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: Friday, August 29, 2014

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

  • 8/29/2014 - People’s Climate March is more important than ever. We cannot have a milquetoast climate treaty. We need you in NYC on 9/21. Listen to this critical interview with Bill McKibben on why folks like you and I must not let leaders get away with some kind of go-around deal.  “Your body is badly needed on the streets of New York City on September 21, 2014…” As Obama Settles on Nonbinding Treaty, "Only a Big Movement" Can Take on Global Warming As international climate scientists warn runaway greenhouse gas emissions could cause "severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts," the Obama administration is abandoning attempts to have Congress agree to a legally binding international climate deal. The New York Times reports U.S. negotiators are crafting a proposal that would not require congressional approval and instead would seek pledges from countries to cut emissions on a voluntary basis. This comes as a new U.N. report warns climate change could become "irreversible" if greenhouse gas emissions go unchecked. If global warming is to be adequately contained, it says, at least three-quarters of known fossil fuel reserves must remain in the ground. We speak to 350.org founder Bill McKibben about why his hopes for taking on global warming lie not in President Obama’s approach, but rather in events like the upcoming People’s Climate March in New York City, which could mark the largest rally for climate action ever. "The Obama administration, which likes to poke fun at recalcitrant congressmen, hasn’t been willing to really endure much in the way of political pain itself in order to slow things down," McKibben says. "The rest of the world can see that. The only way we’ll change any of these equations here or elsewhere is by building a big movement — that’s why September 21 in New York is such an important day." (?August 28, 2014) Democracy Now! [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/29/2014 - Plastic bag problem highlights free-market/ pollution problem: If the invisible hand can’t stop plastic bag pollution, the nanny state will have to.  Although some may find plastic bags in our trees, blocking our street drains, and acting as food for wild creatures, uninteresting most realize that plastic bags are more than unsightly, they are poisoning our life support system. If our present economic system cannot find it in its heart to make littering plastic bags unprofitable, or gathering up plastic bags like deposit bottles profitable, then government regulations will come into play. It’s only natural that our government, any government, protects its people and its environment. California Assembly Passes Statewide Plastic Bag Ban The California State Assembly today voted 44-29 to phase out plastic shopping bags across the state. The legislation now advances to the State Senate where it is expected to come up for a vote before the legislature adjourns on August 31. The measure, SB 270, authored by Los Angeles Democrat Senator Alex Padilla, and two other Democrats, would prohibit grocery stores, drugstores, and convenience stores from distributing single-use plastic bags starting July 2015. Stores could sell paper, durable reusable bags, and compostable bags with a minimum charge of 10 cents each. The charge aims to encourage shoppers to bring their own reusable bags. (August 28, 2014) Environmental News Service [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 8/29/2014 - Important environmental news and information from the latest newsletter from the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club.  Including a full description of how Rochester, NY folks can get to the People’s Climate March.

  • 8/29/2014 - In a warmer world “viruses, bacteria, fungi, blights, mildews, rusts, beetles, nematodes, flies, mites, spiders and caterpillars that farmers call pests will have saturated the world” but we had better not saturate them and our environment with pesticides. This is why we need to plan for Climate Change so we find non- pesticides alternatives so we don’t shoot ourselves in the foot—as it were—with something just as bad if not worse than the pests. Food security faces growing pest advance A world with more people will see more competition for food. Many of our competitors may not be human, because natural pests are spreading far and wide.  Coming soon to a farm near you: just about every possible type of pest that could take advantage of the ripening harvest in the nearby fields. By 2050, according to new research in the journal Global Ecology and Biogeography, those opportunistic viruses, bacteria, fungi, blights, mildews, rusts, beetles, nematodes, flies, mites, spiders and caterpillars that farmers call pests will have saturated the world. Wherever they can make a living, they will. None of this bodes well for food security in a world of nine billion people and increasingly rapid climate change. (August 29, 2014) Climate News Network [more on Food and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/28/2014 - Kind of hard to address NYS invasive species issue without including Climate Change, but NYS DEC manages to do so.  This is weird because trying to stop and regulate invasive species in our region, according to climate studies clearly describe the problem of more pest, and health and crop risks, with more invasive species but our main regulatory agency is mum on all that. New Regulations Seek to Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species in New York State DEC and Agriculture & Markets Issue Final Regulations to Address Damage Caused by Invasive Species New state regulations will prevent the introduction and spread of invasive species and help to preserve New York's ecosystems, state Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The regulations are the latest step in the state's efforts to combat invasive species and were developed by DEC in cooperation with the state Department of Agriculture and Markets (DAM). "Invasive species can cause serious harm to other species and impair natural ecosystems," Commissioner Martens said. "These regulations will establish strict limits to better control the spread of invasive species and help to protect natural resources, habitats and biological diversity, including trees, crops and native species that are threatened by the presence of invasives." State Agriculture Commissioner Richard A. Ball said, "Invasive species pose a serious threat to New York agriculture, which is why we dedicate so much time and energy to combat these non-native threats to our farms. We are pleased to actively partner with DEC in these efforts to protect our state's food supply, ecosystems and economy and will work to ensure that these rules provide maximum protection for consumers and all affected industries." (August 27, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)   [more on Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 8/28/2014 - How many other Rochester, NY based media are reporting on IPCC draft that it may already be too late to avoid serious impacts of Climate Change? I’m thinking not many of them. Mostly we here in Rochester, NY are in Climate Change silence mode and must somehow believe we are not part of this worldwide crisis and that we don’t have to plan.  Climate change panel issues blunt warning on carbon emissions Over the past few months, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has issued a series of reports containing stern warnings about global warming. The panel's scientists have clearly stated that climate change is here, it's creating a long list of harms and risks, and governments need to act on greenhouse gas emissions to avert the worst impacts. But the latest document, sent yesterday to governments across the world, says it may already be too late to avoid serious impacts. According to reports in major media outlets, the panel's draft synthesis report — which combines the previous assessments into one comprehensive volume — warns that the global trend of rising average temperatures may be irreversible. An Associated Press article includes this excerpt: "Continued emission of greenhouse gases will cause further warming and long-lasting changes in all components of the climate system, increasing the likelihood of severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems," the report says. (August 27, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/28/2014 - Breaking: Business-as-usual strategy on Climate Change is NOT working.  Go to #climatemarch and kickstart real changes U.N. Draft Report Lists Unchecked Emissions’ Risks Runaway growth in the emission of greenhouse gases is swamping all political efforts to deal with the problem, raising the risk of “severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts” over the coming decades, according to a draft of a major new United Nations report. Global warming is already cutting grain production by several percentage points, the report found, and that could grow much worse if emissions continue unchecked. Higher seas, devastating heat waves, torrential rain and other climate extremes are also being felt around the world as a result of human-produced emissions, the draft report said, and those problems are likely to intensify unless the gases are brought under control. The world may already be nearing a temperature at which the loss of the vast ice sheet covering Greenland would become inevitable, the report said. The actual melting would then take centuries, but it would be unstoppable and could result in a sea level rise of 23 feet, with additional increases from other sources like melting Antarctic ice, potentially flooding the world’s major cities. (August 26, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/28/2014 - To get on a bus to Peoples Climate March from Rochester, NY to stop climate disruption go here:  http://peoplesclimate.org/westernny/  “Watch the trailer for 'Disruption', a new documentary that weaves together political intrigue, mind-blowing science, as well as an insider's view of the largest climate mobilization in history. Movies are on the most powerful forms of communication, and we hope this one will be a potent tool to raise awareness and get people out into the street on September 21st.”

  • 8/28/2014 - Winters in regions like Rochester’s and our snow fall patterns during Climate Change—it will get complicated. We should plan for the change. What Global Warming Might Mean for Extreme Snowfalls While the average annual snowfall in most parts of the world is indeed expected to decline, the extreme snowfalls — those that hit a place once every 10 or 20 years and can cause major headaches and economic impacts — may decline at a slower rate, and could even increase in particularly cold places, a new study detailed in the Aug. 28 issue of the journal Nature finds. Essentially, in a warming world, there are “more muted changes in [the intensity of] snowfall extremes than in average snowfall,” said study author Paul O’Gorman, a climate researcher at MIT. (August 27, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/28/2014 - Some communities are taking advantage of ‘zoomed-in climate models’ for accurate climate planning, all communities should do so. Zoomed-In Climate Models Help Alaska Communities Plan for Uncertain Future The urgency for climate modeling known as downscaling' is greatest in Alaska, which has warmed twice as fast as the rest of the country. Hunters in the Alaskan village of Wainwright, a community of about 550 Inupiat Eskimos at the lip of the Chukchi Sea, have long harvested bowhead whales from the ocean. Each spring, crews of 15-25 hunters set out in umiaqs—boats made from seal skins and caribou sinew. The hunters usually launch from Point Belcher, where the ice cracks open to expose the water in slivers called "leads." Then the whalers follow these narrow channels to the sea. They may land whales as long as 55 feet, but a young whale that is as round as it is long—about 30 feet—called a "butterball," is considered the most succulent. Successful captains share the fresh catch in a big home feast right after the harvest. The rest of the thousands of pounds of meat feeds the villagers through the next winter. (August 26, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/27/2014 - Because we are not updating our sewage systems, frequent heavy rainfalls due to Climate Change are killing our beaches.  Not to mention our fish, our drinking water, and a whole lot of other stuff that comes with the largest fresh water ecosystem in the world.  Updating our waste water infrastructures around the Great Lakes is going to cost big bucks and folks are going to have to let their leaders know this is a top priority. Montreal sewage waste dumped directly into rivers After a storm, sewage waste mixes with rainwater and is spewed directly into the St. Lawrence While the city of Montreal says it’s studying the idea of creating more beaches on its territory, CBC’s French-language service Radio-Canada has learned that sewage waste is dumped directly into the St-Lawrence River and the Rivière des Prairies after heavy rainfalls. The data collected near one of the proposed beach sites in the borough of Verdun shows that, on some days, the levels of coliform bacteria were more than 20 times higher than the acceptable levels for swimming. (August 25, 2014) CBCNews [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]  

  • 8/27/2014 - Plastic bits (not all of them mircobeads), which accumulate toxins, in the Great Lakes are not filtered by our sewage plants.  This is to say that pharmaceuticals and other stuff we’ve been dumping into our drinking water, and our life support system, are not being filtered either and are entering our bodies—as a further body burden.  We are not going to adapt to Climate Change by simply banning microbeads. We are going to need a comprehensive plan to get the Great Lakes ready for the consequences of Climate Change. Plastic Pollutants Found Throughout Great Lakes Food Chain Scientists have been spending the summer studying the impact of micro-plastic pollution in the Great Lakes. Sherri Mason, professor of Chemistry and Environmental Sciences at SUNY Fredonia, led the team of researchers that first called attention to pollution from plastic microbeads found in personal care products - everything from facial scrubs to shampoo.  Mason says these plastic beads are too small to be filtered by sewage plants, and they're making their way into all five of the Great Lakes and the fish and birds that swim in those waters.  (August 26, 2014) WXXI News [more on Great Lakes, Water Quality, and Food in our area]

  • 8/27/2014 - “Curiouser and curiouser!” is the strange road USA must take “to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions.”  Be nice if the world came to the People’s Climate March in NYC on Sept 21 to send a clear message to our leader that we don’t freaking care about political protocol; get those greenhouse gas emissions down. Obama Pursuing Climate Accord in Lieu of Treaty WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is working to forge a sweeping international climate change agreement to compel nations to cut their planet-warming fossil fuel emissions, but without ratification from Congress. In preparation for this agreement, to be signed at a United Nations summit meeting in 2015 in Paris, the negotiators are meeting with diplomats from other countries to broker a deal to commit some of the world’s largest economies to enact laws to reduce their carbon pollution. But under the Constitution, a president may enter into a legally binding treaty only if it is approved by a two-thirds majority of the Senate. (August 26, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/27/2014 - Kicking the can down the road of ‘business-as-usual’ hasn’t worked and it looks like we are our progeny (kids)  are going to pay for that. It’s not too late to adapt to the worse of Climate Change, but our window of opportunity for mitigating Climate Change is closing quickly.  If the Paris 2015 climate talks fail, there is no Plan B. Draft Of Upcoming IPCC Report Presents Stark View Of The Future As Climate Change Rages On WASHINGTON (AP) — Global warming is here, human-caused and probably already dangerous — and it's increasingly likely that the heating trend could be irreversible, a draft of a new international science report says. The United Nations' Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change on Monday sent governments a final draft of its synthesis report, which combines three earlier, gigantic documents by the Nobel Prize-winning group. There is little in the report that wasn't in the other more-detailed versions, but the language is more stark and the report attempts to connect the different scientific disciplines studying problems caused by the burning of fossil fuels, such as coal, oil and gas. The 127-page draft, obtained by The Associated Press, paints a harsh warning of what's causing global warming and what it will do to humans and the environment. It also describes what can be done about it. (August 26, 2014) The Huffington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/27/2014 - Looks like climate scientists, with a lot of work, are finding and being able to use old climate information.  I suspect as our critical need for more information about the workings of our environment grows more acute, we’ll find that many past observations of our environment, including millennia of information from indigenous peoples for example, will be invaluable in accurately modeling the past so we can accurately model the future of our life support system.  With Climate Change, we’re gonna need all the information we can get. The Quest to Scan Millions of Weather Records Scientists are embarking on data rescue missions all over the world to find and digitize old climate information.  Deep in the dusty catalogs of weather stations and meteorological offices all over the world are hidden treasures. They're easy to miss if you're not looking for them—often taking the form of, well, piles of moldy papers. But on those pieces of paper are hundreds of years of weather records—data that could make climate science far more accurate. The International Environmental Data Rescue Organization (IEDRO) estimates that there are 100 million paper strip charts—records that list weather conditions—sitting in meteorological storage facilities throughout the world. That’s about 200 million observations unused by scientists, data that could greatly improve their models. Now, a few small groups of scientists are trying digitize these records, but they’re facing all kinds of obstacles.  (August 25, 2014) The Atlantic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/27/2014 - The road to the Paris 2015 Climate talks may be ‘rocky’ and steep (for that matter) but there’s no Plan B for a Paris failure. There is no worldwide framework that can duplicate all the nations of the world coming together lower greenhouse gas emission.  We should be working to make Paris 2015 work and not so much nooding over how many times we have failed to make the climate talks work. LIEBREICH: CLIMATE CHANGE TALKS – THE ROCKY ROAD TO PARIS Albert Einstein once said that doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different outcome was the definition of insanity. How then are we to view the continuing attempts of the climate community to corral the world into a binding deal on greenhouse gases? This December sees the fifth anniversary of the UN’s COP15 Copenhagen Climate Change Conference. The great and good gathered together to sign climate change’s death warrant. Newly-minted President Barack Obama had noted his inauguration as “the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal”. Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown proclaimed we had “50 days to save the world and no Plan B”. Expectations could not have been higher. Sadly, it turned out the world had other priorities. Developing countries refused to sacrifice their growth prospects on the altar of Western green sensibilities. Developed countries proved strangely focused on not disappearing down the plug-hole of the financial crisis. The apparent academic sharp practice revealed in the Climategate emails did not help. (August 26, 2014) Bloomberg Energy and Finance [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/26/2014 - Not to mention independent power grids are a great way to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change, but Media is too shy to say. Be nice if our local media, and out state government for that matter, would connect the dots between Climate Change and energy use and more frequent extreme weather that is coming because of Climate Change in our area and how an independent power grid is less likely to fail everywhere, unlike our present central power grid. Our use of energy is one of the main culprits of Climate Change and it would be real nice if our local media could continually inform the public of that instead of continually ignoring the elephant in the room. New York creates $40M energy technology contest New York state will hold a $40 million competition designed to spur research and development of independent power grids that would allow local communities to keep the lights on during power failures.   Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced the New York Prize competition, which would award funding to companies or utilities that suggest the best ways to create so-called "microgrids." Microgrids are small power systems that are able to function independently when storms or other emergencies knock out electricity. (August 26, 2014) WHEC Rochester [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]  

  • 8/26/2014 - Good grief, the USA is going to start muzzling scientists like Canada does? The denier cranks get free speech rights, so why not scientists who actually know what they are talking about? Journalism, Science Groups Decry EPA Move to Muzzle National Science Advisers Journalists and scientists are urging the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to stop banning leading national scientists from talking to media outlets and the public. The EPA is placing new restrictions on independent scientists who advise the agency, according to a memorandum from the EPA’s chief of staff. The memo instructs Science Advisory Board members to get permission before talking to the press, which inhibits their ability to speak freely to the public about important scientific issues, including air pollution, toxic chemicals and water quality. “The EPA wants to control what information the public receives about crucial issues affecting Americans’ health and well-being,” said Society of Professional Journalists (SPJ) President David Cuillier. “The people are entitled to get this information unfiltered from scientists, not spoon-fed by government spin doctors who might mislead and hide information for political reasons or to muzzle criticism.” (August 12, 2014) Union of Concerned Scientists

  • 8/26/2014 - Thing of it is though, New Orleans did not recover from Hurricane Katrina overnight, it was not ready for a Climate Change extremes. As a matter of fact, Hurricane Katrina represents the complete failure of all infrastructures and public health and enforcement and humanity that will be the future if we don’t plan properly for Climate Change.  What could go wrong, did go wrong, and it did so at the worst possible time. Swipe the photos and see Hurricane Katrina disaster dissolve into present-day recovery Drag your cursor (on a computer) or swipe your finger (on a phone or tablet) across each photo below. The 2005 Hurricane Katrina photo will dissolve into a picture from the identical vantage point nine years later. (August 25, 2014) NOLA The Times-Picayune  

  • 8/26/2014 - Riverdale’s media reports on folks getting ready for the People’s Climate March, but not Rochester, NY’s media. Maybe more than the climate will change around here. Battle over climate change heats up In 2011, Riverdale resident Jennifer Scarlott was arrested on the White House lawn for protesting the Keystone Pipeline, along with 1,200 other demonstrators.   But the arrest was hardly a stumbling block for Ms. Scarlott, who is now part of a growing group of activists in the northwest Bronx working to combat climate change.  In Riverdale and Kingsbridge, Ms. Scarlott and fellow activists are gearing up for a climate change rally set for Sunday, Sept. 21. Participants in the People’s Climate March will start at 59th Street in Manhattan, march down Sixth Avenue to Times Square, and proceed across 42nd Street to 11th Avenue on the west side.  Organizers predict the march will be the largest focusing on climate action to date. (August 20, 2014) The Riverdale Press [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 8/25/2014 - How to get rid of unused Prescription Drugs properly, from our friends over at the DEC: “Drug Enforcement Administration to Collect Prescription Drugs: The federal Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) will conduct a prescription drug collection on Saturday, September 27, 2014 from 10:00 AM - 2:00 PM. Collections will be held at many locations around New York and are the best way to dispose of unused and unwanted prescription drugs. Collection locations will be posted after September 1 on DEA's National Take Back Initiative webpage. In addition to the DEA collection on September 27, other collections are scheduled in many New York counties and many are available more often than the DEA collection. Visit DEC's Household Drug Collection Schedule webpage to see if a collection is scheduled in your area.  For more information about drugs in our water, visit DEC's drugs in New York's Waters webpage.  

  • 8/25/2014 - Thinking you want to do something for our environment in Rochester, NY? Why not an hour or two being a Recycling Ranger at this year’s Greentopia Festival? “The event is September 13th, 10am -10pm in the High Falls area of downtown Rochester. It will be smaller and more confined than in previous years, concentrated on 1 street - Brown's Race. We will have 3 recycling stations that will require 2 persons each per shift. The shifts will be 2 hours long. 1st and last shifts will probably be a little longer because of set up and tear down. Volunteers will receive festival tee shirts and free food.  Maybe, with your help, we can achieve a 100% diversion rate. That means that everything is either recycled or composted.” Sign up here.

  • 8/25/2014 - Looks like I’m going to have to surf over to Wisconsin to find local news coverage of People’s Climate March instead of Rochester, NY.  Is Rochester, NY’s media really going to ignore, and therefore let us down again, on informing its public of the largest Climate Change gathering ever?  We http://peoplesclimate.org/westernny/ are hoping that our local media will find it in their hearts to mention the most important gathering on the most important issue of our time. Maybe you could contact your media and demand that they talk about Climate Change and local efforts to join in the most important gathering on Climate Change in NYC on Sept. 21. Massive People's Climate March in NYC planned for Sept. 21 Hundreds of organizations are recruiting participants for the massive People’s Climate March in New York City on Sept. 21. Organizers say the march could become the largest demonstration for climate action in history. It is set to take place just two days before President Barack Obama and other world leaders gather for an emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations. Marchers will demand those leaders go beyond rhetoric and commit to bold action. More than 750 organizations around the world are supporting the march, from the largest transit workers union in New York City to a coalition of Buddhist monks. These groups, according to a news release, represent about 100 million people. (August 22, 2014) The Wisconsin Gazette [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/25/2014 - ‘Pragmatic institutions’ were not this point about an essay on whether “a social movement will rise up against global warming”. But I found this sentence intriguing: “Pragmatic institutions like insurance companies and the American military have been confronting the consequences of climate change for some time.” I think what the author means it that certain institutions must plan for the long term—and get it right.  They don’t have the luxury of ignoring the road ahead, as it were, because the future is their life blood. Insurance companies must be able to project how much money they will have to pay out because of damages so they can find out how much to charge their clients. It they get it wrong, they (and a whole lot of others) go belly up. Same with the military: they must project how many people and arms they will need for future conflagrations. If they get it wrong they (and a whole lot of others) go belly up.  All institutions and authorities (like transportation or water and many, many others) have been and will have to confront the consequences of Climate Change.  But mostly these other institutions and agencies can and have adapted to extreme weather, flooding, heat, crop pest and the other consequences on an ad hoc, day to day, basis. The military and insurance companies can’t survive climate denial. The Climate Swerve AMERICANS appear to be undergoing a significant psychological shift in our relation to global warming. I call this shift a climate “swerve,” borrowing the term used recently by the Harvard humanities professor Stephen Greenblatt to describe a major historical change in consciousness that is neither predictable nor orderly. (August 23, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/25/2014 - Birds are showing us that it’s Climate Change and more environmental issues that both of us need to plan for—at the same time. Winged Warnings: Our series day-by-day More than 1,300 birds are perched perilously on a global list of threatened species. Each one is sending us a message, and scientists are struggling to decipher them. EHN’s series, Winged Warnings, reveals the surprising new discoveries that are emerging about the global threats to birds. “Canary in the coalmine” isn’t just a proverb: Birds are showing us what ails their environment – and sometimes, what ails us.Their nesting, their parenting, their brains, their hormones – even their songs – have been changed by pollutants, climate change and other threats they encounter. Our team of reporters traveled to the islets of Iceland, the prairies of Canada, the shores of Lake Michigan and the backyards of Alaska, among other places, to bring these stories to life. Unfolding over the next six weeks, Winged Warnings is published in conjunction with National Geographic. (August 22, 2014) National Geographic and Environmental Health News [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 8/23/2014 - On the other hand, what’s the point of a black bear in New York State if the bear isn’t in the wild? Our environment, which is to say our life support system, in New York State was in-part orchestrated by a top predator like the black bear, so if the bear isn’t in our wilderness shaping our environment, what the point of a bear? Something large and black and something to shoot at, take photos of, wrestle or box (which we used to do with them) eat, park in a cage, or a zoo? Our New York State environment looks and acts the way it does because of creatures like the black bear. Removed from its role in our environment, there is no point of a bear. If tourism is our priority, instead of helping wildlife adapt to Climate Change, we’d better be able to take over the bear’s role in our life support system.  In Old Forge, can bears stay wild and coexist with humans? The hamlet of Old Forge sees huge numbers of tourists this time every year. Many people come from all over the country to have their annual wilderness experience, along with all the creature comforts of Old Forge's main street. But for years, residents of Old Forge and wildlife experts have been working to strike a balance with tourists: how to let humans have their fun but keep the wild animals of the Adirondack park like bears, wild, without turning any of that tourism away. (August 22, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 8/23/2014 - This from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) I would think folks would want to know where manmade toxins have been and are being released: “We're excited to announce the launch of a new webpage specifically for communities, and the availability of the first materials developed as part of the TRI Community Engagement Initiative. You’ll find a new “Introduction to TRI for Communities” slide presentation and “TRI Community Snapshots” for the South Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and North Birmingham, Alabama pilot projects. In addition, for the South Philadelphia project, we developed an interactive map that allows users to see locations of EPA-regulated facilities and community points of interest where youth and aging adults frequently congregate. For the North Birmingham project, you can check out a new community-scale pollution prevention and waste management data analysis. We'd appreciate hearing your thoughts on TRI for Communities! Please email us at tri.help@epa.gov with any feedback or suggestions. And please check the page again this fall for more new materials from our Community Engagement Pilot Projects Initiative.” Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)

  • 8/23/2014 - One month away to People’s Climate March. There will be two buses transporting the Rochester contingent that will probably fill up pretty fast, so get your ticket now.  We expect the buses to leave EARLY on 9/21 and return about 22 hours later. Sign up here for your place on one of the Rochester buses:  http://bit.ly/1pWYpaT.  For general inquiries, e-mail charlotte4pcm@gmail.com. If you'd rather train it, Amtrak is offering a 10% discount for those who travel to NYC Sept. 15-24.  Call 1 (800) 872-7245 and reference Convention Fare Code X22T-908 when making your reservation.  Discount not available with online reservations.  (Note also that the Senior discount is 15% and you can only get one or the other discount.)  If you can't go but want to support this effort, we welcome donations so students and those on fixed incomes can participate.  The bus website has a "DONATE" button; please use it generously.  To pay or donate by check:  Please make your check payable to "Sierra Club RRG."  On the memo line, include “PCM tickets” or “PCM donation” and mail to Charlotte Baltus, 41 Belmont St., Rochester, NY 14620. Keep up with developments with Rochester and PCM here One Month Countdown Until Major Climate Marches in NYC and Around the World One-month out from what’s expected to be the largest march on climate change in history, groups launch massive recruitment push NEW YORK — With just one month to go until the People’s Climate March in New York City this September 21, more than 100 organizations are taking part in an online recruitment drive to sign people up for the demonstration. In the first hours of the push, thousands of new signups have already begun to flow in. The People’s Climate March is expected to be the largest demonstration for climate action in history. The march takes place just two days before President Obama and world leaders gather for an emergency Climate Summit at the United Nations. Marchers are demanding leaders go beyond rhetoric and commit to bold action at the summit. More than 750 organizations around the world are supporting the People’s Climate March, from the largest transit workers union in New York City to a coalition of buddhist monks. In total, the groups represent roughly 100 million people worldwide. (August 22, 2014) People's Climate March [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/23/2014 - Why wouldn’t NYS be concerned about a Maryland study about Fracking and significant levels of toxic chemicals into the air? Because New York still has a moratorium on Fracking until public health concerns can be address, I’d think this Maryland study would be useful to New York. Unless Maryland is a state on another planet where the environmental health concerns aren’t the same as New York… Maryland Fracking Study Cites Toxic Air Emissions as Top Concern Drilling-wary Maryland is one of several East Coast states considering whether to open their lands to fracking as public health concerns mount. A state-commissioned report found that air emissions trump water pollution and drilling-induced earthquakes as a top public health threat posed by future fracking projects in Maryland. For nearly a year, experts at the University of Maryland's School of Public Health examined past research into the link between oil and gas activity and health. The findings, released Monday, stand in stark contrast to public concern in heavy-drilling states such as Maryland's neighbor Pennsylvania. Those concerns have tended to focus on tainted water, not air. (August 21, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 8/22/2014 - Trying to address Great Lakes water levels highlights the need to address environmental imperatives and how to compensate ‘victims.’ As addressing Climate Change will force us (our governments) to make our life support system sustainable, we must find an economic way to make these regulations that will impact some folks unevenly (say, Great Lakes shoreline property owners) more palatable.  Trying to restore Great Lakes levels is only one of the measures that will have to be taken as we have to adapt to more extreme weather and climate that will always impact a special few. This doesn’t mean we have to sacrifice these special few each time we trying to make our life support system viable.  We as a society should find better ways than creative destruction (let the chips fall where they may) to humanely address sometimes drastic environmental regulations.  We don’t have to supplant our moral system with our economic system; we can address environmental concerns without creating victims who will naturally do anything to protect their own interests—who will form influential groups and we’ll have a shitstorm instead of a solution. Every time critical environmental regulations come up. Groups push for and against lake levels plan Back in June, the US and Canadian governments received for their consideration Plan 2014, a proposal to regulate water levels in Lake Ontario, from the International Joint Commission. Supporters and opponents of Plan 2014 have been making their voices heard throughout the process.  This week, a group of 40-plus environmental and sportsmen's groups sent a letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry urging the State Department to sign off on the plan. They cited several positives, such as increased hydropower production at St. Lawrence River dams and benefits to international shipping. (August 21, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/22/2014 - If you are trying to empty a swimming pool with a spoon while someone is filling the pool with a garden hose, you can be said to be making progress.  The spin we put on our meager efforts to make our life support system sustainable only makes sense if you think that sustaining our life support system is a side issue, a special issue, or an externality.  If our Air Quality efforts and our other ‘efforts’ to accommodate our life support system fail, especially in a time of Climate Change, these efforts won’t mean shit to a tree.  EPA Report Shows Progress in Reducing Urban Air Toxics Across the United States WASHINGTON - Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) released the Second Integrated Urban Air Toxics Report to Congress - the final of two reports required under the Clean Air Act (CAA) to inform Congress of progress in reducing public health risks from urban air toxics. “This report gives everyone fighting for clean air a lot to be proud of because for more than 40 years we have been protecting Americans – preventing illness and improving our quality of life by cutting air pollution - all while the economy has more than tripled,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “But we know our work is not done yet. At the core of EPA’s mission is the pursuit of environmental justice - striving for clean air, water and healthy land for every American; and we are committed to reducing remaining pollution, especially in low-income neighborhoods.”  (August 21, 2014) Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 8/22/2014 - Characterizing the “slowdown in the pace of global warming” as a 'hiatus' is like saying a child’s toy has ‘disappeared’ when you hide the toy from the child by putting it behind your back. The toy has not actually disappeared and eventually the child learns that just because something has ‘disappeared’ from their expectation that doesn’t’ necessarily mean that it’s gone.  The media might keep this child development concept in mind as they sling around the word ‘hiatus’ when they grope to message Climate Change to the public. Global warming 'hiatus': Scientists duel over which ocean steals some heat Many scientists say natural climate variability is behind a slowdown in the pace of global warming over the past 15 years. And the key to the variability is the way oceans can act as heat sinks. The deeper researchers dig into the dramatic slowdown in global warming during the past 15 years, the more their findings point to natural climate variability as the cause – rather than any purported end to human-triggered climate change. The latest example of this conclusion comes from a pair of scientists from the United States and China trying to identify where the expected heat has been hiding. (August 21, 2014) Christian Science Monitor [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/22/2014 - President Reagan’s’ trust but verify’ adage seems fit for dealing with Fracking industry because there they will go again skirting Fracking regulations Drillers Illegally Using Diesel Fuel to Frack An analysis by an environmental group finds hundreds of cases in which drillers used diesel fuel without obtaining permits and sometimes altered records A new report charges that several oil and gas companies have been illegally using diesel fuel in their hydraulic fracturing operations, and then doctoring records to hide violations of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. The report, published this week by the Environmental Integrity Project, found that between 2010 and July 2014 at least 351 wells were fracked by 33 different companies using diesel fuels without a permit. The Integrity Project, an environmental organization based in Washington, D.C., said it used the industry-backed database, FracFocus, to identify violations and to determine the records had been retroactively amended by the companies to erase the evidence. (August 15, 2014) Scientific American [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 8/21/2014 - Looks like the ‘invisible hand’ has been very busy “There are an estimated 450,000 abandoned and contaminated sites in the United States” EPA Provides $331,000 Loan to Remove 100 Tons of Contaminated Soil in Rochester, New York The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is providing a $331,000 low-interest loan to the City of Rochester, New York to clean up abandoned and contaminated properties. The funding is being awarded under the EPA’s brownfields program, which helps communities assess, clean up, and reuse properties at which moderate contamination threatens environmental quality and public health and can interfere with redevelopment.  “Cleaning up brownfields allows abandoned and contaminated properties to be cleaned up and revitalized as new parks, new housing and businesses that create jobs,” said EPA Regional Administrator Judith A. Enck. “This funding will protect the health of area residents, and will help revitalize neighborhoods.” (August 15, 2014) EPA News Releases from Region 2 [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 8/21/2014 - It’s a fair question: If the Danes can make such remarkable gains in Wind Power, why can’t the US? I mean besides corporate power, fossil fuel subsides, our whacky political world, and the power of the few, but powerful climate change deniers, who are diluting the sense of urgency about addressing and mitigating Climate Change. Blown away by wind power in Denmark, a model for clean energy Back in the United States, I have to travel far beyond my Washington suburb to spot any signs of wind energy. In Denmark, it’s ever-present. You can’t drive more than a few kilometers on the country’s flat roads without seeing a turbine. They are fully integrated into society and part of the landscape everywhere. And that’s not by accident. (August 12, 2014) Environmental Defense Fund blog [more on Wind Power in our area]

  • 8/21/2014 - This can be said of both the Lac-Mégantic disaster and Climate Change: 'nobody was looking at it from a big-picture point of view to say, "Have we got a systemic problem? Have we got a pattern here?" Transportation Safety Board slams Transport Canada in Lac-Mégantic disaster   Inspectors reported problems but 'nobody was looking at it from a big-picture point of view to say, "Have we got a systemic problem? Have we got a pattern here?" ' TSB chief Wendy Tadros said Lac-Mégantic — Transport Canada was slammed Tuesday in a long-awaited report into last summer's train disaster that claimed the lives of 47 people, for not forcing Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway to improve its safety record. "Each time (Transport Canada inspectors) were saying, 'OK, we found this, you've got to do this,' but nobody was looking at it from a big-picture point of view to say, 'Have we got a systemic problem? Have we got a pattern here?' " Wendy Tadros, president of the Transportation Safety Board, said in an interview. Time and again, Montreal, Maine and Atlantic Railway, owners of the errant train involved in the Lac-Mégantic disaster, were found to have lax safety standards, yet no government inspectors stayed on top of the problem until it was fixed. (August 20, 2014) The Gazette

  • 8/21/2014 - “The People’s Climate March is so important because we are all starting to wakeup …” #climatemarch Motivating Millions: People's Climate March design contest! This summer the People’s Climate March (http://www.peoplesclimatemarch.org) design contest lined up a jury panel of art, ad world and activism stars (Shepard Fairey, Barbara Kruger, Swoon, Moby, DJ Spooky and more), and drew submissions from artists worldwide to find a killer design that can help get hundreds of thousands of people on the streets of NYC for the People’s Climate March on September 21. Not one but TWO artists took the top prize -- $10k and RT trip travel to NYC to attend the march, the largest ever. The winning designs are informing a massive, creative NYC subway ad campaign to highlight both the depth of the climate crisis facing us, and the hope that organized people power can push our governments to take bold action. The unprecedented ad campaign will be seen by millions in New York City in the lead up to the march.(August 20, 2014)  AvaazOrg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/21/2014 - A clear message: “… the Finger lakes Region does not want to be the sacrifice zone for the gas industry” Watkins Glen Village Board Passes Resolution Against LPG Storage Facility The Watkins Glen Village Board has voted in favor of a resolution that opposes Crestwood’s proposed Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) facility along Seneca Lake. The Village Board took the vote on Monday night, just a little while after hundreds rallied against the facility on Route 14. The vote was three in favor of the resolution, none opposed, and two abstaining. The main concern for the trustees who voted for the resolution: the increased truck traffic through the Village of Watkins Glen, which can already be heavy with the bottleneck of Routes 14 and 414. (August 19, 2014) MyTwinTeirs.com

  • 8/21/2014 - Renewable energy (wind, solar, etc.) isn’t likely to destroy entire eco-regions. Or warm the planet more, for that matter. This Pristine and Glorious Wilderness is At Risk Bristol Bay is a magical wonderland, supporting a ridiculous number of fish and wildlife species. Don’t take my word for it, take a look and decide for yourself. Browse the categories below to see what’s really at stake if mining activities are allowed. Is it worth the risk? (August 19, 2014) National Wildlife Federation

  • 8/21/2014 - Our planet’s air conditioner is shutting down. Before many know what our Cryosphere is, it won’t be any more. Greenland ice loss doubles from late 2000s A new assessment from Europe's CryoSat spacecraft shows Greenland to be losing about 375 cu km of ice each year. Added to the discharges coming from Antarctica, it means Earth's two big ice sheets are now dumping roughly 500 cu km of ice in the oceans annually. "The contribution of both ice sheets together to sea level rise has doubled since 2009," said Angelika Humbert from Germany's Alfred Wegener Institute. "To us, that's an incredible number," she told BBC News. (August 20, 2014) BBC News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/21/2014 - Maybe we’re starting to move towards Environmental Justice in our country. EPA to Require Air Pollution Measurements in Black Communities  WASHINGTON (NNPA) – For the first time, the Environmental Protection Agency may require oil refineries to regularly measure the air quality at their perimeters. These fence line measurements will give surrounding communities – largely low-income communities of color – data on the level of pollution they are exposed to each day. The EPA’s proposed rule changes are the result of a lawsuit brought against them by environmental advocacy nonprofit, Earthjustice and a few grassroots groups around the country, including the Community In-Power Development Association. The group is based in Port Arthur, Texas, a historically Black neighborhood turned fence line community surrounded by four oil refineries, six chemical plants, one international incineration facility, and one pet coke facility. Pet coke is both a refining byproduct and a fuel source that, when burned, emits more carbon dioxide than coal. Hilton Kelley founded the association in 2000. He says the lawsuit was years in the making. (August 19, 2014) Black Press America [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 8/20/2014 - Of course, another way of avoiding West Nile Virus in New York State is to educate public on the links with Climate Change and this new disease so we can plan our public health adequately. Climate Change will increase cases of WNV in New York State:  "In the U.S., more than 25,000 cases of human disease caused by West Nile virus have been reported since its introduction to North America in 1999, and hundreds of thousands of birds have been killed by the infection. In New York State, the species of mosquitoes that are most likely to carry West Nile virus are those that breed in natural or artificial containers, such as ponds and discarded tires, respectively, including Culex pipiens, Culvex restuans, and Aedes albopictus. Climate change is expected to increase precipitation and summer temperatures in New York. Therefore, in general, risk of human exposure to West Nile virus is expected to increase in the state as the climate becomes warmer and wetter." (page 430, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID)) West Nile Found in Erie County West Nile virus has turned up in mosquitos in Erie County. John Ricci of the Monroe County Health Department says New York officials have confirmed one case of West Nile Virus in a human this year. According to Ricci, most people are asymptomatic. (August 19, 2014) WXXI News [more on West Nile Virus in our area]

  • 8/20/2014 - The problem with thinking we can regulate Fracking’s fugitive methane emissions is that not all Fracking companies are equally tolerant of regulations. Once Fracking companies get their nose into the New York State tent, they’re in and then there’s the dickens trying to regulate the Fracking camel. Why the Scientific Case Against Fracking Keeps Getting Stronger Anthony Ingraffea argues that fugitive methane emissions turn natural gas from a climate benefit into yet another strike against fossil fuels. On the political right, it's pretty popular these days to claim that the left exaggerates scientific worries about hydraulic fracturing, or "fracking." In a recent National Reviewarticle, for instance, a Hoover Institution researcher complains that 53 percent of Democrats in California support a fracking ban "despite the existence of little if any credible scientific evidence of fracking's feared harms and overwhelming scientific evidence of its environmental benefits, including substantial reductions in both local and global pollutants." Three or four years ago, a statement like that may have seemed defensible. The chief environmental concern about fracking at that time involved the contamination of drinking water through the fracking process—blasting water, sand, and chemicals underground in vast quantities and at extreme pressures to force open shale layers deep beneath the Earth, and release natural gas. But the science was still pretty ambiguous, and a great deal turned on how "fracking" was defined. The entire mega-process of "unconventional" gas drilling had clearly caused instances of groundwater contamination, due to spills and leaks from improperly cased wells. But technically, "fracking" only refers to the water and chemical blast, not the drilling, the disposal of waste, or the huge industrial operations that accompany it all. (August 15, 2014) Mother Jones [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 8/20/2014 - With two buses and a train out of Rochester, NY to People’s Climate March, we plan to be at this historic march. Calling all Rochester-area people concerned about climate change! The biggest ever climate march is being planned by Sierra Club,350.org, and over 650 (yes!) other organizations. It will coincide with a UN Climate Change Summit in NYC, which is a prelude to UN attempts to reach a binding Global Treaty in Paris in 2015 on carbon emissions reductions. We envision tens of thousands of people in NYC for this March, to let our leaders and people all over the world know that there IS mass popular support for strong climate change action. Sierra Club, along with several other local organizations, is coordinating two buses which will leave the Rochester area late on 9/20 and return about 24 hours later. Here is info on the Climate March: http://peoplesclimate.org/march/ Learn about and sign up here for the Rochester buses: http://bit.ly/1pWYpaT If you'd rather train it, Amtrak is offering a 10% discount for those who travel to NYC Sept. 15-24. Call 1 (800) 872-7245 and reference Convention Fare Code X22T-908 when making your reservation. Discount not available with online reservations. (Note also that the Senior discount is 15% and you can only get one or the other discount.)  If you can't go but want to support this effort, we are hungrily seeking donations so that students and those on fixed incomes can participate. We need to raise $1020 in order to offer 20 Reduced Rate tickets (about $20)and 8-10 free tickets (not yet being offered since our Fundraising is just starting). The bus website has a DONATE button-- please use it generously.  Please spread the word! Send the links around. September 2014: Climate Summit and Global Mobilisation What's the Peoples Climate March and the Global Day of Action?  As Heads of Government prepare to attend a historic summit on climate change, mobilisations will take place all around the world, made up of people who want a world and economy that works for both people and the planet. They want Action Not Words. The mobilisations across the weekend of September 20-21 will be crowned by the People’s Climate March in New York City. Expected to make history, thousands of people are anticpated to walk through the city in support of climate action. Solidarity marches and actions will take place around the world, including in Berlin, Paris, London, Rio and Delhi. You can also create and register your own event. This mobilisation is not the work of one particular group, but rather the combined effort of many, ranging from faith groups, unions, front-line and impacted communities. There are many organizing structures for the Marches, and communication is occurring through various tables, list serves, and online hubs. This will be a convergence of a large, broad, and diverse movement urging that governments take meaningful action on climate now. Climate Action Network International

  • 8/20/2014 - Looks like Rochester, NY was one of the two giant cool spots in an otherwise very warm July. I wouldn’t predict this nirvana phenomenon for our area for long.  July Checks In as 4th Warmest on Record Worldwide If you spent your summer in the Midwest or almost anywhere in the U.S. south of New York where the season was mild, it may have been easy to miss that most of the rest of the world was baking last month. New National Climatic Data Center (NCDC) data show that last month was the fourth-warmest July on record worldwide, even though two giant cool spots in the Northern Hemisphere — one over Siberia and the other over the U.S. Midwest — made it easy for people living there to think that summer 2014 has been a mild one. The world’s fourth-warmest July comes just after the globe’swarmest June, which was driven mostly by the hottest ocean temperatures since recordkeeping began 130 years ago. 2014 is on track to become the earth’s third-warmest year in on record. (August 18, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/19/2014 - How can GOP leaders lead on Climate Change if they are hiding behind their party’s apron strings? Good grief, it is not the public’s fault that the GOP has made addressing the worldwide crisis of Climate Change an ideological shitstorm. The public shouldn’t have to vote for a party and hope to god that their leaders will plan and protect them as our planet warms.  Nothing, at this point in time, will do but a full-throated response to planning for Climate Change from our leaders.  Many Republicans Privately Support Action On Climate  In stark contrast to their party's public stance on Capitol Hill, many Republicans privately acknowledge the scientific consensus that human activity is at least partially responsible for climate change and recognize the need to address the problem. However, they see little political benefit to speaking out on the issue, since congressional action is probably years away, according to former congressmen, former congressional aides and other sources. In Bloomberg BNA interviews with several dozen former senior congressional aides, nongovernmental organizations, lobbyists and others conducted over a period of several months, the sources cited fears of attracting an electoral primary challenger as one of the main reasons many Republicans choose not to speak out. (August 15, 2014) Bloomberg [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/19/2014 - Is this, massive sewage discharges, our future in the Great Lakes region? Or will we start planning properly? Extreme weather in the form of frequent heavy rainfall that will overwhelm our existing sewer systems (meaning many community sewer systems around the Great Lakes are combined sewers ((storm water and sewage)).  Updating and adapting many sewer systems around the Great Lakes is in the interest of us all and it will take big bucks and continued support for this comprehensive adaptation to Climate Change in our region.  Detroit's sewage overflow feeds Lake Erie algae growth The near-historic rainfall this week that left cars stranded and roads closed across Metro Detroit also will likely make Lake Erie's algae-fouled beaches worse for neighbors to the south. #About 30,000 Michigan and 400,000 Ohio residents along Lake Erie's western basin had just shrugged off last week's algae contamination in their water supply when Mother Nature dumped up to six inches or more of rain in a few hours Monday on parts of Metro Detroit. And when it rains here, the region's fertilizers, chemicals and wastewater head toward Lake Erie. #For a decade, nutrients like phosphorus that washed into the lake from both states increasingly have been turned into algae that spoils local beaches and interferes with fishing. During the last two summers, it also has led to water consumption advisories. (August 16, 2014) Monroe News [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/19/2014 - ACTION: Got a nomination for an environmental leader in our Rochester, NY region? Nominate here: 2014 Community Salute to the Environment "The Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) plans to present several Environmental Excellence Awards at its 40th Annual Community Salute to the Environment on September 30, 2014. Please help us recognize our region’s environmental leaders by making a nomination now. The process is easy, just use the forms provided on our website. Nominations have been extended to September 1, 2014, so please do not delay. See our website for more information about the Community Salute including registration and sponsorship opportunities. This year's featured topic: The Genesee River - Its Past, Present and Future. "--from The Center for Environmental Initiatives

  • 8/19/2014 - US politics and Climate Change: If we vote in leaders who don’t believe in Climate Change, what do you plan for? Do you try and address every single consequence of Climate Change, like the oyster business, as if it wasn’t a part of a global transformation of our climate? Climate Change is such that long-term planning is required—trying to just address single-issues in Climate Change as they surface is like trying to stop a flood with a tube of caulk. As Oysters Die, Climate Policy Goes on the Stump OLYMPIA, Wash. — Billions of baby oysters in the Pacific inlets here are dying and Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington is busy spreading the bad news. “It used to be the canary in the coal mine,” Mr. Inslee said in a recent interview. “Now it’s the oyster in the half shell. You can’t overstate what this means to Washington.” Or to Mr. Inslee’s ambitions. The Democratic governor, aided by what is expected to be millions of dollars from his billionaire friend Tom Steyer, is using the story of Washington’s oysters — scientists say a rise in carbon levels has spiked the acidity of the Pacific and is killing off shellfish — to make the case for passing the most far-reaching climate change policies in the nation. (August 3, 2014) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/19/2014 - It’s just hard to put into words how craven and reckless it is to Frack the fragile Arctic that is melting because of Climate Change. A New Frontier for Fracking:  Drilling Near the Arctic Circle Hydraulic fracturing is about to move into the Canadian Arctic, with companies exploring the region's rich shale oil deposits. But many indigenous people and conservationists have serious concerns about the impact of fracking in more fragile northern environments. Among the dozens of rivers that flow unfettered through the Canadian North, the Natla and the Keele may be the most picturesque and culturally important. They are especially significant to the Dene people of the Sahtu region, which straddles the Arctic Circle in the Northwest Territories. Both of the rivers flow crystal clear out of the Mackenzie Mountains along the Yukon/Northwest Territories border before coming together in their final course to the Mackenzie River. (August 18, 2014) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 8/18/2014 - The climate disaster narrative may have not worked well, but the monsters are no less real. Pandering to the public’s disinclination to hear dreadful, long-drawn out bad news about Climate Change has its complications. Climate Change means planning and planning accurately for the world we live in.  And this requires that we plan long before the effects of Climate Change show up because by that time they are usually too late to solve. Already we are experiencing a continual march of warming and its consequences (extreme weather, rising seas, etc) during which the public finally understands that Climate Change is happening.  Now the public doesn’t want to hear about all the dreary details.  If the public wants hope peppered into Climate Change news, they need to act in such a way that there will be hope—not turn off bad news (the monsters) that are really the repercussions of doing nothing. Communicating climate change – without the scary monsters  The climate disaster narrative hasn’t worked. Ignorance is bliss. So how do experts plan do wake up the world?  Clocks are ticking. The sand is dribbling from the hourglass. Mercury levels are rising.  And yet, if you pop your head out of the window, life goes on as normal. It’s a major headache for climate communication professionals in the developed world, charged with delivering a message of urgency to a public focused on more immediate concerns. Who has time to worry about sea levels rising so high London could be submerged, or extreme weather events driving people from their homes in Africa? Why worry about the potential to break the 2C barrier, when you have to pay the mortgage? Who’s buying the next round? Or (and this is tough) convince the kids they’ve watched too much Peppa Pig for one day? It’s a question exercising Pete Bowyer, who heads up the climate arm of PR firm Havas, charged with promoting UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon’s climate summit. (August 18, 2014) Responding to Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]   

  • 8/18/2014 As we address Climate Change, storing LPG, & Fracking in NYS, are we missing the big fossil-fuel picture? Crude oil transporting?  Already, Albany nears major oil-hub status and for those concerned about possible derailment of tank cars carrying crude oil, this observation by Harper’s Magazine might prove interesting:  “Number of tank cars of crude oil transported by U.S. railways in 2008 : 9,500 In 2013 : 400,000”. Admits all the concerns about lowering greenhouse gases to address and mitigate Climate Change, it seems that efforts to stopping drilling and pipelining fossil fuels are all being undermined by shipping crude by rail—that, except for its possible ‘volatility’, goes unseen.  Is NYS saying No! to fossil fuels, while transporting it all over the world? What is the big picture of New York State and fossil fuels and Climate Change? And why is the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) telling the Mayor of Albany not to worry her pretty little head over the dramatic surge in oil shipments at Port of Albany? Mayor: DEC off on oil Sheehan says state agency illegally approved surge in oil shipments at Port of Albany Mayor Kathy Sheehan sharply rebuked the state Department of Environmental Conservation over its review of a planned oil terminal expansion at the Port of Albany, claiming the state agency has illegally approved a surge in oil shipments piecemeal, rather than taking an overall perspective. In a letter to DEC last month, the mayor accused DEC of something called segmentation, which is a review of a project's environmental impact in isolated segments, rather than as a unified whole. Segmentation is illegal under the state Environmental Quality Review Act. Sheehan wrote DEC has not only segmented its review of plans by Massachusetts-based Global Partners to add a crude-oil heating facility to its terminal, but also segmented reviews over the last several years on permits that allowed Global and another company, Buckeye Partners of Houston, to increase crude oil traffic into the port from the Midwest from 1 billion gallons to 2.8 billion gallons. (August 12, 2014) Albany Times Union [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/18/2014 - Climate Change may have the power to change religion and politics—hopefully in time. Evangelicals Pressure Florida Governor on Climate Change Evangelicals are frequently called out for appearing to care only about the unborn and giving little attention to post-birth conditions. The 21-year-old Evangelical Environment Network, which describes itself as “a ministry that educates, inspires and mobilizes Christians in their effort to care for God’s creation, to be faithful stewards of God’s provision and to advocate for actions and policies that honor God and protect the environment,” is working to change that impression. Led by its president Rev. Mitch Hescox, the group is delivering petitions with more than 60,000 signatures to Florida Governor Rick Scott, asking him to lead on climate change, which is already impacting the state in a multitude of ways. Hescox requested a meeting with Scott, a request Scott first honored and then retracted. (August 15, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/18/2014 - Chronicling the inevitable, the inevitability of business as usual: The oceans are getting more acidic… Marine Economy Takes a Dive as Ocean Acidity Rises LONDON − The waters off the U.S. state of Alaska are some of the best fishing grounds anywhere, teeming with salmon and with shellfish such as crab. But a new study, funded by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), says growing acidification of Alaska’s waters, particularly those off the southern coast, threatens the state’s whole economy − largely dependent on the fishing industry. The study, which appears in the journal Progress in Oceanography, says that not only will the state’s commercial fishing sector be badly hit by a growth in acidification, but it will also affect subsistence fisher people whose diet mainly consists of the catch from local waters. (August 17, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/16/2014 - Major local news on Lyme Disease cases rising (even stating “expanding their range northward”) but nary a word on Climate Change. A major study on Climate Change for New York State is not so shy about connecting the dots: "Climate change may have serious implications for diseases affecting wildlife and people. Vector species, such as mosquitoes, ticks, midges, and other biting insects, respond dramatically to small changes in climate, which in turn alters the occurrence of diseases they carry. For example, Lyme disease, erlichiosis, and other tick-borne diseases are spreading as temperatures increase, allowing ticks to move northward and increase in abundance. " (Page 185, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011) Ticks — and Lyme risk — on the rise in Ontario County, Finger Lakes  You don’t need to go far to get bitten by a tick. While disease-carrying ticks used to plague mostly southern New York and New England, and were rare in the Finger Lakes region, that is changing. Scientific studies show ticks carrying Lyme disease are expanding their range northward, westward and into higher elevations. A new field study launched in the spring will document outbreaks of ticks in the Adirondacks and create a baseline to study their spread. Meanwhile, in Ontario County, health officials, business owners and people who enjoy the outdoors are seeing evidence that the tiny, disease-spreading insects are all too prevalent. (August 14, 2014) Penfield Post [more on Lyme Disease in our area]

  • 8/16/2014 - As Albany NY is nearing a major oil-hub status, it’s nice that some of the volatility (a euphemism for ‘Ka- Boom!’) might be removed from oil transported across our state. But if we went renewable energy instead (wind and solar), we wouldn’t have all this ‘volatility’ to worry about and we would have more jobs, less greenhouse gas emissions, and less worry. (Did I say, Less Worry?) Why are we continuing to produce, transport, and burn more fossil fuels during Climate Change?  Bakken crude oil could be made less volatile WASHINGTON – North Dakota officials are considering requiring drillers to partly refine Bakken crude oil so it’s less volatile before it’s shipped by rail to refineries on both coasts. The proposal could ease safety concerns around the nation along freight rail routes used to ship the crude. One of those routes runs through Monroe County on either the CSX West Shore line, through some of the southern suburbs, or main line — through the city of Rochester. The idea is to separate natural gas liquids from the crude oil before shipment to reduce vapor pressure and flammability. The Bakken Formation, which runs through parts of North Dakota, Montana and two Canadian provinces, has produced an economic boom for that region. North Dakota’s June unemployment rate of 2.7 percent was the lowest in the nation. (August 15, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/16/2014 - Dear Governor Cuomo: If you aren’t willing to ban Fracking, as those in the sacrifice zone demand, please step aside and let those who can see the writing on the wall Ban Fracking. Southern Tier, Hudson Valley Oppose Fracking 51 to 35 Percent  Southern Tier, Hudson Valley Oppose Fracking 51 to 35% Majorities Agree:  Hydrofracking Will Generate Jobs & Be Economic Benefit…But  Over 50% Concerned Environmental Risks are Unacceptable Loudonville, NY., Fifty-one percent of voters oppose the Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) allowing hydrofracking to move forward in parts of upstate New York while 35 percent support the initiative according to the third part of a new Time Warner Cable News/Siena College Poll of registered voters of the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes and Catskills/Hudson Valley regions.    A majority of voters from the two regions, including 60 percent of voters from the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes regions, agree that hydrofracking would be an economic benefit to local communities in business activity and tax revenues.  And, 55 percent of voters, including 65 percent from the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes region, agree that hydrofracking will generate much needed jobs for New Yorkers. At the same time, 60 percent of all voters believe that hydrofracking runs the unacceptable risk of contaminating ground water, and small majorities agree both that fracking is too dangerous as it leads to unsafe levels of methane gas being released, as well as due to the migration of gases and chemicals to the surface.  (July 30, 2014) Sienna College [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 8/16/2014 - If we aren’t being overly hopeful (due to single-study syndrome), this report on reversing Acid Rain effects are good.  There used to be a lot of news stories about Acid Rain in our region (2000-2001) and they slowly disappeared from our media.  Maybe, it’s true that the measures employed to stop Acid Rain have borne fruit, but let’s check some more. ‘This is a huge success story’: 2 Maine scientists say acid rain effects reversing much faster than expected UNITY, Maine — Two Maine scientists are celebrating good news about the environment, after a decades-long study has shown that the negative effects of acid rain have been reversed much faster than expected. Steve Kahl, a sustainability professor at Unity College, said Thursday that the study looked at lakes throughout most of New England and New York, and it found that environmental regulations and the voluntary actions of industry have sharply reduced sulfur emissions in rain and snow. It also found that soils are recovering quickly, without taking centuries to bounce back that some had predicted would be necessary. Finally, the scientists learned that some of the acidity in the watersheds is organic, occurring naturally, and should not be targeted by the Clean Air Act policy. “Success stories are possible,” Kahl said, adding that the reduction of emissions since the 1970s and 1980s has been critical for water quality. “This is a huge success story for the environment.” The study was published this spring on the website for the journal Environmental Science & Technology. (August 16, 2014) The Bangor Daily News [more on Acid Rain in our area]   

  • 8/16/2014 - Remember when we used to speak of something moving very slowly as ‘glacial’? Humans to Blame for Much of Recent Glacier Melt From Alaska to the Alps, photos of today’s diminished glaciers contrasted with grainy black-and-white images of their former, more massive states are some of the most widely used examples of the impact of human-caused climate change, with their melt threatening water supplies, enhancing sea level rise, and posing threats like floods from bursting glacial lakes. “Everybody is using [these photos],” said Ben Marzeion, a climate scientist with the University of Innsbruck in Austria. “But nobody actually looked at whether it’s justified to do this.” Marzeion wanted to know how much of the ice loss is attributable to anthropogenic warming vs. natural drivers of change in glaciers? He and his colleagues used climate models and the measurements of glaciers contained in theRandolph Glacier Inventory, released in 2012, to see if they could answer that question. Their conclusions, detailed online Aug. 14 in the journal Science Express, were that while just 25 percent of the melt since the mid-19th century could be linked to human-induced warming — suggesting that natural variation was the dominant factor behind melt early in the period — that fraction increased to 69 percent for the period from 1991 to 2010. (August 14, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/16/2014 - Things are falling in place for People’s Climate March in NYC 9/21#climatemarch. Soon to have two buses from Rochester, NY. Details coming. Stay tuned for more. NY Police Approve Route for Historic Climate March NY Police Approve Route for Historic Climate March Huge crowds expected for “People’s Climate March” on September 21 NEW YORK — Organizers of the People’s Climate March announced this afternoon that the New York City Police Department has approved a route for the march on September 21 through the center of Manhattan. The march will begin at Columbus Circle, proceed over on 59th Street to 6th Avenue, down 6th Avenue to 42nd Street, then right on 42nd Street to 11th Avenue. The route passes by some of New York City’s most famous landmarks, from Rockefeller Center to Times Square. Eddie Bautista,  Executive Director of the NYC Environmental Justice Alliance, had this to say in response to the route approval-“People are seeing this crisis unfold all around them, especially in low-income and communities of color. That’s why the People’s Climate March won’t only be the largest, but also the most diverse global day of action on climate change–from unions to immigrants to parents to students to communities of faith. Our message to anyone anywhere concerned about the way the climate crisis will impact our jobs, health, children and communities is simple: join us.” (August 15, 2014) People's Climate March

  • 8/15/2014 - Inadequate funding in the Superfund trust to clean up local Brownfields is outrageous.  How about this idea, which I know will be wildly unpopular yet it works in the apartment rental business: Have all potentially polluting industries make a deposit before they get a permit to build, or travel with toxic stuff through our region, and they don’t get it back until they leave with the place clean and ready for the next user—not to mention leaving our life support system in working order. I know, in our present economy, where pollution is an externality (where there is no cost to polluting or using our natural resources ((our commons)), it would make industry very shy about doing business in our region if there wasn’t the lure of getting off scot-free from causing damage to our life support system. Schumer wants polluter tax reinstated to boost Superfund program The former Diaz Chemical site in the Village of Holley is something of a poster child for state and federal Superfund programs. Back in 2002, the plant accidentally released a 75-gallon steam cloud laced with chemicals, including some so potent that, even as they spread through the air and dissipated over the village, they wrecked the paint on some residents’ cars. Some of the neighbors couldn’t go into their homes without feeling sick or suffering from breathing difficulties. The government ended up buying some of their houses. (I started working at the Journal-Register in Medina shortly after the release, and I covered some of the aftermath. I’ll never forget how upset those neighbors were about giving up their homes.) (August 14, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 8/15/2014 - Plan to “stop algal blooms from blanketing the Great Lakes” won’t work until role of Climate Change is given top priority. When you dig into this plan, you see that some experts think Climate Change may be a factor in the recent spate of harmful algae growth in the Great Lakes.  That won’t do.  Solving Great Lakes algae problem won’t work unless this crisis is seen through the lens of Climate Change and how it amplifies all the other issues—farming practices, filtering pollutants, etc. Environmental Defence unveils plan to fight Great Lakes algae Toledo water ban was result of toxins from algae earlier this month An environmental organization has come up with a four-point plan on how to stop algal blooms from blanketing the Great Lakes.  Toledo tap water drinking ban lifted after toxin scare Water safe to drink, Windsor Utilities Commission reports How blue-green algae is taking over Canadian lakes Lake Erie's algae explosion blamed on farmers The report called Clean, Not Green: Tackling Algal Blooms in the Great Lakes was unveiled in Kingsville, Ont., Wednesday, southeast of Windsor. “The Great Lakes supply drinking water for millions of people, and are critical to Ontario’s fishing, boating and tourism industries,” said Nancy Goucher, water program manager with Environmental Defence. “Allowing them to be covered in green slime every summer is simply not an option.” The plan includes suggestions on finding creative ways to pay farmers to stop nutrient pollution that drains into the water. (August 13, 2014) CBCNews [more on Water Quality and Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/15/2014 - Been curious about the recent Algae Crisis in the Great Lakes? Watch is half-hour video from experts. Algae Blooms in the Great Lakes WATER—the thing that we take for granted become a commodity for more than 400,000 people in northwestern Ohio and southeastern Michigan over the weekend as they were told not to drink, cook or bathe in the water flowing from their tap. The reason? An algae bloom crisis in Lake Erie, which affected the city and surrounding areas’ water supply. While this issue surfaced over the weekend, scientists agree it is anything but shocking. Record-setting algae bloom in Lake Erie caused by agricultural and meteorological trends have caused this problem, which scientists predict won’t be the last crisis of its kind. So, what can we do about it? Is it preventable, and if so, how? Great Lakes Now produced a special interview with Christy McDonald and Dr. Patrick Doran, Director of Conservation for The Nature Conservancy in Michigan. Dr. Doran leads statewide and Great Lakes‐wide investigations of conservation priorities. This includes the identification and prioritization of important conservation areas, as well as the development and implementation of conservation strategies and measures of success. Great Lakes Now [more on Water Quality and Climate Change and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/15/2014 - The gist: NYS climate program getting stronger “Climate Smart Communities … provide a more robust framework to guide the climate actions of local governments.” Tune into this webinar Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM., or better yet, if your NYS community is not already joined [check here to find out if your community has pledged] this volunteer state program to help communities adapt to Climate Change, get your community leader to pledge. Climate Smart Communities Webinar: Climate Smart Community Certification Our Climate Smart Communities webinar entitled Climate Smart Community Certification will be held on Thursday, September 11, 2014 at 10:30 AM.   In April 2014, the New York State Climate Smart Communities program launched a formal certification program to recognize leading Climate Smart Communities and to provide a more robust framework to guide the climate actions of local governments. There are four levels of certification: Certified, Bronze, Silver, and Gold (450 points). Achievement of each level requires completion of a specified number of “priority actions” and a sufficient number of voluntary actions to achieve the required number of points. The activities and documentation submittals required for each action are described in the Climate Smart Communities Certification Manual at http://www.dec.ny.gov/energy/96511.html . (August 14, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/15/2014 - For “the world’s 52 small island developing states (SIDS)” Climate Change is not a liberal hoax; It’s drowning them. Swamped by Rising Seas, Small Islands Seek a Lifeline The world’s 52 small island developing states (SIDS), some in danger of being wiped off the face of the earth because of sea-level rise triggered by climate change, will be the focus of an international conference in the South Pacific island nation of Samoa next month. Scheduled to take place Sep. 1-2, the conference will provide world leaders with “a first-hand opportunity to experience climate change and poverty challenges of small islands.” According to the United Nations, the political leaders are expected to announce “over 200 concrete partnerships” to lift small islanders out of poverty – all of whom are facing rising sea levels, overfishing, and destructive natural events like typhoons and tsunamis. “We are working with our partners – bilaterally and multilaterally – to help resolve our problems,” said Ambassador Ali’ioaiga Feturi Elisaia, permanent representative of Samoa to the United Nations. “You don’t have to bring the cheque book to the [negotiating] table,” he added. “It’s partnerships that matter.” (August 11, 20140 Inter Press Service [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/14/2014 - Rochester, NY is vastly increasing its active transportation, which helps mitigate Climate Change. But, yeah, “Copenhagen’s newest bike lane totally rules”.  See City of Rochester, NY’s bikeROCHESTER, where BTW they have an entire section on “Benefits of Increased Bicycling in Rochester” but nary a word about this being Rochester’s biggest effort in mitigating Climate Change—as it reduces greenhouse gas in the transportation sector which is responsible for 27% of greenhouse gases according to the EPA.  Rochester shouldn’t be so timid about addressing and mitigating Climate Change, which will have to be done, and the public will have to support these on-going effort, election year, after election year.  What is it with Rochester’s silence on Climate Change, the most critical issue of our times, the mother of all issues? Copenhagen’s newest bike lane totally rules In Copenhagen, where bicycles outnumber people and nearly 40 percent of residents cycle to work, bike-friendly infrastructure is key. But, even though more than 200 miles of bike lanes wind throughout Copenhagen, congestion is a common issue. The city is home to the world’s busiest bike lane, on which up to 40,000 cyclists travel daily. (August 8, 2014) Grist [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 8/14/2014 - Raw sewage overflowing our sewer systems and getting into our Great Lakes drinking water is predicted by climate studies—unless we update all systems that are even remotely connected to the Great Lakes. Every community’s sewage that ends up going into the Great Lakes is all of our problem who, like Rochester, live on the Great Lakes and get our water from there. It’s going to be expensive to update our wastewater infrastructures and it is one of the ways our region is going to have to adapt to Climate Change and it’s going to have to get continued public support (election year after election year) and the media must connect the dots, unlike this article: Heavy rains force millions of gallons of raw sewage into area waterways Monday’s rains overwhelmed sewer systems across metro Detroit, forcing millions of gallons of untreated and partially treated sewage into rivers and lakes. “As far as the significance of the volumes, this is incredible,” said Laura Verona of the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality. “We estimate that this was a 350-year event.” Macomb County alone logged more than 1 billion gallons in overflows from storm-retention basins and sewers countywide, according to data posted on its website. At least 67 million gallons of the overflow failed to meet federal pollution standards. DEQ officials are still collecting data to see what happens to E. coli levels in the waterways. Elevated levels are expected and that could prompt beach closures and other public health measures. (August 12, 2014) Detroit Free Press [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area}

  • 8/14/2013 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is “Climate Refugee.” A Climate Refugee is someone screwed out of a country because their country has been declared a Climate Change sacrificial zone. Tuvalu climate refugees granted residency in New Zealand  A family from Tuvalu has been granted New Zealand residency after claiming they would be affected by climate change and rising sea levels if they returned home. It is the first successful application for residency on humanitarian grounds where climate change has been a factor. Sigeo Alesana and his family moved to New Zealand from Tuvalu in 2007, but has had no legal status in the country since 2009. The family’s case was originally dismissed by the tribunal in March but was successfully appealed on humanitarian grounds because of their strong family and community links to New Zealand. (August 7, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/14/2014 - Older folks should lead on Climate Change because they have already enjoyed a prosperity the young won’t have a chance for; but the young cannot wait. 11 ways young people have revolutionized the climate debate Little people mean big business when it comes to climate change, as these 11 victories show - Young people are often the most passionate voices on climate change, and with reason – as the planet warms over the coming century, it is the future of the youngest at stake. As such, it is often youth that are the loudest and the most ambitious in calling for action, proving to be anything from serious combatants to potential allies to the politicians in charge. But do their pickets and their pleas actually achieve anything? For RTCC’s Youth Week, we’ve picked 11 moments where young people have made climate history. (August 11, 2014) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 8/14/2014 - I wonder how long folks will see the new normal weather as what they thought of as normal then realize it isn’t normal. 10 Images Show & Explain the Northeast Flooding Records fell along with the torrential rain that swamped parts of the East Coast from Baltimore up to Long Island from Tuesday through Wednesday morning. A series of storms parked themselves over certain parts of the region, dumping enough rain to inundate roads, parking lots, front lawns and backyards. On Tuesday, Baltimore-Washington International Airport recorded 6.3 inches of rain, a record amount for the date. That's also the second-highest rainfall total in the books for that station on any day. The highest mark was set in August 1933 when a hurricane swept across the Chesapeake Bay area. Because rain fell so fast and hard, standing water quickly rose in a number of spots around the airport including the long-term parking lot. (August 13, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/13/2014 - Yeah, I’m thinking the report that says “Pennsylvania regulators failed to properly supervise drillers” could have implications in New York. I’m thinking that a lot of Fracking reports around the country and around the world should be reviewed as New York State is still on the fence on Fracking. Why wouldn’t NYS look to see what happens to other places when they start Fracking? Pennsylvania auditor blasts state oversight of fracking Pennsylvania regulators failed to properly supervise drillers during the fracking boom that began several years ago, the state's auditor general has found. In a 158-page report, the auditor says the state Department of Environmental Protection: -- Failed to issue orders to drillers to replace and restore damaged water supplies. -- Failed to properly inform people whose water supplies could be contaminated. -- Didn't properly monitor how drillers get rid of fracking wastewater -- Failed to post accurate inspection information online. The report could have implications in New York, where a moratorium on fracking is in its sixth year and is still under review. (August 11, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Fracking in our area} 

  • 8/13/2014 - As Former Irish President Mary Robinson says "We need to make (climate change) the biggest issue humankind faces, because if we don't we lose…" Much needs to be done before the 2015 Paris conference. Ban Ki-moon appoints Mary Robinson as special climate envoy Former Irish President Mary Robinson has been appointed as the U.N. Secretary-General's Special Envoy for Climate Change in a drive to mobilise political will and action ahead of a climate summit Ban Ki-moon will host in New York on Sept. 23. Robinson has long advocated for "climate justice", and has her own foundation that works to secure justice for people vulnerable to the impacts of climate change who are often forgotten - the poor, disempowered and marginalised across the world. In a statement issued on Monday, Ban said Robinson would build on this work as his special envoy for climate change, engaging heads of state and government to raise ambition on tackling climate change ahead of the September summit and advising him based on her consultations. (July 15, 2014) Thomas Reuters Foundation [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/13/2014 - Considering that the US has ‘lost’ (destroyed) over half its wetlands due to development, and we need them in order to adapt and mitigate Climate Change, we’d better get rebuilding them. Why Restoring Wetlands  Is More Critical Than Ever Along the Delaware River estuary, efforts are underway to restore wetlands lost due to centuries of human activity. With sea levels rising, coastal communities there and and elsewhere in the U.S. and Europe are realizing the value of wetlands as important buffers against flooding and tidal surges. The work began at low tide on the Mispillion marsh on Delaware Bay. A field team hauled coconut fiber logs the size and heft of rolled carpets out beyond the tall cordgrass to the gray mud flat that extended from the marsh edge. Ten or so yards out, where the mudflat met the open water, an array of gray stacked blocks made of marine limestone and oyster shell was already set out. Looking like the battlements of a buried castle, this permeable reef was designed to deflect and dissipate the energy of the bay’s water as it flows toward the marsh. (July 28, 2014) Yale: Environment 360 [more on Wetlands in our area]

  • 8/13/2014 - Who will set the bar for lowering greenhouse gas emissions ahead of the 2015 Paris conference? | EU Commission backs 30 percent energy efficiency target for 2030 The European Commission has proposed a 30 percent EU-wide energy savings target for 2030, officials confirmed in July. The proposal is the third and final component of the draft 2030 climate and energy framework, which the bloc’s leaders are aiming to finalise this coming October. The three-pronged climate and energy strategy would take effect from the end of this decade, and would be in place through 2030. The process of shaping this new framework has fuelled debate over what effect the potential strategies will have on job creation and sustainable and inclusive growth within the 28-country bloc, as well as what signals the final result may send for ongoing UN-level talks for a new global climate deal. (August 4, 2014) International Centre for Trade and Sustainable Development [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/13/2014 - What powers your stuff without warming up the planet or polluting your air and water or blowing up while being transported? Solar. Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies behind a Booming Energy Sector Solar power – clean, reliable, and increasingly affordable – is experiencing remarkable growth across the U.S. DOWNLOAD: Solar Power on the Rise: The Technologies and Policies behind a Booming Energy Sector (2014) Solar power generates electricity with no global warming pollution, no fuel costs, and no risks of fuel price spikes, and has the potential to help move the country toward cleaner, reliable, and affordable sources of electricity. Small-scale solar photovoltaic (PV) systems, typically on rooftops, account for the majority of solar installations, while large-scale PV systems and concentrating solar power (CSP) systems constitute the majority of solar's overall electricity-generating capacity. All three are undergoing rapid growth. Given the abundance of sunshine across the country, solar power has the potential to supply a significant amount of electricity that is both environmentally and economically attractive. (August 7, 2014) Union of Concerned Scientists [more on Solar Power in our area] 

  • 8/12/2014 - On the other hand, if next year’s climate talks don’t keep the world under 2°C, there’s no Plan B.  Ad hoc mitigation efforts after Paris 2015 will be fruitless, which is to say adaptation without much hope of sustainability.  Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change in a way that sustains all life while striving to do so equably is the defining issue of our time.  How we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire will reveal our true nature. Why A New Study Thinks Next Year’s Climate Talks Won’t Keep The World Under 2°C The hopes that the world will do something meaningful to reduce its carbon emissions now hang on the next big round of international climate talks in Paris in 2015. And according to a new analysis from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, it’s probably going to be a letdown. The Paris talks will be the twenty-first gathering of nations under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), with the goal of cutting greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions enough to hold any rise in global temperatures under 2°C. At this point, very few public commitments have been made by any of the countries involved, so what deal could emerge in 2015 is anybody’s guess. Nonetheless, the MIT researchers wanted to take a stab at a prediction, and see how close it could get the world to the 2°C goal. (August 6, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/12/2014 - Of course, we don’t wish to infer that our wastewater treatment plants have magical powers. ‘Toxins’ here means toxins from harmful algal blooms, not manmade toxins, or plastic bits, or pharmaceuticals, or zillions of other stuff we dump into our drinking water.  We don’t have wastewater treatment plants that strip all pollutants from our drinking water and until we do we should stop allowing any pollutants to go into the Great Lakes, the greatest freshwater system in the world. Scientist: Plants can remove toxin from drinking water PORT CLINTON – Toledo and other water plants along Lake Erie likely will see high amounts of toxin in water this summer, but they should be equipped to remove it, a scientist said Friday. After Toledo could not provide safe drinking water to its more than 400,000 customers in northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan last weekend, officials and scientists collaborated finding the most effective ways to remove it, said Jeff Reutter, director of Ohio State University's Ohio Sea Grant College Program and Stone Laboratory. "That condition of the lake will repeat itself several times during the rest of the year," he said during a webinar regarding harmful algae. (August 9, 2014) Port Clinton News Herald [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our region]

  • 8/12/2014 - Rather than trying to “…achieve the highest safety and environmental standards…” with LNG storage and allowing Albany to become one of the nation’s largest Oil-Hub, New York is setting the table for more fossil fuels in a time of Climate Change.  DEC plans conference on Seneca Lake LPG proposal State Department of Environmental Conservation Commissioner Joe Martens announced Monday that an issues conference will be scheduled regarding the proposal to construct a liquefied petroleum gas storage facility in the Schuyler County Town of Reading. A news release said the conference was being planned because of extensive public interest. The conference — for the applicant, DEC staff and any individual or or group that has filed a petition for party status — will be scheduled through DEC’s Office of Hearings “to determine if there are any significant and substantive issues that require an adjudicatory hearing,” according to the news release. (August 11, 2014) Star Gazette

  • 8/12/2014 - Rather than relying on media that still tends to over represent climate contrarians, we are learning to monitor our environment more accurately. One of the things that have allowed climate change denial to continue is the lack of objective instruments that give us immediate feedback on warming and now air equality. More and more we can see for ourselves how our environment is reacting to pollution, warming, and it ain’t pretty.  DISCOVER-AQ: U.S. EPA kicks off air quality research in Colorado with NASA and NOAA  from U.S. Environmental Protection Agency

  • 8/12/2014 - One of the solutions for climate contrarians overrepresented in media coverage is for the public to switch media. Reading many of the climate studies can give you a feel for what media is feeding you crap and what media is trustworthy on Climate Change.  Climate Contrarians Overrepresented in Media Coverage, New Survey Finds Scientific survey finds media may be skewing its coverage of climate science by seeking out views of a small minority who questions man-made warming. There is an overwhelming consensus among expert scientists studying climate change that man-made pollution is the main cause of global warming. But the media may be skewing its coverage of the issue by persistently seeking out the views of a contrarian minority, according to a new study. In an opinion survey of nearly 1,900 scientists, 90 percent of the respondents with more than 10 peer-reviewed articles to their name "explicitly agreed with anthropogenic greenhouse gases being the dominant driver of recent global warming," the study found. (August 11, 2013) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/08/2014 - Besides Climate Change we are causing the Sixth Great Extinction Event. Transporting Amphibian-killing fungus around the world. Connect the dots in this New Yorker article: The Sixth Extinction? There have been five great die-offs in history. This time, the cataclysm is us. | Genetics reveal effects of deadly frog fungus A deadly fungus has decimated certain populations of amphibians globally for the past few decades, but scientists remain unclear about the exact mechanisms that lead to its disease. For example, while some species have become threatened or gone extinct, others appear unaffected, or the disease persists at reduced frequencies following an outbreak A new Cornell study, published in the July issue of the journal G3: Genes, Genomics, Genetics, teased out the mechanisms at play by examining which genes are turned on and off in the highly susceptible Panamanian golden frog (Atelopus zeteki) following infection of the fungus Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd). (August 6, 2014) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 8/08/2014 - One of our “community needs” we could use from a $1 million grant by the state Department of Health is Climate Change info and readiness.  The New York State Department of Health knows about the relationship of Climate Change to our health issues-- Strategies to Protect Health in a Changing Climate—and yet they bury this information on their website and provide neither the public with continual education on this issue.  Back in June 2014 the NYS Dept. of Health cautioned about West Nile Virus outbreak in New York, but nary a word about this disease relationship to Climate Change: “As West Nile Virus Arrives, State Health Commissioner Urges New Yorkers to Take Precautions against Mosquito Bites First detection of 2014 in mosquitoes reported” Climate Change is about planning. But how can we plan if our health authorities are too shy to tell us about Climate Change on a level that will matter? Finger Lakes region gets $1M grant from Department of Health The Finger Lakes Performing Provider System, which includes Monroe and other Rochester-area counties, was awarded a $1 million grant by the state Department of Health as part of a program to promote community-level collaborations and focus on system reform. The Delivery System Reform Incentive Payment program aims to achieve a 25 percent reduction in avoidable hospital use over five years. The department on Wednesday announced $21.6 million in DSRIP Project Design Grant Awards for emerging performing provider systems statewide. (August 7, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/08/2014 - Because Transportation accounts for 27% of our greenhouse gases, it’s important that we get more folks safely on the streets, especially the safest streets to their destination, on a bike (or walk). This updated Rochester bike map is designed to find out who to navigate our best biking streets to your local destination. Greater Rochester Area Bicycling Map 2014 Edition Now Available The 2014 Greater Rochester Area Bicycling Map, prepared by the Genesee Transportation Council utilizing road ratings provided by volunteer members of the Rochester Bicycling Club, is now available.    The ratings represent the opinions of experienced bicyclists on the rideability of major roads based on existing road conditions and features such as pavement width and quality, traffic volumes, presence and type of shoulders, and posted speed limits.   Copies of the map are available at the following locations: from Genesee Transportation Council

  • 8/07/2014 - Or, one could argue to the NYS Court of Appeals: “What’s more important, more fossil fuels or threats to our water, our public health and our environment?  I suspect that the pro-Fracking folks will never tolerate NO! in what they perceive as their god-given right to drill-baby-drill regardless of court rulings, of public health, of threat to our water, and they certainly have conveniently dismissed the link to more fossil fuel and Climate Change. Gas industry tries to revive challenge to fracking bans ALBANY – The trustee for a defunct oil-and-gas company is attempting a last-ditch effort to revive a lawsuit challenging hydraulic fracturing bans by local governments in New York. The state Court of Appeals in June ruled in favor of the towns of Dryden, Tompkins County, and Middlefield, Otsego County, which saw their local natural-gas-drilling bans challenged by pro-fracking interests. The ruling set a precedent allowing New York's local governments to use zoning ordinances to ban fracking and gas drilling within their borders. (August 6, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 8/07/2014 - More than 1,600 people have died of West Nile virus in USA since 1999 and WNV is related to Climate Change and New York is experiencing WNV cases now, but folks are dying in California now and you have to go to California where they report on the connection between WNV and Climate Change.  (Sorry about this convoluted message, but until the local media starts connecting the dots on diseases that will come to our area because of Climate Change, ya gotta do what ya gotta do.) West Nile Virus is alarming example of climate change’s effects The message gets to the Santa Clara County Mosquito and Vector Control District that a dead bird was found in Sunnyvale. If it’s a crow or a jay, the district sends out a team to collect the bird and bring it back to their in-house lab to test it for West Nile Virus. If the bird tests positive, a team of five technicians in white pick-up trucks goes out and sets 40 mosquito traps in a one-mile radius of the site. At this point, Dr. Noor Tietze, Entomologist is called in for mapping and planning strategies. After one night of trapping, the team returns in their white pick-up trucks to collect the mosquitoes and bring them back for testing. “If we get any positive mosquitoes, we go to the next step and fog the area,” said Tietze. They spray with Ultra Low Volume (ULV) fog, an insecticide strong enough to knock down the mosquito population by 60-80 percent but mild enough to use in residential areas. In case this brings to mind “Silent Spring” images of children running behind a DDT truck and polluting their lungs, you should know that Tietze’s trucks only put out 1.5 fluid ounces per acre, not enough to affect honeybees or dragonflies, much less larger mammals like us. (July 11, 2014) SFGate [more on West Nile Virus in our area]

  • 8/07/2014 - The Lake Erie Mess: Gonna be hard to address Climate Change and Water Quality in our lakes if we continue farming as usual.  There are other ways: “No-till usually reduces soil erosion.” What Toledo’s Water Crisis Reveals About Industrial Farming  As you may have heard, about half a million people in the Toledo, Ohio area lost their municipal drinking water supply on Saturday because of possible microbial toxin contamination from Lake Erie. A combination of heavier spring rains, exacerbated by climate change, and runoff of phosphorus from fertilizer applied to crops is the likely cause. The good news is that farmers can adopt better practices to eliminate this problem. The bad news is that the agriculture industry, and the public policies that it lobbies for, work against these solutions. A toxic microbe, or cyanobacteria (a.k.a. blue-green algae), has been causing big water problems in Lake Erie and other bodies of water around the country for the last several yearsScientific research pointed to the combination of agricultural and climate change as the cause of the historic 2011 toxic Lake Erie microbe “bloom” and subsequent dead zone. And research shows that farm pollution, which feeds the explosion of toxic microbe growth, especially from phosphorus fertilizer, has been increasing since the 1990s. Now, new research published in the Journal of Great Lakes Research has further solidified the connection between industrial ag, climate change, and an explosion of toxic algae. (August 5, 2014) Civil Eats [more on Food and Water Quality in our area]

  • 8/07/2014 - It’s amazing the callous disregard we have for fresh drinking water, perhaps many believe we have unlimited quantities, that our oceans are drinkable. Canadians Can’t Drink Their Water After 1.3 Billion Gallons Of Mining Waste Flows Into Rivers Hundreds of people in British Columbia can’t use their water after more than a billion gallons of mining waste spilled into rivers and creeks in the province’s Cariboo region. A breach in a tailings pond from the open-pit Mount Polley copper and gold mine sent five million cubic meters (1.3 billion gallons) of slurry gushing into Hazeltine Creek in B.C. That’s the equivalent of 2,000 Olympic swimming pools of waste, the CBC reports. Tailings ponds from mineral mines store a mix of water, chemicals and ground-up minerals left over from mining operations. The flow of the mining waste, which can contain things like arsenic, mercury, and sulfur, uprooted trees on its way to the creek and forced a water ban for about 300 people who live in the region. That number could grow, as authorities determine just how far the waste has traveled. The cause of the breach is still unknown. (August 5, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress  

  • 8/07/2014 - What a tangled web of health concerns we weave with Brownfields when first we don’t practice to clean them up.  Brownfields mangle our environment (our life support system) just I have mangled Walter Scott’s poem—except birds don’t die and human don’t get sick when I butcher poetry. Health experts question handling of songbird-killing Superfund site Health experts are questioning the Environmental Protection Agency and Michigan state officials for their decades-long delays in cleanup of a Superfund site that is killing songbirds in yards, possibly leaving people at risk, too. After years of complaints from residents, researchers recently reported that robins and other birds are dropping dead from DDT poisoning in the mid-Michigan town of St. Louis, which was contaminated by an old chemical plant. “The more we know about DDT the more dangerous we find out it is for wildlife, yes, but humans, too,” said Dr. David Carpenter, director of the University at Albany - State University of New York's School of Public Health and an expert in Superfund cleanups. Velsicol Chemical Corp., formerly Michigan Chemical, manufactured pesticides at the plant until 1963. DDT, known for accumulating in food webs and persisting for decades in soil and river sediment, was banned in the United States in 1972. (August 6, 2014) Environmental Health News [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 8/06/2014 - One has to wonder when the Monroe County Health Department will include Climate Change and public health concerns on their website.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is not shy at all about planning and informing the public about how Climate Change will affect public health. We know from climate studies that our region will experience more Lyme disease, more West Nile Virus, and more heat-related deaths due to longer periods of frequent extreme heat.  So why doesn’t our county provide information on that, which would help legitimize this issue in the eyes of the pubic and help health insurance companies plan—so they don’t just drop health benefits when they are overwhelmed.  I believe that our public health should be viewed through the lens of Climate Change (top priority) because this will affect all issues related to public health.

  • 8/06/2014 - Unlike local media, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture doesn’t have the luxury of dismissing Climate Change. If we haven’t planned for Food issues with Climate Change, folks get annoyed when extreme stuff happens to their diet. Ag secretary briefed on nutrition, dairy, climate research In an agrarian world fraught with complication, U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Tom Vilsack met with Cornell faculty members July 29 to learn about solutions in the realm of dairy, nutrition and climate change. Kathryn Boor, the Ronald P. Lynch Dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences (CALS), organized the event. More than two dozen faculty members, primarily from CALS and the College of Veterinary Medicine, and scientists from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Agricultural Research Service met with Vilsack to discuss dairy herd health, dairy and food processing, workforce development, and Cornell’s teaching, research and extension missions (August 1, 2014) Cornell Chronicle Online [more on Climate Change and Food in our area]

  • 8/06/2014 - Because humans are afflicted with the dreaded Shifting Baseline Syndrome, #climatemarch & high temps in other places remind us of “Global” warming. We tend to think that our ‘now’ is the only ‘now’ there is, or ever was, unless we are educated about what is going on around the world and what has transpired in the past. This temperate summer in Rochester, NY (for example) is not the ‘now’ the rest of the world is experiencing now.  Temperatures elsewhere and in our oceans are rising to unprecedented levels and so we must engage in the Climate Change crisis to be continually reminded that what we see as ‘now’ is only a fraction of the worldly now. If we don’t do that we’ll think Climate Change disappears every time we have a pleasant day. First 100°F Temperature on Record in the Baltics The 37.8°C (100.0°F) temperature observed at Ventspils, Latvia on August 4th was the first time on record that a reading of 100°F has been measured in any of the Baltic nations (Latvia, Estonia, and Lithuania). The heat wave has also affected Poland, Belarus, and Sweden where a massive forest fire, said to be the worst in the nation's modern history, rages out of control. The record was especially unusual since Ventspils (also known as Ventspili) is a coastal location situated right along the shores of the Baltic Sea. The previous Latvian record of 36.4°C (97.5°F) on August 4, 1943 (same date!) was measured at Daugavpils which is an inland location near the border of Belarus and where hotter temperatures might be expected vis-à-vis a coastal location. The reason for the excessive temperature at Ventspils, this time around, was a strong offshore flow caused by a high-pressure system centered over northeast Russia and Finland. (August 5, 2014) WeatherUnderground [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/06/2014 - Despite all media dismissal to the contrary, the sun still shines in New York & we are a “rising star” in Solar Energy.  Read “Lighting the Way” by Environment New York. Of course the real hurdle to getting more Solar Power in New York State is the unfair billions of subsidies that the fossil fuel gets and the rise of Fracking, which not only undercut efforts at Solar and Wind power, but nuclear power also.  If we don’t get fossil fuel energy to reflect its true costs to our environment and lose those incredible tax subsides, we’ll never get a viable energy source as our planet’s atmosphere warms. New Report: Solar Capacity in New York Grew 30% in 2013 Progress Fueled by the NY-SUN Initiative New York, NY – Today, Environment New York Research & Policy Center released a new report: "Lighting the Way” showing strong solar growth across the nation including a 30% increase in New York in 2013. The report emphasizes that it is not availability of sunlight that makes states solar leaders, but the degree to which state and local governments have created effective public policy to help capture the virtually unlimited and pollution-free energy from the sun. New York's progress on solar has helped fuel a tripling of solar energy nationwide between 2011 and 2013. In 2013, solar capacity in New York grew from 175 MW to 250 MW. “Solar energy is emerging as a go-to energy option here in New York and across the country,” said Heather Leibowitz, Director of Environment New York. “Thanks to the commitment of New York’s leaders, this pollution-free energy option is poised to play a major role in helping us meet New York’s goal of a 44% reduction in carbon emissions by 2030.” (August 5, 2014) Environment New York [more on Solar Power in our area]

  • 8/06/2014 - Cuomo code for Climate Change: “As we continue to adjust to the new normal of extreme weather…” The “NY Rising Housing Recovery Programs” will probably dwindle as the seas rises higher and the ability of the government to fund disaster relief from Climate Change gets smaller. NY Rising Program to help 6,575 homeowners impacted by extreme weather ALBANY - Up to $300 million has been made available through the State’s NY Rising Housing Recovery Program to support home elevations for 6,575 homeowners. Individuals eligible for this round of funding experienced damage to their homes as a result of Superstorm Sandy, Tropical Storms Irene and Lee. The Optional Home Elevation and Mitigation Initiative is being offered in addition to other housing recovery assistance that has been made available through NY Rising. “As we continue to adjust to the new normal of extreme weather, it is critically important that our communities are as safe and resilient as possible,” Governor Andrew Cuomo said. “That is why the state is stepping up to support home elevations for thousands of New Yorkers who were hit hard by Sandy – because we’re not just rebuilding from the damage that was done, but building back with the next storm in mind. This level of housing recovery assistance is unprecedented, and I am confident that it will go a long way toward creating a New York that is stronger, smarter, and safer than ever before.” To date, the agency has issued 8,000 storm-impacted homeowners with more than $350 million, helping communities throughout New York to recover from recent storms and build back even better than before. (July 31, 2014) EmpireStateNews.net [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 8/05/2014 - So, while we’re on the subject of Brownfields, yeah, it’s great that the City of Rochester got an EPA grant to clean some up. But I have some questions: Why do folks complain about regulations on business when businesses have a long history of walking away from their toxic crap and leaving us the bill? (Remember, a grant from the EPA is not a gift from heaven. It’s a way to assign your tax dollars to clean up after irresponsible industries have left us some very unhealthy and environmental unfriendly stuff that can seep into our groundwater and runoff into our streams.)  How many more Brownfields in Rochester need to be cleaned up? What does ‘cleaned up’ actually mean? Can you grow crops in the soil after that Brownfield has been ‘cleaned up’?  What is the percentage of Brownfields are there in low-come region as opposed to higher-income regions? What are we doing from preventing Brownfields in the first place? When are we going to design a system where there will be no more Brownfields? And finally, what are we doing to prevent Brownfield runoff in extreme weather events as predicted by Climate Change?  Brownfields aren’t simply a way that we do business—Brownfields are a Shitstorm unleashed upon present and future generations of plants, wildlife, and us. City gets grant for cleanup of brownfield sites The city of Rochester has received $300,661 to clean up brownfield sites, its first federal award since its designation as a manufacturing community. The grant, from the Environmental Protection Agency, will be part of the city’s brownfield revolving loan fund, which provides low-interest loans to small businesses for brownfield remediation, city officials said last week. The revolving loan fund is administered jointly by the Department of Neighborhood and Business Development and the Department of Environmental Services. (August 4, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Brownfields in our area}

  • 8/05/2014 - Remember folks, No milkweed, no monarchs! You might want to plant some milkweed on your lawn and make a difference.  I mean, grass, what is it for, besides a relentless mowing experience? Growing Milkweed for Monarchs One of the keys to having monarchs—for their survival now and in the future—is having lots of milkweed. Because of modern changes, such as suburbanization and Roundup-Ready crops, there's a lot less milkweed than there was in the past. This is a disaster for monarchs since monarch caterpillars can eat nothing but milkweed. No milkweed, no monarchs! We want lots of monarchs, so we plant lots of milkweed for them to lay their eggs on. We've tried to maximize our milkweeds in a number of ways—especially since it's sometimes difficult to find them for sale or at least to find them for sale at an affordable enough price to buy more than just a few. Organics Consumer Organization

  • 8/05/2014 - Penfield Green Initiative August 2014 e-newsletter "Hi All   Lots of exciting events in August   Please forward to any family, friends, neighbors or co-workers "from PENFIELD GREEN INITIATIVE Planning Committee The voice for Penfield’s environmental assets!

  • 8/05/2014 - Stay tuned, we are working on getting buses out of Rochester, NY to #climatemarch and will let you know the details soon.  In the meantime check this out: “We are 47 days away from the largest climate march in history. In order to show world leaders how URGENT it is to take action on climate change, we need not just you, but all your friends and family too. Share with your friends this inspiring video from our press conference last week and ask them to join.” Launching the People's Climate March "Published on Aug 4, 2014 On Wednesday July 30, we publicly announced the People's Climate March - the largest march demanding action on climate change in the history of the planet. The march will be on September 21st, 2014, when world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution. With our future on the line and the whole world watching, we’ll take a stand to bend the course of history. We’ll take to the streets to demand the world we know is within our reach: a world with an economy that works for people and the planet; a world safe from the ravages of climate change; a world with good jobs, clean air and water, and healthy communities. Join us on September 21st. http://peoplesclimate.org/march "

  • 8/05/2014 - Today’s lesson boys and girls: Are there stupid questions? Ans: Yes, you don’t have to ask what is water worth? All that you hold dear, including life itself, will not, or would not have not have happened, if you don’t have water. So to ask what is water worth is to ask what is life worth—which as you know has no meaning, except in the context of an economic system so far removed from reality as to be absurd. What is water worth? But that said, the water scarcity problem is real … and serious … and global. Since the 1970s, droughts worldwide have gotten longer and more intense over wider areas, according to the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. Throw in the effects of pollution, overconsumption, and relentless population growth, and there is little for the political left and the right to debate: We have a genuine, burgeoning, boundary-crossing crisis over water. That isn’t new, of course. NGO types, geologists, and climate scientists have been warning about freshwater scarcity for some time. What’s striking today is the sheer number of gray suits who are sounding the alarm. “Water now gets discussed at the board level,” David Grant, the senior manager for water risks and partnerships at SAB Miller, tells Fortune. (That Miller has a senior manager for water risks is telling in itself.) PepsiCo  PEP  CEO Indra Nooyi says, “The world water crisis is one of the most pressing challenges of our age.” (May 1, 2014) Fortune 

  • 8/05/2014 - On the other hand in planning for Climate Change and blue-green algae toxin lakes like Lake Ontario won’t be so deep and cold. Toledo's water trouble not likely here Similar toxins have been found in more than 140 New York lakes, ponds and reservoirs in the past, and some of them serve as public drinking water supplies. It's possible there could be cause for concern in a small number of those water bodies, one expert said Monday. But Metzger, the authority's chief engineer, was able to offer Noce a note of reassurance as he stood Sunday on the sandy shore of Lake Ontario, from which the authority draws its drinking water: Not a bit of blue-green algae in sight, and a Toledo scenario is very unlikely to happen in Monroe County. "You can never say never," Metzger said. "But western Lake Erie and Lake Ontario where our water intakes are located are two very different lakes." (August 4, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/05/2014 - We have to both adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. For example, adapting is making sure your rails don’t warp.  For those who don’t believe in Climate Change it may be difficult to get them to mitigate Climate Change by helping to reduce more manmade greenhouse gases warming up our planet. But everyone, climate change denialist or not, is going to have to adapt to a warming world.  You cannot run a train full speed over a warped rail no matter who you are. You cannot drive a car over roads that are continually washed out. You cannot labor hard day after day in temperature above 100 degrees.  You cannot rebuild after a disaster if your insurance company won’t pay up, or the federal government goes broke trying to recover from frequent disasters. Everyone will have to adapt to Climate Change—or they won’t. If you vote in a leader who doesn’t believe in Climate Change, you might want to walk to work instead of taking a chance with an out-of-date transportation system. Derailments May Increase as ‘Sun Kinks’ Buckle Tracks In a warming world, the U.S. could see its cities inundated with water, its power grids threatened by intense storms, its forests devastated by wildfire and insect infestations, and its coastlines washed away by storm surges. Climate change also threatens roads, pipelines, power lines and rail lines in ways that may not be quite as in-your-face as the stark images of homes washed away on a hurricane-eroded beach. Bridges and highways can be weakened or destroyed in floods. Power lines can be burned in wildfires and damaged in major storms. Roads and airport runways are vulnerable to extreme heat, which can soften and deteriorate asphalt. You can add ‘sun kinks,’ or railways that buckle in extreme heat, causing derailments, to the list of things that are already taking a toll on U.S. transportation, a problem that figures to grow significantly as the U.S. warms. (July 31, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Transportation in our area]

  • 8//04/2014 - Climate Change: Sure we have too much extreme rain in the Northeast, but the Wildfires in California bankrupt us? The rising costs of wildfire protection across the US “The cost of putting out these deadly wildfires has increased year-to-year as more acres continue to burn” (July 31, 2014) Aljazeera America

  • 8/04/2014 - Finger Lakes and farming and Climate Change, we are at an extraordinary point in our history that’s why #ClimateMarch matters. .  The People’s Climate March “In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.” Extreme weather challenges Finger Lakes farms While a certain amount of extreme weather events are to be expected, the frequency and severity of such dramatic events — from floods to drought and from overwhelming heat to bitter cold — present evidence of climate change. In New York, the average summer temperature is 2 degrees warmer than in 1970, and the average winter temperature is 4 degrees warmer. The earth is now warmer than it has been during the past several 1,000 years, and the climate models project a continuation of this trend, according to Cornell Institute for Climate Change and Agriculture, which facilitates research, education and outreach to reduce the collective impact of agriculture on the climate and help farmers become more resilient to climate change. (August 3, 2013) Daily Messenger [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/04/2014 - We should heed Revkin’s warning of “single-study syndrome”, but we also need to see ASAP the full dimensions of Climate Change so our actions reflect the new reality. Learning the full monty of Climate Change will be always fluid, but that doesn’t mean ‘wait and see’ is a good idea.  We are indeed in a pickle, trying to address and mitigate a worldwide crisis we don’t even know the full dimensions of yet. New Study Sees Atlantic Warming Behind a Host of Recent Climate Shifts Using climate models and observations, a fascinating study in this week’s issue of Nature Climate Change points to a marked recent warming of the Atlantic Ocean as a powerful shaper of a host of notable changes in climate and ocean patterns in the last couple of decades — including Pacific wind, sea level and ocean patterns, the decade-plus hiatus in global warming and even California’s deepening drought. The study, “Recent Walker circulation strengthening and Pacific cooling amplified by Atlantic warming,” was undertaken by researchers at the University of New South Wales and University of Hawaii. Read on for the abstract, a related news release and three cautionary reactions (this is an understatement) from seasoned climate scientists uninvolved with this new paper (they help one keep in mind the importance of avoiding “single-study syndrome”). Here’s the abstract: (August 3, 2014) New York Times | Dot Earth [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/04/2014 - Be nice if the wonderful Canadian folks in the http://bluedot.ca/ tour swung down through the USA too. We could use some waking up. The Blue Dot Tour: The Right to Breathe Fresh Air, Drink Clean Water and Eat Healthy Food A now-famous 1972 photo of Earth taken by Apollo 17 astronauts from 45,000 kilometres away became known as “the blue marble.” The late scientist Carl Sagan described a 1990 picture taken from six billion kilometers away by the unmanned Voyager 1 as a “pale blue dot.” The vision of Earth from a distance has profoundly moved pretty much anyone who has ever seen it. “When we look down at the earth from space, we see this amazing, indescribably beautiful planet,” International Space Station astronaut Ron Garan said. “It looks like a living, breathing organism. But it also, at the same time, looks extremely fragile.” Referring to the atmosphere, Garan added “it’s really sobering … to realize that that little paper-thin layer is all that protects every living thing on Earth.” July 29, 2014) EcoWatch

  • 8/04/2014 - Shouldn’t we first try to restore the Great Lakes ecosystem itself besides focusing on human-centric ‘eco-services’? I know, the thinking is that if it’s good for us (if we get from the Great Lakes what we want) then it will be good for the Great Lakes.  However, not so much. We tend to be very focused on our own wants and needs and not the long-term ecological health of an ecosystem. Making the Great Lakes safer for swimming, fishing and drinking the water Just in case the Great Lakes Water Quality Agreement isn’t on your summer reading list, here’s the gist of it: It’s an agreement between the U.S. and Canada. One of the goals of that agreement is to make the Great Lakes more swimmable, fishable and drinkable. The International Joint Commission is an independent bi-national organization. It gives advice to the U.S. and Canada on meeting those goals, among other things. The IJC has a Health Professionals Advisory Board, and the board’s come out with a reportproposing five ways to measure risks to our health from contaminants and other hazards in the Great Lakes. (July 31, 2014) Michigan Radio [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/04/2014 - Here’s the rub on success at Paris Climate Conference 2015 “only provided countries quickly adopt a robust set of policies” Maybe #ClimateMarch will jump start that.  The People’s Climate March “In September, world leaders are coming to New York City for a UN summit on the climate crisis. UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon is urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.” There is no magic bullet to slow climate change The solutions are already available; we just need more political will to implement them A recently released draft report (PDF) prepared for the United Nations makes an ambitious attempt at showing how 15 major carbon-emitting countries, including the United States and China, can make deep reductions in their emissions to help keep global temperatures from increasing more than 2°C above preindustrial levels — a goal at the heart of international climate negotiations. Prepared by a group of independent international experts, it confirms that a variety of low-carbon technology solutions are already available. However, given the planet’s current high emission trajectory, sharply curbing carbon emissions in line with the 2°C goal may be just barely technologically feasible — with a lot of effort — and only provided countries quickly adopt a robust set of policies to drive that outcome. Progress on this front, unfortunately, is checkered. Australia’s repeal of its carbon tax last month is a stark example of shorter-term, narrow political priorities taking precedence over global interests in the fight against climate change. China, on the other hand, is considering a mandatory cap on coal use, though the speed and scope of its implementation is still up in the air. (August 3, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/04/2014 - “"Many energy prices in many countries are wrong," [Including USA.]  said the report, entitled Getting Energy Prices Right.” IMF's Blunt Message to Nations: Raise Fossil-Fuel Taxes to Fight Climate Change 'Many energy prices in many countries are wrong. They are set at levels that do not reflect environmental damage, notably global warming.' Countries all over the world, including the United States, should be collecting much higher pollution taxes on fossil fuels—stiff enough to reflect the long-term cost of global warming's damage, the International Monetary Fund said on Thursday in an important new study. The IMF, one of the world's leading development institutions, has long favored putting a price on carbon as an essential defense against the mounting damages of climate change. But its advice has never been so blunt, or so detailed. August 1, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 8/02/2014 - Climate Change in the north USA. The good news is a longer growing season. The bad news, they aren’t saying.  (But according to climate studies, it’s not all peaches and cream for the northern USA. More extreme weather, more crop pests, more likelihood of dumping more pesticides, which will end up in our waters, more problems with wildlife and endemic plants trying to adapt to a climate that is warming ten times faster than any time in these creatures’ and plants’ history, more disruption to all of our infrastructures—water, waste water, telecommunications, and transportation.) Sorry to be a Debbie Downer, but articles that focus only on the positive side of Climate Change are delusional in the sense that they don’t reflect reality and make it impossible to plan properly. But at least farmers are finally admitting that our climate is changing.  Whether we’ll be able to thrive and flourish is another kettle of fish. Planted acres increase in region; warming climate among reasons More crops were planted in the northern Midwest this year than last year, including Michigan, according to a federal report. The U.S. Department of Agriculture report says that Michigan farmers planted 300,000 more acres of principal crops this year than last year. One reason may be that warmer temperatures are allowing for a longer growing season, said Jim Byrum, president of the Michigan Agri- Business Association. With frost starting later in the year, crops have more time to mature, he said. And higher temperatures are prompting crop production to expand to the north. You can expect that trend to continue, Byrum said. (August 2, 2014) Great Lakes Echo [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/02/2014 - We could use more Climate Change leaders in Rochester, NY.  Maybe wake Rochester up to reality. RIT student takes on climate advocate role Susan Spencer sees potential for the Rochester region to lead on technology that could prevent the acceleration of climate change. In particular, she says she sees promise in the solar cell research and development work happening across the area, especially at Eastman Business Park. And that makes sense: Spencer is a Ph.D. candidate at Rochester Institute of Technology who studies solar cell technology. Her dissertation, which she defends at the end of August, deals with ways to optimize solar cells at the molecular level. In a sense, Spencer is trying to fight climate change from inside a lab. But she says she also wants to talk to the public about climate change, and solutions including renewable energy.  And to that end, she'll give a free presentation — "The Climate Crisis and Renewable Energy Solutions" — at 6 p.m. tomorrow at RIT, in the Xerox auditorium in Gleason Hall. It'll last 45 minutes to an hour, and a question-and-answer session will follow. (July 31, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/02/2014 - August Green Drinks "Broccolo is hosting “Green Drinks” Event — Aug. 14th at its Garden Center 2755 Penfield Road. There will be demonstrations of storm water management systems using coir logs, rocks, and vegetation along the DEC protected watershed on the Broccolo property. Solar energy and electric car information and demonstrations will be featured. The event will also showcase native plantings, birds and butterfly gardens, make and take rain barrel workshop, recycled art work, Rochester’s permaculture, representatives from Genesee Land Trust, a tasting by Black Button Distillery, and LOTS of FOOD. Additionally, Laurie Broccolo has generously offered to donate 10% of her retail sales at the Garden Center all day on the 14th,to CEI's RiverWater initiative. " "Green Drinks is a monthly networking event where people in the environmental field and the sustainably minded meet over drinks (alcoholic or non), in an informal setting to exchange ideas, find out who's doing what and spread the word on what you're doing, find employment leads and make new friends and contacts. " Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) 

  • 8/02/2014 - The more you know about the Paris Climate Talks in 2015 the more you will realize it must not fail. This conference may be the world’s last chance to mitigate Climate Change and keep our greenhouse gas emissions to a sustainable level. If it does fail, most likely we’ll all be scurrying around trying to adapt Climate Change—which is ultimately hopeless. WORLD LEADERS MUST ACT IN 2015: TUTU, MALALA AND BONO’S STARK WARNING Today is Mandela Day. Desmond Tutu, Bono, Malala Yousafzai, Graca Machel, Muhammed Yunus and Mo Ibrahim have written a powerful letter to world leaders  to make 2015 a transformative year in the fight against poverty, inequality and climate change.  Dear World Leaders, We write to sound a warning. A warning that 2015 will be a year of huge opportunity, but also of huge risk. What is at stake here could not be greater, for it is not less than the future of our human family and the world upon which we all depend. Two global processes – the replacement of the current UN development framework and the conclusion of a new climate treaty – culminate within months of each other at the end of 2015. They require us to decide which future we want for people and planet. For there are two dramatically different futures we could live in by 2030. Down one hopeful path we have built on progress, and learned how to eradicate extreme poverty, hunger, as well as put an end to preventable maternal, newborn and child deaths. In so doing, we will give everyone everywhere opportunity and the right to lead their lives with dignity without jeopardising our planet’s ability to provide for its people now and into the future. This is an entirely possible outcome if we do the right thing. (July 18, 2014) Save the Children [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 8/01/2014 - Should we simply characterize addressing Climate Change as putting fossil fuel workers out of a job, or frame the discussion as an opportunity for a sustainable future that include more jobs that don’t warm the planet? If the issue that many have about Climate Change is jobs, want not encourage jobs that don’t warm the planet? Tensions Stir At EPA Hearings On New Emission Rules The coal industry made its presence known in Pittsburgh this week for public hearings on President Obama's controversial plan to address climate change. A key element is rules the Environmental Protection Agency proposed in June. They would cut greenhouse gas emissions — chiefly carbon dioxide — from existing power plants. The national goal is 30 percent by 2030, based on 2005 levels. Coal has much to lose under the rules. The EPA says power plants make up about a third of the greenhouse gas emissions in the U.S., and coal is used to generate nearly 40 percent of electricity today. States have a variety of options for meeting their reduction targets, but in coal country the industry and its workers are worried about the future. (August 1, 2014) North Country Public Radio [more on Energy in our area]

  • 8/01/2014 - Been hearing about plastics in Great Lakes? Might want to check out exhibit “Plastic Waters: From the Great Lakes to the Ocean” Exhibit highlighting plastic pollutants in Great Lakes opens Friday in Hamburg An exhibition of plastic – from the tiniest microbeads piling up along Great Lakes beaches to a 500-pound plastic mass of tangled fishing nets and line pulled from the world’s waters – will be on display for the month of August along Lake Erie’s shoreline in the Town of Hamburg. The “Plastic Waters: From the Great Lakes to the Ocean” exhibit is designed to show the harmful effects of plastic pollution in the Great Lakes and other bodies of water, according to the Alliance for the Great Lakes and California’s 5 Gyres Institute – a research group that has collected plastics in sailing expeditions around the globe and partnered with SUNY Fredonia in studying pollution in the Great Lakes. The exhibit opens Friday with a 7 p.m. gallery opening and reception at the Lake Erie Seaway Trail Center, 4968 Lake Shore Road, Hamburg. “Plastics do not belong in our water. Period,” said Marcus Eriksen, executive director and co-founder of 5 Gyres. “We need to stop trash where it starts, and that’s why public awareness and smarter product design is so critical. Our goal, with the help of the public, is to have zero plastic pollution from our lakes to the sea.” (July 31, 2014) Buffalo News [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 8/01/2014 - Growing water scarcity in the USA and around the world will probably mean Rochester, NY region will look like a godsend. Climate Change is about adaptation and our region should adapt to climate refuges.  So, it would be nice if we didn’t Frack up our water for the boom that is coming—albeit a boom based on the tragedy of others. Report: World faces water crises by 2040 Wind, solar power increase needed to avoid global drought The world will face “insurmountable” water crises in less than three decades, researchers said Tuesday, if it does not move away from water-intensive power production. A clash of competing necessities — drinking water and energy demand — will cause widespread drought unless action is taken soon, researchers from Denmark’s Aarhus University, Vermont Law School and the CNA Corporation, a nonprofit research and analysis organization, said in the reports. “It’s a very important issue,” said lead study author Paul Faeth, Director of Energy, Water, & Climate at CNA Corporation. "Water used to cool power plants is the largest source of water withdrawals in the United States,” said Faeth in a press release on two new reports released Tuesday. (July 29, 2014) Aljazeera American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/31/2014 - Excellent article in Rochester, NY from Rochester City Newspaper on Climate Change and recent downpours.  We don’t just have to get used to more frequent heavy downpours in our regions, we have to adapt to that, and we have to mitigate (stop) an increase in greenhouse gases, so this doesn’t get worse. Sure California would love to have some of our rain right now, but it doesn’t work that way and besides, we cannot handle frequent massive flooding. Yes, there can be too much of a good thing. Get used to the downpours Rochester has had a pretty wet July. Going by National Weather Service records, the area has had 7.51 inches of rain this month through yesterday, when the normal level is 3.11 inches. And yesterday's intense rains broke the daily record: the 2.42 inches measured by the NWS at the Rochester airport topped the 1966 high water mark of 1.94 inches. Outside of the city, some areas received much more rain: Richmond Fire Chief Ken Adami told the Democrat and Chronicle that the town, which suffered substantial flood damage, received 7 inches. It's worth looking at the storm through the lens of climate change, with the caveat that it's difficult to tie individual weather events to climate change. It's more about long-term shifts in weather patterns, driven by man-made greenhouse gas emissions.  But climate scientists say that the Rochester region and much of the Northeast will experience extreme precipitation events — downpours and heavy snowstorms, for example — more often, and they will be more intense. The US government's 2014 National Climate Assessment says that the Northeast states have already seen a 70 percent increase in precipitation from the heaviest 1 percent of storms. And yesterday, the Rochester region got a glimpse of what this trend will mean: flooding. And not just creeks spilling over their banks a little bit; whole sections of road were washed away in several places. (July 29, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/31/2014 - Unless you enjoy the possibility of destroying New York State’s grape industry by storing more fossil fuels in a time of Climate Change. Finger Lakes winemakers ask NY: Deny gas storage permits along Seneca Lake  ALBANY — Finger Lakes winemakers and other business owners asked Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday to deny permits for natural gas and propane storage facilities in former salt mines along Seneca Lake, saying the projects would bring heavy industry, more truck traffic and an unacceptable risk of catastrophic accidents to a region that thrives on tourism. Opponents of Houston-based Crestwood Midstream’s project said at a news conference in Albany that it would endanger drinking water, the local economy and the region’s wine and tourism industry. “There is no justification for jeopardizing the Finger Lakes’ place as an international destination for world-class agri-tourism,” said Lou Damiani, owner of Damiani Wine Cellars. “There is no propane shortage, and we have worked too hard to get where we are now.” (July 30, 2014) Daily Messenger

  • 7/31/2014 - Find a way to get your local media to talk about People’s Climate March #climatemarch, Sept. 21, NYC.  Local media are not all that receptive to the worldwide crisis of Climate Change, so they need your help in messaging that.

  • 7/31/2014 - ACTION: Help Governor Cuomo work up the nerve to say NO! to the Fracking industry—August 21st. "Buffalo & Rochester Carpool to the rally to BAN FRACKING outside Governor Cuomo's appearance at the NYS Fair Every year, Governor Cuomo attends the first day of the great New York State Fair in Syracuse, NY and every year we rally outside his appearance to make our voices heard. Join us on Thursday, August 21st as we carpool to rally outside of the NY State Fair with hundreds of New Yorkers against fracking from across the state. During Governor Cuomo's visit, we'll stand together to demand that he say "no" to fracking and "yes" to a renewable energy economy that protects our most vital resources, public health, and agriculture. The Fair is a prime opportunity to send a message to Governor Cuomo that the movement calling for a statewide ban on fracking is strong and growing. (We encourage everyone to also enjoy and support the NYS Fair while we’re there. It’s a wonderful event with many great vendors from across the state.) All carpools will be leaving together as a caravan from the pick-up locations during the scheduled time. Thursday, August 21st Leave/return to Buffalo: 8:15 a.m./5:15 p.m. Leave/return to Rochester: 9:45 a.m./3:45 p.m. If you need a ride in the carpool -OR- can offer to host a carpool, fill out this form & we will be in touch: http://bit.ly/1lXWKxr

  • 7/31/2014 - Looking for ways to psych yourself for the People’s Climate March in NYC on Sept 21? 3 Films. "Summer Film Series: Combating Climate Change Want a way to stay involved with the Clean Air Coalition? Want to learn more about Climate Change? Do you just like Watching Movies? If your answer to any of the questions is Yes,   we have something for you! This August, Clean Air Coalition is hosting a Combating Climate Change Film Series. We will be screening three films about climate change and its interactions with people that are fun, informative, and help explain why the work we all do for the environment is so important. The series starts on August 5th with a screening of The 11th Hour, a film that examines the threat of climate change on human life and poses the question: Will the world's population employ break-through technologies and change our behavior to save our species? Then join us on August 12th for The Island President to see how climate change is threatening the lives of people in the Maldives and how one man is working to stop it before it's too late.  Finally on August 19th, come watch a film that is less science and more politics. Everything's Cool is a documentary that studies the politics behind keeping climate change out of the mainstream and the struggle to make everyone recognize its urgency. By the end we should all be inspired to work towards marshaling the public and political will necessary to save our species and our planet. These films are sure to inform and entertain and all are welcome. We hope to see you all there! Where: Brighton Place Library, 999 Brighton Road, Tonawanda [Map] When: TUESDAYS, August 5th, 12th, and 19th at 6pm For a flyer describing the film series, Click Here.  For more information call (716) 852-3813 or contact us at info@cacwny.org 

  • 7/31/2014 - Not to mention the St. Lawrence River ecosystem may really, really, need the American eel to flourish. Remember: ecosystem and environment are code words for our life support system.  ENDANGERED: American eel numbers in the St. Lawrence River are plummeting CORNWALL, Ontario - They may look snake-like and come complete with a revoltingly slimy exterior - but biology experts are working to save the American eel. The eel was once a staple part of the St. Lawrence River ecosystem, but experts are now worried the animal could be in danger of seeing its numbers plummet beyond the staggering statistics suggested to date. “Now it’s rare to meet someone that has seen a wild eel in Ontario, and the public is losing the important connection that First Nations and European settlers once had with this species," said St. Lawrence River Institute research scientist Matt Windle. "Eel populations in the Great Lakes system declined severely in the 1990s, likely as a cumulative result of habitat loss, overfishing, and climate change." (July 29, 2014) Seaway News [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/31/2014 - Gonna be hard to have meaningful talks at Paris 2015 Climate Talks if developed nations are positioning themselves to do nothing.  If the Paris Climate talks in 2015 fail, there is no Plan B. It’s the last chance to get countries around the world to mitigate Climate Change.  After that we will all be scarring around to adapt to Climate Change—until we cannot anymore. Australian Repeal Deals Blow to Global Carbon-Emission Plans International Coordination on Global Warming Struggles Ahead of Climate-Change Talks Australia's repeal of a pioneering tax on carbon emissions has dealt a sharp blow to struggling international efforts to coordinate on global warming and comes ahead of key climate-change talks next year. On July 17, Australia's parliament pulled the plug on the 2012 tax, which charged 348 businesses such as steelmakers and power companies A$25.40 (US$24) per ton of carbon dioxide emitted. The levy was slated to evolve next year into an emissions-trading system that would link to the European Union's. (July 27, 2014) Wall Street Journal [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/31/2014 - Gina, one of the oldest nuclear power plants in the US, will be “will host its first-ever community information night”? But I remember attending a community info session with Gina right after the Three Mile Island accident in 1979. I remember because the officials kept dodging my questions.  Maybe the press wasn’t there that day. They were probably off covering a duck race or something.  Hmmm…   Ginna will host information night The Ginna nuclear power plant in Ontario, Wayne County, will host its first-ever community information night on Tuesday. Employees at the plant, which is owned by Exelon Corp., will be on hand to talk about plant operations, safety systems and emergency preparedness. Tours of the control room simulator will be offered as well. Refreshments and printed information will be available. Advance registration is required for the free event, which runs from 4 to 7 pm on Tuesday. To register, email Maria.Hudson@exeloncorp.com or call (585) 771-5402. The deadline for reserving a spot is Friday. (July 30, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/31/2014 - How do we demonstrate that Climate Change must be addressed by our leaders? We march at the People’s Climate March, Sept 21, NYC. People’s Climate March—Largest Climate March in World History—Launched in Times Square A spirited press conference in Times Square today launched the People’s Climate March, the largest climate action in world history. Scheduled for Sept. 21 in New York City, the People’s Climate March will coincide with September’s UN Climate Summit, where world leaders including President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping will be in attendance in answer to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon summons to consult on climate change. Key organizations, representing hundreds of thousands of New Yorkers and millions nationwide, hosted the press conference today to explain the goals of the mobilization and to share expectations for the UN summit. Representatives from New York City Environmental Justice AllianceSierra Club350.orgUPROSE and a number of local unions were there, as well as faith leaders, speakers from superstorm Sandy-impacted communities and millennials. (July 30, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Climate Change in our region)

  • 7/30/2014 - Been wondering why all your smart friends still do not understand Climate Change. Their media is keeping them dumb? Somehow we need to have an information system that prioritizes the worldwide crisis of Climate Change or all your friends are going to think the only things that matter are ads, sports, accidents, and pet abuse. Climate Change and Network News Major television network Sunday programs discussed climate change more during the first half of this year than they did during all of 2013. In fact, according to Media Matters, the 65 minutes of climate change coverage so far this year is the same amount of combined coverage in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013 on ABC's "This Week," CBS' "Face The Nation," NBC's "Meet The Press," and Fox's "Fox News Sunday." In a letter last Jan. 16, Sen. Bernie Sanders asked network television executives why there had been “shockingly little discussion” about global warming on the Sunday shows. The letter from Sanders and eight other senators cited a Media Matters for America study of the network news coverage of climate change. “This is a step in the right direction,” Sanders said of the mid-year report by Media Matters. “Global warming is the most serious environmental crisis facing our planet.” (July 21, 2014) Bernie Sanders, senator Vermont {more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/30/2014 - For those who fear that giving into Climate Change means Big Government, the private sector cannot update our transportation infrastructure. The more those who drag their feet on addressing Climate Change, the more it’s going to be necessary for the government to do to address Climate Change, but they’ll have less money to do that because so many have fought government’s role to take care of our infrastructures—all of them, water, waste waster, telecommunications, and much more…   Warming Threatens Roads, Ports and Planes, Report Says The transportation sector is a major contributor to climate-changing carbon dioxide emissions, and, worldwide, it’s also one of the most vulnerable sectors to the effects of climate change, according to a new report. In other words, climate change could mean “sun kinks” could warp train tracks in the heat, airplanes will be more expensive to fly, highway surfaces could soften in heat waves, roadways and bridges could be washed away in rising seas and storm surges, and storms in the open ocean could increase the cost and risks associated with shipping.Those are the findings of a new report, “Climate Change: Implications for Transport,” released Monday by Cambridge University and sustainable business advocacy group BSR, Inc., outlining what the conclusions of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change’s Fifth Assessment Report mean for global transportation. (July 28, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Transportation in our area]

  • 7/30/2014 - New York with 597 farms in 2011, has 7 percent of the nation’s certified organic farms. 2011 ORGANIC PRODUCTION SURVEY New York New York has 7 percent of the nation’s certified organic farms. "The 2011 Certified Organic Production Survey (COPS) includes all known farm operators who produce certified organic crops and/or livestock. The survey was conducted in all 50 States. The 2011 COPS was conducted by the United States Department of Agricul‐ ture’s (USDA) National Agricultural Statistics Service (NASS) in conjunction with USDA’s Risk Management Agency (RMA). The 2011 Organic Production Survey counted 9,140 certified organic farms and ranches in the United States, comprising 3.6 million acres of land. Total certified organic product sales for the United States was 3.5 billion dollars, up 340 million dollars from 2008. The average organic producer had sales of $414,725 in 2011, compared to $217,675 in 2008. " U. S. Department of Agriculture National Agricultural Statistics Service New York Field Office Nass‐ny@nass.usda.gov  www.nass.usda.gov  1‐800‐821‐1276 [more on Food in our area]

  • 7/30/2014 - Not acting on Climate Change could be really, really expensive. It’s a cost, an externality, fossil fuels industries have bequeathed to us.   White House: $150 Billion a Year Will Be Cost of Climate Inaction Damage to public health and biodiversity, as well as physical impacts from rising seas and more severe storms, droughts and wildfires will add up quickly. Seeking to blunt Congressional criticism of its climate agenda, and in particular its new power plant rule, the White House released a report on Tuesday that argues the world could face severe economic consequences if it doesn't act now to curb global warming. (July 29, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/29/2014 - Cuomo can say “Prepare for Future Severe Weather Events” but not ‘Climate Change’? Hard to prepare for Climate Change when you cannot even say the word. Our government is going to have to get comfortable about not only saying ‘Climate Change’ but messaging the public the complete story about how the state is going to plan for the future (including updating our electric grid).  Sure Climate Change is still unpopular, but then again it’s physics and it’s going to happen and the state doesn’t have the luxury of denying it and without the public knowledge and support for adaptation efforts the kind of funding and understanding needed by the public is not going to happen. Read NYSERDA’s Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) | Governor Cuomo Announces $3.3 Million in New Projects to Improve Resiliency and Efficiency to State Electric Grid Projects to Improve Power Delivery in New York State, Lower Cost to Ratepayers and Prepare for Future Severe Weather Events Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced that $3.3 million has been awarded to seven research teams to develop technologies that add resiliency and efficiency to New York State's electric grid. These “smart grid” technologies will use innovative methods to enhance grid performance, reduce the risk of power outages and lessen environmental impacts and energy consumption, all while reducing the cost of power delivery. "As we continue to witness the impacts of extreme weather, it is more important than ever to invest in making our energy infrastructure stronger and smarter," said Governor Cuomo. "These projects will improve grid resiliency, strengthen utility performance and make the delivery of energy more efficient. By investing in these seven smart grids, we are further readying the State for the new reality of severe weather, and ensuring that the work we do today will mean fewer power outages and more deliberate energy consumption in the future." (July 23, 2014) The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

  • 7/29/2014 - I'm passing this note on: "Where on earth are we going?  What can we do about it? Your Rochester Pachamama August newsletter is full of ideas and opportunities!  Please check it out! – and forward to your family and friends who might be interested.  Be sure to open the newsletter right away so you can take advantage of some of the events this last week of July. "

  • 7/29/2014 - ‘Bike Trains’ for safety are going to be tough when vehicle drivers think this: “I want just to run them off the road” Yikes! Have gas guzzlers made us really stupid, so stupid that when our friends and neighbors just happen to be on a bike we just want to run them over?  Or trying to find a greenhouse gas reducing option for getting around in Climate Change is met with extreme hostility?  Humans. Ya gotta love it. LA Bicycle Commuters Form 'Bike Trains' For Safety (July 29, 2014) National Public Radio

  • 7/29/2014 - Today’s lessen boys and girls is ‘What happens when you treat your life support system as an Externality’? An Externality is when you create an economic system that renders environmental pollution invisible and resources as magical, which in turns supplants your moral system so it relieves you of any responsibility and accountably for totally screwing up that which keeps us alive.  What a fun and valuable concept externality is—it just makes reality go away, until it doesn’t. How invasive species changed the Great Lakes forever Zebra mussels, quagga mussels have turned the lakes' ecosystem upside down June 1, 1988, the day everything changed for the Great Lakes, was sunny, hot and mostly calm — perfect weather for the young researchers from the University of Windsor who were hunting for critters crawling across the bottom of Lake St. Clair. Sonya Santavy was a freshly graduated biologist aboard the research boat as its whining outboard pushed it toward the middle of the lake that straddles the U.S. and Canadian border. On a map, Lake St. Clair looks like a 24-mile-wide aneurysm in the river system east of Detroit that connects Lake Huron to Lake Erie. Water pools in it and then churns through as the outflows from Lakes Superior, Michigan and Huron swirl down into Erie, then continue flowing east over Niagara Falls into Lake Ontario, and finally out the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic Ocean. (July 27, 2014) Journal Sentinel [more on Great Lakes and Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/29/2014 - Climate Change is going to have dramatic effects on Public Health and Food security. How are local officials doing on messaging and preparing for all that? The answer isn’t pretty. Researchers tackle link between climate change and public health Australian Academy of Science brings experts together to map out effects global warming on extreme weather events, infectious disease and food security Climate change may threaten Australians’ livelihoods, affect the viability of communities and put pressure on social stability, the co-chairman of a thinktank hoping to influence public health responses has warned. Emeritus professor Bruce Armstrong, of the University of Sydney’s school of public health, told Guardian Australia the issue was both publicly and scientifically important. “Whatever some people might think, global warming is occurring and the climate is changing and it is easy to see how health can be impacted, but until now there has been a relatively small scientific contribution into these health impacts. (July 24, 2014) The Guardian [more on Environmental Health and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/29/2014 - Only 4.8 minutes, video on why wildlife matters. It is amazing how little we know of wildlife’s role in our life support system.  Besides fun to watch, or shoot, or shoot, or eat, or photograph, or shoot, it looks like wildlife actually plays a critical role in our environment and maybe we should have thought of all that before we just started firing away, putting up fences, poisoning them, and otherwise taking their habitats away. Wildlife needs their habitats, but our environment needs wildlife.  Shouldn’t we start seriously considering this issue as we move further into Climate Change? How Wolves Change Rivers

  • 7/29/2014 - Fracking battle continues in NYS, but nary a word about energy options as Climate Changes. Media are blinding us. Appeal filed in fracking lawsuit against Gov. Andrew Cuomo ALBANY – A mid-level state court will have a chance to weigh in on a lawsuit seeking to force Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s administration into a decision on hydraulic fracturing for natural gas. The Joint Landowners Coalition of New York, a Binghamton-based group of pro-fracking property owners, filed an appeal Monday with the state Appellate Division of the Supreme Court, which will decide whether to uphold Acting Supreme Court Justice Roger McDonough’s decision to toss the group’s lawsuit. The landowners organization first filed suit against Cuomo and his administration in February. The lawsuit, which McDonough dismissed earlier this month, accuses Cuomo of unnecessarily delaying a decision on whether to allow high-volume hydrofracking in New York and asks the courts to step in. (July 28, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/29/2014 - Just watched Symphony of the Soil.  I learned lots about one of the most important life support system components—besides water and air. I thought the first part of this documentary was critical in getting a sense of what soil is and what it is composed of.  Soil, except for food production, rarely gets mentioned in studies, articles, and documents on Climate Change. The knee-jerk response by those who say that we cannot possibly feed the populations of the world with organic farming hijacks the entire discussion about the need to have healthy soil as we go further into Climate Change. Food production on a planet moving towards 9 billion folks by 2050 is critical, but it tends to blind us to the need for soil that does a lot more than grow crops—probably some biological ecological functions by some unknown creatures in the soil we barely understand.  My favorite quote in the documentary is that watching soil through a microscope is like watching Times Square on New Year’s Eve. Pausing on this quote for a moment gives one a sense of the infinite complexity of a substance that covers this planet, a substance we have mistreated badly without hardly as clue as to what it is. Soil, the discovery of all that it does, should be a critical part of all Climate Change discussions. This reminds me of an old joke: The dentist tells his patient that his teeth are fine but the gums have to come out.  ‘Soil’ is the gums. If we are able to feed 9 billion folks in 2050 but we have trashed the soil with toxins and GMO’s in the process, our way of life and those in it will no longer be sustainable. Symphony of the Soil "Drawing from ancient knowledge and cutting edge science, Symphony of the Soil is an artistic exploration of the miraculous substance soil. By understanding the elaborate relationships and mutuality between soil, water, the atmosphere, plants and animals, we come to appreciate the complex and dynamic nature of this precious resource. The film also examines our human relationship with soil, the use and misuse of soil in agriculture, deforestation and development, and the latest scientific research on soil’s key role in ameliorating the most challenging environmental issues of our time. Filmed on four continents, featuring esteemed scientists and working farmers and ranchers, Symphony of the Soil is an intriguing presentation that highlights possibilities of healthy soil creating healthy plants creating healthy humans living on a healthy planet. "   

  • 7/29/2014 - Is your water clean or is it Fracked? Only the EPA knows for sure, but maybe not. GAO Report: Drinking Water at Risk from Underground Fracking Waste Injection The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) publicly released its report today finding that the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is “not consistently conducting two key oversight and enforcement activities for class II programs” for underground fluid injection wells associated with oil and gas production. The report shows that the EPA’s program to protect drinking water sources from underground injection of fracking waste needs improvement. According to the report, “The U.S. EPA does not consistently conduct annual on-site state program evaluations as directed in guidance because, according to some EPA officials, the agency does not have the resources to do so.” The report also found that “to enforce state class II requirements, under current agency regulations, EPA must approve and incorporate state program requirements and any changes to them into federal regulations through a rulemaking.” July 28, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/29/2014 - Been arguing with deniers? Or trying to get up to snuff.  Maybe you need a refresher on Climate Change facts? The Facts on Climate Change Though the science behind climate change is indeed complex, one basic fact is not — global warming is happening and it is driving climate change today. We are now seeing the impacts on the climate with record-breaking heat waves, floods, and extreme weather events, all of which were predicted decades ago by the first scientific climate models. Now, with a growing body of evidence, including examples of dramatic systemic change such as rapidly melting arctic glaciers as well as more subtle scientific measurements of atmospheric gases such as Carbon-12 isotopes – it has been possible to determine that this increase in the warming of both air and sea temperatures is being driven primarily by human influence. tcktcktck The Global Call for Climate Action (more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2014 - Giant (Yikes!) hogweed found near Rochester NY! Sorry, for the flippancy. Local media, ya gotta laugh. The only time their interested in informing folks of Invasive Species is when they’re wild and exhilarating, like the Asian carp jumping out of the water and speed boats getting whacked. Toxic weed — giant hogweed — found in Naples  NAPLES — A giant, noxious weed that likes the moist, lush land of the Finger Lakes is majestic to see — and dangerous to touch. Giant hogweed, growing at hundreds of sites statewide, is a huge, non-native, invasive plant whose sap can cause painful burns, permanent scarring and even blindness, according to the state Department of Environmental Conservation. On Thursday, Sylvia Albrecht, a technician with the DEC’s Giant Hogweed Program, removed 40 giant hogweed plants along Naples Creek behind East Avenue in the village, in addition to a plant on the opposite side of the creek along the walking trail near the Ontario Street bridge. Wearing rubber boots, gloves and protective clothes, Albrecht carefully cut off the plants’ flowers, sealing them in plastic bags, and dug up and severed the roots of the plants. The cluster of 40 that were within about 20 feet of the creek indicate giant hogweed seeds are floating from a source upstream. (July 25, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/28/2014 - Not to mention that microgrids (also called Distributed generation) makes adapting to Climate Change easier by being more robust than a centralize energy system (what we have) and less likely for failure, but also allows easier merging of renewable energy options.  Of course, those in power now (centralized) will feel very threatened so we may have to wait awhile for a sensible energy system because the people don’t have much power any more.  Just saying… Grant to help RIT researchers on electric grid work A research team at Rochester Institute of Technology was awarded a $78,000 state grant for a project to improve economic and environmental costs of the state’s electric grid. RIT looks to improve the grid’s energy flexibility by increasing allowable “microgrid density.” Researchers would develop controls for microgrids to allow cooperation between utilities and microgrids. Microgrids growing increasingly popular among businesses, universities, hospitals and other large entities, officials said. The technology is a concern for local utilities—the added on-site power could cause power quality issues that could affect end-users on the same line. (July 25, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/28/2014 - The thing of it is that climate denialists are accelerating the very governmental forces that they are trying to stop.  If individuals, corporations, and NGO’s cannot make major inroads on adapting to and mitigating Climate Change, then government will have to step in with programs that will address this worldwide crisis—this is not a hope or an ideology, this is the obvious outcome of denialists convincing folks that Climate Change is a hoax, thus kicking the consequences of Climate Change down the road until our government, which doesn’t have the luxury of avoiding harm to the public, has to step in.  Harvard historian: strategy of climate science denial groups 'extremely successful' Professor Naomi Oreskes says actions of climate denialists are laying the foundations for the government interventions they fear the most In 1965, US President Lyndon Johnson had a special message for the American Congress on conservation of the environment. Worried about the "storm of modern change" threatening cherished landscapes, Johnson said: “This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through… a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels.” The same quote appears at the beginning of the 2010 book Merchants of Doubt: How A Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco Smoke to Global Warming by science historians Erik Conway and Professor Naomi Oreskes. Plainly the line – almost half a century old now – was picked to show just how long the impacts of fossil fuel burning have been known in the corridors of the highest powers. (July 24, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2014 - Breaking! There are people who can help with Climate Change denial syndrome. They're called scientists.  Climate Change explained by the experts|: NSF.gov - To What Degree? - What Science Is Telling Us About Climate Change - How Do We Know?  "Leading climate change experts discuss one of the most complex puzzles ever to confront mankind." nsf.gov - National Science Foundation - US National Science Foundation (NSF)

  • 7/28/2014 - Read "Red Alert!: Saving the Planet with Indigenous Knowledge" Climate Change, if you’ve been paying attention to this worldwide crisis, is a bewilderingly complex issue where there are many knowns, known unknowns, and probably an infinite amount of unknown unknowns.  We don’t know how to get greenhouse gases down in any measure that will actually make a difference. We don’t know if many of our ecoregions are on the edge of collapse. We especially don’t know how the present state of our environment will fare in a warmer climate, an environment that is filled with manmade pollution and replete with a great loss of biodiversity.  This all matters because most climate studies and plan assume that our present environment is the only rational starting point from which to plan for a sustainable environment in the future.  Red Alert! reminds us that there are centuries of endemic peoples’ knowledge that can and should be tapped to create a more realistic baseline for climate studies.  Rather than assume that our present over-populated, over polluted, and other-than-human-species-impoverished world is the starting point for our climate studies, we should consider the vast knowledge gained from a people who understood what it meant to live sustainably long before it has become a crisis. To leave our American Indian knowledge out of our climate plans and studies is to attempt a sustainable future with more unknown unknowns than we can possibly imagine.  We should look to the peoples who know how a healthy environment actually worked before it was seriously disturbed. Daniel Wildcat paints a clear picture of what will be loss if modern Climate Change planners don’t include critical information gain by a people in touch with their environment.  Listen to Connections: Native American Approach To Climate Change

  • 7/28/2014 - I know, you’re very busy with Climate Change, but one of the biggest extinction events is going on too. Sorry to rain on your parade.  This isn’t just bad news, this is something that needs to be fixed and soon. Study: Earth in the midst of sixth mass extinction The loss and decline of animals around the world — caused by habitat loss and global climate disruption — mean we're in the midst of a sixth "mass extinction" of life on Earth, according to several studies out Thursday in the journal Science. One study found that although human population has doubled in the past 35 years, the number of invertebrate animals – such as beetles, butterflies, spiders and worms – has decreased by 45% during that same period. "We were shocked to find similar losses in invertebrates as with larger animals, as we previously thought invertebrates to be more resilient." said Ben Collen of the U.K.'s University College London, one of the study authors. (July 24, 2014) USA Today [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/28/2014 - Many are coming: “21 September, a “People’s Climate March” will take place in Manhattan, which organizers say will be the biggest climate change demonstration to date” World’s religions unite for New York climate summit  Leaders from Christian, Muslim, Buddhist and other communities to gather ahead of Ban Ki-moon climate summit  Religious leaders from across the globe will travel to New York in September to participate in a landmark UN climate summit. Preparations for the summit, hosted by UN secretary general Ban Ki-moon, are gathering momentum. President Obama recently confirmed that he will attend. Thirty leaders from a wide selection of faiths are joining the action. They will congregate for a two-day meeting before 23 September, when world leaders are expected to announce “bold actions” on tackling climate change. Present will be leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hindu, Jewish, Jewish Orthodox, Shinto, Taoist, Jain, Sikh, Baha’i, Indigenous, Brahma Kumaris and multi-spiritual communities. (July 28, 2014) Responding to Climate Change, RTCC [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/28/2014 - So, how does Cuomo’s “We will lead on Climate Change” jive with Albany becoming a major oil-hub? Albany Nears Oil-Hub Status as 100-Car Trains Jam Port | Albany, New York’s capital city, may join the ranks of U.S. energy hubs such as Houston and Cushing, Oklahoma, as oil-terminal operator Global Partners LP (GLP) pushes an expansion plan after already quadrupling its capacity. For the last two years, more oil from the Bakken shale formation has rolled 1,800 miles (2,900 kilometers) by rail across North Dakota and around the Great Lakes to Albany. There, companies including Global Partners and Buckeye Partners LP (BPL) load barges bound for New Jersey and New Brunswick refineries. Albany’s importance as a link in the energy-production chain is poised to grow under Global Partners’ effort to win state permission to handle oil-sands crude and biofuels for shipping over objections of neighbors and environmental groups. (July 24, 2014) Bloomberg [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/26/2014 - Bears, like all Wildlife, are a ‘problem’ when they either piss off humans, evoke fear, or interfere with any of our infrastructures.  Other than that, they’re just fine to have around.  Anyway, while we’re on the subject, how are we in New York State helping wildlife adapt to Climate Change?  I’ve seen these photos of elaborate, very expensive Wildlife Corridors that allow animals like bears and deer to cross our highways without getting slaughtered.  These corridors are widely suggested by climate studies . But I’m thinking that our highways system (that costs $15 billion annually to maintain) is already too expensive and I cannot imagine the public paying for these corridors in numbers on any level that will matter.  I suspect that when push comes to shove, the public will fight tooth and nail against any costs to save wildlife thinking maybe that perhaps nature will just take care of them, even though our climate is warming ten times faster that these creatures evolved.  Mostly, our environmental agencies only inform the public about wildlife when wildlife is a possible nuisance, after that they’re on their own. DEC Guidance for Discouraging Black Bear Nuisance The summer outdoor recreation season is well underway and the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is advising homeowners and tourists about ways to discourage bears from becoming a nuisance. Black bears will take advantage of almost any readily available food source. Once bears learn about human food sources, it is not easy to recondition them to the wild and this can lead to conflicts between bears and people. It is against the law to feed bear, deer and moose. During midsummer and dry conditions, the black bear's natural foods are much more difficult to find. DEC Wildlife and Law Enforcement staff respond with technical advice as quickly as possible but local residents and visitors are responsible for preventing bears from gaining access to food items such as bird food, garbage and unattended coolers. (July 24, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/26/2014 - It’s a long-forgotten fact that being a pedestrian (even a disable pedestrian) is a viable form of transportation.  Although not widely known, humans can still get about without climbing into a gas guzzler to go a few miles, and not warm up the planet. It would be a sensible adaption to our transportation system to accommodate disabled pedestrians, pedestrians, and bicyclist into our vehicle-dominated system (that costs $15 billion annually to maintain) that would help us all address Climate Change—as our present transportation system accounts for 27% of greenhouse gases. Wheelchair-accessible signs getting makeover in NY ALBANY – The iconic white-and-blue sign marking wheelchair accessibility will soon be getting a makeover in New York. Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Friday signed a bill into law requiring future wheelchair-accessible signs to depict a wheelchair in motion, rather than the sedentary stick-figure image that has marked parking spots and ramps for decades. The new law also will prevent future accessibility signs from using the word “handicapped,” a term advocates say is outdated and offensive to wheelchair users. “New York has long been a leader when it comes to fighting discrimination to protect New Yorkers including people with disabilities,” Cuomo said in a statement Friday. “This bill is an important step toward correcting society’s understanding of accessibility and eliminating a stigma for more than one million New Yorkers, and I am proud to sign it into law today.” (July 25, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/26/2014 - Sure it’s difficult to predict how fast Climate Change will operate, but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening at all. Climate Change is about planning.  If there is even a scintilla of evidence that Climate Change is going to occur faster than predicted, we should be acting more quickly, not fixed in the middle of the road like a deer blinded by the glaring headlights of a car. I’ve often thought that the deer, for all its extreme sensitivity to danger in its environment, is so stupid when it comes to traffic on our highways. Why cannot these extremely aware creatures see that a several ton vehicle is barreling straight towards it? The answer, of course, is that deer did not evolve to notice something moving so fast and heedless as a driver in a vehicle. But it’s kinda like how we humans are reacting to Climate Change, just standing in the middle of the road wondering what the heck is coming at us—and not moving an inch.  Just standing there.  Change is so going to just roll over us, unless we 'evolve' our thinking much faster than we are now. Faux Pause 3: More Evidence Global Surface Temperatures Poised To Rise Rapidly A new study finds that when climate models factor in the temporary warming and cooling impact of El Niño and La Niña, they accurately predict recent global warming. And that is consistent with recent studies that led one climatologist to say, “Global temperatures look set to rise rapidly.” GLOBAL WARMING CONTINUES TO ACCELERATE A study last year found that global warming has accelerated in the past 15 years, especially in the ocean. As scientists had predicted, 90 percent of that warming ended up in the oceans. And we reported that Greenland’s ice melt increased five-fold since the mid-1990s. Anotherstudy that month found “sea level rising 60% faster than projected.” (July 22, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/26/2014 - I know, we here in Rochester are cool as a cucumber, but around the world some think this summer may be the hottest yet. What’s your prediction? Maybe if enough Rochester-area deniers chime in they can convince the rest of the world that this summer will be nicest summer there ever was.  See comments at the end of this article. Will 2014 be the hottest year on record? After the hottest May and June ever recorded and with a looming El Niño predicted to cause global temperatures to spike, Karl Mathiesen, with your help, asks are we living through the hottest year since records began? (July 23, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/26/2014 - Gonna be hard being a Climate Change denier leader in a state that’s being inundated by sea level rise.  Putting in a denier into a leadership role in Florida is like getting on a bus where the driver doesn’t believe in roads. Florida poll: More than 7 in 10 voters concerned about climate change, back EPA action plan Nearly eight in 10 likely Florida voters want limits on carbon pollution from power plants and as many as 71 percent say they’re concerned about climate change, according to a new poll conducted for an environmental group during the hotly contested governor’s race. “The takeaway from this poll is simple: People think carbon pollution is a problem, and they think our political leaders should take action and fight pollution,” said Susan Glickman, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which sponsored the 1,005-likely voter poll by SurveyUSA. (July 25, 2014) Miami Herald [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/26/2014 - Ok, let’s say you don’t care about bees; but pesticides that cause “possible threats to the insects that form the base of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems” should alarm you. Powerful insecticide turns up in major Midwest rivers Insecticide at heart of debate over honeybee deaths found in six states. A pervasive agricultural insecticide that has been linked to the decline of honeybees is now a near-constant presence in the small and great rivers that flow through Midwestern farm country, according to the first major review of its kind. Scientists at the U.S. Geological Survey tracked the toxins called neonicotinoids in six states and nine Midwestern rivers, including the portion of the Mississippi that drains southern Minnesota, and found that they were universally present throughout the growing season in every watershed tested. The results, published this week, raise significant questions about possible threats to the insects that form the base of the food chain in aquatic ecosystems, and they follow another study last month that found sharp declines in birds wherever the insecticides were widely used in Holland. (July 25, 2014) Star Tribune [more on Pesticides in our area]

  • 7/26/2014 - Extreme weather can be a more dramatic measure of Climate Change unlike the slow boiling of a frog, where you hardly notice it. A nice and slow and gradual Climate Change is not predicted. New Data on Extreme Temperatures Underscore Planet's Warming Trend, Scientists Say 'It is more often the climate extremes that noticeably impact society, infrastructure, and ecosystems,' a new report warns. This past June was the warmest ever recorded by scientists since record keeping began in the 19th century. The average surface temperature of the earth was 61.2 degrees Fahrenheit, up 1.3 degrees from the 20th century's typical June. May 2014 set a comparable new record. That month, too, the planet's average surface temperature was about 1.3 degrees above the normal warmth of May. It's reasonable to expect that the whole year may end up with the warmest surface temperatures ever recorded—especially if El Niño, the periodic shifting of warm waters in the Pacific now thought to be incipient, develops robustly. (July 23, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/25/2014 - Amazing! Never before has it been so easy for so many to help NYS’s war against Invasive Species! You can help save our trees and forests by simply staring into your swimming pool’s filter and telling the DEC what’s in there.  Actually, I’m thinking this is probably not a bad idea. It is great to get the pubic to join in efforts to monitor the health of our environment. But on the other hand, monitoring the state of our environment is going to have to be more hands-on and more robust public involvement than very convenient ideas like this.  But even then, I suspect no many of the public will help out with this milquetoast effort. Pool Owners Sought to Participate in Citizen Science Survey to Identify Invasive Insects Monitoring Pool Filters for Asian Longhorned Beetles Can Prevent Infestation and Help Protect Trees and Forests Pool owners are invited to join in the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) third annual Asian longhorned beetle (ALB) Swimming Pool Survey now through August 29 in order to help keep watch for these exotic, invasive beetles before they cause serious damage to our forests and street trees. The Citizen Pool Survey takes place this time of year when ALBs are expected to become adults, emerge from the trees they are infesting and become active outside those trees. Earlier this month, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo issued a proclamation designating New York's first ever Invasive Species Awareness Week to educate New Yorkers on the ALB and other invasive species that can be harmful to human health, animal habitat, agriculture and tourism. The Swimming Pool Survey continues those education efforts and allows residents to actively engage in the efforts to stop the spread of ALB. (July 24, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) [more on Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 7/25/2014 - Does our Water Quality really have to get this freaking bad before we clean up our waters? Against environmental restrictions? Please.  Can you believe this! Disgust and outrage along Scajaquada Creek Two state senators are demanding the Department of Environmental Conservation take aggressive action to address sewer overflows that have contaminated Scajaquada Creek. Senators Mark Grisanti and Tim Kennedy, whose districts include the creek, called for action Monday after witnessing a repulsive scene that included trash filled creek water, three dead ducks, and a fourth paralyzed and gasping for air in a pool of garbage and sewage. Grisanti and Kennedy, sickened by what they saw in the creek near Delaware Park’s Hoyt Lake, said they will make it a priority to clean up Scajaquada Creek and advocate for more money to repair antiquated sewer systems throughout the region. (July 24, 2014) Investigative Post [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/25/2014 - Yikes! You mean the ‘experts’ don’t know “How to fix the damage caused by decades of industrial pollution” in our NYS waters? So, they’re asking us? I think most of us, if asked, would say it was a bad idea in the first place to dump industrial waste into our New York State lakes.  Ok, as long as you asked, I’d say, restore the lake to the state it was before industrial waste was dumped into it and get the lake to work as part of our life support system again.  What a racket, industry gets to dump industrial waste into our natural resources, and then they cannot fund or figure out how to clean that up, so they come to the public and ask us how to do it and on top of that they’re going to charge us.  What’s wrong with this picture? How would you fix damage caused by Onondaga Lake pollution?  As work continues on cleaning up mercury and other toxins from Onondaga Lake, regulators are now looking at step 2: How to fix the damage caused by decades of industrial pollution. The public is being asked for ideas on the best ways to compensate the public and the environment for the damage done by pollution. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, which is one of three governments running the program, has come up with a new form and is asking residents to submit their ideas. (We've scanned in the form below.) (July 24, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Water Quality in our area]   

  • 7/25/2014 - Our waters around Rochester, NY including the Genesee River should not have become a dumping ground for polluters. Kodak number one for releasing most toxic chemicals in New York waterways, study finds According to a June report from Environment New York Research & Policy Center, Eastman Kodak Co. has been named the top discharging facility in 2012, weighted by toxicity concentration, in all of New York State, putting 12,151 pounds of toxic pollution into the Lower Genesee River. In addition, the report found, in 2012, industrial facilities discharged over 5.3 million pounds of toxic chemicals into New York's waterways overall, and Anheuser-Busch Inc. facilities dropped over 1.3 million pounds of toxic waste into the Oswego River in Baldwinsville, N.Y. (July 9, 2014) Minority Reporter [more on Brownfields and Genesee River and Water Quality in our area]

  • 7/25/2014 - On the other hand, thinking that burning down forests (carbon sinks) for electricity is bad in a time of Climate Change is a no-brainer. New UK Government Science Report Confirms Burning Forests Bad for Climate Conservation Groups Call on UK to Take Swift Action to Stop Destruction of Forests in the Southern US  Today the UK Department of Energy and Climate Change (DECC) released its long-awaited Biomass Emissions and Counterfactual Model Calculator and an accompanying reportLifecycle Impacts of Biomass in 2020 report. The findings from the tool and associated report confirm what U.S. and European ENGOs have been claiming for the last few years – that burning forests for electricity is bad for our climate. At the heart of the debate is the dramatic growth in new wood pellet production to meet the surging demand from the UK. Drax, the UK’s largest utility, has already converted one of its coal-fired boilers to burn wood pellets and plans to convert three more. This increased demand for wood as a fuel source in the UK is driving the expansion of wood pellet manufacturing and export in the US South. Enviva, a wood pellet supplier to Drax, has come under heavy fire from conservation organizations, having been tied directly to the clearcutting of wetland forests in its production of wood pellets. The new report clearly shows that whether it is whole trees or so-called leftover “residuals” from logging operations, Enviva’s wood pellets, when burned, release too much carbon to be considered a solution to climate change or a feasible alternative to coal. (July 24, 2014) Dogwood Alliance [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/24/2014 - This bike/van tragedy is totally unacceptable! Bikes are transportation. We demand an immediate public education program to continually address this issue.  Everyone should be continually reminded of the rules of the road. The media needs to be pro-active—education on bike/car/pedestrian safety before tragedies like this happen, not simply reporting afterwards. Bicyclist hospitalized in hit-and-run   A Rochester woman was taken to Strong Memorial Hospital after being struck by a van early Wednesday morning, according to Rochester Police. (July 23, 2014) WHAM Rochester

  • 7/24/2014 - When you’re trucking solar and wind power parts through your city, you don’t even have to alert emergency responders.  The nice thing about renewable energy—besides providing our way of life a way to use energy that doesn’t screw up our life support system with pollution and Climate Change, is that it’s pretty benign on public health.  Renewable energy parts don’t explode in the middle of your town. They might just fall off the truck and stop traffic for a little while. New safety proposals for oil trains Rochester, N.Y. - A new federal proposal would phase out thousands of older rail cars that carry crude oil and alert emergency responders when crude oil tankers are traveling through their state. "With these kinds of hazardous materials as volatile as they are, specifically crude oil, responding and initially knowing what we're getting into is certainly going to help us out," said East Rochester Fire Chief Mike Romach. (July 23, 2014) WHAM Rochester [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 7/24/2014 - The #1 country responsible for Climate Change is the #1 country in climate change denial.  What’s wrong with this picture? Most of the manmade greenhouse gases in our atmosphere right now are from the developed nations. CO2, which is the main GHG, stay in the atmosphere for a long time. Sure, China is emitting more right now, but the GHGs that have warmed our atmosphere thus far are ours. So, it’s pretty dismal that our response to this fact is denial.  And, it’s even more dismal because there’s no one around except voters, who tend not to be paying attention to this issue, will vote in the folks who won’t take responsibility for this worldwide crisis—let alone not take a leadership role.  If the US and other developed nation don’t step up to the plate and make substantive agreements at the Paris 2015 climate talks, we are all screwed—developed nations, developing nations, wildlife, plants, and those little creatures that keep our soil health.  Just saying… It’s immoral for the US not to step up to the plate and address Climate Change, but more importantly it is suicide not to do so.  If morality doesn’t compel us to do the right thing, self-preservation should do so. Poll: U.S. Leads The World… In Climate Denial A poll of 20 countries and over 16,000 people has found that the United States leads the world when it comes to climate denial. That result is based on two questions asked by the British survey company Ipsos Mori in its first ever Global Trends Survey. The poll, conducted between September and October last year, analyzed views from around the world on a variety of issues, including science and technology, privacy, the environment, health, and government. The poll found that 52 percent of Americans agreed with the statement “The climate change we are currently seeing is a natural phenomenon that happens from time to time.” India was tied with the U.S. in this belief, and China came in a close second, with 51 percent of respondents agreeing. In contrast, only 34 percent of Swedes, 26 percent of South Koreans, and 22 percent of Japanese agreed with the statement. (July 22, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/24/2014 - If you are asking if organic food is better for our life support system, farming that doesn’t screw up our environment is better.  No contest. Connections: Is Organic Food Better? Two new studies offer more details about organic food is, and what it is not. So is it worth spending more money on organic produce? What is the certification process for organic growing? What are the evidence-based health benefits? Why is Wegmans so supportive of organic? We discuss this with our panel: Jane Andrews, Wegmans nutrition and product labeling manager Denis Lepel, Lakestone Family Farm Todd Lighthouse, Lighthouse Gardens Anne Ruflin, Executive Director of the Northeastern Organic Farming Association of New York  (July 23, 2014) WXXI Connections [more on Food in our area]

  • 7/24/2014 - If you don’t plan for Climate Change, low-income folks get screwed, then it goes higher up the money chain—or maybe it all happens at once and everyone gets screwed at once.  One thing is for sure, putting in leaders who don’t believe in Climate Change and aren’t preparing for it is a great injustice to everyone.  “Climate Change is a political term” This is nonsense on stilts. Attack of the Chicago climate change maggots The effects of climate change are creeping into Chicago's low-income neighborhoods. CHICAGO — Sewage gushed up Lori Burns’s toilet. It swept the floor. It wrecked the water heater, the deep freezer, her mother’s wedding veil. This basement invasion was the third in five years. Burns, 40, could no longer afford to pay a cleanup crew. So she slipped on polka dotted rain boots, waded into the muck, wrenched out the stand-pipe and watched the brown water drain. The South Side native, a marketing specialist, estimated damages at $17,000. And that did not include what she could not replace: the family heirlooms, the oriental rugs, her cashmere sweaters. The bungalow had flooded four times from 1985 to 2006, when her parents owned it. Lately, it flooded every other year. Burns felt nature was working against her. In a way, it was. As Washington still fights over whether or not climate change is real, people across the country are already paying costs scientists ascribe to it — sometimes in unexpected places. You might think about climate change in terms of rising sea levels threatening coastal cities. But all over the Midwest, from Chicago to Indianapolis and Milwaukee, residents face just as many difficult issues as changing weather patterns collide with aging infrastructure. The costs — for governments, insurance companies and homeowners — are measured not only in dollars, but in quality of life. July 23, 2014) Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/24/2014 - Another way to deal with algae problems at Ontario Beach is to plan for Climate Change, as warming affects algae growth.  Check out EPA’s three-page doc on this: “Impacts of Climate Change on the Occurrence of Harmful Algal Blooms  We are pretty good at getting rid of the symptoms of environmental problems (like shunting algae away from our beaches) but not so good at addressing the underlying causes, like dealing with the rise in algae growth due to warming waters and more phosphorus (non-point pollution of fertilizers) pollution throughout our Great Lakes and Finger Lakes. Climate Change is about planning.  | Ontario Beach Algae Removal Project Begins Monroe County officials are announcing the start of work on a project to help cut down on the algae problems at Ontario Beach.  The hot humid weather we're having this week makes you want to go to the beach...maybe take a swim..but that's not always possible at some of the local beaches due to problems with algae, which causes bad odors and also occasionally forces the temporary closing of the beaches for swimming. (July 22, 2014) WXXI News [more on Water Quality in our area}

  • 7/23/2014 - What’s missing from this report on Monroe County by ACT Rochester? Our environment.  Hard to get a full picture of reality without including the state of our life support system.  Especially, as Climate Change is changing everything.  ACT used to focus on our environment, but now I guess they see it as an externality. Monroe County Report Card The Monroe County Report Card aggregates data from more than 100 community indicators on the site and use symbols, colors and arrows to provide a quick, at-a-glance overview of the well-being of the county. This data cover the topics of Arts, Culture and Leisure, Children and Youth, Community Engagement, Economy, Education, Financial Self-Sufficiency, Health, Housing, and Public Safety. ACT Rochester

  • 7/23/2014 - Today’s lesson boys and girls is “non-point source pollution.” That’s where you get to pollute but nobody knows who you are.  Many of our waters are tragically polluted and we cannot even find the culprit because if you don’t see an obvious cause (a pipe draining toxins in the lake) it’s hard to pin down who is responsible, or to even find out how to stop the pollution. Lots of folks are spending lots of money trying to figure out non-point sources of pollution and guess what?  It will probably involve grants by your government to find and clean up our waters, or probably just your government.  All of our lakes and streams will have to be cleaned up and my guess is that it won’t be industry clamoring to do that.  It only pays for industry to dump waste into our water, which they don’t have to pay to clean up.  What a racket. Part One: The Rivers that run through it: A basin of toxins (With video) While some think urban sprawl is to blame for the shoddy state of the Windsor-Essex watersheds, Money says the fertilizers and pesticides used on rural farmlands are just as much to blame as the industry pollution within the city. The real problem to tackle is what ERCA dubs “non-point source pollution,” meaning pollution caused by the buildup of a variety of sources rather than a singular one. “We can’t point a finger at one individual company, or one individual problem and say, ‘That’s the problem,’” Money says. “It’s everybody — but all of that collectively makes a problem.” (July 22, 2014) The Winsor Star [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]  

  • 7/23/2014 - Let’s pretend for a moment that New York State lifted the moratorium on Fracking. Would we be as unprepared as Pennsylvania?  A major issue of not addressing the real problem, which is researching what our best energy options are in a time of warming and seizing on the most popular fossil-fuel alternative instead (Fracking), is that our energy options are treated as a clash between two opposing groups—instead of deliberative thoughtful inquiry given Climate Change. If the pro-Fracking groups happen to win in New York State, will there be a mad rush to Frack like there was in Pennsylvania, where they have to back up and address all the fallout? This didn’t have to happen to Pennsylvania and it should be a warning to New York:  Pennsylvania Auditor: State Department of Environmental Protection Was Unprepared For Shale Industry’s Growth The Pennsylvania auditor general on Tuesday confirmed what was never up for debate for environmental groups and residents—the state was unprepared for the growth of the shale gasindustry. “(The audit) shows that the meteoric growth of the shale gas industry caught the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) unprepared to effectively administer laws and regulations to protect drinking water and unable to efficiently respond to citizen complaints,” Auditor General Eugene DePasquale said. (July 22, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]  

  • 7/23/2014 - This is rich, sneaking into the Climate Change deniers’ coven of pathetic lies. By now, 2014, serious people don’t doubt the planet is warming because of human energy use. A few still, after all the evidence has accumulated in the past 30 years, hold on to their crazy ideology  and some of these people have a lot of ability to thwart the efforts for the rest of us to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change.  The very apocalyptic scenarios that the deniers accuse Climate Change proponents of scaremongering with will actually be the result of deniers blocking the effort of the rest of us.  The worst of Climate Change will occur because adequate planning and funding was prevented by deniers. Shouldn’t there be some sort of accountability for those who stop the majoring of us from intelligently planning for this worldwide crisis? I CRASHED A CLIMATE CHANGE DENIAL CONFERENCE IN LAS VEGAS I’ve been researching the climate denial industry for almost three years and the best way to gather information about this incredibly small yet influential clique is to hang out with them. I attended their 2012 conference of the Heartland Institute, an oil and tobacco funded free market think tank that spends a lot of time and effort trying to call bullshit on what is clearly not bullshit – the science of climate change. My presence was clearly unwelcome – but I guess they forgot to scrub me from their email invitation list, because I got invited again this year, to their 9th International Conference on Climate Change in the deep heat of the Nevada desert amid the chaos of Las Vegas casinos (July 22, 2014) Vice News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/23/2014 - It’s not a good start for addressing Climate Change if your water and air are bad. But what if your soil is bad too?  Sure, we go into Climate Change with the environment (life support system) we have, but what if that environment has been deeply compromised already, before the really bad stuff comes. Climate Change is about planning and we should make sure the essentials, like the health of our soil, is ready for the stress on food and soil that a warmer planet will bring. China’s Dirty Pollution Secret:  The Boom Poisoned Its Soil and Crops Soil pollution has received relatively little public attention in China. Despite the fact that it poses as big a threat to health as the more widely covered air and water pollution, data on soil pollution has been so closely guarded that it has been officially categorized as a “state secret.”  Until recently, the Chinese government also resisted media efforts to draw attention to local epidemics of cancer in China’s newly industrial areas. It was not until February 2013 that the Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) finally admitted that “cancer villages” existed in China, and released a list that included the area around Lake Tai and the villages of Fenshui and Zhoutie. Some civil society experts have estimated that there are 450 cancer villages in China, and they believe the phenomenon is spreading.  (June 30, 2014) Yale: Environment 360

  • 7/22/2014 - What’s missing on this report of the Ganondagan festival is that this event 100% recycles and has done so for years. Creating no waste in the great tradition and values of the Native American peoples is paramount. It would be nice for the media to mention that this event recycles all food and container waste and maybe even hint that total recycling should be one of the goals of all area events.  We have much to learn from Native American’s about our environment and learning that our relationship to Mother Earth includes the concept of no waste. Ganondagan festival 'bigger and better' (July 22, 2014) Victor Post   

  • 7/22/2014 - When major sports start messaging the importance of addressing Climate Change, millions more will get the message. An entire swath of folks who have mostly been unreachable by the worldwide crisis of Climate Change may now find it on their radar. 2014 NHL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT The NHL represents the highest level of hockey in the world. But before many of our players ever took their first stride on NHL ice, they honed their skills on the frozen lakes and ponds of North America and Europe. Our sport can trace its roots to frozen freshwater ponds, to cold climates. Major environmental challenges, such as climate change and freshwater scarcity, affect opportunities for hockey players of all ages to learn and play the game outdoors. The purpose of the 2014 NHL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT is to address our recent efforts and the challenges we face from an environmental perspective. NHL [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/22/2014 - We had such a nice temperate June in Rochester; it’s hard to believe worldwide it was very hot. Climate Change, it’s not just about us.  For those who think of Climate Change in apocalyptic terms, something like the nuclear scares we had back in the 1960’s, Climate Change will not be like a nuclear apocalyptic disaster.  Climate Change is not the kind of worldwide crisis where the specter of a nuclear holocaust looms and everyone throws up their hands in despair, where one day it’s nice outside and the next everything might be in ashes. Climate Change is instead a relentless ratcheting up of weather anomalies, each that will have to be addressed because it’s not in our nature to throw in the towel each time a drought or a hurricane hits. Climate Change is going to happen just slowly enough so that the uneven rise in temperatures makes it look like there’s hope, when the trajectory proves that there isn’t. Kind of like torture tactics. Climate Change also means planning, where we have the choice of addressing the worst of the consequences so things don’t get so bad.  And Climate Change includes mitigation where we stop GHG’s accumulating even more, so it’s not so bad for our grandchildren. Climate Change is about our choices. World marks hottest June since 1880: NOAA Last month was the hottest June since record-keeping began in 1880, according to a monthly report by US government climate scientists. The combined average temperature over land and ocean surfaces was a “record high for the month at 61.20 Fahrenheit (16.22 Celsius),” said the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. That meant June was a total of 1.30°F (0.72°C) warmer than the 20th century average for the month, surpassing the last record high temperature for June set in 2010, said NOAA. Taken alone, the ocean’s global surface temperature in June was the highest for any month on record, breaking the past record set in 1998, NOAA added. (July 21, 2014) The Raw Story [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2014 - Take home message: If Paris Climate talks in 2015 fail, there is no Plan B. If this 20+ Climate talk attempt doesn’t work, then we’ll just we swatting every fly hoping we can address and mitigate Climate Change in an ad hoc way and we won’t be able to on a level that will actually matter.  The importance of this last-ditch effort for a world-wide binding agreement to bring down greenhouse gases cannot be overstated. Anything you can do to support the success of this effort is good—like attending the People’s Climate March on September 21st in New York City to demonstrate support for UN Secretary­ General Ban Ki-­moon’s who will be  urging governments to support an ambitious global agreement to dramatically reduce global warming pollution.  Don’t sit this one out.  It’s big, really big. 500 days from crucial Paris summit, momentum grows for climate deal  500 days ahead of a crucial UN climate summit in Paris, momentum is growing for a global climate deal. A diplomacy push by the world’s two biggest emitters has seen the US and China working on concrete initiatives to cut carbon emissions, while China has also suggested that it could announce an emissions cap as early as June 2015, maybe even in the first quarter, then meeting the UN deadline for national contributions to the Paris agreement. Many of the major government players gathered in Paris for the two-day Major Economies Forum last weekend, which was immediately followed by the Petersberg Climate Dialogue in Berlin, where German Chancellor Angela Merkel stressed her commitment to a tough UN climate change agreement in 2015, promising EU and German leadership. She also used the opportunity to pledge $1 billion to the Green Climate Fundspurring calls for more countries to follow suit. NGOs have urged developed countries to pledge at least $15 billion in climate finance before this year’s COP in Lima, and expectations are high for some of that money to come during the UN Climate Leaders Summit in September. (July 18, 2014) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/21/2014 - Concern over late summer droughts as predicted by Climate studies for New York, make this Fracking decision in Calf. pertinent.  If we lift the moratorium on Fracking in New York, will we have to complete with Fracking companies for water when more late summer droughts occur? California Halts Injection of Fracking Waste, Warning it May Be Contaminating Aquifers State’s drought has forced farmers to rely on groundwater, even as California aquifers have been intentionally polluted due to exemptions for oil industry. California officials have ordered an emergency shut-down of 11 oil and gas waste injection sites and a review more than 100 others in the state's drought-wracked Central Valley out of fear that companies may have been pumping fracking fluids and other toxic waste into drinking water aquifers there. The state's Division of Oil and Gas and Geothermal Resources on July 7 issued cease and desist orders to seven energy companies warning that they may be injecting their waste into aquifers that could be a source of drinking water, and stating that their waste disposal "poses danger to life, health, property, and natural resources." The orders werefirst reported by the Bakersfield Californian, and the state has confirmed with ProPublica that its investigation is expanding to look at additional wells. The action comes as California's agriculture industry copes with a drought crisis that has emptied reservoirs and cost the state $2.2 billion this year alone. The lack of water has forced farmers across the state to supplement their water supply from underground aquifers, according to a study released this week by the University of California Davis. (July 18, 2014) ProPublica [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/21/2014 - Unless the plastics we throw away are sorted properly, they’re murder on our life support system. Why Do Plastics Have to Be Separated When Recycled? Not all plastics are created equal. In fact, different plastic polymers have different characteristics and mixing them together would alter those characteristics. So, when recycling plastic, different polymers should be separated. This way, the outcome of each recycling process is a single type of plastic polymer, rather than a mixture of polymers. However, even with a comprehensive numbering key for sorting, obstacles remain for efficient recycling. Seattle PI

  • 7/21/2014 - ‘All of the above’ and ‘all of the below’ energy strategy is NOT right for Climate Change. Think. Obama Administration Opens Eastern Seaboard To Oil Drilling Surveys On Friday, the U.S. Bureau of Ocean Energy Management (BOEM) approved the use of seismic airguns to explore the seabed from Cape May to Cape Canaveral for oil and gas. These sonic cannons are compressed airguns that get towed behind ships, using dynamite-like blasts to produce sound waves 100,000 times louder than a jet engine underwater every ten seconds. The waves travel through the water and through the ocean floor, bouncing back up at different rates to provide prospective drillers and researchers a better sense of where oil, gas, minerals, and sand lie beneath the waves. It’s not a surprise that this is dangerous: even BOEM estimates that this practice will disrupt, injure, or kill millions of marine animals, including the most endangered whale species on the planet. It is less surprising that this risky tactic would be approved in large part to ferret out another source of fossil fuels, risking another BP disaster and emitting more pollution that causes global warming. It’s more surprising that this gambit is being entertained in an area that may not even have that much oil or gas. (July 18, 2014) Think Climate/Think Progress  

  • 7/19/2014 - Active transportation (walking and bicycling) will be a true transportation option and address Climate Change but it must be safe.  Whatever helps to make active transportation safe is good, education, media exposure about sharing the road, and, oh yeah, apps for that.  Turn signals for bicycles? SU student creates app to advance bike safety SYRACUSE, N.Y. -- Syracuse University student Jeremy Mingtao Wu has developed a better way to navigate a bicycle. Wu, 23, is a graduate mechanical engineering student at the L.C. Smith College of Engineering.  In China he received his undergraduate degree in automotive technology, specializing in automotive safety.  As he considered the history of automotive safety devices, from seat belts to air bags to impact-absorbing bumpers, the contrast with advances in bicycle safety was stark. "In the last 100 years, the bicycle helmet has been pretty much the only device to make riders safer," said Wu. (July 17, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/19/2014 - Even if you don’t care about this ugly little bat, you might want to save it so we don’t have to fill our environment with pesticides to compensate its loss. The Northern Long-Eared Bat is one of those little creatures whose existence in and of itself may not mean much to you, but you might care about some of the ‘environmental services’ it provides because we may have to make up for that by dumping tons of Pesticides into our environment (our life support system) as Climate Change brings in more bug pests.  So, if that seems like it might be something important to you, you have until August 29, 2014 to comment here or by mail.  Service Reopens Comment Period on Proposal to List the Northern Long-eared Bat as an Endangered Species The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service has reopened the comment period for 60 days, through August 29, 2014, on a proposal to list the northern long-eared bat as an endangered species under the Endangered Species Act (ESA). The Service has also extended the agency’s deadline to April 2, 2015, to make its final decision on whether to list the species. The Service proposed to list the bat as endangered on October 2, 2013, citing white-nose syndrome, a disease that has killed millions of bats, as the greatest threat to the species. During the reopened comment period, the Service seeks information regarding the interpretation of scientific studies cited in the proposed rule, along with any additional scientific information not already considered in the proposal.  (June 30, 2014) US Fish and Wildlife Service [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/19/2014 - If you care about the Great Lakes, our fresh water, and how they will adapt to Climate Change this watch 9-min. video. Andrew Gronewald | Adaptation in the Great Lakes Region Conference

  • 7/19/2014 - Pope Francis’s strategy to make Environmental Degradation is the moral issue of our time is right. But will it work? If we as a species were mostly driven by morality, wouldn’t we have long ago been compelled to stop Climate Change, or racism and genocide for that matter? With Climate Change coming to a point where it is unstoppable, it is absolutely clear that it is immoral to put future generations in great peril—but that knowledge has not slowed down greenhouse gases at all. I hope Pope Francis’s efforts to compel all of us to take responsibility for our life support system will work, but appealing to man’s humanity up to this point in time hasn’t bode well.  Mostly, what compels us to do anything is self-interest, or fear, or gathering up more stuff.  To solve Climate Change we’ll have to be the people Pope Francis thinks we can be—and that will be quite a transformation. The Pope and the Sin of Environmental Degradation Pope Francis has called environmental exploitation the sin of our time. He is working on an encyclical about humanity’s relationship with nature. Christiana Peppard, Assistant Professor of Theology, Science and Ethics at Fordham University and author of the book Just Water, discusses the Pope’s call to “care for God’s creation” with host Steve Curwood. (July 18, 2014) Living On Earth  

  • 7/19/2014 - As we move towards the historic Paris 2015 Climate talks, how are US efforts to become climate leader stacking up? Looks like we have a lot to do to not only lead, but contribute to a realistic world-wide binding agreement to address and mitigate Climate Change. U.S. Ranks Near Bottom on Energy Efficiency; Germany Tops List Overall dismal report shows the U.S. outperformed only three of the world's largest economies on energy efficiency—Russia, Brazil and Mexico. Germany leads the world in harnessing the benefits of energy efficiency, followed by Italy, the European Union, China and France, according to a new ranking of the world's 16 largest economies. The United States was near the bottom, placing 13th. (July 18, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 7/19/2014 - If we don’t get major polluters to make major commitments to carbon reduction for Climate Talks by Paris 2015, there’s no Plan B. Australia’s carbon reversal sets new tone for global climate talks Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s move to repeal his country’s carbon tax provides an international boost for the Harper government, which has regularly attacked opponents who propose putting a price on emissions in Canada. Australia’s reversal on carbon pricing comes at a critical time, just two months prior to a United Nations climate summit to be hosted by secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon, who is looking for countries to commit to post-2020 emission reductions and new policies to achieve those targets. (July 17, 2014) The Globe and Mail [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/18/2014 - EPA regional expert says time to address Climate Change in our region was “YESTERDAY” Listen and watch: Climage change with EPA's Judith Enck: New York NOW The Environmental Protection Agency recently released plans it argues will lower the nation's collective carbon footprint through the Greenhouse Gas Initiative. The plan aims to cap the C02 emission from coal-fired power plants, identified as the largest single source of greenhouse gas emissions. EPA Region 2 (including New York and New Jersey) Administrator, Judith Enck sits down with the Innovation Trail's Jenna Flanagan to discuss the Greenhouse Gas Initiative, acid rain in the Adirondacks and the beginning stages of the clean-up of the Hudson River.  (July 16, 2014) Innovation Trail [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/18/2014 - If this story from NOAA on Climate Change isn’t top priority (headlines) then it’s time to switch media. Even at this late date, where most know about Climate Change and what it means, our media is burying reports that all the indicators of Climate Change are getting worse—from the US agency whose responsibility it is to inform the public of this critical information.  How can we possibly exist on a planet where our information systems our media, don’t give us the information we need to know? Climate data from air, land, sea and ice in 2013 reflect trends of a warming planet Increases in temperature, sea level and CO2 observed; Southern Hemisphere warmth and Super Typhoon Haiyan among year’s most notable events In 2013, the vast majority of worldwide climate indicators—greenhouse gases, sea levels, global temperatures, etc.—continued to reflect trends of a warmer planet, according to the indicators assessed in the State of the Climate in 2013 report, released online today by the American Meteorological Society. Scientists from NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, N.C., served as the lead editors of the report, which was compiled by 425 scientists from 57 countries around the world (highlightsvisualsfull report). It provides a detailed update on global climate indicators, notable weather events, and other data collected by environmental monitoring stations and instruments on air, land, sea, and ice. (July 17, 2014) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/18/2014 - Hard to get the kids to eat their dinner after they’ve eaten candy all day. Hard to go renewable when it’s so Fracking easy to do otherwise.  Going to be really hard to address and mitigate Climate Change if we don’t recognize that clean energy must replace fossil fuel burning energy really quickly. One of offshore wind power's best hopes is fading on Lake Erie Offshore wind farms power more than six million homes in Europe. How many homes in America? Zero. That's despite the fact that, according to the Department of Energy, the US has offshore wind capacity that's four times larger than all of the electric power plants in the country combined. Yet wind energy projects in many states are being delayed or even cancelled. In recent years, an offshore project was abandoned in New York; Pennsylvania has focused on natural gas as an energy source; and in Michigan the legislature introduced a bill to prohibit issuing permits for offshore wind turbines. For years, efforts to install wind turbines off Cape Cod in the Atlantic have also faced strong opposition. But as recently as this spring, plans for a proposed wind farm near Cleveland on Lake Erie looked promising. (July 16, 2014) PRI

  • 7/18/2014 - Dear Mr. Abbott, the Carbon Tax is not a “useless, destructive tax”, nor is it a penalty for polluters. It is payment for environmental goods and services rendered. Australia’s role back of the Carbon Tax proves that those who preach the power of the market place mean that the market place only works when it doesn’t have to include the externalities, the costs of taking our natural resources. If anything good can come from abolishing the Carbon Tax in Australia, it must be the lesson that when the public finally gets a Carbon Tax installed, they’ve got to make it stick—voting for science election year after election year. The threat by those who will always take advantage of the inconvenient changes that will come from transitioning to a system where the environment doesn’t cost, to where it does will always loom. Climate Change and environmental degradation are the price we have paid for an economic system that has for centuries been piling up a debt it refuses to pay. Environmentalists Denounce Repeal of Australia’s Carbon Tax SYDNEY, Australia — Opposition politicians and environmentalists in Australia reacted with dismay Thursday to the country’s repeal of laws requiring large companies to pay for carbon emissions, saying that it made Australia the first country to reverse progress on fighting climate change. The Senate voted 39 to 32 on Thursday to repeal the so-called carbon tax after Prime Minister Tony Abbott’s conservative government secured the support of a number of independent senators. The House of Representatives had voted earlier in the week to repeal the unpopular measure, which has been a highly contentious issue in Australian politics for seven years. The tax was devised to penalize hundreds of Australia’s biggest producers of carbon emissions, setting a price of 23 Australian dollars, or $21.50, per metric ton of carbon dioxide when it was put into effect in 2012 under then-Prime Minister Julia Gillard of the Labor Party, which is now in the opposition. The price rose to 25 Australian dollars this month. (July 17, 2014) New York Times [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/17/2014 - Our focus shouldn’t be on what particular issue trumps environmental degradation, until ‘all of the above’ are addressed. It’s going to be hard to prioritize environmental issues in a time of Climate Change because all our environmental issues are coming to a head in Climate Change. We are going to have to solve invasive species, pollution, warming, loss of biodiversity, over population and a lot more if we are to have a sustainable environment.  It’s what happens when you only address the symptoms of environmental degradation instead of the causes.  Putting off environmental issues doesn’t make them go away, they accumulate. Zebra, quagga mussels trump pollution as change agents in lake erie Over the last half century, Lake Erie has been known for its level of pollution and its population of invasive species. Of the two, the invasive species seems to have had the greater effect on the lake's zoobenthic community. That community—creatures living on, near, or below the bottom of the lake—is "fundamentally changed from its past," according to a paper published online in the current journal of the Journal of Great Lakes Research. Lyubov Burlakova, who works with the Great Lakes Center at SUNY Buffalo State, is the first author. The coauthors are Alexander Y. Karatayev, director of the center; Christopher Pennuto, a research associate with the center and biology professor at Buffalo State; and Christine Mayer, associate professor of ecology at the University of Toledo. "The story of Lake Erie shows how profoundly human activity can affect an ecosystem," said Burlakova. She traces that activity as far back as the early 1800s, when people cut down forests and built sawmills and dams. In 1918, the first report documenting the deterioration of water quality was published by the International Joint Commission. (July 16, 2014) Phys.org [more on Zebra Mussels in our area]

  • 7/17/2014 - I’ve been thinking about Soil Health and Climate Change. If Climate Change adversely affects our breathable air, potable water, leaves, and healthy soil, our life support system (we often refer as our environment) will fail.  For those (especially politicians who are our deciders) who think we must strike a balance between our environmental and economic health, they have gotten their priorities seriously out of whack. You cannot drive a fancy new car if you’re dead. Cornell Soil Health "Soil Health is the capacity of the soil to function to sustain life. A healthy soil can be used productively without adversely affecting its future productivity, the ecosystem or the environment. Soil health emphasizes the integration of biological with chemical and physical measures of soil quality (used synonymously with “soil health”) that affect farmers' profits, risks, and the environment. Soil health deals with both inherent and dynamic soil quality. Inherent soil quality relates to the natural (genetic) characteristics of the soil, such as its texture. These qualities are the result of soil-forming factors, are generally represented in soil surveys, and cannot be changed easily. In contrast, dynamic soil quality components -- such as compaction, biological functioning, root proliferation, etc. -- are readily affected by management practices. The dynamic component is of most interest to growers because good management allows the soil to come to its full potential. " Cornell University

  • 7/17/2014 - I know US Politics has made us stupid, but if you don’t get the President’s message on infrastructure and Climate Change we’re screwed. Not do we only have an aging infrastructure for (water, wastewater, sewage, telecommunications, and transportation) that all need serious repair, which will be expensive, we need those infrastructures’ to be ready for the extremes of Climate Change—something every freaking climate study says must happen.  Only your government, with you behind it 100%, can deliver on the kind of very expense, long-term commitment this will take. This has absolutely nothing to do with politics; it has to do with proper preparation for our disturbed climate. Preparing Communities for the Impacts of Climate Change | We've been talking a lot recently about the need to rebuild and strengthen our nation's infrastructure. As the President has made clear, a world-class infrastructure system is a vital part of a top-performing economy. But there's another important reason why we need to rebuild our infrastructure: climate change. Communities across America need more resilient infrastructure that can withstand the impacts of climate change -- like more extreme weather and increased flooding. That's part of the reason why the President established the State, Local, and Tribal Leaders Task Force on Climate Preparedness and Resilience last November. The Task Force, made up of 26 governors, mayors, and county and tribal officials from across the country, advises the President on how the federal government can best help American communities dealing with the effects of climate change. Today, the Task Force came to the White House for their fourth and final meeting, and will give the President final recommendations this fall. (July 16, 2014) White House [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/17/2014 - As we make our way to the Paris 2015 Climate Change talks, we find our way littered with a Plastics Pollution crisis too. And there are no lingering questions from anyone that this crisis is manmade or not. Spiders don’t spill water bottles. Plastic Planet "Over the past century, plastic has revolutionized the way we live. So far, we've produced about 6 billion tons of plastic - and most of it has ended up in the trash. On today's edition of Living Planet, we're following its trail, around the world and even through time. " Living Planet  | Deutsche Welle (DW)

  • 7/17/2014 - Just because one of the Climate Change scenarios is a Jellyfish Ocean, should we freak out whenever we see signs? Maybe. As jellyfish come in waves off Maine coast, questions follow The early summer invasion appears to be heavier than normal this year, surprising some and distressing others. For weeks, Maine’s marine research centers have been flooded with questions about a seeming jellyfish invasion in local waters, primarily Casco Bay. They’ve ranged from the urgent – should I let my kids go in the water, or are they going to get stung? – to expressions of longer-term fears, namely, is this the result of global warming? Ocean acidification in the warming Gulf of Maine? Proof of a hypothesis that we’re headed for an ocean ecosystem clogged by jellies, creatures that cause many beachgoers to shudder in revulsion? Researchers across the board say they just don’t know what the cause is. It could be climate change, including warmer waters. It could be a depletion of oxygen in coastal waters because of runoff from the land, or some response to overfishing. (July 16, 2014) Portland Press Herald

  • 7/16/2014 - Since when did it become the job of our government to balance safety issues against economics and politics? I thought our government was to protect us and our environment (life support system) so we could flourish—period. Balancing acts are for seals, and even then that’s not so good. We really need to question this underlying assumption that our government is the balancing agency that makes sure everyone one and every corporation gets a shot at all our ‘environmental services’. This is madness because our life support system in the 4.5 billion years it has been operating has never had to balance itself with our economic and political needs.  Mother Nature really doesn’t make bargains nor does she tend towards balancing acts. Over protests, Schuyler lawmakers maintain support for gas storage facility WATKINS GLEN — Frustrated and angered by a failed attempt to turn back the Schuyler County Legislature’s support of the proposed gas storage facility, opponents of the project chanted “Shame on you!” and “Fagan’s gotta go!” as lawmakers left Monday night’s meeting. Ninety minutes earlier, the mood was different as between 300 and 400 people gathered on the shore of the “the grand old lady of the Finger Lakes” to use Seneca Lake as the rallying point against the proposed Crestwood Midstream Partners project to store liquid petroleum gas in depleted salt caverns in the town of Reading, north of Watkins Glen. (July 15, 2014) The Ithaca Journal [more on Energy in our area]  

  • 7/16/2014 - Dear EPA, Climate Change is not only going to affect Syracuse, NY but Rochester. Please come here. I suppose Rochesterians could race over to Syracuse today  to hear EPA on Climate Change in our area, but why not come here too? We’re mostly in sleepy Climate Change denial here in Rochester. Maybe a visit by the EPA could wake us up. Top regional EPA official will talk climate change, carbon emissions in Syracuse Update: The location of this talk has been changed from the Center of Excellence to the Syracuse City Hall Commons atrium, 233 E. Washington St., Syracuse. Syracuse, N.Y. -- A top regional EPA official will speak in Syracuse Wednesday on howclimate change will affect New York. Judith Enck, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency region that includes New York, will also talk about the Obama administration's new rules about reducing carbon emissions from power plants. Enck will speak during the roundtable discussion on environmental and energy systems at the Syracuse City Hall Commons atrium, 233 E. Washington St., Syracuse. The roundtable runs from 1:30 to 3 p.m. (July 15, 2014) Syracuse.com

  • 7/16/2014 - One predicted temperature increase from Climate Change for Rochester NY is between 3°C and 5°C (5.4°F and 9.0°F). I don’t know what the time scale is for these figures, but 3°C is 1°C above what the world is seeking to attain by the Paris Climate Conference in 2015. 3°C would be very hot and a dramatic change in our region’s environment.  5°C is moving into the territory where it’s intolerable and not in a good way. When you’re moving into the 5°C region, you don’t have to worry about your legacy, what your grandchildren will think of your life efforts, because living itself for anyone might be very problematic. This info comes from Climate-Charts.com “The largest accessible collection of climate data on the web.  Climate data and sunrise/sunset displayed in charts and tables for 149 countries and regions, more than 12,000 specific locations.”

  • 7/16/2014 - “Life of a Leaf” is critical reading if you’re thinking our life support system is worth sustaining.  My favorite sentence in The Life of a Leaf is this: “Leaves are really, really important.” Steven Vogel’s book is one of those books that should be required reading for all sentient beings on this planet. We see trees and leaves everywhere, but we don’t usually see what we need to see:  “For our earth the sun provides the source, and the sink is outer space or, in immediate terms, the cold sky. What’s the coupling system? One system exceeds in importance by some factor all others put together. It’s photosynthesis, as done by green plants, algae, and some kinds of bacteria. Without photosynthesis (or some substitute), nothing like the present kind of complex, highly ordered life could exist.”  You cannot really plan for a sustainable future if you don’t understand one of the basic features of our life support system and this book does so in a friendly, wise, and even sometimes humorous way. So yeah, this book is really, really important. 

  • 7/16/2014 - So now emergency responders can respond properly to potential disasters because the folks who transport fossil fuel industry’s ‘stuff’ had to disclose its whereabouts.  How about the Fracking business disclosing their secret goop they want to inject under our ground near our water? I cannot imagine why the public is so distrustful of such a secretive and potentially dangerous business that is not so secretively (anymore) warming up our planet. CSX: 20-35 oil trains per week cross upstate NY  CSX Transportation says it hauls an average of 20 to 35 trains a week loaded with crude oil from North Dakota's Bakken region across 17 upstate New York counties en route to coastal refineries. Canadian Pacific says it hauls an average of five to nine crude oil trains a week through five counties from the Canadian border to Schoharie County. The information was released to The Associated Press Tuesday by the state Division of Homeland Security and Emergency Services in response to a Freedom of Information Law request. (July 16, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Brownfields in our area] 

  • 7/15/2014 - Breaking! New use for wildlife discovered: Bomb detection robots. If birds don’t drop dead from our manmade toxins, we’re safe!  Sorry, for the ironic humor.  But this way of using wildlife, because we are incapable of trying to understand why they exist independent of our existence and provide us with ‘environmental services’ is pathetic. We shouldn’t be using our environment for our industrial toilets in the first place and we should monitor our environment for manmade toxins ourselves, instead of blood-testing wildlife because we’re too lazy to discover the obvious—we’ve polluted the place. Scientists use birds to track pollution Research project measures contaminants in Great Lakes swallows that likely affect humans, too Birds are providing some insight into contamination in the Great Lakes. Scientists with the U.S. Geological Survey are observing the nesting patterns of tree swallows along the banks of the lakes and are collecting blood from their babies to monitor levels of some toxins including mercury, chromium and cadmium. If these metals and chemicals are in birds, they likely are in humans as well, researchers say. The program started in 2010 with 20 testing sites as part of the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative, which aims to clean up the lakes and surrounding areas. (July 13, 2014) Columbus Dispatch [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/15/2014 - Solution for Government Officials who think they must show that safety benefits outweigh the economic costs of rules. SAFETY ONLY! Who decided that we “must show that safety benefits outweigh the economic costs of rules”? Who came up that that? Why would we assume that corporations transporting dirty fossil fuels that are warming up the planet and putting communities safety at risk be ‘weighed’ at all? Isn’t the job of our government officials to protect ‘we the people’ and force corporations to figure out how they do their businesses without compromising our health, safety, and our environment? At what point in time did we decide that the interests of the people and corporations be weighed evenly or at all? Isn’t it the job of government to provide an environment where we can flourish and protect us against those who would have it otherwise? Industries push for relief from oil-train rules A string of fiery train derailments across the country has triggered a high-stakes but behind-the-scenes campaign to shape how the government responds to calls for tighter safety rules. Billions of dollars are riding on how these rules are written, and lobbyists from the railroads, tank car manufacturers and the oil, ethanol and chemical industries have met 13 times since March with officials at the White House and the Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration. Their universal message: Don’t make us pay for increased safety because that’s another industry’s problem. The pitches illustrate why government officials, who must show that safety benefits outweigh the economic costs of rules, often struggle for years, only to produce watered-down regulations. The Association of American Railroads, for example, is pushing for tougher safety standards for tank cars than the current, voluntary standards agreed to by industry in 2011. Railroads, though, typically don’t own or lease tank cars and so wouldn’t have to buy new cars or retrofit existing ones. The oil and ethanol industries that own the cars want to stick with the voluntary standards, also known as “1232” tank cars. (July 14, 2014) Penfield Post [more on Brownfields in our area] 

  • 7/15/2014 - If it’s true that New York ranks among the most expensive states for energy bills, then it’s the wrong metric. If the only way you measure energy cost is by using energy bills then you don’t see a lot of things. You don’t see fossil fuels warming up the planet. You don’t see that using more renewable energy (wind and solar) for more of our electricity will increasingly lower your bills and do less harm to our environment. You don’t see that there are other ways to get around Rochester besides driving gas guzzlers, like active transportation (walking and bicycling), or moving out of the suburbs and near places you need to go. You don’t see that there are many grants around to lower your energy cost and improve energy efficiency. You don’t see energy conservation as a real option. All you see from using energy bills for your metric is that business as usual is very expensive—even if you don’t care about addressing climate change.  If all you use for your use of energy is your energy bills, you will never consider alternatives to fossil fuel burning energy sources and continue railing against anything else. Only using energy bills as a measure how we use energy on this planet is going to make us unfit to live on it. Report: N.Y. ranks 38th in energy efficiency New York ranks among the most expensive states for energy bills, a new report from WalletHub shows. WalletHub—a social website launched by Evolution Finance that offers financial tools and information for consumers and small-business owners—ranked New York 38th among the 50 states and District of Columbia based on energy efficiency. The report, 2014’s Most & Least Energy-Expensive States, looked at six key metrics, including electricity cost, consumption, natural gas prices and fuel prices. New Yorkers average $365 a month in energy costs, including electricity costs of $126 and natural gas costs of $80. Drivers pay some $160 a month for gasoline, on average. (July 14, 2014) Rochester Business Journal [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/15/2014 - Oh Great, just when we need politicians to lead us on Climate Change we find out that politics makes us stupid. We’d better smarten up quickly.    The Most Depressing Discovery About the Brain, Ever Say goodnight to the dream that education, journalism, scientific evidence, or reason can provide the tools that people need in order to make good decisions. Yale law school professor Dan Kahan’s new research  paper is called “Motivated Numeracy and Enlightened Self-Government,” but for me a better title is the headline on science writer Chris Mooney’s  piece about it in Grist:  “Science Confirms: Politics Wrecks Your Ability to Do Math.”  Kahan conducted some ingenious experiments about the impact of political passion on people’s ability to think clearly.  His conclusion, in Mooney’s words: partisanship “can even undermine our very basic reasoning skills…. [People] who are otherwise very good at math may totally flunk a problem that they would otherwise probably be able to solve, simply because giving the right answer goes against their political beliefs.” (September 16, 2013) AlterNet 

  • 7/15/2014 - Warning! These NOAA photos of human-caused climate change could cause climate change deniers to doubt their faith. It is amazing that the more scientists go out and examine the hypothesis that the more greenhouse gases you put into the atmosphere the more things react to our climate in the way you think they would if Climate Change were true—and yet climate change deniers hold on to their crazy faith, thwarting the rest of us to get moving. In evolution for example, if a scientist dug down and found automobiles next to dinosaur bones, evolutionary theory would have a problem.  They never do. Climate Change is showing up all over and it’s showing up now.  If I were a leader making plans for my country, I’d prioritize addressing and mitigating Climate Change. Climate model shows Australia’s rainfall decline due to human-caused climate change New climate model will help improve regional climate predictions in U.S. NOAA scientists have developed a new high-resolution climate model that shows southwestern Australia’s long-term decline in fall and winter rainfall is caused by increases in manmade greenhouse gas emissions and ozone depletion, according to research published today in Nature Geoscience. “This new high-resolution climate model is able to simulate regional-scale precipitation with considerably improved accuracy compared to previous generation models,” said Tom Delworth, a research scientist at NOAA’s  Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, N.J.,  who helped develop the new model and is co-author of the paper. “This model is a major step forward in our effort to improve the prediction of regional climate change, particularly involving water resources.” (July 13, 2014) The Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) - or "NOAA  [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/14/2014 - And a pre-Columbian (before Columbus) NYS landscape is probably the best baseline from which to adapt to Climate Change.  You go into Climate Change with the environment you have. But if your present environment is filled with invasive species, pollution, loss of biodiversity, loss of wetlands (over half in NYS and USA), and a major transformation from the landscape that existed for 10,000 years, then Climate Change is going to be far more dicey than it needs to be.  Wouldn’t it make sense to get our environment as healthy (return our landscape to pre-Columbian days) as possible so our local environment has the abundancy and resiliency it used to have for adapting to extreme weather?  Seneca Nation commits to native-only landscaping CATTARAUGUS RESERVATION – The Seneca Indian Nation is strengthening its roots to the land with a new commitment to use only indigenous plants and trees in public landscaping. The western New York tribe is believed to be the first to formalize a practice that tribes throughout the country are embracing as a way to preserve Native American culture and the environment. From now on, instead of Austrian pines, Japanese maples and other foreign species, there will be native balsam firs, sugar maples and white ash trees outside Seneca schools, office buildings and casinos. Wild bee balm, cinnamon fern and butterfly weed that grew in abundance on their own will take the place of the Dutch bulbs and other non-native flowers and shrubbery that have become typical in commercial landscaping. (July 13, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Plants in our area]    

  • 7/14/2014 - “This is the agency’s [EPA] second action aimed at reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases, under President Obama's Climate Action Plan.” EPA Proposes to Replace and Reduce Harmful Greenhouse Gases WASHINGTON – Today, the U. S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is proposing to prohibit the use of certain chemicals that significantly contribute to climate change where safer, more climate-friendly alternatives exist. This is the agency’s second action aimed at reducing emissions of hydrofluorocarbons (HFCs), a class of potent greenhouse gases, under President Obama's Climate Action Plan.  This action is estimated to reduce greenhouse gases by up to 42 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent by 2020, equal to the carbon dioxide emissions from the annual electricity use of more than five million homes.  “President Obama called on us to take action against potent greenhouse gases that contribute to climate change. Today, we are issuing a new proposal that builds on the innovative work businesses across the country have already made to reduce and replace some of the most harmful chemicals with safer, more climate-friendly alternatives that are available and on the market today,” said EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy. “This action will not only result in significant reductions of harmful greenhouse gases, but it will also encourage businesses to continue bringing safer alternatives to market.”   (July 10, 2014) EPA News Releases from Headquarters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2014 - This kinda says it all, folks "The issue is to convince the world that the future is as important as the present. Paris 2015 may well be our last hope." Efficiency, renewables, biofuels key to stopping climate change The positive message from a scientific report for the UN Climate Summit is that the tough task of cutting greenhosue gas emissions to limit global temperature rise to below two degrees is definitely achievable by following a set of bold, practical steps. SCIENTISTS OFTEN HESITATE to give a cut-and-dried, yes-or-no answer when asked how serious climate change is going to be, and whether the world can still escape significant damage. Surprisingly, perhaps, a report prepared for a United Nations conference in September is unequivocal. Yes, it says − the worst is not inevitable. The good news is that the world can keep climate change within what are thought to be acceptable limits. The less good news is that while it is possible, it certainly won't be easy. The report shows how the countries that emit the most greenhouse gases (GHGs) can cut their carbon emissions by mid-century to prevent dangerous climate change. Prepared by independent researchers in 15 countries, it is the first global co-operation to identify practical pathways to a low-carbon economy by 2050. The Deep Decarbonisation Pathways Project (DDPP) report is an interim version prepared for the UN Climate Summit to be held in New York on 23 September. The full DDPP report will be ready in 2015. (July 14, 2014 ABC.net [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2014 - Why hasn’t the Fracking experiment gone wrong in Pennsylvania enough to convince New York not to Frack?  Does Cuomo really need to study the Fracking matter anymore, when it’s obvious that what has gone wrong in Pennsylvania could happen here in New York if we don’t ban Fracking completely? Methane May Leak From 40% of Gas Wells in Parts of Pennsylvania Study published in PNAS is based on inspection records of 41,000 wells drilled between 2000 and 2012. People who live among the fracking fields of Pennsylvania should expect considerable leaking of methane from natural gas wells into the groundwater and atmosphere, according tonew research by a professor who has been a consistent critic of the boom in hydraulic fracturing. A research team led by Anthony Ingraffea of Cornell University reached this conclusion after examining state inspection records of more than 41,000 wells drilled from 2000 through 2012 throughout  Pennsylvania. Because of flaws detected by inspectors in the concrete or casing of the wells, up to 40 percent of the oil and gas wells in some parts of the state may end up leaking methane, they reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. (July 10, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/14/2014 - Downscaling,” modeling how Climate Change impacts local areas, seems crucial information for localities trying to adapt. Climate Change Gets Up Close and Personal If you’ve ever wondered how much little things really matter, consider the mountain pine beetle. Roughly the size of a grain of rice, the glossy black insect lives only about a year, but a female beetle can travel as far as 30 miles to find a pine tree, where its larvae can hatch and eat the inside of the bark. A throng of beetles can ravage a pine as tall as an eight-story building, as the tree first oozes sap, then its needles turn rusty red. In the past decade, in the pine forests that bristle across the U.S. West and Southwest, from Alaska to southern California, millions of acres of pines have died in one of the worst pine beetle epidemics anyone has ever seen. (July 7, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/14/2014 - Disturbing article about a drowning city trying to sustain itself but whose leaders are climate change deniers.  This story highlights the tragedy when people in powerful positions refuse to believe in the very circumstances they need to address to lead their constituents. Miami, the great world city, is drowning while the powers that be look away Low-lying south Florida, at the front line of climate change in the US, will be swallowed as sea levels rise. Astonishingly, the population is growing, house prices are rising and building goes on. The problem is the city is run by climate change deniers A drive through the sticky Florida heat into Alton Road in Miami Beach can be an unexpectedly awkward business. Most of the boulevard, which runs north through the heart of the resort's most opulent palm-fringed real estate, has been reduced to a single lane that is hemmed in by bollards, road-closed signs, diggers, trucks, workmen, stacks of giant concrete cylinders and mounds of grey, foul-smelling earth. It is an unedifying experience but an illuminating one – for this once glamorous thoroughfare, a few blocks from Miami Beach's art deco waterfront and its white beaches, has taken on an unexpected role. It now lies on the front line of America's battle against climate change and the rise in sea levels that it has triggered. "Climate change is no longer viewed as a future threat round here," says atmosphere expert Professor Ben Kirtman, of the University of Miami. "It is something that we are having to deal with today." (July 11, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Freight railroads were restricting public information about their crude oil shipments and not giving it to local emergency planners, really? Isn’t that a little like calling 911 and refusing to tell the fire department where your house is? The fossil fuel industry, ya got laugh. New York won't further cloak oil train details New York's homeland security agency is refusing requests from freight railroads to further restrict public information about their crude oil shipments, concluding it's not sensitive security information and will be given to local emergency planners. Federal officials reached a similar conclusion in June, ordering railroads to give state officials details about oil-train routes and volumes so emergency responders can better prepare. Railroads sought to keep the information secret following a string of fiery accidents. A derailment and explosion in Quebec last July killed 47 people. (July 11, 2014) WHEC Rochester   

  • 7/12/2014 - But potentially destroying the greatest freshwater system in the world is just the cost of doing business, right? We don’t have any choice.  We gotta have more fossil fuels and the only thing that matters is how cheaply we can get it, right? We’re just helpless pawns and our only reason for existing is to burn more energy and buy more stuff and trust in the fossil fuel industry to keep our life support system intact while they make more money.  Hey, how about those games last night?   U-M computer model shows Straits pipeline break would devastate Great Lakes A rupture of 61-year-old, underwater oil pipelines running through the Straits of Mackinac would be “the worst possible place” for a spill on the Great Lakes, with catastrophic results, according to a University of Michigan researcher studying potential impacts of a spill. David Schwab, a research scientist at the U-M Water Center, retired from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, where he studied Great Lakes water flows and dynamics for more than 30 years. He’s the author of a new study done in collaboration with the National Wildlife Federation looking at different scenarios for potential oil spills in the Straits from Canadian oil transport giant Enbridge’s Line 5. “I can’t think — in my experience — of another place on the Great Lakes where an oil spill would have as wide an area of impact, in as short of time, as at the Straits of Mackinac,” Schwab said. (July 10, 2014) Detroit Free Press [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Not to mention bike lanes (which are growing all over Rochester) are a really inexpensive way to address Climate Change. Imagine getting around without warming the planet. Maybe we could call it “moral moving”. Study: bike lanes save money and lives Researchers find that bike infrastructure can return $24 for every dollar spent by city governments As the number of bike riders seems to increase dramatically in cities across the country, there’s been a backlash from people who say bikes are dangerous, and that the added infrastructure that comes with them — namely bike lanes — is an unnecessary burden in a time of large budget shortfalls. But a new study — the first that analyzes several different models of how bike infrastructure affects cities — concludes that policies and projects supportive of bike lanes are worth every penny, and then some. The study, published by several researchers at universities in New Zealand in the journal Environmental Health Perspectives, argues that for every dollar spent on bike-related infrastructure, cities can receive anywhere from $6 to $24 in cost savings in the form of reductions to pollution and traffic congestion, as well as lowered health care costs from decreased traffic fatalities and increased exercise. (July 11, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Neighbors matter: Pennsylvania is “The nation's third-largest carbon dioxide-emitting state.” Aren’t they near New York State?  If so, shouldn’t we care about their carbon dioxide-emitting status?  Or, does warming and pollution stop at the border? Coal-reliant Pa. faces election showdown over EPA, natural gas and carbon trading The nation's third-largest carbon dioxide-emitting state is in the middle of a fierce election fight that could determine whether it stays on its current path of challenging U.S. EPA climate rules, or instead slows fossil fuel development and enters a regional carbon trading program. In coal-reliant Pennsylvania, Republican Gov. Tom Corbett -- who has overseen the state's natural gas boom and called the EPA proposed carbon rule on existing power plants a "cap-and-trade tax" -- is facing a formidable challenge from Democrat Tom Wolf, a businessman with a doctorate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Wolf is pledging to expand the state's alternative energy portfolio standard and implement new measures to cut greenhouse gases. The race is considered a tossup by independent political analysts like the Cook Political Report, although some polls give Wolf a double-digit lead. (July 11, 2014) E&E Publishing, LLC [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - I know this is very radical, but I think only stuff that belongs in the Great Lakes is stuff that should belong in the Great Lakes.  We should have never used the largest freshwater system in the world for our toilet. Banned chemical a concern in great lakes A chemical that’s been banned in Minnesota and is being reviewed by the Food and Drug Administration in the U.S. has a group in Ontario concerned about its potential effects on the great lakes. It would be hard to find someone who doesn’t use the chemical in one way or another. And by most, it’s used quite frequently on a daily basis.  But the Canadian Environmental Law Association is now warning people about triclosan.  It’s done a study which has found that it’s toxic to our waterways and is impacting our great lakes ecosystem. The chemical is found in numerous consumer products ranging from hand sanitizer to soap, deodorant, even toothpaste.  And because its use is quite temporary, usually to wash hands, the chemical ends up going straight down the drain and ends up in the waterways.   The environmental law association says there is evidence that triclosan is building up in the great lakes and affecting the aquatic-life’s ability to survive.  It’s pushing for Canada to ban this antibacterial chemical, as well as all states that border the great lakes, saying that people’s health is at risk. (July 10, 2014) ChChing [more on Water Quality and Great Lakes in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - What is the TTIP and why should you care about this deal that could harm our environment even though mainstream media avoids it? “One concern of greens is that loosening regulations could increase oil and gas exports from America, increasing European reliance on polluting fossil fuels” Green groups protest transatlantic trade deal Green activists are protesting a transatlantic trade deal they say could harm the environment  Protest is ramping up against a transatlantic trade treaty critics say could weaken environmental protection. The Transatlantic Trade Investment Partnership is intended to boost commerce between Europe and the US, by cutting tariffs and aligning regulations. Green groups on both sides of the ocean have expressed fears this could mean watering down environmental safeguards and increasing fossil fuel consumption. A national day of action is planned for Saturday 12 July in the UK to highlight concerns with the TTIP ahead of further negotiations in Brussels next week. This will include a protest outside the business department building in London. The UK Green Party, which supports the protests, said the TTIP was a “corporate power grab” that “must be stopped”. (July 11, 2014) Responding to Climate Change RTCC [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Do food labels mean anything or are they merely vehicles for corporate messaging? Be nice to have labels that reflect reality. Clear differences between organic and non-organic food, study finds Research is first to find wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals Organic food has more of the antioxidant compounds linked to better health than regular food, and lower levels of toxic metals and pesticides, according to the most comprehensive scientific analysis to date. The international team behind the work suggests that switching to organic fruit and vegetables could give the same benefits as adding one or two portions of the recommended "five a day". The team, led by Prof Carlo Leifert at Newcastle University, concludes that there are "statistically significant, meaningful" differences, with a range of antioxidants being "substantially higher" – between 19% and 69% – in organic food. It is the first study to demonstrate clear and wide-ranging differences between organic and conventional fruits, vegetables and cereals. (July 11, 2014) The Guardian [more on Food in our area]

  • 7/12/2014 - Maybe for nuclear, 44 is the new teenager: “…44-year-old Ginna, one of the oldest commercial nuclear plants in the country.” Ginna owner seeks deal to keep nuclear plant open The owner of the Ginna nuclear power plant, hoping to stave off closure of the facility, has asked New York regulators to help secure a deal with RG&E to sustain Ginna's operations. Exelon Corp., which owns the Wayne County nuclear plant, wants Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. to sign a contract promising payments keep the plant running. Chicago-based Exelon filed a petition Friday asking the state Public Service Commission to enter into a multiyear contract by the end of 2014. The contract would be based on the conclusion that Ginna, which provides a good part of all the electricity used by RG&E's customers, must continue to operate to ensure the continued reliability of that service. (July 11, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 7/11/2014 - Imagine New York State today if, instead of being bullied by Fracking starting six years ago, we had focused on renewables.  The great tragedy of this six-year Fracking debacle in New York State is that it has stolen everyone’s attention from the real problem—energy and Climate Change. There’s a great danger that humanity’s inability to see the big picture and only focus on the political and economic fights stirred up by the self-interests of a few will render our life support system null and void. For those who are hell bent on hammering the present need and existence of fossil fuels, no one thinks that the transformation from fossil fuels to renewables can be done immediately—it’s a change of direction we need, from a energy source that does destroy our environment to one that doesn’t.  The quicker the better. Germany gains in renewables In the first six months of 2014, Germany got more than one-third of its electricity from renewable sources, according to a new report. The country's solar power production was 28 percent higher over that time than it was during the same period in 2013, says a report from the Fraunhofer Institute for Solar Energy Systems, a German research organization. Its wind power production was 19 percent higher. (July 9, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Energy in our area] 

  • 7/11/2014 - Every day Fracking looks less and less appetizing to New York than ever. Who needs radioactive waste in their environmental diet? Here's another complication for fracking — radioactive waste At the Chemung County landfill in Elmira, New York, piles of drill cuttings from Pennsylvania shale oil wells are scattered around the yard. The cuttings look like heaps of wet black sand, wrapped in a black plastic liner — and they're radioactive. Those radioactive drill cuttings — the waste pulled to the surface when a new well is drilled — are opening a new front in the already-contentious battle over hydraulic fracturing, know as fracking. All rocks have some radiation in them, explains Matt Richmond, a reporter for WSKG and the Allegheny Front, who has been following the story. But the Marcellus Shale in the eastern US, one of the regions where fracking is booming, is an unusually radioactive underground formation. A recent study found radiation levels three times higher than in other rock layers.  States in and around the fracking boom are trying to figure out what to do about all this naturally radioactive waste from drilling. Pennsylvania is conducting a study of radiation in the Marcellus Shale. West Virginia passed a law to segregate drill cuttings within landfills. New York State has a moratorium on fracking, but it accepts radioactive drilling waste from nearby Pennsylvania — and that has touched off an intense debate. (July 9, 2014) PRI [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/11/2014 - Hard to dismiss Climate Change when your country is being ravaged by it.  Politics, economic, Climate Change—who wins? Climate Politics Are Stranger Than Fiction In Australia When Australia first passed the Clean Energy Plan with a carbon price in 2011 it was because the Green party held the balance of power in the Senate. This week, a conservative government led by fossil fuel-friendly prime minister Tony Abbott was unable to repeal the carbon pricing due to another faction holding sway in the Senate — a group of four Palmer United Party (PUP) senators, a new party founded by mining multimillionaire Clive Palmer. With the Senate recently back in session, Abbott had been expecting to celebrate the repeal of the carbon price after touting it as a major goal of his administration since last summer. However, with the left-leaning Labor party and the PUP uniting against it, his coalition is stuck trying to find a quick new way forward. It was Abbott’s second attempt to pass the legislation in the upper house, and it narrowly failed 37-35. Palmer had been on board with Abbott’s plan to scrap the carbon tax, but changed his mind at the last minute after asserting that the Liberal-National coalition government had “double-crossed” his party with final amendments to the legislation. Palmer’s fussiness and refusal to toe the line are a setback for Abbott’s latest anti-climate move, part on an agenda that’s included angering world leaders by downplaying the issue, axing Australia’s climate commission, and abandoning greenhouse gas emissions targets. (July 10, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/11/2014 - Hard to transform our transportation system to one that will help us address Climate Change when the old one needs so much repair.  With other news that “Expenses Rise for New York Authorities” just maintaining our existing infrastructures (of which transportation is just one) is going to be very expensive.  And, yet according to most climate studies, we need to transform our existing infrastructures to be able to handle more heat and more floods and more active transportation (walking and bicycling) and public transportation.  Which will be rather difficult when the public wants fewer taxes, and really doesn’t care about alternative modes of transportation. 14 percent of rural NY bridges 'deficient' Just 7 percent of roads in rural New York counties were in "poor" condition in 2012 while 14 percent of bridges were "structurally deficient," a report released Thursday by a transportation research group found. New York's rural bridges ranked 17th in the nation for their condition, according to the report from TRIP, a Washington D.C.-based group backed by the construction industry. New York's rural roads fared better, with just seven states having a smaller share of poorly paved roads. The data is based on road and bridge ratings from various federal agencies, including the Federal Highway Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. The report looked at counties that aren't home to a city with more than 50,000 people. (July 10, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/11/2014 - Fracking for more fossil fuel in a time of Climate Change is more trouble than it’s worth for New York State (and anywhere else for that matter).  Read new report: COMPENDIUM OF SCIENTIFIC, MEDICAL, AND MEDIA FINDINGS DEMONSTRATING RISKS AND HARMS OF FRACKING (UNCONVENTIONAL GAS AND OIL EXTRACTION Horizontal drilling combined with high-volume hydraulic fracturing and clustered multi-well pads are recently combined technologies for extracting oil and natural gas from shale bedrock. As this unconventional extraction method (collectively known as “fracking”) has pushed into more densely populated areas of the United States, and as fracking operations have increased in frequency and intensity, a significant body of evidence has emerged to demonstrate that these activities are inherently dangerous to people and their communities. Risks include adverse impacts on water, air, agriculture, public health and safety, property values, climate stability and economic vitality (July 2014) Concerned Health Officials of New York | Major Scientific Document Shows Why NY Fracking Moratorium Is Imperative Less than two weeks ago, local communities triumphed over the fracking industry in a precedent-setting case decided by the New York Court of Appeals. The court ruled that the towns of Dryden and Middlefield can use local zoning laws to ban heavy industry, including oil and gas production within municipal borders. While the court decision is a victory for the two towns, many New Yorkers continue to rally and push for a statewide fracking moratorium. In this vein, Concerned Health Professionals of New York (CHPNY) today released a major resource to the public, including public officials, researchers and journalists—the Compendium of Scientific, Medical and Media Findings Demonstrating Risks and Harms of Fracking. (July 10, 2014) EcoWatch [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/10/2014 - Story about “New York's 46 state public authorities” budget spending needs some Zen. These authorities address Climate Change & they don’t come cheap. All climate studies that pertain to our Rochester, NY region (and the rest of the world for that matter) spell out how all a region’s infrastructures (transportation, water, wastewater, telecommunications) need to be made more resilient and robust to handle more extreme weather and warmer conditions.  When systems fail, as they did in the Katrina Hurricane of 2005, they tend to do so all at once.  Focusing on how much is spent is not the story. Rather, in a time of a warmer New York, we are losing personnel and not prioritizing Climate Change as we report on the very authorities whose job it will be to make our way of life work during Climate Change.  This business-as usual reporting needs to evolve so the public understands the absolute importance of their authorities’ ability to function so we can. New Report Says Expenses Rise For NY's Public Authorities ALBANY, N.Y. (AP)  A new report shows New York's 46 state public authorities spent $30.3 billion in operating expenses last year, up $1.5 billion over 2012.  The state Authorities Budget Office says the spending has risen 17.6 percent since 2009 while staffing has declined by more than 2,800 over those five years. That's double direct state government's 8.6 percent spending increase (July 10, 2014) WXXI News  

  • 7/10/2014 - Buying that healthy locally grown food in the Rochester, NY region, the inside story and you. Food And Field: Getting to Market- Transportation Costs From A Farmer’s Perspective As consumers we often associate farmers markets with minimizing food miles. While this is true—farmers markets do offer a valuable alternative to the thousand-plus mile treks some of our food is known to take in getting to consumers—someone has to take on the seemingly negligible transportation cost of getting the produce to the consumer. In this case, it’s the farmer who internalizes the transportation cost of the 10-30 miles that separate their farm from the market venue, including the significant time set aside in preparation and the four-hour duration of the market itself. I want to stress here that I haven’t met a single farmer who begrudgingly attends farmers markets or dreads the work that goes into participating in them – in fact, they value these opportunities just as much as the customers that frequent them. Not simply because it is one of their main sources of revenue, but because they genuinely care about building relationships with their surrounding community and providing them with high-quality, healthy food. That being said, it is worth understanding the lived reality of what it takes for the farmers that you see lined up on a sunny Saturday morning to get there, and consequently what it means to buy their produce. (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Food in our area]

  • 7/10/2014 - “The hope is to have a deal done in Paris by the end of 2015.” The fear is that we will leave our children no future. Ambition Is Key to 2015 Global Climate Accord, but the Lift Is Heavy Three new studies show that much greater ambition on tackling climate change is needed to reach a climate treaty that staves off disaster. The word is "ambition," and it's being voiced this summer with extra urgency by those who worry that the world's leaders won't soon commit themselves to measures strong enough to combat climate change. In September, heads of state are to gather at a United Nations climate summit to cheer each other on. In December in Peru negotiators are supposed to produce a draft treaty binding the world to decades of steep cuts in greenhouse gas emissions. And early next year each country is expected to spell out just how deeply it will cut its own global warming pollution. The hope is to have a deal done in Paris by the end of 2015. It's a daunting timetable. But the way to keep on pace, experts warn, is not to lighten the load.  (July 8, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/10/2014 - Rochesterians, thinking of going to Florida to ‘enjoy’ their heat? If we don’t address Climate Change it will come to you. Global Warming Interactive: How Hot Will Your City Get? Type in your town in the box below and find out what summer could feel like if climate change continues unabated. If Americans think record-breaking summer heat in recent years has been brutal, just wait several decades. That's the message of a new project from Climate Central, a nonprofit climate news and research organization based in New Jersey. According to the research, U.S. cities could be up to 12 degrees Fahrenheit hotter than they are today by 2100. St. Paul, Minnesota could feel like Dallas, Texas. Las Vegas could feel like places in Saudi Arabia, with average temperatures of 111 degrees Fahrenheit. Phoenix could feel like Kuwait City, one of the hottest cities in the world, with average temperatures of 114 degrees Fahrenheit. (July 10, 2014) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - We wouldn’t have to be ‘playing catch up’ on addressing oil train disasters if we switched to renewable energy. Why must we stick to a fossil fuel energy source that warms our planet and puts us all in such danger when there are other choices? Why do most folks assume we must have energy sources that put our life support system and our lives continually at jeopardy? NPR: First Responders Unprepared For Another Oil Train Disaster This week, we've been looking at the aftermath of that deadly train derailment in Quebec that left 47 people dead. The accident in Lac-Megantic one year ago has opened a new debate over the safety of the massive oil-tanker trains that are passing daily through towns here in the North Country.  It's also caused communities across the US to ask whether their fire departments and emergency crews are ready if that kind of train disaster occurred here? As NPR's David Schaper reports, many first responders say they don't have the equipment, the manpower or the training to respond. (July 9, 2014) North Country Public Radio

  • 7/09/2014 - Local media suggests rise in toxic blue-green algae in our Rochester area lakes could be due to Climate Change. This isn’t so much a victory for climate messaging as including Climate Change as a crucial factor in determining and ultimately solving what is becoming a pernicious problem in our local lake waters.  Important article. Read on: Seneca Lake algae testing will be done Potentially toxic blue-green algae may have bloomed in Seneca Lake last year. Then again, maybe it didn't. There was a certain amount of confusion on that point at the largest Finger Lake last year, partly because no one was sampling to see if it really was algae that folks kept seeing. That should be a thing of the past. The Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association announced Tuesday that the group and the state Department of Environmental Conservation have arranged to begin regular observation, sampling and analysis of Seneca water for the presence of algal toxin. "We welcome this initiative from DEC to create an organized and effective program to monitor this threat to public health and safety. Last year we had a number of questions from residents and no way to respond to their concerns," said Edwin Przybylowicz, who will coordinate the sampling for the lake association. As the Democrat and Chronicle reported last summer, the five largest Finger Lakes -- Cayuga, Seneca, Keuka, Canandaigua and Skaneateles -- had been left out of the extensive toxin sampling that's been done in recent years by the state. Mainly this was because the lake associations there either didn't know about the state algal-toxin testing or chose not to get involved. (July 8, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Finger Lakes and Water Quality and Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - What is the state of Rochester, New York’s Air Quality right now? Go here to find that out: "ROCHESTER" - FROM The NYSDEC Air Quality monitoring website allows a real-time view into the ambient air quality database of the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In general, data is polled at the top of each hour from each station. It is immediately displayed as it is collected. This site provides near real time air quality measurement data from the New York State DEC Air Monitoring network. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 7/09/2014 - We’re going to hear more and more calls from Scientists to address Climate Change until we don’t—because at a point it will be too late.  We’ve already let precious decades go by without robust strategies to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change.  And things have gotten worse because of inaction. Specialist Calls for Climate Change Strategy A specialist with the Lake Huron Centre for Coastal Conservation says the last couple of weeks have really been an effective demonstration of the impact of climate change. Coastal Resources Manager Geoff Peach points to heavy rain, strong winds and extreme droughts in various locations throughout North America — as well as the flooding in Manitoba and Saskatchewan and heavy storms through the Maritimes. (July 8, 2014) Blackburn News [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - Wonder how many more times we can pass the windows of opportunities to address Climate Change before we cannot anymore. World can still stop globe from warming more than 2 C, experts tell UN Study finds concentrated effort at reducing carbon output could keep temperature rise below 2 degrees Celsius Significant climate change may not be inevitable if governments take swift and decisive action now to reduce greenhouse gases, according to a report released Tuesday that rolls back some of the bleaker and more pessimistic assessments of recent climate negotiations. The report, prepared for the United Nations by experts from leading research institutes from 15 countries, challenges the idea that the world can’t avoid breaching a 2 degrees Celsius rise in global average temperature — many climate scientists have warned that an increase of 3 to 4 C is now inevitable. Moreover, they suggest defeatism on the 2 C limit target would contribute to dithering by heavily industrialized countries most responsible for climate change — the United States, China, India, major European economies and rising economic powers like Brazil and South Africa.  “We do not subscribe to the view held by some that the 2 C limit is impossible to achieve and that it should be weakened or dropped altogether,” the authors of the report from the Deep Decarbonization Pathways Project (DDPP) wrote. (July 8, 2014) Aljazeera America [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - This is probably code for Climate Change: “Fifteen to 20 years ago, we didn’t have Lyme in this area. Now it’s here and here to stay.” Get ticked off: Beware of Lyme disease Posters warning of Lyme disease are going up in Monroe County parks, testament to the growing prevalence of the tick-borne disease in this part of the state. Lyme disease, transmitted by the bite of deer ticks that get on people's clothing and skin when they brush against shrubs or tall grass, is mild if treated quickly but quite debilitating if it is not. Pets, especially dogs, are susceptible to the disease as well. Until a few years ago, infected deer ticks were not believed to be present in this part of the state and there had been no known locally acquired cases. But the ticks have moved into western New York in numbers and are now commonplace here. According to the Monroe County Department of Public Health, the number of diagnosed Lyme cases among Monroe residents doubled in 2012 compared with the year before and doubled again last year, reaching 80. (July 6, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Lyme Disease in our area]

  • 7/09/2014 - It’s New York Invasive Species Awareness Week, so learn about invasives in your area and what to do about them. Species Spotlight: Invasive Species Are On The Move; Everyone Can Help Stop Their Spread This year marks the first Invasive Species Awareness Week in New York State and the Finger Lakes region is poised and ready with a lineup of great activities and events to mark the occasion. Some of the greatest harm to our environment and agriculture is caused by invasive plants and animals—organisms that have been accidentally or intentionally introduced to new areas and spread uncontrollably. Invasive Species Awareness Week promotes opportunities for citizens to learn about the most threatening species and ways to prevent and manage their spread. Everyone is encouraged to participate in Awareness Week activities to learn about important steps to take to protect their favorite places. The line-up of events in the Finger Lakes region includes an array of interactive activities such as an invasive species teacher training at the Finger Lakes Institute, Hydrilla Task Force public update meeting and water chestnut pull. The full schedule of events is online at http://nyis.info/blog. Most events are free, but pre-registration may be requested.  (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - Question: If you build a public transportation system will folks use it? Ans: Not if you don’t accommodate local needs. RTS Holds Forums To Talk About Service Changes There are informational sessions this week to provide information about changes coming to some services provided by RTS.  That includes the Lift Line Service.  Officials say they are proposing changes to meet the changing needs of the population served by Lift Line, such as those who have mobility issues. Several informational sessions are scheduled including one on Tuesday night from 6 to 8pm  at ABVI on South Clinton Avenue. Daniele Coll-Gonzalez is Chief Operating officer for the RGRTA.  She says the organization does try to take feedback it gets from customers into account. (July 7, 2014) WXXI News [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - Talking locally about farming and weather and Climate Change all in one place. Times are a ‘changing.  Back in the day, maybe it was yesterday, these three groups did not even talk to each other. Empire Farm Days to host experts on weather and climate change  The Cornell Climate Change Institute and a WHEC News 10NBC meteorologist will be at Empire Farm Days on Tuesday, Aug.5 and Wednesday, Aug. 6, respectively, to offer insight of interest to farmers. The Aug. 5 presentation will be by Allison M. Chatrchyan, director of the new Cornell University Institute for Climate Change. She will speak on Farming in a More Extreme and Variable Climate. The Aug. 6 presentation will be by WHEC News10 NBC Meteorologist Josh Nichols, who also teaches weather and climate at Monroe Community College. He will speak on Weather from the Farmers’ Point of View. Both presentations will be at 10:30 a.m. See http://www.empirefarmdays.com/  (July 7, 2014) Daily Messenger [more on Plants and Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - Local colleges leading the way on lowering greenhouse gas emissions to get around. Some of these programs would look great in your college, community, business, and (of course) on your planet. The Green Hand: How We Get Around at HWS As another school year at Hobart and William Smith Colleges (HWS) approaches, we become closer and closer to our climate neutrality (i.e. zero Greenhouse Gas (GHG) Emissions) deadline of 2025 in 2009, President Gearan signed The American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment (ACUPCC). Strides in recent years from the administration, students, and faculty have led to progress in our GHG emission mitigation. Increased energy efficiency has been pursued for The Colleges’ facilities through renovations, replacements to heating systems, energy efficient lighting fixtures, etc., but improvements to the existing building stock were just the beginning. In 2011, President Gearan signed a contract to purchase wind energy credits through August 2014. This means that HWS pays a premium to support wind energy in an amount that offsets 100% of the electricity used by The Colleges. As for the transportation sector, the HWS fleet is made up of four electric utility vehicles, several biodiesel vans, and many gasoline engine vehicles. The first GHG inventory for HWS was conducted in 2007 at this point transportation made up 39% of HWS’ GHG emissions at 6,083 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (MTCDE). In 2011, this number decreased to 4,831 MTCDE, and 34% respectively, of HWS’ GHG emissions. This reduction is due to the steps outlined in the transportation section of the Climate Action Plan, which achieves net-zero GHG emissions by implementing system changes that give emission reduction projects priority while simultaneously guaranteeing timely and meaningful net emission reduction in the form of an offset strategy. Some of the ongoing transportation strategies to reduce emissions include:  (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - I suppose it’s useless trying to reason with Keystone XL pipeline folks to stop their mad drive to warm up the planet.  Just we’ll just have to keep protesting their craven desire to use the worst fossil fuel of all in a time of Climate Change. What are ya gonna do, just let the fossil fuel industry tyrannize the planet and warm it up without saying anything? Keystone XL pipeline facing another obstacle TransCanada must recertify South Dakota permit, regulator says  TransCanada Corp. faces another regulatory hurdle and potentially more legal challenges in its effort to build the Keystone XL pipeline in that it will now need to recertify the Alberta-Nebraska conduit where it passes through South Dakota. The state approved the project on June 29, 2010, and while the permit has not expired, TransCanada needs to “certify the conditions placed on the pipeline” by the regulator South Dakota Public Utilities Commission are all still valid and that the company will meet all of those conditions. “I would anticipate there will be challenges,” PUC chairman Gary Hanson said in an interview. “There will certainly be challenges by a number of organizations and possibly citizens. Some of those persons or entities will probably not have any standing. But I believe some of them are certainly more mature organizations that understand the process.” (July 1, 2014) Vancouver Sun

  • 7/08/2014 - But presumably the Harper government does not “Struggles with Melting Permafrost as Climate Warms” because for them jobs come first before their life support system crashes. Canada Struggles with Melting Permafrost as Climate Warms Warming temperatures in the Great White North are melting important ice roads and heating waterways beyond optimal temperatures for some fish In 2006, reduced thickness of ice roads forced the Diavik Diamond Mine in Northern Canada to fly in fuel rather than try to transport cargo across melted pathways, at an extra cost of $11.25 million. The mountain pine beetle outbreak in British Columbia—fueled by higher winter temperatures that allow insects to survive—expanded in recent years to be 10 times greater than any previously recorded outbreak in the province. Mortality rates of sockeye salmon, meanwhile, have increased because of higher water temperatures in the Fraser River. These examples are among many in Canada's national climate assessment—an overview from the national government of existing climate science affecting the country. It also includes government and industry adaptation activities, such as new electricity forecasts for hydropower because of projected water flow shifts. (July 7, 2014) Scientific American [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - If our mass interest in faith were any measure, you’d think the moral imperative to solve Climate Change would rule, but it doesn’t, at least on any scale that will matter. The poor of our nation and the nations that didn’t cause Climate Change are going to get hit the first and the hardest by Climate Change and yet when we try to address this immorality, like in the previous 20+ Climate talks, we tend to fail. So maybe trying to solve Climate Change by appealing to our morality (though it makes us feel warm) isn’t the best strategy for addressing Climate Change; maybe our collected self-interest in having a sustainable life support system will. CLIMATE CHANGE MAY HIT URBAN POOR THE HARDEST, ACCORDING TO NEW REPORT People of color, low-income neighborhoods may be more vulnerable to exposure to toxins, other damaging effects of extreme storms like Sandy Lower-income and minority communities are especially vulnerable to the detrimental effects of climate change, which should make protecting them a societal priority, according to a recent report. The report, by the New Jersey Climate Change Alliance, focused on so-called environmental justice communities -- areas especially burdened with pollution, particularly for people of color, and its impact during and after Hurricane Sandy. The extreme weather left residents of these communities, as elsewhere, without power and with disrupted communications. But it also drove up rents due to limited housing, among other problems. The storm surge also raised concerns about increased exposure to toxins, according to the report. (July 7, 2014) NYSpotlight [more on Climate Change in our area]  

  • 7/08/2014 - The Paris 2015 Climate talks must not fail.  How can we ensure that they don’t? Praying probably won’t help. Staying aware might. Communicating importance of this climate talk might.  U.N. climate talks edge towards 2015 emissions deal * China, U.S. help build confidence for climate deal * Aid for poorer nations seen as vital to spur process * Rich-poor divide remains a thorny issue  - U.N. climate negotiations made tentative progress on Saturday towards a text for a 2015 deal to bind all nations to cut greenhouse gas emissions. The talks, which were heading to a close on Saturday, drew some 1,900 diplomats from 182 countries to Bonn to line up what their leaders will be prepared to sign up to next year to tackle emissions that U.N.-backed scientists say will cause more severe flooding, droughts and the sea level to rise. Negotiators and observers said signs of action from China and the United States, the world's top two emitters, had raised hopes but they warned the talks could break down unless rich nations pledged billions of dollars in aid to poorer states by the end of the year. (June 14, 2014) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/08/2014 - Addressing and mitigating Climate Change will probably mean a lot of belt-tightening (using less food and energy) but we will need more information and much of that can come from you. How Citizen Scientists Are Using  The Web to Track the Natural World By making the recording and sharing of environmental data easier than ever, web-based technology has fostered the rapid growth of so-called citizen scientists — volunteers who collaborate with scientists to collect and interpret data. Numerous Internet-based projects now make use of citizen scientists to monitor environmental health and to track sensitive plant and wildlife populations. From counting butterflies, frogs, and bats across the globe, to piloting personal drones capable of high-definition infrared imaging, citizen scientists are playing a crucial role in collecting data that will help researchers understand the environment. Environment 360 Yale

  • 7/07/2014 - Heroes in Rochester, NY region demonstrate concerns about increasing train shipments of dangerous crude oil through their community. Protesters fight oil trains Holding signs with statements such as "No exploding oil trains" and "Clean Energy Now," about 40 protesters gathered Sunday near the railroad tracks at North Main and Railroad streets in the village of Fairport. The protest, organized by six local mothers, was held on the one-year anniversary of a deadly accident in Canada, and is part a growing chorus of concern about train shipments of crude oil, which have sharply increased in recent years. The focus of the protest was freight shipments from the Bakken formation that includes parts of North Dakota and Montana and extends into Canada. Production from Bakken has increased to about 1 million barrels a day, and with the use of fracking is projected to continue to grow. (July 6, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 7/07/2014 - Local media still views NYS energy options during Climate Change through the lens of popular Fracking fight.  Rather than inform the public that there are many other options, options that won’t warm up the planet’s atmosphere more and provide lots of jobs, to address energy needs during a rapid warming, the local media is still stuck on the legal and political machinations of a controversial fossil-fuel drilling technique.  The great tragedy of this six-year Fracking debacle in New York State is that it has stolen everyone’s attention from the real problem—energy and Climate Change. There’s a great danger that humanity’s inability to see the big picture and only focus on the small political and economic fights stirred up by the self-interests of a few, that we will render our life support system null and void. Demand that the press see the big picture. Court rulings shift fracking fight to local level ALBANY – A key ruling by the state's highest court has shifted the hydraulic fracturing debate to the local level, but the future of fracking in New York still relies on an opaque decision-making process by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration. The state Court of Appeals ruled Monday that towns can use local zoning ordinances to ban natural-gas drilling and hydrofracking within their borders. The long-awaited ruling put an end to a three-year-long legal debate over the validity of bans in Dryden, Tompkins County, and Middlefield, Otsego County. It's also expected to increase pressure on local governments from activists on both sides of the drilling debate -- fracking opponents looking to pass more local bans, and supporters hoping to hold them off. (July 6, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/07/2014 - If there is a god, destroying our environment for short term economic gain may well be a sin. If not, destroying our life support system is at least pretty stupid.  I’m not being flippant here. Humanity as a whole has not been much swayed by the immorality of destroying our environment for economic gain, just look around. But if humanity continues to dodge the moral outrage of condemning billions to poverty, and ruin the potential for future generations, humanity should at least understand the compelling logic of keeping their life support system m intact. I wish the moral argument for addressing Climate Change had a prayer of working, but if it had, it would have done so long ago. Addressing Climate Change contains the compelling logic of self-interest—on all levels—so practically speaking that’s probably where our hope resides.  Hurrah, for Pope Francis speaking out on the most critical moral issue of our age. Pope Francis calls destruction of nature a modern sin Catholic leader, who takes his name from the patron saint of animals and the environment, says humans exploiting Earth Pope Francis called for more respect for nature on Saturday, branding the destruction of South America's rain forests and other forms of environmental exploitation a sin of modern times. In an address at the university of Molise, an agricultural and industrial region in southern Italy, Francis said the Earth should be allowed to give her fruits without being exploited. "This is one of the greatest challenges of our time: to convert ourselves to a type of development that knows how to respect creation," he told students, struggling farmers, and laid-off workers in a university hall. "When I look at America, also my own homeland [South America], so many forests, all cut, that have become land ... that can longer give life. This is our sin, exploiting the Earth and not allowing her to her give us what she has within her," the Argentine pope said in unprepared remarks. (July 5, 2014) Aljazeera America

  • 7/07/2014 - Find out more local environmental events and news: July 2014 Newsletter NEWS FROM PACHAMAMA ALLIANCE "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.”   See PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER facebook  https://www.facebook.com/PachamamaRochester

  • 7/07/2014 - Dark Snow, unlike Dark Matter or Dark Energy, is not a benign natural phenomenon. It is us making Climate Change accelerate.  By the ‘business as usual’ approach to Climate Change we are not only causing more Climate Change, we are causing it to occur faster. Dark snow: from the Arctic to the Himalayas, the phenomenon that is accelerating glacier melting Industrial dust and soil, blown thousands of miles, settle on ice sheets and add to rising sea level threat When American geologist Ulyana Horodyskyj set up a mini weather station at 5,800m on Mount Himlung, on the Nepal-Tibet border, she looked east towards Everest and was shocked. The world's highest glacier, Khumbu, was turning visibly darker as particles of fine dust, blown by fierce winds, settled on the bright, fresh snow. "One-week-old snow was turning black and brown before my eyes," she said. The problem was even worse on the nearby Ngozumpa glacier, which snakes down from Cho Oyu – the world's sixth highest mountain. There, Horodyskyj found that so much dust had been blown on to the surface that the ability of the ice to reflect sunlight, a process known as albedo, dropped 20% in a single month. The dust that was darkening the brilliant whiteness of the snow was heating up in the strong sun and melting the snow and ice, she said. The phenomenon of "dark snow" is being recorded from the Himalayas to the Arctic as increasing amounts of dust from bare soil, soot from fires and ultra-fine particles of "black carbon" from industry and diesel engines are being whipped up and deposited sometimes thousands of miles away. The result, say scientists, is a significant dimming of the brightness of the world's snow and icefields, leading to a longer melt season, which in turn creates feedback where more solar heat is absorbed and the melting accelerates. (July 5, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/07/2014 - One of the most important human events coming up in Paris 2015; It’s a choice we either transcend or flop. The developing nations are watching and they fear “a recurrence of the Copenhagen scenario (with) a final agreement that is accepted by some parties but not accepted by others…” 2015 climate pact to be sealed in Paris The clock is ticking for countries to lay the foundations of a 2015 deal to tackle dangerous climate change, ministers warned in Bonn. A special UN summit in September, followed by a round of talks in Lima in December, must lay the first bricks of a highly complex accord due to be sealed in Paris in December 2015, they said. China’s top negotiator, Xie Zhenhua, pointed to traumatic memories of the 2009 Copenhagen Summit, the last time countries tried to forge a worldwide deal on curbing Earth-warming greenhouse gas emissions. The much-touted event became a near-fiasco when heads of state were confronted with a sprawling, fiercely contested draft agreement at the last minute. (June 7, 2014) The Indian Express [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2014 - Breaking: Business as usual is not addressing Climate Change, planet increasingly responding to more greenhouse gases.  More studies on climate are proving the ‘wait and see’ approach on this worldwide crisis isn’t working.  Coastal Winds Intensifying With Climate Change, Study Says Summer winds are intensifying along the west coasts of North and South America and southern Africa and climate change is a likely cause, a new study says. The winds, which blow parallel to the shore and draw cold, nutrient-rich water from the deep ocean to the surface in a process known as coastal upwelling, have increased over the last 60 years in three out of five regions of the world, according to an analysis published Thursday in the journal Science. Stronger winds have the potential to benefit coastal areas by bringing a surge of nutrients and boosting populations of plankton, fish, and other species. But they could also harm marine life by causing turbulence in surface waters, disrupting feeding, worsening ocean acidification, and lowering oxygen levels, the study says. The shift could already be having serious effects on some of the world’s most productive marine fisheries and ecosystems off California, Peru, and South Africa. (July 3, 2014) The National Memo [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/05/2014 - Can we “create our own positive feedback loops that generate virtuous cycles of accelerating climate protection.”?  If we cannot, we have little chance of affecting the direction warming is taking us on a planetary level. This is an intriguing way of looking at our collected response to Climate Change, where positive feedback loops like albedo effect  from melting Arctic ice, might be something we can trigger that would send Climate Change back to sustainable levels.  The article below contains a lot of the usual stuff—reduce fossil fuel use, use more renewable energy—which is quite appropriate, but I was thinking of taking this concept of creating our own positive feedback loops to a new level.  I don’t mean geoengineering where we toss iron particles in the ocean trying to stimulate more aquatic plant growth, but something that would take a great knowledge of how our entire Earth environment works and tweaking it so that physics works to lower GHG concentrations.  I guess what I’m saying is that if we are going to work on something that would trigger positive feedback loops “that generate virtuous cycles of accelerating climate protection” that there might be some process we haven’t thought of yet that may do the trick—but, as with anything in our environment (our life support system), we had better know what we are doing. Nothing, I suspect, would work faster or better than reducing the burning of fossil fuels to achieve a sustainable environment and I don’t think any program, or techno-fix, should steal our attention from that. SCD Concepts: Positive Feedback- Good or Bad for the Climate? Ecologists, engineers, and economists have much in common. Their work involves the study of systems – how things are connected, what makes things start or stop, and whether the system can be stable. Feedback between elements of a system that can be balancingor reinforcing.  Balancing or negative feedback loops help a system reach a goal or maintain stability. For example, a thermostat regulates the temperature of a room by turning a furnace on or off to achieve the desired temperature. Reinforcing or positive feedback loops occur when a system element is capable of making more of itself. This can be a good or bad thing when it comes to our climate. For example, the more greenhouse gas we put in the air, the more the Arctic warms – causing the tundra to melt and release methane, which warms the air and melts more tundra – which releases more methane in a process of runaway climate disruption. No wonder this kind of positive feedback is known as a vicious cycle!  Unfortunately, we have started a number of vicious cycles in Earth’s climate system and they are gaining momentum.  (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - Should our young people fight (sue) to stabilize climate and preserve our planet for future generations, or just give up? The Wheels of Justice The wheels of justice turn slowly, perhaps more so on the most important matters.  Yet the courts, with their ability to take a long view and minimize politics, are crucial in the fight to stabilize climate and preserve our planet for young people and future generations. Here I comment on the status of “atmospheric trust” cases and note the appeal of an “equal rights” case. I also argue that the legal approach is an essential component in a coordinated multi-front approach that is required for success in what will be a long battle for justice. Atmospheric Trust.  I wrote recently[1] about Alec L. v. McCarthy, a suit filed by young people against the (U.S.) federal government.  Their case is based on the trust concept, that we have an obligation to future generations, a concept well appreciated by the founders of our nation[2], specifically the atmospheric trust concept[3] developed especially by legal scholar Mary Wood. On the face of it, the 5 June ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, affirming the earlier dismissal of the youths’ case, is a setback.  However, the Court’s ruling positions the case to proceed to the Supreme Court on the question of whether the federal government has a public trust obligation to its citizens. The Court of Appeals focused on a recent U.S. Supreme Court case, PPL Montana v. Montana, which the D.C. Circuit found to exclude any federal public trust obligation, leaving all public trust obligations to the states.  However, that interpretation leads to the implausible requirement for states to take actions to stabilize climate and negotiate international agreements for that purpose.  Thus one route to the Supreme Court will entail challenging the concept that the federal government has no trust obligations, with the climate case itself providing clear evidence to the contrary. (July 2, 2014) Earth Institute | Columbia University [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - On the other hand, if Cuomo doesn’t ban Fracking pretty freaking soon, New York will not have that pretty green hue. What Every Governor Really Believes About Climate Change, In One Handy Map  With all the recent talk at the federal level about the EPA’s proposed carbon regulations for new and existing power plants, it’s easy to forget about the executives that have front row seats to cutting American carbon pollution. And though climate deniers run rampant through the halls of Congress, a new analysis from the CAP Action War Room reveals that half of America’s Republican governors agree with the anti-science caucus of Congress. Fifteen out of twenty-nine sitting Republican governors deny climate science despite the overwhelming level of scientific consensus, the enormous cost to taxpayers, and the critical place governors occupy in implementing new limits on carbon pollution. None of the country’s Democratic governors have made public statements denying climate change. This map from the analysis categorizes governors into four groups: green for those who both accept climate science and are taking action to fight climate change; orange for those who either accept or haven’t openly denied climate science, but also have yet to take serious action to address climate change; red for those who have failed to take action or openly rejected to federal safeguards to address climate change, and red with stripes for climate deniers.  (July 2, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - Why the heck should folks in Rochester, NY care if fish in West Virginia are dying off because of blasting away WV’s mountains for coal? You know… | Fish Populations Down Due to Mountaintop Mining Number of Species in Studied Streams Drops by Half KEARNEYSVILLE, W.Va. – Appalachian streams impacted by mountaintop mining have less than half as many fish species and about a third as many fish as non-impacted streams, according to U.S. Geological Survey research published this week in the journal Freshwater Science. The researchers used data from several time periods to track changes in fish diversity and abundance in the Guyandotte River basin in West Virginia, including streams with and without headwater mining operations. The original fish data were collected by a team from Pennsylvania State University between 1999-2001, and USGS collected additional data from 2010-2011. “The Appalachian Mountains are a global hotspot for freshwater fish diversity,” said Nathaniel Hitt, a USGS research fish biologist and lead author of the study. “Our paper provides some of the first peer-reviewed research to understand how fish communities respond to mountaintop mining in these biologically diverse headwater streams.” Hitt, along with USGS biologist and co-author Douglas Chambers, found no evidence that fish communities have recovered over time, and instead observed persistent effects of mountaintop mining associated with water quality degradation. Prior research has linked water quality deterioration from mountaintop mining to the degradation of stream insect communities.  The new USGS paper is the first to evaluate this issue for stream fish communities. (July 1, 2014) U.S. Geological Survey [more on Wildlife and Energy in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - You can join this local action to stop the dangerous transport of dangerous chemicals through our region here: Sunday, July 6 at 3 PM in Fairport, NY at the intersection of train tracks and North Main Street (Route 250, Fairport 14450 NO BAKKEN OIL TRAINS IN OUR TOWNS! Events across the country are being organized to keep oil off the rails and in the ground! No Bakken Oil Trains in Our Towns! | Local moms plan protest against oil trains About a half-dozen local mothers plan to mark the one-year anniversary of a deadly oil train derailment in Canada with a protest of shipments of the same type of fuel by freight rail through Rochester and its surrounding suburbs. The women plan to meet at 3 p.m. Sunday near the tracks at North Main and Railroad streets in the village of Fairport. Neely Kelley of Rochester, a member of the group, said protesters are concerned about possible derailments of tanker cars carrying crude oil from the Bakken shale formation in the northwestern U.S. "People just don't know that these incredibly explosive and flammable trains are coming through our downtowns and our communities," she said. Domestic crude oil shipments by rail have quadrupled since 2005, according to federal estimates. Trains carrying Bakken crude pass through the Rochester area en route to oil terminals in Albany and points south. (July 3, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 7/04/2014 - For those thinking they’ve got their heads around the full implications of Climate Change, don’t forget we have to solve the Sixth Great Extinction too.  I’m wondering if it is niggling through the minds of many that our way of life hasn’t just put a tremendous burden on our life support system, our way of life is threatening everything on the planet. And we’re so absorbed in our business-as-usual world we don’t want to face it. A Disappearing Planet Animal species are going extinct anywhere from 100 to 1,000 times the rates that would be expected under natural conditions. According to Elizabeth Kolbert's The Sixth Extinction and other recentstudies, the increase results from a variety of human-caused effects including climate change, habitat destruction, and species displacement. Today's extinction rates rival those during the mass extinction event that wiped out the dinosaurs 65 million years ago. by Anna Flagg, Special to ProPublica [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 7/04/2014 - Pennsylvania resident’s health and noise complaints over Fracking "Fuhgeddaboudit!" $50,000 Hush Money fixes that. Nuisance easements, whatever, it’s not for New York. Aggressive Tactic on the Fracking Front A Pennsylvania gas company offers residents cash to buy protection from any claims of harm. For the last eight years, Pennsylvania has been riding the natural gas boom, with companies drilling and fracking thousands of wells across the state. And in a little corner of Washington County, some 20 miles outside of Pittsburgh, EQT Corporation has been busy – drilling close to a dozen new wells on one site. It didn't take long for the residents of Finleyville who lived near the fracking operations to complain – about the noise and air quality, and what they regarded as threats to their health and quality of life. Initially, EQT, one of the largest producers of natural gas in Pennsylvania, tried to allay concerns with promises of noise studies and offers of vouchers so residents could stay in hotels to avoid the noise and fumes. But then, in what experts say was a rare tactic, the company got more aggressive: it offered all of the households along Cardox Road $50,000 in cash if they would agree to release the company from any legal liability, for current operations as well as those to be carried out in the future. It covered potential health problems and property damage, and gave the company blanket protection from any kind of claim over noise, dust, light, smoke, odors, fumes, soot, air pollution or vibrations. (July 2, 2014) ProPublica [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/03/2014 - ACTION: "A draft hazardous waste management permit for Kodak and Recycled Energy Development (RED) is available for public review and comment through Sept. 2, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today." DEC Announces Proposed Renewal of Hazardous Waste Management Permit for Eastman Kodak Company and Recycled Energy Development DEC Accepting Public Comments on the Draft Permit Through Sept. 2 A draft hazardous waste management permit for Kodak and Recycled Energy Development (RED) is available for public review and comment through Sept. 2, the State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. Eastman Business Park (EBP), located in the city of Rochester and town of Greece, currently has two hazardous waste management operations: a multiple hearth incinerator (MHI) used to incinerate sludge from the Kings Landing Wastewater Treatment Plant, and a tank system at Building 322 for hazardous waste storage. The draft permit and related documents for Eastman Business Park (Kodak) are available for public review and comment on DEC's website. DEC will carefully consider all comments received before making a final determination on the permit. In 2013, DEC modified the existing hazardous waste management permit to add RED as an operator after the company acquired a number of utilities from Kodak, including the MHI. Kodak and RED filed an amended application for renewal of the permit in 2013. (July 2, 2014) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 7/03/2014 - When Mother Nature gives out grades for her Environmental Report Card it’s only a Pass/Fail grade. You’re either sustainable or extinct. NY League of Conservation Voters gives Legislature a B grade for environmental progress The Environmental Progress Report gave the Legislature a "C+" on public health and "B" on sustainable economic development, climate change and resiliency, natural resource protection.  The New York State Legislature has earned a "B" grade for its progress on sustainability issues in the 2014 legislative session that ended last month, according to the The New York League of Conservation Voters. The league issued the grade in its 2014 Environmental Progress Report, released Wednesday. The report is available at http://www.nylcv.org/. The NYLCV’s 2014 Environmental Progress Report tracks the Legislature’s progress on a wide range of legislation from clean energy and transportation, to climate resiliency and sustainable economic growth. NYLCV set the bar for sustainability progress in the 2014 legislative session with its New York State Policy Agenda issued in January. (July 2, 2014) Daily Messenger

  • 7/03/2014 - Green Drinks for July: Green Drinks is a monthly networking event where people in the environmental field & the sustainably minded meet over drinks in an informal setting to exchange ideas, find out who’s doing what & spread the word on what you’re doing, find employment leads & make new friends. Thur, July 17: 6-7:30pm High Falls Center & Museum 74 Browns Race Rochester 14614 - Sponsored by Center for Environmental Initiatives

  • 7/03/2014 - Get more informed locally of environmental events and news: Penfield Green Initiative, July 2014 Newsletter: The Voice for Penfield’s Environmental Assets | Environmental/Social Justice on a Grass Roots Level

  • 7/03/2014 - According to some sources, the Erie Canal (or in its earliest incarnation, the canal, or Clinton’s ditch) issued the sea lamprey to the Great Lakes. There might be more invasives that made their way to the Great Lakes via the canal, but I don’t think the canal is just “taking on a new, undesirable role as a pathway for the spread of aquatic invasive species.”   Note: “It is not clear whether it is native to Lake Ontario, where it was first noticed in the 1830s, or whether it was introduced through the Erie Canal which opened in 1825.[” (Wikipedia) | CSI: invasive species  The Erie Canal revolutionized transportation and commerce by giving farmers and merchants a cheaper, easier way to move goods across the state. The present-day canal is primarily a recreational waterway, though it might also be taking on a new, undesirable role as a pathway for the spread of aquatic invasive species between some state waters, including the Great Lakes. That's why Nature Conservancy researchers are on the canal this summer, collecting water samples. The samples, which will be location-tagged, will be tested to see if they contain DNA markers that match up with known genetic sequences from some key invasives, such as Asian carp, northern snakehead, killer shrimp, Asian clam, and hydrilla. (July 2, 2014) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Invasive Species in our area]

  • 7/03/2014 - One of the most critical parts of our region’s Transportation system is the infrastructure. How does that impact on our environment? What efforts does the NYS DOT make to ensure wildlife habitat protection? How do you design a massive pavement/bridge infrastructure with the least impact on our environment? When we consider transportation issues, we, meaning activists and the general public, rarely focus on the actual construction of roads and bridges. Beyond the pavement… Like most wildlife biologists, I am a lover of wild places, a seeker of remoteness, a despiser of the din of traffic. Yet I am employed by the New York State Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) as an Environmental Specialist.  Environmental Specialist (ES) working for a DOT may sound like a conflict of interest, even an oxymoron. But we ES see it very differently. Environmental staff at transportation agencies is deeply involved in environmental conservation. Our job is to ensure the development and maintenance of roads in an environmentally sound manner. Much of this work is straightforward, but also wide-ranging: it involves obtaining federal and state wetlands and stormwater permits, working with designers to ensure that road projects avoid sensitive wildlife habitat, minimizing and mitigating environmental impacts to streams, wetlands, and endangered species, and managing invasive species. (July 1, 2014) Happenings the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute {more on Transportation in our area]

  • 7/03/2014 - Here’s a quick glimpse of what Climate Change may look like in New York State in the near future. Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change in New York On Thursday, April 10th, I was given the opportunity to go to a seminar at the University at Buffalo entitled “Assessing the Impacts of Climate Change in New York.” I am very passionate about the environment as well as climate change and was hoping this seminar would be a good learning experience. The presentation covered a ton of fascinating “dark green” information, so I will do my best to summarize. Professor Arthur DeGaetano from Cornell University started his presentation by stating that a lot of his information and charts had come from the United States National Climate Assessment among other similar studies. With a viewpoint specifically on the Northeast, it was clear that the average annual temperature is increasing. Although we have seen warming across all of the major seasons, the biggest anomaly is seen in winter, which has seen double the temperature increase of the other seasons. However, when looking at the number of heat waves (stretches of above average heat) the data was inconclusive. With that being said, the amount of cold waves is clearly decreasing according to the graphs he presented. In regard to precipitation, the data showed an average increase of 0.39 inches every 10 years with most of it coming down in autumn. But that doesn’t mean we have a couple extra rainy days every year. He explained that the atmosphere is soaking up more water like a sponge and is releasing large amounts of precipitation less frequently. Therefore, we actually have fewer days with precipitation, but on the days it does precipitate we see extreme cases of heavy precipitation. (May 5, 2014) GrowWNY [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/02/2014 - Oh sure it makes perfect sense: “Best thing for environment is to leave wastebeds where they are”. Are you kidding, our environment—all the little plants and animals and stuff too tiny to identify—love all the manmade toxins we dump into our life support system.  Sure, just bury it and it will never come back when frequent flooding occurs, or Climate Change causes extreme weather.  Don’t worry your pretty little heads, there are never any proven instances when you dump industrial crap into a hole and then place things like schools on top (Love Canal, that must have been an anomaly) where it does anybody a bit of harm.  Rather than digging up all this toxic crap and endangering everyone, (not to mention the horrendous costs of all that) we should just learn to love it. Just bury it, forget about it. Humans, ya gotta love it. Onondaga County: Best thing for environment is to leave wastebeds where they are Syracuse, N.Y. -- Trying to remove millions of cubic yards of old industrial wastebeds along Onondaga Lake would do more environmental harm than good, says a top Onondaga County official. Deputy County Executive Matt Millea said it's better for people and the environment to cover over the wastebeds on the western shore where the county wants to build an amphitheater. "It's not necessarily good for the environment in general to simply take this material and make it a problem elsewhere," Millea said. "All of the science shows it's not harmful to the environment to leave it where it is and that a proper cover will ensure full protection of human health and the environment." (June 28, 2014) Syracuse.com [more on Brownfields in our area]

  • 7/02/2014 - I wouldn’t necessarily take the word of a former U.S. Treasury Secretary on Climate Change, but I’d listen to his warnings on economic threats.  However the Climate Change denialists want to get their head around Climate Change, the new report “Risky Business” will not be so hard to ignore, as economist tend to focus on the money trail. And the money trail is leading us into an abyss. Fmr. U.S. Treasury Secy. Rubin on climate change: “The risk here is catastrophic” CNN’s FAREED ZAKARIA GPS features an interview with the former U.S. Treasury Secretary under George W. Bush, Henry Paulson, and the former U.S. Treasury Secretary under Bill Clinton, Robert Rubin.  Paulson and Rubin speak with Fareed about their new report on the future of our environment if Americans do not start taking preventative measures against climate change, the cost of inaction, and the limitations to progress posed by Washington. Additionally, Paulson and Rubin also speak with Fareed about the U.S. fiscal outlook and economic recovery. (July 29, 2014) CNN [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/02/2014 - I know, this methane bomb thing is going to freak out more people and Climate Change denialists will go ballistic. But what are you going to do? More CO2 spewed into our life support’s atmosphere is the fuse to more accelerated consequences of Climate Change, like the release of the more potent GHG methane. Do you get more frighten, more disdainful, or more active? Your grandchildren will want to know. The Giant Methane Monster Lurking There's something lurking deep under the frozen Arctic Ocean, and if it gets released, it could spell disaster for our planet. That something is methane. Methane is one of the strongest of the natural greenhouse gases, about 80 times more potent than CO2, and while it may not get as much attention as its cousin CO2, it certainly can do as much, if not more, damage to our planet. That's because methane is a far more potent greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, and there are trillions of tons of it embedded in a kind of ice slurry called methane hydrate or methane clathrate crystals in the Arctic and in the seas around the continental shelves all around the world. (July 1, 2014) Truthout [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 7/02/2014 - “…fundamentally changing the composition of the ocean…"with plastics ain’t the half of it. Acidification, over fishing, and Climate Change all have to be solved at the same time and more…  What if we could model all the havoc we are having on our planet--maybe a very large holographic sphere with software to tease out issues like plastics in our waters, or warming of the waters, or all of the effects together so that the public can visualize the massive assault we have made on our life support system since pre-Columbian days? I wonder if such a model would bring to our senses a sense of urgency for the system that keeps us alive. Humm…. Plastic Debris Widespread On Ocean Surface, Study Finds NEW YORK (AP) — Plastic junk is floating widely on the world's oceans, but there's less of it than expected, a study says. Such ocean pollution has drawn attention in recent years because of its potential harm to fish and other wildlife. The new work drew on results from an around-the-world cruise by a research ship that towed a mesh net at 141 sites, as well as other studies. Researchers estimated the total amount of floating plastic debris in open ocean at 7,000 to 35,000 tons. Andres Cozar of the University of Cadiz in Spain, an author of the study, said that's a lot less than the 1 million tons he had extrapolated from data reaching back to the 1970s. (June 30, 2014) The Huffington Post [more on Water Quality in our area] 

  • 7/02/2014 - Feedback matters: When you can see that regulations on air quality work, decision makers will be compelled to act. And the public will support those actions. One of the problems with understanding the gravity of our environmental issues is our inability at times to see, hear, touch, or ‘sense’ them in the way we evolved to sense historic dangers. We are good at detecting lions; not so good at long term life support system threats like the loss of air quality and Climate Change. Satellite images, like those below, can give us the kind of feedback we need on our environment to monitor it and check our behavior.  The public should support massive efforts to monitor the health of our life support system so we can make the decisions that will make it sustainable. New NASA Images Highlight U.S. Air Quality Improvement Anyone living in a major U.S. city for the past decade may have noticed a change in the air. The change is apparent in new NASA satellite images unveiled this week that demonstrate the reduction of air pollution across the country. After ten years in orbit, the Ozone Monitoring Instrument (OMI) on NASA's Aura satellite has been in orbit sufficiently long to show that people in major U.S. cities are breathing less nitrogen dioxide – a yellow-brown gas that can cause respiratory problems. (June 26, 2014) NASA [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 7/01/2014 - Forget sport scores this is The score: the world reached 401.88ppm of CO2 in May. It’s held over 400ppm for 3 months.  If you have been paying attention to Climate Change (and shame on any adult who isn’t), you know that it is a very complicated worldwide crisis. It involves the disruption of societies, environment, economics and everything else going on, potentially collapsing all of them.  But on one level, Climate Change is intractably simple: the carbon dioxide count in our atmosphere.  If what you’re doing is not going to result in the lowering of CO2 in our atmosphere, you’re part of the problem. New CO2 Milestone: 3 Months Above 400 PPM April fell first. It lasted through May. Now June will be the third month in a row with average carbon dioxide levels above 400 parts per million. Atmospheric concentrations of the greenhouse gas, which helps drive global warming, haven’t been this high in somewhere between 800,000 and 15 million years. And while the 400 ppm mark is somewhat symbolic (as the increase in warming between 399 ppm and 400 ppm is small), it serves to show how much carbon dioxide has been put into the atmosphere since preindustrial times, when concentrations were around 280 ppm. The increase in this and other greenhouse gases in the atmosphere has warmed Earth’s average temperature by 1.6°F since the beginning of the 20th century. World leaders agreed at a UN summit in 2009 to limit warming to 3.6°F, but prominent climate scientists like James Hansen have said that amount of warming will still be too much. (June 30, 2014) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 7/01/2014 - To be fair, the NYS Court of Appeals ruling on Home Rule on Fracking might be “countercurrent to the energy revolution happening in other states.” But that is not a bad thing. The ‘revolution’, more like a Fracking bullying craze by the oil and gas industries to force municipalities and states to drill for more fossil fuels in a time of Climate Change, is insane.  A real revolution would be to move away from historic fossil fuels for energy, which have warmed up the atmosphere to new levels, and go for renewable energy (wind and solar) and make them work.  Energy options in New York State in the light of Climate Change should have not been focused on Fracking in the first place, but it was probably too alluring for the media to hype the Fracking controversy than make a serious investigation of energy option in a time of Climate Change.  There is another revolution that needs to happen: The media needs to change to a changing, warming world, and learn to prioritize accordingly. Towns elated, gas industry dismayed by fracking ruling A landmark Court of Appeals ruling that could have major implications on the future of fracking in New York is either an "inspiration" or a "nail in the coffin," depending on your perspective. The state's top court on Monday ruled 5-2 in favor of a pair of towns that had used local zoning ordinances to ban fracking and gas-drilling in their borders. The ruling means the town bans can stand, and likely will serve as a statewide precedent if high-volume fracking moves forward in New York. Mary Ann Sumner, town supervisor of Dryden, Tompkins County, was elated with the decision. Dryden was first sued over its ban in 2011, as was the town of Middlefield, Otsego County. She said she hopes the ruling spurs other town boards to act -- both in New York and beyond. “Heavy industry has never been allowed in our small farming town and three years ago, we decided that fracking was no exception," Sumner said in a statement. "The oil and gas industry tried to bully us into backing down, but we took our fight all the way to New York’s highest court. And today we won.” (June 30, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/01/2014 - Drill down (not across) on how the historic New York Court of Appeals’ decision favoring Home Rule, not Fracking happened. New York Court of Appeals Dryden Middlefield Home Rule Videos ! Home Rule, a municipality’s legal right to apply its zoning laws to oil and gas wells, was defended Tuesday in New York State’s highest court, the Court of Appeals. The judges grilled both sides, but left the distinct impression that, if the Legislature wants to specifically preclude a municipality from applying land use laws to oil and gas drilling, the Legislature will need to expressly prohibit it. Because the statute in question clearly does not.  The trial courts and the state appellate court, a total of eight justices, including the judges in Avon and Binghamton that referred to Dryden, have found that zoning bans did not “seek to regulate the details or procedure of” gas drillers, but “simply establishes permissible and prohibited uses of land” within towns. Conspicuous in their absence: The DEC. The plaintiffs are contending that the state, in the guise of the Department of Environmental Conservation, has the right to pre-empt local land use laws. But the DEC evidently does not agree – or they would have joined this action against the towns in some form –  as co-plaintiffs, intervenors or, at the least, filed an amicus brief – but they refrained from doing so. The reason the DEC refrained from becoming involved is straightforward: the towns are not regulating the activity, that’s the DEC’s job. They towns are prohibiting the activity outright under their land use laws, that’s the town’s prerogative. The DEC understands the distinction and chose not to file an amicus brief on behalf of the plaintiffs. None of the mainstream press – except the Oneonta Daily Star and Capital Pro –  have noticed the DEC’s absence in this case: The dog that didn’t bark. (June 30, 2014) No Fracking Way [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/01,2014 - So you’re saying that the new Fracking equipment leaks more methane (super GHG) than the old equipment? Wrong trajectory. Study Digs Deep on Shale Gas Wells, Methane Leaks Defects in fracked oil and gas wells in Pennsylvania are leading to methane leaks in shale wells throughout the state — greenhouse gas emissions that could exacerbate climate change, according to a Cornell University study published Monday. The study, conducted by a team led by Cornell environmental engineering professor Anthony Ingraffea, analyzed more than 75,000 publicly available state environmental compliance records for about 41,000 oil and gas wells that had been drilled between 2000 and 2012 across Pennsylvania, where the energy industry has been producing natural gas from the Marcellus shale. (June 30, 2014) Climate Central [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 7/01/2014 - Over 170 New York State communities have said NO! to Fracking and now it looks like those NO!’s will stick. New York Towns Can Prohibit Fracking, State’s Top Court Rules In a decision with far-reaching implications for the future of natural gas drilling in New York State, its highest court ruled on Monday that towns can use zoning ordinances to ban hydraulic fracturing, the controversial extraction method known as fracking. Since the issue arose about six years ago, there has been a statewide moratorium on fracking, and the State Health Department is currently studying its potential health effects. But in recent years some towns, worried that the state would eventually allow the practice, have taken matters into their own hands by banning fracking within their borders. Among them, two towns — Dryden, in Tompkins County, and Middlefield, in Otsego County — amended their zoning laws in 2011 to prohibit fracking, on the basis that it would threaten the health, environment and character of the communities. (June 30, 2014) New York Times [more on Fracking in our area]