RENewsletter | January 24, 2010


The Free environmental newsletter from

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

[1/17/2010 – 1/24/2010]


* Need to vent? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY

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


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




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




Opening Salvo:  “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.  


Story #1. Supreme Court Voids Campaign Spending Curbs - “A divided court strikes down decades-old restrictions on corporate campaign spending, 5-4, reversing two of its precedents and freeing companies to advertise” Although there has always been a disproportionate advantage for large corporations to self-servingly frame issues before public via the media, lately it has become more blatant and dire.  Relying on corporations, who own most mainstream media, to report on environmental malfeasance is putting the fox in the henhouse. 


Story #2. Media Executives Plan Online Service to Charge for Content - If the NYT, one of the last major media institutions that have the capability to do major environmental investigations, decides to charge online readers for its content, and many media follow suit, fewer people will read critical environmental reporting.  It means that only a minority will be able to afford reading an important series like Toxic Waters - Series - The New York Times


Slowly, we are losing our collective ability to monitor the health of our environment and it means we are probably going to make some very bad decisions going forward.  If we had the inclination and resources we could do independent objective reporting and discover the ramifications of everything we dumped into our air, land, and water. It’s obvious from the direction mainstream media is going that we are not so inclined.  Rather our tendency is to rush forward with every new earth-altering idea that comes to mind and believe everything will turnout OK.  That’s delusional. 


We can get a more honest view of how we treat our environment by using a wider perspective, that of time.  Then it’s clear that we tend not to consider the environment as we live and plan for the future. Three books I suggest that will give you a glimpse of our region before great human changes took place: “A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations” by Clive Ponting; “1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus” by Charles C. Mann; and “Paradise Found - Nature in America at the Time of Discovery” by Steve Nicholls.  500 years ago our continent was rich with life, now it’s poor in biodiversity and collapsing in slow motion.


Putting up barriers between the masses and our media by making it more difficult and expensive for them to get accurate and in-depth environmental information will lead to disaster.  But should reporting be publically funded, as John Nichols & Robert W. McChesney argue in How to Save Journalism?  I don’t know. All I know is: Absolutely no environmental problem goes away by blinding the public to them.  (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.






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. 


o        Action Due Monday, January 25, 2010 7 PM | New York State Museum Theater, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany.

o        Public Invited to Meeting on State Climate Action Plan - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation The New York State Climate Action Council will hold a public meeting on Monday, Jan. 25, at 7 p.m., to outline development of the state Climate Action Plan. The meeting will be held in the New York State Museum Theater, 222 Madison Avenue, Albany. Governor David A. Paterson signed Executive Order 24 in August 2009, which sets a goal to reduce New York State's greenhouse gas emissions by 80 percent of their 1990 levels by 2050. The executive order created the State Climate Action Council and directed it to prepare a draft plan by Sept. 30, 2010 ( The plan will assess how all economic sectors can reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to climate change, and identify the extent to which such actions support New York's goals for a clean energy economy. (January 21, 2010) Press Releases - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation [more on Action in our area]

o        Action Due Monday, January 25, 2010 Rally 10:30am to NOON Meet with lawmakers from 1:30pm  |Meet us on the west side of the New York State Capitol building in West Capitol Park --from CCE - Water Protection Public Health Energy Renewable Policy Toxic Wildlife Chemical Contamination Subscribe Newsletter Jobs Calendar Pollution Air Quality Advocacy Farmingdale White Plains Albany Syracuse Buffalo

o        Rally and Meet with State Legislators about Natural Gas Drilling! Register now at: Please join the convergence of concerned citizens from across New York to rally at the Capitol and meet with state lawmakers to express concerns with extracting natural gas through hydro-fracking. Following the rally, you can share your concerns directly with your legislators and urge them to protect New York’s water, air, land, and people. WHO:    Environmental Advocates of New York, Citizens Campaign for the Environment, Sierra Club-Atlantic Chapter, Catskill Mountainkeeper, and dozens of other environmental and conservation groups from across the state. WHAT:   Rally to protect New York State and delay the natural gas drilling rush WHEN:   Monday, January 25, 2010 Rally 10:30am to NOON Meet with lawmakers from 1:30pm WHERE:   Meet us on the west side of the New York State Capitol building in West Capitol Park (see map by following registration link) WHY:   In other parts of the country, hydro-fracking has polluted wells, lakes, and streams and poisoned landscapes. Your voice is need to protect New York’s water, air, land, and people. For more information about CCE’s campaign on hydro-fracking, visit: REGISTER NOW!

o        Action Due Date: Today

o        Donate to a worthy cause: Christine Sevilla Project (Christine Sevilla Project) "Welcome to A Living Project to Preserve a Place in Christine's Honor  For All to Enjoy in Perpetuity Christine's family and friends envision a natural area, including wetlands, preserved in her memory.  This vision includes an educational component, like an interpretive trail to help others recognize what Christine saw - an interconnected natural community of flora and fauna, soil and water. Perhaps even an  Arts and Music Festival to celebrate what Christine so treasured. "

o        Action Due Date: Next Count: February 12-15, 2010

o        Get Involved — Great Backyard Bird Count "Your Help Will Make a Difference The success of the Great Backyard Bird Count depends on participants from every community to count birds across the United States and Canada. Help spread the word in your town by asking people to count birds for at least 15 minutes during the count. It's fun, easy, raises awareness of birds, and provides an important record of where the birds are--a record that scientists can use well into the future to track how birds are faring as their environments change. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and Audubon invite everyone to “Count for Fun, Count for the Future.”  --Great Backyard Bird Count — Great Backyard Bird Count

o        Action Due Date: EPA will take public comment for 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. |

o        EPA Strengthens Smog Standard/Proposed standards, strictest to date, will protect the health of all Americans, especially children The United States Environmental Protection Agency today proposed the strictest health standards to date for smog. Smog, also known as ground-level ozone, is linked to a number of serious health problems, ranging from aggravation of asthma to increased risk of premature death in people with heart or lung disease. Ozone can even harm healthy people who work and play outdoors. The agency is proposing to replace the standards set by the previous administration, which many believe were not protective enough of human health.  EPA will take public comment for 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. The agency will hold three public hearings on the proposal: Feb. 2, 2010 in Arlington, Va. and in Houston; and Feb. 4, 2010 in Sacramento. More information:  (January 7, 2010)  [more on Air Quality in our area]




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.]