RENewsletter | August 30, 2015

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

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

 

*Note: Henceforth 'environment' means ‘our life support system.’

 

[08/23/2015 – 08/30/2015]

 

Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change in a way that sustains all life while striving to do so equitably is the defining issue of our time.  How we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire will reveal our true nature. Frank J. Regan

 

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

 

* NEW! Having trouble reading this newsletter? Read it online here.

 

Opening Salvo: “COP21 Paris isn’t the end of anything, whether it is successful or fails miserably

 

While Rochester worries that our gasoline prices may not drop nearly as low as nearby communities, we should be mindful of the particular teapot in which this gas price-tempest is occurring. Our addiction to fossil fuel is wreaking bloody havoc on our climate. (And, if you noticed the 1,000 point drop at the stock market this week, our addiction will increasing cause mayhem on our finances and investments too. See: “Oil means turmoil as world’s markets nosedive”.) Accordingly, the backdrop for our local obsession for more fossil fuel burning is a world burning up. A world that is desperately trying to bring down greenhouse gas levels before the window of opportunity closes under the framework of the COP21 Paris 2015. 

 

(COP21/CMP11), otherwise known as “Paris 2015” from November 30th to December 11th. COP21 will be a crucial conference, as it needs to achieve a new international agreement on the climate, applicable to all countries, with the aim of keeping global warming below 2°C. (WHAT IS COP21/CMP11?)

 

Instead of obsessing over artificially low gasoline prices, Rochester should be more engaged with this worldwide movement towards a more sustainable world. There are few hopeful signs, but here’s one. Next month, we hope to see a debate between local candidates on green jobs for green energy:  

 

Building an Economy for Climate Stability: Candidate Forum 2015 | Click here to register! Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) and League of Women Voters are excited to bring climate change into the conversation at area elections, as we cosponsor a Candidate Forum on green jobs and a sustainable economy. Building an Economy for Climate Stability: Candidate Forum 2015 will be an opportunity for those running for public office within Monroe County to present their vision on a greening economy. The event is free and open to the public. Wednesday, September 16 7:00-9:00 PM at the Harley School, 1981 Clover Street (from Rochester People's Climate Coalition.)

 

However, there should also be debates and media attention on how our local candidates will lead on adapting to Climate Change. We will have to adapt to the consequences of Climate Change in our region, and the buck stops at our leaders’ offices. When our waters rise and overwhelm our waste water systems, our leaders will be held accountable (just as officials were blamed recently when a sewage spill closed Honolulu's Waikiki Beach). When a climate disaster like Hurricane Katrina strikes again, our leaders won’t be able to use the perfect-storm excuse, where many catastrophes are triggered at once. This is because the invocation of Murphy’s Law will be more likely to accompany more weather-related disruptions as Climate Change gets worse. Our leaders must make sure we adapt, and we must make sure they connect the dots so we aren’t overwhelmed when the shit hits the fan. 

 

We are hard-wired to adapt—even climate deniers. When a fire gets too close, we quickly back away. The tragedy of Climate Change is that we have to start backing away from a fire that is coming much slower than our senses have evolved to detect. That’s why we must plan now, not when the next climate disaster leaves our leaders groping for excuses and us without a future.

 

Next door in Buffalo, the “Rise Up for Climate Justice! Rally at Niagara Square on September 24“ will help spread the message Pope Francis gives to Congress about the need to make Paris a success. Paris comes at the end of a long line—United Nations Conference on the Human Environment (1972) , Brundtland Commission (1983-1987), United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) Earth Summit Rio de Janerio (1992), Kyoto Protocol (2008), Copenhagen Summit (2009) (just to name a few as there were many more)—of attempts to right humanity’s course for sustainability.

 

This Conference of Parties (COP) in Paris is trying to solve Climate Change on a level of human action that cannot be achieved individually nor separately by nations. Individual actions won’t be enough. Ad hoc national efforts will likely step on each other’s efforts by giving priorities to local concerns instead of the world’s ecosystems. Yes, past attempts to direct humanity’s efforts towards a more sustainable environment have floundered, but it would be truly insane to conclude that therefore we should leave our fate to market forces (which have historically treated our environment as an externality).

 

This doesn’t mean there aren’t any viable options; it means we need to readjust our priorities and fix our attention on our life support systems—instead of forcing our desires and beliefs into what sustainability means before we even understand the full implications of Climate Change. It means that while we may not be able to predict the outcomes of our climate actions in a world that has already been greatly disturbed by our past developmental abuses, we can and should change course towards sustainability—betting on our penchant for problem solving.  

 

Climate Change is happening. It is caused by humanity. It is not hopeless. It is in fact an incredible opportunity.

 

Paris isn’t the end of anything, whether it is successful or fails miserably. It will be but a point on a continuum towards our absolutely compelling need to adapt. If we fail at Paris in the sense that nations give up trying to work together (as the world did with the League of Nations after World War I), we will eventually be back at the table, much as we did when we began the United Nations. The horrors of World War II cleared a lot of doubt about the need to work together on global problems. 

 

If Paris succeeds beyond our wildest dreams by creating a binding agreement to keep global warming at 2C, provides a monitoring system to track each nation’s emissions efforts, and adequately compensates the poor countries so they can thrive without destroying their resources, this success would only bring us a little closer to the Holy Grail. We would still have a long way to go for a sustainable world. We still have to adapt to the warming already baked into our atmosphere and oceans. Sea level rise, droughts, destruction of our food producing regions, the loss of biodiversity, pollution, public health issues, and the conflicts resulting from a world in disruption will all have to be dealt with—probably simultaneously. 

 

But a successful Paris framework, sooner rather than later, where we work together on the same desire for a sustainable future, will increase the likelihood of our survival. That ain’t nothing.

 

Locally, if we can move our attention from getting cheap gas to our full engagement with this worldwide crisis, we here in Rochester can be a part of the solution.

 

Time passes.

 

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, Also: If you wish me to include your event or news in this newsletter, which gets sent out on Sunday morning, please send the blurb to me by Friday evening: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com

 

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. One way to do that is to join this Google+ Group. “Become The MediaBTW: 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]

 

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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. Text in BOLD are my 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.

 

September

 

 

October

 

 

November

 

 

December

 

 

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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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