RENewsletter | July 10, 2016

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

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

 

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

 

[7/03/2016 – 7/10/2016]

 

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: “Lyme disease, a Climate Change indicator in our region, is telling us to wake up

 

First, let’s get on the same page when we talk about Climate Change indicators. Here’s what our US government understands it to be: “…indicators of climate change can communicate key aspects of the changing environment, point out vulnerabilities, and inform decisions about policy, planning, and resource management.” Indicators, from GlobalChange.gov. 

 

This is what National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) thinks:

 

Many lines of scientific evidence show the Earth's climate is changing. This page presents the latest information from several independent measures of observed climate change that illustrate an overwhelmingly compelling story of a planet that is undergoing global warming. It is worth noting that increasing global temperature is only one element of observed global climate change. Precipitation patterns are also changing; storms and other extremes are changing as well. (Global Climate Change Indicators, NOAA)

 

Basically, climate change indicators are things like:

 

Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Global Greenhouse Gas Emissions, Atmospheric Concentrations of Greenhouse Gases, Climate Forcing, U.S. and Global Temperature, High and Low Temperatures, U.S. and Global Precipitation, Heavy Precipitation, Drought, Tropical Cyclone Activity, Ocean Heat, Sea Surface Temperature, Sea Level, Ocean Acidity, Arctic Sea Ice, Glaciers, Lake Ice, Snowfall, Snow Cover, Snowpack, Heating and Cooling Degree Days, Heat-Related Deaths, Lyme Disease, Length of Growing Season, Ragweed Pollen Season, Wildfires, Streamflow, Great Lakes Water Levels and Temperatures, Bird Wintering Ranges, and Leaf and Bloom Dates.” (from Climate Change Indicators in the United States, Environmental Protection Agency).

 

We in the New York State region are already experiencing many of the above indicators including “Heavy Precipitation, Lake Ice, Snowfall, Snow Cover, Heating and Cooling Degree Days, Lyme Disease, Length of Growing Season, Ragweed Pollen Season, Great Lakes Water Levels and Temperatures, Bird Wintering Ranges, and Leaf and Bloom Dates.”

 

Sorry about all the hyperlinks but they lead somewhere. They lead to a plethora of indicators that prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that Climate Change is not only knocking at our door but threatening to break it down.

 

Buried in the EPA’s litany of indicators is Lyme Disease and I haven’t though too much about this particular indicator, as the local media doesn’t mention it much. (You can track local coverage of Lyme disease since 2000 here.)

 

So, it came as a surprise to come across a news report this week about the Lyme disease crisis nearby in the Hudson Valley and how it’s at the forefront of a political fight.

 

Lyme disease drives campaign in Hudson Valley As campaigns for local offices intensify, candidates are running on fairly traditional campaign issues — job creation, economic growth and Second Amendment rights, to name just a few. But in the Hudson Valley, an unexpected issue has emerged.. In a race in the 41st Senate district in the Hudson Valley, candidates from both major parties have made Lyme disease a central part of their campaigns. The ailment, a result of tick bites, can produce a wide range of symptoms including fever, rash, facial paralysis, and arthritis. Dutchess and the surrounding counties have some of the highest levels of the disease in the nation. (July 5, 2016) Politicol

 

It’s a surprise to find that not too far from us in Rochester there is a major outbreak of Lyme disease but I guess many New Yorkers were already well aware of the problem:

 

More than 71,000 cases of Lyme disease have been reported in New York since 2000, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In 2014, the most recent year for which data is available, 3,736 new cases were reported in the state. The number of cases is rising in many counties, including those in Central New York. Onondaga County had just a handful of cases in the early 2000s, but nearly 200 from 2011 to 2014. (How many cases of Lyme disease where you live? Search our NY database by county (March 16, 2016, Syracuse.com)

 

This is how prevalent Lyme disease crisis is in the affected area and how at least one of our politicians understands the problem:

 

“In the Hudson Valley, almost everyone knows someone suffering the effects of Lyme or TBDs,” said Senator Serino. “While the diseases might not be known to that extent in other communities, they’re certainly beginning to spread across the state and eyes are really starting to open to the severity of Tick-Borne Diseases. If we want to prevent that spread and help those who are suffering, combatting Lyme and TBDs needs to be a priority each and every year.” (April 1, 2016, SERINO RENEWS COMMITMENT TO BATTLE LYME DISEASE New York State Senate)

 

Here’s what concerns me greatly. We have a massive outbreak of a major Climate Change indicator going on now and our politicians and media don’t mention the connection with this outbreak with the crisis of our age. Our climate experts have continually linked Lyme disease as an indicator of Climate Change and study after study has clearly linked the increase of Lyme disease in the Northeast with Climate Change. Here’s a reference to that link in our most important climate study pertaining to our New York State region.

 

"Climate change may have serious implications for diseases affecting wildlife and people. Vector species, such as mosquitoes, ticks, midges, and other biting insects, respond dramatically to small changes in climate, which in turn alters the occurrence of diseases they carry. For example, Lyme disease, erlichiosis, and other tick-borne diseases are spreading as temperatures increase, allowing ticks to move northward and increase in abundance. " (Page 185, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011)

 

Along with the dramatic increase in heavy rains (check out New York State in Figure 2.18: Observed Change in Very Heavy Precipitation) in our region since 1958), we are experiencing many other indicators of Climate Change in our region like Lyme disease.

 

But our politicians talk about every aspect of Lyme disease—the symptoms, the number of people affected, how this devastating disease can screw up your life, how to prevent tics when going outdoor, and much more—except the very real connection with Climate Change. So when our politicians and the media don’t connect the dots between Lyme disease and Climate Change it means the public gets very concerned, but doesn’t see the elephant in the room. The public doesn’t realize we are experiencing Climate Change; the public doesn’t realize that our public health has already been seriously compromised by Climate Change.

 

This code of silence between the media and our politicians on Climate Change means the public continues to believe that Climate Change is some far-off disaster they don’t have to worry about. It means when we vote in November, the public will still think Climate Change is not a priority.

 

It means we are allowing ourselves to let these few short years (before the window of opportunity to avoid the most catastrophic consequences of Climate Change) go by without a public engagement on a level and speed that will ultimately matter.

 

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.

 

July

 

 

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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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