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These Daily Updates for this month represent just one month in over a decade of connecting the dots on our area's environmental situation.
Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? GOT AN ENVIRONMENTAL STORY ABOUT THE ROCHESTER, NY AREA FROM A CREDIBLE SOURCE? SEND IT TO ME! Looking for something specific. Use Control + F and search for it on this page.
These daily updates pertain to what is going on in our environment in Rochester & around the world. Although I do not see RochesterEnvironment.com, or Global Environmental Resources, as environmental activist sites, I do view them as active. They are active conduits for all the environmental news, services, links, and an on-going discovery for the potential role that I believe the Internet will play in environmentalism. Your local news media is not doing its job in informing the public on the breath and depth of our environmental problems, so you are going to have to get on the Internet.
7/31/2010 - Message from the mayor of Rochester on the permanent preservation of Hemlock and Canadice lakes: Hemlock, Canadice lakes to remain wild - RocNow.com "The state of New York is taking over the care of Hemlock Lake and Canadice Lake from the city of Rochester and plans to keep them preserved. Last month marked a significant moment in our city and state’s history — the permanent preservation of Hemlock and Canadice lakes. These two treasured natural resources will remain forever wild thanks to the hard work of many caring and knowledgeable people. The state completed the purchase of Hemlock and Canadice lakes from the city of Rochester for $13.7 million on June 30. The transaction, which had been negotiated for more than two years, will preserve and protect the last two undeveloped Finger Lakes, which have supplied water to Rochester for more than 130 years" Robert J. Duffy RocNow.com
7/30/2010 - Getting Real on Renewable Energy: If we are serious about moving from a fossil-fuel, global warming, form of energy to a renewable based energy, we must have a new generation of battery power. Wind power and solar power must be stored because it doesn’t supply a steady base of power. Imagine if the battery power industry got the federal subsidies that the oil business gets? Imagine all the ways we could store energy that we produce and store it for energy in our vehicles, our homes, and our electrical grid? It seems so obvious that that needs to happen, what’s holding that up? Pushed Along by Wind, Power Storage Grows - NYTimes.com "The rapid growth of wind farms, whose output is hard to schedule reliably or even predict, has the nation’s electricity providers scrambling to develop energy storage to ensure stability and improve profits. " July 27, 2010 - The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia
7/30/2010 - ACTION: DEC Seeks Participants for Summer Turkey Survey - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Pete Grannis today encouraged New Yorkers to participate in the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey, which kicks off in August. Since 1996, DEC has conducted the Summer Wild Turkey Sighting Survey to estimate the average number of wild turkey poults (young of the year) per hen statewide and among major geographic regions of the state. This index allows DEC to gauge turkey populations and enables wildlife managers to predict fall harvest potential. Weather, predation and habitat conditions during the breeding and brood-rearing seasons can all significantly impact nest success, hen survival, and poult survival. "Citizen science efforts such as this not only provide our wildlife managers with invaluable data and but also give people the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York's natural resources," Commissioner Grannis said. (July 29, 2010) [more on Wildlife in our area]
7/30/2010 - Perils of Modern Transportation: Bigger, better, faster has so long been the mantra of our transportation objectives that we might have missed that it’s not working so well. Our hot new gas guzzlers are not only heating up the plane, they are making the increasing number of pedestrians lives dangerous. In our exuberance to concede our available space to vehicles, we have forgotten that we not be able to always afford or wish to move about by vehicle. We might want to move around (after we lose that job, or retire, or want some exercise) by walking and bicycling, but that isn’t so easy anymore. What we’ve created is a world for cars and not so much for us. How do we step back from an asphalt environment to a more sustainable one? Check this story out: [VIDEO] Dangerous Crossing | Blueprint America | PBS "In recent years a little noticed shift has been transforming suburbia: the home of the middle class has become the home of the working poor. As a result, roadways that were built for the car are now used by a growing population that can’t afford to drive. The consequences can be deadly. Blueprint America on Need to Know from suburban Atlanta where getting to the other side of the road is nothing to take for granted. " Blueprint America | PBS
7/29/2010 - Find toxic chemical releases in your area using your zip code: Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) Program | US EPA "Toxics Release Inventory is a publicly available EPA database that contains information on toxic chemical releases and waste management activities reported annually by certain industries as well as federal facilities. The TRI program compiles the TRI data each year and makes it available through downloadable files and several data access tools. The goal of TRI is to provide communities with information about toxic chemical releases and waste management activities and to support informed decision making at all levels by industry, government, non-governmental organizations, and the public. " US Environmental Protection Agency
7/29/2010 - Deconstruction: Good article from Mark Hare at the D&C on deconstruction. Deconstruction should be the norm on how we do away with buildings, instead of demolishing them. It creates more jobs, because it is labor intensive, and it recycles many of the good parts and materials into other projects. If it is cheaper to demolished a building rather than dismantle it and recycle all the parts, then things should be changed so it isn’t. How does that happen? I don’t know. I’m not an economist. But, if I was an economist I’d take another look at our economy so that it promotes environmentally good practices like deconstruction and presents good jobs. Is that idealism, thinking we should think of the environment first before our economics? No. It’s idealism to think we can construct an economy that doesn’t promote sustainability. The laws of Nature vs. the laws of economics. Think about it. 'Deconstruction' program builds job skills | democratandchronicle.com | Democrat and Chronicle On a sultry afternoon this summer, four young men were slowly "deconstructing" an abandoned house on Ludwig Park, off Joseph Avenue. Wall by wall, window by window, floor board by floor board. Deconstruction is a slow and tedious, but green, alternative to demolition. (July 29, 2010) Democrat and Chronicle | Rochester news, community, entertainment, yellow pages and classifieds. Serving Rochester, New York
7/29/2010 - Beach Closings: What is the state of our area’s beaches this summer? Read the report, check out our area beaches: NRDC: Testing the Waters 2010 "NRDC's annual survey of water quality and public notification at U.S. beaches finds that the number of beach closings and advisories in 2009 hit their sixth-highest level in the 20-year history of the report. The number of closing and advisory days at ocean, bay and Great Lakes beaches topped 18,000 for the fifth consecutive year, confirming that our nation's beaches continue to suffer from bacterial pollution that puts swimmers at risk. Testing the Waters traditionally focuses on information from the previous beach season, but this year, NRDC is providing coverage of current events at beaches in the Gulf in addition to providing information about last year's beachwater quality. Tens of millions of gallons of oil have gushed into Gulf waters from the Deepwater Horizon well, and at the time of this writing, oil has washed up on beaches in Alabama, Louisiana, Florida and Mississippi. NRDC is tracking oil spill-related beach closings, advisories, and notices at Gulf beaches. " (July 2010) NRDC: Natural Resources Defense Council - The Earth's Best Defense
7/28/2010 -- Think Green Jobs - Save the Date! The Future is Your Decision! Getting the most out of the Recovery Alan Beaulieu (Institute for Trend Research), acclaimed economic trend forecaster and one of the country's most informed economists, will present the financial outlook for U.S. industry and the global economy. October 5, 2010 3-5pm Monroe Community College Beaulieu, of the Institute for Trend Research (ITR®) will address economic issues and questions common to all attendees. For more infomration, visit: Future Is Your Decision Event and http://ecotrends.org Hosted by Finger Lakes Advanced Manufacturers' Enterprise (FAME), Finger Lakes Community College, Genesee Community College and Monroe Community College. --from
7/28/2010 -West Nile Virus Reminder: There has not been a major breakout of West Nile Virus yet this summer, and there may not be one. This is a good reason to go back and remind ourselves that West Nile Virus should be on our radar. West Nile Virus has been an issue in New York State since 1999, a disease inherited from overseas. It’s not going away, though there may be summers without an outbreak. Climate Change may increase the incidence of West Nile Virus in our area. This is why when there isn’t an environmental story about an environmental issue, we should be checking things out, being wary of our complacency, our tendency to ignore environmental issues—until their in our face. Changing climate increases West Nile threat in U.S. — The Daily Climate The higher temperatures, humidity and rainfall associated with climate change have led to increased outbreaks of West Nile Virus infections across the United States in recent years, according to a study published this week. One of the largest surveys of West Nile Virus cases to date links warming weather patterns and increasing rainfall – both projected to accelerate with global warming – to outbreaks of the mosquito-borne disease across 17 states from 2001 to 2005. (March 2009) The Daily Climate
7/28/2010 - Moving ahead on Transportation: Making our communities more accessible to pedestrians and bicyclists moves our area’s transportation forward. Imagine if each community began designs to come up with creative ways to impose such basic transportation modes on our vehicle dominate culture. Fixing the lighting so people feel safe, signing to make it clear that it’s OK to walk and many other parts of this plan demonstrate that these people get it. Make your communities more bicycle and walking friendly and people will not need their gas guzzlers so much, which are making our way of life unsustainable. LAKEFRONT LINKS Report outlines suggestions for improving Geneva's connectivity GENEVA –– Walkers and bicyclists could have an easier time getting to and from the lakefront to downtown if several major steps are taken. That’s the conclusion of a draft lakefront-downtown connectivity study released last week. The report was done for the city by Ingalls Planning & Design of Fairport, SRF & Associates of Rochester and Steinmetz Planning Group of Hilton. (July 27, 2010) Finger Lakes Times Online - Front [more on Transportation in our area]
7/27/2010 - Film on Fracking for Gas: In this age of the new media, one of the ways we learn about issues is via film. This is not simply because there has been an explosion in our ability to get news from various sources in this Internet/digitalized world, it’s because we desire more disparate views that we can get from mainstream media. Here’s a view of the fracking gas issue you probably won’t get from the major news media. Check for times and showings. All Fracked Up: ""ALL FRACKED UP" is a hard hitting documentary which shows that hydro-fracking is an extreme technology used to obtain extreme energy with potentially extreme dire consequences. Only 6 out of 100 people have gas leases; however, all of us may suffer terrible consequences such as ruined water wells, devastated property values, rural zoning turned into industrial sites, big city pollution, 24/7 loud noise pollution from large trucks, drilling equipment, and compressor stations. Just watch the movie to see what has happened in PA "
7/26/2010 - Beaches Safe: Are all our beaches being checked for unhealthy bacteria? Beachgoers beware: Not all beaches are tested for bacteria | Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ St. Paul, Minn. — Minnesotans are used to seeing the occasional beach closing each summer after animal waste washes into a lake after a heavy rain, or hot weather makes for ideal conditions for bacteria to grow. (July 23, 2010) Minnesota Public Radio NewsQ
7/26/2010 - What if gasoline were $10 a gallon? There are many ways to get around Rochester that don’t use gasoline. But the public is unlikely to use them—walking, bicycling, public transportation, hybrid electric, fuel cell, compressed natural gas, propane—until the price of gasoline goes up. Our infrastructure encourages the use of the gasoline fueled vehicle because there are streets everywhere that accommodate cars far better than bicyclists, slower moving electric vehicles, and even walking. In fact using our gas guzzlers to get from here to there seems so convenient that we are oblivious of the number of deaths on our streets each year and what they are doing to our environment. Besides the myriad of reasons most jump into their car to go from here to there, there stands out the most compelling reason, for when it changes it drastically limits use of the automobile, the price of gasoline. People don’t drive as much when the gasoline prices go up. What if the gasoline price was $10 a gallon and not $2 and some change? Seem preposterous? Not so much. Actually, our gasoline costs are absurdly low. Subsidies and many more factors keep our gasoline, thus our current transportation system, on an unsustainable path. How long can we ignore the true costs of gasoline? What will happen if that price changes dramatically? Got a backup plan? Don’t believe me? Check out the true cost of gasoline from an expert: The Breakdown: What Is The True Cost Of Gas? | The Nation "Each summer, drivers across the nation seem to suffer a collective anxiety attack about the rising cost of gas. Now imagine that the cost you pay at the pump reflected not only the cost of gas without all of the government tax breaks and subsidies to the oil industry, but also the environmental costs of drilling for oil, and the political costs, and the health costs of all that oil. With these factors in place, what would be the real price of gas? The Nation's Washington, DC Editor Christopher Hayes and energy expert and author Terry Tamminen try to answer this question on this week's edition of The Breakdown. " The Nation
7/24/2010 -Watch Climate Change: Check out this 3-part series of online videos of a report on Climate Changes Lake Superior. Lake Superior and Climate Change: In the first installment of the Institute on the Environment's three-part video series, researchers at the University of Minnesota Duluth campus discuss the impacts of climate change on Lake Superior and the questions yet to be answered. Part 2, Part 3.
7/24/2010 - Great way to help out our environment: Consider joining in one of our area’s biggest clean up event of the year. Bring your friends and family and get into the spirit of the clean-up. Join the 25th Anniversary NY Beach Cleanup September 25, 2010 Plan to be at an ocean beach or near a river, sound, stream, wetland, or lake in September to join a cleanup team and participate in the New York Beach Cleanup, coordinated annually by the American Littoral Society as part of the International Coastal Cleanup, a worldwide effort of The Ocean Conservancy to document and remove marine debris from our shores and waterways. Litter is not only unsightly; it poses threats to humans and wildlife. Birds become entangled in discarded fishing line and 6-pack ring holders; marine mammals ingest plastics that can obstruct their intestinal tract. Broken glass and metal inadvertently picked up by haying combines can cause fatal injuries to grazing livestock. In 2009, over 10,000 volunteers documented and removed 144,000 pounds of debris from 284 sites across New York. In September, visit the society’s website www.alsnyc.org where cleanups “at a beach near you” will be listed. For assistance in forming a cleanup team of your own, contact Beach Cleanup Coordinator Barbara Cohen at email@example.com or (718) 471-2166. See the Flyer
7/23/2010 - A Good Example of Environmental Investigation: This three-part series on the fresh waters of the Great Lakes by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel is an example of the kind of investigating reporting we need on our environment and what we may lose if we don’t find ways to increase thorough environmental investigations. Simple ad hock environmental stories when something big pop up and grabs our attention is not the way to report on our environment. Usually, by the time an environmental issue gets so bad that it captures our local media’s attention; it’s too late to do anything about it. What we need from our media is to practice the Precautionary Principle and anticipate environmental issues and investigate them thoroughly before our ability to choose has vanished. Check out this series of three stories that try to anticipate the need for fresh water in the future and how that may jeopardize the health of our Great Lakes. When a desperate nation demands fresh water from a water system that cannot tolerate water leaving it’s boundaries to remain the same that’s going to be too late to deal with the situation wisely. Divided Over Water | Part 1: Fresh water is in short supply in many Milwaukee-area communities. Tap into Lake Michigan, right? Wrong. An invisible line divides those who can use the Great Lakes from those who can't touch a drop. And if exceptions are made, who might come calling for water next? Part 2: Struggling with tainted water, the southeastern Wisconsin community of Pleasant Prairie and the northwestern Indiana town of Lowell both sought permission to tap Lake Michigan water. Pleasant Prairie got it; Lowell did not. Their stories are classic examples of the power and politics of Great Lakes water. Part 3: People who think the Great Lakes can't be damaged should talk to some farmers in the Great Plains. For 30 years, they pumped with abandon from an underground reservoir the size of Lake Huron, never thinking they might hit "E" on the tank that fueled the economy. Now, in some spots, they've run dry. --from Milwaukee Journal Sentinel - Breaking news, sports, business, watchdog journalism, multimedia
7/23/2010 - Will we lose our chance to Choose? How we get electricity in the future may not be driven by just Climate Change. If we in the US don’t wish to change our polluting ways of getting electricity, the market itself may force us to use better methods. The down-side of dragging our feet in addressing Climate Change and energy may be that we will have to fall in step with the rest of the world who will address these severe environmental issues. That means if the US doesn’t become a leader in cleaner, better energy production, we will have to take the lead of others. We might not like that. That’s the way it is with making bad choices, or not choosing to choose when a choice is necessary, you lose your chance to choose. U.S. Electric Utilities Must Embrace Clean Energy, Energy Efficiency BOSTON – The most successful utilities in the 21st Century will be very different from those of the 20th Century. To remain competitive, U.S. utilities will need to provide cleaner, low-carbon electricity while enabling customers to better manage and reduce their energy use. Achieving this will require significant changes to the traditional utility business model. That’s the core finding of Ceres’ new report The 21st Century Electric Utility: Positioning for a Low-Carbon Future, authored by Navigant Consulting. (July 8, 2010) Ceres - Advancing Sustainable Prosperity
7/22/2010 - Quantifying our Natural Resources: Too often we forget that it is not our economic system that rules our planet; it is the laws of physics and our biology. That we have not come up with an easy way to quantify and qualify the separate elements of our environment—the value of our forests and oceans and the plants and animals that inhabit them—is not Nature’s fault. It is our inability to create an economic system that properly includes them so we know the true price of the resources we take from our environment. As one biologist said recently, (and I paraphrase from this interview A conversation on poachers, gorillas and copper wires | Home | Deutsche Welle) the animals in our environment are not postage stamps, they are the machinery of our environment. You would think that with the 2010 International Year of Biodiversity humanity would begin to rethink the way it values its biodiversity. Because at the rate we are going now, many animals and plants, which are an integral part of our environment’s ‘machinery’, are going extinct. Economists call for accounting rules on environmental impact | Business | Deutsche Welle | 14.07.2010 Businesses and economic planners use elaborate systems to measure various types of capital including financial assets and human resources. Now UN-backed experts say they should take biodiversity into account as well. With the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico damaging regional fishery and tourism industries, authors of a UN-sponsored report linking business and biodiversity are calling on companies to count the cost of overexploitation of natural resources. (July 14, 2010) Home | Deutsche Welle
7/22/2010 - Climate Change could impact every aspect of public health. Scientists Quantify Global Warming's Threat to Public Health: Scientific American From heat stress to sewage overflows, climate change promises to bring extreme weather that will challenge the ill-prepared U.S. public health infrastructure | Extreme weather induced by climate change has dire public health consequences, as heat waves threaten the vulnerable, storm runoff overwhelms city sewage systems and hotter summer days bake more pollution into asthma-inducing smog, scientists say. (July 12, 2010) Science News, Articles and Information | Scientific American
7/21/2010 - Our Climate will change. How much can we stand? Locking in our future — The Daily Climate Today's emissions decisions will drive the planet's weather for generations, panel concludes. The question for policymakers: How much change do we want to dial in? Welcome to the Anthropocene. Decisions made today about planet-warming emissions will influence climate impacts not just for decades but for centuries and perhaps even millennia, a panel from the National Academy of Sciences warned Friday. If I knew that every pound of cheesecake that I ate would give me a pound that could never be lost, I think I would eat a lot less cheesecake. - Susan Solomon, NOAA Given the longevity of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere, these scientists said, these decisions effectively lock humanity in for a range of impacts, some of which can be "very severe." (July 16, 2010) --from The Daily Climate
7/21/2010 - ACTION: Finger Lakes Institute Invasive Species Plant Pull Saturday, August 7, 2010 from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm, Montezuma Wildlife Refuge Tschache Pool European frogbit is a non-native, free-floating aquatic plant that forms dense patches in marshes, edges of ponds, wetlands, and lake shorelines. The cover makes it difficult for wildlife to get thru the water and when the plants die they decay and deplete oxygen levels in the water hurting the natural habitat. This service project will have volunteers venture out in canoes to hunt down frogbit and pull it from the waters of Tschache Pool located in the Montezuma Wildlife Refuge.To volunteer call (315) 781-4382 or email firstname.lastname@example.org [Watch the Video]
7/17/2010 - ACTION: Public Feedback Request: This issue should be on your radar. This is one of those environmental issues that should be address, but should not necessary allowed to be burdened by a particular financial burden. We should stop the possible spread of VHS, but we should do so where the financial burden is spread out to all of us who wish our waters clean. ( July 21, 2010 - 7:00 PM - 9:00 PM* Rochester Area NYSDEC Region 8 Headquarters (Live video feed) 6274 Avon-Lima Rd. (Rtes. 5 and 20) Avon, NY 14414-9519 585-226-5324 NYSDEC Region 8 Bath Sub-Office (Live video feed) 7291 Coon Road Bath, NY 14810 585-226-5324 ) Baitfish Overland Transport Meetings - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation "DEC seeking Input on Overland Transport (i.e. of Baitfish) Component of "Fish Health Regulations" The DEC will be holding meetings on the overland transport of baitfish on July 13, 21, and 28. The purpose of these meetings is to gather input on the overland transport component of the "Fish Health Regulations" established in 2007. The regulations in question can be found in 6 NYCRR Part 10.1 (f). Input will be accepted through September 10, 2010, by email, written (paper) or at one of the baitfish overland transport meetings. Background Fish kills from Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) were first documented in the Great Lakes in 2005. This was followed by a Federal order prohibiting the interstate movement of several fish species, from the Great Lake states unless tested and certified as disease free. VHS was identified in fish mortalities that occurred in four major New York water bodies during 2006: Lake Erie, Lake Ontario, the St. Lawrence River and Conesus Lake. " New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
7/17/2010 - A Major Cycling event comes to Rochester. Be a part of it. Rochester, NY Welcomes The World Canals Conference The New York State Canal Corporation, Erie Canalway National Heritage Corridor Commission, Canal Society of New York State, the City of Rochester, Monroe County, Bergmann Associates, and PIANC-USA welcome delegates to the World Canals Conference scheduled 19 to 24 September 2010. Cycling Event WCC 2010 Bicyclists can take part in the festivities taking place on Sunday, September 19, to kick off the 2010 World Canals Conference in Rochester. Cyclists will be riding from multiple starting points along the Erie Canalway Trail to the east and west of Rochester, converging at the Erie/ Genesee River crossing where in Genesee Valley Park where there will be a rest stop with refreshments at the Round House. At 12:30 p.m., the cyclists will depart the Genesee Valley Park along with a flotilla of vintage and contemporary canal boats for Corn Hill Landing, riding up trails along the east and west sides of the Genesee River. The starting points for the cyclists from the west will include Holley, Brockport, Spencerport and Greece. Starting points to the east will include Palmyra, Macedon, Fairport, Pittsford and Brighton. Anyone interested in being a ride leader or participant at these or other locations should contact Richard Desarra, the Cycling Event organizer, at email@example.com.
7/16/2010 - Climate Change and Agriculture: Given the global nature of Climate Change I suspect most of the world’s agriculture will be affected by Climate Change. It’s going to get complicated, because as areas warm up, not only will plants be able to grown where they couldn’t before, we will have agricultural pest that will migrate to, and droughts, and unstable weather. These are real changes that are coming. We need as a people to address Climate Change and stop doing business as usual. U.S. agriculture could be disrupted by climate change | Nation | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News. DES MOINES, IOWA — Climate change is expected to disrupt agriculture in the U.S. Midwest, with high carbon dioxide promoting crop growth but stronger storms, drought, floods and migrating yields dampening yields. Overall, there are signs that crops will be stressed, and that weeds and insects will change their range. The Midwest climate has already become wetter and warmer, said Gene Takle, an atmospheric scientist at Iowa State University. That could mean a longer crop-growing season and savings on air conditioning, but it doesn't necessarily guarantee higher crop yields. (July 15, 2010) Home | NewJerseyNewsroom.com -- Your State. Your News.
7/16/2010 - This is an environmental issue that should be on our radar. Chronic wasting disease in our local deer population is very low, but it’s a deer disease that has no cure. This used to be a deer disease of deer in the West, but it is spreading. Check here to find out the state of Chronic wasting disease in our region’s deer: Status of Chronic Wasting Disease in NY - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation “To date, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has received confirmation of Chronic Wasting Disease (CWD) from two wild white-tailed deer sampled in central New York.” The Mississippi not a barrier to deer disease A recently completed genetic study of deer in Wisconsin and Iowa indicates that the Mississippi River does not present much of a barrier to the spread of deadly chronic wasting disease. "There might as well not be a river there" for all the good it does in separating Wisconsin deer, which are infected with chronic wasting disease, and Iowa deer, which have yet to test positive for the fatal neurological ailment, said Krista Lang, an Iowa State University graduate student who wrote her master's thesis on the two-year research project. (July 12, 2010) Quad-City Times: Quad Cities, IA/IL
7/14/2010 - Ramping up Recycling: We hope this decision (see story below) by Onondaga County to recycle #5 plastics will prod Monroe County to adopt a similar measure for our county. Not all counties in New York State recycle all plastics. When they don’t these plastics go into our landfills, which are filling up with this stuff that doesn’t break down well. One of the main reasons why our county and other counties who don’t recycle all plastics is that they complain that the markets for some plastics are not stable, meaning that when they fail these plastics will accumulate and have be land-filled anyways. Other counties don’t agree and are willing to move forward on finding markets for these plastics and keeping them from contaminating our ground. It's official: Onondaga County expands recycling to include No. 5 plastic | syracuse.com Syracuse, NY -- The board of directors of the Onondaga County Resource Recovery Agency voted 8-0 Wednesday to approve the addition of No. 5 plastic to the list of mandatory recyclables. County residents immediately can begin putting clean yogurt cups, margarine tubs, cottage cheese containers and other polypropylene containers in their blue recycling bins. (July 14, 2010) Syracuse NY Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather - syracuse.com [more on Recycling in our area]
7/14/2010 - Tax Breaks for the Energy Source Ensconced: For those who continually march out the argument that wind and solar power (or some other alternative or renewable energy source) wouldn’t have a chance to establish themselves if they didn’t get tax breaks, please note this article on how many tax breaks the oil industry already gets. The argument, as I understand it, is that wind and solar are government schemes to force an energy supply on the public and has to be so heavily subsidized that we should stop these ventures and stick with an oil-based economy. Wouldn’t it be nice for them if it were true? Oil Companies Reap Billions From Subsidies - NYTimes.com But an examination of the American tax code indicates that oil production is among the most heavily subsidized businesses, with tax breaks available at virtually every stage of the exploration and extraction process. (July 3, 2010) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia
7/14/2010 - Composting for Businesses: A major resource for business wishing to learn how they can compost their organic waste: Organics Recycling Portal "Welcome to the Empire State Development (ESD) Organics Recycling Portal, which lists many resources to help you divert organics into value added products. Use the links to network, find information, or locate composters or other businesses that recycle organics. Review the case studies to learn how businesses, institutions, and government are involved in organics diversion. " -from Empire State Development
7/13/2010 - Climate Change and our Forests: Find out how the US Forest Service interprets Climate Change and how our forest will change. U.S. Forest Service - Climate Change Emphasis Area "The Forest Service has several inter-related programs to help forests, grasslands and humans mitigate and adapt to global climate change. " Especially interesting is Adapting Forests to Climate Change - Forest Disturbance Processes - Northern Research Station - USDA Forest Service "In the Northeast and Midwest, temperature records show that the length of the growing season is increasing, and that rapid freezing events are more common in the early spring. "
7/13/2010 - Not in favor of drilling for natural gas in the Marcellus Gas Shale? Here’s a group concerned about what drilling for natural gas may do to their property and our environment. Shaleshock | Protecting our communities and environment from exploitative gas drilling of the Marcellus Shale "Shaleshock Action Alliance is a movement that works toward protecting our communities and environment from exploitative gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale region. Shaleshock is an alliance of Working Groups which include people who have signed leases, not signed leases, who have been compulsorily integrated, and people who don’t own land. As a movement, no individual or working group can represent Shaleshock as a whole. "
7/12/2010 - Bicycles as Transportation in Rochester: In these hard financial times, it’s hard to see any alternative transportation ideas take root—gas prices are down and alternative vehicles still too expensive for many. So, most are sticking with their gas-guzzler to get around. But in Rochester there is way to get around with vehicles and a transportation system that doesn’t pollute and doesn’t increase greenhouse gases. The bicycle is being transformed in the Rochester region because, under the auspices of the Rochester Bicycle Master Plan, it will be easier and safer to ride your bicycle to those short distances from our homes that constitute most of the miles we actually ride. This transportation option in our area is moving, check here to find out more: City of Rochester | Bicycle Master Plan Project "The City is developing a long-term master plan for bicycling infrastructure and services. Sprinkle Consulting (with SRF & Associates and EDR as subconsultants) was selected through a request for proposal process and is on board to produce a plan that will: identify best practices for bicycling infrastructure and services, assess their feasibility for local application, identify appropriate locations for bicycle facilities, and recommend bicycle-supportive policies. While the plan will provide conceptual design and inventory work with respect to on-street bike lanes, it will also consider shared lane markings (sharrows), bicycle boulevards, bicycle parking, commuter facilities (e.g. showers, lockers), bicycle sharing, and more. While the City of Rochester and Monroe County received an "honorable mention" from the League of American Bicyclists' "Bicycle Friendly Communities" program in 2009, the goal is to achieve full "Bicycle Friendly Community" status from the group. Download the project's full scope of services. " -from City of Rochester
7/12/2010 - Wells- Gas, Oil, and Water: Where are all those gas and oil wells in New York State and where are the aquifers from where we get some of our water? Click here to find lots of maps about what is where underground in New York State. Wells- Gas, Oil, and Water: Where are all those gas and oil wells in New York State and where are the aquifers from where we get some of our water? Click here to find lots of maps about what is where underground in New York State. REGULATED OIL, GAS, & OTHER WELLS IN PRIMARY AND PRINCIPAL AQUIFERS IN NEW YORK STATE --from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
7/10/2010 - Keeping sharp eyes on ice melt: Though Climate Change has faded recently in the public’s attention as a critical issue, is has not become less so. The BP Oil Spill and Climategate (though resent studies completely exonerate any wrong doing by climate scientists) continue to steal away the public’s eyes from this matter aided by our easily distracted press. And while those bloggers and deniers whose ideology does not include physics rage on at every errant thought that pass their mind on this subject one the main indicator of Climate Change, glacier ice melt, melts on. This being able to see and measure ice melt has to be one of the toughest nuts for climate deniers to crack. For watching ice melt is not as simple as it sounds. Glacial ice melt is being watched and measured by many scientists; by many specially designed satellites, and has been for some time. One has to ask oneself, what’s the point of spending millions of dollars, sending so many satellites up into the atmosphere to measure so many predictable aspects of Climate Change if they are going to be so easily dismissed by the public and the media? What the point of having scientists as a watchdog for our planet, if we are incapable of listening to them because their observations don’t match our view of reality or disrupt our comfort zone? Is it the case that our minds, which have been shaped by years and years in our institutions of higher learning where hard core science is taught, in a country so intelligent and innovative as ours, can be so blind-sided by a bunch of clever phrase turners? Do we just get stupid when Climate Change science comes up? Check out how ice melt is being measured and what it tells us—before the Climate Change denier rob us of our senses: High Above the Earth, Satellites Track Melting Ice by Michael D. Lemonick: Yale Environment 360 "The surest sign of a warming Earth is the steady melting of its ice zones, from disappearing sea ice in the Arctic to shrinking glaciers worldwide. Now, scientists are using increasingly sophisticated satellite technology to measure the extent, thickness, and height of ice, assembling an essential picture of a planet in transition. " (July 6, 2010) Yale Environment 360
7/09/2010 - Energy Use: Here’s a useful document about energy use in New York State. How much energy did we use in 2008? Where did the energy come from? What did we use the energy for? How much did our energy cost (in dollars, not how much did it cost our environment)? What percentage of greenhouse gases come from the energy we use? It’s a very useful quick fact sheet on energy indeed: 2008 NEW YORK STATE ENERGY FAST FACTS - from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
7/09/2010 - Down the Drain, get the report: We have so much fresh water in our region why should we conserve water? Here’s the reasoning by this report: “The perfect abundance however, is only a mirage. While the Great Lakes hold a great wealth of water, only one per cent of their total volume is replenished on an annual basis. This means that only a very small volume of the total amount of water in the Great Lakes is returned by rain and runoff annually and if our consumption exceeds that amount, it results in a permanent loss of the lakes themselves.” This report is an example of how we don’t see environmental problems readily. We need studies like “Down the Drain” and environmental investigative reporting to ‘see’ what is actually going on. It isn’t immediately obvious that our area, with over 20% of the world’s fresh water, might be in trouble. When it comes to environmental matters, we must begin viewing our situation from another vantage point, from that of sustainability, and from a longer time span of our own daily lives to get a more realistic assessment of our environment. If not, we are like the boiling frog story where frogs unaware of gradual changes think everything is going well, until it’s not. Down The Drain Report "Water Conservation in the Great Lakes Basin - 2010 - Water is essential to life on earth, so much so that we often take it for granted. Throughout the day, from the time you shower in the morning until you brush your teeth before you go to bed, you are using water. Most Canadians use water like we breathe air; not thinking about it, just doing it. Many Canadians have developed this type of thinking because we benefit from one of the earth’s greatest gift, the Great Lakes. The vast majority of the residents of the Provinces of Ontario and Quebec and significant populations in the States of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin depend on the water of the Great Lakes for drinking, irrigating crops, generating power, transporting goods and recreation. Ontarians are the largest water users of the Great Lakes " --from Environmental Defence
7/08/2010 - Notes from a friend: Cool Rochester is excited to announce we will be on WXXI (channel 21/Cable channel 11) this Friday (July 9) evening for their show, "Need to Know" at 8:30 p.m.. Jim Tappon will have a 10 minute interview sharing what Cool Rochester is all about and to share some of our accomplishments as well as upcoming plans. Please spread the word and tune in to give your support.
7/08/2010 - Our Energy Strain on Wildlife: By now most realize that how we will get our energy in the future is going to be complicated. We are more aware of how burning coal, running nuclear power plants, getting electricity from wind, and fracking for natural gas from shale affects our environment. Some of the effects include Global Warming, pollution, possibly contaminating our water supplies, and killing wildlife. Below are two news stories (on the same day) of our power sources killing animals. Wind power killing birds; nuclear power killing fish. What are we to make of it? I suspect many will be driven to distraction by the day-to-day reporting of these consequences of how we get our energy where the net effect will be an inability to make up their minds on energy sources. Others will not be affected by any reports on how energy will affect our environment: they’ve already made up their minds. These day-to-day ad hoc reports of the effects of energy production do little to help us make a wise comprehensive choice on energy options for our future. Neither will allowing the forces of the market tell us, as ‘the invisible hand’ is blind to environmental effects of our economy, except as an annoying externality. We need a different way to access our energy options for the future that holds sustainability (keeping ourselves and our environment healthy) as the guiding principle. In today’s world where jobs, corporate owned media, continual political warfare, and short-term economic gains rule, there’s little chance that we will come upon a wise energy plan. These stories point to critical input that we need to choose future energy sources, but how to we put them together for an overarching plan for a healthy, sustainable future? NCPR News Archive - Wolfe Island bird kills raise wind power concerns "A recent study of bird and bat mortality at Wolfe Island’s 82-turbine wind farm is raising concerns among environmentalists. Wolfe Island is Canadian territory, located where Lake Ontario empties into the St. Lawrence River. The report found 600 birds and more than a thousand bats were killed by the windmill blades in a six month period. Nature Canada called the numbers “shockingly high.” (July 7, 2010) NCPR: North Country Public Radio | Pickering nuclear plant ordered to quit killing fish - thestar.com The Pickering nuclear power plant is killing fish by the millions. Close to one million fish and 62 million fish eggs and larvae die each year when they’re sucked into the water intake channel in Lake Ontario, which the plant uses to cool steam condensers. (June 6, 2010) News, Toronto, GTA, Sports, Business, Entertainment, Canada, World, Breaking - thestar.com
7/07/2010 - Great Trail: If you have not done so already, check out this great system of trails in Rochester: City of Rochester | Turning Point Park, Trail, and Rain Garden "Located in the Charlotte neighborhood nearby to Lake Ontario on Rochester's northwest side, Turning Point Park covers 275 wooded acres along the banks of the Genesee River. Hiking and biking trails will help you discover the park's distinct areas, from the wooded oak forest called "Bullock's Woods" to the cattail lined shores of the river. Enjoy the nature watching and beautiful river views from its trails. "
7/07/2010 - Natural Gas then to Renewable Energy? Interesting argument as to why exploiting our natural gas reserves might not be a good idea, even as a transitional energy source. Natural Gas as Panacea: Dubious Path to a Green Future by Daniel B. Botkin: Yale Environment 360 "Many energy experts contend natural gas is the ideal fuel as the world makes the transition to renewable energy. But since much of that gas will come from underground shale, potentially at high environmental cost, it would be far better to skip the natural gas phase and move straight to massive deployment of solar and wind power. by Daniel b. Botkin " (June 28, 2010) Yale Environment 360
7/06/2010 - Recycling and our Environment: Many of the reasons for Recycling are obvious—we don’t want our neighborhoods trashed, we don’t want plastics in our landfills (because they don’t breakdown well), and we don’t want our waterways polluted—and some reasons are not so obvious. I’m not sure what someone who tosses their plastics out of the car window or thinks, or communities who don’t recycle their plastics. But, I suspect that most people do not think we are destroying our oceans by such behavior. Despite what we might think or not think, our trash goes somewhere and Nature doesn’t through some mysterious process take all our plastic and make them disappear. Evidence is piling up that our plastics are piling up in our oceans. It’s not pretty. And we need to something more than complain that we won’t recycle until the markets for recycling plastics gets more profitable. Our oceans and the plants and creatures in our oceans have no idea what to do with this stuff. So, we need to make sure plastics don’t get to our oceans. Trashing the ocean "Cooper, director of UCI's Urban Water Research Center and civil & environmental engineering professor, studies the plastic debris proliferating in the ocean, from the coastline near campus to the deep sea where swirling islands of trash have formed. " PhysOrg.com - Science News, Technology, Physics, Nanotechnology, Space Science, Earth Science, Medicine
7/06/2010 - Saving Energy on NYS Farms: Find out how farms can save energy cost though a new NYSERSA program: NYSERDA - Agriculture "Energy Efficiency Improvements for New York’s Farms NYSERDA provides energy audits and feasibility studies that identify cost effective energy efficiency improvements that will lower energy bills, increase productivity and reduce environmental impacts. In addition, NYSERDA provides incentives to farmers who implement the energy audit recommendations through our Enhanced Commercial/Industrial Performance Program and/or a reduced interest rate through our Loan Fund Program." - from New York State Energy Research and Development Authority
7/05/2010 - Rare NY Plant Information: When I do check the stats on what key words people use to find information on RochesterEnvironment.com, there are an inordinate amount of entries for “plants.” I don’t know why. The only thing I can assume is that our local public when using RochesterEnvironment.com wants to find information about plants for various reasons. Maybe for planting, maybe to find out what plants are endemic, or maybe plant diseases, whatever. In any event, we should all take a look at the plants that are rare and possibly in trouble in our state. Check out the NYS DEC’s comprehensive site on: Rare Plant Information - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation "Conservation Guides - These comprehensive fact sheets about individual rare species and natural community types are designed to help land managers, decision-makers, planners, scientists, consultants, students, and the interested public better understand the biodiversity that characterizes New York. Conservation Guides include information on biology, identification, habitat, distribution, conservation, and management. Guides for many of New York's rare species and natural community types have been completed and are updated periodically, and more are continually being added to the Guides website " --from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
7/03/2010 - Increasing Wind Power: How will the US increase its wind power for energy 20% by the year 2030? Find out from the U.S. Department of Energy: EERE: Wind and Water Power Program "20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply Here you will find the description of the "20% Wind Energy by 2030" report, which was recently published by the U.S. Department of Energy, and related materials and workshops. Overview In 2008, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) published a report that examines the technical feasibility of using wind energy to generate 20% of the nation's electricity demand by 2030. The report, "20% Wind Energy by 2030: Increasing Wind Energy's Contribution to U.S. Electricity Supply," includes contributions from DOE and its national laboratories, the wind industry, electric utilities, and other groups. The report examines the costs, major impacts, and challenges associated with producing 20% wind energy or 300 GW of wind generating capacity by 2030. "
7/03/2010 - Electronics Recycling and Reuse Act, it will be the law: learn about this new that will take effect April 1, 2011. Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation "The NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act (PDF) (38 kb) (Article 27, Title 26 of the Environmental Conservation Law) was signed into law by the Governor on May 28, 2010. The law will ensure that every New Yorker will have the opportunity to recycle their electronic waste in an environmentally responsible manner. The law requires manufacturers to establish a convenient system for the collection, handling, and recycling or reuse of electronic waste. Manufacturers of covered electronic equipment will be responsible for implementing and maintaining an acceptance program for the discarded electronic waste, with oversight by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation. " -from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation
7/02/2010 - ACTION on Climate Change: Check out and this new initiative by 350.org on what every single person can do to help change the effects of Climate Change Create October 10 Action | 350.org "10/10/10 will be a day of work parties all over the world. Will you join us? In every corner of the globe, we will implement solutions to the climate crisis: from solar panels to community gardens, wind turbines to bike workshops. We'll tell leaders: “We're getting to work--what about you?” To read more about our plans for 2010, click here It's still early, so it's OK if you don't know all the details of your local work party. There's a list of work-party ideas at www.350.org/workparty-ideas to get things moving, but don't worry if you don't have a game-plan just yet. " --from 350.org
7/02/2010 - Good Climate Change tool by the EPA. Find out how the electricity you use affect Climate Change. How clean is the electricity I use? - Power Profiler | Clean Energy | US EPA "How clean is the electricity I use? - Power Profiler In the United States, electricity is generated in many different ways, with a wide variation in environmental impact. Electricity generation from the combustion of fossil fuels contributes toward unhealthy air quality, acid rain, and global climate change. Many electricity customers can choose their provider of electricity or can purchase green power from their utility. In fact, you might now have the option of choosing cleaner, more environmentally friendly sources of energy. Power Profiler will: Determine your power grid region based on your ZIP code and electric utility Compare the fuel mix and air emissions rates of the electricity in your region to the national average Determine the air emissions impacts of electricity use in your home or business " -from US Environmental Protection Agency
7/01/2010 - What are we going to do about all those Invasive Species in New York State? Some invasive aren't so bad, some are really bad for our environment. How is the state going to decide what invasive species get what treatment? Check it out: Invasive Species List Report - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation "The New York Invasive Species Council has completed a final report: A Regulatory System for Non-native Species (PDF, 1.32 MB). The report recommends a regulatory system for preventing the importation and/or release of non-native species. The recommended system would create the first-ever official lists of invasive species for New York State that would apply to all species of animals and plants. "
7/01/2010 - Taking care of Climate Change: A reasonable person might think that in the light of the BP Oil Spill and the undeniable fact of Climate Change and all the stuff that’s going to happen because our planet is warming up, that we could trust our Congress to do the right thing in the face of what science demands that we do to preserve our environment (and our way of life). But, it ain’t that easy. There’s a lot of money out there and lobbyists who don’t like the idea of Congress messing with the economic status quo—that’s despite all the evidence that grave consequences will come if we don’t make changes in what we use for energy. Who is whispering in our government’s ear? Check it out: The Climate Change Lobby - A Center for Public Integrity Investigation "More than 460 new businesses and interest groups jumped into lobbying Congress on global warming in the weeks before the House neared its historic vote on climate change legislation, a Center for Public Integrity analysis of just-disclosed lobbying records shows. " from The Center for Public Integrity
7/01/2010 - Watershed and Climate Change: In a major study coming up we will learn about how watersheds, healthy watersheds, can mitigate some of the effects of Climate Change. As we have lost (actually humans destroyed them) over 50% of our wetlands in North American since the Europeans arrived about 500 years ago, we should reverse tack and preserve the watersheds we have and develop more where we can. Healthy watersheds can sustain water supplies, aquatic ecosystems in a changing climate "Titled Water, Climate Change, and Forests: Watershed Stewardship for a Changing Climate, the publication describes healthy, resilient watersheds as a primary strategy for sustaining ecosystems and the clean, abundant water they provide. "Water from forested lands supports people, ecosystems, agriculture, industry, and energy production and is immensely valuable and irreplaceable," said Michael Furniss, a hydrologist with the PNW Research Station and lead author of the publication. "With a changing climate, the need for stewardship of forested watersheds to secure high-quality water supplies and healthy aquatic ecosystems is more important than ever." (June 29, 2010) PhysOrg.com - Science News, Technology, Physics, Nanotechnology, Space Science, Earth Science, Medicine