RENewsletter | October 17, 2010


The Free environmental newsletter from

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

[10/10/2010 – 10/17/2010]


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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:  “It’s crucial that the media frame environmental news correctly”


When mainstream media does get around to informing the public on environmental issues, they should do so in a way that informs the public of critical information they need in order to have a sustainable existence.  What does this mean?  It means that how the media frames an environmental story has a profound effect on how it is perceived by the public. 


For example, when the media publishes a story about a town board imposing a moratorium on off-shore wind farms in the Great Lakes, they must discuss Climate Change.  Did the town board even discuss the repercussions of their decision on our planet warming up?  When the media reports on a major oil spill, it should remind the public that fossil fuels warm the planet—not just that many will lose jobs.  Pumping oil out of the ocean and eventually burning it does not occur in the vacuum of space—it’s going to warm our planet, and the press needs to connect those dots.


Sound radical?  Not at all.  In fact, when the media does not do their due diligence and assess the repercussions of such official decisions on how they will impact our ability to have a sustainable existence, they are not doing their job.  The days where humanity believes they cannot affect something as large and complex as our planet’s environment are over. The public needs to know how our energy needs will be met if clean renewable energy options are turned down. We don’t need sports news, fashion, arts, or how to tone up your abs on the front page.  But we do need to know the state of our environment at all times.  Of course, we need to know other stuff, like whether our politicians are lying to us, or that a new law has been passed.  But overall, our media has become whacky.


The press will say that they must be objective and report all sides of a controversy in order to give the public the information they need to make wise choices—when they vote, when they buy goods, or even when they choose what company to work for.  (Who wants to work for a polluter and a purveyor of toxic goods?)  In these extraordinary times, when the planet’s atmosphere is warming and the oceans are dying, our knowledge that humanity now plays a crucial role in our environment puts a new light on media objectivity.  We must now ask: What does Objectivity mean when it comes to informing the public on our environment?  Is the press somehow outside the bounds of physics, where they can dispassionately ignore a failing life-support system?


Why all this talk about the media and the environment?  The answer is that too often the public does not appreciate the importance of their impact on our environment based on articles in the news.  If they don’t get a continual update on the health of our environment and learn about the links between cause and environmental impact through mainstream media, how will they get that information, and how will they appreciate its importance?  Do you think that in the future everyone will promise to join at least one environmental blog?  What’s the chance of that?


Here’s a small example of what I mean.  If the public doesn’t know that the materials that they buy and then throw away pollute our planet, they’re going to think buying stuff is the only thing they need to concern their pretty little heads with.  They’ll think it is more important that their bag of chips don’t make annoying noises rather than whether a company took the trouble to make the bag biodegradable.  (Check out this amazing story: Why We're Doomed | Mother Jones)  Or, the public is going to think that ridding themselves of a noisy wind turbine is more important than continuing to power their homes with fossil fuels. 


This may all strike you as just the opinion of one person.  But it’s something different.  It’s about having an informed citizenry, just as Thomas Jefferson and James Madison worked towards assuring through our US Constitution.  It’s about our collective ability to appreciate the fragile state of our environment and to make informed decisions of critical matters that will affect our ability to continue.  If the media that most people tune into downplays what we need to know and continually parades the titillating, the torrid, and the morbid, we’ll end up boiled in a steamy caldron of toxins with no a chance to correct it.  (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.



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.]