RENewsletter | September 4, 2011


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

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[8/28/11 – 9/04/11]


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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:  “Hurricane Irene, Climate Change, and you”


There are many speculations in the media as to whether Hurricane Irene can be directly related to Climate Change. Sometimes the debates turn into a semantic argument as to whether Irene was possibly influenced by Climate Change or ‘proof.’ It’s only a fine line for those who think we have the luxury to wait until they come up with the answer before the rest of us act on something so wildly complex as our climate.


Hurricane Irene 2011: Climate Change To Blame? “It's been one of the most hotly debated questions this week: Is climate change driving Hurricane Irene? "No one is going to point to Irene and say this is climate change," Kim Knowlton, a senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council, told The Huffington Post. "But we can say that we are seeing the fingerprint of climate change this year."” (August 27, 2011) Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post


Hurricane Irene: Is Climate Change To Blame? | Radio Boston “Despite Hurricane Irene’s relatively tame landfall here in Massachusetts, meteorologists predict that the storm may have been the prelude to a dangerous late-Hurricane season for the Northeast. Considering the rarity of serious hurricanes or tropical storms in our part of the country, it’s hard not to wonder: is climate change to blame? Hurricanes and global warming are not easily separated, but scientists are divided on whether one causes the other.” (August 29, 2011) Radio Boston


One thing is for sure: Massive storms like Irene are going to be viewed through the lens of Climate Change from now on. And, depending on what media or pundit you listen to you may become more convinced that Climate Change is the cause or less convinced. What has changed, in the media at least, is that you won’t have a storm of Irene’s size without this massive public inquiry. Rising temperatures because of greenhouse gases (GHG) allow more moisture into the atmosphere and make our weather more unstable and our Climate warmer. That fact is one that has reached its mark.  No one from now on is going to let go of that because there are too many studies that predict this.


The debate, whether any specific incidence can be proved to be a direct result of man-made Climate Change, will go on in the media for quite some time as many arm-chair climatologists put their two cents in—some of their opinions heavily subsided by the fossil fuel industry.  However, rather than prey of the public spewing doubt where there is not, It would be far more instructive to the public if the raging pundits on Climate Change denial directed their concerns to the media.  The media needs training on connecting the dots of climate change and specific storm events.


The question therefore is not whether any of these arguments proves or disproves man-made Climate Change because only the experts have the real facts. What is important is whether the public becomes convinced enough of the case behind Climate Change to act. And, because our Climate on this planet is so complicated by all kinds of factors, terrain, wind shear on the oceans, El Nino and La Nina, and you-name-it, it might take a long time for the experts to nail it down.  In the meantime, we can’t sit on this issue.


We the people, we the creatures who need to have our Climate within certain predictable parameters, don’t have the luxury to wait until the last reluctant Climate Change denier is finally satisfied that things are warming up and there will be consequences. We as a people must be able to put the preponderance of evidence in perspective on our changing climate and act to reduce greenhouse (GHG) emissions.


This story below highlights one of the serious scenarios in our region that are probably going to increase if we don’t put massive amounts of money into our water/sewage infrastructure to prevent future contamination to our drinking water. Any kind of abnormally quick surges of water to our sewage systems will overload them and put raw sewage into our water—creating potential water shortages and diseases. We cannot sit around and squabble over every storm surge and say it won’t happen again. Clearly, evidence is that flash floods, maybe even major storms like Hurricane Irene, will occur with dismal regularity. This is what we the people should be making sure our officials avoid:


Don't go near the water (as if you'd want to) - Times Union Irene's rains deposited huge amounts of raw sewage into the rivers | ALBANY -- Torrential downpours from Tropical Storm Irene flushed through regional sewer and storm drain systems in the Capital Region and dumped vast quantities of raw sewage -- and anything else swept up in the flood -- into the Hudson and Mohawk rivers. It was not clear Tuesday how much waste had made its way into the rivers, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. The waste's exact composition also was not known. (August 31, 2011) Albany, Troy, Schenectady, Saratoga News, Weather, Sports, Capitol | - Times Union  (Click on my email for feedback)




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





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.


September 2011



October 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.]