RENewsletter | February 16, 2014


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


[02/09/2014 – 02/16/2014]


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Opening Salvo: “Earth Day 2014: Engaging the public on Climate Change, Part 1, the media


On April 17, 2014 at 7PM, the Rochester Sierra Club will host a community discussion on Climate Change in our region with Mark Lowery, Climate Analyst, and manager of the state’s Climate Smart Communities program.  This “Earth Day” event (I know, April 22 is actually Earth Day) will be held at the First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY.  We hope to reach the entire public—community, faith, and business leaders, students, the unemployed, the employed, young and old, healthy and not so healthy, rich and poor, and folks busy with other stuff —and have an old-fashioned community talk about the world crisis called Climate Change.  Join your neighbor in a town hall meeting free from activism, ideology, politics, and denial.


Through a series of essays before this Earth Day event, I will spell out why it is so important for the public, not just a few activists, to be engaged in this discussion. This first essay concerns the failure of our media to adequately inform the public of this worldwide crisis, which feeds the illusion that Climate Change is only one among many special interest issues. Though a majority of Americans support climate and energy policies, this is not reflected in media coverage.  See Study: 83 Percent Want Action on Global Warming, Even With 'Economic Costs'  from US World and News Report (February 12, 2014):  “A large majority of Americans say 'the U.S. should make an effort to reduce global warming,' even if it impinges the economy”.


A good example of poor media coverage on Climate Change is the failure by local media to put this present cold snap in the proper context of a world that is warming.  Just last year, USA Today (a Gannett company, like the D&C) remarked that “Lake Ontario saw the most dramatic decrease with an 88% drop in ice coverage” … “since the 1970’s”. (Shrinking ice worries Great Lakes scientists) But this article only talks about the present massive ice cover, which is an anomaly as Climate Change continues to influence the Great Lakes: Freeze pushes Great Lakes ice cover toward '79 record  (February 14, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle). It is as if the previous five decades of shrinking ice cover never existed. Or, if the local media were to distinguish meteorology from climatology, they should see that the trajectory for Great Lakes ice cover is for less ice: 


Seasonal ice cover has decreased on the Great Lakes at a rate of 8 percent per decade over the past 35 years; models suggest this will lead to increased lake effect snow in the next couple of decades through greater moisture availability (Burnett et al., 2003). By mid-century, lake-effect snow will generally decrease as temperatures below freezing become less frequent (Kunkel et al., 2002). (Page 3, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID)


The loss of ice cover (or snowpack and snow cover for that matter) will have profound effects on our local environment. Cincinnati’s local media (though, not our local media) doesn’t misrepresent Great Lakes ice cover and Climate Change: “Great Lakes become nearly covered with ice” (February 14, 2014) WKRC Cincinnati) There will be more water evaporation which will cause lower lake levels, no matter how many local battles there are to get the government to put lake levels at the most popular levels. This is information that the public needs to know to prepare properly for infrastructural changes that will cost of lot of money and need to be sustained through election year after election year.


My experience working to advance alternative transportation (walking and bicycling) and more recycling as local adaptation strategies for adapting to and mitigating Climate Change has been met with an indifferent public.  Actions, such as waking and recycling, are understood in our region to be environmentally friendly, but not as part of a coordinated effort to reduce greenhouse gases (GHGs).  Climate Change is an issue that cannot be adequately addressed by a few activists with good intentions.  The problem is too big; the vast majority of the public around the world needs to be engaged.  Without a media that understands its critical responsibility to provide this public service, a service required in a warming world, the public will continue to think we can simply ‘green’ our way out of this issue with new technologies, fighting the big polluters, and donating to special causes.  Only ‘all of the above’ and more will work.  


I have observed that many climate studies, community plans on Climate Change, and even the efforts of environmental groups do include Climate Change communications. But rather than given top priority, communicating the pervasive threat of Climate Change and the need for public education is given almost no financial allotment, little staffing, and usually only targeted to special audiences. The need to raise public awareness about Climate Change exists as the weakest link in any climate plan because the media has not done their job.  Local media seems far more interested in merging with larger and larger media corporations, which provides less news about unpopular issues like Climate Change.


So, this Earth Day, as our Arctic melts and so disrupts its climate system that it dips down and disrupts our climate patterns, come and talk about Climate Change. There will be a short presentation on Climate Change and how the state understands this to impact our region. Then, you and hundreds of your neighbors, the media, and community leaders can share concerns and ideas on this most important issue ever faced by humanity.  Just like back in the day when we came together to face common threats.  (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,


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. 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]


·         Ash borer creeping along in Monroe County 

·         Comcast-Time Warner merger probably not great news for consumers 

·         Lawsuit tries to force fracking decision 

·         Great Lakes become nearly covered with ice  

·         Study: 83 Percent Want Action on Global Warming, Even With 'Economic Costs' 

·         Wave Energy: Harnessing Ocean Power 

·         Study Finds Methane Leaks Negate Benefits of Natural Gas as a Fuel for Vehicles

·         President Obama Pledges $2 Billion+ for Drought-Stricken California and U.S. Climate Resilience Fund 

·         Freeze pushes Great Lakes ice cover toward '79 record 

·         Grand Valley Study: Zebra Mussels, Algae Blooms Tied 

·         Coastal flooding ‘may cost $100,000 bn a year by 2100′ 

·         Arctic Autumns On Track To Warm A Staggering 23°F, NOAA Warns 

·         Obama, Hollande Cooperate on 2015 Global Climate Change Pact 

·         How Global Warming Is Affecting the Winter Olympics 

·         Report: Lake Champlain 99 percent frozen 

·         DEC proposal to kill invasive swans drawing protests 

·         Inner Loop makes list of 'Freeways Without Futures' 

·         Overcoming a polluted past 

·         DEC Proposes Updated Policy Governing Use of Environmental Monitors 

·         China's Plan to Clean Up Air in Cities Will Doom the Climate, Scientists Say 

·         Scientist Takes a Closer Look at the Deep-Sea Impacts of BP Gulf Oil Spill 

·         City Looks for Feedback On Bike Boulevard 

·         Promoting Investment In 'Green' Projects 

·         Legislation tackles microbeads 

·         EPA Revises Permitting Guidance for Using Diesel Fuel in Oil and Gas Hydraulic Fracturing 

·         Environmental groups demand Quebec gov’t to publish results of nature contamination followed by train derailment 

·         Economist Says Best Climate Fix A Tough Sell, But Worth It 

·         The Sixth Extinction: Elizabeth Kolbert on How Humans Are Causing Largest Die-Off Since Dinosaur Age 

·         Japan's nuclear regulator raps Fukushima operator over radiation readings

·         Extreme Weather Hits Hard Worldwide 

·         RTS ‘Where’s My Bus?’ mobile app launched for RIT 

·         DEC Announces State of Lake Ontario Meetings Biologists to Update Status of Lake's Fisheries 

·         Report: NY Attorney General looks to ban microbeads 

·         NY, US DOT plan hearings on high-speed rail plans 

·         Public meeting focuses on bicycle boulevards 

·         4th annual E-Scrap 4 Camp fundraiser to benefit Camp Good Days and Special Times

·         Embracing Environmental Justice: Celebrating the 20th Anniversary of E.O. 12898

·         Quick, change the channel! Al Jazeera is talking about the environment again

·         Kuster, Tsongas to EPA: Northeast Greenhouse Gas Initiative is a Model for the Nation

·         Trade winds draw ‘missing’ warmth to deep ocean 

·         Despite $93 Billion in Profits, Big Oil Demands Continued Tax Breaks 

·         Tonawanda Coke claims disputed 

·         Upstate communities tackle pollution in the Genesee River 

·         Legislative sponsors hopeful of advancing GMO labeling bill 

·         Naples to discuss shale gas ban at public hearing Monday 

·         Annual EPA Enforcement Results Highlight Focus on Major Environmental Violations

·         UB launches a major research effort to address the most important environmental issues of our time 

·         Winter weirdness: Is Arctic warming to blame? 

·         Greenland’s Fastest-Flowing Glacier Speeds Up 

·         Carbon Emissions Could Climb 29 Percent by 2035 



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.


February 2014



March 2014



April 2014





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.