RENewsletter | October 27, 2013

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

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

 

[10/20/2013 – 10/27/2013]

 

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

 

 

Opening Salvo:  “Rochester, NY entering the Anthropocene with no leadership”

 

Before I draw nearer to that stone to which you point,” said Scrooge, “answer me one question. Are these the shadows of the things that will be, or are they shadows of things that may be, only? (“A Charismas Carol,” Charles Dickens)

 

Trying to predict what our environment will look like in fifty or one hundred years as Climate Change progresses has turned into a sort of cottage industry. [Note: Six Degrees: Our Future on a Hotter Planet, by Mark Lynas and The Weather of the Future: Heat Waves, Extreme Storms, and Other Scenes from a Climate-Changed Planet, by Heidi Cullen] Nevertheless, they are useful thought experiments as they anticipate what changes warming might bring and what we might do to adapt. They also offer up a futuristic strawman, based on many climate studies, from which to think through some of the many long-term consequences of any one of the problems or solutions.

 

It will get complicated. For example, if you are looking ahead and following only one of the myriad threads of the consequences of a warmer Northeast, you might be expecting a longer and better growing season. (In the last century and half, our growing season has increased by about ten days.) The problem with that particular scenario is that crop pests grow faster in a warmer climate and some studies predict a limit to the carbon bump because high CO2 levels hamper nitrate incorporation by plants. Not to mention, our first reaction to more crop pests will be a dramatic ‘shock and awe’ of pesticide use, and climate studies predict this also.   

 

In the Rochester NY area (Northeast America), we can reasonably expect some or all of these consequences of Climate Change in our region within the next 50 years or so:

 

...higher temperatures and increased heat waves have the potential to increase fatigue of materials in the water, energy, transportation, and telecommunications sectors; affect drinking water supply; cause a greater frequency of summer heat stress on plants and animals; alter pest populations and habits; affect the distribution of key crops such as apples, grapes, cabbage, and potatoes; cause reductions in dairy milk production; increase energy demand; and lead to more heat-related deaths and declines in air quality. Projected higher average annual precipitation and frequency of heavy precipitation events could also potentially increase the risks of several problems, including flash floods in urban areas and hilly regions; higher pollutant levels in water supplies; inundation of wastewater treatment plants and other vulnerable development in floodplains; saturated coastal lands and wetland habitats; flooded key rail lines, roadways, and transportation hubs; and travel delays. Sea level rise will increase risk of storm surge-related flooding, enhance vulnerability of energy facilities located in coastal areas, and threaten transportation and telecommunications facilities. Across the varied geography of New York State, many individuals, households, communities, and firms are at risk of experiencing climate change impacts. Some will be especially vulnerable to specific impacts due to their location and lack of resources.  [Page 3, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID)

 

There’s more:

·         The Great Lakes water will become more acidic, even faster than our oceans. Warmer waters will affect temperature-sensitive fish (like trout which evolved in glacial cold waters), forcing them to move or die. Warmer lake waters cause less ice cover and increase evaporation which in turn lowers lake levels, causes more erosions of shorelines, reduces the cooling waters for nuclear power plants, and changes duck migration patterns. Lower water levels affect Great Lakes shipping and will starve hydroelectric plants of some of their water power. 

·         Wildlife will migrate northward to avoid heat. Some can escape up mountainsides where it is cooler, until they get to the top. Of course, it is very probable that most wildlife migration would be stopped by manmade barriers such as roads, canals, and backyard fences.

·         Invasive species, which are by definition opportunists, will probably fill the gaps left by indigenous species. Weeds seem to benefit better from more carbon in the atmosphere than crops.

·         There will be less snowfall and less snow cover, both of which are important to various local industries (skiing and snowmobiling). This means less protective blanketing for plants and animals that traditionally used this shield to weather the cold. The freezing and thawing schedule will be more erratic, making fruit growing more problematic. Also, not much is known about how the loss of snow cover will affect the microbes in our soil that evolved in a calmer climate.

·         There will be more droughts in late summer and more precipitation in the form of rain in late winter that will mean more flooding and more toxic chemicals washing into our streams from unattended Brownfields, muddier planting seasons, more sewer overflows from the prevalence of combined sewer systems in our region which will in turn will put raw sewage into our rivers and lakes.

·         Public Health issues such as Lyme Disease, Dengue Fever, Malaria, West Nile Virus, asthma, heatstroke, and ground-level ozone pollution will get worse (a threat to the healthiest athlete). Also it is possible that new pathogens will arise due to a disturbed ecosystem increasing the likelihood of insect-to-animal-to-human diseases. 

·         Migrating birds will find their food not ready or already taken by other critters because the synchronization of the birds’ arrival and their food will be disrupted.

·         The weather will get whacky causing disruptions in the insurance industries that still use mostly historical data, instead of climate modeling, for predicting future costs. Home and property insurance could get prohibitively expensive, and put a tremendous burden on governments.

·         See Likely Changes in our region because of Climate Change.

We can and should prevent at least some of these probable consequences; some we can adapt to; but some, like the extinction of cold water fish (lake trout), are probably going happen--except for continual restocking. Some, if not most, of the consequences are already happening. As of this writing many of our lakes are experiencing Harmful Algae Blooms (HAB). But few in our local media connect the dots with Climate Change, despite information from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms  May 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency], thus rendering local efforts to prevent this threat to our beaches ad hoc and ultimately futile. 

 

If this list seems overwhelming, there is nothing for it. We have been banished from the Holocene because we failed to realize we were living in an Eden that needed our keen stewardship to keep it sustainable. We now enter the Anthropocene. 

 

And in Rochester, NY, because the mayoral candidates will not show us their Climate Plan, nor will the media press them on this, we will have no leadership in this new age. After all, Climate Change is all about planning. The shadows of things that may be are increasingly looking like they will be. 

 

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

 

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* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @ http://twitter.com/#!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterEnvironment  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 RochesterEnvironment.com written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on Amazon.com and Kindle Amazon.com: We Don't Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books

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

 

·         Insurance for Floods May Force Relocations 

·         Tracking Asian carp by what they leave behind 

·         Great Lakes Climate Symposium 

·         Efforts to Get NYers Back to Normal – and Ready for Next Sandy 

·         State Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, to conduct Oct. 29 forum in Rochester 

·         The Great Escape: How Soil Protects Us from Carbon Emissions 

·         Keystone XL Contractor's Potential Conflicts Of Interest Not Mentioned In State Department Documents 

·         Toxic Algal Blooms Connected to Climate Change and Industrial Agriculture 

·         Pedestrian and bicyclist collisions in Monroe  

·         EPA Announces Funding for Students’ Innovative Green Technologies 

·         Report: Meat Producers Ignore Pleas For Health, Environmental Reform 

·         Australia’s Bushfires and the Role of Climate Change 

·         Climate impacts on water resources  A public draft of Being Prepared for Climate Change: A Workbook for Developing Risk-Based Adaptation Plans 

·         More public land in the Finger Lakes, and a healthier trout stream too 

·         Wall Street Demands Answers From Fossil Fuel Producers on 'Unburnable' Carbon

·         Scientists Discover Key Molecule Linking Neonicotinoids to Honey Bee Viruses 

·         State’s sewage right to know act is failing 

·         EPA Orders Middletown, NY to Address Clean Water Act Violations 

·         Great Lakes Restoration Database launched 

·         Research stalls on dangers of military burn pits 

·         The update on fracking is there is no update 

·         Two brownfield projects get state money 

·         House committee advances important Great Lakes legislation 

·         Fracking-related health problems showing up in Pa. 

·         The Oil And Gas Industry Wants To Start Fracking At The Source Of D.C.’s Water Supply 

·         Salmon Face Upstream Battle as Blueprints for Recovery Are Ignored 

·         DEC Schedules Green Chemistry Workshop for Science Teachers at Suny-Brockport

·         Stocking sturgeon in the St. Lawrence 

·         Great Lakes Restoration Success Stories Map 

·         Rochester Renewable Natural Gas Event - November 7th 

·         Less Corn, More Fruits and Vegetables Would Benefit U.S. Farmers, Consumers and Rural Communities 

·         Pork ban in Albany: NY prohibits hunting, owning Eurasian boars 

·         Appalling Lack of Progress in Factory Farm Policies Despite Increased Public Awareness

·         New York, Delaware oppose Maine plan to loosen smog rules 

·         EPA praises Onondaga County for green infrastructure work 

·         Major Study Projects No Long-Term Climate Benefit From Shale Gas Revolution 

·         David vs Goliath: on unconventional fossil fuels and Citizens Climate Lobby  

·         Biggest Offenders MIA in NY Sewage Pollution Reports 

·         Don't stick NY taxpayers with Kodak cleanup bill 

·         Why We Don’t Care About Saving Our Grandchildren From Climate Change 

·         Richmnond Town Board receives 500 responses on fracking 

·         DEC Commissioner Martens: State health report on hydrofracking not coming any time soon 

·         2500+ Youth Rally in Pittsburgh for a Green Economy 

·         Home, Fracked Home: Lost Hair and Dead Cows 

·         Targeting the wild boars of New York 

·         Top EPA official in Syracuse to announce national drive for green infrastructure

·         This will blow your mind 

·         Lyons Falls, Glens Falls, Fort Edward awarded money for brownfields 

·         ‘We say no to shale gas’: World unites against fracking 

·         Norse Energy shuts down, unable to drill in NY 

·         Interactive Map Shows When Your Community Could Reach ‘Climate Departure’ 

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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.]

 

 

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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: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

 

October 2013

 

 

November 2013

 

 

April 2014

 

 

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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. 

 

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