Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care.  For all Daily Updates going back to 1998, go to Update Archives.

* Please read this carefully, it's not the usual Yada Yada

Rochester, NY with its new bridgeLocal Media Doing their Job on Our Environment?

Coming up with a policy or an evaluation on the state of one's environment is impossible without data.  This truism is so obvious that it need not be expressed if it were not a fact that so many engage in both without enough information to support either.   

The government at the local, state, and federal levels does not have enough money (for whatever reasons) to pay for all the independent, objective and thorough studies needed to fully understand all an area’s flora and fauna and their interrelations, their ecology.  Neither do universities; neither do environmental organizations--though all cover various pieces of the puzzle that is our complex environment.   

There's one group left who can and should help the public evaluate the state of our environment - the media.  Besides making a profit, the media's job historically and manifestly is to inform the public on all critical matters, which, I submit, includes the state of our environment.  We need a healthy environment to survive and to do so we need a timely and complete picture of it.  We, the public, need information to be able to form evaluations and policies on our environment, so we can anticipate dangers, decide on solutions, and choose responsible leaders. Without a media with trained environmental reporters, a vital ingredient in the equation of a sustainable environment goes missing. Scientists cannot see all that occurs in the environment despite their expertise. 

The government won't notice danger signals, except those they are predisposed to see.  Environmentalists would have little to evaluate the health of our environment and the roles of those responsible.  And the public, without a media fully tuned to the environment, will think everything is going fine until a disaster indicates a tipping point and the aftermath splashes across the headlines.     

This is all to say that in recent years it is becoming increasingly obvious that because of financial and other extraneous considerations, our local media is experiencing a dearth of trained dedicated environmental reporters.  Only these professionals, who have the time and training to gather all the information from all the participants in our environment, can fill this critical role in our society.  Without them, what we get is a disparate snapshot of events going on in our environment that may or may not spell disaster.  A dedicated environmental reporter in each of our print and visual media would have the necessary, continual contacts to provide us with the depth and perspective that environmental stories need.  If our local media were doing their job, we could be anticipating environmental problems, instead of trying to catch up to long-standing realities .

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Daily Updates: Thursday, February 23, 2017

These are the daily recordings of what I believe are important indicators of our Rochester-area environment --since 1998. For all Daily Updates, go to Update Archives

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 2/23/2017 - Attempts to downplay Trump’s possible exit from the Paris Agreement are delusional. While China and businesses around the world are stepping up to the plate on addressing Climate Change, they are no replacement for the strategic role the U.S. must take in this international crisis. There are many elements to addressing Climate Change besides renewable energy and bringing down our planet’s temperature. We have to adapt to the changes—ecosystem changes, more flooding, more drought, more heat, more threats to our food systems, and more social upheaval—and without the US being engaged with this crisis in a leadership role, even China’s efforts are likely to fail—however positively their political efforts might be framed. If the US pulls out of the Paris Agreement, it will be awful for everyone and every effort should be made to make sure that doesn’t happen. (Maybe everyone should get together and by Trump a computer with just Twitter on it or something.) We cannot just paint over this potential catastrophe with happy talk. #ScienceMatters China trumps US on climate change UK environmental campaigner Bryony Worthington says China’s positive action on climate change is much more significant than Donald Trump’s threat to exit the Paris agreement. LONDON, 23 February, 2017 – A leading voice in the debate on climate change says more attention should be paid to positive action being taken to tackle CO2 emissions in China rather than worrying about the US and Donald Trump. Bryony Worthington, a Labour peer and co-author of the 2008 Climate Change Act, says the White House “soap opera” is compelling but a distraction and not a potential road block to successful worldwide action against global warming. “In many ways it would be ‘back to business as usual’ if Trump pulled the US out of the Paris climate change agreement as he has threatened,” she argues. (February 23, 2017) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/23/2017 - If you surf over to http://wxshift.com/, then insert your zip code you get today’s temperature—and (if you are living in Rochester) a post that says “Rochester winters are warming” and below that you get an orange box that says “Show Me” and when you click on that you get the graph  that shows that Rochester’s winter average temperatures have been going distinctly up since 1970. It’s pretty dramatic. (Sorry about all the wonky directions but I couldn’t just get a url for Rochester because it’s a search result on the above url.) Anyway, I woke up this morning at 6AM and it was 54 degrees (in February) and I just had to find out how freaking abnormal have our winter temperatures been over time. It’s getting warmer. Nice weather out there today, but it’s February and it’s getting warmer. Scientists cannot say whether this winter and today’s temperatures are a result of Climate Change because there is so much ‘noise’, so many other factors in a day’s weather, that it’s difficult to attribute today’s warming to Climate Change. But the trend in our winter temperatures is making it more clear that our winters are warming up. If this trend keeps up (and it will, we just don’t know how long), things are going to change. Not in a good way. However pleasant we might find today’s temperature, this spate of warming is wreaking havoc with our region’s plants’ and animals’ (ecosystems) life cycles that have been finely tuned for cold winters all through the Holocene. We need to address Climate Change.  #ScienceMatters   

  • 2/22/2017 - I’m liking Michael Moore’s 9th point, on addressing the Trump scourge, Become the Media. I’ve long since advocated that ordinary citizens to Become The Media! as I have done since 1998 with RochesterEnvironment.com. Our mainstream media has missed environmental news and Climate Change. But there is an amazing amount of news, data, studies, and information on the state of our environment on the Internet. There are local events, presentations, classes, and many other venues that we can leverage and exploit so that the public gets the news and information they need to make informed decisions about the health of our environment and ultimately ourselves. We need a good librarian to tailor important worldwide environmental news to our localities—which I have been doing for a long time. It’s time, more than ever, to become the media! Listen to Michael: “9. YOU MUST BECOME THE MEDIA: Stop complaining about the media, stop wishing they were something they’re not, find the ones who are doing a good job and then start your own “media empire” by sharing their work and your work on the internet. Use Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media sites to spread news and information. Make sure all your friends and family are signed up. Yes, I’m talking to you, Baby Boomers. Get over it, put down your postage stamps and your “TV clicker” and find a six-year old to show you how to start tweeting. You can be your own reporter, your own editor. You can curate the news for your friends. And now Facebook lets you have your own network with Facebook Live! It’s all free. Get on social media now. Imagine, your own CNN is in the palm of your hand...” Do These 10 Things, And Trump Will Be Toast (February 21, 2017) The Huffington Post

  • 2/22/2017 - “Unprecedented Warmth” is code word for Climate Change in Rochester, NY because to put our amazing February weather in the context of this worldwide crisis is still unfashionable here. When there is the possibility that these string of above 70 temperatures in February are a fluke or part of a worldwide pattern in disruptive weather due to Climate Change, our media chooses fluke: “This is Amazing! What are you going to do in this great weather? Play ball? Skip work and go for a ride?” Unprecedented February warmth for Rochester Rochester, NY – A record warm stretch of weather is on the way for Rochester. It’s possible that this stretch of warmth will be unprecedented compared to our cities 146 years of records. (February 21, 2017) WHAM [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/22/2017 - ACTION: One of the most effective ways to help our environment is to become a Citizen Scientist and help monitor the state of our environment. Become a Citizen Scientist Through FrogWatch USA New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), in partnership with Friends of Reinstein Woods, will train interested volunteers to help FrogWatch USA on Tuesday, March 21 at 7 p.m. at Reinstein Woods Nature Preserve in the town of Cheektowaga, Erie County. Community members can join an international team of citizen scientists by monitoring frog populations in the many wetlands throughout the preserve. (February 21, 2017) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/22/2017 - We remember proudly what a stalwart champion the EPA was for our public and environmental health. RIP. #ScienceMatters “Condescending and Hypocritical”: An EPA Staffer Blasts Scott Pruitt’s First Speech Trump’s new EPA boss isn’t exactly getting rave reviews. Scott Pruitt may have wanted to ease Environmental Protections Agency staffers' concerns about him Tuesday, but his first remarks as head of the agency hardly mentioned environmental protection at all. With Donald Trump's EPA transition staff sitting nearby, Pruitt delivered an 11-minute speech, in which he declared, "We as an agency and we as a nation can be both pro-energy and jobs and pro-environment." He also quoted famed conservationist John Muir: "Everyone needs beauty as well as bread, places to pray in and play in." Pruitt did lament the "toxic environment" in the country, but it was a reference to the political climate—part of a call for a more civil discourse. (February 21, 2017) Climate Desk

  • 2/22/2017 - Many people in many places, including the U.S., don’t have the luxury climate denial for they are desperately trying to adapt to Climate Change. In Massachusetts, Coastal Residents Consider How To Adapt To Climate Change Living by the ocean might sound nice, but in the era of climate change, it's a risky proposition. As sea levels rise, coastal residents are faced with tough choices: try to fortify their homes, move to higher ground or just pull up roots and leave. Homeowners in Nahant, Mass., are grappling with these wrenching questions. The community lies on a rocky crescent moon of land in the Atlantic Ocean just north of Boston (February 17, 2017) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/22/2017 - Seems sort of reckless to transport solid and liquid nuclear waste, not to mention nuclear weapons, through our highways—but this may work out. Accidents don’t happen very often. They know what they’re doing. Everything will be OK. We won’t worry. Toxic Liquid Nuclear Waste Headed for US Roadways Less than two ounces, says one analysis, could destroy a city's water supply. The Department of Energy, to the consternation of environmental groups, is preparing to transport 6,000 gallons of highly toxic liquid nuclear waste over American roadways. The spent nuclear fuel is "target residue material" containing highly enriched uranyl nitrate—which after processing can be used as fuel. The DOE has spent years planning for the transfer of the waste from Canada's Chalk River Laboratories in Ontario to the Savannah River Site, a reprocessing facility in South Carolina. It will be transported in at least 100 to 150 separate truck shipments over a period of about three years, encased in cannisters normally used to transport solids that have been retrofitted to handle liquids. For security reasons, DOE won't reveal the exact timing or routes of the shipments. But elected officials in states it is likely to pass through are concerned about safety. (February 15, 2017) Mother Jones

  • 2/21/2017 - Actually, I suspect that all major urban areas in the Great Lakes basin need serious attention to their water infrastructures. Because of aging water systems and Climate Change, the cost of updating (meaning, not just repairing but tailoring our infrastructures for a warmer climate) is going to be far more urgent and difficult than this news piece suggests. I suspect the updates are going to have to be accomplished at a much more aggressive time scale. If we had been paying attention to our crucial infrastructures, like our water pipes, and figured out how to pay for their upkeep more fairly earlier, we would not be in the position of having to replace massive infrastructures at a great burden to the public. There is a price to be paid for Climate Change procrastination. Getting our infrastructures up to snuff is going to be a major hurdle. Because the public hasn’t been continually informed of the critical need we now have of infrastructure (historically and politically, only focusing on price) and the coming consequences of Climate Change, things are going to be much worse than that should have been. Time passes. #ScienceMatters Erie County needs $1 billion in water system improvements  It’s estimated it would cost Erie County Water Authority $1 billion to replace hundreds of miles of old pipe that run underground. But the authority is taking a piecemeal approach — at this point — to maintain the cost of bringing water to and from homes to prevent bills across the region from sky-rocketing. Although it may not seem like it, 2016 actually included fewer water main breaks than the year prior. But the late-July break in Amherst wreaked havoc because of the number of people whose pipes suddenly went dry in the middle of the summer. (February 17, 2017) WIVB [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/21/2017 - Remember, however mild and wonderful some may find the loss of ice coverage on the Great Lakes, it’s not a good sign. Learn more: “Changes in the extent and duration of winter ice cover may influence lake levels via water loss through evaporation.  Loss of lice cover earlier in the spring can lead to higher water temperatures by affecting the onset of summer warming.” (from GLEAM GREAT LAKES ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENT AND MAPPING PROJECT) | Meager ice cover on Lake Superior this winter Except for coastline areas, Lake Superior is mostly open water this winter. THUNDER BAY — Most of Lake Superior remains ice-free at mid-February, which improves the chances of an early start to navigation this spring. Data obtained by tbnewswatch.com from The Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory in Ann Arbor, Michigan shows only 8.2 per cent of the largest great lake is currently ice-covered, which is virtually identical to the situation last year at the same time.  George Leshkevich, who manages the facility for the U.S. government's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, noted that "Last year was a strong El Nino year, and that seems to be kind of carrying over to this year, too, although maybe it's not as strong." (February 18, 2017) SooToday [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/21/2017 - Does this spate of unseasonably warm weather in Rochester this week “fuel climate change skepticism”? It probably will and it shouldn’t. People tend to believe their eyes, not their climate scientists. This is not good because, without scientists, we’d still think Earth was the center of the universe. And, although we tend to like mild weather in the winter here in Rochester, warmer winters will throw off plants and animals that thrived in more predictable season changes. Read more because #ScienceMatters Do mild days fuel climate change scepticism? When it comes to the weather, research suggests people often trust the evidence of their own eyes rather than expert opinion Why do so many people remain sceptical about climate change when the evidence for it seems so obvious? One recent study may offer an interesting clue, because American scientists stood the argument on its head and looked at places across the globe that will probably enjoy more pleasant weather with climate change. For Britain, northern Europe and North America there will be more days of mild weather, defined as 18 to 30C, with low humidity and little rain – the sort of weather which by most people’s accounts would be most agreeable. Parts of southern England, for example, will get an extra 10 to 15 days of mild weather a year by the end of this century. It’s not entirely good news, because the mild days will tend to come in spring and autumn, while the summers will grow hotter and more humid. (February 20, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/21/2017 - We know that snow, when it melts, provides water but what’s the “amount of liquid water contained in snow cover”? #SnowEx Because Climate Change is affecting how much snow that has traditionally fallen in regions dependent on water from snow, this is important information for future planning. How much snow needs to fall in order to have a normal amount of water? This is the kind of research and information our federal government agencies provide everyone, including the public. This is why it matters that our government stay on top of monitoring and addressing Climate Change. #ScienceMatters NASA: Snow Science in Support of Our Nation’s Water Supply Researchers have completed the first flights of a NASA-led field campaign that is targeting one of the biggest gaps in scientists' understanding of Earth's water resources: snow. NASA uses the vantage point of space to study all aspects of Earth as an interconnected system. But there remain significant obstacles to measuring accurately how much water is stored across the planet's snow-covered regions. The amount of water in snow plays a major role in water availability for drinking water, agriculture and hydropower. Enter SnowEx, a NASA-led multi-year research campaign to improve remote-sensing measurements of how much snow is on the ground at any given time and how much water is contained in that snow. SnowEx is sponsored by the Terrestrial Hydrology Program at NASA Headquarters in Washington, D.C., and managed by NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. The first year of the ground and air campaign takes place in February in western Colorado. (February 16, 2017) NASA [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/20/2017 - DAPL is on the frontline of the battle to address Climate Change. #NoDAPL Things are moving rapidly, not slow and gradual. Be engaged. No one is on the sidelines in the battle to address Climate Change. #ScienceMatters Pipeline or Roller Coaster? A Timeline of DAPL’s Dizzying Developments Even in this age of Trump where executive orders are shot out of the White House as if it were a malfunctioning ball machine on meth, reality has a way of pressing the pause button. The Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld the travel ban suspension in a unanimous decision, and funds to build the multi-billion dollar border wall aren’t exactly sitting in Peña Nieto’s wire transfer queue. But the battle over the Dakota Access Pipeline is another story altogether. Game changing developments have been cropping up nearly every day. The Trump administration has set in motion a path to pipeline completion that’s advancing at a bewildering pace, and DAPL opponents — most notably the Standing RockCheyenne RiverYankton and Oglala Sioux Tribes, whose drinking water, ancestral lands and spiritual ceremonies would be irreparably harmed by a spill — are waging a renewed battle on all fronts. (February 18, 2017) Planet Experts [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/20/2017 - Science rallies like the big one in Boston yesterday do have the appearance of looking like a special interest rally. They are. Humanity’s interest. For those thinking that they are looking from the sidelines shaking their heads at scientists out in the streets rallying for the return of the integrity of science, remember there are no sidelines. We cannot survive without scientists and their work. Our way of life, with 7 billion people, is not possible without science. How is it that we have come to a time when centuries of proving the values of science have come under suspicion and question? What will become of us? #ScienceMatters Hundreds rally for science at demonstration near AAAS meeting BOSTON--Hundreds of science supporters gathered here in Copley Square this afternoon at a rally coinciding with the annual meeting of AAAS, which publishes Science. Ralliers chose the meeting—the first major gathering of scientists since Trump took office—as an opportune moment to demonstrate that the science community plans to fight recent policies that many see as dangerous to the role of science in society.    “We scientists want to send a message to Mr. Trump, and that’s that America runs on science,” Geoffrey Supran, a postdoctoral fellow studying energy modeling at MIT and science history at Harvard, tells Science. “Neither scientists nor citizens are going to stand idly by while the administration peddles anti-science rhetoric and alternative facts.”   The Rally to Stand Up for Science, which was supported by over a dozen science activism groups, is not the first of its kind, and it won’t be the last. Concerned scientists organized a similar event at the December American Geophysical Union conference in San Francisco, shortly after President Trump was elected. And science supporters in the hundreds of thousands have pledged to march in cities around the globe on Earth Day (22 April). (February 19, 2017) Science Magazine

  • 2/20/2017 - Rapid ice melt in the Arctic that scientists predicted in 1979 has come to pass. Not by magic or crystal ball. By science. What if we and our political leaders had listened to our scientists decades ago? #ScienceMatters Researcher's 1979 Arctic Model Predicted Current Sea Ice Demise, Holds Lessons for Future Study from decades ago proved remarkably accurate in showing how global warming would affect the Arctic's sea ice, currently in steep decline. Claire Parkinson, now a senior climate change scientist at NASA, first began studying global warming's impact on Arctic sea ice in 1978, when she was a promising new researcher at the National Center for Atmospheric Research. Back then, what she and a colleague found was not only groundbreaking, it pretty accurately predicted what is happening now in the Arctic, as sea ice levels break record low after record low. Parkinson's study, which was published in 1979, found that a doubling of atmospheric carbon dioxide from preindustrial levels would cause the Arctic to become ice-free in late summer months, probably by the middle of the 21st century. It hasn't been ice-free in more than 100,000 years. Although carbon dioxide levels have not yet doubled, the ice is rapidly disappearing. This record melt confirms the outlook from Parkinson's 1979 model. (February 20, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/18/2017 - We should have learned from our past environmental experiences: “Good decisions come from experience. Experience comes from making bad decisions.” (Mark Twain) Scott Pruitt Confirmed To Lead Environmental Protection Agency Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt has been confirmed as the next administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, an agency Pruitt has long criticized. The Senate approved Pruitt on a 52-46 vote Friday afternoon, with two Democrats — Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota — voting for his nomination. Republican Susan Collins of Maine voted no. The vote came after a failed Democratic attempt to delay the confirmation proceedings until after a new batch of documents from Pruitt's state office are made public under court order. Those emails will be released beginning next week. (February 17, 2017) WXXI News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/18/2017 - We are hearing more and more about banning plastic bags and Styrofoam to–go containers in various regions. Our Great Lakes waters are polluted with plastics and we can do something about it. In Monroe County, consider signing a petition to rid our county of Styrofoam to–go containers. ‘Bag-It Duluth’ Calls On City Council For No-Plastic Ordinance DULUTH, Minn. – Momentum is building as community members gather to talk about and potentially come up with a plan to rid away from using plastic bags and Styrofoam to–go containers. The event Thursday that was hosted by “Bag–It Duluth.” The group is hoping to raise the level of concern involving plastic and our surrounding water supply. Researchers and city council members were present to answer any questions the community had about the impacts plastic has on our watershed. (February 16, 2017) FOX 21 [more on Recycling and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/18/2017 - Considering the ecological havoc the invasive species, the Zebra Mussels, have already wrought on the Great Lakes, you’d think we do everything in our power to keep invasive species out of the largest freshwater system in the world. NY's AG Leads Coalition Against Bill To Strip State Authority On Ship Discharges New York’s Eric Schneiderman and 10 other attorneys general have sent a letter to U.S. Senate leaders. The letter urges opposition to a bill that would eliminate states’ authority to protect waterways from ships’ polluted discharges, making it easier for non-native species to invade the Hudson River and Great Lakes. Schneiderman says the legislation would stop states from taking actions they deem necessary to protect their waters from aquatic invasive species discharged by commercial ships. This occurs when ships dump ballast water Dr. David Strayer is a freshwater ecologist with the Millbrook-based Cary Institute of Ecosystem Studies. (February 16, 2017) WAMC [more on Invasive Species and Zebra Mussels and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/18/2017 - Helps to eradicate invasive species if you can intensify them easily. We should be aware of the various invasive species in our area because they can wreak havoc.  When an invasive species arrives, they usually do not have any natural enemies and they can, over time, change our area's ecology. New video helps identify some Great Lakes region’s watery invasives. Video helps volunteers take on aquatic invasives Early detection is often critical in the fight against invasive species. Citizen groups in Michigan and Wisconsin are combating invasive aquatic plants by producing videos to help them identify invasive species fast. “Video is great because we can easily show plants from different angles,” said Jo Latimore, outreach specialist in the department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University. Latimore starred in the Exotic Aquatic Plant Watch video co-produced by the MiCorps Cooperative Lakes Monitoring Program and Michigan’s Department of Environment Quality. It highlights four common invasive aquatic plants in Michigan lakes. (February 17, 2017) Great Lakes Echo [more on Water Quality and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 2/17/2017 - You don’t have to be a Liberal to understand the danger of putting a fossil-fuel defender at the top of the EPA. Someone who’s first concern is protecting our environment is the only proper candidate for the chair of the EPA—politics be damned. #ScienceMatters Scott Pruitt, President Trump’s EPA Nominee, Ordered to Release Thousands of Emails On the eve of Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt's confirmation vote to be head of the Environmental Protection Agency, a judge from the Sooner State ordered the release of thousands of emails between his office and fossil fuel companies. Oklahoma County District Judge Aletia Haynes Timmons told Pruitt's office that it would have to hand over the emails to the Center for Media and Democracy, or CMD, which requested the first batch of documents in 2014, or to the court. (February 16, 2017) NBC News

  • 2/17/2017 - I know, banning the plastic bags seems like such small potatoes for most of us and a great burden for the poor. But we are poisoning our ecosystems with plastics. There were no plastic bags before 1960 but now they are polluting our water, breaking down and accumulating toxins that contaminate fish and then us. Humanity should learn more about how plastics are accumulating in our ecosystems (which must be healthy if we are to thrive) and how to move away from single-use plastic bags in a way that is fair to all people. Ireland and other places can move away from single-use plastic bags and so can we. Plastic, Or Reusable? Environmentalists Discuss Impact Of Single-Use Bags BUFFALO, N.Y. -- It's an item used on a daily basis, but many don't realize how much it is actually being used. Researchers say the United States uses roughly 100-billion plastic bags a year. "We need to look at proactive solutions that help advance the environment and create a regenerative economy while also balancing economic needs,” said Ryan McPherson, WNY Environmental Alliance Chair. Hoping to address the issue, and how it's impacting the ecosystem, the Alliance held a public forum Wednesday. "Unfortunately our research has proven the Great Lakes are as contaminated with plastic pollution as some of the worst parts of the world's oceans,” said Dr. Sherri Mason, SUNY Fredonia Geology and Environmental Sciences Chair. (February 16, 2017) Buffalo News [more on Recycling and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/17/2017 - ACTION: 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 )

  • 2/17/2017 - Climate Change is and will continue to affect public health in profound ways. That’s not debatable. It’s debatable as to whether we’ll care enough to address this crisis in time.  Until the public has a complete understanding of Climate Change, a quick planetary warming, and all the consequences that come with it, their opinion about this crisis is suspect. The public must take initiative and learn about Climate Change. For, we have to believe that those against addressing Climate Change don’t understand it. Because, if they do and are still against it, there is no hope. Critical condition: Health experts sound the climate alarm. Experts paint a dire portrait of climate change’s public health impacts, but leave a little room for hope. ATLANTA—In a gathering impacted by presidential politics, an all-star cast of public health experts largely stuck to their own bleak script: Climate change is poised to unleash an unprecedented, global public health crisis.  Not even former Vice President Al Gore, who served as the day's emcee, waded into the political swamp. He presented a half-hour, health-themed version of his much-lauded slide show.  While Gore summarized the gobsmacking array of climate impacts—heat stress, water supplies, food security, mental health, respiratory and infectious diseases, allergens, and weather disasters—he left room at the end for some more convenient truths: The world, he said, is more than able to shift to a clean energy economy, reduce CO2 emissions, and blunt the worst impacts of climate change.  Harvard internist Ashish Jha discussed the climate-related spread of pathogens, and provided one of the conference’s few direct political jabs: “Walls,” he said, “will not keep these pathogens out.” (February 16, 2017) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/17/2017 - It can be difficult to communicate Climate Change if the audience only views reality as about US. However, the end result of ecosystem crashes are about US, and you, and them. That means environmental protections, like the Endangered Species Act, really matter. “Scientists say that while the Endangered Species Act focuses on individual species, it actually helps protect ecosystems that support those species.” Keeping ecosystems healthy is not simply a special issue, as if some people like forests and others like shopping malls. Shopping malls, while nice for a while, are not places that support life on their own. Our planet needs ecosystems; it’s done without shopping malls for billions of years. How the Endangered Species Act Helps Save Humans, Too As some Republican members of Congress seek to roll back the Endangered Species Act, conservation groups have taken to familiar arguments about protecting wildlife. But there's one species that is often overlooked in that defense: Homo sapiens. As it turns out, biodiversity protects against climate change and helps ensure a stable food supply. And those both have economic benefits that in some cases dwarf the value of developing land. (February 15, 2017) Time [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/16/2017 - Our oceans have been gorging on our greenhouse gas emission and now they are really sick. If our oceans hadn’t been doing this, we’d be gonners already. More: “Soaring ocean temperature is 'greatest hidden challenge of our generation'” (The Guardian) “The ocean has absorbed more than 90% of the extra heat created by human activity. If the same amount of heat that has been buried in the upper 2km of the ocean had gone into the atmosphere, the surface of the Earth would have warmed by a devastating 36C, rather than 1C, over the past century.”   #ScienceMatters #ClimateChange #StandUpForScience Scientists have just detected a major change to the Earth’s oceans linked to a warming climate A large research synthesis, published in one of the world’s most influential scientific journals, has detected a decline in the amount of dissolved oxygen in oceans around the world — a long-predicted result of climate change that could have severe consequences for marine organisms if it continues. The paper, published Wednesday in the journal Nature by oceanographer Sunke Schmidtko and two colleagues from the GEOMAR Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research in Kiel, Germany, found a decline of more than 2 percent in ocean oxygen content worldwide between 1960 and 2010. The loss, however, showed up in some ocean basins more than others. The largest overall volume of oxygen was lost in the largest ocean — the Pacific — but as a percentage, the decline was sharpest in the Arctic Ocean, a region facing Earth’s most stark climate change. (February 15, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/16/2017 - The EPA is doing its job keeping US sustainable! Why would anyone in their right mind want to gut this agency? America’s Climate Pollution is Falling, EPA Report Says After two years of increases, greenhouse gas emissions fell in 2015, reducing America’s overall climate pollution to below 1994 levels, according to a draft Environmental Protection Agency report published Tuesday. The decline in 2015 was mainly because that year’s mild winter reduced demand for heat across the country, and electric power companies were using less coal and more natural gas to generate electricity than in previous years, the report says. Emissions fell 2.2 percent overall. The draft report is required to be produced annually under an agreement with the United Nations. It is open for public comment and scheduled to be finalized in April, according to an EPA statement. (February 14, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/16/2017 - The most reasonable and responsible response to environmental regulations is to learn how to comply with them, not gut the gut the regulatory agency. Businesses can only thrive in a healthy environment and the EPA was designed to keep businesses and their environments stable and sustainable. Tearing down one of the most successful agencies, an agency that sprung from the renewed and responsible attitudes towards our life support system on the first Earth Day, is collective suicide. #ScienceMatters EPA Veterans Mobilize to Defend Agency's Work, Bracing for Trump's Impact Former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency, who typically steer clear of politics, have begun advocating to support the work in Trump's crosshairs. Retired and former employees of the Environmental Protection Agency are banding together in rare activism to defend colleagues still working for the agency, as fears of deep layoffs, regulatory rollbacks and science suppression spread through the federal ranks. Though organizing is still in its early stages, they're holding protest rallies, looking to nurture agency whistleblowers and pushing senators to vote against President Donald Trump's EPA administrator nominee, Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt. Having vehement opponents of regulation and deniers of mainstream climate change science as president and administrator of the EPA propelled them into a type of activism most had never embraced, former EPA employees said. (February 15, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/15/2017 - Farming practices both contribute to and address Climate Change on a large scale. This needs humanity’s attention. #Science Matters Farming a warmer planet What’s happening here is emblematic of forces that reach far beyond Moussa’s venture in these arid, windswept mountains of southwestern Morocco. Worldwide, 3.4 billion people live in rural areas, often in poverty and with lifestyles that expose them disproportionately to the effects of changes in Earth’s warming climate. From Afghanistan to Bolivia, as well as in large swaths of Africa, many of them cultivate land that’s dry or growing drier. The challenge for farm communities is to adapt and respond before climate change starts to erode agricultural productivity. For governments and development groups, the challenge is broader: They are recognizing that it’s not just that climate change is affecting farmers, it’s also that farmers are affecting the climate. While plants like argan trees can help store excess carbon that would otherwise add to the world’s emissions, many agricultural practices create greenhouse gases. They, in fact, account for about a quarter of such emissions worldwide. (February 12, 2017) Christian Science Monitor [more on Food and Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/15/2017 - Now that we know that microplastics are contaminating the Great Lakes we need to get them out and stop anymore from getting in. Looking at the big picture, we should have known long ago that dumping plastics and cigarette butts (which have microplastics in their filters) and plastic fibers in our laundered clothes and microbeads from our body care products which get washed into the greatest freshwater system in the world all have to go someplace and that place, Duh!, turns out to be where we drain our waste—right where we drink and fish and swim and eat. But we didn’t proactively look for where our trash was going and now we have looked, long after we have been putting plastics into our Great Lakes. Now we know. So, now we need to get those plastics out because plastics accumulate toxins, because fish eat plastics instead of their food, and much more. We cannot play dumb on our environment anymore. International Joint Commission Recommends Action to Curb Microplastics in the Great Lakes The International Joint Commission is calling for the U.S. and Canada to take action against micro-plastics in the Great Lakes. The commission’s report recommends a binational plan for research, education and outreach. It also recommends a standardized scientific approach to sampling and finding out where the plastic is coming from. (February 13, 2017) WKSU [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality and Recycling in our area]

  • 2/15/2017 - ACTION: 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 contact RPCC to see how you can help this issue locally. More on Food in our area.

  • 2/15/2017 - Our infrastructures—dams, bridges, waste water systems, gas pipelines, electric grids, etc.—are old and they were designed for a world that wasn’t feeling the consequences of Climate Change. Our infrastructures here in the Northeast haven’t had to deal with the dramatic droughts of the West, but heavy precipitation (snow and rain) at a 71% increase since 1958 presents many problems with sewage overflows and damage due to increased flash flooding. This is a great article for understanding some of the key issues about addressing Climate Changing because it gets to more of the particulars than merely updating old structures. Our infrastructures of the future have to be ready for the climate disruptions that are different from the calmer climate when those structures were first designed. The public needs to be more aware of how our infrastructures—which are now key to our survival because there are so many of us who need food, waste, waste removal, communication, and transportation. And, oftentimes, when our infrastructures fail, they do so dramatically, because so many people are dependent on them. What California’s Dam Crisis Says About the Changing Climate After five years of record-setting drought, much of California is being pummeled by an extremely wet winter. The disaster unfolding at Oroville, where precipitation is more than double the average, is the latest reminder that the United States needs a climate-smart upgrade of our water management systems. In the West, much of our water infrastructure is old. Oroville Dam, north of Sacramento, was completed in 1968, nearly a half a century ago. Other major components of our water system are generations older, and maintenance has not been a priority. The damage to Oroville Dam, where the primary spillway developed a giant gash and the emergency spillway threatened to erode, illustrates the hazard of relying on aging infrastructure to protect us from extreme weather. But age and upkeep are not the only problems. Our water system was designed and built in an old climate, one in which extremely warm years were less common and snowpack was more reliable. Here in the West, we use the same dams and reservoirs for both water storage and flood control, so during the wet season, reservoir managers continuously balance the dual pressures of storing as much water as possible for the dry summer and releasing sufficient water to create room for the next storm. (February 14, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/14/2017 - A dramatic shift in Great Lakes ice cover due to Climate Change could have profound changes to lake levels, weather, and the entire ecosystem. There’s more on this story here.  Also, this is interesting: “From 1973 to 2010, annual average ice coverage on the Great Lakes declined by 71%.” (from GLISA a NOAA Risa team) Climate shifts affecting Great Lakes ice cover The mild winter across the Great Lakes is producing below average ice cover once again. As of Sunday, 13.5 percent of the Great Lakes is covered with ice according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That’s well below the historical median of about 30 percent for this week of the year, according to the Canadian Ice Service. (February 13, 2017) MPR News [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/14/2017 - 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

  • 2/14/2017 - With more certainty than ever that humanity is driving Climate Change to dangerous levels, we should be working harder to address this issue. Right? Our actions should reflect the urgency: “The human magnitude of climate change looks more like a meteorite strike than a gradual change.” Humans causing climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces Researchers behind ‘Anthropocene equation’ say impact of people’s intense activity on Earth far exceeds that of natural events spread across millennia For the first time, researchers have developed a mathematical equation to describe the impact of human activity on the earth, finding people are causing the climate to change 170 times faster than natural forces. The equation was developed in conjunction with Professor Will Steffen, a climate change expert and researcher at the Australian National University, and was published in the journal The Anthropocene Review. The authors of the paper wrote that for the past 4.5bn years astronomical and geophysical factors have been the dominating influences on the Earth system. The Earth system is defined by the researchers as the biosphere, including interactions and feedbacks with the atmosphere, hydrosphere, cryosphere and upper lithosphere. (February 12, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/14/2017 - Major Earth Day Festival coming up in Rochester. Consider helping out to make this a big event. Become a sponsor. SunCommon & Abundance Co-op present the: ROCWorthy Earth Festival, Earth Day, Saturday, April 22, 2017, 10am-2pm, South Ave between Averill and Hamilton, 570 South Ave., Rochester NY, 14620

  • 2/13/2017 - As of today, (for who knows what NASA will be able to say in the indefinite future) NASA says that Carbon Dioxide concentrations are 405.25ppm. What does this number mean? Why would humanity even consider taking their eye off this critical benchmark, when it’s a gauge on how (or if) we will survive? Our climate has seen 400ppm of CO2 before but not with so many people ( over 7 billion now and coming up on 9 billion by 2050) and with not the vital infrastructure we have created to keep such a large number of us alive. How the World Passed a Carbon Threshold and Why It Matters Last year marked the first time in several million years that atmospheric concentrations of CO2 passed 400 parts per million. By looking at what Earth’s climate was like in previous eras of high CO2 levels, scientists are getting a sobering picture of where we are headed. (January 26, 2017) YaleEnvironment360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/13/2017 - The huge iceberg soon to break off from the Larsen C Antarctic ice shelf, that won’t itself cause the seas to rise, demonstrates one of the many routes Climate Change will take. Once removed, the already floating iceberg provides a path for the melting Antarctica glaciers to flow into the oceans—which will cause sea rise. This story provides a look into how complicated Climate Change is and how, without the aid of scientists, we wouldn’t be able to see Climate Change happening. It also demonstrates a warming process that is unstoppable—though it may take a while for this particular process to unfold. (But who knows for sure how long these processes will take when one thing leads to another and we don’t know all the links in the processes.) We can adapt to rising seas; but if we don’t stop putting more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere we will at some point be overwhelmed. It’s very hard to believe that we here in the US are even thinking of cutting back on science research and Climate Change monitoring when such things are unfolding before our eyes. #ScienceMatters As Antarctic ice shelves shrink, 'shelfwatchers' await major break-off A huge iceberg is likely to soon break off from the Larsen C Antarctic ice shelf. Although break-ups themselves don't contribute to sea rise, they can indirectly increase it. Sometime in the 1960s, a tiny crack emerged in Antarctica’s Larsen C ice shelf. Today, it’s more than 100 miles long, two miles wide in places, and growing at a rate of five football fields per day. Only 12 miles now connect the soon-to-be iceberg to Larsen C. Several media outlets, including The Christian Science Monitor, have been on “shelfwatch” for months, as scientists expect an iceberg the size of Delaware to break off from Larsen C in the near future. That would mark one of the largest such events on record, joining similar break-offs from Larsen A and B. Almost 600 square miles of ice separated from Larsen A in 1995, and in 2002 more than 1,200 square miles broke from Larsen B, whose shrinkage is captured in a new satellite image. (February 9, 2017) Christian Science Monitor [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - Of course, generations of Americans will wonder why just when it mattered most did we drop the ball on addressing Climate Change. The answer to that question will be of interest only to some future historians, for the rest of humanity will be scrambling to survive. For whatever reason, the Trump Effect is in play and we have to now deal with that. Sad. #ScienceMatters Americans Oppose President Trump's Environmental Deregulation, Poll Says The majority of Americans oppose President Donald Trump's plan to eliminate environmental regulations that combat climate change, according to a new poll, underscoring skepticism about an oft-repeated promise the campaign trail. The Quinnipiac University poll shows that 61% of Americans oppose removing regulations that combat climate change, with remaining 29% supporting the rollback. Trump has aggressively pursued deregulation in the environmental area during his first weeks in office, working with Congress to undo a slew of rules recently implemented under former President Barack Obama. The Clean Power Plan, Obama's most significant domestic measure to fight climate change, remains on the books, though Trump promised during the campaign to undo it. (February 9, 2017) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - It would be nice if just once our local mainstream media would inform the public about how our wildlife will adapt to Climate Change, instead of continually characterizing our wildlife as hunter fodder. Interest in our local wildlife, like Climate Change, shouldn’t be framed in our media as just special interests, but as important information to all the public. Wildlife was, and in many cases, still is instrumental in shaping our local environment, meaning how they exist defines the environment we live in. Our media needs to learn how to monitor the health of our wildlife in such a way as to help the public understand how our life support system works and how it will adapt to Climate Change. There’s a reason why Americans don’t put much weight on and much interest in Climate Change and the health of our environment: our media has a very limited framework from which to characterize our environment—as only a special interest, as something only environmentalists are concerned with, how much money the DEC brings in through harvesting our wildlife, or when a deer crashes through someone living room window. If we are to be stewards of our planet, we need a media that correctly monitors our environmental health. Whether this sells more media or not. #ScienceMatters NY bear hunting fell slightly in 2016 In 2016 the success of New York’s bear hunters fell just short of the previous year’s totals, according to a Department of Environmental Conservation report released Friday. In 2016, 1,539 bears were harvested throughout the state, compared with the previous year’s total of 1,715. Hunters in the northern zone of the state killed 514 black bears, and 1,025 black bears were taken in the southern zone, a 10 percent and 12 percent drop, respectively, the state report said. (February 10, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - While US waffles and dawdles on the Climate Change crisis it helped to create, the world scrambles to adapt. If Americans took the trouble to scan the news around the world about Climate Change, instead of the politicized and fossil-fuel driven news here, they’d see a world that does not have the luxury of getting themselves deeply mired in climate denial. WMO gears up for extreme weather, climate change in Asia Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (WMO) - Climate change, environmental degradation, population growth and urbanization are putting pressure on water supplies in many parts of the Asian region, and exposure to extreme weather and other hazards is increasing. The World Meteorological Organization’s Regional Association for Asia, which holds its four-yearly conference from 12-16 February, will consider how to meet these challenges. The meeting, hosted by the Government of the United Arab Emirates in Abu Dhabi, will focus on how to strengthen weather, climate, water and environmental services to keep pace with rapidly evolving needs. WMO's Regional Association for Asia groups 35 Member States and territories across a variety of geographic and climatic zones. The Region extends from the Arctic to the Equator, spanning the world’s highest mountains and low-lying coastal plains and islands. It is home to densely populated nations and crowded cities as well as vast desert expanses and remote rural areas. (February 10, 2017) World Meteorological Organization [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - The Arctic is undergoing a massive, rapid change. We have pulled the plug on one of our planet’s air conditioners. Something is very, very wrong with the Arctic climate This Arctic winter has startled even the most even-keeled scientists, with records set for low sea ice extent, high temperatures and other indicators of a climate gone awry.  Sea ice has plummeted to record lows and stayed there as pulses of unusually warm air have swept across the region, with the latest one set to reach the North Pole on Thursday. According to the National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC), sea ice extent hit record lows for the months of November, December and January. (February 9, 2017) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2017 - I’ve known that Invasive Species are a problem in our region, but I didn’t know that New York State was a major hub for this kind of environmental problem. New York should be especially concerned with educating the public and learning how to deal with this situation: “With some of the busiest airports and ports in the United States, New York has far more invasive species of certain types than any other state, federal officials say.” Downside of Being a Global Hub: Invasive Species Some are disarmingly named, like the cutesy Chinese mitten crab. Others have names more indicative of their undesirable nature, like rock snot, an algae that slimes up cool forest streams. They are some of more than 100 invasive species that conservationists must battle in New York State, which teems with a growing number of plants, birds, fish, insects, mosses, molds and fungi that actually belong somewhere else. With some of the busiest airports and ports in the United States, New York has far more invasive species of certain types than any other state, federal officials say. Carried inside airplane wheels or in the ballast water of large boats, many creatures and spores show up in New York first, making it a laboratory of sorts where scientists and others strive to devise methods to banish the outsiders or risk losing native flora and fauna to invading hordes. (February 8, 2017) New York Times [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 2/10/2017 - Those inclined to pin their hopes on "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends," for addressing Climate Change, because this is the most we are likely to get from a wrong-headed ideology, should remember that the free market system cannot fix Climate Change. Climate Change is deeply complex and will affect all aspects of our life support system, including our infrastructure, our individual health, our social stability, and our ability to adapt to the heat already built up in our climate system. While a carbon dividend will go far in slowing down human-cause greenhouse gas emissions, it is far short of a complete plan to address Climate Change. #ScienceMatters Our politics need to get their priorities straight. Tax carbon emissions and give the money to ordinary Americans, says group of prominent conservatives Several prominent economists, businessmen and government figures, many of whom have served under Republican presidents, say taxing carbon emissions and putting the dividends back in the pockets of Americans would be an effective way to combat climate change and support disaffected citizens, while adhering to conservative principles of free market economics and limited government. The report, "The Conservative Case for Carbon Dividends," was published online Wednesday by the Climate Leadership Council. The paper acknowledged that the evidence for climate change is "mounting" and that while "the extent to which climate change is due to man-made causes can be questioned, the risks associated with future warming are too big and should be hedged." (February 8, 2017) CNBC [More on Energy in our area] 

  • 2/10/2017 - Actually, if the “Great Lakes Asian grass carp invasion has already begun”, the time to act was decades ago. The Asian Carp/Great Lakes problem is a case of the camel’s nose getting into the tent, for once this Invasive Species get into the Great Lakes system it’s probably unlikely that we can get it out. There are many environmental problems that are not recoverable; we can only try and adapt to the changes. I’m thinking if there is even a remote chance that we can prevent the worst species of Asian Carp from taking hold in the largest fresh water ecosystem in the world, we should be doing a full court press. The Great Lakes Asian grass carp invasion has already begun Asian grass carp have invaded the Great Lakes and the time to act is now. That's the conclusion of a Fisheries and Oceans Canada (DFO) report on grass carp, 48 examples of which were found in open waters or Great Lakes tributaries last year. The problematic fish have "arrived" in Lake Michigan and Lake Erie and are "very likely" to become established within 10 years, according to the peer-reviewed study, which lays bare in frank terms an unfortunate reality. That's the bad news. The good news is that grass carp, while problematic, are not the same level of threat posed by the plankton-gobbling, leaping bighead and silver carp that are advancing toward the Great Lakes through Illinois waters. (February 9, 2017) MLive [more in Invasive Species and Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/10/2017 - States like New York are taking responsibility for clean energy and environmental leadership as our federal government is crippled by ideology. Of course, we need a strong position from our federal government on our life support system—there’s really no substitute. Maybe states like New York can lead the way for a while, that is, until our federal government recovers from its appalling stumble. Geothermal energy can play a major role in heating our homes and businesses in our region if we only give it a scintilla of a chance that the fossil fuel industry got and still gets with billions of our dollars in subsidies each year. Governor Cuomo Rescues Geothermal Jobs as Washington Drops the Ball Gov. Andrew Cuomo has announced an emergency program to rescue geothermal jobs in New York State, setting aside $15 million over two years in geothermal heating and cooling rebates for New Yorkers. Geothermal installations use the constant temperature under the ground’s frost line to renewably heat and cool homes and businesses without producing greenhouse gases on site. This industry is key to New York reaching its 40 percent greenhouse gas reduction goal by 2030 as more than a third of the state’s greenhouse gases come from the heating sector. Over 1,000 New York jobs in the industry had been put at risk by the sunset of a 30 percent federal tax credit which faces dim prospects of renewal with federal energy policy now firmly controlled by fossil fuel interests. Cuomo had been urged to act by a wide ranging coalition of environmental organizations, local elected officials and geothermal businesses. The governor’s announcement comes as part of a comprehensive draft Renewable Heating and Cooling Policy Framework that he released on Feb. 7. (February 8, 2017) Renewable le Energy World [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/10/2017 - Be nice if all of humanity acted to help developing nations cope with climate impacts—especially since we developed nations caused this crisis. We should own up to #ClimateChange #ScienceMatters Netherlands invests €1m in global climate adaptation centre Dutch join forces with Japan, UN among leading donors for project aimed at helping countries understand how they can cope with climate impacts A new climate adaptation centre will open in the Netherlands by the end of 2017, charged with helping countries cope with an expected uptick in extreme weather events. Backed with €1 million from the Dutch government and further support from Japan and the UN Environment Programme, the project is being billed as an adaptation skills-hub. “I’m not looking for a theoretical institute,” Dutch environment minister Sharon Dijksma told Climate Home, stressing the need to ramp up support for at-risk countries. (February 8, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/10/21017 - One has to wonder what our children will think about us for not having prepared and adapted for Climate Change. #ScienceMatters Coastal Cities Could Flood Three Times a Week by 2045 The lawns of homes purchased this year in vast swaths of coastal America could regularly be underwater before the mortgage has even been paid off, with new research showing high tide flooding could become nearly incessant in places within 30 years. Such floods could occur several times a week on average by 2045 along the mid-Atlantic coastline, where seas have been rising faster than nearly anywhere else, and where lands are sagging under the weight of geological changes. (February 9, 2010) Climate Central  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/10/2017 - What sort of country will the United State be if the EPA is undermined? A self-inflicted dystopia. #ScienceMatters Trump Administration Considering Shutting EPA’s Enforcement Office: Report Critics say the move could imperil families across America. The Trump administration is considering closing down the enforcement division of the Environmental Protection Agency, according to a report Wednesday evening from Inside EPA. The new administration is reportedly looking to close the Office of Enforcement & Compliance Assurance, or OECA, and instead let individual program offices (such as the air program, the water program and others) handle enforcement. The outlet Inside EPA quoted “a source familiar with the plan” who says the Trump administration intends to “disassemble the enforcement office ... take it, break it up and move it back into the program offices.” In a statement emailed to The Huffington Post, the agency’s press office said the “EPA does not have a confirmed Administrator and we cannot speculate on future plans for the agency.” (February 8, 2017) The Huffington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - Actually, it DOESN’T sound CRAZY that some US conservatives are concerned about Climate Change and urge their party to address this crisis. It doesn’t sound crazy that intelligent people find the science behind Climate Change compelling. It DOES sound CRAZY to think environmental regulations should be rolled back and the free market (which, by the way, was instrumental in causing Climate Change) be allowed to take over. The political parties will disagree about how to address Climate Change, but both political parties should NOT disagree that Climate Change is happening because that is CRAZY! A Conservative Case for Climate Action CRAZY as it may sound, this is the perfect time to enact a sensible policy to address the dangerous threat of climate change. Before you call us nuts, hear us out. During his eight years in office, President Obama regularly warned of the very real dangers of global warming, but he did not sign any meaningful domestic legislation to address the problem, largely because he and Congress did not see eye to eye. Instead, Mr. Obama left us with a grab bag of regulations aimed at reducing carbon emissions, often established by executive order. In comes President Trump, who seems much less concerned about the risks of climate change, and more worried about how excessive regulation impedes economic growth and depresses living standards. As Democrats are learning the hard way, it is all too easy for a new administration to reverse the executive orders of its predecessors. (February 8, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - Important words about understanding Climate Change by world renowned science communicator Dr. David Suzuki. The public and the media cannot just cherry-pick news and information about the worldwide complex issue of Climate Change. Climate Change, as much as possible, needs to be understood and communicated in the fullness of its impact and the exactness of its science. #ScienceMatters Understanding Climate Change Means Reading Beyond Headlines Seeing terms like "post-truth" and "alternative facts" gain traction in the news convinces me that politicians, media workers and readers could benefit from a refresher course in how science helps us understand the world. Reporting on science is difficult at the best of times. Trying to communicate complex ideas and distil entire studies into eye-catching headlines and brief stories can open the door to misinformation and limited understanding. Recent headlines about a climate study, "Shifting patterns of mild weather in response to projected radiative forcing", in the February 2017 issue of Climatic Change illustrate the predicament. Some news outlets implied the study showed countries such as Canada and the U.K. would benefit from increasingly frequent "mild weather days" brought on by climate change. Many failed to convey the true take-home message: Climate change will have devastating consequences for human civilization. (February 9, 2017) Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - Luckily, science is a worldwide discipline that cannot be shut down by just one country, now being driven by hateful ideology. One of the great anxieties about the rise of climate denial in the most powerful country is that the window of opportunity for addressing Climate Change in a time frame and scale that will matter is quickly closing. Climate denial is so last century and we don’t have time for even one country to revisit it. #ScienceMatters Australia's chief scientist compares Trump to Stalin over climate censorship Alan Finkel warns that forcing EPA data to undergo political review before publication will ‘cause long-term harm’ Australia’s chief scientist has slammed Donald Trump’s attempt to censor environmental data, saying the US president’s behaviour was comparable to the manipulation of science by the Soviet Union. Speaking at a scientific roundtable in Canberra on Monday, Alan Finkel warned science was “literally under attack” in the United States and urged his colleagues to keep giving “frank and fearless” advice despite the political opposition. “The Trump administration has mandated that scientific data published by the United States Environmental Protection Agency from last week going forward has to undergo review by political appointees before that data can be published on the EPA website or elsewhere,” he said. (February 6, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2017 - Impressive review of important Climat Change information. The federal government can scrub its websites of important Climate Change information and article, but it cannot scrub the Internet. The Battle against Climate Change "This is a collection of links to some of the most important statistics, articles, papers and videos on climate change - we've done the googling for you! Scroll down, read, save what you think is most important." Curated by Secular Politics

  • 2/08/2017 - Check out future summers in Rochester, NY: "By 2100 summers in ROCHESTER, NY 79 .41 °F will be like summers now in EGYPT LAKE-LETO, FL 90 .68 °F" #ScienceMatters Warming-Driven Heat Waves Could Tax U.S. Electrical Grid  (February 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/08/2017 - If we use fossil fuels to stay cool in a warmer world, we shut down the grid and make the world warmer. Doesn’t make sense. #renewableenergy #ScienceMattes Warming-Driven Heat Waves Could Tax U.S. Electrical Grid When a searing heat wave sends the temperature soaring, Americans turn to their air conditioners for relief. But with heat waves becoming more intense and happening more often as the world warms, that air conditioner use on the hottest days will put substantially more demand on the nation’s electricity grids, a new study finds. That increased demand means electricity providers will need to increase capacity to guard against spikes in usage, potentially requiring up to $180 billion of additional grid investment, the study, detailed Monday in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, suggests. “The big implication of this study is that adaptation to rising temperature . . . will be more expensive than what the existing models tell us,” co-author Catie Hausman, an energy and environmental economist at the University of Michigan, said. That means that reducing greenhouse gas emissions now to avoid those future costs is also a more valuable prospect. (February 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/08/2017 - One of the consequences of Climate Change in our Great Lakes region has been a dramatic increase in heavy precipitation—71% increase since 1958. This causes flooding, damage to aquatic habitats, crop loss, soil erosion, and affects the ability of some plants and animals to adapt to Climate Change because of “undersized and poorly placed road stream crossings can serve as barriers for fish passage and other aquatic life.” (Plants and animals need to ‘move’ to adapt to warmer habitats.) Although, this funding project talked out in the article to address these issues is on the right path, shouldn’t all this be done under a comprehensive climate action plan so it’s effect on a scale and time frame that will matter? Seems like trying to fix some of the consequences of Climate Change in our region are trying to do so without seeing the big picture, which is that our climate is getting warmer and will need very comprehensive approaches, not a haphazard, no-regrets (Hey, maybe Climate Change isn’t true (It is.)) approach which denies Climate Change and attempts to Band-Aid the consequences. Without getting the big picture, we are not going to be able to address Climate Change. Funding available for road stream crossing assessments New York State Department of Agriculture and Markets Commissioner Richard A. Ball recently announced that $190,000 is available for the evaluation of road stream crossings to prevent potential flooding and improve aquatic habitats in the Great Lakes Watershed. This includes counties in Western New York, the North Country, Central New York, Finger Lakes, Southern Tier and Mohawk Valley regions. “The funding being provided through this program will help the State proactively address potential flooding that could impact both our residential and agricultural communities, including crop damage and loss,” Ball said. “It will also give our Soil and Water Conservation Districts the opportunity to prioritize crossings that may be affecting the habitats of our fish and other aquatic life.” (February 7, 2017) The Daily News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/07/2017 - Will US try to lie its way out of the Paris Agreement using Climategate deplorable tactics? Even when the world knows climate science is NOT bunkum? Sad. Alarming. The public can be duped by lies, but not physics. #ScienceMatters Climate Change, Science, NOAA Falsely Maligned by Tabloid Spin As a result of human activities, primarily the burning of fossil fuels, the planet is warming. Those who deny this fact have pointed to a supposed “pause” in warming to justify opposition to climate action. In 2015, a study led by NOAA’s Tom Karl was published in Science that flatly refuted the idea of a “pause.” It is one of many. But its high profile made it a target for attack. On Saturday, a feature in the UK’s Mail on Sunday by David Rose makes outrageous claims that were already disproven as the paper version hit stands, and that he has already had to in part correct. Rose, who has a history of inaccurate reporting, spins a scandal out of a letter by a former NOAA employee published on a climate change denial blog. The letter makes accusations of wrongdoing in the methodology and data archiving procedures used in the study. These accusations have already been shown to be faulty. Even if they were true, the implications have been blown out of proportion by Rose. Rebuttals were published in record time, as within minutes there was a tweet describing the story as “so wrong its hard to know where to start”:  (Climate Nexus)

  • 2/07/2017 - If the public really cared about our environment, how we get energy, and how all this relates to Climate Change, we wouldn’t have more fossil fuel infrastructure projects like the “Northern Access Pipeline would cross 192 streams in Western New York along a 97-mile swath from northwestern Pennsylvania to Elma.” The public has a chance to weigh in on this project with a couple of hearings tonight and tomorrow. If the public only cares about cheap energy, no matter the costs to our future, we are lost. We have other renewable options that offer us a viable future, not one with a trajectory towards doom. National Fuel pipeline would cut through 192 streams in Western New York National Fuel's proposed Northern Access Pipeline would cross 192 streams in Western New York along a 97-mile swath from northwestern Pennsylvania to Elma. “This comes straight up north through Western New York, through its streams, waterways and hilly terrain – there are just all kinds of potential perils to the environment,” said Diana Strablow of the Sierra Club’s Niagara Group. She cited increased risks for natural gas leaks polluting water and land as well as methane in the atmosphere adding to the danger of climate change. (February 7, 2017) The Buffalo News [more on Water Quality and Energy in our area]

  • 2/07/2017 - The Big Crack in the Antarctic ice shelf is growing and It’s ominous because it portends something about Climate Change humanity cannot fix. Scientists, however clever, have not yet invented a glue that will seal the Big Crack and stop it from uncorking Antarctic glaciers from sliding into the oceans and dramatically raising sea levels. Scientist can explain what is going on and why it’s probably going on (Climate Change) and what the possible repercussions of this Big Crack are. And without scientists, we wouldn’t even know this phenomenon was taking place. Humanity needs to start listening to its scientist not climate deniers—and maybe even holding climate deniers accountable.  #ScienceMatters A Crack in an Antarctic Ice Shelf Grew 17 Miles in the Last Two Months A rapidly advancing crack in Antarctica’s fourth-largest ice shelf has scientists concerned that it is getting close to a full break. The rift has accelerated this year in an area already vulnerable to warming temperatures. Since December, the crack has grown by the length of about five football fields each day. The crack in Larsen C now reaches over 100 miles in length, and some parts of it are as wide as two miles. The tip of the rift is currently only about 20 miles from reaching the other end of the ice shelf. Once the crack reaches all the way across the ice shelf, the break will create one of the largest icebergs ever recorded, according to Project Midas, a research team that has been monitoring the rift since 2014. Because of the amount of stress the crack is placing on the remaining 20 miles of the shelf, the team expects the break soon. (February 7, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/07/2017 - Looks like trying to factor in the externality costs of using plastic bags doesn’t appeal to free market fundamentalists—who want all the freedoms and none of the responsibilities. Putting a fee on single-use plastic bags is becoming popular in many places because it’s an attempt to halt the massive plastic bag litter/pollution by inserting a small fee to slow down the waste. But as soon as some politicians find the public trying to put their environment before profits, they try and legislate against that. Sad. NY Lawmakers Vote to Block New York City's Plastic Bag Fee New York state lawmakers have voted to block the plastic bag fee passed by the City Council last year.   The 5-cent fee on single-use plastic shopping bags was set to kick in on Feb. 15 at retail stores in New York City, with retailers keeping the revenue from the fee.  But state lawmakers pushed their own bill to overrule the fee, despite local leaders urging them not to interfere with a local decision. The state Senate and Assembly announced Monday they worked out an agreement to halt the bag tax indefintely. It can now only be reauthorized by a new City Council whose members start their terms on or after Jan. 1, 2018, they say. (February 6, 2017) 4 NY NBC [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 2/07/2017 - If real estate moguls run for public office to save their properties, it only makes sense for scientists to run for public office to save their profession too. But, of course, this doesn’t make sense at all. Scientists need to be doing their job, especially when an expert understanding of our environment is critical. Not pounding the pavement trying to whip up support for science. Public office holders should be doing their jobs in such a way that that those doing other critical jobs don’t feel compelled to run for office also in order to save necessary disciplines for our way of life to work.  #ScienceMatters In Age of Trump, Scientists Show Signs of a Political Pulse Michael Eisen, an evolutionary biologist, is among the elite of American scientists, with a tenured position at the University of California, Berkeley, and generous funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute for his research on fruit flies. But late last month, dismayed over the Trump administration’s apparent disdain for evidence on climate change and other issues, Dr. Eisen registered the Twitter handle @SenatorPhD and declared his intention to run in the 2018 election for a seat in the United States Senate from California. His campaign slogan: “Liberty, Equality, Reality.” (February 6, 2017) New York Times

  • 2/07/2017 - Knock. Knock. “Anyone home?” “Hello, is anyone here?” “Just wanted to remind you, the Arctic is in crisis.” “Bye, bye, have a nice day.” The Winter of Blazing Discontent Continues in the Arctic Weird. Strange. Extreme. Unprecedented. These are some of the words that describe what’s been happening in the Arctic over the past year as surge after surge of warm air have stalled, and at times reversed, sea ice pack growth. And the unfortunate string of superlatives is set to continue this week. Arctic sea ice is already sitting at a record low for this time of year and a powerful North Atlantic storm is expected to open the flood gates and send more warmth pouring into the region from the lower latitudes. By Thursday, it could reach up to 50°F above normal. In absolute temperature, that’s near the freezing point and could further spur a decline in sea ice. (February 6, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/06/2017 - Is America right now in the process of dumbing-down science education in our schools? How mad is that? #ScienceMatters An ‘alternative facts’ South Dakota bill sparks fears for science education in the Trump era This is the text of S.B. 55 that just passed in the South Dakota Senate, which purports “to protect the teaching of certain scientific information.” BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF SOUTH DAKOTA: Section 1. That chapter 13-1 be amended by adding a NEW SECTION to read: No teacher may be prohibited from helping students understand, analyze, critique, or review in an objective scientific manner the strengths and weaknesses of scientific information presented in courses being taught which are aligned with the content standards established pursuant to § 13-3-48. It doesn’t mention any specific scientific subject, so what does it actually mean? The Argus Leader quoted Deb Wolf, a high school science instructional coach in the Sioux Falls School District, as saying the bill says that teachers can essentially teach what they want in science class as long as they do it in a certain way: “This is horrible, but let’s say I believe in eugenics.” S.B. 55 “says that I couldn’t be prohibited, I couldn’t be stopped from teaching that, as long as I did it in an objective scientific manner, and it doesn’t specify what that means.” (February 5, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 2/06/2017 - Do we want a bright future, or return to the dirty practices of the past that will jeopardize our future? #ScienceMatters Time passes. We Know What The Country Looks Like Without The EPA: Filthy Donald Trump and his administration may trash-talk environmental enforcers, but America looked a lot worse without them. Soon after the Environmental Protection Agency was created in 1970, it began a monumental project to photograph the United States, in all its industrial glory. The initiative, dubbed Documerica, employed more than 100 freelance photographers to capture “images relating to environmental problems, EPA activities, and everyday life.” From 1972 to 1977, they took more than 81,000 photos, many before the EPA instituted programs to clean up the country’s fouled landscapes, air and waterways.  “By the late 1960s, the American landscape was ravaged by decades of unchecked land development, blighted by urban decay in the big cities, and plagued by seemingly unstoppable air, noise, and water pollution,” C. Jerry Simmons, an archivist and historian at the National Archives in Washington, wrote in 2009. “The project takes rightful credit for the United States’ first serious examination of its rapidly decaying natural environment.” (January 24, 2017) The Huffington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/06/2017 - Just for the record NBC, scientists aren’t ‘mad’; they are ANGRY about Trump’s policies towards science #ScienceMatters Scientists are angry and willing to take actions because of the new administration’s MAD policies on science. Scientists Are Now Mad About Trump’s Policies and Taking Action They're usually more comfortable behind the scenes, working cautiously and pressing forward only step by step as they test and prove their ideas. But now, tens of thousands of scientists are mad. And biologists and physicists, botanists and physicians are taking action. The Trump administration's strict restrictions on immigration, declarations about climate change, reported overtures to an anti-vaccine activist and a pledge to repeal of the Affordable Care Act have turned some in the medical and science community into militants. (February 4, 2017) NBC News

  • 2/04/2017 - All candidates running for office in Rochester, NY, or anywhere else for that matter, should speak up to address Climate Change and provide real solutions as this candidate for Rochester City Council.  With its powerful Climate Action Plan, with Rochester being a Sanctuary City, with Rochester’s abundance of clean unFracked water, and so many environmental groups ready to lead on Climate Change, we are a city of the future. Rochester is a city where #ScienceMatters Rochester should choose clean energy Climate change can seem a nigh-unstoppable wave bearing down upon us, and it’s easy to feel powerless to make a difference. After all, not many of us can afford to buy a Toyota Prius or install a geothermal furnace. But a recent legislative change at the state level has allowed municipalities in New York to band together and use an entire region’s combined buying power to purchase energy. As discussed in Erica Bryant’s column on Jan. 20, it’s called Community Choice Aggregation (CCA), and it also allows the CCA to specify that their energy come from 100 percent renewable resources — be it wind power, solar energy, hydropower, or otherwise. (February 3, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/04/2017 - Could the recent increase in toxic mercury in Great Lakes fish and birds be caused by Climate Change demonstrating the deep complexity of this worldwide crisis? Our environment is complex and sensitive to changes and humanity has been insensitive to this truth about our life support system—believing for far too long that humanity is too small to have big impacts on our planet. Science has discovered otherwise. #ScienceMatters After decades of decreases, mercury rises in Great Lakes wildlife. Scientists are seeing an uptick of the legacy toxic in Great Lakes fish and birds. Warming waters are the suspected culprit. More coal will make it worse. Toxic mercury is once again increasing in some Great Lakes fish and birds after decades of consistent, promising reductions. Scientists are still trying to figure out what’s going on, but one of the suspected culprits in reversing decades of mercury reductions in wildlife is a climate change-induced increase in water temperatures. Mercury is a known toxic—in wildlife it impairs reproduction, growth, behavior, or just flat-out kills them.  The reports of increases are a surprise as there’s been steady progress on mercury since the 1970s. Fewer domestic coal plants, accountable for about half of U.S. mercury emissions, helped decrease pollution. From the 1970s to the early 2000s, Great Lakes wildlife saw regular, consistent reductions in mercury loads. But mercury travels the globe, and as coal has taken off in places such as Asia over the past 20 years so, too, has the atmospheric export of toxic mercury. Those additions have offset coal reductions in the U.S. and Europe. In addition, climate change is altering how legacy chemicals are stored, transformed and transported in land, water and air. (February 2, 2017) The Daily Climate [more on Wildlife and Climate Change and Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/04/2017 - Fracking ain’t over, even in New York State, until it’s over everywhere. GETTING FRACKED OVER — EVEN IF YOUR STATE DOESN'T DO IT The trucks came from West Virginia into neighboring Kentucky — down Interstate 64, as Huntington’s craggy tops faded, before heading south on Highway 89, or perhaps 82, where today the frosted hills melt into snow-splattered farmland. The convoy barreled through a 55 mph lane, past rusting Cat tractors, Baptist churches and a sign reading “Welcome to Estill County: Where the Bluegrass Kisses the Mountains.” After taking a left off the highway, upon reaching their destination at the landfill across the street from the high school, the trucks dropped off their precious cargo: 1,200 tons of radioactive waste. (February 3, 2017) OZY [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 2/03/2017 - Thanks to WXXI News for covering the rally in front of US Federal Building yesterday “calling for New York Senator Charles Schumer to show leadership in the fight against climate change.” Other media invited to cover this news, but they didn’t. So sad. For a video of main speech at this event, go here. | Rallies, protests continue locally in connection with recent actions by the Trump administration Groups opposed to recent executive orders and policies of President Donald Trump continue to make their voices heard at rallies and protests in Rochester. More than 60 protesters gathered Thursday afternoon outside the Federal Building calling for New York Senator Charles Schumer to show leadership in the fight against climate change. Specifically, many of the demonstrators are upset about President Trump’s pick to head the Environmental Protection Agency. They are worried Scott Pruitt will favor oil and gas companies at the expense of the environment. (February 3, 2017) WXXI News

  • 2/03/2017 - As humanity still wrestles with itself over what to do about Climate Change, the Arctic gets warmer and warmer. Time passes. #ScienceMatters ‘Beyond the extreme’: Scientists marvel at ‘increasingly non-natural’ Arctic warmth The Arctic is so warm and has been this warm for so long that scientists are struggling to explain it and are in disbelief. The climate of the Arctic is known to oscillate wildly, but scientists say this warmth is so extreme that humans surely have their hands in it and may well be changing how it operates. Temperatures are far warmer than ever observed in modern records, and sea ice extent keeps setting record lows. (February 1, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/03/2017 - On ice cover for the Great Lakes, this is the take-home message today, as it’s code for Climate Change: “The Great Lakes have been experiencing a downward trend in ice cover since 1973” #ScienceMatters Great Lakes Mostly Open Water This Winter Less Than 10 Percent Of The Great Lakes Covered In Ice The Midwest may be in the throes of winter, but most of the Great Lakes are open water. Right now, roughly 10 percent of the combined surface of the Great Lakes is covered in ice, according to George Leshkevich, research physical scientist for the Great Lakes Environmental Research Lab with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Great Lakes have been experiencing a downward trend in ice cover since 1973, according to Leshkevich. (February 1, 2017) Wisconsin Radio [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/03/2017 - Remember when the USA used to believe in Climate Change and when it openly admitted it would cooperate with the international community? Take a last look at what was once at the EPA and should be now: "As a party to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, the United States is committed to working with the international community to promote the convention’s key objective: stabilizing greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere at a level that prevents dangerous human-induced interference with the climate system. The United States is actively engaging with the international community to find solutions and promote global cooperation on climate change." EPA airbrushes climate webpage as Pruitt nears confirmation US federal environment agency has quietly removed a reference to UN climate cooperation from its website Scott Pruitt is on his way to approval as Donald Trump’s environment chief after Republican senators waved him through a committee vote on Thursday. The controversial choice, who as Oklahoma attorney general sued the Environmental Protection Agency he is about to lead, got through despite a Democrat boycott. He is expected to pass a full senate vote next week. Even before he takes up the position, mentions of climate cooperation have been scrubbed from the EPA website, in a clear signal of intent from the new US administration. (January 3, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/02/2017 - At noon today, in #RochesterNY, the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club and Rochester People’s Climate Coalition spoke at 'Resist Trump' Rally in front of the federal building to get Activists to Tell Senator Chuck Schumer to Fight White House’s Dangerous Agenda. Many came. #ScienceMatters. Watch video here.

  • 2/02/2017 - 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. 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]

  • 2/02/2017 - One of the Awlfullest things about “Trump's Big Ball of Awful” is the sweeping miasma of doubt that has come over the public’s respect for science. That US scientists must even consider a march for Science in Washington, DC in the coming days would have been unimaginable only weeks ago. But in Trump’s world, data and evidence that don’t fit his agenda is being scrubbed from federal websites and dismissed as a hoax. Back in the day, pre-Trumpian days, environmentalists and Climate Change communicators have had to continually defend science to accurately portray the human-caused warming of our planet. Facts and evidence were brought forward by both sides, challenged, and picked apart like foxes on chicken bones. But now, with anti-science given a political legitimacy since Trump’s election, science as the arbitrator for sensible discussions on Climate Change, ecosystem health, and future planning has been dealt a crippling blow. What distinguishes modern life from a time when life was "'Nasty, brutish and short” was humanity’s discovery of modern science and the scientific method. The measure of a man was his knowledge and respect for what humanity had collectively tested and found to be true. Now, in an instant, that great heritage of human accomplishment is being questioned and too often dismissed. So sad. #ScienceMatters Trump's Big Ball of Awful  The Trump administration also gagged employees at federal agencies, including scientists at the Environmental Protection Agency, National Parks Service, NASA, and the US Department of Agriculture. Trump hasn't made it clear whether this is a pause until his people take the helm, but the move alarmed agency staff and advocacy groups. All of those agencies have published important research and data on climate change, which Trump dismisses as a hoax despite overwhelming scientific proof that it's real, that human activity is driving it, and that it's an immediate threat. Trump's cabinet appointees are either dismissive of climate change or hostile toward climate science. And the administration has started scrubbing mentions of climate change from federal agency websites. (February 1, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/01/2017 - Back in the day, it was thought that we should only do a little bit to address Climate Change because too much effort might hurt our economy. Now, it looks like it’s too late. Whoops!  I’m thinking we should leave decisions as to whether we should address Climate Change to the scientists, not economists who are worried about a man-made system, not the 13 billion year old biological system we need to survive. Economist’s change of mind a worry for climate change Some people who study climate change believe that addressing it later — when economic growth has made humanity wealthier — would be better than taking drastic measures immediately. Now, though, one of this group’s most influential members appears to have changed his mind. In the early 1990s, Yale’s Professor William Nordhaus was among the first to examine the economics of reducing carbon emissions. (February 1, 2017) Today Online [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/01/2017 - The fox is now running the henhouse and is starting to gobble up the hens as quickly as it can. So sad. #ScienceMatters Congress can now start erasing some of Obama’s environmental rules. Here’s what they’re targeting. This week, Republicans in Congress may finally have the opportunity to begin dismantling a series of environmental rules finalized by the Obama administration. And they’re likely to initially target two controversial environmental regulations released in the closing months of 2016, which place greater restrictions on both the coal and the oil and gas industries.   The first is a regulation finalized in mid-November that seeks to curb fugitive methane emissions from oil and gas drilling operations on public lands. And the second, a last-minute rule adopted in December, prohibits coal-mining companies from engaging in any activities that could permanently pollute streams and other sources of drinking water. (January 30, 2017) Washington Post [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/01/2017 - World still plows on with the COP23 meeting in Bonn, attempting to address Climate Change, and hoping the US won’t leave the table. So sad. Just when we need to accelerate world effort, we are stepping on the brakes. #ScienceMatters Fiji says 2017 climate summit to focus on vulnerable nations Host of COP23 meeting in Bonn calls for a focus on delivering support to at-risk nations and crafting Paris Agreement rulebook Fiji will use this year’s UN climate summit to highlight the risks faced by low-lying countries in a warming world, its prime minister has said. The tiny Pacific Island state will host the 2017 meeting at the UN climate body’s headquarters in Bonn, Germany, where talks will continue on developing a set of rules for the 2015 Paris Agreement. “Our Presidency will keep the interests of all nations – including those that are low-lying and vulnerable – at the forefront of our negotiations,” Frank Bainimarama said. (January 31, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/31/2017 - Actually, I would expect that the Trump Wall would have a lot of wildlife victims due to loss of biodiversity and the prevention of many animals from adapting to Climate Change. #ScienceMatters. Wildlife, which keep our environment thriving, would be severely hampered by a wall 2,000 miles, 35 to 45 feet high. More importantly, those ecosystems being divided by such a structure would probably be in jeopardy. I know, to many people the environmental effects of the Trump Wall are the least of our worries, but actually they are not. Our life support system doesn’t take well to being carved up.  We need to give our environment top priority, especially during Climate Change. Trump's Wall Could Have Unexpected Victims: Wildlife President Donald Trump's wall may not only block humans from easily crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, but also wildlife whose homes straddle both countries, biologists tell Live Science. Some species that live along the border, including the Arroyo toad (Anaxyrus californicus) and black-spotted newt (Notophthalmus meridionalis), are already endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). (January 27, 2017) LIve Science [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/31/2017 - Climate Change information and data in US, Get Em while they're hot! #ScienceMatters If you’re too late, and our government successes in scrubbing the truth about Climate Change from its websites, here’s a vast collection of climate studies I’ve acquired over the years. Top download from any federal site right now is Park Service report on climate change The events of the past week have been worrying to advocates of government action on climate change, with the removal of climate priorities from the White House website, the order to freeze all Environmental Protection Agency contracts and the inauguration of a president who said he is “not a big believer” in the fact that humans have played a role in changing Earth's climate. But these events have also been very good for website traffic. According to data from analytics.usa.gov, which tracks Web traffic on all .gov websites, several pages related to climate change have been extremely popular in the week since President Trump's inauguration. (January 27, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 1/31/2017 - Kicking out some of our best and brightest scientists will not help the US address Climate Change. We should be smarting up, not dumbing down. #ScienceMatters Trump’s Immigration Ban Is Already Harming American Science Iranian scientists have been a major boon to everything from Mars exploration to Ebola-fighting to advanced mathematics. Samira Asgari had been preparing for the trip for months. She had just earned her Ph.D. from a Swiss university and was ready to start a postdoctoral fellowship at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, studying how a person’s genes affect our response to tuberculosis. But on Saturday morning, at Frankfurt Airport, she was intercepted by an American consulate, who stopped her from boarding her plane to Boston. “He said that it’s the U.S. government who issues the visa, and if they change their mind, the visa isn’t valid,” she says. They had indeed changed their mind. On Friday, President Trump signed an executive order banning citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries—Iraq, Iran, Syria, Somalia, Sudan, Libya, and Yemen—from entering America under any visa, for at least 120 days. Asgari, who is Iranian, was sent back to Switzerland. Having given up her apartment in anticipation of the move, she has nowhere to stay. To make matters worse, her luggage is missing. (January 29, 2017) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/31/2017 - Care about humanity, your life support system, and our warming world? Those could get you into trouble. #ScienceMatters Trump advisor: green movement a ‘threat to freedom’ Myron Ebell admits at a London event he has never met the US president1, but is confident US will pull out of Paris climate agreement Myron Ebell, advisor to US president Donald Trump on energy and climate change until 20 January, could not have been clearer. “The environmental movement is the greatest threat to freedom and prosperity in the modern world1,” he said, speaking in London at an event hosted by the Global Warming Policy Foundation, a climate sceptic think tank. Investors who have sunk billions into solar and wind energy are “gullible” he said, the science behind global warming is “vastly exaggerated”, the writing is on the wall for the UN’s climate body. (January 30, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change and Environmental Education in our area]

  • 1/31/2017 - Some believe that the best way to face Climate Change is to hide their face with their hands. But Peekaboo! Climate Change is true. #ScienceMatters U.S. will change course on climate policy, says former EPA transition head The United States will switch course on climate change and pull out of a global pact to cut emissions, said Myron Ebell, who headed U.S. President Donald Trump's Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) transition team until his inauguration. Ebell is the director of global warming and international environmental policy at the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a U.S. conservative think tank, and helped to guide the EPA's transition after Trump was elected in November until he was sworn in on Jan. 20. Trump, a climate skeptic, campaigned on a pledge to boost the U.S. oil and gas drilling and coal mining industries by reducing regulation. (January 30, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/31/2017 - Earthworms and Climate Change and droughts and food and floods, who knew? If humanity had checked to see how incredibly complicated and sensitive our planet’s biology was before they began a massive experiment of development, our life support system would not be in the precarious state it’s in today. Time passes. #ScienceMatters Earthworm numbers dwindle, threatening soil health Earthworms help recuperate soil and enrich it with much needed minerals. But environmentalists are concerned as earthworms have come under threat from intensive use of manure and acidic soil. Earthworms, it seems, are the unsung heroes of our world. Labeled slimy and disgusting by many, these lowly invertebrates work unseen and underground where they till, fertilize and improve soil. But environmentalists are concerned that industrial agricultural practices are making life difficult for this surprisingly important animal. (January 30, 2017) Deutsche Welle  [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 1/30/2017 - A waffling EPA is not a good thing for getting our #RochesterNY region’s #Brownfields cleaned up. #ScienceMatters | Impact of EPA freeze on Holley vacant homes One of several executive orders President Trump signed earlier this week included a freeze on the Environmental Protection Agency. That meant all contracts and grants being issued were put on hold. Now we're learning that freeze has been lifted. But people living in Holley are worried about the impact on a push to occupy eight vacant homes. As Rachel Spotts reports, we’re talking about the site of the Diaz Chemical spill back in 2002. After the spill, many neighbors left their homes, in fear they had been contaminated. A few years later, the EPA bought the abandoned homes, and neighbors say it’s been a battle ever since. (January 27, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Environmental Health and Brownfields in our area]

  • 1/30/2017 - Friends don’t let friends get muzzled on critical climate science. Thank you, Canada!  #ScienceMatters #ClimateChange | Canadian scientists offer support to muzzled US counterparts For nine years under Canada’s previous government, science suffered harsh restrictions. Now US scientists may be facing a similar fate Canadian scientists – who were muzzled for nearly a decade by the country’s previous Conservative government – have been making contact with their counterparts in the US to offer their support and solidarity amid mounting fears that Donald Trump’s presidency will seek to suppress climate science. For nine years, scientists with Canada’s federal government grappled with what many described as an all out assault on science. Scientific libraries were closed, programmes suffered drastic cutbacks while federal scientists were banned from talking to media on topics that ranged from snowflakes to salmon and even a 13,000-year-old flood. (January 27, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/30/2017 - In order to address Climate Change, we going to have to make sure that those people and ecosystems that need water get it. #WaterIsLife #ScienceMatters High and Dry: Climate Change, Water, and the Economy A new World Bank reports finds that water scarcity, exacerbated by climate change, could hinder economic growth, spur migration, and spark conflict. However, most countries can neutralize the adverse impacts of water scarcity by taking action to allocate and use water resources more efficiently. The World Bank [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/30/2017 - In order to address Climate Change on a scale and time frame that will matter, you have to say “Climate Change.” Climate Change is a human-caused worldwide crisis that needs specialized climate scientists, coordinated planning around the world, compensation so the developing world doesn’t develop the way the developed nations did, and a comprehensive understanding by the public so they will back projects and funding that will actually solve the problem. Calling Climate Change something else is denial. In America’s Heartland, Discussing Climate Change Without Saying ‘Climate Change’ Doug Palen, a fourth-generation grain farmer on Kansas’ wind-swept plains, is in the business of understanding the climate. Since 2012, he has choked through the harshest drought to hit the Great Plains in a century, punctuated by freakish snowstorms and suffocating gales of dust. His planting season starts earlier in the spring and pushes deeper into winter. To adapt, he has embraced an environmentally conscious way of farming that guards against soil erosion and conserves precious water. He can talk for hours about carbon sequestration — the trapping of global-warming-causing gases in plant life and in the soil — or the science of the beneficial microbes that enrich his land. In short, he is a climate change realist. Just don’t expect him to utter the words “climate change.” (January 28, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/28/2017 - Defining the right baseline for when humanity started to vastly increase greenhouse gas emissions does matter. We need to know as much as possible what was a ‘normal’ temperature for our environment (one suitable for our survival) and how hard we need to work to get our plant’s temperatures back to that point. I’m not a believer in a carbon budget, where humanity can agree on a certain amount of warming before we have to worry. A 1C rise in temperatures has already caused havoc and we don’t even know the long term effect on how just this slight increase will radiate through our environment.  Our climate was relative stable for 10,000 years in the Holocene and we should use that as a safe level, instead of recklessly assuming we have a lot of wiggle room on warming. How Close Is 1.5°C? Depends When You Measure From Most scientists studying global warming compare today’s temperatures to those of the late 19th century because that is as far back as quality temperature observations go. But a new study makes the case for a better comparison period, one that includes the warming that had already resulted by the middle of the 1800s and shows how close the world already is to breaching international warming targets. Under the landmark 2015 Paris Agreement, countries agreed to cut greenhouse gas emissions to keep global temperature rise “well below” 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels and limit it to 1.5°C (2.7°F) above that mark in order to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. But the agreement left undefined exactly what period is considered “pre-industrial.” (January 25, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/28/2017 - In a time of #ClimateChange defending #ScienceMatters matters more than ever. Don’t take misrepresentations of #ClimateFacts lying down. Get on a crane with a sign.  Protesters Hung a 'Resist' Banner on a Construction Crane Near the White House Protesters climbed a 270-foot construction site crane just blocks from the White House on Wednesday and unfurled an orange and yellow banner calling for resistance to President Donald Trump. Officers called to the construction site in downtown Washington found that three people had attached themselves to the crane and another four people joined them, Capt. Robert Glover of the Metropolitan Police Department's special operations division told reporters. The protesters told police they're conducting a First Amendment action, he said. (January 25, 2017) Time [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 1/28/2017 - Stopping food waste, where “More than a third of the food in the world is wasted… ” contains a moral imperative. Grant funds conference on reducing food waste More than a third of the food in the world is wasted, ending up in landfills where it generates methane and other greenhouse gas emissions. This loss translates into $1 trillion of food that is produced but never eaten every year. While the problem has been studied on a global scale, the role businesses play in reducing food waste will be the focus of a grant recently awarded by the Rockefeller Foundation to Mark Milstein, director of the Samuel Curtis Johnson Graduate School of Management’s Center for Sustainable Global Enterprise. The $280,000 grant will fund a two-day workshop for business leaders to explore strategies to reduce food waste and loss through new products and services. The workshop is tentatively scheduled for mid-2017 in New York City. (January 25, 2017) Cornell Cooperative [more on Food in our area]

  • 1/28/2017 - @ClimateCentral (#Climate100) who will “be tweeting facts, stories and videos that provide key scientific context of the choices humanity faces and what policy actions (or inactions) mean.” 100 Days of Climate Addressing climate change using sound science is crucial not just for the U.S., but for the world. Unfortunately, that appears unlikely over the next four years under the Trump administration, which has shown signs of being apathetic if not outright hostile to climate science and science-based policies to rein in carbon pollution. Trump has promised to rid the country of Obama’s climate policies while simultaneously propping up coal and oil, the two biggest energy sources of carbon pollution. That’s despite the fact that climate science indicates now is the time when more urgent action is needed to address climate change. With an anti-climate agenda likely in Trump’s first 100 days, Climate Central is going  to underscore the value of science and rational approaches to policy making over that span. We’ll be tweeting facts, stories and videos that provide key scientific context of the choices humanity faces and what policy actions (or inactions) mean. We’ll be chronicling them all right here, so check back every day to see what science tells us about our warming world and what we should be doing about it. (January 26, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/27/2017 - Actually, slashing the EPA’s size by about half would NOT be a good start. It would be like clearing out the hospital staff just before your operation. I guess, like it or not, we are going to test the looney hypothesis that the best way to make our way of life sustainable is to pull out all the environmental regulations, treat our environment as a garbage dump, and hope for the best. I’m not a scientist, but I’m thinking that is not going to work. Some crazy ideas you don’t even need to test. Gutting the EPA is a form of collective suicide. #sciencematters Official: Trump wants to slash EPA workforce, budget The former head of President Donald Trump's transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday he expects the new administration to seek significant budget and staff cuts. Myron Ebell said in an interview with The Associated Press that Trump is likely to seek significant reductions to the agency's workforce — currently about 15,000 employees nationwide. Ebell, who left the transition team last week, declined to discuss specific numbers of EPA staff that could be targeted for pink slips. Asked what he would personally like to see, however, Ebell said slashing the agency's size by about half would be a good start. (January 27, 2017) AP [more on Environmental Health and Brownfields and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 1/27/2017 - Remember back in the day when the EPA served the public and their life support system and not a crazy ideology? There was a time, not too long ago, where keeping our environment healthy and planning on a scale and time frame that would matter for addressing Climate Change was the priority of our leading environmental agency. Science does still matter. #ScienceMatters But because the public has failed to keep its eyes on the prize, sustainability that is. We have allowed our attention to be hijacked and put science on the defensive. Trump’s Team at EPA Vetting ‘Controversial’ Public Meetings and Presentations The mood is dark as Trump takes over the environmental agency he pledged to reduce to “little tidbits.” President Donald Trump long ago announced his provocative intentions for the Environmental Protection Agency, pledging during the campaign to get rid of the agency “in almost every form,” with only “little tidbits left.” So far, Trump’s remodeling efforts have been both dramatic (nominating Oklahoma attorney general and fossil-fuel ally Scott Pruitt to head the agency) and quietly tactical (freezing all EPA contracts and grants). On Tuesday, the new administration’s efforts to take hold of the EPA continued, this time with a memo from EPA headquarters requiring all regional offices to submit a list of “all external meetings or presentations by employees planned through February 17.” The memo demanded the offices provide a short description of each event and a note explaining “whether it is controversial and why.” (January 25, 2017) ProPublica [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 1/27/2017 - If we don’t build more large-scale wind farms, we are more likely to create more fossil fuel infrastructures. New York can be a leader on addressing Climate Change by increasing renewable energy sources. Because climate doubt is getting more entrenched into our US zeitgeist, it’s more unlikely that the public will just curb their use of energy just to save our way of living. #ClimateFacts Governor Cuomo Announces Approval of Largest Offshore Wind Project in the Nation 90 Megawatt Offshore Wind Farm 30 Miles Off the Coast of Long Island Will Create Jobs and Power 50,000 Long Island Homes with Clean, Resilient and Affordable Energy   Project is Part of Governor Cuomo’s Clean Energy Standard to Secure 50 Percent of the State's Electricity Supply from Renewable Sources by 2030 (January 25, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 1/27/2017 - As of yet, humanity has been unable to reproduce an ecology as perfect as a forest. So until we do, we should leave our forests to do what they do best. Millions of years of forest evolution are unraveling quickly into something else, something that won’t help us address Climate Change and live sustainably. Dramatic acceleration in loss of wild forest Almost 1 million square kilometres of natural forest disappeared between the year 2000 and 2013, along with its ability to absorb carbon and reduce warming. Here is how to turn a forest into a carbon-consuming machine that will help contain global warming. Leave it alone. Let it grow. Do not log it. It will sequester only so much carbon, but there are sure to be other benefits, according to some fresh thinking by a distinguished plant ecologist. And is the world listening? Probably not. The planet’s stock of natural wild woodland – the technical term is intact forest landscape – which protects biodiversity, stores carbon and manages the water supply, is dwindling. A new study calculates that the area of intact forest landscape shrank over the first 13 years of this century by almost 1 million square kilometres, and the rate of loss has accelerated dramatically in the most recent three years. (January 25, 2017) Science News Network [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/27/2017 - Freezing federal funds needed to clean up past industrial pollution is not sustainable. Many irresponsible industries have polluted our environment, our life support system, which has no capacity to cleanse itself of industrial waste. Pollution doesn’t just go away, it stays or goes someplace else (like into our streams and rivers and lakes after heavy rainfall) making more of our environment toxic. And, heavy precipitation events, causing flooding, has increased 71% since 1958 in our Northeast region—one of the signs of Climate Change locally. Back in the day, before Trump, cleaning up Brownfields was meager enough, now it threatens to be more so. EPA freeze could gum up Holley Superfund site, other projects A tiny local development corporation formed back in 2015 to help get eight vacant houses near a Superfund site in Holley, Orleans County back on the tax rolls is concerned that an edict from the Trump administration that freezes all grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, could create additional delays for their effort. (January 26, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 1/27/2017 - There are many reasons why we should not be resurrecting fossil fuel infrastructures like the XL Keystone, Pilgrim, or the Dakota Access, and this is just one of them: Spill Baby Spill. Check here for the List of pipeline accidents in the United States in the 21st century | 'It's A Big One': Iowa Pipeline Leaks Nearly 140,000 Gallons Of Diesel An underground pipeline that runs through multiple Midwestern states has leaked an estimated 138,000 gallons of diesel fuel, according to the company that owns it, Magellan Midstream Partners. Clay Masters of Iowa Public Radio reported diesel leaking from a 12-inch underground pipe was initially spotted in a farm field in north-central Worth County, Iowa, on Wednesday morning. Officials from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and Iowa Department of Natural Resources joined representatives of Magellan and other local officials at the site, Masters reported. "It's a big one — it's significant," Jeff Vansteenburg of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources told the Des Moines Register. (January 26, 2017) NPR [more on Energy in our area]

  • 1/26/2017 - Hard to believe centuries of science expertise and leadership in the US can unravel so quickly. We need to stop the great unraveling #sciencematters Gagged: US climate scientists face uncertain future Scientists are opening rogue twitter accounts as new president seeks to limit ability of scientists to share findings openly The free flow of information from US scientists in several federal agencies to the taxpayers who finance their research could soon stop, less than one week after Donald Trump’s inauguration. He has described climate change as “a hoax”. Reuters news agency has reported from Washington that the new president’s team has told the Environmental Protection Agency to remove the climate change page from its website. Reuters says two EPA employees told it they were notified on 24 January that the team had instructed the Agency’s communications unit to remove the page, which contains links to scientific global warming research and detailed data on emissions. (January 26, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/26/2017 - Get critical information on Climate Change from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) while it lasts here. It’s all laid out nicey, nicey so everyone can understand this planetary warming caused by our actions, backed by climate science. Especially, view and download the 2016 edition of Climate Change Indicators in the United States. Read my essay: “Get EPA’s climate indicators 2016 while you can” (December 19, 2016).  Trump officials suspend plan to delete EPA climate web pages Trump administration officials appear to have walked back plans to scrub climate change references from U.S. EPA's website. "We've been told to stand down," an EPA employee told E&E News today. That new directive comes after staff were told yesterday to remove the agency's climate change page from its website, worrying climate change activists and sending data specialists scrambling to download files. The backlash that erupted after reports surfaced last night that the climate page would be eliminated may have prompted administration officials to change course. News of the plans was first reported last night by Reuters. EPA's press office did not respond to requests for comment today. (January 25, 2017) Science Magazine [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/25/2017 - I don’t think mudpuppies are secretive or elusive: It’s our attitude that makes them seem so to us. If we put our environment as our highest priority, we would have long ago found out about the role of mudpuppies and many other animal and plant life in helping us determine how our development was affecting our life support system. We should stop being surprised every time a scientist goes out and finds a creature that is telling us humanity has been trashing the place. We should instead be proactively scrutinizing our footprints on our environment by monitoring all plant and animals life to help us determine what pollution and warming up the planet are doing. It is unlikely, for example, that dumping PCB’s and lead and trash, and pesticides are good for our environment, or that our environment can deal with this stuff. Back in the day, we should have used the Precautionary Principle in how we treated our environment. But we didn’t. And now we are discovering that many creatures whose existence and role in our environment we didn’t bother ourselves to find out about are telling us we screwed up. We need to change our attitude and assume we did and are still doing a lot of environmental damage and then changing our collective behavior so we don’t do that anymore. Time passes. Secretive amphibian can provide pollution clues A joint research team from Southern Illinois University and Shedd Aquarium in Chicago has recently taken on the mystery of the elusive mudpuppy. Their study, published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research in December, provides some answers. The mudpuppy is a fully-aquatic salamander thought to be on the decline–though the extent of that decline is unknown. The foot-long amphibians are classified a “threatened species” in the state of Illinois and considered a concern throughout the Great Lakes region. (January 24, 2017) Great Lakes Echo [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 1/25/2017 - Take ACTION for our climate: 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]

  • 1/25/2017 - Back in the day, groups of the Sierra Club like the Rochester Regional Group sent busloads of us concerned folks to stop that dirty, planet polluting oil pipeline years ago. This XL Keystone Pipeline is just as bad a project as it was before. Looks like we’ll have go back and stop it again. #KeepItInTheGround  I had written some articles on this Keystone thing back in the day and they are still pertinent: “Jobs vs. our Environment – Wrong characterization of Tar Sands Action” and “Leaving from Rochester, NY to Washington, DC on Nov. 6th for Environmental Change – got 10 bucks? | Trump Revives Keystone Pipeline Rejected by Obama President Trump sharply changed the federal government’s approach to the environment on Tuesday as he cleared the way for two major oil pipelines that had been blocked, and set in motion a plan to curb regulations that slow other building projects. In his latest moves to dismantle the legacy of his predecessor, Mr. Trump resurrected the Keystone XL pipeline that had stirred years of debate, and expedited another pipeline in the Dakotas that had become a major flash point for Native Americans. He also signed a directive ordering an end to protracted environmental reviews. (January 24, 2017) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/25/2017 - Like our fantastic flying machines, when you put our environmental regulations and monitoring in a holding pattern, at some point very soon, things fall down. Humanity has so disturbed our life support system with our development—creating and maintaining our infrastructures, pollution from our way of living, mining, using our ecosystems as our dumping grounds (including our air)—that we must monitor and regulate our human footprints very carefully. Or, our environment, which was not designed for 7 billion people and their stuff, will soon get toxic to even ourselves. Time passes. Trump Administration Imposes Freeze On EPA Grants and Contracts The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration has imposed a freeze on grants and contracts by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, a move that could affect a significant part of the agency’s budget allocations and even threaten to disrupt core operations ranging from toxic cleanups to water quality testing, according to records and interviews. In one email exchange obtained by ProPublica on Monday, an EPA contracting officer concluded a note to a storm water management employee this way: “Right now we are in a holding pattern. The new EPA administration has asked that all contract and grant awards be temporarily suspended, effective immediately. Until we receive further clarification, this includes task orders and work assignments.” (January 23, 2017) ProPublica [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 1/25/2017 - Back in the day, before the Zebra Mussels invaded our local lakes, we knew they were coming and thought they were inevitable. Of course, the Zebra Mussels invasion wasn’t inevitable when you think about it. However prolific and numerous, Zebra Mussels cannot fly. These kind of very invasive species, unlike the Asian Carp, don’t eventually swim into our lakes; they are brought to our lakes somehow. Probably boat owners who take their boats from one body of water to another—without inspecting and cleaning them. Humanity is spreading Invasive Species like crazy because we travel around so much. If we take the attitude that Invasive Species are inevitable and we cannot do anything about them, our ecosystems—our lakes, forests, wetlands, and all those organs of our environment that keep us alive and thriving—will be at risk. Environmental collapse doesn’t have to be inevitable; but it will be if we collectively don’t change our attitudes. Soon. Shells spell distress  Much of the sand at Ontario Beach is currently covered in grey and white shells. They're everywhere; it's like walking on a carpet of walnuts. The shells are from dead zebra mussels, an invasive species that first appeared in Lake Ontario in the late 1980's. (Some are also, more than likely, shells from the similar quagga mussel.) They aren't just a Rochester problem; similar piles of shells have washed up on the lake's beaches in other parts of the state. (January 25, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Great Lakes and Zebra Mussels in our area]

  • 1/24/2017 - Climate Change will bring in more dramatic lake-effect snow into our region—until it doesn’t. Due to the changes in our climate, “cold air crossing over a relatively warmer lake surface …” our snow storms could get more pronounced because of the Arctic air pushed our way by a warming Arctic. However, because the trajectory of global warming is to warm things up, eventually there won’t be a whole lot of cold air crossing over warmer lakes. It’ll all be warm. And when a warmer, less ice-covered Great Lakes goes into effect, massive water evaporation will occur resulting in profound ecological changes and lower lake levels. All this is contained in climate studies for our region.   Climate Change Could Bring More Lake-Effect Snow – For a Few Decades Lake-effect snow occurs every winter downwind of the Great Lakes and several other large bodies of water, as long as the necessary conditions are met: cold air crossing over a relatively warmer lake surface, which picks up moisture to condense into clouds and dumps heavy snow downwind of the lakes. But as the Earth's climate changes, how much longer will these ingredients continue to come together? The Great Lakes are known for their amazing lake-effect snowfall records, including a 10-day period from Feb. 3-12, 2007, when an incredible 141 inches of snow were measured in the town of Redfield, New York, about 50 miles northeast of Syracuse in the Tug Hill Plateau, east of Lake Ontario. (January 21, 2017) The Weather Channel [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/24/2017 - Our Northeast forests, a major ecosystem for our region, are going to be profoundly influenced by Climate Change. This is not just a concern for foresters. When you quickly change the dynamics of forests, you change the soil, the water, plants, and animals, and even microclimates because of changes in how water moves through the system. In fact, forests provide so many environmental services for us that it’s absurd to even frame our environment, our life support system, as a service provider. Only economists think of our environment as a feature in their economic models—and usually as an externality at that. Global Warming Hits Great Lakes Forests Warmer weather, more drought will impact ecosystem, huge forestry industry. Great Lakes forests will get warmer and suffer more frequent short-term droughts, scientists say. “We know climate change is going to really stress these systems in ways they haven’t been stressed in the last several thousand years,” said Stephen Handler, a climate change specialist with the U.S. Forest Service. How trees will respond to such different growing conditions is unknown. But experts say they can’t wait to find out. “You don’t wait until the car has already gone over the cliff,” Handler said. “You hit the brakes when you can. You steer and find a better way around the cliff.” Handler is among the researchers who are taking the wheel. They are already figuring out what forest managers can do to mitigate potentially devastating impacts. (January 22, Urban Milwaukee [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change and Plants in our area]

  • 1/24/2017 - Not all our government officials believe they have the luxury of avoiding Climate Change. Many governors and mayors know the science behind Climate Change and understand their obligation to protect their constituents. Climate Change is not political; hurricanes and droughts don’t put their fingers in the air trying to measure the political zeitgeist for planning and taking action on the crisis of our times. Mayor Walsh vists DC and says he worries about healthcare and climate under Trump Boston Mayor Marty Walsh said Thursday the repeal of the Affordable Care Act and a rollback of environmental efforts are his biggest concerns as Donald Trump takes office. Walsh, who was in Washington for the US Conference of Mayors, said the Trump administration poses serious threats to the progress made on these issues under President Barack Obama. But, he said the conversations he had with other mayors this week were helpful in preparing for the changes. In addition to healthcare and the environment, the mayors discussed policing, terrorism and immigration, Walsh said. Although he was invited to Trump’s inauguration, Walsh said he would not be attending, as he was traveling back to Boston on Thursday night. He said his decision was not a protest, but rather due to scheduling, adding that he’s never attended a presidential swearing-in. Representatives Katherine Clark and Michael Capuano of Massachusetts both announced they would skip the inauguration in protest of Trump’s comments. (January 19, 2017) Boston Globe [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/24/2017 - Hard to understand why governments would want to bury their own Climate Change reports when they are going to be held accountable for addressing Climate Change. Governments are the insurers of last resort, they provide large-scale emergency care, police protection, they are ultimately responsible for the public health, and they run nations infrastructures. So if governments don’t plan and inform their citizens of the consequences of Climate Change, especially from the finding of their own reports, governments only ratchet up the dangers and threats of Climate Change consequences. Which is to say, Climate Change will be far more expensive by not addressing it than doing so in a timely manner. You can’t bury Climate Change in file cabinet because Climate Change is to too big. It’s physics, stupid! Government 'tried to bury' its own alarming report on climate change Exclusive: The five-yearly assessment of what will happen to the UK as the world warms says one of an array of potential threats is the ‘significant risk’ to supplies of food The Government has been accused of trying to bury a major report about the potential dangers of global warming to Britain – including the doubling of the deaths during heatwaves, a “significant risk” to supplies of food and the prospect of infrastructure damage from flooding. The UK Climate Change Risk Assessment Report, which by law has to be produced every five years, was published with little fanfare on the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs’ (Defra) website on 18 January. But, despite its undoubted importance, Environment Secretary Andrea Leadsom made no speech and did not issue her own statement, and even the Defra Twitter account was silent. No mainstream media organisation covered the report. (January 23, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/23/2017 - The “An anti-environment agenda” article is an excellent appraisal of where we are now on environmental issues. To many, many scientists it must seem like we’ve entered into an absurd world where we must fight amongst ourselves to protect our environment, address Climate Change, and defend science itself in the most advanced country in the world. The push-back against living sustainably and keeping our growth in check is butting up against the limitations of physics, politics, and civil discourse. We should have gotten out priorities straight, where anything you want to do is not going to happen if we don’t adapt to Climate Change, long ago. But we didn’t. We’ve doubled-down on climate denial under the irrational assumption that our way of life has more clout than Mother Nature.  It doesn’t; Mother Nature (biological, chemical, physics laws and ecosystem science) rules. The procrastination penalty for not heeding the environmental warnings of environmental stress and Climate Change will most likely be analogous to ignoring the signs of cancer in our own bodies. You can fool yourself for only so long. Time passes. Our anti-inaugural  An anti-environment agenda President-elect Trump talks about the war on coal as if it's a bad thing, wants to withdraw the US from international climate action efforts, and picked oil industry execs and their statehouse lackeys for key cabinet posts. During the campaign, Trump pledged to unleash domestic gas and oil production while reviving the coal industry. He vowed to eliminate, roll back, or cripple Obama administration programs and regulations intended to cut climate-altering carbon emissions. And he said he'd approve the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines. And let's not forget that Trump once called global warming a hoax invented by the Chinese. He's unwilling to accept the overwhelming scientific consensus that human-influenced climate change is real and an urgent problem. (January 18, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/23/2017 - Basically, when there is more energy from the sun coming into our planet than leaves, the place warms up. When we put more heat-trapping gasses into our atmosphere, which we are, more heat gets trapped and our climate system responds quickly to this imbalance. That’s the relatively simple part about Climate Change; the rest is complicated because we never warmed up our planet so quickly with so many people on it and so much of our vital infrastructure threatened. We must plan quickly to adapt to Climate Change because there’s much ahead to get ready for, including educating the public so they’ll back government adaptive initiatives. The more quickly we plan, the more likely we will be able to plan with Climate Justice baked into our actions. And the more we drag our feet and deny Climate Change, the more likely disadvantaged communities here and around the world will get screwed. Of course, if we don’t plan, everyone, rich and poor, will get screwed. Time passes. Global warming never 'paused' and could soon accelerate, warns Nasa scientist Dr Gavin Schmidt, director of Nasa’s Goddard Institute of Space Studies, describes suggestions that climate change had slowed down or stopped as ‘delusional’ and ‘bunk’ The idea that global warming “paused” has been comprehensively refuted by the record warm temperatures over the last three years – and the rate of increase could soon start to accelerate, a leading Nasa scientist has warned. (January 20, 2017) Independent [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/23/2017 - In order to address Climate Change we are going to have to understand “plant-soil feedback mechanism”, how mycorrhizal fungi and trees get along. This is a complex relationship, vital to their and our way of life, and there is a lot we don’t know about this system. How Plant-Soil Feedback Affects Ecological Diversity Researchers examine how underground microbes and nutrients affect plant populations. Plant-soil feedback is the idea that as plants grow in soil, they change the soil, and that the soil in turn affects their growth. When the soil surrounding a given plant promotes the growth of conspecific plants, plant-soil feedback is positive. But when the soil discourages the growth of conspecific plants, the feedback is negative. In independent studies published in Science today (January 12), researchers examined how mycorrhizal fungi—which live in and around plant roots and help plants gather nutrients—affect plant population diversity. Both groups used greenhouse experiments to model plant-soil feedback, examining plants with different microbial symbioses and nutrient-gathering strategies. François Teste of the University of Western Australia and IMASL-CONICET/UNSL in San Luis, Argentina, and colleagues used their resulting data to predict how plant-soil feedback relationships might affect plant diversity in the long run. Meantime, Jonathan Bennett of the University of British Columbia, Canada, and colleagues tested their greenhouse study findings in the field. (January 13, 2017) The Scientist [more on Climate Change and Plants in our area]

  • 1/21/2017 - Humanity seems particularly vulnerable to the shifting baseline syndrome (a sort of environmental amnesia) where many folks tend to think Climate Change is true every time it gets warm and false every time it gets cold. If this is true, how many people will forget that the US federal government backed the scientific findings behind Climate Change now that the new administration seems hell bent on sowing climate denial? Can we really begin to believe that Climate Change isn’t urgent, true, and not worth bothering our pretty little heads about? Time passes.  It’s happening: Climate change starts disappearing from government websites.   Before the inauguration was even over, the Trump administration was already purging whitehouse.gov, as Climate Central’s Brian Kahn discovered: Instead, we have An America First Energy Plan, which only refers to climate change in the context of rolling back the “burdensome regulations on our energy industry”: (January 20, 2017) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/21/2017 - Not just Toronto, which is just across Lake Ontario from Rochester, but all communities must prepare for Climate Change. In order for communities to become more resilient to the extreme changes coming with Climate Change, each should have a particular plan tailored to the challenges coming their way. Rochester is completing its Climate Action Plan soon. Why Toronto Should Become More Climate Change Resilient Climate change is already well underway, but with some smart choices Toronto can mitigate the impact. The future could get a whole lot hotter. Imagine it’s 2040, and the daily temperature reaches a high of 44°C. This isn’t idle speculation—it’s what is projected for Toronto, according to a staff report [PDF]. But climate change isn’t just a threat that exists in the distant future. In reality, the effects of global warming are already plainly apparent across the Greater Toronto Area, and call for immediate action. We need only look back to 2013 as a reminder that our typically moderate climate is not immune to the extreme weather associated with climate change: On July 8 of that year, a month’s worth of rain fell on the city in a matter of hours. Five months later, an ice storm rocked Toronto, leaving some residents without power for 12 days, and cost $106 million to clean up. (January 19, 2017) TorontoIST [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/21/2017 - Our friends over at the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) remain steadfast on addressing Climate Change in Rochester, NY. Good article at a critical moment on how the RPCC, an umbrella organization for over 100 groups, intends on taking action to address Climate Change at the local level. Rochester Climate Coalition unbowed by Trump's planned changes This was not a good week for the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition. On Wednesday scientists reported that the Earth had hit its highest recorded temperature for the third year in a row. On Friday the United States inaugurated a president who calls climate change a hoax and has vowed to roll back federal efforts to limit greenhouse gas. RPCC leaders who met on Thursday morning were trying to stay upbeat. (January 20, 2017) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - 2016 was the #HottestYear on record. 2017 is the year to really, really #ActOnClimate. 2016: The Hottest Year on Record Published on Jan 18, 2017 NASA and NOAA have declared 2016 the hottest year on record. There was some positive climate news in 2016, but it was also a year of dangerous climate impacts. (January 18, 2017) Nexus Media Studios [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - The reality is that Climate Change is happening now and we need to address it on a scale and time frame that will matter. Time passes. Global Warning: 24 hours on the climate change frontline as Trump becomes president – as it happened With climate change deniers moving into the White House, the Guardian is spending 24 hours focusing climate change happening now. After reporting from Europe, Africa, the Middle East and the Americas, we’re now focusing on how warming temperatures will affect the Asia-Pacific region  • Our partner, Univision News, is hosting a parallel event in Spanish today. Follow it here  • The Tumblr community is joining us with personal posts about climate change. See them here We’re just a few hours from Donald Trump being inaugurated as the president of the United States, and we’re signing off from our 24-hour Global Warning live blog: a marathon effort from our Guardian offices in London, New York and Sydney, as well as our correspondents dotted around the globe. What we’ve seen, as we’ve travelled around the world, is that regardless of what climate deniers (yes, deniers) like Trump may say about the science, the stark reality is that it is happening now. (January 20, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - Friends don’t let friends go extinct. Our fellow primate species, as are thousands of species, are threatened by our way of life and our Climate Change. “The Sixth Great Extinction Is Underway—and We’re to Blame” (July 25, 2014 – Time) Most Primate Species Threatened With Extinction, Scientists Find Our fellow primates are in trouble. In a study of unprecedented scope, a team of 31 primatologists has analyzed every known species of primate to judge how they are faring. The news for man’s closest animal relatives is not good. Three-quarters of primate species are in decline, the researchers found, and about 60 percent are now threatened with extinction. From gorillas to gibbons, primates are in significantly worse shape now than in recent decades because of the devastation from agriculture, hunting and mining. (January 18, 2017) New York Times [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - At 1.1C of warming now, where 1.5C will be hell for developing nations, it’s time for the developed nations to step off the gas and step up the Green Climate Fund. World’s poorest urge G20 to make long-term climate plans Chair of Climate Vulnerable Forum looks to Merkel for leadership as developing countries try to ratchet up pressure on wealthy nations That’s the demand from a coalition of 43 of the poorest and most climate vulnerable countries ahead of July’s G20 summit in Hamburg. They want governments from the wealthy Group of 20 to start work on long term plans to ditch fossil fuels ahead of a UN climate policy review in 2018. “Chancellor Merkel now should convince as many of her G20 partners as possible to develop and submit their national 2050 strategies by 2018, in order to inform the global stock take and enable a lifting up of ambitions,” says the open letter to the German leader. (January 19, 2017) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/20/2017 - Remember when we never heard about the goings on at the Arctic in our media? Now, because of Climate Change, the amount of ice and heat at this major part of our planet makes continual news. It’s critical that we keep our eye on the Arctic and we probably should have been doing so decades ago. Warm Air Invades Arctic Again, Slowing Sea Ice Growth A surge of warm air and stormy weather has once again invaded the Arctic, sending temperatures soaring and stagnating winter sea ice growth. These repeated incursions have helped keep sea ice area at record low levels for much of the freeze season, and have even contributed to an exceptional cold season retreat. These recent record lows are part of a clear downward spiral of Arctic sea ice caused by regional temperature rise that is happening at twice the global pace, fueled by continued greenhouse gas emissions. 2016, the hottest year on record for the planet, was something of an exclamation point on that Arctic trend, with seven months of record low sea ice levels, as well as record high air temperatures in the region. (January 19, 2017) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2017 - And now a word on “Global Temperature in 2016” from climate expert, author, and activist Dr. James Hansen Missed Dr. Hansen’s talk in Rochester, NY on April 21st at Monroe County Community College during Earth Week 2015? Watch the entire speech, with introduction by Dr. Susan Spencer. Very high quality video.  Global Temperature in 2016 Abstract.  Global surface temperature in 2016 was the highest in the period of instrumental measurements.  Relative to average temperature for 1880-1920, which we take as an appropriate estimate of “pre-industrial” temperature, 2016 was +1.26°C (~2.3°F) warmer than in the base period.  The 2016 temperature was partially boosted by a 2015-16 El Niño, which was almost as strong as the 1997-98 “El Niño of the century”.  We estimate current global temperature excluding short-term variability as +1.07°C relative to 1880-1920, based on linear fit to post-1970 global temperatures. Update of the GISS (Goddard Institute for Space Studies) global temperature analysis (GISTEMP)[i],[ii] (Fig. 1a), finds 2016 to be the warmest year in the instrumental record.  (More detail is available at here; figures in this summary are available from Makiko Sato on the latter web site.)  For the second year in a row the prior record was broken by a substantial margin.  2015 and 2016 annual temperatures were, in part, boosted by the 2015-16 El Niño.  Because of the delayed global response to the natural El Niño/La Niña variability,[iii] it is likely that the 2017 global temperature will fall below that of 2016, as discussed below. (January 18, 2017) Climate Science, Awareness and Solutions, Earth Institute Columbia University (more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2017 - Important newsletter from our friends over at the Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC)  RPCC News, vol. 8: Now's the Time to Get Involved! "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. "

  • 1/19/2017 - That humanity started seriously warming up Earth’s atmosphere around the mid-1800’s is being verified and verified around the world. Most of the human-caused greenhouse gasses that have already warmed our atmosphere to 1C was put there by US, the developed nations, which means we have a moral obligation to help the developing nations with a planetary problem we caused. Tibetan Tree Rings Trace Climate Change to 1870s A new study shows that temperatures have been rising since the industrial revolution. Climate change has made the Tibetan Plateau warmer than ever, according to meteorological records from as early as the 1950s. Now, researchers have found evidence that the rise in temperatures may have actually been underway since the industrial revolution. In a report published Wednesday in the science journal Nature Communications, researchers studied tree rings and found that climate change affected the sparsely populated plateau as early as the 1870s. Scientists from China and Europe analyzed samples taken from 153 Picea balfouriana trees, a type of spruce, which grow at altitudes of more than 4,000 meters above sea level and can live for more than 300 years. The researchers studied the width and density of the trees’ rings to calculate the seasonal temperature during the formation of each ring. (January 18, 2017) Sixth Tone [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/19/2017 - Oftentimes, writers, reporters, educators, and scientists refer to Climate Change as an existential problem. Here’s what they mean by that “In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization.” Time passes. Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year Marking another milestone for a changing planet, scientists reported on Wednesday that the Earth reached its highest temperature on record in 2016, trouncing a record set only a year earlier, which beat one set in 2014. It is the first time in the modern era of global warming data that temperatures have blown past the previous record three years in a row. The findings come two days before the inauguration of an American president who has called global warming a Chinese plot and vowed to roll back his predecessor’s efforts to cut emissions of heat-trapping gases. In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization. (January 18, 2017) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - Dream Bikes in Rochester sounds like a wonderful program because bicycling, instead of using gas-guzzling vehicles, really does help our environment, promote good health, and in this case helps the lives of our Rochesterians. Transportation is responsible for 27% of our greenhouse gas emissions, so the more we can get folks to use active transportation (walking and bicycling) the better we can address Climate Change. Rochester steps up to the plate on addressing Climate Change with Dream Bikes”. Bike shop peddles opportunity BIcycles are a socially conscious form of transportation. They aren't as personally isolating as cars, they're better for the environment, and they're accessible to a broader range of people. Bicycles can also improve lives. That's the idea behind Dream Bikes, a nonprofit shop that opened this month at 1060 University Avenue. The shop's inventory of bikes, bike components, tires, cycling clothing, and gear is largely used, but there's more to the operation than what it sells. (January 18, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - In order to address Climate Change, developed nations must contribute to the Green Climate Fund so that developing nations don’t trash our climate by developing the way we did. Most of the human-emitted greenhouse gasses that warmed our planet to 1C since the mid-1800’s, where we are already experiencing extreme weather and more, came from the developed nations like ours. We developed nations not only have a moral responsibility to contribute to the Green Climate Fund, we must do so in our own interests so that the developing nations use renewable energy and quickly use the best agricultural and technology to live sustainably—so that our planet doesn’t warm more. Time passes. U.S. makes $500 million grant to climate change fund: State Department The United States has made a $500 million grant to the Green Climate Fund, meant to help developing nations combat climate change, the State Department said on Tuesday. (January 17, 2017) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - When our region’s major e-waste recycler is able to recycle more e-waste that is good for all of us. E-waste is a major source of pollution and it is now illegal in New York State for even homeowners to curb their e-waste where it goes into landfills. Check out “Electronic Waste Recycling” from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. | Sunnking's new equipment to boost profitability Brockport-based Sunnking Inc. has purchased new equipment to help the firm become more efficient in dealing in end-of-life electronic equipment, officials said.  The company moved to a new 204,000 square-foot facility in November. “End-of-life electronics and equipment are a growing global concern,” CEO Duane Beckett said. “We are excited about our new equipment because it helps us accomplish our mission to provide superior asset management and recovery services. We use proven reuse and recycling techniques that maximize asset value and promote environmental sustainability, while meeting data sanitation requirements of our clients.” (January 17, 2017) Rochester Business Journal [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - In order to address Climate Change, it’s important that we be able to monitor our own greenhouse gasses emission—even in our homes. Feedback, in this case, information about how our behavior is affecting our planet, is crucial so we can live sustainably in a time of warming. Check out this great webinar and find out how our homes can be a part of the worldwide effort to get our greenhouse gas emissions down.  “Wouldn’t it be great to understand a home’s energy efficiency like a car’s miles per gallon? This Climate Smart Communities (CSC) webinar will describe a voluntary program in Tompkins County where homeowners would get an “energy score” for their home that could be shared with prospective buyers, tenants, or other interested parties. A home energy score is a succinct summary of the energy efficiency and physical structure of a residential building.” Residential Energy Score Project – A Model for Advancing Energy Efficiency – A Climate Smart Communities Webinar Thursday, February 9, 2017 at 10:30 AM - 12:00 PM Wouldn’t it be great to understand a home’s energy efficiency like a car’s miles per gallon? This Climate Smart Communities (CSC) webinar will describe a voluntary program in Tompkins County where homeowners would get an “energy score” for their home that could be shared with prospective buyers, tenants, or other interested parties. A home energy score is a succinct summary of the energy efficiency and physical structure of a residential building. The Residential Energy Score Project seeks to create strong market demand for energy efficiency in existing houses and, by extension, to reduce utility costs for homeowners, to increase energy literacy, and to help promote sustainability goals. Please provide us with your name and community affiliation, either via email or telephone to the Office of Climate Change at climatechange@dec.ny.gov or 518-402-8448. In the event that we cancel or postpone this webinar, respondents will be notified. (January 17, 2017) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/18/2017 - In order to address Climate Change, we must grow many more trees, not cut them down. We should especially be setting aside large areas of pristine forests, which have not been disturbed by human development and severed by trails and roads. Forest are carbon sinks and the keepers of biodiversity. Forests are an ecosystem whose entire nature we do not yet know about, though there are studies that suggest forest are like a large communicating hive of life, far more sensitive to disturbances than we ever thought. Check out this great book: “The Hidden Life of Trees: What They Feel, How They Communicate-Discoveries from a Secret World” by Peter Wohlleben and a review of this book in the NYT: German Forest Ranger Finds That Trees Have Social Networks, Too (NYT, January 2016). Humans have destroyed 7% of Earth’s pristine forest landscapes just since 2000 The world’s natural places are disappearing at a galloping clip, says a new study, released Friday in the journal Science Advances. It suggests that more than 7 percent of Earth’s natural, intact forest landscapes have been lost since 2000 — and these ecosystems may be in danger of disappearing entirely from at least 19 countries in the next 60 years. These landscapes represent some of “the last portions of the Earth that are not significantly affected by human influence,” said Lars Laestadius, a forest expert, consultant on natural resources policy and co-author of the new study. “As we lose these, we lose something that is bigger than ourselves.” (January 13, 2017) The Washington Post [more on Plants in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - A sizeable part of our world’s ecosystem (Japan's biggest coral reef) is failing because of human-caused global warming. This event may be happening on the other side of the world, but your ox is being gored. When major ecosystems are failing because of Climate Change, we and all who might come after us will feel the pain. Time passes. Almost 75% of Japan's biggest coral reef has died from bleaching, says report Coral in the Sekisei lagoon in Okinawa has turned brown and is covered with algae, according to a government study Almost three-quarters of Japan’s biggest coral reef has died, according to a report that blames its demise on rising sea temperatures caused by global warming. The Japanese environment ministry said that 70% of the Sekisei lagoon in Okinawa had been killed by a phenomenon known as bleaching. Bleaching occurs when unusually warm water causes coral to expel the algae living in their tissues, causing the coral to turn completely white. Unless water temperatures quickly return to normal, the coral eventually dies from lack of nutrition. (January 11, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - It shouldn’t be “amazing!” when our leaders finally get around to addressing water quality issues that have gotten so bad they are unavoidable. If our leaders and our media were on the ball, things like this would not have happened in the first place: “Raw sewage in Scajaquada Creek near the Buffalo History Museum. Manure and pesticides in Chautauqua Lake.  Elevated levels of lead in drinking water in schools and homes. Floatable debris polluting beaches and even Canalside.” Our expectations of our media and our leaders are so low when it comes to our environment, our life supports system, we are agog when they do their freaking job. Cuomo's $2 billion clean water push called 'amazing' Raw sewage in Scajaquada Creek near the Buffalo History Museum. Manure and pesticides in Chautauqua Lake. Elevated levels of lead in drinking water in schools and homes. Floatable debris polluting beaches and even Canalside. Raw sewage in Scajaquada Creek near the Buffalo History Museum. Manure and pesticides in Chautauqua Lake. Elevated levels of lead in drinking water in schools and homes. Floatable debris polluting beaches and even Canalside. ADVERTISEMENT Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo said he wants to address problems like these with a $2 billion proposal to improve water quality in the Buffalo Niagara region and the rest of New York State. Part of the money would be spent on projects beyond gray infrastructure – like replacing water and sewer lines and expanding wastewater plants – and instead pay for ways to prevent water pollution in the first place, proponents said. (January 17, 2017) The Buffalo News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - Just when you think bees are OK because the media hasn’t been reporting on threats to their existence, bees end up on our endangered species list. What happened, how did we get to this state? Our present mainstream media likes big news, like the beginning and ending of environmental problems. It’s the middle, where environmental issues metastasize and become incurable, that our media fall down. The public needs constant monitoring of our environmental issues by our media so that our life support issues can be addressed. Only reporting on the collapse of environmental pieces isn’t all the helpful. Time passes. U.S. Lists First Bumble Bee Species as Endangered The rusty patched bumble bee, a prized but vanishing pollinator once familiar to much of North America, was listed on Tuesday as an endangered species, becoming the first wild bee in the continental United States to gain such federal protection. One of several species facing sharp declines, the bumble bee known to scientists as Bombus affinis has plunged nearly 90 percent in abundance and distribution since the late 1990s, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. (January 14, 2017) Climate Central [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - From our friends over at Rochester People's Climate Coalition (RPCC) "Show support for the City of Rochester's Climate Action Plan (CAP): To read the plan, go to the City's CAP website to download it.  Look for "To review the draft community-wide Climate Action Plan, click here" in the "What's Next?" section.  From that website, you can also view the posters that were displayed during the Nov. 9 Open House.    Thank you to our many members who attended!  We are told that the City and their consultants were very impressed by the turnout and interest in the CAP.   While the general comment period is closed, the CAP still needs to be passed by City Council.  Let's continue to show the City that there is strong support for climate action in our community!   Please send a note thanking the City for leading on climate change, and/or expressing support for officially passing the CAP.   Send your personal note and/or one from your organization to: Anne Spaulding, Director of the Office of Energy and Sustainability: anne.spaulding@cityofrochester.gov. "

  • 1/17/2017 - It’s time again for those amazing jumping fish photos. The invasive Asian Carp could potentially change the Great Lakes ecosystem. Are we doing enough to prevent this ecological threat, a threat that will do a lot more than “… disrupt food chains and compete with valuable native species.” Efforts Continue to Stop Spread of Asian Carp (AP) - Federal officials say they'll continue efforts to prevent Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes, despite uncertainty about what Donald Trump might propose. The Obama administration has spent over $388 million since 2010 to shield the lakes from the invasive fish, which could disrupt food chains and compete with valuable native species. (January 13, 2017) The Associated Press [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - Heating buildings, especially in our Northeast, accounts for a lot of our greenhouse gas emissions. So, finding ways to reducing or conserve energy use can make a big difference in addressing Climate Change. State offers $4.2 million to fund energy training programs New York state is making available $4.2 million for training programs aimed at reducing energy use in buildings. The funding will be used for building operations and to instruct maintenance workers on best practices. It's part of a broader statewide effort under the Clean Energy Fund to offer customized technical assistance to increase energy efficiency. To be eligible for the funding, buildings, or groups of buildings, must have total annual energy expenditures of $1 million. (January 16, 2017) WXXI News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 1/17/2017 - Times are a-changing. One thing we get with more online shopping is more cardboard. And that cardboard should be recycled. County reminds residents to recycle cardboard Monroe County Executive Cheryl Dinolfo and Waste Management of New York are reminding residents to recycle cardboard, especially after the holidays. Cardboard used for shipping has become one of the most disposed of household materials with the increasing popularity of online shopping. (January 11, 2017) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 1/16/2017 - Bicycles should be a viable transportation option in the Rochester region. Along with more bike share programs, we should have more media attention on bicycling safely pertaining to both cyclists and motorists so it is more likely that everyone will follow the rules of the road and keep all forms of transportation in our streets safe. Active transportation (walking and bicycling) can have a major effect on reducing greenhouse gasses in our region. Time passes. The brakes aren't up on city-wide bikeshare program in Rochester The brakes aren't up on city-wide bikeshare program in Rochester. This bikeshare program would let you rent a bike around town. The city is on board with the program, but they aren't funding it. The map of plans for a bike share system only includes areas with corporate sponsors who can foot the bill. For areas with smaller businesses, Reconnect Rochester is asking you for your help to get the program into gear. (January 16, 2017) WHEC Rochester [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 1/16/2017 - Knowing whether weather conditions are caused by Climate Change is critical in convincing the public that Climate Change is happening and addressing the proper causes of extreme weather. If for example, a giant dust storm is caused by human conflict then that should be addressed. If a storm is caused by Climate Change, that’s a whole other kettle of fish. Human conflict can (in theory) be stopped immediately. Climate Change has a long lag time and cannot be stopped immediately. The warming we have already baked into our climate system since the mid 1800’s has already caused extreme weather and changes to our ecosystems and this will take time to play out. Time passes. Giant Middle East dust storm caused by a changing climate, not human conflict Researchers have concluded that the most likely cause of a giant dust storm that struck the Middle East in 2015 was climate and unusual weather rather than conflict. (January 13, 2017) Science Daily [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 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]

  • 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 implicatons, lower lake levels due to less ice and more evaporation, and dramatic changes to our environment in the largest fresh water system in the world. There’s a lot we don’t know about the future climate in the Great Lakes region and there’s a lot we do know. We should plan for life in the Great Lakes region because we already know a lot about Climate Change and the Great Lakes. Time passes. Predicting the unpredictable Great Lakes climate the subject of MTU computer model A Michigan Tech University researcher is leading the effort to create a comprehensive model for the complicated and diverse climate of the Great Lakes region.  Pengfei Xue, an associate professor of civil and environmental engineering at Michigan Tech, developed a model combining climate and water models with assistance from Loyola Marymount University, LimnoTech and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory. (January 5, 2017) The Mining Journal [more on the Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/07/2017 - I suspect that as more people learn about the threats of plastic pollution in our environment there will be more efforts to ban the use of instant plastic trash—stuff like plastic cutlery, plastic bags, and other things used once and then thrown away. While banning items like instant plastic trash seems unlikely at this point in time, remember that plastic bags didn’t even exist before the 1960’s and now they cover the globe. Also, at some point in the future people will look aghast at photos of plastic pollution in our times and wonder what the heck were we thinking. “They just used this toxic stuff and then they just threw it into the landfills, into their forests and city streets, and into their lakes and rivers? Really?” Campaign could lead to ban on plastic shopping bags in Duluth The global effort to stop plastic shopping bags from lining roadside ditches, choking waterways and filling landfills will blow into Duluth soon if a new group gets its way. Bag it Duluth on Thursday announced a campaign for a city ordinance that would ban thin plastic shopping bags and impose a minimum 5-cent fee on all paper bags distributed within the city. The ban would be phased in over a year to allow retailers and consumers time to adjust. (January 6, 2017) Twin Cities Pioneers Press [more on Recycling and Water Quality  in our area]

  • 1/07/2017- Along with Climate Change, the loss of biodiversity threatens our life support system with a loss of resiliency and health it used to have. We should have left large segments of our environment alone back in the day (say 500 years ago) to keep our environment heathy and strong. But we didn’t. Humanity should consider giving back some of the environment we took so we and other species can survive. On one level it seems absurd that humanity would suddenly leave large swaths of land and water completely alone so the plants and animals that help create our environment can do their job. On another level, it seems absurd that we would find it absurd that our environment needs room to function properly. At some point, our attitudes about our environment must get in sync with science. Time passes. A BIOLOGIST'S MANIFESTO FOR PRESERVING LIFE ON EARTH An eminent scientist offers a bold vision for preserving Earth's biodiversity We are playing a global endgame. Humanity's grasp on the planet is not strong; it is growing weaker. Freshwater is growing short; the atmosphere and the seas are increasingly polluted as a result of what has transpired on the land. The climate is changing in ways unfavorable to life, except for microbes, jellyfish, and fungi. For many species, these changes are already fatal. (December 12, 2016) Sierra Magazine [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 1/07/2017 - I suspect in the near future there will be a lot more scary climate studies that will indicate possible scenarios that demonstrate a dramatic shift in our climate and the functioning of our environment. We were getting studies decades ago about climate potentialities of Climate Change that turned out to be true. Some didn’t. What has happened over time is that climate scientists are getting better at predicting climate changes and they are doing so as Climate Change is already wreaking the havoc previous studies anticipated. Humanity shouldn’t be sitting around hoping and betting the climate scientist are wrong. Humanity should be trying to stop the warming and prepare for the heat we’ve already put into the system. Time passes. Potential for Collapse of Key Atlantic Current Rises The large, looping Atlantic Ocean current that keeps northwestern Europe fairly warm and influences sea levels along the U.S. coast is a key component of the Earth’s climate system. But because of global warming, it may be more likely to substantially slow down — or even collapse — than previously thought, according to two new studies If that current, called the Atlantic Meridional Overturning Circulation, were to slow down substantially, it could lead to chillier weather in northern and western Europe, starve economically important fisheries and cause waters to rise along the U.S. coast, leading to more so-called “sunny day” flooding and storm surge when hurricanes come ashore. It could also shift tropical rain belts, causing major disruptions to regional climate in Central and South America. The new studies factor in elements that have been missing from previous projections of how likely the collapse of the current is. One study factors in the melting of the Greenland Ice Sheet, which is adding a pulse of freshwater into the North Atlantic, but is difficult to incorporate into current climate models. The other attempts to correct a bias in climate models that underestimates how unstable the AMOC really is. (January 5, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2017 - Insurance companies are not climate scientists. But if they think more extreme weather is associated with Climate Change (attribution), you’d better pay attention. Many people will finally discover the truth behind Climate Change when they can no longer afford home insurance, or think they have adequate insurance and then insurance companies just cannot handle the increase in disasters.  U.S. had more floods in 2016 than any year on record 2016 really was the year of the flood in the U.S.: In total, 19 separate floods swamped the nation last year, the most in one single year since records began in 1980. This is according to an analysis by Munich Re, a global reinsurance firm. The worst flood was in August in Louisiana. At least 13 people were killed and roughly 60,000 buildings were destroyed. The disaster cost $10 billion, Munich Re reported, which noted it was the worst natural catastrophe in the U.S. since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. (January 4, 2017) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/06/2017 - According to IUCN: International Union for Conservation of Nature, If it wasn’t for the oceans sucking up the heat of human-caused Climate Change “…the surface of the Earth would have warmed by a devastating 36C, rather than 1C, over the past century…”  (“Soaring ocean temperature is 'greatest hidden challenge of our generation’” (September 15, 2016, The Guardian) BTW: “Thirty-six degrees Celsius is equal to 96.8 degrees Fahrenheit. So, it should come as no surprise that one of the repercussions of this is “Rising carbon dioxide levels threaten to permanently disrupt vital ocean bacteria”.  Climate Change is happening at a very rapid pace and it looks like many of the consequences are going on unseen (like deep in the ocean). Without the aid of expert climate scientists, we wouldn’t notice some of the most profound changes in our environment, our life support system. Science is now under threat because its findings in climate science have been undermined by wrong-headed ideology that is dismissing science when we need it the most. We purposely blind ourselves when we prioritize ideology over science. Project Censored  3. Rising carbon dioxide levels threaten to permanently disrupt vital ocean bacteria Systemic changes associated with global warming threaten human welfare and all life on earth through a multitude of different pathways. These remain largely hidden from public view. One potential pathway — directly dependent on carbon, not temperature — is through the catastrophic overproduction of Trichodesmium bacteria, which could devastate the entire marine food chain in some regions. It lives in nutrient-poor parts of the ocean, where it fixes atmospheric nitrogen into ammonium, an essential nutrient for other organisms — from algae to whales. (January 4, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/05/2017 - The nuclear waste pickle in our Great Lakes highlights the problem with present nuclear facilities: Too expensive to not put nuclear waste near environmentally sensitive regions and too environmental dangerous to do so. Why didn’t those who created nuclear energy producers know back in the day the job was dangerous when they took it—in other words, why hasn’t wasn’t the nuclear power waste problem anticipated properly? Which leads us to ask, what issues will we face with the present production of nuclear energy power facilities years down the road? Are we going to just hope these problems with nuclear power will just get solved in the future? Ontario study: Other sites too costly to store waste Government-owned Ontario Power Generation — the Canadian energy provider proposing underground nuclear waste storage along the shore of Lake Huron — said alternate sites for the facility increase environmental impacts as well as costs. The province’s minister of environment and climate change called for OPG to investigate alternate sites for the controversial project that has been opposed by many Michigan lawmakers, originally sited near Kincardine. For roughly a dozen years, the company has pursued approval to bury low-level to-mid-level radioactive wastes deep underground. (January 3, 2017) The Detroit News [more on Energy, Water Quality, and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 1/05/2017 - The Great Lakes, the largest fresh water system in the world, is changing because of Climate Change. There are many issues of water quality, invasive species, lake levels, diversion (where other communities outside the Great Lakes basin want these waters), plastic pollution, and much more involved in our Great Lakes besides Climate Change. But Climate Change will accelerate and amplify all the other challenges to this major ecosystem. We in Rochester, part of the Great Lakes basin, should be focusing major efforts and planning with other Great Lakes communities on addressing Climate Change. Signs of climate change hit Great Lakes  Climate change is an issue of concern for many around the world. Scientists say the signs are everywhere, and here in the Great Lakes region, the evidence of regional climate change can be seen in every day. The Great Lakes Integrated Sciences and Assessments Center in Michigan specializes in presenting climate change information specific to this area. Researcher Laura Briley said one sure sign of regional climate change can be found in the water. (January 4, 2017) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 1/05/2017 - Been looking for some great educational videos on Climate Change to help folks understand the science behind this crisis? Check out NASA’s videos. Very elucidating. Featured Videos (NASA Global Climate Change)

  • 1/05/2017 - As we move further into Climate Change it’s useful to remember that we go into Climate Change with the environment we have. That is, an environment that is more robust and resilient is more likely to be able be sustainable longer in a warmer climate. An environment rich in biodiversity, good soil, clean water, and healthy plants and animals is more likely to be able to adapt to the challenges of Climate Change than an environment that is not. Many people assume that we and our environment can endure the quick warming that has already started with Climate Change based on the assumption that both humanity and our environment has weathered great changes before. That our environment can handle what is thrown at it. But we are learning that our environment, even in the New World, has been profoundly altered by humanity even before the Europeans came to these lands. Then, of course, since the Europeans came 500 years ago, humanity suddenly ratcheted up the challenges to our environment exponentially. This is all to say that by the time Climate Change kicks in, our environment has already been reeling from humanity’s impacts. We should be finding out as much as we can about the workings of a healthy environment before we plan for major changes coming with Climate Change. This video challenges some of our ideas of pristine New World in 1491 and urge us to search for a proper baseline from which to plan for Climate Change. In other words, as we plan for Climate Change, which environment should we attempt to preserve? Where we are now, or some other point in the past? If so, what point? Check out this video: Native America before European Colonization – (YouTube Apr 8, 2013 - Uploaded by Thomas Oklahoma)

  • 1/05/2017 - Agriculture plays a big role in Climate Change emissions. "There's a lot of fatigue with the negativity on climate change," said Thomas Driscoll, policy director at the National Farmers Union, the U.S.'s second largest farm group. "Agriculture and climate change is exciting because there's a lot that can be done. Doing the right thing for the climate can save farmers money." 2017: Agriculture Begins to Tackle Its Role in Climate Change After years of being off the table in climate talks, agriculture is now being considered widely by countries trying to reach their Paris emissions cuts pledges. By allowing countries to decide how to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, the landmark Paris climate agreement opened the door to new solutions. And over the past year, many countries, particularly in the developing world, decided that an especially effective way to reach those targets is through their farms. Nearly 80 percent of the countries said they would use agricultural practices to curb climate change, and more than 90 percent said they would use those practices in addition to changes in forestry and land use linked to farming. (January 4, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Food  and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/04/2017 - And there is more and more evidence that plastics in our Great Lakes is occurring and we should get on that. We are getting more and more evidence that plastics (in the form of microbeads, plastic bits from litter, and now our laundry) are already in the largest fresh water system in the world. We need to get the plastics out of our Great Lakes waster by better water filtering systems from water we pull in and water we put out in the form of sewage waste treatment and stormwater releases. We need more research on how pervasive and in what ways plastics are entering our water. We need more public education about this issue. And, it might be nice to know if we are drinking in plastics, as plastics tend to accumulate toxins. Great Lakes pollutant lurks in your laundry The United States and Canada are moving to ban microbeads -- the tiny plastic bits in toothpaste and facewash that are big water polluters. Now scientists are focusing on a similar problem -- and it’s lurking in your laundry hamper. When you do laundry, take a look at the tags on your clothes. You’ll find that most shirts and pants have some synthetic material -- like polyester, nylon or spandex. Every time you wash them, tiny plastic fibers go down the drain. Melissa Duhaime, part of a University of Michigan research team, says most fibers are captured by wastewater treatment plants. But not all of them. (January 2, 2017) WRVO Your Source for NPR News [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 1/04/2017 - From our friends over at Reconnect Rochester: “Help Launch Rochester's Bike Share Campaign Ends 1/31 As you may know, this spring the City of Rochester will attempt to launch a Bike Sharing system. However, this system will not be funded by the City. The bike share will be operated by Zagster and each bike station will require a community sponsorship of $9,000 per year or they will not be placed. So we've set up a crowdfunding campaign to help pay for bike share stations in neighborhoods which might not otherwise be funded by a corporate sponsor. Our goal is to fund five (5) stations in the neighborhoods along the northern edge of downtown — including Upper Falls / Amtrak Station and South Marketview Heights / Public Market areas (see map above).You can help. Please visit our campaign page for more info and consider making a tax-deductible contribution today. Then share this message with you friends, co-workers, and other community groups you may be involved with. Thanks!!”

  • 1/04/2016 - Citizen science, trained citizens to monitor and educate about our environment, need to be an important component of our Climate Change adaptation. “In citizen science, members of the public participate in scientific and technical work in a variety of ways, including formulating research questions, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and solving problems. In particular, community citizen science addresses questions defined by communities and allows for community engagement throughout the entire scientific process, empowering people to ask their own questions, collect their own data, and advocate for themselves.” Environmental Protection Belongs to the Public: A Vision for Citizen Science at EPA At EPA, we can’t protect the environment alone. Environmental protection belongs to all of us, and participating in environmental science is one way that members of the public can have an impact. Citizen science broadens environmental protection by enabling people to work together with government and other institutions toward shared goals. In citizen science, members of the public participate in scientific and technical work in a variety of ways, including formulating research questions, conducting experiments, collecting and analyzing data, and solving problems. In particular, community citizen science addresses questions defined by communities and allows for community engagement throughout the entire scientific process, empowering people to ask their own questions, collect their own data, and advocate for themselves. (December 20, 2016) EPA Connect [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 1/04/2017 - Wildlife can adapt to Climate Change if the warming doesn’t occur too soon where they arrive before their food arrives. Changing migrating bird schedules are demonstrating that Climate Change is now happening and because it is happening so quickly many species are getting thrown out of sync with their environment. Climate change driving birds to migrate early, research reveals A University of Edinburgh study finds birds are arriving at breeding grounds too soon, causing some to miss out on food Migrating birds are responding to the effects of climate change by arriving at their breeding grounds earlier as global temperatures rise, research has found. The University of Edinburgh study, which looked at hundreds of species across five continents, found that birds are reaching their summer breeding grounds on average about one day earlier per degree of increasing global temperature. The main reason birds take flight is changing seasonal temperatures and food availability. The time they reach their summer breeding grounds is significant, because arriving at the wrong time, even by a few days, may cause them to miss out on vital resources such as food and nesting places. This in turn affects the timing of offspring hatching and their chances of survival. (December 28, 2016) The Guardian [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/04/2017 - From our friends over at the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’ December newsletter, eco-logue, we find that Aaron Mair, President of The Sierra Club, will be speaking at the club’s Environmental Forum this year. Probably around Earth Day. “Aaron Mair, came to environmental activism via the social justice pathway. In the 1980s, he joined a fight to shut down a solid waste incinerator in Albany, NY. Plumes of polluting smoke from the incinerator swept over his home in an inner city neighborhood, sickening Mair’s young daughters and other kids in the neighborhood. His efforts ultimately led to the facility’s closure and a $1.6 million settlement award to the community. Aaron has worked as an epidemiological-spatial analyst with the New York State Department of Health. He will speak about the ways in which we must address the history and policies that led to the divisions and injustice in our society today to successfully mitigate climate change and protect our planet for the future.” Stay tuned for more information on this event. Meanwhile read some interesting articles on our environment in the December eco-logue.

  • 1/03/2017 - From many of our Attorneys General across the nation on addressing Climate Change (especially our NYS Attorney General Schneiderman): Broad Coalition Of States And Localities Urge Continued Defense Of Clean Power Plan In Letter To President-Elect Trump Clean Power Plan Builds On Successful State And Local Efforts To Reduce Emissions While Creating Jobs And Growing Economies  Schneiderman: The Science Is Clear – Too Much Is At Stake To Turn Back The Clock On Climate Efforts NEW YORK - A broad coalition of 19 states and localities, led by New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman, called on President-Elect Trump to continue the federal government’s defense of the Clean Power Plan in a letter sent today, urging him to reject “misguided advice” from a group of Attorneys General led by West Virginia to discard the plan, The letter details why the Clean Power Plan is vital to efforts to limit carbon pollution, and pushes back against ill-conceived efforts to urge the President-Elect to unravel the plan -- which, the letter explains, would be contrary to the law. (December 29, 2016) New York State Attorney General Schneiderman [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/03/2017 - The Trump Effect is emerging as one of the unknown unknowns on Climate Change. In Rumsfeld speak, unknown unknowns are the ones we don't know we don't know. Scientists, while investigating and modeling Climate Change on a very complex system like Earth’s, knew they’d be trying to understand and predict what a quick warming phenomenon would do to our life support system. Scientist knew that our glaciers would melt but not as fast as they have. That was a known unknown. But scientist did not anticipate that science itself would be on the chopping block. This is an unknown unknown and now the Trump Effect is going to have to be factored into our climate modeling. This would be the stronger likelihood that the worst scenarios in climate modeling are going to occur; and, the best scenarios will be less likely. The best scenarios, where we dramatically shift to renewable energy and plan and educate the public about our warming world, means we get to have a future—though it will still be a struggle. The worst scenarios are where we continue to ignore climate scientist warning and listen to our worst angels and put our future in jeopardy. Time passes. Trump and the Climate: His Hot Air on Warming Is Far From the Greatest Threat Trump, who has called climate change a hoax, has frightened many with his embrace of fossil fuels. What’s truly scary, scientists and others say, is how much larger the problem is than one American president. President-elect Donald J. Trump has long pledged to undertake a profound policy shift on climate change from the low-carbon course President Obama made a cornerstone of his eight years in the White House. “This very expensive GLOBAL WARMING bullshit has got to stop,” Trump tweeted a year ago. In recent weeks, Trump doubled down, nominating champions of fossil fuels to several cabinet positions and peppering his transition team with longtime opponents of environmental regulations. Both the rhetoric and the actions have provoked despair among many who fear a Trump presidency will tip the planet toward an overheated future, upending recent national and international efforts to stem emissions of heat-trapping carbon dioxide from burning coal, oil and natural gas. (December 29, 2016) ProPublica [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 1/02/2017 - It’s so divisive and upsetting to mention Climate Change tipping points that we fail to see that it’s the point. Humanity has put off the kind of change that is necessary to avoid cascading climate disasters for so long that the only solution seems to avoid even thinking about it. Tipping points are when our climate tips over that edge towards a direction where we cannot sustain our existence. A tipping point often occurs long before you notice that you’ve passed it, allowing you the delusion that you haven’t. The only thing we can be sure about with tipping points is that ignoring the possibility that warming our planet quickly will trigger them is how tipping points occur. Climate Change 2016: The Year the Future Arrived Our planet's systems have a tremendous capacity to absorb punishment before they begin to show signs of degradation. Earth's ecology self-heals like a cut on a finger. It assimilates pollution by chemical, physical and biological means -- it changes pollutants into non-hazardous materials and proceeds upon its merry way as if there had been no pollution at all. Up to a point. Acid rain is an excellent example of how our planet can self-heal. By the late 1960s, the United States was emitting so many sulfate and nitrate pollutants (smog) from burning fossil fuels, that sulfuric acid washed from the sky was killing forests and lakes. President Richard Nixon's Clean Air Act stopped about half of the sulfur from going into our atmosphere. This was enough to allow nature to take over again and our forests and lakes began to heal. Global warming didn't really get started in a big way until the 1950s. Today, the warming rate is seven times greater than it was in the 1950s and the carbon emission rate is four times greater than in the '50s. (December 29, 2016) Truthout [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 1/02/2017 - Important environmental newsletter from our friends over at THE ROCHESTER PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE January 2017 Newsletter "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”

  • 1/02/2017 - Climate Change is changing our forests and these massive ecosystems need humanity’s help in order for them to adapt. If our forests can’t adapt to Climate Change, it’s unlikely that we will be able to either. “Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for forest ecosystems across the world. Many impacts are expected to remain into the future.  This means forest managers, conservationists and woodland owners continually need to address climate change to ensure forests can provide a broad array of benefits and services. The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the U.S. Forest Service provide tools to help address this need.” New and Improved Tools Help Adapt Forests to Changing Conditions Changes in climate and extreme weather are already increasing challenges for forest ecosystems across the world. Many impacts are expected to remain into the future.  This means forest managers, conservationists and woodland owners continually need to address climate change to ensure forests can provide a broad array of benefits and services. The USDA Northern Forests Climate Hub and the U.S. Forest Service provide tools to help address this need. Collaboration between scientists and managers resulted in the publication Forest Adaptation Resources: Climate Change Tools and Approaches for Land Managers. This publication provides a suite of materials enabling land managers to consider the likely effects of climate change and increase the ability of forests to cope with climate change impacts. (October 5, 2016) US Dept. of Agriculture [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]