RENewsletter | July 9, 2017

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

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

 

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

 

[7/02/2017 – 7/09/2017]

 

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: “Climate Action Plans offer clear guidance for local political candidates

 

One of the great features of a climate action plan (CAP) is a set of guidelines that local candidates can (and should) use to frame their campaign. Our political process affords us the ability to choose who will lead us according to our values—and presumably our collective values as codified in our national, state, and local constitutions. Given Climate Change, our values should also reflect the science and recommended solutions to this local and worldwide crisis. A community’s CAP, a careful investigation into the science behind Climate Change, local officials’ responsibilities to their constituency, and a consensus from the community itself, is a framework the public can use to get the measure of their candidates, to evaluate the merit of a candidate’s campaign and the likely effectiveness of their leadership once they achieve office.

 

However far a politician may veer from their responsibilities inherent in this worldwide crisis, however they may give in to fits of isolationism and ideology, the public (a politician’s base and humanity itself) is subject to the consequences of our leaders’ actions—or inactions. Now that we are in the era of Climate Change, it is in the public’s best interest to educate themselves on this science and learn about their candidate’s position in relation to this issue. This priority has and will not change no matter how caustically climate denial tarnishes our political process:

 

How climate scepticism turned into something more dangerous Doubts about the science are being replaced by doubts about the motives of scientists and their political supporters. Once this kind of cynicism takes hold, is there any hope for the truth?  Last month Donald Trump announced his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate accord. For his supporters, it provided evidence, at last, that the president is a man of his word. He may not have kept many campaign promises, but he kept this one. For his numerous critics it is just another sign of how little Trump cares about evidence of any kind. His decision to junk the Paris accord confirms Trump as the poster politician for the “post-truth” age. But this is not just about Trump. The motley array of candidates who ran for the Republican presidential nomination was divided on many things, but not on climate change. None of them was willing to take the issue seriously. In a bitterly contentious election, it was a rare instance of unanimity. The consensus that climate is a non-subject was shared by all the candidates who appeared in the first major Republican debate in August 2015 – Jeb Bush, Scott Walker, Ben Carson, Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul, Chris Christie, John Kasich, Mike Huckabee and Trump. Republican voters were offered 10 shades of denialism. (July 7, 2017) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

 

Climate Change is a moral matter

 

Climate Change is teaching us (whether we want to learn it or not) that what we eat, how we use energy, and how we get around are now bound up with ethics. Our life support system, our environment, is finite. Because humanity’s environmental footprints are now so heavy, there are repercussions to everything we seven billion souls do. This means we must grow more carefully as a species, more mindful of our critical role in our planet’s biology than we have in the past. We once thought that we were given dominion over our planet and could do as we pleased. But now we know there are rules that cannot be broken because there is no chance of redemption.

 

We must change our behavior towards this planet and we must be certain that three billions years of life here does not end because of us. It would have been convenient had our ascension to world dominance coincided with a sustainable pattern we needed to thrive well into the future, but our present trajectory toward more climate denial indicates that isn’t likely. We are now polluting and crowding out all life, including ours, at a rate reminiscent of the other five great extinction events.

 

Unfortunately, humanity has picked up some very bad habits during our growth spurt that is leading us down the path to perdition. Alas, we cannot unlearn how to trash our planet—with bad energy choices, over consumption, and pollution—anymore than we can forget how to build nuclear weapons. We must learn quickly how to switch gears, restrain ourselves, and go lightly on the commons—even if at any point along the way it seems in our own selfish best interests to go hog wild again.

 

It’s going to take leaders

 

More obvious than ever, politics matter. Because Climate Change has become an existential issue (“Nearly 40 per cent of Americans think climate change will cause human extinction”), largely due to human inaction and the cumulative effects of our pollution, we cannot solve this crisis individually. In order to act on a scale and time frame that will matter, we must shift our politics by voting for leaders who will take us to a sustainable future—together, quickly.

 

One such leader ascending in Rochester, NY is Mary Lupien. I have worked with Mary on local Climate Change actions, where she led efforts to communicate the urgency to address this issue locally. I’ve witnessed firsthand her integrity and willingness to connect the dots between the science and the moral implications of this crisis--climate justice. This is important because climate justice melds the moral and science issues so that as we transform our economy, our infrastructures, and our lives to meet the challenges ahead, we do so intelligently and compassionately.

 

Transportation and Climate Change

 

Mary Lupien’s focus on local transportation issues highlights the connection between how Rochesterians get around and climate justice. In the City’s Climate Action Plan, transportation strategies figure prominently. Our moving about represents a large portion of our greenhouse gas emissions and so presents many opportunities to address the local Climate Change threat economically and justly.  Mary reminds us that: (see www.marylupien.com

 

“MOBILITY IS A HUMAN RIGHT”

 

"How to get from here to there" is a question central to our everyday life.  For those of us that do not have a car, finding the answer to that question can be complicated, stressful and may mean hours out of our day - if the trip is even possible at all.

 

FIGHTING CLIMATE CHANGE

 

The Future must be green to sustain life on this planet and we will need to rely less on personal vehicles. By designing our streets for all modes of transportation not just cars, we enable more residents make the choice to leave their car behind.  The Complete Streets model shows us how we can give walkers and bicyclists a safer and more predictable experience.  

 

The way forward

 

The City’s Climate Action Plan focuses intently on Transportation Strategies because “Motor vehicle transportation in Rochester accounts for almost a quarter of total GHG emissions.”(Page 40, CAP) and:

 

“Almost 26 percent of Rochester households do not have access to a vehicle, compared to 11 percent in Monroe County.  Access to a vehicle can have major impacts on a household’s ability to reach jobs, education, health care, and recreational opportunities. This underscores the importance of improving transportation options and accessibility for all residents.”(Page 43, ibid)

 

Since the inauguration of the climate denier Trump, environmentalists and even scientists now understand that the way forward must include getting their own people elected to political offices. Mary Lupien’s focus on getting involved politically and bringing the issue of transportation in our region to the forefront offers the public a real opportunity to take back control of our destiny from those who angrily demanded a change in leadership at any cost to our democracy, our lives, and our future. In our city, the CAP gives voters a clear guide as to how Mary and other responsible candidates should lead our region towards a future we can actually thrive in.

 

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 2017

 

 

August 2017

 

 

September 2017

 

 

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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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