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, July 24, 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

  • 7/24/2014 - This bike/van tragedy is totally unacceptable! Bikes are transportation. We demand an immediate public education program to continually address this issue.  Everyone should be continually reminded of the rules of the road. The media needs to be pro-active—education on bike/car/pedestrian safety before tragedies like this happen, not simply reporting afterwards. Bicyclist hospitalized in hit-and-run   A Rochester woman was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital after being struck by a van early Wednesday morning, according to Rochester Police. (July 23, 2014) WHAM Rochester

  • 7/24/2014 - When you’re trucking solar and wind power parts through your city, you don’t even have to alert emergency responders.  The nice thing about renewable energy—besides providing our way of life a way to use energy that doesn’t screw up our life support system with pollution and Climate Change, is that it’s pretty benign on public health.  Renewable energy parts don’t explode in the middle of your town. They might just fall off the truck and stop traffic for a little while. New safety proposals for oil trains Rochester, N.Y. - A new federal proposal would phase out thousands of older rail cars that carry crude oil and alert emergency responders when crude oil tankers are traveling through their state. "With these kinds of hazardous materials as volatile as they are, specifically crude oil, responding and initially knowing what we're getting into is certainly going to help us out," said East Rochester Fire Chief Mike Romach. (July 23, 2014) WHAM Rochester [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 7/24/2014 - The #1 country responsible for Climate Change is the #1 country in climate change denial.  What’s wrong with this picture? Most of the manmade greenhouse gases in our atmosphere right now are from the developed nations. CO2, which is the main GHG, stay in the atmosphere for a long time. Sure, China is emitting more right now, but the GHGs that have warmed our atmosphere thus far are ours. So, it’s pretty dismal that our response to this fact is denial.  And, it’s even more dismal because there’s no one around except voters, who tend not to be paying attention to this issue, will vote in the folks who won’t take responsibility for this worldwide crisis—let alone not take a leadership role.  If the US and other developed nation don’t step up to the plate and make substantive agreements at the Paris 2015 climate talks, we are all screwed—developed nations, developing nations, wildlife, plants, and those little creatures that keep our soil health.  Just saying… It’s immoral for the US not to step up to the plate and address Climate Change, but more importantly it is suicide not to do so.  If morality doesn’t compel us to do the right thing, self-preservation should do so. Poll: U.S. Leads The World… In Climate Denial A poll of 20 countries and over 16,000 people has found that the United States leads the world when it comes to climate denial. That result is based on two questions asked by the British survey company Ipsos Mori in its first ever Global Trends Survey. The poll, conducted between September and October last year, analyzed views from around the world on a variety of issues, including science and technology, privacy, the environment, health, and government. The poll found that 52 percent of Americans agreed with the statement “The climate change we are currently seeing is a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.” India was tied with the U.S. in this belief, and China came in a close second, with 51 percent of respondents agreeing. In contrast, only 34 percent of Swedes, 26 percent of South Koreans, and 22 percent of Japanese agreed with the statement. (July 22, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/24/2014 - If you are asking if organic food is better for our life support system, farming that doesn’t screw up our environment is better.  No contest. Connections: Is Organic Food Better? Two new studies offer more details about organic food is, and what it is not. So is it worth spending more money on organic produce? What is the certification process for organic growing? What are the evidence-based health benefits? Why is Wegmans so supportive of organic? We discuss this with our panel: Jane Andrews, Wegmans nutrition and product labeling manager Denis Lepel, Lakestone Family Farm Todd Lighthouse, Lighthouse Gardens Anne Ruflin, Executive Director of the Northeastern Organic Farming Association of New York  (July 23, 2014) WXXI Connections [more on Food in our area]

  • 7/24/2014 - If you don’t plan for Climate Change, low-income folks get screwed, then it goes higher up the money chain—or maybe it all happens at once and everyone gets screwed at once.  One thing is for sure, putting in leaders who don’t believe in Climate Change and aren’t preparing for it is a great injustice to everyone.  “Climate Change is a political term” This is nonsense on stilts. Attack of the Chicago climate change maggots The effects of climate change are creeping into Chicago's low-income neighborhoods. CHICAGO — Sewage gushed up Lori Burns’s toilet. It swept the floor. It wrecked the water heater, the deep freezer, her mother’s wedding veil. This basement invasion was the third in five years. Burns, 40, could no longer afford to pay a cleanup crew. So she slipped on polka dotted rain boots, waded into the muck, wrenched out the stand-pipe and watched the brown water drain. The South Side native, a marketing specialist, estimated damages at $17,000. And that did not include what she could not replace: the family heirlooms, the oriental rugs, her cashmere sweaters. The bungalow had flooded four times from 1985 to 2006, when her parents owned it. Lately, it flooded every other year. Burns felt nature was working against her. In a way, it was. As Washington still fights over whether or not climate change is real, people across the country are already paying costs scientists ascribe to it — sometimes in unexpected places. You might think about climate change in terms of rising sea levels threatening coastal cities. But all over the Midwest, from Chicago to Indianapolis and Milwaukee, residents face just as many difficult issues as changing weather patterns collide with aging infrastructure. The costs — for governments, insurance companies and homeowners — are measured not only in dollars, but in quality of life. July 23, 2014) Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/24/2014 - Another way to deal with algae problems at Ontario Beach is to plan for Climate Change, as warming affects algae growth.  Check out EPA’s three-page doc on this: “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms  We are pretty good at getting rid of the symptoms of environmental problems (like shunting algae away from our beaches) but not so good at addressing the underlying causes, like dealing with the rise in algae growth due to warming waters and more phosphorus (non-point pollution of fertilizers) pollution throughout our Great Lakes and Finger Lakes. Climate Change is about planning.  | Ontario Beach Algae Removal Project Begins Monroe County officials are announcing the start of work on a project to help cut down on the algae problems at Ontario Beach.  The hot humid weather we're having this week makes you want to go to the beach...maybe take a swim..but that's not always possible at some of the local beaches due to problems with algae, which causes bad odors and also occasionally forces the temporary closing of the beaches for swimming. (July 22, 2014) WXXI News [more on Water Quality in our area}

  • 7/23/2014 - What’s missing from this report on Monroe County by ACT Rochester? Our environment.  Hard to get a full picture of reality without including the state of our life support system.  Especially, as Climate Change is changing everything.  ACT used to focus on our environment, but now I guess they see it as an externality. Monroe County Report Card The Monroe County Report Card aggregates data from more than 100 community indicators on the site and use symbols, colors and arrows to provide a quick, at-a-glance overview of the well-being of the county. This data cover the topics of Arts, Culture and Leisure, Children and Youth, Community Engagement, Economy, Education, Financial Self-Sufficiency, Health, Housing, and Public Safety. ACT Rochester

  • 7/23/2014 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is “non-point source pollution.” That’s where you get to pollute but nobody knows who you are.  Many of our waters are tragically polluted and we cannot even find the culprit because if you don’t see an obvious cause (a pipe draining toxins in the lake) it’s hard to pin down who is responsible, or to even find out how to stop the pollution. Lots of folks are spending lots of money trying to figure out non-point sources of pollution and guess what?  It will probably involve grants by your government to find and clean up our waters, or probably just your government.  All of our lakes and streams will have to be cleaned up and my guess is that it won’t be industry clamoring to do that.  It only pays for industry to dump waste into our water, which they don’t have to pay to clean up.  What a racket. Part One: The Rivers that run through it: A basin of toxins (With video) While some think urban sprawl is to blame for the shoddy state of the Windsor-Essex watersheds, Money says the fertilizers and pesticides used on rural farmlands are just as much to blame as the industry pollution within the city. The real problem to tackle is what ERCA dubs “non-point source pollution,” meaning pollution caused by the buildup of a variety of sources rather than a singular one. “We can’t point a finger at one individual company, or one individual problem and say, ‘That’s the problem,’” Money says. “It’s everybody — but all of that collectively makes a problem.” (July 22, 2014) The Winsor Star [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]  

  • 7/23/2014 - Let’s pretend for a moment that New York State lifted the moratorium on Fracking. Would we be as unprepared as Pennsylvania?  A major issue of not addressing the real problem, which is researching what our best energy options are in a time of warming and seizing on the most popular fossil-fuel alternative instead (Fracking), is that our energy options are treated as a clash between two opposing groups—instead of deliberative thoughtful inquiry given Climate Change. If the pro-Fracking groups happen to win in New York State, will there be a mad rush to Frack like there was in Pennsylvania, where they have to back up and address all the fallout? This didn’t have to happen to Pennsylvania and it should be a warning to New York:  Pennsylvania Auditor: State Department of Environmental Protection Was Unprepared For Shale Industry’s Growth The Pennsylvania auditor general on Tuesday confirmed what was never up for debate for environmental groups and residents—the state was unprepared for the growth of the shale gasindustry. “(The audit) shows that the meteoric growth of the shale gas industry caught the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unprepared to effectively administer laws and regulations to protect drinking water and unable to efficiently respond to citizen complaints,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said. (July 22, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]  

  • 7/23/2014 - This is rich, sneaking into the Climate Change deniers’ coven of pathetic lies. By now, 2014, serious people don’t doubt the planet is warming because of human energy use. A few still, after all the evidence has accumulated in the past 30 years, hold on to their crazy ideology  and some of these people have a lot of ability to thwart the efforts for the rest of us to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change.  The very apocalyptic scenarios that the deniers accuse Climate Change proponents of scaremongering with will actually be the result of deniers blocking the effort of the rest of us.  The worst of Climate Change will occur because adequate planning and funding was prevented by deniers. Shouldn’t there be some sort of accountability for those who stop the majoring of us from intelligently planning for this worldwide crisis? I CRASHED A CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL CONFERENCE IN LAS VEGAS I’ve been researching the climate denial industry for almost three years and the best way to gather information about this incredibly small yet influential clique is to hang out with them. I attended their 2012 conference of the Heartland Institute, an oil and tobacco funded free market think tank that spends a lot of time and effort trying to call bullshit on what is clearly not bullshit – the science of climate change. My presence was clearly unwelcome – but I guess they forgot to scrub me from their email invitation list, because I got invited again this year, to their 9th International Conference on Climate Change in the deep heat of the Nevada desert amid the chaos of Las Vegas casinos (July 22, 2014) Vice News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/23/2014 - It’s not a good start for addressing Climate Change if your water and air are bad. But what if your soil is bad too?  Sure, we go into Climate Change with the environment (life support system) we have, but what if that environment has been deeply compromised already, before the really bad stuff comes. Climate Change is about planning and we should make sure the essentials, like the health of our soil, is ready for the stress on food and soil that a warmer planet will bring. China’s Dirty Pollution Secret:  The Boom Poisoned Its Soil and Crops Soil pollution has received relatively little public attention in China. Despite the fact that it poses as big a threat to health as the more widely covered air and water pollution, data on soil pollution has been so closely guarded that it has been officially categorized as a “state secret.”  Until recently, the Chinese government also resisted media efforts to draw attention to local epidemics of cancer in China’s newly industrial areas. It was not until February 2013 that the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) finally admitted that “cancer villages” existed in China, and released a list that included the area around Lake Tai and the villages of Fenshui and Zhoutie. Some civil society experts have estimated that there are 450 cancer villages in China, and they believe the phenomenon is spreading.  (June 30, 2014) Yale: Environment 360

  • 7/22/2014 - What’s missing on this report of the Ganondagan festival is that this event 100% recycles and has done so for years. Creating no waste in the great tradition and values of the Native American peoples is paramount. It would be nice for the media to mention that this event recycles all food and container waste and maybe even hint that total recycling should be one of the goals of all area events.  We have much to learn from Native American’s about our environment and learning that our relationship to Mother Earth includes the concept of no waste. Ganondagan festival 'bigger and better' (July 22, 2014) Victor Post   

  • 7/22/2014 - When major sports start messaging the importance of addressing Climate Change, millions more will get the message. An entire swath of folks who have mostly been unreachable by the worldwide crisis of Climate Change may now find it on their radar. 2014 NHL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT The NHL represents the highest level of hockey in the world. But before many of our players ever took their first stride on NHL ice, they honed their skills on the frozen lakes and ponds of North America and Europe. Our sport can trace its roots to frozen freshwater ponds, to cold climates. Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect opportunities for hockey players of all ages to learn and play the game outdoors. The purpose of the 2014 NHL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT is to address our recent efforts and the challenges we face from an environmental perspective. NHL [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/22/2014 - We had such a nice temperate June in Rochester; it’s hard to believe worldwide it was very hot. Climate Change, it’s not just about us.  For those who think of Climate Change in apocalyptic terms, something like the nuclear scares we had back in the 1960’s, Climate Change will not be like a nuclear apocalyptic disaster.  Climate Change is not the kind of worldwide crisis where the specter of a nuclear holocaust looms and everyone throws up their hands in despair, where one day it’s nice outside and the next everything might be in ashes. Climate Change is instead a relentless ratcheting up of weather anomalies, each that will have to be addressed because it’s not in our nature to throw in the towel each time a drought or a hurricane hits. Climate Change is going to happen just slowly enough so that the uneven rise in temperatures makes it look like there’s hope, when the trajectory proves that there isn’t. Kind of like torture tactics. Climate Change also means planning, where we have the choice of addressing the worst of the consequences so things don’t get so bad.  And Climate Change includes mitigation where we stop GHG’s accumulating even more, so it’s not so bad for our grandchildren. Climate Change is about our choices. World marks hottest June since 1880: NOAA Last month was the hottest June since record-keeping began in 1880, according to a monthly report by US government climate scientists. The combined average temperature over land and ocean surfaces was a “record high for the month at 61.20 Fahrenheit (16.22 Celsius),” said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That meant June was a total of 1.30°F (0.72°C) warmer than the 20th century average for the month, surpassing the last record high temperature for June set in 2010, said NOAA. Taken alone, the ocean’s global surface temperature in June was the highest for any month on record, breaking the past record set in 1998, NOAA added. (July 21, 2014) The Raw Story [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2014 - Take home message: If Paris Climate talks in 2015 fail, there is no Plan B. If this 20+ Climate talk attempt doesn’t work, then we’ll just we swatting every fly hoping we can address and mitigate Climate Change in an ad hoc way and we won’t be able to on a level that will actually matter.  The importance of this last-ditch effort for a world-wide binding agreement to bring down greenhouse gases cannot be overstated. Anything you can do to support the success of this effort is good—like attending the People’s Climate March on September 21st in New York City to demonstrate support for UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon’s who will be  urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.  Don’t sit this one out.  It’s big, really big. 500 days from crucial Paris summit, momentum grows for climate deal  500 days ahead of a crucial UN climate summit in Paris, momentum is growing for a global climate deal. A diplomacy push by the world’s two biggest emitters has seen the US and China working on concrete initiatives to cut carbon emissions, while China has also suggested that it could announce an emissions cap as early as June 2015, maybe even in the first quarter, then meeting the UN deadline for national contributions to the Paris agreement. Many of the major government players gathered in Paris for the two-day Major Economies Forum last weekend, which was immediately followed by the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed her commitment to a tough UN climate change agreement in 2015, promising EU and German leadership. She also used the opportunity to pledge $1 billion to the Green Climate Fundspurring calls for more countries to follow suit. NGOs have urged developed countries to pledge at least $15 billion in climate finance before this year’s COP in Lima, and expectations are high for some of that money to come during the UN Climate Leaders Summit in September. (July 18, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2014 - Concern over late summer droughts as predicted by Climate studies for New York, make this Fracking decision in Calf. pertinent.  If we lift the moratorium on Fracking in New York, will we have to complete with Fracking companies for water when more late summer droughts occur? California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers State’s drought has forced farmers to rely on groundwater, even as California aquifers have been intentionally polluted due to exemptions for oil industry. California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there. The state's Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal "poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources." The orders werefirst reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells. The action comes as California's agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis. (July 18, 2014) ProPublica [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/21/2014 - Unless the plastics we throw away are sorted properly, they’re murder on our life support system. Why Do Plastics Have to Be Separated When Recycled? Not all plastics are created equal. In fact, different plastic polymers have different characteristics and mixing them together would alter those characteristics. So, when recycling plastic, different polymers should be separated. This way, the outcome of each recycling process is a single type of plastic polymer, rather than a mixture of polymers. However, even with a comprehensive numbering key for sorting, obstacles remain for efficient recycling. Seattle PI

  • 7/21/2014 - ‘All of the above’ and ‘all of the below’ energy strategy is NOT right for Climate Change. Think. Obama Administration Opens Eastern Seaboard To Oil Drilling Surveys On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved the use of seismic airguns to explore the seabed from Cape May to Cape Canaveral for oil and gas. These sonic cannons are compressed airguns that get towed behind ships, using dynamite-like blasts to produce sound waves 100,000 times louder than a jet engine underwater every ten seconds. The waves travel through the water and through the ocean floor, bouncing back up at different rates to provide prospective drillers and researchers a better sense of where oil, gas, minerals, and sand lie beneath the waves. It’s not a surprise that this is dangerous: even BOEM estimates that this practice will disrupt, injure, or kill millions of marine animals, including the most endangered whale species on the planet. It is less surprising that this risky tactic would be approved in large part to ferret out another source of fossil fuels, risking another BP disaster and emitting more pollution that causes global warming. It’s more surprising that this gambit is being entertained in an area that may not even have that much oil or gas. (July 18, 2014) Think Climate/Think Progress  

  • 7/19/2014 - Active transportation (walking and bicycling) will be a true transportation option and address Climate Change but it must be safe.  Whatever helps to make active transportation safe is good, education, media exposure about sharing the road, and, oh yeah, apps for that.  Turn signals for bicycles? SU student creates app to advance bike safety SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse University student Jeremy Mingtao Wu has developed a better way to navigate a bicycle. Wu, 23, is a graduate mechanical engineering student at the L.C. Smith College of Engineering.  In China he received his undergraduate degree in automotive technology, specializing in automotive safety.  As he considered the history of automotive safety devices, from seat belts to air bags to impact-absorbing bumpers, the contrast with advances in bicycle safety was stark. "In the last 100 years, the bicycle helmet has been pretty much the only device to make riders safer," said Wu. (July 17, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/19/2014 - Even if you don’t care about this ugly little bat, you might want to save it so we don’t have to fill our environment with pesticides to compensate its loss. The Northern Long-Eared Bat is one of those little creatures whose existence in and of itself may not mean much to you, but you might care about some of the ‘environmental services’ it provides because we may have to make up for that by dumping tons of Pesticides into our environment (our life support system) as Climate Change brings in more bug pests.  So, if that seems like it might be something important to you, you have until August 29, 2014 to comment here or by mail.  Service Reopens Comment Period on Proposal to List the Northern Long-eared Bat as an Endangered Species The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the comment period for 60 days, through August 29, 2014, on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service has also extended the agency’s deadline to April 2, 2015, to make its final decision on whether to list the species. The Service proposed to list the bat as endangered on October 2, 2013, citing white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of bats, as the greatest threat to the species. During the reopened comment period, the Service seeks information regarding the interpretation of scientific studies cited in the proposed rule, along with any additional scientific information not already considered in the proposal.  (June 30, 2014) US Fish and Wildlife Service [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/19/2014 - If you care about the Great Lakes, our fresh water, and how they will adapt to Climate Change this watch 9-min. video. Andrew Gronewald | Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region Conference

  • 7/19/2014 - Pope Francis’s strategy to make Environmental Degradation is the moral issue of our time is right. But will it work? If we as a species were mostly driven by morality, wouldn’t we have long ago been compelled to stop Climate Change, or racism and genocide for that matter? With Climate Change coming to a point where it is unstoppable, it is absolutely clear that it is immoral to put future generations in great peril—but that knowledge has not slowed down greenhouse gases at all. I hope Pope Francis’s efforts to compel all of us to take responsibility for our life support system will work, but appealing to man’s humanity up to this point in time hasn’t bode well.  Mostly, what compels us to do anything is self-interest, or fear, or gathering up more stuff.  To solve Climate Change we’ll have to be the people Pope Francis thinks we can be—and that will be quite a transformation. The Pope and the Sin of Environmental Degradation Pope Francis has called environmental exploitation the sin of our time. He is working on an encyclical about humanity’s relationship with nature. Christiana Peppard, Assistant Professor of Theology, Science and Ethics at Fordham University and author of the book Just Water, discusses the Pope’s call to “care for God’s creation” with host Steve Curwood. (July 18, 2014) Living On Earth  

  • 7/19/2014 - As we move towards the historic Paris 2015 Climate talks, how are US efforts to become climate leader stacking up? Looks like we have a lot to do to not only lead, but contribute to a realistic world-wide binding agreement to address and mitigate Climate Change. U.S. Ranks Near Bottom on Energy Efficiency; Germany Tops List Overall dismal report shows the U.S. outperformed only three of the world's largest economies on energy efficiency—Russia, Brazil and Mexico. Germany leads the world in harnessing the benefits of energy efficiency, followed by Italy, the European Union, China and France, according to a new ranking of the world's 16 largest economies. The United States was near the bottom, placing 13th. (July 18, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 7/19/2014 - If we don’t get major polluters to make major commitments to carbon reduction for Climate Talks by Paris 2015, there’s no Plan B. Australia’s carbon reversal sets new tone for global climate talks Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s move to repeal his country’s carbon tax provides an international boost for the Harper government, which has regularly attacked opponents who propose putting a price on emissions in Canada. Australia’s reversal on carbon pricing comes at a critical time, just two months prior to a United Nations climate summit to be hosted by secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who is looking for countries to commit to post-2020 emission reductions and new policies to achieve those targets. (July 17, 2014) The Globe and Mail [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/18/2014 - EPA regional expert says time to address Climate Change in our region was “YESTERDAY” Listen and watch: Climage change with EPA's Judith Enck: New York NOW The Environmental Protection Agency recently released plans it argues will lower the nation's collective carbon footprint through the Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The plan aims to cap the C02 emission from coal-fired power plants, identified as the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. EPA Region 2 (including New York and New Jersey) Administrator, Judith Enck sits down with the Innovation Trail's Jenna Flanagan to discuss the Greenhouse Gas Initiative, acid rain in the Adirondacks and the beginning stages of the clean-up of the Hudson River.  (July 16, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/18/2014 - If this story from NOAA on Climate Change isn’t top priority (headlines) then it’s time to switch media. Even at this late date, where most know about Climate Change and what it means, our media is burying reports that all the indicators of Climate Change are getting worse—from the US agency whose responsibility it is to inform the public of this critical information.  How can we possibly exist on a planet where our information systems our media, don’t give us the information we need to know? Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet Increases in temperature, sea level and CO2 observed; Southern Hemisphere warmth and Super Typhoon Haiyan among year’s most notable events In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc.—continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed in the State of the Climate in 2013 report, released online today by the American Meteorological Society. Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., served as the lead editors of the report, which was compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world (highlightsvisualsfull report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea, and ice. (July 17, 2014) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/18/2014 - Hard to get the kids to eat their dinner after they’ve eaten candy all day. Hard to go renewable when it’s so Fracking easy to do otherwise.  Going to be really hard to address and mitigate Climate Change if we don’t recognize that clean energy must replace fossil fuel burning energy really quickly. One of offshore wind power's best hopes is fading on Lake Erie Offshore wind farms power more than six million homes in Europe. How many homes in America? Zero. That's despite the fact that, according to the Department of Energy, the US has offshore wind capacity that's four times larger than all of the electric power plants in the country combined. Yet wind energy projects in many states are being delayed or even cancelled. In recent years, an offshore project was abandoned in New York; Pennsylvania has focused on natural gas as an energy source; and in Michigan the legislature introduced a bill to prohibit issuing permits for offshore wind turbines. For years, efforts to install wind turbines off Cape Cod in the Atlantic have also faced strong opposition. But as recently as this spring, plans for a proposed wind farm near Cleveland on Lake Erie looked promising. (July 16, 2014) PRI

  • 7/18/2014 - Dear Mr. Abbott, the Carbon Tax is not a “useless, destructive tax”, nor is it a penalty for polluters. It is payment for environmental goods and services rendered. Australia’s role back of the Carbon Tax proves that those who preach the power of the market place mean that the market place only works when it doesn’t have to include the externalities, the costs of taking our natural resources. If anything good can come from abolishing the Carbon Tax in Australia, it must be the lesson that when the public finally gets a Carbon Tax installed, they’ve got to make it stick—voting for science election year after election year. The threat by those who will always take advantage of the inconvenient changes that will come from transitioning to a system where the environment doesn’t cost, to where it does will always loom. Climate Change and environmental degradation are the price we have paid for an economic system that has for centuries been piling up a debt it refuses to pay. Environmentalists Denounce Repeal of Australia’s Carbon Tax SYDNEY, Australia — Opposition politicians and environmentalists in Australia reacted with dismay Thursday to the country’s repeal of laws requiring large companies to pay for carbon emissions, saying that it made Australia the first country to reverse progress on fighting climate change. The Senate voted 39 to 32 on Thursday to repeal the so-called carbon tax after Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative government secured the support of a number of independent senators. The House of Representatives had voted earlier in the week to repeal the unpopular measure, which has been a highly contentious issue in Australian politics for seven years. The tax was devised to penalize hundreds of Australia’s biggest producers of carbon emissions, setting a price of 23 Australian dollars, or $21.50, per metric ton of carbon dioxide when it was put into effect in 2012 under then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labor Party, which is now in the opposition. The price rose to 25 Australian dollars this month. (July 17, 2014) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/17/2014 - Our focus shouldn’t be on what particular issue trumps environmental degradation, until ‘all of the above’ are addressed. It’s going to be hard to prioritize environmental issues in a time of Climate Change because all our environmental issues are coming to a head in Climate Change. We are going to have to solve invasive species, pollution, warming, loss of biodiversity, over population and a lot more if we are to have a sustainable environment.  It’s what happens when you only address the symptoms of environmental degradation instead of the causes.  Putting off environmental issues doesn’t make them go away, they accumulate. Zebra, quagga mussels trump pollution as change agents in lake erie Over the last half century, Lake Erie has been known for its level of pollution and its population of invasive species. Of the two, the invasive species seems to have had the greater effect on the lake's zoobenthic community. That community—creatures living on, near, or below the bottom of the lake—is "fundamentally changed from its past," according to a paper published online in the current journal of the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Lyubov Burlakova, who works with the Great Lakes Center at SUNY Buffalo State, is the first author. The coauthors are Alexander Y. Karatayev, director of the center; Christopher Pennuto, a research associate with the center and biology professor at Buffalo State; and Christine Mayer, associate professor of ecology at the University of Toledo. "The story of Lake Erie shows how profoundly human activity can affect an ecosystem," said Burlakova. She traces that activity as far back as the early 1800s, when people cut down forests and built sawmills and dams. In 1918, the first report documenting the deterioration of water quality was published by the International Joint Commission. (July 16, 2014) Phys.org [more on Zebra Mussels in our area]

  • 7/17/2014 - I’ve been thinking about Soil Health and Climate Change. If Climate Change adversely affects our breathable air, potable water, leaves, and healthy soil, our life support system (we often refer as our environment) will fail.  For those (especially politicians who are our deciders) who think we must strike a balance between our environmental and economic health, they have gotten their priorities seriously out of whack. You cannot drive a fancy new car if you’re dead. Cornell Soil Health "Soil Health is the capacity of the soil to function to sustain life. A healthy soil can be used productively without adversely affecting its future productivity, the ecosystem or the environment. Soil health emphasizes the integration of biological with chemical and physical measures of soil quality (used synonymously with “soil health”) that affect farmers' profits, risks, and the environment. Soil health deals with both inherent and dynamic soil quality. Inherent soil quality relates to the natural (genetic) characteristics of the soil, such as its texture. These qualities are the result of soil-forming factors, are generally represented in soil surveys, and cannot be changed easily. In contrast, dynamic soil quality components -- such as compaction, biological functioning, root proliferation, etc. -- are readily affected by management practices. The dynamic component is of most interest to growers because good management allows the soil to come to its full potential. " Cornell University

  • 7/17/2014 - I know US Politics has made us stupid, but if you don’t get the President’s message on infrastructure and Climate Change we’re screwed. Not do we only have an aging infrastructure for (water, wastewater, sewage, telecommunications, and transportation) that all need serious repair, which will be expensive, we need those infrastructures’ to be ready for the extremes of Climate Change—something every freaking climate study says must happen.  Only your government, with you behind it 100%, can deliver on the kind of very expense, long-term commitment this will take. This has absolutely nothing to do with politics; it has to do with proper preparation for our disturbed climate. Preparing Communities for the Impacts of Climate Change | We've been talking a lot recently about the need to rebuild and strengthen our nation's infrastructure. As the President has made clear, a world-class infrastructure system is a vital part of a top-performing economy. But there's another important reason why we need to rebuild our infrastructure: climate change. Communities across America need more resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change -- like more extreme weather and increased flooding. That's part of the reason why the President established the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience last November. The Task Force, made up of 26 governors, mayors, and county and tribal officials from across the country, advises the President on how the federal government can best help American communities dealing with the effects of climate change. Today, the Task Force came to the White House for their fourth and final meeting, and will give the President final recommendations this fall. (July 16, 2014) White House [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/17/2014 - As we make our way to the Paris 2015 Climate Change talks, we find our way littered with a Plastics Pollution crisis too. And there are no lingering questions from anyone that this crisis is manmade or not. Spiders don’t spill water bottles. Plastic Planet "Over the past century, plastic has revolutionized the way we live. So far, we've produced about 6 billion tons of plastic - and most of it has ended up in the trash. On today's edition of Living Planet, we're following its trail, around the world and even through time. " Living Planet  | Deutsche Welle (DW)

  • 7/17/2014 - Just because one of the Climate Change scenarios is a Jellyfish Ocean, should we freak out whenever we see signs? Maybe. As jellyfish come in waves off Maine coast, questions follow The early summer invasion appears to be heavier than normal this year, surprising some and distressing others. For weeks, Maine’s marine research centers have been flooded with questions about a seeming jellyfish invasion in local waters, primarily Casco Bay. They’ve ranged from the urgent – should I let my kids go in the water, or are they going to get stung? – to expressions of longer-term fears, namely, is this the result of global warming? Ocean acidification in the warming Gulf of Maine? Proof of a hypothesis that we’re headed for an ocean ecosystem clogged by jellies, creatures that cause many beachgoers to shudder in revulsion? Researchers across the board say they just don’t know what the cause is. It could be climate change, including warmer waters. It could be a depletion of oxygen in coastal waters because of runoff from the land, or some response to overfishing. (July 16, 2014) Portland Press Herald

  • 7/16/2014 - Since when did it become the job of our government to balance safety issues against economics and politics? I thought our government was to protect us and our environment (life support system) so we could flourish—period. Balancing acts are for seals, and even then that’s not so good. We really need to question this underlying assumption that our government is the balancing agency that makes sure everyone one and every corporation gets a shot at all our ‘environmental services’. This is madness because our life support system in the 4.5 billion years it has been operating has never had to balance itself with our economic and political needs.  Mother Nature really doesn’t make bargains nor does she tend towards balancing acts. Over protests, Schuyler lawmakers maintain support for gas storage facility WATKINS GLEN — Frustrated and angered by a failed attempt to turn back the Schuyler County Legislature’s support of the proposed gas storage facility, opponents of the project chanted “Shame on you!” and “Fagan’s gotta go!” as lawmakers left Monday night’s meeting. Ninety minutes earlier, the mood was different as between 300 and 400 people gathered on the shore of the “the grand old lady of the Finger Lakes” to use Seneca Lake as the rallying point against the proposed Crestwood Midstream Partners project to store liquid petroleum gas in depleted salt caverns in the town of Reading, north of Watkins Glen. (July 15, 2014) The Ithaca Journal [more on Energy in our area]  

  • 7/16/2014 - Dear EPA, Climate Change is not only going to affect Syracuse, NY but Rochester. Please come here. I suppose Rochesterians could race over to Syracuse today  to hear EPA on Climate Change in our area, but why not come here too? We’re mostly in sleepy Climate Change denial here in Rochester. Maybe a visit by the EPA could wake us up. Top regional EPA official will talk climate change, carbon emissions in Syracuse Update: The location of this talk has been changed from the Center of Excellence to the Syracuse City Hall Commons atrium, 233 E. Washington St., Syracuse. Syracuse, N.Y. -- A top regional EPA official will speak in Syracuse Wednesday on howclimate change will affect New York. Judith Enck, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency region that includes New York, will also talk about the Obama administration's new rules about reducing carbon emissions from power plants. Enck will speak during the roundtable discussion on environmental and energy systems at the Syracuse City Hall Commons atrium, 233 E. Washington St., Syracuse. The roundtable runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. (July 15, 2014) Syracuse.com

  • 7/16/2014 - One predicted temperature increase from Climate Change for Rochester NY is between 3°C and 5°C (5.4°F and 9.0°F). I don’t know what the time scale is for these figures, but 3°C is 1°C above what the world is seeking to attain by the Paris Climate Conference in 2015. 3°C would be very hot and a dramatic change in our region’s environment.  5°C is moving into the territory where it’s intolerable and not in a good way. When you’re moving into the 5°C region, you don’t have to worry about your legacy, what your grandchildren will think of your life efforts, because living itself for anyone might be very problematic. This info comes from Climate-Charts.com “The largest accessible collection of climate data on the web.  Climate data and sunrise/sunset displayed in charts and tables for 149 countries and regions, more than 12,000 specific locations.”

  • 7/16/2014 - “Life of a Leaf” is critical reading if you’re thinking our life support system is worth sustaining.  My favorite sentence in The Life of a Leaf is this: “Leaves are really, really important.” Steven Vogel’s book is one of those books that should be required reading for all sentient beings on this planet. We see trees and leaves everywhere, but we don’t usually see what we need to see:  “For our earth the sun provides the source, and the sink is outer space or, in immediate terms, the cold sky. What’s the coupling system? One system exceeds in importance by some factor all others put together. It’s photosynthesis, as done by green plants, algae, and some kinds of bacteria. Without photosynthesis (or some substitute), nothing like the present kind of complex, highly ordered life could exist.”  You cannot really plan for a sustainable future if you don’t understand one of the basic features of our life support system and this book does so in a friendly, wise, and even sometimes humorous way. So yeah, this book is really, really important. 

  • 7/16/2014 - So now emergency responders can respond properly to potential disasters because the folks who transport fossil fuel industry’s ‘stuff’ had to disclose its whereabouts.  How about the Fracking business disclosing their secret goop they want to inject under our ground near our water? I cannot imagine why the public is so distrustful of such a secretive and potentially dangerous business that is not so secretively (anymore) warming up our planet. CSX: 20-35 oil trains per week cross upstate NY  CSX Transportation says it hauls an average of 20 to 35 trains a week loaded with crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken region across 17 upstate New York counties en route to coastal refineries. Canadian Pacific says it hauls an average of five to nine crude oil trains a week through five counties from the Canadian border to Schoharie County. The information was released to The Associated Press Tuesday by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services in response to a Freedom of Information Law request. (July 16, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Brownfields in our area] 

  • 7/15/2014 - Breaking! New use for wildlife discovered: Bomb detection robots. If birds don’t drop dead from our manmade toxins, we’re safe!  Sorry, for the ironic humor.  But this way of using wildlife, because we are incapable of trying to understand why they exist independent of our existence and provide us with ‘environmental services’ is pathetic. We shouldn’t be using our environment for our industrial toilets in the first place and we should monitor our environment for manmade toxins ourselves, instead of blood-testing wildlife because we’re too lazy to discover the obvious—we’ve polluted the place. Scientists use birds to track pollution Research project measures contaminants in Great Lakes swallows that likely affect humans, too Birds are providing some insight into contamination in the Great Lakes. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey are observing the nesting patterns of tree swallows along the banks of the lakes and are collecting blood from their babies to monitor levels of some toxins including mercury, chromium and cadmium. If these metals and chemicals are in birds, they likely are in humans as well, researchers say. The program started in 2010 with 20 testing sites as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which aims to clean up the lakes and surrounding areas. (July 13, 2014) Columbus Dispatch [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/15/2014 - Solution for Government Officials who think they must show that safety benefits outweigh the economic costs of rules. SAFETY ONLY! Who decided that we “must show that safety benefits outweigh the economic costs of rules”? Who came up that that? Why would we assume that corporations transporting dirty fossil fuels that are warming up the planet and putting communities safety at risk be ‘weighed’ at all? Isn’t the job of our government officials to protect ‘we the people’ and force corporations to figure out how they do their businesses without compromising our health, safety, and our environment? At what point in time did we decide that the interests of the people and corporations be weighed evenly or at all? Isn’t it the job of government to provide an environment where we can flourish and protect us against those who would have it otherwise? Industries push for relief from oil-train rules A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules. Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical industries have met 13 times since March with officials at the White House and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Their universal message: Don’t make us pay for increased safety because that’s another industry’s problem. The pitches illustrate why government officials, who must show that safety benefits outweigh the economic costs of rules, often struggle for years, only to produce watered-down regulations. The Association of American Railroads, for example, is pushing for tougher safety standards for tank cars than the current, voluntary standards agreed to by industry in 2011. Railroads, though, typically don’t own or lease tank cars and so wouldn’t have to buy new cars or retrofit existing ones. The oil and ethanol industries that own the cars want to stick with the voluntary standards, also known as “1232” tank cars. (July 14, 2014) Penfield Post [more on Brownfields in our area] 

  • 7/15/2014 - If it’s true that New York ranks among the most expensive states for energy bills, then it’s the wrong metric. If the only way you measure energy cost is by using energy bills then you don’t see a lot of things. You don’t see fossil fuels warming up the planet. You don’t see that using more renewable energy (wind and solar) for more of our electricity will increasingly lower your bills and do less harm to our environment. You don’t see that there are other ways to get around Rochester besides driving gas guzzlers, like active transportation (walking and bicycling), or moving out of the suburbs and near places you need to go. You don’t see that there are many grants around to lower your energy cost and improve energy efficiency. You don’t see energy conservation as a real option. All you see from using energy bills for your metric is that business as usual is very expensive—even if you don’t care about addressing climate change.  If all you use for your use of energy is your energy bills, you will never consider alternatives to fossil fuel burning energy sources and continue railing against anything else. Only using energy bills as a measure how we use energy on this planet is going to make us unfit to live on it. Report: N.Y. ranks 38th in energy efficiency New York ranks among the most expensive states for energy bills, a new report from WalletHub shows. WalletHub—a social website launched by Evolution Finance that offers financial tools and information for consumers and small-business owners—ranked New York 38th among the 50 states and District of Columbia based on energy efficiency. The report, 2014’s Most & Least Energy-Expensive States, looked at six key metrics, including electricity cost, consumption, natural gas prices and fuel prices. New Yorkers average $365 a month in energy costs, including electricity costs of $126 and natural gas costs of $80. Drivers pay some $160 a month for gasoline, on average. (July 14, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/15/2014 - Oh Great, just when we need politicians to lead us on Climate Change we find out that politics makes us stupid. We’d better smarten up quickly.    The Most Depressing Discovery About the Brain, Ever Say goodnight to the dream that education, journalism, scientific evidence, or reason can provide the tools that people need in order to make good decisions. Yale law school professor Dan Kahan’s new research  paper is called “Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government,” but for me a better title is the headline on science writer Chris Mooney’s  piece about it in Grist:  “Science Confirms: Politics Wrecks Your Ability to Do Math.”  Kahan conducted some ingenious experiments about the impact of political passion on people’s ability to think clearly.  His conclusion, in Mooney’s words: partisanship “can even undermine our very basic reasoning skills…. [People] who are otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that they would otherwise probably be able to solve, simply because giving the right answer goes against their political beliefs.” (September 16, 2013) AlterNet 

  • 7/15/2014 - Warning! These NOAA photos of human-caused climate change could cause climate change deniers to doubt their faith. It is amazing that the more scientists go out and examine the hypothesis that the more greenhouse gases you put into the atmosphere the more things react to our climate in the way you think they would if Climate Change were true—and yet climate change deniers hold on to their crazy faith, thwarting the rest of us to get moving. In evolution for example, if a scientist dug down and found automobiles next to dinosaur bones, evolutionary theory would have a problem.  They never do. Climate Change is showing up all over and it’s showing up now.  If I were a leader making plans for my country, I’d prioritize addressing and mitigating Climate Change. Climate model shows Australia’s rainfall decline due to human-caused climate change New climate model will help improve regional climate predictions in U.S. NOAA scientists have developed a new high-resolution climate model that shows southwestern Australia’s long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall is caused by increases in manmade greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion, according to research published today in Nature Geoscience. “This new high-resolution climate model is able to simulate regional-scale precipitation with considerably improved accuracy compared to previous generation models,” said Tom Delworth, a research scientist at NOAA’s  Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J.,  who helped develop the new model and is co-author of the paper. “This model is a major step forward in our effort to improve the prediction of regional climate change, particularly involving water resources.” (July 13, 2014) The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA  [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/14/2014 - And a pre-Columbian (before Columbus) NYS landscape is probably the best baseline from which to adapt to Climate Change.  You go into Climate Change with the environment you have. But if your present environment is filled with invasive species, pollution, loss of biodiversity, loss of wetlands (over half in NYS and USA), and a major transformation from the landscape that existed for 10,000 years, then Climate Change is going to be far more dicey than it needs to be.  Wouldn’t it make sense to get our environment as healthy (return our landscape to pre-Columbian days) as possible so our local environment has the abundancy and resiliency it used to have for adapting to extreme weather?  Seneca Nation commits to native-only landscaping CATTARAUGUS RESERVATION – The Seneca Indian Nation is strengthening its roots to the land with a new commitment to use only indigenous plants and trees in public landscaping. The western New York tribe is believed to be the first to formalize a practice that tribes throughout the country are embracing as a way to preserve Native American culture and the environment. From now on, instead of Austrian pines, Japanese maples and other foreign species, there will be native balsam firs, sugar maples and white ash trees outside Seneca schools, office buildings and casinos. Wild bee balm, cinnamon fern and butterfly weed that grew in abundance on their own will take the place of the Dutch bulbs and other non-native flowers and shrubbery that have become typical in commercial landscaping. (July 13, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Plants in our area]    

  • 7/14/2014 - “This is the agency’s [EPA] second action aimed at reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases, under President Obama's Climate Action Plan.” EPA Proposes to Replace and Reduce Harmful Greenhouse Gases WASHINGTON – Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to prohibit the use of certain chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change where safer, more climate-friendly alternatives exist. This is the agency’s second action aimed at reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases, under President Obama's Climate Action Plan.  This action is estimated to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 42 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of more than five million homes.  “President Obama called on us to take action against potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Today, we are issuing a new proposal that builds on the innovative work businesses across the country have already made to reduce and replace some of the most harmful chemicals with safer, more climate-friendly alternatives that are available and on the market today,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This action will not only result in significant reductions of harmful greenhouse gases, but it will also encourage businesses to continue bringing safer alternatives to market.”   (July 10, 2014) EPA News Releases from Headquarters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2014 - This kinda says it all, folks "The issue is to convince the world that the future is as important as the present. Paris 2015 may well be our last hope." Efficiency, renewables, biofuels key to stopping climate change The positive message from a scientific report for the UN Climate Summit is that the tough task of cutting greenhosue gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees is definitely achievable by following a set of bold, practical steps. SCIENTISTS OFTEN HESITATE to give a cut-and-dried, yes-or-no answer when asked how serious climate change is going to be, and whether the world can still escape significant damage. Surprisingly, perhaps, a report prepared for a United Nations conference in September is unequivocal. Yes, it says − the worst is not inevitable. The good news is that the world can keep climate change within what are thought to be acceptable limits. The less good news is that while it is possible, it certainly won't be easy. The report shows how the countries that emit the most greenhouse gases (GHGs) can cut their carbon emissions by mid-century to prevent dangerous climate change. Prepared by independent researchers in 15 countries, it is the first global co-operation to identify practical pathways to a low-carbon economy by 2050. The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project (DDPP) report is an interim version prepared for the UN Climate Summit to be held in New York on 23 September. The full DDPP report will be ready in 2015. (July 14, 2014 ABC.net [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2014 - Why hasn’t the Fracking experiment gone wrong in Pennsylvania enough to convince New York not to Frack?  Does Cuomo really need to study the Fracking matter anymore, when it’s obvious that what has gone wrong in Pennsylvania could happen here in New York if we don’t ban Fracking completely? Methane May Leak From 40% of Gas Wells in Parts of Pennsylvania Study published in PNAS is based on inspection records of 41,000 wells drilled between 2000 and 2012. People who live among the fracking fields of Pennsylvania should expect considerable leaking of methane from natural gas wells into the groundwater and atmosphere, according tonew research by a professor who has been a consistent critic of the boom in hydraulic fracturing. A research team led by Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University reached this conclusion after examining state inspection records of more than 41,000 wells drilled from 2000 through 2012 throughout  Pennsylvania. Because of flaws detected by inspectors in the concrete or casing of the wells, up to 40 percent of the oil and gas wells in some parts of the state may end up leaking methane, they reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (July 10, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/14/2014 - Downscaling,” modeling how Climate Change impacts local areas, seems crucial information for localities trying to adapt. Climate Change Gets Up Close and Personal If you’ve ever wondered how much little things really matter, consider the mountain pine beetle. Roughly the size of a grain of rice, the glossy black insect lives only about a year, but a female beetle can travel as far as 30 miles to find a pine tree, where its larvae can hatch and eat the inside of the bark. A throng of beetles can ravage a pine as tall as an eight-story building, as the tree first oozes sap, then its needles turn rusty red. In the past decade, in the pine forests that bristle across the U.S. West and Southwest, from Alaska to southern California, millions of acres of pines have died in one of the worst pine beetle epidemics anyone has ever seen. (July 7, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2014 - Disturbing article about a drowning city trying to sustain itself but whose leaders are climate change deniers.  This story highlights the tragedy when people in powerful positions refuse to believe in the very circumstances they need to address to lead their constituents. Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away Low-lying south Florida, at the front line of climate change in the US, will be swallowed as sea levels rise. Astonishingly, the population is growing, house prices are rising and building goes on. The problem is the city is run by climate change deniers A drive through the sticky Florida heat into Alton Road in Miami Beach can be an unexpectedly awkward business. Most of the boulevard, which runs north through the heart of the resort's most opulent palm-fringed real estate, has been reduced to a single lane that is hemmed in by bollards, road-closed signs, diggers, trucks, workmen, stacks of giant concrete cylinders and mounds of grey, foul-smelling earth. It is an unedifying experience but an illuminating one – for this once glamorous thoroughfare, a few blocks from Miami Beach's art deco waterfront and its white beaches, has taken on an unexpected role. It now lies on the front line of America's battle against climate change and the rise in sea levels that it has triggered. "Climate change is no longer viewed as a future threat round here," says atmosphere expert Professor Ben Kirtman, of the University of Miami. "It is something that we are having to deal with today." (July 11, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Freight railroads were restricting public information about their crude oil shipments and not giving it to local emergency planners, really? Isn’t that a little like calling 911 and refusing to tell the fire department where your house is? The fossil fuel industry, ya got laugh. New York won't further cloak oil train details New York's homeland security agency is refusing requests from freight railroads to further restrict public information about their crude oil shipments, concluding it's not sensitive security information and will be given to local emergency planners. Federal officials reached a similar conclusion in June, ordering railroads to give state officials details about oil-train routes and volumes so emergency responders can better prepare. Railroads sought to keep the information secret following a string of fiery accidents. A derailment and explosion in Quebec last July killed 47 people. (July 11, 2014) WHEC Rochester   

  • 7/12/2014 - But potentially destroying the greatest freshwater system in the world is just the cost of doing business, right? We don’t have any choice.  We gotta have more fossil fuels and the only thing that matters is how cheaply we can get it, right? We’re just helpless pawns and our only reason for existing is to burn more energy and buy more stuff and trust in the fossil fuel industry to keep our life support system intact while they make more money.  Hey, how about those games last night?   U-M computer model shows Straits pipeline break would devastate Great Lakes A rupture of 61-year-old, underwater oil pipelines running through the Straits of Mackinac would be “the worst possible place” for a spill on the Great Lakes, with catastrophic results, according to a University of Michigan researcher studying potential impacts of a spill. David Schwab, a research scientist at the U-M Water Center, retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he studied Great Lakes water flows and dynamics for more than 30 years. He’s the author of a new study done in collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation looking at different scenarios for potential oil spills in the Straits from Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge’s Line 5. “I can’t think — in my experience — of another place on the Great Lakes where an oil spill would have as wide an area of impact, in as short of time, as at the Straits of Mackinac,” Schwab said. (July 10, 2014) Detroit Free Press [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Not to mention bike lanes (which are growing all over Rochester) are a really inexpensive way to address Climate Change. Imagine getting around without warming the planet. Maybe we could call it “moral moving”. Study: bike lanes save money and lives Researchers find that bike infrastructure can return $24 for every dollar spent by city governments As the number of bike riders seems to increase dramatically in cities across the country, there’s been a backlash from people who say bikes are dangerous, and that the added infrastructure that comes with them — namely bike lanes — is an unnecessary burden in a time of large budget shortfalls. But a new study — the first that analyzes several different models of how bike infrastructure affects cities — concludes that policies and projects supportive of bike lanes are worth every penny, and then some. The study, published by several researchers at universities in New Zealand in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, argues that for every dollar spent on bike-related infrastructure, cities can receive anywhere from $6 to $24 in cost savings in the form of reductions to pollution and traffic congestion, as well as lowered health care costs from decreased traffic fatalities and increased exercise. (July 11, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Neighbors matter: Pennsylvania is “The nation's third-largest carbon dioxide-emitting state.” Aren’t they near New York State?  If so, shouldn’t we care about their carbon dioxide-emitting status?  Or, does warming and pollution stop at the border? Coal-reliant Pa. faces election showdown over EPA, natural gas and carbon trading The nation's third-largest carbon dioxide-emitting state is in the middle of a fierce election fight that could determine whether it stays on its current path of challenging U.S. EPA climate rules, or instead slows fossil fuel development and enters a regional carbon trading program. In coal-reliant Pennsylvania, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett -- who has overseen the state's natural gas boom and called the EPA proposed carbon rule on existing power plants a "cap-and-trade tax" -- is facing a formidable challenge from Democrat Tom Wolf, a businessman with a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wolf is pledging to expand the state's alternative energy portfolio standard and implement new measures to cut greenhouse gases. The race is considered a tossup by independent political analysts like the Cook Political Report, although some polls give Wolf a double-digit lead. (July 11, 2014) E&E Publishing, LLC [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - I know this is very radical, but I think only stuff that belongs in the Great Lakes is stuff that should belong in the Great Lakes.  We should have never used the largest freshwater system in the world for our toilet. Banned chemical a concern in great lakes A chemical that’s been banned in Minnesota and is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. has a group in Ontario concerned about its potential effects on the great lakes. It would be hard to find someone who doesn’t use the chemical in one way or another. And by most, it’s used quite frequently on a daily basis.  But the Canadian Environmental Law Association is now warning people about triclosan.  It’s done a study which has found that it’s toxic to our waterways and is impacting our great lakes ecosystem. The chemical is found in numerous consumer products ranging from hand sanitizer to soap, deodorant, even toothpaste.  And because its use is quite temporary, usually to wash hands, the chemical ends up going straight down the drain and ends up in the waterways.   The environmental law association says there is evidence that triclosan is building up in the great lakes and affecting the aquatic-life’s ability to survive.  It’s pushing for Canada to ban this antibacterial chemical, as well as all states that border the great lakes, saying that people’s health is at risk. (July 10, 2014) ChChing [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - What is the TTIP and why should you care about this deal that could harm our environment even though mainstream media avoids it? “One concern of greens is that loosening regulations could increase oil and gas exports from America, increasing European reliance on polluting fossil fuels” Green groups protest transatlantic trade deal Green activists are protesting a transatlantic trade deal they say could harm the environment  Protest is ramping up against a transatlantic trade treaty critics say could weaken environmental protection. The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership is intended to boost commerce between Europe and the US, by cutting tariffs and aligning regulations. Green groups on both sides of the ocean have expressed fears this could mean watering down environmental safeguards and increasing fossil fuel consumption. A national day of action is planned for Saturday 12 July in the UK to highlight concerns with the TTIP ahead of further negotiations in Brussels next week. This will include a protest outside the business department building in London. The UK Green Party, which supports the protests, said the TTIP was a “corporate power grab” that “must be stopped”. (July 11, 2014) Responding to Climate Change RTCC [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Do food labels mean anything or are they merely vehicles for corporate messaging? Be nice to have labels that reflect reality. Clear differences between organic and non-organic food, study finds Research is first to find wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals Organic food has more of the antioxidant compounds linked to better health than regular food, and lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides, according to the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date. The international team behind the work suggests that switching to organic fruit and vegetables could give the same benefits as adding one or two portions of the recommended "five a day". The team, led by Prof Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, concludes that there are "statistically significant, meaningful" differences, with a range of antioxidants being "substantially higher" – between 19% and 69% – in organic food. It is the first study to demonstrate clear and wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals. (July 11, 2014) The Guardian [more on Food in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Maybe for nuclear, 44 is the new teenager: “…44-year-old Ginna, one of the oldest commercial nuclear plants in the country.” Ginna owner seeks deal to keep nuclear plant open The owner of the Ginna nuclear power plant, hoping to stave off closure of the facility, has asked New York regulators to help secure a deal with RG&E to sustain Ginna's operations. Exelon Corp., which owns the Wayne County nuclear plant, wants Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. to sign a contract promising payments keep the plant running. Chicago-based Exelon filed a petition Friday asking the state Public Service Commission to enter into a multiyear contract by the end of 2014. The contract would be based on the conclusion that Ginna, which provides a good part of all the electricity used by RG&E's customers, must continue to operate to ensure the continued reliability of that service. (July 11, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/11/2014 - Imagine New York State today if, instead of being bullied by Fracking starting six years ago, we had focused on renewables.  The great tragedy of this six-year Fracking debacle in New York State is that it has stolen everyone’s attention from the real problem—energy and Climate Change. There’s a great danger that humanity’s inability to see the big picture and only focus on the political and economic fights stirred up by the self-interests of a few will render our life support system null and void. For those who are hell bent on hammering the present need and existence of fossil fuels, no one thinks that the transformation from fossil fuels to renewables can be done immediately—it’s a change of direction we need, from a energy source that does destroy our environment to one that doesn’t.  The quicker the better. Germany gains in renewables In the first six months of 2014, Germany got more than one-third of its electricity from renewable sources, according to a new report. The country's solar power production was 28 percent higher over that time than it was during the same period in 2013, says a report from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, a German research organization. Its wind power production was 19 percent higher. (July 9, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 7/11/2014 - Every day Fracking looks less and less appetizing to New York than ever. Who needs radioactive waste in their environmental diet? Here's another complication for fracking — radioactive waste At the Chemung County landfill in Elmira, New York, piles of drill cuttings from Pennsylvania shale oil wells are scattered around the yard. The cuttings look like heaps of wet black sand, wrapped in a black plastic liner — and they're radioactive. Those radioactive drill cuttings — the waste pulled to the surface when a new well is drilled — are opening a new front in the already-contentious battle over hydraulic fracturing, know as fracking. All rocks have some radiation in them, explains Matt Richmond, a reporter for WSKG and the Allegheny Front, who has been following the story. But the Marcellus Shale in the eastern US, one of the regions where fracking is booming, is an unusually radioactive underground formation. A recent study found radiation levels three times higher than in other rock layers.  States in and around the fracking boom are trying to figure out what to do about all this naturally radioactive waste from drilling. Pennsylvania is conducting a study of radiation in the Marcellus Shale. West Virginia passed a law to segregate drill cuttings within landfills. New York State has a moratorium on fracking, but it accepts radioactive drilling waste from nearby Pennsylvania — and that has touched off an intense debate. (July 9, 2014) PRI [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/11/2014 - Hard to dismiss Climate Change when your country is being ravaged by it.  Politics, economic, Climate Change—who wins? Climate Politics Are Stranger Than Fiction In Australia When Australia first passed the Clean Energy Plan with a carbon price in 2011 it was because the Green party held the balance of power in the Senate. This week, a conservative government led by fossil fuel-friendly prime minister Tony Abbott was unable to repeal the carbon pricing due to another faction holding sway in the Senate — a group of four Palmer United Party (PUP) senators, a new party founded by mining multimillionaire Clive Palmer. With the Senate recently back in session, Abbott had been expecting to celebrate the repeal of the carbon price after touting it as a major goal of his administration since last summer. However, with the left-leaning Labor party and the PUP uniting against it, his coalition is stuck trying to find a quick new way forward. It was Abbott’s second attempt to pass the legislation in the upper house, and it narrowly failed 37-35. Palmer had been on board with Abbott’s plan to scrap the carbon tax, but changed his mind at the last minute after asserting that the Liberal-National coalition government had “double-crossed” his party with final amendments to the legislation. Palmer’s fussiness and refusal to toe the line are a setback for Abbott’s latest anti-climate move, part on an agenda that’s included angering world leaders by downplaying the issue, axing Australia’s climate commission, and abandoning greenhouse gas emissions targets. (July 10, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/11/2014 - Hard to transform our transportation system to one that will help us address Climate Change when the old one needs so much repair.  With other news that “Expenses Rise for New York Authorities” just maintaining our existing infrastructures (of which transportation is just one) is going to be very expensive.  And, yet according to most climate studies, we need to transform our existing infrastructures to be able to handle more heat and more floods and more active transportation (walking and bicycling) and public transportation.  Which will be rather difficult when the public wants fewer taxes, and really doesn’t care about alternative modes of transportation. 14 percent of rural NY bridges 'deficient' Just 7 percent of roads in rural New York counties were in "poor" condition in 2012 while 14 percent of bridges were "structurally deficient," a report released Thursday by a transportation research group found. New York's rural bridges ranked 17th in the nation for their condition, according to the report from TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based group backed by the construction industry. New York's rural roads fared better, with just seven states having a smaller share of poorly paved roads. The data is based on road and bridge ratings from various federal agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The report looked at counties that aren't home to a city with more than 50,000 people. (July 10, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/11/2014 - Fracking for more fossil fuel in a time of Climate Change is more trouble than it’s worth for New York State (and anywhere else for that matter).  Read new report: COMPENDIUM OF SCIENTIFIC, MEDICAL, AND MEDIA FINDINGS DEMONSTRATING RISKS AND HARMS OF FRACKING (UNCONVENTIONAL GAS AND OIL EXTRACTION Horizontal drilling combined with high-volume hydraulic fracturing and clustered multi-well pads are recently combined technologies for extracting oil and natural gas from shale bedrock. As this unconventional extraction method (collectively known as “fracking”) has pushed into more densely populated areas of the United States, and as fracking operations have increased in frequency and intensity, a significant body of evidence has emerged to demonstrate that these activities are inherently dangerous to people and their communities. Risks include adverse impacts on water, air, agriculture, public health and safety, property values, climate stability and economic vitality (July 2014) Concerned Health Officials of New York | Major Scientific Document Shows Why NY Fracking Moratorium Is Imperative Less than two weeks ago, local communities triumphed over the fracking industry in a precedent-setting case decided by the New York Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas production within municipal borders. While the court decision is a victory for the two towns, many New Yorkers continue to rally and push for a statewide fracking moratorium. In this vein, Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY) today released a major resource to the public, including public officials, researchers and journalists—the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. (July 10, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/10/2014 - Story about “New York's 46 state public authorities” budget spending needs some Zen. These authorities address Climate Change & they don’t come cheap. All climate studies that pertain to our Rochester, NY region (and the rest of the world for that matter) spell out how all a region’s infrastructures (transportation, water, wastewater, telecommunications) need to be made more resilient and robust to handle more extreme weather and warmer conditions.  When systems fail, as they did in the Katrina Hurricane of 2005, they tend to do so all at once.  Focusing on how much is spent is not the story. Rather, in a time of a warmer New York, we are losing personnel and not prioritizing Climate Change as we report on the very authorities whose job it will be to make our way of life work during Climate Change.  This business-as usual reporting needs to evolve so the public understands the absolute importance of their authorities’ ability to function so we can. New Report Says Expenses Rise For NY's Public Authorities ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  A new report shows New York's 46 state public authorities spent $30.3 billion in operating expenses last year, up $1.5 billion over 2012.  The state Authorities Budget Office says the spending has risen 17.6 percent since 2009 while staffing has declined by more than 2,800 over those five years. That's double direct state government's 8.6 percent spending increase (July 10, 2014) WXXI News  

  • 7/10/2014 - Buying that healthy locally grown food in the Rochester, NY region, the inside story and you. Food And Field: Getting to Market- Transportation Costs From A Farmer’s Perspective As consumers we often associate farmers markets with minimizing food miles. While this is true—farmers markets do offer a valuable alternative to the thousand-plus mile treks some of our food is known to take in getting to consumers—someone has to take on the seemingly negligible transportation cost of getting the produce to the consumer. In this case, it’s the farmer who internalizes the transportation cost of the 10-30 miles that separate their farm from the market venue, including the significant time set aside in preparation and the four-hour duration of the market itself. I want to stress here that I haven’t met a single farmer who begrudgingly attends farmers markets or dreads the work that goes into participating in them – in fact, they value these opportunities just as much as the customers that frequent them. Not simply because it is one of their main sources of revenue, but because they genuinely care about building relationships with their surrounding community and providing them with high-quality, healthy food. That being said, it is worth understanding the lived reality of what it takes for the farmers that you see lined up on a sunny Saturday morning to get there, and consequently what it means to buy their produce. (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Food in our area]

  • 7/10/2014 - “The hope is to have a deal done in Paris by the end of 2015.” The fear is that we will leave our children no future. Ambition Is Key to 2015 Global Climate Accord, but the Lift Is Heavy Three new studies show that much greater ambition on tackling climate change is needed to reach a climate treaty that staves off disaster. The word is "ambition," and it's being voiced this summer with extra urgency by those who worry that the world's leaders won't soon commit themselves to measures strong enough to combat climate change. In September, heads of state are to gather at a United Nations climate summit to cheer each other on. In December in Peru negotiators are supposed to produce a draft treaty binding the world to decades of steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. And early next year each country is expected to spell out just how deeply it will cut its own global warming pollution. The hope is to have a deal done in Paris by the end of 2015. It's a daunting timetable. But the way to keep on pace, experts warn, is not to lighten the load.  (July 8, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/10/2014 - Rochesterians, thinking of going to Florida to ‘enjoy’ their heat? If we don’t address Climate Change it will come to you. Global Warming Interactive: How Hot Will Your City Get? Type in your town in the box below and find out what summer could feel like if climate change continues unabated. If Americans think record-breaking summer heat in recent years has been brutal, just wait several decades. That's the message of a new project from Climate Central, a nonprofit climate news and research organization based in New Jersey. According to the research, U.S. cities could be up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than they are today by 2100. St. Paul, Minnesota could feel like Dallas, Texas. Las Vegas could feel like places in Saudi Arabia, with average temperatures of 111 degrees Fahrenheit. Phoenix could feel like Kuwait City, one of the hottest cities in the world, with average temperatures of 114 degrees Fahrenheit. (July 10, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - We wouldn’t have to be ‘playing catch up’ on addressing oil train disasters if we switched to renewable energy. Why must we stick to a fossil fuel energy source that warms our planet and puts us all in such danger when there are other choices? Why do most folks assume we must have energy sources that put our life support system and our lives continually at jeopardy? NPR: First Responders Unprepared For Another Oil Train Disaster This week, we've been looking at the aftermath of that deadly train derailment in Quebec that left 47 people dead. The accident in Lac-Megantic one year ago has opened a new debate over the safety of the massive oil-tanker trains that are passing daily through towns here in the North Country.  It's also caused communities across the US to ask whether their fire departments and emergency crews are ready if that kind of train disaster occurred here? As NPR's David Schaper reports, many first responders say they don't have the equipment, the manpower or the training to respond. (July 9, 2014) North Country Public Radio

  • 7/09/2014 - Local media suggests rise in toxic blue-green algae in our Rochester area lakes could be due to Climate Change. This isn’t so much a victory for climate messaging as including Climate Change as a crucial factor in determining and ultimately solving what is becoming a pernicious problem in our local lake waters.  Important article. Read on: Seneca Lake algae testing will be done Potentially toxic blue-green algae may have bloomed in Seneca Lake last year. Then again, maybe it didn't. There was a certain amount of confusion on that point at the largest Finger Lake last year, partly because no one was sampling to see if it really was algae that folks kept seeing. That should be a thing of the past. The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association announced Tuesday that the group and the state Department of Environmental Conservation have arranged to begin regular observation, sampling and analysis of Seneca water for the presence of algal toxin. "We welcome this initiative from DEC to create an organized and effective program to monitor this threat to public health and safety. Last year we had a number of questions from residents and no way to respond to their concerns," said Edwin Przybylowicz, who will coordinate the sampling for the lake association. As the Democrat and Chronicle reported last summer, the five largest Finger Lakes -- Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua and Skaneateles -- had been left out of the extensive toxin sampling that's been done in recent years by the state. Mainly this was because the lake associations there either didn't know about the state algal-toxin testing or chose not to get involved. (July 8, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Finger Lakes and Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - What is the state of Rochester, New York’s Air Quality right now? Go here to find that out: "ROCHESTER" - FROM The NYSDEC Air Quality monitoring website allows a real-time view into the ambient air quality database of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In general, data is polled at the top of each hour from each station. It is immediately displayed as it is collected. This site provides near real time air quality measurement data from the New York State DEC Air Monitoring network. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 7/09/2014 - We’re going to hear more and more calls from Scientists to address Climate Change until we don’t—because at a point it will be too late.  We’ve already let precious decades go by without robust strategies to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change.  And things have gotten worse because of inaction. Specialist Calls for Climate Change Strategy A specialist with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation says the last couple of weeks have really been an effective demonstration of the impact of climate change. Coastal Resources Manager Geoff Peach points to heavy rain, strong winds and extreme droughts in various locations throughout North America — as well as the flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and heavy storms through the Maritimes. (July 8, 2014) Blackburn News [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - Wonder how many more times we can pass the windows of opportunities to address Climate Change before we cannot anymore. World can still stop globe from warming more than 2 C, experts tell UN Study finds concentrated effort at reducing carbon output could keep temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius Significant climate change may not be inevitable if governments take swift and decisive action now to reduce greenhouse gases, according to a report released Tuesday that rolls back some of the bleaker and more pessimistic assessments of recent climate negotiations. The report, prepared for the United Nations by experts from leading research institutes from 15 countries, challenges the idea that the world can’t avoid breaching a 2 degrees Celsius rise in global average temperature — many climate scientists have warned that an increase of 3 to 4 C is now inevitable. Moreover, they suggest defeatism on the 2 C limit target would contribute to dithering by heavily industrialized countries most responsible for climate change — the United States, China, India, major European economies and rising economic powers like Brazil and South Africa.  “We do not subscribe to the view held by some that the 2 C limit is impossible to achieve and that it should be weakened or dropped altogether,” the authors of the report from the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) wrote. (July 8, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - This is probably code for Climate Change: “Fifteen to 20 years ago, we didn’t have Lyme in this area. Now it’s here and here to stay.” Get ticked off: Beware of Lyme disease Posters warning of Lyme disease are going up in Monroe County parks, testament to the growing prevalence of the tick-borne disease in this part of the state. Lyme disease, transmitted by the bite of deer ticks that get on people's clothing and skin when they brush against shrubs or tall grass, is mild if treated quickly but quite debilitating if it is not. Pets, especially dogs, are susceptible to the disease as well. Until a few years ago, infected deer ticks were not believed to be present in this part of the state and there had been no known locally acquired cases. But the ticks have moved into western New York in numbers and are now commonplace here. According to the Monroe County Department of Public Health, the number of diagnosed Lyme cases among Monroe residents doubled in 2012 compared with the year before and doubled again last year, reaching 80. (July 6, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Lyme Disease in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - It’s New York Invasive Species Awareness Week, so learn about invasives in your area and what to do about them. Species Spotlight: Invasive Species Are On The Move; Everyone Can Help Stop Their Spread This year marks the first Invasive Species Awareness Week in New York State and the Finger Lakes region is poised and ready with a lineup of great activities and events to mark the occasion. Some of the greatest harm to our environment and agriculture is caused by invasive plants and animals—organisms that have been accidentally or intentionally introduced to new areas and spread uncontrollably. Invasive Species Awareness Week promotes opportunities for citizens to learn about the most threatening species and ways to prevent and manage their spread. Everyone is encouraged to participate in Awareness Week activities to learn about important steps to take to protect their favorite places. The line-up of events in the Finger Lakes region includes an array of interactive activities such as an invasive species teacher training at the Finger Lakes Institute, Hydrilla Task Force public update meeting and water chestnut pull. The full schedule of events is online at http://nyis.info/blog. Most events are free, but pre-registration may be requested.  (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - Question: If you build a public transportation system will folks use it? Ans: Not if you don’t accommodate local needs. RTS Holds Forums To Talk About Service Changes There are informational sessions this week to provide information about changes coming to some services provided by RTS.  That includes the Lift Line Service.  Officials say they are proposing changes to meet the changing needs of the population served by Lift Line, such as those who have mobility issues. Several informational sessions are scheduled including one on Tuesday night from 6 to 8pm  at ABVI on South Clinton Avenue. Daniele Coll-Gonzalez is Chief Operating officer for the RGRTA.  She says the organization does try to take feedback it gets from customers into account. (July 7, 2014) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - Talking locally about farming and weather and Climate Change all in one place. Times are a ‘changing.  Back in the day, maybe it was yesterday, these three groups did not even talk to each other. Empire Farm Days to host experts on weather and climate change  The Cornell Climate Change Institute and a WHEC News 10NBC meteorologist will be at Empire Farm Days on Tuesday, Aug.5 and Wednesday, Aug. 6, respectively, to offer insight of interest to farmers. The Aug. 5 presentation will be by Allison M. Chatrchyan, director of the new Cornell University Institute for Climate Change. She will speak on Farming in a More Extreme and Variable Climate. The Aug. 6 presentation will be by WHEC News10 NBC Meteorologist Josh Nichols, who also teaches weather and climate at Monroe Community College. He will speak on Weather from the Farmers’ Point of View. Both presentations will be at 10:30 a.m. See http://www.empirefarmdays.com/  (July 7, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - Local colleges leading the way on lowering greenhouse gas emissions to get around. Some of these programs would look great in your college, community, business, and (of course) on your planet. The Green Hand: How We Get Around at HWS As another school year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) approaches, we become closer and closer to our climate neutrality (i.e. zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions) deadline of 2025 in 2009, President Gearan signed The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Strides in recent years from the administration, students, and faculty have led to progress in our GHG emission mitigation. Increased energy efficiency has been pursued for The Colleges’ facilities through renovations, replacements to heating systems, energy efficient lighting fixtures, etc., but improvements to the existing building stock were just the beginning. In 2011, President Gearan signed a contract to purchase wind energy credits through August 2014. This means that HWS pays a premium to support wind energy in an amount that offsets 100% of the electricity used by The Colleges. As for the transportation sector, the HWS fleet is made up of four electric utility vehicles, several biodiesel vans, and many gasoline engine vehicles. The first GHG inventory for HWS was conducted in 2007 at this point transportation made up 39% of HWS’ GHG emissions at 6,083 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCDE). In 2011, this number decreased to 4,831 MTCDE, and 34% respectively, of HWS’ GHG emissions. This reduction is due to the steps outlined in the transportation section of the Climate Action Plan, which achieves net-zero GHG emissions by implementing system changes that give emission reduction projects priority while simultaneously guaranteeing timely and meaningful net emission reduction in the form of an offset strategy. Some of the ongoing transportation strategies to reduce emissions include:  (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - I suppose it’s useless trying to reason with Keystone XL pipeline folks to stop their mad drive to warm up the planet.  Just we’ll just have to keep protesting their craven desire to use the worst fossil fuel of all in a time of Climate Change. What are ya gonna do, just let the fossil fuel industry tyrannize the planet and warm it up without saying anything? Keystone XL pipeline facing another obstacle TransCanada must recertify South Dakota permit, regulator says  TransCanada Corp. faces another regulatory hurdle and potentially more legal challenges in its effort to build the Keystone XL pipeline in that it will now need to recertify the Alberta-Nebraska conduit where it passes through South Dakota. The state approved the project on June 29, 2010, and while the permit has not expired, TransCanada needs to “certify the conditions placed on the pipeline” by the regulator South Dakota Public Utilities Commission are all still valid and that the company will meet all of those conditions. “I would anticipate there will be challenges,” PUC chairman Gary Hanson said in an interview. “There will certainly be challenges by a number of organizations and possibly citizens. Some of those persons or entities will probably not have any standing. But I believe some of them are certainly more mature organizations that understand the process.” (July 1, 2014) Vancouver Sun

  • 7/08/2014 - But presumably the Harper government does not “Struggles with Melting Permafrost as Climate Warms” because for them jobs come first before their life support system crashes. Canada Struggles with Melting Permafrost as Climate Warms Warming temperatures in the Great White North are melting important ice roads and heating waterways beyond optimal temperatures for some fish In 2006, reduced thickness of ice roads forced the Diavik Diamond Mine in Northern Canada to fly in fuel rather than try to transport cargo across melted pathways, at an extra cost of $11.25 million. The mountain pine beetle outbreak in British Columbia—fueled by higher winter temperatures that allow insects to survive—expanded in recent years to be 10 times greater than any previously recorded outbreak in the province. Mortality rates of sockeye salmon, meanwhile, have increased because of higher water temperatures in the Fraser River. These examples are among many in Canada's national climate assessment—an overview from the national government of existing climate science affecting the country. It also includes government and industry adaptation activities, such as new electricity forecasts for hydropower because of projected water flow shifts. (July 7, 2014) Scientific American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - If our mass interest in faith were any measure, you’d think the moral imperative to solve Climate Change would rule, but it doesn’t, at least on any scale that will matter. The poor of our nation and the nations that didn’t cause Climate Change are going to get hit the first and the hardest by Climate Change and yet when we try to address this immorality, like in the previous 20+ Climate talks, we tend to fail. So maybe trying to solve Climate Change by appealing to our morality (though it makes us feel warm) isn’t the best strategy for addressing Climate Change; maybe our collected self-interest in having a sustainable life support system will. CLIMATE CHANGE MAY HIT URBAN POOR THE HARDEST, ACCORDING TO NEW REPORT People of color, low-income neighborhoods may be more vulnerable to exposure to toxins, other damaging effects of extreme storms like Sandy Lower-income and minority communities are especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of climate change, which should make protecting them a societal priority, according to a recent report. The report, by the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance, focused on so-called environmental justice communities -- areas especially burdened with pollution, particularly for people of color, and its impact during and after Hurricane Sandy. The extreme weather left residents of these communities, as elsewhere, without power and with disrupted communications. But it also drove up rents due to limited housing, among other problems. The storm surge also raised concerns about increased exposure to toxins, according to the report. (July 7, 2014) NYSpotlight [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/08/2014 - The Paris 2015 Climate talks must not fail.  How can we ensure that they don’t? Praying probably won’t help. Staying aware might. Communicating importance of this climate talk might.  U.N. climate talks edge towards 2015 emissions deal * China, U.S. help build confidence for climate deal * Aid for poorer nations seen as vital to spur process * Rich-poor divide remains a thorny issue  - U.N. climate negotiations made tentative progress on Saturday towards a text for a 2015 deal to bind all nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The talks, which were heading to a close on Saturday, drew some 1,900 diplomats from 182 countries to Bonn to line up what their leaders will be prepared to sign up to next year to tackle emissions that U.N.-backed scientists say will cause more severe flooding, droughts and the sea level to rise. Negotiators and observers said signs of action from China and the United States, the world's top two emitters, had raised hopes but they warned the talks could break down unless rich nations pledged billions of dollars in aid to poorer states by the end of the year. (June 14, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - Addressing and mitigating Climate Change will probably mean a lot of belt-tightening (using less food and energy) but we will need more information and much of that can come from you. How Citizen Scientists Are Using  The Web to Track the Natural World By making the recording and sharing of environmental data easier than ever, web-based technology has fostered the rapid growth of so-called citizen scientists — volunteers who collaborate with scientists to collect and interpret data. Numerous Internet-based projects now make use of citizen scientists to monitor environmental health and to track sensitive plant and wildlife populations. From counting butterflies, frogs, and bats across the globe, to piloting personal drones capable of high-definition infrared imaging, citizen scientists are playing a crucial role in collecting data that will help researchers understand the environment. Environment 360 Yale

  • 7/07/2014 - Heroes in Rochester, NY region demonstrate concerns about increasing train shipments of dangerous crude oil through their community. Protesters fight oil trains Holding signs with statements such as "No exploding oil trains" and "Clean Energy Now," about 40 protesters gathered Sunday near the railroad tracks at North Main and Railroad streets in the village of Fairport. The protest, organized by six local mothers, was held on the one-year anniversary of a deadly accident in Canada, and is part a growing chorus of concern about train shipments of crude oil, which have sharply increased in recent years. The focus of the protest was freight shipments from the Bakken formation that includes parts of North Dakota and Montana and extends into Canada. Production from Bakken has increased to about 1 million barrels a day, and with the use of fracking is projected to continue to grow. (July 6, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 7/07/2014 - Local media still views NYS energy options during Climate Change through the lens of popular Fracking fight.  Rather than inform the public that there are many other options, options that won’t warm up the planet’s atmosphere more and provide lots of jobs, to address energy needs during a rapid warming, the local media is still stuck on the legal and political machinations of a controversial fossil-fuel drilling technique.  The great tragedy of this six-year Fracking debacle in New York State is that it has stolen everyone’s attention from the real problem—energy and Climate Change. There’s a great danger that humanity’s inability to see the big picture and only focus on the small political and economic fights stirred up by the self-interests of a few, that we will render our life support system null and void. Demand that the press see the big picture. Court rulings shift fracking fight to local level ALBANY – A key ruling by the state's highest court has shifted the hydraulic fracturing debate to the local level, but the future of fracking in New York still relies on an opaque decision-making process by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration. The state Court of Appeals ruled Monday that towns can use local zoning ordinances to ban natural-gas drilling and hydrofracking within their borders. The long-awaited ruling put an end to a three-year-long legal debate over the validity of bans in Dryden, Tompkins County, and Middlefield, Otsego County. It's also expected to increase pressure on local governments from activists on both sides of the drilling debate -- fracking opponents looking to pass more local bans, and supporters hoping to hold them off. (July 6, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/07/2014 - If there is a god, destroying our environment for short term economic gain may well be a sin. If not, destroying our life support system is at least pretty stupid.  I’m not being flippant here. Humanity as a whole has not been much swayed by the immorality of destroying our environment for economic gain, just look around. But if humanity continues to dodge the moral outrage of condemning billions to poverty, and ruin the potential for future generations, humanity should at least understand the compelling logic of keeping their life support system m intact. I wish the moral argument for addressing Climate Change had a prayer of working, but if it had, it would have done so long ago. Addressing Climate Change contains the compelling logic of self-interest—on all levels—so practically speaking that’s probably where our hope resides.  Hurrah, for Pope Francis speaking out on the most critical moral issue of our age. Pope Francis calls destruction of nature a modern sin Catholic leader, who takes his name from the patron saint of animals and the environment, says humans exploiting Earth Pope Francis called for more respect for nature on Saturday, branding the destruction of South America's rain forests and other forms of environmental exploitation a sin of modern times. In an address at the university of Molise, an agricultural and industrial region in southern Italy, Francis said the Earth should be allowed to give her fruits without being exploited. "This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation," he told students, struggling farmers, and laid-off workers in a university hall. "When I look at America, also my own homeland [South America], so many forests, all cut, that have become land ... that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her give us what she has within her," the Argentine pope said in unprepared remarks. (July 5, 2014) Aljazeera America

  • 7/07/2014 - Find out more local environmental events and news: July 2014 Newsletter NEWS FROM PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”   See PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER facebook  https://www.facebook.com/PachamamaRochester

  • 7/07/2014 - Dark Snow, unlike Dark Matter or Dark Energy, is not a benign natural phenomenon. It is us making Climate Change accelerate.  By the ‘business as usual’ approach to Climate Change we are not only causing more Climate Change, we are causing it to occur faster. Dark snow: from the Arctic to the Himalayas, the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting Industrial dust and soil, blown thousands of miles, settle on ice sheets and add to rising sea level threat When American geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj set up a mini weather station at 5,800m on Mount Himlung, on the Nepal-Tibet border, she looked east towards Everest and was shocked. The world's highest glacier, Khumbu, was turning visibly darker as particles of fine dust, blown by fierce winds, settled on the bright, fresh snow. "One-week-old snow was turning black and brown before my eyes," she said. The problem was even worse on the nearby Ngozumpa glacier, which snakes down from Cho Oyu – the world's sixth highest mountain. There, Horodyskyj found that so much dust had been blown on to the surface that the ability of the ice to reflect sunlight, a process known as albedo, dropped 20% in a single month. The dust that was darkening the brilliant whiteness of the snow was heating up in the strong sun and melting the snow and ice, she said. The phenomenon of "dark snow" is being recorded from the Himalayas to the Arctic as increasing amounts of dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of "black carbon" from industry and diesel engines are being whipped up and deposited sometimes thousands of miles away. The result, say scientists, is a significant dimming of the brightness of the world's snow and icefields, leading to a longer melt season, which in turn creates feedback where more solar heat is absorbed and the melting accelerates. (July 5, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/07/2014 - One of the most important human events coming up in Paris 2015; It’s a choice we either transcend or flop. The developing nations are watching and they fear “a recurrence of the Copenhagen scenario (with) a final agreement that is accepted by some parties but not accepted by others…” 2015 climate pact to be sealed in Paris The clock is ticking for countries to lay the foundations of a 2015 deal to tackle dangerous climate change, ministers warned in Bonn. A special UN summit in September, followed by a round of talks in Lima in December, must lay the first bricks of a highly complex accord due to be sealed in Paris in December 2015, they said. China’s top negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, pointed to traumatic memories of the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, the last time countries tried to forge a worldwide deal on curbing Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The much-touted event became a near-fiasco when heads of state were confronted with a sprawling, fiercely contested draft agreement at the last minute. (June 7, 2014) The Indian Express [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2014 - Breaking: Business as usual is not addressing Climate Change, planet increasingly responding to more greenhouse gases.  More studies on climate are proving the ‘wait and see’ approach on this worldwide crisis isn’t working.  Coastal Winds Intensifying With Climate Change, Study Says Summer winds are intensifying along the west coasts of North and South America and southern Africa and climate change is a likely cause, a new study says. The winds, which blow parallel to the shore and draw cold, nutrient-rich water from the deep ocean to the surface in a process known as coastal upwelling, have increased over the last 60 years in three out of five regions of the world, according to an analysis published Thursday in the journal Science. Stronger winds have the potential to benefit coastal areas by bringing a surge of nutrients and boosting populations of plankton, fish, and other species. But they could also harm marine life by causing turbulence in surface waters, disrupting feeding, worsening ocean acidification, and lowering oxygen levels, the study says. The shift could already be having serious effects on some of the world’s most productive marine fisheries and ecosystems off California, Peru, and South Africa. (July 3, 2014) The National Memo [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2014 - Can we “create our own positive feedback loops that generate virtuous cycles of accelerating climate protection.”?  If we cannot, we have little chance of affecting the direction warming is taking us on a planetary level. This is an intriguing way of looking at our collected response to Climate Change, where positive feedback loops like albedo effect  from melting Arctic ice, might be something we can trigger that would send Climate Change back to sustainable levels.  The article below contains a lot of the usual stuff—reduce fossil fuel use, use more renewable energy—which is quite appropriate, but I was thinking of taking this concept of creating our own positive feedback loops to a new level.  I don’t mean geoengineering where we toss iron particles in the ocean trying to stimulate more aquatic plant growth, but something that would take a great knowledge of how our entire Earth environment works and tweaking it so that physics works to lower GHG concentrations.  I guess what I’m saying is that if we are going to work on something that would trigger positive feedback loops “that generate virtuous cycles of accelerating climate protection” that there might be some process we haven’t thought of yet that may do the trick—but, as with anything in our environment (our life support system), we had better know what we are doing. Nothing, I suspect, would work faster or better than reducing the burning of fossil fuels to achieve a sustainable environment and I don’t think any program, or techno-fix, should steal our attention from that. SCD Concepts: Positive Feedback- Good or Bad for the Climate? Ecologists, engineers, and economists have much in common. Their work involves the study of systems – how things are connected, what makes things start or stop, and whether the system can be stable. Feedback between elements of a system that can be balancingor reinforcing.  Balancing or negative feedback loops help a system reach a goal or maintain stability. For example, a thermostat regulates the temperature of a room by turning a furnace on or off to achieve the desired temperature. Reinforcing or positive feedback loops occur when a system element is capable of making more of itself. This can be a good or bad thing when it comes to our climate. For example, the more greenhouse gas we put in the air, the more the Arctic warms – causing the tundra to melt and release methane, which warms the air and melts more tundra – which releases more methane in a process of runaway climate disruption. No wonder this kind of positive feedback is known as a vicious cycle!  Unfortunately, we have started a number of vicious cycles in Earth’s climate system and they are gaining momentum.  (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - Should our young people fight (sue) to stabilize climate and preserve our planet for future generations, or just give up? The Wheels of Justice The wheels of justice turn slowly, perhaps more so on the most important matters.  Yet the courts, with their ability to take a long view and minimize politics, are crucial in the fight to stabilize climate and preserve our planet for young people and future generations. Here I comment on the status of “atmospheric trust” cases and note the appeal of an “equal rights” case. I also argue that the legal approach is an essential component in a coordinated multi-front approach that is required for success in what will be a long battle for justice. Atmospheric Trust.  I wrote recently[1] about Alec L. v. McCarthy, a suit filed by young people against the (U.S.) federal government.  Their case is based on the trust concept, that we have an obligation to future generations, a concept well appreciated by the founders of our nation[2], specifically the atmospheric trust concept[3] developed especially by legal scholar Mary Wood. On the face of it, the 5 June ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, affirming the earlier dismissal of the youths’ case, is a setback.  However, the Court’s ruling positions the case to proceed to the Supreme Court on the question of whether the federal government has a public trust obligation to its citizens. The Court of Appeals focused on a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, PPL Montana v. Montana, which the D.C. Circuit found to exclude any federal public trust obligation, leaving all public trust obligations to the states.  However, that interpretation leads to the implausible requirement for states to take actions to stabilize climate and negotiate international agreements for that purpose.  Thus one route to the Supreme Court will entail challenging the concept that the federal government has no trust obligations, with the climate case itself providing clear evidence to the contrary. (July 2, 2014) Earth Institute | Columbia University [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - On the other hand, if Cuomo doesn’t ban Fracking pretty freaking soon, New York will not have that pretty green hue. What Every Governor Really Believes About Climate Change, In One Handy Map  With all the recent talk at the federal level about the EPA’s proposed carbon regulations for new and existing power plants, it’s easy to forget about the executives that have front row seats to cutting American carbon pollution. And though climate deniers run rampant through the halls of Congress, a new analysis from the CAP Action War Room reveals that half of America’s Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress. Fifteen out of twenty-nine sitting Republican governors deny climate science despite the overwhelming level of scientific consensus, the enormous cost to taxpayers, and the critical place governors occupy in implementing new limits on carbon pollution. None of the country’s Democratic governors have made public statements denying climate change. This map from the analysis categorizes governors into four groups: green for those who both accept climate science and are taking action to fight climate change; orange for those who either accept or haven’t openly denied climate science, but also have yet to take serious action to address climate change; red for those who have failed to take action or openly rejected to federal safeguards to address climate change, and red with stripes for climate deniers.  (July 2, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - Why the heck should folks in Rochester, NY care if fish in West Virginia are dying off because of blasting away WV’s mountains for coal? You know… | Fish Populations Down Due to Mountaintop Mining Number of Species in Studied Streams Drops by Half KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. – Appalachian streams impacted by mountaintop mining have less than half as many fish species and about a third as many fish as non-impacted streams, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published this week in the journal Freshwater Science. The researchers used data from several time periods to track changes in fish diversity and abundance in the Guyandotte River basin in West Virginia, including streams with and without headwater mining operations. The original fish data were collected by a team from Pennsylvania State University between 1999-2001, and USGS collected additional data from 2010-2011. “The Appalachian Mountains are a global hotspot for freshwater fish diversity,” said Nathaniel Hitt, a USGS research fish biologist and lead author of the study. “Our paper provides some of the first peer-reviewed research to understand how fish communities respond to mountaintop mining in these biologically diverse headwater streams.” Hitt, along with USGS biologist and co-author Douglas Chambers, found no evidence that fish communities have recovered over time, and instead observed persistent effects of mountaintop mining associated with water quality degradation. Prior research has linked water quality deterioration from mountaintop mining to the degradation of stream insect communities.  The new USGS paper is the first to evaluate this issue for stream fish communities. (July 1, 2014) U.S. Geological Survey [more on Wildlife and Energy in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - You can join this local action to stop the dangerous transport of dangerous chemicals through our region here: Sunday, July 6 at 3 PM in Fairport, NY at the intersection of train tracks and North Main Street (Route 250, Fairport 14450 NO BAKKEN OIL TRAINS IN OUR TOWNS! Events across the country are being organized to keep oil off the rails and in the ground! No Bakken Oil Trains in Our Towns! | Local moms plan protest against oil trains About a half-dozen local mothers plan to mark the one-year anniversary of a deadly oil train derailment in Canada with a protest of shipments of the same type of fuel by freight rail through Rochester and its surrounding suburbs. The women plan to meet at 3 p.m. Sunday near the tracks at North Main and Railroad streets in the village of Fairport. Neely Kelley of Rochester, a member of the group, said protesters are concerned about possible derailments of tanker cars carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale formation in the northwestern U.S. "People just don't know that these incredibly explosive and flammable trains are coming through our downtowns and our communities," she said. Domestic crude oil shipments by rail have quadrupled since 2005, according to federal estimates. Trains carrying Bakken crude pass through the Rochester area en route to oil terminals in Albany and points south. (July 3, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 7/04/2014 - For those thinking they’ve got their heads around the full implications of Climate Change, don’t forget we have to solve the Sixth Great Extinction too.  I’m wondering if it is niggling through the minds of many that our way of life hasn’t just put a tremendous burden on our life support system, our way of life is threatening everything on the planet. And we’re so absorbed in our business-as-usual world we don’t want to face it. A Disappearing Planet Animal species are going extinct anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times the rates that would be expected under natural conditions. According to Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction and other recentstudies, the increase results from a variety of human-caused effects including climate change, habitat destruction, and species displacement. Today's extinction rates rival those during the mass extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. by Anna Flagg, Special to ProPublica [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - Pennsylvania resident’s health and noise complaints over Fracking "Fuhgeddaboudit!" $50,000 Hush Money fixes that. Nuisance easements, whatever, it’s not for New York. Aggressive Tactic on the Fracking Front A Pennsylvania gas company offers residents cash to buy protection from any claims of harm. For the last eight years, Pennsylvania has been riding the natural gas boom, with companies drilling and fracking thousands of wells across the state. And in a little corner of Washington County, some 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh, EQT Corporation has been busy – drilling close to a dozen new wells on one site. It didn't take long for the residents of Finleyville who lived near the fracking operations to complain – about the noise and air quality, and what they regarded as threats to their health and quality of life. Initially, EQT, one of the largest producers of natural gas in Pennsylvania, tried to allay concerns with promises of noise studies and offers of vouchers so residents could stay in hotels to avoid the noise and fumes. But then, in what experts say was a rare tactic, the company got more aggressive: it offered all of the households along Cardox Road $50,000 in cash if they would agree to release the company from any legal liability, for current operations as well as those to be carried out in the future. It covered potential health problems and property damage, and gave the company blanket protection from any kind of claim over noise, dust, light, smoke, odors, fumes, soot, air pollution or vibrations. (July 2, 2014) ProPublica [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/03/2014 - ACTION: "A draft hazardous waste management permit for Kodak and Recycled Energy Development (RED) is available for public review and comment through Sept. 2, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today." DEC Announces Proposed Renewal of Hazardous Waste Management Permit for Eastman Kodak Company and Recycled Energy Development DEC Accepting Public Comments on the Draft Permit Through Sept. 2 A draft hazardous waste management permit for Kodak and Recycled Energy Development (RED) is available for public review and comment through Sept. 2, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Eastman Business Park (EBP), located in the city of Rochester and town of Greece, currently has two hazardous waste management operations: a multiple hearth incinerator (MHI) used to incinerate sludge from the Kings Landing Wastewater Treatment Plant, and a tank system at Building 322 for hazardous waste storage. The draft permit and related documents for Eastman Business Park (Kodak) are available for public review and comment on DEC's website. DEC will carefully consider all comments received before making a final determination on the permit. In 2013, DEC modified the existing hazardous waste management permit to add RED as an operator after the company acquired a number of utilities from Kodak, including the MHI. Kodak and RED filed an amended application for renewal of the permit in 2013. (July 2, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 7/03/2014 - When Mother Nature gives out grades for her Environmental Report Card it’s only a Pass/Fail grade. You’re either sustainable or extinct. NY League of Conservation Voters gives Legislature a B grade for environmental progress The Environmental Progress Report gave the Legislature a "C+" on public health and "B" on sustainable economic development, climate change and resiliency, natural resource protection.  The New York State Legislature has earned a "B" grade for its progress on sustainability issues in the 2014 legislative session that ended last month, according to the The New York League of Conservation Voters. The league issued the grade in its 2014 Environmental Progress Report, released Wednesday. The report is available at http://www.nylcv.org/. The NYLCV’s 2014 Environmental Progress Report tracks the Legislature’s progress on a wide range of legislation from clean energy and transportation, to climate resiliency and sustainable economic growth. NYLCV set the bar for sustainability progress in the 2014 legislative session with its New York State Policy Agenda issued in January. (July 2, 2014) Daily Messenger

  • 7/03/2014 - Green Drinks for July: Green Drinks is a monthly networking event where people in the environmental field & the sustainably minded meet over drinks in an informal setting to exchange ideas, find out who’s doing what & spread the word on what you’re doing, find employment leads & make new friends. Thur, July 17: 6-7:30pm High Falls Center & Museum 74 Browns Race Rochester 14614 - Sponsored by Center for Environmental Initiatives

  • 7/03/2014 - Get more informed locally of environmental events and news: Penfield Green Initiative, July 2014 Newsletter: The Voice for Penfield’s Environmental Assets | Environmental/Social Justice on a Grass Roots Level

  • 7/03/2014 - According to some sources, the Erie Canal (or in its earliest incarnation, the canal, or Clinton’s ditch) issued the sea lamprey to the Great Lakes. There might be more invasives that made their way to the Great Lakes via the canal, but I don’t think the canal is just “taking on a new, undesirable role as a pathway for the spread of aquatic invasive species.”   Note: “It is not clear whether it is native to Lake Ontario, where it was first noticed in the 1830s, or whether it was introduced through the Erie Canal which opened in 1825.[” (Wikipedia) | CSI: invasive species  The Erie Canal revolutionized transportation and commerce by giving farmers and merchants a cheaper, easier way to move goods across the state. The present-day canal is primarily a recreational waterway, though it might also be taking on a new, undesirable role as a pathway for the spread of aquatic invasive species between some state waters, including the Great Lakes. That's why Nature Conservancy researchers are on the canal this summer, collecting water samples. The samples, which will be location-tagged, will be tested to see if they contain DNA markers that match up with known genetic sequences from some key invasives, such as Asian carp, northern snakehead, killer shrimp, Asian clam, and hydrilla. (July 2, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/03/2014 - One of the most critical parts of our region’s Transportation system is the infrastructure. How does that impact on our environment? What efforts does the NYS DOT make to ensure wildlife habitat protection? How do you design a massive pavement/bridge infrastructure with the least impact on our environment? When we consider transportation issues, we, meaning activists and the general public, rarely focus on the actual construction of roads and bridges. Beyond the pavement… Like most wildlife biologists, I am a lover of wild places, a seeker of remoteness, a despiser of the din of traffic. Yet I am employed by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) as an Environmental Specialist.  Environmental Specialist (ES) working for a DOT may sound like a conflict of interest, even an oxymoron. But we ES see it very differently. Environmental staff at transportation agencies is deeply involved in environmental conservation. Our job is to ensure the development and maintenance of roads in an environmentally sound manner. Much of this work is straightforward, but also wide-ranging: it involves obtaining federal and state wetlands and stormwater permits, working with designers to ensure that road projects avoid sensitive wildlife habitat, minimizing and mitigating environmental impacts to streams, wetlands, and endangered species, and managing invasive species. (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/03/2014 - Here’s a quick glimpse of what Climate Change may look like in New York State in the near future. Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change in New York On Thursday, April 10th, I was given the opportunity to go to a seminar at the University at Buffalo entitled “Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change in New York.” I am very passionate about the environment as well as climate change and was hoping this seminar would be a good learning experience. The presentation covered a ton of fascinating “dark green” information, so I will do my best to summarize. Professor Arthur DeGaetano from Cornell University started his presentation by stating that a lot of his information and charts had come from the United States National Climate Assessment among other similar studies. With a viewpoint specifically on the Northeast, it was clear that the average annual temperature is increasing. Although we have seen warming across all of the major seasons, the biggest anomaly is seen in winter, which has seen double the temperature increase of the other seasons. However, when looking at the number of heat waves (stretches of above average heat) the data was inconclusive. With that being said, the amount of cold waves is clearly decreasing according to the graphs he presented. In regard to precipitation, the data showed an average increase of 0.39 inches every 10 years with most of it coming down in autumn. But that doesn’t mean we have a couple extra rainy days every year. He explained that the atmosphere is soaking up more water like a sponge and is releasing large amounts of precipitation less frequently. Therefore, we actually have fewer days with precipitation, but on the days it does precipitate we see extreme cases of heavy precipitation. (May 5, 2014) GrowWNY [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/02/2014 - Oh sure it makes perfect sense: “Best thing for environment is to leave wastebeds where they are”. Are you kidding, our environment—all the little plants and animals and stuff too tiny to identify—love all the manmade toxins we dump into our life support system.  Sure, just bury it and it will never come back when frequent flooding occurs, or Climate Change causes extreme weather.  Don’t worry your pretty little heads, there are never any proven instances when you dump industrial crap into a hole and then place things like schools on top (Love Canal, that must have been an anomaly) where it does anybody a bit of harm.  Rather than digging up all this toxic crap and endangering everyone, (not to mention the horrendous costs of all that) we should just learn to love it. Just bury it, forget about it. Humans, ya gotta love it. Onondaga County: Best thing for environment is to leave wastebeds where they are Syracuse, N.Y. -- Trying to remove millions of cubic yards of old industrial wastebeds along Onondaga Lake would do more environmental harm than good, says a top Onondaga County official. Deputy County Executive Matt Millea said it's better for people and the environment to cover over the wastebeds on the western shore where the county wants to build an amphitheater. "It's not necessarily good for the environment in general to simply take this material and make it a problem elsewhere," Millea said. "All of the science shows it's not harmful to the environment to leave it where it is and that a proper cover will ensure full protection of human health and the environment." (June 28, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 7/02/2014 - I wouldn’t necessarily take the word of a former U.S. Treasury Secretary on Climate Change, but I’d listen to his warnings on economic threats.  However the Climate Change denialists want to get their head around Climate Change, the new report “Risky Business” will not be so hard to ignore, as economist tend to focus on the money trail. And the money trail is leading us into an abyss. Fmr. U.S. Treasury Secy. Rubin on climate change: “The risk here is catastrophic” CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with the former U.S. Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, Henry Paulson, and the former U.S. Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin.  Paulson and Rubin speak with Fareed about their new report on the future of our environment if Americans do not start taking preventative measures against climate change, the cost of inaction, and the limitations to progress posed by Washington. Additionally, Paulson and Rubin also speak with Fareed about the U.S. fiscal outlook and economic recovery. (July 29, 2014) CNN [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/02/2014 - I know, this methane bomb thing is going to freak out more people and Climate Change denialists will go ballistic. But what are you going to do? More CO2 spewed into our life support’s atmosphere is the fuse to more accelerated consequences of Climate Change, like the release of the more potent GHG methane. Do you get more frighten, more disdainful, or more active? Your grandchildren will want to know. The Giant Methane Monster Lurking There's something lurking deep under the frozen Arctic Ocean, and if it gets released, it could spell disaster for our planet. That something is methane. Methane is one of the strongest of the natural greenhouse gases, about 80 times more potent than CO2, and while it may not get as much attention as its cousin CO2, it certainly can do as much, if not more, damage to our planet. That's because methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and there are trillions of tons of it embedded in a kind of ice slurry called methane hydrate or methane clathrate crystals in the Arctic and in the seas around the continental shelves all around the world. (July 1, 2014) Truthout [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/02/2014 - “…fundamentally changing the composition of the ocean…"with plastics ain’t the half of it. Acidification, over fishing, and Climate Change all have to be solved at the same time and more…  What if we could model all the havoc we are having on our planet--maybe a very large holographic sphere with software to tease out issues like plastics in our waters, or warming of the waters, or all of the effects together so that the public can visualize the massive assault we have made on our life support system since pre-Columbian days? I wonder if such a model would bring to our senses a sense of urgency for the system that keeps us alive. Humm…. Plastic Debris Widespread On Ocean Surface, Study Finds NEW YORK (AP) — Plastic junk is floating widely on the world's oceans, but there's less of it than expected, a study says. Such ocean pollution has drawn attention in recent years because of its potential harm to fish and other wildlife. The new work drew on results from an around-the-world cruise by a research ship that towed a mesh net at 141 sites, as well as other studies. Researchers estimated the total amount of floating plastic debris in open ocean at 7,000 to 35,000 tons. Andres Cozar of the University of Cadiz in Spain, an author of the study, said that's a lot less than the 1 million tons he had extrapolated from data reaching back to the 1970s. (June 30, 2014) The Huffington Post [more on Water Quality in our area] 

  • 7/02/2014 - Feedback matters: When you can see that regulations on air quality work, decision makers will be compelled to act. And the public will support those actions. One of the problems with understanding the gravity of our environmental issues is our inability at times to see, hear, touch, or ‘sense’ them in the way we evolved to sense historic dangers. We are good at detecting lions; not so good at long term life support system threats like the loss of air quality and Climate Change. Satellite images, like those below, can give us the kind of feedback we need on our environment to monitor it and check our behavior.  The public should support massive efforts to monitor the health of our life support system so we can make the decisions that will make it sustainable. New NASA Images Highlight U.S. Air Quality Improvement Anyone living in a major U.S. city for the past decade may have noticed a change in the air. The change is apparent in new NASA satellite images unveiled this week that demonstrate the reduction of air pollution across the country. After ten years in orbit, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite has been in orbit sufficiently long to show that people in major U.S. cities are breathing less nitrogen dioxide – a yellow-brown gas that can cause respiratory problems. (June 26, 2014) NASA [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 7/01/2014 - Forget sport scores this is The score: the world reached 401.88ppm of CO2 in May. It’s held over 400ppm for 3 months.  If you have been paying attention to Climate Change (and shame on any adult who isn’t), you know that it is a very complicated worldwide crisis. It involves the disruption of societies, environment, economics and everything else going on, potentially collapsing all of them.  But on one level, Climate Change is intractably simple: the carbon dioxide count in our atmosphere.  If what you’re doing is not going to result in the lowering of CO2 in our atmosphere, you’re part of the problem. New CO2 Milestone: 3 Months Above 400 PPM April fell first. It lasted through May. Now June will be the third month in a row with average carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million. Atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas, which helps drive global warming, haven’t been this high in somewhere between 800,000 and 15 million years. And while the 400 ppm mark is somewhat symbolic (as the increase in warming between 399 ppm and 400 ppm is small), it serves to show how much carbon dioxide has been put into the atmosphere since preindustrial times, when concentrations were around 280 ppm. The increase in this and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has warmed Earth’s average temperature by 1.6°F since the beginning of the 20th century. World leaders agreed at a UN summit in 2009 to limit warming to 3.6°F, but prominent climate scientists like James Hansen have said that amount of warming will still be too much. (June 30, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/01/2014 - To be fair, the NYS Court of Appeals ruling on Home Rule on Fracking might be “countercurrent to the energy revolution happening in other states.” But that is not a bad thing. The ‘revolution’, more like a Fracking bullying craze by the oil and gas industries to force municipalities and states to drill for more fossil fuels in a time of Climate Change, is insane.  A real revolution would be to move away from historic fossil fuels for energy, which have warmed up the atmosphere to new levels, and go for renewable energy (wind and solar) and make them work.  Energy options in New York State in the light of Climate Change should have not been focused on Fracking in the first place, but it was probably too alluring for the media to hype the Fracking controversy than make a serious investigation of energy option in a time of Climate Change.  There is another revolution that needs to happen: The media needs to change to a changing, warming world, and learn to prioritize accordingly. Towns elated, gas industry dismayed by fracking ruling A landmark Court of Appeals ruling that could have major implications on the future of fracking in New York is either an "inspiration" or a "nail in the coffin," depending on your perspective. The state's top court on Monday ruled 5-2 in favor of a pair of towns that had used local zoning ordinances to ban fracking and gas-drilling in their borders. The ruling means the town bans can stand, and likely will serve as a statewide precedent if high-volume fracking moves forward in New York. Mary Ann Sumner, town supervisor of Dryden, Tompkins County, was elated with the decision. Dryden was first sued over its ban in 2011, as was the town of Middlefield, Otsego County. She said she hopes the ruling spurs other town boards to act -- both in New York and beyond. “Heavy industry has never been allowed in our small farming town and three years ago, we decided that fracking was no exception," Sumner said in a statement. "The oil and gas industry tried to bully us into backing down, but we took our fight all the way to New York’s highest court. And today we won.” (June 30, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/01/2014 - Drill down (not across) on how the historic New York Court of Appeals’ decision favoring Home Rule, not Fracking happened. New York Court of Appeals Dryden Middlefield Home Rule Videos ! Home Rule, a municipality’s legal right to apply its zoning laws to oil and gas wells, was defended Tuesday in New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. The judges grilled both sides, but left the distinct impression that, if the Legislature wants to specifically preclude a municipality from applying land use laws to oil and gas drilling, the Legislature will need to expressly prohibit it. Because the statute in question clearly does not.  The trial courts and the state appellate court, a total of eight justices, including the judges in Avon and Binghamton that referred to Dryden, have found that zoning bans did not “seek to regulate the details or procedure of” gas drillers, but “simply establishes permissible and prohibited uses of land” within towns. Conspicuous in their absence: The DEC. The plaintiffs are contending that the state, in the guise of the Department of Environmental Conservation, has the right to pre-empt local land use laws. But the DEC evidently does not agree – or they would have joined this action against the towns in some form –  as co-plaintiffs, intervenors or, at the least, filed an amicus brief – but they refrained from doing so. The reason the DEC refrained from becoming involved is straightforward: the towns are not regulating the activity, that’s the DEC’s job. They towns are prohibiting the activity outright under their land use laws, that’s the town’s prerogative. The DEC understands the distinction and chose not to file an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiffs. None of the mainstream press – except the Oneonta Daily Star and Capital Pro –  have noticed the DEC’s absence in this case: The dog that didn’t bark. (June 30, 2014) No Fracking Way [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/01,2014 - So you’re saying that the new Fracking equipment leaks more methane (super GHG) than the old equipment? Wrong trajectory. Study Digs Deep on Shale Gas Wells, Methane Leaks Defects in fracked oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania are leading to methane leaks in shale wells throughout the state — greenhouse gas emissions that could exacerbate climate change, according to a Cornell University study published Monday. The study, conducted by a team led by Cornell environmental engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea, analyzed more than 75,000 publicly available state environmental compliance records for about 41,000 oil and gas wells that had been drilled between 2000 and 2012 across Pennsylvania, where the energy industry has been producing natural gas from the Marcellus shale. (June 30, 2014) Climate Central [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/01/2014 - Over 170 New York State communities have said NO! to Fracking and now it looks like those NO!’s will stick. New York Towns Can Prohibit Fracking, State’s Top Court Rules In a decision with far-reaching implications for the future of natural gas drilling in New York State, its highest court ruled on Monday that towns can use zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing, the controversial extraction method known as fracking. Since the issue arose about six years ago, there has been a statewide moratorium on fracking, and the State Health Department is currently studying its potential health effects. But in recent years some towns, worried that the state would eventually allow the practice, have taken matters into their own hands by banning fracking within their borders. Among them, two towns — Dryden, in Tompkins County, and Middlefield, in Otsego County — amended their zoning laws in 2011 to prohibit fracking, on the basis that it would threaten the health, environment and character of the communities. (June 30, 2014) New York Times [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/30/2014 - Pop Quiz: What’s the most important thing in your life? Only ten choices, only take you a second. 1. God 2. your spouse 3. your kids 4.politics 5.  your car and house 6. your pet 7. lowering green house gases 8. your favorite sports team 9.your community 10. your principles If you didn’t choose #7, lowering green house gases, you don’t get Climate Change.

  • 6/30/2014 - If all Rochester area environmental groups took a moment to send me their events, more folks would come.  The Rochester Butterfly Club, for example, sends me a quick Who, What, Where, When, Why blurb about their events for the month and I post them quickly—as, since 1998, no charge.  What’s the point of having an environmental meeting or program if nobody shows up? ENVIRONMENTAL CALENDAR RochesterEnvironment.com The most complete Environmental Calendar for the Rochester, NY area 

  • 6/30/2014 - Think Finger Lakes, drinking water, and storing fracked gases (methane, butane, propane) in abandoned salt mines.  Think about Sandra Steingraber’s plea to come and rally to save Seneca Lake from LPG storage. If you don’t know who Sandra Steingraber is, please watch this incredible film about this incredible hero. Living Downstream Please listen: “Dear friends,  The gas industry plan to import and store fracked gases (methane, butane, propane) in abandoned salt mines along the shores of Seneca Lake might sound incredulous, but it is real and it is gaining momentum.  So is the fight against it. Seneca Lake is a source of drinking water for 100,000 people.  It’s also the Lake Trout capital of the world, and the vast amount of water that it holds creates its own microclimate—which, in turn, creates the ecological conditions that make our state’s $3 billion wine industry possible.  Thus, we ALL have a stake in preventing I the lake's transformation into a gas station outfitted with flare stacks, compressor stations, pipelines, and brine pits, and serviced by gas trains and fleets and fleets of trucks hauling explosive materials. And, thus, we Finger Lakes residents invite all New Yorkers to join us in Watkins Glen on Monday July 14 for a regional rally to save Seneca Lake from LPG storage.  We will soon share carpool sign-up plans, so stay tuned. Or, for those who can, consider spending a long weekend fishing, sailing, and wine-tasting in the Finger Lakes…and close it out with act of solidarity.  Here follow more details, along with an op-ed commentary by Margie Rodgers and me, published in today’s Ithaca Journal and Elmira Star Gazette.  (On-line comments and letters to the editor are always a good idea.) yours, Sandra” Regional Rally: Save Seneca Lake from LPG Storage! "Rally to Repeal the Resolution! Monday, July 14 Rally begins at 5 p.m. at the Village Marina on the shores of Seneca Lake Bring your own sign or plenty will be provided! Let’s tell the Legislature DON’T INDUSTRIALIZE SENECA LAKE! Bring your friends! Share widely! Let your presence make a statement. Visit the facebook event for more info and to share! " The Seen

  • 6/30/2014 - This is my favorite climate scientists’ bugbear about the state of the climate change debate: failing to get the whole picture. “The greatest cause for sorrow is the widespread inability of the public discussion to recognise the whole picture. Much of the political discourse reduces the complexities of climate change to political football (“axe the tax”); much media reporting sees only the hook to today’s passing story; many interest groups want to use climate change to proselytise for their particular get-out-of-jail free card (nuclear power, carbon farming). All of this misses or trivialises the real, systemic significance of climate change: that humankind is encountering the finitude of our planet, confronting the need to share and protect our endowment from nature, and realising that much will have to change to make this possible. What really annoys scientists about the state of the climate change debate? From misinformed politicians who should 'shut up', to a failure of large parts of society to grasp reality, climate scientists reveal their bugbears “Don’t shoot the messenger,” so the saying goes. But what if that message warns we might want to rethink that whole fossil fuel burning thing pretty quick because it could seriously alter civilization and the natural world for centuries to come, and not in a good way? Time to get the bullets out and start firing, obviously. Climate scientists have been trying to dodge, catch or deflect those bullets for decades. They are now all too used to being shot at, kicked and maligned as their findings are misunderstood, misrepresented, trivialised or booted around like footballs between politicians and other warring ideological factions and self-interested industry groups. But if they had to pick one thing, what is it that really gets them annoyed? The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/30/2014 - I’m puzzled, why would we assume our water is safe to drink and our air fit to breathe if “Tens of thousands of chemicals have not been reviewed by the EPA”?  (See below) Just recently we learned that in our neck of the woods, there are a lot of toxic chemicals in our waters, but little note of this in the local media: “Eastman Kodak Co. was the top discharging facility (weighted by toxicity concentration) in all of New York State, dumping 12,151 pounds of toxic pollution into the Lower Genesee River.” Toxic Chemicals Found in New York Waterways So, how does the thinking go? If we don’t know if our air and water contain lots of dangerous toxins because we have not actively checked as to whether toxic substances released into our environment are doing any harm to plants, wildlife, and us, then these substances aren’t doing any harm? Maybe we are thinking that if you walk out of your house and don’t immediately drop dead of air pollution, there aren’t any air quality issues?  This is very delusional thinking, but very nice for the industries spewing out toxins into our life support system. Why 28 years have passed since the EPA’s last chemical risk review This week, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) hit a major milestone that some people, including leaders at the agency itself, think shouldn’t be celebrated. On Wednesday, the agency released a final risk assessment for trichloroethylene (TCE), an industrial solvent used by artists, car mechanics, dry cleaners and others. The EPA’s in-depth report, released after a two-year analysis, shows that long-term exposure to TCE can cause cancer and other health issues, and recommends that workers take serious precautions if they must use TCE. But in its press release, the EPA acknowledged there was something wrong — not with the risk assessment itself — but with its timeline: It was the first final risk assessment for a chemical issued by the EPA since 1986. “The American public shouldn’t have to wait 28 years between ... chemical risk assessments,” wrote Jim Jones, EPA assistant administrator of chemical safety and pollution prevention, in a blog post. “As the old adage goes, you have to walk before you can run.” (June 27, 2014) Aljazeera America [more Water Quality and Air Quality in our area]  

  • 6/30/2014 - Just found someone living under a rock and they need to know all about Climate Change in under 45 min? This episode of Cosmos will do: Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey The World Set Free.

  • 6/30/2014 - So I guess fears of Albany's river port emerging as a major hub for rail and barge shipments of crude oil, were well founded.  BTW: isn’t some of that stuff coming through our communities?  Check: Infrastructure: TRANSPORTING FOSSIL FUELS BY RAIL by R-Cause. Oil spill at Albany port contained by crews ALBANY — Environmental clean-up crews have responded to an oil spill at the Port of Albany after 100 gallons of oil spilled out of a rail car. Richard Hendrick, general manager at the port, said the spill was contained by Sunday afternoon and that no oil went into the Hudson River. (June 29, 2014) Poughkeepsie Journal

  • 6/28/2014 - Local opposition to lake-level plan highlights the intractability of addressing Climate Change without compensating victims.  When folks, like shoreline property owners, are disproportionally affected by new regulations that attempt to address Climate Change and other environmental issues by making adjustments to environmental regulations, like fixing a lake-level, then something should be done to compensate the shoreline property owners—not abolish measures to address Climate Change.  The answer is not to disproportionally get the ear of our local officials to roll back decisions that would affect all of us.  Shoreline property owners have a unique place (a great privilege) in our environment –they ‘own’ the ring, the borders, around our waters.  They are the gatekeepers to OUR waters. The placement of wind turbines and the setting of lake-levels should not be decided by a relative few whose self-interests out rank the interests of our environment, our life support system.  Compensating shoreline property owners in some way, maybe a tax reduction or something, might be the way to fix what will be a continual issue of trying to address big issues related to our environment and a disproportionate impact of a few who can get media attention and an unfair hearing by our representatives. Officials join opposition to lake-level plan There's a growing chorus of elected officials raising their voices in opposition to a plan for new guidelines to govern the water levels of Lake Ontario. This week, state Sen. Joseph E. Robach, R-Greece, wrote Secretary of State John Kerry, urging that the United States refuse to sign on to the proposal issued earlier this month by the International Joint Commission, the U.S.-Canadian agency that oversees the lake. June 17: Shoreline residents: Lake plan ignores concerns The new regulatory plan would replace 50-year-old directives that have artificially kept the lake's levels within a narrow band of highs and lows that environmentalists and commission members say has devastated the lake's coastal wetlands. The lake has been stabilized via dams along the St. Lawrence since the 1950s. (June 27, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes in our area]  

  • 6/28/2014 - Update on Climate Change (not good news) and ‘People’s Climate March’ in Sept, by McKibben (good news). Few writers can explain the necessity of addressing and mitigating Climate Change like Bill McKibben and he’s been doing it a long time.  Be nice if folks would start listening to Bill more and the loony climate deniers less. The deniers have had decades to make their point and they have lost and now they need to move out of our way.  Climate: Will We Lose the Endgame?  We may be entering the high-stakes endgame on climate change. The pieces—technological and perhaps political—are finally in place for rapid, powerful action to shift us off of fossil fuel. Unfortunately, the players may well decide instead to simply move pawns back and forth for another couple of decades, which would be fatal. Even more unfortunately, the natural world is daily making it more clear that the clock ticks down faster than we feared. The whole game is very nearly in check. (July 10, 2014) New York Review of Books

  • 6/28/2014 - This bill that “requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to consider the effects of climate change and extreme weather events when allocating monies or issuing permits” isn’t just a victory, it’s a no-brainer.  Who in their right mind would have voted against addressing Climate Change and making it a part of how we plan our future? State lawmakers give green light to  Community Risk & Resiliency Act ALBANY, N.Y. - Environmental organizations hailed today's passage of the Community Risk and Resiliency Act (A.6558-B-/S.6617-B) in the New York State Assembly and Senate as an important step in preparing the Empire State for a changing climate. This bill was one of NYLCV's top legislative priorities of the year.  The Community Risk and Resiliency Act requires the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) to consider the effects of climate change and extreme weather events when allocating monies or issuing permits. The legislation calls on state agencies to create model local laws concerning climate change risks to aid New York municipalities in preparing for extreme weather events, and also requires DEC to adopt regulations establishing science-based sea level rise projects by 2016. The measure was approved in both houses by wide margins, underscoring its strong and bipartisan support among lawmakers across the state. (June 19, 2014) New York League of Conservation Voters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/28/2014 - Major waterways in New York State, including lower Genesee River, heavily polluted by industrial toxic waste.  Let’s face it; we’ve got more problems with our water quality in our region than raw sewage from sporadic sewer overflows.  Why isn’t the local media addressing this issue? Read “Wasting our Waterways. TOXIC INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION AND RESTORING THE PROMISE OF THE CLEAN WATER ACT” Released by: Environment New York Research and Policy Center” Toxic Chemicals Found in New York Waterways New York, NY—Industrial facilities dumped 5,303,190 pounds of toxic chemicals into New York’s waterways in 2012 making New York’s waterways the 15th worst in the nation, according to a new report by Environment New York Research & Policy Center. The “Wasting Our Waters” report comes as the Environmental Protection Agency considers a new rule to restore Clean Water Act protections to thousands of waterways in New York and across the nation. "New York's waterways should be clean -- for swimming, drinking, and supporting wildlife," said Heather Leibowitz, the Director of Environment New York. "But too often, our waters have become a dumping ground for polluters. The first step to curb this tide of toxic pollution is to restore Clean Water Act protections to all our waterways." Environment New York Research & Policy Center’s report on toxic pollutants discharged into America’s waters is based on data reported by polluting facilities to the EPA’s Toxics Release Inventory for 2012, the most recent data available. (June 19, 2014) Environment New York [more on Water Quality and Genesee River in our area]

  • 6/27/2014 - What kills more birds that wind turbines (573,000)? Windows (1 billion) and cats (3.7 billion) by far. But because Climate Change is a political issue in the minds of too many, bird kills get connected with renewable energy. If we really care about birds why don’t we keep our cats inside and do something about our windows before we attack Wind Power using the bird-kill argument? If we plan to do anything about Climate Change on a level that will matter, we have to have Wind Power and, of course, anything that can be done to protect birds from wind turbines should be done.  But let’s get this argument in perspective. Why up to 1 billion birds crash into windows annually -- and how you can help reduce that Inside the all-glass atrium of the Syracuse City Hall Commons this morning, a bird expert said up to 1 billion birds a year die by crashing into all-glass atriums - and building glass in general. "They are running a gauntlet of glass wherever they go," said Christine Sheppard, theAmerican Bird Conservancy's bird collisions campaign manager. (Yes, that's her real title.) The big problem is birds can't see glass. Birds have eyes on the sides of their heads and are busy scanning for food and predators. "They're not necessarily looking where they're going all the time," Sheppard said. Sheppard explained to the monthly meeting of FOCUS Syracuse why birds crash into glass and what homeowners and architects can do to make buildings safer for birds. (June 20, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Wildlife and Wind Power in our area]

  • 6/27/2014 - NRDC’s “Testing the Waters” also focuses on “Swimming in the Great Lakes”, which is what Rochesterians tend to do. Read the “Swimming in the Great Lakes” section of the report and find out the challenges we face and how Climate Change will affect (and probably already is) the future of swimming in our area.  And, just to be thorough, remember this water quality thing in our area isn’t just about us; the Great Lakes waters need to be part of the thriving ecosystem—the least of which is us having fun swimming.  If the waters get really bad, folks will just go to their swimming pools, if they think water quality in the Great Lakes is just about swimming.  

  • 6/27/2014 - Of course, for our U.S. Eastern Ecosystems to sequester and counter GHGs contributing to Climate Change these ecosystems have to stay, more or less, intact—which is the rub.  We’ve already lost most of our wetlands in the Eastern US, and development threatens more and more ecosystems.  So, while this report is seems to be comforting, we must remember that our global GHGs are rising in spite of this and we haven’t slowed down development, which destroys our ecosystems, much at all.  Point: If we want our ecosystems to help with Climate Change we are going to have to protect them. Carbon Storage in U.S. Eastern Ecosystems Helps Counter Greenhouse Gas Emissions Contributing to Climate Change Interior Releases Report on Anniversary of President’s Climate Action Plan; New Visualization Tool Helps Land Managers Make Smart, Informed Landscape-Level Decisions WASHINGTON, D.C. – On the one-year anniversary of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan, Secretary of the Interior Sally Jewell today released a new report showing that forests, wetlands and farms in the eastern United States naturally store 300 million tons of carbon a year (1,100 million tons of CO2equivalent), which is nearly 15 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions EPA estimates the country emits each year or an amount that exceeds and offsets yearly U.S. car emissions.  In conjunction with the national assessment, today USGS also released a new web tool, which allows users to see the land and water carbon storage and change in their ecosystems between 2005 and 2050 in the lower 48 states.  This tool was called for in the President’s Climate Action Plan.   “Today we are taking another step forward in our ongoing effort to bring sound science to bear as we seek to tackle a central challenge of the 21st century – a changing climate,” said Secretary Jewell.  “This landmark study by the U.S. Geological Survey provides yet another reason for being good stewards of our natural landscapes, as ecosystems play a critical role in removing harmful carbon dioxide from the atmosphere that contributes to climate change.” (June 25, 2014)  U.S. Geological Survey [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/26/2014 - Climate Change causing air stagnation events is not good.  Think ‘Great Smog’ and ponder whether this is the future we should bequeath our children. “The Great Smog of '52 or Big Smoke[1] was a severe air-pollution event that affected London during December 1952. A period of cold weather, combined with an anticyclone and windless conditions, collected airborne pollutants mostly from the use of coal to form a thick layer of smog over the city. It lasted from Friday 5 to Tuesday 9 December 1952, and then dispersed quickly after a change of weather. Although it caused major disruption due to the effect on visibility, and even penetrated indoor areas, it was not thought to be a significant event at the time, with London having experienced many smog events in the past, so-called "pea soupers". Government medical reports in the following weeks estimated that up until 8 December 4,000 people had died prematurely and 100,000 more were made ill because of the smog's effects on the human respiratory tract. More recent research suggests that the total number of fatalities was considerably greater, at about 12,000.[2]” Wikipedia | Climate change will concentrate deadly air pollution, study says  Climate change-related shifts to weather patterns are poised to worsen air quality around the world, according to a new study led by a Stanford University researcher. The research team responsible for the study used 15 global climate models to track the number and duration of atmospheric stagnation events and predict their future incidence. Atmospheric stagnation is a weather phenomenon that occurs at the convergence of light winds, a stable lower atmosphere, and low precipitation. Stagnation magnifies the effects of pollutants like soot, dust, and ozone by holding them in place—resulting in deadly consequences for nearby communities. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution already causes 7 million premature deaths each year, representing one in eight total global deaths. Excessive air pollution is linked to a slew of maladies including heart disease, stroke, respiratory illnesses, and lung cancer. Even in face of these striking numbers, the report claims that climate change could make the effects of air pollution even worse. (June 25, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Air Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2014 - Studies on Climate Change and altruism boil down to this: Don’t help your grandchildren and you don’t get any great, great, grandchildren.  Duh.  I’m thinking that it would be more productive if studies found out how to convince folks that the market should not be their moral system.  Another, Duh!: “So some kind of regulation is really essential — you can’t just leave things to the free market and hope that it will work out.” And that’s because the free market gave us Climate Change. What It Takes To Cooperate With Future Generations On Climate Change Simply cooperating in everyday life is hard enough, but cooperating with future generations is a whole other challenge — and one that makes addressing climate change so difficult. Why people are willing, or unwilling, to make present day sacrifices for future generations is the topic of a new study called “Cooperating With The Future” from researchers at Harvard and Yale. Published Wednesday in the journal Nature, the study looks at how people weigh decisions that are dependent on the continued help of subsequent generations, such as climate change and resource management. “There has been a great deal of work on how people cooperate with those they see every day — their colleagues or friends,” Martin Nowak, director of the Program for Evolutionary Dynamics at Harvard, said in a statement. “But an open question is how people cooperate with future generations. How do you make altruistic decisions today that benefit people tomorrow?” (June 26, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/26/2014 - NYS might not pass bill “that would require state-funded projects to factor in climate change” because it might piss off some business groups.  This is interesting, because nothing is more critical than making sure projects and planning of all types (not just state-funded projects) must factor in Climate Change—this component is in every freaking climate study you read.  Maybe these “business groups” just haven’t read “RISKY BUSINESS: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States” Legislature sends climate change bill to Cuomo A bill passed by both houses of the Legislature on Thursday would require state-funded projects to factor in climate change. The Community Risk Reduction and Resiliency Act, sponsored by Senator Diane Savino and Assemblyman Robert Sweeney, requires the state to account for the effects of climate change and extreme weather events. It had a wide range of support among business and environmental groups. The bill, which first proposed mitigation of climate change, was amended from an earlier draft, which was opposed business groups because it included measures that could have cost businesses, such as carbon pollution control. Under an amended version of the bill, projects are now required to account for sea-level rise, storm surges and flooding during the application and review process. (June 19, 2014) Capital [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/26/2015 - This is what the climate denying, Big Government haters don’t get: They’re causing government to get bigger! HENRY M. PAULSON Jr., spells it out as only a Republican economist can, who still wants their party to be viable in the coming years: “Some members of my political party worry that pricing carbon is a “big government” intervention. In fact, it will reduce the role of government, which, on our present course, increasingly will be called on to help communities and regions affected by climate-related disasters like floods, drought-related crop failures and extreme weather like tornadoes, hurricanes and other violent storms. We’ll all be paying those costs. Not once, but many times over.” Also, if the free market fundamentalists cannot even find it in their hearts to patch up their crazy economic system with a ‘carbon tax’ to offset their historical distain (negative externality, where they don’t have to pay for polluting our commons ((our air and water))) for our environment (our life support system), then we must give up all hope to reason with them. The Coming Climate Crash Lessons for Climate Change in the 2008 Recession | THERE is a time for weighing evidence and a time for acting. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned throughout my work in finance, government and conservation, it is to act before problems become too big to manage. For too many years, we failed to rein in the excesses building up in the nation’s financial markets. When the credit bubble burst in 2008, the damage was devastating. Millions suffered. Many still do. We’re making the same mistake today with climate change. We’re staring down a climate bubble that poses enormous risks to both our environmentand economy. The warning signs are clear and growing more urgent as the risks go unchecked. This is a crisis we can’t afford to ignore. I feel as if I’m watching as we fly in slow motion on a collision course toward a giant mountain. We can see the crash coming, and yet we’re sitting on our hands rather than altering course. (June 21, 2014) New York Times {more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 6/26/2014 - Who doesn’t love to watch the spectacular frenzy of wildly jumping invasive species fish making their way to our Great Lakes? But are we doing enough to stop this invasive species coming and potentially disrupting the greatest fresh water system in the world? Let me phrase this question another way: Is our government, because stopping invasive species is not something the private sector can do (though they’d love to make money off fishing for Asian Carp), doing enough to prevent a species that could change the entire environmental and economic character of the Great Lakes? BTW: For those who think small government is best, let them climb on to an Asian Carp and ride them back to Japan. Asian Carp IPM: Demonstration Project on the Illinois River (Trailer) Published on Jun 24, 2014 USGS and partners conducted an integrated pest management project on the Illinois River to determine the effectiveness of combining multiple tools in limiting populations of Asian carp. (Trailer version). Special Consideration: 1- Research partners - Southern Illinois University and Illinois Department of Natural Resources have provided images of field work for use in this video. 2- Free images have been used from websites of the following agencies: USDA Forest Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and Great Lakes Fishery Commission. (June 24, 2014) U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) [more in Invasive Species in our area]

  • 6/26/2014 - Got ideas on who should get a local environmental award in our region? Make a nomination for this year’s’ Environmental Excellence Awards’ by the Center – from Center for Environmental Initiatives"The Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) plans to present several Environmental Excellence Awards at its 40th Annual Community Salute to the Environment on September 30, 2014. Please help us recognize our region’s environmental leaders by making a nomination now. The process is easy, just use the forms provided on our website. Nominations are due by July 31, 2014, so please do not delay. See our website for more information about the Community Salute including registration and sponsorship opportunities. This year's featured topic: The Genesee River - Its Past, Present and Future. "

  • 6/26/2014 - If our beaches are at a state where we have to check every day before we swim, what about challenges from Climate Change? We’ve become so inured to ‘issues’ with our beach water quality from storm overflows and raw sewage discharges that we just check with our beach monitors (media, apps, lifeguards). This seems normal. But it isn’t.  It’s what been happening over a series of years where we haven’t stopped sewage discharges, industrial pollutants, and blue-green algae outbreaks (which are occurring more often because of Climate Change).  So we think it’s normal to check every day before we take our kids to swim to make sure they can swim safely, information built on shaky ground—as beach water quality standards are complicated, if not delusional.  Our beaches should be continually safe to swim in and because more extreme weather that is coming with Climate Change, our beach water should be set to a very high standard.  Take Action: Protect clean water. Tell the EPA and the Corps you support restoring Clean Water Act safeguards for critical streams and wetlands. Take heed from the major climate plan in our state about beaches: “While speculative, if the interval between storms did increase in the future, this could result in a decreased summer frequency of acute pollution events, such as those that cause beaches near urban areas to close due to high pathogen levels.” (Page 95, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) Testing the Waters 2014A Guide to Water Quality at Vacation Beaches A good trip to the beach promises sun, surf, and relaxation. Visitors should expect to leave sandy and smiling—but not feeling ill. Unfortunately, the water at your local beach might be contaminated by human or animal waste, putting your health at risk: bacteria, viruses, and other pathogens in that waste can make exposed swimmers sick. What causes this contamination? Across the country, the largest known contributor to beach closings or health advisory days has historically been stormwater pollution. Untreated sewage spills and overflows are also frequently to blame. This report presents information on water quality at more than 3,000 U.S. beaches along the shores of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, the Gulf of Mexico, and the Great Lakes. Explore the interactive map below to learn about beaches in your community. You can also click here to learn about superstar beaches—popular beaches that routinely have had low bacterial levels. (June 2014) National Resources Defense Council  (More on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/25/2014 - I applaud Rochester’s plans to become “a world-class bicycling community” but painting the streets is not enough. The public needs to be educated what the paint on the roads for bicycling means.  The media needs to become a part of the community and continually remind folks that cars and bicycles are allowed on our streets and what the laws are. Motorists need to watch out for pedestrians and bicyclist. We have a pretty lousy record of whacking bicyclist and pedestrians in our area [ Watchdog: Making roads safe for the unprotected , June 15, 2014, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle]. Bicyclists need to be predictable and follow the laws, so motorist can figure what the hell their next move will be.  Bicyclist need to learn to ride in the streets and get off the sidewalks where they are a danger to pedestrians. The City of Rochester needs to connect the dots between active transportation (walking and bicycling) as their serious attempt to adapt to Climate Change.  But what I really wanted to talk about was my bike trip yesterday that included biking a stretch between the intersection of Monroe Ave. and Clover Street and the entrance to the canal—about a mile. There’s a big shoulder on both sides of Clovers Street for this section so this rant isn’t about engineering, or about vehicles dismissing an old bicyclist.  It’s about everybody and their mother using this shoulder for every conceivable reason—parking cars, parking lawn debris, parking lawn care equipment, construction crews heedless of bicyclists, service crews using shoulders for parking, and you-name-it.  Here’s the thing. You cannot just paint the streets with big shoulders and bike lanes if you don’t enforce the rules.  If you are going to say that our region wants to be a world-class bicycling community, you’ve got to prove it. I don’t know who ‘owns’ this stretch of Clover Street—Pittsford, Brighton, Monroe County, Rochester, whatever—but it’s not the point.  The point is that if we are really serious about making active transportation safe and doable in this region we’ve got to get serious and make sure pedestrians and bicycling can get around all the freaking construction going on and start handing out tickets to anyone who using bike lanes for piling lawn garbage.  Sorry, I didn’t mean to be hurtful, but what’s the point of creating a bike lane if nobody knows what they are and everyone just parks all their crap on them?  Maybe if the local reporters biked to work, they’d get the message they should be giving the public.   

  • 6/25/2014- I looked through Rochester NY local news and found nothing on “The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States” [http://riskybusiness.org/]You’d think a smart city like Rochester would get hip with Climate Change and how that might crush us economically if we don’t get our heads out of the sand. But ‘Climate Silence’ seems to the be the word around here and maybe our media thinks if they keep it all hush hush, even when major reports come out about the need to plan, it will just freaking go away. I’m thinking, Climate Change will not go away, not even if the media suppresses the truth.

  • 6/25/2014 - Oh no, I understand completely: Can’t imagine why doubling nuclear waste near Great Lake might be a problem at all. What could be a better nuclear waste dump than plopping it right next to the largest fresh water system in the world that serves millions of folks?  What could possibly go wrong? It sounds completely sensible to me: we never hear of problems with nuclear power.  Doubling nuclear waste site won’t boost risk, says safety regulator Doubling the size of a proposed nuclear waste site near Kincardine won’t harm the environment, say staff of Canada's nuclear safety regulator Doubling the size of a proposed nuclear waste site near Kincardine is not likely to harm the environment, says staff of Canada’s nuclear safety regulator. Hearings are already under way before a federal review panel on a proposal by Ontario Power Generation to excavate a disposal site for 200,000 cubic metres of low- and intermediate-level nuclear waste near Kincardine. In material filed with the review panel, staff of the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission says they see little change to the impact of the project despite the doubling in size. In the jargon of the nuclear industry, the project is referred to as a “deep geologic repository” or DGR. “The expanded DGR, as currently conceptualized, is expected to remain acceptably safe in the long term,” says a report from safety commission staff. “There are no likely adverse cumulative effects on the environment from the DGR project,” it concludes. (June 25, 2014) Toronto Star [more on Great Lakes in our area]   

  • 6/25/2014 - Even in the Northeast we’ve been putting major upgrades to our aging water infrastructure aside in spite of warnings: “Devise wastewater treatment plant upgrades and combined sewer overflow mitigation strategies (for communities that do not have one in place) to address possible changes in flood risk, sea level rise, and increases in large rainfall events. Modest water infrastructure design changes at the planning stage will avoid more costly modifications to constructed” [Page 105, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) Aging water infrastructure ‘nearing the end of its useful life’ Even though a government report revealed that most experts foresee water shortages within the next decade, countless of gallons of water are currently wasted every day by an aging and inefficient infrastructure. In its 2013 report card on America’s infrastructure, the American Society of Civil Engineers graded drinking water infrastructure and its 240,000 water main breaks a year as a “D+.” In comparison, the group issued a higher grade to the often criticized bridge infrastructure at a “C+.” “We lose a lot of water in our aging water disruption infrastructure,” said Jared Bales, a chief water scientist for the U.S. Geological Survey, a federal research agency. The Government Accountability Office released the report last month. In it, 40 out of 50 state water mangers reported in a survey that they expect local, regional or statewide drought under normal conditions in the next 10 years. (June 23, 2014) Midwest Center for Investigative Reporting [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/25/2014 - Read about how Climate Change will affect the US Northeast’s economics in this section of “Risky Business”. Northeast “While the Northeast region of the U.S. is expected to experience a sizeable increase in temperatures and average number of extremely hot days over the course of the century, the region’s major climate impact will be sea level rise and its effect on coastal infrastructure. Rising sea levels are a direct consequence of rising temperatures: As the oceans warm, they expand. This phenomenon is further exacerbated by land-ice melt, particularly the Antarctic and Greenland ice sheets. Scientists have recently found evidence of accelerating and perhaps unstoppable land ice melt in West Antarctica. 14 A further (and more minor) contributor to sea level rise is groundwater withdrawal, which can literally sink the land adjacent to the ocean. All of these factors—thermal expansion, ice melt, and groundwater withdrawal—can lead to higher water levels along the coasts.” (June 2014 RISKY BUSINESS: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States)

  • 6/25/2014 - Read yourself, before evil pundits translate for you, the new economic report “Risky Business” on Climate Change. RISKY BUSINESS: The Economic Risks of Climate Change in the United States "The U.S. faces significant and diverse economic risks from climate change. The signature effects of human-induced climate change—rising seas, increased damage from storm surge, more frequent bouts of extreme heat—all have specific, measurable impacts on our nation’s current assets and ongoing economic activity. To date, there has been no comprehensive assessment of the economic risks our nation faces from the changing climate. Risky Business: The Economic Risks of Climate Change to the United States uses a standard risk-assessment approach to determine the range of potential consequences for each region of the U.S.—as well as for selected sectors of the economy—if we continue on our current path. The Risky Business research focused on the clearest and most economically significant of these risks: Damage to coastal property and infrastructure from rising sea levels and increased storm surge, climate- driven changes in agricultural production and energy demand, and the impact of higher temperatures on labor productivity and public health." (June 2014)

  • 6/24/2014 - Want to learn more about Climate Change and sustainability? Ask your kids. Check out Greening Forward. Rochester Regional Group Brings 18 Year Old Greening Forward CEO to Rochester Schools Charles Orgbon III is not your average high school senior. While still in elementary school, his concern for a littering problem on school grounds prompted him to start the Earth Savers Club. Then, he decided to create a website originally named Recycling Education, now Greening Forward. That’s when this author found him, as I was also putting together a website that offered “green” tips and info, and links to hundreds of other environmentally-oriented sites. Soon, Charles was also writing a guide to starting an Earth Savers Club for students in other schools to use. I wound up volunteering to help edit it, but at the same time was very impressed with his thoroughness and writing ability. Today, you can buy it on Amazon! Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club

  • 6/24/2014 - GREAT NEWS! Boaters are completely banned from discharging raw sewage into Lake Erie--but about two centuries late.  I know, this new restriction from our nanny state government will put a tremendous burden on boaters who want to stay out on the lake all day, but .., jeeze some people drink that water.  Just saying… EPA and New York State Announce Ban on Dumping Sewage from Boats into Lake Erie  The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation today declared the New York side of the Lake Erie shore line a “no discharge zone,” which means that boats are completely banned from discharging sewage into the water. The EPA reviewed the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s proposal to establish a no discharge zone for the lake and determined that there are adequate facilities in the area for boats to pump out their sewage. Boaters must now dispose of their sewage at one of the lake’s specially-designated pump-out stations. This action is part of a joint EPA and New York State strategy to eliminate the discharge of sewage from boats into the state’s waterways. The no discharge zone for the New York State portion of Lake Erie is a 593 square mile area and 84 miles that includes the waters of the lake from the Pennsylvania-New York State boundary, as well as the Upper Niagara River and numerous other tributaries, harbors and bays of the Lake, including Barcelona Harbor, Dunkirk Harbor and the Buffalo Outer Harbor. Lake Erie and its harbors, bays, creeks and wetlands support fish spawning areas and habitat, commercial and recreational boating, and recreational opportunities. (June 23, 2014) The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency News Releases from Region 2  [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/24/2014 - Sorry, I’m racking my brain here…, I put it somewhere, but I cannot find it…, why would NYS even consider Fracking?  I know it’s here some place.  Marcellus waste ends up in NY landfills, study finds it could be radioactive Whenever an oil or gas well is drilled, the material that comes out of the well can include rocks and drilling mud and brine and water. New York and the other states in the Marcellus region allow that waste, which comes up before a well is fracked, into municipal landfills. A study by the US Geological Survey found that the radioactivity associated with the Marcellus Shale is three times higher than in other layers. The element of greatest concern is radium, particularly radium-226. It has a half-life of more than 5,000 years. So, basically, once it’s in the environment, it’s there forever. Duke University professor Avner Vengosh co-authored a 2013 study that found elevated radium levels near treatment plants in Pennsylvania that handled Marcellus wastewater. (June 23, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/24/2014 - I know this is heresy, but characterizing environmental health by reminding the public that our rivers are no longer on fire doesn’t cover it. Instead of investigating how healthy our environment is according to environmental science, the press is looking back and saying it’s not as bad as it was.  And thinking we’ve made progress. This is like saying your house that was on fire is OK to go back into and live because it’s not a raging fire anymore and the firemen aren’t still squirting it with a lot of water. We need a realist appraisal of our environmental sustainability, especially as we plan for Climate Change. Our environment must not simply no longer be on fire; it actually has to work as it is the system that keeps us alive.  And, OBTW, if we hadn’t reversed course, created the EPA and the Clean Water Act, and no longer allowed business as usual that freaking river would be still burning. Let the case of a river on fire be a warning that only environmental restrictions on corporations who know nothing but profits to their shareholders is the only way we can survive with such ruthless disregard for our life support system. 45 years later: Cuyahoga River pollution much lower than ‘the day the river burned’ CLEVELAND, Ohio — Gaze down the Cuyahoga River near where its mouth opens into Lake Erie, and you will see rowers and boaters, people on jet skis and others just fishing. In other words, you will see a lot of people enjoying the river. Forty-five years ago, that wasn’t the case. On that date, June 22, 1969, the river caught fire, sparking a national debate about environmental standards and making Cleveland the butt of national jokes. “We came down, and we saw it burning,” said Angelo Cammarato, who was a teenager at the time. “And we thought it was very unusual for the river to be burning.” (June 22, 2014) Fox 8 Cleveland [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 6/24/2014 - ‘Clean Power Plan’ Attend public hearing, comment on plan, get toolbox for states, don’t sit this one out. Clean Power Plan Proposed Rule “On June 2, 2014, EPA proposed a commonsense plan to cut carbon pollution from power plants. States, cities and businesses across the country are already taking action to address the risks of climate change. EPA's proposal builds on those actions and is flexible - reflecting that different states have a different mix of sources and opportunities, and reflecting the important role of states as full partners with the federal government in cutting pollution. This proposal will maintain an affordable, reliable energy system, while cutting pollution and protecting our health and environment now and for future generations.” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • 6/24/2014 - I know, getting outside more will get us closer to nature, but it’s hard to see Climate Change without some app help. Seeing Climate Change From Space: NASA Creates Image-Based iPad App We humans have made great progress to get to this unique point in our history. But those very strides now pose us with the greatest challenges. The combination of a booming population, increasing industrialization and the ability to exploit Earth’s natural resources like never before is, quite literally, changing the face of our planet. The app offers a collection of some of the best before-and-after image pairs from this site, NASA’s Webby-award-winning Global Climate Change website. The site is a larger effort to make information about climate change, images and interactive tools more accessible to citizens and decision makers, which is also a key aspect of President Obama’s Climate Action Plan. (June 18, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/24/2014 - Dangerous Pennsylvanian Fracking methane Earth burps doesn’t sound all that enticing to us here in New York State. No thanks.  We’d just as soon get great jobs, and adapt to and mitigate Climate Change with renewable energy like Wind Power and Solar Power. Fracking increases dangerous earth burpsstudy of derelict Pennsylvania oil and gas wells has spotted what is possibly a huge source of additional greenhouse gas emissions. Methane, which is pound-for-pound a much more potent climate-warming gas than carbon dioxide, could be leaking from hundreds of thousands of abandoned wells. And that’s just in the Keystone State. A growing body of evidence says countless old wells across the country — most poorly monitored — could be belching up the same dangerous emissions. The study by Mary Kang of Princeton University measured 19 abandoned oil and gas wells and found all of them were leaking various amounts of methane. Extrapolated across a state where there may be as many as 970,000 such wells, the leaks could account for between 4 and 13 percent of anthropogenic methane released in the state. The methodology of this study is also significant. The Environmental Protection Agency uses a so-called “bottom-up” approach, where gas leakage is measured at individual points on the equipment used in exploration and extraction. The new study uses a “top-down” estimate, taking measurements from above predicted sources of greenhouse emissions. (June 20, 2014) Aljazeera [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/24/2014 - Sounds pretty alarming to me: “time for all American business leaders and investors to get in the game and rise to the challenge of addressing climate change."  Climate Change is about planning and if we don’t plan properly it’s going to get very expensive. U.S. to face multibillion-dollar bill from climate change: report Annual property losses from hurricanes and other coastal storms of $35 billion; a decline in crop yields of 14 percent, costing corn and wheat farmers tens of billions of dollars; heat wave-driven demand for electricity costing utility customers up to $12 billion per year. These are among the economic costs that climate change is expected to exact in the United States over the next 25 years, according to a bipartisan report released on Tuesday. And that's just for starters: The price tag could soar to hundreds of billions by 2100. Commissioned by a group chaired by former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, former Secretary of the Treasury and Goldman Sachs alum Henry Paulson, and environmentalist and financier Tom Steyer, the analysis "is the most detailed ever of the potential economic effects of climate change on the U.S.," said climatologist Michael Oppenheimer of Princeton University. (June 24, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/23/2014 - ACTION: Sunday, July 6 at 3 PM in Fairport, NY at the intersection of train tracks and North Main Street (Route 250, Fairport 14450 NO BAKKEN OIL TRAINS IN OUR TOWNS! Events across the country are being organized to keep oil off the rails and in the ground! No Bakken Oil Trains in Our Towns!

  • 6/23/2014 - If we don’t plan for Climate Change properly, our knee-jerk response to increase insect pests will be Pesticides.  Everything should be planed to avoid allowing this dangerous default to be our way of handing increased insects that will cause more crop damage and more mosquito driven diseases. There are other ways to grow crops than flooding them with pesticides that will increase our health problems—but only if we plan and don’t leave adapting to the last minute. Business as usual is not the way to handle Climate Change.  Don’t let this be our future: “Within the agriculture sector, increased use of pesticides as an adaptation to climate change may lead to increased chemical exposure for farm workers (many of whom are international migrants or members of minority groups). (Page 70, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011) | Autism risk higher near pesticide-treated fields, study says Babies whose moms lived within a mile of crops treated with widely used pesticides were more likely to develop autism, according to new researchpublished today. The study of 970 children, born in farm-rich areas of Northern California, is part of the largest project to date that is exploring links between autism and environmental exposures. The University of California, Davis research – which used women’s addresses to determine their proximity to insecticide-treated fields – is the third project to link prenatal insecticide exposures to autism and related disorders. (July 23, 2014) Environmental Health News [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 6/23/2014 - Slow and steady is probably not one of the future weather patterns coming with Climate Change. Waves in the Atmosphere Fueling Extreme Weather The pattern of a wavy jet stream was a recurring theme in U.S. weather forecasts this winter as a particularly jagged one essentially split the country in two. While there is a debate over whether climate change causes that pattern, new research shows that the waviness does exacerbate extreme weather. The research, published in Nature Climate Change on Sunday, looked at planetary waves on a monthly timescale. Waves are essentially the ridges and troughs left as the jet stream, a fast-moving river of air, cuts it way across the middle of the northern hemisphere. The jet stream essentially helps drive weather patterns around the northern half of the globe by pushing around storm systems and sometimes impeding their progress. (June 22, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/23/2014 - US politics and Climate Change, how are they related? The same way ice cream and furniture are.  Without mentioning any political parties (because doing so seems to set our hair on fire) let’s try and imagine what the future will be like if we install leaders who don’t believe in science will look like. Republican EPA Chiefs: No Excuse for Congressional Climate Inaction Hearing meant to highlight some bipartisanship on EPA's new climate plan did more to expose the deep partisan divide over the issue. By inviting four former Republican heads of the Environmental Protection Agency to testify in favor of prompt climate change action, Democrats on a Senate committee hoped to highlight some degree of bipartisan support for the EPA's crackdown on carbon emissions from power plants. The four duly defended the agency and disputed the notion that air pollution regulations are harmful to the economy. They also declared their acceptance of the established science on man-made global warming as an increasingly compelling reason to cut emissions. (June 18, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/21/2014 - The longer we wait to Frack New York State it appears that we should wait some more—maybe forever. Here’s Why The Marcellus Shale Discovery Will Be A Disappointment Shale gas plays in the United States are commercial failures and shareholders in public exploration and production (E&P) companies are the losers. This conclusion falls out of a detailed evaluation of shale-dominated company financial statements and individual well decline curve analyses. Operators have maintained the illusion of success through production and reserve growth subsidized by debt with a corresponding destruction of shareholder equity. Many believe that the high initial rates and cumulative production of shale plays prove their success. What they miss is that production decline rates are so high that, without continuous drilling, overall production would plummet. There is no doubt that the shale gas resource is very large. The concern is that much of it is non-commercial even at price levels that are considerably higher than they are today. Recent revisions to SEC rules have allowed producers to book undeveloped reserves that questionably justify development costs based on their own projections in public filings. New reserves are being booked at the same time that billions of dollars in existing shale gas development costs are being written down because the projects are not commercial. Concerns about the logic of ongoing gas-directed drilling while prices collapse have been partly diffused by a shift to liquids-rich plays like the Eagle Ford Shale in Texas. These new ventures, however, produce significant volumes of gas which is partly why gas prices continue to fall. (June 20, 2014) Sierra Club New York City Group [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/21/2014 - We really, really need to remove climate denial from the entrails of our government so we can function properly. Jon Stewart Explains How to Make GOP Senators Care About Climate "Barack Obama must become a global warming denier." There's no better evidence of how much the Republican Party has changed on the environment than this: The fact that Environmental Protection Agency administrators who served under Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and George W. Bush all think global warming is real and we should do something about it. On Wednesday, this quartet—William Ruckelshaus, who served under both Nixon and Reagan; Lee Thomas, who served under Reagan; William Reilly, who served under George Bush Sr., and Christine Todd Whitman, who served under George W. Bush—testified before a US Senate subcommittee. But as the Huffington Post's Kate Sheppard reports, the Republican senators present "mostly ignored" their testimony. (June 20, 2014) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2014 - Local plan for Canandaigua Lake watershed includes “climate change causing more intense rain events …,” The message is getting out. Besides railing against the fossil fuel industry environmentalist (those who respect our life support system) are Climate Change messaging that Climate Change is not a special interest.  It’s about planning for our future properly.  So when we see community plans that include Climate Change the message is getting out. Plans that don’t include Climate Change are delusional, which is when you make plans for a planet you are not living on. Plan addresses threats to Canandaigua watershed CANANDAIGUA — The 14 municipalities in the Canandaigua Lake watershed will soon have in hand an updated plan addressing pressing issues that influence the health of the lake and its waterways. The 2014 Comprehensive Update of the Canandaigua Lake Watershed Management Plan covers all the bases, from invasive species to boat traffic, steep slopes to farm practices. “Zoning and planning boards are many times the front line for shoreline protection,” said Canandaigua Lake Watershed Program Manager Kevin Olvany during last Thursday’s presentation of the plan at Wood Library. The hope is that the towns, villages and city (Canandaigua) that are in the watershed adopt the plan and use it to guide decisions regarding development, zoning regulations and other rules affecting the environment, Olvany said. (June 19, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Wetlands in our area]

  • 6/20/2014 - Here’s what also makes Climate Change inconvenient, we must adapt to and mitigate GHGs on Nature’s schedule. Too Little, Too Late? Oops?  Many queries received: is Obama’s climate effort “too little, too late?” Closely related query: are we at an “oops” moment, a realization that we have pushed the climate system too far, so consequences such as ice sheet disintegration and large sea level rise are now out of our control? It so happens that I have been working, for a few years, on a paper aimed at a clear quantitative response to the “too late?” and “oops?” questions. I will be very scarce for the next couple of months, because I want that paper to be available by the time of the UN meetings in September. The answer re “too little?” is obvious from the fact that governments, ours included, are allowing and encouraging industry to go after every fossil fuel that can be found. Rather than dwelling on that fact, let’s consider the action needed to avoid “too late”. Citizens Climate Lobby just released a study by the non-partisan organization Regional Economic Models, Inc. (REMI), as a 3-page summary and a full report. Their comprehensive analysis of the impacts of a carbon fee-and-dividend in the United States, with 100% revenue distribution of the money to the public in equal shares as direct payments. The fee would start at $10/ton of CO2 and increase $10/ton each year; 100% of the revenue is returned to households, equal amounts to all legal residents. This approach spurs the economy, increasing the number of jobs by 2.1 million in 10 years. Emissions decrease 33% in 10 years, 52% in 20 years (19 June 2014)  Dr. James E. Hansen | http://www.columbia.edu/~jeh1/

  • 6/20/2014 - It’s hard to believe that at this late date that New York State would even consider Fracking given what we have learned from others.  We should be preparing and planning for Climate Change; instead we are seized on an energy option that will screw up our most valuable assist: Water. Princeton Study: Up to 900,000 Abandoned Oil and Gas Wells Pollute Pennsylvania’s Air Pennsylvania already has a fracking problem groups struggle to inspire politicians to address. Now, a Princeton University study shows that hundreds of thousands of abandoned oil wells are adding to the state’s pollution. CO2, Methane, and Brine Leakage through Subsurface Pathways: Exploring Modeling, Measurement and Policy Options is a first-of-its-kind study from Mary Klang that describes how abandoned oil wells serve as leakage pathways for carbon dioxide, methane, brine and more. (June 19, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/20/2014 - Why would the chair of the State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee push Fracking? Isn’t our environment JobOne for this position? Please note: ‘our environment’ means ‘our life support system’ not just some annoying little ‘externality’ that free market fundamentalists have cooked up and sold to the public. If you’re thinking that jobs (which by the way come better and more with renewable energy) come before our environment, then start drilling on Venus—where they have an environment but all your drilling equipment will melt. Will Grisanti Allow Senate Vote on Fracking? Though he’s chair of the State Senate Environmental Conservation Committee, Senator Mark Grisanticontinues to throw New Yorkers under the bus when it comes to fracking, one of the state’s most pressing environmental threats. A recent letter to Governor Cuomo and acting Health Commissioner Zucker byhundreds of medical organizations and health experts summarized key emerging trends and concerns regarding the science on fracking. The letter stated, “The totality of the science—which now encompasses hundreds of peer–reviewed studies and hundreds of additional reports and case examples—shows that permitting fracking in New York would pose significant threats to the air, water, health and safety of New Yorkers.” Thankfully the State Assembly does realize that fracking has far-reaching public health impacts, and that a rush to drill a terrible idea. On June 16, the Assembly overwhelming passed a 3-year moratorium on fracking. The Assembly stood up for the health and safety of New Yorkers, and we are grateful. Now it’s up to the reluctant State Senate to pass the same bill, and to the governor to sign it into law. Grisanti can use his leadership to move the bill out of committee so it can get to the floor for a vote by Friday June 20th. Call Senator Grisanti at 518-455-3240 and tell him to move Senate Bill 4236-B, the 3-year moratorium on fracking, out of the EnCon Committee and to the floor for a vote now. (June 19, 2014) ArtVoice [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/19/2014 - There they go again: Neither local media or politicians connect dots of rise in Lyme disease and Climate Change in New York.  It’s not only going to be hard but delusional to prepare for our public health issues in New York if we don’t plan for them through the lens of Climate Change. Local media and many of our leaders fail the public by not connecting the dots as the expert studies do: Lyme Disease This indicator tracks the rate of reported Lyme disease cases across the United States. Climate is just one of many important factors that influence the transmission, distribution, and incidence of Lyme disease. However, studies provide evidence that climate change has contributed to the expanded range of ticks, increasing the potential risk of Lyme disease, such as in areas of Canada where the ticks were previously unable to survive. The life cycle and prevalence of deer ticks are strongly influenced by temperature.28 For example, deer ticks are mostly active when temperatures are above 45°F, and they thrive in areas with at least 85 percent humidity. Thus, warming temperatures associated with climate change could increase the range of suitable tick habitat, and are therefore one of multiple factors driving the observed spread of Lyme disease. Because tick activity depends on temperatures being above a certain minimum, shorter winters could also extend the period when ticks are active each year, increasing the time that humans could be exposed to Lyme disease. Unlike some other vector-borne diseases, tick-borne disease patterns are generally less influenced by short-term changes in weather (weeks to months) than by longer-term climate change. (Pages 78 & 79, Climate Change Indicators in the United States, 2014 Third Edition) from  Climate Change Indicators in the United States Environmental Protection Agency | Senate urges Health Department to create action plan for Lyme disease A state Senate task force today called on the state Health Department to increase its oversight and awareness efforts to eradicate the growing threat of Lyme disease across much of New York. Since Lyme disease first became reportable in 1986, 95,000 cases have been confirmed in New York. Of the nine deaths attributable to the degenerative disease, five occurred in the mid-Hudson Valley -- where the ticks are most prevalent. The Senate, which is controlled by a coalition of Democrats and Republicans, said it plans a statewide conference on Lyme disease with researchers, including those from Cornell University and Binghamton University. (June 18, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Lyme Disease and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/19/2014 - I know, everyone wants that perfect lawn, but consider that your lawn is integral to our life support system. We’ll need everyone and their properties on board to make our environment as healthy as possible as we all go deeper into Climate Change. This fact by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation might lead you to pause before you dump all those chemicals on your lawn: “About 14.0 million acres, or 74% of New York's forest land, are owned by a diverse group of nearly 700,000 private landowners.” Be Green Organic Yards NY Want a beautiful yard using organic practices without conventional pesticides and synthetic fertilizers? Businesses that participate in DEC's Be Green Organic Yards NY program can take care of your lawn, plants, and trees organically. When you hire a Be Green business, only products and materials that meet DEC's conditions for organic management should be used in your yard. The conditions include prohibitions against certain pest management practices  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

  • 6/19/2014 - Been musing over the Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Plan 2014 by the International Joint Commission and want to know how they got to their decision: Lake Ontario St. Lawrence River Plan 2014 "As many of you may already know, yesterday the International Joint Commission announced its conclusions on the 14 year long process to update the regulation of water levels and flows for Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River to consider the needs of the natural environment while continuing to protect the diverse established uses and interests.   The IJC submitted its conclusions to the federal governments of Canada and the United States to seek their views and concurrence.    Plan 2014 protects against extreme water levels, restores wetlands, and prepares for a changing climate.  I wanted to share the report, a video overview, the presentation overview, the response to public comments,  and IJC newsletter articles on How We Got Here? And Reversing the Harm and Balancing Interests as well as additional information available on the Plan 2014 landing page. " [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/19/2014 - Many of the decisions that are going to have to be made to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change will be wildly unpopular. Establishing Great Lakes levels with environmental concerns and Climate Change in mind is absolutely critical for a sustainable future. Many who have been allowed to buy up property around our waters will get affected disproportionally, which is not to say the rest of us cannot help make that financially less of a burden.  However, these kind on remarks by our politicians who don’t understand Climate Change our environment and are only politically sensitive to a relative few of their constituents are not helpful: “One U.S. politician has said the strategy, first unveiled last year, puts the interests of “muskrats and cattails” above those of homeowners.” Let Lake Ontario, St. Lawrence rise and fall naturally, report says The cross-border commission that regulates use of the Great Lakes says water levels on Lake Ontario and the St. Lawrence River should be allowed to rise and fall more naturally with the seasons – a fluctuation that would benefit damaged ecosystems but create problems for some U.S. property owners. The International Joint Commission (IJC) released a final version of its Plan 2014 on Tuesday. One U.S. politician has said the strategy, first unveiled last year, puts the interests of “muskrats and cattails” above those of homeowners. But the five members of the commission unanimously agree the harm to wetlands from the existing system of water-level controls must be curtailed. The governments of the two countries will have to decide whether to adopt the commission’s recommendations. (June 17, 2014) Globe and Mail [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/19/2014 - Until further notice: When we say it’s hot outside, we mean outside in the sense of your whole planet. Hottest Spring On Record Globally, Reports Japan Meteorological Agency The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported Monday that March-May was the hottest in more than 120 years of record-keeping. It was also the hottest May on record. This is especially noteworthy because we’re still waiting for the start of El Niño. It is usually the combination of the underlying long-term warming trend and the regional El Niño warming pattern that leads to new global temperature records. You may be wondering how the world is setting records for the warmest March, April, and May (the boreal spring) when it wasn’t particularly hot in the United States (assuming we ignore California and Alaska). It turns out there’s like a whole planet out there that has been getting very toasty: (June 17, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2014 - According to a new study “Planning for Transportation and Climate Change:” Rochester takes reducing GHG emissions seriously. More public transportation too will help reduce GHG. Read study: Planning for Transportation and Climate Change: Model Ordinances, Incentives, and Other Resources | Seeking bus converts  Fans of mass transit often talk about how hard it is to convince people to give public transportation a shot. But for the past few years, some local mass transit advocates have tried to have a little fun with the task. The result is ROC Transit Day, which happens this year on Thursday, June 19. For the event, the Rochester Genesee Regional Transportation Authority provides Reconnect Rochester, the group that organizes ROC Transit Day, with free bus passes. The group distributes the fare cards to participating businesses, which give them to employees who want to try riding the bus. "We're targeting people who typically drive and have not used public transit before," says Mike Governale, president of Reconnect Rochester. As an added incentive, the group has arranged for busker performances at some bus stops, a swing dance on the Rundel library building steps, a treasure hunt with prizes, and other activities. People can also get deals at participating businesses by showing their fare cards. A list of the businesses and information on the events is available at www.roctransitday.com. (June 18, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 6/18/2014 - Are Rochester-area local governments spraying too much pesticides exposing the public to toxic chemicals and polluting the environment? Read study: Use of Pesticides in Public Areas Exposes Rochester Area Residents to Toxic Chemicals     Rochester, June 17, 2014 – While pesticides were banned from New York State schools in 2010, local governments continue to use toxic chemicals for cosmetic purposes. Empire State Consumer Project has published its 2014 Government Pesticide Survey, which highlights the hazards of common pesticides used on local government properties. These include cancer, reproductive harm, organ and nervous system damage, birth defects, and danger to animals and the environment.   “Weed-free landscaping is a thing of the past. As research continues to show the toxicity of pesticides to humans, animals, and the environment, and organic gardening practices have proven effective, we must change our vision of what constitutes a beautiful lawn,” says Judy Braiman, president of Empire State Consumer Project. “Town, village and county parks, office complexes, and roadways are a few of the properties that seek to ‘beautify’ their grounds while exposing the public to toxic chemicals and polluting the environment. Some communities report using no pesticides – If these communities can do it, they all can.”   Braiman adds, “Consumers, employees, and neighboring residents have no say about the pesticides they are exposed to while visiting or living near these locations. Recent applications, even when posted with signs, cannot be avoided altogether. Pesticide drift caused by wind and runoff from rain extends the reach of the toxics well beyond their intended targets. Pesticide runoff pollutes our waterways, including local lakes and bays we all use for recreation and many municipalities use as their source of drinking water.” (June 17, 2014) Empire State Consumer Project, Inc.  [more on Pesticides in our area]  

  • 6/18/2014 - I know, Sewage Discharge Reports & Composting Toilets can be dull potatoes—until extreme weather puts raw sewage into your drinking water and swimming beach.  You might want to track that to see if you municipality, and any municipality who is sending their waste our way (Lake Ontario is the last of the lakes before the water enter the St. Lawrence Seaway and into the ocean) to see if everyone is complying to state law and our waste water infrastructure is up to snuff as Climate Change cause more extreme flooding more often. Sewage Discharge Report Summary & Composting Toilets For the week of 6/10 to 6/16, 29 Sewage Discharge Reports were recevied from 12 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. Composting Toilet There are many ways to reduce human waste from entering sewer systems and waterbodies. One way is to replace a flushing toilet (connected to a wastewater treatment plant) with a toilet that can compost human waste (without water). Depending on the type of composting toilet and how the waste is managed and used, it can be very cost-effective (homemade units) to very expensive (commercial units with advanced options). The main goal of a composting toilet is to collect and prepare human waste for use on a true compost pile (material that can be land applied, on gardens for instance). This involves adding cover to the material to prevent odors and ensuring proper conditions for the material. (June 17, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 6/18/2014 - Looks like industry groups are tired of swatting every fly, every rational attempt to get our food labeled properly, so they’re going to invade our rights. New Yorkers Wage Urgent Battle for GMO Label Law Industry groups spending millions to kill a bill likely to create a "domino effect" in the northeast Campaigners for a bill to label foods made with genetically modified organisms (or GMOs) in New York are racing against the clock this week as they rally for a vote before state lawmakers on Thursday adjourn for the year. In what has emerged as a pivotal battle in the state-by-state labeling fight, outside industry groups have spent millions to lobby against Bill A03525, according to a recent report (pdf) by the New York Public Interest Research Group. "If New York passes a bill it will be a game changer," Stacie Orell, campaign director for the grassroots group GMO Free NY told Common Dreams. Because of New York's economic power and population of 19 million people, a labeling law in the state will send a strong message to both the industry and the federal government, Orell explained. (June 18, 2014) Common Dreams [more on Food in our area]

  • 6/18/2014 - All should be tuned in on effort to prepare for Paris 2015 Climate talks. If Paris doesn’t result in urgent and dramatic action … World takes steps towards global climate deal After two weeks of negotiations, governments made tentative but positive progress towards a 2015 climate deal, which will bind all nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. NGOs welcomed the steps taken towards a new text on how to slash global emissions, but warned that negotiators must now move up a gear and get a concrete text down on paper before the next session of UN climate talks in October if a final climate deal is to be achieved in Paris in 2015. (June 16, 2014) TckTckTck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2014 - When to you start upgrading your waste water infrastructure so that water rises and extreme flooding don’t overwhelm it? Yesterday. Sea Level Rise Threatens Oakland’s Sewer System The shoreline along Oakland is a checkerboard quilt of cement, steel and wetlands, with grassy estuaries sandwiched between walls of cement where old terminal buildings rise from the shore, steel pipes send effluent to the Bay and massive containership berths receive their payload.  Just inland from this quilt lies a broad north-south strip of railroad and highway.  Only after all that, nearly a mile from the shore, lie residential neighborhoods, block after block of shoebox size houses in an area known locally as the flatlands.  (June 17, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/18/2014 - However many in NYS see us in a dwindling rustbelt population dive, a 2C world with 9B folks will change all that. We’ll be a water Mecca. We might want to prepare for that. The parched planet: Water on tap Researchers are exploring unconventional sources of fresh water to quench the globe's growing thirst. In an effort to combat his country's long-standing water crisis, Iran's president took to Twitter last year. “We need plan to save water in agriculture, prevent excessive tap water use, protect underground sources of water and prevent illegal drilling,” Hassan Rouhani tweeted in November. Iran is far from alone. From the southwest United States to southern Spain and northern China, water shortages threaten many parts of the world. Nearly 800 million people lack access to safe drinking water and 2.5 billion have no proper sanitation. The situation will probably get worse in coming decades. The world's population is expected to swell from 7 billion today to more than 9 billion by 2050, even as climate change robs precipitation from many parched parts of the planet. If the world warms by just 2 °C above the present level by the end of the century, which scientists believe is exceedingly likely, up to one-fifth of the global population could suffer severe shortages of fresh water. (June 17, 2014) Nature [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/17/2014 - Mixing apples, kumquats and machine guns: We have recycling laws in NYS but they are inconsistent, delusional.   “Unless you can get every single reporting entity to have the same definition, then you are going to be mixing apples, kumquats and machine guns,” Clarke said. Recycling data ‘a mess’ Comparing recycling rates community to community isn’t an easy task. In fact, data and reporting inconsistencies make it nearly impossible to make accurate comparisons. While localities can be faulted for the inconsistent way they track their recycling programs, the state Department of Environmental Conservation has been willing to accept it. As a result, it’s hard to measure progress and hold cities and towns accountable. “It’s a mess,” said Maggie Clarke, a zero waste consultant and researcher who has done work for the New York State Association for Reduction, Reuse and Recycling, “especially if you are trying to compare one city or state to another or you are trying to aggregate information.” Investigative Post made curbside recycling rate comparisons using the best data available from the state and the 10 most populated towns and cities in Erie and Niagara counties. Those localities have an estimated curbside recycling rate of about 13 percent versus the estimated national average of 25 percent. (June 5, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 6/17/2014 - Great that distribution of Potassium Iodide is available free-of-charge for residents in 10-mile radius of Ginna Nuclear Power Plant, but jeeze… is this the way we want to live, however ‘unlikely’ an ‘event’ might occur? This kind of potential danger doesn’t come up (nor does stuff falling off railroad trains, or our water getting Fracked up, for that matter) with Solar Power or Wind Power. Do we really have to run our environment, our life support system, on the edge of disaster every day? Brooks Announces Potassium Iodide Distribution to Ginna-Area Residents County Executive Maggie Brooks, joined by representatives from Wegmans Food Markets, announced the distribution of Potassium Iodide (KI) to Monroe County residents who live within the 10-mile Emergency Planning Zone of the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant. The medication, supplied by the New York State Office of Emergency Management, will be provided free-of-charge at three area Wegmans stores from June 5th – June 30th. “Providing residents who live in close proximity to the Ginna Nuclear Power Plant with KI is a simple but important step we can take to best protect our community in the extremely unlikely event an emergency should occur,” said Brooks. “Monroe County is proud to partner with Wegmans Food Markets to carry-out this proactive measure and ensure area residents have access to a new, precautionary supply of Potassium Iodide.” Monroe County Government [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 6/17/2014 - Another reason why the public needs to know about Climate Change: More outbreaks of Blue-green algae & special water treatment processes = higher water bills. Read: Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms Climate change is predicted to change many environmental conditions that could affect the natural properties of fresh and marine waters both in the US and worldwide. Changes in these factors could favor the growth of harmful algal blooms and habitat changes such that marine HABs can invade and occur in freshwater. An increase in the occurrence and intensity of harmful algal blooms may negatively impact the environment, human health, and the economy for communities across the US and around the world. The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide climate change researchers and decision–makers a summary of the potential impacts of climate change on harmful algal blooms in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Although much of the evidence presented in this fact sheet suggests that the problem of harmful algal blooms may worsen under future climate scenarios, further research is needed to better understand the association between climate change and harmful algae. May 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency Office of Water EPA 820-S-13-001 MC 4304T http://www2.epa.gov/sites/production/files/documents/climatehabs.pdf Algae tests result in higher bills Ottawa County raised water rates by 4.5 percent PORT CLINTON — Ottawa County water customers are paying 4.5 percent more for their water this year, partly because of the cost of removing toxins caused by harmful algae. Blue-green algae that grows on Lake Erie in late summer and early fall can produce a toxin, called microcystin, that can cause gastrointestinal illness and skin irritations. Normal water treatment processes don’t always remove the toxin from the finished drinking water, causing plants like Ottawa County’s to use additional chemicals, methods and testing to make sure the water coming from the tap is safe. (June 14, 2014) Port Clinton Herald News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/17/2014 - Let’s do away with the word ‘environmentalist’. Who in their right mind would be against supporting our life support system? It’s nonsense to bandy about whom or who isn’t an environmentalist, who loves Mother Nature more and all that. I suspect that there is no one who wakes up in the morning and  thinks: “Boy, I cannot wait to get going on destroying the very fabric of life on the only planet we know of that supports life.”  What is at play is that most of us have different ideas of what constitutes a healthy environment, or most simply are so busy trying to keep going that they assume that their leaders are taking care of our life support system. What we need for a healthy life support system is for everyone to learn about our relationship to our environment so we don’t get deluded into thinking that it’s something separate from ourselves and the way we life. Let’s stop with the name calling. Can You Call Yourself An Environmentalist And Still Eat Meat? Earlier this week, we told you about a school backed by director James Cameron and his wife, Suzy Amis Cameron, that may become the first vegan school in the U.S. In describing the couple's path to veganism, Amis Cameron told us she's eventually come to believe that, "You can't really call yourself an environmentalist if you're still consuming animals. You just can't." (James Cameron made a similar statement in 2012 at the BLUE Ocean Film Festival and Conference.) (June 11, 2014) NPR

  • 6/17/2014 - Let’s pretend for a moment we are NOT armchair political pundits but instead stewards of our life support system. From this perspective how do the hurdles that our leaders have to jump to keep our environment sustainable look? What if instead of sitting back and wondering how Obama’s strategies work as he tries to work around a Congress that doesn’t believe in science, we help the President make them work.  You could go to People's Climate March, for example and demand a viable future instead of play-along punditry where we wonder whether we will win or lose in the game of politics? Isn’t it strange that we have this crazy relationship with our life support system (usually called our “environment”) where we are continually at odds with ourselves to save ourselves. Humans, ya gotta laugh. Obama’s New Emission Rules:  Will They Survive Challenges? The sweeping nature of President Obama’s proposed regulations limiting carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired power plants is likely to open his initiative to serious legal challenges. To date, however, the courts have given the federal government wide latitude in regulating CO2 under the Clean Air Act. The Obama Administration’s recent announcement that it plans to regulate greenhouse gas emissions from existing coal-fired power plants evoked cries of protest and warnings of economic doom from the political right, and praise from the center and the left. As the controversy over the proposed rules continues to unfold, two important questions loom: What is the likelihood that these new regulations will actually be put into effect, and how big an impact would they have on the fight to slow climate change?  Two things could completely derail the rules. First, if a Republican president is elected in 2016, he or she could halt their implementation. Second, the courts could strike them down. The sweeping nature of the regulations announced June 2 by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) creates some potential openings for foes. Based on prior decisions it is very unlikely that the courts will entirely reject the idea of using existing law to regulate greenhouse gases, but the particular program announced on June 2 has some vulnerabilities. We may get a better sense of the prospects for a successful legal challenge based on the Supreme Court’s decision — expected any day now — on another greenhouse gas case. (June 16, 2014) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/17/2014 - The June – Aug 2014 newsletter “eco-logue’ has been published from the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club. Learn more about Climate Change as if impinges on our Rochester, NY region and what the Sierra Club is doing on that.

  • 6/17/2014 - Good short video on plastics in our Great Lakes Microbeads from household products found in Great Lakes New type of pollution of great concern as the plastic in the water is floating on the surface at an alarming rate (June 16, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/16/2014 - Obama’s criticism of media on insufficient coverage on Climate Change won’t be heard because our ears are stuffed with partisan politics. But we must remove partisan politics from the science of Climate Change and we must not tolerate a media that doesn’t adequately inform the public of what’s happening to our life support system. Obama Slams GOP For Using 'Not A Scientist' Line On Climate Change “The president also took the media to task for not providing sufficient coverage of climate change, such as the impact of a new EPA proposal that would cut carbon power plant emissions 30 percent by 2030. The media should spend less time speculating about how it would affect November's midterm election, and more time on the potential impact to the environment, he said.” (June 14, 2014) The Huffington Post

  • 6/16/2014 - Another positive feedback loop besides albedo effect of melting Arctic ice, more AC use heats up cities. Our reactions to a warmer world are to get cooler and that causes our night time air to get warmer, which causes more of us to get more air conditioners. Climate Change means planning so we adapt to a warming world in a way that doesn’t make it warmer.  If we don’t plan soon and properly we are not going to be part of the solution—quite the reverse. Air Conditioner Use in Cities Trigger Vicious Cycle Because the cities are getting hotter as the climate changes, residents are increasingly investing in air conditioning systems − which discharge heat from offices and apartment blocks straight into the city air. And the vicious circle effect is that cities get still warmer, making air conditioning all the more attractive to residents. According to scientists at Arizona State University, the air conditioning system is now having a measurable effect. During the days, the systems emit waste heat, but because the days are hot anyway, the difference is negligible. At night, heat from air conditioning systems now raises some urban temperatures by more than 1°C (about 2°F), they report in the Journal of Geophysical Research Atmospheres. (June 15, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/14/2014 - Who wouldn’t want to know the ingredients in their food, their Fracking fluid, or their kid’s toys? Please raise your hand if you think ignorance is bliss. Bill to protect NYS kids from toxics up in the air Supporters are sweating out further votes in the State Senate on the Child Safe Product Act, a bit of would-be law to require disclosure of the presence of certain toxic materials in toys and other children's products, and eventually ban them. The state Assembly has passed the bill this year and last. The Senate did not vote on the proposal in 2013, but this year supporters were overjoyed whenthe measure was voted out of the Senate's Environmental Conservation Committee without opposition last week. Rochester-area senators Joe Robach, R-Greece and Ted O'Brien, D-Irondequoit, are among several dozen co-sponsors. The motivation for the proposed law is concern that toxic substances in textiles or paint or other material to which small children are exposed may cause health problems, subtle or otherwise. (June 13, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 6/14/2014 - ACTION: Interested in the water quality of our rivers and streams and want to get trained to help monitor them?  "Reminder -- Volunteers for Stream and River Monitoring Wanted: DEC is looking for citizen scientist volunteers for stream and river monitoring as part of the Water Assessments by Volunteer Evaluators (WAVE) project. Volunteers visit stream sites once between July and September to collect macroinvertebrates -- insects and other small organisms -- from the rocks and rubble on the stream bottom.  In 2014, volunteers can participate by joining a local WAVE group led by a trained local coordinator, or by sampling independently. Volunteers working under a trained local coordinator do not need to attend a training session; however, volunteers who want to work independently must attend a training session.  WAVE training sessions rotate around the state on a five-year schedule, targeting those basins that will be sampled by DEC's Stream Biomonitoring Unit the following year.  Three training sessions remain for 2014: June 14 in Esperance, June 21 in Wyoming and June 29 in New Hartford. " (June 13, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) 

  • 6/14/2014 - And the public must take the time to find out how climatology works to understand Climate Change. 6 Things Michael Mann Wants You to Know About the Science of Climate Change There is nothing controversial about the work of climatologist Michael Mann, director of Penn State’s Earth System Science Center. His innovative research helped recreate the Earth’s historical temperature record and separate the noise of natural weather fluctuations from the steady signal of real climate change. As such, Mann has played a significant role in the development of the overwhelming scientific consensus—the planet is warming and human activities are responsible. It’s another story in the realm of politics, where Mann, an affable scientist, has been dragged into the fray by diehard climate change deniers. He was a central figure in the trumped-up “climategate” scandal, accused with other scientists of fraud by conservative bloggers and pundits before being vindicated by eight separate independent investigations. He was later the subject of an “academic witch-hunt” by former Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli until a circuit court judge ruled that Cuccinelli had provided no “objective basis” for his crusade. (June 13, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/14/2014 - You can’t say it can’t happen here if you don’t know where here is, so you might want to find that out before you deny Climate Change. Map Shows Energy Installations In Extreme Weather’s Path Imagine living near the Jersey Shore and a hurricane is barrelling in your direction, or living along the South Platte River in Colorado and an unexpected torrential downpour is flooding the river. Are there natural gas, oil pipelines or electricity transmission lines that could break and leak in the flood or storm surge? Are oil and gas wells nearby that could flood and leach hydrocarbons into the river? Those answers can be found online using the U.S. Energy Information Administration's interactive U.S. Energy Mapping System, which shows all the major energy infrastructure for any given address in the U.S. It allows anyone to look closely at what power plants, refineries, oil wells, power lines and other installations might exist in a place that is vulnerable to extreme weather. (June 12, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/13/2014 - To whom does it benefit not to adequately label food that the public will eat? What law trumps the public’s right to know what’s in their food? New York at center of GMO debate Agricultural, food and beverage companies have spent millions of dollars to defeat legislation in New York state that would require labels on food containing ingredients from genetically modified crops, highlighting the state’s key role in the debate about what Americans should know about the products they consume. Supporters are mounting a final push for the proposal as state lawmakers work to wrap up their session. A vote on the bill hasn’t been scheduled, but both sides say the stakes are too high to assume the bill is dead for the year until lawmakers end the session. Opponents spent $3.7 million last year on campaign donations and lobbying in an effort to block the legislation, according to a report issued by the New York Public Interest Research Group and other groups supporting the labeling requirement. That’s more than seven times the amount spent by supporters. Vermont, Maine and Connecticut have already adopted label laws, though the Maine and Connecticut laws require other neighboring states to follow suit before the laws are enacted. If New York moves to require labels, Connecticut’s law will automatically take effect. (June 12, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Food in our area]

  • 6/13/2014 - I’m feeling a little queasy here.  If this stuff is "natural-born killers" of Zebra Mussels, why use ‘pesticides’? Sure, who doesn’t want the Zebra Mussels gone from our North American shores?  But trying to close the barn door after the horse has bolted (I know, a really lousy metaphor) is usually impossible.  If you want to stop invasive species from getting here, we should stop invasive species from getting here and not waiting until they get entrenched and wreak bloody havoc and then try to extract them without messing up the rest of our environment.  This is why stopping the Asian Carp from getting in to the Great Lakes is so important now; as it might take a long time to find a silver bullet for something that taken over the place.  Pesticide experiment raises hopes of killing zebra mussels Scientists for the first time in Wisconsin plan to use a bacteria to kill zebra mussels — in this instance, in a Florence County lake. Researchers with the U.S. Geological Survey want to apply the biological pesticide next month to sections of Keyes Lake in the hope of killing off zebra mussels that have attached themselves to native mussel beds. If experiments prove successful, the treatment could one day be a tool to control the spread of destructive zebra and quagga mussels, both invasive species. Zebra mussels were discovered in the Great Lakes in the mid-1980s, and turned up in inland Wisconsin lakes in 1994. They can now be found in 163 lakes and rivers in the state, according to the state Department of Natural Resources. Quagga mussels are in the Great Lakes, but have not yet invaded inland lakes of Wisconsin. The pair of tiny, sharp-shelled species devour plankton, disrupting ecosystems. They proliferate in areas by the tens of thousands and push out native species, clog water intake systems and play a role in spurring algae blooms. (June 11, 2014) Milwaukie - Wisconsin Journal Sentinel [more on Zebra Mussels in our area]

  • 6/13/2014 - Those heroes who have fought for our life support system did so with courage and grace and for your children. See this great green epic in Rochester, NY. July Monday Mayhem! Screening of A Fierce Green Fire!   July 7, 2014 7:00PM - 9:00PM Flying Squirrel Community Space 285 Clarissa St., Rochester, NY.  Donations welcomed! On the first Monday of every month, the Flying Squirrel hosts special programming that forgoes the technical and logistical concerns of running an open-use community space in order to take a closer look at the impact of our actions on the community and our potential as a catalyst for change. See video clip. Go to facebook and sign up.

  • 6/13/2014 - A message from our friends over at COMFORT ZONE, a locally produced documentary film that confronts climate change from the individual's perspective.  And, BTW, we do expect these clips to go viral with your help. "Thanks to you, COMFORT ZONE has exceeded our modest expectations, has been selected by five film festivals, and is being embraced by the activist and educational communities. To date, COMFORT ZONE has screened over 30 times publicly!! And more screenings are in the works.   Meanwhile, our government begins what is likely to be a highly partisan conflict over proposed new EPA carbon emission regulations (article from The Guardian). Are you and I merely spectators? What do we do as our president attempts to model for the world a push towards lower carbon emissions? COMFORT ZONE challenges viewers with this important question, and others, with the intention of raising awareness and spurring right action. We believe the film is as relevant as ever, and we'd like your help to increase its chance for greater exposure.   Our ask is simple. Please share one or both of these short clips from COMFORT ZONE with people in your network.     WHY IS IT SO HARD TO GET PEOPLE TO CHANGE? HOW FAST CAN THE CLIMATE CHANGE?     Forward this email. Share this YouTube link on Facebook or LinkedIn. In fact, we plan to share a series of short clips over the coming weeks that pique an interest, pose a powerful question, or debunk a myth.   We don't expect these clips to go viral, but with your help, they can increase the likelihood that COMFORT ZONE can be seen by a wider audience. And in so doing, continue the dialogue that needs to happen at the local level. "

  • 6/13/2014 - Those sinking islands are not at “forefront of the fight against climate change”; they’re merely the harbingers of things to come.  Every day that we don’t act (as we really aren’t fighting against Climate Change on a level that will bring down greenhouse gases in our atmosphere) we implement inevitability into the consequences of Climate Change, one of which is sea level rise. We are merely observing islands going under. Climate Risk to Island States Focus of World Environment Day Barbados, a small Caribbean island at the forefront of the fight against climate change, today hosted this year’s World Environment Day, leading United Nations-wide efforts to draw attention to the plight of the world’s small islands at risk of being lost to sea-level rise. Over the last 100 years, the global sea level has risen by 10 to 25 centimeters, or up to about 10 inches. UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said in his message for World Environment Day, “This year, I urge everyone to think about the plight of Small Island Developing States and to take inspiration from their efforts to address climate change, strengthen resilience and work for a sustainable future.” Said the UN chief, “Raise your voice, not the sea level.” Today, Secretary-General Ban took part in the first Sustainable Energy for All Forum at UN headquarters. The goal is sustainable energy for all by 2030, an enormous challenge yet a tremendous opportunity. (June 5, 2014) Environmental News Service (ENS) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/13/2014 - “Human activities that reduce vegetation have a greater impact on the aquatic food chain than previously thought” How much more about the workings of our environment, our life support system, don’t we know as we move headlong into Climate Change? Climate Change is about planning and in order to plan we have to know more about how our environment actually works, not how it just works for us. This is one of the aspects of Climate Change that has intrigued me, that so many dismiss the alarms on Climate Change or think we’ll do just fine when there so many unknown unknowns about Climate Change even before we put our life support system into accelerated anthropomorphic warming.  Faith based planning won’t get us through Climate Change; we really have to know all the facts and how they fit together in our environment to save it. Report: Forest loss starves fish Up to three-quarters of the biological makeup of freshwater lake fish comes from land vegetation, study finds Forest loss leads to smaller, less healthy fish living in the lakes they surround, and human activities that reduce vegetation have a greater impact on the aquatic food chain than previously thought, according to a new report. “Fish are a forest product,” said Andew Tanentzap, lecturer in Plant Sciences at University of Cambridge and an author of the report. The study, "Forests Fuel Fish Growth in Freshwater Deltas," was published Wednesday in online journal Nature Communications. For the report, scientists studied yellow perch, an important sport and commercial fish, in freshwater lakes in Sudbury, Ontario — a location that offered a unique perspective because of its history of environmental degradation from mining and metal smelting. This intense industrial activity created acid rain that killed off much of the area’s forest cover. (June 11, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Plants and Wildlife and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/13/2014 - How bad does our environment, our life support system, have to get before free market fundamentalism responds? If you think corporations should never have environmental restrictions to make money for their shareholders, then come to Beijing. Beijing emitters ignore carbon scheme, question government authority: media (Reuters) - More than a quarter of all companies covered by Beijing's municipal carbon laws ignored a key reporting deadline, local media reported Friday, with some powerful companies questioning the local government trading body's authority to regulate them. Beijing's carbon trading market, one of six set up in China to rein in rapidly growing greenhouse gas emissions, caps carbon dioxide from nearly 500 local enterprises. Most of them must hand over permits to the government to cover for their emissions, while some must only report their CO2 levels. (June 13, 2014) Reuters [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 6/12/2014 - What’s really amazing about an article that someone found a turtle in their yard is that the media finds it amazing.  We have developed so much of New York State and turned so much land into private property ownership and developed it anyway we wanted to heedless of how all this land fits into our overall environment that we find it odd when wildlife just tries to live in our fractured world.  It would be far more enlightening if our major print media turned away from feel-good stories like this and investigated how our NYS wildlife is going to fare during Climate Change.  How, for example, are amphibians and reptiles and mammal going to adapt to a climate that is warming faster than they can adapt.  What is our government doing about that?  Mommy turtle nests, lays eggs in Perinton yard In the past 50 years, George Butt has frequently seen deer, chipmunks and rabbits in his Perinton backyard. But a large turtle laying eggs in his lawn? That was a first. "It came up almost like this prehistoric animal all wet in the morning mist," he said. "It was a sight I certainly didn't expect to see." Butt said after breakfast he noticed that a large female turtle had dug a hole about 35 feet from his house on Red Barn Circle — about 100 yards from the Erie Canal — and was in the process of laying eggs. (June 12, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 6/12/2014 - Awesome reality-based, local editorial on ‘War on Coal’ by local editor that bars no holds on speaking up courageously for our life support system.  And if we had more editors saying this, our American public wouldn’t be so “stupefyingly good at denying reality”: “Americans have grown stupefyingly good at denying reality, no matter how strong the scientific and medical evidence. And special interests have become experts at obscuring the evidence with a thick smog of catchy phrases and deceitful ads.” The 'war on coal' and the war on the planet  Americans have grown stupefyingly good at denying reality, no matter how strong the scientific and medical evidence. And special interests have become experts at obscuring the evidence with a thick smog of catchy phrases and deceitful ads. So we now have the latest attack on Barack Obama: the charge that he's conducting a War on Coal. Republicans in coal-mining states are milking that phrase for all it's worth, and predictably, Democratic candidates in those states are right there with them. Let's just do a little smog control, then. We're not waging a War on Coal. The war we've waged is global warming: a war on the planet and its inhabitants. Coal-fired power plants are one of this country's biggest contributors to the greenhouse gases that cause global warming. And it's unconscionable that American voters and their government officials have done so little to end that war. In fact, we have pretended that there is no war. And anytime environmentalists point to the evidence, coal interests and their political hacks shout them down and rant about a job-killing president. (June 11, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area]

  • 6/12/2014 - Imagine what New York State would look like now if six years ago we dropped Fracking altogether and went full throttle on solar power and ditched a “noncompetitive energy source that is overly dependent on government subsidies” called fossil fuel subsides, which get billions from our government each year.  Sun gods: Why solar power isn't just for hippies anymore.  Cynette Cavaliere's interest in solar power started with four wheels. A couple of years ago, Cavaliere got a Chevrolet Volt, which is a plug-in hybrid that runs primarily off of a battery. She charges it at her Penfield home. But Cavaliere says she knew that if she simply plugged her vehicle into its charging station, some of the power would come from plants that run on fossil fuels. So she and her husband pursued a solar power system to offset the electricity they use for the Volt; they had 18 panels installed on their roof. (June 11, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 6/12/2014 - ACTION: ‘Ring in’ is code for ‘make comment’ on second phase of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative & make our Great Lakes sustainable.  In this second phase “also considered will be a project's ability to withstand the effects of climate change, as well as its ability to mitigate anticipated climate shifts.” so, yeah, giving the trajectory of our climate we should ring in on that.  “The draft plan is available at http://glri.us/ Comments are being accepted until June 30 at http://glri.us/public.html  or e-mail actionplan@glnpo.net . The final plan should be released by October 1.” Ring in on Great Lakes plan  Public comment is being taken now on the second phase of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which is a federal program to improve the health of the lakes. The initiative has been operating for four years. The new draft plan covers fiscal years 2015 through 2019. First-phase projects focused on cleaning up toxic pollution, preventing the introduction or spread of invasive species, preventing near-shore water pollution from storm water runoff, and restoring coastal wetlands and habitat. In the Rochester area, GLRI funding has supported a range of activity. For example, Monroe County worked with the US Geological Survey to develop a new model for determining when to close the county's public beaches to swimming. (June 11, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/12/2014 - Though it appeases those who demand that we only see life via our economic system, putting a dollar value on our environment is absurd. How could we have come to a point in our evolution where we can only measure the worth of our survival system within the construct of system that we made up to pay ourselves? The absolute faith in free market fundamentalism is going to extinct us because if we cannot breathe the air or drink the water; it’s game over—no matter how much money we can get our hands on. Value of the High Seas for Life on Earth Highlighted in New Report A comprehensive look at international waters nets some surprising results. The economic and ecological role of the high seas should no longer be ignored, argues a new report. The high seas perform the equivalent of billions of dollars of work in removing carbon from our atmosphere and are critical to commercially valuable fisheries, according to the study, which was commissioned by the Global Ocean Commission after themost recent International Panel on Climate Change reportidentified the high seas—anything past the 200-mile (322-kilometer) mark of a coastal nation's territorial waters—as an area urgently in need of further study. The report also suggests that shutting down fishing on the high seas would help overfished stocks around the world—including tuna, sharks, and squid—to recover. (June 5, 2015) National Geographic

  • 6/12/2014 - How will local trees stack up to Climate Change against trees from other regions? Scientists are checking that out. Syracuse Climate Change Arboretum "SUNY-ESF faculty worked with Syracuse University faculty to install this new landscape of trees and shrubs on the Syracuse University campus. It's designed to let scientists study the impact of climate change on native plants from different regions. With landscape arrangements such as three different species of hemlock standing next to each other, faculty and students will be able to see which plants thrive and how they are affected as climate patterns evolve over the coming years. #research #climatechange#environment "

  • 6/11/2014 - Sen. is right: making the wood frog NYS’s official amphibian “could eventually lead to overambitious state regulations” like addressing Climate Change. This is how that would work: the wood frog is part of a major classification of living creatures on this planet (Amphibians) and dying all over the world—that is going extinct. They are probably dying off in horrific numbers due to a fungus that we human are transporting all over the world due to our way of life. But Climate Change is not helping these creatures that survived through the dinosaur epoch because Climate Change is changing our environment far quicker than they (or just about any other animal for that matter) can adapt to. So, the wood frog, which is one of those rare amphibians that not only survives, but thrives in a temperate climate like ours, is going to be in trouble in a warmer NY.  If we don’t start some really (not ‘over’) ambitious efforts (regulations) to protect these frogs, we and our way of life will be next.  Addressing Climate Change should be job one with our state, more than the’ Climate Smart Communities’ program, which is a good start but must grow to include all aspect of preparing our environment for a warmer climate. Somehow the ‘invisible hand’ of the market place has rendered us blind to environmental health (as our economic system has treated our environment as an externality) and so most of us tend to think a teeny-weeny creature like the wood frog in NYS isn’t important.  But they are important; they are an integral part of our few (we lost over 50% of our remaining wetlands in NYS) environment’s kidneys since pre-Columbian days). If we don’t clear our heads from the nonsense that our environment doesn’t matter, and start seeing critical creatures as the wood frog as integral to our life support system, then we are going to be rendered null and void, as the way Nature dealt with the dinos.  It’s not just about the small wood frog; it’s about us—and everything else. NY Senate frog bill may not have legs ALBANY – Should a tiny frog known for its resistance to freezing temperatures be New York's official amphibian? Or is there a downside to "empowering a specific species"? Those were among the questions raised Tuesday in the state Senate, which voted overwhelmingly to honor the wood frog as an official state symbol. If approved, the small frog — generally brown in color with dark eyes and found widely across the Northeast — would enter state law as the New York state amphibian, joining the likes of the official state muffin (apple), reptile (snapping turtle) and bush (lilac). (June 10, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/11/2014 - “… passing strong national laws to combat climate change is the best foundation for an ambitious international agreement at the critical Paris talks in 2015” kinda says it all. If we fail on Paris 2015, we will be in deep trouble—we in the sense of all sentient life on this planet.  If we think the ‘invisible hand’ is going to get us out of a problem the ‘invisible hand’ caused is like thinking the fox will nurture a flourishing hen house population. The market place cannot be where we place our moral values, and our action on science thinking the market will green us out of Climate Change.  It won’t and it won’t do so fairly. Unless strong national laws provide a foundation to the next major climate talks, it is extremely unlikely that we will drift swiftly enough using market forces to a sustainable existence. It is more likely that we’ve passed the point where anything but a concerted worldwide, binding agreements will do. World legislators urge domestic action in the lead up to critical climate negotiations A group of more than 400 legislators representing 80 countries affirmed that passing strong national laws to combat climate change is the best foundation for an ambitious international agreement at the critical Paris talks in 2015. At the end of the three-day World Summit of Legislators in Mexico City, the group of legislators proposed a resolution that would require signatories to assess existing climate change legislation and work quickly to strengthen laws to hold global warming to an average temperature rise of 2 degrees Celsius. The resolution is backed by the Global Legislators Organisation (GLOBE), the organizers of the summit. The resolution calls upon governments an the United Nations to recognize that a “new generation” of international agreements is needed that will require countries “to put into national laws the commitments and contributions they make” during international negotiation settings. (June 10, 2014) tcktcktck The Global Call for Climate Change Action [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 6/11/2014 - But the ‘global’ in Global Climate Change means it’s well …, global. That means the “distinctive nature of the climate change problem" is global. EPA Too Fixated on the 'Global' in Global Warming, Says U.S. Chamber In calculating the costs and benefits of its new climate rule, the EPA figured in measures 'to reflect the global nature of the problem,' the agency said. Business groups opposed to the Environmental Protection Agency's crackdown on carbon pollution want the Obama administration to stop paying so much attention to the "global" part of global warming. The EPA has estimated that by reducing CO2 emissions by more than half a billion tons a year, its new rule would save the world tens of billions of dollars in avoided climate damage. The agency said the benefit of reduced warming would be several times more than any cost imposed by EPA's regulation, which would control emissions from existing power plants in the United States. (June 10, 2014) Inside Climate News  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/11/2014 - Since Climate Change is about planning for the future and Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council does that for our region, you really should meet in Facebook. It’s weird that only 8 (I’m one of them) ‘likes’ this site, when this group “will identify, define, and inform its member counties of issues and opportunities critical to the physical, economic, and social health of the region.” and it “was established in 1977 by a joint resolution approved by its eight original member counties, including Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates. Wyoming County was admitted in 1986.” And they’ve done several plans and studies that include Climate Change for our region that folks should know they exist.  Please ‘like’ their facebook page and request that everyone you know who cares about Climate Change to ‘like’ their site too.  How can we have a conversation about Climate Change if we’re not talking? Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council "The Genesee/Finger Lakes Regional Planning Council (G/FLRPC) was established in 1977 by a joint resolution approved by its eight original member counties, including Genesee, Livingston, Monroe, Ontario, Orleans, Seneca, Wayne, and Yates. Wyoming County was admitted in 1986. The Council was organized pursuant to Articles 5-G and 12-B of the New York State General Municipal Law.   The nine counties in the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region (Region Map) comprise 4,680 square miles, and have a population exceeding 1,217,000 residents. The voting members of the Council represent participating counties, the City of Rochester, and the  community at-large. These members include chief elected officials, local legislators, department heads, and key community leaders in the region.   G/FLRPC's primary program components include Local, Regional and Water Resources PlanningRegional Economic Development Planning, and a Data, Technology, and Resource Center. "

  • 6/10/2014 - I know, it’s unfair to cherry-pick one sentence in a 288 plan to make our region sustainable during Climate Change and question the whole report’s effectiveness.  But, waffling on Climate Change, a no regrets attitude, is not a prescription for success. If the pubic even thinks there’s a chance that our extreme weather will ‘return to normal’ they will ignore everything else you say. There are a lot of uncertainties and unknown unknowns about how Climate Change will affect our region—but one of them is NOT returning to ““normal” rates seen in previous decades.” If we don’t plan with the absolutely certainty that our climate is warming and the uncertainties are only the part of how warming affect our region, then we won’t plan at all. We will continue to think that measures like ‘emergency rescue’ efforts and other short-term maintenance on our existing infrastructures will be sufficient to protect our way of life during Climate Change and that (BTW) it assumes we don’t have any moral need to cooperate in a worldwide mitigation of greenhouse gas emissions. This report, “Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan 2013”,though very thorough and professional and consensus building, tends in its views of our past and future to be Disneyesque in that it forgets most of the pollution and other damage that has made our region vastly compromised before we head relentlessly into Climate Change.  The sentence I refer to is the second sentence is this quote:     “A critical aspect of climate change adaptation and resiliency for local communities is the potential increase in the frequency and magnitude of extreme weather events – such as drought, very heavy rainstorms, ice storms or snowfalls occurring more often. The recommended strategies outlined in this Plan would be tremendously beneficial to local communities, even if these projections do not materialize and the frequency of extreme events returns to “normal” rates seen in previous decades.’(Page 165) Finger Lakes Regional Sustainability Plan 2013 "New York Governor Andrew Cuomo established the Cleaner, Greener New York Program in 2011 to empower regions to create more sustainable communities by funding smart development practices. The Finger Lakes Region is partnering with public and private experts across a wide range of fields, along with community residents, to lead the development of a regional sustainability plan and to implement projects that will significantly improve the economic and environmental health of our area. This effort will guide integrated, sustainable solutions—from statewide investments to regional decision-making on land use, housing, transportation, infrastructure, energy, and environmental practices—to improve our quality of life. The program is administered by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) through a two-phase competitive grant process. Phase I provides $9.6 million in funding to regional planning teams to create sustainability plans or to expand the scope of existing sustainability plans. Up to $1 million per region is being awarded. Grants are awarded to a municipality, acting on behalf of a consortium of other municipalities, located in one of the 10 regions defined by the Regional Economic Development Council (REDC). "

  • 6/10/2014 - June newsletter of the Rochester Pachamama community: June 2014 Newsletter: "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”  

  • 6/10/2014 - One of the ways that water treatment plant operators can plan for anticipated summer algal toxins is to view the issue through Climate Change.  This point rarely gets mentioned in the media, but the EPA suggest we view this issue through the lens of a warming world: Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms “Climate change is predicted to change many environmental conditions that could affect the natural properties of fresh and marine waters both in the US and worldwide. Changes in these factors could favor the growth of harmful algal blooms and habitat changes such that marine HABs can invade and occur in freshwater. An increase in the occurrence and intensity of harmful algal blooms may negatively impact the environment, human health, and the economy for communities across the US and around the world. The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide climate change researchers and decision–makers a summary of the potential impacts of climate change on harmful algal blooms in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Although much of the evidence presented in this fact sheet suggests that the problem of harmful algal blooms may worsen under future climate scenarios, further research is needed to better understand the association between climate change and harmful algae.” (May 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency | Plant operators get ready to deal with summer algal toxins PORT CLINTON — After heavy spring rain, scientists are expecting harmful algal blooms on Lake Erie again this summer. And that means water treatment plant operators will once again be looking for ways to make sure the toxin the algae can produce, called microcystin, doesn’t get into drinking water. Microcystin can cause liver problems, gastrointestinal illness and irritated skin. There are still no state or federal requirements for testing for algal toxins in water plants or set procedures for removing them from raw water, said Dina Pierce, Ohio Environmental Protection Agency spokeswoman. (June 7, 2014) Port Clinton News Herald [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/10/2014 - There’s no good reason why we shouldn’t label our food.  Why with GMO’s and Fracking are we afraid to list the ingredients? Overwhelming Majority of Americans Say: 'Just Label It!' New Consumers Report poll finds that 92 percent of respondents want the government to require labeling of genetically engineered foods. An overwhelming majority of Americans think that genetically engineered (GE) foods should be labeled before they are sold, according to a new Consumer Reports poll released on Monday.  The nationally-representative phone survey found that 92 percent of respondents think that GE foods, or those made with genetically modified organisms (GMOs), should be labeled accordingly. Further, 92 percent also think that the government should legally require the labeling of GE salmon—which may soon be approved and sold in stores—despite the fact that the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) currently requires neither labeling nor pre-market safety assessments of GE food. (June 9, 2014) Common Dreams [more on Food in our area]

  • 6/10/2014 - If we grew our food locally, provided a living wage for that, and composted, food wouldn’t production wouldn’t have to be our ruin. Because of New York State’s excellent soil, we should be growing local food, and that means only local transport and that means a lot less greenhouse gas emissions in the transport of food. And if we composted our food instead of allowing our lands to be Fracked, or used for bio-fuel, we would reduce greenhouse gas emissions and provide a natural way to refortify our soils instead of manmade fertilizers that eventually wash into our streams and rivers. New York could weather Climate Change sustainably if it managed its agriculture for the warming world—where many of those less fortunate who would come to New York and farm for food in a world where growing food will get more difficult. How does the food we buy, eat and don’t eat impact the environment? Before reaching our plates, food needs to be produced, processed, packaged, transported and distributed. Every step uses up resources and generates more waste and pollution. European Environmental Agency [more on Food in our area]

  • 6/10/2014 - Though it’s an terrible indictment on us who have caused Climate Change, is this map why we are in denial?  When we find ourselves bored and overwhelmed with Climate Change, it might be instructive to look at this map and see how we are less likely (for a time anyway) to receive the consequences of the world warming we have caused.  We have the luxury of avoiding Climate Change because we’re busy, because it is inconvenient, and because other countries are going to be the first to be seriously hurt. If our environment was being traumatized as the nations in red are, would we be so dismissive of this worldwide crisis? This map explains why climate change is so unfair It's a huge day for climate policy. President Obama is announcing a dramatic new EPA proposal to regulate carbon emissions from existing power plants. If and when it's implemented, the EPA regulations will be Obama's signature policy in the campaign to reduce America's contribution to climate change. They also might be Obama's greatest contribution to the fight against global poverty. Climate change is bad for everyone. But it's particularly bad for the world's poorest. Standard and Poor's, the credit rating company, recently published a report assessing the risk each country faces from climate change. You'll notice the more vulnerable (redder) countries cluster in Asia and Africa, while the better off (greener) countries are almost all in North America or Europe: (June 2, 2014) Vox [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/09/2014 - "Thursday, 7/31:  THE GROUND: Photo Exhibition by Tate Shaw at the Spectrum Gallery, Lumiere Photo, 100 College Ave., Rochester, 14607.  It features images from hydrofracking sites in PA, where Tate lived for a while before fracking began.  His photos show in an artistic way the impact on the landscape that had once been lovely to see.  It also addresses other landscapes where the footprints of the energy industry are highly visible: sites such as the ones used in Iceland for the production of geothermal energy, abandoned sulfur mines and hydro-fracking sites in Tioga County, PA, and finally the site of an ongoing, underground fire in abandoned coalmine tunnels below what was the town of Centralia, PA. "

  • 6/09/2014 - Learn about preserving the Canandaigua Lake watershed June 12: Protecting the Lifeblood of our Region: Presenting the 2014 Watershed Management Plan. Join Watershed Program Manager Kevin Olvany to learn about the 2014 Watershed Management Plan, which provides detailed framework for watershed protection in the years ahead. When: Thursday, June 12 2014  5:30 PM to 7:00 PM  Where:  Wood Library, 1st Floor Conference Room 134 North Main Street, Canandaigua, NY June 12 Viewpoints Flyer

  • 6/09/2014 - World Oceans Day 2014: Doesn’t seem like much to celebrate, but I guess if you don’t make an event fun folks won’t be interested: Happy World Oceans Day! | As for tragedies, world issues like Climate Change and the Sixth Great Extinction, the demise of the Oceans is right up there. World Oceans Day 2014: World's Most Polluted Seas Revealed Sunday 8 June is World Oceans Day, an event to raise global awareness about threats to the oceans and promote marine conservation. The special day has been recognised by the United Nations since 2008. According to World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), more than 80% of marine pollution is caused by land-based activities that cause oil spills, fertilisers and toxic chemical runoff and the discharge of untreated sewage. Some water pollution starts also as air pollution, which settles into waterways and oceans, according to the United States' National Ocean Service. (June 8, 2014) International Business Times

  • 6/07/2014 - Ah, beautiful land safe from development and a chance for Nature to be Nature.  Thank you, Finger Lakes Land Trust. | Land above Canandaigua Lake preserved by Finger Lakes Land Trust  MIDDLESEX — The Finger Lakes Land Trust announced Tuesday that it has acquired a forested parcel near the summit of Bare Hill — a landmark well known in the area as the scenic ridge that rises 865 feet above Canandaigua Lake’s eastern shore just north of Vine Valley. The Land Trust identified the five-acre parcel as prime land for protection due to its location near the summit of the hill and because it is adjacent to other conserved lands, according to Land Protection Specialist Elizabeth Newbold. The property was previously owned by Canandaigua residents Chris and Jill Glattly, who owned the property for 25 years as a recreational retreat. “Chris and Jill were a pleasure to work with on this project,” stated Newbold in a release. “The Glattlys expressed their joy in working with the Land Trust because it meant that their land would be ‘returned to Bare Hill.’ We’re grateful to them for their commitment to the land. The protection of this property is particularly significant given the natural and historical importance of the area.” The Land Trust plans to eventually sell the property to New York state as an addition to Bare Hill Unique Area when funds are available. (June 6, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Urban Sprawl in our area]

  • 6/07/2014 - ACTION: "Join the Finger Lakes Institute and Finger Lakes PRISM in a hands-on exploration of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species for this summer’s FLI Teacher Training being held July 7-9, 2014." Exploration and Education: Invasive Species Identified! Invasive Species Identified: Exploring ways teachers and students can become invasive species citizen scientists! Join the Finger Lakes Institute and Finger Lakes PRISM in a hands-on exploration of terrestrial and aquatic invasive species for this summer’s FLI Teacher Training being held July 7-9, 2014.  Teachers will learn about the history of these “invaders” in the Finger Lakes region and their harmful effects on local ecosystems, native species, regional economics and human health.  Hands-on training will be provided for field identification of common terrestrial and aquatic invasives. Teachers will also learn to use the online, GIS-based citizen science mapping tool called iMapInvasives. An example application can be found here. Field identification techniques and mapping skills will be used create classroom-appropriate citizen science project models and curriculum, a great way to engage students in STEM learning! (June 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 6/07/2014 - Don’t forget; Sept 20-21 for People’s Climate March @ New York City. Sign up now  – or read Bill McKibben’s more formal invitation in Rolling Stone here.

  • 6/07/2014 - Whether California’s present drought is linked with Climate Change may be in doubt but not the drought’s effect on Wildlife. Amid California’s Drought, Raptors Are Having One Of The Worst Breeding Seasons On Record Ongoing drought in California is threatening to dry up crops and has led to hikes in food prices, but it’s also having a major impact on key parts of the California ecosystem: namely, raptors. As Accuweather reports, lack of water is causing grass that serves as habitat for the insects and small mammals that raptors feed on to dry up, which is leading to a drop in the numbers of these prey creatures and in turn has led to “emaciated” hawks and owls. This lack of food means many owls and hawk pairs aren’t laying eggs, which means this breeding season could end up being one of the worst on record, Andrea Jones of the California Audubon Society told Accuweather. “Birds are just not nesting,” she said. “They’re not laying eggs.” (June 6, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/07/2014 - For a variety of reasons—public health, accidents, water quality issues—folks think LPG storage near Seneca Lake a bad idea.  Find out why here and sign the petition here:  Schuyler lawmakers to vote on dueling resolutions on LPG project The Schuyler County Legislature is expected to vote on dueling resolutions Monday evening regarding Crestwood’s proposed LPG storage facility on Seneca Lake. One of the resolutions, introduced by Legislature Chairman Dennis Fagan, calls on the state Department of Environmental Conservation to approve the project, which has been under review by the DEC since 2009. The other, introduced by Legislator Michael Lausell, lists a number of concerns and asks the DEC to deny the project. Up until now, the Schuyler County Legislature hasn’t taken an official position on the project, which involves using salt caverns along the west side of Seneca Lake just outside Watkins Glen for bulk storage and distribution of propane and butane. Truck and rail stations for transporting the fuel would also be built. (June 6, 2014) The Leader [more on Energy in our area]

  • 6/06/2014 - New DEC “Regulations Target Aquatic Invasive Species” will probably piss off a lot of boaters, but it will get worse. For those folks worried that the Nanny state is going to tell them what to do this new regulation will strike terror into their heart. This new regulation only “pertain to all DEC boat launches, fishing access sites and other DEC lands where watercraft such as boats, kayak or canoes, can be launched into the water.” But you know and I know, there are a zillion other ways boats can enter a body of water without using a DEC boat launch or using DEC lands. So, those boaters who do not get the message that only a robust (meaning every boat on every body of water) measure like this will actually keep invasive species out of our waters.  This is no joke, as recently the Round Gobies Invade Cayuga Lake and they didn’t get there on their own—they hijacked boats.  I predict that the next phase of regulations will include every boat on every body of water. For those indignant that the state is making them do all this pre-launching boat cleaning stuff to prevent invasives going from one lake to another should have done this stuff on their own years ago. For those raging against the Nanny state, they are the ones who create the Nanny state because they won’t use any sense in how they treat our environment.  So, the state has to come in and make harsh rules to protect our precious resources. And this will only get worse if the public doesn’t on their own start treating our environment better.  This whole issue highlights what we are facing with Climate Change: When the public fails to act on environmental issues at the time they need to (if they use the wait and see approach) they are going to lose their chance to choose.  The idea of keeping our Freedoms while keeping our environment, which is our survival mechanism, intact is going to challenge everything we cherish. The more the public sits back and ignores these issues, the fewer choices they will have in the future.  When push comes to shove, it will be our environment that will trump our Freedoms because we can live without our Freedoms.  New State Regulations Target Aquatic Invasive Species Boaters Using DEC Lands to Launch Boats or Other Watercraft Are Now Required To Clean and Drain Boats Prior to Launch As part of an aggressive effort to prevent invasive species from entering and damaging New York water bodies, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) today adopted new regulations that require boaters to remove all visible plant and animal materials from boats, trailers and associated equipment, and to drain boats prior to launching from DEC lands. The regulations, which are effective today, pertain to all DEC boat launches, fishing access sites and other DEC lands where watercraft such as boats, kayak or canoes, can be launched into the water. "New York State continues to work with its state, local, federal and environmental partners to protect water bodies from destructive invasive species," DEC Commissioner Joe Martens said. "Boats, trailers and associated equipment are common pathways for spreading aquatic invasive species. These new regulations will help reinforce the message that boaters need to clean their equipment of any clinging plant and animal materials and drain their boats prior to launching at lands administered by DEC." (June 5, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 6/06/2014 - Has your local government signed up for the NYS DEC’s Climate Smart Communities yet? If so, they’d get getting this invitation for this webinar for “Energy Management Resources for Local Governments” and learning how to get your community ready for Climate Change.  Think of attending the webinar yourself and telling your local officials what you’ve learned and get your community to take the pledge. Reminder Climate Smart Communities Webinar Next Thursday Thursday, June 12, 2014 10:30 a.m. – Noon  Our Climate Smart Communities webinar entitled Energy Management Resources for Local Governments will be held next Thursday, June 12, 2014 at 10:30 AM.   Identifying the best tools and tracking systems for managing energy consumption and cost data has become a critical step for local governments as they work to improve energy efficiency, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and reduce costs.   With a variety of tools available, this webinar will provide an overview of some of those options, including a brief demo and discussion of the key features and benefits of each. Tools to be discussed include EPA’s Energy Star Portfolio Manager, FacilityDude’s UtilityTrac, and WegoWise. (See agenda attached)   The webinar will be accessible to anyone via an Internet connection and telephone. Webinar participants must use the telephone call-in number; no audio signal will be transmitted over the Internet.  To join the webinar, go to http://www.webdialogs.com, click the “Join a meeting” button and enter Conference ID 58089 in the “Meeting Login” screen. On your telephone, dial 1-866-394-2346 and enter conference call code 1982360347# when prompted.  Please respond with both your name and community affiliation via either e-mail or telephone to the Office of Climate Change at climatechange@gw.dec.state.ny.us or 518-402-8323.  In the event that we have to cancel or postpone this webinar respondents will be notified.

  • 6/06/2014 - Energy workshops this summer for who may be interested in saving energy, money and the planet: Home Energy Workshop Schedule June - Sept 2014

  • 6/06/2014 - Interested in exploring the green lighting alternatives in the Rochester area? Check out this event coming up:  4th Annual Go Green Expo at the High Falls Business Center this June 19th, 5:30 - 9:30PM . There will be a DJ, live entertainment by Tom Passamonte, silent auction to benefit Equicenter, open bar, food catered by La Luna & more.  If interested, please RSVP with name/corresponding company name (for name badge purposes) to this email address.  Mike Michael A. Viggiani President/CEO 30 Hytec Circle, Suite 200 Rochester, NY 14606 www.gogreenledinternational.com Mobile:585-732-1027 Office:585-235-6160 Fax:585-235-1053 

  • 6/06/2014 - Lessons from the trenches: How do you march out a carbon pollution plan when the other side is in rabid denial? With the few and powerful Climate Change deniers still in office, and folks still willing to support an ideology that is not supported by science, adapting to and mitigating Climate Change is going to be very tough.  Not only do we have to solve the physic’s problem of adapting to a problem that has been building in our atmosphere for a long time, we have to continually fight off those who would protect at all costs (our money and our lives) an unfair economic system that caused the problem in the first place. If our economic system had long ago accommodated our environment and made those who polluted our ecosystems accountable, we wouldn’t be in this fix.  Obama’s Carbon Plan may not be the best, but it may very well be the best we can expect while Congress is still paralyzed by zealots for a lost cause. Obama Relying on Consensus Builder to Steer Carbon Plan As an Obama administration team was crafting its plan to fight climate change, one nightmare haunted it: The troubled rollout of Obamacare. Both plans are major parts of PresidentBarack Obama’s legacy, being fought vigorously by Republicans. And both would succeed only with the help of an unlikely -- and often unwilling -- set of governors and industry groups. There is a difference. Obama’s health care plan was delivered to the states after a bitter years-long fight in Congress. Environmental Protection Agency chief Gina McCarthy and other administration officials tried to bring the states in from the beginning of the climate effort, much as McCarthy brought in even climate skeptics when she worked for Republican governors in Massachusetts and Connecticut almost a decade ago. (June 4, 2014) Bloomberg News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/06/2014 - ‘Arctic 30’ was Greenpeace’s way of saying: “Russia just say no to your Arctic oil addiction, no to screwing up the warming pristine Arctic waters.” Arctic 30: Russia releases Greenpeace ship Russian authorities have released the Arctic Sunrise, which was involved in a high-profile protest against Arctic oil drilling The Greenpeace icebreaker confiscated by Russia after activists tried to board a Gazprom oil rig has been released. But it could take two months before the Arctic Sunrise leaves Murmansk harbour, acording to the campaigning group. The ship was boarded by the Russian coast guard and towed 500 miles from the Pechora sea to the northern Russian port of Murmansk in September 2013. Thirty activists, including six Britons, were arrested and accused of hooliganism and piracy. Although the 30 activists were all released from prison after three months of international protests, the ship remained in port pending a decision by the Russian investigative committee (IC). (June 6, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/06/2014 - Wanna do something about Climate Change in the Rochester, NY region? New group forming:RochesterClimateAction’ | "Dear Local Environmental Activist,  We (a small group of mothers who are concerned about climate change) are writing to let you know about a new resource for budding climate change activists in the Greater Rochester Area. This resource is a website (and accompanying email newsletter) with suggestions for how busy people can get involved in fighting climate change. Our purpose is to make it simple for people to take action on this issue. Our reason for putting this site together is that when one member of our group (Abby) decided to become an activist a few months ago, she found it difficult to figure out how to get started. We want to make this transition from wannabe activist to full-fledged activist as quick and painless as possible, so more people will be motivated to take that step.  Our website is not yet ready to go, mainly because we need help from people like you to find information to post on the site. Please notify us (rochesterclimateaction@gmail.com ) of any climate change related action opportunities that are happening in the area, including events, meetings, petitions, etc. We’re hoping this site will help you get information out about all the wonderful things you are doing to stop climate change.  As of right now, we are planning to arrange information on our site into the following categories to make it easy for people to find the types of action that appeal to them most:  Two-Minute Actions (i.e., mostly petitions) Five-to-Ten-Minute Actions Climate Action Events Meetings of Local Climate Action Organizations Film Screenings Actions Your Kids Can Participate In Actions For Those Who Have a Few Dollars to Spare “Greening” Your Home/Lawn/Office/Lifestyle Get Serious About Activism Learn About Global Warming and Possible Solutions  (Please let us know if you have any suggestions for other categories we should include.)  When you send us your information, please put it in the most easily digestible form possible. After a brief paragraph describing what your action is and why it’s important, provide clear steps for how people should take the action you suggest. For example… Step 1: Call Mr. So-and-so at (585) XXX-XXXX Step 2: Say “fghdg gh ilxc dfgfgn dfgdfg”  If you send us information that is not clear and concise, we won’t post it because we want our site to be as user-friendly as possible. Also keep in mind that this site is specifically for climate change action opportunities. As important as other environmental issues may be, we will not post information that is not climate change related. If your event is climate change related but not obviously so, please explain the connection.  Though we’re excited about our website, we’re even more excited about the accompanying email newsletter. The difference between our newsletter and most environmental organizations’ newsletters is that ours will be primarily distributed via people’s personal network connections. Twice per month, we will send a message describing 3-4 action opportunities to our “frontline contacts.” We are frontline contacts and we hope committed activists such as yourselves will also agree to be frontline contacts. Frontline contacts are responsible for forwarding the message from their personal email address to friends, family, colleagues, etc. Hopefully some of those people will forward the message again to their personal contacts, who will forward it their contacts, etc., etc. We decided to distribute the newsletter this way because we believe that most people who don’t yet consider themselves to be activists will be more likely to read and act upon a message that comes from someone they know personally rather than from an impersonal organization. In other words, this system will allow us to reach an audience that we wouldn’t otherwise be able to reach.  If you are willing to be a frontline contact, please send a message to rochesterclimateaction@gmail.com letting us know.  In addition to this message, you will soon receive our first email newsletter. Please forward the newsletter to anyone and everyone you know in the Greater Rochester Area. If you have any feedback on our newsletter, please let us know at rochesterclimateaction@gmail.com. Also, feel free to send this introductory email to other activists in the area who you think might be interested in being frontline contacts and/or contributing information to our site.  Our site is not yet up and running, but with your help it will be soon. Please send us whatever information you’d like us to post on the site, as well as any questions or comments you may have.  Sincerely,  Abigail McHugh-Grifa Neely Kelley Holly Rock Sue Hughes-Smith Katie Fittipaldi "

  • 6/05/2014 - Buffalo’s ‘Investigative Post’ slams Buffalo’s recycling efforts, but who’s watching Rochester’s recycling? How do our recycling efforts, recycling rates, curb-side pickups, and recycling efforts measure up to Buffalo’s?  This article says “They [the public] just need to hear about it [recycling and its importance and rate] a lot”, but that is not happening in the Rochester area.  We rarely hear about recycling efforts in the Rochester region?  That’s the one thing that is for sure in our Rochester region. Why is that? If our media held Rochester to the same standards as the Investigate Post holds Buffalo, what would that look like? Is Rochester engaging in delusional recycling or real recycling? Buffalo’s recycling program still struggles Buffalo is trying to burnish its green credentials with big public investments to clean up its waterways and attract clean energy companies. Recycling is an easier lift, but the city’s anemic program is plagued by fits and starts. City Hall took the major step of distributing green recycling totes to residents in late 2011. Last year, Mayor Byron Brown hired a full-time recycling coordinator. But City Hall is otherwise batting 0 for 4 when it comes to building a successful program. As a result, the city’s curbside recycling rate has leveled off and remains less than half the national average. How is City Hall coming up short? (May 27, 2014) Innovation Post [more on Recycling in our area]  

  • 6/05/2014 - Important Rochester regional publication about preventing lead poisoning and making your home a healthy home: "The Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning and the Rochester Healthy Homes Partnership are pleased to announce the publication of the newly revised “Healthy Homes, Healthy Families: A Guide to Protecting your Family’s Health By Making Your Home A Safer Environment.” The full-color 32-page booklet includes practical tips for reducing environmental hazards in your home and regional information from organizations that offer resources to improve home health."To request free copies of the “Healthy Homes, Healthy Families” resource guide, please call (585) 224-3125. Downloadable PDFs are also available on the Coalition to Prevent Lead Poisoning’s web site at www.letsmakeleadhistory.org

  • 6/05/2014 - One thing that Climate Change has changed is that we are now watching the climate the way we used to watch the weather—every day. However much the public is denying and trying to ignore the findings of Climate Change that will not get easier. Climate used to be so stable and far away from the Now! that we used to think of it in cycles, winter, spring, summer, fall, and very hot, and very cold all in a predictable pattern of life that made it all seem cyclical and, though punctuated with extreme weather now and then, comfortable. Now, it’s like a spiral, a swirling of patterns towards hotter-than-usual temperature and unpredictable regions that we are not prepared for.  Our Climate is not forever; it is now something we must watch every day least we get caught up and out lives consumed by it. The Ocean is Heating Up for Hurricane Season If you live on the Gulf Coast or Eastern Seaboard, hopefully you’re ready for Atlantic hurricane season, which started on Sunday, June 1. As the season gets underway, hurricane-friendly ocean temperatures in the Atlantic are ramping up, though they’re not quite there in all places just yet. A new graphic from NASA’s Earth Observatory shows ocean temperatures at the end of May for the entire globe. For tropical cyclones, the broader label for hurricanes and tropical storms, to form, surface ocean waters generally need to be above 82°F, which is colored in red on the map. That helps fuel the evaporation that drives a hurricane’s convection engine and give storms a boost from a regular ol’ rainstorm into a full-fledged tropical cyclone. Temperatures below that threshold are shown in blue. (June 4, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 6/05/2014 - We must hold the media accountable for informing the public adequately about Climate Change. If the US media can inject enough uncertainty into the science of Climate Change will their supporters/subscribers/corporate backers win? Maybe for awhile.  In one sense, however Climate Change is reported in the media, Climate Change will do its thing—as it’s physics, you put more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the place warms up.  In another sense, the media’s weaseling around Climate Change and sowing doubt where there no longer is prevents the public from a true understanding about the problem of Climate Change.  Climate Change is about planning and if the public is not prepared there will be little in the way of planning. STUDY: US Reporters Use More Weasel Words in Covering Climate Change A new paper finds that our journalists are constantly hedging on a scientifically settled issue—considerably more so than reporters in Spain. It's no secret that different countries have different densities, so to speak, of global warming denial. In particular, English-language speaking nations like the US and the UK tend to be relative denialist hotbeds, and their media include a considerable amount of global warming skepticism. By contrast, media researchers have found that in Spanish-speaking countries like Mexico and Chile, as well as in European nations, journalists tend to cast much less doubt on climate research. And now, a new paper captures the US media's relative discomfort with climate science in a new way: By comparing the preponderance of words that suggest scientific uncertainty about climate change in two US newspapers, the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal, with the concentration in two Spanish ones, El País and El Mundo. The study, by Adriana Bailey and two colleagues at the University of Colorado-Boulder, is just out in the journal Environmental Communication. It finds a considerably greater concentration of such uncertainty-evoking words in the US papers in their 2001 and 2007 coverage of two newly released reports from the United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (June 3, 2014) Mother Jones [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/04/2014 - Will the Fracking industry’s tactic of doing a Hail Mary pass around NYS communities’ bans be sanctioned by a few judges? Will Home Rule rule or will the Fracking industry?  This decision is critical because even if the governor the moratorium on Fracking in New York State, the hundreds of Fracking bans around the State, now upheld by Home Rule, will probably render New York unFrackable.  For Fracking to work (it’s horizontal drilling not the present straight down drilling) the Fracking companies have to have it all and ditching Home Rule will accomplish that.  It would have been better, years ago before this Fracking frenzy ever got started, to stop and consider our energy needs viewed through the lens of Climate Change.  If we had done that we wouldn’t be squabbling about Fracking, we would have first focused on renewable energy (wind and solar) before even thinking about something as fossil-fuel and water quality crazy as Fracking. But instead of talking about Climate Change and energy, we are talking about a really lousy way to provide iterant jobs and burn more fossil fuels, an energy option now being forced upon us by threats to our local sovereignty. Judges grill attorneys over fracking home rule cases The state’s top court will soon decide whether towns can ban hydraulic fracturing, after judges grilled attorneys on both sides of the debate for an hour Tuesday. The Court of Appeals heard arguments in a pair of cases that could have major implications for the future of fracking and local zoning. At issue are bans on fracking and gas drilling in the towns of Dryden, Tompkins County, and Middlefield, Otsego County. Lower courts have upheld their right to prohibit drilling through local zoning ordinances, but the seven-member court agreed to take up the case late last year. The joint hearing Tuesday focused largely on the state’s oil-and-gas law, which includes a clause that prohibits local governments from regulating the industry except when it comes to road use and taxation. But does a town-wide zoning law prohibiting fracking amount to regulating the gas industry? The court will ultimately decide. (June 3, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/04/2014 - How can you as a resident help your community’s revitalization, improving environmental health, including making areas more sustainable? The Green Hand: Revitalization in Geneva, NY from a New Resident Perspective I first came to Geneva, NY circa spring 2001 to visit a high school friend that was then attending Hobart and William Smith Colleges (The Colleges). I frequented Geneva, NY several times between 2001-2004, but didn’t return again until I was hired by The Colleges in August 2011. Since then, I have developed a very different appreciation for Geneva than was created during my visits in college. Before moving here, I viewed Geneva as just another town (it is technically a small city with a population just greater than 13,000) in a region known for its elongated lakes; temperate climate; and the burgeoning wine industry. As a result of my limited exposure, I saw Geneva as merely a pit stop for college students and vacationers alike, despite the likely community vitality at the time. There is a real sense of community in Geneva with many efforts to re-envision the City while conserving its natural resources and rich history. Both, my positions at The Colleges and my personal interests have exposed me to community efforts across the city. In this article, I’d like to briefly describe a few recent revitalization efforts that I have either been involved with directly or tangentially. However, by no means is this a complete list of current or past community initiatives in the City of Geneva.  (June 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute  [more on Green Living in our area]

  • 6/04/2014 - We salute celebrities like Sir Paul McCartney for their calls to halt Fracking because some voices speak louder than others. McCartney calls for halt to fracking More than 150 celebrities, scientists and politicians have joined a new campaign calling for fracking to be suspended while a debate is held into its “potential dangers”. (June 1, 2014) The Times [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 6/04/2014 - This month’s ‘Penfield Green Initiative’ just published. Learn about environmental events and actions in our area from this great local media:  Penfield Green Initiative June 2014 Newsletter Planning Committee 2014* 'The Penfield Green Initiative began in Dec 2007.  We are Penfield residents who want to promote positive environmental action & provide a forum for the general public to be involved supporting a "green Penfield." We encourage people to attend any of the following events or meetings. E-mail us with your comments & permission to publish them in the next monthly newsletter.  Please let us know of any other Environmental Issues or events. We'd enjoy hearing from you. "'

  • 6/04/2014 - Regardless of who’s in office our summers are going to get hotter, but who’s going to plan for adaptation and mitigation so future summers won’t be as intolerable and hot as they could be?  So yeah, it’s late in the day and much warming is going to come no matter what we do because we didn’t act on Climate Change a lot sooner. But to continue to not act on Climate Change is suicide—high emission scenarios will be more than uncomfortable and inconvenient. Here’s How Much U.S. Summers Have Warmed Since 1970 June is here, so let the great debate over the Song of the Summer begin! Will this summer’s earworm come from a pop stalwart like Katy Perry or a newcomer like Iggy Azalea? Radio and Spotify listeners around the country will decide. One summer trend that’s not up for debate, though: the season has been getting hotter across the U.S. since 1970. Nationwide, the summer warming trend averages out to a little more than 0.4°F per decade since 1970. The places warming the fastest also happen to be some of the hottest places in the country, with a large chunk of the Southwest and all of Texas warming more than 1°F per decade. The notable blue spot in a sea of red is the Upper Midwest, where substantial parts of Iowa and the Dakotas have seen a slight cooling trend since 1970. Interestingly, that region is actually home to some of the fastest-warming states when you look at the change in annual average temperatures. Winters in particular have warmed dramatically there over the past 40 years. (June 3, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2014 - How will the EPA’s efforts to cut carbon pollution affect New York State? EPA emissions plan for New York state wants 45% reduction by 2030 The Clean Power Plan will 'unleash market forces' and 'protect local economies and jobs'  said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy in her speech outlining the guidelines that aim to cut carbon pollution levels by 30% compared to 2005 levels. Launching the plan in Washington DC Monday,  McCarthy clearly tried to get out ahead of the anticipated objections to the emissions cuts by highlighting the potential for business, by saying that the measures will 'spur business innovation and investment'. The target would be achieved by targeting power plants which are responsible for one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions, according to the EPA. The plan has been condemned as 'job-killing' by representatives of states with high levels of dependancy on the coal industry. (June 2, 2014) Innovation Trail  

  • 6/03/2014 - Did your media happen to mention EPA’s announcement on First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution? If not, then you can be pretty sure they are inept as a new agency and are purposefully trying to blind you on the most important issue of our times.  Without keeping the public informed on Climate Change so the public will understand and support plans to address and mitigate Climate Change we don’t have a prayer of solving this issue. There’s no excuse for the lack of media coverage on this issue. EPA Aims To Slash Power Plant CO2 by 30 Percent Nearly every state in the U.S. now has a greenhouse gas emissions reduction goal to meet under the Obama administration's new Clean Power Plan announced Monday: Slash the country’s overall carbon pollution from the electric power sector by 30 percent below 2005 levels by 2030. That means every state except Vermont, which has no power plants that apply under the new rule, will have to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from existing power plants, according to a rule the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) proposed Monday. The EPA rule is part of the White House’s broader Climate Action Plan announced last year that includes a number of steps to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to the impacts of climate change. (June 2, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2014 - Wondering if your media screwed up EPA’s announcement on First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution? Read the EPA announcement: EPA Proposes First Guidelines to Cut Carbon Pollution from Existing Power Plants/Clean Power Plan is flexible proposal to ensure a healthier environment, spur innovation and strengthen the economy WASHINGTON – At the direction of President Obama and after an unprecedented outreach effort, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is today releasing the Clean Power Plan proposal, which for the first time cuts carbon pollution from existing power plants, the single largest source of carbon pollution in the United States.Today’s proposal will protect public health, move the United States toward a cleaner environment and fight climate change while supplying Americans with reliable and affordable power. "Climate change, fueled by carbon pollution, supercharges risks to our health, our economy, and our way of life. EPA is delivering on a vital piece of President Obama's Climate Action Plan by proposing a Clean Power Plan that will cut harmful carbon pollution from our largest source--power plants," said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. "By leveraging cleaner energy sources and cutting energy waste, this plan will clean the air we breathe while helping slow climate change so we can leave a safe and healthy future for our kids. We don't have to choose between a healthy economy and a healthy environment--our action will sharpen America’s competitive edge, spur innovation, and create jobs."  Power plants account for roughly one-third of all domestic greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. While there are limits in place for the level of arsenic, mercury, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxides, and particle pollution that power plants can emit, there are currently no national limits on carbon pollution levels.  (June 2, 2014) US Environmental Protection Agency [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 6/03/2014 - Dysfunctional as mainstream media is, you might want to go to the primary source on the President’ Climate Action Plan.  Rather than get the summations and criticisms of Obama’s plans, it might be helpful, especially in these days of Internet openness, to let the President speak for himself. Mainstream media, which has not been especially forthright on the dangers of Climate Change and urging the public to pay attention, can forgive us if we ask the public to go to the primary source first. CLIMATE CHANGE AND PRESIDENT OBAMA'S ACTION PLAN PRESIDENT OBAMA HAS ANNOUNCED A SERIES OF EXECUTIVE ACTIONS TO REDUCE CARBON POLLUTION, PREPARE THE U.S. FOR THE IMPACTS OF CLIMATE CHANGE, AND LEAD INTERNATIONAL EFFORTS TO ADDRESS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE. MODERNIZING OUR POWER PLANTS Watch President Obama explain why we need to cut carbon pollution from power plants On June 2, the EPA released a proposal that will set the first-ever national carbon pollution standards limits for America’s existing power plants. Find out how the rules will make our communities healthier, and learn more about the President’s plan to cut carbon pollution in America. - WhiteHouse. gov

  • 6/02/2014 - What will happen to NYS agriculture as our traditional food crops deal with Climate Change? Need more studies like these: High tunnels at Plantations to simulate climate change Okra, peanuts, cotton and bananas are not exactly staple crops on Ithaca farms and home gardens. But as the world gets warmer, will there be a place for tropical varieties in New York state? And what will happen to current crops such as lettuce, radish and spinach? Cornell researchers aim to find out by simulating potential climate change conditions under plastic. A high tunnel – an unheated greenhouse covered by a single layer of clear polyethylene – is being erected at Cornell Plantations to house a climate change demonstration garden. (May 29, 2014) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Agriculture and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2014 - Pages 138-139 of the National Climate Assessment contains one of the most important sentences of the report.  It refers to adapting our transportation systems during Climate Change, but it can pertain to all our infrastructures—water, telecommunications, drainage, etc. It’s a rather dull, wonky kind of sentence that says volumes.  Here it is: “By incorporating climate change routinely into the planning process, governments can reduce the vulnerability to climate change impacts and take actions that enhance the resilience of the transportation system to adverse weather conditions.”  What’s important about this sentence is that if we do not have a government that believes in Climate Change helping and advising governments at all levels we will not be incorporating Climate Change impacts routinely into the planning process.  The sentence says that not only must the denial of Climate Change end, it gets at the heart of understanding what Climate Change means right now. If deniers are running the show we will not be properly prepared for our immediate future, let alone our long-term future. 

  • 6/02/2014 - Obama’s carbon pollution limits seem strange, though not strange as allowing corporations endless pollution rights to our air that we breathe. Obama Makes Public Health Pitch For Carbon Rules As governors, businesses and environmentalists brace for new limits on power plant pollution, President Barack Obama is casting his unprecedented effort to curb greenhouse gases as essential to protect the health and wellbeing of children. "I refuse to condemn our children to a planet that's beyond fixing," Obama said in his weekly radio and Internet address released Saturday. His administration is bringing forward the first carbon pollution limits on existing U.S. power plants on Monday, the centerpiece of his campaign against climate change. Critics say the plan will drive up costs, kill jobs and damage a fragile economy. Traditionally, the president records his weekly address at the White House. But Obama put the usual playbook aside on Friday and traveled to Children's National Medical Center, where medical equipment and white lab coats formed the backdrop for Obama to argue that by targeting carbon dioxide, his administration is shifting the U.S. away from dirty fuels that dump harmful pollutants into the air. He also met young asthma patients there, the White House said. (May 31, 2014) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2014 - The greatest graduating present to our graduating grads would be a future. The Elephant in the Graduation Tent: Climate Change and an Uncertain Future Commencement season is in full swing, and graduation speakers are offering advice from podiums across the country. Some use humor, some share hard-won truths, and all urge graduates to embrace the future that lies ahead. That is good advice, but as a member of the Baby Boomer Generation, I feel compelled to point out the elephant in the graduation tent: if America doesn’t tackle the threat of climate change, the future looks grim. Young people have a front row seat on that future. They know climate change could limit their horizons and undermine their opportunities. When I left school, I never wondered whether my apartment in New York was vulnerable to storm surges, but my three daughters have to consider the realities of extreme weather and how it may destabilize communities around the globe. Yet like so many members of their generation, they are committed to fighting the climate threat. Luckily these efforts are about to get a major boost. On Monday, the United States will take the single most important step it can to address climate change right now. (May 30, 2014) NRDC Switchboard [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2014 - “Invasive hybridization driven by climate change …,” is that affecting the trout in the New York State or Great Lakes region? Farewell to the cutthroat trout? Montana's famed westslope cutthroat trout, hemmed by non-native rainbows, is cross-breeding with the invaders as stream temperatures rise and flows change.  Scientists fear it could spell the end for the ruby-throated native. Any Montana angler worth a double-haul cast knows that the iconic state fish, the westslope cutthroat trout, has been crowded out by the non-native rainbow trout, first introduced to these rivers by well-meaning sportsmen in the 1880s. Now those invaders are taking over the cutthroat's gene pool, too. A new study tracks just how rapidly cross-breeding between the two species has accelerated in the past 30 years. It's invasive hybridization driven by climate change, and it could spell extinction for the ruby-throated native fish of the Big Sky state. (May 27, 2014) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]