RENewsletter | October 15, 2017

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The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

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

 

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

 

[10/08/2017 – 10/15/2017]

 

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: “Optimism vs. pessimism on addressing Climate Change: does it matter?

 

Is it possible that much of the Climate Change news that optimists characterize as pessimism is simply realism? Independent of human sentiment, the Arctic is melting, the parts-per-million of greenhouse gases in our atmosphere is steadily going up, and our oceans are absorbing much of the human-caused heat buildup —causing rising seas and more acidity. As scientists monitor and study the effects of greenhouse gas emissions being pumped into our climate system, the experts are finding that it is increasingly likely that our everyday weather, extreme weather events, our ecosystems, wildlife, and humanity itself are being negatively influenced by Climate Change. Scientists aren’t being pessimistic when they seek to unravel the consequences of Climate Change; they are reporting to humanity about a vital issue.

 

According to Google, optimism is “hopefulness and confidence about the future or the successful outcome of something” and pessimism is its antonym. That is to say, both optimism and pessimism are human emotions. They are important, but they are not facts.  

 

It is with this observation that I mention this article on how humanity feels about addressing Climate Change at this point in time:  

 

NEW SURVEY FINDS THAT A MAJORITY OF PEOPLE GLOBALLY ARE OPTIMISTIC ABOUT OUR ABILITY TO ADDRESS CLIMATE CHANGE Climate Week NYC 2017 Opening Ceremony, New York, September 18: A new survey finds that a majority of people globally are optimistic about our ability to address climate change, with 64% of global citizens believing we can address climate change if we take action now. Overall, 33% strongly agree this is the case, and 32% tend to agree. Only 11% disagree that we can address climate change if we take action now. The survey, conducted by global market research firm Ipsos on behalf of non-profit organization The Climate Group and change agency Futerra, polled online adults aged 16-64 in 26 countries and is at the heart of a new campaign, #ClimateOptimist, launched today to change the dominant narrative on climate change. The campaign’s partners include Mars, VF Corp, Interface, Ashden and the DivestInvest movement. The survey found that people in emerging economies are especially likely to feel positive about solving climate change, with 71% of these respondents believing we can address it if we take action now, compared to only 59% in established economies. Countries with high numbers of optimists include Brazil, Chile, China, Colombia, Mexico, India, Peru and South Africa. (September 18, 2017) Climate Week NYC [more on Climate Change in our area]

 

It's problematic as to whether humanity is actually optimistic or pessimistic about addressing Climate Change because these kinds of studies are limited and even the people questioned may change their minds from day to day. So instead of trying to nail down whether the study above accurately sums up humanity’s opinion, I want to address a more interesting statement in the article:

 

“Solving climate change starts with the belief that we can, so on the one hand it is thrilling to learn that Climate Optimists already far outweigh Pessimists globally,” said Solitaire Townsend, Co-founder of Futerra, speaking at the launch.

 

It seems self-evident that to solve Climate Change we must believe that we can. But is it? Further, is it even possible to solve Climate Change and if so what does that mean?

 

I’ll comment on the second question first. If by ‘solving Climate Change’ we mean that we’ll be able to cut greenhouse gases so we can return to our way of life soon, that is unlikely. That’s not being pessimistic, it’s being realistic about the nature of Climate Change. This Climate Change, unlike those climatic changes before, involves over seven billion people together with the critical infrastructure necessary to their (our) survival. And it involves the accumulated environmental abuses—species extinctions, the proliferation of invasive species, pollution, and much more—that must be addressed even if we stop emitting more greenhouse gases right now. Of course, in my opinion, we aren’t going to stop emitting greenhouse gases right now, and we’re probably not going to bring them down to a safe level for a long time. This means we’ll have to adapt to a lot more extremes emanating from what we have stored in our atmosphere and oceans.

 

At best we might be able to manage the environmental problems ahead and adapt. But our way of life will have to be different. It’s quite a leap of faith to believe that we can or must remain optimistic about preserving a way of life that brought us to this crisis—especially in the face of a Trump administration back-peddling on all our environmental protections and a world distracted by everything else. Humanity is far from setting Climate Change as its top priority, which is what it will take to manage our warming world.   

 

Second question (slightly altered): Do we need to believe that we can manage Climate Change in order to address it? No. As in any disaster you don’t need to believe you’ll survive it in order to get moving. Ask anyone running from a fire if they only ran because they believed they could outrun the fire. If a fire, a hungry lion, or an avalanche is at your back, you run. It’s what we do, those who survive that is.

 

The problem with addressing Climate Change is not whether we feel optimistic or pessimistic about the outcome; the problem is recognizing the kind of problem it is. We should not be avoiding the information, dismal as it is, from scientists who are continually fine-tuning what kind of danger we are in.

 

Regardless of whether we feel optimistic or pessimistic, once humanity realizes that Climate Change constitutes the same kind of danger a hungry lion presents, an existential danger, we’ll get moving.

 

The question is whether we’ll address Climate Change on a scale and timeframe that will 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.

 

October 2017

 

 

November 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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