RENewsletter | March 5, 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.’

 

[2/26/2017 – 3/05/2017]

 

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

 

Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Take Action

 

* Having trouble reading this newsletter? Read it online here.

 

Opening Salvo: “EPA getting gutted. Sad.

 

Ever since humanity began large-scale industry, business folks have been duking it out with nature lovers.

 

It would be convenient to entirely blame Pruitt and President Trump for attempting to gut the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). But this present crisis, where the EPA is getting eviscerated, where decades of good work by our top environmental agency is getting attacked by the Trump administration, is but a dramatic point along a continuum of our collective compliancy towards our life support system.

 

For most of humanity’s existence, we have fought for our place in our environment among dangerous predators and hostile climates. Some time ago, our numbers grew and our ability to dominate and even subdue nature allowed our species to thrive. We discovered how to exploit the bounties of our environment and didn’t think much about replacing or compensating important components (think, forests) because it didn’t even occur to us until centuries ago that our resources were finite.

 

Several hundred years ago, many naturalists and thinkers began warning humanity that the way we were treating our environment was causing problems. Serious water-polluting, soil-decimating, and other large-scale problems became so bad that communities and even civilizations perished. The push for more land was driven in part because good agricultural regions were used up by bad farming practices. We over-hunted, over-fished, and developed beyond our environment’s ability to recuperate from our abuse. We ignored the warnings of those—Thoreau, Muir, Humboldt, Marsh, and many others–whose message was to step more lightly on our planet’s bounty. They were not against growth; they were against wasteful and destructive practices that were destroying the potential of our natural resources.

 

After a long history of treating our environment as an infinite and magical spring of resources (as an externality), we shouldn’t be surprised when, in this latest and most horrific expression of environmental pushback, Trump says “the EPA’s regulators are putting people out of jobs by the hundreds of thousands.” (from What President Trump’s New Order Means for Clean Water, February 28, 2018, Time)

 

We should realize that this misguided harangue is but the most recent manifestation of a long-held attitude towards our environment from which humanity has not entirely freed itself. We’ve been treating our life support system badly for a long time.

 

Shifting costs and degradation of our natural resources to tax payers

 

Trump’s clumsy attempts to revive old unsustainable business practices by gutting the EPA is really a throwback to how humanity used to conduct business by shifting costs and degradation of our natural resources to taxpayers. This is where business gets to use and pollute the commons—our water, land, and air—and shift the financial burden of their cleanup to the public. Meanwhile, the public suffers immeasurably in the form of bad health and in many cases, death. Too many business owners believe that it is the environmental regulations, not the loss of a healthy environment, which is causing their problems. So the EPA becomes a scapegoat for businesses unwilling to shift to sustainable practices.

 

Framing environmental concerns as ‘us vs. them’ is not sustainable. It never has been. In actuality, there haven’t been winners and losers in environmental fights between polluters and environmentalists. Victories have been a mirage, where polluters win the battles and we all lose the war. What has happened is a ratcheting up of environmental degradation.

 

We are now at a place where 7 billion people are eking out an existence as we warm up the planet and extinct animal and plant species around the world on par with the other five great extinctions. This observation isn’t new and many, many businesses have come to recognize their responsibility in keeping our environment healthy. For quite a while now, responsible business have adopted sustainable business practices that are becoming standard business practices around the world—not merely as environmentally sound, but also financially profitable.

 

Why we need a healthy EPA

 

The EPA has many successes under its belt including the cleanup of thousands of industry-caused Brownfields, not to mention the countless times where the rules and the very existence of the EPA has prevented catastrophic environmental abuse. This environmental regulatory agency hasn’t led to the demise of businesses. Quite the opposite. Businesses need a level and stable playing field from which to operate. Think of the reintroduction of wolves in Yellow Stone National Park where the behavior of the elk and other animals changed dramatically when wolves were reintroduced into that ecosystem. Trees grew back and even the course of the rivers changed because elk and other herbivores couldn’t stand around all day chewing up every single plant with wolves around. Ecosystems thrive when the regulators are present.

 

If we again let free market fundamentalism rule, we will get the world as it was before the EPA—a very polluted environment. But things will be much worse because Climate Change is accelerating and amplifying all our other environmental issues.

 

Why We Need the EPA Let’s not forget what America looked like before we had the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Our rivers caught on fire, our air was full of smog, and it stank (literally). “Restoring nature to its natural state is a cause beyond party and beyond factions,” said Richard Nixon, the founder of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, in his 1970 State of the Union speech. If only. While there was clearly a time when support for environmental regulations transcended politics, the GOP’s broad support for EPA antagonist and Oklahoma attorney general Scott Pruitt to head the agency he so maligns tells us that day has passed. (February 14, 2017) NRDC [more on Environmental Health in our area]

 

Focusing on just a single ecosystem, Lake Erie, demonstrates how gutting the EPA will be catastrophic. Everyone, including businesses and farmers who will not be able to thrive in a failing environment, should be encouraging Trump and the EPA to keep up their pivotal role in addressing Climate Change and all the complicated consequences coming with that.

 

Great Lakes Scientist says, “If We Lose The EPA, We Lose Lake Erie” At the 8th Binational Meeting of the Lake Erie Millennium Network, 125 scientists gathered at the University of Windsor in Ontario to hear experts weigh-in on the health of the southernmost, warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes. They presented research on everything from climate change, water quality, phosphorous, agricultural run-off, cynobacteria (blue-green algae), hypoxia (deficiency in oxygen), cladophora (green algae) to ice, invasive species, sediment concentrations, and much, much more. Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume, and yet it has the highest population living along it’s shorelines, which makes it more vulnerable to pollution and many other problems than the rest of the Great Lakes. (February 24, 2017) Great Lakes Now [more on Climate Change and Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

 

In our desire for progress (a Star Trekian utopia perhaps) some of us forget that our visions for humanity’s future are not necessarily inevitable. There are secondary consequences to development—pollution, the breakdown of our ecosystems, and Climate Change—that can end the best of dreams. In order to ratchet up the likelihood that ours will be a bright future, we must always be mindful of our environmental health. This will not include demolishing every hard-won environmental regulation we have achieved.

 

Time passes.

 

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com  (Click on my email for feedback)

 

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* 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  andExaminer/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 MediaBTW: 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

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NewsLinks – Environmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

 

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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.]

 

  • 3/04/2017 – Gutting the EPA will have a profound effect on the Great Lakes ecosystem—not in a good way. Sharp cutbacks in Great Lakes restoration could make this largest freshwater system in the world unsustainable. Which is to say, dead. Great Lakes restoration would be gutted in early White House plan With reports swirling that President Donald Trump intends sharp cutbacks at the Environmental Protection Agency, the Free Press has learned that a drastic reduction may be under consideration for Great Lakes restoration efforts, which in the past have received bipartisan support. The National Association of Clean Air Agencies confirmed for the Free Press late  Thursday that an initial proposal from the White House Office of Management and Budget calls for the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative to be cut from $300 million a year to about $10 million. (March 2, 2017) Detroit Free Press {more on Climate ChangeWater QualityWetlands, and Great Lakes in our area]
  • 3/04/2017 – As we know from the loss of the Georgia EV tax credit, aid from the government for the purchase of electric vehicles can have a profound effect. There could be a dramatic rise in electric vehicles and a drop in greenhouse gasses if New York follows through with this rebate. I know, it’s hard to believe that Georgia had the second most electric vehicles in the nation until the repeal of their tax incentive. New York to launch electric vehicle rebate New York State will soon launch a rebate designed to make electric vehicles more price competitive with traditional cars. Officials said Friday they’ll launch the initiative by April 1. The rebate of up to $2,000 will be available for zero-emission and plug-in electric hybrid vehicles. The incentive is part of efforts to reduce automotive carbon emissions, the state’s largest climate change contributor. (March 1, 2017) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]
  • 3/04/2017 – The new normal is not the new sustainable. It is the new normal that our temperatures are going up, which tends (as in the boiling frog metaphor) to create the illusion that we must now simply adapt to a warmer climate, much in the same way that early man adjusted to climate changes of the past. But this Climate Change is different and if we don’t understand that we are going to cook. Our temperatures are going up dramatically, far faster than humanity has ever experienced. And in order to support 7 billion people, we have vast infrastructures (transportation, water, waste water, etc.), which are the lifeblood of our growing communities. These infrastructures are vulnerable to extreme weather from Climate Change. Already, many people have become inured by the constant news of warming and lulled into thinking that it’s now just normal for things to warm. The problem is that during our lifetimes the planet is quickly becoming too warm and without a quick and dramatic shift in how we use energy we will soon come to the point of no return. I know, people have become habituated to apocalyptic news that has always been a part of our media so it enters into the miasma of constant bad news we’ve learned to accept and tolerate. Bad news has always been the new normal. But not all bad news is the same. People dying in the other part of the world is not the same as your doctor giving you the news that you have cancer. Your future has a cancer that must be addressed now. If we habituate to this, we allow ourselves to become inured to an unsustainable future. Time passes. #ScienceMatters Climate change made NSW’s hottest summer 50 times more likely Researchers find strong climate signal behind the heatwaves and record average temperatures that beset Australia’s eastern states this summer Sleepless nights and bushfire days; the hottest summer on record in the Australian state of New South Wales was made 50 times more likely due to climate change, researchers have found. Repeated heatwaves broke maximum temperature records, culminating in the epic days of 11-12 February that pushed the mercury beyond 45C in many parts of the state. Devastating fires consumed whole villages and wildlife perished from exposure to the heat. Analysis of the events by a team from World Weather Attribution and the University of New South Wales found the record average heat could “be linked directly to climate change”. (March 2, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 3/04/2017 – Even if there ever was a carbon budget, where we thought we still had wiggle room on warming, we’ve probably long since blown it. I do agree that scientists need to figure out how much carbon will be sequestered and released in our soils and waters in order to make our climate models as accurate as possible–so we can plan. But I don’t think we, the public and policy makers and environmental planners, can (or should) deduct from this information how much more carbon emission we can release into our environment. It’s monumental hubris to think that we still have room in our climate system to pump more carbon into it. We’ve already noticed massive changes to our climate with a rise from 280ppm of carbon dioxide since the mid-1800’s to now where we are consistently over 400ppm. As this article suggests (see below), our climate system is extremely complex and there are many known unknowns (like how much carbon is stored and released by water and soil) and even unknowns unknowns (where we don’t even know what we don’t know) that should steer us away from assuming we could possibly allow any more carbon into the system. If anything, we should be working furiously to sequester carbon dioxide and get it back to a point that we know is sustainable—280ppm. Water and soil muddy carbon budget thinking New research on soil, ponds and lakes means a rethink is needed on how to help tackle climate change by balancing the carbon budget. Climate scientists, struggling with the enduring problem of the carbon budget, may have to think again as a result of new research findings. One experiment, in the UK, has shown that the ponds, lakes and standing water that cover 4% of the Earth that isn’t glaciated could release perhaps twice as much greenhouse gas as they warm this century. And a second study, in the US, has demonstrated that climate scientists have seriously over-estimated the soil’s capacity to absorb carbon. It may be able to soak up only about half as much as they thought. (March 4, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 3/03/2017 – The reason we created the EPA in the first place is because we realized that we could NOT take clean water and air for granted. So, how would gutting the EPA help keep our environment clean? What is the media doing to expose the gutting of the EPA? What is the media doing to explain why the public should know about this? Are you alarmed? #ScienceMatters Trump Says He Loves Clean Air and Water. So Why Is He Gutting the EPA? The dirty details of the president’s environmental policies. Even President Donald Trump likes clean water and air. During his speech to Congress Tuesday night, Trump certainly didn’t dwell on the matter: His pledge to “promote clean air and water” was lumped in a sentence with commitments to work with both parties, push for paid family leave, and “invest in women’s health.” But it was still there. No matter who you ask—Republicans or Democrats—everyone likes to breathe air and drink water that won’t kill them. Air and water poll so well, in fact, that Republicans will almost never come out and say that their policies might actually make them dirtier. Trump used similar lines about clean air and water throughout the campaign, saying things like, “We are going to work very, very hard on clean air and clean water.” The subject also appears near the bottom of the energy section of the White House website. But earlier Tuesday, Trump signed an executive order that directed the Environmental Protection Agency to limit the scope of what counts as a regulated body of water under the Clean Water Act. More executive orders are on their way, and career staff are waiting to hear how many of their jobs may be cut. (March 1, 2017) Mother Jones [more on Environmental Health in our area]
  • 3/03/2017 – Really, the EPA is no longer requiring the oil and gas industry to provide information on methane emitted from its operations? Hard to fathom the depths of abject irresponsibility of this move. Even if, say, millions of American don’t care or don’t care to know how much methane our industries are producing, what about the rest of the world? When we say to the world we aren’t producing much of the methane, which is one of the most potent greenhouse gases, won’t they say, “How would you know?” U.S. EPA withdraws request for methane information from oil, gas companies (March 2, 2017) Reuters
  • 3/03/2017 – More evidence (overwhelming) coming in that our planet is warming up dramatically. Getting hard to find new ways of saying FIRE! #ScienceMatters Scientists have handed the science behind Climate Change on a silver platter to everyone free of charge, but it seems that however backed by hard-won, peer-reviewed, solid science too many folks haven’t bothered themselves to find out about this worldwide crisis that is like no other in human history. Sad. Antarctica hits record high temperature at balmy 63.5°F An Argentine research base near the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula has set a heat record at a balmy 63.5° Fahrenheit (17.5 degrees Celsius), the U.N. weather agency said on Wednesday. The Experanza base set the high on March 24, 2015, the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said after reviewing data around Antarctica to set benchmarks to help track future global warming and natural variations. “Verification of maximum and minimum temperatures help us to build up a picture of the weather and climate in one of Earth’s final frontiers,” said Michael Sparrow, a polar expert with the WMO co-sponsored World Climate Research Programme. (March 1, 2017) Reuters [more onClimate Change in our area]
  • 3/03/2017 – Scientists are getting better at discovering whether Climate Change is linked with individual cases of extreme weather: Attribution. Sydney’s Swelter Has a Climate Change Link, Scientists Say Southeastern Australia has suffered through a series of brutal heat waves over the past two months, with temperatures reaching a scorching 113 degrees Fahrenheit in some parts of the state of New South Wales. “It was nothing short of awful,” said Sarah Perkins-Kirkpatrick, of the Climate Change Research Center at the University of New South Wales, in Sydney. “In Australia, we’re used to a little bit of heat. But this was at another level.” So Dr. Perkins-Kirkpatrick, who studies climate extremes, did what comes naturally: She looked to see whether there was a link between the heat and human-driven climate change. (March 2, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 3/03/2017 – From our friends over at Rochester Pachamama Alliance:  “Rochester Pachamama Alliance has started a new monthly gathering to inspire, support and empower each other as we live into our vision of an environmentally sustainable, socially just, inter-culturally respectful, relationally rich, and spiritually fulfilling world.  All are invited to our next gathering: 1:30-3:30 pm on Sunday, March 5, in the red brick building immediately to the west (left) of Asbury United Methodist Church. (The building’s own address is 1010 East Ave.)  At this next gathering, we will explore how we experience and participate in the old paradigm of separation, competition and domination (see Paradigm shift chart–it should appear in your browser when you click on it). We will experience the ways this paradigm creates pain in ourselves and the things we care about.  We will envision ways we can live into the emerging paradigm of interconnectedness, interdependence and cooperation.  And we will discern our own next steps towards embodying that emerging paradigm. Music, visuals and a whole-body awakening will help engage our whole selves in the process.  This is an open-ended/drop-in group.  No ongoing commitment is necessary.  Please share this with anyone you know who might be interested.  And if you plan to attend, please email Padme at padmelivingstone@gmail.com so we can plan accordingly. “
  • 3/03/2017 – Thinking that gutting the EPA will allow businesses to flourish is like thinking that having your kidneys removed will make it so you don’t have to go to the bathroom so often. #ScienceMatters Former EPA scientists to Trump: ‘Evidence does not change when the administration changes’ The Trump administration’s proposal to cut the Environmental Protection Agency is looking dramatic indeed. The plans call for laying off thousands of staff, eliminating entire programs and making deep cuts to the agency’s research office, the Office of Research and Development (ORD), according to recent reportingby The Washington Post. That’s not to say all of this will happen — or that any of it will. Congress makes the final decisions on funding the government. But it’s a stunning proposal to researchers familiar with the workings of the EPA. (March 2, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]
  • 3/02/2017 – More evidence (a 1991 film, actually) that the fossil fuel industry knew their product was warming the planet—but chose to not to #KeepItInTheGroud Sad. Kafkaesque. #ScienceMatters Keep it in the ground: Shell’s 1991 film warning of climate change danger uncovered Public information film unseen for years shows Shell had clear grasp of global warming 26 years ago but has not acted accordingly since, say critics More than a quarter of a century ago, oil giant Shell made an extraordinary public film about the dangers of global warming, called Climate of Concern, which has just been rediscovered. The film, says one leading climate scientist, is one of the best he has ever seen: the science is sharp, the predictions uncannily accurate and the suggested solutions smart. The film even had an urgent message: “Action now is seen as the only safe insurance.” Yet Shell has spent the 26 years since investing many billions in highly polluting tar sands and helping to lobby against climate action. As Bill McKibben told me: “Imagine if Shell had taken their own advice and we’d spent the last quarter century in all-out pursuit of renewables, energy efficiency, and conservation. We wouldn’t have solved the problem of global warming, but we’d be well on the way. Shell made a big difference in the world – a difference for the worse.” (March 1, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]
  • 3/02/2017 – Instead of banking on science, we are halting efforts to stop very invasive species, Asian Carp, into the largest freshwater system in the world because of special interests. Sad. Businesses whose interests are perceived to be thwarted because of efforts to stop the Asian Carp have a new friend in a new administration that puts special commercial interests against the public’s need for a healthy environment. Once in, the Asian Carp may change our Great Lakes profoundly and we may look back to this moment when this tragedy was inevitable. #ScienceMatters White House orders Asian carp plan delay The Trump administration has ordered a hold on the release of a tentative plan to stop Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes by strengthening a choke point in the Chicago waterway system, according to the Detroit Free Press. The White House wants to review the plan for stopping Asian silver and bighead carp at the Brandon Road Lock & Dam, which the U.S. Army Corps had been scheduled to release in draft form on Feb. 28, the newspaper reported. The release is on indefinite hold for now, confirmed Allen Marshall, public affairs officer for the Army Corps Rock Island District. (March 1, 2017) MLive Michigan [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]
  • 3/02/2017 – If massive (the size of Alabama) areas of permafrost are thawing and they hold a lot of carbon (“Scientists estimate that the world’s permafrost holds twice as much carbon as the atmosphere.”), then the warming will accelerate. Not to mention the widespread thaw of permafrost creates more landslides, warmer and increase sediment in rivers. Yes, there have been other climate changes, but this Climate Change is happening in our time with 7 billion of us and our infrastructures—and it is happening by us. And, after certain points, positive feedbacks, like melting glaciers and permafrost amplify the havoc we’ve wreaked. #ScienceMatters Denying Climate Change is suicide. Massive Permafrost Thaw Documented in Canada, Portends Huge Carbon Release Study shows 52,000 square miles in rapid decline, with sediment and carbon threatening the surrounding environment and potentially accelerating global warming. Huge slabs of Arctic permafrost in northwest Canada are slumping and disintegrating, sending large amounts of carbon-rich mud and silt into streams and rivers. A new study that analyzed nearly a half-million square miles in northwest Canada found that this permafrost decay is affecting 52,000 square miles of that vast stretch of earth—an expanse the size of Alabama. According to researchers with the Northwest Territories Geological Survey, the permafrost collapse is intensifying and causing landslides into rivers and lakes that can choke off life downstream, all the way to where the rivers discharge into the Arctic Ocean. (February 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 3/01/2017 – Here’s the news Rochester, NY local media is not telling you: with warmer winters “ancient cycles are being broken”. For the past week or so our local media has highlighted how many people more are getting outdoors, and golfing, and other late-spring fun activities. But they are failing to put this warming into context and providing the public what they need to know about what’s going on in the rest of the world on Climate Change and what changes are coming to this region. Rochester, let’s face it, is never going to be Florida—it’s going to be a seriously screwed up Rochester. Time passes. #ScienceMatters It’s 1 March, but spring started weeks ago As warmer days wake parts of nature from their winter slumber earlier and earlier, ancient cycles are being broken Spring is arriving ever earlier in the northern hemisphere. One sedge species in Greenland is now springing to growth 26 days earlier than it did a decade ago. And in the wintry United States, spring arrived 22 days early this year in Washington DC, the national capital. The evidence comes from those silent witnesses, the natural things that respond to climate signals. The relatively new science of phenology – the calendar record of first bud, first flower, first nesting behaviour and first migrant arrivals – has over the last three decades repeatedly confirmed meteorological fears of global warming as a consequence of the combustion of fossil fuels. Researchers say the evidence from the plant world is consistent with the instrumental record: 2016 was the hottest year ever recorded, and it was the third record-breaking year in succession. Sixteen of the hottest years ever recorded have happened in the 21st century.(March 1, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 3/01/2017 – There are a lot of known unknowns, like how “non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures” and how clouds will factor in climate models, and even unknown unknowns (stuff that we didn’t even know we didn’t know (like The Trump Effect on Climate Change)) but be assured that Climate Change is happening and it’s complicated and because it’s complicated it doesn’t mean we should avoid addressing it. #Science Matters Aerosol Study Targets Great Unknown in Climate Science Australian scientists are studying air pollution and cloud formation in Antarctica in an effort to understand how non-carbon aerosolised particles impact on global temperatures. It’s the first comprehensive study of the composition and concentration of aerosols in the Antarctic sea ice area, a region that influences cloud formation and weather patterns for much of the southern hemisphere. (February 25, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 3/01/2017 – This article (see below) demonstrates how Climate Change should be reported locally. In order to adapt, we need context. Even if we do reduce greenhouse gas emissions, there is still is a lot of heat to play out in our climate system, a lot, hundreds of years. This means we have to adapt to the quick changes coming and the myriad environmental issues this brings. The problems in Lake Erie highlight how Climate Change will accelerate and amplify all those conditions. And, this article gets at the absolute necessity why governmental agencies like the EPA must lead all efforts in our ability to adapt comprehensively to what’s coming ahead. Everyone, including businesses and farmers who will not be able to thrive is a failing environment, should be encouraging Trump and the EPA to keep up their pivotal role in addressing Climate Change and all the complicated consequences coming with that. #ScienceMatters Great Lakes Scientist says, “If We Lose The EPA, We Lose Lake Erie” At the 8th Binational Meeting of the Lake Erie Millennium Network, 125 scientists gathered at the University of Windsor in Ontario to hear experts weigh-in on the health of the southernmost, warmest and shallowest of the Great Lakes. They presented research on everything from climate change, water quality, phosphorous, agricultural run-off, cynobacteria (blue-green algae), hypoxia (deficiency in oxygen), cladophora (green algae) to ice, invasive species, sediment concentrations, and much, much more. Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume, and yet it has the highest population living along it’s shorelines, which makes it more vulnerable to pollution and many other problems than the rest of the Great Lakes. (February 24, 2017) Great Lakes Now [more on Climate Change and Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]
  • 3/01/2017 – Old sewage pipes leaking human waste into the Great Lakes basin is probably occurring often. Many wastewater infrastructures around the entire Great Lakes water basin are getting old and in need of repair and updating for Climate Change. And the statement that probably 2 million gallons of human waste has already flowed into the Grand River but that only constitutes only 1% of the area’s water is NOT comforting. One has to wonder, when at what percent of the water IS human waste will folks get concerned—25%, 50%? We should be planning dramatically to prepare the largest freshwater system in the world for Climate Change. About 500K gallons of human waste spilling into Grand River each day SPRING LAKE, MICH. – People are asked to avoid contact with a portion of the Grand River following a sewage spill that’s released at least a million gallons of human waste. A no body contact advisory affects an area about a mile east of the U.S. 31 bridge over the Grand River and downstream to Lake Michigan. (February 28, 2017) WZZM [more on Great lakes and Water Quality in our area]
  • 3/01/2017 – Rochester, NY is really warm: “That is in keeping with conditions everywhere, which experts attribute to the impact of climate change.” (See below) The present zeitgeist around town seems to be that it’s been a warm February but what a relief, instead of concerns that this long stretch of warm temperatures in February is a harbinger of things to come. Temperatures worldwide are going up and are dramatically affecting other regions, but here we’re having April weather in February. That doesn’t seem to alarm us. Maybe even a welcome. But even this kind of warming in Rochester is concerning as it is throwing off our plants, where I’m seeing as I walk around town some already 8” and 10” high. It’s not only not normal, it might mean that if a long cold comes along it may wreck the plants we’ve planted. It may be wreaking havoc with agriculture, where fruit trees are kicking into gear too soon, their buds opening themselves to freezing. It would be helpful if our media looked into the effects of such a long warming spell on trees and plants and maybe even some animals that are maybe being fooled into waking up from their wintry slumbers, and perhaps how fish are reacting to another winter on the Great Lakes without ice cover for protection. Things are changing with Climate Change, even here in Rochester, and they are deeply profound and disturbing because they are happening way too quickly. (“The problem is the speed at which the world is warming. It’s not that the climate is changing ― it’s the rate.” Bill Nye, 2/27/2017, The Huffington Post) Crazy hot day to follow crazy hot month The warmest February in the modern record book will usher in what almost surely will be the warmest March 1 that Rochester’s ever seen. That’s because the Rochester region is in the midst of one of the warmest periods in local history. Since November 2015, every single month has featured above-average temperatures except for April of last year. Two of those months, December 2015 and August 2016, were the warmest on record. Calendar-year 2016 wound up the fifth-warmest in local history.That is in keeping with conditions everywhere, which experts attribute to the impact of climate change. Globally, 2016 was the warmest year since record-keeping began in 1880, and the second-warmest ever in the United States. (February 28, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 2/28/2017 – When you think about it, US public opinion about whether global warming is happening is NOT about whether it IS happening.  For that ask a climate scientist. #ScienceMatters If you want to know if global warming is happening, ask 97% of climate scientists around the world. Check out Yale Climate Opinion Maps – U.S. 2016 “Estimated % of adults who think global warming is happening, 2016
  • 2/28/2017 – Addressing Climate Change and making the Great Lakes ecosystem healthy is more than obsessing about “a few cattails in the marsh”. Good grief. Pretty irresponsible reporting by local Rochester media on IJC Plan 2014 for Lake Ontario’s water levels. Although this reporting mentions that most people and international governments have agreed that IJC Plan 2014 is necessary to make this ecosystem healthy, most of the report is about the effect of this law on some local shoreline owners. Yes, there should be enough money to compensate: “”The IJC has a legal requirement to provide the money, the funding to the counties based on the economic damage done,” he said.” They have informed me that they must provide that compensation and they don’t have any money to do it.” It would have been far more responsible for this reporting to give planning for a healthy ecosystem and planning for Climate Change more weight—instead of parading out this nonsense: “Common sense would say our president (and) the secretary would care more about the economy of our country than a few cattails in the marsh,” said Congressman Collins. In the background of all this is the fact that ice cover on the Great Lakes is dramatically decreasing over the decades (as predicted my climate studies of our region), which means that there will be more water evaporation in the Great Lakes causing lower levels in the future. It’s going to be hard enough to address Climate Change and come together on solutions that will impact some citizens unevenly without trying to undo sensible solutions that are in the best interest of everyone. Lake Ontario residents appealing to president for help with water levels Many people living on the Lake Ontario shoreline have been living with fear since January 7th. They’re bracing for flooding and erosion. They say it’s the result of a new plan that controls the lake’s water levels. The United States agreed to that plan with Canada during the Obama Administration. Those people on the lake are now appealing to the new president. IJC Plan 2014 basically calls for higher highs and lower lows for Lake Ontario’s water levels. Environmentalists say it will make the lake healthier. But people living on the lake say those higher highs will cause issues. (February 27, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]
  • 2/28/2017 – Getting around Rochester, or anywhere else for that matter, in a time of Climate Change is a moral matter. Reducing greenhouse gases by transportation emissions, redesigning our transportation infrastructure so it includes more public transportation that is accommodating to all, and including venues for more active transportation (walking and bicycling) with Complete Streets action, should be on our minds as we shift to more adaptive living and cities that are friendlier to humans than gas-guzzling vehicles. Check out this: Important film from our friends over at Reconnect Rochester.Rochester Street Films – Save the date (and your seat)   March 15, 6:30 p.m. at The Little Theatre   The big-screen debut of short films by Alex Freeman, Nate Butler, and Ericka Jones will explore three very different perspectives on moving around Rochester. Panel discussion will follow.   No one refused for lack of funds, but space is limited. Reserve your seat in advance by making a donation to Reconnect Rochester ($5-25 suggested).   Reserve Your Seat    Getting to the Event BIKE to this event and park in our bike corral attended by Rochester Cycling Alliance. Or take RTS Bus Route #31 or #57 to The Little Theatre. See if your friends are attending – RSVP and invite them on Facebook.
  • 2/28/2017 – If the EPA scrubs Climate Change from its websites, does that mean they are no longer accountable for addressing it? Should we look elsewhere for official responsibility to preserve and protect our environment? Does dissembling about the science behind extreme weather mean the EPA’s former clarity on this subject somehow become more unclear? What are we to become resilient to and how are we to become resilient to it? What is the cause of our need to increase our resiliency? Instead of helping to inform the media and the public about Climate Change, is it now the role of the EPA to un-inform, unravel so to speak, decades of hard-won research and clarity on climate science? Should we attend official programs to wipe the certainty and clarity of the Climate Change to match the new EPA’s agenda? EPA Removes Mentions of ‘Climate Change’ in Water Utilities Program Agency changed ‘Climate Ready’ to ‘Resilient’ from the title and webpage before Trump took office, in possible anticipation of coming chill from the administration. The Environmental Protection Agency’s website has gotten a makeover since the Trump administration took office, with some references to climate change now wiped from its pages.   But the agency removed the word “climate” from a division’s name and webpage even before President Donald Trump‘s inauguration, suggesting that EPA employees may have started constraining information in anticipation of the incoming chill from the new administration. The division once known as Climate Ready Water Utilities was rebranded as the Creating Resilient Water Utilities in late December, according to archived webpages. By then, Myron Ebell had been in place as head of the agency’s transition team for more than a month. Ebell, a senior fellow at the conservative Competitive Enterprise Institute who has long promoted climate denial in his work, was considered a threat to the agency’s mission by many of the career employees. (February 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 2/27/2017 – But what if Climate Change is happening and we deny it? What kind of people does that make us? NonexistentHere’s why it’s so frickin’ hot right now There’s something about a warm February day that reminds you that something just isn’t right. It gives you that nagging feeling that maybe global warming is real after all.  February 2016 has featured prolonged warm weather the likes of which many areas have not seen before, or have only experienced on rare occasions.  Taken as a whole, the month-to-date in the U.S. has seen a ridiculously lopsided ratio of daily record highs to daily record lows, which is a key indicator of short-term weather variability and, over the longer term, human-caused climate change. (February 24, 2017) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 2/27/2017 – Though it’s possible that some people view the “EPA much like they look at the IRS” as, allegedly, burdensome bloodsuckers, it’s a false analogy. First, both the IRS and EPA are necessary federal agencies who We The People designed to keep our economy and our life support system healthy. Secondly, if we don’t get our taxes right, our economy will crash. If we don’t get our environmental regulations right, we don’t get to have a future. Time passes. #StandUpForScience #climatechangeshealth #ClimateFacts #MarchForScience #ScienceMatters Aggressive cuts to Obama-era green rules to start soon: EPA head U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration will begin rolling back Obama-era environmental regulations in an “aggressive way” as soon as next week, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency said on Saturday – adding he understood why some Americans want to see his agency eliminated completely. “I think there are some regulations that in the near-term need to be rolled back in a very aggressive way. And I think maybe next week you may be hearing about some of those,” EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt told the Conservative Political Action summit in Washington DC. Pruitt added the EPA’s focus on combating climate change under former President Barack Obama had cost jobs and prevented economic growth, leading many Americans to want to see the EPA eliminated completely. (February 25, 2017) Reuters [more on Environmental Health in our area]
  • 2/27/2017 – The problems with the loss of Biodiversity and the Sixth Great Extinction are far more important than economic issues surrounding supply and demand, where demand cannot exceed supply indefinitely. Somehow humanity has supplanted our biological imperative for a healthy life support system with a financial system indifferent to environmental degradation. Somehow we have come to believe that humanity is able to stand on the sidelines as the pillars (plants and animals and healthy soil and air and water) of our environment fall away. Of course, we cannot. We have been able to ratchet up our ability to Band-Aid our environmental disruptions with temporary fixes that in turn ratchet up tipping points when these ad hoc temporary fixes break down. For example, feeding our growing populations by GMO’s, dumping more fertilizers and pesticides onto our soils, and carving up more area for food production instead of allowing ecosystems to work properly, we are ratchet making our ability to survive more precarious—far more affected by the vagaries of the weather and climate to catastrophic collapse. We are not living sustainably and somehow convinced ourselves that we are. Time passes. #ScienceMatters At the Vatican, a call to avoid ‘biological extinction’ ‘Nothing less than a reordering of our priorities based on a moral revolution can succeed.’ Download Partha Dasgupta’s and Paul Ehrlich’s working paper on the sixth great extinction here. By Environmental Health News Staff Experts in biodiversity and extinction are gathering at the Vatican this week to discuss biological extinction—and how to save the natural world on which we all depend. The conference focuses on the alarming signs, from various branches of science, that we are outstripping out planet’s ability to sustain us. It follows on Pope Francis’ 2015 encyclical, Laudato Si, calling for better care and concern for “our Common Home,” as well as an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report suggesting we are on a course to destroy up to 40 percent of biodiversity on Earth by century’s end. (February 27, 2017) Environmental Health News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

 

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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.

 

March 2017

 

  • Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 10:00 am Where: Wherever you and your computer are
    • Electric Vehicle (EV) Programs Webinar  The New York Clean Energy Communities Program is sponsoring this program. Presenters Patrick P. Bolton from NYSERDA and Bryan Roy, Energetics Inc. will discuss electric vehicle programs, information sources for them, and incentives available including EV resources and initiatives in NYS and the Genesee Region. Developed resources include the Genesee Region EV Charging Station Plan, EV charging station site suitability tool, Planning and Policy Tool Guide, and Best Practices for EV charging station Site Owners. Current initiatives include the Rochester EV Community Project, Resources for Planning Board Members, EV charging station deployment, and Workplace Charging Outreach. When: Tuesday, March 7, 2017, 10:00 am Where: Wherever you and your computer are  More Info: Obtain further information and a link for registering at the Genesee Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council website. After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.
  • Tuesday, March 7. at 7 p.m. Gleason Works Auditorium, 1000 University Avenue.
    • Transforming through city farming The Community Design Center of Rochester will present “Growing Food, Jobs, and Engagement: The Benefits of Urban Agriculture,” a lecture at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 7. David Vigil, director, and Jannatul Rahman, outreach coordinator for East New York Farms! will share the story of this model of urban farming and community development in Brooklyn. The farm has improved neighborhood access to healthy and nutritious food, provided youth internships, and supported a large network of neighborhood gardens. The event will be held at Gleason Works Auditorium, 1000 University Avenue. General admission: $15. Information: www.rrcdc.org. (From Rochester City Newspaper, Urban Action)
  • March 8, 9 AM, Irondequoit Bay Outlet
    • “Late Winter Ducks”  March 8, 9 AM, Irondequoit Bay Outlet, Burroughs Audubon Nature Club A variety of over-wintering and returning ducks gather in the Irondequoit Bay Outlet in March. Long-tailed ducks, mergansers, scoters and even loons may be present. Meet in the parking area on the Irondequoit side of the outlet, bring binoculars, and wear warm clothing and sturdy footwear. Facebook
  • Thursday, March 9: 6:30 p.m. – 9 p.m. at the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus (Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science building (76-1125) – Carlson Auditorium), Rochester, Monroe County.  The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board.
  • March 9th, 6:30-8:30 pm    Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) 500 S. Franklin Street, Syracuse
    • Sweet Science Series   Global Warming Then and Now: What We Can Learn from the Geologic Record about Ongoing Climate Change   March 9th, 6:30-8:30 pm   Milton J Rubenstein Museum of Science & Technology (MOST) 500 S. Franklin Street, Syracuse Linda C. Ivany and Christopher K. Junium, who both teach in the Earth Sciences Department at Syracuse University’s College of Arts and Sciences, will present Global Warming Then and Now, a discussion of what we can learn from the geologic record about ongoing climate change, as part of the Technology Alliance of Central New York’s 2016-2017 Sweet Science Series.  People interested in learning more about global warming are invited to attend the free Sweet Science Series presentation on Thursday, March 9, 2017, from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. in the Space Gallery meeting room of the Museum of Science & Technology in Syracuse’s Armory Square. Admission is free and open to the public. Light snacks will be served. Walk-ins are welcome, but we ask that people RSVP by emailing sweet.lecture@tacny.org by March 7.
  • March 10, 7:30 PM  St. John’s Meadows, Briarwood Bldg., 1 Johnsarbor Dr. (14620)
    • “Warner Castle Gardens Reinvented”  March 10, 7:30 PM  St. John’s Meadows, Briarwood Bldg., 1 Johnsarbor Dr. (14620) Burroughs Audubon Nature Club   Since 2012, the Rochester Civic Garden Center has been in the process of reinventing the historic Warner Castle Estate Gardens. Milli Piccione explains the principles that guide this work, such as selecting a variety of plants that are not only beautiful, but also appeal to pollinators and resist disease and pests. Facebook
  • March 15, 6:30 p.m. at The Little Theatre
    • From our friends over at Reconnect Rochester: Rochester Street Films – Save the date (and your seat)   March 15, 6:30 p.m. at The Little Theatre   The big-screen debut of short films by Alex Freeman, Nate Butler, and Ericka Jones will explore three very different perspectives on moving around Rochester. Panel discussion will follow.   No one refused for lack of funds, but space is limited. Reserve your seat in advance by making a donation to Reconnect Rochester ($5-25 suggested).   Reserve Your Seat    Getting to the Event BIKE to this event and park in our bike corral attended by Rochester Cycling Alliance. Or take RTS Bus Route #31 or #57 to The Little Theatre. See if your friends are attending – RSVP and invite them on Facebook.
  • 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at The Clubhouse at Durand Eastman Park Golf Course, 1200 Kings Highway North, Rochester, NY, 14617.
    • The March 2017 Monroe County Parks Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting will be held at 6:00 pm on Thursday, March 16, 2017 at The Clubhouse at Durand Eastman Park Golf Course, 1200 Kings Highway North, Rochester, NY, 14617.  A Public Workshop on Shared Use Trails in Tryon Park will be held at the March meeting, which will include a presentation by Genesee Regional Off-Road Cyclists (GROC) and opportunity for public input/discussion.
  • Thursday, March 16, 2017, 1:00 to 6:00 pm Where: Mynderse Academy, 105 Troy St., Seneca Falls, NY 13148
    • Seneca Falls Climate Summit  The Seneca Falls School District invites your school, college, or town to send a team of 4-6 members to attend the summit. High school students in grades 9-12 should attend with a school staff member. The Seneca Falls Climate Summit will expose attendees to climate change information, engage them in innovative solutions and the opportunity to create a climate action plan for their own school, college, or community. When: Thursday, March 16, 2017, 1:00 to 6:00 pm Where: Mynderse Academy, 105 Troy St., Seneca Falls, NY 13148 More Info: Free. See the proposed full schedule at the Seneca Falls School District website. Registration is also open now at that website. Contact information for further information is also available at the registration link.
  • 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.
  • Saturday, March 25th, 9AM to 5PM, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY
    • Water Law for Activists Saturday, March 25, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY Sponsored by Cornell Environmental Law Society and Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Water Committee Access to clean water is one of the most important environmental and social issues facing our communities. To support activists working on water protection issues, the Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Water Committee and the Cornell Law School Environmental Law Society are sponsoring a Water Law for Activists symposium Saturday, March 25 at the Cornell Law School in Ithaca. The program is free and open to the public The purpose of the symposium is to bring together lawyers and activists working on water law issues in New York to learn from and network with each other. The conference will focus on best ways to support water advocates in our efforts. Draft schedule below. Confirmed speakers include Deborah Goldberg from Earthjustice, Maya van Rossum from Delaware Riverkeeper, Richard Berkeley from the Public Utility Law Project and Richard Lippes from Lippes and Lippes in Buffalo. For more information, call 917-692-0595 or email annlfinneran@gmail.com.
  • March 30  6:30-8:30pm | Marriott Syracuse Downtown Finger Lakes Ballroom 100 E. Onondaga St., Syracuse NY
    • GreeningUSA & The NYS Green Building Conference  Marriott Syracuse Downtown Finger Lakes Ballroom 100 E. Onondaga St. Film Screening “How to Let Go of the World and Love All The Things Climate Can’t Change” A film by Josh Fox.   This event is FREE but seating is very limited and YOU MUST REGISTER! Names will be checked off at the door.  This is a GreeningUSA fund-raiser.  Donations will be gratefully accepted at the door.
  • Friday, March 31 and April 1st (Little Theatre on Friday, March 31 and a Festival Gala at the George Eastman Museum on Saturday, April 1.  )
    • Friday, March 31 and a Festival Gala at the George Eastman Museum on Saturday, April 1st .   Fast Forward Film Festival About the Fast Forward Film Festival An initiative of The Lost Bird Project, Fast Forward Rochester (www.fastforwardroc.org) invites the Rochester community to submit environmental short films and videos of 5 minutes or less to the inaugural Fast Forward Film Festival. The festival is the first of its kind in the greater upstate NY area focused on showcasing new environmental perspectives in a local contest-style format, which has proved to unify the greater Rochester environmental, art, and film communities with two sold out events in 2015 & 2016. With a “for local, by local” mindset, the festival planning began in early 2014 and took off quickly with the community’s support.  This year’s sponsors are the Lost Bird Project, WXXI/The Little Theatre, City Newspaper, and Rochester Institute of Technology. By focusing creativity into films under five minutes in length, Fast Forward films strives to become an important communication tool to inspire change, connect people, and build an environmentally concerned community. The Festival program will be announced Monday, March 6th. For more information about these events, to obtain tickets, and for full information about the juried Fast Forward Film Festival, go here.

 

April 2017

 

  • Thursday, April 6th, 7:00 pm Otto Shultz Community Center, Nazareth College, 1425 East Avenue, Rochester NY
    • Contemplation and Ecological Action 7:00 pmOtto Shultz Community Center, Nazareth College, 1425 East Avenue, Rochester NY This is the first in a 2-part forum at Nazareth College, “Contemplation and Ecological  Action: Tenderness and Justice in “Laudato Si.”  Presenter Christine Z. Peppard  is an expert on the ethics of fresh water and problems of climate change, social justice and sustainability. She is a science and ethics professor at Fordham, the author of many books on the subject and has lectured widely. This forum is part of Nazareth College’s 2016-17 William Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies series of lectures. The event is free and open to the public.
  • Friday, April 7th, 1:30 pm Linehan Chapel, Nazareth College, 1425 East Avenue, Rochester NY
    • Forum – Fresh Water is a Human Right 1:30 pmLinehan Chapel, Nazareth College, 1425 East Avenue, Rochester NY Christina Z Peppard presenting “Fresh Water is a Human Right.” This is the second in a 2-part forum at Nazareth College, “Contemplation and Ecological  Action: Tenderness and Justice in “Laudato Si.” Christine is an expert on the ethics of fresh water and problems of climate change, social justice and sustainability. She is a science and ethics professor at Fordham, the author of many books on the subject and has lectured widely. This forum is part of Nazareth College’s 2016-17 William Shannon Chair in Catholic Studies series of lectures. The event is free and open to the public.
  • April 7,  7:00 PM, Owl Woods, Manitou Beach Rd., Greece
    • “Woodcock Courtship Display”  April 7,  7:00 PM, Owl Woods, Manitou Beach Rd., Greece   Hear one of nature’s unusual spring sounds ~ courting woodcocks. Join BANC and the Rochester Birding Association to possibly see these birds display their courting behavior. Bring a flashlight and dress for the weather. Meet in the parking lot across from Owl Woods on Manitou Beach Raod, just north of the Lake Ontario State Parkway. The parking lot is on the right, very soon after you turn onto Manitou Beach Rd. Facebook
  • Thursday, April 20th at 1 PM – 4 PM
    • Sierra Club Annual Forum: President Aaron Mair speaking @ Sierra Club Annual Environmental Forum (time, location, tabling , tbd …soon)
  • April 21, 2017 The Links, East Syracuse, New York
  • April 22, Earth Day, in Rochester (infor being update for time and exact place)
    • ROCHESTER MARCH FOR SCIENCE MARCH FOR SCIENCE IS AN EFFORT COMPRISING OF INDEPENDENT, NONPARTISAN COORDINATORS. RECENT RHETORIC HAS INSPIRED A MARCH ON WASHINGTON D.C. AS WELL AS SATELLITE MARCHES–HERE IN ROCHESTER AND MANY OTHERS ACROSS THE COUNTRY. MARK YOUR CALENDAR FOR APRIL 22ND, 2017 (EARTH DAY).
  • April 22, 2017 Earth Day | Washington, DC
    • The March for Science is Set to Happen on Earth Day Scientists officially have a date where they’ll be taking to the streets. The March for Science has been scheduled for Saturday, April 22 in Washington, D.C. A growing constellation of marches are also scheduled for that day in cities across the U.S. What began as a Reddit conversation has grown into a movement of scientists and science lovers standing up for evidenced-based policy making and inclusivity in the science community.   The date of the march isn’t just an average Saturday. April 22 is Earth Day, first celebrated in 1970. The original Earth Day is seen by many as a turning point in the environmental movement. The year itself also marks a major turning point for the U.S. government and environmental policy. In 1970, Richard Nixon signed the Environmental Protection Agency into existence and it began operating that December. (February 1, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • April 29th, @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm | Washington Square Park 181 Clinton Ave. S.  Rochester, NY 14604
    • Climate March – Rochester April 29 @ 11:00 am – 2:00 pm In solidarity with the Climate March in D.C., join in a peaceful gathering/march to help bring awareness, educate, and ultimately combat global warming. DETAILS Date: April 29 Time: 11:00 am – 2:00 pm Website: Facebook. VENUE Washington Square Park 181 Clinton Ave. S.  Rochester, NY 14604  [info will be updated continually]
  • April 29th, 2017 | Where: Washington DC
    • 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.

 

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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: Now!
    • One of the things we found in the five-year work of the Rochester Sierra Club’s Zero Waste committee was that Styrofoam was really bad. It aint’ good for nothing, except a single-use monstrosity. Our committee helped work with Monroe County to get 3-7 plastics recycled. We help clean up Monroe County’s parks by helping to start the Pick Up the Parks yearly events, We helped local events, like Tour de Cure bike race, Greentopia, and the Clothesline Festival become zero waste events—including composting. We helped pressure the media and the City and the County about getting rid of e-waste properly and complying with the new state laws. And a lot more, but we made no freaking headway with Styrofoam. Please sign this petition because you cannot recycle Styrofoam—it’s not only instant trash; it’s an instant toxic substance. Ban EPS (aka Styrofoam) from Monroe County, NY. It is time to eliminate expanded polystyrene foam (commonly known as Styrofoam) from Monroe County. As the federal government turns its back on environmental conservation, local citizens must pick up the slack. Despite the little 6 found on the bottom of most Styrofoam products, Styrofoam is virtually impossible to recycle. In Monroe County, Styrofoam is not accepted at curbside pick-up. Persistent individuals aiming to recycle packing Styrofoam can deliver it to the Monroe County EcoPark near the airport, but single-use food containers remain unrecyclable. According to the EcoPark’s website: “Styrofoam meat trays, egg cartons, coffee cups, takeout containers or other small post-consumer items have no local recycling option and should be placed in your trash.” This is partially because Styrofoam breaks down so easily that, if someone tried to clean it, all they would get is a mess of tiny beads. (Sierra Club Rochester Regional Group )
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now!
  • ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
    • Great local effort to grow our renewable energy supply. Find out more and how you can get involved: Click here to learn more about RPCC’s Community Choice Aggregation Project! “The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition is pursuing the development of Community Choice Aggregation (CCA) as a way to use the market to grow our local renewable supply.  We began exploring this issue in September 2015 and formed a committee on CCA in December.  Our committee members have begun meeting with governmental leaders to inform them of this policy option. ” Rochester People’s Climate Coalition
  • ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
    • From our friends over at the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition: Climate Friendly Food Choices |”Food Choices are extremely important for anyone who wants to take climate change action because: Food Choices have a profound effect on greenhouse gas emissions (one study shows as much as 51%). Food Choices are amongst the easiest changes that make a huge difference—the biggest bang for our individual buck.” Find out more about this issue and contactRPCC to see how you can help this issue locally. More on Food in our area.
  • ACTION: Due Date: NOW!
    • Consider stopping wasteful phone books that littler our neighborhoods and no longer provide a useful service by surfing over here: Department of Public of Service, Comment Form using this case number 17-C-0013. Back in the day, our Rochester Sierra Club Zero Waste Committee tried to halt the delivery of these phone books with little effect. That now the phone company admits that this is a 12-tons-of-waste each year that can be avoided is interesting. Our group noticed over the years how phone books were tossed on to apartment complex porches’ and left for months there while folks just walked over them, avoiding them completely. And for many, many people the phone books would go immediately into the recycling bin—at best. At worst, folks threw them into the trash or let them scattered throughout the neighborhoods. We were told by the powers that be that although many people don’t use these books the advertising dollars that came from the phone books were too important. Now, finally, after long last, phone books are on the way out because they waste paper and aren’t needed. Which has been the case for years. Consider putting the nail this this wasteful coffin by surfing over here: Department of Public of Service, Comment Form using this case number 17-C-0013. More: Phone books to disappear for good The phone book, a one-time necessity that many now consider a wasteful nuisance, is about to disappear from your life forever. Frontier Communications, which provides landline phone service in the Rochester area and some other areas in New York, has asked state regulators for permission to end mass delivery of phone books to its customers. The books contain business listings, government contact information and consumer information. (February 1, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area]
  • ACTION due date: NOW!
    • Winds of Change by @revkin on Twitter, on Facebook  , or by email on ProPublica is a great way to “to keep track of subsequent changes on federal websites as the Trump administration settles in.” We must remain vigilant on making use our climate science is not being hijacked by ideology in these troublesome times. Much of the public’s and the media’s information on Climate Change comes from federal websites so you’re help is needed in tracking any wavering from the climate facts we need in order to have a sustainable life support system. Help Us Track Winds of Change as Trump Confronts Climate Issues If you see something, say something. ProPublica is eager to get tips on shifts in available government information related to climate change. Until late morning on Friday, the White House homepage had an “issues” link to a page on the environment touting former President Obama’s efforts to build a “clean-energy economy” and tackle climate change. It’s still viewable via archive.org, but almost as soon as President Donald J. Trump’s hand was off the Bible, White House websites flipped to content consistent with Trump’s campaign pledges to roll back such programs.The live White House homepage now reflects President Donald J. Trump’s agenda, including a link to his energy plan, which includes “eliminating harmful and unnecessary policies such as the Climate Action Plan” of his predecessor. (January 20, 2017) ProPublica [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 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!
  • 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!
  • ACTION: Due Date Now!
  • 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 montezuma@audubon.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:nyrochester@citizensclimatelobby.org 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

 

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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.

 

 


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