced a new phone app that makes it very easy for people to instantly report environmental crimes to the appropriate agency. Cellfare created the app in collaboration with Crime Stoppers, Waterkeeper Alliance, state police and local law enforcement agencies across the state. (November 21, 2012)Investigative Post
Frank J. Regan – Please visit: http://RochesterEnvironment.com: Where you can get all the environmental news, events, documents, and services on the Internet for Rochester, New York. Also: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterEnvironment
RochesterEnvironment.com is the most complete, non-profit environmental site for any one city in the world. You can also subscribe to RochesterEnvironment.Com. Once a month, get RochesterEnvironment.com’s “RENewsletter in your mail” – http://rochesterenvironment.com/subscribe.htm. Or, join in discussion on Rochester environmental matters at Environmental Thoughts – Rochester, NY – http://rochesterenvironmentny.blogspot.com/
Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change in a way that sustains all life while striving to do so equitably is the defining issue of our time. How we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire will reveal our true nature.