RENewsletter | August 15, 2010


The Free environmental newsletter from

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

[8/08/2010 – 8/15/2010]


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Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan


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



[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  “Our environment, Net Neutrality, and us idiots”


Whether or not you have been following the Net Neutrality issue, this raging controversy could have a profound effect on your life.  The state of the free, unfettered environmental information network that the Internet has delivered to the public for the past decade might be in jeopardy if Net Neutrality is compromised by a new ruling by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and Congress. Here’s the situation: “In recent weeks, top officials from the Federal Communications Commission have held closed-door meetings to negotiate with the country’s biggest communications companies and online service providers on how the Internet should be regulated.” –8/05/2010 “The Net Neutrality Spat ExplainedProPublica


I don’t mean to imply that the Internet is a rigorous medium or that environmentalism on the net hasn’t been messy.  It has.  Everyone with a computer and Internet connection has been able to write a report, give an opinion, argue a position, investigate a story, and respond to every little fact or observation about our environment since the Internet went public.  No posted thought seems to have been denied access (in the US anyway).  That is a good thing, though it would be more helpful if more reason and less hysterics pervaded this world-wide conversation.


Why does a free and open discussion on our environment over the Internet matters?  First, our environment matters because no healthy environment, no future for your kids.  Second, why is the Internet such an important aspect of our environmental dialogue?  It’s complicated. Trying to get a fix on the actual state of our environment is messy and complicated.  In fact, the total sum of what constitutes our environment is so incredibly complicated, chaotic, and interrelated that no one (not even the Tea Party) understands the whole thing.  For starters, only in the past hundred years have we even begun seriously monitoring the changes we have made to the planet, long after we began making massive alterations to it.  Sure there’s science, but the public is not listening to scientists.  Despite a majority of scientists who agree that our present crisis of Climate Change is occurring, most don’t believe it. 


Third, mainstream media is moving to the Internet. Though they are not making a whole lot of money (nothing like the 28% profit they were bringing down in the ‘90’s) at the moment, they plan to rule—like they have with the telegraph, radio, and television. The problem is, when it comes to our environment, everyone has a stake.  Some (like the coal industry) have a large stake and don’t want their stakes disturbed, even if that is wreaking havoc with our environment as a whole.  Others, most of the world’s population, don’t have a voice or any clout at all, and they are going to be the first to experience environmental degradation—lack of food and water. 


Fairness (who gets to pollute and who doesn’t) cannot be worked out by a single government, corporation, or environmental group.  We absolutely need a medium through which we can monitor our environment, free from somebody or some entity framing the issues to fit their agenda. 


Miraculously, along with the growing realization that humanity is running the planet into the ground, has arrive a truly democratic communication medium through which all voices can be heard—limited only by imagination and a net connection.  The Tower of Babble: the Internet. 


When it comes to our environment we should only be at the mercy of the facts (all of them, not cherry-picked), science (not just niches, but as a whole), and opinions (not just from institutions with a lot of money).  Even then, we should be exposed to all opinions. In the end, it may be us ‘idiots’ who save our environment (I use “idiot” here in the sense that Fyodor Dostoyevsky applies it in The Idiot, as a narrative device to expound on Truth as it appears to a naïve, guileless, and totally truthful person).  Billions and billions of minds interconnecting, doing what we do best--think.  The solutions to our environmental problems (Climate Change, pollution, over-population, decline in biodiversity, and the collapse of our oceans) may be resolved by all of us connecting to each other on this great conundrum of our times—how we might survive.  But this cannot be accomplished if the Internet is not free and open and accessible to all.  BTW: You can do something about this: Free Press | Media reform through education, organizing and advocacy.  (Click on my email for feedback)




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





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.]





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: with (EV event) in the subject line.


August 2010



September 2010



October 2010



November 2010





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. 





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.]



Frank J. Regan ( or ( ) - Please visit: Where you can get all the environmental news, events, documents, and services on the Internet for Rochester, New York. is the most complete, non-profit environmental site for any one city in the world. You can also subscribe to RochesterEnvironment.Com. Once a month, get's "RENewsletter in your mail" - Or, join in discussion on Rochester environmental matters at Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY -