RENewsletter | December 13, 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.’

 

[12/06/2015 – 12/13/2015]

 

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

 

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

 

Opening Salvo: “Rochester Democrat & Chronicle article on Climate Change breaks records

 

This Rochester Democrat & Chronicle (D&C) article is hands down the most important local article on why COP21 Paris matters to Rochester. This connecting-the-dots article between Climate Change and the local consequences is crucial for our public to understand why Climate Change needs to be communicated in such a way so that the pubic backs their leaders to strongly address Climate Change. We hope to see more continual coverage of how Climate Change is affecting our region so we here in Rochester can plan for and adapt as quickly and painlessly as possible to this worldwide crisis. 

 

Paris on the Genesee: Why it matters As the global climate summit known as COP21 begins its second full week, Paris seems a long way away. But what happens at the climate talks there does matter here. Western New York, like everywhere, is vulnerable to severe stress and disruption as our climate warms and the weather changes. The talks by officials from 195 countries are intended to minimize the scope of those disruptions, which have already begun. The goal of the COP21 talks is to agree on universal goals to reduce the emission of greenhouse gases. (If you must know, the acronym signifies the 21st Conference of the Parties, meaning the countries that are parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. The first COP was in  Berlin in 1995.) These gases, principally carbon dioxide but others as well, are warming the Earth's climate by trapping heat that would otherwise escape into space. The predominant source of man-made carbon dioxide is burning of fossil fuels — coal and natural gas in power plants, gasoline and diesel fuel in vehicles — plus the burning of wood and some manufacturing processes. (December 8, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

 

This article manages to communicate to a wide and diverse local public: that the COP21 Paris Climate Summit matters to Rochester, that Climate Change is changing our weather, that manmade greenhouse gas emissions from our transportation and energy sectors are the cause of this Climate Change, that we are already experiencing heavy rainfall (flash flooding) as reported in official climate studies, that Rochester is already “2.3 degrees higher than it was 150 years ago”, that the melting of the Arctic is making our winters too whacky to predict, that our growing season has changed, that some of our worst weeds may thrive and our best crops not fare so well, that our wildlife will be more stressed, that there are more blue-green algae blooms in our ponds and lakes, and that we must evolve towards better and cleaner energy options. All of which I have been reporting on for years, hoping our media, environmental groups, public officials, and our pubic would recognize the gravity and urgency of our situation and start planning for this new normal. We have frittered away a lot of precious time by not tackling this sooner.  

 

The local environmental community understands the significance of this D&C article on Climate Change as the numbers of ‘reaches’ on their social media have broken all records. On the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition Facebook page alone, almost 600 folks have viewed this article and the numbers go well over a 1,000 when more groups are included. Those numbers exploded to these highs in only two days—and trust me we never get those kinds of numbers on a single posting. (Cute puppy videos doing cute tricks get these numbers but we don’t.) Those waiting for mainstream media to connect the dots with the local consequences of Climate Change have been waiting a long time for this kind of article—and they want more. The public must be engaged on Climate Change and despite the rise of the Internet, whoever rules mainstream media gets to talk to all of the people.   

 

Today (12/11/2015) while waiting for the outcome of the Paris summit, two stories I came across highlight why articles like the D&C article are so important. Both are about our infrastructures—transportation and wastewater. The first is about the continual inadequate funding for local highways. Keeping our local transportation system infrastructure safe and sound not only means keeping up with the needs of the system but also preparing it for the extreme weather that comes with Climate Change—more heat and more flash flooding. The public needs to understand the problem so we can properly prepare. When our transportation system fails, you cannot get around or address emergencies. A crippled transportation system is not something you can fix at the last minute. Climate Change means planning. 

 

Ontario County highway crews push for fair infrastructure funding Upstate roads and bridges are in are in need of work — and the money to pay for it, highway crews and local state legislators say. Ontario County has more than 1,200 culverts, which carry water from a stream or open drain underneath a road. Over 46 percent of them require major work, said Bill Wright, commissioner of public works for the county. And it can be costly — a culvert replacement project this year on County Road 16 in the town of Canandaigua cost in the neighborhood of $1 million. (December 10, 2015) Brighton-Pittsford Post

 

The other story is out of Portland, Oregon, a city that has been preparing for Climate Change for over twenty years. This story highlights how just any kind of planning is not enough. The public must understand the nature of the beast, as it were, so their officials fund and plan adequately. Portland had planned for a one-in-twenty-five-year flood, thinking the public would never go for more dramatically expensive updates. But Portland just got a one-in-one-hundred-year flood.

 

Why Portland's drainage system failed to stop this week's flooding PORTLAND, Ore. - Parts of Portland looked more like a lake this week after the city saw near record rainfall. On Monday, Portland's third wettest day ever, the Pearl District flooded as manholes overflowed. The brown water they spewed was around 90 percent storm runoff and 10 percent sewage, according to the city's Bureau of Environmental Services (BES). Similar scenes played out throughout the city this week as creeks and drains overflowed and people had to take sometimes desperate measures to avoid being stranded and stay out of the muck. So how did it happen in a city with a massive and expensive drainage system? (12/9/2015, KATU)

 

I believe that if our media continually reported on local consequences of Climate Change in the way the D&C did this week, public attitudes would change. When attitudes change, the public will begin voting differently. The public will vote for leaders who understand all the implications of a warming climate quickly and address it properly.

Once the public understands what has been set in motion with Climate Change, that a great giant has been awakened by our deeds and that this giant is now stirring, they will understand the urgency and level of threat this crisis poses.   

 

Now we know our media knows the nature of the problem. Could this recognition of our new climate normal will become the new norm for local reporting? For all our sakes, let us hope so.

 

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.

 

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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