RENewsletter | January 7, 2018

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The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

 

*Note: Henceforth 'environment' means ‘our life support system.’

 

[12/31/2017 – 1/07/2018]

 

Adapting to and mitigating Climate Change in a way that sustains all life while striving to do so equitably is the defining issue of our time.  How we comport ourselves during this historic trial by fire will reveal our true nature. Frank J. Regan

 

Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Take Action

 

* Having trouble reading this newsletter? Read it online here.

 

Opening Salvo: “Undermining the public good on Climate Change--online

 

It’s profoundly disturbing that a bad meme like climate denial still infects the minds of so many people.  The denialists’ objective is to sow doubt on the science of Climate Change and thwart a viable future for all of us. Much is being accomplished by many virtuous people around the world to alter our behavior, so that we can address Climate Change. But many of those efforts are being seriously undermined by the Trump administration and others using insidious online tactics that must be brought to light.

 

You might have missed this story in the New York Times or avoided it because articles about online search engines seem a little too wonky and ‘special interest’ for the general reader. (Wonderfully, Climate Change articles are now viewed by our mainstream media as quite fitting for general public consumption.) The climate denial aspects of the article below are plain enough, but how the deniers are gaming our internet via search engines might not captivate most readers.

 

How Climate Change Deniers Rise to the Top in Google Searches Groups that reject established climate science can use the search engine’s advertising business to their advantage, gaming the system to find a mass platform for false or misleading claims. Type the words “climate change” into Google and you could get an unexpected result: advertisements that call global warming a hoax. “Scientists blast climate alarm,” said one that appeared at the top of the search results page during a recent search, pointing to a website, DefyCCC, that asserted: “Nothing has been studied better and found more harmless than anthropogenic CO2 release.” Another ad proclaimed: “The Global Warming Hoax — Why the Science Isn’t Settled,” linking to a video containing unsupported assertions, including that there is no correlation between rising levels of greenhouse gases and higher global temperatures. (December 29, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]  

 

Back in the early 1990’s, before I started RochesterEnvironment.com, I began a blog, Green Solitaire. My agenda, as the internet was blossoming, was to bring together as much of the increasingly available environmental information, resources, and studies as I could. The media, universities, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and even branches of government themselves were putting material online free for the public. To my mind, this was a giant leap forward in information/communication about our life support system, unparalleled in history. Suddenly, everyone had access to real-time and comprehensive data about the state of our environment. RochesterEnvironment.com, which I began in 1998, does more of this sort of thing than my first website, but views the now incalculable wealth of environmental information through the lens of one community—Rochester, NY.

 

One of the most popular things I did on Green Solitaire was to help other environmental websites get noticed by the myriad online search engines. (What good is your information if no one can find it?) It was a lot of work trying to pool as much information about how search engines located and displayed information so that the public could find it. Back then, the internet needed a good Librarian. Those in our loosely knit group would tweak our websites so that our chances of being found were more likely. We’d figure out how to jump through the many hoops the old search engines used in order to get a high ranking.

 

It was an especially difficult challenge for environmental websites, as we weren’t selling anything. We were not interested in hiring companies to place us prominently on search engines and we were not going to pay for ‘hits.’ We weren’t advocating for a special interest cause, or trying to amuse a growing internet community in thrall to what this new medium could offer. Environmental information, especially before Climate Change, wasn’t an automatic attention grabber. But we tried a lot of things, including listing each other’s site on our sites.  

 

Then Google arrived in September of 1998. In quick order, environmental sites, any sites really, that continually put up new information and got linked with other sites got noticed. Whether they paid anyone or not. RochesterEnvironment.com did well because when you searched for anything relating to Rochester and environmental issues, my site came up early in your search. Getting environmental resources to folks looking for them became a no brainer. 

 

Today, things are different. Social media has become what internet visitors attend to, while websites, especially environmental websites, are often stranded by their own inherent inactivity. In other words, social media is important in driving visitors to the websites where all the accumulated information resides. But social media postings are too ephemeral for studying an issue in depth.

 

So, it is with great dismay that we find that rather than trying to get important information to people, especially environmental information that has always had to struggle for attention, far too many bad players are trying to game the very system meant to bring us incredibly important information. The effort to control what information people get on the internet and how they get it seems as busy an industry as information gathering itself—making it less likely the public will be informed about our environment. Within the timeframe of the rise of the internet, our past environmental concerns have morphed into the mother of all problems under the planetary crisis of Climate Change.

 

But instead of having a thoughtful discussion in the US on the most important crisis in the world, we are still waging a war over the facts we already know. We could have used the time since Dr. James Hansen informed Congress of the urgency of Climate Change in 1988 to better purpose. Now, decades later, after little progress in addressing Climate Change, it’s more likely there will be a stiff penalty for the procrastination resulting from the corruption of our information systems, when we could have instead been making our information feeds more useful. Killing the messenger is another craven meme humanity is all too good at.

 

It’s in the public’s best interest to know as much as possible about Climate Change, as this warming phenomenon grows stronger every day. It will impact every aspect of our lives—everywhere you live on Earth. It’s not in the public’s best interest to have their minds poisoned with intentional misinformation from those whose agenda is immediate self-interest.   

 

Time passes.

 

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com  (Click on my email for feedback)

 

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* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @ http://twitter.com/#!/FrankRrrr and on Twitter and Facebook: Also: If you wish me to include your event or news in this newsletter, which gets sent out on Sunday morning, please send the blurb to me by Friday evening: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com

 

I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. The ability of this newsletter to inform and get the public focused on our local environment is dependent on reaching a lot of folks. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up.  We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news. One way to do that is to join this Google+ Group. “Become The MediaBTW: This newsletter looks and works great on your tablet device.

 

The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to save ourselves?

 

“Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet.” -- Carl Sagan

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NewsLinks Environmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

 

·         A ‘PERFECT STORM’: EXTREME WINTER WEATHER, BITTER COLD, AND CLIMATE CHANGE (January 4, 2017) Climate Reality Project [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         Lake Ontario flooding: What about next time? (December 6, 2018) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle [more on Great Lakes in our area]

·         Insurers to pay out record $135 billion for 2017 after hurricanes  (January 4, 2018) Reuters [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         HAS THE TIME FINALLY COME FOR OFFSHORE WIND ENERGY ON THE GREAT LAKES? (December 29, 2017) ENSIA [more on Wind Power in our area]

·         Trump administration plans to allow oil and gas drilling off nearly all US coast  (January 4, 2018)The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         RPCC’s Response to Governor Cuomo’s 2018 State of the State Address  (January 5, 2018) Rochester People's Climate Coalition [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

·         Climate scientists exiled by Trump form panel to continue work (January 4, 2018) Los Angeles Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         November 2017 was the third warmest November on record (December 18, 2017) NASA Global Climate Change [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         Why So Cold? Climate Change May Be Part of the Answer (January 3, 2018) New York Times [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         NOAA to announce 2017 U.S. climate highlights and updates to billion-dollar weather disasters  (January 4, 2018) National Oceanic and Atmosphere Administration (NOAA) [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         This is how science links cold weather and global warming (January 3, 2018) IndyStar [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         Cobbs Hill Village plan heads to a vote (December 27, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Parks in our area]

·         State of the State: Leading the Way on Climate (January 3, 2018) Environment New York [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         Nine Reasons to Be Optimistic About Climate Change in 2018  (December 28, 2018) Vice [more on Climate Change and Energy in our area]

·         Trump plan to shrink ocean monuments threatens vital ecosystems, experts warn (January 2, 2018) The Guardian [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         Connections: Finding a balance between all modes of transportation (January 3, 2018) Connections [more on Transportation in our area]

·         Reaction to Cuomo on Climate  (January 2, 2018) 100% Renewable Now NY Campaign [more on Energy and Climate Change in our area]

·         How Climate Change Deniers Rise to the Top in Google Searches (December 29, 2018) New York Times[more on Climate Change in our area]

·         Coalition of Business, Labor, Environment & Community Leaders Applaud Governor Cuomo’s Bold Vision to Make NY National Offshore Wind Leader  (January 2, 2018) Environment New York [more on Wind Power, Energy, and Climate Change in our area]

·         Governor Cuomo Unveils 20th Proposal of 2018 State of the State: New York's Clean Energy Jobs and Climate Agenda (January 2, 2017) GOVERNOR ANDREW M. CUOMO[more on Wind PowerEnergy, and Climate Change in our area]

·         Vehicles are now America's biggest CO2 source but EPA is tearing up regulations (January 1, 2018) The Guardian [more on Air QualityTransportation, and Climate Change in our area]

·         New Wave Of Electric 2-Wheelers Hits U.S. City Streets (December 29, 2017) Innovation Trail[more on Transportation in our area]

·         Cobbs Hill Village on Planning Commission's January 8 agenda (December 27, 2017) Rochester City Newspaper [more on Parks in our area]

·         Ice Loss and the Polar Vortex: How a Warming Arctic Fuels Cold Snaps  (September 28, 2017) Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]

·         Water infrastructure challenges and opportunities (November 30, 2017) Climate Action [more on Water Quality and Climate Change in our area]

·         Why Birds Matter, and Are Worth Protecting (January 2018) National Geographic [more on Wildlife and Climate Change in our area]

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Updates Daily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments. Text in BOLD are my comments.]

 

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Events Rochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.]  If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

 

January 2018

 

 

February 2018

 

 

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Action Take Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date. 

 

 

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