RENewsletter | May 19, 2013


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


[05/12/2013 – 05/19/2013]


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Take Action



Opening Salvo:  “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.  Back in 2008 the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) put out a public comment on trying to stop this bug that was making its way north, but by 2011 we had our first sighting. We have since enacted laws prohibiting the transporting of firewood and many learned how to save some favorite ash trees (a chemical inoculation), but this is a battle we are going to lose.  By the time you notice infestations like the EAB, it’s probably too late to do anything but control the rate of tree loss.  On top of that, Climate Change will allow the EAB to spread faster.


Also, looming over our Great Lake’s water is the probable infestation of the Asian Carp that could potentially transform the lakes’ ecology.  A species like the Asian Carp is able to do this by stripping the food web of plankton, the lakes’ fundamental resource (from National Wildlife’s The Asian Carp Threat to the Great Lakes.)  We’ve known for years that the carp has been making its way up the Mississippi River towards our precious waters. And we’ve tried many ways to stop it from entering the Great Lakes, but the inconsistent funding to thwart its infestation means we’re probably going to get them any day now.  (Some, who are checking Great Lakes’ water for carp DNA, think they’re already here.)


And it all makes you wonder: When is a good time to start planning for invasive species?  For example, when should we have started searching for the Zebra Mussel, an invader from the Baltic Sea that made its way to the Great Lakes and Finger Lakes via ships’ ballast tanks coming through the St. Lawrence Seaway?  Should we have considered all possible hitchhikers that might make it to the Great Lakes, from all parts of the world, then try and figure out which ones would be the most likely threats?  Seems impossibly daunting.   


Compound all this with Climate Change. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines invasive species as “…an alien species whose introduction does or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.” (Invasive Species, EPA). [Note that not all non-native species are ‘invasive’:  the honey bee is not currently considered ‘invasive’.] But others think invasive species have always infiltrated ecologies by air and water--and humans. Invasive species are just part of the evolutionary process that makes everything more robust.  According to this view, we’ve just become too comfortable with our cushy surroundings and should learn to see the big picture:


“The good news from all this is that nature emerges as resilient and adaptable, able to bounce back from the worst we can throw at it.” (True Nature: Revising Ideas On What is Pristine and Wild, 5/16/2013 Environment 360)


The trouble with this ecological laissez-faire attitude is that even if this view is true (and arm-chair environmentalists just don’t understand the science of the matter) is that Climate Change renders a lot of historical adaptation scenarios null and void. While it is critical in Climate Change planning to revisit just what invasive species are and what a pristine environment is, it is a fantastic leap of faith in nature’s resilience to think nature can handle anything thrown at it. The speed at which the planet is warming is unprecedented, requiring both native and nonnative plants and animals to adapt far quicker and with more variables than they have had to before. Think about thousands of manmade chemicals that have entered our environment since the Second Industrial Revolution. There are no precedents to the kind of Climate Change we are going to experience. Our best bet for combating invasive species during Climate Change is to get our heads around the comprehensiveness of the Climate Change issue, and then act accordingly.  (Click on my email for feedback)





* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter and Facebook:  and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment,


I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. The ability of this newsletter to inform and get the public focused on our local environment is dependent on reaching a lot of folks. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up.  We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news. This newsletter looks and works great on your tablet device.


The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to save ourselves?


“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


My companion book to written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on and Kindle We Don't Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books



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





Updates Daily 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.]





Events Rochester 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. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.


May 2013



June 2013



September 2013





Action Take 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.