RENewsletter | August 16, 2009

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com  

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

[08/09/09– 08/16/09]

 

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* Found an important Rochester environmental story from a credible source that you think needs attention? SEND ME THE LINK.

 

Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |

 

 

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Opening Salvo:  Greening Our Nickel

 

 

ATTORNEY GENERAL CUOMO ANNOUNCES SIGNIFICANT COURT VICTORY UPHOLDING NEW BOTTLE BILL - Court Decision Will Promote Cleaner Communities, Green Jobs Will Deliver Over $100 Million in Added Revenue to New York State Budget [http://www.oag.state.ny.us/media_center/2009/aug/aug14a_09.html]

 

The decision this week by a federal judge that the expansion of New York's bottle-deposit law should take effect immediately is welcome news.  Some tenacious advocates like Laura Haight, senior environmental associate for the New York Public Interest Research Group, have fought for this necessary law to aid recycling for years. [ http://www.nypirg.org/enviro/bottlebill/ ] Most New Yorkers have long favored a law to include more bottles for refunding because it will reduce trash and help the public coffers.  Many have resisted a change in the bottle-deposit law because (among the litany of arguments) there isn’t a fair structure in our state to redeem vast quantities of discarded bottles.

 

It is more complicated than this, as most environmental issues are, but essentially most New Yorkers think that if you put a deposit on a bottle it is more likely to get recycled—or not trashed--but some people are going to have to pay a price for this law.  It is true: it will inconvenience or burden some people or some business to help our environment.  In fact, regulating how we remove resources from the planet and what will be allowed to be put into our environment are going to be an on-going headache in our society.  And, all societies for that matter.  It’s simple: A finite planet supporting six and a half billion people who all want stuff is going to be problematical because stuff piles up and harms the environment—you know, that three billion year old system that keeps us alive and thriving.

 

What seems to be missing from the reporting about the long battle for this recent expansion of the bottle law, and many other issues where one sector of the population is going to be unevenly stung by changes in laws to prevent harm to our life support system, is how we spread the burden of curbing that harm.  The underlying assumption appears to be that some people have inadvertently placed themselves in an economically vulnerable spot—one that leaves them open to future regulations where there used to be none.  That, speaking from the point of view of a species that wishes to continue on into that wonderful place called the future, is not a healthy assumption.

 

A more prudent assumption about the certain rise in regulations aimed to protect our planet is that we all should become engaged in the health of our environment.  Instead of taking ten years to pass an updated deposit law for fear of hurting the bottling industry or small grocery stores, a solution should have been worked out quickly based on a society of informed citizens willing accept that our way of life has responsibilities. Many of the things we used to do were not good for our planet (i.e. our survival) and our present system of shifting the burden on the few means it takes a long time to solve environmental problems.  That makes lawyers rich, but it jeopardizes our way of life. How much trash could have been avoided in the last ten years if we had quickly changed the laws and provided (at public cost) incentives for more redemption centers?

 

At some point in the continuum of our trashing the planet, the courts aren’t going to be able to handle the load. Then, were all going to pay whether we like it or not.   

 

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com  (Click on my email for feedback)

 

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NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

 

         Nickel Deposit For Bottled Water

         DEC: EAB Quarantine

         Oceans & Climate Change

         Watertown & Wind Power Development

         Green House of the Month - Brighton

         Air Quality Alert

         Lower Great Lakes Wind Study

         Sand Pollution

         Solar Energy Project

         Federal Cleanup Monies

         NYS Health Dept. Volunteers Needed

         Infrastructure Underfunded

         Environmental Science - Complex

         NYS Climate Change News

         DEC: "Visit Wetlands"

         Ganondagan Festival Green

         New Food Lab

         More on The Sponge

         Hudson River Dredging Halted

         Grant Awarded Environmental Activists Group

         Recycling Video For Canandaigua

         EPA: Expanded Renewable Fuel Standard Program

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UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]

                                 8/15/09 - Don't miss that chance to interconnect with those in our community interested in Green Business and getting or helping others get a green job --or maybe start up that new Green business idea: Green Drinks with Incentive Thursday, August 27 | 6:00pm-8:30pm at the Robach Community Center, part of the Ontario Beach Park, in Charlotte, NY This month's Green Drinks will be hosted by the Monroe County Parks Department. Come join us for another combined Green Drinks event:  presenter Larry Simpson from Blue Springs Energy, LLC (link to Blue Springs Energy) will be speaking about green energy incentives, programs, rebates and tax incentives available to local governments, businesses and homeowners.  He will explain how to determine what types of funding are applicable, based on your determined eligibility.  His presentation is designed to help limit the confusion that results from an overload of information available to those interested in these types of funding. Larry’s presentation will begin after an introduction from a Monroe County Parks representative, who will be speaking about the Parks' own green initiatives.  There will be time for a Q & A session after Larry’s presentation, followed by our networking portion including free local food and beverages. [Map] to register call: 585-262-2870.

                                 8/13/09 - Important Green Business EVENT: THE JOB DEVELOPMENT NETWORK’S 1st “GOING GREEN” CAREER & TRAINING EXPO   Baden Street Settlement of Rochester, Inc. 13 VIENNA STREET, Rochester, NY   WEDNESDAY, September 23, 2009   CAREER EXPO OPEN TO THE PUBLIC: 10:00am – 1:00pm   MEET EMPLOYERS WITH CAREER AND TRAINING OPPORTUNITIES IN GREEN INDUSTRIES:   Energy efficient building/construction trades   Renewable energy   Bio-fuels industries   Deconstruction materials   Re-manufacturing & sustainable products manufacturing     $$$ MAKE GREEN BY GOING GREEN $$$   FREE ADMISSION FOR ALL CAREER SEEKERS!!!   Equal opportunity employer/program.  Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request to individuals with disabilities.

                                 8/12/09 - Unsolvable Problem: As we ignore the signs that the underpinnings of the environment we have inherited are breaking down—global warming, pollution, oceans dying—so as it goes with the underpinnings of the environment we created: our water and sewer systems, our roads and highways are crumbling.  If we adopt other ways of getting around such as high-speed rail or maybe ‘hover’ cars, we can let our highways goes and move on to something else, as is our species way.  But, regardless of how we design our future, we are going to need the systems that bring in our fresh water and take away our used water to be sound.  I have my doubts that we will be able to address the issue of a widespread deterioration of our water and sewer systems because: it will cost a lot of money and isn’t an issue that grabs public attention, it will be politically unpopular because we need so much public money to go elsewhere, and because this issue has been foretold long ago and little has been done about it. Basically, unless we can retrofit an economic boon to a looming disaster (as we are now doing with energy and conservation issues) we are dysfunctional. Overcoming the costs and recriminations that will come as various parts of our system fail in various localities on an issue that is literally underground and out of our sight and one that we have been ignoring for decades means we are going to let it go until a disaster occurs.  It’s the way we react to problems involving the underpinnings of our environment.  I applaud the Comptrollers efforts, but little will be done.  This story will go away again and keep going way until it’s in our face. Read on... DiNapoli: New York’s Local Infrastructure Needs Projected To Be $80 Billion Under Funded Over Next 20 Years Multi-Year Capital Planning and Increased Federal Funding Needed Driscoll Joins DiNapoli at News Conference in Syracuse At the current rate of spending, New York will have $80 billion in unmet infrastructure needs over the next 20 years unless state, federal and local governments work together to improve multi-year capital planning and better fund infrastructure projects, cautioned State Comptroller Thomas P. DiNapoli in a report he released today in Syracuse. DiNapoli’s report estimates the state’s capital needs for repairing roads, bridges, and water and sewer lines will swell to a quarter trillion dollars over the next 20 years. (August 11, 09) New York State Office of the State Comptroller

                                 8/10/09 - ACTION: Take Action with 350 on October 24th On October 24, 2009, millions of people around the globe will take action in their own communities, and call on world leaders to sign a climate agreement that leads us down the road to 350. We already have events planned at some of the world's most iconic places -- Australia's Great Barrier Reef, in front of the Pyramids in Egypt, in the Himalayas of South Asia and at the Great Lakes in the USA -- but we need you to host an event in your community. It doesn't have to be large (though that would be great), but it does need to display the number 350 in some visual way. Be creative! You can organize a rally, a hike up the closest peak, an educational forum, a community art project, or anything else. Just make sure you have fun, and represent 350 somehow -- on a banner or a sign, on your t-shirt, or by spelling it out with your bodies. This may not sound like it could really help, but it does--already we've had churches ringing their bells 350 times, 350 bicyclists circling through cities, even 350 people standing on their heads. The resulting media coverage has helped spread the word fast, so that many groups have joined this campaign. To sign up, please go to http://350.org/oct24 And make sure you snap a photo of your event and upload it to our website. We'll take those photos and pass them to our global leaders. Together we can let them know: 350 represents safety, and anything that doesn't meet the 350 test is gambling with our future.

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EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line.

 

 

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ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 

 

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AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]