Louise Slaughter’s response to a phone call asking her to co-sponsor HR 3671 Off Fossil Fuels

Thank you for contacting me to express support for H.R. 3671, the Off Fossil Fuels for a Better Future Act. I appreciate hearing from you on this important matter.

As you may know, H.R. 3671 outlines a plan for the United States to transition from fossil fuels to complete clean energy reliability by 2035. This plan includes a clean energy mandate, placing a moratorium on new fossil fuel projects and banning crude oil and liquid natural gas exports. This legislation was introduced in the House of Representatives on September 1, 2017, and was referred to multiple committees including the House Committees on Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Transportation and Infrastructure. While I do not serve on these committees, you can count on me to keep your views in mind should this bill come to the House floor for my consideration.

The science is clear and it is widely accepted in the scientific community that if we continue to emit greenhouse gasses at current rates, we will see increased signs of climate instability, including a spike in severe weather patterns, rising sea levels and damage to natural resources and wildlife. These effects could have a major impact on our quality of life and could result in a devastating loss of life and property.

President Trump has shown an alarming willingness to reverse the progress that the United States has made to address climate change. In addition to the decision to withdraw from the Leo Hamel in San Diego, his naming of climate-denier Scott Pruitt to head the Environmental Protection Agency and his executive order initiating a review of the Obama Administration’s Clean Power Plan have done nothing but put our children and grandchildren at greater risk.

Despite the president’s failure of leadership on climate change, I have been heartened by the actions taken at the state and local level to show that the U.S. can still commit to reductions of carbon emissions. I will continue to use my position in the House to advocate for sensible policies that will protect future generations, and I encourage you to continue to apply pressure to policymakers and work within your community to reduce your own carbon footprint. Individual and local change can and does make an important difference.

Sincerely,

(signed)

Louise M. Slaughter
Member of Congress

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Fracking Kills Babies? Email text from Organic Consumers Association

Unfortunately, this is neither parody nor satire.

We now have what amounts to a scientific “smoking gun” with respect to the long-suspected deleterious health effects of fracking.  Unfortunately, it’s found that our most vulnerable population segment — fetuses and babies — are the victims, though it’s likely others also suffer negative health consequences.  It also is yet another instance/symptom suggestive of how the U.S. has-become/is-becoming the richest 3rd-world country on planet Earth.

Below is an article from the Organic Consumer’s Association’s weekly newsletter.  In case it’s not obvious, I subscribe and find it to be one of the more useful/informative newsletters I subscribe to.

Clicking the “Read the study” link will take you to , a page displaying the abstract of this new study.  Because the study’s results were published on an “open access” basis (all science should be published this way IMNSHO), you can then click on the “Download as PDF” link to get the full study and read it yourself (you can also get it as HTMP or XML if you prefer) to find out the details without having to pay a corporation for the privilege.

This is yet another case of massive experiments being conducted on us without our permission and usually without our knowledge.  In other words, we’re the guinea pigs and for the most part don’t know/understand that we are.

As usual, this experiment was not designed as a scientific experiment, nor was the data collected, nor was the data analyzed — until now, many years later than had this experiment been designed and performed as a scientific experiment.  Had this fracking experiment been designed as an experiment, we would have know the results more conclusively, and perhaps more important, many years earlier.  In other words, it would have been one of those experiments that would/could have been stopped “early” because of the sever damage that was clearly being done to the guinea pigs — our babies in this case.

Another thing that would have been different had this experiment been performed as a scientific experiment, is that we would know exactly what chemicals we were poisoning ourselves (the guinea pigs) with, unlike the reality we are now faced with.  As part of the ongoing class warfare against our society, oligarchs/corporations have been largely able to hide the full list of fracking chemicals in use.  This is/was unprecedented in modern first-world public policy with respect to how many chemicals were hidden and how widespread the resulting public harm.  We largely have Dick Cheney to thank for this — he accomplished this during his tenure as Vice President IIRC.

I believe those responsible for this, and other of the more-heinous class-war policies, will eventually be viewed as intentionally/knowingly killing people for profit and trying to cover up after that reality.  I further believe they will eventually be viewed as having committed crimes against humanity.

Perhaps the worst part of all this is, as things now stand, it’s impossible to stop this particular experiment.  The “fracking toxins” are more or less permanently polluting Earth throughout these fracked landscapes, at least in the human time context (as opposed to the geological time context).  That this was one of the risks of fracking was not not particularly difficult to anticipate, as many, including myself, did.

Note that there’s an additional element of class warfare against the poor in all this, an element of what is generally nowadays termed environmental justice.  The rich can, in effect, say “I’m going to choose to not be a guinea pig and victim, in this particular case” and relocate away form the toxic exposures, as much as is possible nowadays (there are now a number of persistent pollutants that are widely and more or less permanently spread across the planet that it’s impossible to fully avoid).  In contrast, the poor often can not; for example, property values plummet in polluted areas — a relatively extreme example being Love Canal here in NY, and, of course, another example of a guinea-pig experiment gone wildly wrong.  Those with the financial wherewithall can move away despite the financial hit and save themselves and their loved ones, those without often can not.

None of this should be surprising.  Those of you on my missives distribution list long ago may have read my opinion that this is how this particular guinea-pigs experiment was likely to play out.  Just one small aspect of class war in America.

Now we know (or more precisely, we have pretty convincing scientific evidence that fracking kills babies),
Mike

PS:  Because of the importance if this scientific study with respect to our public policy debates, I’ve chosen to include a few extra people on the distribution list for this missive.  Please let those in harms way know.  Finally, if you wish to be added to my distribution list just let me know.

– – – – – – –

Fracking Kills Babies [from Organic Consumer Association]
Parents-to-be beware: If you live in 10 of Pennsylvania’s most heavily fracked counties, your baby has a 29-percent greater risk of dying within the first 0 – 28 days of birth, than if you live elsewhere.

An epidemiological study published recently in the Journal of Environmental Protection revealed for the first time that fracking kills babies. The study examined early infant deaths 0-28 days before and after the drilling of fracking wells, using official data from the U.S. Centre for Disease Control to compare the immediate post-fracking four-year period (2007-2010) with the pre-fracking four-year period (2003-2006). According to the study:

There were about 50 more babies died in these 10 counties than would have been predicted if the rate had been the same over the period as all of Pennsylvania, where the incidence rate fell over the same period.

Think it’s about time to ban fracking? Or at the very least, regulate the chemicals that fracking dumps into local waterways? Sadly, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is still protecting the frackers—not the babies.

Read the study

Learn more at Organic Consumers Association

Mike Rudnick

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.

 

[email protected]  (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: [email protected]

 

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 [email protected] 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: [email protected] 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 [email protected] 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 [email protected].
  • 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.

 

_________________________________________________

 

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 [email protected] 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 protected] 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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RPCC News, vol. 8

This volume contains information on upcoming local climate events, #DayAgainstDenial, New York’s Pilgrim Pipeline, Rochester’s Climate Action Plan, Earth Day 2017 and People’s Climate March in Washington DC.
Our membership is growing quickly. This month we welcome Frisch Ecological Design, the Unitarian Universalist Church of Canandaigua – Social & Environmental Justice Committee and Impact Earth.

Are you an employee or congregant or member of an organization that is concerned about climate change?  RPCC is seeking to grow our Coalition of over 100 members.  Our 100+ members are a diverse group.  We are a coalition of businesses, faith communities, nonprofits, educational institutions, municipal bodies, and others.

Join the Coalition that has the power to make a difference on climate change in our region. Choose a person to represent your organization, and have them fill out the survey on our member’s page. It’s free. It’s easy!

Join us now!

Upcoming Local Events

Inaugurating Hope

When: Friday, Jan. 20 from 7-9pm
Where: First Unitarian Church–220 WInton Rd. South, Rochester, 14610
Offered by: Rochester Pachamama Alliance
Co-sponsored by:  RPCC and many others

For anyone who is looking to create positive change in the world amidst the changing political tide, this event is for you. This is an event designed to empower and inspire those who want to create a more just and compassionate world.

This event is free, but please register here. The Pachamama Alliance would like to know how many people to expect. Please arrive at 6:30 for check-in. This is a two hour event, but we will have time for music and dancing for anyone who wishes to stay longer.

Climate Action at the Local, State, and Federal Levels

When: Wednesday, Jan. 25 from 6:30-8:30pm
Where: Brighton Memorial Library–2300 Elmwood Ave, 14618
Offered by: Color Brighton Green

Come hear RPCC leaders share info about three important efforts to increase renewable energy and create a more just society at the same time.There will be a discussion 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.

#DayAgainstDenial: Call Your Senator Today!

On Jan. 9, RPCC and some of our members (Mothers Out Front and RochesterEnvironment.com) participated in the national #DayAgainstDenial, calling on our Senators to stand up against the climate deniers being appointed to key Federal cabinet positions.
It’s NOT TOO LATE to ask our Senators to take action to prevent the appointments of the climate change deniers listed below who support or have a vested interest the fossil fuel industry.  Each would be a serious barrier to progress on climate change:

  • Rex Tillerson, CEO of Exxon, for Secretary of State
  • Scott Pruitt for EPA Administrator
  • Ex-Gov. Rick Perry for Secretary of Energy
  • Rep. Ryan Zinke for Department of Interior

Please call today:
Senator Chuck Schumer: (585) 263-5866
Senator Kirsten Gillibrand: (585) 263-6250

A Call to Action: Stop the Pilgrim Pipeline!

What:  Call Governor Cuomo and urge him to deny the Pilgrim Pipeline’s Thruway Right-of-Way permit.
When:  January 23-27
Call-in number:  (866) 846-4075
Sponsored by: Food and Water Watch and Coalition to Stop the Pilgrim Pipelines (CAPP)
CAPP’s shareable Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/events/468315699958814/The Pilgrim Pipelines would carry explosive fracked oil along the New York State Thruway and through six counties, from Albany to New Jersey, and return flammable refined products north.
If constructed, the two pipelines would threaten our drinking water, risk the safety of dozens of communities, and promote fracking and climate change chaos.
Fortunately, Governor Cuomo has the authority to stop this dangerous project by denying Pilgrim’s Thruway Right-of-Way permit.

City of Rochester’s Climate Action Plan (CAP):
Opportunity for Feedback and Comments

Thank you to our many members who attended the Open House on November 9!  We are told that the City and their consultants were very impressed by the turnout and interest in the CAP.  Let’s continue to show the City that there is strong support for climate action in our community!

To view the City of Rochester’s Climate Action Plan, visit the City’s CAP website and download the plan.  In the “What’s Next?” section, look for “To review the draft community-wide Climate Action Plan, click here”.  From that website, you can also view the posters that were displayed during the Open House.

Comments can still be submitted to Anne Spaulding, Director of the Office of Energy and Sustainability:  [email protected]cityofrochester.gov. Let her know you learned of the CAP from RPCC!

Earth Day is Saturday, April 22, 2017— right around the corner!  We’re planning a massive and massively fun parade in downtown Rochester, seeking to engage 1000+ participants.

What does it take to participate?  ANY climate change action, large or small!  Between now and April 22, you, your organization, and your family are encouraged to do SOMETHING to reduce emissions.  From switching to LED lightbulbs, to planting a tree, to having that difficult climate change conversation with weird Uncle Harold, to leasing an electric car, to having your organization join RPCC…. each one counts!

Then join our parade on Earth Day and share your participation with our entire community.  Stay tuned for more info.  For now, decide on what you’ll do to be a climate change warrior, and get rolling!

SAVE THE DATE:  SATURDAY, APRIL 29.
On April 29, there will be an enormous Climate Change March in Washington, DC, sponsored by People’s Climate Movement.  Stay tuned for info on buses from Rochester.  It was the 2014 People’s Climate March that formed RPCC.  Join us for this momentous occasion!
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Rochester People’s Climate Coalition addresses the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of global warming. Together, we will create a more environmentally just and sustainable society for all.

 

RENewsletter | January 15, 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.’

[1/08/2017 – 1/15/2017]

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: “Planning for Earth Day 2017 in Rochester, NY

In one fashion or another I’ve been promoting Earth Day events for almost twenty years in Rochester. In that time, local environmentalist have tried to capture the public’s attention on the one day of the year held sacrosanct for environmental concerns. Even our media, always looking for news opportunities, turns their attention towards our life support system on Earth Day.

Some of the environmental issues we highlighted to capture the public’s attention were:

 

  • “Biotechnology: An Organic Farmer’s Perspective” Keynote speech by Mary-Howell Martens
  • “The cost of sprawl to the environment, the economy, and people of the region” Keynote Speaker: Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr.
  • “From Crisis To Opportunity” A Forum on National, State, & Local Environmental Issues Keynote Speakers: Elizabeth Thorndike, David Higby, Jack Bradigan Spula
  • “Protecting and Policing New York’s Environment” Keynote Speaker: Peter Lehner, JD Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau of the NY Attorney General’s Office
  • “Hemlock/Canadice: the Future of Our ‘Little’ Lakes” Keynote Speakers: Andy Beers and Jim Howe
  • “Transportation Alternatives for Rochester A Vision for the Future” Keynote Speakers: Richard Perrin, David Keefe and John Thomas.
  • “Local and Sustainable Food – Local Food Choices” Keynote Speakers: Michael Warren Thomas, Elizabeth Henderson, and Peter McDonald
  • “Transitioning to Sustainable Communities” Keynote Speaker: Tina Clarke from the Sustainability Institute
  • “Sustainable Production, Rochester’s Cutting Edge” Keynote Speakers Dr. Nabil Nasr, RIT’s Assistant Provost and Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability; Catherine Reeves, the Director of Sustainable Operations at Xerox Corporation
  • “Our Water’s Fragile Future: Hydrofracking, Climate Change, & Privatization” Keynote Speaker: Jim Olson, a Michigan environmental attorney
  • “Protecting Our Great Lakes Forever” Keynote Speaker: author Maude Barlow
  • “Climate Smart Communities: Let’s Get With the Program” Keynote Speaker: Mark Lowery, Climate Policy Analyst, Office of Climate Change, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
  • “Climate, Energy, and Intergenerational Justice”: Keynote Speaker: Dr. James Hansen
  • “Agriculture and Climate Change: Formulating Sustainable Choices”

We covered many specific environmental concerns back in the day. But even within this short span of time, the themes have gravitated quickly towards Climate Change. In other words, we used to have a lot of separate environmental problems but now we have one.

 

Climate Change is becoming a singularity at which many environmental issues, including public health and climate justice, are now swirling because it is an existential threat.

This year’s Earth Day is special because our environment needs as much attention by the public as it did on the first Earth Day in 1970, where millions took to the streets.

 

“On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.” (The History of Earth Day, Earth Day Network)

 

Now, a couple of groups in Rochester are making plans for Earth Day 2017. The Rochester Sierra Club is inviting the “man who was elected as the first African American President of the Sierra Club, Aaron Mair.” (December eco-logue). At the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, we are working on a large parade downtown. Inclusiveness, joining together, and accepting everyone from every walk of life are key to any kind of solution that will matter.

 

In every way possible, we have tried over the years to engage the public and get them to demonstrate their concern for their life support system. As Climate Change becomes more of a threat to our existence, so are the efforts of environmental activists, even as a great cancer of climate denial metastasizes throughout our land.

 

Just after this Earth Day, the People’s Climate Mobilization begins in 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.” (People’s Climate Movement)

 

Don’t sit this one out.

 

[email protected]  (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  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: [email protected]

 

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.]

 

  • 1/14/2017 – Understanding the Big Picture of getting “North America’s unconventional oil reserves to market”: it’s a whack-a-mole game between activists and the fossil fuel industry that may end up threatening the Great Lakes. #keepItInTheGround is more complex and dangerous than we ever thought. “As pipeline protests have raged out West for the last decade, ever-growing volumes of North American oil have been discreetly flowing through the far more populous Great Lakes region, under its forests, rivers, ponds, wetlands, cities and towns and even, in one extreme case, across the bottom of the Great Lakes themselves. This is the story of what could be called the Great Lakes XXL — a swelling, invisible river of oil flowing through the world’s largest freshwater system at a time when other regions on the continent are rejecting the risk of new pipelines.” Path of least resistance As new pipelines stall on the Great Plains, oil pressure builds in the Great Lakes As pipeline protests have raged out West for the last decade, ever-growing volumes of North American oil have been discreetly flowing through the far more populous Great Lakes region, under its forests, rivers, ponds, wetlands, cities and towns and even, in one extreme case, across the bottom of the Great Lakes themselves. This is the story of what could be called the Great Lakes XXL — a swelling, invisible river of oil flowing through the world’s largest freshwater system at a time when other regions on the continent are rejecting the risk of new pipelines. (January 13, 2017) Journal Sentinel [more on Great Lakes and Energy in our area]
  • 1/14/2017 – We know Climate Change will impact Wildlife. But how many wildlife species will impact Climate Change? Our environment, our life support system is extremely complex. It’s a system that has evolved for billions of years, everything finely tuned and in sync with all other life forms. An even slight change in climate causes ripples throughout our life support system. These changes don’t go just one way; these changes move according to biological patterns we are just beginning to find out about. Trying to find hope in these patterns will be fleeting and ephemeral because the complexity of our environment is still beyond our knowledge of it. Before we changed the climate on Earth, maybe we should have planned that out a little better. Time passes. How Reindeer Could Help Combat Climate Change Reindeer are climate change victims themselves, but they could also be a powerful weapon against it, a study suggests. Climate change poses a serious threat to reindeer. Over the past decade, at least 80,000 of them have starved to death in Siberia because of melting sea ice. In the North Pole, warmer temperatures have caused reindeers to shrink in size. But it turns out that reindeer may themselves be a useful weapon in the fight against global warming, a study published in the journal Environmental Research Letters last month finds. And their own appetites could help ensure their continued survival. Researchers visited the Arctic county of Troms, Norway, and discovered that reindeers’ grazing could help slow climate change by increasing albedo, or the amount of solar radiation reflected back into space, in the Arctic. (January 6, 2017) The Huffington Post [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/14/2017 – What is the “social cost of carbon”; how much is it; and, why should we care? Will Trump’s Climate Team Accept Any ‘Social Cost of Carbon’? The nation’s top science panel has just sketched a clearer way to set a fair price today for cutting tomorrow’s climate risks. Some of Trump’s advisers say the price should be zero. President-elect Donald Trump and members of his proposed cabinet and transition team have taken aim at many of President Obama’s climate and clean-energy policies, programs and legacies — from the Paris Agreement to the Clean Power Plan. But there’s probably no more consequential and contentious a target for the incoming administration than an arcane metric called the “social cost of carbon.” (January 11. 2017) ProPublica [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]
  • 1/13/2017 – One of the predicted effects of Climate Change in our region is an increase in mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile, Dengue, Zika and tick-borne Lyme disease because of a warmer temperatures. This study by “… Cornell will serve as the hub for a team of medical entomologists, virologists, epidemiologists, ecologists, modelers and molecular biologists, under the direction of entomology professor Laura Harrington.” Climate Change will affect public health and we must find out how that is going to happen. $10M CDC grant funds center to fight vector borne diseases Managing mosquito-borne viruses, such as West Nile, Dengue, Zika and tick-borne Lyme disease have been a challenge due to lack of resources, knowledge and trained expertise. To better understand, prevent and treat diseases passed from insects to people, the Cornell-led Northeast Regional Center for Excellence in Vector Borne Diseases will launch later this month, thanks to a $10 million grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). (January 9, 2017) Cornell Chronicle [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/13/2017 – Carbon sinks can only be carbon sinks when we #KeepItInTheGround Some regions should be kept entirely free of human development. Carbon deposit in Congo swamp equal to 20 years of U.S. gas emissions: study Scientists say a recently discovered area of peatland straddling the two Congos contains 30 billion tonnes of carbon dioxide, equivalent to 20 years of U.S. greenhouse gas emissions, and must be protected to prevent major environmental damage. The British and Congolese teams, who made the discovery in 2014, say it is the largest known tropical peatland – home to rare gorillas and forest elephants – and in Wednesday’s edition of Nature they say development there would release the gas. Carbon dioxide is linked to climate change and peatlands, formed from the accumulation of dead plant material, act as “carbon sinks.” Peat does not decompose in a water-logged state but when it dries, the organisms that break down plant material revive and the carbon seeps back into the atmosphere. (January 11, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in  our area]
  • 1/13/2017 – With Climate Change, development, our infrastructures, pollution, threats to our ecosystems, and the lives of seven billion people, scientists are crucial to humanity’s ability to have a sustainable existence. Protecting the integrity of science and our scientists is a must in a world so finely woven with humanity’s influence. On eve of Trump, Obama’s Energy Department announces new policy to protect scientists | Speaking at the National Press Club Wednesday, outgoing Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz announced a new “scientific integrity” policy for an agency recently wracked by concerns about how an administration led by President-elect Donald Trump will treat employees who worked on climate change and other sensitive energy-related issues. “It’s part of establishing the environment that allows scientist to do their work, to stay with us, and to recruit new people,” Moniz said in announcing the new policy. (January 11, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/12/2017 – One thing we can do about the nearly 2,000 square miles chunk of ice about to break off the Antarctic Ice Shelf is just deny that it’s happening. Of course, that would be crazy. Antarctica is about to lose an enormous piece of ice. The question is what happens after that. Last week, British scientists announced a disturbing finding — a crack in the Larsen C ice shelf in the Antarctic Peninsula had dramatically accelerated its spread, increasing 11 miles in length in the space of a month. This means the floating ice shelf, which is nearly as big as Scotland and the fourth largest of its kind in Antarctica, is poised to break off a piece nearly 2,000 square miles in size, or over 10 percent of its total area. An ice island the size of a small U.S. state would then be afloat in the Southern Ocean. [The crack in this Antarctic ice shelf just grew by 11 miles. A dramatic break could be imminent] That’s dramatic enough, but there is uncertainty in the science world about what would happen next. On the one hand, the researchers with Project MIDAS, who announced the growth of the rift, have published research suggesting that, in their words, it “presents a considerable risk to the stability of the Larsen C Ice Shelf.” If they’re right, it’s hard to understate how big a deal it is — Antarctica has lost ice shelves before, but not one so enormous. Not only would a loss of Larsen C change the map of the Earth itself; the shelf holds back glaciers capable of contributing about 4 inches of global sea level rise over time. (January 10, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/12/2017 – Fast Forward Film Festival (FFFF) – Rochester, NY @fastforwardroc due date for your short environmental film submissions is due by February 27. The festival itself will be held this year at the Little Theatre on March 31 and at the Fast Forward Film Festival gala at the George Eastman Museum on April 1.  I wrote “Become the Media! in Rochester, NY on Climate Change” back in 2014 and included the importance of the Fast Forward Film Festival. More than ever communicating our environment to everyone is critical. This from our friends over at the FFFF: “Greetings from Rochester and happy 2017 from the Fast Forward Film Festival! We hope your organization will consider participating in this year’s festival!  Read on… In Rochester, we pride ourselves on being at the cutting edge of science and technology, culture, and creativity. And for a long time our community has been a fantastic film town. These are reasons why the Fast Forward Film Festival is such a great fit for this community.  FFFF is a juried local film festival focusing on environmental issues, perspectives, and concerns expressed in short, five-minute films.  Whether you are an experienced filmmaker with a state of the art professional video/film setup–or have never made a film before and and have a smart phone in your pocket–you can join the FFFF fun! Whatever your environmental passion–climate change, water quality, air quality, biodiversity, energy, solid waste, wildlife, transportation, food and agriculture, urban or rural development, etc. etc. etc.–you can express, share, teach, and advocate with your five-minute film submitted to the festival! FFFF welcomes entries in the adult (18 and over) and youth (17 and under) categories; cash awards will be bestowed upon selected winners! There is no entry fee, and selected films will be showcased at a premier at the Little Theatre  on March 31 and at the Fast Forward Film Festival gala at the George Eastman Museum on April 1.  In addition, community screenings throughout the year at prominent venues such as the Rochester Museum and Science Center, Memorial Art Gallery and City of Rochester Public Market will showcase the selected short films.  Submitting your film to the Fast Forward Film Festival is a terrific way to provide information and inspiration to the community on environmental issues close to your heart! There’s still time to make a film. Submission deadline is February 27; films of all genres and styles are welcome, but must be five minutes or less. We hope you will enter a film this year, and hope you will spread the word about this opportunity to your networks. (Fast Forward Film Festival}
  • 1/12/2017 – Addressing Climate Change is good for businesses. You can’t run a company on a failed planet. US business to Trump: don’t ditch climate laws Coalition of American businesses repeats call made at 2016 UN climate summit, urges new administration to respect global climate pact Nike, Mars, Unilever and DuPont are among 630 US companies that have released a letter to lawmakers asking them to keep the country in the Paris climate deal. According to US green business group Ceres, which has coordinated the move, the businesses are based across 44 states, employ nearly 2 million people and take in $1.15 trillion a year. “We want the U.S. economy to be energy efficient and powered by low-carbon energy,” write the companies, who also include Starbucks, Hewlett Packard and IKEA. (January 10, 2017) Climate Home [more on Green Business and Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/12/2017 – Does the clarity of the science behind Climate Change become less clear if people in high places sow doubt on certainty? It took a long, long time by a lot (meaning experts from around the world) of climate experts to confirm that Climate Change is real, it is happening, this climate change is human caused, and it’s a major threat to our future. Can all that be unraveled by politics? Can physics be influenced by opinions? We know the answer to this question, we should not be behaving as if we don’t. Exxon’s Tillerson Murky on Future of Paris Climate Pact Former ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson downplayed global warming’s dangers during a hearing into his nomination for secretary of state on Wednesday, refusing to rule out an American withdrawal from a climate treaty even as he acknowledged that “the risk of climate change does exist.” Tillerson recently resigned after a four-decade career with America’s biggest oil company, allowing him take the top diplomacy job in the Trump administration if senators approve his nomination. Like Trump, Tillerson has no government experience and he has close and controversial ties with Russia. (January 11, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/12/2017 – We probably are at the point in Climate Change when geoengineering should be taken seriously. It also means all else has failed and there’s the potential that the cure is worse than the disease. But it does seem prudent at this time where, “… scientists should at least be getting a head start on research in case geoengineering is someday needed.” Time passes. White House Urges Research on Geoengineering to Combat Global Warming A White House road map for federally funded climate research has for the first time recommended research into geoengineering, the concept of intervening in nature to slow or reverse global warming. The document, an update of a report that lays out a plan for climate-related research at 13 federal agencies until 2021, calls for studies related to the two most-discussed approaches to geoengineering: distributing chemicals in the atmosphere to reflect more heat-producing sunlight away from the earth, and removing carbon dioxide from the air so the atmosphere traps less heat. (January 10, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/11/2017 – I’m not a fan of the idea of a Carbon Budget and even if I was we have probably have already blown it. When you consider that along with global warming, we must solve the loss of biodiversity, pollution, over population, over consumption, loss of water quality, and breakdown of ecosystems, it seems very arbitrary to think we can put any more carbon in the system without causing catastrophic damage to our life support system. We have already experienced massive disruption as we have quickly raised our planet’s temperature by 1C—and we still don’t know the ramifications of that. So, to think we can go any further is reckless and delusional. That we are set to overrun even our arbitrary carbon budget is even more grim. We should be addressing Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter—right now and forget about trying to calculate fanciful carbon budgets. Very Soon, We’ll Have Blown The World’s Entire Carbon Budget [Updated] By one calculation, we have a little more than a year left to do something drastic with our carbon emissions before we lock in a future of drastic climate change. As of now—by one calculation—the world has one year to stop pumping CO2 into the atmosphere if we want to stop climate change at 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, the aim of the Paris climate agreement. A carbon countdown clock from researchers at the Mercator Research Institute on Global Commons and Climate Change does the math, estimating the time left at current emission levels. Even with a higher limit of two degrees of warming and the most optimistic projections, we still only have about 23 years to fully transition to a carbon-free economy. (January 9, 2017) FastCoExist [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/11/2017 – Governor Cuomo “Directs State Agencies to Determine Cost-Effective and Responsible Pathway to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy Statewide” Governor Cuomo Presents 25th Proposal of 2017 State of the State: Nation’s Largest Offshore Wind Energy Project Off Long Island Coast and Unprecedented Commitment to Develop up to 2.4 Gigawatts of Offshore Wind Power by 2030 Calls on Long Island Power Authority to Approve 90 Megawatt Project Off Montauk and Supports Development of 800 Megawatt Offshore Wind Lease Area Off Rockaway Peninsula  2.4 Gigawatts Enough Power Generation for 1.25 Million Homes Directs State Agencies to Determine Cost-Effective and Responsible Pathway to Reach 100 Percent Renewable Energy Statewide Offshore Wind Master Plan to be Completed by End of 2017 All Offshore Wind Projects Developed Out of Long Island Coastal Viewshed and in Close Collaboration with Communities Critical to Governor’s Directive to Reach 50 Percent Renewable Power by 2030 (January 10, 2017)GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO  [More on Energy in our area]
  • 1/11/2017 – Climate Change isn’t just about polar bears; it’s about the kind of planetary change we are causing that threatens such a majestic species. When Newton realized that the same force that made an apple drop from the tree also drives the motions of the planets and stars, he was on to something big. Likewise humanity must realize that a force large and powerful enough to change our climate is something to be reckoned with. Not ignored or compartmentalized into various threats that might concern some people, as Climate Change will affect everything on Earth, especially humanity and their now critical infrastructures. Time passes. Human-Driven Global Warming Is Biggest Threat to Polar Bears, Report Says Federal wildlife officials on Monday called climate change the biggest threat to the survival of the polar bear and warned that without decisive action to combat global warming, the bears would almost certainly disappear from much of the Arctic. “It cannot be overstated that the single most important action for the recovery of polar bears is to significantly reduce the present levels of global greenhouse gas emissions,” the officials wrote in a report released by the Fish and Wildlife Service. “The sooner global warming and sea-ice loss are stopped, the better the long-term prognosis for the species,” they added. The report, called a conservation management plan, is required under the Endangered Species Act and outlines what must be done for a species to recover and avoid extinction. The polar bear was listed as threatened under the act in 2008. (January 9, 2017 New York Times [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/11/2017 – Climate scientists aren’t debating whether Climate Change is happening or whether it’s human-caused. They debating things like whether the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC is going to happen because of Climate Change. Is it possible … “within the span of a human lifetime” to shut down the AMOC “essentially by flooding the Atlantic with cold water and screwing up its finely tuned density cycle”? We, the public and our leaders, should not have to go back to learning about Climate Change from the start just because of a US election. We should be following closely what climate science is now talking about and addressing Climate Change based on the ample evidence of this crisis already provided by our experts. The Atlantic Ocean and an Actual Debate in Climate Science Scientists have recently begun to re-examine a scary question: Will a crucial ocean current shut down? Nor has there been a debate for years. Since at least 1995, the balance of evidence in climate science has indicated that human-caused greenhouse-gas emissions are behind the planet’s warming. Agreement on this question has only strengthened since. By 2012, an international panel of leading researchers in the field said there was at least a 95 percent chance that human activity has caused global warming since 1950. There are active discussions in climate science—they’re just not about this. So before we all have to talk about a topic on which there is near total scientific agreement, I thought it might be fascinating to examine a real area of dispute in the field. And one of the most consequential disagreements is about something called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, or AMOC. (January 7, 2017) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/10/2017 – I know, at the moment you’re freaking freezing and we can still make snow balls in Rochester. But Climate Change is still happening. It’s climate stupid. Even if your ideology and political stance aren’t comfortable with the science, Climate Change is happening, it’s human caused, and it’s wreaking our future if we don’t get real. Time passes. 2016 Was Second-Warmest Year on Record in U.S. The average temperature of the lower 48 states reached the second-highest level in the historical record in 2016, the government said on Monday. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration reported that only 2012 had been warmer in archives stretching to 1895. The near-record average temperature was influenced by the long-term global warming trend caused by human emissions, scientists said, as well as by a burst of heat from the El Niño climate pattern in the Pacific Ocean. Among the 48 states, only Georgia set a temperature record in 2016, though several states in the Northeast came close, while every state was well above its 20th-century average temperature. “The breadth of the 2016 warmth is unparalleled in the nation’s climate history,” NOAA said in a statement. “No other year had as many states breaking or close to breaking their warmest annual average temperature.” (January 9, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/10/2017 – Past climate changes are a harbinger of Climate Change, except this self-induced climate crisis is happening faster, with 7 billion people, with our critical infrastructures—water, waste, transportation, telecommunications, etc.—in jeopardy.  Sea level threats because of Climate Change won’t just affect major coastline cities, it will create a stronger and more horrific hurricanes. We have upset a very sensitive system of climate on our planet and we don’t really know if we can adapt to changes we have wrought. Time passes. Antarctic past points to sea level threat Evidence of Antarctic ice sheet melting and sea level rise almost 15,000 years ago raises alarm over current climate change dangers. Scientists have identified a fearful lesson from the past. Some 14,700 years ago, the Antarctic continent experienced a warm phase, when ice sheets melted and the global sea level rose by three metres. And they warn that it could happen again, as conditions in the southern ocean that triggered the bygone event are being repeated. Changes in ocean-atmosphere circulation have left the southern ocean stratified − a cold layer at the surface, and a warmer ocean lapping the base of the ice below. And this is making the ice sheets melt more strongly, the scientists say in Scientific Reports journal. “The changes that are currently taking place in a disturbing manner resemble those 14,700 years ago,” says one of the authors, Michael Weber, an expert in paleoclimatology, geology and oceanography at the University of Bonn, Germany. (January 9, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 1/10/2017 – It’s very troubling to think our federal and state governments may now sow doubt into official Climate Change information. Our official agencies are key in informing the public and the media about clear and present dangers to the American public. Figuring out exactly how we are contributing to Climate Change and how Climate Change is going to affect our future isn’t just important—it’s information we need to exist. There are other resources to find Climate Change information, like my list Global Environmental News, which links to news and media with environmental news all around the world. But it is our government we should be able to trust with critical information about the worldwide crisis of Climate Change and what our official agencies are going to do about it. Everyone should be concerned about how the science of Climate Change is being presented to the public. Endangered Species Under GOP? Climate Change Information on the Web A recent reworking of language concerning climate change on a Wisconsin government website could be replicated under a Trump administration. James Rowen, a longtime Wisconsin journalist and environmental blogger, recently discovered a stark remaking of a state Department of Natural Resources webpage on climate change and the Great Lakes. Until December, the page, dating from the Democratic administration of former Gov. James Doyle, had this headline — “Climate Change and Wisconsin’s Great Lakes” — and a clear description of the state of the science, including this line reflecting the latest federal and international research assessments: “Earth’s climate is changing. Human activities that increase heat-trapping (“green house”) gases are the main cause.” The page described a variety of possible impacts on the lakes and concluded, “The good news is that we can all work to slow climate change and lessen its effects.” Nine hyperlinks led readers to other resources. (January 4, 2017) ProPublica [more on Environmental Education and Climate Change 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: [email protected] with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

 

January 2017

 

  • 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 )

 

February 2017

 

  • 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 protected] is encouraged but not required.
  • 6:00 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at Olmsted Lodge in Highland Park, 171 Reservoir Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620
    • The February 2017 Monroe County Parks Advisory Committee (PAC) Meeting will be held at 6:00 pm on Thursday, February 16, 2017 at Olmsted Lodge in Highland Park, 171 Reservoir Avenue, Rochester, NY 14620 (across the street from the Lamberton Conservatory).  The PAC will review and receive public comment on the Draft Highland Park South Master Plan.  A full copy of the draft plan will be available to the public beginning February 1, 2017 here.

 

March 2017

 

  • 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.
  • 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 2017

 

  • April 21, 2017 The Links, East Syracuse, New York
  • 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.

 

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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: 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!
  • 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 [email protected] 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 protected] 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.

RENewsletter | January 8, 2017

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

 

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

 

* 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.

 

The vision:

 

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…

 

Time passes.

 

* 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.

 

[email protected]  (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  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: [email protected]

 

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.]

 

  • 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 EnergyWater 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 ClubDecember 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]

 

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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: [email protected] with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

 

January 2017

 

  • 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 protected]
  • 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 [email protected] 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 )

 

February 2017

 

  • 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 protected] is encouraged but not required.

 

March 2017

 

  • 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 2017

 

  • April 21, 2017 The Links, East Syracuse, New York
  • 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.

 

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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: 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!
  • 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 [email protected] 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 protected] 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.

RENewsletter | January 1, 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.’

 

[12/25/2016 – 1/01/2017]

 

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: “19 years of RochesterEnvironment.com

 

When I began RochesterEnviornment.com almost two decades ago, my goal was to demonstrate that environmental news was just as important and occurred as frequently as other news. Only, our local and national media weren’t paying much attention to the condition of our life support system. The Internet, I thought then, could provide anyone with an opportunity to collect news and information from an incredible number of sources—including all local media, governmental agencies, universities, digital books, and similar sources from around the world—that would help reach everyone.

 

I focused my efforts on a single region—Rochester, NY—as an experiment to find out what effect providing every environmental resource available to the public, media, environmental groups, governments, businesses, and individuals would have.

 

I found over the years that there was an incredible amount of environmental information and news that our local media was not disseminating to the public. Finding environmental news in the public interest was slow at first during the late 1990’s but as major issues evolved such as plastics pollution, water quality issues, and Climate Change, it became more important to prioritize environmental news than post whatever I could find. Also, many institutions, official agencies, and environmental groups were increasingly providing news, online studies, all free. Climate studies, official reports, and data abound on the Internet, ready for public consumption.

 

My position on getting environmental information to the public grew as I saw environmental issues like Climate Change grow, while public interest and knowledge on these critical issues seem to waiver and then diminish. (Note that the election of Trump to President, who is filling top positions in science agencies with climate deniers, is a low point in the public’s environmental awareness. Last November’s elections weren’t entirely a fluke, as still too many Americans don’t appreciate the urgency of addressing Climate Change.) Which is to say, my efforts and a lot of others to get the public to appreciate the urgency and scope of Climate Change and other environmental problems have failed.

 

Protecting our environment, I’ve come to believe, requires a different kind of journalism, one that communicates to the public the potential of various environmental threats before these issues reach the front pages of our media in the traditional way. By the time oil spills, invasive species breakouts, and climate warming itself reach public attention, they are oftentimes at a stage in their development that makes it difficult if not impossible to address them.

 

During RochesterEnvironment.com’s existence, I’ve witnessed many positive developments that demonstrate a growing awareness of environmental concerns in our region:

  • The City of Rochester has developed and is ready to release its Climate Action Plan. This plan was a long-time coming and not only describes the threats coming to our region but governmental efforts to solve them. (When you think of the direction our nations is going, Rochester’s and other community’s efforts at this time are critical.)
  • The march last year on Nov 29th to support the UN’s Climate Change Conference, which produced the Paris Agreement, brought over 400 people into our streets. (Hundreds March To Support United Nation’s 2015 Climate Change ConferenceROCHESTER, N.Y. (November 29, 2015) Time Warner Cable News
  • Dr. Hansen’s talk in Rochester, NY on April 21st at Monroe County Community College. This event, sponsored in part by the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club, brought together over 800 people. If you missed Dr. Hansen’s talk, check out this video.
  • For several years, Greentopia sponsored week-long festivals that brought in thousands of local people with activities focused on living sustainably. Greentopia still works towards making our community more environmentally friendly.
  • The Center of Environmental Initiatives, now Genesee RiverWatch, has honed in on researching and cleaning up our Genesee River.
  • Back in 2008-2009 some inspired folks created ‘Climate Change Central’, a brick-and-mortar outlet for discussing and distributing information on Climate Change in the Park Avenue area. (I still think this concept is so great that efforts should be made to resurrect it.)
  • Monroe County passed the Neighborhood Notification Law, which protects children and pets from pesticide drift during pesticide applications. Our county also added 3-7 plastics in recycling, moved to single-stream recycling, and helps keep our parks clean with its yearly Pick-Up-The-Parks program.
  • Rochester’s Clean Sweep brings hundreds of volunteers to spruce up our gardens, streets, and remove litter.
  • The inclusion of bicycle boulevards in the City Bicycle Master Plan and the pursuit of the Bicycle Friendly Awards keeps our city focused on active transportation (walking and bicycling), which will reduce greenhouse gas emission and make folks healthier.
  • In 2016 Rochester piled hundreds of folks onto buses, trains, and car pools heading to the People’s Climate March, helping to join with hundreds of thousands (about 400,000) to get a real climate deal. In the process of promoting Rochester’s commitment, the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition was formed and thrives today with over 100 member groups.
  • Started a couple of years ago, the Fast Forward Film festival encourages efforts by young folks to tell their story about our environment.

Much has happened in a positive direction, but not nearly enough.

 

The rise in social media and Smartphones over the years has been both a boon and bust. While they have been effective at getting feedback and reaching more people, what has also happened is that the silos of interest have become more narrow and entrenched. I use both Facebook and Twitter and they provide immediate feedback but they are also ephemeral. With social media it is possible to keep more of our base engaged while keeping that information completely invisible to anyone who does not understand or care to understand the role of our environment in our existence.

 

By the close of 2016, the lack of environmental news and information is not as prevalent as the misunderstandings of it caused by bad players intent on sowing doubt where there really isn’t any. How environmental issues are framed, even by environmental groups, is now paramount in environmental communication. I don’t mean pandering to the public’s desire to see environmental issues tamped down to fit within our comfort zone. I mean properly framing environmental issues, especially Climate Change, as the existential threat that they are. Our past environmental abuses—pollution, loss of biodiversity, overconsumption—are going to make addressing Climate Change incredibly difficult.

 

We are challenging our life support system beyond our ability to make it sustainable.

With the election of Trump the threat of less information coming from governmental sources seems more likely. (I hope our media is monitoring not only our environment but also whether our environmental agencies will be stripped of critical information.)

 

What has struck me in the last twenty years is that there is more breaking news on the state of our environment than I ever could have imagined: More oil pipeline ruptures, more Bomb Trains, more extreme weather events, more people in the streets sick and tired of allowing our environment to be trashed. This is not good because, as I have mentioned earlier, by the time environmental stories get to our headlines, they’ve probably become intractable.

 

The first UN Climate Change Conference was held in 1995 in Berlin, about the same time as RochesterEnvironment.com began. Since that time, the Paris Agreement, a result of the 21st climate talks, became official. The world understands the threat of Climate Change as well as conscious beings, who caused this climate change, can understand. Humanity no longer has any excuse not to address Climate Change.

 

Humanity has an obligation to protect its life support system.

 

Time passes.

 

[email protected]  (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  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: [email protected]

 

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.]

 

  • 12/31/2016 – Actions like ROCHESTER’S ENVIRONMENTAL JOB (REJOB) TRAINING PROGRAM are the kind of governmental programs that give me hope on addressing environmental issues. Although the industries that created our local Brownfields should have cleaned up their own freaking mess when they trashed our environment, our governments taking leadership and using these environmental issues to train local folks to clean up these environmental hazards is the responsible way to address our environmental problems and get a work force ready to take care of our environmental issues. At the end of the day, it is our government that must take responsibility to keep our environment healthy. Like it or not, when industry’s walk away from contaminating our life support system, our governments have to step in and take charge. Rochester starts training program for jobs in the environmental construction industry Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren says  that the city is launching a program to help the unemployed and under-employed get jobs in the environmental construction industry. The Rochester Environmental Job Training Program will help train city residents for full-time jobs with environmental construction and cleanup companies. Warren says the program will give people the skills they need to earn a living in a growing industry and also help clean up contaminated properties around the city. (December 30, 2016) WXXI News [more on Brownfields in our area]
  • 12/31/2016 – When communicating the urgency of addressing Climate Change, it is important to spell out the consequences of not acting on this crisis—including characterizing the kinds of economic hardships this crisis will incur on all of us. But in the attempt to bring the issues in Climate Change to the public’s pocketbook, there is the danger that focusing on the economic hazards will create the illusion that Climate Change is only a money problem. Climate Change is a fundamental crisis affecting our life support system with innumerable consequences if we don’t plan and act that goes far beyond putting this crisis in the context of our economy. Humanity’s economies, which have ignored the environmental consequences, over the last centuries have played a major role in creating this climate crisis in the first place. A collective myopia towards our economics and a turning away from the biological imperatives of our environment has lead humanity to an existential crisis. Climate Change is going to do a lot more damage than hitting our pocketbooks. It’s going to affect all life on Earth, disrupt our ecosystems, and threaten our future. Climate communicators are going to be bending over backwards trying to tell the public why they should care about Climate Change. Some methods, like explaining how expensive not addressing Climate Change will be, may or may not work for some people. What Climate Change communication should do is get humanity (all 7 billion of us) to face up to the entire threat this crisis presents and not try and dumb it down to actions and concerns that won’t be too inconvenient. Because we have waited so long to deal with this crisis, it’s going to be inconvenient indeed. Four Unexpected Ways Climate Change Hits Our Pocketbooks An unseasonably hot day that scientists attribute to climate change can be either a drag or a benefit depending upon where you live and the time of year. The same goes for an extraordinary dump of snow that creates snow days out of work schedules and keeps kids at home when you’re not prepared. But climate change has delivered other headaches over the past year that ultimately translate to extra costs for households and will likely impact our wallets in future years, as well. (December 29, 2016) Triple Pundit [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/30/2016 – However sexy autonomous  vehicle may seem, it would be nice if our governmental officials, businesses, and researchers focused their attention on maintaining our existing transportation infrastructure so that is safe, fair to all, and resilient as Climate Change challenges those systems with more extreme weather. With $1.2 million NSF grant, UB to become testing ground for self-driving cars (December 22, 2016)Innovation Trail [more on Transportation in our area]
  • 12/30/2016 – Dear World, just because Trump will become US President soon doesn’t mean We the People will roll over on addressing Climate Change. States face off over future of Obama global warming plan Two weeks after officials in two dozen states asked Donald Trump to kill one of President Barack Obama’s plans to curb global warming, another group of state officials is urging the president-elect to save it. Democratic attorneys general in 15 states, plus four cities and counties, sent a letter to Trump on Wednesday asking him to preserve Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The letter was a rebuttal to one sent this month by mostly-Republican officials in 24 states. (December 30, 2016) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/30/2016 – With deadly Oak Wilt Disease found in Canandaigua and Ontario County, we in Monroe County should be concerned. “Oak wilt is a serious tree disease in the eastern United States, killing thousands of oaks each year in forests, woodlots, and home landscapes. It is caused by a fungus, Ceratocystis fagacearum. The fungus grows in the water conducting vessels of host trees plugging up these vessels and preventing water transport. As water movement within the tree is slowed, the leaves wilt and drop off, and the tree dies rapidly.” More on How to Identify, Prevent, and Control Oak Wilt, from the US Dept. of Agriculture Deadly Oak Wilt Disease Found in Brooklyn and Several Towns in Suffolk County New York State’s Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM) announced today that the oak tree disease, oak wilt, has been detected in the borough of Brooklyn, Kings County and in the towns of Babylon, Islip, Riverhead, and Southold in Suffolk County. The disease was identified by the Cornell Plant Disease Diagnostic Clinic after samples from symptomatic oak trees were collected by DEC Forest Health Technicians. Oak wilt had previously been found in Scotia, Schenectady County, until it was identified in Canandaigua, Ontario County, and Central Islip, Long Island earlier this year. Since then, reports of symptomatic oak trees from concerned tree care professionals, as well as the public, have led to the additional detections. The confirmation of the disease in Brooklyn marks the fourth county where oak wilt has been confirmed in New York. There is no known treatment to contain and kill the oak wilt fungus other than to remove the infected trees, as well as any surrounding host oak trees. At this time, DEC will remove and destroy oaks that have tested positive for the fungus. Testing for oak wilt must be done during the growing season when the fungus is active, so intensive sampling will take place across Kings, Nassau, and Suffolk counties starting next spring to determine the extent of the disease. Aerial surveys will be conducted beginning in July when signs of oak wilt will be most apparent. (December 29, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Plants in our area]
  • 12/30/2016 – Humanity is going to need more tools in their toolbox to monitor their behavior towards Climate Change. We know humanity is causing Climate Change; now we need to monitor our effect on Climate Change so we can adjust our behavior so we can live sustainably. This particular feedback mechanism is for farmers, but humanity needs many, many more ways to monitor our impact on our life support system. Online calculator cuts farms’ emissions An internet tool is now available that helps to quantify and control farms’ greenhouse emissions released during the crop production cycle. It’s called the Cool Farm Tool (CFT)  – an easy-to-use online calculator that helps farmers monitor their emissions of greenhouse gases. Agriculture accounts for about 15% of total global greenhouse gas emissions, though when fertiliser manufacture and use and the overall food processing sector are included in calculations, that figure is considerably higher.  The land can also act as a vital carbon sink, soaking up or sequestering vast amounts of carbon: when soils are disturbed the carbon is released, adding to greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. The CFT was initially developed by researchers at the University of Aberdeen in the UK in partnership with Unilever and the Sustainable Food Lab.  (December 26, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change and Plants in  our area]
  • 12/20/2016 – Some important observations on Climate Change from our long-time friend and environmentalist in the Rochester region, Audrey Newcomb: The December issue of Sifting & Winnowing: Sifting&WinnowingDec2016 “The sea study in Monet’s 1881 painting has the same mighty grandeur as oceans do now, except today’s oceans are being modified by human-induced climate change. The ice that covers Antarctica’s methane gas is thinning. When it bursts, more frequent and more severe storms, floods, and droughts will be upon us. Melting Arctic permafrost (stored frozen soil) acidifies oceans, harming phytoplankton, and on up the marine food chain. Greenland’s 4-times-bigger-than-California ice sheet melt will send sea levels up 20 feet.”
  • 12/30/2016 – This new stage in Climate Change is likely to be anything but undramatic. We are now in a time when much of humanity is ready to address this crisis and many are deadest against actions that will result in a sustainable life support system. Meanwhile, physics and biology rule. Time passes. Don’t kill US climate plans, 15 states warn Trump Attorneys general from Democrat states and four sub-state jurisdictions say they will see the new president in court if he rips up low carbon policies Donald Trump’s threat to scrap a plan to cut greenhouse gas emissions from the power sector in office will trigger legal action, 15 attorneys general said in a letter sent on Thursday. Top legal advisors for New York, California, Virginia, Vermont and New Mexico are among those warning they will go to court if Trump uses his presidential powers to cancel the plan. (December 29, 2016)Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/30/2016 – Like it or not what President Trump does or doesn’t do on Climate Change is now environmental news. We are soon entering a new era, a time when the window of opportunity for addressing Climate Change on a scale and time frame will matter is soon closing, a time when humanity should be prioritizing addressing this issue, and a time when our fate may be decided. Time passes. Four Critical Energy Issues to Watch in 2017The U.S. may be on the cusp of a stark turning point in energy and climate policy with the election of Donald Trump, who has stocked his cabinet with a majority of people who doubt or reject established climate science. Top priorities of the Trump transition team and cabinet nominees — many who disregard the connection between global warming and fossil fuel energy use — include rolling back eight years of Obama administration climate regulations and restrictions on coal, oil and gas development. (December 29, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]
  • 12/29/2016 – Addressing Climate Change as our top priority is complex because it includes many other critical environmental threats, such as the loss of biodiversity. Allowing species to go extinct on the scale of the other five great extinction events on Earth will not only make our species more lonely, their loss will probably mean our demise. Wildlife are but one of the vital components of our ecosystems—forests, lakes, oceans, wetland, etc.—that constitutes our environment, our life support system. We have to solve a lot of environmental issues as we address Climate Change, which explains much of the urgency behind this crisis. Radical overhaul needed to halt Earth’s sixth great extinction event Growing numbers of scientists have asserted that our planet might soon see a sixth massive extinction — one driven by the escalating impacts of humanity. Life has existed on Earth for roughly 3.7 billion years. During that time we know of five mass extinction events — dramatic episodes when many, if not most, life forms vanished in a geological heartbeat. The most recent of these was the global calamity that claimed the dinosaurs and myriad other species around 66 million years ago. Growing numbers of scientists have asserted that our planet might soon see a sixth massive extinction — one driven by the escalating impacts of humanity. Others, such as the Danish economist Bjørn Lomborg, have characterised such claims as ill-informed fearmongering. We argue emphatically that the jury is in and the debate is over: Earth’s sixth great extinction has arrived. (December 28, 2016) Cosmos [more on Wildlife in our area]
  • 12/29/2016 – Climate Nexus is a fantastic climate news resources. While on holiday now, they gear up on January 3rd for their daily listing of Climate Change news. It’s more important than ever to stay abreast of Climate Change news, and because of the recent elections probably less likely that this will be easier. Sign up for their emails and get this excellent resource: Climate Nexus Hot News.
  • 12/29/2016 – We should savor this moment as our EPA sticks to new energy standards.  It may be some time until this federal agency can act on our behalf anymore. The Trump administration may roll back these new standards, but at least at this moment we can remember what it’s like to have our priorities straight. Humanity, especially people in developed nations, often rail against environmental regulations believing them to be part of a conspiracy to keep businesses down. However, environmental regulations are an attempt to keep our sustainability up. It may oftentimes appear is if environmental regulations are haphazard, onerous to some industries, and downright impossible to understand. This is probably because these regulations are often fought tooth and nail at every legal stage, so what results is often messy. If we had a level playing field, a public and business attitude that a healthy life support system is our top priority, I suspect our environmental regulations would not seems as though they were counterproductive. Humanity needs to change its priorities where a healthy environment is first. “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 EPA will not extend review of fuel efficiency standards Federal regulators will not extend their deadline for comments on strict fuel efficiency standards, effectively allowing them to finalize the standards before President Obama leaves office next year.  In a letter to manufacturers, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rejected an industry request to continue reviewing a November determination from the EPA that reaffirmed the fuel standards.  The November decision keeps in place the 54.5 mile-per-gallon fuel economy target for vehicles in the 2025 model year. (December 22, 2016) The Hill [more on Energy in our area]
  • 12/29/2016 – Gotta wonder, what will happen to this story about Exxon, Climate Change, and Exxon’s chairman to lead the State Department? Will this story get more attention or less? Time passes. Renewable Energy: An Exxon Investigation Given Second Life as Trump Taps Exec for Cabinet In 2015, Neela Banerjee, John H. Cushman Jr., David Hasemyer and Lisa Song of Inside Climate News spent close to a year producing “Exxon: The Road Not Taken” — a comprehensive portrait of four decades of the oil giant’s relationship with climate science. The reporting showed, among other things, how Exxon lobbied against action on greenhouse gases. The work won an array of awards and was a finalist for the 2016 Pulitzer Prize in Public Service, and the hard-won reporting has renewed relevance now that Exxon’s chairman and chief executive officer, Rex Tillerson, has been picked by President-elect Donald J. Trump to lead the State Department. (December 23, 2016) ProPublica [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/29/2016 – At this point in time, individual actions to address Climate Change are effective if they are scalable to a planetary level. Back in the day, we could have fooled ourselves that only our individual actions, like changing our light bulbs, would help address Climate Change by not wasting energy. And while this is important, we now know this isn’t enough. We must now take actions that will get everyone to change their light bulbs to very efficient light bulbs—and a whole lot more. Our actions to address Climate Change must be part of a concerted planetary effort if we mean to make the changes necessary. Here are some good ideas in that direction: 5 Things To Do About Climate Change, Just In Time For The New Year After I wrote What a Trump Presidency Means for Fighting Climate Change, a colleague suggested that I write an article with “5 concrete examples of on-the-ground things people can do.” I’ve been mulling that over. You can readily find lists online of 5 things, 10 things, 50 and more things to do about climate change. Many excellent suggestions. Nearly all of them call for individual actions. Things that you can do to reduce your personal carbon footprint. Individual actions are important. We learn through personal experience what works and what doesn’t, what’s easy and what’s hard. We prove change is feasible. We demonstrate our seriousness by walking the talk. We help motivate others to act. We move the needle, even if just a bit, in the direction that we need to move as a society. (December 28, 2016) Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/28/2016 – Check out The Banner, this week. It’s a very informative newsletter from We Are Seneca Lake about assaults on our environment and Climate Change. I’m thinking that for a while, it’s going to be more difficult to find out what’s going on locally about our environment and Climate Change in our region—and around the country. We need to focus on our life support system and the worldwide crisis of Climate Change more than ever. Not forget about it because of a bad election. Our window of opportunity to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter is quickly closing.
  • 12/28/2016 – You have to ask yourself, why would some countries feel the urgency to address Climate Change and some don’t? Why would some countries attempt strong measures to curb greenhouse gasses and some try to turn back progress on reducing GHGs and ramp up fossil fuels? Climate Change is science, not politics. What if one country decided that it was sick and tired of gravity and would just start back-tracking on that? It might, for example, refuse to take efforts to maintain our existing transportation infrastructure because they might believe that cars should just be able to float above the ground. Highways are expensive, so instead of putting a lot of money into keeping them in proper repair, why not just change your mind about gravity altogether so that you have a world where roads and bridges aren’t necessary? What if we just picked and chose our science and lived accordingly. Oh yeah, right, the US is going to try that. Time passes.  Ontario set to tackle climate change with cap-and-trade launch on Jan. 1 On the first day of the new year, Ontario will launch its cap-and-trade system on carbon in a bid to vault the province to the front lines of the battle against climate change. It is the centrepiece of the Wynne government’s Climate Change Action Plan, meant not only to meet tough targets for slashing greenhouse gas emissions but to spark a sweeping transition to a low-carbon society by changing the way Ontarians get around, heat their homes and run their businesses. (December 27, 2016) Globe and Mail [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/28/2016 – This evidence seems shaky and we need more of it but this seems likely: “ongoing climate change brings shifts in species distributions”. Given half a chance, many Wildlife could adapt to Climate Change as they have other climate changes. But this warming event is happening very quickly and oftentimes Wildlife are blocked by human development and highways. There should be local news about how our Wildlife will adapt (or whether they can) to Climate Change here in the Rochester, NY area. Our media should be pressing our environmental agencies about this and informing the public. Jackal adopts warmer Bohemian lifestyle Czech camera traps capture first evidence of new golden jackal settlement as ongoing climate change brings shifts in species distributions. Scientists in the Czech Republic have identified a potential beneficiary of climate change: a golden jackal, mostly identified with India and northern Africa, has been observed living in a new home just 40 kilometres from the capital city, Prague. When Klára Pyšková began her master’s degree at the department of ecology at Charles University in Prague, she was just making a study of carnivore species in habitats typical for a central European landscape. She certainly wasn’t looking for Canis aureus, also known as the Asiatic or common jackal, a wild, scavenging omnivore adapted to tropical and subtropical zones. (December 28, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/27/2016 – One of the most baffling aspects of climate denial is the possibility that these folks who don’t believe climate scientists might be wrong. I mean, even if there is a scintilla of chance that humanity might have triggered some climatic changes that would put our existence (and all other beings, for that matter) on an unsustainable path, wouldn’t you want to do everything in your power to find out from the experts whether there’s even a possibility that the experts might be right? Wouldn’t you want to seriously check it out? Climate denial is like a space traveler cruising around the galaxy in a spaceship and thinking that the loud noise she heard striking the hull probably didn’t poke a hole in the ship. It’s possible that the thing that hit her spaceship didn’t put a big hole in the ship and start letting a lot of her air supply, but wouldn’t she at least check her control panel and get up out of the space seat and check it out? Climate denial is so weird. Especially now that we are already experiencing a lot of the consequences experts said we would back in the day. This Year’s Extreme Weather Was One For The Books A look back at the country’s most disastrous weather of 2016. The past year was scorching hot, freezing cold, soaking wet and consumed in flames ― and it’s just a sneak peek of what’s to come if we don’t change our course on energy, scientists say. Some of climate change’s more dire potential effects ― cities submerged by rising sea levels, accelerated mass extinctions, a ruined global economy ― haven’t happened yet, at least not in a way that feels immediate to our daily lives. But more intense and more frequent extreme weather is a consequence we’re experiencing right now.  Here are some of the biggest climate events the U.S. experienced in 2016: (December 22, 2016) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/27/2016 – Instead of fossil fuel whack-a-mole, when one dirty energy project gets stopped and so the fossil fuel industry shifts to another (perhaps worse form), we should be moving to renewable energy. Of course, fossil fuel proponents like blame the increases in Bomb Trains (dangerous crude oil trains that carry volatile Bakken crude oil through our neighborhoods) on environmental activist, saying that when activists stop big pipeline infrastructures the fossil fuel industry then has to ship more fossil fuels by even more dangerous and environmentally unfriendly methods. Well, no they don’t. We can shift to cleaner, far less dangerous methods of energy, instead of shifting to just another fossil fuel project. And we can do it quickly, And we can do it inexpensively. And we can do so with retraining workers and providing new jobs. When we truly appreciate the priority and urgency of shifting to renewables, we will do it. But by the time it gets to the point where our addiction to fossil fuels has drilled us too far in the ground to get ourselves out, it will be too late.  Time passes. With Dakota Access in limbo, more Bakken crude to move on trains As oil prices recover and U.S. shale production picks up, energy companies that had planned to ship crude on the Dakota Access Pipeline will turn to rail, a transport method that poses its own risks to the environment and local communities. Sunday’s decision by U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to deny Energy Transfer Partners an easement to complete the line means shippers who expected to see another 570,000 barrels of daily Bakken pipeline capacity in 2017 will have to find new ways to move supply. Rail comprises nearly 65 percent of total crude export capacity in the Bakken, but is currently underutilized because it is more costly and less efficient. In September, only 29 percent of total Bakken oil production moved by rail, according to the latest figures from the North Dakota Pipeline Authority. (December 22, 2016) Reuters [more on Energy and Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]
  • 12/26/2016 – My guess for the biggest environmental event for 2017 is an event that will go sight unseen as Climate Change reveals unknown unknowns. Though, it may be years before this event catapults to the headline of our media because our media, and even our scientists, are playing catch-up, as they try to figure how out how Climate Change is affecting our life support system. By creating Climate Change and not addressing past environmental abuses—overpopulation, over-consumerism, pollution, loss of biodiversity, the spread of invasive species, and creating the Sixth Great Extinction—and purposely blinding ourselves to how our planet’s ecosystems actually work, we have set up a phenomenon where we cannot anticipate many crucial environmental events. Humanity’s inability to prioritize Climate Change, an existential threat, where many of the important benchmarks go by without our noticing may be our undoing. What will be the big environment events in 2017? From air pollution to Trump and wildlife extinction, we look at the major environmental issues for the year ahead After five years of false starts and delays, 2017 will see exploratory fracking for shale gas begin in earnest in England. The first wells will likely be drilled in Lancashire and Yorkshire by the summer, and Cuadrilla, Third Energy and other companies will hope to confirm commercially viable quantities of the gas by the end of the year. With only 17% of people in Britain in favour of fracking, local and national protests are certain. Brexit negotiations will affect farming subsidies and possibly all European nature protection laws, including those for birds and habitats, air and water pollution, GM foods and animal welfare. If ministers attempt to roll back or trade off decades of environmental regulation, as some have threatened, they are likely to meet the most intense opposition. (December 25, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/26/2016 –  11 GIFs That Show the Effects of Climate Change Climate Change can be hard to see unless climate experts help you visualize what’s happening. Humanity might want to match what they see here with our actions in the coming years, the years where the window of opportunity to address this crisis is quickly closing. Sometimes nothing’s as good as just showing people the GIFs. Some of the effects of climate change are tough to spot. Higher sea levels, when viewed from the shore, are pretty tough to prove. And while scientific evidence showing this year is the hottest ever should be irrefutable, all it takes is a cold snap in the Buffalo for politicians — who, let’s be real, are the recipients of fossil fuel campaign contributions — to cast doubt or start saying “there’s room for debate.” (Can you imagine if they said there was “room for debate” in a statistics class?) Sometimes nothing’s as good as just showing people the visual evidence, as the animated GIFs — the internet’s preferred image type — below do with such damning efficacy. “The glaciers are melting!” sounds like a cliche, until you see the GIFs. (December 21, 2016) inverse [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 12/26/2016 – Excellent podcast on Warm Regards ‏@ourwarmregards about how to communicate Climate Change, including scaling your individual efforts. The time has come when our individual efforts to address Climate Change must scale-up so they will actually matter. Warm Regards Podcast On humanizing science | This week, we’re talking with Dr. Jonathan Foley, executive director at the California Academy of Sciences. The California Academy bills itself as the greenest museum on the planet and one of the most future-focused scientific institutions in the world. He’s the author of over 130 scientific articles and has had numerous accolades from the nation’s most respected scientific institutions, not only for his global change research, but also his commitment to public outreach, including popular articles in National Geographic, The New York Times, and Scientific American. (December 5, 2016) Warm Regards [more on Climate Change 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: [email protected] with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

 

January 2017

 

  • 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 [email protected] 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 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.

 

February 2017

 

  • 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 protected] is encouraged but not required.

 

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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: 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!
  • 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 [email protected] 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 protected] 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.

RENewsletter | November 13, 2016

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

*Note: Henceforth ‘environment’ means ‘our life support system.’

[11/06/2016 – 11/13/2016]

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: “Climate Change activism after the 2016 US elections

Many are feeling pretty hopeless after the US just installed a climate denier for President together with a political majority in both the House and Senate opposed to addressing Climate Change. Let’s face it, now the United States is a great concern to a world that just made the Paris Agreement official.

Donald Trump Could Put Climate Change on Course for ‘Danger Zone’ For a look at how sharply policy in Washington will change under the administration of Donald J. Trump, look no further than the environment. Mr. Trump has called human-caused climate change a “hoax.” He has vowed to dismantle the Environmental Protection Agency “in almost every form.” And in an early salvo against one of President Obama’s signature issues, Mr. Trump has named Myron Ebell of the business-backed Competitive Enterprise Institute to head his E.P.A. transition team. Mr. Ebell has asserted that whatever warming caused by greenhouse gas pollution is modest and could be beneficial. A 2007 Vanity Fair profile of Mr. Ebell called him an “oil industry mouthpiece.” (November 10, 2016, New York Times)

Climate scientists are very concerned too, which is to say we should all be very concerned. Which is also to say, their voice should have been the most important voice we listened to as we voted in this historic election. Theirs was the voice of a reality that must be addressed above all others.  (Or there won’t be other issues.)

Donald Trump presidency a ‘disaster for the planet’, warn climate scientists Leading scientists say the climate denier’s victory could mean ‘game over for the climate’ and any hope of warding off dangerous global warming The ripples from a new American president are far-reaching, but never before has the arrival of a White House administration placed the livability of Earth at stake. Beyond his bluster and crude taunts, Donald Trump’s climate denialism could prove to be the lasting imprint of his unexpected presidency. “A Trump presidency might be game over for the climate,” said Michael Mann, a prominent climate researcher. “It might make it impossible to stabilize planetary warming below dangerous levels.” (November 11, 2016 The Guardian)

But enough of us didn’t listen to these voices; we as a nation listened to other voices.

For whatever reason the majority of the electoral votes went to a climate denier, we will pay a dear price. If it was frustration, hate, or a profound despair that things couldn’t get any worse that brought Trump to power, it is now more likely that things will get worse. We probably should have addressed, or at least listened to, the concerns of those who staged this political upset before this national calamity occurred.  As Russell Brand suggests in his rant, Trump. Right. Okay, the world’s gone nuts: Russell Brand The Trews, it might now be the time to figure out how to talk to those to who believe (or have been lead to believe) that our political system has not served them.

Before many of us launch a crusade against the results of the past election, it might serve us well to find out what actually happened. It certainly would have served us better if, after the attack on 9/11, we had paused and tried to figure out why we were attacked before we ourselves launched an attack on a country that didn’t even attack us—throwing the Mideast into a horrific turmoil that will seems likely to last forever. Not everyone who voted for Trump voted against women, against common decency, against minorities, against gun regulations, or what they perceived would be our nation’s response to addressing Climate Change. What caused so many to vote for a person distinctly unqualified be President of the United States?

While we ponder the question above, we must still deal with Climate Change. Just because it was kept from the presidential elections by our media and resulted in this state of denial by the most powerful country in the world, physics still reigns. Climate Change cannot be voted out of existence.

Like the many consequences of Climate Change we are now experiencing—more extreme weather, more wildfires, glaciers melting, and sea levels rising—the election of Trump and his fellow deniers presents innumerable challenges to what is already a complicated myriad of environmental problems. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), NASA, NOAA, and many more scientific agencies that monitor climate changes and educate the public about our environment are going to be burdened with directions from those who do not accept what the world’s climate scientists have told us: That our environment is warming quickly because of our way of life and we need to change immediately.

Though many of the specific repercussions of our dependence on fossil fuel energy were unknown a couple of decades ago, climate scientists quickly learned that our climate was very sensitive, indeed. Land, air, and water around the world has reacted instantly (though unevenly) to more heat. We did anticipate some possible outcomes. Many of us knew there were going to be a lot of challenges. Scientists, environmentalists, and many more anticipated social strife when heat was turned up on our planet. For example, many of us knew that humanity itself would be part of the trials ahead.

Some people are galvanized by a great catastrophe and lead thousands towards solutions. But others think differently. They prioritized their own concerns, maniacally working towards how they think the world should be and how they can profit from the turmoil. Efforts to warn the public about the dangers of acid rain, cigarette smoke, second-hand smoke, holes in the ozone, and DDT have been fought and foiled for years. (See: Merchants of Doubt.) Humanity’s history is littered with actions based on wrong-headed notions, no matter how much evidence there was at the time to the contrary.

Those choosing to address Climate Change decades ago knew the job was dangerous when they took it. They knew there would be push-back against trying to solve this crisis—it’s part of human nature. A Trump win is but an atrocious manifestation of this human inclination for short term gain at the cost of future sustainability. Although these folks who are going to do everything in their power to increase fossil fuel use, thwart environmental regulations, and stop the worldwide attempt to make the Paris Agreement work have names, they are but part of this human condition. We are an adolescent species, hoping to mature. This is to say, the road ahead that we knew would be bumpy has now gotten very bumpy. Not only are the physical challenges going to get more difficult because we have allowed so much GHG’s to build up, the human reaction against the major changes needed to solve the warming crisis has metastasized into a powerful and irrational force against our efforts. It is a force that has to be overcome in some ways like all the other obstacles in front of us for a bright future.

What now? This isn’t a time for despair, this is a time to assess our strengths and double-down on them.

Many who are trying to get their heads around this catastrophe are thinking that now the focus for addressing Climate Change must come from all our other tools in our toolbox, everything except our federal government. It must come from individuals, leaders, businesses, communities, environmental groups, local government, state, and other nations besides our own.

Other countries are going to do what they can with a blind, deaf, and dumb elephant in the room:

Turnbull signals Australia won’t follow Trump’s lead on Paris climate agreement Prime minister confirms Australia will ratify agreement despite opposition from One Nation and conservative Coalition MPs Malcolm Turnbull has signalled Australia will not seek to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement even if the US president-elect, Donald Trump, follows through on his threat to cancel the emissions reductions commitments made by Barack Obama last December. Turnbull on Thursday confirmed Australia had ratified the Paris agreement despite domestic opposition from the One Nation party, a critical Senate bloc for the government, and persistent climate change scepticism roiling within Coalition ranks. After Trump’s victory, and ahead of Turnbull’s confirmation of the government’s intentions with ratification on Thursday morning, the chairman of the government’s backbench committee on the environment and energy, the Liberal MP Craig Kelly  (November 9, 2016) The Guardian

Or, how about this scenario? A major power like China takes advantage of the US’s climate paralysis and becomes the world leader on addressing Climate Change, leaving US in the dust:

Trump win opens way for China to take climate leadership role Beijing is poised to cash in on the goodwill it could earn by taking on leadership in dealing with what for many other governments is one of the most urgent issues on their agenda. “Proactively taking action against climate change will improve China’s international image and allow it to occupy the moral high ground,” Zou Ji, deputy director of the National Centre for Climate Change Strategy and a senior Chinese climate talks negotiator, told Reuters. (November 11, 2016 Reuters)

Not even Trump can tell China what to do.

If it is so that for now and for the time being much of the effort to address Climate Change in our country will come from the states, New York State may (as it did with stopping Fracking) show the nation a way through the coming anti-science miasma.

Trump win means little for NY climate programs President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to roll back federal environmental regulations will likely have little effect on New York’s efforts to combat climate change, according to the state’s top energy official. Richard Kauffman, Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s chairman of energy and finance, touted New York’s various clean-energy programs Thursday while noting they predate the federal Clean Power Plan, an emissions-reductions program Trump has vowed to scale back. Should Trump curb environmental regulations at the federal level, New York’s programs — including the Clean Energy Standard, which subsidizes renewable and nuclear energy — would remain in place. (November 10, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

But let us not get too cocky. In order to address Climate Change, we have to adapt to the changes, and we have to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions on a scale and time frame that will avoid the worst consequences of this crisis.

One can say that “President-elect Donald Trump’s pledge to roll back federal environmental regulations will likely have little effect on New York’s efforts to combat climate change”, yet, it is delusional. First and foremost, Climate Change cannot be compartmentalized when it comes to being affected. When the temperature goes up on our planet, everything will be affected as there are no safe zones that won’t experience this planetary phenomenon. Some places will be affected differently and more quickly than others, for a while, but like cooking a great big pot of soup, eventually the whole pot will get hot if you leave the flame on long enough.

So if the federal government is dragging its feet or thwarting progress by doubling down on fossil fuel infrastructure (take the Dakota Access Pipeline for example), New York as all regions will eventually be affected and threatened by planetary tipping points. Holding back funds for infrastructure repair and development that is resilient enough to withstand the extreme weather that comes with Climate Change is going to affect New York. The energy aspect of Climate Change, though critical, has little to do with adaption, which will require a federal response at times, and is only a part the mitigation part of this crisis.

However committed we are individually or at the state and local level on addressing Climate Change, there’s no denying our job has been made exponentially more difficult by this election. It’s pretty late in the day for our country to have made such a colossal error in judgement. Our prospects are grim if we don’t find a way to encourage this new administration to do the right thing. In this effort we should leave no stone unturned, no vote unchecked, no bill un-scrutinized, no bad media report unchallenged, no rally for climate action and justice unattended, no chance for despair to creep into our soul. Climate denial is batshit crazy at any level.

Time passes.

[email protected]  (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  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: [email protected]

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.]

  • 11/12/2016 – Recycling is important and it’s important that we know that our recyclables are being recycled properly. In a finite world with an exquisitely sensitive environment we cannot just be satisfied that the things we throw away disappear so we can get more. You’ll Never Believe Where Your Old Computer Could End Up After You Hand It In for Recycling Suburban Hong Kong appears to have become the new favorite dumping site for exported U.S. electronic waste, watchdog finds Roughly 20 km away from Hong Kong’s slick, densely packed urban center lies the New Territories — a suburban mishmash of rugged hills and scruffy villages, soaring new housing developments and vacant lots. This is where over half of the territory’s 7.2 million people live. It could also be the resting place for your old PC or printer. Up to 20% of all U.S. electronic waste may be ending up in Hong Kong. Not in some scrapyard in the developing world, picked over by haggard children and wheezing laborers, but in the backyard of one of the world’s most sophisticated financial capitals. That, at least, is the claim of a new investigation, which says the movement of these items is violating international treaties restricting cross-border transfer of hazardous electronic materials. (November 11, 2016) Time [more on Recycling in our area]
  • 11/12/2016 – Climate Change will warm some regions (like the Arctic and Alaska) more quickly than others. Alaska Continues to Bake Through October Temperatures in the Lower 48 have been way above normal again this year, but they’ve had nothing on Alaska. Heat records there continued to pile up through October as the notoriously chilly state heads towards its hottest year on record. Through October, the year-to-date temperature in Alaska was 36.3°F, an astounding 6.7°F above average. This exceeds the previous record for the same period — set in 1926 — by 2.5°F. (November 10, 2016) WXshift [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/12/2016 – In other news, at COP 22 Marrakesh nations are trying to make the Paris Agreement work and deliver humanity a future. “In Marrakesh, many nations have reaffirmed backing for the Paris Agreement’s goals of shifting to wind, solar and other cleaner energies.” Trump’s climate plan ‘catastrophic’: France’s Royal Donald Trump’s plan to drop out of world cooperation on slowing climate change would be “absolutely catastrophic” and weaken the United States, France’s environment minister said on Friday. But Segolene Royal, defending a 2015 Paris climate agreement she helped construct, told Reuters she believed the U.S. president-elect might switch track once he takes office. Trump has called global warming a hoax, wants to cancel the Paris Agreement and halt all U.S. funding of U.N. global warming programs. “If such decisions are taken it would be absolutely catastrophic,” said Royal, a Socialist. (November 11, 2016) Reuters [more onClimate Change in our area]
  • 11/11/2016 –  Our friends in Australia will ratify the Paris Agreement highlighting the way for nations to object to climate deniers. We should all now be doubling our efforts to address Climate Change. Turnbull signals Australia won’t follow Trump’s lead on Paris climate agreement Prime minister confirms Australia will ratify agreement despite opposition from One Nation and conservative Coalition MPs Malcolm Turnbull has signalled Australia will not seek to withdraw from the Paris climate agreement even if the US president-elect, Donald Trump, follows through on his threat to cancel the emissions reductions commitments made by Barack Obama last December. Turnbull on Thursday confirmed Australia had ratified the Paris agreement despite domestic opposition from the One Nation party, a critical Senate bloc for the government, and persistent climate change scepticism roiling within Coalition ranks. After Trump’s victory, and ahead of Turnbull’s confirmation of the government’s intentions with ratification on Thursday morning, the chairman of the government’s backbench committee on the environment and energy, the Liberal MP Craig Kelly  (November 9, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/11/2016 – Besides being my favorite quote of the day, this quote highlights what climate scientists have been saying for a long time—it’s physics stupid! ““It’s clear Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world… but even he does not have the power to bend and change the laws of physics,” said Alden Meyer, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists.” (Imagine what would be our reality today if our media and our politicians had prioritized science instead of bullshit.) Decades of poor media coverage and fossil-fuel monies poured into our political system have brought us to this horrible state—where politically nonsense has trumped sense. But the climate clock is ticking and a quickly warming planet has physical consequences that will have to be addressed regardless. Time passes. Trump win will not derail global climate effort, activists vow Grim-faced activists at U.N. climate negotiations in Morocco pledged on Wednesday that the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president would not derail global action to curb climate change and deal with its worsening consequences. “It’s clear Donald Trump is about to be one of the most powerful people in the world… but even he does not have the power to bend and change the laws of physics,” said Alden Meyer, policy director for the Union of Concerned Scientists. As climate change exacerbates extreme weather and other problems including sea-level rise, Trump will have an obligation to protect U.S. citizens, activists say, and could miss key opportunities to create the millions of new jobs he has promised, if the country backs off renewable energy expansion. (November 9, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/10/2016 – ACTION: Last night’s Open House gathering at the City Hall Atrium for the public to learn about the City’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) was well attended. Many folks posted their suggestions and observations about the CAP, which will help fine-tune this document for passage at the end of the year. There is still time to review the CAP draft and comment on how the City intends to address Climate Change locally. This is a chance for individuals and groups to see how Climate Change will impact their lives. Providing feedback is also opportunity for everyone to help shape their future by addressing their concerns—housing, water, energy, public health, transportation, and much more—while prioritizing the challenge of our age.   Go to the City’s CLIMATE ACTION PLAN website, download the “the draft community-wide Climate Action Plan”, then send your comments to the draft plan to Anne Spaulding at [email protected] .
  • 11/10/2016 – Regardless of Trump’s Climate Change doubts, we will have to address the consequence of this quick warming that will affect every aspect of our lives. Trumps will come and go but Climate Change will go on relentlessly unless we stop it. It’s physics. And whether the new administration likes it or not they will have to help the public adapt to this crisis. Time passes.   Managing climate risk in Trump’s America On Tuesday, it appears, a slim plurality of Americans voted for Hillary Clinton to be president of the United States. However, thanks to the Electoral College sway of Florida and the Rust Belt, the Republican nominee, Donald J. Trump, is now the president-elect of the United States. The new president will take office at a singular time in the history of our planet. The year 2016 is the first in well over a million in which the concentration of carbon dioxide in our atmosphere did not fall below 400 parts per million. Physics that has been known since the nineteenth century tells us that these high levels of carbon dioxide should make the planet warmer; and, indeed, this year will almost certainly be the warmest on record, with a global average temperature gearing up to be about 2.2°F (1.2°C) warmer than the late nineteenth century average. And, over the past quarter century, global average sea level has risen at a rate of about 1.2 inches per decade – more than twice as fast as the average twentieth century rate. These are all well-established scientific facts. (November 9, 2016) The Conversation [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/10/2016 – I think it’s fair to say climate scientists are very worried about a Trump presidency. The public must now embrace science like never before. Time passesUS election: Climate scientists react to Donald Trump’s victory In what’s widely being described as the most shocking upset in US election history, Donald J Trump has beaten Hillary Clinton to become the 45th president of the United States. As one of the world’s largest greenhouse gas emitters, any change at the top of US politics warrants a consideration of what it might mean for the country’s climate and energy priorities. But given Trump’s comments on the campaign trail, the US’s recent reputation under Barack Obama as a nation serious about tackling climate change now looks to be in peril. (November 9, 2016) Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/09/2016 – Trump wins US Presidency, with GOP House and Senate Majority. But this is the news: “”We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement.” Last five years were hottest on record, more signs heat is man-made: WMO The past five years were the hottest on record with mounting evidence that heat waves, floods and rising sea levels are stoked by man-made climate change, the United Nations weather agency said on Tuesday. Some freak weather events would have happened naturally but the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) said greenhouse gas emissions had raised the risks of extreme events, sometimes by a factor of 10 or more. “We just had the hottest five-year period on record, with 2015 claiming the title of hottest individual year. Even that record is likely to be beaten in 2016,” WMO Secretary-General Petteri Taalas said in a statement. (November 8, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/09/2016 – The Trump win is a major benchmark in human history—not in a good way. At just the point in history when the window of opportunity to avoid the worst consequences of Climate Change, humanity has taken a huge leap backwards in addressing Climate Change. A mindset completely at odds with science. Time passes. There’s no way around it: Donald Trump is going to be a disaster for the planet This is happening. Donald Trump is going to be president of the United States. And there’s no way around it: What he’s planning to do looks like an absolute disaster for the planet (and the people on it). Specifically, all the fragile but important progress the world has made on global warming over the past eight years is now in danger of being blown to hell. Trump has been crystal clear about his environmental plans. The mainstream media never wanted to bring it up, never wanted to ask about it in debates, never wanted to turn their addled attention away from Hillary Clinton’s email servers to discuss what a Trump presidency might mean for climate change. But all the indications were there: (November 9, 2016) VOX [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/09/2016 – Trump “has threatened to ‘cancel’ the Paris Agreement”. Can and will he attempt to do it? Why President Donald Trump is an even bigger disaster than you thought World’s most influential climate champion elects man who does not believe in the science behind man-made climate change, and has threatened to ‘cancel’ the Paris Agreement Climate experts who have been nervously watching the US election from the UN summit in Marrakech will now go into crisis mode at the news that Donald Trump will be the next President of the United States. Many attendees stayed up through the night to find out whether a man who has previously described “the concept of global warming” as being     “created by and for the Chinese” will be named the most powerful leader in the world. The Morocco summit has seen representatives from around the world gather to discuss how last year’s groundbreaking Paris Agreement will be implemented in practice. (November 9, 2016) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/09/2016 – How is the Trump presidency, with a majority of GOP in the Senate and House, going to affect addressing Climate Change? One thing is for sure, they won’t make physics go away. But this new turn of events will profound affect humanity’s ability to have a sustainable environment. We had better tighten our seat belts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride. LIVE: UN climate talks reaction as Trump wins US presidency -Climate sceptic wins White House in shock result -Republicans take control of both houses in Congress -US dollar and Mexican peso sink in trading chaos -COP22 summit on hold as envoys ponder implications -Billionaire promised to nix Paris climate deal -UN says ‘no plan B‘ for Trump victory On the surface, the UN talks in Marrakech appear to be progressing as normal, with meetings on ensuring the Paris Agreement becomes operational taking place around this huge complex. But beneath the surface there is a huge amount of uncertainty. US envoys are understandably reluctant to talk; one usually accessible EU negotiator also brushes off questions. The truth is no-one really knows what happens next or what the long term impacts of a Trump presidency will have on the Paris climate agreement. The last time a Republican hostile to the carbon cutting agenda took office was in 2000: the next year George W Bush pulled the country out of the Kyoto Protocol. (November 9, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/08/2016 – New Study: If we continue business as usual, sea levels will rise incredibly faster than we thought. Time passes. Why scientists are so worried about sea-level rise in the second half of this century Even as negotiators meet in Marrakech, Morocco to take the next steps to avert dangerous human-caused climate change — and, even as the U.S. decides whether or not to elect a president who is skeptical it is happening — a new study has highlighted the sharp stakes involved, particularly when it comes to the ongoing rise in global sea level and the dramatic but uneven way in which it could affect the world’s coastlines. The goal of the Paris climate agreement is to hold the planet’s temperature rise to “well below” a 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) increase above what it was in pre-industrial times. We’ve already seen about a 1 degree Celsius (1.8 degrees Fahrenheit) increase since then. But the new research just published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences notes that if we stay on a current, high-emissions pathway and do not achieve the cuts that the Paris agreement seeks to institutionalize, then we could hit 2 degrees Celsius by 2040 or so (November 2, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/08/2016 – I know, we want to know if Great Lakes warmer water this year will result in less ice, “… increased storm activity and significant lake effect snow accumulation”. Could happen. The more important question though is whether warmer Great Lakes water EVERY winter will result in less ice, lower lake levels, more lake effect snow, and a whole lot more that are predicted in climate studies for our region.  With weather, it’s going be difficult to predict each year for a while how the warming and the melting of ice in the Arctic affects our winters. It’s like to be disruptive—as changes are coming quickly. With climate, the trend is going to be towards warmer Great Lakes waters and that is going to affect weather, wildlife, fish, plants, forests, agriculture, public health, shipping, water for hydroelectric and nuclear power plants—which need a certain level of cold water for cooling. Our media must gain a broader perspective of what Climate Change is going to do to our Great Lakes basin region—keeping their eyes on the weather and including Climate Change so we can plan properly. Will warm Great Lakes mean less ice this winter? The Great Lakes are much warmer than usual, and that will be a factor in limiting ice formation this winter, the National Weather Service says in its “freeze-up outlook.” Large portions of the Great Lakes froze in 2014 CREDIT NASA How warm is it? Here’s a sampling of water tempertaures at harbors around the region. Buffalo: 60, normal 54 Cleveland: 62, normal 56 Chicago: 60, normal 53 Duluth: 52, normal 44 (November 7, 2016) WBFO Buffalo’s NPR News Station [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/08/2016 – Local Rochester NY media article mentions that Climate Change “… might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area.” That’s a step forward for local news, especially given that this year is “the worst year yet for ticks”. Public health will be dramatically affected by Climate Change because, like with ticks, warmer-climate diseases like West Nile Virus, malaria, and Lyme disease are driven by insects which will be able to make a stronger hold in a warmer New York. Our local media should do more to connect the dots between public health and the local consequences of Climate Change so we can all plan properly for our future. Local veterinarian: worst year yet for ticks Entomologists said climate change and deer migration might have to do with an increase in ticks in our area. (November 7, 2016) WHAM Rochester [more on Lyme Disease andClimate Change in our area]
  • 11/07/2016 – Great citizen reporter article on the #NoDAPL rally in support of #StandWithStandingRock in Rochester, NY. Including Representative Louise Slaughter’s complete speech at the rally. Compare this coverage with local mainstream press coverage of this event. You’ll see why Talker of the Town needs to be a part of our local media mix. Iakaonne´tha ne oneka Iakaonne´tha ne oneka (A rough translation of “Water is Life” offered by members of the Seneca tribe.) Yesterday at the Liberty Pole, several hundred Rochesterians gathered at the Liberty Pole to protest the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline. The oil pipeline would stretch 1,200 miles underground through the Missouri River, carrying a half million barrels of crude oil from North Dakota to Illinois daily. Part of the river is the primary source of drinking water for the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in central North and South Dakota. (November 6, 2016) Talker of the Town [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/07/2016 – From the stratosphere to our oceans, the science behind Climate Change clear and ominous. Whatever your attitude is towards Climate Change, the science should be your priority because humanity needs to see what is actually happening to our planet. Much about Climate Change includes our values—preserving Nature, Climate Justice, Freedom, and much more—but we are no longer living in a world where we have all the time in the world to work out our principles and values. The temperatures will steadily rise unless we get our energy use under control. If we fail to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter, our inclination to keep our values intact as humanity struggles for life will get more unlikely. Stratosphere shrinks as record breaking temperatures continue because of climate change Those warning of climate change impacts have been likened to Chicken Littles, scuttling around, warning the sky is falling. That worry, it turns out, is based on fact too. Cooling in the stratosphere is causing it to shrink, lowering that layer by “a number of kilometres”, NASA noted recently. Our burning of fossil fuels and emissions of other greenhouse gases mean more of the earth’s heat that would have been radiated back to space – warming the stratosphere on the way – is being trapped at lower levels of the atmosphere. (November 6, 2016) Sydney Morning Herald[more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 11/07/2016 – We need to de-politicize Climate Change in the US. Why Republicans Still Reject the Science of Global Warming Only one major political party in the world denies climate change, and it’s in charge of the most important political body in the world For decades, climate-change deniers got away with dismissing the growing body of science as speculation and guesswork, hysterical or politicized warnings of a disastrous future. Now, their church is crumbling. Every month of this year set a new record for the hottest monthly average global temperature in history. Fifteen of the 16 hottest years ever recorded have occurred in the 21st century. The facts are at our doorstep in the form of drought-fueled wildfires ravaging Southern California; rising sea levels in New York, Norfolk, Virginia, and Miami Beach; melting glaciers in Alaska; bleached coral reefs in the Virgin Islands. We’ve reached the point where the planet’s warming – and the extreme weather it causes – is outpacing the very models scientists use to predict the future. (November 3, 2016) RollingStone [more on Climate Change 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: [email protected] with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

November

  • November 15, 2016 • 11:45 AMHirst Lounge, Wilson Commons University of Rochester, Rochester, NY 14627
    • Human Oil Spill November 15, 2016 • 11:45 AMHirst Lounge, Wilson CommonsUniversity of RochesterRochester, NY 14627 After the election results, we know that many of our communities are hurting and afraid. Donald Trump’s presidency will threaten many of the people and things we care about most – including Indigenous rights and the climate. Now more than ever, we need to stand together and show the strength of this movement. Together, we will fight with everything we’ve got to stop Trump’s dangerous and reckless agenda, but right now we have to keep the pressure on President Obama to do what’s right while he’s still in office and stop the Dakota Access pipeline.
  • Wednesday, November 16, 7:00-9:00 PM, at the Gandhi Institute, 929 S. Plymouth Ave, Rochester, NY
    • WATCH AND DISCUSS the film “Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives” with Vets for Peace Wednesday, November 16, 7:00-9:00 PM, at the Gandhi Institute, 929 S. Plymouth Ave. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace, Chapter 23, Rochester Co-Sponsors: Peace Action & Education Free and open to all. Come learn about the environmental effects of war and militarism. ABOUT THE FILM: Scarred Lands and Wounded Lives is a compelling documentary exploring the under-reported environmental impacts of war and preparations for war. The film confronts the immensely broad ecological and human ramifications of everything from technological development and natural resource exhaustion to weapons testing and modern warfare itself. Ecosystems around the world are in distress from forces of humanity’s own making: increasing population, unsustainable demands on natural resources, habitat and species loss, and climate change. One of the most destructive of human behaviors – war – is not commonly included as a contributor to the growing global environmental crisis. Yet, in all its stages, from the production of weapons through combat, military operations pollute land, air, and water, destroy entire ecosystems, and drain limited natural resources. Using archival material from the Civil War through more recent wars, along with expert testimony and eyewitness accounts, the film clearly presents the environmental and human cost of combat, and argues for public scrutiny of the ecological and human impact of war as essential to a more sustainable – and secure – world. (More at www.scarredlandsfilm.com.)
  • Thursday, November 17th at 7PM – 8:30PM – First Unitarian, 220 Winton Rd S., Rochester, NY
    • Nov 17th Movie “Economics of Happiness”  which spell out the social, spiritual, and economic costs of today’s economy, and encourages local, giving successful examples.   7PM at First Unitarian  Church Environmental Climate , 220 Winton Rd S. Free and open to public
  • Monday, November 21st,  7:00 pm First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd S, Room 228
    • Citizens’ Climate Lobby Chapter Meeting 7:00 pm First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Rd S, Room 228 Monthly strategy meeting for Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL)
  • Mondays, November 28—December 12, 2016 12:00 – 02:30 PM | 259 Monroe Avenue  Rochester, New York 14607
    • Grappling with the Challenging Issues of our Times Mondays, November 28—December 12, 2016 12:00 – 02:30 PM 123 . Where on earth are we going?  And what can we do about it?  What kind of world are we creating? –  and will it work for everyone?  Our world is facing challenges beyond anything we’ve ever experienced in our history.  We face environmental degradation and social injustice, with a cultural sense of emptiness and lack of purpose.  Many are feeling hopeless and powerless to make changes, yet we all agree that we want to create a world that is environmentally sustainable, socially just, and fulfilling for all.  This is a bold vision and it is up to us to help make it happen!  How can we each become an agent of change to heal our world?  This course will use inspiring multimedia, leading edge information, and dynamic group interactions to explore the current state of our lives on this planet from a new perspective and connect with a powerful global movement to reclaim our future. Instructors: Sue Staropoli and Tony Perri; $ 45.00; 3 Sessions; To register see www.oasisnet.org/Rochester  (course #123)

December

  • Tuesday, December 12th 5-8:30PM | Downtown United Presbyterian Church 121 N. Fitzhugh Street, Rochester NY
    • The 17th Annual Celebration of UN International Human Rights Day | Water: RightorCommodity? Rochester’s Future Water & Around the Globe | Our featured panelists will speak to issues on the quality of water for our school children, the impact on poverty and living conditions and international programs teaching the building of sanitation systems in countries without the right to clean water. Potluck Dinner 5:30 to 6:30 Panel & Community Discussion 6:30 to 8:30 PM* *For more information call (585) 271-4796
  • Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM – online
    • Dec. 7 Webinar on Climate Change and Public Health for Climate Smart Communities CSC Webinar: Climate Change and Public Health – What Can Municipalities Do? Wednesday, December 7, 2016 at 10:30 AM – 12:00 PM Climate change has increased the frequency of extreme weather events. Extreme weather like heat waves and severe flooding have serious impacts on public health. Last year, the New York State Department of Health (DOH) released the Climate and Health Profile report which discussed health impacts like heat-related illnesses and deaths, allergies, respiratory distress, and water-borne diseases, among others. Attend this Climate Smart Communities (CSC) webinar on December 7th to hear speakers from DOH describe the prognosis for New York State and their research on heat vulnerability and cooling centers. Speakers will provide examples of what municipalities can do to help protect their communities from the health impacts of climate change. Please provide us with your name and community affiliation, either via email or telephone to the Office of Climate Change at [email protected] or 518-402-8448. In the event that we cancel or postpone this webinar, respondents will be notified 

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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: Dec 31, 2016
    • Your postcard today is needed to save New York’s geothermal industry!   Ask Governor Cuomo to sign the geothermal tax credit bill (Bill A9925) to keep NY’s geothermal jobs from disappearing.   After December 31, 2016, the federal tax credit for geothermal heating and cooling installations will expire, and many of NY’s geothermal jobs could disappear. Without a tax credit, most homeowners considering geothermal installations would not make the investment in this renewable home heating and cooling technology. Without a NY tax credit to count on after the federal credit ends, the homebuilders who up to now have been installing geothermal systems as standard building procedure would go back to installing fossil fuel systems, and layoffs in the geothermal industry are already starting. With over 30% of NY’s greenhouse gas emissions coming from heating homes and buildings, we have to accelerate the transition to geothermal systems to lessen our dependence on fossil fuels and meet NY’s climate goals.
  • 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!
  • 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 [email protected] 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 protected] 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.

Let Them Drown: The Violence of Othering in a Warming World by Naomi Klein

‘The connection between water and heat stress and conflict is a recurring, intensifying pattern: all along the aridity line you see places marked by drought, water scarcity, scorching temperatures and military conflict – from Libya to Palestine, to some of the bloodiest battlefields in Afghanistan and Pakistan.’ Naomi Klein delivered the annual Edward Said London Lecture, from which this essay is adapted. You can watch the lecture on the LRB website too.

Read the original, or listen to the podcast, at the London Review of Books. Below are the first few paragraphs.

Edward Said was no tree-hugger. Descended from traders, artisans and professionals, he once described himself as ‘an extreme case of an urban Palestinian whose relationship to the land is basically metaphorical’. In After the Last Sky, his meditation on the photographs of Jean Mohr, he explored the most intimate aspects of Palestinian lives, from hospitality to sports to home décor. The tiniest detail – the placing of a picture frame, the defiant posture of a child – provoked a torrent of insight from Said. Yet when confronted with images of Palestinian farmers – tending their flocks, working the fields – the specificity suddenly evaporated. Which crops were being cultivated? What was the state of the soil? The availability of water? Nothing was forthcoming. ‘I continue to perceive a population of poor, suffering, occasionally colourful peasants, unchanging and collective,’ Said confessed. This perception was ‘mythic’, he acknowledged – yet it remained.

If farming was another world for Said, those who devoted their lives to matters like air and water pollution appear to have inhabited another planet. Speaking to his colleague Rob Nixon, he once described environmentalism as ‘the indulgence of spoiled tree-huggers who lack a proper cause’. But the environmental challenges of the Middle East are impossible to ignore for anyone immersed, as Said was, in its geopolitics. This is a region intensely vulnerable to heat and water stress, to sea-level rise and to desertification. A recent paper in Nature Climate Change predicts that, unless we radically lower emissions and lower them fast, large parts of the Middle East will likely ‘experience temperature levels that are intolerable to humans’ by the end of this century. And that’s about as blunt as climate scientists get. Yet environmental issues in the region still tend to be treated as afterthoughts, or luxury causes. The reason is not ignorance, or indifference. It’s just bandwidth. Climate change is a grave threat but the most frightening impacts are in the medium term. And in the short term, there are always far more pressing threats to contend with: military occupation, air assault, systemic discrimination, embargo. Nothing can compete with that – nor should it attempt to try.

There are other reasons why environmentalism might have looked like a bourgeois playground to Said. The Israeli state has long coated its nation-building project in a green veneer – it was a key part of the Zionist ‘back to the land’ pioneer ethos. And in this context trees, specifically, have been among the most potent weapons of land grabbing and occupation. It’s not only the countless olive and pistachio trees that have been uprooted to make way for settlements and Israeli-only roads. It’s also the sprawling pine and eucalyptus forests that have been planted over those orchards, as well as over Palestinian villages, most notoriously by the Jewish National Fund, which, under its slogan ‘Turning the Desert Green’, boasts of having planted 250 million trees in Israel since 1901, many of them non-native to the region. In publicity materials, the JNF bills itself as just another green NGO, concerned with forest and water management, parks and recreation. It also happens to be the largest private landowner in the state of Israel, and despite a number of complicated legal challenges, it still refuses to lease or sell land to non-Jews.

I grew up in a Jewish community where every occasion – births and deaths, Mother’s Day, bar mitzvahs – was marked with the proud purchase of a JNF tree in the person’s honour. It wasn’t until adulthood that I began to understand that those feel-good faraway conifers, certificates for which papered the walls of my Montreal elementary school, were not benign – not just something to plant and later hug. In fact these trees are among the most glaring symbols of Israel’s system of official discrimination – the one that must be dismantled if peaceful co-existence is to become possible.

The JNF is an extreme and recent example of what some call ‘green colonialism’. But the phenomenon is hardly new, nor is it unique to Israel. There is a long and painful history in the Americas of beautiful pieces of wilderness being turned into conservation parks – and then that designation being used to prevent Indigenous people from accessing their ancestral territories to hunt and fish, or simply to live. It has happened again and again. A contemporary version of this phenomenon is the carbon offset. Indigenous people from Brazil to Uganda are finding that some of the most aggressive land grabbing is being done by conservation organisations. A forest is suddenly rebranded a carbon offset and is put off-limits to its traditional inhabitants. As a result, the carbon offset market has created a whole new class of ‘green’ human rights abuses, with farmers and Indigenous people being physically attacked by park rangers or private security when they try to access these lands. Said’s comment about tree-huggers should be seen in this context.

Read the rest, or listen to the podcast, at the London Review of Books

Rochester Social Welfare Action Alliance

HUMAN RIGHTS DENIED!
Flint’s water crisis as a microcosm of the nation’s politics of inequality
Thursday, April 14, 2016
6 pm
The College at Brockport Metro Center
Grand Hallway
55 St Paul Street
Rochester, NY
(across from RTS terminal)
CONNECT, MOVE, ACT!
A Regional Summit – Standing Together for Human Rights
Friday, April 15, 2016
8:30 am to 4:30 pm
Downtown United Presbyterian Church
121 N. Fitzhugh Street
Rochester, NY
Details and registration information are contained on the attached flyers.

SWAA Human Rights Conference 04.14.16

SWAA Human Rights Conference 04.15.16

Sponsor – The Social Work Department at the College at Brockport Co-Sponsors – The Student Social Work Organization At the College at Brockport; The Office of the Dean of the School of Education and Human Service at a the College at Brockport, Justice Ministry Team of Downtown United Presbyterian Church, National Social Welfare Action Alliance Additional Sponsors – The Women and Gender Studies Program at The College at Brockport; Department of Human Services at Monroe Community College, House of Mercy, Michigan Welfare Rights Organization, Poverty Initiative a the Kairos Center, Take Back the Land

Earth Week Events from Rochester People’s Climate Coalition

EarthWeek
Join the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) in celebrating and protecting our planet during Earth Week 2016!

RPCC’s member organizations are sponsoring a series of events that will provide participants with a variety of opportunities to take action on climate. We invite you to take advantage of our “daily specials” to get a taste of what we have to offer. There’s something for everyone! Visit http://www.rochesterclimateaction.org/our-work/earth-week-2016/ to see our complete Earth Week calendar and event listings. And please share this message and/or our Facebook event page to invite your friends to participate!

Corporations have no more rights than a dull axe, says Delos F. Wilcox

 

Delos F. Wilcox 1910

Ted Wilcox’s grandfather was defending human rights over corporation “rights” early in the 20th century. He was doing battle with the elite conception of corporate “rights” long before Ted was born. Now we know one of the sources of Ted’s activism.

Delos Franklin Wilcox on Wikipedia
Guide to the Delos Franklin Wilcox Papers 1907-1928, University of Chicago Library

His books  “Great Cities in America : their problems and their government” and “Government by all the people ; or : the initiative, the referendum, and the recall as instruments of democracy” were scanned by Cornell University Library and can be ordered via Amazon.com.

Pinchot was the first chief of the U.S. Forrest Service and later Governor of Pennsylvania. His philosophy of conservation (allowing corporate logging and mining) was in direct conflict with preservationist ideas of John Muir.

Conflict in the philosophies of John Muir and Gifford Pinchot

John Muir in Wikipedia

Gifford Pinchot in Wikipedia  “The Pinchots made a great fortune from lumbering and land speculation, and Pinchot’s father regretted the damage his family’s work had done to the land.”

Pittsburgh Post Gazette remembrance of Gifford Pinchot’s 150th birthday.

 

 

Should Climate Scientists Tell the Full Truth?

By David Griffin

Should climate scientists tell the public how dire the climate crisis is — in particular, whether it threatens to bring civilization to an end in the not-too distant future?

In the August 2015 issue of Esquire, writer John H. Richardson deals with this question in an article entitled, “When the End of Human Civilization Is Your Day Job.”

The occasion for this article was a tweet about a year ago by a highly respected climate scientist, glaciologist Jason Box. After reading a report about the discovery of more than 100 new sites in the Arctic where methane is seeping out, he wrote: “If even a small fraction of Arctic sea floor carbon is released to the atmosphere, we’re f’d.”

Having gone viral, the tweet inspired many headlines, such as: CLIMATOLOGIST: METHANE PLUMES FROM THE ARCTIC MEAN WE’RE SCREWED. Many fellow climate scientists would not disagree with Box’s assessment, given the fact that, as a greenhouse gas, methane is much more powerful than carbon dioxide.

(My recent book on climate change, Unprecedented, is subtitled, Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis? But in the chapter discussing “ecosystem collapse and extinction,” I pointed out that the book might better have been subtitled, Can Civilization Survive the CO2-CH4 Crisis?)

Although Box’s tweet was not out in left field, his new employer did not appreciate his statement. Having left the United States, mainly because of the rampant climate denialism in this country, Box moved to Denmark, where he now works for the Danish government.

The government is very supportive of Box’s work, but it did not, in Richardson’s words, “take kindly to one of its scientists distressing the populace with visions of global destruction.”
Richardson’s essay is focused on the internal struggle of Box and other climate scientists with the issue of how to deal psychologically with the devastating climate facts, which their vocation forces them to face daily.
Box tries to block out such facts from affecting his emotional life, saying: “If I spend my energy on despair, I won’t be thinking about opportunities to minimize the problem.” But he often fails, as he is obsessed with “the human suffering to come” — an obsession that is intensified by the fact that he has a very young daughter.

How Much to Say, How Frankly?

But I am here focused on a slightly different question: Should climate scientists frankly tell the public just how dire the situation is? On this question, there are differences of opinion within the climate community.

One climate scientist who was angered by Box’s tweet was Gavin Schmidt, who now has the position that was long held by the world’s best-known climate scientist, James Hansen. Schmidt told Richardson:
“You don’t run around saying, ‘We’re fucked! We’re fucked! We’re fucked!’ It doesn’t incentivize anybody to do anything.”

In response to Richardson’s probing, it became clear that Schmidt agrees that the situation is very serious, saying: “The business-as-usual world that we project is really a totally different planet.”
So in part, Schmidt’s disapproval of Box’s tweet was strategic: He rightly felt that if climate scientists publicly announce that all is lost, they will undermine the motivation of people to do what they can.

But in part, Schmidt’s disagreement is based on a difference of opinion about whether there really is no hope. For example, he believes the situation in the Arctic is not as dire as Box thinks. And although he recognizes that, in spite of all the scientific warnings, business as usual has continued, Schmidt says that “things can change much quicker than people think,” citing changed attitudes about gay marriage as a case in point.

However, this is a poor analogy. Whereas overcoming the prohibition of gay marriage did not threaten the bottom line of any powerful companies, the idea of overcoming the fossil-fuel economy is so threatening that fossil-fuel companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars to avoid this eventuality.

But Schmidt has a more valid argument. Although civilization will indeed be destroyed if the world continues with business as usual, “There is time to build sustainable solutions,” said Schmidt, to at least some of the problems.

If all hope is indeed lost, any such solutions will not make any long-term difference. But the truth is that nobody knows for sure whether the effort to save civilization is already futile. This may indeed be the case.

But for all we know, it is also possible that, although climate change will bring about multiple horrors, including the death of large numbers of people, a rapid and worldwide mobilization would allow for the continuation of civilization in a form in which worthwhile lives would be possible.

Given this possibility, our scientists should not suggest that all is lost, because retaining hope that a worthwhile civilization could still be salvaged would be a condition for success. If we become convinced that there is no hope whatsoever, we will certainly not do the many kinds of things that will be necessary if a civilization of some sort is to continue.

Avoiding Paralysis of Both Types

But the importance of holding this degree of hope does not mean that scientists should not tell people the seriousness of the situation. To conceal the full truth would make scientists behaviorally not much different from the moderate climate deniers, who assure people that the changes will be minor, so that society need not switch to a completely different energy economy.

It is understandable that governments do not want scientists to distress the populace. But it may be necessary for humanity to become distressed, if there is to be any chance of its taking action quickly and vigorously enough to save itself. Indeed, in some cases governments do not want their scientists telling the full truth because, if their citizens believe it, the government may be forced to take action.
The present approach by governments, the media, and even the climate science community — reporting some findings but not so as to get most people alarmed – has not worked. Neither the media nor the people have become focused sufficiently on the threat to force their governments to engage in the full-scale mobilization needed if there is to be any hope.

Many pundits say that telling people the full truth will frighten them so much as to paralyze them. But the present method has left them with a paralysis of ignorance. One type of paralysis is as unhelpful as the other.

Telling the Full Truth

Instead, scientists, governments, and the media should treat people as adults, knowing that only if they know the truth do they have a change of acting appropriately. They should tell them the full truth, while at the same time telling them the full truth about how completely and inexpensively the transition to a 100 percent clean energy economy could come about (which I laid out in Chapter 17 of my recent book).
Most of us, if we have cancer, want our doctors to tell us the truth, so that we can decide upon the best course of treatment. Or, if the cancer has gone too far to be treated, most of us want to know this fact, so that we can do all the things we want to do before we die — getting our affairs in order, saying good-bye to friends and loved ones, and doing remaining things on our bucket lists.
Some climate scientists, and commentators about climate science, have spoken forthrightly. For example:
Science writer Elizabeth Kolbert warned that our “technologically advanced society” is now in the process of “destroy[ing] itself.”
Pulitzer Prize-winner Ross Gelbspan wrote that global warming “threatens the survival of our civilization.”
And Lonnie Thompson, Box’s former Ohio State University colleague, said that, although climate scientists are “not given to theatrical rantings about falling skies,” they are speaking out because “virtually all of us are now convinced that global warming poses a clear and present danger to civilization.”

However, because of the lack of publicity for these statements, probably not one person is a thousand has been aware of them. The media, focused on increasing their revenue from advertisements, daily convey the message that our civilization will continue indefinitely. The sponsors insist on this, primarily because they are, sadly, more concerned with their own wealth than the welfare of the planet.
Even the best of the news programs, such as those headed by Rachel Maddow and Chris Hayes, devote most of their time to daily and weekly crises, rather than the crisis of civilization.

Alarmism?

Moreover, only a small percentage of the leading climate scientists have come out with statements like that of Lonnie Thompson. A recent study, pointed out Richardson, showed that climate scientists have been led by the relentless campaign against them to avoid statements that might get them labeled “alarmists.”

This is understandable. But in certain situations, such as when your building is on fire, being an alarmist is the only responsible behavior.

Of course, when climate denialists refer to climate scientists as “alarmists,” they mean that they are saying alarming things that are not based on facts — that they are crying “wolf” when there is none.

But climate scientists know that their worries about the survival of civilization are fact-based. So their message to the rest of us should be: “If you are not alarmed, you do not understand the situation.”
The truly alarming state of the planet can be illustrated by the melting of the Greenland ice sheet, which is Box’s area of specialization. If it were to melt completely, it would raise the world’s average sea level about 23 feet, which would, Box pointed out, “destroy all the coastal cities on earth.”

How much warming beyond the global temperature in the 19th-century would it take to begun the process of “irreversible loss,” which would lead to complete meltdown? Startlingly, Box said: “The answer is between 2 and 3 degrees [Celsius].” This is sobering, contradicting the claim of some pundits that civilization could survive a 4-degree increase.

But even if the process of irreversible loss begins, it has widely been thought that the complete meltdown will be far in the future. However, Michael Mann, probably the world’s best-known climate scientist aside from James Hansen, said to Richardson:

“Maybe it is true what the ice-sheet modelers have been telling us, that it will take a thousand years or more to melt the Greenland Ice Sheet. But maybe they’re wrong; maybe it could play out in a century or two. And then it’s a whole different ballgame — it’s the difference between human civilization and living things being able to adapt and not being able to adapt.”

(Moreover, whereas the Greenland ice sheet is now melting much faster than experts had expected, the same thing is also happening to the West Antarctic Ice Sheet, which if totally melted will add another 20 to 25 feet to the sea level.)

However, while being forthright about the dire situation we are in, Mann balances the warmings with developments that provide hope:
“We can solve this problem in a way that doesn’t disrupt our lifestyle. . . . Public awareness seems to be increasing, and there are a lot of good things happening at the executive level: tighter fuel-efficiency standards, the carbon-pricing initiatives by the New England and West Coast states, the recent agreement between the U. S. and China on emissions. Last year we saw global economic growth without an increase in carbon emissions, which suggests it’s possible to “decouple” oil and economic growth. And social change can happen very fast.”

Of course, these are baby steps in comparison with the huge steps that must be taken in the next two or three decades. But at least a start has been made, and various things, such as the Pope’s encyclical, might inspire the kind of worldwide mobilization that is needed.

Naomi Klein, reporting on her experiences at a Vatican conference based on the Pope’s encyclical, spoke with amazement at the radical changes he is seeking to bring about in his church. She then added:
“[I]f one of the oldest and most tradition-bound institutions in the world can change its teachings and practices as radically, and as rapidly, as Francis is attempting, then surely all kinds of newer and more elastic institutions can change as well. And if that happens – if transformation is as contagious as it seems to be here – well, we might just stand a chance of tackling climate change.”

Conclusion

Climate scientists should tell people the full truth about how dire the situation is, while simultaneously reporting the full truth about how quickly and completely the fossil-fuel economy could be replaced. If they do, and if governments and their media report these facts clearly and repeatedly, we just might be able to prevent the complete destruction of humanity and even human civilization, along with most of the other forms of life. We should at least try.

David Ray Griffin is emeritus professor of philosophy of religion at Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University. He has written 30 books. His most recent book is

Unprecedented: Can Civilization Survive the CO2 Crisis? (Clarity Press, 2015).

Statements from the Band of Rebels Picnic

Bakken Crude and Water in Finger Lakes Region

1. Bakken crude oil is more volatile than heavy crude oil, and rail tankers currently in use are prone to rupture when derailed. Since 2013, twelve accidents have occurred involving tankers carrying oil, much of it Bakken crude, in the U.S. and Canada, always almost always resulting in large spills and sometimes in explosive fires. Trains of tankers roll through Rochester. “Mothersoutfront” is an organization working to address the dangers of current transport practice.

2. Tourism in the Finger Lakes, the wine industry, and agriculture broadly have deep importance, deep investment, in New York State, and each critically depend on good fresh water. New York is blessed with water, yet a threat from hydrofracking remains. It is critical now to move the temporary ban on fracking to permanent status.

Tim Sullivan


 

Social Security and Medicare

This year marks the 80th anniversary of Social Security and the 50th for Medicare and Medicaid.

*There is a retirement security crisis in the US since older workers will have to work longer and are anxious about retirement.
*A comprehensive national solution must address the severe gender and racial disparities in wealth and retirement income.
*Social Security and SSI must be preserved and strengthened and a majority of Americans favor expanding it, yet many in Washington are determined to cut it.
*Two out of three seniors rely on SS for most of their income.
*SS should be expanded and funded by wealthy individuals paying SS contributions on all of their earnings beyond $118,500 limit.

*Medicare is fully funded through 2030.
*In addition to enhancing Medicare’s benefits, the ACA (Obamacare) will save Medicare more than $700 billion in wasteful spending over the next 10 years.
*The way to rein in costs — getting providers to become more efficient and deliver care in more cost effective ways.
*Ways to improve Medicare: budget proposals that allow the federal government to negotiate prices for medicines, restoring Medicare’s ability to benefit from the same drug discounts that Medicaid receives, and closure of the donut hole.

The White House Conference on the Aging on July 13 (conference every 10 years) — 19 groups are urging the WH to include SS expansion as a key piece of it’s policy agenda. (YOU CAN SIGN PETITION at Alliance for Retired Americans or Social Security Works).

Republican candidates for president want to cut SS and Medicare and there are senate democrats that want this also.
Senator Claire McCaskill recently pointed out that Bernie Sanders is a socialist and has extreme views because “he wants Medicare for all in this country and would like to see expansion of entitlement.”

(Sources: Alliance for Retired Americans  and Huffington Post)

Jo Cummings


 

Peace Action and Education

RAW is once again Peace Action & Education, the antiwar task force of Metro Justice. It recently organized an unusually well reported Memorial Day Peace Parade. Its members are focused on the latest US war efforts: ongoing drone killings, Iraq/ Syria escalations vs ISIS, and growing hostilities against Russia and China.
________________________________________________
SUMMER READING RECOMMENDATIONS:

DRONES:
Three excellent books trace the history of weaponized drones. The first is an insider’s detailed account of the development and first deployment of weaponized drones targeting Bin Laden (before 9/11). The other two books are brilliant critical analyses of the politics of US drone killings and their contradictions (like: why does a drone designed to “precisely” target an individual use an anti-tank missile?)

Richard Whittle, PREDATOR: The Secret Origins of the Drone Revolution
Andrew Cockburn, KILL CHAIN: The Rise of the High-Tech Assassins
Grégoire Chamayou, A Theory of the Drone

The latest news from Upstate anti-drone activists at Hancock Air Base near Syracuse:
On Saturday, four activists were found guilty of trespassing for attempting to read aloud outside the Base a list of children killed by U.S. drones. The judge, once again, did not allow expert defense testimony on international law, the rationale for the activism.
_________________________________
MIDDLE EAST AND ISIS:
These links elucidate the rise and threat of ISIS and the US military options:

The Rise of ISIS and the Origins of the New Middle East War by TARIQ ALI and PATRICK COCKBURN  (Patrick Cockburn is by far the best source on ISIS)

Bombing ISIS Into Existence by Jony Wight  (compares ISIS emergence in Iraq to Khmer Rouge rise in Cambodia after US bombing)

__________________________________________________
THE US “PIVOT TO ASIA,” THE TPP, AND MILITARY CONTAINMENT OF CHINA:
These links explain Obama’s urgent push for the Transpacific Partnership, Hillary’s seminal role, and the refocused military policy from the Middle East to Asia (Russia and China):

Why is Obama Goading China? by MIKE WHITNEY

China Syndrome by MIKE WHITNEY

Wall Street Journal Interview Transcript: President Obama on TPP, China, Japan, Pope Francis, Cuba

America’s Pacific Century by Hillary Clinton in Foreign Policy

Some administration officials defend trade pact as national security policy in Washington Post

Doug Noble


 Take Back the Land

Housing-rights group seeks changes to eviction policies by Housing-rights group seeks changes to eviction policies by Meghan M. McDermott in D&C

The video below shows the police taking Joe Woods’ daughter as collateral to coerce Joe to turn over his house to MidFirst Bank.

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines ‘ransom’ as a consideration paid or demanded for the release of someone in captivity. The Rochester Police held Audrey for ransom in a civil matter between Joe Woods and a commercial entity headquartered in Oklahoma.

Audrey awoke that morning to find her home being surrounded with crime tape. She went outside to see what was happening, and was told that they had a half hour to vacate. However, when Audrey attempted to go back in, she was told she would be arrested if she did. Upon insisting and entering the house, she was taken into custody.

This video shows Audrey being arrested, and then shows her sisters being allowed to reenter the house.

Shortly after, the police informed Joe that Audrey would be released to him with no charges filed if he abandoned the home and went with them to get her. Joe complied because he was concerned about his daughter. He followed them to a nearby quick shop where she was released, but a charge of obstructing government administration was still filed, despite the promise made to Joe.

Yes, RANSOM!

TELL MAYOR WARREN AND CHIEF CIMINELLI THAT POLICE COMPLICITY WITH THE IMMORAL AND ILLEGAL BANK FORECLOSURE TACTICS MUST STOP!

Mayor Warren: 428-7045 Email
Chief Ciminelli: 428-7033 Email

Mike Connelly


 Witness Palestine Film Series

Announcing 2015 screening dates

Elaine Johnson


 

Blockade of Seneca Lake Salt Caverns started

senecalakeA large blockade and rally is planned for tomorrow (starting at 9am if you can join) but today, several friends (some of whom you may know) began the blockade and successfully shut down the Crestwood facility for 7 hours. Construction is authorized to begin tomorrow on what is by far, the most insane of insane projects: storing volatile, pressurized gas in unstable salt caverns next to a drinking water supply for 100,000 people, risking salinating Seneca Lake and ruining one of the few economically stable parts of the state, the Finger Lakes wine and agricultural region.

Gratitude and respect for all those who are putting it on the line here, especially Doug Couchon, of People for a Healthy Environment, who’s been keeping pretty busy since he retired two months ago. Video of Doug suggesting that accepting radioactive frack waste into the Chemung County Landfill is an equally insane idea is at the second link.

Dozens Protest Methane Gas Storage Project on Seneca Lake

Help Gas Free Seneca

Dear Friends,

The purpose of this letter is to encourage all to help Gas Free Seneca fight the gas storage and transportation facility from being developed in our back yard, two miles north of Watkins Glen along Seneca Lake.

Here are several suggestions:

  1. Make emergency calls to Governor Cuomo to reject the gas facility on Seneca Lake near Watkins Glen. Tell him that the facility threatens the Finger Lakes economy, tourism, way of life, the drinking water for 100,000 people, and must be stopped: 866-739-8818
  2. Sign the petition: http://gasfreeseneca.com/?page_id=682
  3. Sign the pledge: http://www.shaleshockmedia.org/pledge-to-protect-seneca-lake/
  4. Donate whatever you can to help defray Gas Free Seneca’s legal expenses: http://gasfreeseneca.com/?page_id=40 or http://www.gofundme.com/GasFreeSeneca
  5. Attend Gas Free Seneca’s Fundraiser, Thursday, 10/9, 5:30-9PM, Hazlitt 1852 Vineyards’ Oasis, 5712 Route 414, Hector, NY 14841:  https://www.facebook.com/events/903977429673324/     If you’re interested in carpooling let me know

Here’s some background:

In Rochester’s back yard lies the eleven Finger Lakes recognized worldwide as premier tourist destinations and great agricultural and wine growing environments.  Seneca Lake is the 2nd deepest lake in the state and provides an ideal microclimate for grape growing.

Just 2 miles north of Watkins Glen along Seneca Lake are depleted salt caverns owned by Crestwood Energy and Arlington Storage Co. They plan to convert them into the major LPG and natural gas (i.e.: propane, butane and methane) storage and transportation hub for the northeastern U. S.  In fact, this week the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) approved expansion of the caverns for this purpose: http://www.r-cause.net/uploads/8/0/2/5/8025484/ferc_expansion_approval_9-30-14.pdf

But tourism and agriculture do not mix with this type of heavy industrial activity.  To learn more please read the Finger Lakes Times article by Joseph Campbell, co-founder of Gas Free Seneca: http://www.fltimes.com/opinion/article_44601bf4-469c-11e4-8102-5bd812fceb83.html

Here’s another article further detailing concerns about the proposed facility: http://www.legislativegazette.com/Articles-Top-Stories-c-2014-09-29-89353.113122-Finger-Lakes-residents-ask-US-senators-to-intervene-in-ongoing-propane-storage-fight.html

Thank you for your concern and generosity,

Anna and Nedra

Anna Sears and Nedra Harvey, co-founders

R-CAUSE (Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction)

http://www.r-cause.net/

Rochester Climate Action

These twice a month notes from “Rochester Climate Action” are chocked full of pertinent, concrete actions/advice – very helpful!  To receive them directly, there is a link farther down the note.
Gerry Minerd

Dear Friend/Neighbor/Colleague/etc.,

 
The purpose of this email is to help busy people in the Greater Rochester Area find opportunities to join the fight against global warming.  These emails are distributed twice per month and include 3-4 actions you can take to help stop climate change.  Read on to learn how you can quickly and easily do your part to protect the planet.
 
Quick Climate Fact
 
Despite the overwhelming scientific evidence that man-made climate change is occurring, there has been an increase in the proportion of Americans who believe global warming is not happening (23%, up 7 percentage points since April 2013).  Americans are most likely to identify their own friends and family, such as a significant other (27%), son or daughter (21%), or close friend (17%), as the people who could motivate them to take action to reduce global warming. (Yale Project on Climate Change Communication) 
 
Prepare for Climate Action 
 
Because people form their opinions about global warming based on what those around them believe, speaking up about the need to limit climate change is a hugely significant action you can take as an individual.  The better prepared you are for these conversations, the more likely they are to go well.  There are many excellent resources on the Internet that can help you combat climate change misinformation and denialism.  Simply googling “how to talk to climate change deniers” will yield tons of information about how to respond to the most common arguments deniers use to cast doubt on the science of climate change.  If you’re interested in learning all the specific counterarguments, go for it, but if that’s not your style, there’s no need to fret.  You can have very effective conversations about climate change, without being a climate expert.  Below are some tips for how to effectively talk about global warming.  Please take a few minutes to read through these tips and mentally rehearse what you might say during a conversation with a climate change doubter or denier.
  • Treat the other person with respect: Be kind and express appreciation for what you admire about your conversation partner.  We all tend to be more open to accepting ideas from people we like, so say things such as, “I appreciate that you’ve given this a lot of thought and are very passionate about the subject.”  Remember that you are communicating not only with the person you’re talking to, but also with everyone who overhears the conversation.  Coming across as a bully is counterproductive.    
  • Avoid arguing: You do not need to prove that you are right and they are wrong, nor must you convince the other person to agree with you.  Instead of saying, “You’re wrong,” which will put your conversation partner on the defensive, say things like, “You’re entitled to own opinion,” and “We can agree to disagree about that.”       
  • Firmly stick to your own views: The science is on your side!  Over 97% of climate experts agree that man-made climate change is occurring and that it will lead to catastrophe if we don’t do something about it.  In addition, all the studies and theories that climate deniers commonly cite have been thoroughly and repeatedly debunked.  So don’t cave in!  Unequivocally state, “This is what I think, and this is why I think it.”                 
  • Find common ground: Mention your shared values and experiences.  Do you both have children or are you members of the same church/organization/political party/etc.?  Do you enjoy similar activities or places that will be affected by climate change?  People pay attention to people they can relate to.  
  • Make it personal: There was a time when you were unconcerned about climate change.  Talk about your personal journey or transition from being a person who didn’t care about global warming to person who does care.  What led you to recognize that climate change is a problem?  Why are you now concerned and taking action?  Talking about this process communicates that changing your mind is nothing to be ashamed of.   
  • Point out the rewards: Few people are motivated by doom and gloom.  Instead of dwelling on all the horrible things that will happen if we don’t stop climate change, focus on the opportunities and rewards that go along with fighting climate change.  These may include hope for the future, the satisfaction of knowing you’ve done your best, the economic benefits of transitioning to a green economy and health benefits of reducing pollution, the opportunity to make friends with people who share your values and build stronger, more resilient communities, the peace of mind that comes from living according to your values and knowing you’re making the world a better place, the pleasure of doing meaningful work, etc.
  • Don’t expect immediate results: Be patient and persevere!                    
The following link leads to a video version of the advice presented above: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qp-nJKBwQR4.  It’s somewhat long, so if you don’t have 20 minutes to spare, just watch the sample conversation that starts at minute 17.  It may serve as a good model for your own conversations about climate change.           
 
 
Five-Minute Climate Action
 
Although 400,000 people attended the People’s Climate March in NYC last week and 2646 solidarity events took place in 162 countries around the world, no major network covered the march on their Sunday morning news show, even though the event was literally happening live outside their studios!  This begs the question: What will it take for mainstream media to finally recognize that climate change is a newsworthy topic?  Please let them know that their neglect of climate-change-related stories is unacceptable.
 
Steps to take:
  • Send an email to any or all of the addresses below, saying something along the lines of “I was disappointed that you did not report on the People’s Climate March during your Sunday morning program on Sept. 21st.  Climate change is the most critical issue of our time and it is irresponsible of the media to ignore this.  Please step up and do your part to educate the public about how climate change endangers us all.  Thank you.”

  • Submit a similar message using ABC This Week’s online comment form: http://abcnews.go.com/ThisWeek/mailform?id=12660077.  (To be fair, a panelist on this show made reference to the march while discussing wars in the Middle East.) 


Spread the Word
  1. Forward this email to friends, neighbors, colleagues, etc.  Don’t be shy!  You never know who might be interested in saving the world.  If someone would prefer not to receive these emails from you in the future, they will let you know.  When forwarding this message to multiple people, enter their addresses using the blind carbon copy function (bcc) to protect everyone’s privacy.
  2. Visit RochesterClimateAction.org, click on “Action Updates,” and use the share buttons to post this newsletter on Facebook and other social media sites.
  3. Become a Rochester Climate Action “frontline contact.”  Frontline contacts receive bimonthly emails directly from us, rather than having to wait for someone else to forward them on.  Frontline contacts who distribute the email to their personal contacts are acting as true leaders in the fight against climate change.  If you’d like to be a frontline contact, simply send an email saying so to [email protected].  
  4. Talk to people about global warming!  Tell them why you are concerned and politely suggest that they should be too.  Again, don’t be shy.  These are important conversations that we should all be having.  
 
Words of Wisdom from a Local Activist
 
“I’ve been concerned about global warming since 2006 and have spent lots of time brooding, trying to figure out how to make a difference, and taking action in numerous ways.  It’s hard to know what’s worth doing when the problem is so huge and pervasive.  I am so thankful for Citizens’ Climate Lobby.  I get to work with wonderful people on a very focused goal that would transition our country from carbon-based fossil fuels to renewable energy in less than 10 years, while setting an example for other developed countries.  CCL gives us the tools to make a difference, and gives me the hope I need to keep up the fight.” 
Linda Isaacson Fedele (wife, aunt, social worker, and lover of our beautiful world and all life in it)  
This message was written by Abigail McHugh-Grifa on behalf of RochesterClimateAction.org.  Rochester Climate Action is run by a group of local mothers who are concerned about how climate change will affect their children’s futures.  These mothers are unpaid volunteers and are not affiliated with any “green” businesses.  For more information, including other action opportunities, visit RochesterClimateAction.org.  We welcome your feedback on our work.  Please send comments, questions, suggestions, etc. to [email protected].
 
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Climate Change, Economic Inequality Are One Debate, says Sen. Warren

Both issues show clearly that ‘we have a rigged system, where a handful are able to reap benefits at the cost of everyone else.’

– Jon Queally, staff writer

Thomas Piketty sits with Sen. Elizabeth Warren during their discussion with the Huffington Post on Monday in Boston. (Screenshot)Sharing a stage with French economist Thomas Piketty on Monday night in Boston, Sen. Elizabeth Warren discussed a range issues related to economic inequality during a joint interview with the Huffington Post, but said that people should be careful not to separate the far-reaching implications that outsized wealth and power in the U.S. can have on vital, planetary issues like climate change.

Piketty, the author of the groundbreaking and bestselling book Capitalism in the 21st Century, offered his perspective on the rise of global wealth disparity as Warren focused on her familiar rhetoric surrounding the politics of inequality by describing the numerous ways in which “the system is rigged” against working people in favor of the financial and political elite.

In a direct refutation of the infamous Reagan-era ethos of “trickle-down economics,” Warren said that Piketty’s invaluable research presented in his book shows that “wealth does not trickle down… it trickles up.”

“It trickles from everyone else,” she said, “to those who are rich.”

In a striking moment of the discussion, Warren stopped to make a cogent point about the intersection between the inequality that Picketty has so well documented and the overwhelming issue of climate change which she argued should not be treated as something separate from the current political realities created by enormous wealth inequality.

“I think [these two issues] are the same debate,” said Warren as she crossed her arms to represent intersection. And continued:

Think of it this way: We have tens of millions of people who live right near coasts, just to pick one example. And so what’s happening right now in the debate in the United States? There are giant industries that pollute and the consequence is they make immediate profits and the effects of their pollution will be felt by lots and lots people around this country and ultimately around the globe. Now, it’s in their interest to continue to be able to pollute, because they make short term profits and everyone else will bare the costs.”

Think about it, they are able to amass the lobbyists to go to Washington, to influence the lawmakers,to influence the regulators, to do everything they can to maintain their opportunities to foul the air and poison the water in order to support short-term profits. Everyone else—who has to pay the price on that—doesn’t have that same kind of organized ability to make their voices heard in the same way with lobbyists and lawyers in Washington.

And so for me, this is just one more example of how we have inequality, of how we have a rigged system, where a handful are able to reap benefits at the cost of everyone else. And I think climate change, like economic inequality, are both symptoms of the same problem. The same problem of this with enough power writing the rules too much in their favor, and leaving everyone else behind.

Watch the full interview:

_______________________________

From Occupy to Climate Justice

There’s a growing effort to merge economic-justice and climate activism. Call it climate democracy.

It’s an odd thing, really. in certain precincts of the left, especially across a broad spectrum of what could be called the economic left, our (by which I mean humanity’s) accelerating trajectory toward the climate cliff is little more popular as a topic than it is on the right. In fact, possibly less so. (Plenty of right-wingers love to talk about climate change, if only to deny its grim and urgent scientific reality. On the left, to say nothing of the center, denial takes different forms.)

Sometimes, though, the prospect of climate catastrophe shows up unexpectedly, awkwardly, as a kind of non sequitur—or the return of the repressed.

The Climate Democracy ProjectI was reminded of this not long ago when I came to a showstopping passage deep in the final chapter of anarchist anthropologist David Graeber’s The Democracy Project: A History, a Crisis, a Movement, his interpretive account of the Occupy Wall Street uprising, in which he played a role not only as a core OWS organizer but as a kind of house intellectual (his magnum opus, Debt: The First 5,000 Years, happened to come out in the summer of 2011). Midway through a brief discourse on the nature of labor, he pauses to reflect, as though it has just occurred to him: “At the moment, probably the most pressing need is simply to slow down the engines of productivity.” Why? Because “if you consider the overall state of the world,” there are “two insoluble problems” we seem to face: “On the one hand, we have witnessed an endless series of global debt crises…to the point where the overall burden of debt…is obviously unsustainable. On the other we have an ecological crisis, a galloping process of climate change that is threatening to throw the entire planet into drought, floods, chaos, starvation, and war.”

These two problems may appear unrelated, Graeber tells us, but “ultimately they are the same.” That’s because debt is nothing if not “the promise of future productivity.” Therefore, “human beings are promising each other to produce an even greater volume of goods and services in the future than they are creating now. But even current levels are clearly unsustainable. They are precisely what’s destroying the planet, at an ever-increasing pace.”

Talk about burying the lead. Graeber’s solution—“a planetary debt cancellation” and a “mass reduction in working hours: a four-hour day, perhaps, or a guaranteed five-month vacation”—may sound far-fetched, but at least he acknowledges the “galloping” climate crisis and what’s at stake in it, and proposes something commensurate (if somewhat detached from the central challenge of leaving fossil fuels in the ground). That’s more than can be said for most others on the left side of the spectrum, where climate change is too often completely absent from economic and political analysis.

Read full article at the Nation

Genesee River Basin Summit

DATE: Thursday, February 6, 2014
PLACE: Roger Robach Community Center at Ontario Beach Park
TIME: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM (doors will be open at 7:30am for set up)
8:00 AM to 8:30 AM – Participants arrive and network (coffee & refreshments available)
Speakers for the morning include:

  • George Thomas, Executive Director, CEI 
  • Corydon Ireland, Staff Writer, Harvard News Office
  • Joe Makarewicz Ph.D., distinguished Professor in the Department of Environmental Science and Biology, an interdisciplinary major at The College at Brockport, State University of New York
  • Ron Entringer, Chief of the Water Quality Management Section in NYSDEC
  • Vinnie Esposito, Executive Director of the Finger Lakes Regional Economic Development Council and of Empire State Development –Finger Lakes Regional Office

Complementary lunch is being provided

The afternoon will consist of break-out sessions to brainstorm and prioritize water quality and use impairments, develop action plans to address the top three priorities and establish a basis for a Genesee River Basin Improvement Action Plan, with a wrap up at 4:00pm.

Our goals for this Summit:

  • Attract between 150 and 200 people
  • Document the results in a report and circulate it to attendees Use the feedback from this workshop to guide our Genesee RiverWatch Initiative
  • Plan to annually hold a follow-up event (State of the Genesee River Basin) to review progress and adjust priorities.
  • Support groups of local stakeholders in follow through with project funding and development

Gensee River_Basin_Summit_picOne of the initial and critical steps in this portion of CEI’s Genesee RiverWatch initiative is to convene the region’s water quality stakeholders and experts to develop a path forward to sustained improvement in water quality. This activity will involve a wide range of stakeholders, including government, Non-Government Organizations (NGOs), agencies, and citizens. We envision this as an on-going process to ensure that stakeholders remain engaged in the restoration efforts. The other major components of this activity involve patrolling the river and tributaries, advocating for water quality regulations and standards, and being the voice of the Genesee River.

CEI is currently working to organize and implement a Genesee River Basin Summit. This event will be a one-day workshop where we invite a multitude of stakeholders and experts to accomplish the following:

• Review, discuss and document the State-of-the-Basin, including

  • Water quality investigations
  • Watershed characterizations
  • State-listed impairments
  • Past improvement activities
  • Current improvement activities
  • Planned, future activities
  • Review NYSDEC plans for the Basin
  • Brainstorm and prioritize water quality and use impairments (break-out sessions)
  • Review lists of impairments and agree on top five
  • Develop action plans to address the top five priorities (break-out sessions)
  • Establish basis for a Genesee River Basin Improvement Action Plan

CEI expects this Summit to attract between 150 and 200 people. We will document the results in a report and circulate it to attendees for comment and revision in an attempt to reach consensus. CEI will directly use the feedback from this workshop to guide our Clean Water Initiative. We also plan to annually hold a follow-up event (State of the Genesee River Basin) to review progress and adjust priorities.

DATE: Thursday, February 6, 2014
PLACE: Roger Robach Community Center at Ontario Beach Park
TIME: 8:00 AM to 5:00 PM
This event is made possible by the generous financial support of the Rochester Area Community Foundation and North American Breweries.
Community FoundationNorth American_Breweries