Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area

RochesterEnvironment.com

Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care.  For all Daily Updates going back to 1998, go to Update Archives.

* Please read this carefully, it's not the usual Yada Yada

Rochester, NY with its new bridgeLocal Media Doing their Job on Our Environment?

Coming up with a policy or an evaluation on the state of one's environment is impossible without data.  This truism is so obvious that it need not be expressed if it were not a fact that so many engage in both without enough information to support either.   

The government at the local, state, and federal levels does not have enough money (for whatever reasons) to pay for all the independent, objective and thorough studies needed to fully understand all an area’s flora and fauna and their interrelations, their ecology.  Neither do universities; neither do environmental organizations--though all cover various pieces of the puzzle that is our complex environment.   

There's one group left who can and should help the public evaluate the state of our environment - the media.  Besides making a profit, the media's job historically and manifestly is to inform the public on all critical matters, which, I submit, includes the state of our environment.  We need a healthy environment to survive and to do so we need a timely and complete picture of it.  We, the public, need information to be able to form evaluations and policies on our environment, so we can anticipate dangers, decide on solutions, and choose responsible leaders. Without a media with trained environmental reporters, a vital ingredient in the equation of a sustainable environment goes missing. Scientists cannot see all that occurs in the environment despite their expertise. 

The government won't notice danger signals, except those they are predisposed to see.  Environmentalists would have little to evaluate the health of our environment and the roles of those responsible.  And the public, without a media fully tuned to the environment, will think everything is going fine until a disaster indicates a tipping point and the aftermath splashes across the headlines.     

This is all to say that in recent years it is becoming increasingly obvious that because of financial and other extraneous considerations, our local media is experiencing a dearth of trained dedicated environmental reporters.  Only these professionals, who have the time and training to gather all the information from all the participants in our environment, can fill this critical role in our society.  Without them, what we get is a disparate snapshot of events going on in our environment that may or may not spell disaster.  A dedicated environmental reporter in each of our print and visual media would have the necessary, continual contacts to provide us with the depth and perspective that environmental stories need.  If our local media were doing their job, we could be anticipating environmental problems, instead of trying to catch up to long-standing realities .

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Daily Updates: Wednesday, June 29, 2016

These are the daily recordings of what I believe are important indicators of our Rochester-area environment --since 1998. For all Daily Updates, go to Update Archives

* My comments are in Bold text:

  • 6/29/2016 - It’s getting down to the wire, “universal support” (everyone, 100%) including businesses to fulfill their Paris Agreement promises. Universal support needed to tackle global warming, UN climate chief says Private sector needs to work in Africa, Asia and Latin America to drive down carbon emissions, Christiana Figueres to tell business and climate summit “Universal support” is needed from businesses across the world to tackle global warming, the United Nations climate chief says. Business leaders and politicians are meeting in London to discuss how to implement the first comprehensive climate agreement, secured at UN talks in Paris in December, to cut greenhouse gas emissions and avoid dangerous temperature rises. (June 28, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/29/2016 - Monitoring wildlife’s response to global warming is critical to protecting them during Climate Change. You can be a part of that with Audubon’s Climate Watch Pilot Program. Here’s Your First Look at Audubon’s New Birds and Climate Project Climate Watch is getting volunteers across the country to admire bluebirds (for science). Bluebirds and lots of other species are on the move because of climate change, and Audubon volunteers and scientists are on the case to find out where and how fast. Earlier this year, the National Audubon Society launched a new citizen science project across 10 states, partnering with 19 Audubon chapters and one center to track how North American bluebirds are responding to global warming. The pilot project, Climate Watch, asks volunteers to visit 10-kilometer squares in their locale to count Mountain, Western, and Eastern Bluebirds and submit their data through eBird. The surveys take place in January and June, allowing participants to sample both the birds’ wintering and breeding seasons. (June 22, 2016) Audubon [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/28/2016 - Climate Change should not be made funny. But then again, if it communicates the urgency and threat of this crisis…   CLIMATE CHANGE EXPLAINED IN 10 CARTOONS “Do I need to draw you a picture?”   If you’ve ever attempted to skim the latest 30-page scientific study from Nature Climate Change, or tried to go shot-for-shot with a climate change denier on Twitter, you’ve probably asked this question with at least some frustration in your voice. The fact of the matter is, showing a visualization can be very useful in understanding a subject – or even convincing someone of your point of view. With that in mind, we gathered some of the best cartoons to explain the climate crisis – and how we can solve it. (June 16, 2016) Climate Reality Project [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/28/2016 - Important to remember, as this article does, that Climate Change must factor into any discussion about stopping harmful algae blooms in our Finger Lakes. Farmers helping to limit algae in Great Lakes Summers along the Great Lakes include fishing, boating -- and dangerous algae blooms that can shut down beaches. These blooms are caused by excess phosphorous, a lot of which comes from farms. Now some of the region's farmers are testing agricultural practices that could reduce harmful runoff. (June 28, 2016) WXXI News  [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/28/2016 - Trying to get humanity to do the right thing on Climate Change, not batshit crazy stuff, must be frustrating for climate scientists. If you knew, as 97% of climate scientists do, that our planet is warming quickly, perhaps beyond our capabilities of adapting to it, and every time you pulled away from the studies and mounting research that solidified the case of Climate Change and tried to message the urgency of this crisis to the world at large and every time to you did you got dismissed by the media and the public and their politicians, it must seem very surreal.  Like trying to explain to someone very stubborn that every time they try and throw an anvil into the air it’s going to come right back down immediately—not disappear magically down the street into a hardware shop. Scientists Plead With Australia To Get Off Coal To Save The Great Barrier Reef Coral reefs around the world are in a dire predicament, as warmer-than-usual waters are causing widespread bleaching and death among these crucial marine organisms. Now, more than 2,500 marine scientists and policy experts are urging the Australian government to protect the world’s largest and most well-known coral ecosystem: the Great Barrier Reef. “Coral reefs … are threatened with complete collapse under rapid climate change,” the scientists, who last week attended the International Coral Reef Symposium in Hawaii, write in their letter to Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. “Fifty percent of coral reefs have already been destroyed by a combination of local and global factors. Additional serious degradation will occur over the next two decades as temperatures continue to rise.” The scientists also offer up a way to protect the Great Barrier Reef from future climate change: Get off coal. (June 27, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/28/2016 - This simple sentence should give you pause then next time you dismiss Climate Change: “Ocean circulation is critical to the climate system because it distributes heat and helps store carbon dioxide in the deep ocean.” Our human induced Climate Change is messing with a profoundly complex system. And ignorance of the way climate works will be no excuse for the consequences of our meddling. The smart thing to do would be to get temperatures back where they were before we sent them through the roof. Wind-blown Antarctic sea ice helps drive ocean circulation Antarctic sea ice is constantly on the move as powerful winds blow it away from the coast and out toward the open ocean. A new study shows how that ice migration may be more important for the global ocean circulation than anyone realized. A team of scientists used a computer model to synthesize millions of ocean and ice observations collected over six years near Antarctica, and estimated, for the first time, the influence of sea ice, glacier ice, precipitation and heating on ocean overturning circulation. Overturning circulation brings deep water and nutrients up to the surface, carries surface water down, and distributes heat and helps store carbon dioxide as it flows through the world's oceans, making it an important force in the global climate system. The scientists found that freshwater played the most powerful role in changing water density, which drives circulation, and that melting of wind-blown sea ice contributed 10 times more freshwater than melting of land-based glaciers did. (June 27, 2016) PHYS.org

  • 6/28/2016 - The trend towards privatizing emergency services because public services go broke does not bode well for Climate Change adaptation. What will happened when private services go belly up during extreme weather events (flooding, heatwaves, and public health crises)? The answer to providing public services, including emergency services, is not to go private (which tend to focus on making money, not the public good). The answer is to find a way to make public services work by the public by prioritizing these fundamental services a government provides. Educate the public on Climate Change and plan for the future where there will be much disruption. However you view private verse public services, at the end of the day, in great emergencies, which are coming with Climate Change, it will be your government who will have to address these emergencies. Private services can walk away. When You Dial 911 and Wall Street Answers Today, people interact with private equity when they dial 911, pay their mortgage, play a round of golf or turn on the kitchen tap for a glass of water. Private equity put a unique stamp on these businesses. Unlike other for-profit companies, which often have years of experience making a product or offering a service, private equity is primarily skilled in making money. And in many of these businesses, The Times found, private equity firms applied a sophisticated moneymaking playbook: a mix of cost cuts, price increases, lobbying and litigation. (June 25, 2016) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2016 - When we find ourselves unprepared for the threats Climate Change poses remember those whose powerful denial ideologies dismissed our concerns. Why the GOP is trying to stop the Pentagon's climate plan The Defense Department, long in the vanguard in dealing with climate change, may see its latest plan defunded. In Washington, big agencies rarely get high marks for innovation and foresight. But when it comes to coping with climate change, the largest federal agency—the Pentagon—has taken a spot in the vanguard. As far as back as the George W. Bush administration, the Defense Department was warning that global warming posed a threat to U.S. national security, and that the military needed to be preparing accordingly. This year it went further, laying out a new game plan that assigns specific top officials the jobs of figuring out how climate change should shape everything from weapons acquisition to personnel training. Last week, however, House Republicans voted to block it. By a 216-205 vote Thursday, the House passed an amendment prohibiting the department from spending money to put its new plan into effect. (June 23, 2016) Politico [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/27/2016 - From our friends over at THE PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER July 2016 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.”

  • 6/25/2016 - Stay cool in Rochester, NY with Cool Sweep as we heat up …, for a while anyways, then we’ll need more robust measures. Mayor Warren announces Cool Sweep program On Friday Mayor Lovely Warren announced this year’s Cool Sweep program, the season of which will begin Monday and go until August 27, according to the City of Rochester. The City of Rochester says that Cool Sweep operations take place when temperatures are expected to get up to, at least, 85 degrees. During these operations there are cooling sprays at fire hydrants, as well as extended hours at places such as Durand Eastman Beach, and City spray parks and pools. (June 24, 2016) WHEC Rochester

  • 6/25/2016 - The June edition of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s newsletter (the Ecologue) has been published. Lots of local environmental news and more…

  • 6/25/2016 - A lot organizations, including your government, are taking Climate Change seriously and providing lots of specific information for everyone on how to adapt. U.S. Climate Resilience Toolkit "In response to the President’s Climate Action Plan and Executive Order to help the nation prepare for climate-related changes and impacts, U.S. federal government agencies, led by the Office of Science and Technology Policy and the Council on Environmental Quality, gathered resources that can help people take action to build their climate resilience. The impacts of climate change—including higher temperatures, heavier downpours, more frequent and intense droughts, wildfires, and floods, and sea level rise—are affecting communities, businesses, and natural resources across the nation. "

  • 6/25/2016 - Local news connects the dots between more outbreaks of blue-green algae and Climate Change in our Finger Lakes. “Outbreaks of blue-green algae are become more and more common, with warming temperatures and other aspects of climate change partially to blame.” Last year Seneca Lake had its first official case of blue-green algae. Canandaigua Lake continues to be plagued by toxic algae. And the shallow Honeoye Lake usually has a blue-green algae problem. Climate Change is changing our Finger Lakes and this needs to be on our list of present consequences of this crisis so we can plan properly. Health advisory issued for blue-green algae in Conesus Lake Conesus Lake has the dubious distinction of sporting the first confirmed outbreak of blue-green algae in the Rochester region this summer, prompting the Livingston County Department of Health to issue an advisory. Thirteen lakes now appear on the DEC's harmful algal bloom alert page. Among them is the Avon Marsh Dam Pond, also in Livingston County, where there is a suspicious but unconfirmed bloom of something nasty-looking. (June 24, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Conesus lake and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/24/2016 - New Initiative by DEC and DOH to allow pharmacies to take back unwanted drugs could have huge impact on water quality. OK, many know that’s it’s now insane to flush unwanted drugs down the toilet because our waste water treatment plants cannot filter out these drugs so these drugs go back out into our drinking water. Clearly, that’s mad. So, what do you do with unwanted drugs besides wait for a legal (must have security measures) unwanted drugs event or take them to your local police station to drop them off.? One of the best solutions would be for pharmacies to be able to accept unwanted drugs because they know drugs and pharmacies are everywhere. (Ok, there’re not ‘everywhere’, but there are probably several close to where you live.) This should be happening so our waters are free of unwanted pharmaceuticals. DEC and DOH Announce Initiative to Improve New Yorkers Ability to Dispose of Unwanted Medication New Yorkers now have more options to safely dispose unused, unwanted, and expired drugs, Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Basil Seggos and Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Howard Zucker announced today. Governor Cuomo recently signed legislation that will facilitate drug collection efforts by now allowing pharmacies to take back unwanted drugs. "Many New Yorkers want to properly dispose of their unwanted drugs, but collection events and locations were not always convenient," Commissioner Seggos said. "Now that pharmacies are allowed to be a collection point, people can take their medicine to the same location where they get their prescriptions filled, which helps keep them out of our waterways. The state encourages everyone to properly dispose of their unwanted medications." (June 23, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 6/24/2016 - Threats to food production in places like Africa because of Climate Change means regions like US Northeast, which has great soil and water, must prepare. We must prepare to keep our soil and water free from contamination and we must prepare for an increase in agriculture to help feed the world. More knowledge about how Climate Change is impacting the world and vital systems like food production can help our region prepare for what’s coming. Race is on to feed warming world Scientists warn that plant breeders will need to accelerate development schedules if they are to ensure the ever-growing population can be fed as global temperatures rise. It can take up to 30 years to improve a crop variety, test it and persuade farmers to adopt it. That means the speed of climate change in Africa could make a new variety of maize useless even before the first harvest, according to new research. But two separate studies that address the challenge of food security in a rapidly warming world suggest that the answers may lie not just in future weather but in today’s soils. (June 22, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/24/2016 - Climate Change causes some diseases and perhaps that knowledge can help us predict disease outbreaks. Climate Change is going to have a profound effect on public health but if we plan properly in a warmer world we can prepare so that the consequences are not as bad. Denying Climate Change is blinding ourselves to solutions. Scientists use climate, population changes to predict diseases Model can predict outbreaks of zoonotic diseases, such as Ebola and Zika, based on changes in climate British scientists say they have developed a model that can predict outbreaks of zoonotic diseases - those such as Ebola and Zika that jump from animals to humans - based on changes in climate. Describing their model as "a major improvement in our understanding of the spread of diseases from animals to people", the researchers said it could help governments prepare for and respond to disease outbreaks, and to factor in their risk when making policies that might affect the environment. (June 12, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 6/23/2016 - As Climate Change presses on, Water, clean potable water for all, is crucial. Continual testing of our water must happen. Many areas of our country and the world are already experiencing water shortages vital to life because of Climate Change. We in the Northeast have plenty of water and we also have a long history of discharging waste, including industrial waste, into our precious waters.  We need a major attitude change towards our water where we continually monitor our water and make sure every source of contamination is removed from this vital substance. When you cannot drink the water, your life changes. But not in a good way. New York searches statewide for industrial chemical in water New York environmental regulators are looking statewide for potential sites of groundwater contamination from a cancer-causing industrial chemical previously used to make Teflon and other non-stick, stain-resistant and water-repellant products. The Department of Environmental Conservation sent formal surveys last week to more than 150 facilities that may have manufactured or used PFOA, or perfluorooctanoic acid, Peter Walke, the agency’s chief of staff, told The Associated Press in a recent interview. Surveys also were sent to fire departments, airports and major storage facilities that may have used the related chemical PFOS, a component of firefighting foam. (June 22, 2015) The Post Star [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/23/2016 - Discovering Blue-green algae blooms on the shallow Finger Lake’s Conesus Lake so soon is all over local media, but not the Climate Change connection. The predictions of the EPA (and DEC for that matter)  is that there will be more of these toxic algae bloom sooner and more often in our local waters because of Climate Change. In order for the public to understand why this is occurring so frequently and how Climate Change is really affecting us our media needs to get on the stick. 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 blooms found on Conesus Lake Blue-green algae has been found in the southeast area of Conesus Lake, according to the Livingston County Department of Health. (June 22, 2016) WHAM Rochester [more on Conesus Lake in our area]

  • 6/23/2016 - Climate Change means more heat and you’re thinking you can just tough it out. Think again. Humans, even the toughest of us can only handle so much heat then our natural cooling system shuts down.  We need to prepare for a world where oftentimes it will be too hot for us to do what we want and need to do outside. Dangerous Heat Wave to Grip the US: Top 10 Lessons to Survive Extreme Heat The US National Weather Service heat index forecast for June 18, 2016 looks scary.  It indicates a dangerous situation that everyone who lives in the red areas in the map below should take steps to prepare for. I am not kidding. Extreme heat can be life threatening if not taken seriously. (June 15, 2016) Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 6/23/2016 - We’re going to have to be energy smart about our future. How we use energy is both a moral and existential feature of Climate Change. The more we know about Energy the better chance we have. Ten interesting things about energy Always turn off lights when you leave the room, unless you have CFLs To save energy, you should always turn off unneeded incandescent and halogen lights, since they're the most inefficient bulbs. Only 10 percent of the energy they use goes toward light; the other 90 percent just generates heat. But if you have CFLs, turning them on and off too many times shortens their lifespans. Turn them off if you'll be gone for 15 minutes of more. If you'll be right back, you can leave them on. (June 17, 2016) NASA Global Science Change [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 6/22/2016 - Let’s try something totally different: Let’s focus on the value of starting up bike sharing in Rochester instead of the price. Let’s, instead of obsessing on the cost, which is what it takes to start up this kind of service in a small city like Rochester, obsess about the advantages of bike rentals as a real transportation option in Rochester that will help your health and lower greenhouse gas emissions. The more people who walk and bike and rent bikes, instead of gas guzzles, the safer bicycling in Rochester get, the more healthier and friendlier our populations gets, the lower the price will be for bike rentals, and the more effect (27% of greenhouse gas emission come from Transportation) Rochesterians  will have on addressing Climate Change. You cannot have your cake and eat it too. If you want a city that is bicycle friendly and easy use, you’re going to have to prioritize your values. Someone has to pay to wrestle active transportation (walking and bicycling) back into our transportation system so we can live sustainably. Would you rent a bicycle in Rochester for $11 an hour? Kudos to the arrival of a bike hire station in downtown Rochester. ► Bike rentals come to downtown Cycling along the Genesee River sounds like a wonderful way to spend a sunny summer afternoon, right? But the price tag. Oh. My. (June 21, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 6/22/2016 - Cities are part of the problem and definitely part of the Climate Change solution. Cities are where we must live sustainably on a warmer planet. Our new alliance unites 600m city dwellers in fight against climate change Cities are huge carbon emitters but are ideally placed to tackle climate change. Michael Bloomberg on how the Global Covenant can give them the tools to do so When it comes to confronting climate change, the world’s cities are proving that there’s strength in unity. The historic climate agreement reached in Paris in December, which was approved by nearly all of the world’s nations, was made possible in part by the progress that cities have made by working together. Today, the two biggest coalitions of cities in the world – the EU-based Covenant of Mayors and the UN-backed Compact of Mayors – are forming an alliance to link more than 600 million city dwellers in the fight against climate change. (June 22, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/22/2016 - Of course, you really start to notice the problem of transporting dangerous crude oil by rail when they explode nearby. Increasing the transport of volatile oil via Bomb Trains is a fossil fuel infrastructure that is unsustainable and dangerous. Many communities, including Rochester, are threaten by this vast increase in crude oil transport on a system of cars and rails not designed for this crazy scheme. Protesters Arrested for Blocking Railroad in Call for Oil-by-Rail Moratorium Arrests come as Oregon's governor and others urge the Obama administration to ban oil trains in that state after a fiery crash in the Columbia River gorge. Twenty-one activists were arrested in Vancouver, Wash. on Saturday in a protest calling for a permanent moratorium on shipping oil by rail in Oregon and Washington, to protect people and the environment. Approximately 100 protesters took part in the event, blocking trains along the Columbia River gorge. The protest followed the derailment of an oil train in the gorge on June 3 that erupted in flames, spilled 42,000 gallons of crude oil and forced hundreds of people to evacuate their homes. The crash came three years after a derailment in Lac-Megantic, Quebec that killed 47 people in July 2013. (June 21, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 6/21/2016 - If you like growing produce and eating them (and who doesn’t?), then you should know the Climate Change connection on extreme, unpredictable weather with agriculture. Climate Change cannot be ignored and we have to plan for it on a massive scale. Alumni learn about effects of extreme weather on farming Thor Oechsner ’87 spent years cultivating a rich layer of topsoil essential to growing lush fields of organic wheat, rye and buckwheat. But it took just a few minutes for those years of hard work to be washed away when more than 5 inches of rain fell on his Newfield, New York, farm last summer. Extreme weather events like the one experienced at Oechsner Farms are becoming more frequent and devastating, warnedToby Ault, assistant professor of earth and atmospheric sciences in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences.  (June 17, 2016) Cornell Chronicle [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/21/2016 - What are phragmites and why you should care about this Great Lakes invasive species? Mayors tackle scourge of the Great Lakes wetlands A new satellite-aided model shows that phragmites — invasive, feather-topped reeds twice the height of a basketball net — are forecast to spread exponentially across the Great Lakes. And officials say they’re barely able to manage existing stands of it, much less control its spread. “When I go into coastal wetlands and they’re infested with phragmites, it’s absolutely astonishing. We’re losing our wetlands because of them,” said Janice Gilbert, a wetland ecologist and a founder of the Ontario Phragmites Working Group. An analysis using NASA satellite mapping shows vast swaths of urban and rural land overtaken by phragmites by 2020. (June 17, 2016) IFP.com [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/21/2016 - Incredible video shows humanity’s move to cities over the millennia. Cities, where most of humanity will soon be, will factor large in addressing Climate Change. Each city around the world impacts our environment in similar ways—bringing in water, taking out waste, providing infrastructure, setting codes, enforcing laws—acting like huge beings whose behavior towards our life support system matters a lot. Each city should have a strong Climate Action Plan that coordinates with other cities on how to address planetary Climate Change. Watch 6,000 years of people moving to cities Humans have been building and living in cities for thousands of years. But only very recently — in the past few years — did the scales tip to more of us choosing to settle in cities than in rural areas. According to the United Nations, 54 percent of the world's population now lives in urban areas. That figure was 30 percent in 1950 and is expected to rise to 66 percent by 2050. In the video below, you can watch the stunning rise of human cities, from their humble origin in the Fertile Crescent in the year 3700 BC to the boom of the past century. (June 19, 2016) VOX

  • 6/21/2016 - Cities, like Rochester NY, are critical to lowering greenhouse gas emissions and addressing Climate Change. Consider filing out the survey on Rochester’s Climate Action Plan and give the City important feedback: CLIMATE ACTION PLAN | Hundreds of Cities Commit to Emissions Limits Cities today host more than half of the Earth’s human beings and account for about 70 percent of global energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. Now, 228 cities around the world are taking the lead on climate action, setting greenhouse gas reduction goals or targets. Action in these cities, with a combined population of 439 million people, could ensure that countries meet their Intended Nationally Determined Contributions (INDCs), the national greenhouse gas reduction pledges embodied in the Paris Climate Agreement. At the UN’s annual climate conference in December 2015 in Paris, 195 countries adopted the world’s first universal, legally binding global climate deal. (June 9, 2016) Environmental News Service [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2016 - It's hot. Climate Change? Public health threat. Wildfires. Too alarmist? Not alarmist enough? Time passes. Deadly heat wave hits southwest U.S. A lethal, record-setting heat wave has hit the southwestern United States. So far four people have been killed in Arizona. At least three large wildfires are burning in the region, covering an area larger than Paris. And over 30 million people are under heat warnings or advisories. It's the hottest start to summer ever in three states -- California, New Mexico and Arizona -- according to CNN Meteorologist Pedram Javaheri. (June 20, 2016) CNN

  • 6/20/2016 - Remember: Where there’s wildfires there is smoke far beyond the fires themselves and Climate Change isn’t helping matters. Only you and everyone else can prevent Climate Change. Everything You Need to Know About Wildfires in One Map Summer's heat is settling in early in parts of the West, and is forecast to arrive in earnest this weekend. With sweltering days ahead, the rising specter of wildfires isn’t far behind. To get the big-picture, we’ve created a brand new wildfire tracker that shows where every wildfire is burning with a side of climate. Hover over a red circle to see how much area has been burned. Click on it, and you’ll get more climate context and the number of people at risk. No wildfire happens in a vacuum anymore. Large wildfires — those greater than 1,000 acres — have doubled since 1970 due in part to a warming climate. And with more people living in harm’s way, that’s raising the risk of losing life and property (a risk that became reality in California last year with the Valley and Butte fires). (June 15, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/20/2016 - Our national parks are being ravished by Climate Change, not to mention the threats to public health, our infrastructures, and just about everything else. Obama at Yosemite attacks 'lip service' to natural beauty amid climate inaction Barack Obama warned on Saturday that climate change could ravage many of America’s vaunted national parks, criticizing political opponents who “pay lip service” to areas of natural beauty while opposing efforts to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. During a visit to Yosemite national park, Obama said climate change was “no longer a threat, it’s a reality”. The first sitting president to visit Yosemite since John F Kennedy in 1962 said the famed glacial valley was already experiencing changes due to rising temperatures. (June 18, 2016) The Guardian [more on Parks and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2015 - It is quite likely that whether we argue for a 1.5C or a 2C world is moot because at our present trajectory we’re going to blast by both thresholds. We are deluding ourselves if we are doing anything   full court press on addressing Climate Change. What Would a Global Warming  Increase of 1.5 Degrees Be Like? The Paris climate conference set the ambitious goal of finding ways to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius, rather than the previous threshold of 2 degrees. But what would be the difference between a 1.5 and 2 degree world? And how realistic is such a target? How ambitious is the world? The Paris climate conference last December astounded many by pledging not just to keep warming “well below two degrees Celsius,” but also to "pursue efforts" to limit warming to 1.5 degrees C. That raised a hugely important question: What's the difference between a two-degree world and a 1.5-degree world? (June 16, 2016) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/18/2016 - Climate scientists are becoming more sure that the consequences of Climate Change are upon us and our situation is more dire.  Our fate may well be determined on our ability to make their warnings our top priority. Time passes. Shattered records show climate change is an emergency today, scientists warn Unprecedented temperature levels mean more heatwaves, flooding, wildfires and hurricanes as experts say global warming is here and affecting us now May was the 13th month in a row to break temperature records according to figures published this week that are the latest in 2016’s string of incredible climate records which scientists have described as a bombshell and an emergency. The series of smashed global records, particularly the extraordinary heat in February and March, has provoked a stunned reaction from climate scientists, who are warning that climate change has reached unprecedented levels and is no longer only a threat for the future. (June 17, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 6/17/2016 - The trouble with aging nuclear power plants is that they are always near the brink, timing is always tight, and there’s no room for error. Why cannot we have renewable energy options to power our future where we the people are in control of our future instead of the continual threat of nuclear power’s threats and demands?  Another Oswego County nuke threatens to close: Nine Mile 1 on the brink The owner of the Nine Mile 1 nuclear reactor told state officials Tuesday the plant is likely to close if new "clean energy" subsidies are not in place by September. Plant owner Exelon Corp. notified the state Public Service Commission in a letter that it will not undertake the $55 million cost of refueling the plant in March 2017 without a contract in place guaranteeing extra payments the plant needs to stop losing money. (June 15, 2016) Syracuse News [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 6/17/2016 - Some people are really, really effective in communicating the moral imperative of addressing Climate Change.  “The world is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on ecology, “Laudato Si”, and much of those celebrations are focused on taking climate action.” World celebrates Pope’s words as faith groups shift into action The world is celebrating the one-year anniversary of Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on ecology, “Laudato Si”, and much of those celebrations are focused on taking climate action. In Australia Thursday, four Catholic orders shifted their investments away from coal, oil and gas companies in the first ever joint Catholic divestment announcement. The moral case against fossil fuels has powered countless actions around the world, including the Interfaith Climate Statement, the Islamic Declaration on Climate Change, and the Hindu Declaration on Climate Change this year. (June 17, 2016) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/16/2016 - After the fossil fuel industry has had their way with our life support system, will they clean up their mess or just walk away? You don’t leave behind a scarred and damaged environment if and when you remove renewable energy infrastructure.  Regulators Fear $1 Billion Coal Cleanup Bill Regulators are wrangling with bankrupt coal companies to set aside enough money to clean up Appalachia’s polluted rivers and mountains so that taxpayers are not stuck with the $1 billion bill. The regulators worry that coal companies will use the bankruptcy courts to pay off their debts to banks and hedge funds, while leaving behind some of their environmental cleanup obligations. The industry asserts that its cleanup plans — which include turning defunct mines back into countryside — are comprehensive and well funded. But some officials say those plans could prove unrealistic and falter as demand for coal remains weak. (June 6, 2016) New York Times [more on Energy in our area]

  • 6/15/2016 - Thinking of Green Businesses, businesses and industries and institutions, that want to do the right thing for our environment like composting for example: At a recent conference someone talked about a composting program that his institution started that runs the risk of not being able to make it financially doable for very long if there are no economic mechanisms or incentives in place to do so.  They’ll have to abandon the program if its bringing them down.  I think this is a good reminded that many of the changes we need to make to address Climate Change and live more sustainable are going to have figure in the economic externalities so that businesses and individuals can do the right thing without risking their survival. Take composting: It is definitely the right thing to do for a large institution to compost all of its food waste. But so doing can be a financial burden if the institution is using up too many financial and human resources to make this work. As budgets become tight, composting programs will be abandoned. So it’s important that our local governments put a legal structure or maybe a composting program in place so that businesses and institution that want to compost can do so a part of much larger program that can help distribute the burdens for those wanting to do the right thing. If we made the tipping fees (charges for dumping trash into a landfill), for example, very high for dumping food and waste into our landfills there would be a great incentive to do otherwise. Recycling, reducing, reusing and composting would flourish. We have long kept the externalities of environmental degradation out of our economics and we need to put it in so we can live sustainably, so doing the right thing pays. A carbon fee would be the right financial incentive for using fossil fuels, which are warming and polluting our planet, less desirable and renewable energy more desirable.  Time passes.  

  • 6/15/2016 - A wonderful review of an important biography about Alexander von Humboldt, from the Atlantic Chapter of the Sierra Club. We knew a lot our about how our environment works at the begging of the 1800’s but we conveniently forgot it. Now we need to know what we knew about Climate Change and the importance of ecologies before we seriously disturbed each. Read this important book review about The Invention of Nature: Alexander von Humboldt’s New World. A Biography By Andrea Wulf Illustrated 403 pp. Alford A. Knopf A Great Naturalist Rediscovered Most of you do not know his name, yet in Napoleon’s era, Alexander von Humboldt was second in international fame only to Napoleon himself. In 1869, the Centennial of his birth was celebrated in Europe, Africa, Australia and all of the Americas. In Moscow, he was called the Shakespeare of the sciences. In Boston, Emerson called Humboldt “one of those wonders of the world” and the London Daily News wrote “that he was in some way bound up with the universe itself.”  (Spring 2016) Sierra Atlantic Newsletter  [more on Environmental Education in our area]

  • 6/15/2016 - Solar power options for those in the Rochester, NY region who rent or don’t have enough roof to grab the sun. Project aims to expand solar access Residential solar power has grown rapidly in recent years, fueled largely by improved panel efficiency, decreased equipment and installation costs, and aggressive state and federal tax incentives.  But some groups have limited ability to tap into solar. Renters and condo owners usually can't install arrays on their buildings, for example. And not all homeowners have the financial means to buy and install panels; some houses simply do not have roofs or yards with adequate exposure to the sun. (June 9, 2016) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 6/15/2016 - If Climate Change is dramatically affecting plants (and it is) we should be alarmed and demand urgent action. Plants don’t get to get up and move to a cooler climate to survive so humanity is going to have to prioritize protecting plants—critical parts of our life support system. 20% plant extinction, along with the other dramatic changes coming, means we are in a major world biological shift. We need plants. How should plants be protected in a changing world? A new study finds 20 percent of the world's plants are threatened with extinction. Plants are the backbone of all life on Earth. They produce oxygen and help control our climate. They are in our food, fuel and medicine. For the first time, an A-to-Z study of the plant kingdom has been carried out at the Royal Botanic Gardens, in Kew, West London. (May 10, 2016) Aljazeera [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/14/2016 - Trying to connect extreme weather events with Climate Change (extreme event attribution) is difficult, indeed. But perhaps not impossible. In order to inform the public better on Climate Change in a more immediate way, perhaps this effort will help the public appreciate that Climate Change is happening now. World Weather Attribution (WWA) "is an international effort designed to sharpen and accelerate the scientific community’s ability to analyze and communicate the possible influence of climate change on extreme-weather events such as storms, floods, heat waves and droughts. Recognizing society’s interest in reducing the human, economic, and environmental costs of weather-related disasters, WWA delivers timely and reliable information on how patterns of extreme weather may be affected by climate change. "

  • 6/14/2016 - Got pets? Tying to rid them of fleas, ticks, and other pests? Are your pet groomers using pesticides? Check with the DEC: Pet Groomers and Pesticide Products Products intended or used to kill or control fleas, ticks, and other pests on pets are considered pesticides under the New York State Environmental Conservation Law (ECL) and their sale and use is regulated by the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC). Pesticides commonly used on pets may include: shampoos, dips, topical treatments, and collars. However, products such as these which do NOT claim to kill or control fleas, ticks, and other pests on pets, are NOT pesticides, unless they are applied with the intention to control pests. Visit the National Pesticide Information Center (link leaves DEC webpage) website to find further information about using pesticides on pets, and pesticide poisoning in pets. Any product that is considered a pesticide may only be sold or used in New York if it is registered by both the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the DEC. There is one exception to this registration requirement; pesticides known as "minimum risk" are exempt from EPA and DEC registration. More information regarding minimum risk pesticides can be found in the section below. New York State Department of Environmental Services [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 6/14/2016 - Will our energy options in the future be determined only by prices, demand and supply or will Climate Change change our behavior also? Time passes. The World Nears Peak Fossil Fuels for Electricity Coal and gas will begin their terminal decline in less than a decade, according to a new BNEF analysis. The way we get electricity is about to change dramatically, as the era of ever-expanding demand for fossil fuels comes to an end—in less than a decade. That's according to a new forecast byBloomberg New Energy Finance that plots out global power markets for the next 25 years.  Call it peak fossil fuels, a turnabout that's happening not because we're running out of coal and gas, but because we're finding cheaper alternatives. Demand is peaking ahead of schedule because electric cars and affordable battery storage for renewable power are arriving faster than expected, as are changes in China's energy mix. (June 13, 2016) Bloomberg [more on Energy in our area]

  • 6/13/2016 - Maybe what’s been ‘stealing’ fishermen’s fish in the Great Lakes is Climate Change and not the double-crested cormorants. Maybe what’s really challenging fish in our Great Lakes is warmer waters due to Climate Change where invasive species thrive better. Maybe decisions on how to protect our Great Lake’s region fish and birds should be prioritized by addressing Climate Change and not fishermen’s priorities. We need to see the big picture here, not the environmental whims of a select group. Can cormorants help control Great Lakes invaders? Double-crested cormorants are the bane of many Great Lakes anglers, devouring prize game fish and damaging the sport and commercial fishery. At least that’s a widely held belief about these birds — and a generally wrong one, Northern Illinois University (NIU) researchers say. Cormorants’ fish-stealing rep may be a bum rap — and the truth is more complex, as the first dietary study of cormorants in southern Lake Michigan shows. “Because this is the first such study, its results will help to inform discussion among local stakeholders and will provide valuable data to other researchers studying cormorant diet in the region,” said lead author Patrick Madura, who conducted the study as a master’s student. (June 6, 2016) Great lakes Echo

  • 6/13/2016 - For those of us who care about lead in our water (and who doesn’t care?) Senate Bill S7103B (testing school water for lead) matters. “2015-2016 Legislative Session Requires school districts and boards of cooperative educational services to conduct periodic testing of school potable water sources and systems to monitor for lead contamination in certain school buildings” DOWNLOAD BILL TEXT PDF | Five bills to watch for in Albany Lead in water Lead found in school water has been a growing concern across the state and the nation, and there is a bill that would require schools to regularly test water for lead. Senate Majority Leader John Flanagan, R-Suffolk County, said he’s talking with lawmakers about a possible deal in the final days of session. In particular, legislators in the Southern Tier want the bill after a number of schools in the region tested positive for lead in water — as well as similar results in the Rochester area and Hudson Valley. (June 12, 2016) Poughkeepsie Journal [more on Lead Poisoning in our area]

  • 6/13/2016 - Nostalgia is the remembrance of what once could have been. But I don’t feel nostalgic about not addressing Climate Change earlier. I feel impatient. We have wasted valuable time prevaricating on Climate Change that has gotten much more worse and entrenched and near the end of our ability to avoid the worse consequences. We will be held in contempt by those who come after us. 30 years ago scientists warned Congress on global warming. What they said sounds eerily familiar It was such a different time — and yet, the message was so similar. Thirty years ago, on June 10 and 11 of 1986, the U.S. Senate Committee on the Environment and Public Works commenced two days of hearings, convened by Sen. John H. Chafee (R-R.I.), on the subject of “Ozone Depletion, the Greenhouse Effect, and Climate Change.” “This is not a matter of Chicken Little telling us the sky is falling,” Chafee said at the hearing. “The scientific evidence … is telling us we have a problem, a serious problem.” The hearings garnered considerable media coverage, including on the front page of The Washington Post (see below). (June 11, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/13/2016 - Climate Change is still controversial. Not among scientists but in the public. It’s critical that the public also get engaged with Climate Change. Science stories – Controversy "Published on Mar 6, 2015 The challenge for the future is how we can keep science as a public enterprise. Professor Geoffrey Boulton FRS, University of Edinburgh, and Dr Paul Williams, University of Reading, look at why accurate data are critical for the scientific record. This film is part of a series of Science stories to celebrate 350 years of scientific publishing by the Royal Society. " The Royal Society

  • 6/11/2016 - One of the great unknown unknowns we are starting to grasp is that local Climate Change can effect world Climate Change. We are continually learning more about what Climate Change is and the process isn’t just gathering more facts. There are some fundamental indicators and drivers of Climate Change we hadn’t previous known and are now realizing we must be bake into the process of adapting to and mitigating Climate Change. One of these is how the local consequences Climate Change can radiate out into the rest of the world. Climate Change we have known for a long time is a world-wide phenomenon but we don’t know all the particulars or even if we have missed some vital information that might change what we know about Climate Change and how to address it.  We need to know what’s coming at us and how to prevent the worst of it. How the effects of climate change in one place can radiate all over the world It’s well known that climate change will probably affect some places more severely than others. In general, scientists think developing nations will be hit hardest by such effects as an increase in severe weather events, drought and famine, and a boost in the spread of infectious diseases. But a new study reminds us that the effect of climate change in one place is capable of radiating throughout the rest of the world. The research, which was published Friday in the journal Science Advances, suggests that globalization — and the increasing connectedness among countries — can cause climate-related problems in one place to reverberate all over the globe. (June 10, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/11/2016 - New York State definitely made the right decision to ban Fracking after a long thought-out process.  Others state should have done the same. Thursday I went to Buffalo to watch the film, ‘DEAR PRESIDENT OBAMA - The Clean Energy Revolution is Now’ - narrated by Mark Ruffalo, after learning about it on Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo and sponsored by the Niagara Sierra Club writers group.  Here’s a description of the film: “The film takes a cross-country look at drilling, highlighting its variety of contaminations, the stories of its victims, the false promise of an economic boom, with a focus on clean energy solutions that would allow us to proceed towards a future that does not rely on yet another dirty fossil fuel extraction process.” Check out the film’s web site to find more screenings. Federal Report Appears to Undercut EPA Assurances on Water Safety In Pennsylvania Dimock, one of many places where gas drilling boomed in Pennsylvania, gets a sobering take on the quality of its drinking water. Since 2009 the people of Dimock, Pennsylvania, have insisted that, as natural gas companies drilled into their hillsides, shaking and fracturing their ground, their water had become undrinkable. It turned a milky brown, with percolating bubbles of explosive methane gas. People said it made them sick. Their stories — told first through an investigation into the safety of gas drilling by ProPublica — turned Dimock into an epicenter of what would evolve into a national debate about natural gas energy and the dangers of the process of “fracking,” or shattering layers of bedrock in order to release trapped natural gas. (June 9, 2016) ProPublica [more on Fracking and Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/10/2016 - I don’t know, trying to turn an old landfill into a park without removing the buried ‘stuff’ sounds like putting just a bandage on a gunshot wound.  Much that has gone into a landfill will probably never breakdown and even if they do there probably lots of toxic soups leaching into the ground and waters nearby. I suspect at some point we are going to be unearthing our past waste for resources and because we’ll be trying to determine the source of environmental and public health harm we thought we could bury and turn into a park. Where Coyotes, Foxes and Bobolinks Find a New Home: Freshkills Park The world’s largest landfill is slowly becoming a park — very slowly. The conversion of Freshkills on the western shore of Staten Island into a verdant expanse of green is now in its second decade, with two more to go before it is finished. Yet largely out of the public eye, a site that once received 29,000 tons of trash a day is undergoing a more rapid and remarkable transformation. Fifteen years since the landfill closed, the regeneration of Freshkills, which at 2,200 acres encompasses a site two and a half times larger than Central Park, is altering New York City’s ecological landscape: Mountains of garbage have become a vast grassland, a habitat that has been in decline across eastern North America. (June 9, 2016) New York Times [more on Parks in our area]

  • 6/10/2016 - Perhaps carbon capture and storage (CCS) will work to some degree but we would still have to reverse the Pandora’s Box of greenhouse gas emissions unleashed upon our environment and our societies. There’s going to be no one fix to Climate Change. We’re still going to have to adapt to the warming we’ve already baked into our climate for a long, long time. CO2 turned into stone in Iceland in climate change breakthrough Radical new technique promises a cheaper and more secure method of burying CO2 emissions underground instead of storing it as a gas Carbon dioxide has been pumped underground and turned rapidly into stone, demonstrating a radical new way to tackle climate change. The unique project promises a cheaper and more secure way of burying CO2 from fossil fuel burning underground, where it cannot warm the planet. Such carbon capture and storage (CCS) is thought to be essential to halting global warming, but existing projects store the CO2 as a gas and concerns about costs and potential leakage have halted some plans. The new research pumped CO2 into the volcanic rock under Iceland and sped up a natural process where the basalts react with the gas to form carbonate minerals, which make up limestone. The researchers were amazed by how fast all the gas turned into a solid – just two years, compared to the hundreds or thousands of years that had been predicted. (June 9, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/09/2016 - Actually, you don’t need to be a freaking expert to be concerned about Asian Carp making its through the Great Lakes to St. Lawrence. Many in the public have been attuned to news accounts of this particularly threatening invasive species making their way to the Great Lakes via the Mississippi River. So to hear there are now Asian Carp in the St. Lawrence is very disturbing. For those people and ‘experts’ who think that these carps (there are a couple of species) will present no great threat to the Great Lakes ecosystem I’m hoping they’ll own up if proven wrong. Why the discovery of a grass carp in the St. Lawrence River concerns experts Invasive species that 'feeds voraciously on plants' prompts roll out of $1.7M government detection plan Biologists are concerned about the discovery of an invasive grass carp in the St. Lawrence River, and are now struggling to determine its origins. Last month, two fishermen in Quebec's Lanaudière region reeled in the 29-kilogram specimen. The fish is native to east Asia, but has been used in North America as a way to manage aquatic vegetation and is viewed by some as a culinary delicacy. If it manages to reproduce in the St. Lawrence River or the Great Lakes, it could be a major problem for local fish and vegetation. Is it possible to stop the migration of Asian carp? Asian carp threatens Lake Erie population, study warns That's why the Quebec government decided to fast track its plan to fight the invasive species in the wake of the fishermen's finding.  (June 8, 2016) CBCNews [more on Invasive Species and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 6/09/2016 - Let me see if I understand this proposed bill: If Rochester decides to put a fee on plastic bags to protect our environment, we will be not be able to. I wonder if the NYS Senate is also considering a bill preventing any community in New York from passing laws to address Climate Change or laws trying to prevent pollution. Bill proposals like this to prevent communities from protecting their environment remind me of the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850, where the Northern states were forced to enforce Southern slavery in the north. There’s seriously something wrong with bill proposals that put profit and industry above protecting our life support system. This pushback against environmental regulations is a dangerous ideology that threaten our ability to live sustainably. A plastic-bag tax? NY lawmakers push back  A battle over a 5-cent fee on plastic and paper bags in New York City could end with all cities being blocked from imposing similar taxes. Angered by the New York City tax approved in May, the state Senate passed a bill Tuesday that would prevent the 5-cent fee from taking effect. The bill, however, goes further than New York City: It would block any city — from Buffalo to Rochester to Binghamton to White Plains — from implementing a tax on grocery bags. (June 8, 2016) Ithaca Journal [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 6/09/2016 - While our local media goes on about its business of …, it’s getting warmer on planet Earth. Time passes. Alaska Continues to Bake, on Track For Hottest Year Alaska just can’t seem to shake the fever it has been running. This spring was easily the hottest the state has ever recorded and it contributed to a year-to-date temperature that is more than 10°F (5.5°C) above average, according todata released Wednesday by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. The Lower 48, meanwhile, had its warmest spring since the record-breaking scorcher of 2012. While May as a whole was only slightly above average — thanks in part to whiplashing weather from the beginning of the month to the end — every state in the contiguous U.S. had warmer-than-normal temperatures for the spring as a whole. (June 8, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/09/2016 -Like our neighbors to the north, Rochester is also working on its climate action plan http://www.cityofrochester.gov/article.aspx?id=8589968428 Check our Rochester’s plan and provide valuable feedback by filling out the action survey Ontario will spend up to $8.3B to fight climate change, offer incentives Climate change plan, to be announced Wednesday, would add $5 a month to home heating bills Ontario's action plan on climate change will include financial incentives to get cleaner, more efficient cars and trucks on the roads and to convince homeowners and businesses to lower their carbon footprints, The Canadian Press has learned. The plan, scheduled to be released on Wednesday, calls for government spending of $5.9 billion to $8.3 billion on climate change initiatives over the next five years. (June 7, 2016) CBCNews [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/08/2016 - While many are still conveniently in Climate Change denial mode, many young folks are helping to plan for a warmer future. Be nice if we could all get on the same page and plan properly for the future we are all going to share. Design exhibit offers N.Y. town climate change defense To keep riverfront communities intact in the face of rising waters due to climate change, landscape architecture master’s students at Cornell’s Climate-Adaptive Design (CAD) studio are sketching sturdy, flexible concepts for a city along New York’s Hudson River while factoring in the tide’s swell. Concepts for the south bay riverfront in Hudson, New York, are collected in an exhibition, “Waterfront Futures: Designing Resilience for an Epoch of Rising Tides,” on display through July 4 at the Hudson Opera House. Hudson is about 38 miles south of Albany on the eastern side of the Hudson River. (June 7, 2016) Cornell Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/08/2016 - Rash of European floods remind us that US Northeast has seen a 71% increase in heavy precipitation from 1958 to 2012. Check out “Heavy Downpours Increasing -Heavy downpours are increasing nationally, especially over the last three to five decades, with the largest increases in the Midwest and Northeast. Increases in extreme precipitation are projected for all U.S. regions.” from recent  US government’s National Climate Assessment. Deadly European floods are in line with climate predictions As floodwaters recede across France, Germany and other European countries, research warns of need for resilient infrastructure Last March a study reported in the journal Nature said climate change was already driving an increase in extremes of rainfall and snowfall across most of the globe, even in arid regions. The study said the trend would continue as the world warmed. The role of global warming in unusually large rainfall events in countries from the United Kingdom to China has been hotly debated. But this latest study showed that climate change is driving an overall increase in rainfall extremes. (June 6, 2016) Climate Home [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/07/2016 - In the context of another dangerous crude oil train incident on our rails this week, it’s remarkable our local media only focuses on railroad crossing safety. Our local media chooses to report about drivers not paying attention at railroad crossings (which is a fact and disturbing) but it pales against the backdrop of a dramatic increase in the transport of dangerous crude oil being transported through our communities, with increasing incidences of derailments and explosions. This week it was the catastrophe in Oregon (“Days after oil train derailment, normal seems far away in scenic Mosier”) but to get the full picture you have to check out this: Explosive Crude Oil Train Derailments in North America: A Timeline. There will be a rally tonight in Rochester and ya ought to think about demonstrating your concern about this dangerous increase in volatile fossil fuels being transported through our communities, like Rochester.  Mothers and Others Protest to Ban Bomb Trains Rochester, NY June 6, 2015 —Tuesday 6/7, at 5 p.m. the sidewalks in front of the Federal Building at 100 State Street will be lined with protesters objecting to the continued presence of explosive Bakken crude oil trains in Rochester. And, by the way, let our local media they ought to get with the program.  CSX teams up with law enforcement to promote railroad safety CSX has teamed up with local law enforcement agencies to promote railroad safety. (June 6, 2016) WHAM [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 6/07/2016 - Here’s the thing about large scale wind power. If they don’t actually get going, we’re stuck with Bomb Trains, gas storage in the Finger Lakes, aged nuclear power plants and bleak prospects for our future. That Rochester is joining in the conversation about renewable energy and the need for the kind of renewable energy that wind power brings is vital because upstate New York has traditionally not been so keen on large scale wind power. But without these projects, we cannot reach our goals of renewable energy supplanting energy options that will put our future in jeopardy.  Addressing Climate Change is top priority. We have to see the big picture and our upstate role in making sure large scale wind power happens. Local Solidarity with NY City-Long Island Offshore Wind Project On May 31 2016 a group of about 25 activists met at Rochester's Liberty pole. The action was led by Mothers Out Front, an environmental group advocating renewable solutions to climate change. The timing of the event was in national solidarity for the Long Island-New York City Offshore Wind Project. The project would construct a large number of 300 foot diameter wind turbines 12-15 miles from the south shore of Long Island. The project is a joint effort between Consolidated Edison Co. which supplies electricity to New York City, the New York State Power Authority and the Long Island Power Authority. Hearings were being in conducted in New York City at the same time as the national rallies, and a large crowd was assembled outside of New York's City Hall. (June 3, 2016) indymedia, Rochester NY [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 6/07/2016 - Wouldn’t the fact that the Asian carp made it to the St. Lawrence River be like making a touchdown? If the goal is keeping the Asian carp out of the Great Lakes and they’d made it all the way to the St. Lawrence River doesn’t that mean they’ve won? OK, a grass carp is not a silver carp (the really scary ecologicidal carp) but they are related and probably use the same traveling routes. Quebec fishermen snag Asian carp in St. Lawrence River Two Canadian commercial fishermen hauled an Asian carp out of the St. Lawrence River in late May, causing concern that a long-feared invasive species has been introduced to the waterway. Jacques Nadeau, director of communications for Quebec’s Forests, Wildlife and Parks Ministry, Quebec City, said the two men from Lanoraie, Quebec, caught the more than 3-foot-long, 54-pound fish May 27, a first for that section of the river. “It’s the first time any Asian carp has been caught in this region,” Mr. Nadeau said Monday. “We’ve been monitoring their presence, but had not seen any carp of this size or of this family to this point.” (June 7, 2016) Watertown Daily Times [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 6/07/2016 - Be sure to read the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition newsletter. This is the third newsletter from a climate action group with over ninety organization members. Check it out: “This volume contains information on the City of Rochester's Climate Action Plan survey, NY Attorney General Schneiderman's work on holding the fossil fuel industry accountable, July 24th March for a Clean Energy Revolution in Philadelphia and screenings of Josh Fox's latest film on climate change at the Little Theater.” 

  • 6/07/2016 - With Climate Change a positive feedback loop is not positive. Climate Change that begets wildfire that accelerate Climate Change is not good. Spike in Alaska wildfires is worsening global warming, US says Report from US Geological Survey says northern wildfires must now be seen as significant driver of climate change, not just a side-effect The devastating rise in Alaska’s wildfires is making global warming even worse than scientists expected, US government researchers said on Wednesday. The sharp spike in Alaska’s wildfires, where more than 5 million acres burned last year, are destroying a main buffer against climate change: the carbon-rich boreal forests, tundra and permafrost that have served as an enormous carbon sink. Northern wildfires must now be recognised as a significant driver of climate change – and not just a side-effect, according to the report from the US Geological Survey. (June 1, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/06/2016 - Bomb Train incidents, like that in Mosier, Oregon, are inevitable unless we stop transporting dangerous crude oil by rail altogether. How long will we try to keep fossil fuel infrastructures going when we know we have to shift to renewable energy options? Days after oil train derailment, normal seems far away in scenic Mosier Updated at 8 p.m. and 1 a.m. with further details from a community meeting.  On most June weekends, Mosier is filled with pleasure seekers -- drivers, cyclists and other outdoors enthusiasts who come to appreciate the majestic beauty of the Columbia River Gorge. But two days after a 96-car oil train partially derailed while passing through this city of 400, the traffic on Sunday was mostly industrial. Trucks hauled water, gravel and mobile toilets in big batches. A Portland Fire & Rescue engine circled near the police checkpoint in front of Mosier Fruit Growers, which is preparing for an early cherry harvest, brought on by the warm weather. (June 6, 2016) Oregon Live [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area] 

  • 6/06/2016 - Even if you like the idea of a tropical Arctic, we probably won’t survive the rapid changes that are causing this prospect. It is the speed at which we are warming the planet that is going to do us in. We should be voting for leaders who will make sure we are addressing Climate Change around the world. Crocodiles and Palm Trees in the Arctic? New Report Suggests Yes. If we keep burning fossil fuels, Earth will be 8 degrees warmer, returning to the climate of 52 million years ago, according to new research. It's the most dire prediction yet. In even the bleakest climate change scenarios for the end of this century, science has offered hope that global warming would eventually slow down. But a new study published Monday snuffs out such hope, projecting temperatures that rise lockstep with carbon emissions until the last drops of oil and lumps of coal are used up. Global temperatures will increase on average by 8 degrees Celsius (14.4 degrees F) over preindustrial levels by 2300 if all of Earth’s fossil fuel resources are burned, adding five trillion metric tons of carbon to the atmosphere, according to the research by Canadian scientists published in Nature Climate Change. In the Arctic, average temperatures would rise by 17 degrees C (30.6 degrees F). (May 23, 2016) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/06/2016 - Don’t let this catastrophe happen in New York State as these Bomb Trains snake through many Rochester-area communities. Petition to Governor Cuomo: Protect the People. Cleanup underway after Oregon train carrying oil derailed Most of the cars from a Union Pacific train carrying crude oil that derailed and burst into flames in Oregon on Friday have been removed and the remaining oil will be hauled away on flatbed trucks, a spokesman for the company said on Sunday. A total of 16 cars of the 96-car train derailed, up from the company's previous report of 11 derailed cars, Union Pacific spokesman Justin Jacobs said. Thirteen train cars remained on site. Investigators were unsure how much oil spilled in the accident, the first major oil-by-rail incident in the United States in a year. Much of the oil was either contained or burned up, Jacobs said. (June 5, 2016) Reuters [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - This particular Bomb Train went off yesterday in Oregon yesterday but they are just as likely to explode in Rochester. The rise in trains built to transport corn oil that now carry very explosive crude oil is dramatic. The Rochester region should start focusing on the new kind of threat transporting this dangerous quantity of explosive fossil fuels across our state and through our communities, over our rickety bridges, and near our schools. Learn more about this issue and contact your political representatives: More on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area. Oil train derails near Mosier in Oregon's Columbia River Gorge An oil train derailment Friday in the Columbia River Gorge near Mosier sent up a massive plume of black smoke and stoked long-standing fears about the risks of hauling crude oil through one of the Pacific Northwest's most renowned landscapes. Eleven cars from a 96-car Union Pacific train jumped the tracks west of the small city about 12:20 p.m., next to Rock Creek that feeds the Columbia River. Several rail cars caught on fire and at least one released oil, but it's not known how much, railroad officials said. (June 3, 2016) Oregon Live [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - When you think about it, why do we need to pass bill to update our aging infrastructures? Infrastructure is such a dull word for the bloodline of our built environment. But we cannot live in the kind of communities we do without our infrastructures—water pipes, sewer lines, roads, etc.  They are getting old and they are going to be dramatically challenged by Climate Change. Why should we need to pass bill on maintaining these systems we have already put in place? Why don’t we just do the proper maintenance on these systems that we must, and make sure these systems always have the monies they need to keep them going? We don’t vote each month on whether we are going to pay our utility bills, or rents, or mortgages. When any community puts in their infrastructures they must be able to maintain these infrastructures no matter what the political climate, no matter what other issues the public may think is important at any one time. Ya gotta have water, roads, and sewage lines and to keep them updated and ready for Climate Change, you have to have them continually funded. When they fail because of neglect, everything else you wanted to do will stop immediately. Tonko's Bill to Address Nation's Aging Water Infrastructure Congresswoman Louise Slaughter is joining with fellow Representative Paul Tonko in calling for more resources to fight lead poisoning. Tonko has introduced the Assistance, Quality, Affordability Act, or AQUA Act. It would update the Safe Drinking Water Act and provide $500 million dollars toward repairing our national water infrastructure. (June 3, 2016) WXXI News [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - I know, many bristle when they are compelled to change their behavior by more environmental regulations but our ecosystems must be protected. In many cases, long before environmental regulations were passed, like cleaning out your boat from invasive species as you transport from one body of water to another, these regulations were voluntary. As invasive species become more of a problem and more folks ignore the pleas by environmental officials to act to help protect our life support system, there comes a point when the preservation of our ecologies takes priority over the public’s power of choice. It’s anti-Libertarian but what are you going to do? The public must be engaged in stopping the transportation of invasive species. As Climate Change becomes more dire and the mother of all problems forces environmental regulators to ask more of the public to protect our environment, more compliance will avoid the need to make these requests enforceable by new laws. We must become stewards of our life support systems—one way or the other. New invasive species regulations put onus on boaters The coordinator of the invasive species- management program at the Finger Lakes Institute is applauding new state regulations designed to fight invasive species in New York’s waterways and natural habitats. Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the adoption of new regulations that his administration said will help protect New York state’s waters from the spread of aquatic invasive species and preserve local ecosystems. Signed into law by Cuomo in September 2014, the regulations prohibit the launch of watercraft prior to taking “reasonable precautions,” including the removal of visible plant or animal matter, proper material disposal in a receptacle or upland location, and treatment by operators launching watercraft or floating docks into public waters. (June 2, 2016) Finger Lakes Times [more on Invasive Species and Finger Lakes in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - Our friends from the Buffalo area went to the #NYRENEWS event in Albany on Wednesday to encourage our NYS Assembly to pass the NYS Climate and Community Protection Act just as we in Rochester did. This is their experience that day. Important Climate Bill Passed by NY State Assembly - Fueled by People Power Hundreds of New Yorkers stood together at the State Capitol in Albany on June 1st, rallying to move the NYS Assembly to pass an important new bill, the Climate and Community Protection Act. If passed, the bill would require that New York move away from dirty fossil fuels, which cause pollution and global warming, and shift to clean, renewable energy that would lead to new jobs, healthy communities, and help stabilize the climate. People participating in the rally comprised a broad coalition of environmental justice, climate activist, conservation and labor groups. (June 2, 2016) Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/04/2016 - It could be a wonderful things to see the snows recede and land become green if it weren’t the Arctic thawing superfast just as we reach our carbon budget. Speed kills. Some major ecosystems are starting to change because of Climate Change and we must be ready for that change. Warming turns northern tundra green Rising temperatures are creating longer Arctic growing seasons and increasing the risk of carbon escaping into the atmosphere from the thawing permafrost. The northern edge of North America is getting steadily greener. In the most detailed study so far of plant growth across Alaska and Canada, scientists say that about a third of the land cover now looks less like tundra, and more like a warmer ecosystem. The researchers report in the Journal of Remote Sensing that examination of 87,000 images captured by the NASA Landsat satellite reveals that Alaska, Quebec and other regions became greener between 1984 and 2012. Landsat, a project also backed by the US Geological Survey (USGS), provides the longest space-based record of land vegetation in existence. (June 4, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2016 - Their newsletter from our friends over at Pachamama Rochester: "We are delighted to share another newsletter full of inspiration, information and action possibilities.  See attached and please share with others who might be interested.   The Rochester Pachamama Alliance team" June 2016 Newsletter

  • 6/03/2016 - As you’re formulating your ideas about our collective futures and Climate Change, remember things can get out of hand pretty quickly. Sending our planet’s climate through the roof in a relatively short period of time probably won’t conform to our predilections towards slow gradual change, towards keeping things in our comfort zone, or the common human hubris that we can take care of anything that comes along. The best approach to Climate Change is to begin planning decades ago for the worst and figure that as our temperatures rise there will be many unknowns we’ll have to address somehow. Waiting to know exactly what is going to happen in a warming world and trying to figure out how you will address it sometime in the future when all the facts come in is delusional. The time to kick into high gear and appreciate the urgency of Climate Change is now.  But in all probabilities that time was quite a while ago. The Temperature Spiral Has an Update. It’s Not Pretty. The temperature spiral that took the world by storm has an update. If you think the heat is on in our current climate, you ain’t seen nothing yet. To recap, University of Reading climate scientist Ed Hawkins wrecked the internet a few weeks ago with a revolutionary new way to look at global temperatures. Using a circular graph of every year’s monthly temperatures and animating it, Hawkins’ image showed planetary heat spiraling closer to the 2°C threshold in a way no bar or line graph could do. His tweet with the original graphic has been shared 15,000 times and it’s been dubbed the most compelling climate visualization ever made (sorry, landmarked Keeling Curve). The spiral’s popularity can be attributed in part to its hypnotic nature and the visceral way it shows the present predicament of climate change. Hawkins’ graphic hints at the temperature spiral to come, but now a new addition brings what the future holds into stark relief. (May 31, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/03/2016 - Are the streams in the Northeast as contaminated by pharmaceuticals as the Southeast? I’m not a scientist but I’ll bet drugs aren’t good for Water Quality in any of our waters? We’re probably so used to the water quality in our small streams being compromised by some kind of pollution or another that pharmaceutical contamination doesn’t shock us. It seems normal. However, in the natural world, the world before humanity began using rivers and lakes and streams as their toilets, these kinds of contamination were not normal. This is to say our drugs like “common pain killers and antihistamines to medicines” in our waters, these critically important ecologies, suddenly change—but not in a good way.  A fish hasn’t a clue what to do with an antihistamine. Pharmaceutical Chemicals Found in Every Stream Sampled in USGS Study Our waterways are filled with traces of drugs, says a new study conducted by the USGS.  A team of researchers, led by hydrologist Paul Bradley, recently collected water samples from 59 small streams in the Southeast from Virginia to Georgia, which were analyzed for 108 pharmaceuticals and degradates. All 59 streams tested positive for at least one of compounds and the overall average was six different compounds per stream. “Pharmaceutical contaminants are growing aquatic-health concerns and largely attributed to wastewater treatment facility discharges,” the study says. But only 17 of the 59 streams have any reported wastewater discharges. (June 1, 2016) The Weather Channel [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 6/02/2016 - It looks like we freaking did it! #NYRENews “The New York State Assembly approved the nation's most ambitious climate change bill Wednesday.” New York Assembly Approves Climate Bill That Would Cut Emissions to Zero The bill, endorsed by a broad coalition, is also notable for its emphasis on environmental and economic justice, advocates say. This story was updated at 1:15 am ET on May 2, 2016, to reflect the state assembly's vote on the climate bill. The New York State Assembly approved the nation's most ambitious climate change bill Wednesday. The vote came hours after a broad coalition of environmental justice, climate activist, conservation and labor groups took to the State Capitol in Albany urging lawmakers to swiftly pass the bill before the legislative session ends on June 16. The legislation requires the state to reduce greenhouse gas emissions from major sources to zero by 2050. That would demand a near total decarbonization of its economy, and it would put New York among the world's leaders on forceful climate action. To achieve it, the bill gives the state until 2030 to get at least 50 percent of its electricity from clean energy. (June 1, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2016 - Scant coverage in Albany media of the #NYRENews Climate and Community Protection Act even though lots of folks attended. It is critical that we provide jobs and protection to New York as Climate Change gets worse. It would be nice if our media gave complete coverage when groups from around the state converge on the state capitol to explain to the public the immediacy of Climate Change, how it will affect the poor first and worst, how our legislators need to be informed on what New York can and is able to do about jobs and addressing Climate Change. Find out more about this bill and issue from the Sierra Club: From Environmental Advocates of New York: | Climate change rally held at State Capitol There was a rally at the State Capitol on Wednesday. Those who attended are calling on the legislature to pass the New York State Climate and Community Protection bill. (June 2, 2016) WNYT News Channel 13 Albany [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 6/02/2016 - We brought our message to the NYS Capitol to Pass the NYS Climate and Community Protection Act #NYRENews Labor, green groups team up to push for clean energy in NY  Several labor unions and environmental groups teamed up Wednesday to urge New York lawmakers to do more to address climate change. The coalition, called NY Renews, rallied outside the state Capitol before the Assembly voted late Wednesday night to codify some of Gov. Andrew Cuomo's clean energy goals. Environmental groups have long lobbied for more aggressive action on climate change, but the participation of the state's powerful organized labor movement could give the effort more muscle in Albany. Labor leaders said the unions see climate change as an issue of economic justice — and economic opportunity. (June 1, 2016) Stamford Advocate

  • 5/31/2016 - Not to mention, I’m still coming across a lot of old TV’s and Computers curbside as I walk Rochester. Curbing e-waste, with the intention of landfilling it, is illegal in New York State. This law was in the work for five years and it’s been in play for several years now and still folks are tossing e-waste to the curb. Be nice if could at least solve this issue in Rochester.  Investigation tracks e-waste from U.S. to unregulated scrapyards in Hong Kong High above the Pacific Ocean in a plane headed for Hong Kong, most of the passengers are fast asleep. But not Jim Puckett. His eyes are fixed on the glowing screen of his laptop. Little orange markers dot a satellite image. He squints at the pixelated terrain trying to make out telltale signs. He’s searching for America’s electronic waste. “People have the right to know where their stuff goes,” he says. (May 30, 2016) Investigative Post [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 5/31/2016 - If you want to keep the Great Lakes free of Invasive Species, eliminating EPA oversight of ballast water discharges is crazy. The public should really consider whether they want a huge loophole made in the Clean Water Act that a great big ship full of invasive species can float through. We cannot assume that we will always have fresh clean water from the Great Lakes if we don’t remain ever vigilant of the compromised to the largest fresh water system in the world. Stefanik working to remove defense bill provision that eliminates EPA oversight of ballast water discharges Non-defense-related legislation tucked away in the 2017 National Defense Authorization Act, which was passed by the U.S. House of Representatives last week, would remove the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s authority in regulating ballast water discharge from cargo vessels. Dubbed the “Vessel Incidental Discharge Act,” the bill directs the U.S. Coast Guard to establish new standards for ship discharge of ballast water, which is water carried in vessel ballast tanks to improve stability and discharged at port when cargo is loaded or unloaded. Under VIDA, ballast water discharges would be exempt from Clean Water Act permits that are renewed every five years, which allows for re-evaluation, water level monitoring and improvements to treatment technology. Additionally, vessels operating in the Great Lakes or other “geographically limited areas,” according to the bill, would be exempt from ballast water treatment requirements. (May 27, 2016) Watertown Daily Times

  • 5/31/2015 - Just finished “Drinking Water: A History” by James Salzman. Considering the important of getting a drink of water each day, this is a must read. And while I don’t agree with all the point in this book (I don’t think Salzman did justice to the Great Lakes water diversion issue as he didn’t touch upon the Great Lakes being mostly a closed hydraulic system, where large amounts of water taken from the Great Lakes basin could have a profound effect on our weather and ecosystems), I do agree that humanity should closely examine all our options when it comes to water—something we cannot even go a day without.  Drinking Water: A History by James Salzman "When we turn on the tap or twist open a tall, cold plastic bottle, we might not give a second thought to where our drinking water comes from. But how it gets from the ground to the glass is far more complex than we might think. With concerns over pollution and new technologies like fracking, is it safe to drink tap water? Should we feel guilty buying bottled… " Barnes & Noble.

  • 5/31/2016 - Excellent lecture by Naomi Klein on how Climate Change will change the social order. Video: Let Them Drown The Violence of Othering in a Warming World | "Naomi Klein examines how Said's ideas of racial hierarchy, including Orientalism, have been the silent partners to climate change since the earliest days of the steam engine, continuing to present day decisions to let entire nations drown and others warm to lethal levels. The lecture looks at how Said’s bold universalist vision might form the basis for a response to climate change grounded in radical inclusion, belonging and restorative justice." (May 4, 2016) London Review of Books  [More on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/31/2016 - Comedian John Oliver nails the important of the media getting science correct—including Climate Change science. We must understand the science that so many historical great figures have given us through lifetime struggles with facts and truth amidst so much prejudice and fallacy. Science is the result humanity’s efforts to know the truth and should not be forsaken in the hour where we need it the most. Climate Change is difficult but with science it is understandable. Last Week Tonight with John Oliver | Ep. 70 Clip: Scientific Studies 

  • 5/30/2016 - Like it or not addressing Climate Change is going to involve Overpopulation and our planet’s carrying capacity. Sorry, this is just an unpleasant reminder… Human Population Growth Challenges Global Carrying Capacity. The major premise of sustainable growth is that there must be a balance among population growth, economic growth, and the carrying capacity of planet. Carrying capacity is a biological concept. It is the limit to the population size of a given species the environment can sustain without damage to the environment. There is, for example, a limit to the size of a herd of elephants that the Serengeti Plains in Africa can support without the herd damaging the ecosystem. Carrying capacity for a species can, and often does, change over time. It can increase or decrease due to changing climate. If annual rainfall increases over time this may increase the food supply for some animals. It may decrease the food supply for others. (May 27, 2016) Planet Earth Weekly

  • 5/30/2016 - Many folks refuse to see Climate Change but nobody ignores the weather. Even meteorologists are finally seeing Climate Change in the weather. Meteorologists are seeing global warming's effect on the weather Weather is becoming more extreme, and meteorologists are taking notice Whatever happened to normal weather? Earth has always experienced epic storms, debilitating drought, and biblical floods. But lately it seems the treadmill of disruptive weather has been set to fast-forward. God’s grandiose Symphony of the Seasons, the natural ebb and flow of the atmosphere, is playing out of tune, sounding more like a talent-free second grade orchestra, with shrill horns, violins screeching off-key, cymbal crashes coming in at the wrong time. Something has changed. (May 27, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/30/2016 - The Paris Agreement honeymoon, the euphoria after Paris, was really a great media silence after this shotgun marriage fraught with hope and despair produced a tenuous ceremony in the face of grave doubts. Paris must work to bring down the planet’s temperature and do so fairly and only a few ever thought it would be easy. Corporate media hasn’t been waiting for the devils in the details to be worked out, they’ve already have forgotten Climate Change and are busy on new attention grabbers. 'Honeymoon over', rules for U.N. climate pact may take two years A first United Nations meeting on implementing a 2015 global agreement to combat climate change showed it could take two years to work out a detailed rule book for a sweeping shift from fossil fuels, delegates said. The May 16-26 talks marked a return to technical work and the end of a "honeymoon period" since the Paris Agreement was worked out by almost 200 nations in December to cut greenhouse gas emissions and limit rising temperatures. "My bet is 2018, everything will be done (in) a maximum two years," Laurence Tubiana, France's climate ambassador, told Reuters when asked how long it would take to negotiate a set of rules. Several other delegates gave similar estimates. (May 26, 2016) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]    

  • 5/28/2016 - When I spoke in Rochester about the state’s "clean energy standard", where I emphasized addressing Climate Change, our meeting too was clogged with nuclear (Ginna, in this place) proponents. I spoke about the need to address the issues of NIMBY’s fighting large scale wind farms which are critical in reaching NYS energy standards. (You can read my article: “Ground rules for deciding on large-scale wind farm placement” Aging nuclear power plants are obviously using these state meetings around the state to save their industry—which is understandable given the role the power plants affording their community with good paying jobs. But the issue of clean energy standards is a bigger issue than local jobs—which renewable energy options can provide. The problem of the public funding these outdate nuclear power plants is a major problem that is not being addressed at these meetings. Also, how safe are these nuclear power plants that are being asked to serve beyond their intended working life? Nor is the argument from the nuclear proponents that without nuclear power, NYS cannot reach it goals. NYS can reach it clean energy goals by eliminating old nuclear power plants and they can do this by educating the public about the importance of large wind farms providing the bulk of our future energy needs. When locals fight wind farms in their region, which will mean we will have to continue paying for unprofitable old nuclear power plants. Also, consider this new report: “Nuclear Near Misses: A Decade of Accident Precursors at U.S. Nuclear Plants”  It’s too bad that our local media even when they do cover issues related to Climate Change and energy end up only pandering to folks losing their jobs instead of the issue at hand: Clean Energy Standards as we move into Climate Change. Our media needs to change. Energy use in time of Climate Change is the major issue of our time and we need a media that’s up to the job. State energy plan that would support nuclear plants gets warm welcome in Oswego During nearly two hours of testimony in Oswego City Hall Tuesday, community leaders and Nine Mile Point Nuclear Plant employees begged staff from New York's Public Service Commission to support the proposed "clean energy standard" underGov. Andrew Cuomo's goal to generate half of the state's energy from renewable sources, like wind and solar, by 2030. That plan includes subsidies for financially stressed nuclear plants, which is why most of the audience at the hearing spoke in favor of the effort. Some who testified said that Cuomo's goal to reduce greenhouse gas emissions could not be achieved without nuclear plants, which don't emit carbon dioxide. (May 26, 2016) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 5/28/2016 - Rochester NY is getting moving on bike sharing with bike rental project in downtown. Think #bike is #transportation  Bike rentals come to downtown Getting out on the trails or just exploring downtown got a little easier this week with a new "bike hire" station at the Radisson Rochester Riverside. The Spinway station based at the hotel might just be the beginning. City Hall is preparing a broader request for proposals, due out in about a month, seeking an operator on a larger, citywide bike-share program similar to the Reddy system set to launch in Buffalo this summer. If all goes well, a pilot program could launch this fall, with the first phase of the city program ready to go in spring 2017, said Erik Frisch, transportation specialist for the city. (May 27, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/28/2016 - At least one major media finally gets it on Climate Change. Check this out from Chicago Tribune Editorial Board. (Maybe Rochester Democrat and Chronicle will be next?) Of course, Climate Change is a whole lot more than water scarcity and “The Arctic Ocean melting like an ice cube under a July sun? Island paradises swallowed up by rising seas? Beefier hurricanes crashing into coastlines with greater frequency?” for that matter. Climate Change is the mother of all problems and we need our local media to continually report and investigate the local consequences of it and how our local governments are helping their citizens to address it. Editorial:  In a word, why climate change matters: Water Think climate change and what comes to mind? The Arctic Ocean melting like an ice cube under a July sun? Island paradises swallowed up by rising seas? Beefier hurricanes crashing into coastlines with greater frequency? There's a ring of truth to all of the above, and it should make all of us think and act greener. Now, the World Bank has come out with a report that sums up one of the gravest of climate change consequences with just one word: water. As in, not enough of it. (May 26, 2016) Chicago Tribune [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/28/2016 - Uh oh, leading the world on oil and gas production for 4 straight years doesn’t make US leader on Climate Change. In fact it make it looks as if all our efforts at renewable energy look pretty paltry. With Climate Change the only thing that will really matter is bringing down greenhouse gas emissions—not talk or just good intentions. U.S. Leads Globe in Oil Production for Third Year The U.S. led the world last year in producing both oil and gas, federal government estimates published Monday show, even as the country committed to cutting greenhouse gas emissions. The U.S. was the globe’s leading producer of crude oil for the third year in a row in 2015. Government estimates show that crude oil production has continued to grow across the country, from nearly 8 million barrels of oil per day in 2008 to about 15 million in 2015. The U.S. produced about 14 million barrels per day in 2014. (May 23, 2016) Climate Central [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/27/2016 - Of course, this media report about how warm the Great Lakes are this year doesn’t mention Climate Change—as mainstream media rarely covers the local consequences of Climate Change. (Lake Ontario - 51.0° (6.7°F warmer)) Though to be fair, this article is just about the difference in temperatures of the Great Lakes from last year to this year. Last year was a cold winter, this year was a warmer winter. (Which probably does have something to do with Climate Change…) But this is part of the problem of the media on Climate Change: they so narrowly focus their attention on certain items about our environment that the long-term and inevitable consequences of Climate Change are easily avoided. If nothing else, this article should remind us of how sensitive the entire Great Lakes are to temperature changes. Temperature changes affect fish, weather, the proliferation of invasive species, and a likely increase of the toxic blue-green algae. Our media need to expand their horizons so that the public will be adequately informed about Climate Change. All Great Lakes warmer than last year, 2 are much warmer All of the Great Lakes currently have average surface water temperatures warmer than this time last year. Two of those Great Lakes are significantly warmer than last year. The image above shows a comparison of the current surface water temperatures on the left, and last year at this time on the right. On average, many areas are three to six degrees warmer than last year. (May 25, 2016) MLive [more on Great lakes in our area]  

  • 5/27/2016 - Interesting that a Great Lakes media can do an article about “the future for Great Lakes salmon” and not mention Climate Change. Maybe the writers of the salmon article should have read the National Wildlife Federation’s Report: Swimming Upstream.” Here’s a quote: “The introduction of non-native species and diseases creates additional stress. Climate change will interact with these various stressors, in many cases creating even more challenging conditions for fish. Invasive Species Invasive species are a leading factor in freshwater fish extinctions and endangerments, damage our natural ecosystems, and are costly to manage.62 In the Great Lakes region alone, aquatic invasive species cost local people, businesses, utilities, and communities at least O Flickr/andresmusta 4. Climate change will pose further challenges for management and control strategies by altering the way invasive species interact and spread” Mainstream media needs to get up to par on Climate Change. What's the future for Great Lakes salmon? But after a spectacular five-decade arc, Lake Michigan’s salmon fishery appears to be in decline. Anglers are catching fewer fish, and the ones they’re getting are nowhere near the 30-pounders longtime fishermen recall from decades past. Some fear the collapse will be as hard as the one that hit Lake Huron a dozen years ago, forcing some charter operators to move to Lake Michigan or forcing many others to go out of business. Overall, sport fishing in the Great Lakes is a $4 billion-a-year industry. (May 26, 2016) WZZM [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/27/2016 - With Climate Change you are more likely to hear the term “Climate Refugees” more often—whether you like or not, whether it fits into your political ideology or not, or whether you’ve planned for massive social upsets or not. The First Official Climate Refugees in the U.S. Race Against Time A Native American tribe struggles to hold on to their culture in a Louisiana bayou while their land slips into the Gulf of Mexico. (May 25, 2016) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/27/2016 - However we view the importance of individual wildlife species ultimately it is the ecosystems they sustain that will matter in Climate Change. Helping wildlife to endure, that is to adapt, to the extreme changes coming with Climate Change may force us to revisit how we view wildlife in the future. Some species may already be doomed, some may be critical to preserving critical ecosystems and keeping them vibrant, some species that evolved in frigid temperatures may not be able to endure the heat, while some invasive species will tolerate the heat just fine. What are we doing about Wildlife as Climate Change outpaces their ability to adapt and our need to have our ecosystems intact? With Endangered Species Act Under Attack, Obama Manages to Score 99 Wildlife Wins As part of a final-year push to tackle major environmental challenges, the Obama Administration appears to be doubling down on its efforts to slow and reverse the declines in American wildlife populations. Though the United States has enacted and implemented some of the world’s most effective wildlife conservation laws, one in five animal and plant species in the United States — nearly 1,300 total species — is at risk of extinction. Through a recently-released Council on Environmental Quality white paper, the Obama Administration calls attention to the challenges facing U.S. wildlife and identifies 99 milestones in wildlife conservation that it has achieved over the past seven years. (May 25, 2016) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/27/2016 - The insurance industry is very concerned (which is to say you should be concerned) about Climate Change because they can only fund so many disasters. Building in places that are going to be continually assailed by extreme weather and expecting the insurance industry to rebuild is unsustainable. US insurance aid props up climate-risk homes Major insurer calls for an end to government subsidies that encourage expensive house-building schemes in areas of the US at high risk of floods and storms. Lloyd’s, one of the world’s biggest insurance companies, says the US government must stop providing insurance subsidies to homeowners building on flood plains and in coastal areas exposed to mounting risks related to climate change. According to a report in London’s Financial Times, Lloyd’s says the US government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which subsidises insurance cover for householders in regions vulnerable to floods and storms, encourages irresponsible house building. Lloyd’s also says the NFIP subsidy regime is financially unsustainable. Because of claims related to disasters such as Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and superstorm Sandy in 2012, the NFIP has now run up debts of more than $24 billion. (May 24, 2016) Climate News Network [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - Let’s face it, mainstream media mostly sucks on reporting on Climate Change making folks stupid. Fix this with Climate Feedback @ClimateFdbk

  • 5/26/2016 - Seems like most folks like the idea of Wind Power until it comes home to them. Then, they tend to ask what they gain or lose from the industry. I thought we wanted to increase renewable energy by 100%. We cannot do that if every time it comes to placing wind farms and help the world adapt to Climate Change people get selfish. Like it or not, the placing of wind farms is where we demonstrate our commitment to really keeping fossil fuels in the ground and shifting to renewable energy. How North Country communities can make big wind work for them Across the North Country, wind energy has forced communities to ask tough questions about what they stand to gain or lose from the industry. Most recently, the town of Clayton, in the Thousand Islands, has barred all wind development for six months. The move came after developers showed renewed interest in building the Horse Creek Wind Farm. Clayton's moratorium gives town leaders time to consider ways to protect their interests. (May 26, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - Yes, boys and girls, we have rattlesnakes in NYS; Yes, they are integral to our environment; No, we don’t have a clue how they’ll adapt to Climate Change.  Wildlife, even rattlesnakes who don’t get a lot of attention (except when they rattle, then they get plenty), are part of how our environment developed. We ought to cherish them by making sure they survive by focusing on their issues as our climate gets warmer. Yes, we do have rattlesnake in the Rochester region Rattlesnakes — like tornadoes, wildfires and cockroaches — are in the category of “things you know exist in Western New York but you hope you never experience.” But an avid hiker at Letchworth State Park knew the creatures make homes in the rocky crags and crevices of “the Grand Canyon of the East,” and he came face-to-face with one of them on a park road this week. (May 25, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - ACTION: "Call Congress and ask them to take action on climate! Monday June 20th Congress needs to hear from citizens that we want them to take action on climate change. On June 21st, hundreds of citizens from across the nation will be meeting with members of Congress in DC to push for a revenue-neutral carbon fee.  Visit this website to log your call (and get the phone numbers and a prompt on what to say):  Call your legislators on Monday June 20th to amplify our voices and help move Congress a step closer to legislation that addresses climate change. Time and again we hear from members of Congress that they don't hear enough from their constituents that climate change matters to them. Calling your Senators and Representative is the first step in building a relationship with your congressional offices and creating the political will needed to solve global warming. "

  • 5/26/2016 - Sneaky new bill would allow more shippers to dump more ballast water, the practice that brought us the Zebra Mussel? Really? We cannot find a way to treat ballast water in ships so that it’s not too burdensome to shippers and not bring in crazy effective Invasive Species like the Zebra Mussel? Really? We are condemned to bring in Invasive Species that will screw up the greatest fresh water system in the world? Is this the best our economic system can come up with: If environmental regulations are too burdensome some industries, then screw our life support system? This is humanity at its best? House measure supports shippers on water dumping TRAVERSE CITY — A plan gaining support in Congress and backed by the cargo shipping industry would establish a nationwide policy for dumping ballast water into U.S. waterways that environmental groups say would open the door to more invasive species like zebra and quagga mussels, which have wreaked economic havoc from the Great Lakes to the West Coast. The proposal was tucked into a $602 billion defense bill that the House passed last week, the latest twist in a longstanding struggle over how to handle water that ships carry in huge tanks during overseas voyages. Ballast provides stability in rough seas but harbors fish, plants and even viruses, which find new homes when vessels discharge the water in distant ports. Some multiply rapidly, out-compete native species for food and spread disease (May 24, 2016) Detroit Free Press [more on Great Lakes and Zebra Mussels and  Water Quality in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - Much like the invisible and potent greenhouse gas methane itself the new rule for curbing methane at reconstructed and modified oil and gas sources could have a profound effect—though it would be more profound if this new rule included all gas sources. Just saying…. Obama administration announces historic new regulations for methane emissions from oil and gas The Obama administration on Thursday announced a set of much-anticipated — and first ever — steps to regulate oil and gas industry emissions of methane, a powerful greenhouse gas second only to carbon dioxide in its role in the climate debate. The Environmental Protection Agency unveiled a new rule that will target emissions from new or modified oil and gas wells — and prevent 11 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent emissions by the year 2025, the agency said. And while this would not apply to the vast numbers of existing rigs, well pads and auxiliary equipment that have driven a historic boom in domestic oil and gas production, the agency also signaled that it plans to regulate these as well. It issued a new request for more information from industry to help study how to contain emissions from these sources. (May 12, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/26/2016 - Unlike many who think Climate Change can be put off, ignored, or denied, insurance companies don’t have that luxury. Fossil Fuel Investments Growing Riskier for Insurers, Report Warns With nearly $500 billion invested, a new analysis recommends insurance companies take a harder look at the consequences of climate change and a lower-carbon future. The 40 largest insurance companies in the United States have $237 billion invested in electric and gas utilities, $221 billion tied to oil and gas companies and nearly $2 billion locked into coal, a new report reveals. With nearly a half-trillion dollars in bonds, equity and other holdings tied to the fossil fuel industry, an analysis published Tuesday by the sustainability group Ceres says insurers should be evaluating their investment exposure to climate change risks. Insurers "cannot afford to overlook this," warned Cynthia McHale, director of the insurance program at Ceres. (May 24, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/25/2016 - Neat video and slideshow of the Albany Break Free rally on May 14th from our friends over at Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo: Video & Slideshow: Albany Rally to Break Free from Fossil Fuels

  • 5/25/2016 - Interesting that it’s only May and we’re getting air quality health advisories already. If we continue burning fossil fuels and the heat goes up, it is likely we’ll get air quality advisories even sooner than May—which means those in July and August will be a doozy. Climate Change is going to dramatically affect our public health. Air Quality Health Advisory Issued for New York State Ozone Advisory in Effect for Long Island, New York City Metro and Western New York New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos and State Department of Health (DOH) Commissioner Howard Zucker, M.D., J.D. today issued an Air Quality Health Advisory for the Long Island, New York City Metro and Western New York regions of New York State for Wednesday, May 25, 2016. The pollutant of concern is: Ozone The advisory will be in effect: 11 a.m. through 11 p.m. DEC and DOH issue Air Quality Health Advisories when DEC meteorologists predict levels of pollution, either ozone or fine particulate matter are expected to exceed an Air Quality Index (AQI) value of 100. The AQI was created as an easy way to correlate levels of different pollutants to one scale, with a higher AQI value indicating a greater health concern. (May 24, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 5/25/2016 - Are you sure nuclear power is the way we should power our future when there’s no room for error—when to err is human…. 10 Near Misses at U.S. Nuclear Power Plants Considered Precursors to a Meltdown Following the 30th anniversary of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Greenpeace USA released a new report Tuesday on the 166 near misses at U.S. nuclear power plants over the past decade. Of the incidents identified in Nuclear Near Misses: A Decade of Accident Precursors at U.S. Nuclear Plants, 10 are considered by the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) to be important precursors to a meltdown. (May 24, 2016) EcoWatch [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/24/2016 - NYS residents can help our environment by not giving the EAB a free ride all over the place. DEC Announces Sixth Annual Emerald Ash Borer Awareness Week Residents Urged to Become Aware of Emerald Ash Borer and Report Infestations to DEC The Sixth Annual Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) Awareness Week is now underway, running from May 22 - May 28, 2016, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Acting Commissioner Basil Seggos announced today. In observance of EAB Awareness Week, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation urging all New Yorkers to exercise environmental stewardship to protect trees from infestation that can be devastating to landscapes, habitats and forest product industries. State residents and visitors are encouraged to learn as much as possible about the emerald ash borer, how to prevent its spread and the destruction it causes to trees. "EAB Awareness week is an opportunity to inform the public about the various means through which this invasive beetle is commonly spread and encourages them to join the fight against them by reporting any signs of infestation they witness," Acting Commissioner Seggos said. "With the beginning of camping season in full swing it is important to remind travelers to New York State to use only local firewood. The spread of these insects, and other forest pests, has been dramatically increased through human transport." (May 23, 2016) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 5/24/2016 - ACTION: Bus to Albany from Rochester June 1st to demand %100 Clean Renewable Energy for NYS. Get on board. A New York powered by 100% Clean Renewable Energy is a more just New York. JOIN US on JUNE 1st as we DEMAND Albany builds a better New York with safe, healthy communities for all! #NYRenews The time is NOW to demand good jobs, healthier communitites, and frontline justice through 100% clean and renewable energy for New York. Join #NYRenews in Albany June 1st and together let’s tell Legislators in Albany that they were elected to represent ALL New Yorkers and that ALL New Yorkers deserve protection from the impacts of climate change. In the meantime, SIGN + SHARE to tell our elected officials to support #NYRenews. Climate change is already devastating our communitites, don't let inaction in Albany continue the destruction: Check here. Text NY to 97779 for more updates Organizer Contact: Brittny Baxter 716-381-1438 Bbaxter@workingfamilies.org  Reserve your ticket HERE:  Boarding Information Rochester: 6: 00 am in Pittsford Park and Ride at St John Fishers College in East Rochester, NY. Syracuse: 8:00 am boarding in the Park and Ride just off of exit 34A.

  • 5/24/2016 - Because the railroading of Dangerous Crude Oil has increased dramatically through our communities, monies for emergency training is critical. But our money? Isn’t this corporate welfare when the public has to pay for emergency training for shipping dangerous crude oil (Bomb Trains) on their rails? This corporate welfare of Bomb Trains is a reminder to those who say our government cannot do anything right and everything should be privatized that the truth is that our government has to babysit these dangerous energy options all through their dangerous infrastructures. Shouldn’t we shift quickly to renewable energy—wind and solar—where the public doesn’t have to insure and fund training for the kind of energy that will warm the planet and explode at any moment? NYS To Help Pay For Training For Oil Fires New York State is making a new investment in helping first responders train for oil fires. The state will use $500,000 in federal funds to purchase a "live fire" training prop to help fire fighters and other emergency personnel learn how to respond to crude oil fires. It is part of a broader effort to prepare for possible accidents involving oil shipping by rail or boat. The money will go to the New York State Academy of Fire Science, which trains more than 6,000 first responders each year. (May 22, 2016) WXXI News [more on Dangerous Crude Oil Trains in our area] 

  • 5/24/2016 - Been thinking it’s time to go solar? Google’s Project Sunroof looks at your roof, tells you how much sun it gets, and even how much you’ll save on electricity. Incredible. Check it out. And it’s free. Google’s Project Sunroof Expands to 42 States and Millions More Rooftops With the recent expansion of Project Sunroof, tens of millions of potential solar customers from across the U.S. can now Google their own rooftops to find out if their home is suitable for solar panels. Google launched Project Sunroof last August in three cities -- San Francisco, Fresno and Boston. In January, the program expanded to 20 U.S. metropolitan markets in the most active solar states in the U.S., including California, Massachusetts, Arizona, New York, New Jersey, Nevada, Connecticut, Colorado and North Carolina. (May 20, 2016) GreenTeckMedia [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 5/21/2016 - To say that the sturgeon in the Genesee River was plentiful back in the day is a major understatement. I would like to think that a healthy sturgeon population reinstalled into the Genesee River would be an indicator of a healthy river, but I wonder how an ancient, cold-water species like the sturgeon is going to deal with the warming waters of Climate Change. This all begs the question: What are we doing to help our Wildlife in NYS adapt to Climate Change? Four-foot sturgeon found in Genesee River A 47-inch, 26 pound sturgeon was found in the Genesee River, reports United States Geological Survey research ecologist Dawn Dittman. Dittman has led efforts to reintroduce thousands of baby sturgeon into the Genesee River.  Her recent nettings and observations show that they are growing up. In the 20th century, pollution, over-fishing and habitat loss nearly drove sturgeon into extinction. The USGS, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation and the Seneca Park Zoo have made efforts to rebuild the population, placing more than 5,000 sturgeon into the river since 2003. (May 20, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Genesee River and Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/21/2016 - Considering that the Great Lakes is the largest freshwater system in the world we here in Rochester have a responsibility to protect it—from ourselves.  Consider this important statement from local EPA rep: “Everything you put in the ground will eventually wind up in the Great Lakes.” Judith A. Enck, an EPA regional administrator. Watersheds ahead: Officials hope new road signs make environmental sense Taking care of the Great Lakes means more than watching out for lake water and shorelines. What happens on the onion fields in Elba, cornfields in Eden, the Erie Canal in Lockport and even the Youngmann Highway in Amherst impacts the health of lakes Erie and Ontario. What residents spray on their lawns from Ripley to Rochester also matters. So signs are being installed marking designated Great Lakes watersheds. “It’s an opportunity to remind people that we all have a responsibility to protect watersheds,” said Judith A. Enck, an EPA regional administrator. “Everything you put in the ground will eventually wind up in the Great Lakes.” (May 20, 2016) Buffalo News [more on Water Quality

  • 5/21/2016 - I wonder: How long do we use as an excuse not to address Climate Change when we hear, “It's impossible for scientists to say global warming caused this specific …” but … ???? The fire in Canada looks a lot like climate change -- and that should scare you The fire, which has burned at least 325 square miles, forcing the evacuation of some 88,000 people, is so hot and so intense that's it's formed its own weather. The thundercloud produced by the blaze actually is creating its own lightning, and consequently spreading the fire's rage, setting more trees alight. True, there have been fires in Canada's boreal forest for ages. But scientists and researchers say this fire looks a whole lot like climate change. And that should be alarming for all of us. (May 7, 2016) CNN News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/21/2016 - Besides acidification is hypoxia (lack of Oxygen) also on the rise in our oceans because of Climate Change? We are in new territory. Suffocating the Ocean Oxygen-depleted oceans have preceded many mass extinctions in Earth’s past, including the worst one of all 252 million years ago. Are hypoxic dead zones from California to Namibia a harbinger of the next extinction? It was crabbers who first reported something amiss. In 2002, they began pulling in traps full of corpses. (Crabs should be alive when you catch them.) And they mentioned something else: Little octopuses had followed their crab lines to the surface, as if fleeing inhospitable conditions below. Then heaps of dead crustaceans began washing ashore along a stretch of Oregon’s coast. When scientists sent a robotic submersible offshore, they discovered mile upon mile of dead crustaceans, the water brown and murky with detritus. The killer was low oxygen, or hypoxia. Nearly all animals require oxygen to live, and, that year, dissolved oxygen had fallen so low off Oregon’s coast that whatever mobile creatures could had fled, while more-sessile life had simply suffocated. (May 9, 2016) Pacific Standard

  • 5/20/2016 - As we degrade our soil with pesticides, pollution, development and bad agricultural practices we might remember the crow’s role in cleaning up our environment. Crows eat carrion and carrion eaters are vital. Returning carrion to our life support system is still something we cannot do. Remembering this might help us be more tolerant of crows. Bye Bye Birdy: harassing the crows that harass Watertown The Historical Society isn’t alone. Businesses and organizations throughout downtown Watertown have crow complaints, citing damage to buildings, bad smells and a big mess. That’s where the city’s crow management program comes in. (May 20, 2016) North Country Public Radio [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 5/20/2016 - Some of the basic processes of our life support system are still unknown. Especially on a warming planet that’s very concerning. All in the NAAMES of ocean ecosystems and climate Let’s face it — relationships can be complicated. And the relationship between the ocean and the atmosphere is no exception. NAAMES, or the North Atlantic Aerosols and Marine Ecosystems Study, is a five-year NASA-funded study that aims to define that relationship better. NAAMES is the first NASA Earth Venture-Suborbital mission focused on studying the coupled ocean ecosystem and atmosphere using ships and aircraft simultaneously. Plankton ecosystems of the global ocean profoundly affect climate and life on Earth. NASA's ocean color satellite record tells us that these invaluable ecosystems are highly responsive to climate variability, with changes in ocean plankton production impacting food (e.g., fish), uptake of atmospheric carbon dioxide by the ocean, and ocean emission of climate-regulating aerosols. (May 17, 2016) NASA [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/20/2016 - If the Paris Agreement is going to work, it had better do so quickly. Earth's thermostat is still going up dramatically. It is in this way that Climate Change is quite simple, when we overheat we’re going to cook. What we have done thus far to bring temperatures down has not worked. Just doing something is not enough. Far From Turning a Corner, Global CO2 Emissions Still Accelerating The latest greenhouse gas inventory from NOAA shows CO2 and methane 'going completely in the wrong direction.' The level of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is not just rising, it's accelerating, and another potent greenhouse gas, methane showed a big spike last year, according to the latest annual greenhouse gas indexreleased by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. CO2 emissions totaled between 35 and 40 billion tons in 2015, according to several agencies. Some of that is absorbed by forests and oceans, but those natural systems are being overwhelmed by the sheer volume of new CO2. As a result, the inventory shows, the average global concentration increased to 399 parts per million in 2015, a record jump of almost 3 ppm from the year before. (May 19, 2016) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/19/2016 - It’s more than bikes. "R Community Bikes" is about folks getting from here to there and volunteers helping them do that. Volunteers at "R Community Bikes" help thousands every year Spring is busiest time of year for volunteer-based group The volunteers at "R Community Bikes" know they are helping people in Rochester go places.   Shop Manager Steven Sparer and his small army of volunteers fix and build bikes and put them in the hands of those in need.   "Flat tires, shifting problems, brake problems are pretty much the standard fare," says Sparer.     "R Community Bikes"  began 15 years ago.   Director, Dan Lill wanted to give back to the community and bikes were about the furthest thing from his mind.     Lill says, "we started serving lunch at a soup kitchen actually, had nothing to do with bicycles.  But a gentleman came in and asked if we could fix a flat tire." (May 15, 2015) RochesterFirst.com [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/19/2016 - Consider completing Rochester, NY’s Climate Change Action Plan survey. This plan will affect how our local government addresses Climate Change. Your input into this process is vital. Critical to addressing Climate Change are our local community governments because they set the rules, enforce the rules, maintain our infrastructures, educate the public on issues vital to our way of life, and prepare the public for clear and present dangers. The City has been working on shoring up its own clean energy and transportation in the first phase of addressing Climate Change and now it’s moving to the second phase. Many local groups have been a part of the process to complete the second phase of the City’s Climate Action Plan where much is being planned to address the local consequences of Climate Change and engage the public on this issue. Climate Change is affecting our lives now and it will increasingly affect our children’s lives. Please take a moment and fill out this survey on the Climate Action Plan to demonstrate to the city that you want this worldwide crisis addressed here in Rochester. This is what democracy looks like. CLIMATE ACTION PLAN "We want to hear from you!  Take our community-wide Climate Action Plan survey. What is a Climate Action Plan? Climate Action Plans (CAP) are comprehensive roadmaps that outline the community-wide efforts that will be taken to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. CAPs build upon the information gathered by greenhouse gas inventories and generally focus on those activities that can achieve the relatively greatest emission reductions in the most cost-effective manner.  CAPs typically focus on quantifying existing and projected community-wide greenhouse gas emissions; establishing greenhouse gas emissions reduction targets; identifying and analyzing future greenhouse gas emissions; identifying specific measures that will achieve the emissions targets; and establishing a mechanism to monitor the plan's progress. " City of Rochester, NY

  • 5/19/2016 - I listen to the podcast of Climate One @climateone regularly and find that is one of the most insightful and useful ways to learn about Climate Change. This week’s program on how public health will be affected by Climate Change is an excellent example of how aspects of Climate Change are discussed by experts who, more often than not, have to solve these consequences of Climate Change in their day jobs. THE HEALTH HAZARDS OF ONE DEGREE Global warming is hitting closer to home than we think, from a neighborhood child gasping with asthma to a parent collapsing from heatstroke. These realities led U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy to assert in April that climate change presents the most complex threat to public health in U.S. history. (April 17, 2016) Climate One [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 5/18/2016 - Considering how close Rochester, NY is to the Great Lakes you’d think our local media would be more interested in this radioactive waste storage issue. Plan to store nuclear waste near Great Lakes proves radioactive KINCARDINE, Ontario — If there was an off-key moment during the otherwise flawlessly executed trip to the U.S. Capitol this spring by the new Canadian prime minister, Justin Trudeau, it might have come when he was cornered by Rep. Debbie Dingell. “We never want to see nuclear waste in the Great Lakes,” the freshman Democrat from Michigan sternly told Trudeau during a visit to the office of House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.). Trudeau knew what Dingell was talking about. A few weeks earlier, his administration delayed an expected final ruling on whether Ontario Power Generation (OPG) could blast an area twice as big as the White House in a hole as deep as four Washington Monuments and then dump and seal inside 50 years’ worth of low- and intermediate-level radioactive waste amassed by the province’s three nuclear power plants. (May 16, 2016) The Washington Post [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/18/2016 - Pedantically, some folks remind us that everything around us is made up of chemicals and so we should just get over our fear of them. But not all manmade chemicals are equal, especially most pesticides and other toxic chemicals we cook up. Many chemicals are unsafe even when use as directed. Unsafe at any Dose? Diagnosing Chemical Safety Failures, from DDT to BPA Piecemeal, and at long last, chemical manufacturers have begun removing the endocrine-disrupting plastic bisphenol-A (BPA) from products they sell. Sunoco no longer sells BPA for products that might be used by children under three. France has a national banon BPA food packaging. The EU has banned BPA from baby bottles. These bans and associated product withdrawals are the result of epic scientific research and some intensive environmental campaigning. But in truth these restrictions are not victories for human health. Nor are they even losses for the chemical industry. For one thing, the chemical industry now profits from selling premium-priced BPA-free products. These are usually made with the chemical substitute BPS, which current research suggests is even more of a health hazard than BPA. But since BPS is far less studied, it will likely take many years to build a sufficient case for a new ban. (May 16, 2016) Independent Science News [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 5/18/2016 - In order to sustain our reliance on pollinators for agricultural and natural ecological systems we need to commit to protecting the pollinators. Local Commitments to a Global Pollinator According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United States, approximately 80 percent of all flowering plant species are specialized for pollination by animals, mostly insects, and they affect 35 percent of the world’s crop production, increasing the output of 87 of the leading food crops worldwide. This global significance raises concern for our reliance on pollinators, such as honey bees, for food production, the global economy, and our livelihood. (May 16, 2016) Happenings: the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute [more on Food and Plants in our area]

  • 5/18/2016 - In the last ten years Climate Change has changed (“CO2 levels have increased 5.5 percent,”) and so have we. We have the capacity to change; physics, not so muchAN INCONVENIENT TRUTH THEN AND NOW: WHAT’S CHANGED FOR OUR CLIMATE SINCE 2006? Here’s what’s changed for our planet since An Inconvenient Truth sparked a global movement against climate change a decade ago. If you saw An Inconvenient Truth featuring former Vice President Al Gore back in 2006, chances are you left the theater a little stunned and asking a whole lot of questions. Questions like, “What can we do?” “What can I do?” If so, you weren’t the only one. Fortunately. This month marks the 10th anniversary of the groundbreaking film that prompted millions to start asking questions about climate change and doing something about it, helping shape the modern climate movement we know today. And in the decade since, a lot has changed as a result. Climate science has made major advances, helping us better understand the challenge we face. Renewable energy, such as solar and wind, is cheaper than fossil fuel-based electricity in many parts of the world. Electric cars are even becoming mainstream (well, for some). (May 11, 2016) The Climate Reality Project [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/18/2016 - Burning biomass is not a renewable energy option because it affects the long-term stability of carbon in the soil. Our soil needs to be replenished by the dying going back to that from whence it came. When we burn the biomass instead of putting it back into the ground we are robbing soil of its resources and ourselves of a major carbon sink to address Climate Change. Soil Carbon Unstable After Clear-Cutting We’ve all heard that clear-cutting forests has many adverse effects on the environment. But humans have been cutting down forests for agriculture and to harvest wood for millennia. So what’s the big deal? There are now more humans on Earth than ever before, so demand for wood and food is unprecedented. And for the past few years, people have been clear-cutting forests for biofuel. Clear-cutting is chopping down all the trees in an area, as opposed to selective logging, which is removing only the mature trees. A new study has found another downside to clear-cutting: It makes carbon compounds in the soil more loosely bound to mineral surfaces and therefore more likely to escape into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, which further contributes to global warming. (May 17, 2016) GotScience.org [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/17/2016 - If we want to reduce GHGs and address Climate Change we must increase bicycling and to do that we need the 3’ rule to make it safe. “3-foot amendment: tell the Assembly you want this law” 3 FEET WILL HELP SAVE LIVES In 2013, Dorine Peregrim was struck from behind while riding her bike in Upstate New York. Despite the wide shoulder on which she was riding, and the multiple witnesses who were all able to clearly see Dorine before the crash, the driver still passed Dorine too close, hitting her, and violently throwing her from her bike. (February 18, 2016) New York Bicycling Coalition [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/17/2016 - The Break Free movement has signaled a change in the public’s attitude so that it’s on the level and speed that will make a difference. This could be a game changer as we move towards dangerous rises in global warming and disrupting business as usual. 'Break Free' fossil fuel protests deemed 'largest ever' global disobedience Coalition of environmental groups call for oil, coal and gas to be kept in the ground during mass protests around the world over the past two weeks Thousands of people have taken part in what organizers have called the largest ever global civil disobedience against fossil fuels, with dozens of activists arrested during protests that shut down coalmines, rail infrastructure and a port. The protests, held over the past two weeks in countries including the US, UK, Australia, South Africa and Indonesia, saw activists call for oil, coal and gas to be kept in the ground. A coalition of environment groups, which called the actions “Break Free”, are pushing for a complete shift away from fossil fuels to renewable energy. “This is the hottest year we’ve ever measured, and so it is remarkably comforting to see people rising up at every point of the compass to insist on change,” said Bill McKibben, co-founder of climate group 350.org. (May 16, 2016) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/17/2016 - El Niño conditions may make it even hotter than usual for a while and a La Niña event may make it cooler for a while, but the overall trajectory is hotter and hotter. Unless we dramatically reduce greenhouse gas emissions. Earth just recorded its warmest April on record, and it wasn't even close April was the warmest such month on record for the globe, and yet again, we saw a near-record large margin compared to average, according to NASA data released Saturday.  The record all but assures that 2016 will set another milestone for the warmest calendar year in NASA's database, regardless of whether the rest of this year sees comparatively cooler global temperatures. During each of the past seven months, global average surface temperatures have exceeded the 20th century average by more than 1 degree Celsius, or 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit. (Mary 15, 2016) Mashable [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/13/2016 - Do we really want to bet our future on outdated nuclear power plants? NRC officials finally admit: Indian Point is not safe as they told us Yesterday, we learned that Entergy and staff at the Nuclear Regulatory Commission had not done a proper estimate of the damage that an accident at Indian Point would create. The NRC threw out its assessment of the costs of such a catastrophic event at the troubled nuclear plant. With this reversal, the NRC admits that their analysis was misleading, used erroneous data and was in violation of the National Environmental Policy Act. It also means that another analysis needs to be conducted. This decision is a victory for New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who had argued that NRC staff systematically undercounted the cost and impact of a serious nuclear incident. It is also a victory for the 20 million people within a 50-mile radius of the plant, who are continuously placed at risk by this aging, unreliable plant. (May 5, 2016) Riverkeeper [more on Energy in our area]

  • 5/13/2016 - Fracking for natural gas in New York State using propane rather than water to get around the Frack ban is a craven disregard for our life support system. What’s the point of having scientists if we are going to ignore all their warnings about increasing greenhouse gas emissions in a time of human-driven Climate Change? State asks for more information on potentially allowable fracking plan The state Department of Environmental Conservation is requesting more information about a proposal to frack for natural gas in the Southern Tier using propane and sand rather than water. The energy industry and environmentalists agree the proposal has the potential to bypass the ban on fracking that Gov. Andrew Cuomo ordered in December 2014. The ban applied to high-volume hydraulic fracturing, which uses large volumes of water mixed with sand and chemicals to create fractures in rock that release gas. Under the proposal by Tioga Partners LLC for test wells on a hay and corn farm in Tioga County, the fracking would be done using liquefied petroleum gas and sand instead of water to split the rock. The gelled propane would be recaptured as a gas when it rises back to the surface (May 13, 2016) Politico New York [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 5/13/2016 - Reminder of what we are up against. Observable changes in New York because of Climate Change. From NYS DEC. What you have to get your head around is that profound changes are already occurring in our life support system, changes in the biological system that begot us. These observable changes are a harbinger of what is to come: “Annual average temperatures have been rising in New York for a century; Winter snow cover is decreasing and spring comes (on average) a week or so earlier than it did a few decades ago; in many areas of New York, blooming dates have advanced by as much as 8 days; The ranges of birds that traditionally breed in New York have moved northward by as much as 40 miles in the past two decades; Average nighttime temperatures have risen faster than daytime temperatures and are measurably higher than they were in 1970; Summer heat waves are more intense, with heat-related illness and death projected to increase; Intense precipitation events (heavy downpours) are occurring more often; Sea levels along New York's ocean coast are approximately a foot higher than in 1900; and Vector-borne infections and diseases spread by mosquitoes and ticks, such as West Nile virus and Lyme disease, are becoming more widespread throughout New York.” Impacts of Climate Change in New York from New York State Department of Environmental Conservation  

  • 5/12/2016 - As Climate Change becomes more dire more folks will become more urgent in demanding action from their leaders. If we don’t #KeepItInTheGround and #breakfree2016 we will be in deep dodo. Rancor, protests greet top energy official Amid shouts, FERC chairman driven from stage at Desmond conference Climate protesters drove the head of federal energy policy from the stage Wednesday during a conference of power plant owners. Near the end of a speech to the Independent Power Producers of New York, Federal Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Norman Bay was interrupted and confronted by about a half-dozen protesters at theDesmond Hotel and Conference Center. (May 11, 2016) Albany Times Union [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/12/2016 - After watching the film “Bikes vs. Cars” I gained a greater sense of how unsustainable our car culture is. One of the moments of clarity during the documentary is when a transit planner said that congestion (waiting for three hours each day for traffic to move in our major urban areas) is going to be an opportunity for dialogue. Whereas cars, and the corporations pushing them (and public transit off the cliff), have completely dominated our environment, the specter of ruining our own lives by being imprisoned in our vehicles for more and more of our lives will finally get folks to consider alternative ways to get around—like bikes, walking, and public transportation. If you missed this important documentary at the Little Theatre for the beginning of Bike Week in Rochester, find other ways to watch this film and increase bicycling in Rochester.

  • 5/12/2016 - Hope for addressing Climate Change mitigation depends on actually bringing down greenhouse gases—just good intentions won’t do. Global 2040 Forecast Sees Only Slight Fall in Fossil Fuels Despite the urgency to cut greenhouse gas emissions as climate change bears down on the globe, fossil fuel use is not likely to change much in the coming decades. Though renewable energy will grow quickly though 2040, gasoline and diesel will still move most of the world’s vehicles, and coal will still be the largest single source of carbon emissions. Those are the conclusions of a forecast released by the federal government on Wednesday for how the world will use energy and what its carbon dioxide emissions will be over the next 25 years. (May 11, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/12/2016 - This local program on whether we in Rochester should ban the plastic bag was an excellent public discourse on the subject. Though downplayed by many as a small problem, you just have to watch documentaries like ‘Bag It, Is Your Life Too Plastic” to get a real sense of the plastic bag problem. A fee on the use of plastic bags, or a ban, would go far in demonstrating to the public the importance of decreasing the environmental burden brought on by cheap plastic bags. Plastic bags aren’t just everywhere, they are everywhere they shouldn’t be like blocking our storm water drains, in our oceans mistaken as food, filing niches in our environment that should be filled with life, and breaking down their toxic ingredients in a our soil and water. Like many environmental issues they seem small until you get the world-wide view and remember that this has to be solved along with Climate Change—it’s not either or. Should we ban plastic bags? Attorney Jennie Romer has been working on this issue across the country, taking her efforts to New York City most recently. NYC just passed a five-cent fee on plastic bags. In Rochester, the Youth Climate Leaders have decided to focus on enacting local bans. We explore the impact of bans and fees on plastic bags. Our guests: Jennie Romer, attorney and sustainability consultant Terry Smith, head of the Harley School's Lower School Tierra Cherelin, sixth grader at Genesee Community Charter School and member of the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders steering committee. Benny Smith, student in the Brighton School District and member of the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders steering committee Jason Wadsworth, sustainability manager for Wegmans (May 11, 2016) Connections [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 5/11/2016 - Looking for help in planting trees: "CALL TO ACTION – 100 Volunteers Needed Protect Oatka Creek’s Water Quality – Tree Planting Event   WHAT:   Trees for Tribs Planting Event on Oatka Creek - Plant 1100 trees and 400 shrubs!!   WHERE:  Oatka Creek’s Riparian Corridor in Monroe County’s Oatka Park – North shore of Oatka Creek roughly parallel to State Route 383 (Scottsville- Mumford Road).   WHEN:  Saturday May 21, 2016 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM (or later if you can stay and planting still needs to be done)   PURPOSE:  Supplement tree canopy in the riparian corridor of Oatka Creek with various tree and shrub species to replace the dying or dead ash trees that have historically been the dominant tree species and that now are infested with the Emerald Ash Borer, a non-native invasive species.   This event is being coordinated by the Oatka Creek Watershed Committee, in partnership with the Monroe County Department of Parks & Recreation, the Seth Green Chapter of Trout Unlimited, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation Saratoga Nursery’s Trees for Tribs Program and the Wyoming County Soil and Water Conservation District, the regional coordinator for the Genesee River Basin Trees for Tribs Program (see program information.   If you can help or have questions, please contact Peter Lent lent@frontiernet.net (Chair, Oatka Creek Watershed Committee). Ask a friend to come with you and pass this notice on to others. See map . "

  • 5/11/2016 - A bill prohibiting communities from enacting bans on plastic bags used by retailers will limit our ability to protect our environmental resources. These kind of bills to protect the private interests of businesses at the cost of our life support system are a very dangerous form of delusion—where our priorities are backwards and unsustainable.  As Climate Change becomes more dire and our accumulated environmental degradation gets worse, we are going to see these strange wars between a free market ideology and the health of our environment increase. Of course, we have long fought over these two opposing interests (or perceived interests, because no one in their right mind would sabotage their own life support system) but things are coming to a head with Climate Change. Because we are bumping up against physical and biological limits with our environmental issues and the specter of Climate Change, we no longer have the luxury of treating our life support system as an externality for our economies. Humanity needs to be on the same environmental page. Plastic bags fuel tug of war between state, locals  Even though the state Senate is poised to pass a bill Tuesday prohibiting communities from enacting bans on plastic bags used by retailers, Washtenaw County is forging ahead with a proposal to limit the ubiquitous plastic and paper bags from the streets, trails and trees of the county. A Washtenaw County Board of Commissioners committee approved a resolution last week that would impose a $.10-cent fee on most plastic and paper bags used by retailers to package goods for customers. Exceptions would made for low-income residents and for plastic bags used to wrap frozen foods, meat or fish, newspapers, laundry or dry cleaning, pet waste bags, or bags used to prevent spills from prepared foods such as soups or salads. (May 9, 2016) Detroit Free Press [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 5/11/2016 - Speaking of e-waste, far too many folks are curbing their old electronics, which is illegal in NYS.  On The Trail Of America's Dangerous, Dead Electronics High above the Pacific Ocean in a plane headed for Hong Kong, most of the passengers are fast asleep. But not Jim Puckett. His eyes are fixed on the glowing screen of his laptop. Little orange markers dot a satellite image. He squints at the pixelated terrain trying to make out telltale signs. He’s searching for America’s electronic waste. “People have the right to know where their stuff goes,” he says. Dead electronics make up the world’s fastest-growing source of waste. The United States produces more e-waste than any country in the world. Electronics contain toxic materials like lead and mercury, which can harm the environment and people. Americans send about 50,000 dump trucks worth of electronics to recyclers each year. (May 9, 2016) OPB [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 5/10/2016 - If you’re not feeling a sense of great urgency about Climate Change, maybe this animation will help prioritize your concerns. This Animation Lets You Watch Global Warming Heat Up Over 166 Years When it comes to climate change, it’s often difficult to convey an appropriate sense of urgency. After all, this is a problem that been building for decades, and will take decades of coordinated effort to solve. Still, something especially troubling is happening at a planetary scale this year. The first three months of 2016 have been so ridiculously warm that our planet is already a shoo-in to record the warmest calendar year since records began. El Niño is a big factor in why this global step-change is happening right now, but it’s not the whole story. Most of the current warming, at least when compared to pre-Industrial Revolution levels, is the direct result of greenhouse gas emissions. (March 9, 2016) Slate [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/10/2016 - Of course, Earth’s environment being what it is—finite—we’re going to have to #KeepItInTheGround or we’re all going to roast. Plans for coal-fired power in Asia are 'disaster for planet' warns World Bank Experts have offered stark warnings that proposed power plants in India, China, Vietnam and Indonesia would blow Paris climate deal if they move ahead Plans to build more coal-fired power plants in Asia would be a “disaster for the planet” and overwhelm the deal forged at Paris to fight climate change, the president of the World Bank said on Thursday. In an unusually stark warning, the World Bank president, Jim Yong Kim, noted that countries in south and south-east Asia were on track to build hundreds more coal-fired power plants in the next 20 years – despite promises made at Paris to cut greenhouse gas emissions and pivot to a clean energy future. (May 5, 2016) The Guardian [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/10/2016 - Dull as ‘infrastructures’ sounds our transportation, water, telecommunications, and waste infrastructures are the bloodlines that make modern life possible. We neglect them at our peril. We ignore them when addressing Climate Change at risk of a unsustainable future. We should assess the need for various infrastructures, like unnecessary roads, in the light of the challenges ahead brought on by not preparing properly for Climate Change. It will be challenge enough to maintain critical infrastructures as the consequences of Climate Change become more dire, without wasting precious time and public monies trying to maintaining unessential’s. Will limited resources decommission some roads, bridges? Orleans County officials, with help from planners at the Genesee Transportation Council, will kick off a $55,000 study in coming weeks with the aim of determining a new best use for that especially ill-maintained section of the parkway. That could mean fixing the four-lane concrete parkway or perhaps closing down the two northernmost lanes (the westbound side) and recapturing that land for recreational uses, which could include snowmobile or bicycle trails or scenic overlooks and picnic spots. Their move underscores a growing problem: The high cost of repairing aged infrastructure is forcing a hard look at whether or not we actually need all we've got, and whether we'd be better off decommissioning roads and bridges that get little use, relatively speaking, so we can better use the money we do have. (May 9, 2016) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/09/2016 - Learn more about BIKE WEEK IN ROCHESTER 2016 and how to stay safe on a bike and why bicycling is important. Attend an event, see a film, and learn what Rochester is doing to increase bicycling. BIKE WEEK IN ROCHESTER 2016  Bike Week 2016  May is National Bike Month! Hop on your bike, enjoy the smell of fresh air and lilacs, and experience the freedom of exploring our community on two wheels. The City of Rochester will help to launch the 2016 summer biking season with Rochester Bike Week, May 13-22. Rochester, NY 

  • 5/09/2016 - Buffalo plans to triple its bicycling with its new Bicycle Master Plan. Both Rochester and Buffalo can increase bicycle safety with more public education—and yeah, connecting the dots with lowering greenhouse gases and Climate Change. Wouldn’t the public be more accommodating of bicycles in our streets if they knew that active transportation (walking and bicycling) could have a dramatic effect on lowering greenhouse gases and helping our communities address Climate Change? Buffalo unveils new master plan for bicycles Mayor wants city more pedal-friendly Move over, motorists. A new bicycle master plan recommends 300 miles of bike lanes throughout Buffalo – more than triple the amount that the city has now – to provide a safer, more connected network that encourages more bicycling. The plan, released by Mayor Byron W. Brown in partnership with Gobike Buffalo, provides a blueprint for the significant expansion, along with cost estimates and recommendations on where to fill in the gaps on the grid to grow Buffalo into a top-notch bicycling community. “As part of our focus on improving the quality of life in the City of Buffalo and making the city a more attractive place to live and work, we think the investments that we plan to make to build out bicycle facilities will help us continue to grow the city,” said Brown. (May 8, 2016) Buffalo News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 5/09/2016 - “NOAA reported May 6 that the January through April 2016 contiguous U.S. average temperature was 43.1°F – 4.0°F above average.” And New York is “Much above average.” Western U.S. Snowpack Melting At Record Speed The U.S. Department of Agriculture's Natural Resources Conservation Service issued its final "west-wide forecast" of the season this week. It shows that snowpack, from Washington to Wyoming, is melting so quickly, flooding is a possibility in some areas.  "Most areas saw major decreases in snowpack during April and are now below normal," according to the NRCS May 2016 Western Snowpack and Water Supply Conditions report. "The notable exceptions to this that still have above normal snowpack include the Rocky Mountains of northern Colorado and western Wyoming, while the central Sierra in California remains near normal. Elsewhere, snow is generally well below normal or completely melted out." (May 7, 2016) Capitol Public Radio [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/07/2016 - Wonderful coverage of the Rochester’s Earth Day event: Earth Eve Climate March Forward by Rochester’s premier independent media. Many mainstream media were called to cover this historical Earth Day event, but they did not come…  Why have they forsaken us? 2016 is a pivotal year for protecting Mother Earth with the Paris Agreement and the public needs to be engaged and the press needs to engage them. Mothers Out Front March for Earth Day About 80 people gathered in Washington Square park on April 21, the day before Earth Day, to raise awareness of Climate Change.  The event was organized by Mothers Out Front. Some were wearing hats topped with windmills.  Non-polluting wind energy is one of the "renewable" options to replace fossil fuels which add carbon to the atmosphere. A proposal to build an off shore wind farm on lake Ontario is facing political opposition.  The problem, as many stated, is a system which puts profit for a few over people.  The march continued around the block with a stop and some songs in front of the Rundell library, and ended back at the park a half hour later. (April 24, 2016)  Indymedia Rochester, NY [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 5/07/2016 - Climate Change: hope and strive for the best; plan for the worst. Despite Paris Agreement, it would be hubristic to think we’ve avoided the danger zone. Governments Should Study Worst-Case Warming: U.N. A United Nations panel of scientists seeking ways for nations to limit global warming to 1.5 degrees Celsius should not dissuade governments from concentrating on bleaker scenarios of higher temperatures as well, its former chief said. Nations should be considering the potential impact of temperature rises of as much as 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 Fahrenheit), said Robert Watson, former head of the U.N. Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. (May 7, 2016) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]