Essays by Frank J. Regan

RochesterEnvironment.com

Connecting the dots on Rochester area environmental Issues   

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Essay Contents:  Media | Climate Change | Transportation | Energy |Environmental Health | Great Lakes | Green Business |  Wildlife | Invasive Species | Air Quality | Recycling |Fracking |Brownfields | Water Quality | Food & Environment |Living Green |

 


The Genesee River flowing through Genesee Park. Photo by Frank J. Regan.

On the most crucial issue of our time—Is mankind achieving a sustainable environment?—I argue that the public, and even scientists, are missing the obvious truth about our environmental problems, believing mistakenly that there is room for compromise with Nature.  I also veiw our environmental lisses through the lens of Climate Change because our environment is warming rapidally and will compound all our present environmenatl issues.

These essays are an attempt to connect the dots of our news and understand our Rochester-area environment in the world environmental context.

Earth Day: The Real Meaning A year doesn’t go by where there isn’t at least one article about the real meaning behind each approaching holiday. Meaning, every Christmas there’s a story about the true meaning of December 25th, something besides massive shopping. Or, the Fourth of July, which is about our country’s founding values, and not smuggling fireworks into a state that forbids them. Thanksgiving is about giving thanks, not really about terrorizing the turkey population. [April 2010] more...

Earth Day 2012 – A continual State of Denial Many think that because they can say ‘Climate Change’ in polite company that we have come a long way on addressing Climate Change. Is it true, and should we celebrate? Not so much. A more realistic view is that although more folks, and even some governmental officials, can finally admit that Climate Change is happening, this Earth Day is foremost a reminder that for all the talk little has been done to stop and reverse manmade greenhouse gases (GHG) going into our atmosphere. As a matter of fact, GHG’s have risen steadily through this Great Recession we are still struggling to overcome, which purportedly kept a lot of folks out of jobs and money for gas-fueled vacations. [April 2012] more...

Earth Day 2013, stepping up to the plate in Rochester, NY Earth Day events have expanded beyond just a single day.  April 22nd has morphed since the original Earth Day in 1970 into a quasi Earth Month. Eventually, I predict, this special day will transform completely into an Earth ForeverAfter Epoch. The time of a willful denial of our life-support system will be but a dismal parenthesis in our otherwise stellar existence.  We’ll practice Earth Day every day.  Or, we’ll perish. In and around the Rochester, NY region (I’ve included our friends in Buffalo and Syracuse) we are noticing more and more environmental events coalescing around early spring.  This means many individuals, groups, schools, businesses, and governmental institutions are stepping up to the plate on taking responsibility for our planet by educating their communities and spearheading environmental actions. [April 2013] more...

This Earth Day demand that your media report on Climate Change Though many were invited, only one media in Rochester NY reported on state expert’s presentation of Climate Change’s local effects.  Climate Change is not only happening, it is happening in Rochester, NY—just like it is all over the world. Mostly, as you attend to local Rochester media there’s nary a mention of Climate Change.  Folks, this is not merely disappointing, disappointing that our local media cannot get off their collective butts and check out what the state of New York is doing about Climate Change, it is an outrage! The latest IPCC reports make it clear we (meaning all of us) are not going to reach a tolerable level of greenhouse gases unless we make a dramatic turn in our behavior towards fossil fuel use. Thankfully, we have at least one publication, Rochester City Newspaper, who feels compelled to report on local activity on the most important crisis in our time. This Earth Day demand that your media report on Climate Change; do not shrug your shoulders and say there is nothing you can do.   Please, read: Making the case for local communities to act on climate change [April 2014] more...

 

 

Environment and the Media

Rochester area media needs to inform the public consistently about our environment, especially with thorough investigative reporting.

  • Earth Day 2014, a still viable benchmark There are benchmarks worth noting along the possible continuum of Climate Change into a wormhole of environmental collapse (a 4 to 6C rise in warming from which we might not exit).  [April 2014]   more...
  • Earth Day 2014: Government is critical on Climate Change, Part 9  Your state, your government, isn’t just another group of folks trying to get your ear on stuff they want you to hear. The state, your state, is you. It’s ‘we the people’. If your government thinks Climate Change is real and something they must address, you should know how and why.  [April 2014] more... 
  • Earth Day 2014: Climate Change in Rochester NY is exceptional, Part 8  Climate Change is occurring around the world and expressing itself right now in myriad forms.  All major mainstream media, including a local report, are making much of the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2 report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability.  [April 2014]  more...
  • Earth Day 2014: Communicating Climate Change to the public, Part 7 It’s not uncommon for Americans to look to their wealthiest for the answers to their problems.  [March 2014] more...
  • Earth Day 2014: Climate Change probable scenario, Part 6 It’s good to hear about movements forward on addressing Climate Change locally. For example, in a recently released study, the Genesee Transportation Committee explores our transportation options in New York State—including “City of Rochester, Streets and Sidewalks” (Page 223)—as the consequences of Climate Change looms. [March 2014]  more...
  • Earth Day 2014: rethinking environmental focus, Part 5  Many people over the eons have railed against what seemingly looked like obstructionist environmentalists thwarting their notion of progress.  Environmentalists in the shape of landowners, ordinary citizens, educators, and folks from all walks of life have fought for forests, pitting themselves against the lumber industry.   more...
  • Earth Day 2014: addressing Climate Change, Part 4, the big and small When it comes to addressing Climate Change our politicians tend to only think in terms of what is politically feasible. Our economic leaders focus on the feasibility of solving Climate Change through the lens of an economic system almost blinded by loony budgets, crazy cost analysis, and theories that ignore our environment  (unless there are lawsuits to be had involving pollution).  [March 2014) more...
  • Earth Day 2014: addressing Climate Change in time, Part 3, the window  Recently a radio program began a segment on Climate Change: “When most people think of Climate Change, they think of science ….” But to say that Climate Change is only a matter of science is like saying a murder trial where a gun is the murder weapon is merely a matter of ballistics. Climate Change, although proven by science and given to the laws of physics, is a problem of human behavior. That is, Climate Change is a problem of how people’s behavior affects the warming of the planet—hence, accelerated anthropomorphic Climate Change. Burn fossil fuels to get around, and the place heats up. [March 2014]   more...
  • Earth Day 2014: Getting your head around Climate Change, Part 2, the problem However your favorite group may frame Climate Change, it is the mother of all problems. It is unlike any other problem humans and all life on this planet have endured thus far. It is a problem where one species (our own) is putting all life on Earth through a wormhole, a possible collapse where none but a few hardy bacteria might emerge on the other side.  [February 2014]   more...
  • Earth Day 2014: Engaging the public on Climate Change, Part 1, the media  This first essay concerns the failure of our media to adequately inform the public of this worldwide crisis, which feeds the illusion that Climate Change is only one among many special interest issues. Though a majority of Americans support climate and energy policies, this is not reflected in media coverage. [February 2014] more...
  • Shared service agreements or true mergers, Rochester’s media is racing to the bottom In many ways it is moot whether Rochester’s media is blurring the lines between legal or illegal consolidation because the overall trajectory for local news is dismal.    [December 2013] more... 
  • Tear yourself away from Rochester media for info on Climate Change On Wednesday, December 4th, I attended a U.S. EPA, State and Local Climate and Energy Program webcast “Gaining Support and Attracting Participation through Communication.” For over an hour I watched/listened to several environmental communications experts from all levels instruct community leaders on how to inform the public on Climate Change.  [December 2013]  more...
  • How to talk to a climate change skeptic if you must After arrested we allow defendants to plead their case for only so long. They’re allowed expert help and ample time to convince a jury of their innocence. The jury deliberates and then decides.  On Climate Change, the jury has decided. The verdict is in:  [October 2013]  more...
  • News on release of Climate Change IPCC (AR5) reaches all but Rochester, NY After looking high and low for news about the United Nation’s release of the new Climate Change report today (9/27/2013) of the IPCC WGI AR5, I could find nothing. Zip (except this, by Rochester City Newspaper). [September 2013]   more...
  • To the bully pulpit, President Obama’s Climate speech President Obama’s Climate Change talk on Tuesday, June 25th, 2013 was historic because of the US President’s unique role as a de facto world leader. Once the maddeningly slow process of American Democracy finally came together on ending slavery, getting to the moon, and addressing civil rights, we become a beacon of hope.  [June 2013]   more...
  • Holding the Media accountable on Climate Change Of course ‘the media’ is not a single entity, but a bewildering mishmash of local print, digital editions, blogs, social media, and even email lists at the state, national and international levels.  But despite the vast increase in the way news is being shaped today, many still believe that eventually the Truth will percolate up through this democratization of news.  (January 2013)     more...
  • The great 2012 non-accomplishment for Rochester, NY area media - Fracking Every year Rochester City Newspaper puts out its Best of Rochester Series attempting to highlight some incredible local accomplishments. .  (October 2012) more...
  • Become the Media! and do a Hail Mary pass around corporate media Last Tuesday, over 4, 000 petition signatures to ban all Fracking and related activities were delivered to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and members of the Monroe County Legislature.  But presumably that wasn’t enough because the press didn’t even show up.   [October 2012]  more...
  • Local mainstream media links Climate Change and electric grid vulnerability on front page! Throughout the spring and summer of our country’s, heatwaves, droughts, March warming, and wildfires there were precious little mentioning of connecting these events with Climate Change in our local media.  They reported on all these extreme events in great detail, except failing to connect them with the prevailing science and numerous climate studies that have long predicted this.   (August 2012)  more...
  • Climate Change, a failure of leadership and courage If you are accustomed to gathering environmental news from around this region, you must have come across this news that Syracuse has completed a draft Sustainability Plan.  (June 2012)  more...
  • Will subscription fees keep public informed on critical environmental news? It finally happened.  I couldn’t read an article on a major Rochester, NY online media source because I didn’t pay the new subscription fee.  Of course, I could pay the subscription fee but then why should I?   more...
  • Debt crisis could jeopardize Free TV in Rochester; do we care?  If you are still one of those luddites like me who can only get local Television by antenna (via the digital converter box, of course), there is the threat that that this free service that we have known ‘forever’ is going to be gone.   more...
  • What is ‘local’ news on a warming planet? A long and in-depth story appeared this week in our local media on how Climate Change will affect the Rochester, NY region. It’s part of a series that will be forthcoming. I make note of it because it’s really the first of its kind, an article in the local media about the consequences of Climate Change on a local level without the usual pandering to the deniers more...
  • The state of our media as Earth Day approaches My most salient reflection on Earth Day (just a few days away) is that Climate Change is the moral imperative for our generation.  If we don’t move to stovepipe Climate Change news and information to the front pages of mainstream media, we jeopardize the next generation’s ability to have a clean, healthy environment more...
  • Why your pet is bad for our Rochester, NY environment I am aware that questioning our love affair with our pets borders on heresy, but someone has to mention this particular unsustainable character trait in our species.  Even here in Rochester, NY, our preoccupation with pets in the face of truly important matters like Climate Change and other environmental issues must be addressed.    more...
  • Why football is bad for our Rochester, NY environment Last Sunday evening, in Rochester, NY and around the country, lots of folks were glued to their media attending to a popular pastime, football.  I mean a lot of folks. What if all those people with all that money put football and other expensive sports on the back-burner and focused their incredible intelligence and energy on solving our desperate environmental issues?   more...
  • Environmental news around Rochester and around the world I had a great time when I attended the recent UN Journalist Conference on Environmental sustainability on Monday, October 4th, 2010. Mayor Duffy spoke about our beautiful New York State and the recent sale of Hemlock and Candice lakes.   more...
  • Impacts of a major media in Rochester, NY moving behind a pay wall It’s seems so obvious to the public that businesses need to make a profit that we rarely question it—if ever. So, as our major newspaper in Rochester, NY ducks behind a pay wall and limits readers of local news to paid subscribers, we think little of it. But this move by the Democrat and Chronicle could be a major game changer for the dissemination of important news for the Rochester region.  (February 2012) more...
  • The future of investigating reporting on our environment: We came across this story about how in the present media crisis the prospect for investigative reporting might shake out: 'Newsonomics' Predicts The Future Of The Media : NPR  more...
  • Presidential elections 2012 – The Big Secret I’ve been reading many, many Climate Change reports for the last year, but the new “The National Global Change Research Plan: 2012-2021” by the U.S. Global Change Research Program (USGCRP) is the most impressive of all. Not because of its clever language or witty style but because 13 major departments of the US government helped shape our country’s ten-year response to Climate Change and compacted everything into to a very readable 152 pages. These departments understand Climate Change:  (May 2012) more...
  • The 2012 Great Disconnect: During the presidential elections no talk of Climate Change. Though we are social creatures and are heavily swayed by conformity and conventionality, we are also a reasonable species. At the core of our being is the thread finely weaved of four-billion years of survivors who learned about their environment so they could struggle successfully against our enemies and the harsh elements to arrive at this critical point.  (March 2012) more...
  • Critical environmental information darts behind a pay wall To those who believe the marketplace should rule the planet (and not something as amorphous and unforgivable as Nature) must be heartened by the movement of one of our most important news sources behind a pay wall. The New York Times recently took a leap into the online media payment regime: (April 4, 2011)  more...
  • What is ‘local’ news on a warming planet? A long and in-depth story appeared this week in our local media on how Climate Change will affect the Rochester, NY region. It’s part of a series that will be forthcoming. I make note of it because it’s really the first of its kind, an article in the local media about the consequences of Climate Change on a local level without the usual pandering to the deniers.  (April 2012) more...
  • We’re Going Blind Trying to negotiate the world as your sight gets worse does not make life easier. Rather, it becomes more difficult because you often miss critical warning signs. That’s worth keeping in mind as this week’s news illuminates a further decline in the public’s ability to ‘see’ the world around them.  more...
  • Uproar over the ‘mystery illness’ in Leroy, NY The hue and cry over the ‘mystery illness in Leroy, N.Y. for all I can tell is a true mystery: Why are several people in the same locality exhibiting similar symptoms? I can understand school and town officials’ desire to halt a hysterical reaction in the press that might bring unwanted and unnecessary concern to their community. Once started, it’s hard to keep a community functioning effectively if the press has made a spectacle of your community that invites all kinds of fears and disruptions.  (February 2012)  more...
  • Kill Your TV! When you're in a hole, stop digging: Stop listening to the same media that misinformed you about the Iraq War and the dangers of Global Warming! Why do most Americans say they are concerned about the environment (at least in some polls), but don't vote for candidates with strong environmental records. more..
  • Thoughtful Feedback Seemingly, online media has opened itself to a plethora of mindless ranting by those without even a crazy ideology to spur them on. I speak of feedback on online news sites that are unmonitored and unfiltered so any nutcase with a computer, an Internet connection, and only a modicum of sense is allowed to write responses to local news stories online.  more...
  • Environmental groups pick up where the media falls down The public is more aware of the importance of environmental issues because environmental groups are helping to connect the dots. Left to their own, the media only publishes environmental stories when something happens that their editors think will grab the public’s attention and bring in more money. more...
  • A Question: Mainstream Media and Climate Change News Recently, I’ve come across on the Internet environmental scene speculations that the mainstream media refuses to connect ‘extreme’ weather events like the increase flooding in the West, Hurricane Katrina, droughts around the world, to Global Warming. Global Warming does predict that there will be more extreme weather events, including not so much more hurricanes (for example) as most intense hurricanes when they occur. more...
  • Blinded by the media despite billions from Super PACs The Fairness Doctrine died in 1987 and was finally put to rest last August. Here is a glimpse of our last attempt to have a conversation about critical matters: (February 2012)  more...
  • Trying to communicate Climate Change over the din of Super denials The collective human reaction to Climate Change in the US can be characterized as dysfunctional. I use ‘dysfunctional’ in the sense that our collective reaction to the Climate Change threat is not normal for a functional species—a species intent on survival. Whether most folks in the United States understand Climate Change, or ‘think’ they understand Climate Change, we aren’t really addressing it in any meaningful way. (January 2012)  more...
  • Media Responsibility  As I live and Breathe: Just when you think the media has become so Objective in their reporting that somehow they think they can stand outside of our environment and simply report on the decline of our environment, you read a story like this. Major Kudos for News 8/FOX Rochester. The movement is growing.  more...
  • Media Priorities Hannah Montana made it to Rochester during an almost blizzard and out again. I don’t know who Hannah Montana is, but I’m glad she made it safely to and from Rochester. I know this because the local news was saturated with this topic all weekend. I could not find, however, a story about the climate talks in Bali, where the US dragged its feet on coming to an agreementTell Your Story at SaveTheInternet.comt with the rest of the world on curbing Global Warming gases. more...
  • Stop Big Media & Stop Global Warming In just five days, the Federal Communications Commission plans to open the floodgates of further media consolidation across America. If FCC Chairman Kevin Martin gets his way, your community will be inundated with even more mass-produced celebrity gossip and infotainment, and less local reporting and quality journalism: more of the the junk news that is making us sick. more...
  • About changing your media I believe in this day, when mainstream, corporate media blurs and spins important environmental information that we need to survive because of their specific ideologies and their shareholder’s economic interests, we have to change our media. We have to change how we get our media and the sources we use to inform us of what’s going on.  more...

 

Climate Change

The Rochester, NY area is not going dodge the Climate Change crisis,  Check the latest Climate Change Studies. See Rochester will will adapt and change.

Frank at the Rally

[That's me protesting Fracking in New York State at the "Forward on Climate" rally in Washington, DC on February 17, 2013.  Hundreds of us from New York got together to protest Fracking at the rally, but no press coverage that I know of. 

Transportation

How we get around the Rochester area now and in the future will have a profound affect on our environment

  • Best transportation option in Rochester moves along Earlier this week my wife and I attended an adult bicycle training course. Seeking to become more comfortable riding in traffic, we wanted to take our biking prowess to the next level. Sadly, we were the only students there. But the trainers, who outnumbered us, cheerfully instructed us on NYS bicycling laws, proper road riding techniques, and basic bicycle maintenance.   [July 2013]   more...
  • Will salmon-cyclists destroy Rochester’s chances for greatness? Every time I march out this quote by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) on transportation, people’s eyes glaze over and their attention starts to wander: “Transportation sources emit greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. In 2008, transportation sources contributed approximately 27 percent of total U.S. greenhouse gas emissions.”Basic Information | Transportation and Climate | US EPA (June 2012) more...
  • Connecting the Climate Change dots on Rochester’s transportation I’m not bragging when I say that I was pretty good at those connect-the-dots games as a kid. I’d come up with anything they wanted me to connect: a horse, an elephant, or you-name-it. The trick (and I learned this at about three or four years old) was to connect the dots according to the numbers—meaning in order. Those drawings from kids who just randomly connected dots without heeding this operating principle didn’t look anything like the intended project. More like a Rorschach test.   more...
  • Active Transportation attitudes in Rochester, NY There is a transformation occurring on active transportation (mostly walking and bicycling) attitudes in the Rochester, NY region, but we’re still waiting for the tipping point.   more...
  • High Speed Rail in New York State falls away, but Climate Change will soarIt is another tragedy, like the quiet demise of the Great Lakes Off-Shore Wind Project (GLOW), that funds for the building of an anticipated high speed rail fell away under a congressional deal.  (November 2011)  more...
  • Bicycle Friendly Rochester - There are those who believe that Transportation in Rochester could be a bicycle friendly community as Copenhagen.  That would be something to behold. " more...
  • Walk? Walking for bipeds was “the cat’s pajamas” for four millions years. That is, putting humanity’s one hairy foot before another got us around just fine. Then, within a relatively short period of time, our species took to climbing on other animals’ backs, floating stuff on water, then the wheel, which brought on carts, trains, and then we took to the skies. But mostly, since the horseless carriage, autos get us around. In fact, the car culture so dictates transportation in the United States that few of us, even when the distance is short, walk. more...
  • Complete Streets An integral part of any communities Transportation efforts must be the concept of Complete Streets so that the best and most efficient use of our streets can be made for pedestrians, bicyclers, and anyone who wants to get around.  more...
  • How Walkable is Rochester, NY? Walking is a great way to get around and it's Transportation. Take your own survey and find out how Walkable Rochester is: Walkability Checklist --from Partnership for a Walkable America The Partnership for a Walkable America (PWA) is a national coalition working to improve the conditions for walking in America and to increase the number of Americans who walk regularly. more...
  • Getting Up to Snuff on High Speed Rail: National Public Radio has offered a great series on High Speed Raid across the country.  Because this mode of transportation may be coming to our area, because of the Obama’s desire to help communities with jobs and help our environment, this series of programs is especially useful.    more...
  • Help biking in Rochester, help our area's environment Increasing bicycling for the Rochester, NY area will reduce air pollution, positively affect your health, decrease traffic on our streets and give you a chance to smell our roses and see our sites.   more...
  • Get There By Bike - Get the Map. Bike to work, to that festival, that trail, or just about anywhere you want to go in Rochester by using the map: Genesee Transportation Council - TIP Greater Rochester Area Bicycling Map Now Available | The Greater Rochester Area Bicycling Map, prepared by the Genesee Transportation Council . more...
  • New Transportation idea in Rochester This could change Rochester's concept of Transportation, check it out: Rochester Greenway The Rochester Greenway "A revolutionary all-weather alternative energy transitway for bikes, e-vehicles, joggers, and skaters connecting RIT, U of R, and MCC, downtown Rochester. Three Opportunities, One Big Idea." more...
  • Limited Transportation Choices Few things strike more dread in the American heart than being told that our choices are going to be limited. We are an “in the Pursuit of Happiness” kind of people. The day after President Obama was elected many gun owners feared that their right to bear arms was going to be compromised and acted accordingly.  {April 2009] “All Things Considered”  more...
  • Getting Around Tomorrow A recent poll in Rochester on high-speed rail (3/20/09 Rochester Business Journal ) showed Rochesterians favoring this flashy mode of travel. Proponents say it will create jobs, reduced air pollution, and get us around more quickly.  more...

 

Energy

How we get and use energy has a profound effect on our environment

  • Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change with green energy in Rochester  Much of Rochester NY’s Climate and Environment Protection Resolution involves “increased use of alternative energy sources;” so if alternative energy sources aren’t really helping reduce greenhouse gases (GHG’s), then our focus on green energy could be wrong-headed. Of course, the use of alternative energy (renewable or green energy: solar, wind, geothermal, etc.) is not Rochester’s only strategy for ‘adapting to and mitigating Climate Change’* in our region.  [August 1203] more...
  • Off-Shore wind farms, Climate change, and the Great Lakes The revival of off-shore wind farms for five states, including New York State, with President Obama’s ‘All of the Above’ approach on energy is likely to stir up fear and trepidation for those who had fought against the New York State Power Authority’s Great Lakes Off-Shore Wind Project (GLOW)—but it shouldn’t.   more...
  • Energy options and the big lie Do we really have no “workable alternatives” to coal, oil, and nuclear power for our energy needs”?  While the tragedy of nuclear power rages on in Japan, the media and our politicians are avoiding the recent catastrophes from each of the major power sources.  more...
  • Caving in: Is the minority ruling against renewable energy for Rochester, NY? Why, when 68% of Monroe County voters approve of off-shore wind power in Lake Ontario, does the Monroe County legislature oppose it?   more...
  • Energy Warning This news item each year always amazes me: a four-minute siren test in case of a nuclear plant accident.  It amazes me because one doesn’t hear a peep from the public on what this siren means. more...
  • Forced Energy Choices Are natural gas and nuclear power going to be our energy future? They probably will be, but not because they are our best energy solutions. Despite all the controversy about how we should power our existence as our population grows and our planet warms up, at the end of the day we’ll be scared into bad energy solutions.  more...
  • If Your Grid Is Dirty If you are getting your power from a dirty electric grid, you are using dirty power. In other words, if your electric lamp is plugged into a system that is powered somewhere along your power line with a power generator that pollutes or emits greenhouse gases into our atmosphere (or otherwise harms our environment), your lamp is using dirty power. (Presently, we New Yorkers get 18% of our power from coal; 17% from hydroelectric, 1% wind, 1% biomass, 1% solar, 1% solid waste, 12% oil, 29% nuclear, and 22% natural gas.) more...
  • Gassing the News A good example of how dysfunctional our present media is on our environment, specifically on natural gas drilling, can be made by a point-by-point comparison of National Public Radio’s (NPR) three-part series on natural gas and recent coverage by ProPublica on the same subject: more...
  • Energy A Moral Iissue: As we turn on our lights, run our air conditioners, and charge our gadgets we do so mostly by burning coal. Coal pollutes and adds dramatically to manmade global warming. So, when we decide not to conserve electricity or not to allow a renewable energy source near our home, we condemn many to the hazards of mountain top removal. more...

 

Environmental Health

These essays attempt to show how our health is related to our environmental health.

  • New York State faces critical lack of environmental data As Governor Cuomo gets pummeled by gun control and Fracking issues, the media downplays a recent major accomplishment. It is "open.ny.gov,” a state-sponsored web site that provides all kinds of raw data pertaining to New York State for free, in various formats, including apps. It may not sound like much to you, but that’s due to our media’s bizarre ability to place emphasis on news in the reverse order of its importance.   [March 2013]  more...
  • Mosquitoes and dragging our feet on Climate Change Here in New York State, Climate Change is not expected to affect the net amount of rainfall we get in the next half-century.  Mosquitoes that drive vector-borne diseases like Lyme disease, malaria, and West Nile Virus will probably increase.  .  (July 20120 more...
  • Is Our Local Environment Collapsing? One of the great environmental concepts of our time is the realization that environmental collapse can occur so slowly that you would hardly notice it. Unless, of course, you are looking for it.  more...
  • Green Warning Signs Recently, we’ve noticed several signs that our environment is undergoing dramatic changes. Some of the most salient signs are the mercury-ridden fish in all of our streams, the collapse of the Copenhagen Climate talks, the release of methane gases from the Arctic Ocean, and a great resistance to greener transportation and energy. more...
  • Reverting to a State of Green During these Extraordinary Times, where climate change, the loss of biodiversity, and our oceans are making human sustainability questionable, we must ask, how do we determine what constitutes Sustainability? But first, what is Sustainability and why is it so important?   more...
  • The State of Rochester’s Environment 2009 Summing up the year in a variety of ways (best films, biggest stories, funniest incidents, most tragic, etc.) has become such a tradition in the media at the end of the year that we expect it.  more...
  • Healthy Debate Missing amidst the uproar on health care reform at the town meetings and the bug-eyed hysteria encouraged by our media is the link between our health care system and public health.  more...
  • Global Health Don't forget you personally have a stake in the Climate Change Bill coming up: Climate Fight: EPA Sends Global Warming Finding to White House | Congress might be a long way from passing legislation to fight climate change, but the Obama administration appears one step closer to creating its own regime for controlling greenhouse gases. more...
  • Where's that pollution? A report (37 pages) that should be on your reading list this week is the new report by the International Joint Commission because it's about "programs to abate, control and prevent pollution from municipal sources entering the Great Lakes System.” The report’s object: The objective was to survey existing programs aimed at controlling surface-water pollution and to provide an overview of the current situation." more...

 

Great Lakes

The Rochester Region is located at the Southern rim of Lake Ontario making the entire environment of our area dependant on the health of the Great Lakes.  

  • Sending the Great Lakes over the Climate Change cliff It’s hard to imagine an environmental region under more pressure from Climate Change than the Great Lakes.  This series of five great lakes was gouged from the receding Laurentide Ice Sheet around 13,000 years ago.   (December 2012)  more...
  • Where's that pollution? A report (37 pages) that should be on your reading list this week is the new report by the International Joint Commission because it's about "programs to abate, control and prevent pollution from municipal sources entering the Great Lakes System.” The report’s object: The objective was to survey existing programs aimed at controlling surface-water pollution and to provide an overview of the current situation." 
  • Green Isolationism Isolationists, most notably George Washington in his farewell address “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible,” believe that one’s territory can be contained, one’s sovereignty sustained by removing oneself from the rest.  more...
  • Bad Beaches Beach conditions are not simply a natural phenomenon that is something we are born to suffer and beyond our control.  In most cases, it’s probably manmade pollution—from bad agricultural practices, storm water runoffs, industrial pollution, etc.   more...
  • How are Great Lakes Fish Doing? Important Canadian report about eating fish in the Great Lakes--things are not improving: Up to the Gills: 2009 Update on Pollution in Great Lakes Fish "This report examines fish consumption advisories in the Great Lakes between 2005 and 2009. Up to the Gills finds that levels of toxic chemicals in Great Lakes fish are alarmingly high, and are not improving.  more...
  • Watching Fish A recent reading of local environmental news finds several interesting studies about the present state of our fish life. Things appear to be going well or not so well. more...
  • Global Warming and Great Lakes Among other environmental markers in our area, the Great Lakes will be affected by Climate Change in our area. Learning about the effects, instead of trying to ignore them (for this is science, not a radical belief system) will help us understand how we might curb the effects and learn to live with the potential changes: more...
  • Great lakes Pollution Health Link Study CDC As a follow up on the alleged “blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states”   more...
  • Great Lakes pollution, health link denied "Revised federal study contradicts draft report that found high rates of problems. Jim Lynch / The Detroit News No definitive link can be made between industrial pollution in the Great Lakes region and human health concerns, according to a revised version of a controversial federal study released Wednesday more...

Green Business

Our Rochester area business are getting greener and why it matters

  • Green Business As Usual Depending on your point of view, the Recession is either chugging along nicely (though cruelly) or it’s showing signs of a cascading collapse. Meaning, the banks we bailed out last year are thriving and many businesses are holding on, but job loss is dreadful.  more...
  • Find that Green Job in Rochester, NY. First, Full Disclosure: I have a personal stake in finding a green job. I'm looking for a worthwhile part-time green job and I am willing to share anything I can find out about this until I get and green job and well after I find one.  more...
  • Green Jobs for the common folks? Lots of the federal stimulus money coming to our state. How much is going to green jobs to make our environment more sustainable? The figures are coming in and it’s clear, our government is inordinately fond of highways. more...
  • The Recovery | Green Jobs This just in from NYS. Good service to subscribe to if your interested in the road ahead for the formulation of green jobs. more...
  • Green Jobs – We’re Hearing Things... You can discuss all day long about what a ‘green job’ is and some have (Green Jobs - A GLOBE-Net Perspective), but mostly it’s an occupation that employs while making our way of life sustainable.  more...
  • Green Jobs: Position Yourself! Much of the news and information about green jobs (still) seems like hype: Lots of cheerleading, but few actual green ‘shovel-ready’ work opportunities. As one who has been following this thread myself for some time, it does seem like a highly inflated exuberance over an employment market that has yet to be. But, I believe ‘seems’ is the operative word here. more...
  • Get Green Training for that Green Job Increasingly, there are more online resources for job training, teacher training for their students, and a variety of services for all sectors of the new job market. It gets complicated because there is no simple answer to the question: “Where are the green jobs in our area and how to I get them.”  more...
  • Green Grants Ok, there’s probably no grants specifically labeled ‘green.’ And admittedly, there’s not anything particularly new or fresh about the field of grant writing worth noting: It still involves long hours of research, tedious and meticulous fact checking, and (at least from the grant writer’s side) it’s a crap shoot. more...
  • Could we be the new Green Leaders? Could our region be leading the way to clean up Brownfields and creating sites for renewable Energy? Green Shoots from Brown Fields:   more...

 

Wildlife

Essays on why we must pay attention to our wildlife and how it still relates to our local environment

  • Trout fishing in a Climate Changed New York The National Wildlife Federation just released a major report this week on the challenges our fresh water fish are having with Climate Change.  Here’s their opening argument: Changing climate poses new risks for our treasured freshwater fish resources. . [September 2013]  more...
  • Bats and Bees: What’s the story? Considering the critical roles both bats and honeybees play in our environment, our economics, and our agriculture, it’s worth taking a moment to catch up on these wonderful creatures. Bats eat bugs that eat our crops and spread diseases—like West Nile Virus
  • Bat News: One of the many reasons why I believe our present mainstream media are mostly dysfunctional concerns this story about a major decline in bats in our area.  Seems to the press that bats aren’t too popular and won’t bring in the big bucks the media wants.   more..
  • Sharing A Vision What we gain vicariously from the keen vision of an eagle or the ultrasonic sight of a bat is but a glimpse of our world through the superior senses of other animals. Our surroundings become something more when we take the time and have the imagination to see our environment through their eyes.  more...
  • The Coyote in Situ: Coyotes are surviving well within and outside our suburbs here in New York State. They are like those other creatures that have 'learned' to exist amongst us intolerant humans and sustain themselves: the raccoon, crow, pigeon, sparrows and (of course) insects.  more...
  • Are Coyotes Too Close - Or Are We? This article “Coyotes Too Close” 3/09/07 by WHEC-TV—Rochester, NY is representative of a badly constructed article by the major media in our area about environmental issues in the Rochester area.  more...

 

Invasive Species Discussions

Join in discussions about what can and should be done about invasive species in our area.

  • Combating invasive species in Rochester, NY during Climate Change While we continue to battle the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) that is devastating our ash trees, we should ponder the issue of invasive species as our Rochester, NY region warms.  This is alarming because ash trees are almost 8% of all trees in NY State.   [May 2013] more...
  • The Asian Carp is coming! That’s the big environmental story around the Great Lakes region this week. Even the local press has caught the news appeal of a bizarre foreign species that might radically change the Great Lakes’ ecology.   more...
  • Green Isolationism Isolationists, most notably George Washington in his farewell address “The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible,” believe that one’s territory can be contained, one’s sovereignty sustained by removing oneself from the rest.  more...
  • Solving Invasive Problems This story about VHS describes perfectly how difficult it is going to be to curb the problem of invasive species and disease in the Great Lakes because ultimately without public support all the regulations and laws in the world won’t stop this kind of disease spread. more...
  • Hope for a Messy World One would think that the days of a monolithic weltanschauung are over, where singular views of religion, culture, ideas, even prejudices, once ruled. Now, it’s not only unfashionable, but positively Neanderthal to be continually captivated by a single view of life.  more...

 

Air Quality

The Rochester, NY region oftentimes scores lowly in the various air quality assessments.  Much can be done to improve the quality of our air.

 

Recycling

These essays attempt to get at the concept of "Zero Waste" and why we shouldn't be creating any waste to have a healthy environment.

  • Zero Wasting events in Rochester, NY Rochester, NY has a lot of outdoor events, especially in the summer.  It’s one thing to make these events recycling events, where your guests feel good about their environmental footprint.  It’s a step beyond to make your event Zero Waste  [May 2013] more...
  • The case against litter Aliens from outer space could be excused for believing that our species is inordinately fond of littering.  We litter a lot.  We litter on the land; we litter on the beaches; we litter in the hills, on the seas and oceans; we litter on just about anything and anywhere. To get an idea of the extent of this crazy propensity of ours to litter see “Trashed |No Place for Waste,”coming to a theatre near you. . [April 2013] more...
  • Until trash magically disappears in Rochester, NY Let’s face it: A lot of folks won’t recycle unless it’s almost effortless. Sure, there are the dedicated folks who read all the instructions by the county and their communities and make sure all the right stuff gets to the right places. . more...
  • Extended plastics recycling in Monroe County, now we want more   Now that Monroe County has extended plastics recycling to include #3 -#7 plastics, we want more.    more...
  • Now recycling 3-7 plastics in Monroe County  It’s official: As of June 1st Monroe County will recycle 3-7 plastics. It’s been a long time coming, but many who have worked hard to influence Monroe County’s recycling policy to include 3-7 plastics are very pleased with the announcement by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks: more... (May 7, 2011)
  • Getting beyond waste Waste is a human conceit: If we cannot find an immediate value for something, we toss it somewhere, bury it, or burn it. However, in Nature there is no such thing as waste. Everything has a role or it would not exist. Hopefully, as we move into the future, we’ll get over the notion of waste. We’ll consider Zero Waste, where everything we produced gets thought about ‘from cradle to cradle,’ from the moment we use a resource to create a product to the moment we are done with the product. Then we won’t be trashing our resources or littering the planet. more...
  • Don’t Soil the Nest Even a bird knows not to soil its nest. This message seems lost on us, as our nest (our planet) is filling up with our trash. Instead of properly disposing of it (as any bird would), we are living, drinking, eating, planting, and breathing our unmentionable waste products. According to Learner.org, “Every year, the United States generates approximately 230 million tons of ‘trash’--about 4.6 pounds per person per day.” more...
  • New Bottle Bill Regulation: Like the new regulations or not, there will be less plastic bottles littering our state and less going into our landfills because this sort of legislation works. It works simply because people may throw away what they perceive as trash, but they won’t throw away money. Many people scour our city streets for deposit-able bottle to supplement or have an income at all. more...
  • The Bottle Bill Ban Battle This heralding by the media of environmentalists unhappy with the latest ban on the deposit law just passed strikes me as an odd way to look at the halt in the NYS bottle bill that was supposed to go into effect on June 1st, and an odd way to see environmental issues in general by the media. Because, of course, shouldn’t everyone be miffed that the battle to remove discarded bottles from our streets, urban forests, our roadways (you-name-it, bottles are everywhere) via a popular measure (most New Yorkers are for this bottle bill) has been squelched by a judge, bottling companies, some politicians, grocery and convenience stores?  more...

 

Fracking

These essays highlights the concerns we in New York State have as Fracking, or hydrolicfrackuring for natual gas, looms over our state.

Brownfields

These essays highlight the importance of cleaning up and preventing Brownfields in the Rochester, NY region.

  • Not news: Genesee River (which runs through Rochester, NY) ranked 32nd most polluted river in the US. Back in 1998, when I first began RochesterEnvironment.com to collect and access all the environmental issues surrounding one community—Rochester, NY—I created a page called Genesee River. I created it because some major articles and reports had just come out that the river that runs through Rochester, NY was very toxic and polluted. Here is an entry I posted on my web page back in the day (though none of the links work anymore):   more...
  • Litter Day for Rochester, NY’s environment A warm spell in February should be a day to get a glimpse of the spring to come, not a morbid revelation that we been throwing packaging and everything else out the window all winter long.   Today (February 18, 2011) was a beautiful day to get out and walk in Rochester, NY.   more...
  • Why Godzilla is bad for our Rochester, NY environment Strange creatures in our region are evolving quickly to adapt to our toxic soups—those Brownfields and polluted waters we’ve been neglecting in our region for quite some time.   Who knew, those Japanese weren’t kidding—Godzilla lives!  Check out what’s happening in the Hudson River, just a few biomes away: “Most people think of evolution occurring gradually over thousands of years, but apparently no one told the Atlantic tomcod. In just 50 years or so, the Hudson River fish has evolved to become resistant to toxic PCBs that polluted the river, researchers reported Thursday. Their secret is a gene variant. " (February 17, 2011) Hudson River fish resists PCBs through gene variant | syracuse.com " “Monsters in our midst” make for great headlines for local environmental issues that don’t often get many headlines.   That’s great because according to mainstream media, a planet that is slowly wasting away due to human pollution and other environmental issues is dull potatoes.   Mutant species, though, arising from the gunk we once called rivers, is another kettle of fish.  more...
  • Ubiquitous Pollution    Within the last couple of weeks, I have posted numerous environmental articles on Brownfieldsway more than normal Speculating as to why there is a sudden interest in Brownfields in the local media, I thought of several possible factors: There’s a rash of Brownfields actually springing up; or, the media is clearing their desks of Brownfields related articles; or, because localized pollution events oftentimes show up randomly anyways; or, the media are becoming more attentive to what our policies towards recklessly releasing man-made chemicals into our environment has wrought.  Possibly, because the United States does not have strict regulations on the chemicals used in our products or released into our environment (as the Europeans do) this irresponsible policy is catching up with us.  more ...

 

Water Quality

These essays highlight the importance of preserving our Water Quality in a time of Climate Change and as the threat of Fracking comes to New York State

  • Water quality concerns for Rochester, NY’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program The due date for public comment for Rochester, NY’s Local Waterfront Revitalization Program (LWRP) comes to an end this December. You can complete a survey and/or submit a comment online here: Rochester LWRP Update. The description of the program is as follows from the City of Rochester: “The purpose of this project is to update the city’s LWRP and expand the boundary of the plan to include all of the city’s waterfront areas along Lake Ontario, the Genesee River and the Erie Canal.” The ten questions on the survey mostly contain a wish-list of projects to make life more appealing to those who visit, live, or want to develop along our city’s waterfronts.  Stuff like creating a skate park, more fishing sites, more bars and restaurants, more residential homes, and more trails figure large. And then there is a project peculiar to our city, and I suspect wildly expensive, the ‘re-watering the old Erie Canal through downtown’.  There’s also the Garden Ariel loop project that would “Through stewardship, innovative design, and community outreach to preserve natural and historic resources, and cultivate High Falls transformation into a world-class public green space.”  [December 2013] more...
  • More water, sewage, and Climate Change in the Rochester, NY region Home, the movie by artist-activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, is quite an amazing film about our home, Earth: how we have radically compromised its health in a very short time, and how we have to fix it quickly as our planet warms from Climate Change. You can watch the entire film at no charge on YouTube (as a gift to the public) here, though I recommend getting a hold of the Blu-ray version because the photography and music are incredible. I mention Home to open this essay on waste, sewage, and Climate Change in our region because it provides the proper perspective (“HOME is the first film that has been made using aerial-only footage.”) from which we must now view our local environmental issues. There are no environmental borders that our planet understands. Last year I wrote “Water, sewage, and Climate Change in the Rochester, NY region” to make the case that, according to various Climate Change studies, frequent heavy rainfalls in our Rochester, NY region should be high on our priority list. My thesis was, and is, that combined sewer systems, which dominate the urban Northeast, are going to be increasingly overwhelmed by frequent heavy rains, thus spewing raw sewage into the waters where we drink and fish. [June 2013]  more...
  • Water, sewage, and Climate Change in the Rochester, NY region Uninteresting and unappealing as the subject of sewage can oftentimes seem, two news items this week about a couple of our New York State cities’—New York City and Buffalo—sewer systems caught my attention. New York City’s new sewer system plan was hailed as a model of how combined sewer overflows can be significantly reduced and Buffalo was excoriated by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) for failing to comply with federal Clean Water Act requirements for combined sewer systems. [March 2012] more...
  • Will the Fracking boom bypass NYS and set us up for a greater economic boom? New York State seems to be balking at the idea of riddling our countryside with natural gas production. The rise in public concern over Fracking in New York State and current low natural gas prices appear to be giving the gas companies the jitters. Some perceive that NYS is over-regulating the drilling industry, which might mean that the boom could go bust. (March 2012)  more...
  • One good thing about the NYS DEC Fracking process As we reach the last day for making public comment on whether to lift the moratorium on Fracking in New York State, something good has come out of the four-month comment period. That something good is that we New Yorkers have had a conversation about our environment. Albeit, limited but a conversation nonetheless. Usually, when environmental concerns come up, we only argue about them as NYMBY issues, as how the environmental effects of a project will affect those immediately surrounding that particular project. Or, an environmental disaster occurs and folks start pointing fingers and calling up lawyers. We are a long way from adequately addressing environmental concerns in the media. (Note the almost criminal denial of media attention on Climate Change in the US presidential campaigns this year.)  (January 2012) more...
  • Last desperate plea to stop Fracking in New York State According to the recently published Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded and published by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) our electricity generation for New York State is broken down by these fuel types as of 2009: 30% nuclear, 1% oil, 23% gas and oil, 12% natural gas, 1% wind, 19% hydro, 13% coal, 2 % methane/waste/solar/wood.  (December 2011)  more...

 

Food and our Environment

These essays convey the concern over food production in our region--especially as Climate Change kicks in.

 

Living Green in Rochester, NY

A we adapt to a warmer climate what we do to live in an environmentally friendly way will evolve.  Mostly the less greenhouse gases we emit--on a large and quick scale-will matter most.

 
  • Living environmentally friendly in a warmer Rochester, NY The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC), our environmental authority in New York State, offers several seasonal ideas for living sustainably: Make a Difference “Green Living - Tips and Resources for Making Environmentally Responsible Choices in Your Daily Life | Looking up at the sky through fall foliage on trees.” There are, of course, many places online and off that make suggestions on living more environmentally friendly.  Some are merely trying to make a buck on the inclination of many to continue business as usual with a greener flare; while others are very earnest in their attempts to get us all to change course and get on a sustainable path to the future. The DEC, which runs the voluntary Climate Smart Communities programs, for all their expertise and authority, seems focused on not aggravating anyone with more robust adaptive measures.  Make a Difference misses many critical aspects of living green in a warmer world, including even mentioning that our environment is warming up. This oversight is a crucial distinction because without viewing all our environmentally friendly actions through the lens of Climate Change, none of them are going to actually work.  [October 2013]  more...