RENewsletter | May 10, 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.’

 

[05/03/2015 – 05/10/2015]

 

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.

 

Opening Salvo: “Shifting dynamics of individual actions on Climate Change

 

Recently, we (humanity) has just dallied past a crucial benchmark where the new normal for our atmosphere is 400ppm of C02. The last time CO2 levels reached this figure was 650,000 years ago.

 

“The 400 parts per million CO2 threshold was already passed at NOAA’s Mauna Loa Observatory in 2013. But this is the first time that the global average crossed the symbolic milestone.” from (New GLOBAL Record for CO2 Concentration 400ppm Red Line Crossed in March (May 7th, 2015, UN Climate Change Newsroom.)

 

I mention this benchmark because recently a reader complained of my condescending attitude in my essays towards humanity’s inaction on Climate Change. She encouraged me to offer hope and solutions, instead of complaining. I’ll admit I do find humanity’s attitude towards this unprecedented crisis baffling, oftentimes wondering if we are really the brainy species we continually claim to be as we continually warm a burning planet. As for hope, what would that be based on?

 

Bomb trains continue to explode and yet we keep searching for ways to make that fossil fuel infrastructure work. Public transportation, one of our most effective ways of moving folks with less GHG emissions, is getting worse, not better in Rochester. Pope Francis talks of the moral imperative of making the next climate talk work while US conservatives push back. We try to increase bicycling in Rochester but we must not say why that’s important other than it’s fun. (The answer is that it can dramatically lower GHG emissions.) We attempt to update our local parks, but don’t ‘balance’ all the interests with Climate Change, which will alter all the natural elements of the park. We’re still focused on biogas (a fossil fuel), instead of composting and replenishing our soil—seemingly far happier with manmade fertilizers that aggravate water pollution, create more harmful algae blooms, and warm the planet with nitric oxide. The Arctic is warming because of Climate Change far faster than climate scientists anticipated and all we want to do is drill for more fossil fuels. Humans. Ya gotta laugh.

 

I have offered solutions for individuals on addressing Climate Change for almost twenty years. In my essay (an exuberant piece I wrote after my return from the People’s Climate March in September), “After the People’s Climate March, a Rochester manifesto”, I offered about 20 specific activities individuals should be doing on a level and speed that will really help address Climate Change. Granted, these actions are not the usual stuff, as they are based on what I think might actually make a difference instead of what is politically correct. Politically correct actions on Climate Change are framed as special interests; the individual is encouraged to go off someplace and do their own thing and not bother the grownups.

 

But treating Climate Change as a special interest, where individuals do just what that they like, hasn’t worked. As a matter of fact, because individual actions haven’t worked, the idea of what an individual can do to address Climate Change is changing rapidly.

 

For all practical purposes, if our government (at all levels) and businesses are not addressing Climate Change, we are not addressing climate change. You cannot fix our transportation system, our air, our water, our land, our media, our infrastructures, our environmental laws, our wildlife, or anything pertaining to Climate Change on a scale and timeframe that will matter. It’s too late. It’s not too late to address Climate Change, it’s just too late to think you and your group can adapt to and mitigate this worldwide crisis without a wholesale change to all of the above with everyone onboard.

 

I’m not the only one saying individual actions on Climate Change must be transformative. Despite the continual dreary facts from our climate scientists and all the ink being spilled on this subject, we are getting no closer to a solution. Paris looms in December and most individuals in Rochester don’t even know of this conference much less the climate treaty’s significance—or the argument raging about the 2C limit.

Here’s Bill McKibben (writer, activist, and creator of 350.org) speaking recently:

 

“So, environmentalists have spent, maybe wasted, a lot of time on individual action in the last few years. It's not that they're not important. My house is covered in solar panels and I drive an electric car and eat locally and all of that. But I try not to fool myself that it's changing the outcome here. This is a structural and systemic problem, and so its answer will be structural and systemic. That means that as an individual, the most important thing you can do is not be an individual. It means we need to join with each other in movements. That's why we set up things like 350.org, to give people easy on-ramps into becoming part of this fight because it is a fight.” (Bill McKibben on Earth Day and the Power of Protest April 10, 2015) Living On Earth)

 

The most important thing you can do is not be an individual?

 

This is to say we’ve come to a point where Climate Change cannot be solved by just changing your driving, eating, washing, shopping, and all the rest of your habits. It does not mean that what you do doesn’t matter. As a matter of fact everything thing you do matters—practically and morally. But to solve Climate Change at this late date our actions must be supercharged, super-connected, and science-based. However good you may feel about what you are doing to address Climate Change, if your actions are not part of a set of worldwide actions to bring down greenhouse gas emission on a massive scale, then your actions will have no more effect than waving away air pollution with a hand-fan.

 

Individuals must come together on Climate Change. As Ben Franklin said, “We must all hang together, or assuredly we shall all hang separately.”

 

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,

 

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.

 

May 2015

 

 

June

 

 

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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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