RENewsletter | January 16, 2011


The Free environmental newsletter from

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

[1/09/11 – 1/16/2011]


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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 safe 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


Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |



[Hyperlinks work by CTRL + click to follow a link]




Opening Salvo:  “Climate Change: Mom’s on the roof!”


The great issue for the media should be getting the message out to the public that our environment is in serious trouble.  That is problematic because Climate Change and pollution don’t’ sell well, and they are out of the public’s comfort zone.   However, as John Dewey said, “The media’s job is to interest the public in the public interest.”  No matter that the more you learn about Climate Change the more troublesome it gets.  Ignoring the inevitable repercussions of Climate Change is an irrational attitude towards a concrete danger.

What I am sensing is that many who are trying to communicate about the looming Climate Change disaster are also preparing themselves for the inevitable—little or no action.  That is because despite the vast accumulation of data and close observations behind this environmental issue, there is little public interest in addressing it.  People just don’t want to hear about it.  Few consider our environment and Climate Change when they vote, when they use energy, purchase goods, or think much about it at all.


But what is the point of being the largest-brained creature on Earth and being the most intelligent species if we cannot distinguish serious catastrophic issues from nonsense?  We are buying bigger gas-guzzlers instead of changing the way we move around. Was the only reason we went to school and institutions of higher learning to make money and employ every intellectual trick to convince ourselves that the world is indeed exactly the way we want it to be—a nice place where eventually everyone will have a car, a house, and all the gadgets they want?  That’s not going to happen in present day physics.  We live on a finite planet with finite resources.

In a recent article in Nature News, it is suggested that Climate Change communicators should note “…persuasion is most effective when it matches a person's belief systems  ...”

“Undermining belief in a fair world may mean that climate warnings go unheeded. The use of dire predictions to encourage action on climate change may be backfiring and increasing doubt that greenhouse gases from human activities are causing global warming.” (January 4, 2011) Why dire climate warnings boost scepticism : Nature News


So, the trick some psychologists suggest is to tell folks disturbing stuff like Climate Change in such a way that targeted audiences will be comfortable with it.  (I wonder how our ancestors dealt with critical information, like being attacked by a saber-toothed tiger.  Did they lament, just before being devoured, that this tiger was being just so unfair?)  One has to wonder how something as real and life-changing as the consequences of Climate Change can be communicated in such a way as to be received and acted upon by a public whose worldview doesn’t include science.

There is the old joke about two brothers: Bob, who has been watching his brother’s cat while Tim has been on vacation, tells his brother Tim that his cat died.  “What!” cries Tim?  “I cannot believe you just blurted out that my favorite cat died, no warning, so heartless, I cannot believe this...” and making such a fuss that Bob feels very bad.  So, Bob says, “I’m sorry, what should I have said?” Tim says that Bob should have let him know gently.  “You should have told me a week ago that the cat was on the roof and he fell.” “Then, when I called again, you should have said, I took Fluffy to the animal hospital and they’re going to operate.”  “Then, the next time you should have said that they tried everything they could over at the hospital, but it didn’t look good.”   “And, finally when you told me he just didn’t pull through, I would have been able to accept it.”  Bob hangs his head and nods, realizing just how abrasive and mean blurting out to his brother the death of his cat had been.  Finally, feeling that he got his message through, Tim tells Bob he forgives him.  “Oh, by the way, how’s Mom?” asks Tim.  Bob says, “Mom’s on the roof.”  

The truth is that there is no special psychological or marketing trick to convince the majority of the public, who do not believe that Climate Change is happening, that it is.   It’s physics.  We’ve been tossing greenhouse gases into the air for quite awhile now and that makes the atmosphere warm-up—and it’s warming up rapidly.  Let’s just deal with it by adopting measures to curb greenhouse gases and preparing for the possible consequences.  Not facing it because it doesn’t match a fantasy world that doesn’t exist is suicidal.


Check out this incredibly clear explanation of this problem on this online video from the experts:

“The scientific community has long agreed that our dependence on fossil fuels inflicts massive damage on the environment and our health, while warming the globe in the process. But beyond the damage these fuels cause to us now, what will happen when the world's supply of oil runs out?”  (Click on my email for feedback)




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


·         Gut wrencher: Researchers seek magic bullet to control mussels

·         Watertown Daily Times | Hammond proposes wind farm setbacks

·         Nine House members from N.Y. push for drilling disclosure | | Democrat and Chronicle

·         Crows becoming a nuisance at downtown park | | Democrat and Chronicle

·         $2.1 million grant to help stop childhood lead poisoning in Binghamton

·         WXXI: Federal Energy Department Official in Rochester (2011-01-13)]

·         Biodiversity on the homefront - Grand Traverse Insider - Morning Star Publishing

·         2010 ties for warmest year, emissions to blame

·         Green Groups send to-do list to gov. cuomo, nys legislature

·         Great Lakes states, cities fast-track own research on Asian carp - JSOnline

·         2010 hottest year on record for Canada

·         Cornell Chronicle: Cornell is 5th greenest campus in the world

·         CU researchers, students offer ideas at climate conference

·         POLITICS: Cuomo's DEC pick gets a warm welcome - News Articles - Rochester City Newspaper

·         Watertown Daily Times | CROW HAZING GETS UNDER WAY

·         DEC Summer Environmental Camps Prepare For 2011 Season - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

·         Opposition to 'fracking' affirmed by Common Council - City of Buffalo - The Buffalo News

·         The deadly decade

·         Rochester police to crack down on dog owners | | Democrat and Chronicle

·         Attendance at state parks increased slightly in 2010 | | Democrat and Chronicle

·         Frackwater from the faucet: Pa. efforts to track, regulate wastewater sometimes fail | | Press & Sun-Bulletin

·         Carp gain access lane to Lake Erie - Outdoors - The Buffalo News

·         Climate Shifts Are Changing New Weather 'Normals' -

·         Going Green: Recycling companies changing recycling process - YNN, Your News Now

·         Regional transportation draft plan available for review | Rochester Business Journal New York business news and information

·         Chlorine Substitutes In Water May Have Risks : NPR



UpdatesDaily 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.]





EventsRochester 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.


January 2011



February 2011



March 2011



April 2011





ActionTake 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. 





AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]