RENewsletter | January 22, 2017


The Free environmental newsletter from

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


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


[1/15/2017 – 1/22/2017]


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: “Is Climate Change really an existential issue?


Oftentimes, writers, reporters, educators, and scientists refer to Climate Change as an existential problem. Here’s what they mean by that:


“In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization.” (Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year (January 18, 2017) New York Times 


Climate Change communicators usually don’t like to characterize the warming crisis as apocalyptic because it tends to overwhelm and paralyze their audience. And while this position may have some psychological validity to it, it doesn’t excuse climate denial. Facing the existential aspect of Climate Change by a large swath of humanity is critical because until it is framed correctly as “a profound threat to the natural world and to human civilization”, we won’t understand the urgency to address it.


Granted, trying to make the existential argument has the ‘crying wolf’ component. One would be hard pressed to find a time in human history when some faction or other didn’t think the world was going to end in their life time. In my own lifetime there has been several doomsday prognostications (which obviously did not end in a complete disaster) including the Cuban Missile Crisis. 


But, as in the fable, it’s quite possible that however often the boy cries wolf, a wolf can still show up. (Note: ‘wolf’ here is a metaphor for BAD! but real wolves are not bad, they are vital components of our ecosystems.) In order for the public to sort out fable from reality, we need more expert scientists and their wonderful instruments. Their instruments are telling us that our atmosphere and oceans are warming. That our seas are rising. That increasingly extreme weather is occurring because of Climate Change.


Part of the existential nature of Climate Change and integral to properly understand the urgency is tipping points (or ‘thresholds’). 


Climate modeling is a critical tool for climate scientists and these computer models are able to factor in much of the climate data scientists are gathering, including economic models in order to anticipate how humanity will respond to various financial scenarios. 


However, climate models are no panacea. They cannot predict a climate denier voted into the highest office in the most powerful nation along with a like-minded cabinet.

The more scientists learn about our ecosystems and climate the more they can predict some of the possible tipping points. But not what the results will be.


“The possible existence of thresholds implies that there may be limits to how predictable future changes to ecosystems will be and that we may be able only to identify thresholds where significant change will occur, but not what those changes will be.” (Schimel, David. Climate and Ecosystems (Princeton Primers in Climate, p. 159. Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)


This kind of doubt about the consequences of Climate Change is only a positive thing to climate deniers. For the rest of us, Climate Change is an existential problem because things can get out of hand very quickly.  


Time passes.  (Click on my email for feedback)





* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @!/FrankRrrr   On Twitter and Facebook:  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:


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 written in 2005 still holds true. Now, “We Don’t Get It!” is an E-Book on and Kindle We Don't Get It! eBook: Frank Regan: Books



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




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.]




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


January 2017



February 2017



March 2017



April 2017





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.