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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.
9/30/2015 - This story about poor grades for NYS infrastructure is about Climate Change and the coming local elections. The underlying problems of our deteriorating roads and bridges is not simply “scant and unpredictable money available for infrastructure”. The underlying problem is that our media and our leaders have not educated the public sufficiently so the tax paying public can appreciate how vulnerable our transportation infrastructures (that carry us over worn out roads and dangerous crude oil over rickety bridges) when they are hit by more flooding and heat—besides the normal wear of these old systems. This problem is not due to a lack of money; it’s due to a lack of leadership and education. For if the public were to connect the dots between Climate Change consequences in our area and our lack of preparation for it, they’d be prepared to prioritize their concerns about how we will adapt locally to Climate Change when more extreme weather that will be happening more often in our region. The public will support Climate Change adaption measure—like fixing and updating our transportation infrastructures—when they are shown leadership and accurate information. This is a substantive issue this media and all local media should be addressing and demanding answers from the candidates in our up-coming elections. Report gives NY's roads, bridges poor grades A C-minus grade is nothing to brag about. But that's the overall assessment earned by New York's infrastructure systems — sewers, bridges and roads, public parks and solid waste — according to the state chapter of the American Society of Civil Engineers. The group released its inaugural Infrastructure Report Card during a press conference Tuesday at the Blue Cross Arena. "One-third of New York's major highways are considered to be in poor or fair condition ... creating crippling congestion and climbing operating costs," according to the report card, which gave the state's road network a D-minus. "New York City-area drivers, accounting for half the state's population, each waste 53 hours per year just sitting in traffic." The organization gave New York Ds for its bridges, roads and wastewater. The state's aviation, drinking water, dams and transit systems earned Cs, and its parks and solid waste systems earned Bs. (September 30, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Climate Change [more on Transportation in our area]
9/30/2015 - Have our efforts at taking action on stopping the Asian Carp from getting into the Great Lakes been reduced to only ‘keeping tabs’ on them as they take over? 8 Asian grass carp caught in Great Lakes already this year LANSING, MI — Michigan officials are expressing concern but not major alarm at the several large Asian grass carp that were caught this summer in Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. A total of eight grass carp have been caught on the Canadian side of the Great Lakes this year. Seven of the invasive fish were found in Lake Ontario and one in Lake Erie. Tammy Newcomb, senior water policy advisor at the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, said grass carp, while a banned species in Michigan and Canada, is not as concerning as theleaping silver and bighead carp threatening the Great Lakes via the Mississippi River basin. (September 28, 2015) Michigan Live [more on Great lakes and Invasive Species in our area]
9/30/2015 - This reminder from the DEC to “Urge Motorists to Use Caution During Wildlife Breeding Season”… shouldn’t we always be mindful of wildlife crossing our roads and highways? We are slaughtering wildlife at an incredible rate (More than 25,500 motor vehicle crashes in 2013 involved collisions with deer.) Now that it’s breeding season, we should be more careful and because Climate Change will urge more wildlife to move across our transportation systems even more so they can adapt to changes, we’ll need to be even more careful. Maybe we should re-think our transportation system that makes us travel on fossil fuels—as pavement and fuel that warms the planet and slaughters wildlife and causes humanity untold misery and money in accidents. I know roads and cars are here to stay forever—deal with it regardless. Time passes. New York State Agencies Urge Motorists to Use Caution During Wildlife Breeding Season Tens of thousands of crashes involve deer, moose, and other animals each year The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) and the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) today urged motorists to be alert for moose, deer, and other wildlife on the roads. Early fall is the peak time for wildlife activity in northern New York. Additionally, two-thirds of all deer and vehicle collisions occur during October, November, and December, when deer breed and travel the most. More than 25,500 motor vehicle crashes in 2013 involved collisions with deer. In three counties - Erie, Monroe, and Orange - the number of crashes exceeded 1,000. Several dozen of such crashes occurred in New York City, demonstrating that no area of New York State is immune to collisions with wildlife. (September 29, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Wildlife and Transportation in our area]
9/30/2015 - What is the October 14th National Day of Action and why should you care? “October 14: National Day of Action The People’s Climate Movement and others are calling for a National Day of Action Wednesday, October 14 to demand bold action on the climate crisis facing our planet. We are calling for a sustainable, democratic and just economy that preserves our planet and works for all peoples. At the end of 2015, nations will meet again to negotiate an United Nation’s climate agreement in Paris that commits all countries to address climate change. What comes out of Paris will not mark the end of our efforts but could be an important step in the global process of confronting climate change. This fall we will continue to build a powerful movement for change and bring the demand for bold action to our leaders in anticipation of the Paris climate talks. We will insist that our public leaders support us in taking action in building a new economy that will avert the worst impacts of the climate crisis. And, we will call out those public leaders, corporations and other organizations that are standing in the way of progress as they deny the science and block the popular alternatives. By acting now we can prevent the worst consequences of global warming. We can build a fair economy that sustains a living environment while promoting good jobs and social & economic justice.” People's Climate Movement
9/30/2015 - From our friends over at the The Pachamama Alliance: October 2015 Newsletter "Please enjoy this newsletter as we continue our shared work to help create a better world for all. Please share it with others who might be interested. We would be grateful if you could help us spread the word about the upcoming local symposiums – Oct. 24 at Christ Church and Nov. 14 at the Brighton Library. See attached flyers for details! Blessings from the Rochester Pachamama community! "
9/30/2015 - ACTION: Even after banning Fracking in New York, is Cuomo still setting the table for more Fracking? Say no to Port Ambrose — the massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) port to be constructed off Long Island. We should be building up the infrastructure for renewable energy that will be our future, not fossil fuels which will take away our future. Governor Cuomo, Veto Port Ambrose Now! Curious what Governor Cuomo will do about fracking? Watch how he handles Port Ambrose. Governor Cuomo may be able to postpone a decision about fracking until after he’s safely re-elected, but sometime in the next couple of months he may be forced to take a stand on Port Ambrose — the massive liquefied natural gas (LNG) port to be constructed off Long Island. We must send a message to Cuomo, who has the authority to stop this proposal: Veto Port Ambrose now! If built, Port Ambrose will be able to handle 400 million cubic feet of gas a day. That’s around three percent of the total production from the Marcellus Shale. If it’s used for exports –we’re almost certain it will be — the port will provide gas companies with easy access to lucrative foreign markets — and a powerful incentive to break the stalemate in New York and open the state to fracking. New Yorkers Against Fracking
9/30/2015 - Fossil fuel industry doesn’t have your back, they have your future. They’ve known that for a long time. Watch this short video from Frontline: Exxon Researched Climate Change in 1977 | FRONTLINE “Published on Sep 16, 2015 A short FRONTLINE film about Exxon's early research into climate change produced in collaboration with InsideClimate News.”
9/30/2015 - Sea level rise due to Climate Change and melting glaciers on Antarctica, it’s complicated, it’s inevitable, and we need to plan. We are going to have to deal with the consequences of Climate Change we’ve already unleashed—even if we dramatically slow down our use of fossil fuels right now. Scientists declare an ‘urgent’ mission – study West Antarctica, and fast Scientists who have been raising alarms about the endangered ice sheet of West Antarctica say they’ve identified a key glacier that could pose the single most immediate threat to the world’s coastlines — and are pushing for an urgent new effort to study it. The glacier is not one that most Americans will have even heard of — Thwaites Glacier along the Amundsen Sea. It’s a monstrous body that is bigger than Pennsylvania and has discharged over 100 billion tons of ice each year in recent years. (September 29, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/29/2015 - Though framed in our local media as only a job and tax issue, there’s more to landfills than these issues. Landfills--where we throw our waste into great big plastic-lined holes instead of recycling, composting, and reusing--is a much larger concern as we shift to living on a warmer planet. Landfills contribute to Climate Change (read Stop Trashing the Climate) and the dangerous delusion that we can develop waste, instead of using these resources. Ontario County Landfill Faces Possible Closing An Ontario County town could lose almost half of its revenue if the Ontario County Landfill in Seneca closes. Town of Seneca residents have not had to pay property taxes since the landfill moved in 12 years ago. But the landfill is running out of room. Operators are waiting for the state to give permission on an expansion. If the town of Seneca doesn't get permission for the expansion, the landfill will close. "If I cannot determine what our revenue stream will be for 2016 I have to budget for the worst," said John Sheppard, Seneca town supervisor. (September 28, 2015) RochesterFirst.com [more on Recycling in our area]
9/29.2015 - Great conversation with Ms. Sandy Frankel on her election positions, like addressing Climate Change in our region, in the up and coming elections. Few media, other than Connections, have been airing the relationship between Climate Change and our local elections—which is odd because much of the other issues (especially taxes) are a part of how we will adapt to Climate Change in our region. Remember, we should mitigate Climate Change by lowing greenhouse gases, burning less fossil fuels, and moving to a renewable energy grid. But we have absolutely have to adapt to Climate Change local because of public health issues, infrastructure damages due to more heavy flooding, and the challenges coming to our water quality. Our leaders will not only have to help educate the public on the local challenges because of Climate Change, but our leaders will have to lead to protect us from this clear and present danger. To get a better sense of what local issues are involved in Climate Change locally, check out the DEC’s Climate Smart Communities program. This is our future and we should be discussing this during these elections
9/29/2015 - Important! Don't miss this important event, Bring Friends. Free and open to the public October 27, 2015 1:30PM-6:30PM Nazareth College of Rochester, Otto Shults Community Center, Nazareth College, Hickey Center is pleased to invite you to a Symposium Mini-Chautauqua in Rochester- On a Planet in Peril and Our Moral Responsibility Where: Nazareth College of Rochester, Otto Shults Community Center, Forum When: October 27, 2015 1:30PM-6:30PM Program 1:30 Opening 2:00 - 3:00 Keynote Speakers: Dr. Adam Frank- Professor of Astrophysics 3:00 Abrahamic Traditions on the Environment Dr. James H. Evans Rabbi Debbi Till Dr. Etin Anwer 4:00-4:15 Refreshment Break 4:15-5:15 Indian and Native Traditions on the Environment Dr. V. V. Raman John Pulleyn Peter Jemison 5:15-6:30 Keynote Speaker: Dr. Sandra Steingraber- Biologist, author, and cancer survivor. Click here for more information Preview attachment Mini chautauqua in rochester.docx
15 - Just in case you missed the “Building an Economy for Climate Stability Candidate Forum 2015” Wednesday, September 16th (which is understandable because only a couple of local media mentioned it coming or covered it when it occurred), here are some photos and highlights of this critical forum before this year’s local elections: Candidate Forum 2015 Recap.
9/29/2015 - Those who still believe humanity is not causing Climate Change are becoming a vanishingly small percent. No more excuses. Study: Most Non-Climate Scientists Agree on Global Warming Too Nearly 92% of biophysical scientists surveyed believe that human activity has contributed to global warming Supporters of policies to address man-made climate change are quick to cite research showing 97% of climate scientists believe that humans are contributing to global warming. Now, new research suggests that consensus extends to scientists in other fields. (September 27, 2015) Time [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/28/2015 - As of yet, we have not seen any local groups putting together a local event for the People’s Climate Movement national day of action October 14th, 2015. Hopefully, soon Rochester will join this ever-growing coalition of organizations demanding world leaders take action to combat climate change. If a group does set up an event, please let me know and I’ll get the message out.
9/28/2015 - ACTION: Stop Explosive Oil Trains! Find out if you are in the blast zone and sign the petition. There is a fiftyfold increase in local transport of volatile crude oil trains (which are not and cannot be properly designed to carry this dangerous oil) through our region. Check to see if you are in the blast zone, and Take action and put a stop to this! From our friends over at Mothers Out Front! Really take a moment to find out about this clean and present danger in our community and take action here.
9/28/2015 - One action that came out of our local “Power Through Paris Workshop” on Saturday was a commitment to hold a workshop on how folks in our area can divest from fossil fuels. As I find out more about the program and the dates for these workshops, I’ll let ya’ll know. Check back here or sign up for my weekly newsletter. You’re heard a lot about fossil fuel divestment and why it’s important to free up your investment portfolio from the possible stranded assets of fossil fuel, but do you know how to do it? This up coming workshop will show you how locally. While you’re waiting, read Mckibben’s historic article in Rolling Stone: “Global Warming's Terrifying New Math”
9/28/2015 - It would be most tragic if the GOP-led Congress scuttled US efforts for sufficient pledges at the COP21 Paris Climate Conference. The Green Climate Fund (GCF) is a critical component of a successful climate treaty because the developing nations cannot keep up their end of the bargain unless they are compensated for the resources that have been taken from them by the developed nations. The planetary budget for burning fossil fuels, for polluting our air and water, and financial resources for recovering from disasters has been used up by the developed nations. So in order to address Climate Change the world must put right the inequalities caused by the unequal use of our planetary resources. Selfishness by a few powerful entities can dash our ability to have a sustainable environment forever. U.S. climate finance in limbo, risking 'trust gap' before Paris A looming federal budget confrontation and Republican hostility to UN global-warming talks threaten a U.S. down payment into a key climate-aid fund, money considered vital to a climate deal in Paris this December. President Barack Obama had requested $500 million in the 2016 budget for the first tranche of its $3 billion pledge into a Green Climate Fund (GCF) that would help poorer countries make a transition to clean energy technologies and adapt to climate change. The fund receives guidance from the conference of the parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (September 26, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/28/2015 - According to the City of Rochester, its “Single Stream Recycling Pilot Program” has been a success and ready to move to the next stage. The City says in letter to the participants: “To date, the average tonnage of recycled material collected has increased 34% as a result of your efforts.” That’s pretty incredible. Presently, for those of us in the program: “Recyclables are placed in the cart, without sorting, and the container is placed at the curb on the customer's normal collection day.” Now, at the next stage, the collections will have a new schedule, an every-other week schedule. This will mean that we will have to make sure we compact cardboard and other stuff because the pickups will be spread over two weeks instead of one. The advantage of this is that it will cost the city less money to pick up less often while still being able to collect as much recyclables as before. If all goes well during this pilot program, City recycling will expand to include the whole City and mean less containers on our streets, more recyclables recycled, and all costing our government less.
9/26/2015 - ACTION: Consider showing up a Monroe County Legislative meeting and and showing support of banning mircrobeads. 9/30/15 Legislature meeting on Microbead pollution. Please forward to all interested parties: attached letter from Dorothy Styk- Legislator from 18th District. She is inviting attendance to next Monroe County Legislature Agenda/Charter Committee on 9/30/15 to show support for banning microbeads in Monroe County. (Lake Ontario has significant microbead pollution). Time is of the essence in forwarding this Read about this here.
9/25/2015 - Yesterday, missed by local media, over fifty of us marched with police escort from Liberty Pole to the Monroe County legislative building to highlight the Pope’s words on Climate Change in his encyclical and in this USA speeches. Many faith leaders, environmental, labor, and political candidates spoke about the crucial need to address Climate Change locally. Many passages from the encyclical were read aloud to those gathered. Some folks along the route watched as we march and some asked what Climate Change was, and when explained to them, thought that a great big machine was causing Climate Change. A single great big machine is not causing Climate Change. Climate Change is complicated and it would be nice if our local media could explain the complications and connect the dots of the local consequences of Climate Change—and cover events like the march yesterday to show that many local groups feel very much a part of this worldwide crisis. With the local media doing their job, less local folks would be ignorant of Climate Change and how it will affect our community and our future. Sorry, I have no photos of the event, no videos, the press didn’t show up, but we really had a march with over fifty people. Really, we did.
9/25/2015 - Did you miss the pope’s speech in the US Congress? Here’s the whole thing. Pope Francis Address to Joint Meeting of Congress Pope Francis addressed a joint meeting of Congress, the first pontiff in history to address both chambers. He implored members of Congress and the nation to work together to address some of the most urgent problems facing the country and the world, naming some of those challenges as immigration, environmental destruction, the arms trade, poverty, and religious extremism. He said that legislators are “called to defend and preserve the dignity of your fellow citizens in the tireless and demanding pursuit of the common good” and that all citizens have “a mission, a personal and social responsibility.” (SEPTEMBER 24, 2015) C-SPAN
9/24/2015 - Mostly the pope is 'shaking us out of complacency' on Climate Change, though it remains to be see whether this shake up lasts longer that the pope’s visit. Time Passes. Obama says pope 'shaking us out of complacency' Mustering all the pageantry the White House has to offer, President Barack Obama welcomed Pope Francis to Washington on Wednesday and credited the pontiff for setting a moral example that is "shaking us out of our complacency" with his reminders to care for the poor and the planet. The pope arrived before an adoring crowd of thousands and a nation that seemingly cannot get enough of the humble pontiff who is rejuvenating American Catholicism while giving heartburn to some of its conservatives. (September 23, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/24/2015 - Dots are connected in our local media with the pope’s visit to the USA and Climate Change. What is our community’s response? Probably silence and little recognition that Climate Change is a local issue too. Pope in D.C., calls for climate action Cheered by jubilant crowds across the nation's capital, Pope Francis forged common cause Wednesday with President Barack Obama on climate change, immigration and inequality, as the popular pontiff signaled he would not sidestep issues that have deeply divided Americans. On his first full day in the United States, the pope also reached out to America's 450 bishops, many of whom have struggled to come to terms with his new social justice-minded direction for the Catholic Church. He gently prodded the bishops to forgo "harsh and divisive language," while commending their "courage" in the face of the church's sexual abuse scandal — rhetoric that angered victims he may meet with later in his trip. (September 23, 2015) Daily Messenger [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/24/2015 - Describing the pope’s attempt to address the moral imperative of Climate Change without addressing population control as 'raving nonsense' is a bit strong. The pope is doing a fantastic job waking up the world on the moral need to address Climate Change. And while the church deserves criticism for not addressing the strain from population growth on resources, much of the strain on our resources comes from an uneven consumption from the wealthy nations. A relatively few of humanity’s billions are the ones who create millions of tons of food waste, who chew up our natural resources for corporate dollars, and who threaten our air and water with fossil fuel pollution. Most of the world’s human population is struggling to have what the few have and that will make addressing Climate Change very problematic. This is why baking Climate Justice into Climate Change solutions is so important. Pope's climate push is 'raving nonsense' without population control, says top US scientist Paul Ehrlich writes in Nature Climate Change that Francis is wrong to fight climate change without also addressing the strain from population growth on resources One of America’s leading scientists has dismissed as “raving nonsense” the pope’s call for action on climate change – so long as the leader of the world’s 1 billion Catholics rejects the need for population control. In a commentary in the journal Nature, Paul Ehrlich, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, argues that Pope Francis is simply wrong in trying to fight climate change without also addressing the additional strain on global resources from population rise. “That’s raving nonsense,” Ehrlich told the Guardian. “He is right on some things but he is just dead wrong on that.” (September 24, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/24/2015 - It’s interesting that up until now, when all sense and reason has been driven from the climate denier position, that media starts to get touchy about the word ‘doubters’ for those who have muddied the science have held with pride. The sensible thing would be for climate change deniers to do is to give up their position, admit they were wrong, and allow the rest of us with address the worldwide crisis of Climate Change—maybe even help in this moral and physical crisis that jeopardizes our future. Experts Criticize Associated Press For Disavowing Term "Climate Change Denier" Scientists And Journalists Say AP's Stylebook Change Legitimizes Those Who Reject Scientific Fact (September 23, 2015) Media Matters for America [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/24/2015 - Interesting meeting of the minds last evening about this year’s Fast Forward Film Festival (FFFF) in Rochester. Lots of new ideas, trying to get films and reach folks in who weren’t reached last year. This year’s festival programs will happen on April 17 and 18 of 2016. “The FFFF is now accepting 5-minute short films made by you. Grab your friends, tell your story. No entry fee. Numerous cash prizes including three $1,000 awards for most inspiring and compelling films. Submissions due: February 8, 2016.” Find out more at fastforwardroc.org
9/24/2015 - International trade deals must not scuttle our attempts to bring down greenhouse gases. (Barlow: Paris climate change agreement needs to be 'fool-proof') NAFTA and FIPA could derail the COP21 Paris climate change agreement, report claims Ahead of the Paris climate change talks, a new report argues that international trade deal contracts must be amended to ward off lawsuits that could potentially scuttle any agreements reached on climate change. Gus Van Harten, an associate professor at Toronto’s Osgoode Hall Law School, calls for a trade deal exemption clause in his new report, AN ISDS Carve-out to Support Action on Climate Change. Any number of trade deals contain a mechanism known as an investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS). (September 23, 2015) National Observer [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/23/2015 - This might be what Pope Francis was referring to in his encyclical “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.” Considering reading one of the most profound environmental tomes of our day: ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME | Surprise! Americans send twice as much trash to landfills as we thought For years, the EPA has relied on estimates to calculate how much trash was heading to landfills every year. Those estimates were made based on what businesses reported indirectly to the government, population data and patterns of consumption. But starting in 2010, the EPA started asking municipal landfills to measure and report exactly how much waste was heading into the dump so that they could make better estimates of methane emissions being released into the atmosphere. A new Yale study of those numbers, which the EPA partially funded, shows that the real amount of trash going into landfills is twice as much as the EPA estimates. (September 22, 2015) Treehugger [more on Recycling in our area]
9/23/2015 - From our friends over at ColorBrightonGreen.org "Announcing Curb Your Carbon Month Fall Edition When? Thursday October 1 through Saturday, October 31, 2015. What? Pledge to take action to reduce your carbon emissions during the month of October by making different choices related to transportation, food, waste, electricity and other areas of your life that impact carbon release. Keep track of what you do, whether it is something you always do to reduce your carbon emissions, or whether it is something new that you are doing. Ideas for many ways to reduce your carbon footprint are on our website, and we welcome you to add more carbon cutting ideas by commenting on our Curb Your Carbon Month website posting. Learn more. Register! Prizes will be awarded to top carbon reducers and randomly to registered participants. If you haven't registered yet, do it now to show your support and commitment to reducing carbon emissions."
9/23/2015 - The U.N.: Paris Climate Summit pledges need a great big boost to make them worthwhile. Just Good is not good enough. U.N.: Paris Climate Summit Pledges Won’t Avoid Warming The greenhouse gas emission cuts being pledged by the world’s nations will fall short of restricting global warming to 2°C, the U.N.’s climate chief and UK government sources have warned. A rise beyond 2°C, the internationally agreed safety limit, may push the climate beyond tipping points and into dangerous instability. The expected pledges are likely to limit temperature rises to about 3°C. (September 20, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/22/2015 - I know, this will sound stupid, but isn’t Lake Erie near New York State? If so, doesn’t that put the Asian Carp awfully close to us? Have we done enough to stop the very invasive Asian Carp (species as there are several) from getting into the largest fresh water system in the world? Will we say in hindsight that the arrival of this potentially very disruptive species was inevitable? Inevitable because we couldn’t muster the will to stop these fish that might dramatically alter the ecosystems of the Great Lakes? Time Passes. Asian carp pulled from Lake Erie A commercial fisherman pulled a grass carp, a species of the invasive Asian carp, from Lake Erie near Point Pelee yesterday. The fish, which measures almost 98 centimetres in length and weighs over 10 kilograms, was sent to the Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry for testing. (September 18, 2015) CTV News Winsor [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]
9/22/2015 - In New York State our highest court allowed that cities could ban Fracking; Colorado should follow suit. Then New York State officially banned Fracking on June 29, 2015. Fracking can be stopped. New York State did it. Colorado Supreme Court says it will decide if cities can ban fracking The Colorado Supreme Court has agreed to decide whether cities can ban fracking, stepping into a high-stakes battle over whether local governments can impose tougher oil and gas rules than the state. The state's highest court said Monday it would take up cases from Longmont, where voters banned fracking in 2012 and Fort Collins, whose residents opted for a five-year moratorium on the process, also known as hydraulic fracturing, in 2013. (September 21, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Fracking in our area]
9/21/2015 - Pope Francis’s visit USA to highlight Climate Change, but will local media cover that part? Or will the local media do everything in their power to blur or go around the message by the pope that our leaders to take action on Climate Change? Time passes. Francis' visit to highlight climate change issue That’s one of the implications of Francis’ extraordinary recent statement about the environment, which firmly blames humans for global warming and laments the impact of technology and capitalism on what the pope calls “sister Earth.” Released shortly before the pope’s U.S. visit, the 184-page document is the most sweeping and high-profile religious declaration about climate change and a call for radical reform in all sectors of society. The pope’s statement, which takes the form of a teaching document called an encyclical, could influence the thinking and habits of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics. But its impact won’t necessarily end there. The encyclical could well affect high-stakes climate talks this December, when 200 countries hope to finalize a treaty to cut pollution linked to climate change. And some experts say Francis’ words could help shift attitudes well beyond his own flock. (September 17, 2015) USA Today [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/21/2015 - Going to be very hard to keep the climate change denial thing going after listening to this interview with local astrophysicist. Connections: Why You Should Pay Attention to NASA's Climate Change Research NASA has sent man to the moon, a rover to Mars, and a probe to Pluto. Their work is often celebrated as heroic, and it requires remarkable precision to pull it off. Why, then, do some Americans view NASA as heroic... except the agency's work on climate change? For some Americans, NASA is suddenly a fraud when they start talking about climate. We'll sit down with an astrophysicist who has had a particularly close-up view of the public conversation on climate change. Adam Frank now writes forNPR's national science blog, and he wants the public to catch up the scientific community. He'll explain why climate science should be celebrated as one of man's great achievements - the kind that just might save our civilization. (September 16, 2015) Connections [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/21/2015 - What are ‘indicators’ of Climate Change and what are they presently indicating? Indicators are observed changes to our environment because of the rise in CO2. Check out what is happening to our life support systems as a result of Climate Change. “EPA partners with over 40 data contributors from various government agencies, academic institutions, and other organizations to compile and communicate key indicators related to the causes and effects of climate change. The 30 indicators presented here are published in EPA’s Climate Change Indicators in the United States report.” EPA: Climate Change Indicators in the United States [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/19/2015 - Efforts to encourage members of Congress to boycott the pope’s speech are humanity at its worse. It’s not the Pope’s fault that one of the most powerful political parties in the world (not to mention just the USA) has gotten in bed with the fossil fuel industry and has taken a stance against the science of Climate Change and the moral imperative of addressing it. Climate Group Targets Congressman Who's Boycotting The Pope's Speech Six-figure ad buy targets Republican who accused the pope of acting "like a leftist politician." A leading climate group will air a television ad featuring Pope Francis' dire warnings on global warming in the district of a congressman who says he'll boycott the Catholic leader's address to Congress next week. Rep. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) announced Thursday he would boycott the pope's speech because it reportedly will focus on climate change. "If the Pope plans to spend the majority of his time advocating for flawed climate change policies, then I will not attend," Gosar wrote in an op-ed for the conservative websiteTownhall.com. "When the Pope chooses to act and talk like a leftist politician, then he can expect to be treated like one." (September 18, 2015) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/19/2015 - It is despicable that our local media focuses on gasoline prices and never connect the dots with Climate Change. Our artificially low gasoline prices, which do not reflect the cost to warming the planet and to our future (which will be discussed at the COP21 Paris treaty this November), will cause more folks to drive more and buy cars that are not fuel efficient. This time of low prices should be a time to use the lower prices to offset the cost of renewable energy—like getting more solar and wind power into our electrical grid so when electric cars charge up they are using renewable energy, not more freaking fossil fuels. This issue about obsessing on why Rochester doesn’t get as low gasoline prices when prices drop as other regions is an insult to the worldwide effort to bring down greenhouse gases. In other news, Pope Francis comes to the USA this week to talk to Congress about the importance of making the COP21 Paris treaty as success. There will be much news this week about the Pope’s visit, but no connecting the dots to low gasoline prices. Rochester just wants cheap gasoline regardless. What’s wrong with this picture? Gas nears $2 per gallon As the average price for a gallon of gasoline slides below $2 in three states for the first time since February, costs at the pumps for Rochester-area drivers are headed close to that point, too — but it depends on where you shop. (September 19, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]
9/19/2015 - Blue-green algae blooms are also driven by Climate Change according to the EPA. Perhaps the increase in the outbreak of harmful algae blooms in Canandaigua Lake and other Finger Lakes (not to mention Lake Erie) is better understood by understanding the association between climate change and what we are experiencing locally. Not to even mention this possible association may make solving this increase in harmful algae blooms more difficult, but it highlights our local media’s inability to connect the dots between the local consequences of Climate Change and informing the public. There’s a reason why most Rochesterians, if they believe in the science of Climate Change at all, think Climate Change is only a national and international issue. Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms (May 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency ) Canandaigua Lake plagued by blue-green algae Canandaigua Lake, considered one of the cleanest of the Finger Lakes, continues to be plagued by blue-green algae and by streaks and patches of white foam. The foam, which likely has natural origins, has appeared on the lake before. So has blue-green algae — but never to the extent it does now. The organism, which actually is a form of bacteria, has been spreading through various parts of Canandaigua Lake for three weeks. A report from the lake's watershed manager on Wednesday said "multiple" algal blooms were present in the lake, including at the north and south ends. (September 18, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality and Canandaigua Lake in our area]
9/19/2015 - Important: USA don't be selfish, address Climate Change. From our friends over at Global Catholic Climate Movement "The United States is the #1 carbon polluter and contributor to climate change, and Pope Francis will visit the country in a few days, bringing the Laudato Si message with him. Catholics from the Global South, from the poorest countries which are suffering the worst impacts of climate change, have prepared this video for U.S. Catholics" Watch this two-minute video: “Dear U.S. Catholics”
9/18/2015 - Maybe one of the reasons why local Rochester voters don’t vote is because our local media don’t even mention election forums where the public can meet their candidates and find out their positions on critical issues. It would have been nice for our major newspaper to mention and report on the recent forum “Building an Economy for Climate Stability Candidate Forum 2015” Wednesday where many candidates explained to a packed-room of voters how they as their elected officials would address green job opportunities and action on Climate Change. But even though more than 15 local candidates showed up, the media didn’t show up, nor did the media explain to the public about the forum. Without the media announcing these election events and covering what transpired, the public thinks that nothing is going on and there’s no difference between the political parties. I wonder if the D&C didn’t report on this forum is because the forum included candidates’ position on addressing Climate Change. I suggest that poor media coverage of the issues in our region explains much of why the public doesn’t vote. Forum asks: Why don't we vote? | Meager turnout in last week's primary election left voting advocates wondering why so few people exercise their right to vote, and how to get more citizens to the polls. The League of Women Voters of the Rochester Metropolitan Area will seek answers at a public forum at 7 p.m. Monday at Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Ave. Nazareth College professor Timothy Kneeland will lead a discussion with George Moses, director of North East Area Development, and Andrea Cain, vice president for programs and interim CEO of Community Place. (September 17, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
9/18/2015 - ACTION: Been thinking it's time to get involved with addressing Climate Change locally? Check out this local workshop in Henrietta on September 26 on how to help get things moving. Power Through Paris Workshop Saturday, September 26, 12:00 PMMy Living Room Rochester (Henrietta), NY 14623 (We'll show you the exact address once you RSVP) 350.org
9/18/2015 - Because Rochester is part of the Compact of Mayors, which is About connecting cities and Climate Change action, it would be great to find out if our city is taking advantage of ClearPath. ClearPath Opens to All US Cities for Free “In support of cities meeting their Compact of Mayors‘ commitments to local climate action and thanks to a grant from Bloomberg Philanthropies, starting today the community-scale Inventory Module of ICLEI – Local Governments for Sustainability‘s ClearPath is open to any US city, county, or regional government for free through the end of 2018. ICLEI USA is also preparing to open access to communities worldwide in late Fall 2015. In addition to its expanded availability, new features have been added to allow ClearPath users to easily calculate community carbon footprints based on the new Global Protocol for Community-Scale Emissions (GPC), as well as the 2012 US Community Protocol. Soon ClearPath will also offer one-click reporting of inventories to the carbonn Climate Registry, the designated central data repository for the Compact of Mayors.” (September 15, 2015) Local Governments for Sustainability [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/18/2015 - Yesterday, a group of us called on one of our local representatives (it’s the third we’ve contacted in the last several months) to ask that they support a measure for 100% renewable energy for New York. We used this study for supporting evidence that his goal can be achieved: Examining the feasibility of converting New York State’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one using wind, water, and sunlight. With the recent ban on Fracking, the Climate Change fact for our region that there has been a 71% increase in heavy precipitation events (floods, snowfall) since 1958 in the Northeast, and the buildup of other fossil fuel infrastructures with Bomb trains and the massive gas storage at Seneca Lake, this is the time to press hard for renewable energy in New York before we step on our progress and fall back into more fossil fuels which will warm up the planet. You might write to your local representative and ask them to lead, or at least support, any bills coming out of Albany for 100% renewable energy. Hawaii can do it and so can we.
9/18/2015 - The City of Rochester’s program Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) was mentioned a couple of times in Wednesday’s forum Building an Economy for Climate Stability from candidates remarking on successful local programs to help address public health and emergencies. As I was listening, I was thinking that if the CERT program was connected to the City’s Cool Sweep program, we’d have a much more robust program for addressing public health issues related to heat waves—which will increase with Climate Change. Many of the folks most vulnerable to extended heat waves are those who cannot or would not use opened fire hydrants to cool off, but are isolated and without an ability to get immediate emergency attention. A full program to address all the issues that come with a sudden and extended heat wave would better serve to help and educate Rochesterians on how complex and yet solvable many of the consequences to Climate Change in our region can be.
9/17/2015 - Tired of your local meteorologist just giving you the weather, without the context of climate? Go to WXshift "Your forecast, with climate context. Your weather, explained. Your world, made a little clearer. WXshift is a collection of independent journalists, climate scientists, and meteorologists working to bring you the latest in weather and climate information. “ (Powered by Climate Central)
9/16/2015 - One thing very unique about Climate Change is that it’s based entirely on physics and totally immune to bullshit. Trap energy and the place warms up. Meet the climate hypocrites of big business Boeing, BMW, and EDF among 45 major companies whose green claims and pro-fossil fuel lobby group links don’t add up Almost half of the world’s 100 largest industrial companies are obstructing climate change legislation, non-profit Influence Map revealed on Wednesday. Forty-five counter environmental laws, chiefly through trade associations, according to a unique methodology developed with the US Union of Concerned Scientists. In the rankings of Fortune 2000 largest 100 firms, which excluded state-owned enterprises and financial companies, energy-guzzling firms perform poorly. Oil major Royal Dutch Shell, pharmaceutical firm Pfizer and Japanese carmaker Toyota scored Ds. (September 16, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/16/2015 - More Solar Power would look very nice on New York. Our grid still has too much toxic energy in it. Instead, think 100% renewables by 2013. | Coal, Gas, Nuclear, Hydro? How Your State Generates Power The government has proposed new standards to lower emissions from coal-fueled power plants. But overall, the country is relying less on coal for power. In 40 states, use of coal as a power source (as a share of all power sources) has dropped since 2004. Many of these states are increasingly relying on natural gas instead. (September 10, 2015) NPR [more on Energy in our area]
9/16/2015 - Why is it so important that City (and country) leaders to be involved in the Climate Change adaption process” Check this: Leaders from the US and China meet for a climate summit The two biggest emitters of greenhouse gases globally are holding their first annual climate summit in Los Angeles (September 14, 2015) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/16/2015 - We’re going to hear a lot of this “The findings illustrate the complex and sometimes unpredictable consequences of climate change…” For those who aren’t alarmed about Climate Change and think they’ve got a handle on this problem, should think again. The rate at which global warming is warming the planet is like nothing in the past 10,000--where our climate was relatively stable. Now everything is in flux. Even if we are a very adaptive species, but most other species are not—we are less likely to be able to adapt to Climate Change. With Climate Change there will be many unknown unknowns. In warming Arctic, mosquitoes may live long and prosper Rising temperatures at the top of the world may be bad news for Arctic denizens like polar bears, but good news for the local mosquitoes, pesky bloodsuckers that prosper with warmer weather. Researchers said on Tuesday that increasing temperatures were enabling Arctic mosquitoes to grow more quickly and emerge sooner from their pupal stage, greatly expanding their numbers and menacing the caribou whose blood they eat. The findings illustrate the complex and sometimes unpredictable consequences of climate change, particularly in sensitive regions like the Arctic, the researchers said. (September 15, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/15/2015 - I know, this “Floodplain Management and Coastal Erosion Training Series” by the NYS DEC sounds like very dull potatoes. But here’s why this is important and why your community leaders should attend one of the three workshops in the Monroe County area. One of the major consequences of Climate Change in our region is a 71% increase in heavy rainfall since 1956. This means when it rains it pours, which is to say there is and will be more flooding that will overwhelm our waste water systems and create more flood plains, which will change how insurance is charged and challenge the ability of our government (FEMA) to address more costly and damaging floods. This is local adaptation information that our media and our government should be connecting the dots to so the public will be engaged and support efforts so we can properly plan for Climate Change. But because we haven’t Rochester still remains in the Land of Climate Change Denial. What is your government doing to protect our region from Climate Change? We should demand answers. Floodplain Management and Coastal Erosion Training September and October 2015 dates available! NYSDEC is sponsoring floodplain management training across New York State under a FEMA mitigation grant. The training is geared towards local building and code officials, planners, local elected officials and design professionals. Full day sessions are being offered to go over floodplain and National Flood Insurance Program topics, including understanding flood maps and floodplain development requirements. Separate half day sessions will cover FEMA levee mapping requirements and New York State coastal erosion hazard area standards. This training is free of charge. (September 14, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/15/2015 - Very good ‘Connections” program yesterday on why our candidates for local office should explain their position on Climate Change. Except for a ten-minute section where a good discussion was hijacked by a denier (please, climate change doubt mongering is so last century), much about what can and should be done for adapting to Climate Change locally was compared with the efforts of Portland, Oregon and other cities. Portland has a remarkable long-running program—Climate—that not only helps transform a city into a sustainable city as our climate warms up, but it also engages the populace who can see for themselves the concerted effort by their community to address Climate Change together. This joint engagement by a community government and its people points to a major reason why Rochester is still languishing in the land of denial. It has not been demonstrated yet in the City of Rochester that their leaders are going to have to plan for the consequences of Climate Change here and how they are going to be held accountable. We are hoping that the forum coming up tomorrow Building an Economy for Climate Stability: Candidate Forum 2015, which is discussed on Connections, will begin this crucial dialogue between government and our community. We cannot put climate deniers into office because they will be incapable of planning properly for our future and our protection. Learn more. Listen on your computer or as a podcast. Connections: Do Local Candidates Care About Climate Change? Is climate change a local issue when it comes to elections? Typically, we talk about climate change policy on the national level. But a growing list of local communities are adopting policies in regards to climate change. This week, Rochester's People's Climate Coalition is sponsoring a candidate forum with a focus on building a "sustainable economy." What exactly does that mean? (September 14, 2015) Connections [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/15/2015 - We must leave our coal & oil & gas & our forests in the ground if we want a future. Trees and soil are a crucial part of living sustainably. Smarter forest and land-use policy could help make Paris climate deal a success As the world gears up for the U.N. climate negotiations in Paris this December, almost all of the talk is about greenhouse gas emissions from fossil fuel burning. How much will countries cut their emissions? When will they commit to having their emissions peak? But there’s another major component that’s being neglected: the way we manage our forests and other lands, which can serve as carbon sinks. (September 14, 2015) Grist [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/15/2015 - Imagine how many more US cities would be 100% renewable if fossil fuels weren’t so heavily subsidized by our taxes and our future. A Third American City Is Now Running Entirely On Renewable Energy The number of American cities that run entirely on renewable energy is growing. Last week, the city of Aspen, Colorado declared it had become the third municipality to receive all of its power from renewable sources. Aspen’s energy portfolio now primarily consists of wind power and hydroelectric, with smaller contributions from solar and geothermal. The announcement came after the city’s decade-long effort to shift toward renewable energy. David Hornbacher, Aspen’s Utilities and Environmental Initiatives Director, told the Aspen Timesthat “It was a very forward-thinking goal and truly remarkable achievement.” Burlington, Vermont and Greensburg, Kansas were the first two cities to achieve all-renewable energy portfolios. (September 14, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/14/2015 - The mountain pine beetle that is eating up the forests out West and creeping East isn’t an invasive species; Climate Change has made it proliferate like crazy. Pine Beetle Epidemic The Bug That’s Eating the Woods A warming climate allowed pine beetles to ravage the West. Now they’re spreading east across Canada. Across western North America, in millions of acres of pine forest, the story is the same. Drive through parts of Colorado, and you’ll encounter entire mountainsides painted with rust. From valley bottoms all the way to the tree line, nearly every single pine has been killed by an enemy smaller than a thumbtack: the mountain pine beetle. Tour British Columbia, and the scale of destruction is even more appalling. More than 44 million acres of pine trees there, an area the size of Missouri, have been attacked to varying degrees over the past 15 years. Nature is always changing. But the mountain pine beetle is a troubling omen. It shows that global warming can push even native species to go rogue. At some point the epidemic will run its course, leaving a wake of ghost forests and altered ecosystems. “We need to see this as a harbinger of what’s to come,” Six says. “We’re going to see one ecosystem after another begin to tip.” (April 2015) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/12/2015 - Methane leaks from natural gas pipelines should be included in our greenhouse gas inventories if we are to accurately monitor our GHG emissions. How much do we know about the amount of methane leaks in our area from miles and miles of natural gas pipelines? Not knowing is not good. Trendsetting Manhattan Leads in Methane Leaks, Too A study shows natural gas leaks spewing methane from more than 1,000 places in the borough, mostly from aging pipes. Methane is spewing from more than 1,000 natural gas leaks under Manhattan, giving it 10 times the number of leaks per mile in its aging natural gas pipelines as cities with more up-to-date infrastructure, according to a study published Wednesday in the journal Environmental Science and Technology. Methane is the second-largest contributor to global warming after carbon dioxide, making the reduction of methane emissions a high priority in fighting climate change (September 11, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]
9/11/2015 - Thank you TWC News for 24-hour coverage of Pope’s visit to US. Don’t forget to mention Climate Change is the reason he’s coming. Papal Visit 2015 "Welcome to TWC News' coverage of Pope Francis' historic first visit to Cuba and the United States, September 20-27. All that week Time Warner Cable will provide an exclusive 24-hour news channel dedicated entirely to the pope's visit, available on TV, online and on the TWC News app." Time Warner Cable News
9/11/2015 - Cities around the Great Lakes have strategies to adapt to Climate Change. Hey, isn’t Rochester, NY on the Great Lakes too? It’s revealing to look over the 2-page factsheet from Kingston, Ontario (which is just across Lake Ontario) and see how our friends in Canada view Climate Change and realize we don’t have a similar factsheet for Rochester. We’re pretty close to Kingston, so wouldn’t a lot of the consequences of Climate Change for Kingston be similar to Rochester? Wouldn’t such a factsheet help Rochester emerge from climate change denial and get on the same page as other communities to address Climate Change? Time passes. Great Lakes Cities Climate Case Studies and Fact Sheets From 2011-2014, the Climate Center's Great Lakes Adaptation Assessment for Cities (GLAA-C) helped develop and implement a variety of adaptation strategies throughout the Great Lakes region to better understand the challenges municipalities face when dealing with climate change. Supported by the Graham Sustainability Institute and the Kresge Foundation. The lessons learned from interacting with these cities can be found in the case study links below. The Factsheets highlight the most important findings from the full reports. (from The Graham Sustainability Institute University of Michigan)
9/11/2015 - There are those who say we are asking too much of COP21 Paris Climate Treaty. Oceans scientists are not among them. Worldwide attempts to come to climate negotiations have failed for decades and during that time much has been learned about how Climate Change is happening and what the consequences will be. These climate talk failures are not an indication that we should stop trying to bring the world’s nations together to address Climate Change—because it is only at the international level that nations can work together and set a level playing field on how to address this crisis. And because it has taken us so long to work together it will make each attempt at a treaty more dire, more complicated, and less likely to act in time. COP21 Paris must not fail. Threat to oceans from climate change must be key to Paris talks, say scientists Major study of plankton shows warmer seas could have a huge impact on the marine food chain The dangers posed by global warming to the world’s oceans must be a key part of any future international climate change agreement, a group of marine research scientists are insisting, as up to now the role of the planet’s biggest ecosystem has been largely ignored at the long-running UN climate talks. The scientists are attached to the French research vessel Tara, which is completing a three-and-a-half year trip gathering information from across the globe for the world’s largest ever study of plankton. They plan to make their appeal at the crunch UN climate change conference in Paris this December. (September 11, 2015) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/10/2015 - Local coverage of lottery results to see Pope Francis in Washington, DC fails to mention Climate Change, the reason the Pope is coming. This local news item about 10 Rochester area folks winning tickets to see the Pope in Washington, DC kind of highlights media’s Climate Change dysfunctionality. It’s a sure winner for the media to announce the lottery winners of anything. It’s doesn’t matter; this brings in readers and money for them. The media likes to announce winners. The real importance of this story is missing. That a New York State Senator has found a way to promote that fact that Pope Francis is coming to Washington, DC to speak to Congress about taking action on Climate Change has been entirely dodged by the media. Senator Schumer should be outraged. Here is Sen. Schumer’s press release: SCHUMER ANNOUNCES WINNERS OF ONLINE TICKET LOTTERY TO SEE POPE FRANCIS; HUNDREDS OF NEW YORKERS FROM ACROSS NY STATE WILL TRAVEL TO WASHINGTON, DC TO HAVE THE HONOR OF SEEING POPE FRANCIS SPEAK ON SEPTEMBER 24TH; NAMES WILL NOW BE MADE PUBLIC Our US Congress is a critical blockage in the world’s attempt to mitigate Climate Change, and our Congress threatens to pull the rug out of any agreements that President Obama makes at the COP21 Paris Treaty. The Pope’s visit to Congress is a desperate measure to get our US Congress to do the right thing—make substantial agreements to address Climate Change before the window of opportunity closes. Our local media is incapable or refuses to connect the dots of why this lottery was created in the first place (Climate Change) to local folks having the privilege to hearing up close one of the great moral activist on Climate Change in our time. Really, folks aren’t you getting sick of the horrible coverage our local media is doing on the worldwide coverage of Climate Change? Why not contact your media and tell this pathetic dodge not to report on the most important issue of our times by our local media is unacceptable. 10 local people win tickets to see Pope Francis The Pontiff will be in Washington, D.C. later this month 10 people from the Rochester area have won tickets to see Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. later this month. (September 9, 2015) RochesterFrist.com [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/10/2015 - From our friends over at Passive House: Imagine: Living in a house in Rochester that doesn’t need a heater or an air conditioner and being Comfortable. Learn more about Passive Housing in Rochester. “Passive House - Design, Construction, Tours and Photos in Rochester, New York” Watch this quick video: passive house explained in 90 seconds
9/10/2015 - From our friends over at Boniface Church: Major Presentation on Pope Francis's Environmental Encyclical "You've heard that Pope Francis has written an encyclical (a formal letter) calling for urgent action on climate change. And here's your chance to learn exactly what's in this strong, important document, addressed to "every person living on this planet." Dr. Gerry Gacioch will speak about "Pope Francis Encyclical top 10" on Oct. 1st, 7 pm at St. Boniface Church, ### Gregory Street. Dr. Gacioch, who is Chief of Cardiology at Rochester General Hospital, is passionate not only about heart health but also about the health of our planet. A nationally known speaker, he is famed for his engaging and challenging presentations about Catholic Social Teaching on the climate. Here's a teaser from the Pope's encyclical, subtitled On Care for Our Common Home: "Our common home is falling into serious disrepair.… In the meantime, economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain." The Pope also analyzes "the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet," since "everything in the world is connected." Come hear more: Oct. 1st, 7 pm at St. Boniface Church, 330 Gregory Street, Rochester, NY." Read Pope Francis's Encyclical
9/10/2015 - If we do indeed love our wildlife, we should prioritize our attention by making sure they can weather Climate Change. Our local media loves to publish stories on wildlife when there are sightings of rare creatures we thought we had extincted, or when someone treats animals badly, or when our pets do funny things—but Climate Change is warming our region far faster than most creatures can adapt, even birds, so we should be focusing on how we are going help our indigenous creatures adapt—especially when our transportation system blocks most species from moving to get out of the heat. But neither our media nor our environmental authorities ever bring this up to the public, which means most of the public is oblivious to the threat that Climate Change brings to wildlife and how the public can be part of the solution. America’s birds flying into climate danger zone Some of North America’s birds may no longer be at home on the range. More than half of 588 studied species could lose over 50% of their flying, breeding and feeding space before the end of the century − because of climate change. The researchers who discovered the precarious future facing so many species say they were shocked to find that rising temperatures could have such widespread effects on the continent’s birds. The finding comes from one of the world’s most distinguished ornithological bodies, the US National Audubon Society. (September 7, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
9/09/2015 - In order for this candidate forum to work, the room needs to be filled and the media needs to be here (please help make that happen): Sept. 16 Candidates Forum: "Building an Economy for Climate Stability" 7-9pm, The Harley School, 1981 Clover Street, Rochester, NY 1. Come! Bring 3 others with you. Registration greatly appreciated here, but not required. Flyer - please distribute 2. Contact Cheryl DiNolfo (Republican candidate for Monroe County Executive) and ask her to come to the Forum. Here's her contact page. Both of her challengers, Sandra Frankel (Dem) and Rajesh Barnabus (Green Party) will be there. 3. Contact your Monroe County Legislature Candidates and tell them to come.4. See also this page on the RPCC website to register, for more info, and for Candidate contact info. Candidates need only email: RocPCC@gmail.com to let us know they will participate.
9/09/2015 - ACTION: "The 100% Renewable Now NYS Campaign is beginning to organize! This Campaign is aimed at getting the 100% Renewable Energy by 2030 bill passed by the NYS legislature. This project is anchored in sound science: Read this critical study: “Examining the feasibility of converting New York State’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one using wind, water, and sunlight” If your organization wants to be more involved that is welcome. Also, please call your legislators to ask them to co-sponsor (Assembly - A. 7497 or Senate - S. 5527). And see: The Solutions Project (especially New York) to sign your organization up as a supporter. Please help in this way!" (If someone in your group wants to attend some meetings in October to hammer out strategy and organizational details, contact me and I’ll get you in touch with the group organizing this issue in our region.)
9/09/2015 - Take ACTION: Just about the last thing Henrietta needs is to chew up a wildlife area for more development. Sign a petition to Save Beckwith Park. “Since 1965, this scenic wildlife area has been a treasure for many families in Henrietta, New York. The Catholic Diocese of Rochester is in the process of selling this beautiful land to a developer, who intends to put single-family houses on the property. In a grassroots effort to save the land, neighbors and friends have banded together to stop the development of the land that makes our neighborhood our home.” Sign the petition here: and to learn more about this issue go to Save Beckwith Park.
9/09/2015 - Great discussion on our PBS radio talk show “Connections” yesterday on Climate Change and some of the events in Rochester that are coming up soon to channel the Pope’s efforts to make COP21 Paris a success. Listen online or on as a podcast on your device. I called in (first caller) about Evan’s question about what we can do locally to address Climate Change? My point is that we can talk about mitigation in Rochester, but not adaptation—which is crazy as adapting to the changes is unavoidable so we should be planning and talking about it. Also, I think it is very important that folks call into programs like “Connections”, when Evan talks about Climate Change. There are no other venues in the Rochester are for the whole public to talk about Climate Change. If we talk about Climate Change at all in Rochester, we talk in our silos, our faith groups, our environmental groups, and in our classrooms. But the general public is not a part of this worldwide discussion and they are key to any solutions to either mitigation or adaptation. The public must be engaged on Climate Change. We must end climate silence in Rochester. Connections: How Do Religious Beliefs Tie To Climate Change? Major religions are trying to come together to address ecological issues, and a number of upcoming events in the Rochester area will target people of various faiths to respond to climate change. We'll talk to representatives of the Christian, Jewish, and Islamic faiths about how their religious beliefs tie in to climate action: Nancy Rourke Neely Kelley Joyce Herman Dr. Ron Wexler Joseph Lombardi (September 9, 2015) Connections [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/09/2015 - Developing nations are reluctant to agree to binding emission reductions not because they don’t want to, but because they cannot keep up their end of the bargain without compensation from what was taken from them. So that developing nations are freed from developing and surviving the way we did by exhausting our resources, damaging our environment, and endangering our ecosystems, the developed nations must give back what they took from the developing nations (their share of clean air, water, oceans, forests, minerals, and public health) so the developing nations have the resources to do their part to make COP21 Paris a success. Without an adequate Green Climate Fund, the developing nations are unable to complete their end of the bargain. Which is doubly cruel because the developing nations are the ones that will be hit first by the worst consequences of Climate Change and a failed Paris agreement. World's Leading Polluters Have Racked Up a $10 Trillion Carbon Debt New study puts a staggering figure on the amount developed countries owe the world for carbon dioxide emissions since 1990. The countries most responsible for global warming owe the rest of the world a tremendous debt, with the author of a new study published Monday in the journal Nature Climate Change putting the figure at $10 trillion. The author came up with that number by calculating how much CO2 each country emitted per capita since 1960, generally recognized as the onset of the worst of human-caused global warming. Countries with high per capita emissions carry a carbon debt while countries with lower per capita emissions have a carbon credit. (September 8, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/08/2015 - How Climate Change denial works in Rochester NY, increase in harmful algae outbreaks and no mention of Climate Change in media. There have been plenty of news stories about blue green algae outbreaks locally as four Finger Lakes and Lake Erie have had beach closings because of them this Labor Day season. The news has mentioned that conditions have made it so harmful algae will proliferate because of heavy rains and pollution and agricultural runoffs and warm water. None of these stories mention Climate Change and that’s tragic because an increase in harmful algae outbreaks is a local consequence of Climate Change. Which is to say, we are witnessing Climate Change now in our region and the media is not connecting the dots, which means the public just thinks these harmful algae outbreaks are an abnormal conditions that they need not worry their pretty little heads about. This is a dangerous delusion because until the public is aware that we are now in Climate Change, they will continue to operate in a world that no longer exists; they’ll still continue to vote for climate deniers, and they’ll still avoid the worldwide crisis that this gripping the rest of the world. The conditions for harmful algae outbreaks has existed for quite a while—nutrients runoffs, pollution—but what has changed is that Climate Change has baked warmer weather and more heavy rainfall, which creates more runoffs, into the mix. As of now, Climate Change probably doesn’t directly cause harmful algae outbreaks but it does endure that they will occur more often and continue to spread. And this insures that the new normal will be more harmful algae outbreaks, more beach closings, and more water quality issues. Don’t take my word for it, read the EPA two-page primer on this “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms” This needs to be a part of the local reporting on harmful algae outbreaks so the public will grasp what is actually happening so the issue can actually be addressed, that the Rochester region is experiencing what many find so controversial—Climate Change. The media continues to make Climate Change controversial by not connecting the dots. And so Rochester continues believing that Climate Change is a hoax and it’s not something the public should have to think about when they vote, when they hear the news, and when they go about their lives. Climate Change denial is alive and well in the Rochester region. It must stop. Demand that the local media connect the dots with harmful algae outbreaks and Climate Change. There are many other signals that Climate Change is already affecting our region and you can find them here: Real Changes. Algae worries the new normal? Labor Day beach goers had more than the intense sun to deal with, they also had to contend with weeks of blue green algae sightings. “We didn’t see any when we went in the water,” said Stacey Spendlove, who was spending Labor Day with her son at Vitale Park. “It looked clear and fine to me.” However, about 100 feet from where Spendlove and dozens of others were swimming and boating, a patch of blue green algae was in full bloom, overtaking part of a Conesus inlet. (September 7, 2015) WHAM Rochester [more on Water Quality in our area]
9/08/2015 - COP21 is getting close and it cannot fail: Climate Countdown “2015 is the year for the global community to solve the climate change crisis. This web-series – Climate Countdown – maps out what scientists, activists, policy makers and citizens are actually doing to tackle this problem. We examine different facets of this complex issue and break it down into bite-sized bits. Join us as we follow the people who are crafting paths toward a pivotal global climate change agreement this December in Paris – COP21.”
9/08/2015 - Check out these powerful short films by young people around the world on Climate Change—then vote. And please share this page so as many folks as possible vote before September 17. COP21 Youth Climate Video Competition Help Us Choose the Winner As the international community is gearing up to conclude a new, universal climate change agreement in December in France, you can help decide which young video reporter will be on location to capture some of the most exciting moments of the Paris UN Climate Change Conference (COP 21). As part of the Global Youth Video Competition on Climate Change, young people from around the globe have been invited to share what they are doing to combat climate change, for example convincing their parents, school or college to take climate action, or taking part in a campaign. Two winners of the top videos will be invited to join the UNFCCC communications team at COP 21 as videographers and reporters. We received 130 entries. One is being selected by a specialist jury and one by public vote so we now ask for your help in selecting the publicly voted winner from a shortlist of 24 videos below. This winner will be chosen based on the highest number of views their video receives during the voting period. You have until September 17 to support your favorite video by visiting the tve YouTube channel. (August 26, 2015) United Nations Climate Change Newsroom [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/08/2015 - COP21 Paris at this point will either be a funnel, where everything necessary happens at the last minute, or the road to hell, paved with half-assed intentions. France's Hollande says risk climate talks could fail French President Francois Hollande warned on Monday that climate change talks in Paris later this year could fail especially if the issue of financing for emerging nations was not resolved. The United Nations said on Sept. 4 that talks were on track for the Nov. 30-Dec. 11 summit after a week of negotiations in Bonn made progress in clarifying options about everything from cuts in greenhouse gas emissions to raising aid to developing nations. "Good intentions are there, but we are still far away from a legally binding agreement and financing that is up to the levels needed," Hollande told a news conference. "There is even a risk of failure." (September 7, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/07/2015 - From our friends over at Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe: "This Saturday, Sept. 12, the Master Gardeners of the Cornell Cooperative Extension of Monroe County will hold their annual Gathering of Gardeners in Rochester NY. This Gathering features presentations by nationally-known speakers Jessica Walliser and Naomi Brooks, including "Shade Gardens and Plants" and "Garden Maintenance for Time Challenged Gardeners". Adjacent to the sessions in the Rochester Museum & Science Center's Eisenhart Auditorium will be vendors selling plant material and garden accessories in the parking lot. Additional plants and decorative items will be available through a raffle indoors. Rochester Gardening is a patron of A Gathering of Gardeners. Please consider attending this quality event, ideal for garden veterans and novices alike. Proceeds go to support the efforts of Monroe County's Master Gardeners. It is not too late to order tickets, or plan to buy tickets at this weekend's Gathering. Find details at the event website."
9/07/2015 - Properly recycling E-waste really matters. If you find electronic put on the curb, you should call 311 and inform the City of Rochester that you want their codes updated so they can enforce the state law about curbing E-waste. Find out about this situation locally: “E-waste limbo in Rochester, NY” | Electronic waste is piling up. Here’s why you should care Be honest: How many old cell phones do you have in a drawer somewhere? What about computer keyboards or screens? That waste — the leftover keyboards that we cart out to the curb, old computer screens, cell phones, audio equipment, printers — it’s all considered electronic waste, or e-waste. Its prevalence, in a society that clamours for smaller, better, faster, newer, is piling up. And there are consequences. (September 5, 2015) Global News [more on Recycling in our area]
9/07/2015 - Even if you continue to believe that we cannot live without more fossil fuels (even though this lethal addiction is warming our planet), you still have to care that a “a fiftyfold increase in crude shipments” through our communities (including the Rochester region) whose emergency personnel is unprepared and insurance coverage inadequate and evacuation plans not ready is a reckless and irresponsible position we have put ourselves in. Call on Governor Cuomo and The Department of Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to take immediate action to protect the public and the environment from the dangers of crude-by-rail." Stop the Bomb Trains " And get everyone you know to sign on this petition. Large U.S. Cities Prep for Oil Train Disaster They rumble past schools, homes and businesses in dozens of cities around the country – 100-car trains loaded with crude oil from the Upper Midwest. While railroads have long carried hazardous materials through congested urban areas, cities are now scrambling to formulate emergency plans and to train firefighters amid the latest safety threat: a fiftyfold increase in crude shipments that critics say has put millions of people living or working near the tracks at heightened risk of derailment, fire and explosion. After a series of fiery crashes, The Associated Press conducted a survey of nearly a dozen big cities that, collectively, see thousands of tank cars each week, revealing a patchwork of preparedness. Some have plans specifically for oil trains; others do not. Some fire departments have trained for an oil train disaster; others say they’re planning on it. Some cities are sitting on huge quantities of fire-suppressing foam, others report much smaller stockpiles. (September 4, 2015) Claims Journal [more on Energy in our area]
9/07/2015 - One of the reasons why “…such numbers[400 ppm of carbon dioxide and 2 degrees] may mean little to the general public…” is because their leaders and their media haven’t been doing their job. Our media won’t connect the dots with local Climate Change consequences (like four of our Finger Lakes getting hit with harmful algae outbreaks recently) and our leaders won’t talk about the issues they will have to address in a warming world—like protecting the public health during more intense heat waves and stopping sewer overflows during more heavy flooding. Many of our media and our leaders’ careers are fueled by fossil fuels. It’s time to connect the dots. Two degrees of climate change may be too much Touring Alaska this week to shine a spotlight on global warming, President Obama warned that “climate change is no longer some far-off problem. It is happening here; it is happening now. Climate change is already disrupting our agriculture and ecosystems, our water and food supplies, our energy, our infrastructure, human health, human safety. Now. Today.” This wasn’t supposed to happen. In 2009, 114 countries signed the Copenhagen Accord, agreeing “to stabilize greenhouse gas concentration in the atmosphere at a level that would prevent dangerous anthropogenic interference with the climate system;” “recognizing the scientific view” that the increase in global temperature should be held to no more than 2 degrees Celsius” (3.6 degrees Fahrenheit) above the pre-industrial level; and promising greater “long-term cooperative action to combat climate change.” (September 4, 2015) Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/05/2015 - The trouble with the NYs Dept. of Health’s Cooling Centers website for extreme heat is that many who need it most won’t have access to this site. Climate Change will bring more extreme heat days and folks need to find shelter from the heat during these times—but that’s only part of the story. The other part is that many of the folks who need heat shelters the most are those least likely to be able to find these Cooling Centers—as they don’t have an Internet connection and many other crucial connections. Older folks who are poor and unconnected by family and groups are those who will need a network that checks on them, provides immediate medical attention (replacing fluids immediately can save lives), and alternatives for cooling off when the power fails because too many are running their air conditioners at the same time. Our state and our communities need to have a comprehensive public health Climate Change plans, not an ad hoc, no regrets, adapting daily approach to this worldwide crisis. The state DEH knows Climate Change and public health are related, but they bury this information (climate information doesn’t appear on their front page), instead of announcing it widely. Time passes. New Online Resource From New York State Department of Health Helps New Yorkers Cool Off in Extreme Heat The New York State Department of Health (DOH) has created an online list of cooling centers across the state, where people can cool down on days of extreme temperatures. The website provides addresses and phone numbers for cooling centers shared by local health departments and emergency management offices. For counties with no listings, DOH recommends visiting local libraries, supermarkets, malls, spray parks and community swimming pools to stay cool. Visitors should call before going since some cooling centers may be closed at certain times or available only during extreme heat events. "When we have several days in a row of high temperatures, it's extremely important that people find places to stay cool," said Commissioner of Health Dr. Howard Zucker. "Spending just a few hours a day in air conditioning can help prevent heat-related illness and heat stress." (September 3, 2015) NYS Department of Health [more on Environmental Health in our area]
9/05/2015 - Not to mention “A glut of crude oil is expected to keep gas prices falling for the foreseeable future.” will also mean our region will be contributing greatly to global warming by burning more fossil fuels with unrealistic gasoline prices because more folks will operate their gas guzzlers more than they would otherwise. It would be nice if the media in Rochester would connect the dots between burning fossil fuels and Climate Change, instead of pandering to the public desire to have the lowest gasoline prices ever. Why does Rochester media fail, even at this late date, to see the connection between the worldwide crisis of Climate Change and our local use of energy? Labor Day gas prices in area lowest since 2005 Drivers in the Rochester area will be paying the lowest Labor Day gas prices in a decade. According to AAA, the national average for a gallon of unleaded regular gasoline on Friday was $2.42 per gallon, down 22 cents from the average price just one month ago and $1.01 a gallon less than last Sept. 4. (September 4, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]
9/05/2015 - A rapidly warming, ice-free Arctic will have many consequences—some of them dramatic and unprecedented and unadaptable. About 35,000 walruses are crammed onto beaches in a tiny Alaska village There is nothing straightforward and typical about massive walrus haul outs in Alaska, which have become an annual event as sea ice retreats earlier each summer. An ongoing haul out event at Point Lay, Alaska, has featured thousands of walruses one day, followed by none a few days later, and now tens thousands again. In fact, this haul out may be nearing a record for the U.S., if the numbers keep increasing. As of Friday, there were about 35,000 walruses in two separate haul out events in the tiny community of Point Lay, Alaska, on the Chukchi Sea, the Fish and Wildlife Service says. (September 4, 2015) Mashable [more on Climate Change and Wildlife in our area]
9/05/2015 - In order for New York to be 100% renewable energy by 2030, remove the threat of Bomb Trains carrying dangerous crude oil through our communities, stop the continual fossil fuel infrastructure being built up in our state, and adapt to Climate Change, we are going to have to get educated about how our use of energy affects our ability to have a future. Residents should be blocking fossil fuel and they should not be blocking renewable energy. The arena where our energy choices will make a difference is where we live. Outlook "Partly Cloudy" for Upstate NY Solar Farm Proposal A Vermont-based company has proposed building one of the largest solar farms in upstate New York's Madison County, which it says could save residents millions in energy costs. But the developer, groSolar, is getting push-back from Oneida residents near the proposed site, who fear it could lower their property values and have filed a lawsuit against the city. Katherine Nadeau, program director of Renewable New York, says both sides must find common ground for the solar farm to be built. (September 4, 2015) Public News Service [more on Solar Power in our area]
9/05/2015 - Building wildlife bridges over highways so that species can adapt to Climate Change is part of New York studies on animals adapting to the quick warming. But here in New York, we have trouble getting funds for normal maintenance, let alone transforming our transportation system to accommodate wildlife’s need to move in order to adapt. When I mentioned this idea of wildlife bridges to a local DEC staff, he said that deer and other animals make it across our highways alright. Ya gotta laugh. I’m sure some deer and bear do make it across our highways, maybe even the Thruway, but the roadkill rate is probably enormous. There are DEC staff who don’t even believe in the science behind Climate Change, so I suspect our wildlife have many more hurdles than California to adapt. California officials unveil plans for wildlife bridge over highway Officials have unveiled plans for a grassy bridge over a Southern California highway that would provide a safe and natural passage for mountain lions and other animals migrating between wilderness areas. (September 3, 2014) Reuters [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]
9/04/2015 - “Canandaigua, Seneca and Honeoye lakes all have confirmed blue-green algae.” When will local media connect the dots with Climate Change and more local harmful algae? When will our local leaders and authorities start planning for more harmful algae breakouts and work them into their climate action plans? Read: Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms Climate change is predicted to change many environmental conditions that could affect the natural properties of fresh and marine waters both in the US and worldwide. Changes in these factors could favor the growth of harmful algal blooms and habitat changes such that marine HABs can invade and occur in freshwater. An increase in the occurrence and intensity of harmful algal blooms may negatively impact the environment, human health, and the economy for communities across the US and around the world. The purpose of this fact sheet is to provide climate change researchers and decision–makers a summary of the potential impacts of climate change on harmful algal blooms in freshwater and marine ecosystems. Although much of the evidence presented in this fact sheet suggests that the problem of harmful algal blooms may worsen under future climate scenarios, further research is needed to better understand the association between climate change and harmful algae. May 2013 US Environmental Protection Agency | Blue-green algae advisory closes Kershaw Beach Thursday on Canandaigua Lake A blue-green algae advisory in effect for Canandaigua Lake has closed Kershaw Park until further notice. (September 3, 2015) Daily Messenger
9/04/2015 - Often when asked during petitioning events to stop these Bomb Trains running through Monroe County, some folks respond, "How else are we going to get our fuel?" The answer is simple: We can get our fuel by switching to a safer fuel (from the sun and wind) that doesn't blow up in our communities, warm up the planet, and provides jobs for us, not elsewhere. Albany County may sue over oil trains Albany County is preparing to take legal action against the operator of an oil train terminal in the City of Albany. The terminal, which is owned and operated by Global Companies and provides access to the Hudson River, has become a major East Coast oil train hub. Hardly any oil passed through the terminal three years ago, compared to 2 billion gallons a year now, most of which originates in the Bakken Shale region, county officials said in a press release. The trains, which are often just over 100 cars long, queue up outside of the facility on tracks that run alongside the Ezra Prentice Homes — a public housing complex. (September 2, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area]
9/04/2015 - One of the most critical parts of Climate Change is soil: healthy soil is a solution; unhealthy soil is a disaster. From our friends over at GVOCSA (Genesee Valley Organic Community Supported Agriculture) “Here is a list of actions people can take to sequester more carbon: eat organically grown food, buy from local farmers who are organic and trade fairly, use organic methods in your own garden or window box, turn your yard into a carbon sink, do not use synthetic nitrogen fertilizers, make your own compost by mixing food and yard waste or sign up for a compost collection service, increase biodiversity, if you must use pesticides, use organic pesticides that are not toxic to soil microorganisms - focus on prevention of pests, reduce the area of lawn that you mow, add white clover, trefoil, or native grasses for drought tolerance, set your mower to 3 - 4 inches and leave grass clippings on the lawn, preserve or add native plants, observe the natural landscape and apply nature's lessons, grow more vegetables and flowers and less grass, water infrequently and never more than 1" per week including rainfall, turn off automatic sprinklers, divert roof run-off to low-lying areas or rain barrels, Thank you! We can all start sequestering carbon today and every bit helps!” Read “Soil Carbon Restoration: Can Biology do the Job?” See video: VeggiesUSA "Music video about GVOCSA (Genesee Valley Organic Community Supported Agriculture), Rochester NY "
9/03/2015 - From our friends over at PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER The Pachamama Alliance September 2015 Newsletter "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.”
9/03/2015 - Communities like Rochester could be more bicycle friendly (and safe) if biking were augmented through the lens of Climate Change. If increasing active transportation (walking and bicycling) were understood by the public as one of the very realistic ways to address Climate Change (by reducing greenhouse gas emissions), then more attention and public monies would be used for communicating bicycle safety and pedestrian safety—and this would still be far cheaper than trying to increase other modes of transportation. Painting more bike lane signs on more of our road should go hand-in-hand with a massive education program to show drivers and bicyclist how to bike safely on our roads—continually. And, if we were serious, there should be wide-spread teaching programs for those who want to bike as transportation. As transportation chair of the Rochester Sierra Club and the Rochester Biking Club we did this with the county several years ago and it was very popular. By connecting the dots with active transportation being an integral part of our transportation system and our local attempts to address Climate Change our community would truly be a bicycle friendly community—instead of hoping an increase in biking will magically transform everyone’s attitude to share the road. Here in Rochester we are missing a valuable component of education in our attempt to make Rochester a bicycle friendly community. See: bikeRochester by the City of Rochester, NY. Bicycling-Related Injuries And Hospitalizations On The Rise In US More Americans are reaching for bicycles for quick workouts or to replace cars for daily commutes, an encouraging sign for public health -- and the environment. But as they do, the rate of cycling-related injuries and hospital stays in the U.S. is steadily climbing. Both rose sharply between 2008 and 2013, according to data published Tuesday by the Journal of the American Medical Association. And older Americans are feeling more of the pain. There’s ample evidence to support the health benefits of cycling, which has been shown to improve cardiovascular fitness and make it easier to maintain a healthy weight. These perks have persuaded more Americans to take to the road -- the number of people who had ridden a bicycle in the past year rose from 47 million in 2008 to 67 million in 2014 -- a 70 percent increase. But new research by a team of scientists from the University of California San Francisco shows that the rate of bicycling-related injuries and hospital stays is also steadily growing, which could be a sign that the nation’s enthusiasm for cycling is outpacing safety efforts and urban improvements such as designated bike lanes to protect users. Perhaps most notably, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry broke his femur this year in a cycling accident in France. (September 1, 2015) International Business Times [more on Transportation in our area]
9/03/2015 - Smart businesses realize that addressing Climate Change is smart business. Dozens of Companies Support California’s Climate Change Bills With just a few days left in the state legislative session, more than 24 California companies have announced their support for two major climate bills that would set new ambitious state goals for reducing climate-changing pollution, boosting renewable energy and decreasing petroleum use over the next 15 years. “Our support is firmly grounded in economic reality,” wrote companies such as Autodesk, Dignity Health, Levi Strauss & Co., Mars and Symantec in letters delivered Tuesday to legislative leaders. (August 30, 2015) Environmental News Service (ENS) [more on Green Business and Climate Change in our area]
9/02/2015 - This is pretty cool: Rochester, NY has joined the Climate Smart Communities - Compact of Mayors Challenge. Learn more: “The Compact of Mayors is a global coalition of mayors and city officials that have pledged to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and enhance resilience to climate change. President Obama has challenged all mayors to commit to a climate action and has set a goal of at least 100 U.S. cities signing onto the compact by the end of November. Two New York cities – New York City and Climate Smart Community Rochester – have already signed on.” For more information on the Compact of Mayors. | Climate Smart Communities - Compact of Mayors Challenge (September 1, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)
9/02/2015 - Our local leaders and our media who are preparing us for winter should be mindful of the big picture: Climate Change. A warming Arctic is affecting the jet streams, which is sometimes sending Arctic cold at points (like our Northeast) lower than usual. Our winters won’t necessarily be getting colder; they will be getting wackier. How do we plan properly for our winters? Because of the last two winters, where the winters were harsh, should we be buying lots of snow removal equipment and hiring lots of folks for that? Or will this winter shift back to the warmer winters we have been experiencing for the last couple of decades—where Lake Ontario was losing 88% of its ice cover? We could swing from much warmer winters with much more flooding and zigzagging frosts, or massive lake-effect snows that cripple our transportation systems. And everything in between. Our leaders and our media need to see our winters through a larger lens than year-to-year. They need to bring Climate Change into their projections to adequately inform and prepare the public for dramatically different winters than we have ever experienced before. If we continue the way we are going (ignoring Climate Change) we are going to be constantly playing catchup on winter preparations—until we cannot afford it anymore. Yes, a Warmer Arctic Means Cold Winters Elsewhere. Here's How. Rising Arctic temps are changing the jet stream, drawing cold air further south, showing climate change can drive extreme weather in unexpected ways. Melting sea ice and warmer temperatures in the Arctic are to blame for the brutal cold snaps that have plagued parts of Asia and North America in recent years, according to new research by Korean and European scientists released Monday. The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Geoscience, adds to the growing evidence linking rising Arctic temperatures to changing weather patterns across the globe. It also helps further debunk one of climate deniers' favorite arguments: cold weather proves the world isn't warming from the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. (August 31, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/02/2015 - Climate Change is warming Alaska twice as fast as the lower 48. The wildfires are opening up the permafrost to melting and burning and the projections are Kafkaesque. Watch this five minute video of a warming world. Alaska’s wildfires create disastrous loop of climate change Alaska is warming at twice the rate of southern latitudes, priming its forests to burn and create even more warming President Obama arrived in Alaska Monday to meet with foreign ministers from Arctic nations to discuss climate change, and to speak with Alaskans who are already being affected by a climate that is heating up twice as fast as lower latitudes. (September 1, 2015) Aljazeera [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/01/2015 - If the great state of Hawaii “Dumps Oil and Gas in Favor of 100 Percent Renewables” so can New York. Hawaii’s Governor Dumps Oil and Gas in Favor of 100 Percent Renewables An unlikely partnership between Hawaii’s local government and the US military makes the island a leader in energy policy. At the Asia Pacific Resilience Innovation Summit held in Honolulu, Hawaii, this week, Governor David Ige dropped a bombshell. His administration will not use natural gas to replace the state’s petroleum-fueled electricity plants, but will make a full-court press toward 100 percent renewables by 2045. Ige’s decisive and ambitious energy vision is making Hawaii into the world’s most important laboratory for humankind’s fight against climate change. He has, in addition, attracted an unlikely and enthusiastic partner in his embrace of green energy—the US military. Ige said Monday that LNG (liquefied natural gas) will not save the state money over time, given the plummeting prices of renewables. Moreover, “it is a fossil fuel,” i.e., it emits dangerous greenhouse gases. He explained that local jurisdictions in Hawaii are putting up a fight against natural gas, making permitting difficult. Finally, any money put into retooling electric plants so as to run on gas, he said, is money that would better be invested in the transition to green energy. (August 26, 2015) The Nation [more on Energy in our area]
9/01/2015 - New York State 100% renewable energy by 2030 | It can be done. Read study: “Examining the feasibility of converting New York State’s all-purpose energy infrastructure to one using wind, water, and sunlight” More: Campaign for 100% Clean Energy "Join the Campaign for 100% Green Energy in NYS by 2030 New York needs to commit to 100% green renewable energy by 2030. New York needs to invest in energy conservation, energy reduction, wind, solar and geothermal (e.g., heat pumps) not oil, gas, coal, fossil fuel infrastructure, or nukes. The first step is for the Governor to issue an executive order to have 100% clean energy in NY by 2030 (or have the legislature pass a law). The state energy master plan and Renewable Portfolio standard (RPS) should incorporate this goal, with clear targets and timelines. The biggest obstacles to going to 100% clean energy are political and economic power, not energy technology. Fossil fuel companies wish to maintain their profits and market share, as does Wall Street. Solving climate change requires energy democracy, changing the political and economic system that promotes unsustainable development and energy use. We need democratic control over the energy system, including public ownership. " from Green Education and Legal Fund
9/01/2015 - With the growing algae problem, this makes sense: “You don’t need to be adding phosphorus where it’s not needed,” Testing farm soil can help in algae fight Ohio’s ongoing problems with toxic algae likely won’t be solved anytime soon, scientists say. They didn’t start overnight, and they won’t be turned around overnight, either. But some practices already in place could help slow the flow of fertilizer from farm fields to waterways that feeds the algae that plague Lake Erie and other Ohio lakes. In some cases, it’s just a matter of getting farmers on board. One such practice is soil testing, in which soil from a farmer’s field is tested for potassium, acidity and phosphorus. (August 31, 2015) The Columbus Dispatch [more on Water Quality in our area]
9/01/2015 - Until now there seemed to be other pressing things to attend to other than Climate Change. That dangerous illusion is over. COP21 Paris must not fail. UN Said to Summon Leaders to Closed-Door Climate Change Meeting Frustrated by slow progress in global climate talks, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon plans to invite around 40 world leaders including President Barack Obama and German Chancellor Angela Merkel to a closed-door meeting next month. The meeting will take place in New York on Sept. 27, a day ahead of the UN general assembly, said three people with knowledge of the matter. Ban also plans to invite French President Francois Hollande, India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff, as well as Chinese leaders, according to the people, who asked not to be identified because they’re not authorized to speak to the media. (August 29, 2015) Bloomberg Business [more on Climate Change in our area]
9/01/2015 - Because “Decomposition and other soil processes are estimated to account for nearly 30% of all naturally-produced CO2 emissions…” we ought to get it right. We are still have a lot to learn about how soil around the world is going to be affected by Climate Change and that’s critical information we have to have before we can assume that know the full consequences of a rapidly warming world. Decomposition is not a natural process we can duplicate with technology. Soil health is one of the most overlooked and misunderstood aspects of Climate Change. We dismiss soil at our peril. Climate models may misjudge soils' carbon emissions How soil organisms cope with decaying vegetation is much less certain than climate models suppose, researchers say, and carbon emission estimates may be wrong. Some of the microscopic creatures which live in the soil are able to digest dead plants and trees, turning their contents into gas and minerals. But researchers say their work show that our understanding of how organic material is decomposed is fundamentally wrong, calling into question some current climate models. The researchers, from Lund University, Sweden, and the University of New Hampshire, USA, have published their study in the journal Ecological Monographs. They say it means that climate models which include micro-organisms in their estimates of future climate change must be reconsidered. (August 29, 2015) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]