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, April 17, 2014

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

  • 4/17/2014 - Another reason why New York State doesn’t want Fracking here: illegal dumping of thousands of tons of low-level radioactive trash Radioactive Waste Booms With Fracking as New Rules Mulled Oilfields are spinning off thousands of tons of low-level radioactive trash as the U.S. drilling boom leads to a surge in illegal dumping and states debate how much landfills can safely take. State regulators are caught between environmental and public health groups demanding more regulation and the industry, which says it’s already taking proper precautions. As scientists debate the impact of small amounts of radiation on cancer risks, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says there’s not enough evidence to say what level is safe. Left to police the waste, state governments are increasing their scrutiny of well operators. Pennsylvania and West Virginia are revising limits for acceptable radiation levels and strengthening disposal rules. North Dakota’s doing the same, after finding piles of garbage bags filled with radioactive debris in an abandoned building this year. (April 16, 2014) Bloomberg [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/17/2014 - They call this Cuomo's "Keystone" moment. Green groups pressure Cuomo on rail oil trains in NY  National environmental groups are putting the spotlight on Gov. Andrew Cuomo, over the issue of the expanding international oil distribution center, located just blocks from the State Capitol, at the Port of Albany. They call this Cuomo's "Keystone" moment. A small band of demonstrators chanted and held signs to protest a confluence of events that has turned upstate New York into a major center for oil distribution.   Two major rail road lines, from the booming Bakken oil formation in North Dakota, and oil fields in Canada, converge at the Port of Albany. (April 16, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Energy and Brownfields in our area]

  • 4/17/2014 - Shouldn’t the horrible Fracking experience in Pennsylvania give New York State pause? Let’s listen to our friends in Penn. Anti-Fracking Group Pressures Pennsylvania Governor Candidates For Moratorium Commitments From filmmakers to grassroots advocates, excitement is bubbling for primary election day in Pennsylvania. That’s because a campaign called Pa. Voters Against Fracking just might force the frackingmoratorium they have wanted for so long in a state where business is booming, but people of all ages are suffering from the toxic effects. The campaign, which was announced Wednesday by Food & Water Watch, was designed to place pressure on Democratic gubernatorial candidates to publicly declare that they will institute a moratorium on new fracking operations if elected.  “The movement against fracking is strong, and we intend to show that strength as primary election day approaches,” said Sam Bernhardt, senior Pennsylvania organizer for Food & Water Watch Fund. “For the first time, a political operation will now be able to harness the energy of the huge grassroots anti-fracking movement and channel it directly into swinging what will surely be a wide-open race with a very tight margin of victory. (April 16, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/16/2014 - As the great Gilda Radner said, “If it's not one thing, it's another!" If we’re not addicted to fossil fuels, then it’s plastics. Plastic Pollution in the Great Lakes: What’s Happening and What Can Be Done From the Pacific Ocean garbage patch to litter at our local parks, plastic pollution has become a major problem facing the environment. As the weather warms up and you step outside to visit your favorite park or walk down your street, you have probably witnessed first-hand the amount of plastics that end up in the environment. Plastic pollution, from the common plastic bag (see here) to the tiny microbeads found in face wash (see here), is impacting the water quality of the Great Lakes and its inhabitants. What exactly happens when these plastics end in up in the largest surface freshwater system in the world? And what about the plastics you don’t see when you visit the Lakes? Learn the answers to these questions in a webinar hosted by the Alliance for the Great LAkes on April 29th at 1:00 pm which will feature innovative research being done across the Great Lakes on plastic pollution. Right here on Lake Erie, Dr. Sherri A. Mason, Associate Professor in the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry at SUNY Fredonia, has led the first-ever survey for plastic pollution within the open waters of the Great Lakes. Her research has found high concentrations of tiny plastic particles in the lakes, including microbeads from personal care products. These “microplastics” may absorb toxins that threaten fish and other wildlife. And over on Lake Michigan, Dr. Timothy Hoellein, Assistant Professor in the Department of Biology at Loyola University Chicago, has been analyzed the type and amount of trash collected by Adopt-a-Beach™ volunteers at five beaches in four states. His data looks at where litter comes from and how it can inform strategies to keep plastics and other trash out the Great Lakes. Both of these researchers will be presenting the findings on a live webinar on Tuesday, April 29, at 1 pm Eastern Time. Please visit www.greatlakesevents.webex.com for more information on this webinar. (April 15, 2014) Buffalo Rising [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 4/16/2014 - Free Webinar on Climate Change in Great Lakes area on April 24th at IPM ET. Up Next: Climate Change and Extreme Weather: historical trends and future forecasts Severe weather has plagued all parts of the US, including the Great Lakes, over the past decade, from floods to droughts, from blizzards to heavy thunderstorms, and from freezing cold to extreme heat. What has been causing such events? What types of weather should we expect to see in the future? This webinar will cover: weather and climate change a discussion of recent weather events across the country how climate change is likely to affect future extreme weather events and their frequency resources that can help people understand and manage the impacts of extreme weather events and climate change --from Changing Climate

  • 4/16/2014 - Sorry, my mind seems numb after New York State has been considering lifting the moratorium on Fracking for five years.  Why are we still considering a fossil fuel energy source with so much potential risk to our health, water, and climate? Study: Fracking Emissions Up To 1000x Higher Than EPA Estimates New report suggests highly potent greenhouse gas far more prevalent in gas production than previously thought Natural gas drilling is emitting far higher levels of methane into the atmosphere than federal regulators at the Environmental Protection Agency have said, according to the findings of a new study released Monday. "We identified a significant regional flux of methane over a large area of shale gas wells in southwestern Pennsylvania in the Marcellus formation and further identified several pads with high methane emissions," said the report, conducted by a team of scientists led by Purdue University and published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. While past EPA studies have said gas well sites emit as little as between 0.04 and 0.30 grams of methane per second, this new study found numbers between 100 to 1,000 times higher than what the EPA has calculated, with levels closer to 34 grams of methane per second at some of the Pennsylvania sites. Methane is up to 30 times stronger than carbon dioxide as a greenhouse gas. Of particular curiosity for the research team was the fact that the highest levels of methane were coming from well sites that were being preliminarily drilled for production, but had not yet gone through the controversial gas production process known as fracking. (April 15, 2014) Common Dreams [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/16/2014 - Breaking: Climate Change won’t fix itself. Humanity will have to solve the problem they created. Sorry no magical solutions. Climate Change Adjustments Must Be Fast And Major, U.N. Panel Says A new report from the United Nations' panel on climate change says major action is needed, and fast, if policymakers want to limit global warming to acceptable levels. There's an international target to control climate change: keeping the global temperature rise to just 2 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels — that's 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change now says it's technically possible to meet that goal. But doing so will require rapid, large-scale shifts in energy production and use. Greenhouse gas emissions will have to drop 40 to 70 percent by 2050 — and then drop even more, to nearly zero by the end of this century — the report says. (April 13, 2014) NPR [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/16/2014 - Good that EPA tries to reduce methane gas leaks from Fracking. Better if they discouraged fossil fuels altogether and championed renewables. EPA Focuses on Fracking, Leaks and More to Further Obama’s Methane Plan The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on Tuesday released five technical papers as the first step to enacting President Barack Obama’s recent plan to reduce methane emissions. The five white papers address different emissions sources and mitigation techniques regarding methane and volatile organic compounds. The sources of focus are fracking, leaks, compressors, liquid removal and pneumatic devices. (April 15, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/15/2014 - Not an expert on what we should do with nuclear waste, but no one in their right mind would bury it near the Great Lakes. Planned nuclear waste facility raises fears for Great Lakes Some materials that would be stored in a proposed underground nuclear waste facility less than a mile from Lake Huron are hundreds of times more radioactive than was told to Canadian government officials considering the site. That revelation was brought to light by Frank Greening, a nuclear scientist who once worked for Ontario Power Generation, the utility seeking the deep geologic repository to store low- to intermediate-radioactive waste in Kincardine, Ontario, about 111 miles northeast of Port Huron on the Canadian side of Lake Huron. Greening’s finding, along with a February accident at a similar underground nuclear waste storage facility in New Mexico that left workers on the surface exposed to radiation, has left Canada’s joint review panel asking new questions about the viability of the Kincardine project, and residents up in arms. (April 13, 2014) Detroit Free Press [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 4/15/2014 - Some media editorials are leading the charge on adapting to Climate Change:  Options for climate change are on the table; now, U.S. must take lead Dealing with climate change no longer means simply cutting greenhouse gas emissions, although that's still a necessary element of any coherent strategy. It also means developing technology with the potential to remove those emissions from the atmosphere and finding ways to cope with the effects of climate change, such as rising seas and more severe weather events. These are issues for world governments, and world leaders need to reach a consensus on a multipronged approach that can do all of the above. But state and local governments also need to do their parts, especially when it comes to protecting vulnerable communities from the coming changes. Reducing emissions, especially from power plants and vehicles, remains a priority. Technology can help with that, but probably the best way to push that technology is to impose a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Such a tax would encourage the fossil fuel industry to search for other ways to provide energy; the money could be used to reduce the deficit or as rebates to taxpayers. (April 12, 2014) Milwaukee - Wisconsin Journal Sentinel [More on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/14/2014 - Why wouldn’t our governments want to test possible pollution from sources like nuclear just to find out what’s going on?  I know, faith-based denial is certainly less expensive and less troublesome to the prevailing ideology, but still reality has some place in our lives doesn’t it? Citizen scientists prepare to test West Coast for Fukushima radiation (with video)   Sometime in the next few weeks highly diluted, low-level radiation from the Japanese nuclear disaster is expected to reach West Coast shores  All along the Pacific coast of North America and as far south as Costa Rica, people with little or no scientific background have volunteered to raise money for the program and collect the sea water samples needed to test for radiation. The crowdsourcing, citizen-scientist program is the idea of Ken Buesseler, a research scientist at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, the world’s biggest private-non-profit oceanographic agency. Buesseler began his career studying the spread of radioactivity from Chernobyl in the Black Sea and has been working with Japanese scientists since mid-2011 to understand the spread of radiation from Fukushima across the Pacific Ocean. (April 12, 2014) The Vancouver Sun [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/14/2014 - As annoying as some find these alarmist reports about Climate Change and windows of opportunity closing, it will be much worse after the windows have closed and we’ve seal the fate for all life from then on.  Of course, waiting so long as we have to take serious worldwide action we may have already closed many doors on many aspects of our environment.  The truth is we’ve hardly a clue as to how much damage so much warming can do to such a complex environment as ours—serious tipping points may already have occurred.  And some may feel a sense of hopelessness and no will to act. But those fighting the dearest consequences of Climate Change right now with extreme weather don’t have the luxury of despair, nor will we when the most immediate consequences come to our door.  Humans don’t tend to lie down when danger looms.  We tend to get moving when a clear and present danger occurs, but with Climate Change there is a great gulf between when a danger threatens and when we perceive it. That is why we must trust the consensus of climate expert opinion.  The consensus of climate scientist says we must slow down GHG emissions now.  IPCC: CO2 Emissions Soar, Yet Paths to Avoid Calamity Open BERLIN, Germany, April 13, 2014 (ENS) - Global greenhouse gas emissions grew more quickly between 2000 and 2010 than in any of the three previous decades, reaching record levels despite a growing number of policies to reduce climate change, finds a new report by economists with the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released today in Berlin. Still, it is possible, using a wide array of technological measures and changes in behavior, to limit the increase in global mean temperature to 2°C (3.6°F) above pre-industrial levels, advises Working Group III in its contribution to the IPCC’s Fifth Assessment Report. Only major institutional and technological change will give a better than even chance that global warming will not exceed the two degree threshold, which was agreed by world leaders as a mutual goal in 2010 at the UN climate summit in Copenhagen. (April 13, 2014) Environmental New Service (ENS) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/14/2014 - Because “Coral reefs are some of the most diverse and valuable ecosystems on Earth.” NOAA), we should protect them against the Parasitic Flatworm and Climate Change. Parasitic Flatworm Could Decimate Coral Reefs Worldwide A coral-eating flatworm with a unique camouflaging strategy could be a major threat to the world’s coral reefs, according to researchers in the U.K. The parasite, called Amakusaplana acroporae, infects a type of staghorn coral known as acropora, a major component of reefs, and can destroy its coral host very quickly. The parasite has been detected at the Great Barrier Reef, and because it has no known natural predators, researchers are concerned it could spread quickly and decimate reefs worldwide. A novel camouflaging strategy makes the flatworm difficult to detect and monitor, the researchers say. (April 11, 2014) EcoWatch

  • 4/12/2014 - Of course, the best way to prevent accidents and prevent oil spills is to stop transporting that stuff through NY and go renewable energy.  I know, though it would make complete environmental sense to stop with the fossil fuels, it is modern heresy to even contemplate such a thing—not because it’s physically impossible, but because we’re still not convinced of the Climate Change crisis. New York State Partners with U.S. EPA and U.S. Coast Guard to Enhance Emergency Response Preparedness to Better Protect New Yorkers Federal and State Agencies to Update Response Plans for Crude Oil and Other Potential Disasters The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the United States Coast Guard (USCG) have committed to enhance emergency preparedness and response capabilities for potential crude oil incidents in New York, the agencies announced today. "The important job of protecting public health and the environment does not fall on just one agency but rests with multiple federal, state and local agencies," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "Recognizing this, Governor Cuomo called upon DEC and its sister state agencies to identify ways to improve emergency response and preparedness through better coordination at all levels of government in the face of increased shipments of crude oil across the country. Today DEC has further committed to working with our federal, state and local partners to ensure that all is being done to prevent and prepare for spills that could affect New Yorkers and the state's lands and waters. DEC is grateful that our federal partners have agreed to work diligently and swiftly to ensure New Yorkers' safety." (April 10, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/12/2014 - Understand media’s need to make lemonade of bad news, but if Asian Carp gets into Great Lakes, they’ll be more than a tasty treat.  This article borders on the irresponsible. Asian carp could be rebranded as cuisine EAST PEORIA, Ill. (AP) — The swarms of Asian carp that infest the Illinois River may not want to hear this, but they're good to eat. Clint Carter from Carter's Fish Market in Springfield demonstrated that as he prepared a carp taste test on Tuesday at Dixon Seafood Shoppe, 1807 W. Main St. in East Peoria. After demonstrating how to slice a boneless filet off the whole fish, Carter fried up samples in Dixon's kitchen. "I'm trying to find ways to get people to enjoy this fish," he said. Taking note of Carter's preparations were Mike White of Whitey's BBQ in East Peoria and Jeff Westbay of the Bass Pro Shop, both planning to take part in the first annual Flying Fish Festival planned on the Illinois River here July 11-12. Along with a bowfishing tournament expected to draw some of the country's top archers to target the high-flying fish, the festival will also offer Asian carp food samples, said John Hamann, rural economic development director for Peoria County. (April 11, 2014) Herald-Review [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 4/12/2014 - Care about Water Quality issues in our region, check out this important discussion: Sierra Club Great Lakes Committee is hosting a book discussion on Maude Barlow’s new book, Blue Future – Protecting Water for the people and the planet forever, beginning Wednesday, April 23rd, 6:30 to 8:30PM, at the Brighton Library, 2300 Elmwood Ave, Rochester, NY, 14618. Whether you are new to the topic or a longtime advocate for water issues, Please join us for this discussion of water privatization. This event is free and open to the public. For questions, contact GreatLakesCommittee@gmail.com

  • 4/12/2014 - As Climate Change is a worldwide phenomenon, Rochester NY might want to know how our wildlife and our ecosystem will be affected. IPCC report: climate impacts on wildlife Plants, animals and entire ecosystems are on the move as rising temperatures force species to seek out cooler climes One focus of the latest report from the UN panel on climate change is the impact on Earth's ecosystems. The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) says that in recent decades, many plant and animal species have moved their range, changed numbers or shifted their seasonal activities as a result of warmer temperatures. (March 31, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]

  • 4/12/2014 - Watching that our regulatory agencies aren’t merely rubber-stamping new water withdrawal applications is but one role of local environmentalists. Environmental groups in standoff with Eastman park firm What might seem a routine permit application at Eastman Business Park has turned into a cause célèbre for a coalition of environmental groups. The permit, sought by the Illinois company that now operates utilities at the business park, would allow the continued withdrawal of millions of gallons of water each day from Lake Ontario for use at the park. But the environmental groups say RED-Rochester LLC's application also is a test case in how the state Department of Environmental Conservation will implement a ballyhooed new state law. New York's handling of the application also speaks to compliance with a historic interstate compact to safeguard water in the Great Lakes basin, they say. To date, the environmentalists are not impressed with the state agency's approach. (April 11, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/12/2014 - Might want to check in Berlin time on Sunday 13 April 2014 to see how humanity is going to stop Climate Change. Webcast of IPCC press conference BERLIN, 10 April 2014 – The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) is holding a press conference at 11.00 a.m. Berlin time on Sunday 13 April 2014 to present the Summary for Policymakers of the Working Group III contribution to the Fifth Assessment Report. This press conference will be webcast in English, French, German and Spanish and can be followed live. To follow the webcast please go to: http://bit.ly/1jwkKJ8  Media following the press conference by webcast can send in questions to: ipcc-questions@wmo.in (April 10, 2014) IPCC [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2014 - Looks like the “movement to divest from fossil fuel companies” is more than just a good idea, it’s becoming a reality. Momentum on Fossil Fuel Divestment Grows as Harvard Professors, Desmond Tutu Call for Action Momentum is growing in the movement to divest from fossil fuel companies. On Thursday, South African Archbishop Desmond Tutu called for an anti-apartheid-style boycott and disinvestment campaign against the industry for its role in driving climate change. Meanwhile, nearly 100 members of the faculty at Harvard University released an open letter calling on the Ivy League school to sell off its interests in oil, gas and coal companies. "If the Corporation regards divestment as 'political,' then its continued investment is a similarly political act, one that finances present corporate activities and calculates profit from them," wrote the professors. "Slavery was once an investment issue, as were apartheid and the harm caused by smoking." Harvard has the largest university endowment in the country, worth more than $32 billion. We speak to James Anderson, professor of chemistry and Earth and planetary sciences at Harvard University. He is one of the signatories to the letter urging Harvard to divest from the fossil fuel industry. He has done groundbreaking work exposing the link between climate change and ozone loss. We also speak to Jamie Henn, co-founder of the climate change-focused organization, 350.org. (April 11, 2014) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/12/2014 - The melting Arctic, which we have caused via Climate Change, will be the new, maybe the last, frontier and we will fight over it. Study: Shippers and seabirds clash over Arctic territory The areas coveted as sea routes for commercial shippers seeking to exploit newly ice-free Arctic waters are the same areas that are vital to millions of seabirds that flock north each summer to feast under the midnight sun, says a newly published study.   The Arctic is not big enough for both birds and shippers, suggests the study, published in the April issue of the journal Diversity and Distributions. “There is a competition for space, and the space has already been occupied by seabirds,” said co-author Falk Huettmann of the University of Alaska Fairbanks’ Institute of Arctic Biology, co-author of the study published in the journal Diversity and Distributions. (April 10, 2014) Alaska Dispatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2014 - Cuomo: Will fill open position for Dept. of Health Commissioner to review health on the impact of Fracking for free. My recommendation, after reading Fracking stories and studies from around the world for the last five years, is forgetaboutit! Shah’s resignation no surprise, say both sides of fracking debate There’s a ‘Help Wanted’ sign at the state Department of Health after Commissioner Dr. Nirav Shah announced his resignation effective end of June. The Commissioner is unlikely to see out the release of the long-awaited health review on the impact of hydraulic fracturing he was commissioned to produce by Governor Cuomo in November 2012. Salary issues were the reason for his departure according to Governor Cuomo in reported comments made during meeting with the editorial staff of the Democrat and Chronicle newspaper in Rochester on Thursday. Brad Gill, Executive Director of the Independent Oil and Gas Association of New York says the news came as no surprise to him. (April 10, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/11/2014 - Maybe we can learn a lesson from other regions on Fracking, as NYS will experience droughts in late summer according to climate studies. CALIFORNIA DROUGHT GIVES BOOST TO ANTI-FRACKING MOVEMENT With perennial worries over dry conditions and seismic activity, environmentalists aim for tighter drilling regulation California is known for the twin threat of natural disasters from drought and earthquakes, with both phenomena certain to give many residents serious concern. But there is one group that is starting to reap serendipitous marketing ammunition from the state’s current historic drought and the ever-present worry of ground-shaking tremors: the anti-fracking movement. “California faces two interlinked crises, a water crisis and a climate crisis, and fracking makes both of these problems worse,” said Kassie Siegel, senior counsel for the Center for Biological Diversity, a nonprofit conservation group. Fracking, or hydraulic fracturing — a method of high-pressure injection of substances to extract oil from rock formations — has become a hugely controversial subject across the United States. Defenders of the process, especially the oil and gas industry, hail it as a solution to America’s energy woes. Critics say it is highly pollutive and contributes to climate change at a time when the country should be moving away from fossil fuels. (April 11, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/11/2014 - It’s spring and time to think about community-supported agriculture (CSA), which is to say a sustainable food practice. CSA: What it is, how it works and where to buy With the cold and snowy winter making itself at home far longer than most of us wanted, it's hard to think ahead to the summer bounty. But farmers who sell through community-supported agriculture (CSA) models say it's time to plan ahead, even if the fields are still too wet or frozen to plant. Find a CSA to suit you: Search our database of more than 40 CSAs Community-supported agriculture programs ask consumers to pay at the beginning of the season for a weekly allotment of vegetables, fruits, eggs, meats and other farm products. This pre-season payment offers the security of a steady market for the farmer, and allows the consumer to build a relationship with local growers. A few CSAs offer flowers. Most CSA farms practice sustainability in one form or another. Some are certified organic. Be sure to ask. (April 11, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Food in our area]

  • 4/11/2014 - Third part of IPCC report trilogy was supposed to focus on Climate Change solutions; instead it’s an indictment of our lack of will. UN: greenhouse gas emissions nearly doubled in first decade of 21st century Leaked draft shows emissions grew nearly twice as fast from 2000-10 as in previous 30 years – despite economic slowdown Greenhouse gas emissions grew nearly twice as fast over the past decade as in the previous 30 years, bringing the world closer to warming that will bring dramatic and dangerous changes to the climate, according to a leaked draft of a United Nations' report. The report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) said the growth rate in emissions over the from 2000-10 was higher than expected – even after taking into account the economic slowdown. "Global GHG [greenhouse gas] emissions have risen more rapidly between 2000 and 2010," said the draft obtained by the Guardian. "Current GHG emissions trends are at the high end of projected levels for the last decade." The draft went on to warn that delaying emissions cuts beyond 2030 would make it harder to avoid the severe consequences of climate change. (April 11, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/11/2014 - Hope those sticking with an “All of the Above” energy approach to adapting to Climate Change include oil spills in their calculations.  Figuring in all the factors, looks like keeping fossil fuels in the energy mix for the future could not be cost effective. Four Years Later, BP’s Oil Spill Is Still Killing Gulf Wildlife It’s been almost four years since the Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion killed 11 people and spilled 210 million gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico, but the effects of the disaster are still being felt by Gulf wildlife, according to a new report. The report, published Tuesday by the National Wildlife Federation, looked at the health of 14 Gulf species, including bottlenose dolphins, blue crabs, coral, and multiple bird species and found that many of them are still struggling with the health effects of the spill. Scientists said on a press call Tuesday that though their report provides a good framework for the years after the spill, it was difficult to find adequate reports on many species’ health because much of the research hasn’t yet been published due to BP’s ongoing trials. “No matter what BP and others are telling you, the oil is not gone,” Doug Inkley, NWF senior scientist, said on the call. Oil continues to wash up on the Gulf’s shores — as recently as April 2, Florida Department of Environmental Protection officials found more than 350 tar balls on beaches in Escambia County, Florida. (April 10, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 4/11/2014 - Some say the new IPCC report is too "alarmist" and I suspect some those are economists in developed nations. Climate Change could kill the golden goose. Apocalypse now? Climate change already damaging agriculture, acidifying seas, and worsening extreme weather It's not just melting glaciers and bizarrely-early Springs anymore; climate change is impacting every facet of human civilization from our ability to grow enough crops to our ability to get along with each other, according to a new 2,300-page report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC). The massive report, from the Nobel Prize-winning body, states definitively that climate change is already affecting human societies on every continent, including decreasing agricultural output, worsening access to freshwater, exacerbating extreme weather, acidifying the oceans, and adding to the risk of internecine conflict.  "Nobody on this planet is going to be untouched by the impacts of climate change," said Rajendra Pachauri, chair of the IPCC, at a press conference. This IPCC report—focused on the impacts of climate change—is the second in a series of documents published by the group recently.  (March 31, 2014) Mongabay.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/10/2014 - Since he “will lead on Climate Change” Cuomo should remind NYS Health Dept. and public that Climate Change brings more ticks. We can plan better for public health issues if we know what’s coming at us. “We will lead on climate change” BY ANDREW CUOMO  NEW YORK DAILY NEWS   Published: Thursday, November 15, 2012,  Also: "Climate change may have serious implications for diseases affecting wildlife and people. Vector species, such as mosquitoes, ticks, midges, and other biting insects, respond dramatically to small changes in climate, which in turn alters the occurrence of diseases they carry. For example, Lyme disease, erlichiosis, and other tick-borne diseases are spreading as temperatures increase, allowing ticks to move northward and increase in abundance. " (Page 185, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011) Health Alert - Governor Cuomo Advises New Yorkers to Be Cautious of Ticks as Warmer Weather Arrives “While New Yorker’s are out taking advantage of the Spring weather, it is important to ensure safety remains a top priority,” Governor Cuomo said. “New Yorkers of all ages should take a few moments to educate themselves about the health risks associated with tick bites and take proper precautions to protect themselves from them."  Lyme disease is caused by the bite of an infected deer tick. Ticks are active when the weather stays above freezing, usually from April through November. The time of greatest concern is in late spring and early summer when nymphal ticks are active. In the nymphal stage of life, deer ticks are small (about the size of a poppy seed) and difficult to see. Nymphal deer ticks are responsible for the majority of Lyme disease cases. In tick-infested areas, any contact with vegetation, even playing in a well-manicured yard, can result in exposure to ticks. (April 9, 2014) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo [more on Lyme Disease in our area]

  • 4/10/2014 - Whomever you trust to deliver Climate Change message, only governments can be held accountable, they are insurers of last resort. Can Business Break Impasse on Climate Action? The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change urged immediate action on adapting to human-caused climate change in the second part of its fifth assessment report, released in March. But it may be that governments and the media are poorly equipped to deliver that dire message to the public. That was the consensus among experts speaking about the evolution of the public debate over climate change and clean energy at Bloomberg’s Future of Energy Summit in New York City. Andy Hoffman, director of the Institute for Global Sustainable Enterprise at the University of Michigan, said that climate change and renewable energy are caught in a cultural schism in which both, regardless of the science, are seen as products of radical environmentalists and big government. “What we find is that when people start to discuss these issues, they’re questioning your motives and (trying) to find out whether you’re a member of their tribe,” he said. (April 9, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/10/2014 - Today’s questions boys and girls: How can you lower planet’s temperature by decreasing clean energy investments? Ans: You can’t.  In one sense the crisis of Climate Change is extraordinarily simple, decrease the amount of greenhouse gases going into the atmosphere.  In another sense it’s almost impossible, getting people to do that. As Planet Warms, Clean Energy Investments Take a Dive UNITED NATIONS, Apr 7 2014 (IPS) - Policy uncertainty and plummeting solar prices led to a 14-percent decrease in investment in renewable energy in 2013, according to a report released Monday. Investment fell across the globe, even in high growth regions like China, India and Brazil. But it was severe cuts in Europe – until recently a pace-setter for the rest of the world – that marked the retrenchment. In 2013, the continent spent 48 billion dollars less than the year before. The report, jointly released by the U.N. Environmental Programme (UNEP), the Frankfurt School and Bloomberg New Energy Finance, painted a hopeful picture of an industry recuperating after a period of consolidation, but could only highlight a “trickle of significant” projects of the kind that possibly could supplant – not supplement – traditional power generation on a wide scale and curb carbon emissions. (April 7, 2014) Inter Press Service [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/10/2014 - Hope all actually watch “Years of Living Dangerously” Showtime’s documentary on Climate Change and read IPCC reports instead of articles about them.  Be nice if some folks read the original material instead of other folks filtering the message through their own agenda. The Brutally Dishonest Attacks On Showtime’s Landmark Series On Climate Change The good news is the video of episode one of Showtime’s climate series, “Years Of Living Dangerously,” has been getting great reviews in the New York Times and elsewhere. The bad news is the Times has published an error-riddled hit-job op-ed on the series that is filled with myths at odds with both the climate science and social science literature. For instance, the piece repeats the tired and baseless claim that Al Gore’s 2006 movie “An Inconvenient Truth” polarized the climate debate, when the peer-reviewed data says the polarization really jumped in 2009 (see chart above from “The Sociological Quarterly”). (April 9, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/09/2014 - Demonstrate that you give a sh*t about Climate Change in Rochester, NY at major forum on April 17th. Talk with authority on state program. 2014 Earth Day Forum  "Climate Smart Communities:  Let’s Get With the Program"   Please join the Sierra Club, local elected officials, and your friends & neighbors for:   Sierra Club - Rochester Regional Group's 16th Annual Earth Day Forum Climate Smart Communities:  Let's Get with the Program Thursday, April 17 @ First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY 14610 5:30pm: Enviro Fair/Food Available 7-9pm:  Program:  Community Conversation with Mark Lowery, Climate Policy Analyst with NYS Department of Environmental Conservation How will climate change affect our area? How can we reduce carbon emissions and prepare for climate change impacts? Learn how every city, town, village and county can take action with assistance from the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Climate Smart Communities program.  This community conversation is for everyone. Bring your knowledge, ignorance, fear, anger, apathy, and desire to run or to make a difference with you. Let’s talk about it.  Or if talking isn’t your thing, come and just listen! Free and open to the public. This is the Sierra Club - Rochester Regional Group's 16th Annual Earth Day Forum.

  • 4/09/2014 - Make comment on NYS Energy Plan by April 30th if you care to seriously address Climate Change. "Dear Friends,   The deadline for submitting comments on the 2014 Draft State Energy Plan is April 30th, just a few weeks away!    This plan calls for on increase in natural gas use and its required infrastructure thus reducing resources for expanding renewable energy infrastructure.    For those who weren't able to attend the Energy Plan Forum in Penfield a couple of weeks ago, here are the links to the videos – I highly recommend them: Keith Schue: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6AlsTv_h4TE&feature=youtu.be Jessica Azulay: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6SW-YixiMmk&feature=youtu.be   To make it easy for us to comment on the plan, Catskill Citizens for Safe Energy has drafted over 20 different letters, each targeting a specific aspect of the Plan that needs to be revised. Please take a minute to submit all of the letters to ensure that New York adopts an energy plan that favors clean, renewable energy, not dirty fossil fuels.   For greater impact, customize your letters. All the letters can be edited, and we are encouraged to rewrite them and make them our own. Unique letters carry a lot more weight than form letters.  HINT: Copy each letter before you hit the submit button – then use them to create your own comments which can be submitted via New Yorkers Against Fracking's website:  http://nyagainstfracking.org/comment-on-the-proposed-new-york-state-energy-plan/   More information is available here: http://www.r-cause.net/2014-draft-nys-energy-plan.html   "We now know that the threat of fracked gas in New York is as much an issue of gas infrastructure as it is gas wells. Our air, water, bodies, and souls will not be made cleaner by a plan that relies on fossil fuels extracted in nearby states or foreign lands to the detriment of other human beings or to the environment that we all share. Furthermore, fighting for a sustainable future means not only objecting to ruinous fossil fuels, but also advocating for renewable sources of energy that are truly clean. Thank you all for spreading that message." Keith Schue "

  • 4/09/2014 - Some green events for the family coming up: Green events to range from recycling to Owl Prowl April 9, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 4/09/2014 - Sure IPCC’s climate reports are boiled down into well-written encapsulations and interpretations, but how about reading them yourself?  There’s help for that: How to read the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s reports The UN's new climate report is 1,000 pages long and contains a huge amount of detail on topics as diverse as flood risk and Arctic greening. So how do you stop it from becoming the world's best-researched doorstop? Here's our guide to navigating the report. Three reports Yesterday's report is the second instalment of three publications which together make up the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC) comprehensive review of climate change research, known as the Fifth Assessment Report (or AR5). As they're such big pieces of work, the IPCC only produces a new assessment report every five or six years. So where do you start? First, make sure you're reading the right document. (April 1, 2014) The Carbon Brief [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/09/2014 - Climate Change series hopes to communicate this worldwide crisis in a more engaging way.  Without the public, no Climate Change adaptation. Showtime Series Aims to Engage Sleepy Public on Global Warming With Celebrity Guides Early in 2011, two longtime 60 Minutes producers, David Gelber and Joel Bach, met with me to describe their ambitious plan to create a television series on global warming that, they hoped, would break through the enduring public apathy and haze of disinformation surrounding the subject. I wished them luck, while warning that the scale and complexity of the problem would make it hard to be both engaging and accurate. The first of nine episodes of the resulting series, “Years of Living Dangerously,” will run on Showtime Sunday night but can be seen on YouTube now (noted via Joe Romm, who is one of two chief science advisers on the production, the other being Heidi Cullen): (April 7, 2014) Dot Earth - New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2014 - Too bad NYS AG has to spend so much time beating back attempts to thwart our efforts to address Climate Change.  Killing Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) would seriously hamper our ability to actually do something to address and mitigate Climate Change on a scale that will matter. A.G. Schneiderman Applauds Ruling By New York's Top Court On Key State Effort To Combat Climate Change Court Of Appeals Rejects Attempt To Block Implementation Of Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) Schneiderman: This Office Will Continue To Fight To Reduce Climate Change Pollution NEW YORK -- Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today applauded a ruling by the New York Court of Appeals that denied the appeal of a lawsuit aimed at blocking New York State's participation in the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a multi-state effort to reduce emissions of pollution that contribute to climate change. The plaintiffs brought their appeal to the state’s highest court after a state appellate court last year dismissed the case. Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued the following statement on today’s decision: “I applaud today’s Court of Appeals (April 3, 2014) NYS Attorney General Schneiderman [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2014 - Killing (OK, ‘harvesting’) 1,358 black bears is all very exciting, but what is DEC doing about bears adapting to Climate Change? DEC Announces 2013 Bear Harvest Results Record Takes Again In the Southern Zone New York bear hunters took 1,358 black bears during the 2013 hunting seasons, making last year the second highest bear harvest on record in New York, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. "New York has excellent bear habitat and vast, accessible public lands that offer exciting opportunities for bear hunting," said Commissioner Martens. "With abundant natural foods this past year, bears were in great condition, and we heard of several hunters who took bears weighing more than 500 pounds dressed. Under New York's Open for Fishing and Hunting, our Fish and Wildlife Programs are being enhanced and our hunting and fishing licenses are streamlined to ensure increased opportunities for recreational in this state." (April 7, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 4/08/2014 - Got thoughts on how Rochester NY’s waterfront should be developed, what should be priorities, what should be preserved? Coming to public meetings like this are how citizens make democrat decision on public’s projects and our environment. News Release - Public Meeting on Local Waterfront Revitalization Program Set for Wednesday, April 9 The City Department of Neighborhood and Business Development will host a public meeting from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, April 9 in City Council Chambers of City Hall, 30 Church St. to gather community input to update the Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP), which guides waterfront development in the city.  The “open house” meeting format will include display materials covering four waterfront topics: LWRP history, waterfront vision, waterfront issues and development projects/priorities. Participants will be asked to provide comment on how the city’s waterfront should be developed and preserved and how public resources should be prioritized. The open house will include a unique display of the Rochester’s entire waterfront corridor (lake, river and canal).  The LWRP was first adopted in 1990 and is the official statement of land use and development policy for the city’s waterfront areas. The LWRP update is being prepared by the Bureau of Planning and Zoning in cooperation with the New York State Department of State with funds provided under Title 11 of the NYS Environmental Protection Fund. It is anticipated that the LWRP update will be completed by December. (April 4, 2014) City of Rochester

  • 4/08/2014 - Green Business doesn’t get any greener than Farming. Young Farmers NY launched to prompt young adults to take up farming A new initiative called Young Farmers NY is designed to call attention to the issue and encourage young people to take up farming.  More than 150 farmers from across New York attended state Farm Bureau’s annual Taste of New York Reception and Lobby Days that kicked off March 3 with tasting of New York farm products at the Convention Center in Empire State Plaza in Albany. (April 5, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Food and Green Business in our area]

  • 4/08/2014 - Insidious thing about fossil fuel addition is that even if you stop it from being drilled in one place it gets shipped through your backyard anyway. U.N. panel to weigh dangers of oil-by-rail cargo (Reuters) - A U.N. panel will examine the rules for handling the kind of oil-by-rail shipments involved in several recent fiery derailments in a move that could rattle the fast-growing sector. The U.N. panel for shipping hazardous materials said this week it accepted a request from U.S. and Canadian experts to revisit rules that govern shipping the kinds of fuel produced in energy areas such as North Dakota's Bakken. Specifically, the panel will examine whether rules for shipping crude oil properly account for dangerous pressure and volatile gases. "Unprocessed crude oil may present unique hazards based on the specific gas content, posing different hazards in transport," the U.N. panel on transporting dangerous goods said in a statement seen by Reuters. (April 3, 2014) Reuters [more on Energy in our area]

  • 4/08/2014 - Hard not to connect the dots with Climate Change & spread of invasive emerald ash borer when longer colds snap are needed to slow bugs down. Much ado about spraying pesticides but nary a mention about one of the main causes as to why EAB is moving so quickly north—in NYS anyway. Despite winter’s might, ash borer treatment urged Sure, it was a long, cold, miserable winter, but there’s at least one creature that didn’t care the invasive emerald ash borer, which is munching its way through ash trees throughout the region and the state. An assortment of tree experts point out that the insect migrated to Indiana by way of Michigan, a state hardly known for its warm winters. But they also note that early April is a good time to apply a preventative pesticide, or apply the chemicals to ash trees in the early stages of infestation. It might be enough to save the tree, experts said. “The cold weather will knock out the population some, but not enough to think we’re safe,” said Nikky Witkowski, horticultural educator with the Lake County extension service. (April 6, 2014) Post-Tribune [more on Invasive Species and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/08/2014 - Got thoughts on achieving the human health objectives of the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement- comment until April 30, 2014. Recommended Human Health Indicators for Assessing Progress on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement  The International Joint Commission’s Health Professionals Advisory Board is seeking public comment on an interim report entitled Recommended Human Health Indicators for Assessing Progress on the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement. The interim report describes the identification and definition of recommended indicators that could be used by the governments and the IJC to assess and report on progress towards achieving the human health objectives of the Agreement. The report recommended five indicators: 1) the Chemical Integrity of Source Water; 2) the Biological Hazards of Source Water; 3) the Illness Risk at Great Lakes Beaches; 4) the Identified Risks at Great Lakes Beaches; and 5) the Contaminant Levels in Great Lakes Edible Fish Species. These indicators relate to the Agreement objectives that the waters of the Great Lakes should be a source of safe, high quality drinking water, allow for swimming and other recreational uses and allow for the human consumption of fish. The report proposes definitions for each indicator, a statement on the purpose and importance of the indicator, a discussion of the indicator’s relevance to the Agreement, proposed measures, and the utility and limitations of the indicators. A separate effort by the IJC and its Great Lakes advisory boards has yielded recommendations for ecosystem indicators which could be used to measure progress towards environmental objectives. Using both human and ecosystem indicators can yield a better understanding of conditions and trends, improve the interpretation of data provided by the governments, and foster development of more informed strategies to reduce adverse impacts from Great Lakes waters. Public comments on this report are invited through April 30, 2014. International Joint Commission

  • 4/08/2014 - Seems like even when mainstream media does talk about Climate Change at all, they don’t know what they’re talking about.  Most Cable News Coverage Of Climate Change Isn't Exactly Accurate: Report It is no secret that TV news coverage of climate change is far from perfect, even with outlets generally devoting very little time to the issue. And according to a new report released Monday, when cable news in particular does decide to cover climate change, it doesn't always get the facts straight. The report from the Union of Concerned Scientists analyzes just how accurately cable news networks in the United States, including CNN, Fox News and MSNBC, cover climate science. The UCS analysis found that, in 2013, MSNBC had the highest accuracy rate in its coverage of climate change, getting the state of the science right about 92 percent of the time. CNN came in second, at 70 percent accuracy. Fox trailed at 28 percent accuracy. The inaccuracies identified in the report typically stemmed from dismissing or doubting scientific facts, or from overstating and understating current science. (April 7, 2014) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/08/2014 - Climate Change is real, Climate Change is bipartisan, Climate Change is happening to you, watch new documentary and show friends. Must See Video: Showtime Climate Series ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ Showtime has posted online the entire video of Episode 1 of its visually and emotionally gripping documentary series event, “Years of Living Dangerously.” The landmark 9-part series is produced by the legendary James Cameron, Arnold Schwarzenegger, and Jerry Weintraub — together with former 60 Minutes producers who have 18 Emmys between them. In addition, ThinkProgress has an exclusive video of a post-premiere panel, which includes Executive Producer Dan Abbasi, correspondent Tom Friedman, and me, Chief Science Advisor. Panel moderator Carol Browner, former EPA Administrator, said after watching Episode 1: I’ve seen a hundreds shows on climate change and I’ve seen all the graphs and charts…. But really in my experience, this is the first time it is about people. James Cameron himself said, “This is 100 percent a people story.” And to tell these powerful stories, the series engaged top-flight journalists (like Chris Hayes and Friedman) and some of Hollywood’s biggest stars (like Matt Damon, Jessica Alba, Ian Somerholder, and Harrison Ford). See for yourself: (April 7, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/07/2014 - Maybe Climate Change is another of those ‘lots of things’ the white-footed mouse, a carrier of Lyme Disease, is resilient to.  As Lyme disease is expected to increase according to climate studies, this tale of the mouse could be one of the reasons why.  Study: Little mouse is a big Lyme carrier  ALBANY — While bloodsucking ticks can lay waste to a moose and infect humans with devastating diseases, the tiny parasites and the bacteria they carry have no apparent effect on one wee woodland creature: the white-footed mouse. That conclusion in this month’s journal Ecology underscores why the mouse is such an effective transmitter of tick-borne afflictions such as Lyme disease, which affects about 30,000 people a year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (April 7, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Environmental Health and Lyme disease in our area]

  • 4/07/2014 - Please note: This year’s City of Rochester Clean Sweep will happen on only one day this year, May 3rd. Clean Sweep - 2014 Help Rochester sparkle at Clean Sweep The City of Rochester is partnering with the Rochester Red Wings to host a one-day, all-city Clean Sweep, starting 8 a..m. Saturday, May 3 at Frontier Field (map). Volunteers participating in Clean Sweep will receive a free ticket to that day’s baseball game, which starts at 1:05 p.m. that afternoon. A light breakfast will be provided along with a food voucher at the game. Free parking will be available. Groups and individuals may register to volunteer for Clean Sweep using the online form below,  or by calling 311 (428-5990 if calling from outside of city limits).  Additional details of this year’s Clean Sweep will be announced at a later date City of Rochester NY

  • 4/07/2014 - "he New York State Federation of Lake Associations, Inc. (NYSFOLA) will be holding it 31st annual conference “Celebrating Lake Stewardship” May 2-4, 2014 at White Eagle Conference Center in Hamilton, NY.  The public is welcome" Regionally Speaking: NYSFOLA Conference Celebrates Lake Stewardship The New York State Federation of Lake Associations, Inc. (NYSFOLA) will be holding it 31st annual conference “Celebrating Lake Stewardship” May 2-4, 2014 at White Eagle Conference Center in Hamilton, NY.  The public is welcome, and the proximity of the conference to the Finger Lakes provides an opportunity to learn more about statewide lake management issues.  NYSFOLA has recently become an affiliate member of the Finger Lakes Watershed Alliance and looks forward to working with many long time NYSFOLA members in the region. On Friday, May 2nd, there will be two concurrent sessions.  The first focuses on lake stewardship and invasive species and the need for a statewide invasive species transport law.  Several presenters will discuss various topics including proposed legislation and how to move it forward, invasive species issues, and stewardship opportunities. Finger Lakes Institute Director, Dr. Lisa Cleckner will present the results from the 2013 Finger Lakes Institute Watercraft Steward Program.  Participants in the second session will hear about issues related to New York’s dam safety regulations, compliance, and the potential for forming a New York dam owners group. (April 1, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Living Green in our area]

  • 4/07/2014 - Earth Day event coming up at Rochester Institute of Technology RIT: "Title: Earth Day Event and R&D Student Competition Exhibition Venue: Golisano Institute for Sustainability at the Rochester Institute of Technology Address: 111 Lomb Memorial Drive, Sustainability Hall, Rochester, NY 14623 Date/Time: Tuesday, April 22, 2014 from 9:00 AM to 12:30 PM Event Details: This event is free and open to the public. Join us on Earth Day for an exciting morning of activities for all ages! Come for the Free Food & stay for the competitions, exhibits, and guest speakers.  -Undergraduate & Graduate teams from our R&D Student Competition will be exhibiting.  -We will also have posters on display from our K-12 Student Poster Competition. Winners will be chosen during the event at the LEED Platinum Certified Golisano Institute for Sustainability at RIT. -Free movie & popcorn: WALL-E  -Local community groups and researchers exhibit their NYSP2I supported projects. Businesses share their eco-friendly initiatives and hiring/work experiences available to recent college graduates Event Webpage: http://www.rit.edu/affiliate/nysp2i/2014-earth-day-event-and-student-competition-exhibition Event Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/1407969429454434/ Cost: FREE! "

  • 4/07/2014 - If time is running out for use of fossil fuels because of Climate Change what do you think we will do?  Keep on using them in massive quantities because that’s what the fossil fuel corporations demand? Berlin Climate Talks coming up soon will give us a hint. Time running out to meet global warming target: U.N. report (Reuters) - World powers are running out of time to slash their use of high-polluting fossil fuels and stay below agreed limits on global warming, a draft U.N. study to be approved this week shows. Government officials and top climate scientists will meet in Berlin from April 7-12 to review the 29-page draft that also estimates the needed shift to low-carbon energies would cost between two and six percent of world output by 2050. It says nations will have to impose drastic curbs on their still rising greenhouse gas emissions to keep a promise made by almost 200 countries in 2010 to limit global warming to less than 2 degrees Celsius (3.6 Fahrenheit) over pre-industrial times. Temperatures have already risen by about 0.8 C (1.4F) since 1900 and are set to breach the 2 C ceiling on current trends in coming decades, U.N. reports show. (April 6, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/05/2014 - I got to be missing something, gas line passing into New York and only “PA residents’ voice opinions”? What’s wrong with this picture? PA residents voice opinions over proposed pipeline The proposed pipeline would run 124 miles of 30-inch pipe. It would start in Susquehanna County, pass into New York and cut through Broome and Delaware counties on its way to connect with the already existing Tennessee Gas Pipeline in Shoharie County. Both sides at the meeting were passionate. People spoke for over two hours. The public forum was on the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission, or FERC’s draft environmental impact study of the proposed pipeline. Rebecca Roter lives less then a half mile away from where the pipeline would begin. Roter says FERC isn’t doing enough to protect landowners (April 4, 2014) Innovation Trail

  • 4/05/2014 - Sounds like storm drain labeling “to help increase awareness about the relationship between storm drains and water quality” should be done on all our lakes.  Be nice to find out what stuff is actually empting into our lake ecologies, some of which we drink and fish from.  Storm Drain Labeling Takes On Volunteers to Protect Seneca Lake Castle Creek, the most urban-impacted stream in the Seneca Lake watershed, runs through Cornell’s New York State Agricultural Experiment Station’s agricultural fields, behind neighborhoods and parks, under roads and buildings, through tunnels and culverts in downtown Geneva, and finally empties into Seneca Lake. Each landscape type, rural, suburban, and urban, that Castle Creek flows through impacts the overall health of the stream. Of all these landscape types, urbanization has the most adverse impacts. (April 1, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/05/2014 - Why would we adopt a comprehensive and potentially disruptive energy option, like Fracking, without checking it out completely? Sure there are folks and corporations who really, really want it because it will make them really, really, rich.  But are we still in the 13th century where do stuff on a grand scale just because it scratches and itch? What’s the point of learning about health risks and environmental issues related to energy if we aren’t even going to listen? House Democrats Call On EPA To Investigate Fracking’s Link To Water Contamination In Three States House Democrats are calling on the EPA to reopen an investigation into whether fracking operations contaminated water in Wyoming, Pennsylvania and Texas. Eight members of Congress sent a letter to EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy Tuesday, asking her to reopen investigations into water contamination in the three states. The EPA investigations in Pavillion, WY, Dimock, PA and Parker County, TX were all called off betweenmid-2012 and mid-2013, before the agency determined for sure what had caused each region’s contamination. “The EPA was established to hold states accountable and guarantee baseline protection for the American public and shared environment, and these families deserve that protection,” the letter reads. “Members of these communities currently do not have safe, clean drinking water and need EPA’s help to address the ongoing water contamination issues in their homes.” (April 3, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/05/2014 - Let those who don’t think US politics is not dumbing us down on science read this insane measure.  Ideological cherry-picking of cause and effect of Climate Change is well …, insane.  It’s insane in the same way that thinking that putting a lit match to a pool or water or gasoline will have the same effect.   Can we vote Change Deniers out of important positions in our government please, so the rest of us can have a fighting chance for survival?  House Votes to Block Climate Research The Republican-controlled House has approved a measure that would effectively force government agencies to stop studying climate change. The measure calls on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and related bodies to focus on forecasting severe weather — but not explore one of its likely causes. The vote comes as the U.N.'s top climate panel issued a report this week calling on governments to prepare for global warming's worsening impact and to cut emissions in order to prevent it from getting worse. (April 2, 2014) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/05/2014 - Hard to ‘fix’ our local environmental problems when they are global: Mercury in our lakes, even though emission are down locally, could be up because of “other factors, such as global emissions, climate change and invasive species.  If nations don’t work together to fix Climate Change and some of the other big environmental problems, much of local efforts will not matter much because pollution and warming know no boundaries. Mercury rising in some Ontario lakes Mercury levels in fish are on the rise in some locations after years of decline in Ontario lakes, according to researchers. While the scientists found an overall drop in mercury since the 1970s, levels are creeping back up at more than half of locations sampled, especially in Ontario’s most northern lakes. Because the province covers a wide geographical area that contains about one-third of the world’s fresh water, the findings, they say, may reflect changes on a large scale. (April 3, 2014) Environmental News Network [more on Wildlife and Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/05/2014 - Climate talk in Berlin coming up: How will we distribute the cost of Climate Change? Fairly or delusionally selfishly? Climate Meeting To Discuss Future Of Fossil Fuels BERLIN (AP) — After concluding that global warming almost certainly is man-made and poses a grave threat to humanity, the U.N.-sponsored expert panel on climate change is moving on to the next phase: what to do about it. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, or IPCC, will meet next week in Berlin to chart ways in which the world can curb the greenhouse gas emissions that scientists say are overheating the planet. It is also trying to give estimates on what it would cost. In the third report of a landmark climate assessment, the IPCC is expected to say that to keep warming in check, the world needs a major shift in investments from fossil fuels — the principal source of man-made carbon emissions — to renewable energy. (April 5, 2014) Yahoo News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/05/2014 - Be nice to get the whole story about Fracking, including those toxic emission spikes, before anyone even thinks of Fracking NYS. Toxic Emission Spikes at Fracking Sites Are Rarely Monitored, Study Finds Gas drilling facilities have sporadic emission spikes that spew toxins harmful to human health, but states rarely monitor these fleeting events. People in natural gas drilling areas who complain about nauseating odors, nosebleeds and other symptoms they fear could be caused by shale development usually get the same response from state regulators: monitoring data show the air quality is fine. A new study helps explain this discrepancy. The most commonly used air monitoring techniques often underestimate public health threats because they don't catch toxic emissions that spike at various points during gas production,researchers reported Tuesday in the peer-reviewed journal Reviews on Environmental Health. The study was conducted by the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a nonprofit based near Pittsburgh. (April 3, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/04/2014 - An aspect of communicating Climate Change that few dare to broach is what to do about deniers who thwart our climate actions.  In a thoughtful essay “ Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent? “, a local professor takes that on and gets hammered by the very folks who need to think about the repercussions of their anti-Climate Change message.  Here’s the thing, after a point there are limits to free speech.  The classic example is that we do not have the right to shout out “Fire!” in a crowded theatre.  With Climate Change, an issue like no other our species has ever considered, how are we, meaning 7 billion of us, going to act together in a time frame that will actually matter –if those who are trying to stop the rest of us are not somehow declawed? The tragedy is that we can address and mitigate Climate Change if we could muster the collective will to do so and that is difficult when those who have the ability to thwart us are given free reign. Some media refuse to print climate denial. I’m not sure what the answer is but I believe if the media did a better job in connecting the dots with local Climate Change consequences and continually reminded their customers that we are living in a warmer world that that we must address it is less likely that deniers would still have the clout they do.  It’s 2014, and our window of opportunity to address and mitigate Climate Change before catastrophic changes occur is closing quickly. RIT Professor Talks About Backlash to Climate Change Blog Professor Lawrence Torcello teaches philosophy at Rochester Institute of Technology, yet he's in the middle of a raging Internet debate over climate change. "I've heard repeatedly claims that I am a Nazi, a fascist, also that climate science is a lie straight from the Jews,"  Torcello said. It all started on March 13. Torcello published a blog post on the website, The Conversation, titled, "Is misinformation about the climate criminally negligent?" The essay criticizes well-funded, organized efforts to deny global warming. Torcello suggests people behind those efforts should be held criminally responsible. (April 3, 2014) RochesterHomePage.net [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 4/04/2014 - Great bio on Rochester, NY environmentalist, shows how local action on our environment can make a difference. Cheryl Frank helps others adopt a greener lifestyle Cheryl Frank became a role model for others concerned about climate change when she and a handful of Brighton residents formed ColorBrightonGreen.org. Cheryl Frank discovered her love of nature in the woods behind her childhood home in Racine, Wis. She developed a renewed commitment to the environment right after Hurricane Katrina in 2005. Frank moved from Rochester to New Orleans to join their philharmonic as a violist just before one of the worst hurricanes in modern history hit that city. Katrina destroyed her home and displaced her family. "Katrina definitely wasn't a positive experience for me or my family, but what came out of that experience was a new commitment to environmental change," Frank said. "I realized that we needed to change the way we were using fossil fuels in this country." (April 3, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 4/04/2014 - Just sitting around here in New York waiting for the EPA’s study on potential impact of Fracking on drinking water resources.  Be nice to know before we do anything rash. EPA's Study of Hydraulic Fracturing and Its Potential Impact on Drinking Water Resources At  the request of Congress, EPA is conducting a study to better understand  any potential impacts of hydraulic fracturing on drinking water resources. The scope of the research includes the full lifespan of water in hydraulic fracturing. The progress report was released in December 2012 and a draft report is expected to be released for public comment and peer review in 2014. EPA [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/04/2014 - Read free study about “Extreme Precipitation and Beach Closures in the Great Lakes Region: Evaluating Risk among the Elderly” that includes “12 Great Lakes cities from 2000 to 2006”—including Rochester, NY. Extreme Precipitation and Beach Closures in the Great Lakes Region: Evaluating Risk among the Elderly Abstract: As a result of climate change, extreme precipitation events are expected to increase in frequency and intensity. Runoff from these extreme events poses threats to water quality and human health. We investigated the impact of extreme precipitation and beach closings on the risk of gastrointestinal illness (GI)-related hospital admissions among individuals 65 and older in 12 Great Lakes cities from 2000 to 2006. Poisson regression models were fit in each city, controlling for temperature and long-term time trends. City-specific estimates were combined to form an overall regional risk estimate. Approximately 40,000 GI-related hospital admissions and over 100 beach closure days were recorded from May through September during the study period. Extreme precipitation (≥90th percentile) occurring the previous day (lag 1) is significantly associated with beach closures in 8 of the 12 cities (p < 0.05). However, no association was observed between beach closures and GI-related hospital admissions. These results support previous work linking extreme precipitation to compromised recreational water quality. Download PDF Full-Text [1037 KB, uploaded 14 February 2014 14:02 CET] -- from MDPI.com, the website of the Multidisciplinary Digital Publishing Institute

  • 4/04/2014 - Going to be hard to settle on threat trends from Climate Change because new information is coming in daily. Best bet is for individuals, communities, and nations to address this issue now rather than wait until they can get their heads around it. With no issue in the past to compare, it may never be possible to fully understand Climate Change. But we do have enough information to act. Carbon dioxide in the tropical Pacific Ocean is increasing faster than expected Ocean acidity is also rising rapidly New NOAA research has revealed unprecedented changes in ocean carbon dioxide in the tropical Pacific Ocean over the last 14 years, influencing the role the oceans play in current and projected global warming and ocean acidification. Natural variability has dominated patterns in ocean CO2 in this region, but observations now show human activity contributes to increasing CO2 levels. “Carbon dioxide in tropical Pacific waters has been increasing up to 65 percent faster than atmospheric CO2 since 1998,” says Adrienne Sutton, a research scientist with the NOAA Joint Institute for the Study of the Atmosphere and Ocean at the University of Washington and lead author of the paper in the journalGlobal Biogeochemical Cycles.  “Natural cycles and human-caused change appear to be combining to cause more rapid change than our models predict.” (March 26, 2014) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/04/2014 - It’s taken a long time for health message on threat of Climate Change, hope that doesn’t quickly turn to despair.  Also, in our region, it would be nice to see the New York State Department of Health start informing the public on this issue so we can plan properly. Health Professionals Worldwide Demand Urgent Climate Action Following IPCC Report Health and medical organizations from around the world are calling on governments to respond to the major health risks described in the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC)’s recent Second Working Group reporting, ‘Impacts, Vulnerability and Adaptation,’ which was released on Monday. In a briefing document summarizing the IPCC report’s implications for health, now and in the future, the Global Climate & Health Alliance (GCHA) argues that there is still time to turn what has been called “the biggest global health threat of the 21st century” into one of our biggest opportunities to improve health. “We are already seeing serious threats to health from heatwaves and bushfires in Australia, which are increasing due to climate change; but we know the worst impacts on health are being borne by those in developing nations,” said Dr. Liz Hanna, President of Climate and Health Alliance (Australia) “We can respond to this threat, and action now will prevent further harm. We call on our health and medical colleagues around the world to join us in demanding strong action to reduce emissions to limit these risks to health.” (April 3, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 4/03/2014 - There are many issues related to public health and Climate Change in our region, including more frequent extreme rainfall affecting our beach water. Extreme precipitation closes beaches, may endanger human health Even after all of the snow Michigan received this winter is gone and melted, it could still find a way to impact peoples’ summer plans. A new study by the Department of Environmental Health Sciences at the University of Michigan suggests that extreme precipitation is linked to the need for beach closures. Due to runoff from agriculture caused by intense precipitation, officials may close beaches because of bacteria such as E. coli in the water that may harm people through water-borne illnesses. (April 2, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/03/2014 - Allowing using NYS water for Fracking in Pennsylvania sounds like we are setting the table in NYS for Fracking. Court tosses fracking water lawsuit A lawsuit that could have stopped the Village of Painted Post from selling large quantities of water to a Shell subsidiary for fracking use has been dismissed.  Now, the residents and environmental groups that brought the lawsuit will have to decide whether to appeal the decision to the state's top court.  In 2012, Painted Post officials approved a five-year water sales agreement with SWEPI, LP, the Shell subsidiary. Under the agreement, SWEPI was able to withdraw up to a million gallons of water per day from a village aquifer; it was using the water for hydraulic fracturing in Pennsylvania natural gas wells. (April 2, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper

  • 4/03/2014 - Our region is blessed with good soil that helps make wonderful food; help those who help make Farming healthy and sustainable. Statewide organic farming group seeks feedback The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, which promotes local organic food and farming statewide, is seeking new members and gathering information for the new growing season.  The Northeast Organic Farming Association of New York, which promotes local organic food and farming statewide, is seeking new members and gathering information for the new growing season. The organization this week also launched a survey online at www.nofany.org/ to assess interests and concerns of its supporters regarding organic farming and to help NOFA-NY draft a strategic plan. (April 1, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Food in our area]

  • 4/03/2014 - To address Climate Change on a scale that will matter must include Citizen Scientists.  Ordinary folks trained by experts to see and monitor our environment provide valuable information about the workings of our environment. Folks get educated and concerned about their life support system and scientists get to learn how to communicate with the public. Exploration and Education: Citizen Science- What it is, Why it Matters and How You Can Get Involved! What is citizen science? Citizen science refers to programs that engage the public in organized, authentic scientific research.  Sometimes called “participatory science” or “volunteer-based monitoring,” these programs augment scientific research with observations and data collected by students, educators and community members. Citizen science programs focus on a wide variety of scientific topics, ranging from water quality to the spread of invasive species to the timing of bird migrations and much, much more! Citizen science matters. Citizen science is an effective method for researchers to obtain large volumes of data submitted to a common database by trained volunteers. The data can be used to establish baselines, identify long-term trends, or as a screening method to determine when more in-depth study is needed. (April 1, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Living Green in our area]

  • 4/03/2014 - Wouldn’t it be more productive to save bees by actually addressing “the challenges of pathogens, parasites and pesticides” than planting some bee-friendly plants? Trying to provide bees, which are in severe decline, by giving them a good meal and then sending them out into a human toxic environment seems like a political solution to a biological problem. Program Looks to Give Bees a Leg (or Six) Up LOCKEFORD, Calif. — Helping America’s beleaguered bees could start with something as humble as planting a shrub. Here in California’s Central Valley, researchers are trying to find assortments of bee-friendly plants that local farmers and ranchers can easily grow, whether in unusable corners and borders of their land or on acreage set aside with government support. Bees could certainly use the assist. Since 2006, the commercial beekeepers who raise honeybees and transport them across the country to pollinate crops have reported losing a third of their colonies each year, on average. Native species of bees, too, have been in decline. That is taking a toll on crops that rely on bees for pollination, including many nuts and fruits. The Department of Agriculture says that one of every three bites that Americans take is affected, directly or indirectly, by bees. They cause an estimated $15 billion increase in agricultural crop value each year. (April 2, 2014) New York Times [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 4/02/2014 - “New York State actually has a few programs in place to encourage that [Climate Change] sort of planning.” And one of those programs is called Climate Smart Communities (CSC) and if you want meet and talk with Mark Lowery, manager of the DEC’s CSC program, consider coming to the Sierra Club’s  2014 Earth Day Forum "Climate Smart Communities:  Let’s Get With the Program" on April 17th, 220 S. Winton Rd, in Brighton, NY.   Climate Change isn’t about bumper sticker phrases, it’s complex, the state’s on it, and we need to talk about it. Got questions? Got thoughts on Climate Change in our area? We really want to hear your thoughts and we are ready want to listen. Without the public’s full understanding of what Climate Chang is and what measures will be needed to address an issue of this size and complexity, the public, everyone, must get engaged.  Panel's report warns of climate change future effects Climate change is affecting every continent and we are not prepared. That is essentially the one-sentence summary of a report released today by a working group of the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. The IPCC is the authoritative voice on climate change. “We live in an era of man-made climate change,” Vicente Barros,co-chair of an IPCC working group, said in a press release. "In many cases, we are not prepared for the climate-related risks that we already face. Investments in better preparation can pay dividends both for the present and for the future.” I haven't read the full report, which is very detailed and very long, but there's a distinction to be made between it and the report a different IPCC working group issued in September.  That report made headlines because it stated directly that greenhouse gases from human activities are driving climate change. And it was accompanied by a stark admonition that sharp cuts in emissions are needed globally to, at the least, avoid the worst effects of climate change. (March 31, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 4/02/2014 - What is Food Justice and why should we care about this issue in our Rochester region?  Read this great article By Elizabeth Henderson, Farmer at Peacework Organic Farm and Founder of the Agriculture Justice Project Food Justice– What it Means and Why We Need it in Western New York! I come to my understanding of Food Justice from the perspective of my life as an organic farmer since 1980. Access for inner city and low-income people to healthy, clean, nutritious food is what you hear about most in news about food justice. According to USDA Economic Research Service in its annual report for 2012 on food security – nationally 48.9 million people live in households that are food insecure. In NYS 13.2% of all households are food insecure and 5% suffered “very low food security,” with more severe problems, deeper hunger, cutting back and skipping meals on a regular basis for both adults and children.  21.6% of all children live in food insecure households. Despite these distressing statistics, both houses of Congress agreed to cut the funding for nutrition programs in the Farm Bill of 2014. (April 1, 2014) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Food in our area]

  • 4/02/2014 - Consider addressing Climate Change by Rochesterians leaving their cars home for one day—June 19, 2014 ROC Transit Day | [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 4/02/2014 - Earth Day event coming up.  Check it out: Earth Day Celebration 2014 Tuesday, April 22, 2014, 6PM to 8PM, Victor Junior High School,  FREE EVENT FOR THE WHOLE FAMILY! Come learn how a starts with and a , community! Great earth-friendly giveaways, fresh markets, & fresh gourmet local food, yoga, lots of freebies & green prizes. You won’t want to miss the Changing Closets & Kidz Closets Fashion show, The ‘Science of Being Green’ Scavenger Hunt, green careers & university programs, green crafts & activities for kids! Experts from in and around our community will be sharing what they know and how it benefits you to make a + difference & be more Who will be joining us at our 2014 Earth Day Celebration?

  • 4/02/2014 - Important article on water withdrawal from Lake Ontario: Is the DEC review process doing enough to stress efficient water use? Eastman park permit could set precedent Water is crucial to life, and to the rebirth of Eastman Business Park. The park has a self-contained, specialized utilities system that depends on large quantities of water from Lake Ontario. RED-Rochester, which owns the park's utility system, has applied for a state permit to withdraw up to 54 million gallons of lake water per day to keep those utilities running. Previously, the park's utility system didn't need a water withdrawal permit. But in 2011, a law passed that broadly regulates and restricts water withdrawals throughout New York. The purpose is to fulfill New York's commitment under a multi-state Great Lakes water conservation and protection pact. RED-Rochester's application will be a test case of sorts. The company is one of the first industrial users to apply for a water withdrawal permit, and the application will set a precedent for future reviews and approvals, says Larry Levine, senior attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council of New York. (April 1, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 4/02/2014 - Considering how little we do know about how healthy environments actually work, shouldn’t we reset climate target to where it was before we dialed up the thermostat? Rather than assume that our governments, which haven’t been doing very well on cooperating on a climate agreement, can adapt to Climate Change, shouldn’t we get the climate temperatures down to when we knew we could handle it? Perhaps what is most worrisome about Climate Change is how much we don’t know. Scientists: Global Warming Likely to Surpass 2°C Target They argue for new “narrative” so world can better prepare for dangerous climate change impacts. It took a long time for nations to set a speed limit on the road to a warming world. But for the past four years, even though negotiators have never arrived at a plan for avoiding dangerous climate change, they have agreed on a goal: limiting the increase in the Earth's global average surface temperature to 2°C (3.6°F) above the preindustrial level. Now, two Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS) climate scientists and two colleagues argue that policymakers need to acknowledge that the world is already on track for warming beyond 2°C. (See related "Quiz: What You Don't Know About Climate Change Science.") "A policy narrative that continues to frame this target as the sole metric of success or failure to constrain climate change risk is now itself becoming dangerous," wrote Todd Sanford and Peter Frumhoff of UCS in the commentary published Wednesday in Nature Climate Change. "[It] ill-prepares society to confront and manage the risks of a world that is increasingly likely to experience warming well in excess of 2°C this century," said the piece, co-authored by Amy Luers of the San Francisco-based Skoll Global Threats Fund, and Jay Gulledge, of the U.S. Department of Energy's Oak Ridge National Laboratory. (See ablog on the commentary by Gulledge.) (February 27, 2014) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 4/01/2014 - Considering Fracking havoc around the country, NYS DEC is not ‘taking too hard a look at the environmental impacts’. State wants fracking lawsuits tossed The state Attorney General’s office is trying to dismiss a pair of lawsuits that seek to force a decision on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas in New York, according to court filings. The Binghamton-based Joint Landowners Coalition of New York and the bankruptcy trustee for Norse Energyfiled separate legal challenges in recent months, arguing that Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration has unnecessarily delayed a review of hydrofracking, the much-debated method used to help extract gas from shale formations. In a flurry of filings in recent weeks, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman’s office argued both of the lawsuits lack merit and should be dismissed. Specifically, the state argues that the landowners group—which includes thousands of property owners looking to lease their oil-and-gas rights—lacks the standing to file a suit because their members are subject to the same delay as other property holders. (March 28, 2014) Politics on the Hudson [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 4/01/2014 - Many news reports around the world on the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2 report.  Here’s that report: Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability IPCC Working Group II Contribution to AR5 The 10th Session of Working Group II (WGII-10) was held from 25 to 29 March 2014 in Yokohama, Japan. At the Session, the Summary for Policymakers (SPM) of the Working Group II contribution to the IPCC Fifth Assessment Report (WGII AR5) was approved and the underlying scientific and technical assessment accepted. (March 30, 2014) IPCC WG2 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/31/2014 - Please consider coming to this very unique Earth Day forum on Climate Change in Rochester, NY. We’ll really listen to your concerns about addressing Climate Change in our region with DEC’s' Climate Smart Communities (CSC) manager, Mark Lowery. First there will be a short expert analysis of the CSC program, then local effects of Climate Change, then a real conversation about your thoughts on Climate Change with Mr. Lowery.  BTW: Make sure you bring along your community leader and encourage them to sign the CSC pledge. | Sierra Club invites leaders to 'climate smart' program Your town board members, village board members or county legislators may be smart, but are they climate smart? The Sierra Club thinks they should be. The Rochester-area chapter of the nation's largest environmental group is devoting its annual environmental forum on April 17 to climate change — and more specifically, the state's Climate Smart Communities program. Under that program, municipalities pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and prepare for the effects of a changing climate. Ultimately, the program encourages municipalities to help their residents do the same. The Sierra Club already has sent invitations to every municipal leader it could identify in Monroe and Ontario counties and hopes to extend the offer to officials in other counties. "We're trying to get as many people who haven't signed up yet to at least listen," said Frank Regan, a former chairman of the Sierra Club's Rochester Regional Group who has an abiding interest in climate change. "I'm hoping to bring people in and talk about an issue that doesn't get talked about that much." (March 30, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/31/2014 - Learn about local environmental news and events from this free newsletter: Penfield Green Initiative April 2014 Newsletter Planning Committee 2014* Mel Callan, Susan DeRosa, Peter Maurer, Kate McArdle, Deb Muratore, Sue Pixley   The Voice for Penfield’s Environmental Assets   Environmental/Social Justice on a Grass Roots Level

  • 3/31/2014 - Of the next IPCC report, writer says “Some certainties do remain… that the southwestern U.S., southern Australia, the Middle East, southern Europe, and North Africa can expect more droughts and emptier rivers.” New UN Report Is Cautious  On Making Climate Predictions The draft of the latest report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that the world faces serious risks from warming and that the poor are especially vulnerable. But it avoids the kinds of specific forecasts that have sparked controversy in the past. Batten down the hatches; fill the grain stores; raise the flood defenses. We cannot know exactly what is coming, but it will probably be nasty, the latest report from the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) will warn next week. Global warming will cause wars, displace millions of people, and do trillion-dollar damage to the global economy. (March 24, 2014) Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/31/2014 - Climate Change is ‘exceptional’, not just another issue, because if it goes unchecked it threatens life as we know it.  Climate impacts 'overwhelming' - UN The impacts of global warming are likely to be "severe, pervasive and irreversible", a major report by the UN has warned. Scientists and officials meeting in Japan say the document is the most comprehensive assessment to date of the impacts of climate change on the world. Some impacts of climate change include a higher risk of flooding and changes to crop yields and water availability. Humans may be able to adapt to some of these changes, but only within limits. An example of an adaptation strategy would be the construction of sea walls and levees to protect against flooding. Another might be introducing more efficient irrigation for farmers in areas where water is scarce. (March 30, 2014) BBC [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/31/2014 - From the IPPC, the second of three reports on the causes, consequences of and solutions to climate change: Climate change has already left its mark "on all continents and across the oceans" IPCC report: climate change felt 'on all continents and across the oceans' Leaked text of blockbuster report says changes in climate have already caused impacts on natural and human systems Climate change has already left its mark "on all continents and across the oceans", damaging food crops, spreading disease, and meltingglaciers, according to the leaked text of a blockbuster UN climate science report due out on Monday. Government officials and scientists are gathered in Yokohama this week to wrangle over every line of a summary of the report before the final wording is released on Monday – the first update in seven years (March 28, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/29/2014 - Another way to view this year’s “Significant Waterfowl Mortality Event” is the new normal due to Climate Disruption.  This ‘event’ may occur more often because in Climate Change more waterfowl will increase in numbers with warmer winters coming, but when of the occasional very cold winter gets thrown there will be great die-offs.  Climate Change, global warming, will not be a slow and gradual process; it is a warming ten times faster than the warming that occurred in the Holocene and with it will come tipping points and climate weirdness and a lot of ups and downs. DEC: Significant Waterfowl Mortality Event in Lake Erie and Niagara River Due to Extensive Ice Cover Thousands of dead ducks observed along the near shore waters of Lake Erie and the Niagara River died from starvation, State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC's Wildlife Health Unit examined hundreds of dead birds and found that starvation is the primary cause of this die-off the result of extensive ice cover and cold temperatures that blocked access to the food diving ducks need to sustain themselves. "This winter has been harsh to all wintering waterfowl, but especially to diving, fish-eating ducks, who can't access food in ice-capped waters," said DEC Senior Wildlife Biologist Connie Adams. "Wintering waterfowl usually need to eat an amount of food equivalent to about 20 percent of their weight every day, and in extreme conditions or harsh temperatures, they need to consume more to sustain themselves. Because of cold temperatures and iced over waters, many birds have suffered food deprivation since early winter, and are only now starting to die off in great numbers. The small pockets of open water can't provide enough food to sustain the massive concentrations of waterfowl." (March 28, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)   

  • 3/29/2014 - The Great Fracking Experiment: With so many Fracking experiments going on around the country, why doesn’t NYS just wait and see? What’s the rush to Frack New York? We in New York State still have a lot of questions about Energy and Climate Change, methane leaks, Water Quality, road and other infrastructure damage, and lots more.  So, instead of listening to folks hell bent on Fracking our state, why don’t we monitor what’s going on in the other state and see if our concerns materialize?  Fracking the USA: New Map Shows 1 Million Oil, Gas Wells If you’re wondering where oil and gas production and hydraulic fracturing are happening near you, FracTracker has a new mapping tool that will help you find out. Researchers at FracTracker, an independent oil and gas research group that started as a mapping project at the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Healthy Environments and Communities, analyzed oil and gas well location data for all 50 states and created a map showing where most of those wells are, including wells that have been fracked and those that haven’t. Fracking is the energy industry’spractice of injecting water, sand and chemicals deep underground at high pressure to extract crude oil and natural gas from dense rock formations. It’s controversial because of its not-fully-determined affect on public health and the environment. The fossil fuel produced by way of fracking contributes to climate change through the burning of crude oil and possible leaks of methane and other gas emissions from oil and natural gas production equipment and distribution pipelines. (March 27, 2014) Climate Central [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 3/29/2014 - "May 3 & 27: LANSING SPRING WORKSHOP SERIES ON RENEWABLE ENERGY Lansing Communergy, a group of Lansing residents organized by Sustainable Tompkins, has been meeting since last August to explore various types of locally-owned renewable energy systems.  This spring they are hosting a series of public lectures on solar hot water, microhydro systems, and reducing household electricity usage prior to sizing a solar electric system. The first event was March 25, to hear Keith Liblick of Renovus Energy on the topic of converting domestic hot water systems to solar energy. One of the easiest and lowest cost ways to go solar, the systems collect heat year-round to drastically reduce the fossil fuel energy used by your water heater.  On Saturday, May 3, we will host a lecture and site visit on microhydro systems from 12:30-5:00 pm.  We’ll begin with a brown bag lunch at the Lansing Community Center featuring Professor Phil Hofmeyer of the Renewable Energy Training Center at SUNY Morrisville.  Phil and his students have installed 4 microhydro systems in Madison County, and have several more underway.   After the lecture and Q&A session on the basics of microhydro systems, we will tour two potential sites on Gulf Creek and two sites in the Salmon Creek watershed near Ludlowville. The final workshop on Tuesday, May 27 (7-9 pm at the Lansing Community Center) will explore how to reduce electricity consumption through conservation and efficiency measures before investing in a solar electric (PV) system.  Solar panel prices are lower than ever and incentives and tax credits remain high, so this is a great time to get off fossil fuels for your home electric needs.  However, it would be wasteful to spend more money and consume more natural resources than necessary to provide lighting and power to your appliances using solar energy.  This workshop will feature Cheryl Shields of Friedman Electric to share the latest in LED lighting, and Gay Nicholson of Sustainable Tompkins on reducing phantom load and switching to high efficiency equipment.   For more information, email gay@sustainabletompkins.org. "  from www.cayugalake.org

  • 3/29/2014 - I’m sure the prospect of the President putting restrictions on emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry will be viewed by these industries as meddling in their affairs, as if Climate Change and our Air Quality are but a great nuisance to them.  How did we get to the point where corporations view their desire to make a profit, heedless of its affect on our environment, as a fundamental right over the right for all of us to breathe fresh clean air and keep the planet’s climate in check?  WHITE HOUSE UNVEILS METHANE-CUTTING PLAN The Obama administration continues its push to reduce US greenhouse gas emissions The White House said on Friday it will take a hard look at whether new regulations are needed to cut emissions of methane from the oil and gas industry, part of President Barack Obama's plan to address climate change. Regulators will start by proposing new rules later this year to reduce venting and flaring from oil and gas wells on public lands, one way to begin slashing emissions of the potent greenhouse gas, said Dan Utech, Obama's top energy and climate aide. However, most oil and gas production takes place on privately owned land. So the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is going to study this year whether broader regulations are needed for methane emissions under the Clean Air Act, Utech told reporters on a conference call. (March 28, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/29/2014 - Going to be hard to convince public of the importance of wildlife adaptation in Climate Change if killing crows for fun continues It’s Crow-Killing Time in Upstate New York, and Elsewhere It’s crow-killing time in upstate New York this weekend, and in many places around the country this spring. My friend Suzie Gilbert, a bird rehabilitator and writer (read “Flyaway”), has written a blog post criticizing this form of recreation. [Update, March 28 | She's added a followup piece that has valuable new elements.] Here’s an excerpt from Gilbert’s post with a link to the rest, followed by the reaction I was able to elicit via Facebook from the Rip Van Winkle Rod & Gun Club, which has organized the weekend “Crow Down” in Palenville, N.Y.: (March 27, 2014) Dot Earth | New York Times [more on Wildlife in our area] 

  • 3/29/2014 - I know, Fracking isn’t funny.  But it can be absurd. Check out Jon Stewart’s “The Benefits of Fracking

  • 3/28/2014 - Should we view the health of wildlife through the lens of excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen or Climate Change? Have we so gotten used to financial support for wildlife coming from the very folks who ‘harvest’ them, that this business is now the measure that we use to judge wildlife health—instead that wildlife shaped our environment and they are confronting many deep challenges as Climate Change is happening far faster than most can adapt?  Is there even a conversation going inside the governmental institutions whose job it is to protect and preserve our wildlife outside the realm of the ‘harvesting’ business? In other words, are wildlife an environmental good in and of themselves or are they only valuable as something to shoot and fish? Secretary Jewell Announces $1.1 Billion to State Wildlife Agencies from Excise Taxes on Anglers, Hunters, and Boaters WASHINGTON – Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell announced today that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service will distribute nearly $1.1 billion in excise tax revenues paid by sportsmen and sportswomen to state and territorial fish and wildlife agencies to fund fish and wildlife conservation and recreation projects across the nation. A state-by-state table is included in this release.  “People who enjoy hunting, fishing, boating and recreational shooting provide a strong foundation for conservation funding in this country,” Jewell said. “The taxes they pay on equipment and boating fuel support critical fish and wildlife management and conservation efforts, create access for recreational boating, and underpin education programs that help get kids outdoors.”  The Service apportions the funds to all 50 states and territories through the Pittman-Robertson Wildlife Restoration and Dingell-Johnson Sport Fish Restoration programs. Revenues come from excise taxes generated by the sale of sporting firearms, ammunition, archery equipment, fishing equipment and tackle, and electric outboard motors. Recreational boaters also contribute to the program through fuel taxes on motorboats and small engines. (March 25, 2014) US Dept of the Interior [more on Wildlife in our area]  

  • 3/28/2014 - One sure way to update ( and eliminate) oil spill plans is for NYS to go 100% renewable energy (wind and solar) Sen. Gillibrand asks for update of oil spill plans Mar 27, 2014 — ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand is urging the Environmental Protection Agency and the Coast Guard to upgrade contingency plans for oil spills in New York and New Jersey. Gillibrand says safety guidelines need to be updated because the amount of oil transported by railroad through densely populated areas has more than doubled in the two years since the plan was last updated. (March 27, 2014) North Country Public Radio

  • 3/28/2014 - Have an Earth Day event you want publicized? Email it to news editor Chris Fien at cfien@rochester-citynews.com  before April 10. Rochester City Newspaper

  • 3/28/2014 - Rochester (32) “Among the New York communities that received the Tree City USA program recognition are Buffalo, Rochester …” NYSDEC Commissioner Martens Recognizes Urban Forestry Award Winners State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens recognized award winners for their participation in urban forestry activities across the state at a ceremony held today at the Downtown Albany Hilton Hotel. Communities and organizations meeting the standard requirements in the programs administered by DEC's State Forester and the Arbor Day Foundation were recognized as a Tree City U.S.A, Tree Campus U.S.A. or a Tree Line U.S.A. Among the New York communities that received the Tree City USA program recognition are Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Poughkeepsie, New York City and the Town of Babylon. A complete list of all communities is posted on DEC's website. (March 27, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 3/28/2014 - Hard to believe that developed nation’s public aren’t alarmed at our way of life’s affect on Climate Change. How climate change will acidify the oceans Off the remote eastern tip of Papua New Guinea a natural phenomenon offers an alarming glimpse into the future of the oceans, as increasing concentrations of CO2 in the atmosphere make sea water more acidic. Streams of volcanic CO2 bubbles emerge from deep under the seabed here, like a giant jacuzzi. As the bubbles of carbon dioxide dissolve into the water, carbonic acid is formed. The site hints at the possible fate of the world's seas as 24 million tonnes of CO2 from industrial society is absorbed every day into the sea. (March 26, 2014) BBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/28/2014 - Maybe the reason why Rochester, NY doesn’t appear to be interested in Climate Change is that we don’t think we’ll reap the worst consequences for a long time; until we do, we’ll just be helping to cause the problem.  Unfortunately, it is the folks not causing Climate Change who are most likely to feel its wrath, while those continuing to burn fossil fuels for energy, transportation, heat, and making gadgets, get to live behind the lines—as it were. Borrowed Time on Disappearing Land Facing Rising Seas, Bangladesh Confronts the Consequences of Climate Change As the world’s top scientists meet in Yokohama, Japan, this week, at the top of the agenda is the prediction that global sea levels could rise as much asthree feet by 2100. Higher seas and warmer weather will cause profound changes. Climate scientists have concluded that widespread burning of fossil fuels is releasing heat-trapping gases that are warming the planet. While this will produce a host of effects, the most worrisome may be the melting of much of the earth’s ice, which is likely to raise sea levels and flood coastal regions. Such a rise will be uneven because of gravitational effects and human intervention, so predicting its outcome in any one place is difficult. But island nations like the Maldives, Kiribati and Fiji may lose much of their land area, and millions of Bangladeshis will be displaced. “There are a lot of places in the world at risk from rising sea levels, but Bangladesh is at the top of everybody’s list,” said Rafael Reuveny, a professor in the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at Indiana University at Bloomington. “And the world is not ready to cope with the problems.” (March 28, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/28/2014 - A conversation on Climate Change means what are we—the public, scientists, consumers, teachers, politicians—going to do about it? How Scientists Are Moving Climate Change Conversation Forward Last January, I wrote an op-ed for the New York Times—If You See Something, Say Something—about my feelings of duty as a climate scientist to engage with the public. I hoped it would help other scientists feel more comfortable speaking out to the public about the dangers of a world warmed by human emissions. Little did I know that exactly two months later, the largest scientific organization in the world and publisher of the leading academic journal Science would launch an initiative aimed at doing just that—move the conversation forward by telling Americans “What We Know.” It boils down to three main points—97 percent of climate scientists agree that climate change is here and now, that this means we risk abrupt and irreversible changes to the climate, and the sooner we act, the lower the costs and risks we face. (March 27, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/27/2014 - Kinda hard to lead on Climate Change with NYS Energy Plan if we are setting the table for fossil fuels. Learn more about this absolutely critical issue and how to make comment from Alliance for a Green Economy: 2014 New York State Energy Plan | Green-energy activists target Cuomo energy plan Green-energy advocates Monday took aim at New York State's recently released energy plan, saying the draft proposal falls far short of what's needed to help stem a climate crisis. Advocates for wind and solar power, geothermal heating systems and electric cars -- and even a white-roof advocate -- joined with opponents of natural gas hydrofracking in calling on Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to do significantly more to turn the state away from dependence on fossil fuels. "There should be a mandate that every flat building on Long Island and New York State have [rooftop] solar power," said Anne Mayer of Centerport. "There's no excuse [not to] at this point." (March 3, 2014) Long Island NewsDay [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/27/2014 - Is massive Air Pollution the bargain the world has made for modernity, or is it a massive oversight and irresponsible human behavior? If our present economic and political systems cannot clean up and keep clean this ocean of air we need to breathe, should we keep them? Remember what Carl Sagan said about Air Quality and Water Quality: “Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. Dirty Air Kills 7 Million People a Year: World Health Org GENEVA, Switzerland, March 25, 2014 (ENS) – Breathing polluted air claimed the lives of some seven million people in 2012, the World Health Organization reports in new estimates released today, confirming that air pollution is now the world’s largest single environmental health risk. This figure amounts to one in eight of deaths globally and more than doubles previous estimates, WHO said, emphasizing that cutting air pollution could save millions of lives every year. “Cleaning up the air we breathe prevents noncommunicable diseases as well as reduces disease risks among women and vulnerable groups, including children and the elderly,” said Dr. Flavia Bustreo, WHO assistant director-general for family, women and children’s health. (March 25, 2014) Environmental News Service (ENS) [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 3/27/2014 - Considering their critical role in addressing Climate Change, their key role in our environment, that we’ve lost over half in the lower 48, Wetlands must be protected. “In the 1600s, over 220 million acres of wetlands are thought to have existed in the lower 48 states.8 Since then, extensive losses have occurred, and over half of our original wetlands in the lower 48 have been drained and converted to other uses.9 The years from the mid-1950s to the mid- 1970s were a time of major wetland loss, but since then the rate of loss has decreased.” EPA Wetlands - Status and Trends | Draft Rule Clarifies Protection for U.S. Streams, Wetlands WASHINGTON, DC, March 25, 2014 (ENS) – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers today jointly released a draft rule to clarify protection for streams and wetlands under the Clean Water Act. The proposal provides that under the Clean Water Act most seasonal and rain-dependent streams are protected. In addition, wetlands near rivers and streams are protected under the act. Other types of waters may have what the two agencies called “more uncertain connections with downstream water.” In these situations, “protection will be evaluated through a case specific analysis of whether the connection is or is not significant,” the agencies said. (March 25, 2014) Environmental News Service (ENS) [more on Wetlands in our area]

  • 3/27/2014 - The state of our environmental health should never have been a partisan or economic issue. Sustainability must always come first.  Coal Ash Spill Leaves Most North Carolina Voters Craving Stronger Environmental Leadership After polling North Carolina voters for three days, the Sierra Club and Hart Research Associates concluded that residents lack confidence in their state leaders after Duke Energy’s coal ash spillin February. Nearly three-quarters of voters say the incident makes them want stronger regulations and enforcement from future candidates, and the results show no difference along partisan lines. As Hart began conducting the survey on March 10, the Waterkeeper Alliance flew over the Duke Energy Cape Fear Plant, snapping photos of workers pumping wastewater from the company’s coal ash pond into a canal that drains into the Cape Fear River. Since the Cape Fear River provides drinking water for residents in Fayetteville, Sanford and several other communities, one can only imagine how much higher the figures would be if the survey was conducted today. (March 26, 2014) EcoWatch 

  • 3/26/2014 - Have Kodak’s environmental issues been ‘put to bed’ or did they just pretend to be sleeping until the adults went away? Eastman Business Park for sale And despite the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency last month signing off on a deal creating an independent trust to fund and oversee ongoing environmental cleanup at the park, environmental cleanup concerns will likely remain a hangup for some potential buyers, Glazer said. "There are certain people who don't want to be in projects like this regardless of the warranties and guarantees in place." The creation of that clean-up trust fund was a big reason why the park now is for sale, Parker said. "Before Kodak had any ability to put this park up for sale, the environmental issues had to be put to bed. Nobody would've touched that park beforehand." (March 25, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Brownfields in our area] 

  • 3/26/2014 - Beside agriculture fertilizers, other factors cause Great Lakes algae blooms: “… massive sewage overflows. Faulty septic tanks. Sunlight, heat, and climate change.” AREA FARMERS ON FRONT LINE OF CLEAN-WATER BATTLE Fight against algae in full swing Industry seeks solutions to curb runoff  GROVER HILL, Ohio — As northwest Ohioans pack away their winter clothing and await the arrival of blooming flowers, fruits, and vegetables, the state’s agriculture industry is gearing up for the dawn of a new era in environmental stewardship — one it promises will yield long-term results for algae-infested Lake Erie and improve the quality of life for its residents. The strength of that commitment won’t start to become apparent until at least mid to late-summer, when algae typically forms. But this is the industry’s crunch time. Scientists in recent years have identified March 1 through June 30 as the most important window of time to curb runoff of phosphorus, nitrogen, and other nutrients that help algae grow. There are many programs under way designed to achieve reductions, from a wider use of cover crops to one launched in the Holiday Inn French Quarter in Perrysburg last week that creates Ohio’s first statewide certification program for fertilizer applicators. The latter is voluntary — as most Ohio agricultural programs are — and identifies which companies have successfully completed a new program that stresses the most responsible methods known for applying fertilizer, such as more site-specific injections of chemicals beneath the land’s surface. (March 24, 2014) The Blade [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/26/2014 - Being able to visualize (data visualization) some of our environmental issues, like the movement of invasive species over time, greatly helps the public understand the issues. More communication aids like this available to everyone online creates a worldwide consciousness of our environment, which is to say our life support system.  The Internet, like no other tool, offers us a way to expand our attention to the monitoring of all environmental issues. Be nice if we could move away from the dysfunctional media, politicians with anti-environmental ideologies, the interests of the fossil fuel industries, and Climate Change deniers, to more reliable feedback mechanism on the total health of our environment.  In many ways, the Internet is offering ways to see our planet’s health in a way we never could before. Maps show spread of aquatic invasive species over time The Nature Conservancy has animated how six invasive species have spread across the Great Lakes over time. The group has created six mapsthat show population increase and spread since the appearance of each species in the Great Lakes basin and beyond. (March 25, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]   

  • 3/26/2014 - Wouldn’t it be interesting to have a Climate Change denier Amnesty Day, where the deniers throw in the towel and we all get moving on addressing this crisis? 10,853 out of 10,855 scientists agree: Global warming is happening, and humans are to blame Virtually all of the scientific papers published in 2013 accept climate change As geochemist James Lawrence Powell continues to prove, the only people still debating whether or not climate change is “real,” and caused by human activity, are the ones who aren’t doing the actual research. In an update to his ongoing project of reviewing the literature on global warming, Powell went through every scientific study published in a peer-review journal during the calendar year 2013, finding 10,855 in total (more on his methodology here). Of those, a mere two rejected anthropogenic global warming. The consensus, as he defines it, looks like this: (March 25, 2014) Salon [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 3/25/2014 - ACTION: Want to be a citizen scientist and help monitor the Lake Ontario watershed region. Find out more at 2014 WAVE Training Sessions “We are now offering training for Local Coordinators!   For the first time, NYSDEC is offering training sessions for local coordinators so that they may train and coordinate their own team of WAVE participants. Citizen scientists working under a trained local coordinator do not need to attend a WAVE training session. Citizen scientists who wish to work independently must attend a WAVE training session.  2014 Trainings will be in the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and Mohawk River Watersheds The WAVE training sessions are rotated throughout the state's 17 major drainage basins on a five year schedule, targeting those basins that will be sampled by the DEC Stream Biomonitoring Unit in the following year (NYSDEC Stream Biomonitoring Unit's monitoring schedule). This year, WAVE training sessions are being offered at the locations listed below in the Niagara River, Lake Ontario, and Mohawk River watersheds. Local coordinators should plan to attend from 9am-4pm whereas basic WAVE training will be held at the same location from 12-4pm. To sign up for one of these sessions, please contact me at wave@gw.dec.state.ny.us.” (March 24, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 3/25/2014 - With so many understanding Climate Change and caring about doing something about it, why are we doing so little? Millennials: We care more about the environment Millennials say they are more focused on the environment than their parents’ generation, 76% to 24%, according to a new poll. The poll – commissioned by the Clinton Global Initiative and Microsoft, and provided exclusively to msnbc – found that 66% of millennials say there is “solid evidence” the earth is getting warmer, and 75% of those respondents say human activity is responsible for it. The survey aimed to identify millennails’ top priorities, and it coincides with this weekend’s Clinton Global Initiative University conference at Arizona State University, where students from across the country are gathering to focus on global issues, including climate change, education and food security. (March 22, 2014) MSNBC [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/25/2014 - For a moment, get beyond politics. See Obama’s attempts to educate public on Climate Change in a world of dysfunctional media. FACT SHEET: The President’s Climate Data Initiative: Empowering America’s Communities to Prepare for the Effects of Climate Change “Climate change is a fact.  And when our children’s children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did.”– President Barack Obama, State of the Union Address, January 28, 2014 Last June, President Obama launched a Climate Action Plan to cut carbon pollution, prepare communities for the impacts of climate change, and lead international efforts to address this global challenge. The plan recognizes that even as we act to curb the carbon pollution that is driving climate change, we must also prepare our citizens and communities for the climate impacts that are already underway across the country. Delivering on a commitment in the President’s Climate Action Plan, the Obama Administration is today launching the Climate Data Initiative—a broad effort to leverage the Federal Government’s extensive, freely-available climate-relevant data resources to stimulate innovation and private-sector entrepreneurship in support of national climate-change preparedness. (March 19, 2014) The White House [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/25/2014 - Make comment on the “2014 New York State Energy Plan” by April 30, 2014. Climate Change is about planning.  One of the most important things you can do is add your voice to create a good plan to address and mitigate Climate Change. The “2014 New York State Energy Plan” falls far from the mark by vague language, pretty pictures, and no baselines for a real clean energy future.  This is all explained and by Agree New York, who will quickly take you through the process of learning about the energy plan, explaining the problems with the plan, and pointing you towards making your own comment to the plan. “On January 7, the New York State Energy Planning Board released the long-awaited draft New York State Energy Plan. Unfortunately, the draft plan does not represent the sea-change in energy policy that New York needs to confront the challenges of global climate change, pollution, public health, or energy affordability. The draft plan sets some ambitious goals for reducing greenhouse gas emissions, but lacks aggressive policies and interim commitments to move the state from fossil fuels and nuclear power to energy efficiency and renewables. It's time for you to let the energy planners know what you think about this proposed plan. Read the draft New York Energy Plan at energyplan.ny.gov. Public Comments are due by April 30, 2014. (Note, this deadline has been extended from March 31, thanks to the efforts of AGREE, Frack Action and 51 other organizations that are demanding a better public comment process.) Visit energyplan.ny.gov/Process/Comments.aspx to submit comments electronically.” from Agree New York.

  • 3/25/2014 - There’s no good reason for Congress not to renew wind tax-credit to give clean energy a chance against dirty energy. Using energy is human behavior and that present behavior—burning fossil fuels--is causing Climate Change. 144 Bipartisan Congress Members Request Wind Tax Credit Renewals There are 80,000 people in the U.S. who are employed in the wind energy industry—an industry that has secured $105 billion in investments since 2005. At the same time, the cost to deploy the energy has dropped by 43 percent in four years and wind has risen to become the fifth-largest power source in the U.S. A bipartisan group of 144 Congressional members says that growth didn’t happen without the support of the U.S. government. If the form of renewable energy is to continue limiting emissions, wind energy will need another economic boost in the form of tax-credit renewal, the senators and representatives wrote in a pair of letters to the Senate Finance Committee’s leadership. (March 24, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 3/24/2014 - In the light of natural gas’s “crumbling infrastructure” shouldn’t NYS stop considering Fracking and go renewable energy? With the spectacle of “America’s crumbling infrastructure” in natural gas, transportation, water, waste water, and telecommunications, and the amount of public monies that will be needed to repair and update these systems, shouldn’t we be thinking of Climate Change planning and the prospect of cutting our losses on some old infrastructures in favor or new infrastructures—like mini-grids (decentralized) renewable energy (wind and solar) options; alternative (walking and bicycling) transportation and high-speed rails instead of asphalt and GHGs emitting vehicles, and rerouting phone lines and changing from combined sewer overflow systems to an infrastructure that can better handle hotter weather, more floods, and more extreme weather? Before we pour billions into these old infrastructures shouldn’t we pause and consider the alternatives? Beneath Cities, a Decaying Tangle of Gas Pipes It is a danger hidden beneath the streets of New York City, unseen and rarely noticed: 6,302 miles of pipes transporting natural gas. Leaks, like the one that is believed to have led to the explosion that killed eight people in East Harlem this month, are startlingly common, numbering in the thousands every year, federal records show. Consolidated Edison, whose pipes supplied the two buildings leveled by the explosion, had the highest rate of leaks in the country among natural gas operators whose networks totaled at least 100 miles, according to a New York Times analysis of records collected by the federal Department of Transportation for 2012, the most recent year data was available. The chief culprit, according to experts, is the perilous state of New York City’s underground network, one of the oldest in the country and a glaring example of America’s crumbling infrastructure. (March 23, 2014) New York Times [more on Energy and Fracking in our area]

  • 3/24/2014 - So, what you’re saying is that Big Oil ‘gets’ Climate Change and they’re just gaming the economic system?  Hmmm…. High Cost of Climate Earns Exxon Rare Environmental Win For years, Exxon Mobil has walked around with an environmentalist target on its chest. So it was news when the world’s biggest oil company by market value agreed yesterday to share its plans for dealing with climate change. A look at what we already know about Exxon’s climate strategy shows why disclosure may be a savvy move. The chart below shows how companies estimate the future cost of carbon pollution. Right now, few countries outside Europe regulate it. That’s changing and is likely to intensify in the lead-up to key UN climate negotiations in 2015. Some companies use a so-called shadow price to anticipate the future cost from climate policy when planning new projects. Of 30 U.S. companies that use a shadow carbon price, Exxon’s is among the most aggressive. (March 21, 2014) Bloomberg [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/24/2014 - Shouldn’t we be collecting as much data as we can about the weather and climate of the Great Lakes? City seeks grant for Big Lake weather buoy SOUTH HAVEN - South Haven officials are seeking a $50,000 federal grant to buy a data-collecting weather buoy in Lake Michigan. The City Council Monday night voted to authorize city staff to apply for the grant from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The buoy would be placed 2 to 4 miles off the shores of South Haven and would collect and transmit a wide variety of data to NOAA, including weather conditions and lake conditions. (March 21, 2014) The Herald Palladium [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/24/2014 - Find out the state of health for Lake Erie: Forum: The STATUS of LAKE ERIE - Reserve Seats Now WHEN: Saturday, April 5, 2014 at 9:00 AM WHERE: Frank Lloyd Wright's Fontana Boathouse, Buffalo, NY The STATUS of LAKE ERIE is the topic of the forum to be held on the Buffalo waterfront at Frank Lloyd Wright’s Fontana Boathouse with its magnificent view of Lake Erie. An expert panel of speakers will address a variety of Lake Erie issues including toxic algae, dead zones, invasive species, CAFOs and water quality. There will also be a brief talk on the Boathouse’s history and a tour of the nearby Great Lakes Laboratory Field Station. The program is below: [Click Image to Enlarge] Advance Registration is required due to limited seating.  RESERVE your seat for the STATUS of LAKE ERIE forum:  write a check for $5 per person made out to ADK  mail it to Cheryl Peluso, 3618 Howard Rd, Hamburg NY 14075  any questions, leave a message at 648-9027 or email cherylp17@verizon.net Once the check is received your name will be added to the reserved seat list and Cheryl will email an acknowledgement of receipt . Upon arrival at the event, give your name at the door and you'll be admitted. Click here to check out the flyer --from Re-Energize Buffalo

  • 3/24/2014 - Help get our NYS trails along the canal cleaned up for Earth Day.  "Celebrate Earth Day | Volunteer for Canal Clean Sweep   100 clean-up events scheduled April 25-27   Join more than 3,000 volunteers and 150 organizations in the annual "spring cleaning" of the 524-mile New York State Canal System and Canalway Trail the weekend of April 25-27 as part of the 9th annual Canal Clean Sweep. Canal Clean Sweep is FUN for all ages, interests, and abilities.   Visit the Canal Clean Sweep website and interactive map of events to find one that works for you!   Parks & Trails New York's list of events andinteractive map make it easy to find event locations, meeting times and places, organizer contact information, and a description of each event. Select an event near you today." --from Parks and Trails New York

  • 3/24/2014 - Is nuclear waste, and the threat it presents to future generations, worth the price of the ‘inconvenience’ of renewable energy?  Shouldn’t we make an all out effort to change our energy behavior before dismissing the dangers the nuclear power threatens? Nuclear waste buildup relentless In excess of 496,000 cu. meters of low-level radioactive waste would need to be disposed of through burial if every nuclear reactor in the country is decommissioned, according to government officials. It is the first time a specific volume for radioactive waste stemming from reactor decommissioning has been disclosed, the officials from the Natural Resources and Energy Agency, under the Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry, said Friday. The hunt for a disposal site for the waste is ongoing. The total covers 48 commercial reactors operated by nine regional utilities and Japan Atomic Power Co., as well as eight slated for decommissioning: the six units at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s disaster-hit Fukushima No. 1 plant, and reactors 1 and 2 at the Hamaoka plant run by Chubu Electric Power Co. in Shizuoka Prefecture. (March 22, 2014) The Japan Times [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/24/2014 - IPCC: report on the impacts of global warming: predicts these harms: violence, food, water, health, wealth Big climate report: Warming is big risk for people If you think of climate change as a hazard for some far-off polar bears years from now, you're mistaken. That's the message from top climate scientists gathering in Japan this week to assess the impact of global warming. In fact, they will say, the dangers of a warming Earth are immediate and very human. "The polar bear is us," says Patricia Romero Lankao of the federally financed National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Colo., referring to the first species to be listed as threatened by global warming due to melting sea ice. She will be among the more than 60 scientists in Japan to finish writing a massive and authoritative report on the impacts of global warming. With representatives from about 100 governments at this week's meeting of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, they'll wrap up a summary that tells world leaders how bad the problem is. (March 23, 2014) Contra Coasta Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/22/2014 - Renewable energy (wind and solar) is so boring. No exciting warning system. Who cares if a turbine falls off or a solar panel cracks? Oswego County nuclear plants will soon replace public warning system Oswego County's three nuclear energy facilities will soon begin a project to replace the county's aging public warning system. Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, which owns the two Nine Mile Point nuclear plants, and Entergy, which owns the James A. Fitzpatrick Nuclear Power Plant, will invest more than $1.5 million to replace the existing sirens in the ten mile radius around the plants. Jill Lyon, with Constellation, says the sirens are currently used by several groups. "The public notification system, or emergency siren system, is owned by Constellation Energy Nuclear Group, but supports both of the nuclear energy facilities here in the county and can be used by Oswego County for any need to notify the public of an emergency," Lyon said. "It doesn't just have to be an event at one of the nuclear facilities." (March 21, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/22/2014 - High speed rail would provide us with a real Climate Change adaptation strategy for reducing GHG’s (27%) from Transportation.  Works like this: Bike or cab to train station, zip across state on high speed rail, arrive safe and fast, walk or bike or cab to hotel across state. Look Ma no car! Comment period for high-speed rail extended The public comment period for high-speed rail’s draft environmental impact statement has been extended to the end of April, officials announced Friday. The environmental report outlines plans for improving passenger and freight rail service between Niagara Falls and New York City. The public comment period was scheduled to end Monday but has been extended because of community requests, state Department of Transportation said. The new deadline is April 30. (March 21, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/22/2014 - Rochester, NY lives on the shores of Lake Ontario.  How’s all that going with our favorite Great Lake?  Lake Ontario Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative Each year, U.S. and Canadian organizations assess one of the Great Lakes as part of the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI). Information collected during CSMI assessments supports Great Lakes management programs. CSMI assessments took place in Lake Ontario in 2003, 2008 and 2013. The 2013 assessment focused on improving the understanding of nutrient loading, transport and cycling in Lake Ontario - from The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) 

  • 3/22/2013 - Got Spring Break, kids wanting to know about our environment, then think Mission Green: April Break Week - Mission: Green Saturday, April 12–Saturday, April 19: 12-4pm Whether at home, at school, or at work, there are plenty of ways we can get involved in making our community and our world a safer, greener place. From home gardening to new sustainable materials, discover all the cool ways you can get involved! Explore the world of emerging environmentally friendly technologies, see how the RMSC is going green and learn how you can go green, too. Every day will be a different focus, so come back each day --From Rochester Museum and Science Center

  • 3/22/2014 - Going to be tough and expensive to stop Fracking, go to Marcellus Shale Earth First Legal Fund! to help. Protestors Arrested at Fracking Site MIFFLIN TOWNSHIP — Five people protesting natural gas drilling were arrested Thursday afternoon in Lycoming County. Authorities said the protest stopped drilling at a state forest for about six hours. The protestors are from a group called Marcellus Shale Earth First. State police said early in the morning, three people chained themselves to a 12 foot pipe outside the entrance to Andarko’s gas drilling site at the Tiadaghton State Forest near Jersey Shore. The protesters blocked the only access road to the well-pad, so gas workers could not do their jobs until state police came and arrested the activists. Natural gas workers could not do their jobs at the Tiadaghton State Forest. Newswatcher Paul Garrett sent us video. “The activists locked down, disrupted drilling activities and stopped drilling activities for six hours today,” Matt Smith said. (March 20, 2014) 16 WNEP [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 3/22/2014 - Another reason for making our transportation system accommodate more walking and bicycling is to protect your kid’s health.  Beside a large accident/fatality rate each year, 27% of our greenhouse gases, and an infrastructure that eats up a lot of our taxes, our vehicle/road/bridge infrastructure is making our kid’s sick. CDC: Higher cancer risk for kids living near busy roads Young children who are exposed to high levels of vehicle exhaust — such as what they’d encounter living near busy roads in urban areas — appear to have a greater risk of childhood leukemia, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention review of seven previous studies. The CDC’s systematic review, published in the April issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, says that in the USA an estimated 30%-45% of people in large urban areas live near major roads, “suggesting increased exposure to traffic-related air pollution and risk of adverse health outcomes.” The article says the studies reviewed by the CDC suggest “that childhood leukemia is associated with residential traffic exposure during the postnatal period, but not during the prenatal period.” The review found that children diagnosed with leukemia were “50% more likely to live near busy roads than children without leukemia,” said Vickie Boothe, a CDC health scientist and lead author of the Journal article. “While the study found a link, it does not prove that living near a busy road causes leukemia.” (March 21, 2014) Center for Health, Environment and Justice [more on Transportation and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/22/2014 - Find out about Plastics in our waters, the extent of this problem, and some solutions:  Solutions to Plastic Pollution in our Oceans We're treating the oceans like a trash bin: around 80 percent of marine litter originates on land, and most of that is plastic. Plastic that pollutes our oceans and waterways has severe impacts on our environment and our economy. Seabirds, whales, sea turtles and other marine life are eating marine plastic pollution and dying from choking, intestinal blockage and starvation. Scientists are investigating the long-term impacts of toxic pollutants absorbed, transported, and consumed by fish and other marine life, including the potential effects on human health. National Resources Defense Council

  • 3/22/2014 - The least we could do on International Day of Forests is pay attention to the amount of forests we are losing—which is more than we can regrow. 5 Deforestation Hotspots Flying Under the Radar In appreciation for all the benefits forests provide for us, the United Nations has announced today, March 21, be recognized as the International Day of Forests. It is a day to celebrate, among other things, the progress we have made improving forest management. But before getting carried away with the spirit of celebration, consider this: We are still losing forests and trees much faster than they can regrow. In fact, we are losing 50 soccer fields worth of trees every minute! Many people are working to reverse tree cover loss in the world’s largest remaining forests: the Amazon Basin, Congo Basin, tropical forests of Indonesia and the vast boreal forests of Russia and Canada. These are worthy goals, considering that just two countries—Brazil and Indonesia—still account for about half of all tropical forest loss. (March 21, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/21/2014 - Our friends over at Community Composting are demonstrating that a critical environmental need, composting food, recycling our leftovers can be returned to the Earth. Go Green: Community Compost Food waste in a big problem in the U.S., but two local men are making it easy to compost food scraps.  Brent Arnold and Steve Kraft have made a business out of picking up other people's leftovers. "We've been composting for a long time and really feel that it' s real important because so much of the waste stream in America gets put in the landfill; but really taking valuable materials and being lost forever," Brent said. The men started a compost pile for friends a few years back and soon outgrew the space. So they decided to start up a pick-up service to help combat the food waste problem. (March 20, 2014) RochesterHomePage.net [more on Recycling and Green Business in our area 

  • 3/21/2014 - At some point, probably soon, it won’t matter how much politicians tried to prevent Asian Carp into Great Lakes.  This invasive species will be another problem we could have prevented, except that we’re kind of dysfunctional on environmental matters. Lawmakers want quicker action on blocking Asian Carp A group of U.S. senators wants the federal government to move faster on preventing Asian carp from reaching the Great Lakes through waterways in the Chicago area.  Eleven senators from states in the region sent a letter Tuesday to the assistant secretary of the Army, whose office oversees the Army Corps of Engineers. The letter asks a series of questions about when the Corps might begin tasks such as adding barriers at the southernmost lock in the Chicago Area Waterway System. (March 20, 2014) Public Radio 90 WMNU [more on Great Lakes and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 3/21/2014 - Important: How does the new New York State energy plan address Climate Change? Come learn more, help comment on plan: Monday, March 24, 7:15-9:15 PM THE 2014 DRAFT NEW YORK STATE ENERGY PLAN: ROCHESTER FORUM & DISCUSSION   Come learn about and how to comment on New York's Draft Energy Plan:  http://energyplan.ny.gov/.   Comments are due April 30!   While there are some good things within the Plan, there are some glaring deficiencies that must be addressed if our state is to meet its target of 80% greenhouse gas reductions by 2050. We will review the Plan's accelerated expansion of natural gas infrastructure, and other issues, and what the plan means for climate change and New York's environment.   Presenters: Jessica Azulay, Program Director for Alliance for a Green Economy http://allianceforagreeneconomy.org/ Keith Schue, Environmental Policy Advocate   Where: First Baptist Church of Penfield 1862 Penfield Road, Penfield, NY 14526 On the north side of Rt. 441 just east of Five Mile Line Road and the firehouse. Park in the rear of the building. Entrance is on the left side as you face back of building Meeting room is downstairs on your right.   More information about the presenters and the Plan here:  http://www.r-cause.net/2014-draft-nys-energy-plan.html   Sponsors Federation of Monroe County Environmentalists Rochesterians Concerned About Unsafe Shale-gas Extraction http://www.r-cause.net/

  • 3/21/2014 - Looks like Climate Change hasn’t been affecting just the polar bear. Fish and what other wildlife are struggling with the climate we have meddled with. Report: Climate change stunting fish Fish sizes reduced by as much as 29 percent over past 40 years as ocean temperatures increased, scientists say Climate change may be stunting fish growth, a new study has said. Fish sizes in the North Sea have shrunk dramatically, and scientists believe warmer ocean temperatures and less oxygenated water could be the causes.  The body sizes of several North Sea species have decreased by as much as 29 percent over a period of four decades, according to the report, published in the April issue of Global Change Biology. The report presents evidence gathered as researchers followed six commercial fish species in the North Sea over 40 years. Their evidence showed that as water temperatures increased by 1 to 2 degrees Celsius, an accompanying reduction in fish size was observed. (March 19, 2014) Al Jazeera America [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/21/2014 - The more we learn about Climate Change the more we learn how much we don’t know about how our environment works. It’s incredible the amount of change humanity has made to Earth’s environment without knowing the repercussions of what that change would have on a finely tuned 4.5 billion year old system.  If nothing else, Climate Change will demonstrate how reckless we were fiddling with our life support system. Global Warming Speeds Up Methane Emissions From Freshwater British scientists have identified yet another twist to the threat of global warming. Any further rises in temperature are likely to accelerate the release of methane from rivers, lakes, deltas, bogs, swamps, marshlands and rice paddy fields. Methane or natural gas is a greenhouse gas. Weight for weight, it is more than 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide (CO2) over a century, and researchers have repeatedly examined the contribution of natural gas emitted by ruminant cattle to global warming. But Gabriel Yvon-Durocher of the University of Exeter and colleagues considered something wider: the pattern of response to temperature in those natural ecosystems that are home to microbes that release methane. They report in Nature that they looked at data from hundreds of field surveys and laboratory experiments to explore the speed at which the flow of methane increased with temperature. (March 20, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/20/2014 - A voice at the table to “preserve the unique natural environment” as Rochester develops a Harbor Management Plan would be nice. News Release - City to Host Public Hearing on Harbor Management Plan The City Department of Environmental Services will host a public hearing at 6:30 p.m. Monday, March 31, 2014 to gather comment on the Harbor Management Plan. The hearing will be held in the Port Terminal Building Waterside Room, 1000 N. River St.  The City of Rochester and NYS Department of State are working together, along with harbor stakeholders, to develop a Harbor Management Plan that will eventually be a component of the City’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program.  The goal of the Harbor Management Plan is to recommend a structure for and provide direction to a management entity for the Rochester Harbor that will oversee operations and events at the Harbor, facilitate and promote sustainable economic development and tourism, preserve the unique natural environment, seek opportunities to upgrade the infrastructure and collaborate with law enforcement agencies to ensure public safety. (March 17, 2014) City of Rochester

  • 3/20/2014 - Are we really putting the Great Lakes under a grave threat by fossil fuel transportation and extraction? Read study: Liquid Pipeline: Extreme energy’s  threat to the Great Lakes and the  St. Lawrence Seaway By Maude Barlow | The Great Lakes: 'Liquid Pipeline' for World's Dirtiest Fuels? 'If governments continue to allow projects like this, what are our lakes going to look like in 20 or 50 years?' One of the most precious sources of freshwater on the planet, the Great Lakes, is at risk of becoming a "liquid pipeline" for the dirtiest forms of oil and gas available, according to a report published Monday by water champion Maude Barlow. The report, Liquid Pipeline: Extreme Energy’s Threat to the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence Seaway (pdf), details how the extraction of "extreme" new forms of energy and plans to transport those fuels—as well as waste from more traditional sources—under and across the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River threaten these vital resources. (March 18, 2014) Common Dreams [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/20/2014 - Mainstream media still mostly dysfunctional on Climate Change so going around that is getting easier-with critical info you need.  This next step by the White House (http://www.data.gov/climate/) not only legitimizes the reality of this crisis but provides Climate Change information and helps prepare our communities for the changes coming. White House Brings Together Big Data & Climate Change Addressing climate change just got an assist from big data. The White House released the first installment of data and tools for web developers, planners and the public to see the challenges climate change poses and to help identify solutions. The new site, climate.data.gov, is part of a broader Climate Data Initiative to make climate data easily available to the public. Though a large portion of the nation’s climate data is housed at the National Climatic Data Center, there are a number of other federal groups that keep data in a variety of locations and formats across the country. This initiative will act as a clearinghouse to access all these disparate datasets. It launched on Wednesday with 83 federal datasets and a couple dozen tools and maps from both government and non-government sources available. Though currently limited in scope, the resources offer numerous ways to examine climate change and that make it clear it’s about more than global temperature changes. The data available show some of the other climate impacts, which include drought, heavy precipitation, heat waves, and sea level rise, all of which affect communities around the world. (March 19, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/20/2014 - You’d think, with our environment being our life support system, if we did Frack there would at the very least be standard rules for methane control, leak detection and repair. But no. Colorado's Tough New Drilling Rules Make an Impact in Texas The possibility that Texas would adopt oil and gas rules for methane control and leak detection and repair 'is at least thinkable now.' Colorado's tough, new air pollution rules for the oil and gas industry were approved only a month ago but they're already making an impact in Texas, where lawmakers and energy companies have long resisted tightening air standards.  Several companies have approached the nonprofit Environmental Defense Fund and expressed interest in discussing whether Colorado's rules make sense for Texas, according to Jim Marston, a vice president at EDF. Marston didn't name the companies. (March 20, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 3/20/2014 - Though little noticed by mainstream media there just has been an important climate talk in Bonn with special attention on renewable energy. First round of UN climate change negotiations in 2014 set to kick off in Bonn with Special Focus on Renewables and Energy Efficiency Governments to continue work on 2015 Paris agreement, identify concrete ways to boost immediate climate action This year's UN climate change negotiations kick off in Bonn next week, marking the beginning of an intense year of conferences and summits designed to lead to a meaningful, universal agreement in Paris in late 2015. The meeting (10 – 14 March) will include work towards the new global climate agreement, to enter into force from 2020, and work to find ways to boost immediate, effective climate action. "We are at the highest level of greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere for the last 800,000 years and we have not yet started to bend that curve back down again - this is the urgency of the challenge," said the Executive Secretary of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) Christiana Figueres. (March 5, 2014) YubaNet.com [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/20/2014 - Of course, it isn’t just a scientific fact that the Arctic is melting, we are causing this to happening. New data confirms Arctic ice trends: sea ice being lost at a rate of five days per decade The melt season across the Arctic is getting longer by five days per decade, according to new research from a team including Prof Julienne Stroeve (Professor of Polar Observation and Modelling at UCL Earth Sciences). New analysis of satellite data shows the Arctic Ocean absorbing ever more of the sun’s energy in summer, leading to an ever later appearance of sea ice in the autumn. In some regions, autumn freeze-up is occurring up to 11 days per decade later than it used to. The research, published in a forthcoming issue of the journal Geophysical Research Letters, has implications for tracking climate change, as well as having practical applications for shipping and the resource industry in the arctic regions. “The extent of sea ice in the Arctic has been declining for the last four decades,” says Julienne Stroeve, “and the timing of when melt begins and ends has a large impact on the amount if ice lost each summer. With the Arctic region becoming more accessible for long periods of time, there is a growing need for improved prediction of when the ice retreats and reforms in winter .” (March 4, 2014) University College London [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/20/2014 - With much of mainstream media unwilling or incapable of communicating critical issues like Climate Change, documentaries must become an important part of our information stream. 5 Must-See Documentaries From the 2014 Environmental Film Festival The 22nd annual Environmental Film Festival in Washington D.C. set records before it even showed one moment of footage. The 13-day event features a record 200 films from 38 countries. Several of them will be world and U.S. premieres, while others have already experienced success at other festivals around the world. The topics are sure to inspire visitors from all sides of the environmental spectrum, from climate change to genetically modified foods and biodiversity. The films will be shown at museums, embassies, libraries, universities and theaters across town. According to the festival, its “Our Cities, Our Planet” theme celebrates sustainable and resilient cities, with a focus on natural and built environments and how they seek to meet environmental and economic needs. (March 19, 2014) EcoWatch

  • 3/19/2014 - If “The Department of Environmental Conservation pumps ample supplies of trout and salmon into Lake Ontario and its tributaries every year”, does that mean Lake Ontario has a viable ecology and is ready for Climate Change?  If you only see Lake Ontario as a fisherman’s haven, and not include invasive species, phosphorous pollution, plastic bits, mercury toxins from coal plants, raw sewage releases from combined sewer overflows, endocrine disruptors from and other stuff from pharmaceutical waste, and lower lake levels due to Climate Change (not to mention all the myriad changes coming to the Great Lakes because of Climate Change) can you really say that a healthy fishing industry translate to a health ecology? Fish stocking program boosting Lake Ontario's viability Lake Ontario is boasting some of the best sport fishing among the Great Lakes, thanks to a successful stocking program by New York state's environmental management agency. The Department of Environmental Conservation pumps ample supplies of trout and salmon into Lake Ontario and its tributaries every year. It attracts anglers from all over -- more than 2.5 million each season. The health of Lake Ontario and the Great Lakes has been steadily improving since the 1970s, when they were nearly an ecological disaster, according to Dave MacNeill, a fisheries expert with the New York Sea Grant. (March 18, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/19/2014 - As reader points out: If Monsanto can't substantiate claims of the benefits of GM crops in South Africa, where on Earth can they substantiate the claims? MONSANTO FORCED TO WITHDRAW UNSUBSTANTIATED ADVERTISING CLAIMS ON BENEFITS OF GM CROPS-ADVERTISING STANDARDS AUTHORITY OF SOUTH AFRICA Monday, 17 March 2014 13:30 The Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) of South Africa has today ordered Monsanto to withdraw its advertisement on Radio 702 with immediate effect, wherein Monsanto claims the benefits of GM crops. According to ASA, Monsanto’s claims were found to be unsubstantiated.   The African Centre for Biosafety (ACB) lodged a complaint to the ASA following an advertisement on Radio 702 by Monsanto wherein Monsanto claims that GM crops “enable us to produce more food sustainably whilst using fewer resources; provide a healthier environment by saving on pesticides; decrease greenhouse gas emissions and increase crop yields substantially.” The ACB was supported in its complaint by Ms Judith Taylor from Earthlife Africa. (March 17, 2014) African Centre for Biosafety [more on Food in our area]

  • 3/19/2014 - It is amazing that on an international scale Climate Change alarms folks, but on a local level it’s not even a worry of media’s attention.  Humm …, Scientists Sound Alarm on Climate Early in his career, a scientist named Mario J. Molina was pulled into seemingly obscure research about strange chemicals being spewed into the atmosphere. Within a year, he had helped discover a global environmental emergency, work that would ultimately win a Nobel Prize. Now, at 70, Dr. Molina is trying to awaken the public to an even bigger risk. He spearheaded a committee of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the world’s largest general scientific society, which released a stark report Tuesday on global warming. The report warns that the effects of human emissions of heat-trapping gases are already being felt, that the ultimate consequences could be dire, and that the window to do something about it is closing. (March 18, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/19/2014 - How about no Fracking or nuclear waste—or oil spills for that matter?  How about renewable, sustainable energy with no lingering effects? Not Into Fracking? How About Some Nuclear Waste? The U.S. shale oil-and-gas boom has something for everybody. Jobs! Community outrage! Cheap fuel! Financial intrigue! Geopolitical leverage! Dirty water! Really, the only thing nobody's tried to work in is nuclear waste. Until now. The very characteristics that make shale oil and gas difficult to extract -- they're sealed in hard-to-reach rock -- are the qualities that might protect radioactive waste from the ravages of time and the elements. Irradiating hydrocarbon reservoirs wouldn’t be a popular idea. Fortunately, there’s plenty of hydrocarbon-poor shale around that drillers have no interest in. Chris Neuzil, a U.S. Geological Survey hydrologist, presents a study on such a site, near the Bruce Nuclear Complex in Ontario, at an American Chemical Society conference today in Dallas. (March 17, 2014) Bloomberg [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 3/19/2014 - There is one thing about Climate Change beyond all the denial and hype and misinformation that is certain: greenhouse gas concentrations are still rising. We cannot politic or buy our way out of this problem, but we can measure it. CO2 on Path to Cross 400 ppm Threshold for a Month Last year, atmospheric carbon dioxide briefly crossed 400 parts per million for the first time in human history. However, it didn’t cross that threshold until mid-May. This year’s first 400 ppm reading came a full two months earlier this past week and the seeming inexorable upward march is likely to race past another milestone next month. “We’re already seeing values over 400. Probably we’ll see values dwelling over 400 in April and May. It’s just a matter of time before it stays over 400 forever,” said Ralph Keeling in a blog post. Keeling runs a carbon dioxide monitoring program for Scripps Institute of Oceanography, a position he took over from his father who started it. The program takes daily measurements from the Mauna Loa Observatory in Hawaii, which sits at 11,141 feet on a volcano’s northern flank. Measurements have been recorded there continuously since March 1958. They’ve risen steadily since the first measurement of 313 ppm as humans have continued to burn more fossil fuels. (March 18, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/19/2014 - Just because we learned how to screw up Earth’s environment on a massive scale it doesn’t mean we know how to put it back together again. Geoengineering allows the public the delusion we can continue business as usual and then rely on few clever folks to fix the planet when we wreck it. Geoengineering is Not the Answer to Climate Change Because nature doesn’t always behave the same in a lab, test tube or computer program as it does in the real world, scientists and engineers have come up with ideas that didn’t turn out as expected. DDT was considered a panacea for a range of insect pest issues, from controlling disease to helping farmers. But we didn’t understand bioaccumulation back then—toxins concentrating up the food chain, risking the health and survival of animals from birds to humans. Chlorofluorocarbons, or CFCs, seemed so terrific we put them in everything from aerosol cans to refrigerators. Then we learned they damage the ozone layer, which protects us from harmful solar radiation. (March 18, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/18/2014 - Interested in learning about forests around Great Lakes and how to manage their adaption for Climate Change?  Check out this webinar: Adaptation and forest management in Great Lakes forests: custom-made, real-world examples FForest managers and landowners have a big role to play in preparing for continued climate change. The Climate Change Response Framework is a collaborative effort to help with this challenge and encourage climate-informed forest management (www.forestadaptation.org). A major focus of this project is to build a network of adaptation demonstration projects, to provide real-world examples from a variety of ownerships and forest types. This presentation will share: the consistent approach that unites all of these demonstration projects different ways forest managers and landowners are adapting to climate change | Tuesday, March 25, 12PM- 1PM  - from Changing Climate

  • 3/18/2014 - Maybe it Should be the role of climate scientists to tell us what to do. There don’t seem to be any adults around.  Read: What WE Know THE REALITY, RISKS AND RESPONSE TO CLIMATE CHANGE | Climate change is putting world at risk of irreversible changes, scientists warn AAAS makes rare policy intervention urging US to act swiftly to reduce carbon emissions and lower risks of climate catastrophe The world is at growing risk of “abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes” because of a warming climate, America’s premier scientific society warned on Tuesday. In a rare intervention into a policy debate, the American Association for the Advancement of Scientists urged Americans to act swiftly to reduce greenhouse gas emissions – and lower the risks of leaving a climate catastrophe for future generations. “As scientists, it is not our role to tell people what they should do,” the AAAS said in a new report, What we know. “But we consider it our responsibility as professionals to ensure, to the best of our ability, that people understand what we know: human-caused climate change is happening, we face risks of abrupt, unpredictable and potentially irreversible changes, and responding now will lower the risks and costs of taking action.” (March 18, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/18/2014 - Breaking: Those who plan our transportation systems in the Rochester region don’t have the luxury of denying Climate Change.  Note this just-released critical study that explores our transportation options—including City of Rochester, Monroe County’s complete street-- as the consequences of Climate Change looms. “Transportation sources such as cars, trucks, commercial aircraft, and railroads release greenhouse gases (GHG) that contribute to climate change. Climate change results principally from buildup of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas concentrations in the atmosphere. Climate change is altering the way people live, as the environment is becoming more variable and communities are forced to plan for the future like never before. More frequent flooding as a result of heavy precipitation events and more frequent heat waves are climate change impacts anticipated to be common to the Northeast Region. Greenhouse gas emissions from transportation sources is one of the largest contributors—in 2011, transportation represented 27% of total U.S. GHG emissions. Local governments are witnessing the physical and fiscal impacts of climate change. Precipitation intensity is projected to increase in many areas, resulting in flooding and other stormwater runoff problems. Fiscally, local governments are spending more on emergency response and retrofitting infrastructure. Long-term planning that accounts for climate change is needed to ensure that money spent today will reduce future risk.” Planning for Transportation and Climate Change: Model Ordinances, Incentives, and Other Resources The Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council has released Planning for Transportation and Climate Change: Model Ordinances, Incentives, and Other Resources, a compendium of model regulatory tools for local governments in the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region to increase the energy efficiency of the transportation infrastructure for climate change adaptation and mitigation. Although written specifically for the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region, much of the information is applicable throughout New York State. Funding for the project was provided by the Genesee Transportation Council. The document is available at the following links: Planning for Transportation and Climate Change: Model Ordinances, Incentives, and Other Resources (March 17, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/17/2014 - Forget Fracking for a moment, just how safe is our natural gas infrastructure in New York State? N.Y. building collapse: Feds probe responsiveness of gas company (+video) US officials are investigating how the local utility responded to complaints of gas odors before the blast and building collapse killed seven. The nation's aging infrastructure poses a growing risk, experts say. Federal officials investigating the gas leak and deadly explosion that collapsed two Harlemtenements Wednesday are also examining how the Manhattan gas utility responsible for pipeline maintenance had responded to complaints of gas odors. Firefighters Thursday sifted the wreckage for people still missing after the massive explosion, which killed at least seven people and injured scores. A team from the National Transportation Safety Board, the federal agency that investigates serious pipeline accidents, arrived at the scene Wednesday evening, saying they would determine a timeline of events and look into how the utility handled the reports of gas odors. (March 13, 2014) Christian Science Monitor [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/17/2014 - Funny that Rochester NY’s major newspaper wax nostalgic on this cold winter and warm summer, but still cannot connect dots with Climate Change.  Our local media should be probing as to whether our weather has been turned whacky by Climate Change—not dismiss this world crisis altogether. Rochester winter one of the coldest on record Rochester's long and bitter winter will be one for the record books. Last week's blizzard brought the area's total seasonal snowfall to 102.4 inches — marking the 35th snowiest season in 130 years, according to the National Weather Service in Buffalo. (March 17, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 3/17/2014 - How’s the water quality of Lake Ontario this year.  Find out more… New Lake Ontario Ecosystem Assessment Webpage: DEC has developed a new webpage with information about the Lake Ontario Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative (CSMI). The webpage has preliminary information about the 2013 CSMI assessment of Lake Ontario and a link to photographs from the 2013 assessment. U.S. and Canadian organizations assess one of the Great Lakes each year as part of the Cooperative Science and Monitoring Initiative. CSMI assessments took place in Lake Ontario in 2003, 2008 and 2013. (March 14, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)   [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/17/2014 - How’s our Water Quality in New York State, what are citizen scientists doing to help monitor that? Learn more from WAVE. 2013 WAVE data are now online The 2013 annual report for the WAVE project is now online. The annual report provides background information on the WAVE program, a summary of the data collected in the previous year, a list of macroinvertebrates found at each sampling site and the concluding assessment for each site. To view this and previous reports, visit the WAVE Forms and Data Page (http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/92237.html) within the WAVE website.   The 2012 and 2013 WAVE data are also provided as a google map. The link for this map is posted on the WAVE Forms and Data Page and is also available on the NYSDEC's Google Maps and Earth Page (http://www.dec.ny.gov/pubs/42978.html). (March 17, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)   [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/17/2014 - Some say the desire to live on coastlines is in our DNA. With Climate Change, rising seas, and flood insurance costs soaring, we might want to override some of those urges from our DNA. New Greenland Ice Melt Fuels Sea Level Rise Concerns Stability in the rapidly changing Arctic is a rarity. Yet for years researchers believed the glaciers in the frigid northeast section of Greenland, which connect to the interior of the country’s massive ice sheet, were resilient to the effects of climate change that have affected so much of the Arctic. But new data published Sunday in Nature Climate Change reveals that over the past decade, the region has started rapidly losing ice due to a rise in air and ocean temperatures caused in part by climate change. The increased melt raises grave concerns that sea level rise could accelerate even faster than projected, threatening even more coastal communities worldwide. (March 16, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/17/2014 - Every once in awhile we should pause and consider what we throw into our ocean of air, an ocean we breathe. Parisians driven to revolt by car ban in fight against pollution Only half of city's drivers will be allowed on French capital's roads on any given day via scheme based on number plates The famously testy Parisians have one more reason to grumble after the French government announced that half the cars in the city would be banned from the roads, starting on Monday, in an effort to combat smogpollution. From 5.30am, a scheme of alternating driving days, based on odd and even number plates, will come into effect for cars and motorcycles after Paris pollution reached dangerous levels for five consecutive days. Even before the restrictions were announced, Parisians were given free travel on buses, metros and public bikes over the weekend. The smog hanging in a haze over the French capital is the result of a string of warm days and cold nights and has caused the worst pollution levels since 2007. (March 16, 2014) The Guardian [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 3/15/2014 - Still waiting for NYS Department of Health to include Climate Change in their public communications so we can plan properly. “Greenhouse gas emissions have already altered Earth’s climate, and substantial global and regional climate changes over at least the next 100 years are virtually guaranteed. This will include continued warming, along with changing patterns of floods, droughts, and other extreme events. The consequences of these climate changes for public health in New York State are likely to be dramatic, particularly for people who are more vulnerable because of age, pre-existing illness, or economic disadvantage. A range of potential health vulnerabilities related to climate change (Confalonieri et al., 2007; CCSP, 2008) are relevant to New York State, including the following: • more heat-related deaths • diverse consequences as a result of more intense rainfall and flooding events • worsening air quality (due to increasing smog, wildfires, pollens, and molds) and related respiratory health impacts • changing patterns of vector-borne and other infectious diseases • risks to water supply, recreational water quality, and food production due to shifting precipitation patterns …” (Page 398, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011)

  • 3/15/2014 - Be nice if local Rochester media connected the dots with  XL Keystone pipeline, Climate Change, and NYS AG –instead of doing polls on issues they don’t even report on.  A.G. Schneiderman Calls For Full Analysis Of Keystone Xl’s Climate Change Impact Before National Interest Determination A.G. Calls On U.S. State Department To Withhold Decision On Pipeline Project Until Cumulative Climate Change Impacts of Keystone XL And Related Oil Transport Are Fully Considered Attorney General Estimates Canadian Tar Sands Oil Transport Would Be Responsible For 14 Times More Climate Change Pollution As State Of New York Emits In One Single Year Schneiderman: New Yorkers Know First-Hand The Catastrophic Risks Posed By Climate Change NEW YORK – Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman is calling on the U.S. State Department to withhold any decision on the Keystone XL project until first analyzing the full climate change pollution impacts –toNew York and across the United States – of the proposed project and related means of oil transport.  The Attorney General submitted comments to the State Department as it prepares to determine whether the Keystone XL project serves the national interest.  His comments aim to ensure that the cumulative climate change impacts of the project are considered before a final decision is made on the proposed project. (March 11, 2014) NYS Attorney General  [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/15/2014 - NOAA nails Great Lakes, Climate Change, lake level issue. If you aren’t factoring in Climate Change with lake levels you can’t fix the lake level problem. “The important question today is whether the recent water level drops are due to El Nino, part of a progressive decline resulting from global climate change or linked to engineering modifications of the Great Lakes.” NOAA Seeks Answers to Great Lakes Water Level Changes Understanding causes helps water managers, planners and overall economy As people who live along our nation’s coast experience rising sea levels, residents along the Great Lakes – the Earth’s largest lake system – are adapting to the opposite problem: chronic low water levels and a receding shoreline. In a perspective now running in Science magazine, Drew Gronewold, a hydrologist at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory, says “the record low water levels in Lake Michigan-Huron in the winter of 2012 to 2013 raise important questions about the driving forces behind water level fluctuations and how water resource management planning decisions can be improved.”  Answers to these questions are in high demand given the profound impact low water levels have on the Great Lakes region and the North American economy. Low levels limit navigability of shipping channels, reduce hydropower capacity, (e.g. at Niagara Falls, the largest electricity producer in New York state), impede tourism and recreational activities, and increase operational risks for industries that rely on the lakes as a source of process and cooling water. (March 6, 2014) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration NOAA [more on Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/15/2014 - Rolling back flood insurance reforms to appease those with increasingly costly coastal flood insurance system highlights a major conundrum with addressing Climate Change: When the going gets rough, the our politicians cave into quickest and easiest solution instead of the kind of major overhaul of our flood insurance programs in a time of warming. With rising waters on our coastlines and more extreme weather coming with Climate Change we need a way to lessen the threat of home damage and lessen the threat that we won’t be able to provide insurance at all. Senate Vote to Roll Back Flood Insurance Reform Increases Climate Risk, Taxpayer Burdens WASHINGTON (March 14, 2014) – The Senate late yesterday passed a bill by a 72-22 vote that would roll back flood insurance reforms, leaving taxpayers on the hook for increased costs from sea-level rise, according to the Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS). President Obama is expected to sign the bill into law. Below is a statement by Rachel Cleetus, a senior climate economist in UCS’s Climate and Energy Program: “Congress could have helped fix our increasingly costly coastal flood insurance system, but they buried their heads in the sand, instead. Rolling back flood insurance reforms does nothing to address the underlying risks and costs we face on our coasts as sea levels rise and development increases. It’s unfortunate that this vote came just two days after so many members stayed up through the night to talk about the pressing need to address climate change. This bill is a set-back when it comes to preparing for climate change and it will hurt taxpayers. (March 14, 2014) Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/14/2014 - Stopping the Keystone XL Pipeline, a line drawn by environmentalists for stopping Climate Change, gets dismissed in Rochester, NY.  It is as if our community has been removed from the entire issue of Climate Change and how that relates to our use of fossil fuels—the burning of tar sands being one of the worst Climate Change offenders.  If our media better represented what was actually occurring on Climate Change we would see fewer urging us to plow headlong into the very energy issues we are trying to avoid, our great discomfort with change. Majority supports Keystone XL pipeline More than three-quarters of respondents to this week’s RBJ Daily Report Snap Poll say the Keystone XL pipeline project should be approved. Nearly 80 percent say the Keystone XL pipeline project is important to U.S. energy security and the American economy, with 59 percent saying it is “very important.” This compares with 11 percent who say it is not very important and 12 percent who say it’s not at all important. The State Department recently released a long-awaited report that concluded the Keystone XL pipeline would not substantially worsen carbon pollution. President Barack Obama has yet to make a decision on the 36-inch-diameter crude oil pipeline, which would deliver 830,000 barrels of oil per day from Canada to the Gulf Coast, but he has said he would approve the pipeline if it would not significantly worsen the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. (March 14, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/14/2014 - It would be interesting to note that the continual upgrading our Rochester transportation system to include bicycling is also a way our city is adapting to Climate Change.  Part of that goal, of course, is to make bicycling safe, which will include drivers, the media, and law enforcement.  If you read the city’s web page “Office of Energy & Sustainability” you come to “Energy Management and Climate Action Status Report” and when you download that you see this: “Municipal transportation accounts for approximately 36% of greenhouse gas emissions and energy use by the City.  Many opportunities exist to reduce the use of fossil fuels in both the City fleet and by the public.  Some of the initiatives and projects that have been completed include: …, Bicycle Enhancement Program  installation of bicycle lane markings (i.e., exclusive bicycle lanes and shared use lanes) and associated signage on approximately 15 centerline miles of arterial and collector streets…, Complete Streets Policy to accommodate all users, including pedestrians, bicyclists, transit users and persons with disabilities.” There’s a pattern here and we ought to talk about it. One of Rochester’s most effective strategies for addressing Climate Change is increase active transportation (walking and bicycling) and as we get more folks comfortable and safe on our public roads we will reduce greenhouse gases.  Let’s connect the dots and talk about Climate Change and transportation. Crash course for cops It takes more than bike lanes and sidewalks to make a community hospitable to cyclists and pedestrians. Law enforcement plays a big part, too. More people are walking and biking, so police officers need to have a comprehensive understanding of the laws governing pedestrians and cyclists. A March 17 and 18 training session for local police officers should help accomplish that task, says Pete Bucci, a public information officer for the State Department of Motor Vehicles. The training program is one of a few being held across the state this year by the Governor's Traffic Safety Committee and several local and state partners. (March 12, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/14/2014 - Bonn Climate Talks, developing nations vs. developed nations, climate-protection pledges, time passes, window closes. Trade Concern Limits Rich-Nation Zeal to Cut Carbon The U.S. will struggle to endorse a climate treaty that hurts trade while Brazil and Indiawant richer countries to take the lead in limiting environmental change as global warming talks in Bonn enter their final day. A climate pact without emission-reduction commitments from emerging nations will be a hard sell to the U.S. public, Trigg Talley, the country’s climate envoy, told delegates at the United Nations-led talks. Brazil’s envoy Jose Domingos Miguez called on developed nations to act now on global warming or “we are going to suffer the consequences.” About 200 countries are in Bonn this week to debate climate-protection pledges as they hammer out a treaty due to be signed next year and come into effect in 2020. After more than two decades of negotiations, the climate talks have been dogged by wrangling between developing and industrialized nations over who pays for tackling global warming. This week’s meetings achieved little, said India’s negotiator. (March 13, 2014) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/14/2014 - How long will it take the US to get politics out of addressing Climate Change? A vote on sea rising in Florida? How does that work? Climate Change Showdown in Florida Governor's Race 'Even if the [average] forecasts for sea level rise come true, much of the state will be in trouble, areas will be wiped out and communities evacuated.' Florida, the most vulnerable state in the country to climate change, faces a key election this November that could have significant ramifications for its ability to cope with the challenge of rising seas and intensifying coastal storms. If incumbent Tea Party-aligned Rick Scott is reelected governor, it is expected to mean four more years of inaction on global warming. His likely opponent, Democrat Charlie Crist, a former governor of Florida, is committed to aggressive climate action. Environmental groups, scientists and policy experts say that if Crist or another climate hawk wins, it would give the state at least a shot at staving off the worst effects of global warming. (March 13, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/14/2014 - Interesting that our media in NYS still can talk about handing the threats of future floods and not talk about Climate Change.  Climate Change is about planning and one of the biggest things we should be planning for in New York State is adapting to more extreme weather in the form of heavy rainfall. “Increases in total annual rainfall as well as higher rainfall intensities—both likely as a result of climate change—are often used as justification for predictions of an increased likelihood of flooding. For some parts of the country, this direct link between precipitation and flooding is likely to be the case.” [Page 84, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) | New York to fund flood protection projects upstate  ALBANY, N.Y. (AP) New York state is providing grants to help communities along the Mohawk River better handle the threat of future floods. Gov. Andrew Cuomo says more than $640,000 will be provided through the Environmental Protection Fund administered by the Department of Environmental Conservation. Cuomo says the money will help Mohawk River communities be better prepared for weather disasters. (March 13, 2014) North Country Public Radio

  • 3/13/2014 - Listen to an hour program on local large issue: salt cavern to store liquid propane gas  Connections: Proposed Propane Storage Facility Crestwood Energy wants to use a large salt cavern to store liquid propane gas, and the company promises to create 8-10 jobs in doing so. But Finger Lakes winemakers compare this plan to building a factory in Yellowstone National Park; they say it just doesn't fit with the successful tourism industry that has grown there. The discussion includes a representative of the company; a Syracuse geology professor who supports the project;  Finger Lakes winemakers who oppose it; and Savor Life radio host Michael Warren Thomas, who has helped organize opposition to the project. (March 11, 2014) WXXI Connections

  • 3/13/2014 - Care about getting renewable a fighting change in New York State?  Check out this meeting: ACTION Monday, March 24, 7:15-9:15 PM | First Baptist Church of Penfield 1862 Penfield Road, Penfield, NY 14526   NYS DRAFT ENERGY PLAN: What's missing and how to submit comments Come learn how to respond to the State's Draft Energy Plan (Comments due 5/30/14). While there are some good things within the plan, there are some glaring omissions that must be addressed if our state is to meet its target of 80% greenhouse gas reductions by 2050. Learn more about the plan here: http://www.r-cause.net/take-action.html Presenter: Jessica Azulay, Program Director for Alliance for a Green Economy: Agree New York Where: First Baptist Church of Penfield 1862 Penfield Road, Penfield, NY 14526, on the north side of Rt. 441, just east of Five Mile Line Road and the firehouse.  Park in the rear of the building. Entrance is on the left side as you face the back of  building. The meeting room is downstairs to the right. Sponsored by the Federation of Monroe County Environmentalists http://fmce.org/

  • 3/13/2014 - Climate Change event c coming up tonight: "Thursday, March 13, 7 PM The Great March for Climate Action Faith Meckley, community environmental activist from Ithaca College, will lead a presentation to involve the community in the upcoming nationwide Great March for Climate Action with the goal of linking people across the country to the affects of climate change.  It is an opportunity for families, individuals and organizations to participate as concerned people from across the country come to our area.over the next few months.Where: The Flying Squirrel  285 Clarissa St., Rochester, NY14608 Presented by Green Party of Monroe County "

  • 3/12/2014 - What Climate Change indicator can you trust for excellent information, not tainted by economics and politics? Ans: Birds Warming temperatures push chickadees northward The zone of overlap between two popular, closely related backyard birds is moving northward at a rate that matches warming winter temperatures, according to a study by researchers from Cornell and Villanova universities. The research will be published online in Current Biology March 6. In a narrow strip – called a hybrid zone – that runs across the eastern U.S., Carolina chickadees from the south meet and interbreed with black-capped chickadees from the north. The new study finds that this hybrid zone, a convenient reference point for scientists tracking environmental changes, has moved northward at a rate of 0.7 mile per year over the last decade. That’s fast enough that the researchers added an extra study site partway through their project. (March 6, 2014) Cornell Chronicle [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/12/2014 - Who is dumping raw sewage into our drinking water this week? Find out from DEC’s Weekly Discharge Report Summary Weekly Sewage Discharge Report Summary & Updates to SPRTK Web Pages "For the week of 3/4 to 3/10, 3 Sewage Discharge Reports were received from 3 individual facilities. Sewage discharge reports received by DEC are posted to the Sewage Discharge Reports web page daily. The report can be downloaded as an Excel spreadsheet. Updates to Sewage Pollution Right to Know Webpages DEC recently updated several SPRTK web pages. Updates include: information about what the law does for sewage pollution, educational information on sewage and the systems that collect and transport it, and what the public can do to help reduce sewage pollution. Sewage pollution related links were also updated (including the infamous "Fatberg" video from London!).http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/90315.html In addition, the Sewage Discharge Reports page has been updated to include a summary of reports received during 2013.http://www.dec.ny.gov/chemical/90321.html Combined Sewer Overflow (CSO) Wet Weather Advisory DEC has a Google Map of the CSO locations in New York and a CSO Wet Weather Advisory web page. The purpose of the map and advisory is to help New Yorkers and their families make informed decisions before recreating on a waterbody. CSO outfalls may discharge rainwater mixed with untreated sewage during or following rainfall or snowmelt events and may contain bacteria that can cause illness. DEC advises the public to avoid contact or recreation (swimming, boating, and fishing) in a waterbody with a CSO outfall during or after a rainfall or snowmelt event. "  March 11, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/12/2014 - Make bicycling as a transportation option more safe by asking your members of Congress to sign on to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act: HR 3494 / S 1708 Even if you don’t bike, many do, and the more who do will bring down greenhouse gases when they move about. BICYCLIST SAFETY MUST BE A PRIORITY Once again, bicyclists have been left out. This morning, the federal government released a traffic safety proposal that turns a blind eye to the rising number of bicyclist and pedestrians deaths. Last week, 650 participants at the National Bike Summit visited their members of Congress and asked them to sign on to the Bicycle and Pedestrian Safety Act. This bill would require the U.S. Department of Transportation establish a specific target to improve the safety of bicyclists and pedestrians. Months ago, we mobilized bicyclists behind this bill because we knew DOT was unlikely to do this on their own. Today, unfortunately, we were proven right. (March 11, 2013) The League of American Bicyclists [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/12/2014 - What prolific species didn’t exist before 1960, now lives in trillions in oceans, trees, deserts, but isn’t alive? Ans: Plastic Bags.  European Parliament Takes Aim at Plastic Bags STRASBOURG, France, March 11, 2014 (ENS) – Members of the European Parliament’s Environment Committee Monday approved a report for reducing the use of single-use lightweight plastic carrier bags. The report recommends a two-stage reduction target for plastic bags across the EU’s 28 Member States. The report advances the MEPs’ process of amending the law on packaging and waste to limit the negative impacts of plastic bags on the environment, based on a proposal by the European Commission, the executive branch of the EU government. (March 11, 2014) Environmental News Service [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 3/12/2014 - Nuclear energy is safe, even in a major accident, as long as you stick to the talking points. U.S. Nuclear Agency Hid Concerns, Hailed Safety Record as Fukushima Melted In the the tense days after a powerful earthquake and tsunami crippled the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan on March 11, 2011, staff at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission made a concerted effort to play down the risk of earthquakes and tsunamis to America’s aging nuclear plants, according to thousands of internal emails reviewed by NBC News. The emails, obtained via the Freedom of Information Act, show that the campaign to reassure the public about America’s nuclear industry came as the agency’s own experts were questioning U.S. safety standards and scrambling to determine whether new rules were needed to ensure that the meltdown occurring at the Japanese plant could not occur here. At the end of that long first weekend of the crisis three years ago, NRC Public Affairs Director Eliot Brenner thanked his staff for sticking to the talking points that the team had been distributing to senior officials and the public. (March 10, 2014) NBC News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/11/2014 - Green Drinks Green Drinks is a monthly networking event where people in the environmental field and the sustainably minded meet over drinks (alcoholic or non), in an informal setting to exchange ideas, find out who's doing what and spread the word on what you're doing, find employment leads and make new friends and contacts. March Penfield's Energy and Environmental Advisory Committee (EEAC) welcomes "Green Drinks" to Penfield to showcase the town's efforts to promote sustainability, encourage personal responsibility, and protect the environment.  When: March 20, 2014, 6:00-7:30 PM Where: HARRIS WHALEN LODGE 2126 Penfield Road (just west of Routes 441 & 250) Directly across from Wegmans Plaza Free parking on site Sponsored by the Town of Penfield --from Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) 

  • 3/11/2014 - Climate Change is expected to affect Great Lakes region but do scientists have an idea of how much? Unprecedented Seasonal Water Level Dynamics on One of the Earth's Largest Lakes The North American Great Lakes (Fig. 1) contain roughly 20% of the Earth's unfrozen fresh surface water and cover a massive area (Lake Superior alone is the largest unfrozen freshwater surface on the planet). Water levels on the Great Lakes have been recorded continuously for more than 150 years, representing one of the longest sets of direct hydro-climate measurements. This dataset, synthesized by Quinn (1981) and Lenters (2001), among many others, indicates that water levels on each of the Great Lakes follow a strong seasonal pattern closely linked with the timing and magnitude of the major components of the regional water budget, with relatively low water levels in the winter months, rising water levels in the spring, and decreasing water levels in the late summer and early fall. Water-level measurements on Lake Erie during the 2011 and 2012 water years (October 2010 through September 2011, and October 2011 through September 2012, respectively), however, reflect dramatic and unexpected changes in the seasonal water-level cycle and in the Great Lakes regional water budget. (January 2014) American Meteorology Society [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 3/11/2014 - Trouble enough making sure our food is safe, but how safe are our food containers? The Scary New Evidence on BPA-Free Plastics And the Big Tobacco-style campaign to bury it. Update (3/3/14): After this story went to press, the US Food and Drug Administrationpublished a paper finding that BPA was safe in low doses. However, the underlying testing was done on a strain of lab rat known as the Charles River Sprague Dawley, which doesn't readily respond to synthetic estrogens, such as BPA. And, due to laboratory contamination, all of the animals—including the control group—were exposed to this chemical. Academic scientists saythis raises serious questions about the study's credibility. Stay tuned for more in-depth reporting on the shortcomings of the FDA's most recent study. EACH NIGHT AT DINNERTIME, a familiar ritual played out in Michael Green's home: He'd slide a stainless steel sippy cup across the table to his two-year-old daughter, Juliette, and she'd howl for the pink plastic one. Often, Green gave in. But he had a nagging feeling. As an environmental-health advocate, he had fought to rid sippy cups and baby bottles of the common plastic additive bisphenol A (BPA), which mimics the hormone estrogen and has been linked to a long list of serious health problems. Juliette's sippy cup was made from a new generation of BPA-free plastics, but Green, who runs the Oakland, California-based Center for Environmental Health, had come across research suggesting some of these contained synthetic estrogens, too. (March/April Issue) Mother Jones [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/11/2014 - Our entire infrastructure is going to be threatened by Climate Change, including the one helping to cause Climate Change. GAO: Climate Change Threatens Energy Infrastructure | Oil refineries and drilling platforms in the U.S. are vulnerable to sea level rise and greater storm surge. Fuel pipelines, barges, railways and storage tanks are vulnerable to melting permafrost and severe weather. Warming seas and water shortages put nuclear and other electric power plants at risk. Power lines can be blown away by hurricanes and other extreme weather. In other words, all the infrastructure Americans rely on to heat their homes, power their lights and fuel their trains, trucks and cars is becoming more and more exposed to failure in a changing climate. (March 10, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/10/2014 - Probably the only ones able to talk to Congress about Climate Change at all are congress people, as Congress is almost deaf to science. Vt.'s Sen. Sanders to lead climate "wake-up" call BURLINGTON, Vt. (AP) Vermont U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders will help lead an overnight session of the Senate's Climate Action Task Force in what he terms a wake-up call on global warming. Sanders -- an Independent who is co-sponsor of a bill that would tax carbon and methane emissions -- will be joined by New Hampshire Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, Maine Sen. Angus King and two dozen other task force members. (March 10, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/10/2014 - Be nice if our NYS region studied and reported on vulnerable wildlife species that will be threatened by climate change. Study Shows Maine's Wildlife Threatened By Climate Change More than a third of Maine’s most vulnerable wildlife species are threatened by climate change, according to a recent study.   The report, Climate Change and Biodiversity in Maine, identified 168 vulnerable species that could experience large range shifts and population declines in Maine by 2100 as a result of climate change. Iconic Maine species, such as the common loon and moose, were some of the species found to be at risk.   “Maine will experience more warming than most states and this may pose a huge threat to our wildlife,” said lead author Andy Whitman, of the Manomet Center for Conservation Sciences. “We identified Maine’s wildlife and habitats most vulnerable to climate change. This is the first step for moving forward on this issue.” (February 24, 2014) Manomet Center for Conservation Science [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]

  • 3/10/2014 - Important environmental film coming up on Wednesday, March 12 : Program 7:30 pm: Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time  Jim and Carol May present an Emmy® award-winning film  Aldo Leopold is considered one of the seminal figures in America’s environmental movement. His classic work, A Sand County Almanac, is considered basic reading for ecology and environmental science students, and has been read by countless others, not only for the accuracy of Leopold’s perceptions about the natural world but also for the eloquent and poetic way in which he describes what he has observed. Unlike John Muir, whose primary focus was on the preservation of wilderness, Leopold emphasizes the need for man to live in harmony with nature. At our March chapter meeting, Genesee Valley ADK members Jim and Carol May will present the Emmy® award-winning film, Green Fire: Aldo Leopold and a Land Ethic for Our Time, which describes and celebrates the life and work of the man whose writings during the 30’s and 40s helped awaken America to the notion that land is not simply a commodity to be exploited but is worth protecting because it is part of a community to which we all belong. Movie Trailer

  • 3/08/2014 - Going faster across NYS is not the main reason for high speed rail; the main reason should be a transportation system that would address Climate Change by moving the public to a lower greenhouse gas emitting system.  High Speed Rail Forum In Rochester "Imagine that in 1893, they can go faster between here and New York than we can go today," said Rep. Louise Slaughter, D-25th District. That's the reason Slaughter has been pushing for high speed rail for years. "If we could do that in 1893 and we cant do it now, 2014, what does that say about us?" she asked. Her dream is finally becoming a reality. The New York State Department of Transportation has created five alternatives to the current Amtrak line that would increase the amount of people that could ride the train and make train times even faster. "You will actually have some idea what time your going to get to Albany," said Slaughter. (March 7, 2014) Time Warner Cable News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/08/2014 - What would have been nice is for NYS energy’s future to be viewed through the lens of Climate Change—not Fracking, that grabs so much media attention. Draft energy plan draws criticism from environmental activists Environmental activists said there needs to be more emphasis on renewable energy and less on fossil fuels at a hearing on the New York Draft Energy Plan in Syracuse Thursday.   The New York State Energy plan is a comprehensive economy-wide, multi-year plan put together by the state energy planning board. It’s meant to showcase Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s energy policy.   Keith Schue, an engineer from Otsego County, said the plan doesn’t have the pieces in place to reach the state’s goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions a full 80 percent by the year 2050. “This is not a plan. That’s the bottom line. What you’ve got is a document that talks about forecasts from different agencies. It doesn’t set out a plan for what New York really needs to do," Schue said. (March 7, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/08/2014 - The legal system, environmental damage, corporations, and victims—it’s going to be an interesting future. Chevron's U.S. win in Ecuador case looms over cases elsewhere (Reuters) - Ecuadorean villagers who are trying to get billions of dollars from Chevron Corp for pollution in the Amazon jungle are ready to refocus their fight on pending suits in other countries after a setback in the United States. A scathing judgment issued by a U.S. judge this week against their lawyer will cast a long shadow over cases filed in Canada, Brazil and Argentina, where the plaintiffs are seeking Chevron assets as payment because the oil giant no longer has a presence in Ecuador. U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan handed down a 500-page decision that found American lawyer Stephen Donziger used "corrupt means" to help villagers from the Lago Agrio region win the historic $18 billion judgment against Chevron in Ecuador in 2011. The damage award was later revised down to $9.5 billion. While Kaplan's decision bars Donziger and the villagers from enforcing the Ecuadorean ruling in the United States, it is not binding in pending cases elsewhere. (March 7, 2014) Reuters

  • 3/08/2014 - Even when you’re at work or play or not even thinking about it, Climate Change is happening.  The warming is a warning. Warm rivers play role in Arctic sea ice melt The heat from warm river waters draining into the Arctic Ocean is contributing to the melting of Arctic sea ice each summer, a new NASA study finds. A research team led by Son Nghiem of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., used satellite data to measure the surface temperature of the waters discharging from a Canadian river into the icy Beaufort Sea during the summer of 2012. They observed a sudden influx of warm river waters into the sea that rapidly warmed the surface layers of the ocean, enhancing the melting of sea ice. A paper describing the study is now published online in the journal Geophysical Research Letters. (March 5, 2014) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/07/2014 - Penny wise and dollar foolish: Starving money from updating antiquated sewer infrastructure is madness. Obama’s budget a setback to sewer upgrades Projects that keep billions of gallons of raw sewage out of Western New York waterways are at risk if Congress approves a budget that slashes aid for states burdened with antiquated sewer infrastructure. Cities and suburbs with outdated sewer systems require billions of dollars in improvements to combat the pollution from sewer overflows usually caused by heavy rain or snowmelt. In Buffalo, anywhere from 1.7 billion to 4 billion gallons of raw sewage polluted local waterways each of the past three years. In comparison, the bankrupt city of Detroit dumped 7 billion gallons of raw sewage into waterways in 2011. Cleveland reached 4.5 billion gallons that same year. In Erie County, 88 million gallons of sewage spewed into local waterways since May. (March 5, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/07/2014 - High speed rail for NYS, along with Active Transportation, could be a serious Climate Change adaptation strategy.  Doesn’t need anywhere near the infrastructure maintenance costs that our present system does. Climate Change is going to be very expensive and the public sector will have to pay for the transportation infrastructure no matter how many corporations make vehicles to drive on them.  NY DOT looking at five options to speed up rail travel Passenger trains running between Buffalo and New York City right now run at about 50 miles per hour and are often slowed more by competing freight train traffic. There are five plans state Department of Transportation officials have presented this week to the public on how to improve on that. They would increase the speed trains run to a range of 90 to even 125 miles per hour, which would shave two hours off a train ride from Syracuse to New York City. Reaching the top speed would require an entirely new rail corridor to be built, though. And the faster the speed, the higher the costs, says DOT spokesman Beau Duffy. But he says faster rail travel is also better for the economy. (March 6, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/07/2014 - ACTION: April 1st when the snow is projected to be gone for awhile, think of helping out with some spring cleaning:  "Adopt-a-Beach™ Call for Volunteers   Who: New and returning volunteers are needed for the Alliance’s Adopt-a-Beach™ Program, now numbering nearly 13,000 participants on all five Great Lakes. There are two ways to participate: Register to volunteer for a cleanup at www.greatlakesadopt.org, or sign up to lead your own team at www.greatlakes.org/teamleader.   When: April 1 – Memorial Day (May 26).   What: The Alliance’s annual launch of the Adopt-a-Beach™ season brings volunteers to beaches and shorelines throughout the region. Adopt-a-Beach™ team leaders and volunteers are lake lovers from all walks of life, and include individuals, families, schools, businesses and community groups. The Alliance hosts a number of web-based and in-person trainings for new and returning adopters to sharpen their data-collection skills.     Where: Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. To find events in your community, visit www.greatlakesadopt.org. To locate information on in-person and web-based trainings, visit www.greatlakes.org/adoptabeachtrainings.   Why: Participants enhance beaches and coastal areas by picking up trash and recording their findings in the Alliance’s Adopt-a-BeachTM online system. Volunteers also conduct water quality sampling and make science-based observations. Information logged into the Adopt-a-Beach™ online system is accessible to the public.   More: Contact the following state coordinators about Adopt-a-Beach™ in your state:   New York/Pennsylvania: Nate Drag, ndrag@greatlakes.org, 716 261-9393"

  • 3/07/2014 - One geoengineering scheme that won’t fail to address and mitigate Climate Change: Plant trees! Opportunity Available to Support Conservation Tree Planting in New York State Through a new partnership between the Natural Heritage Trust (NHT) and the state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), the public can now support forest conservation and enhancement by donating to DEC's Tree Planting Fund through NHT, DEC announced today. Donations will help the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga continue to provide free and reduced cost seedlings to the Trees for Tribs Program and the School Seedling program, among other environmental purposes. "Planting trees is one of the most effective ways to protect and improve water and air quality, mitigate flooding and erosion, reduce cooling and heating energy needs, increase property values, and improve quality of life for people and wildlife around them," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. Since its creation in 1911, the State Tree Nursery at Saratoga has produced more than 1.6 billion seedlings to enhance and protect the forest resources of New York. The State Tree Nursery at Saratoga is involved in green infrastructure, riparian restoration, restoration of rare and endangered species, alternative fuels, preserving species for the future, and plant research. (March 6, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 3/07/2014 - Amazing photos of Finger Lakes with smaller lakes completely frozen over. These lakes will be profoundly affected by Climate Change, but few studies exist. Each lake will react differently to Climate Change. There should be a dramatic push in getting more climate studies on the Finger Lakes and surrounding region on Climate Change.

  • 3/07/2014 - If you think weather prediction is problematic, Climate prediction will be a doozy. It’ll be more than a parade that gets rained on if wrong—and yet if we don’t prepare for the worst, folks don’t get to go home after the washout.  We’re going to have to plan our future on climate predicting and free it up as much as possible from politics, economic jitters, and ideology or our predictions will be completely delusional. Get Ready for Next Climate Phenomenon: El Nino For West Coasters sick of the ridiculously resilient ridge of high pressure and East Coasters tired of hearing about thepolar vortex, get ready for a new climate phenomenon to dominate headlines. El Niño could be making a return this fall after a 4-year hiatus, changing rainfall and temperature patterns across the world. It could even boost the odds of 2014 being the globe’s hottest year on record. The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration issued an El Niño Watch on Thursday, indicating conditions are favorable for the climate phenomenon to develop in the next 6 months. “Neutral” conditions are likely through the summer, but by fall NOAA's joint forecast with the International Research Institute for Climate and Society puts the odds of an El Niño developing at more than 50 percent. It’s been nearly 48 months since the last El Niño formed. (March 6, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/06/2014 - Great program to find out about food in our region: "Please join us for our March forum, a collaboration between LWV-RMA and LWV-Wayne County Putting Food on Your Table: Linking Food, Farms & You Each of us has a stake in making sure our food supply is adequate and its quality and safety are maintained. March 31, 2014 7:00 – 8:30 PM Brighton Town Hall • 2300 Elmwood Avenue • Rochester, NY 14618 Please register at 585.262.3730 or www.lwv-rma.org  Our Moderator: Don Alhart, Associate News Director, WHAM-TV Channel 13 Our Distinguished Panel: Stanley (Lee) Telega, NYS Director, US Department of Agriculture Rural Development Robert King, PhD, Director/Sr. Agriculture Specialist, Monroe Community College Sarah Noble-Moag, representing Noblehurst Farms, a 7-generation, multi-family agribusiness in Linwood, NY Representative of the NYS Agricultural Experiment Station (NYSAES), Geneva, NY"

  • 3/06/2014 - Rochester is quickly moving towards Active Transportation (walking and bicycling) as a serious transportation option.  This means Rochester will have a serious adaptation strategy for lowing greenhouse gases. Elmwood's cycle track is a Rochester first  The stretch of Elmwood Avenue that runs along the University of Rochester Medical Center campus is a crucial corridor. For many drivers, it's the way they access the UR. More than 20,000 motor vehicles travel the segment of Elmwood between Mt. Hope Avenue and the Genesee River every day, according to State Department of Transportation data. But hundreds of people also bike through the corridor, says Richard DeSarra, president and co-founder of the Rochester Cycling Alliance. And the cyclists are often squeezed onto the corridor's sidewalks, he says. "Even your most experienced cyclists will tell you Elmwood's not a great place to ride," says Erik Frisch, a transportation specialist with the City of Rochester. (March 5, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 3/06/2014 - One thing that Climate Change will bring to the Great Lakes’ ecology and that is Uncertainty.  But not in a good way.  Throwing a system that evolved slowly for thousands of years from cold melting glaciers to one that is rapidly warming is throwing everything out of whack. We’re going to have to develop an overarching Climate Change policy for the Great Lakes that addresses all threats and mitigates Climate Change. Wood loss from climate change turning fish into binge-eaters, says researcher Low lake levels and wood loss are causing some fish to binge until they run out of food, according to recent research. Jereme Gaeta, a researcher at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, studied the relationship between bass and perch as dropping water levels altered the habitat offered by submerged trees and wood. Fallen trees and wood create a coarse woody habitat submerged in lakes. “Woody habitat is great for many species of fish in terms of foraging for food,” said Gaeta. “It’s a place for algae to grow and bugs to live.” (March 5, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/06/2014 - In the name of saving our environment, with a Congress that doesn’t believe in science, Obama must use tools available to address Climate Change.  It is an absurd place that an extreme ideology that believes in only the free markets system and literal interpretation of the Constitution puts us in. How do we save ourselves from a political system that is hell bend on saving its ideology at all costs and an economic system that doesn’t believe that our environment incurs any cost? Editorial EPA and Obama overstep authority President uses agency to legislate new environmental policies in an abuse of executive power (March 4, 2014) Detroit News 

  • 3/05/2014 - If New York State went 100% renewable energy, news would be very boring.  Who’d care about a wind turbine blade falling?  Read: Examining the feasibility of converting New York State’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one using wind, water, and sunlight | Power loss shuts down Nine Mile Point reactor Nine Mile Point 2 was shut down early this morning after losing an off-site power supply. Neil Sheehan, a public affairs officer for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission, said the loss of power effected cooling flow to both of the plant's reactor recirculation pumps. "The operators at the plant, in turn, manually scrammed or shut down the reactor," Sheehan said. "And that means they inserted all the control rods, halted the fissioning process and, therefore, the plant was no longer heating up water and generating electricity." Sheehan said two NRC inspectors assigned to Nine Mile Point 2 are reviewing the incident, including troubleshooting the loss of power, operator actions and the performance of safety systems. (March 4, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our region]

  • 3/05/2014 - Only when environmental groups understand that all environmental issues must be seen through the lens of Climate Change will we get on the same page. Wind turbines and migratory birds must not divide environmental groups. Ohio wind turbine shutdown raises issue of migratory bird safety Environmental groups have won what they call a victory for birds with the suspension of a plan to build a wind turbine in Ohio. Officials at the Camp Perry National Guard base in northern Ohio recently announced that they will indefinitely suspend plans to build a wind turbine after receiving complaints that it would threaten local migratory birds. The American Bird Conservancy and the Black Swamp Bird Observatory sent a letter of intent to sue to the Ohio National Guard, claiming the project violated federal laws protecting the birds, according to their press release. The groups claimed the turbine would be too close to the birds’ migration path. A letter from the National Guard Bureau to the bird groups’ lawyer said that after receiving the letter of intent, the National Guard withdrew its Finding of No Significant Impact for the site. The letter said the bureau would review its environmental assessment of the project. (March 4, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Wind Power and Wildlife in our area]

  • 3/05/2014 - The March 2014 edition of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s newsletter the eco-logue is out. It’s got lots of environmental information, events, and ways you can help our local environment by taking action.

  • 3/05/2014 - This month’s PENFIELD GREEN INITIATIVE is posted. Get lots of events and info our on local environment from this monthly newsletter. PENFIELD GREEN INITIATIVE Planning Committee The voice for Penfield’s environmental assets!

  • 3/05/2014 - In order to believe that this cold winter will give us a reprieve this year on the advance of invasives like the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB), you have to believe that Climate Change is the cause of their movement northward into our region.  So that means the media should not just mention the movement of firewood as the cause of EAB in our region.  To stop the EAB from killing our ash trees and more, we need to address and mitigate Climate Change—or we are just throwing money at the symptoms of infestation with ad hoc laws and pesticides. Could This Winter’s Harsh Weather Wipe Out Invasive Insects? As a frigid winter takes a toll on the U.S. and Canada, invasive insect populations are also taking a hit. The U.S. Forest Service estimates that up to 80 percent of emerald ash borers, which have been decimating ash tree populations, were killed by long stretches of bitter cold in the the upper Midwest this year. (March 4, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change and Invasive Species in our area]

  • 3/05/2014 - Climate engineering, that’s where you give up on the public’s and our economy’s ability to properly address Climate Change and throw big bucks at more environmental disruption.  Climate Change is a problem of global human behavior, in part due to an economic system that treats our environment as an externality, and because Climate Change will involve Climate Justice, where those who did not cause the problem will get the preliminary brunt of the consequences, it cannot be solved with geoengineering schemes that could, without wholesale knowledge of how our environment works, cause more problems than they solve.  We cannot just throw money at Climate Change, we have to change our behavior. Climate engineering ideas no longer considered pie in the sky Scientists backed by the government and Bill Gates are studying schemes such as sunlight-blocking particles and giant carbon vacuums to halt climate change. WASHINGTON — As international efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions stall, schemes to slow global warming using fantastical technologies once dismissed as a sideshow are getting serious consideration in Washington. Ships that spew salt into the air to block sunlight. Mirrored satellites designed to bounce solar rays back into space. Massive "reverse" power plants that would suck carbon from the atmosphere. These are among the ideas the National Academy of Sciences has charged a panel of some of the nation's top climate thinkers to investigate. Several agencies requested the inquiry, including the CIA. At the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in La Cañada Flintridge, scientists are modeling what such technologies might do to weather patterns. At the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., a fund created by Microsoft founder Bill Gates — an enthusiast of research into climate engineering — helps bankroll another such effort. (March 4, 2014) Los Angeles Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/05/2014 - When you allow the fox to influence henhouse rules, only the foxes win—until there’s a major ash spill. Ash Spill Shows How Watchdog Was Defanged RALEIGH, N.C. — Last June, state employees in charge of stopping water pollution were given updated marching orders on behalf of North Carolina’s new Republican governor and conservative lawmakers. “The General Assembly doesn’t like you,” an official in the Department of Environment and Natural Resources told supervisors called to a drab meeting room here. “They cut your budget, but you didn’t get the message. And they cut your budget again, and you still didn’t get the message.” From now on, regulators were told, they must focus on customer service, meaning issuing environmental permits for businesses as quickly as possible. Big changes are coming, the official said, according to three people in the meeting, two of whom took notes. “If you don’t like change, you’ll be gone.” (February 28, 2014) New York Times [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/04/2014 - Some scientific observations connect the spread of Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) which is killing our Ash Trees with Climate Change, which is interesting because if you look at the NYS DEC map of Map of EAB Infestations you see a horizontal and northward creep of EAB across New York State, something you’d expect if these invasive species where able to survive longer in the north because of increased warming.  I know this is idle speculation from a non-scientist…, but if the spread of EAB were due to folks carrying wood more than fifty miles from the source (which the DEC now has a law against) with EAB larvae in them, wouldn’t you expect a more random spread of infestation of EAB? Just saying … Winter’s freeze stopped ash borers and stink bugs cold, but they’re primed for a comeback This winter is a real killer. The deep freeze, with arctic blasts from the polar vortex, has put invasive insects on ice in dozens of states. That includes the emerald ash borer, a pretty bug that does ugly things to ecosystems it invades. Up to 80 percent of the ash borers died when January temperatures dipped below minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit in St. Paul, Minn., according to an estimate by U.S. Forest Service biologists, who have been conducting studies on the impact of cold weather on the bugs for the past three years. Their estimates were affirmed when state researchers found that nearly 70 percent of ash borers collected from infected trees in the Twin Cities area last month were frozen stiff — a good thing for ash trees that adorn communities and provide smooth, durable wood used for flooring, bowling alleys, church pews, baseball bats and electric guitars. (March 3, 2014) Washington Post [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 3/04/2014 - Conference coming up: 2014 Great Lakes Green Chemistry Conference: Innovating for Success April 1-2, 2014, Cleveland Ohio   The purpose of this conference is to show how innovations in green chemistry drive advances in business, academia, policy, and human health protection in the Great Lakes region, and how integration and collaboration of these areas are crucial for success.   The conference will include keynotes, plenary sessions, panel sessions, breakout sessions, and a poster networking exchange. Submissions should specify a desire for inclusion as either a presentation or a poster.   Early Bird Registration Through March 14! http://www.glrppr.org/conference/

  • 3/04/2014 - Just for the record I think EPA's new auto emissions regs 'a big deal' too. I know, I’m only a citizen & my opinion next to the auto industry or oil industry doesn’t mean shit to a tree.  EPA's new auto emissions regs 'a big deal,' industry says The EPA finalized new emissions standards Monday that will affect automakers and oil refineries. The auto industry is on board, but the oil industry is against the move. New clean air standards that will change the formula for American gasoline and the efficiency of the engines that burn it formally went into effect Monday. The so-called “Tier 3” standards are part of the Obama administration’s broader push to rein in pollution and improve automobile fuel economy through federal agencies controlled by the president. Tier 3 standards, together with the Environmental Protection Agency’s separate program to cut greenhouse gas emissions, are forecast to save thousands of lives annually, health officials said. (March 3, 2014) Christian Science Monitor [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 3/04/2014 - But just on the face of it I’m thinking toxic chemicals in our bodies are not a good thing, even if we don’t know what they’re doing in there.  The take home message is that we have not only polluted our environment with toxic pollutants, we have polluted our bodies—which are another environment we need to keep healthy. The Chemicals That Stick Around in the Body How the U.S. tracks the potentially harmful substances that build up in humans Most Americans do carry traces of dozens—possibly hundreds—of potentially toxic chemicals in their bodies, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tests blood and urine samples in thousands of citizens as part of its continuing public-health surveys. But just because a chemical is present doesn't mean it will cause health problems, the CDC says. In many cases, scientists don't know what level of exposure might pose harm or to what extent people's individual genes, age, weight and other factors vary the risk. (March 3, 2014) Wall Street Journal [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/03/2014 - Kind of makes me nervous Supreme Court  divided over GHG regulations ‘cause they blew it on slavery in the 1850’s. [Note Dred Scott v. Sandford] Justices appear divided over greenhouse gas regulation (CNN) -- The Supreme Court tried mightily to wade through a cloud of bureaucratic regulations Monday over setting clear air standards, a high-stakes environmental and economic fight pitting the Obama administration against a coalition of states and utilities. The justices on Monday heard six separate appeals, which were consolidated into more than 100 minutes of often dense oral arguments. A ruling is expected by June. At issue is narrow, but potentially far-reaching -- whether the Environmental Protection Agency can tighten emissions standards for "stationary" greenhouse gas sources, such as power plants, in what the administration says is an effort to stem the effects of climate change and global warming. In the larger political sphere, this issue could be major test of executive authority, with many conservative groups painting President Barack Obama as misusing his power and ignoring the will of the legislature. (February 24, 2014) CNN [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/03/2014 - I know, it wasn’t the Oscars but folks risking their liberty yesterday to address Climate Change is still news.  Not much mainstream media coverage of this event because the media was in Hollywood. Hundreds arrested outside White House during demonstration against Keystone XL pipeline Police arrested several hundred people who strapped themselves to the White House fence on Sunday to protest against the proposed Keystone XL oil pipeline. The protesters, mostly college students, participated in a peaceful march which began at Georgetown University and ended outside the White House. They chanted “climate justice now” and carried signs such as “don’t tarnish the earth” in their efforts to convince President Barack Obama to reject the pipeline, which they say will contribute to global warming. Protesters were passionate, but orderly. Police were waiting for them with buses and vans to speed the process. (March 2, 2014) Global News [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 3/03/2014 - As long as there is a buck to be made from our environment, we’ll do it despite what it does to our life support system. Marine mining: Underwater gold rush sparks fears of ocean catastrophe Mining metal and minerals in 'ecosystems we hardly understand' poses grave threat to marine life, warn environmentalists This is the last frontier: the ocean floor, 4,000 metres beneath the waters of the central Pacific, where mining companies are now exploring for the rich deposits of ores needed to keep industry humming and smartphonesswitched on. The prospect of a race to the bottom of the ocean – a 21st-century high seas version of the Klondike gold rush – has alarmed scientists. Theoceans, which make up 45% of the world's surface, are already degraded by overfishing, industrial waste, plastic debris and climate change, which is altering their chemistry. Now comes a new extractive industry – and scientists say governments are not prepared. (March 1, 2014) The Guardian [More on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 3/03/2014 - Let’s face it, there’s quite a difference between the hope for nuclear power as a solution to Climate Change and the reality. Inside the slow and dangerous clean up of the Fukushima nuclear crisis The site of the Fukushima nuclear disaster in Japan remains a post-apocalyptic landscape of abandoned towns, frozen in time. Science correspondent Miles O’Brien got a rare tour inside the plant, where three nuclear reactors melted down after the earthquake and tsunami in 2011, to learn more about the long-term solutions for stemming the radioactive contamination. (February 28, 2014) PBS News Hour [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/01/2014 - I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to hear about budget woes when it comes to protecting public safety on nuclear power.  With nuclear power you knew the job was dangerous when you took it, so once built, all the financial aspects of keeping a nuclear plant safe should have been banked and ready to spend at a moment’s notice to keep the public safe.  No excuses.  We don’t want to be Fukushima’ed because the nuclear industry didn’t anticipate this budget shutdown or that tsunami or valve leak, or some other lame excuse. The problem of deciding on nuclear power is that there is little margin of error when we put our environment and public health on a hair-trigger technology. Webster nuke pills pass expiration date Just add six months to the expiration date. That's the message from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, to state and local governments with just-expired stockpiles of pills for people who live near nuclear power plants to take to protect themselves from radiation exposure in the event of an accident. Federal budget woes and last fall's government shutdown have delayed until sometime in April the delivery of new tablets to replace ones stamped with a February 2014 expiration date, a U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission, or NRC, spokesman said Friday. However, the FDA has said that research shows the pills should remain effective for up to six months beyond their manufacturer's original expiration date — as long as they have been stored properly. (February 28, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/01/2014 - Looks like State Senator Tony Avella has thrown a monkey wrench into the pro-fracking politics of New York Avella defection could affect fracking equation in Senate ALBANY—The defection of State Senator Tony Avella to the Independent Democratic Conference could have an outsize impact on the battle over fracking in New York. Avella, of Queens, has long been one of the state's most prominent anti-fracking activists, and he has introduced at least nine separate Senate bills to ban the practice or severely restrict high-volume hydraulic hydrofracturing. With the I.D.C., Avella will now be working with Senate Republicans, who want to see the five-year moratorium lifted and the growth of the fracking industry in New York. Avella's defection could mean the conference has to give on at least one of his anti-fracking bills, insiders say. The I.D.C. put forward its own two-year fracking moratorium bill, but the legislation effectively served to kill off a stronger Assembly fracking moratorium. (February 27, 2014) Capital [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 3/01/2014 - Of course, when they ship all that ‘stuff’ through our railroads, roads, pipelines, and waterways ‘we the people’ will know the all the possible environmental and health consequences if there’s a accident, right? Alberta doctor tells U.S.: Canada is ‘lying’ about tar sands’ health effects American Senators told that oil sands are linked to a huge spike in cancer, despite Canadian government claims A northern Alberta doctor warned U.S. Senators on what he says have been the devastating health impacts of the tar sands on families – effects, he says, that have been willfully “ignored” by the Canadian and Alberta governments. “I appeal to you to keep up the pressure – this is an ongoing tragedy.  A total disgrace,” said Dr. John O’Connor, Wednesday in Washington, D.C. He sighted statistics for rare cancers – of the bile duct for example – that have shot up 400 times for what is considered normal for a tiny community, such as Fort Chipewyan – which is downstream, to the north of the oil sands. (February 26, 2014) Vancouver Observer [more on Energy in our area]

  • 3/01/2014 - Yes, spring is coming.  So, get ready for the big spring cleaning for our Monroe County Parks by signing up and helping to promote PickUpTheParks (PUTP).  "The Day-of Details Document, including all the logistics you'll want to know, is now posted on the Pick Up the Parks webpage! You can also find the updated Publicity Flyer, the Volunteer Registration Form (VRF), and the Volunteer Waiver Form (VWF). The 5th annual Pick Up the Parks Event "

  • 3/01/2014 - Holy Cow! You mean Climate Change is warming both sides of the political isle and this has been hush, hush.  So, that’s got to mean that only a small cabal of rich deniers are in cahoots with the fossil fuel industry to clog up Congress so most of the US cannot address Climate Change.  Hmmm …, What if all of us at election time just went into the voting booths and voted all those deniers out of office, just kind of hush, hush, just being in that voting booth, thinking of our future generations instead of all that money lubricating the denying machine.  Because at the end of the day, Climate Change is a problem of human behavior and we can change that in the voting booth, far from the prying eyes of those willing to tank our future for their short-term gain.  Just saying… New Poll: Red State Voters Support EPA Climate Change Plan Voters in Louisiana, Alaska, Arkansas and North Carolina overwhelmingly support Environmental Protection Agency regulations to limit carbon pollution — even after hearing arguments for and against the regulations — according to a poll released Thursday by Harstad Strategic Research. The poll, commissioned by the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC), asked more than 800 likely voters across nine tough Senate battleground states whether they favor an EPA plan to address climate change. The EPA’s plan is set to be released in June, and would establish first-ever standards limiting the amount of carbon that power plants can emit. The EPA estimates these regulations would slash carbon emissions in the country by 40 percent, according to the NRDC. (February 28, 2014) Think Progress/ Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2014 - Like the extinction of species around the world, Climate Change isn’t so much the cause as the accelerator, making environmental disasters occur much faster. Climate change ‘raises extinction risk’ Climate change doesn’t pose a unique threat of extinction to a species, scientists say. It just makes the risk more likely to become a reality. LONDON, 28 February – Environmental scientists believe they have a blueprint for extinction. They report in Nature Climate Change that they have identified those factors that might make a species more likely to slip away into eternal oblivion as the planet warms and climate conditions change. It turns out that they knew them all along. There is, the researchers conclude, nothing specifically different about climate change as a threat: it could however make extinction much more likely. Richard Pearson of University College London (and formerly of the American Museum of Natural History) and colleagues decided to take a small subset of species at risk, and look closely at the factors that determine species extinction. (February 28, 2014) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/01/2014 - Evidence that convinced me of Climate Change back in the 1980’s was ancient air bubbles trapped in ice core samples.  Of course, a lot more evidence has accrued since then. Studying Earth's distant past can teach us lessons about its climate for the future The Pliocene could provide valuable insight into the type of planet we are creating via global warming. How can air bubbles trapped in ice for millions of years, or fossilised fern fronds, or the chemical make-up of rocks that were underwater in the distant past provide us with an inkling of our future? The answer lies in these clues provided by studying the Pliocene epoch, the span of geological time that stretched from 5.3 to 2.6 million years ago. This period of Earth’s history is interesting for many reasons, but one of the most profound is that the Earth’s atmosphere apparently contained high concentrations of carbon dioxide. Our best estimates suggest concentrations of about 300-400 parts per million (ppm) – much higher than concentrations of 100 years ago, but the same or lower than today after centuries of industrialisation and fossil fuel burning. (January 25, 2014) The Hindu [more on Climate Change in our area]