Daily Updates - Rochester, NY area


Analysis of the environmental news in our area 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Daily Updates: Wednesday, March 04, 2015

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

  • 3/04/2015 - Very optimistic report on our region’s agricultural success but nary a word about how our agriculture business will adapt to Climate Change. Climate Change, where our growing season has changed, the amount of frequent heavy precipitation (flooding), more crop pests, and more droughts, should be included in any kind of report on our local agriculture. For example our fruit industry is going to be increasing threatened by back and forth freezing as our winter’s become more whacky. We have a lot of challenges ahead of us with Climate Change and the public should be informed of our choices so we can plan. Be nice if our local media could mention Climate Change once in a while. Report: NY agriculture sprouting with success Did you know that the Southern Tier has the most farms in New York, or that the Finger Lakes has the most wineries, or that the Hudson Valley has the most horses, donkeys and ponies? A report Tuesday found that New York has a growing agricultural industry and contributed $37 billion to the state’s economy in 2012, up 22 percent from 2007. The state has put a renewed focus on its farms as New York has become the nation’s leader in yogurt production and as its wines received greater praise and attention. Indeed, New York ranks in the top 10 in the nation for milk and other dairy production, as well as wine, apples and maple syrup, the report from Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli found. (March 3, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Food in our area]

  • 3/04/2015 - Been thinking that burning fossil fuels to heat your building is so last century and contributes to Climate Change? Think, Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHPs) and find out all about it here: Join Us for geopalooza - March 17th and 18th Geothermal Heat Pumps (GHPs) are the cleanest and most efficient way to heat and cool buildings.  They are becoming increasingly important as we recognize the need to reduce fossil fuel use in the face of climate change and volatile price swings.   We invite you NY-GEO's 2015 annual conference in Saratoga Springs, just North of Albany, March 17th and 18th.    And please spread the word to any engineers, architects, builders, energy activists developers, and contractors you may know.   Net-zero building will be an important focus of the conference.  Net-zero happens when a property generates all the energy it uses.  GHPs, when combined with renewable electricity such as solar PV, are the best way to get to net-zero in New York's climate, and net-zero is coming on strong in our state   In addition to great speakers and workshops, the conference will feature a Top Job Competition, where 7 contractors will compete for the "2014 Top Geothermal Job" title.   Another highlight is the location - Skidmore College plans to be 50% geothermal by 2020 and we've got some great "hands on" tours planned for you to see geothermal in action!    Please see the attached flier, register today, and please help us spread the word in your company and/or your community.   The first day of the conference will be mainly technical in nature, featuring Engineer, Contractor and Product Showcase tracks.   7.5 Professional Development Hour (PDH) credits are offered in the Engineering track. See schedule.  From New York Geothermal Energy Organization.

  • 3/04/2015 - Great local environmental news and events from this month’s Penfield Green Initiative’s newsletter: March 2015 Newsletter Penfield Green Initiative "The Voice for Penfield’s Environmental Assets   Environmental/Social Justice on a Grass Roots Level " Contact them at PenfieldGreen@gmail.com  or on their Facebook.          

  • 3/04/2015 - Our garbage, ubiquitous as it is, is not enough to stop sea gulls numbers from declining. They need sea life which are declining because of Climate Change. Whether you like sea gulls or not, when a species as adaptable as this bird is, is experiencing a decline because of Climate Change, it’s a sign, a signal, a warning, an alarm bell, a wake-up call, a … Seagulls: The Unlikely Canaries of Climate Change Beach visitors and seagulls do not go well together. For one, these water-bound birds are beggars – or rather, they have become beggars since the numbers of people in their environment has increased, as well as the food available to them. Yet seagulls are nowhere near exasperation-levels, as their levels have been declining for a few decades. A recent study by the University of British Columbia concluded that the number of seagulls on the coast has been reduced by half since the 1980s. The cause, the study explains, is a reduction in seafood that is usually consumed by seagulls, which is shellfish and small fish. (March 3, 2015) Plant Experts [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/04/2015 - There really is no turning back, COP21 Paris Climate treaty in December must be the way forward. Media should highlight the importance of the COP21, including Rochester’s local media. One of the most important of humanity’s benchmarks is coming up and if COP21 fails there is no Plan B. MARK KENBER: A GLOBAL CLIMATE DEAL IS NOT ONLY THE RIGHT CHOICE; IT IS THE SMART ONE. Mark Kenber, CEO, The Climate Group, explains why 2015 is such a critical year for climate action and low carbon investment, reminding us that while the global climate talks this December in Paris are not the economy's only opportunity, a global deal is a smart choice for a cleaner, safer and more prosperous future.  This year can – and must – be the tipping point for climate action. The above phrase is hardly new, to me or anyone else who has worked on climate change over the last 20 years. And, though we’ve made an incredible amount of progress in that time, we haven’t made the game-changing transformation we all know is needed. This year things are different, though. The world is watching. In December, heads of state and government will gather in Paris for the global COP21 climate talks to attempt to hammer the final details on a new and binding climate treaty. (March 4, 2015) The Climate Group [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 3/04/2015 - Even a portion of “Chai Jing's review: Under the Dome – Investigating China’s Smog” is enough to convince anyone that polluting our air is unacceptable. Because our ocean of air and oceans of waters are planetary, polluting these vast resources takes time for the public to apprehend, but when they do … Poignant is the moment when Chai Jing recalls officials explaining the dense pollution over a major city as ‘fog.’ Smog sounds like fog, but it’s not. Not even close. China’s Surprising Reaction To An Online Video Exposing The Country’s Extreme Pollution Problem Over the weekend in China, 175 million people — more than the entire population of Bangladesh — watched a newly released in-depth and well-produced documentary about the country’s debilitating smog problem. Produced by former Chinese news anchor and environmental reporter, Chai Jing, the 104-minute “Under the Dome” has caught the Chinese public at a moment of intense focus on the wide-ranging impacts of air pollution from coal-fired power plants and vehicle emissions. In a country known for spiking any media that paints the government in a bad light, the documentary has not been firewalled. China’s new environment minister, Chen Jining, even praised it on Sunday, saying it reflected “growing public concern over environmental protection and threats to human health.” He also compared it to the 1962 publication of Rachel Carson’s Silent Spring, which is often credited with inciting the environmental movement in the U.S., especially when it comes to the use of pesticides. (March 2, 2014) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 3/03/2015 - Take home message about the Water Quality in our lakes and rivers: “sewage treatment plants aren’t equipped to filter out pharmaceuticals” Of course, pharmaceuticals in our water aren’t even half the problem with our riparian ecologies. We’ve treated our rivers so badly since pre-Columbian days that it’s a wonder they are considered ecologies at all. Several hundred years ago our rivers were almost impossible to canoe through because there was so many fish. Fishing was done with baskets. Today, even if you do catch a fish in our rivers, you might think twice about eating it. Rivers on drugs They're beautiful on the surface, but, our rivers are on drugs. The scientists at the Cary Institute for Ecological Studies say their findings show human drug use is having an increasing impact on the amphibious environment. PPCP’s are leaking into our waterways and changing the ecology. That’s pharmaceuticals and personal care products. Associate Scientist at the Cary Institute, Emma Rosie Marshall says people don’t fully metabolize most of the drugs they take and they’re coming out in our waste products which then seep into waterways. (March 2, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 3/03/2015 - Just how important are the COP21 Paris Climate talks? Opinions vary: physics doesn’t. If there was a Plan B if UN Climate talks fail, those plans would already be in place and working. The UN climate talks are not stopping anyone or any nation from dramatically reducing their greenhouse gases and adapting to Climate Change. Those against the UN climate talks are against finding real solutions to this worldwide crisis and many have used the UN climate talks processes as a scapegoat. This blaming strategy won’t fix the problem, it just presents those dragging their feet more opportunity to delay and make Climate Chang worse. Connie Hedegaard: credibility of UN climate process hangs on Paris talks All leaders must rise to the challenge for December 2015, warns outgoing EU climate chief Climate change talks next year will be make or break for international efforts to curb global warming, with the credibility of the UN-backed process at stake, the outgoing EU climate chief, Connie Hedegaard, has warned. World leaders are expected to sign an agreement to limit greenhouse gas emissions from 2020 onwards at a Paris conference in December 2015. It could be pivotal in climate negotiations, if China, the US and Europe agree to hold global warming within what scientists say are safe limits. But the risks are great, according to Hedegaard, who recently left the post of European commissioner for climate action and hosted the Copenhagen climate talks in 2009. “Say Paris could not deliver,” she said to the Guardian. “Who would believe the UN process would have credibility after that? That is what [we need] to make leaders understand – it’s now.” (December 28, 2014) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 3/03/2015 - Stark contract between the folks who helped stop Fracking in NYS attempting to leverage that victory with a call for renewable energy and the folks who still want Fracking no matter how evidence show Fracking is bad for our health, our water, our environment, and making Climate Change worse. After six years of dreading the specter of Fracking, it was thrilling to watch “The Solutions Grassroots Tour: "A Solar Home Companion" Buffalo with Josh Fox and Zephyr Teachout” because we have an opportunity now that Fracking is banned to power our lives with clean energy. Much should be done to pave the way for renewable energy because we’ve lost a lot of time in New York, having had our attention hijacked by Fracking. More on “The Solutions Grassroots Tour Fracking boosters, foes ponder what's next  Without hesitation, Kirkwood resident Marchie Diffendorf can recall the exact date of the phone call: Dec. 7, 2007. It was a landman with a natural-gas company: Would he be interested in leasing the natural-gas rights to his 60-acre property in the rural Broome County town he's lived in his whole life? Around that same time, someone knocked on the door of Eileen Hamlin's blue-sided, one-story Kirkwood home — 2½ miles from Diffendorf's — with a similar offer. Take the deal today, the man said, because it will be gone tomorrow. Seven years and 10 days later, Gov. Andrew Cuomo's administration announced a decision that shocked them both: An effective ban on high-volume hydraulic fracturing, the much-debated technique that promised to unlock the gas in the Marcellus Shale formation a mile below the surface. (March 2, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 3/03/2015 - Of course, the looming warming spike caused by oceans being unable to absorb more heat may also be more than we can handle. The problem with denial and ‘wait and see’ is that we should have been planning instead of waiting around to see if the worse of Climate Change hits because we may not be able to handle the consequences when Nature ‘brings it on.’ Looming Warming Spurt Could Reshape Climate Debate Humanity is about to experience a historically unprecedented spike in temperatures. That’s the ominous conclusion of a vast and growing body of research that links sweeping Pacific Ocean cycles with rates of warming at the planet’s surface — warming rates that could affect how communities and nations respond to threats posed by climate change. Papers in two leading journals this week reaffirmed that the warming effects of a substantial chunk of our greenhouse gas pollution have been avoided on land for the last 15 to 20 years because of a phase in a decades-long cycle of ocean winds and currents. With Pacific trade winds expected to slacken in the years ahead, the studies warn that seas will begin absorbing less of global warming’s energy, and that some of the heat they’ve been holding onto will rise to the surface. (February 27, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/28/2015 - The NYS Dept. of Health updates website but still doesn’t list Climate Change, you still have to do a search to Learn About Climate Change. The DOH’s website should have the public health issues of Climate Change front and center on their website so that the public knows that the DOH knows that Climate Change is a critical public health issue and that to address it properly plans must be made and to do this the public must be engaged. But the public won’t get engaged if the DOH continues to bury the links between the state health department and Climate Change. When will our state’s health department (not to mention Monroe County Public Health Department) take a leadership role in protecting public health by planning for Climate Change.

  • 2/28/2015 - On the other hand, I think we CAN rush to judgment on the success or failure of Paris Climate Change treaty if everyone comes to the table empty handed. Any way you slice it, if we don’t start taking dramatic actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, we can not only say that the Paris talks were a failure, but that humanity has failed itself. As we get closer and close to the December Paris talks, there will be a lot of downplaying on the importance of this treaty. But the proof will be in the pudding. Time passes. Todd Stern: Don’t rush to judge Paris climate change deal  Chief US negotiator says December 2015 summit will be first step in series of deals up to and beyond 2020  The world should not rush to judgment on the outcome of the Paris talks on climate change later this year, president Obama’s chief climate change official has warned, as it would take a few years for the effects to become apparent. Declaring the talks a success or failure too soon would be a distortion, said Todd Stern, US envoy for climate change and the country’s lead negotiator in the UN talks. “We will not know in 2015,” he said. “The rush to judgment, that this [agreement] does not do enough [for example], is not the way to think about this.” (February 27, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/28/2015 - Before, when we were oblivious of our CO2 emissions, Antarctica was just a great big cold spot on Earth. Now’s it’s scary. Many have thought (and many still do) think that humanity is too puny to affect something as incredibly large as our planet and yet we are shrinking both polar regions of our planet—while we watch. Time passes. The big melt: Antarctica's retreating ice may re-shape Earth From the ground in this extreme northern part of Antarctica, spectacularly white and blinding ice seems to extend forever. What can't be seen is the battle raging thousands of feet (hundreds of meters) below to re-shape Earth. Water is eating away at the Antarctic ice, melting it where it hits the oceans. As the ice sheets slowly thaw, water pours into the sea — 130 billion tons of ice (118 billion metric tons) per year for the past decade, according to NASA satellite calculations. That's the weight of more than 356,000 Empire State Buildings, enough ice melt to fill more than 1.3 million Olympic swimming pools. And the melting is accelerating. In the worst case scenario, Antarctica's melt could push sea levels up 10 feet (3 meters) worldwide in a century or two, recurving heavily populated coastlines. Parts of Antarctica are melting so rapidly it has become "ground zero of global climate change without a doubt," said Harvard geophysicist Jerry Mitrovica. (February 27, 2015) AP The Big Story [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/28/2015 - I know, for some reason or other we’re not supposed to connect the dots between plants moving around and Climate Change. Yet, the ‘New plant hardiness zone’ released in 2012 by the USDA is a rather compelling…, or should I say plants moving northward or southward because of rising climate temperatures.., maybe I cans say this: “If you continue to plant seeds according to historical data, a lot of your plants ain’t gonna grow because the growing seasons have changed.” Which of course, is what Climate Change predicts.  USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map The 2012 USDA Plant Hardiness Zone Map is the standard by which gardeners and growers can determine which plants are most likely to thrive at a location. The map is based on the average annual minimum winter temperature, divided into 10-degree F zones. For the first time, the map is available as an interactive GIS-based map, for which a broadband Internet connection is recommended, and as static images for those with slower Internet access. Users may also simply type in a ZIP Code and find the hardiness zone for that area. United States Department of Agriculture USDA  

  • 2/27/2015 - The March 2015 newsletter of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club “The eco-logue” has been posted online and it is full of great local environmental stuff. The first article describes the major Rochester Earth Day event, a visit by Dr. James Hansen: "17th Annual Environmental Forum, Dr. James Hansen: Climate, Energy, and Intergenerational Justice, Tuesday, April 21, 6:30-8:30pm. The Theater (Building 4) at Monroe Community College, 1000 East Henrietta Road (Route 15A) Rochester, NY 14623.”

  • 2/27/2015 - Several years an author writing about Global Warming said carbon dioxide (Co2) is the fuse and methane (CH4) is the bomb. Is the bomb going off? One of the things that characterizes Climate Change is that however humanity characterizes it, Climate Change is mostly physics. We, humanity that is, can ignore it, we can dismiss it, we can deny it, and we can put it off until we’re ready to deal with it, but unless we address it we will not stop it. If we have already waited so long that the CO2 has warmed up the permafrost to the point where the methane is going to be released in vast quantities, we won’t just have to put out a fire, we’ll have to put out a bomb. That will be hard to do indeed. The Siberian crater saga is more widespread — and scarier — than anyone thought In the middle of last summer came news of a bizarre occurrence no one could explain. Seemingly out of nowhere, a massive crater appeared in one of the planet’s most inhospitable lands. Early estimates said the crater, nestled in a land called “the ends of the Earth” where temperatures can sink far below zero, yawned nearly 100 feet in diameter. The saga deepened. The Siberian crater wasn’t alone. There were two more, ratcheting up the tension in a drama that hit its climax as a probable explanation surfaced. Global warming had thawed the permafrost, which had caused methane trapped inside the icy ground to explode. “Gas pressure increased until it was high enough to push away the overlaying layers in a powerful injection, forming the crater,” one German scientist said at the time. (February 26, 2015) The Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/26/2015 - Since it hasn’t been this cold in Rochester, NY since 1871, shouldn’t our media mention extreme weather and Climate Change? If our media doesn’t suggest that there’re might even be a teeny-weeny scintilla of a chance that our extreme cold might be related to Climate Change (maybe perhaps a warmer Arctic pushing colder weather our way) the public is going to think that the great big debate over Climate Change and denial is over and the denialist have won. Which would be odd since 2014 was the warmest year in human history and the trajectory for worldwide warming is to get catastrophically warmer.  Our media, including our local media, is agog over this extreme cold and never mentions Climate Change—not even the hint that a worldwide climate crisis is going on. What’s wrong with this picture? The COP21 Paris Treaty is coming up in December and it may be humanity’s last change to bring down greenhouse gas emissions to a safe level and nary a word about all this in the local media. Bitter cold morning breaks long-standing records in Northeast, Midwest With just a few days left in meteorological winter, bitter cold continues in the eastern United States, where Tuesday morning lows were running 30 to 40 degrees below average from Indiana to New England. For some, it was the coldest morning on record so late in the season. Dozens of daily record lows fell Tuesday morning, by as much as 20 degrees. A few readings have broken century-old records, including those in Pittsburgh; Akron-Canton, Ohio; Hartford, Conn.; and Indianapolis. In Rochester, N.Y., the low of minus-9 degrees tied the record set in 1889. Records in Rochester go back to 1871. (February 24, 2015) Washington Post [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/26/2015 - Shouldn’t we be bringing Native perspectives and knowledge into addressing Climate Change in the Great Lakes region? There is much missing from the Climate Change discussion in our region (including the discussion itself) about how our region in the Great Lakes should adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. It is imperative that the use the knowledge and wisdom of the peoples who lived here for many millennia (without warming the place up and bringing it to environmental collapse) be brought into the discussion.“Gikinoo’wizhiwe Onji Waaban” (Guiding for Tomorrow) or “G-WOW” Changing Climate, Changing Culture "The “Gikinoo’wizhiwe Onji Waaban” (Guiding for Tomorrow) or “G-WOW” Initiative is a unique approach to increasing awareness of how climate change is affecting Lake Superior’s coastal environment, people, cultures, and economies by: Integrating scientific climate change research with place-based evidence of how climate change is affecting traditional Ojibwe lifeways and people of all cultures. Bringing Native perspectives and involvement to addressing issues of climate change by directly engaging Native communities, educators, and students. Providing learners with knowledge about what they can do to mitigate or adapt to a changing climate. "

  • 2/26/2015 - Actually, food waste has been a serious problem for a long time—despite economists just ‘getting it.’ It’s nice that economists are just starting to get around to the idea that dumping food into our landfills, instead of composting that food and making our soils rich and health again, is a really bad practice. There should be no food waste while people are going hungry, no food waste to increase greenhouse gases in a time of Climate Change, no food waste being burned for fuel, no food waste at all on a finite planet. Had we been paying attention to the environmental and public health issues on food waste, instead of the present loony economic issues, we wouldn’t be at this desperate stage. Food Waste Is Becoming Serious Economic and Environmental Issue, Report Says WASHINGTON — With millions of households across the country struggling to have enough to eat, and millions of tons of food being tossed in the garbage, food waste is increasingly being seen as a serious environmental and economic issue. A report released Wednesday shows that about 60 million metric tons of food is wasted a year in the United States, with an estimated value of $162 billion. About 32 million metric tons of it end up in municipal landfills, at a cost of about $1.5 billion a year to local governments. The problem is not limited to the United States. (February 25, 2015) New York Times [more on Food and our Environment in our area]

  • 2/26/2015 - The IPCC under Rajendra Pachauri’s leadership has grown to be a reliable monitoring body for critical Climate Change feedback. Humanity has a tendency to ‘kill the messenger’ when we are being given news we do not like, news that cannot be bought off for a pleasanter sort of message. In order to address Climate Change we need dedicated leaders like Rajendra Pachauri who have only our environment’s sustainability as their goal. Indian scientist Rajendra Pachauri, who resigned from the world's foremost body on climate science, oversaw an international effort to highlight the strength of scientists' conclusions. Rajendra Pachauri, who resigned Tuesday from chairmanship of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change amid charges of sexual harassment, presided over the international effort to forge consensus on climate change during eight years in which the science grew stronger, but so did the attacks. At the high point of the Indian engineer and economist's tenure, in 2007, he accepted the Nobel Prize on behalf of the monumental effort to bring together the work of more than 2,000 scientists in readable volumes accepted by governments. The low point, before the allegations that face Pachauri now, came in 2010 when the panel was forced to admit it had included in its assessment an unfounded claim that the Himalayas could melt by 2035. But perhaps the most difficult issues that the IPCC has faced on Pachauri's watch have been born of its very mission of delivering "policy-relevant" science, while staying out of politics. (February 24, 2015) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/25/2015 - [I had posted this comment on the WHAM website, but it was taken down. I wonder: did our local media find comments about Climate Change too controversial to even all the public to comment on? If so, this would be Climate Change denial indeed, and tragic because it is in our local media where ‘we the people’ should be able to discuss important stuff. ] Yeah, if you are planning our infrastructure through the lens of Climate Change, you can plan for widespread freezing pipes. The whacky weather—including extreme cold and snowfall and heat and back and forth—is part and parcel of Climate Change predictions in our region. This means it will wreak havoc on our various infrastructures—water, waste, transportation, telecommunications—if we don’t make them more robust and resilient. So saying that there is no way we can plan for this is Climate Change denial. If the public was more aware of what is coming (and is already here) because of Climate Change, they would support the measures needed to retrofit our infrastructures—which will be very expensive. Water Authority pipes freezing in extreme cold Irondequoit, N.Y. - The extreme cold weather has left a number of homeowners with frozen pipes. The Monroe County Water Authority is also being faced with this problem. "We probably right now have about 40 frozen services out of about 180,000 customers," said Steve Trotta, Distribution Manager for the Monroe County Water Authority. "Last year we've had a few but it's been quite a number of years since we've had really cold winter like this." A crew was out on St. Paul Boulevard in Irondequoit Tuesday afternoon, working to thaw frozen pipes. "We'll just thaw it out with actually steam and hot water," explained Trotta. (February 24, 2015) WHAM [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/25/2015 - Considering how much damage the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid will cause on our local trees and lakes, we should connect the dots with Climate Change. According to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (and many other official studies for that matter), the rise in this invasive species in our area is caused in-part by Climate Change. Read the service’s web page: Climate Change Invites Invasive Insect North Ignoring and not informing the public that Climate Change is one of the main culprits of this major invasive species problem in our area is a lost opportunity for the media to educate the public on how pervasive and critical addressing Climate Change is for our region. We’ll never irradiate the Hemlock Woolly Adelgid until we slow down Climate Change, which by the way will also make keeping our Hemlock tree problematic as they like cold temperatures. A woolly bully threatens hemlock trees in hills surrounding Canandaigua Lake The invasive hemlock woolly adelgid is also considered a threat to the quality of Canandaigua Lake Then again, horror stories can come in small packages. This invasive species started showing up in the Finger Lakes region about seven years ago and has been discovered in several locations around Canandaigua Lake, said Hilary Mosher, coordinator of the Finger Lakes Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management (PRISM) at the Finger Lakes Institute at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in Geneva. (February 25, 2015) Penfield Post [more on Invasive Species in our area] 

  • 2/25/2015 - This sounds interesting. From the comfort of your home take a FREE crash course ‘Who’s Doing What in Canada About Algal Blooms’. ( a webinar on Wednesday, March 4th from 12:00pm - 1:30pm EST)  I know, I’m not a Canadian citizen and maybe you’re not either but the US and Canada share responsibility for protecting and preserving the environment of the Great Lakes. Efforts to do this means we all need to be singing from the same playbook—as it were. Keeping Lake Erie Alive: A Crash Course in Who’s Doing What in Canada About Algal Blooms and Your Water We’ve all seen pictures of the slimy green algal blooms in Lake Erie, and we know it’s affecting our drinking water.  We know nutrient pollution is a contributing factor and is threatening many of our precious Great Lakes. What is perhaps more confusing is what’s being done about it.  Lots of work is going on at the federal, provincial and municipal level, but it can be hard to keep track of it all!  If you share our curiosity, join us for a webinar on Wednesday, March 4th from 12:00pm - 1:30pm EST.  A series of presentations will provide a bird’s eye view of who is doing what on the Lake Erie algae issue. Speakers will include Susan Humphrey from Environment Canada (representing the Great Lakes Executive Committee Nutrients Annex Subcommittee); Cale Selby from the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs;  Kevin Money from the Essex Region Conservation Authority, and Jill Ryan from Freshwater Future (US).  Each presenter will share what their organization is doing about algae and nutrients in Lake Erie, as well as their thoughts about the role for community groups in addressing algae blooms and water quality.   Learn what these organizations are doing to reach out to communities, and join in a discussion about how your group could be part of the solution.  Register today to reserve your spot!

  • 2/25/2015 - Climate Change will make the algae problems on the Great Lakes worse. Be nice is local media highlighted this so public gets it. Because of warmer lake water over time, the accumulated harmful effects of dumping more nutrients into our lakes will be accelerated by Climate Change. This is to say we will never get a handle on our local lake algae problems if we don’t’ continually inform the public that bad algae blooms that make our drinking water unsafe and force us to close our beaches are part of the Climate Change issue. These dots are rarely, if ever, connected in local mainstream media. Groups Call for Healthy Lake Erie Free from Harmful Algal Blooms The Great Lakes Commission, an interstate agency with representatives appointed by the governors and premiers of all Great Lakes states and provinces, meets today in Washington, DC about six months after nearly 500,000 residents of the Toledo area faced a drinking water ban lasting more than two days because a massive toxic algal bloom made water from Lake Erie unsafe to drink. Even though the region is firmly in winter’s grip, spring is on its way and the same factors that lead to the toxic algal blooms each summer in western Lake Erie will return once again. Even more concerning: thanks to previous damage to the lake, the impacts of invasive zebra and quagga mussels that exacerbate pollution problems, and the effects of a changing climate, the nutrient problem will likely get worse if we do nothing. It is unacceptable that Lake Erie has been polluted so significantly that drinking water for approximately 11 million Americans and Canadians is at risk. Fortunately, this problem is not out of our control. It is preventable. (February 24, 2015) Sierra Club Michigan Chapter [more on Great Lakes and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/25/2015 - Another reason—no drop in propane costs for locals—why storing massive amounts of gas at Seneca Lake is wrongheaded. When you connect the dots with gas storage and our environment and fossil fuel and Climate Change and the wine industry and keeping our water safe, storing a lot (really a lot) of gas at Seneca Lake shorelines is a really, really bad idea. Seneca Lake’s Propane Export Scheme The promoters of the Seneca Lake Propane Bomb in a Partially Collapsed Salt Cavern have been telling locals that pumping millions of gallons of highly explosive propane into a partially collapsed salt cavern was going to dramatically lower their propane costs. In a word, frack no. Just the opposite of lower. Not only higher priced but none. No local propane.  Since propane if fungible, its price has not varied much in the US. Moreover. But since the US is now a net exporter of propane, the domestic price is likely to go up – as exports rise – and the price and local availability is gamed for profit. Since propane is worth more on the export market, not only will it go overseas, but local domestic deliveries can be curtailed, as they were last winter – which lead to a midwinter shortage of propane “for locals.”  Some of whom froze to death as a result.   Because it was more lucrative to export the propane than it was to sell it locally. So not only was propane much more expensive, in some places there was none available. Because it was on a ship off the Texas coast going bye bye. (February 20, 2015) NoFrackingWay [more on Seneca Lake and Fracking in our area]

  • 2/25/2015 - President Obama kills zombie XL pipeline again, GOP vows to bring it back to life, meanwhile Climate Change worsens. With a Climate Change denial GOP lead Congress thwarting our (meaning the world too) efforts to adapt and mitigate Climate Change and so at this critical year of 2015 we are diverted from actual addressing this worldwide crisis because of a US political pissing contest. Obama Vetoes Keystone XL Pipeline Bill, Defying GOP Defying the Republican-run Congress, President Barack Obama rejected a bill Tuesday to approve construction of the Keystone XL oil pipeline, wielding his veto power for only the third time in his presidency. Obama offered no indication of whether he'll eventually issue a permit for the pipeline, whose construction has become a flashpoint in the U.S. debate about environmental policy and climate change. Instead, Obama sought to reassert his authority to make the decision himself, rebuffing GOP lawmakers who will control both the House and Senate for the remainder of the president's term. (February 24, 2015) ABC News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/25/2015 - ACTION: Sign the letter to President Obama and send him a final message to reject the pipeline once and for all: http://350.org/unityletter/

  • 2/25/2015 - UN’s IPCC climate science panel provides humanity with critical Climate Change feedback. Let’s not screw that up and blind us to this worldwide crisis. Big questions loom for UN’s IPCC climate science panel Today the UN’s science panel, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), begins a week of soul searching in Nairobi, Kenya. The panel, set up in 1988, will be tackling the questions of a typical midlife crisis: what’s my purpose? Am I going about it in the right way? Does anyone really care about me? As government panels go, the IPCC is particularly introspective. Scientists release a new assessment report every six years or so, after which they consider in depth the successes and failures of the process and make suggestions for improvements. (February 24, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/24/2015 - Are Bomb Trains, pipeline leaks, radiation leaks, oil spills, and more warming our future? Or are we going to address Climate Change. Time passes. West Virginia Begins Investigating Massive Train Derailment The orange flames no longer burned bright in the snow-covered woods near Mount Carbon in West Virginia on Friday. But days after a massive train derailment in the small community, located about 30 miles from the state capital, smoke still smoldered from the enormous oil tank train cars lying perpendicular across the tracks. The accident forced more than 100 residents from their homes during an exceptionally cold winter and raised fears of toxic contamination in a state still reeling from a major chemical spill a year ago. The 109-car train was carrying more than three million gallons of Bakken oil from North Dakota when 27 cars derailed midday on Monday, February 16, near the Kanawha River. Residents of Mount Carbon, which has a population of some 400 people, told the media they witnessed fireballs; one house in nearby Boomer burned down and its owner, who managed to escape, was treated for possible injuries. River water tests have showed no signs of oil contamination, and the water authority has restored service after shutting water intakes from the river. On Thursday, officials told residents it was safe to drink water without boiling it, and by Friday morning, the last fires had gone out and the residents of all but five households had returned to their homes. (February 20, 2015) Newsweek [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/24/2015 - Is our DEC merely the lapdog of hunters and fishermen, or is their first priority our Wildlife? I know, this is very inconvenient… but it is really the DEC’s job to make fishing & hunting better? Or protect our Wildlife. Climate Change is going to seriously impact our Wildlife, but unless you speak up at these meetings about what our environmental protection agency is doing on that front, I suspect these meetings will not even mention Climate Change. What is the state of New York doing to protect and preserve our Wildlife, which play a vital role in our life support system, during Climate Change? Are we ready to install environmental corridors so that wildlife can relocate to cooler areas that they evolved with? What are we doing to reduce GHGs concentrations so that our fish, which evolved in frigid lake water can adapt to warmer lake and stream waters? These are questions that should have been asked and addressed decades ago. Will we have to continually restock our fish in our lakes because our fish cannot keep up with fishing and Climate Change? DEC Announces State of Lake Ontario Meetings Biologists to Update Status of Lake's Fisheries As part of Governor Cuomo's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative, the public will have the opportunity to learn about the State of Lake Ontario fisheries at public meetings in Monroe, Niagara, and Oswego counties in March, New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. "Lake Ontario anglers continue to experience outstanding fishing on Lake Ontario and its tributaries," Commissioner Martens said. "DEC's goal is to support the Governor's NY Open for Fishing and Hunting Initiative by growing Lake Ontario's high-quality angling opportunities and associated economic benefits. The State of Lake Ontario meetings provide an excellent opportunity for individuals interested in the lake to interact with the scientists who study its fisheries." Lake Ontario and its embayments and tributaries support thriving populations of fish, including a variety of trout and salmon, bass, walleye, yellow perch and panfish. New York's Lake Ontario waters comprise more than 2.7 million acres. A 2007 statewide angler survey estimated more than 2.6 million angler days were spent on Lake Ontario and major tributaries. The estimated value of these fisheries exceeded $112 million annually to the local New York economy. Monday, March 3, 2014: 7:00 p.m. - 9:30 p.m. at the Carlson Auditorium, in the Chester F. Carlson Center for Imaging Science building (76-1125) on the Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) campus, Rochester, Monroe County. The meeting is co-hosted by RIT and the Monroe County Fishery Advisory Board. (February 10, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)   [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 2/24/2015 - One of the best ways to find out about a warming Arctic that is pushing cold temps to Rochester is to get your ship stuck in the ice—and stay there.  Of course, don’t try this unless you know what you’re doing. It is amazing the lengths that scientists will go to find out what happens when our greenhouse gas emissions go up on a life support system that is billions of years old. Sure, the Arctic has melted before, but we weren’t around. 'This Is Really Extreme Science': Adrift in the Arctic Ice With a Shipload of Norwegians A Norwegian research vessel has locked itself in the shrinking ice cap to gather data needed to predict the cap's future—and that of the planet. R.V. LANCE, 82.6 Degrees North—Curious polar bears, venturing too close to working scientists, have had to be scared off with flares shot from a gun. Temperatures plunging 40 degrees below zero have snapped cables and crippled electronic instruments. But after six weeks of total darkness, the faintest daylight is finally reaching the frozen Arctic Ocean, where a Norwegian research vessel has been drifting through the polar night, tethered to a block of sea ice. Going with the floe is the whole idea. To better understand how sea ice behaves in the Arctic, scientists aboard the R.V. Lance have embarked on a six-month study, sponsored by the Norwegian Polar Institute (NPI), to closely monitor sea ice across its entire seasonal life cycle—from the time when the new ice forms in winter until it melts in early summer. Although Norwegians have a long history of polar exploration—in the coming months the Lance should cross the path of the illustrious Fram, the ship on which Fridtjof Nansen and his crew allowed themselves to be locked in the ice in 1893—this is still an unprecedented scientific expedition. (Read about the voyage of the Fram.) (February 23, 2015) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/24/2015 - Except issues surrounding the Seneca Lake gas storage is not simply wind industry vs. fossil fuel industry. There are many issues—public health, water safety, public safety, farming, tourism, roads—and, oh yeah, the mother of all issues—Climate Change. Building a major infrastructure for massive storage of fossil fuels, when we should be building massive infrastructure for more renewable energy, means renewable energy will get screwed—which is to say we and our environment will get screwed. Be nice if our local media could capture the full implications of this issues instead of two industries duking it out that seem only remotely connected to our lives and future. New York State Exposed: Project under review could impact Finger Lakes wine industry Should fuel be stored in the Finger Lakes region if it could put one the state’s biggest industries in jeopardy? The Finger Lakes wine industry brings in millions of dollars and creates thousands of jobs in the region but those businesses say a project currently under review by the state could destroy what they've built. (February 23, 2015) WHEC Rochester [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 2/24/2015 - I’ve been watching PBS’s and National Geographic’s program: “EARTH A New Wild takes a fresh look at humankind’s relationship to the planet.” (#EarthWildPBS) For me this series highlights the critical role that wildlife plays in our environment, our life support system, and how we had better learn how to live with wildlife better than we have recently. Wildlife ain’t just road kill and for harvesting. Wildlife are not pets; while they may seem indifferent to us and us to them, they make our environment work. A major part of adapting to Climate Change, which is rarely discussed at the local level is the need to help our wildlife adapt to a warming that is occurring far faster than our wildlife can adapt. They are going to need our help. In order to folks to appreciate the role of wildlife in our environment, we need to understand the role the play because as things become more dear, we are going to be asked to fork over a lot of resources (money and land and water) to preserving these vital parts of our environment. Because we haven’t been focusing on Wildlife, many creatures fate may already be in deep trouble.

  • 2/23/2015 - Rochester, or any other community for that matter, will not ‘lose’ on harsh winters if they plan for Climate Change properly. One of the consequence of Climate Change is that it is going to be hard to predict how our region’s weather is going to change year-to-year, though on the whole it will get warmer. Some years may get little snow and little cold (like the average since 1970) and others will get an extraordinary amount of snow and cold like this year. Our Climate is getting whacky because of Climate Change. If we begin messaging Climate Change in the media and government, the public will be more prepared and more likely to support more measures to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. If not, we will cope as best we can, until we can’t. Rochester faces subzero temperatures, and loses (February 15, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/23/2015 - Climate Change and transportation: At what point does humanity cut its losses on our present transportation system? Climate Change will produce more frequent weather extremes—freezing and thawing, floods, sea level rise, and heat—which will wreak bloody havoc on our present transportation system. It boggles one’s mind why any state would not be dramatically increasing the repair of their roads and bridges to not only maintain this system, but get it ready for what a warmer world would bring. So, those places that are mindlessly NOT maintaining our aging transportation structure are going to find themselves in major dilemma: Should they suddenly pour billions of dollars into a system that is going to be increasingly ravaged by Climate Change, or should they cut their losses and move to a system—active transportation, high speed rail, public transportation—that can better adapt to Climate Change? Here’s the dilemma: in order for the present transportation system to work it all has to work at the same time, where all our roads and bridges have to be maintained constantly to handle increasing traffic—even if much of that traffic is fuel efficient and electric vehicles. For those critics, who don’t want to spend public monies (their tax dollars) on maintaining our present transportation system, which already gobbles a lot of public money--that is absurd. We have a tiger by the tail with our transportation system. It either all works or it doesn’t and nobody but our government can keep this system in repair. If the public doesn’t want to spend their tax dollars on maintaining and adapting our present system, then they should tell their representative they want a different, better system that will adapt to Climate Change better. Choosing not to choose will be a freaking disaster. NY keeps spending more on ailing roads, bridges The Cuomo administration budget plan would further boost infrastructure spending  ALBANY — New York has steadily increased spending on highways and bridges over the past decade, including more federal funds in the past five years while that support lagged in most states, according to federal data analyzed by The Associated Press. Total state spending on its aging highway system rose from $6.6 billion in 2003 to $8.5 billion in 2013. That includes construction, maintenance, administration, bond payments, grants to municipalities, law enforcement and safety. That's up 29 percent over the decade, though only 2 percent when adjusting for inflation. Meanwhile, Federal Highway Trust Fund outlays to New York rose from $1.6 billion to $2 billion. That aid was up 21 percent for the decade and also up 11 percent the last five years compared with an overall national drop of 7.3 percent. (February 21, 2014) Greece Post [more on Transportation in our area]

  • 2/23/2015 - Rochester, NY like much of the world will see an increase in tropical diseases due to Climate Change. Be nice if local governments prepared the public for that. Except that at the city, county, and state levels our local governments don’t connect the dots with public health and Climate Change, unless you know to search for it on the state Department of Health--Climate, Weather & Health —as it is not listed on the front page. We are so not leading on Climate Change in New York State government level. WHO warns of climate impact on tropical disease spread  UN health body calls for more government funds to slow spread of malaria, dengue and other mosquito-borne viruses The World Health Organisation says billions of dollars are needed over the next two decades to slow the growth of diseases such as leishmaniases, dengue and chagas. In a report issued on Thursday it says incidences of these potentially fatal ailments – spread by mosquitoes or poor sanitary conditions – could accelerate as a result of climate change. Officials say US$2.1 billion is required every year from 2015-2030 to prevent and control 17 neglected tropical diseases, which already affect around one billion people in 149 countries. The additional investment would represent 0.1% of healthcare costs in affected countries over the next 15 years, says the study. “Some of the neglected tropical diseases are no longer strictly tropical,” said the WHO’s Dirk Engels. “The potential for spread provides yet another strong argument for making the needed investments.” (February 20, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change and Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/23/2015 - ‘Lie to me’. With a public who finds Climate Change inconvenient, a doubt-mongering strategy is very effective for deniers—and the public loses. At 2015, we have lost a lot of time of time for adapting and mitigating Climate Change because of those who will use every tactic they can to keep the rest from acting are preying on our need for stability and a way of life we are used to. ‘Lie to me’ is a Climate Change option for far too many citizens and they are using to this excuse for their not understanding the gravity of this crisis and not having to take action. But, unlike all other social problems, Climate Change is based on physics and if we continually to put more greenhouse gases into the atmosphere the place warms up—no matter how much we are lied to. Deeper Ties to Corporate Cash for Doubtful Climate Researcher For years, politicians wanting to block legislation on climate change have bolstered their arguments by pointing to the work of a handful of scientists who claim that greenhouse gases pose little risk to humanity. One of the names they invoke most often is Wei-Hock Soon, known as Willie, a scientist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center for Astrophysics who claims that variations in the sun’s energy can largely explain recent global warming. He has often appeared on conservative news programs, testified before Congress and in state capitals, and starred at conferences of people who deny the risks of global warming. But newly released documents show the extent to which Dr. Soon’s work has been tied to funding he received from corporate interests. (February 21, 2015) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/21/2015 - Our future in New York could be bright if we made a major shift to renewable energy now and ditched Climate Change aggravators, like fossil fuels. Technically, it’s doable, but are we ready? Renewable-energy roadshow headed for Geneseo "A Solar Home Companion," a renewable-energy roadshow conceived by award-winning filmmaker Josh Fox, comes to the State University College at Geneseo on Sunday, March 1. The Solutions Grassroots Tour "combines classic storytelling and great music with roll-up-your sleeves organizing to look at the impacts of fossil fuel development and provide a vision for developing renewable energy like no other event on the planet," according to promotional material. It is free and open to all, though reservations are recommended. As its name implies, the two-hour presentation is loosely modeled on the long-running public radio programA Prairie Home Companion. Zephyr Teachout, the Fordham University law professor who ran in New York's Democratic gubernatorial primary last year, will appear at the event. She was a strong advocate of renewable energy in her campaign. (February 20, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

  • 2/21/2015 - NYS is banning Fracking but it ain’t over. There’s road spreading, wastewater treatment, landfill disposal and more. The Facts about New York and Fracking Waste The extraction of natural gas using hydraulic fracturing (fracking) produces large amounts of liquid and solid waste that can contain a number of harmful pollutants, including salts (sometimes expressed as total dissolved solids or TDS); chemical additives, such as ethylene glycol, naphthalene, and sulfuric acid; metals; organic compounds; and other contaminants. These pollutants include chemical additives in fracking fluid, as well as naturally-occurring contaminants that exist thousands of feet below the surface and are mobilized by the extraction process and come up the well along with drilling muds (used as a lubricant during the drilling process), fracking fluids, and the gas itself. Fracking waste from extraction activities in the Marcellus Shale can also contain naturally-occurring radioactive materials (NORMs) such as radium-226 and radium-228. Riverkeeper

  • 2/21/2015 - Learn about how our weather and climate are changing in the Great Lake’s region due to Climate Change. "Free Course on Climate and Great Lakes Changing Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region, a free 4-week MOOC (Massive Open On-line Course) starts Monday, February 23! Guest speakers include U.S. National Weather Service (NWS) Director Louis Uccellini, WX Geeks host Marshall Shepherd, and University of Wisconsin-Madison Professors Cathy Middlecamp and Tracy Holloway. We'll also conduct expert interviews with NWS meteorologist Marcia Cronce, MMSD Executive Director Kevin Shafer, and UW researchers Maggie Grabow and Chris Kucharik. For more information and to register go to:  Changing Weather and Climate in the Great Lakes Region This 4-week course will feature a new season each week through short lectures and activities covering Great Lakes weather, observed changes in the climate, and societal impacts of climate change. University of Wisconsin-Madison, Massive Open Online Cources (MOOCs) 

  • 2/21/2015 - As the public is increasingly able to monitor the health of our environment, it’s going to be harder to lie to them and say that everything is OK. Everything is not OK. Take waste for example: Plastics and other wastes (like pharmaceuticals) don’t disappear down our drains. They accumulate in our life support system and create many problems. As we develop more ways of detecting our water, air, and land pollution and see for ourselves that everything is not well with our environment, the public is going to demand an accurate accounting. Previously, before the Internet and satellites, and the worldwide monitoring of changes due to Climate Change, we could fool ourselves that Nature was just taking care of us no matter what we did. That, of course, was absurd. Keep an eye on your city's pollution in real time And breathe… High-definition cameras are letting residents monitor the air pollution in their cities online, and in real time. The Breathe Project in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, worked with Carnegie Mellon University to create the Breathe Cam – four high-resolution cameras that capture haze and air pollution activity, along with software that visualises the data online. Up and running since December across Pittsburgh, the idea is that residents equipped with accurate information can lobby more effectively for companies and councils to stick to environmental guidelines. Developed by the CREATE Lab at CMU's Robotics Institute, the Breathe Cam snaps expansive panoramas of the city 24/7, which are available on the Breathe website alongside data taken from sensors on humidity, temperature and wind speed. (February 19, 2015) New Scientist [more on Air Quality in our area]

  • 2/21/2015 - When you have to test water in Oregon for possible water radiation from Japan’s Fukushima disaster, it’s time to really consider solar and wind. Those who still think that our use of dangerous energy—oil train bombs, oil spills, nuclear power radiation leaks—are just the price of progress, have not really thought this out. Continuing on a trajectory for dangerous energy options, when there are many alternatives that aren’t so dangerous—is a sign of maladaptation. Species that don’t adapt to change don’t get to live another day. Our environment comes first because it is our life support system and thinking that our environment should find a balance between our energy wants and the workings of our life support system is a view of the world with upside-down priorities. Regulators: Treat, release Fukushima water to sea International nuclear regulators warned this week that the growing amount of radioactive water at Japan's crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant remains a threat. In its report, the International Atomic Energy Agency again urged the plant's operator to treat the water to remove most of the radiation, then dump it in the sea. "The IAEA team is of the opinion that the present plan to store the treated contaminated water containing tritium in above ground tanks, with a capacity of 800,000 cubic meters, is at best a temporary measure," the group wrote. (February 19, 2015) Statesman Journal [more on Energy in our area]  

  • 2/21/2015 - Considering the effects of what we eat on our environment (our life support system) will have to be the new normal if we are to feed 9 billion by 2050—or maybe even 12 billion by 2100. Think of Earth, not just your stomach, panel advises The nation’s top nutritional panel is recommending for the first time that Americans consider the impact on the environment when they are choosing what to eat, a move that defied a warning from Congress and, if enacted, could discourage people from eating red meat. Members of Congress had sought in December to keep the group from even discussing the issue, asserting that while advising the government on federal dietary guidelines, the committee should steer clear of extraneous issues and stick to nutritional advice. But the panel’s findings, issued Thursday in the form of a 571-page report, recommended that Americans be kinder to the environment by eating more foods derived from plants and fewer foods that come from animals. Red meat is deemed particularly harmful because of, among other things, the amount of land and feed required in its production. (February 19, 2015) Washington Post [more on Food in our area]

  • 2/20/2015 - OK, Assembly Speaker Heastie, who created a working group to review NYS’s response to Climate Change, is a LEADER!  I submit that one of the ways to make sure that New York responds adequately to Climate Change is to dramatically increase public awareness of all aspects of our state’s attempts to mitigate and adapt to this worldwide crisis. Assembly Speaker Heastie Creates Group To Review NYS Response To Climate Change The speaker of the New York state Assembly has created a working group to review the state's response to climate change. Speaker Carl Heastie announced the formation of the panel on Thursday. It will consist of 10 lawmakers charged with examining possible ways to reduce greenhouse emissions as well as measures that could help the state prepare for future extreme weather. (February 20, 2015) WXXI News [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/20/2015 - The City of Rochester, NY’s “Single Stream Recycling Pilot Program”: the nitty gritties. Looks like I’m part of this new pilot program and I’ll be very interested in how it turns out. How do I know, I got a flyer from the City. Who is a part of this test program? There’s a document out there that covers this, but I cannot get a hold of it. And, I have my concerns: will the test subject actually do the right thing; will those who look for recyclable containers upset the carts and not put the other stuff back in; what will happen to the plan if we fail, even though the county has spent millions of sorting equipment? I know, I worry too much. [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 2/20/2015 - The slow progress deciding on Ontario Lake levels highlights the political difficulty of adapting to Climate Change locally. Clearly, allowing the lake’s level to be restored to healthier ecosystem level where wetlands flourish is more adaptive to more frequent extreme weather. But a relatively small number reject this because it potentially harms their shoreline property. The answer is not to allow the entire lake ecosystem to fail because of the few, but to help compensate the few who might feel the sting of the majority needs for a sustainable environment. Climate Change is going to require some very inconvenient and tough decisions, but not to make these decisions will be catastrophic. This issue also highlights that Climate Change discussions should not take part ‘behind closed doors’ but in public so everyone understands the ramifications of acting and not acting on Climate Change. Lake-level plan lacks top-level endorsements Lake Ontario may be nearly frozen over, but fevers still run high along the shoreline as folks continue to debate the merit of changing the way the lake's water levels are regulated. Many of New York's top elected leaders, however, are playing it cool. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the state's two United States Senators and U.S. Rep. Louise Slaughter have yet to take a position on the matter. Of the four other members of Congress whose districts touch the Lake Ontario shoreline or St. Lawrence River bank, one is opposed, one in favor and two are skeptical and want more study. Not exactly a tidal wave of support. (February 19, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/20/2015 - Friends don’t let their Friends get Fracked. New York State has banned Fracking, so should our friends in Michigan. Not only would Michigan end the endless fighting over environmental and public health, banning Fracking, a dangerous way of extracting fossil fuels, causes more extreme weather (like extreme cold waves from the warming Arctic) due to Climate Change. Michigan activists, local governments battle to regulate fracking LANSING — Across Michigan, citizen activists and environmental groups are working to prevent the expansion of the fracking industry, which they view as a threat to Michigan’s environment. Hydraulic fracturing, most commonly referred to as “fracking,” is a method used by energy producers to extract natural gas and oil from wells drilled thousands of feet beneath the earth’s surface. Environmental groups believe that the extraction of natural gas via fracking poses a significant threat to the environment. In the past year local governments have worked with environmental groups to pass ordinances that restrict the fracking industry’s ability to mine. (February 19, 2015) Great Lakes Echo [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 2/20/2015 - Everybody likes to talk about the weather, but not connect the dots with extreme weather and Climate Change.  This means we dither and don’t plan for more extreme weather and so allow our climate to warm beyond our ability to adapt to it. Melting Arctic And Weird Weather: Is Climate Change At Work Here? Everyone loves to talk about the weather, and this winter Mother Nature has served up a feast to chew on. Few parts of the US have been spared her wrath. Severe drought and abnormally warm conditions continue in the west, with the first-ever rain-free January in San Francisco; bitter cold hangs tough over the upper Midwest and Northeast; and New England is being buried by a seemingly endless string of snowy nor’easters. Yes, droughts, cold and snowstorms have happened before, but the persistence of this pattern over North America is starting to raise eyebrows. Is climate change at work here? Wavier jet stream One thing we do know is that the polar jet stream – a fast river of wind up where jets fly that circumnavigates the northern hemisphere – has been doing some odd things in recent years. (February 18, 2015) Science 2.0 [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/20/2015 - Increase in extreme cold and oil bomb trains are results of using ‘all of the above’ to solve Climate Change despite lack of connection with mainstream media. The colder it gets, the more fossil fuel we use, the more the fossil fuel industry drills, produces, and ships, then the more explosions, and the more the planet warms the Arctic, the more the extreme cold gets pushed our way, so the colder it gets… But mainstream media only focuses on the extreme weather and the explosions without connecting the dots. Mainstream media needs to adapt to Climate Change.  As Extreme Cold Engulfs Eastern U.S., Fossil Fuel Mishaps Leave Disaster Areas on Fire As extreme cold temperatures blast the eastern third of the United States, the fossil fuel industry has seen a series of disasters in less than a week. On Wednesday, an explosion at an ExxonMobil refinery south of Los Angeles rocked the surrounding area with the equivalent of a 1.4-magnitude earthquake. The blast in California happened as oil tank cars from a derailed train remained on fire Wednesday in West Virginia, two days after the accident. The derailment forced the evacuation of two towns and destroyed a house. The derailment in West Virginia happened just two days after another oil train derailment in Ontario, Canada, which also left rail cars burning for days. We are joined by Stephen Kretzmann, executive director of Oil Change International. "Climate policy and energy policy are not usually discussed together in this country," Kretzmann says. "Climate change means that we need to transition away from fossil fuels, sooner rather than later." (February 19, 2015) Democracy Now! [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/19/2015 - New normal of extreme weather caused by Climate Change is accompanied by new normal of increased extreme fossil fuels explosions caused by a craven desire to continue business as usual. Actually, fossil fuels explosions near energy sources don’t “come with the territory”, they only come when we continue to rely on fossil fuels in a time of warming. Wind farms and solar panels don’t blow up. We should be dramatically increasing renewable energy instead of having to get used to more violent fossil fuel explosions. What are we thinking? Time passes. Explosion Rips Through Torrance Refinery, Shakes South Bay Residents near the oil refinery said the ground shook and ash rained from above after the blast Hours after an explosion ripped through a Torrance refinery, residents for miles around continue to grapple with ash, a gas odor and concerns over poor air quality while inspectors confirmed that a filtration device was the source of the blast. A smoke advisory was issued for areas near the ExxonMobil refinery due to Wednesday morning's explosion and fire. (February 19, 2015) NBGLosAngelescom 

  • 2/19/2015 - "Squirrel Slam" killing huge amounts of squirrels for fun is not only pathetic but environmentally immoral, meaning immoral. Squirrels are Nature’s way of making leaves. Squirrels, even in our urban areas, bury and disperse tree seeds, trees produce leaves, leaves produce oxygen through photosynthesis, and we really need oxygen. We need trees. It’s hard to believe that at this point in our human evolution, that killing off large amounts of creatures that make our life support system work is considered not only a good idea, but fun. This says something about our specie’s development—not something good. At this point in time, Climate Change, which is warming our environment far faster than our wildlife can adapt, we should be planning for the future health of our wildlife, not finding fun ways to eliminate them. Judge to decide fate of "Squirrel Slam" Protesters are going to court to stop a fundraiser that involved hunting and killing hundreds of squirrels. The event called the "Hazzard County Squirrel Slam" raises money for the fire department in Holley, Orleans County. Those against this event say it clarifies the killing of animals. Yet instead of making an animal cruelty argument, the 75 page legal complaint says the issue is an environmental one. "It may affect the environment by affecting large quantities of vegetation or fauna (animals)," the complaint says. Hunters pay to be involved and can win cash prizes given out for the most or the heaviest squirrels. The fundraiser went on for six years without a problem until about two years ago when it became an internet sensation and that attracted protesters from around the country. (February 18, 2015) WHAM Rochester [more on Wildlife in our area] 

  • 2/19/2015 - Of course, you don’t have to be Catholic, or an Atheist, to understand not acting on Climate Change is immoral. Continuing on a business-as-usual trajectory that will cook future generations is immoral no matter what you believe. Catholics highlight moral imperative of climate action in 40 day fast  In a chain of one-day fasts sweeping the globe, Catholics will come together this Lent to raise awareness of climate change. Organised by the Global Catholic Climate Movement, the 40-day fast will begin in Peru and end up in Botswana, moving through 45 countries including Nigeria Japan, Mexico and Hungary. The Lenten-fast is part of the 365 day ‘Fast for the Climate’, running from the 1st December 2014 to the 30th November 2015 – when governments will meet in Paris for the next round of the UN climate talks. Jacqui Rémond, Executive Director of Catholic Earthcare Australia, a group joining the fast, said: (February 18, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/19/2015 - Watched GARBAGE WARRIOR A Film about Eco Architecture, sponsored by ColorBrightonGreen last evening. The film shows how we can build homes that don’t need energy, roads, waste removal, and fresh water infrastructure (at least in some places) but you’re going to have to fight city hall in order to have the freedom to experiment, the freedom to fail. Film series, like ColorBrightonGreen’s  SPEAKER/FILM SERIES, are an excellent way for local Environmentalists to educate the public. Bringing in local experts and documentary films that mainstream media and theater’s don’t or won’t make available to the public are vital to learning about Climate Change and other crucial environmental issues that don’t get the attention they deserve.

  • 2/19/2015 - No doubt about it, our oceans have been sucking up too much Global Warming and now they are sick. When they throw up that heat into our atmosphere, our atmosphere will make us sick of the heat. Ocean Acidification, Now Watchable in Real Time The depressing task of monitoring ocean acidification just got a little easier. A collection of scientists from Europe, the U.S. and India have developed a technique that could provide the first global and nearly real-time assessment of our rapidly acidifying seas. Their findings were published in the journal Environmental Science and Technology on Monday, showing how data from satellites that measure salinity and other ocean conditions could be combined to produce a whole new way of monitoring acidification. Currently, scientists rely on ship, buoys, floats and lab tests to track the data and although these disparate pieces can construct a baseline of acidification, there are gaps in coverage. (February 17, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/18/2015 - Although Rochester’s efforts under the New Energy Plan “to encourage community-wide energy savings by promoting more efficient buildings, less driving and more solar panels.” These measures are not enough. Rochester must lead on Climate Change. The energy plan also says this: “These include reduced operating costs, a healthier, safer and more livable community, natural resource conservation and restoration, and mitigating and adapting to climate change.” It’s hard to be a leader on mitigating and adapting to Climate Change if you don’t mention it. And why isn’t local media connecting the dots between our use of energy and the worldwide crisis of Climate Change?  The Plan: Rochester’s Energy Plan | Rochester energy plan pushes community-wide efficiency The city of Rochester intends to reduce its own energy use in coming years, and to encourage community-wide energy savings by promoting more efficient buildings, less driving and more solar panels. Officials hope the city’s energy plan, released Tuesday, will bring about a 20 percent reduction in city government’s consumption by 2020 and a similar reduction in citywide energy consumption by 2030. Rochester’s plan and parallel documents for Buffalo, Syracuse, Albany and Yonkers were developed in conjunction with the New York Power Authority. The state will fund energy-manager positions at all five cities, and is sponsoring a competition between the cities for $20 million to pay for advanced energy projects. (February 17, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/18/2015 - One of the more craven talking points by pro-fossil fuel folks is blaming Environmentalists for these fiery oil train explosions. The reasoning goes something like, “Because environmentalists are blocking building pipe lines for moving fossil fuels, the fossil fuels industry has to resort to moving this dangerous stuff by rail, though your towns, with a great risk to life for a long time coming. They say, ‘Don’t blame the fossil fuel industry for blocking renewable energy efforts, instead blame the environmentalist who try and shift our energy options to sustainable options.’ The worldwide crisis of Climate Change requires that the public educate themselves on the issues involved in energy and warming, so that they are not swayed by craven, ruthless, and downright incorrect talking points to further the fossil fuel industry’s agenda, and no regard for our future. Fiery Oil Train Derailment in West Virginia Involves Newer Tank Cars Another train carrying crude oil has derailed in the United States—this one erupting in flames in West Virginia. Yet it involved newer and supposedly tougher tank cars than are typically used in the rail industry, which is now facing stricter U.S. and Canadian safety rules. More than 100 tank cars derailed Monday in a snowstorm in Mount Carbon, W.V., causing fires that continued to burn Tuesday. The accident threatened the local water supply and prompted the evacuation of hundreds of families. Officials are testing the water to determine if any of the oil, hauled from the Bakken shale fields in North Dakota, seeped into a tributary of the Kanawha River. (February 17, 2015) National Geographic [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/18/2015 - Mayor of Rochester should mention “Climate Change” when publicizing Rochester’s Energy Plan, as the plan includes, “These include reduced operating costs, a healthier, safer and more livable community, natural resource conservation and restoration, and mitigating and adapting to climate change.” It’s hard to be a leader on mitigating and adapting to Climate Change if you don’t mention it. And why isn’t local media connecting the dots between our use of energy and the worldwide crisis of Climate Change?  Rochester Competes For State Funding For Energy Projects Governor Cuomo has announced funding for a new energy competition that will award up to $20 million for innovative energy projects in five upstate cities including Rochester.  Cuomo talked about the plan in his State of the State message.  It's part of a $35 million, five-year program spearheaded by the New York Power Authority. Under the plan, a state-funded energy manager position will be created for each city: Rochester, Syracuse, Buffalo, Albany and Yonkers. Officials say this "five cities energy plan" could save some of New York's largest municipalities up to $400 million annually in energy costs. (February 17, 2015) WXXI News [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/18/2015 - What can we do about Climate Change? From Bill Nye, “… just talk about it.” It is strange that in 2015 and COP21 coming up, we won’t even say it here in Rochester. Not talking about Climate Change won’t make it go away; it will just become impossible to deal with. Bill Nye to MSNBC: Please Just Say the Words ‘Climate Change’ Now and Then In a promo this past week, Fox News mockingly promised to explain “Why global warming isn’t stopping the snow falling.” But Bill Nye “the Science Guy” thinks all TV news — not just Fox — could do more to bring the issue of climate change into its everyday coverage, including when it’s cold outside. “Why should we care that it is cold in the winter?” MSNBC’s Joy Reid said Monday after a report on freezing weather hitting a large portion of the country this week. “Well, for one thing the unusual nature of some of the temperatures does raise, or should raise questions about climate change.” Joining her, Nye warned, “Let’s not confuse or interchange climate change with global warming,” noting that when the climate changes, “some places get colder.” (February 16, 2015) Mediaite [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/17/2015 - There’s a hole in governmental funding big enough for a flood of Asian Carp to swim into our Great Lakes. We don’t know entirely how this rapidly multiplying invasive species will affect the Great Lakes ecology, but it looks like we are going to find out. Big budget for fighting Asian carp is downsized President Barack Obama's budget includes millions of dollars to defend the Great Lakes against Asian carp, including funds to finish a long-standing third electric barrier near Chicago and to monitor the spread of the voracious species across the upper Midwest. But more than a year after the release of an exhaustive report on additional, potentially more effective options to help ensure Asian carp in the Mississippi River basin stay out of the Great Lakes, environmentalists are voicing concerns that little funding is being aimed at any of those proposals. It leaves in doubt the financial commitment the U.S. government is willing to make for long- and short-term alternatives outlined in last year's 232-page Great Lakes and Mississippi River Interbasin Study which, if funded, could better defend against a threat to aquatic habitat throughout the region. (February 16, 2015) Detroit Free Press [more on Invasive Species and the Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/17/2015 - One of the dirty little secrets about Climate Change is that major national security threats are baked into the worldwide warming. As Climate Change causes more Climate Disruption every nation’s military forces will not have the luxury of avoiding the consequences. Climate change looms large in national security forecasts  With the impacts of climate change hitting the world hard, leaders from around the globe are taking a second look at how global warming is contributing to national security threats. On the first day of the climate change talks in Geneva, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius warned that the stakes of the ongoing negotiations are high, with world security on the line. After listing the impacts of climate change that are leaving scars on communities the world over, Fabius pivoted to the foreign policy implications of global warming. (February 11, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/17/2015 - The COP21 Paris Climate treaty is an unprecedented opportunity to deal with the myriad issues inherent in Climate Change but too many will try to do too little. We must protect our food security, for example, in warmer world but the tendency for world leaders in the developed nations that caused Climate Change will be to do as little as possible at Paris. We still have time to change leader’s attitudes by December, attitudes that will make our environment more sustainable, not their business-as-usual attitudes. Unmissable opportunity to build food security and reduce GHGs at Paris COP Following December's climate change meeting in Lima, countries are working on identifying their national contributions to mitigation and adaptation for submission at the end of March. These will form the basis of a new climate deal to be agreed in Paris at the end of this year. But with no formal arrangement for addressing agriculture within the negotiations, we could miss a key opportunity to mitigate greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions while enhancing food and nutritional security. (February 12, 2015) International Institute for Environment and Development (iied) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/17/2015 - Why would any country, let alone the US, allow untested harmful chemicals into our products and ultimately into our environment?  Have we become so bullied by the ideology that what’s good for our corporations is good for our bodies and our environment that we cannot see the absurdity of this assumption? Untested chemicals are everywhere, thanks to a 39-year-old US law. Will the Senate finally act? Many chemicals that are restricted or banned in Europe remain in use – and in some cases, untested – in the US, thanks to federal regulations that haven’t been updated since 1976. A new bill to overhaul the law is expected this spring While the Keystone XL pipeline and power plant carbon regulations are grabbing headlines, another environmental battle is brewing in the month-old 114th US Congress over the future of the Toxic Substances Control Act. The federal law, also known as TSCA, regulates chemicals that Americans encounter daily in electronics, furniture, clothing, toys, building materials, cleaning and personal care products, and much more. It was enacted in 1976, and – in spite of the introduction of thousands of new chemicals, as well as enormous progress in the understanding of chemicals’ environmental and health impacts – hasn’t been updated since then. While the law has helped reduce use of some of the most hazardous chemicals – polychlorinated biphenyls and lead, for example – it also has made it extremely difficult to take many other potentially dangerous chemicals off the market. (February 13, 2015) The Guardian [more on Environmental Health in our area]

  • 2/16/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: Why don’t NYs know about 2 major changes in energy infrastructure? Ans: Media sucks. In a time of Climate Change when our energy use has a dramatic effect on our ability to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change everyone in New York State should be aware of the Gas Storage issue on the shores of Seneca Lake and the new proposal to change our state’s energy grid-- Reforming the Energy Vision" (REV). Why aren’t these two energy issues in all our local mainstream media headlines? When is our media going to change so that it reflects the warming world we are not living on? Watch Bill Maher go after mainstream media: Maher Uses Williams Fiasco To Excoriate Broadcast Media For Not Doing Their Jobs | New York holds two meetings that sum up state's energy debate New York State is in the middle of dramatic changes to its energy system. Anoverhaul of its electric grid is moving forward. And intense opposition meets every new infrastructure project proposed by the fossil fuel industry. Two public events in the Southern Tier yesterday illustrate the slow move toward a new energy system. First, an old energy project – a proposal to build a Liquefied Petroleum Gas storage facility on the western shore of Seneca Lake. It’s prompted fierce opposition from groups like Gas Free Seneca, the Finger Lakes Wine Business Coalition and Seneca Lake Pure Waters Association. During a hearing on Thursday, the first issue raised was dubbed community character. It’s the idea that a project like this, with its reliance on the fossil fuel industry, 18-wheel trucks and potential for pollution into Seneca Lake, goes against the values of its neighbors. (February 11, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/16/2015 - Must Go To Event: “Zephyr Teachout and Josh Fox in person presenting: “A SOLAR HOME COMPANION”  March 1, 2015 at 7:00 pm, The Buffalo History Museum, Lightly parodying NPR/Garrison Keillor’s popular “A Prairie Home Companion”, the show is like an old fashioned variety show, with music, stories, film sequences, and Americana, but with a new twist:  this show teaches its audience how to go renewable and how to organize for a sustainable future. Free and Open to the Public Seating is limited. Make your reservation here:” This program is being sponsored in Buffalo by: Sierra Club Niagara Group; UB School of Architecture and Planning, WNY Environmental Alliance; and others."

  • 2/16/2015 - ACTION: This is why submitting your environmental video to Fast Forward Film Festival by 2/27 matters. To enter your 5-minute video go here now. Mainstream media sucks. Become the media. Watch Bill go after mainstream media: Maher Uses Williams Fiasco To Excoriate Broadcast Media For Not Doing Their Jobs (February 14, 2015) Crooks and Liars.

  • 2/16/2015 - You live in or around Rochester NY and you want to act on Climate Change, like Citizens' Climate Lobby - Rochester, NY Facebook. Citizens’ Climate Lobby (CCL) is a non-profit, non-partisan, grassroots advocacy organization focused on national policies to address climate change.

  • 2/16/2015 - There’s no Fracking good reason to Frack because it is a fossil fuel and it will always present a threat to our climate and our public health, but that will never stop efforts to resume Fracking as long as many see it as the salvation of our absurd economic system.  Our addiction to fossil fuel is killing us and yet we still cannot stop. Though we have banned Fracking in New York, we must be forever vigilant. Germany moves to legalise fracking Four-year moratorium on shale drills set to be overturned as country initiates process to allow regulated hydraulic fracturing for shale gas  Germany has proposed a draft law that would allow commercial shale gas fracking at depths of over 3,000 metres, overturning a de facto moratorium that has been in place since the start of the decade. A new six-person expert panel would also be empowered to allow fracks at shallower levels Shale gas industry groups welcomed the proposal for its potential to crack open the German shale gas market, but it has sparked outrage among environmentalists who view it as the thin edge of a fossil fuel wedge. (February 14, 2015) The Guardian [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 2/14/2015 - My area of Rochester, NY is part of the New Single Stream Pilot Recycling Program and I await my big totes. Because a single stream recycling system doesn’t really increase recycling without the big totes, I wonder what will happen at the end of the test period. Will the City and county just drop the program and not give out any more big totes, even though the county has spent millions in the machinery needed to sort and pick up the new totes? In other words, this new system needs to work. And ‘we the people’ need to make it work. This quote from the Mayor Warren should wake folks up “the city might save money in reduced landfill fees” This is code for ‘if you want to help keep taxes down, start mega recycling so your stuff doesn’t have to be landfilled’. But the larger issue is that we want to protect our environment and one of the best ways to do that and address Climate Change (read “Stop Trashing the Climate”) is to shift our waste stream so we don’t create any waste. From cradle-to-cradle, from the mining of resources, to making our products, to the energy used to make them, the delivery of them, our using of them, and how they are reused and recycling makes a big difference to our environment, which is to say our life support system. Having been chairperson of the Rochester Sierra Club’s Zero Waste Committee for several years, I can say that many, many folks in our region understand how important a role they can play in our region’s environment by recycling properly—something all resident and business in our area can and should do. City pilot program expected to boost recycling rate Four thousand Rochester residences will be given big wheeled toters into which occupants can toss all recyclable materials for curbside pickup under a city pilot program that should increase the recycling rate. They will be the first in Monroe County to be able to take full advantage of what's known as single-stream recycling. Single stream, which is new here but common in other communities, usually leads to a marked increase in the recycling rate. "It's exciting news," Rochester Mayor Lovely Warren said as she announced the pilot program at a news conference Friday morning. "Single stream is yet another way that we are becoming an innovative city, making recycling easy and delivering services in a cost effective way." (February 13, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Recycling in our area]

  • 2/14/2015 - NASA study: If we don’t bring down GHGs in a dramatic way, our droughts will get dramatic indeed. But, of course, Climate Change is more about droughts. One study and one aspect of Climate Change do not make a mother of all problems make. Some of the consequences of Climate Change, like mega droughts, can be predicted, but there are many consequences to Climate Change that we may never be able to predict with any clarity, not because warming has never occurred on Earth before, but because there has never been so many people, never so much of our infrastructure, and never so many other environmental pollution before. We are in new territory and we cannot respond in the same way. NASA Study Finds Carbon Emissions Could Dramatically Increase Risk of U.S. Megadroughts Droughts in the U.S. Southwest and Central Plains during the last half of this century could be drier and longer than drought conditions seen in those regions in the last 1,000 years, according to a new NASA study. (February 12, 2015) National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA)  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/13/2015 - How does local media dismiss Climate Change? Here’s a perfect example: “You know that "heat wave" that overtook the Rochester area on Wednesday? Yeah, well, forget about it.” This is code for ‘How can there be Climate Change when it’s freaking freezing outside in Rochester, NY? Local media should be explaining how there can still be frigid weather in localized areas even as the global temperature are rising—making 2014 the hottest year ever in human history. It is irresponsible for mainstream local media not be to baking in Climate Change (as a warmer Arctic pushes its colder temperatures into our region) into every report. Climate Change is about planning. If the public is continually bombarded by bad local news coverage on Climate Change the public will not support the changes needed to our public health, our various infrastructures (from more frequent extreme weather events) and much more. This article at this point in time (where immediate planning ahead for our future is demanded) is negligent. Potentially dangerous wind chill coming, snow continues You know that "heat wave" that overtook the Rochester area on Wednesday? Yeah, well, forget about it. The arctic weather system that is powering toward western New York will make Wednesday's high temperature of 32 degrees feel like a balmy spring day. The National Weather Service in Buffalo has issued a wind chill advisory for Monroe County that goes into effect early Thursday evening and will continue through late Friday morning. (February 12, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/13/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: What should we tackle first Climate Change or Plastic Bags? Ans: Both immediately! It’ hard to believe that before 1960 there wasn’t a single freaking plastic bag anywhere and now they’re an integral part of our life support system—but not in a good way. Plastic bags littering our life support system is like you shopping for food and eating both the contents and the packaging at the same time. It’s going to be very hard to prioritize our choices during Climate Change because we have to solve the warming problem, the consequences of that, and everything else we doing to trash our environment at the same time. Study: World dumps 8.8 million tons of plastics into oceans Each year about 8.8 million tons of plastic ends up in the world oceans, a quantity much higher than previous estimates, according to a new study that tracked marine debris from its source. That’s the equivalent of five grocery bags full of plastic debris dotting each foot of coastline around the world, said study lead author Jenna Jambeck, an environment engineering professor at the University of Georgia. And if the biggest polluters, mostly developing Asian countries, don’t clean up how they throw stuff away, Jambeck projects that by 2025 the total accumulated plastic trash in the oceans will reach around 170 million tons. That’s based on population trends and continued waste management disposal problems, although there may be some early signs of change, she said. (February 12, 2015) Washington Post [more on Recycling in our area] 

  • 2/13/2015 - DEC’s ‘Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs’ program should expand state-wide to adapt to and mitigate Climate Change. According to Climate Change studies our state is going to be severely challenged by warming waters and more frequent extreme flooding. This DEC program is a great way to keep our river ecology cool, keep our fish cool, lower the chances that our river banks will erode in floods, and help mitigate Climate Change—because more trees are always a good Climate Change strategy. Planting more trees everywhere, including your private property, which is part of our life support system, will cool streams down for fish life that evolved in our cold waters and trees do sequester carbon—as long as you leave them in the ground. So, I would encourage the DEC it expand this program statewide as one of the best ways New York address Climate Change.  Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs Replanting the Streams of the Hudson Valley Estuary Program staff and volunteers install a tree shelter Hudson Estuary Trees for Tribs (tribs as in tributaries) program engages volunteers in restioring thousands of feet of streamside buffer through native trees and shrubplanting. The program offers land owners with free native trees and shrubs for qualifying riparian buffer planting/restoration projects. Trees for Tribs staff may also be able to assist with plant selection, designing a planting plan, and other technical support to improve the odds of success for projects. Riparian (streamside) buffers are a major component to maintaining healthy streams and waters and their conservation is a critical element of any holistic watershed program. Riparian areas are often severely damaged during the land development process, leading to unintended negative impacts to our streams and rivers. Composed of trees, shrubs and grasses, these buffers help to reduce pollution entering waterways by slowing down and filtering runoff, thus extending retention time and improving water quality. Buffers also help to reduce flooding and erosion by stabilizing shorelines and absorbing high velocity flows. In addition, they serve an important role for wildlife as a shoreline transition zone and travel corridor, not to mention increasing overall biodiversity and improving in-stream health. To learn more about riparian buffers, read the Stream Buffers Fact Sheet (PDF) (240 KB) and use the Links Leaving DEC's Website on the right side of this page. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)  [More on Climate Change and Plants and Wildlife in our area]

  • 2/13/2015 - 2°C (or 3.6°F) goal for COP21 is very ambitious but even that it’s not enough: new goal would complement that. The battle to solve Climate Change politically (what we are willing to do) vs. science (what we have to do) cannot be achieved by consensus.  It would be like saying in order to get a plane off the ground we would need to balance the procedures of aeronautics with those who believe in telekinesis. That would be absurd. If the scientific characterization of Climate Change doesn’t prevail, we are screwed. New Global Warming Goal Is Goal of Talks For five years, United Nations climate negotiators and onlookers have been focused on one big-ticket objective: Preventing the planet from heating up by more than 2°C, or 3.6°F. That’s a convoluted goal, though. Not all the extra energy that’s trapped on Earth by greenhouse gases manifests as warmth at its surface; most of it heats up the oceans. If current trends continue, scientists say we would blow past the 2°C target within a few decades — but the modeling required to make that projection produces substantial uncertainty. One of the main issues under negotiation during U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change talks in Geneva this week is a potential new global climate target — something more tangible for policy makers than the 2°C goal, with progress that’s easier to track. (February 12, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/13/2015 - Climate Change includes Global Warming but on a local level in our incredibly complex climate system risks will vary. In the Rochester, NY region, for example, there are many Real Changes going on in our region right now that are not what over regions are experiencing. And in the near future the Likely Changes are not what other places will be facing. But the trajectory for all of us is a warmer planet—that’s if we survive the local variations. Climate Change is about planning and we should be doing that on a massive scale. One way to do that is to shift our New York State present fossil fuel power grid to a greener power grid. You still can make comment on "Reforming the Energy Vision" (REV) and learn more here: What's REV Why Does It Matter IPCC scientists call for focus on regional climate risks  Data on geography of rising temperatures is not getting through to adaptation specialists, warn co-chairs  From heatwaves and wildfires in Australia to flooding in India, climate change affects different parts of the world in different ways. In the last round of reports from the UN’s climate science body, physical scientists produced an atlas of regional temperature and rainfall projections. But this has been underused in efforts to prepare for the impacts and threats of climate change around the globe, the top authors say. Ahead of a key meeting on the future of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) in Nairobi this month, they are pushing for a heightened focus on localised risks. (February 13, 2015) Responding To Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/13/2014 - Nineteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution, giving women the right to vote, was a major step in acquiring all of the publics’ most cherished right. Here’s what happens when you don’t practice that right. Powerful folks who care more about their whacky ideology and self-interest rule over your rights, especially your right to be protected from clear and present danger. The Climate Change debate is over; inaction will be catastrophic. Senators Debate Whether Climate Change Is Real At EPA Carbon Rule Hearing Given the chance to speak face-to-face with an Environmental Protection Agency assistant administrator about the agency’s much-debated Clean Power Plan, there are many questions a lawmaker could ask. If, say, a state decided to replace some of its coal-fired plants with natural gas and renewables, how would the EPA make sure that coal miners won’t be out of a job? Or, if the plan results in less coal use across the country, how will the EPA ensure the reliability of the U.S. electricity system? Exactly how much flexibility will states be given while creating their own plans to meet the greenhouse gas emission reductions goals the EPA has set out for them? Does the plan give states enough time to comply?  (February 11, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/12/2015 - Thanks to NYS Senator Rich Funke for giving Rochester a chance to speak on New York State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) public hearing. Now that the specter of Fracking is over, with New York State ban, we need to shift quickly to what we should have been talking about six years ago—how to move to a more responsible energy system as Climate Change takes hold.  Lots of folks talked last night about Climate Change and the need for all kinds of renewable energy option for our state.  The NYPSC were going to pass us by, but Senator Funke (who spoke eloquently at the meeting) suggested that they make a pit stop here. If you couldn’t make it to last evenings meeting, you still can make comment on and learn more here: What's REV Why Does It Matter? FUNKE SECURES PUBLIC SERVICE COMMISSION HEARING FOR THE ROCHESTER AREA Senator led local Senate Delegation in calling on the NYPSC to correct an oversight omitting Rochester in its public hearing schedule; Local hearing to be held February 11 Senator Rich Funke today announced the Rochester area will host a New York State Public Service Commission (NYPSC) public hearing as the result of a joint effort advanced by Monroe County’s Senate Delegation. The hearing, part of the NYPSC’s “Reforming the Energy Vision” (REV) initiative, will allow residents to make their voices heard on important changes to New York’s energy regulations that will impact local ratepayers, taxpayers, and jobs. (January 30, 2015) New York State Senator Rich Funke (R) 55th Senate District

  • 2/12/2015 - I know, it’s the dead of winter here in NY, but still you want your kids happy this summer and learning about growing up to be environmental stewards. The next generation of kids will not be treating our life support system as an externality and they need training on that. Registration Now Open for DEC 2015 Summer Camp Program New This Year: Camps Run from Sunday to Friday The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) is now accepting online applications for its 68th Annual Summer Camp Program, DEC Commissioner Joe Martens announced today. The 2015 camp season begins June 28. "DEC's environmental education camps have a long tradition of inspiring the next generation of environmental stewards," said Commissioner Martens. "Outdoor recreation and education experiences help campers develop an interest in science, learning and skills that will last a lifetime. I am always gratified when I speak with a student whose career choice was inspired at a DEC camp." Parents may register campers only through DEC's convenient, online registration system and pay by credit card, e-check or with a sponsor code. Fees for the 2015 camp season remain $350 per one-week session per camper.Camp dates and a link to the online registration system are posted on DEC's website. Families without internet access should call the camp office at 518-402-8014 for information on how to register for camp alternatively. (January 22, 2015) New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC)

  • 2/12/2015 - Ok NY, now that we have our attention back after its having been hijacked for 6 Fracking years, let’s talk microgrids. Let’s talk (and get lots of funding) for an energy system that is more resilient to power disruptions due to increase in frequent extreme weather events (code for Climate Change) and quickly pivot towards an energy system that doesn’t add to Climate Change woes. RFP 3044 NY Prize Community Grid Competition The New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), in partnership with the Governor’s Office of Storm Recovery (GOSR) announce the availability of up to $40,000,000, under the three-stage NY Prize Community Grid Competition (NY Prize), to support the development of community microgrids. The objective of NY Prize is to promote the design and build of community grids that improve local electrical distribution system performance and resiliency in both a normal operating configuration as well as during times of electrical grid outages. NY Prize objectives include empowering community leaders, encouraging broad private and public sector participation including local distribution utilities, local governments and third parties, protecting vulnerable populations and providing tools to build a cleaner more reliable energy system. New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA) [More on Energy in our area]

  • 2/12/2015 - What did you do on the road to COP21 - United Nations Conference on Climate Change? Your grandchildren will ask.

  • 2/12/2015 - Rochester, NY local news headlines are consumed with sports so you probably don’t know about UN climate talks in Geneva.  It’s important to follow the route to COP21 Paris Climate Conference where the fate of humanity (and all other living beings for that matter) will be decided. Daily Tck: Day four of the UN climate talks in Geneva Negotiations pivot to structure of new climate agreement, touching on crux issues Search for consensus on how to streamline ‘Geneva’ text continues As public interest in speeding clean energy transition swells, fossil fuel industry offers strange rebuke Thursday agenda to include pre-2020 climate action Blaise Pascal, a French philosopher and mathematician from the 1600’s, once famously opened a letter explaining ‘I have made this longer than usual because I have not had time to make it shorter.’ His logic could explain why government negotiators more/less arrived at their Geneva session goal of agreeing a draft negotiating treaty in less time than many expected. Putting a long list of ideas and options on a page is not difficult. Additional progress, on cutting and consolidating those ideas and options, is proving much harder to grasp. Negotiations stayed fairly abstract throughout Wednesday, with the merits of different approaches to streamlining the now 80+ page draft text featuring prominently. (February 12, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/12/2015 - Valentine’s Day a day to breakup with our love of fossil fuels on Global Divestment Day. Breaking Up With Fossil Fuels is Easy to Do Yesterday, a Big Oil PR group released this cartoon video as an attack against Global Divestment Day. The Environmental Policy Alliance is a front group for Big Oil that pushes out specious and inaccurate opposition research on individuals and organizations who fight climate change. The group is led by Rick Berman, who was taped by the New York Times as saying in a talk to oil executives that “you have to play dirty to win.” After we watched it we laughed, then we laughed some more – then we had an idea. Aaron Packard, our Oceania Region Coordinator, used his own narration skills to do a remix of the video. *UPDATE* Looks like Big Oil didn’t like our parody and made YouTube take it down, but you can still listen to Aaron’s narration here – if Big Oil was honest, this is what they would actually say: 350.org

  • 2/12/2015 - Ready to ramp up your Actions to protect our life support system? Check out new Action Switchboard (@ASdotnet) ACTION SWITCHBOARD "THE ACTION SWITCHBOARD IS A PLATFORM THAT HELPS ACTIVISTS FIND EACH OTHER, COME UP WITH DIRECT ACTION IDEAS, AND GET THE RESOURCES THEY NEED TO PULL THEM OFF. Sometimes we need mass protests to make our point. We love that kind of activism, and it’s important. But we can’t all get out in the streets together every single day. Ongoing, sustained creative actions are vital for keeping movements strong in between the big moments when we take to the streets. That's exactly why we built the Action Switchboard."

  • 2/12/2015 - February 13 and 14 is Global Divestment Day where we stop our addiction to global threatening fossil fuels. Divestment Day Aims to Strengthen Global Reach of Fossil-Free Movement So far an estimated 200 institutions worldwide, with combined investment assets of more than $50 billion, have committed to divest The fast-growing fossil fuel divestment movement is marshalling forces for this week's Global Divestment Day—an event organizers hope will strengthen the crusade's reach around the world and prove that it's "a force to be reckoned with." Fossil Free, which has sister groups in Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand,  said divestment day will feature a day-long series of actions on Feb. 13 in the U.S. (which will be Feb. 14 in some regions). So far, the schedule includes 326 events spread across six continents and 48 countries, including flash-mobs, street theater, elaborate props, sit-ins, vigils, dancing, a huge parade of bicycles, social media blitzes and more. (February 9, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2015 - ACTION: Tap your inner Spielberg. Deadline for your 5-min chance to Become the Media! on Rochester’s environment at FFFF on 2/27, 2015 Final Call for Entries! Don’t miss this unique opportunity to frame our local environmental issues, like how Climate Change will affect us, by making a short film, which is easy-peasy but the deadline is almost here. Lean more: Fast Forward Film Festival | Getting Ready for the Fast Forward Film Festival  Rochester's newest film festival is almost here. We speak with the project director of the Fast Forward Film Festival about how you can get your work on the big screen. (February 10, 2015) FOX Rochester

  • 2/11/2015 - ACTION: Been wondering how your group can help our environment? Help monitor our Water Quality by being Citizen Scientists. “Citizen Science is a vital fast-growing field in which scientific investigations are conducted by volunteers.” Learn more, get training, get equipment, get started. EPA Region 2 Citizen Science |  Equipment Loan Program [PDF 437 KB, 5 pp] Apply for the Region 2 Citizen Science equipment Loan Program [PDF 318 KB, 2 pp] Citizen Science is a vital fast-growing field in which scientific investigations are conducted by volunteers.  Individuals and community groups have long collected data to better understand their local environment and address issues of concern to them.  Over the past decade, there has been an explosion of citizen science projects as tools have advanced and people have become more empowered.  These projects have been remarkably successful in expanding scientific knowledge, raising people’s awareness of their environment, and leveraging change. EPA Region 2 [more on Water Quality in our area]

  • 2/11/2015 - Curtailing COP21 treaty because it won’t achieve 2°C (3.6°F) is like not sending a rescue boat to a sinking ship because of room limitations. There will be a zillion excuses from individuals, communities, politicians, governments, corporations, and groups to NOT attempt to make the COP21 Paris Climate treaty a success because it would be very inconvenient. And now the realization that even with the great inconveniences that will be caused by shifting quickly to renewable energy, and building an adequate Climate Green Fund, and conservation efforts worldwide won’t keep us to the 2C of greenhouse gases rise since pre-industrial rates won’t be enough to avert future catastrophes is not a reason not to have a successful treaty. COP21 must be seen as a real start. Many will do anything to stop “to achieve a legally binding and universal agreement on climate, from all the nations of the world” Wikpedia. But there’s nothing else besides a lot of promises. Only a binding treaty will get us moving on actions that will actually begin the process of bringing down our GHG emission levels and adapting to the quick warming already baked into our atmosphere from decades of inaction. We had better stop with the excuses and start with the actions. Time passes. Paris Talks Won’t Achieve 2°C Goal: Does That Matter? Officials involved with United Nations climate talks have been warning that the next pact, which will be negotiated in December in Paris, won’t alone hold global warming to less than 2°C, or 3.6°F. Those warnings have triggered renewed concern for the future of the planet as negotiators meet this week in Geneva, Switzerland, for a round of lower-profile talks. Slate described the cautionary words — made separately by EU climate negotiator Miguel Arias Canete and U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change executive secretary Christiana Figueres — as “heartbreaking.” The Guardian characterized the statementsas a downgrading of expectations. Figueres’s renewed warnings prompted Grist to ponder whether there’s “any point” to the negotiations process. Dismay is understandable. When negotiators agreed in Copenhagen in 2009 to “reduce global emissions so as to hold the increase in global temperature below 2°C,” it was because an Earth hotter than that was considered unacceptably dangerous. (The planet’s surface has warmed about 0.85°C (1.5°F) since 1880, worsening floodsstorms and deadly heat waves.) The 2°C target has since become a keystone goal of the negotiations. (February 10, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/11/2015 - Today’s questions boys and girls: How does soil respond to Climate Change? Ans: We better find out. Not only how plants grow in a soil affected by Climate Change is important, but we also need to know how soil itself (i.e., not just the stuff it breaks down and grows) is affected by worldwide rapid warming. Some of the those effects won’t just be simply warming, but having to endure more flooding and erosion, and less snowpack (which is a protective blanket during winter)  and more back-and-forth freezing, which is predicted by Climate Change. In other words, we know precious little about how one of the most important parts of our life support system is going to be affected by Climate Change and we haven’t a clue as to how to technically decompose deal material. Some ecosystem services (a horrible self-serving phrase that characterizes soil and other environmental processes as having nothing better to do than fulfill our whims) that our environment provides are not systems we can reproduce—probably ever. A 23-year experiment finds surprising global warming impacts already underway Some ecosystems are absorbing less carbon, which could amplify global warming A new paper published in Global Change Biology summarizes the results of a 23-year experiment monitoring how global warming is impacting certain ecosystems. At the Rocky Mountain Biological Laboratory, the scientists have monitored ten 30-square meter plots of meadowland since 1989. Above five of those plots, overhead infrared radiators have been on constantly since January 1991, while the other five were used as the controls for comparison. The study reports, The microclimatic effect of experimental heating throughout the growing season has been to warm the top 15 cm of soil by ~2 °C and dry it by 10–20% (gravimetric basis) during the growing season, and to prolong the snow-free season at each end by an average of ~2 weeks. (February 9, 2015) The Guardian  [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/10/2015 - “Scientists are having trouble convincing the public that people are changing the climate.” Because the public is playing dumb. It’s not that the public (especially the developed nations’ public) don’t understand what the scientist are saying. The public is playing dumb because it’s more convenient to play dumb and pretend it isn’t happening. The public in the developed nations get to play dumb because they aren’t getting nailed with their island nation disappearing because of sea level rise. Playing dumb is what some adolescence due when they don’t want to take responsibility for their actions, so they shrug their shoulders and say, “I don’t know.” Earth's Dashboard Is Flashing Red—Are Enough People Listening? As scientists and much of the public differ on the causes of climate change, the planet keeps getting warmer … and the effects are adding up. Scientists are having trouble convincing the public that people are changing the climate. A Pew Research Center survey, released last week as part of a broader report on science and society, found that only 50 percent of Americans believe that humans are mostly responsible for climate change, while 87 percent of scientists accept this view. This 37-point gap persists even though thousands of scientists during the past few decades have been involved in publishing detailed reports linking climate change to carbon emissions. Evidence of a human role in climate change keeps piling up. Recent studies of record-breaking temperatures, rising sea levels, and high levels of heat-trapping carbon dioxide in the atmosphere all point to an Earth under stress from a rapidly expanding human presence. (February 2, 2015) National Geographic [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/10/2015 - Fracking industry is not allowed to shit in New York, but they can shit in Pennsylvania and then flush their shit in New York. When is a ban on Fracking only a half-assed ban? When you don’t stop the whole Fracking mess. New York Banned Fracking, but 460,000 Tons of Fracking Waste Have Been Dumped There Environmental Advocates asked the DEC to issue an emergency rulemaking to consider oil and gas as hazardous waste. While an attempt to keep fracking waste out of the state was tried for before, will it work this time around? New York’s ban on fracking hasn’t been enough to completely shield the state from its public health and environmental risks, a prominent state environment group charged on Friday. In a report titled “License to Dump,” the group Environmental Advocates of New York (EANY) accused seven state landfills of accepting potentially hazardous waste from Pennsylvania’s fracked oil and gas wells. Using information obtained from the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, the group said at least 460,000 tons of solid drilling waste — which can contain heavy metals, chemicals, and naturally occurring radioactive material — have been dumped in those landfills since 2010. “These are highly radioactive wastes. They are notoriously toxic,” report author Liz Moran told ThinkProgress. “And to just be accepting them in our landfills without knowing for sure that the public is going to be safe, it’s just irresponsible.” (February 7, 2015) Nation of Change [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 2/10/2015 - The stop at Geneva this week is to create a "more streamlined, concise, manageable and negotiable text." for COP21. And clean up the mess they left in Lima at the COP20, not move the mess further. Climate Talks in Geneva Open to 'Urgency' Pleas, Muted Expectations Modest but challenging goal of week-long talks is to produce a more "manageable and negotiable text" to form the basis of a new climate treaty. With muted expectations for immediate progress but an increasing sense of urgency, United Nations negotiators convened Sunday in Geneva for aweek of talks aimed at reaching a broad climate treaty by the end of this year. The goal this week seems modest. It is to untangle the unwieldy documents produced in Lima, Peru in December, by the parties to the U.N. Framework Convention on Climate Change. The maze-like roadmap to Paris they agreed on was full of forked paths and culs-de-sac. (February 9, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2015 - The issue is not about white deer; the issue is about land conservation and keeping our over-developed land sustainable.  White deer (and white tigers for that matter) are unique group of animals based on a recessive gene that would usually not survive in the wild because they stand out in the wild like a green thumb. White deer would be spotted easily by predators and hunters; while tigers (though great zoo attractions) find it hard to stalk their prey without being seen, which is how these top predators operate. We should save the former Seneca Army Depot land not because of the white deer, but because there is precious little left for our life support system to operate in such a way where we can thrive. We should not be putting a lot of our conservation efforts in saving colorful variations of animals, while attractive to us, spell doom for the species if this recessive trait were to become dominant. Our priorities on saving wildlife should be ranked according to their role in maintaining our life support system, not how fantastic they look to us.  As Climate Change makes protecting wildlife more dear, we are going to have to choose carefully those species that are critical to our life support system and those that are not, based on our increasingly limited resources. What will come of the Seneca Army Depot white deer? In the debate between preservation and development at the former Army depot, a notable herd of white deer is caught in the middle  Ghost deer. Nuclear weapons storage. The nearly 11,000 acres of Finger Lakes wilderness that was impounded in 1941, fenced off and tightly guarded for some five decades as a military readiness compound is now the center of a controversy over its future.   On one side of the debate over the former Seneca Army Depot: A campaign for the site’s transformation into a wildlife and education center. On the other side: A push for economic development.   The Army closed the former depot in 2002 and kept a skeletal staff to oversee environmental cleanup of sections of the property in the Seneca County towns of Romulus and Varick. Now, with cleanup nearly done, the Army plans to vacate the site by January 2016. Unless the property is bought in the meantime, it will lie in the hands of the Seneca County Industrial Development Agency. (February 8, 2015) Henrietta Post [more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 2/09/2015 - Informative newsletter with lots of environmental info and events from our friends over at Pachamama Rochester: The Pachamama Alliance February 2015 Newsletter "Building a critical mass of committed global citizens… to create a human presence on the planet that is environmentally sustainable, spiritually fulfilling, and socially just.” PACHAMAMA OF GREATER ROCHESTER

  • 2/09/2015 - By 2045, because of Climate Change and the present transportation trajectory, everyday will be Thanksgiving. But not in a good way. It is quite likely our present transportation system is unsustainable, which is to say it’s making Climate Change worse and the system itself (due to more frequent extreme weather and the lack of initiative to spend the money to update it and make it more resilient so it can accommodate different modes (think active transportation ((walking and bicycling)) we will have to cut our losses at some point and shift to something sustainable. This is a critical point about Climate Change: if we don’t plan for Climate Change we are going to continue to pour public dollars into systems that aren’t feasible on a quickly warming planet. DEPARTMENT OF TRANSPORTATION SAYS THE FUTURE OF TRANSIT LOOKS PRETTY BLEAK This week, the Department of Transportation released Beyond Traffic, a report the agency describes as a 'draft framework' for the future of transportation here in the United States. And as it stands, our future lookspretty bleak. In the forward to the report, the authors write: "Beyond Traffic reveals that, if we don’t change, in 2045, the transportation system that powered our rise as a nation will instead slow us down. Transit systems will be so backed up that riders will wonder not just when they will get to work, but if they will get there at all. At the airports, and on the highway, every day will be like Thanksgiving is today." The study itself is over 300 pages long, looking into the current state of transportation and the outlook for the next 30 years. In an accompanying (and much shorter) slideshow packed with infographics, the DOT outlines some of the takeaways from the study, which are pretty disheartening in their condensed form. The United States' transportation infrastructure earns a D+ from the authors, who cite poor or aging roads, bridges, and locks, devices that help transport boats between bodies of water with different water levels. (February 5, 2015) Popular Science [more on Transportation and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/09/2015 - Thanks to the powerful climate deniers even when US President says Climate Change is a clear and present danger, it’s politicalized. It is the height of absurdity and extreme recklessness for the coal industry to come out and say that the President is wrecking their business by belaboring the obvious threat that the disruptions caused by burning more fossil fuels is a national security risk. We’ve entered a world where the making of a dollar is more important than our continued existence. Time passes. Obama: Climate Change a Growing National Security Threat Global warming poses one of the greatest dangers to the U.S. and its allies, the administration says. Rising seas, worsening droughts, melting Arctic ice and extreme weather events rank among the most potent threats to U.S. national security, alongside violent extremism, cyberattacks and Russian aggression, according to a national security strategy released by the Obama administration Friday. “At home and abroad, we are taking concerted action to confront the dangers posed by climate change and to strengthen our energy security,” the document says, declaring climate change “an urgent and growing threat to our national security.” Energy security and reliable access to electricity – both for the U.S. and its allies – were also named key imperatives. (February 6, 2015) U.S. News and World Report [more on Climate Change in our area] 

  • 2/07/2015 - The Rochester People's Climate Coalition HAS moved forward and they are awesome Rochester People's Climate Coalition moves ahead Climate activism and action appear to be ramping up in the Rochester area, which is a very good thing. The City of Rochester is putting together a comprehensive plan to reduce its impact on climate change,governments and local businesses are leading by example on renewable energy, and new advocacy and activism groups are forming. One of those groups is Mothers Out Front, which City recently profiled. Another is the Rochester People's Climate Coalition; the group organized a local delegation to go the People's Climate March in New York City in September. But the coalition, which includes more than 30 organizations, plans to continue on. And this week it's holding its inaugural meeting. (February 3, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/07/2015 - A bike share program in Rochester, NY IS feasible (and BTW it can lower your carbon footprints on our transportation system.) Even if you wouldn’t ride a bike in Rochester as a transportation option for all the tea in China, many WILL do that. And because our present transportation system accounts for 27% of greenhouse gas emissions, it would really help if everyone in the Rochester area (and the whole world for that matter) got behind this effort to increase active transportation (walking and bicycling). Rochester Area Bike Share Feasibly Study The findings for the Rochester Area Bike Share Program are out! Bike share has been found to be FEASIBLE for the Greater Rochester Area! The report recommends a four-phase, 1,000 bike system for Rochester, and satellite systems in Brockport, East Rochester, Fairport, Pittsford and the RIT Campus. The report also recommends satellite systems in activity centers in the Towns of Brighton and Greece, and the City of Canandaigua. Check out the Executive Summary of the report here. {more on Transportation in our area]

  • 2/07/2015 - DEC tells groups concerned about dumping radioactive fracking waste in our landfills not to worry their pretty little heads. What could possibly go wrong with trucking massive amounts of radioactive waste (which includes undisclosed Fracking chemicals) into our landfills that never leak and never fill up and always eventually break down everything in them to really nice stuff we can reuse at a later time. Landfills are these really magical places that will accept any kind of waste you can think of and make it go away so we can create as much waste as we want and never give it another thought.  Please. Groups urge DEC to toughen frack waste disposal rules from Pa. drill sites Critics of natural gas hydrofracking called on the state Thursday to toughen rules that allow fracking companies in Pennsylvania to send low-level radioactive fracking waste for disposal at up to seven landfills in central New York. A report by Environmental Advocates of New York, relying on public records from Pennsylvania, found the landfills between 2010 and 2014 took about 460,000 tons of solid waste — ground-up, naturally radioactive rock brought to the surface by drilling — and 724,000 gallons of liquid waste. Liz Moran, water and natural resources associate for the Albany-based environmental group, said, "Despite knowing the public health concerns, the Department of Environmental Conservation enables New York landfills to accept Pennsylvania's fracking waste with little oversight. If fracking isn't safe for New Yorkers, then waste from other states' fracking operations isn't safe for New Yorkers either." DEC immediately rebuked the report as "inaccurate, misleading and irresponsible." The agency said fears of risk from radioactivity were overblown, adding that levels in the drilled rocks, called cuttings, were small and "not considered harmful." (February 5, 2015) Albany Times Union [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 2/07/2015 - Doesn’t look like a massive increase in Seneca Lake gas storage is going over well with local wine industry and tourism. Farmers, Chefs, Winemakers, Bartenders, & Restaurant Owners Protest Seneca Lake Gas Storage Watkins Glen, NY – Wearing coveralls, kitchen aprons, chef’s hats, and bee-keeper veils, luminaries in the Finger Lakes food and farming industry staged a protest banquet in the form of an al fresco feast at the gates of Crestwood on Route 14, two miles north of Watkins Glen. All together, more than 60 Finger Lakes food luminaries—and their supporters—rallied outside of the compressor station as part of an ongoing civil disobedience campaign called “We Are Seneca Lake.” Setting up banquet tables along the snowy roadside, the protesters served a midday protest brunch that featured meatballs, frittatas, saurkraut, artisanal bread, popcorn, salads, cheeses, and desserts that were prepared from local, seasonal ingredients. During toasts and speeches, protesters said their intent was to raise awareness among local residents, media and legislators about the new threat that gas storage—and the massive industrialization that accompanies it—will pose to the culinary bounty of the Finger Lakes. By coming to the gates of natural gas compressor station with dishes to pass that represent the Finger Lakes region, their food business, their farm or their restaurant, protesters said that they are literally bringing to life the essence of their region and what is at stake here. (January 30, 2015) Wine Industry Network [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 2/07/2015 - As we dump the consequences of Climate Change onto our children, I’m sure they’ll find this excuse very comforting: ‘We’re so sorry, but our emotions got the best of us and we couldn’t focus on the science.’ Emotions, not science, rule U.S. climate change debate: study Despite a scientific consensus that human activity is causing the planet to warm up, ingrained attitudes among Americans mean policy changes on global warming are unlikely, academics said in a new study. Improving dialogue between believers and skeptics on the importance of human activity for climate change is the best way to foster consensus among ordinary people, according to the study published in the journal Nature Climate Change. "Strategies for building support for (climate) mitigation policies should go beyond attempts to improve the public's understanding of science," Ana-Maria Bliuc, a professor at Australia's Monash University who co-wrote the study, said in a statement. Instead, scientists who want action on global warming should try to change the relationship between believers and deniers, said Bliuc, a social and political psychologist. (February 5, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/07/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: What would happen if a BP Oil Spill happened in the Arctic? Ans: A Shit Storm. Drilling in the Arctic now that it was warmed because of Climate Change is so incredibly insane as to be… well, insane. We shouldn’t be drilling on land, or off-shore, or anywhere else for that matter for more fossil fuels in a time of rapid warming. But to drill in a place that is many factors more difficult and dangerous than the Gulf of Mexico and the consequences far more catastrophic, it’s just amazing that we don’t stop drilling for oil and gas in the Arctic. This article about finding the ‘missing oil’ years after the BP Oil Spill must make it plain to all that our addiction to fossil fuels is going to be the death of us. 'Missing Oil' from 2010 BP Spill Found on Gulf Seafloor Up to 10 million gallons (38 million liters) of crude oil from the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill has settled at the bottom of the Gulf of Mexico, where it is threatening wildlife and marine ecosystems, according to a new study. The finding helps solve the mystery of where the "missing" oil from the spill landed. Its location had eluded both the U.S. government and BP cleanup crews after the April 2010 disaster that caused about 200 million gallons (757 million liters) of crude oil to leak into the Gulf. (February 6, 2015) Live Science

  • 2/07/2015 - The lack of knowledge about the effects of Climate Change on lobsters does not seem to be comforting Maine fishermen at all. One of the great mysteries about climate deniers and others who don’t take Climate Change seriously is that there is still quite a bit of knowledge we do not have about the consequences of our climate warming so quickly. The lack of knowledge about something as profound and pervasive as our weather and climate should not be comforting to anyone, least of all a bastion of hope that Climate Change is just a hoax. The increasing acidification of our oceans because of Climate Change is a great big knowledge gap we need to fill. I suspect that if lobsters cannot overcome the ocean’s increased acidification, there is no way to save them. This would be a tipping point. Maine Report Warns Of ‘Urgent’ Need To Address Ocean Acidification Maine will soon need to make “hard decisions” on what to do to protect its rapidly acidifying waters, according to a new report. The report, released Thursday by a commission charged with studying the impacts ocean acidification has on Maine’s marine environment creatures — including lucrative lobsters and other crustaceans — states that, for Maine and its seafood industry, addressing ocean acidification is an “urgent” matter. After reviewing the scientific literature on ocean acidification, the panel, which contained marine scientists, state lawmakers, a fisherman, members of an environmental group, and others, said that Maine — and the U.S. in general — needed more research on ocean acidification and its impacts. “Perhaps the most alarming of the commission’s findings is how much we do not know about ocean acidification and how it will affect Maine’s commercially important species, including the iconic lobster,” the report’s authors write. (February 6, 2015) Think Progress/Climate Progress [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/06/2015 - Today’s question boys and girls: Why drill down and sideways into our bedrock to bring up radioactive Fracking Waste? Ans: No good reason at all. Really, we cannot just move to renewable energy, it’s that horrible that we’ll put up with Fracking and Fracking wastewater—which New York is freaking landfilling, even though we have banned Fracking? Why do we continue to exhaust all the bad possible ways of getting energy before we decide (as we must) to go with clean energy? Humans, ya gotta laugh. OK, so how come fracking wastewater is radioactive? Filmmaker Josh Kurz and The Allegheny Front's Reid Frazier created this explainer about why the wastewater created during fracking for oil and natural gas—flowback—is radioactive. And just where does that dirty, salty waste water go? It's fracking amazing. The subject of fracking and radioactivity has been a topic of concern for the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection. The agency just completed a two-year study that found fracking in the Marcellus Shale had "little potential" to expose workers or the public to unhealthy levels of radiation. The report did find "potential radiological environmental impacts" at waste treatment facilities, from frack wastewater spills, and waste "cakes". It recommended further study of these. (February 5, 2015) Innovation Trail [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 2/06/2015 - A great monthly newsletter, with many events and information about our local environment. Penfield Green Initative February 2015 E-newsletter From our friends over at PENFIELD GREEN INITIATIVE Planning Committee, The voice for Penfield’s environmental assets!

  • 2/06/2015 - Breaking: Rochester, NY forms a Climate Change umbrella group: Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC). With the support of 38 groups, the RPCC is building from the success of September’s People Climate March, “The Rochester People’s Climate Coalition addresses the urgent need to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and prepare for the impacts of global warming. Together we will create a more environmentally just and sustainable society for all.” Here are the goals of the RPCC: “1. Build a major force for change that will influence legislators to pass meaningful climate action laws. 2. Educate the general public about man-made global warming and mobilize them for direct action. 3. Encourage local leaders to take steps to prepare our region for the future effects of Climate Change (e.g. update transportation and utilities infrastructure) 4. Leverage our collective power to encourage local media to improve their coverage of climate-related issues. The first big endeavor of the RPCC will be make Earth Week in Rochester in April (18th – 23rd) with events built around Dr. Hansen’s two-day visit. World renowned climate scientist and activist and author, Dr. Hansen has agreed to speak the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s Earth Day forum. If you are anywhere near Rochester, NY, you could have the privilege of hearing former NASA scientist and Climate Change expert Dr. James Hansen speak at our local Sierra Club's annual environmental forum, to be held at Monroe Community College. Various other events at other local venues will be included that day, and also Monday April 20th. See his TED talk here: https://lnkd.in/dgSc2Uq . More details to come. Join RPCC Facebook. If your organization would like to join, learn more: http://peoplesclimate.org/westernny/

  • 2/06/2015 - Actually, you don’t even have to be a climate scientist to understand that the Keystone XL pipeline would worsen climate change. A child can understand that throwing up 10 billion extra tons of Keystone XL Pipeline oil emissions into our atmosphere would be ‘significant’ and condemn us to unadaptable warming—especially at a time when we should be lowering our greenhouse gas emissions. We are already way over the freaking limit, so in what way would the pipeline be sensible? Botched Again: EPA Tells State Department to Redo Its Keystone Analysis Environmentalists say the EPA memo effectively tells Obama that the pipeline fails his climate test and paves the way for final rejection. The Environmental Protection Agency has called on the State Department to reconsider a key finding that led its Keystone XL review team to suggest that the pipeline wouldn't worsen climate change. The EPA said the recent sharp decline in oil prices makes it more likely that the project would significantly increase emissions of greenhouse gases. In a memo filed Tuesday as President Obama's decision on the Keystone seemed to be drawing near, the EPA challenged the year-old environmental review's assertion that with oil prices relatively high, no single pipeline would significantly affect tar sands production or greenhouse gas emissions. The EPA said that finding "was based in large part on projections of the global price of oil"—projections made a year ago that have not held up. (February 3, 2015) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/05/2015 - You’re a student or newcomer to Rochester, NY and you’re interested in a green career. Go here: Living Green or Green Business. I often get asked by students or someone coming into this area where can they find a green job or what kinds of things can they do to help our environment and get the credentials they need for a green career. The two pages—Living Green and Green Business—have exhaustive information for you to check out. Also, internships are critical for students. . I suggest you think of an internship with New York State Some local college students are already going to intern with NYSERDA. Try the DEC for internships.  Any of these would be invaluable. And, most importantly connect with the folks who do have green careers and want to help you in any way to get going green at these monthly casual meeting:   February Green Drinks Thur, Feb 19: 5:30-7:30pm Lento 274 N Goodman St Opportunity to meet Students, Alumni, Community Members, Green Business Industry Business Owners, Entrepreneurs & Educators.   Food & Cash Bar provided by Lento.  Sponsored by SUNY Empire State College, Neighborhood of the Arts Business Association, Center for Environmental Initiatives & Upstate Green Business Network   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. www.alumni.esc.edu/events/ 

  • 2/05/2015 - ACTION: Today’s question boys and girls: What’s missing from the DEC attempt to save wildlife in NYS? Ans: Climate Change. What astounds me about our collective reaction to Climate Change is what we know and what little we are doing to respond to it. One of the things we are not doing is preparing all wildlife (and plants for that matter, and well, us too) for the rapid warming of our climate. Our state’s wildlife took eons to adapt to the conditions that existed, mostly stable, for the last 10,000 years and now that stability is over. If Climate Change is not heavy baked into the DEC’s plans to save our wildlife, it is delusional because wildlife is not going to be able to move though our infrastructures (think highways) to adapt unless we plan. And this plan by the DEC doesn’t even mention Climate Change. Make comment on this draft and mention Climate Change. DEC Extends Public Comment Period on Revisions to List of Species of Greatest Conservation Need until March 9 The public comment period for the draft Species of Greatest Conservation Need (SGCN) list is extended for an additional 30 days until March 9, the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) announced today. DEC collaborated with numerous species experts and conservation partners to develop revisions to the Species of Greatest Conservation Need list, as part of an update to the State Wildlife Action Plan (SWAP). The SWAP identifies species that need conservation action to maintain their abundance and distribution in New York, threats to these species and management actions that will be undertaken in the next 10 years to conserve these designated species and their habitats. The draft final list contains 372 SGCN, half of which are considered high priority for conservation action in the near term. SGCN are species that are declining or are at risk due to identified threats, such as loss of habitat, and conservation actions are appropriate to stabilize their populations in New York. An additional 111 species were categorized as Species of Potential Conservation Need (SPCN). SPCN are species that have poorly-known population status and trends in New York and will need further research or surveys to determine their conservation status. (February 4, 2015) The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) (more on Wildlife in our area]

  • 2/05/2015 - Fixing up Rochester’s infrastructure can be done so sustainably: “Environmental Justice—Brownfield, Open Space, Parks, Recreation, etc” Project Green - Phase I Strategic Residential Unit Reduction Nomination Process The City of Rochester is proposing to develop and manage a citywide green-infrastructure initiative that acquires, assembles, and reuses abandoned and vacant properties. The goal is the establishment and funding of a multi-purpose land-bank program that strategically decommissions surplus public infrastructure, acquires abandoned properties (e.g., tax-delinquent or seriously blighted sites), and relocates households within identified areas for the program. The long-term goal is to reduce the housing inventory city-wide by 3,000 dwelling units through a strategic clearance of structures in order to re-establish a functioning housing market. The purpose of that land-bank would be to control and coordinate future redevelopment for: Economic Development—Industrial, Manufacturing, & Commercial Community Development—Housing Environmental Justice—Brownfield, Open Space, Parks, Recreation, etc. Private Dispositions—For-Profit, Not-For-Profit, Individuals Long Term Green Infrastructure Development and Management City of Rochester, NY

  • 2/05/2015 - Even the leaders of the largest businesses around the world are calling others to COMMIT to 2C and make COP21 in Paris this December a success. Individuals, businesses, and governments have to take bold actions to make COP21, perhaps our last chance to mitigate humanity’s GHG emissions, work. The window of opportunity is closing. Time passes. B Team Leaders Call for Net-Zero Greenhouse-Gas Emissions by 2050 Geneva, 5th February, 2015 – Today, Leaders of The B Team running some of the world’s largest companies, called upon world leaders to commit to a global goal of net-zero greenhouse-gas (GHG) emissions by 2050 – and urged business leaders to match this ambition by committing to bold long-term targets. The B Team’s ambition builds on recent talks at the COP20 climate summit in Lima, and is grounded on an assessment of the latest scientific research, business risks and the economic costs of failing to keep within the 2°C threshold. Government leaders are set to hold climate talks at COP21 in Paris this December to negotiate a global agreement, with advance negotiations beginning in Geneva next week. The December meeting will be a defining point in human history, with high hopes of an ambitious agreement to replace the Kyoto Protocol and limit mean temperature increases to 2°C. (February 5, 2015) The B Team [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/04/2015 - So yeah, 10 billion extra tons of Keystone XL Pipeline oil emissions tossed into our atmosphere would be ‘significant’ and condemn us to unadaptable warming. Why would anyone even consider building this pipeline that would dramatically increase GHG emission when we are at a time when our GHG emission need to come down? EPA: Keystone XL to Emit 1 Billion Extra Tons of GHGs The energy it will take to process Canadian tar sands oil and pipe it through the proposed Keystone XL Pipeline is so great that it will lead to about 1.3 billion more tons of greenhouse gas emissions over the pipeline’s 50-year lifespan than if the pipeline were carrying conventional crude. That’s the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s conclusion in its Feb. 2 comments to the U.S. State Department, which gave federal agencies until Monday to comment about whether  Keystone XL is in the natural interest. If built, the pipeline would send about 800,000 barrels of Canadian tar sands oil per day to refineries in Texas. (February 3, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/04/2015 - Everyone in the Rochester region of the Finger Lakes should be engaged in this issue at Seneca Lake. It’s our Finger Lakes environment too. You really had to be at this rally to see how this march dominated Geneva for a few hours and how many expert speakers talked about the need to stop this massive (billons) of tons of explosive fossil fuel storage in our region.  More at We Are Seneca Lake and Gas Free Seneca.  Pressure mounts to halt storage permit near Seneca Lake Newly-formed coalition is among those opposed to allowing natural gas and propane storage facilities in former salt mines along Seneca Lake  As the state moves into what could be the final stage in permitting liquid propane gas storage in former salt mines along Seneca Lake, those against the plan are stepping up efforts to stop it. Next week the state Department of Environmental Conservation holds an “issues conference,” which determines if the DEC will pursue further investigation of citizens’ concerns on the proposal's environment effects. “This is the endgame,” said Doug Couchon, a key organizer of the “We Are Seneca Lake” group opposed to the plan. Couchon, who lives in Elmira, was a speaker at a rally Saturday in Geneva dubbed We Are Seneca Lake, Too.  (February 4, 2015) Brighton-Pittsford Post [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 2/04/2015 - If you give a rat’s ass about our Environment, one of the great features of the Internet is the increasing ability to monitor our life support system. I suspect as the Internet grows and our computing ability get more sophisticated, we (meaning the general public) are going to be able to watch (monitor) the health of our environment by putting data into useful visuals. Once we all start getting comprehensible feedback on what’s going on with our life support system, more of us will get actively engaged in protecting it. It’s the future. New website finds Great Lakes data in minutes Environmental data on the Great Lakes region that used to take months to find can now be found in minutes, thanks to the Great Lakes Monitoring website. This website, created by the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant and the National Center for Supercomputing Applications, provides viewers with decades of nutrient, contaminant and water data. Universities and government agencies provide the information. “The idea was basically trying to improve access to the EPA Great Lakes National Program office monitoring data,” said Paris Collingsworth, ecosystem specialist for the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant. “The project of developing this web page has been going on for around 3 years.” (February 3, 2015) Great Lakes Echo [more on the Great Lakes in our area]

  • 2/04/2015 - ACTIONHow we Rochesterians get and use electricity is how we address Climate Change. Commenting here is crucial. There are many opportunities for Rochester-area folks to help address Climate Change but few chances to lower greenhouse gases on a level and speed that will actually make a difference. This is that opportunity. Don’t sit this one out. Help move our electricity generation from fossil fuel and nuke-based to renewable energy like wind and solar. We need to plan ahead properly for a warmer climate and become part of the solution. “The event begins at 6 p.m. with an hour-long public information session to provide background on the PSC initiative. The formal hearing, at which public statements may be made, begins at 7 p.m. Both take place in the City Council chambers on the third floor of City Hall, 30 Church St.” [Learn more about the Reforming the Energy Vision (REV)] Rochester to host hearing on changes to electric system The public will be able to comment on possible changes to electric generation, delivery and cost in New York at a Feb. 11 hearing in Rochester. The information meeting and hearing, to be held at Rochester City Hall, focuses on the Public Service Commission's Reforming the Energy Vision initiative. The initiative, as described in several jargon-heavy statements released by the commission, is driven by technological improvements that are arriving as the existing electricity distribution network is aging and extreme weather events are putting more pressure on that system. The initiative would seek to promote and integrate smaller electricity generators, such as renewable solar and wind installations, to provide stability and flexibility. It also would seek to make greater use of demand response programs, which provide incentives to electric users to consume less during times of peak demand and more during off-hours. (February 3, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Energy in our area]

  • 2/04/2015 - The success of the “UN’s Green Climate Fund, which will help poor countries to prepare for climate change and reduce their emissions” is critical to a successful COP21 Paris Climate Change treaty in December, which is critical for humanity to mitigate (stop) further GHG emissions from destroying our future. I know, this all sounds very apocalyptic to someone who hasn’t been paying attention to this worldwide crisis. Time passes. Obama pledges $500m for Green Climate Fund in 2016 budget  Billions to be channeled towards climate measures in US president’s 2016 budget Barack Obama’s 2016 budget requests US$500 million for the UN’s Green Climate Fund, which will help poor countries to prepare for climate change and reduce their emissions. This will be the first instalment of the $3 billion the US president pledged to the fund last year. “We further urge the Obama administration to expend the political capital necessary to make sure that Congress appropriates the funds,” said Karen Orenstein, senior international policy analyst at Friends of the Earth US. “We expect appropriations numbers to ramp up next year (FY17) so the US can deliver the full $3 billion that it has pledged to the GCF within a four year period.” (February 3, 2015) Responding to Climate Change (RTCC) [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/04/2015 - ACTION: If New York State can ban Fracking, so can California (and every other state for that matter) Petition Calf. to ban the Frack. Join the March for Real Climate Leadership in California Are you ready to join the largest march for climate change in California history? On Saturday, February 7th, Californians from across the state will come together on the streets of Oakland for the March for Real Climate Leadership — a rally to strengthen the climate justice movement in the Golden State, and to make sure Governor Jerry Brown knows that to be a REAL leader on climate, he must ban fracking now! If you are unable to attend the March but would still like to show your support, then sign the petition demanding that Governor Brown ban fracking in California now. Sign the petition >> (January 30, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Fracking in our area]

  • 2/03/2015 - Become the environmental media: Final Call for FFFF Entries! Entries due by 11:59PM EST, February 27, 2015 Final Call for Entries! Entries due by 11:59PM EST, February 27, 2015 The festival challenges local Rochesterians to utilize the power of visual storytelling in 5 minutes or less to raise environmental awareness. No prior experience in filmmaking is necessary. The festival has no entry fee, first-place awards and cash prizes of $1,000, and second-place cash prizes of $250 per category. Categories are: (1) most inspiring, (2) most unique perspective, and (3) strongest call to action. Fast Forward Film Festival 

  • 2/03/2015 - Greeting Earthlings: We just stopped by your planet and noticed that it is getting very warm very fast. Plants, animals, and you are in trouble. We have to go now. We hope you don’t let this precious green gem in your galaxy perish. WMO: Every year since 2000 among hottest on record Not only was 2014 the hottest year ever recorded but 14 out of the 15 hottest years since 1850 have occurred in the 21st century, according to new data from the World Meteorological Organisation (WMO). The WMO brought together the findings of the world’ three major climatic research units, the NOAA, NASA and the UK’s Met Office, all of which said 2014 was the hottest year on record. The latest findings shows that every year since 2000 has been among the warmest since the middle of the industrial revolution. Michel Jarraud, WMO Secretary General said: (February 2, 2015) tcktcktck [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/03/2015 - The President of the United States says Yes! to increased efforts to cut GHG emissions; Congress says No! Time passes. Obama 2016 budget urges states to cut emissions faster President Barack Obama's fiscal 2016 budget proposes boosting funding for clean energy by 7 percent and a new $4 billion fund to encourage U.S. states to make faster and deeper cuts to emissions from power plants, officials said Monday. Obama's budget also calls for the permanent extension of the Production Tax Credit, used by the wind industry, and the Investment Tax Credit, used by the solar industry, the officials said. Obama has made fighting climate change a top priority in his final two years in office. The White House sees it as critical to his legacy. (February 2, 2015) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/02/2015 - Food should go to feeding people not feeding landfills or running engines. Join fellow New Yorkers in preventing food waste. EPA Recognizes Outstanding Food Recovery Challenge and WasteWise Program Participants Food Recovery Challenge Participants Alone Diverted 370,000 Tons of Wasted Food from Landfills WASHINGTON — Today, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recognizes the accomplishments of organizations and businesses participating in EPA's Food Recovery Challenge and WasteWise program for reducing their climate footprint, improving efficiency, helping communities and achieving cost savings through waste reduction. These programs save money, protect the environment and feed the hungry. “In 2013, EPA's Food Recovery Challenge participants diverted more than 370,000 tons of wasted food from entering landfills or incinerators. Of this total, more than 36,000 tons of food was donated to feed people in need, which equates to nearly 56 million meals,” said Mathy Stanislaus, assistant administrator for EPA's Office of Solid Waste and Emergency Response. “I commend the efforts of our award winners and encourage others to follow their lead by joining the Food Recovery Challenge. These leaders demonstrate that protecting the environment, saving money and feeding the hungry can go hand in hand.” The U.S. Department of Agriculture estimates that wasted food costs America more than $165 billion annually and that the average family of four throws away $1,600 of food each year. The Food Recovery Challenge participants and endorsers, through innovation and hard work, have greatly reduced wasted food. Food pantries, food rescue programs, local food banks, soup kitchens and shelters are benefitting from donations of wholesome and nutritious food — helping feed people, not landfills. (January 28, 2015) United States Environment Protection Agency (EPA) [more on Food in our area]

  • 2/02/2015 - If we don’t know how soil is reacting to Climate Change, our efforts to address this worldwide crisis will be partially delusional. NASA’s $1 Billion Soil Moisture Mission Ready For Lift Off NASA is spending $916 million on a new satellite, scheduled to be blasted into space over the weekend, following nearly a decade of work and two launch delays, that will help scientists measure moisture levels in the top two inches of the world’s soils. Scientists clamoring to probe a couple inches of loam or humus might sound like much ado about nothing. But to the earthy folks who research agriculture, forestry, weather and climate, probing those two inches of dirty moisture could go a long way toward helping us understand the world in which we live. (January 30, 2015) Climate Central [more on Climate Change and Plants in our area]

  • 2/02/2015 - I’ve marched in many rallies to protect our environment, but the ‘We Are Seneca Lake’ rally was the first time a police officer stopping traffic for the march said, “Thank you for doing this.” to the marchers. The movement to save Seneca Lake from the massive expansion of fossil fuel storage is growing. Rochesterians should be concerned and involved too. We banned Fracking in New York State, but the infrastructure for fossil fuel—more pipes, more storage, more train transporting of more oil—continues. This will lock in decades of our monies and efforts to more fossil fuels instead of renewable energy. Stopping fossil fuels must go hand-in-hand with a massive increase in renewable energy options—wind and solar.  More at: “We Are Seneca lake”  More at: “Gas Free Seneca CLEAR MESSAGE: About 300 descend on Geneva for a rally, march in support of Seneca Lake GENEVA — Laura Salamendra, one of the 160 people arrested during recent protests against Crestwood Midstream’s gas storage facility in Schuyler County, says she is neither a radical nor a troublemaker. Nor does she oppose the facility because of politics or a desire to court controversy, she says. Instead, she opposes Crestwood because she and her family drink Seneca Lake’s water. “Crestwood threatens our safety, and we must fight back,” Salamendra said Saturday afternoon before joining about 300 activists in a march through downtown. “Geneva and surrounding communities must rise up to ask, ‘Where is our vote?’ ” Backed by We Are Seneca Lake, the group that has been leading the protests at the Crestwood site, the march and the lakefront rally that preceded it were dubbed We Are Seneca Lake Too. Organizers cast Crestwood’s project as a regional issue rather than a local concern and said they wanted to get residents at the north end of Seneca Lake more involved in their efforts. (February 1, 2015) Finger Lakes Times [more on Seneca Lake in our area]

  • 2/02/2015 - As Minnesota is changing with Climate Change so are all our other states and countries around the world. The more we know about the specific changes in our climate in specific areas, the more we’ll be convinced of the truth of Climate Change and the more we’ll begin preparations on a speed and scale that will matter. Climate Change in Minnesota: More heat, more big storms Data collected systematically over nearly two centuries make it irrefutable: Minnesota's climate has changed and so has the state's diverse web of life. Cold weather species like moose and lake trout are disappearing. Maple trees are migrating north. Bugs once killed off by winter are surviving to destroy tens of thousands of acres of forest. Lake Superior is one of the fastest warming lakes on the planet. Climate scientists get nervous attributing one really warm month or one big storm to climate change. But undeniable trends are giving Minnesotans reason to look out the window every day and wonder whether climate change has something to do with what they see. (January 30, 2015) MPR News [more on Climate Change in our area]

  • 2/02/2015 - Climate Change didn’t just suddenly appear as a problem; we just ignored it for a long time. ‘Wait and See’ didn’t work. A 50th anniversary few remember: LBJ's warning on carbon dioxide Fifty years ago this month President Johnson voiced concern over invisible fossil fuel emissions in a special message to Congress. It was the first time a U.S. president warned the nation about our carbon habit. It is a key moment in climate change history that few remember: This week marks the 50th anniversary of the first presidential mention of the environmental risk of carbon dioxide pollution from fossil fuels. President Lyndon Baines Johnson, in a February 8, 1965 special message to Congress warned about build-up of the invisible air pollutant that scientists recognize today as the primary contributor to global warming.  "Air pollution is no longer confined to isolated places," said Johnson less than three weeks after his 1965 inauguration. "This generation has altered the composition of the atmosphere on a global scale through radioactive materials and a steady increase in carbon dioxide from the burning of fossil fuels." (February 2, 2015) The Daily Climate [more on Climate Change in our area]