Sunday, November 22, 2015

Rochester, NY joins with 2,000 actions in 150 countries to highlight COP21 Paris Climate Summit

Due to security concerns, the public Paris Climate March is understandably canceled in Paris, making it all the more important that we march en masse locally.

UPDATE: Citing the heightened security situation in Paris, the French government is prohibiting the Global Climate March planned in Paris for 29 November. While this tragedy makes it difficult to go forward with our original plans, we will still find a way for people in Paris to make the call for climate justice heard. There has never been a greater need for Global Climate Marches throughout the rest of the world, and they will continue as planned. Love will win out over fear, and our movement will win over injustice. We encourage everyone around the world to join a Global Climate March and raise their voices louder than ever. Global Climate March

We need thousands to march locally to show our support for an ambitious deal that will avert the worst impacts of climate change. And yeah I know, everything is against having the media and the public to show up for a major march in downtown Rochester on Sunday November 29th at 1:00 p.m., beginning and ending at The Episcopal Church of St. Luke and St. Simon Cyrene, 17 Fitzhugh Street S, Rochester, NY 14614. The march, Rochester March for Global Climate Action!, will occur just after Thanksgiving, the start of Christmas shopping season, while TV sports kick into high gear, when it’s probably cold outside, and during a time when the media is focused on the flurry of activity to address heightened security issues in the aftermath of a major international tragedy in Paris.

We get it. We absolutely care, and yet our attention is once again turned away, as it always is, from addressing the existential crisis of Climate Change. It is human to prioritize immediate threats rather than those perceived to be far off. Except Climate Change is now and far off.

The best encapsulation of this uphill battle to focus on a successful COP21 Paris Climate Summit amidst the Paris tragedy is here:

Why a Climate Deal Is the Best Hope for Peace, BY JASON BOX AND NAOMI KLEIN “After the attacks, the French government stated that the COP21 climate summit would begin as scheduled at the end of November. Yet the police have just barred the huge planned marches and protests, effectively silencing the voices of people who are directly affected by these high-level talks. And it’s hard to see how sea-level rise and parched farmland—tough media sells at the best of times—will have a hope of competing with rapid military escalation and calls for fortressed borders. All of this is perfectly understandable. When our safety feels threatened, it’s difficult to think of anything else. Major shocks like the Paris attacks are awfully good at changing the subject. But what if we decided to not let it happen? What if, instead of changing the subject, we deepened the discussion of climate change and expanded the range of solutions, which are fundamental for real human security? What if, instead of being pushed aside in the name of war, climate action took center stage as the planet’s best hope for peace?” (11/18/2015, The New Yorker.

While we put off the hard work of quickly bringing down our greenhouse gas emissions and failing to appreciate how Climate Change will vastly increase the urgency of all the crises we face, the consequences of a warming planet have marched on relentlessly: 

  • ·         We are going to experience the warmest year in human history.
  • ·         At 1C° we are already halfway to hell and 2C° (the universally agreed upon state of hell) will happen in about two decades if we don’t stop our fossil fuel addiction.
  • ·         The insurance industry is worried about their ability to pay up after Climate Change related disasters.
  • ·         Ocean acidification, where the ocean absorbs much of our CO2 emissions, is already making dramatic changes—and not in a good way.   
  • ·         The permafrost melt is beginning to release methane gas, which is a lot more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. With massive permafrost melt, all bets on a slow and gradual warming are off.  
  • ·         The permafrost melt is beginning to release methane gas, which is a lot more potent as a greenhouse gas than CO2. With massive permafrost melt, all bets on a slow and gradual warming are off. 
There’s a lot more proof that Climate Change is upon us, but more facts seems to make more people’s eyes glaze over even more. Granted, we are in a very hard place. But shutting down and ignoring what we are up against won’t produce a favorable outcome.  

By now it must be obvious, even to the field of psychological science, that most of the public are not inclined to be motivated by either the facts or the ethics behind Climate Change.

Improving Public Engagement With Climate Change Five “Best Practice” Insights From Psychological Science Despite being one of the most important societal challenges of the 21st century, public engagement with climate change currently remains low in the United States. Mounting evidence from across the behavioral sciences has found that most people regard climate change as a nonurgent and psychologically distant risk—spatially, temporally, and socially—which has led to deferred public decision making about mitigation and adaptation responses. SAGE Journals 

Although the social sciences have some theories and action bullets for getting folks to focus on Climate Change, they aren’t much better at predicting human behavior than our politicians. In fact, the public doesn’t want to hear about Climate Change—it annoys them. They are either overwhelmed or underwhelmed. If you tell folks that Climate Change is a great big complicated problem that will change everything, they get overwhelmed and give up. And if you tell the public that the problem is easy and it won’t inconvenience them they don’t feel compelled to act on a scale that will matter.
Honestly, there are no psychological experts who can study us out of this problem of Climate Change and get humanity to act responsibly. How do you get 7 billion people in a small room with a couch? 

We must stop analyzing why our efforts have been so pathetic and act!

The COP21 Paris Climate Summit is humanity’s best shot for a sustainable future—somehow we have to evolve quickly into a more responsible species. We have to keep our eyes on prize: the prolonged effort it will take to address Climate Change, since even if we reach our emissions goals, we will still have to deal with the emissions we’ve already unleashed. We have to help change our media so that they keep us informed and updated on our progress. We can also Become The Media! Submit your video of your group’s participation in this march to the Fast Forward Film Festival. (Also, help get everyone to the march on November 29th. Take a selfe, post it here with these hashtags #‎RocTheClimate, #‎COP21, #‎LowerEmissionsEverydamnday, and post to the world.)    

We have to get out into the streets and march to demonstrate to the world and our media that the public understands and cares about the gravity of our situation.  If we sit this one out, the media will think we just don’t care that we are about to pass a benchmark that will decide our future.  

We take pride that Rochester was engaged in the battle for women’s rights and the abolition of slavery over century ago. Now, we must hold up our heads to the world as we march for a sustainable existence.  

* If friends and relatives from out of town are visiting, bring them along to the march, with their kids, it’ll be fun and rewarding. 

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Humanity must change in less than a month; Rochester can help

The negotiations to keep greenhouse gas emissions 2C above preindustrial levels, and do so fairly, begin in Paris on November 30th and continue through December 11th. Humanity, which has developed and thrived in the last two centuries on a fossil fuel energy base, must quickly divert to a renewable energy base for our collective survival. The heat caused by this sudden, manmade Climate Change is jeopardizing our environment, our public health, and our way of life. While much of the public, the fossil fuel companies, and many climate change deniers still (immorally) scoff at these dire predictions, 97% of climate scientists know this to be true. Even the fossil fuel industries know this, although they have been saying otherwise. In fact, many climate scientists believe that the politically-generated goal of 2C is too high and may be too dangerous. Many are hopeful that Paris will set a more realistic emissions threshold.

Success at Paris is far from a done deal. There isn’t enough money to compensate (as promised) the poor nations for Climate Change catastrophes and allow them to develop without more dangerous emissions.  

The rich nations don’t want to make the treaty binding, which is to say they want it to be toothless.

Paris climate talks not just hot air, France tells U.S.  Any global climate change agreement reached in Paris next month will be legally binding and have a concrete impact, France's president and foreign minister said on Thursday, reacting to U.S. comments that questioned the status of the accord. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was quoted as telling Wednesday's Financial Times that December's agreement was "definitively not going to be a treaty". Kerry's remarks drew a stern response from French President Francois Hollande, who was attending a European Union-African summit on migrants in Malta. (November 12, 2015) Reuters 

The rich nations, despite their encouraging rhetoric, are still subsidizing the fossil fuel industry (which have more money than since money was invented).

G20 fossil fuel subsidies four times higher than renewables support  Despite their repeated pledges to phase out fossil fuel subsidies, G20 countries – which produce about three-quarters of global emissions collectively – are still pouring nearly four times more support into coal, oil and gas than renewable energy gets globally, a new report shows. The G20 countries hand out $452 billion per year to fossil fuel companies for production alone, with renewables receiving just $121 billion, says the report, entitled ‘Empty promisesG20 subsidies to oil, gas and coal production’, from the Overseas Development Institute and Oil Change International. This continue support stands in stark contrast to their pledge, and come despite clear analysis warning that three quarters of current fossil fuel reserves have to be left in the ground if the world is to limit the worst impacts of climate change. It also stands in stark contrast to the economic analysis that point towards declining returns in coal and new hard-to-reach oil and gas reserves (November 12, 2015) tcktcktck

All of the above issues with the COP21 compels us to a worldwide Global Climate March to convince our leaders that COP21 Paris must be a binding legal treaty. Nothing else will bring the age of fossil fuels to an end—or it already would have.
In Rochester, find out about our “Rochester March for Global Climate Action” here. 
Ask not how the greenies are going to solve their little problem. Ask how you can help Rochester show up for our worldwide reality check. 
There are many ways to get involved: First, consider listening, calling in, and telling your friends and family about the Monday, November 23rd at 1PM Connections (1370 AM) program on “Rochester March for Global Climate Action” (1-844-295 8255, emailFacebook or Twitter).

Rochester is hosting a major march in downtown Rochester on November 29th to galvanize our leaders to make the COP21 Paris Climate Treaty a legally binding treaty—and meet its other crucial goals. Our march in Rochester will begin the day before the Paris Treaty and it will be a part of a worldwide march to make our voices heard. Connections, with Evan Dawson, will have several local leaders including Dr Sandra Steingraber (biologist, author, activist) talk about the importance of the Paris treaty and why Rochester needs to chime in. Please help us make this march a success—we need thousands in the streets. 

Contact everyone in your social networks about this historical moment in our existence. Learn more about the march locally here: Attend one of the 12 Days of Climate Action (to coincide with the 12 negotiation days of Paris). Share the march event Facebook page with everyone and get them to share this event. Attend ” YOUR FOSSIL FUEL DIVESTMENT YOUR MOST POWERFUL WEAPON AGAINST CARBON, MADE EASY" and learn how to divest from fossil fuels from a local businessman Wednesday, December 2, 7PM- 9PM, The Harley School (1981 Clover Street Rochester, NY  14618). Ask that your media highlight the march. Print and post our flyer wherever permissible—in your college, coffee shop, bar, restaurant, laundromat, wherever.  Print our business-card flyers and hand them to other people. Take a selfe with you and our flyer and post it march event Facebook page and all over your social media.  

Don’t sit this one out. If you cannot march on November 29, assign a proxy to march for you. Paris needs Rochester. Paris may be our last chance to keep GHG emission below dangerous levels.

Time passes.   

Saturday, November 07, 2015

Can we talk Climate Change in Rochester, New York now?

We couldn’t talk about Climate Change much during last week’s elections. (Which is odd because that’s the time when our leaders and our media are supposed to talk about important stuff.) Nevertheless, now that those elections are over and the Paris Climate Change Summit is coming up maybe we can talk about this crisis.

Paris may decide whether humanity dodges the climate bullet or not. So, at the very least shouldn’t we be talking about this issue now?
Climate Change seems to be a lot of things to a lot of people: Climate Change is just science. Climate Change is a moral issue. Climate Change is an economic issue. Climate Change isn’t an economic issue. Climate Change is a hoax perpetrated by some ‘idiots’ who want to socialize the world and take away everyone’s money. Climate Change is dreadful. Climate Change is boring. The oil giants mislead the public about the fossil fuel industries’ contributions to Climate Change. Climate Change is fixable. Climate Change is the end. Climate Change is the beginning of a fair and just world. Climate Change doesn’t have anything to do with folks in Rochester? Climate Change will affect every aspect of your life and everyone everywhere—including Rochesterians. Climate Change has always occurred. The present manmade Climate Change is like nothing that has happened in our planet’s history. We will find an app for Climate Change. We can put up a great big shield in the sky and stop Climate Change. If we pollute our air more, less sunlight will enter our atmosphere and make things cooler. Climate Change is like taking illegal drugs: before you took them, you had a lot of problems but after your hooked you have just one problem. There are a lot of other things more pressing than Climate Change.

Some of the above views are right, some are uninformed opinions, and some are sheer lunacy. But whether you like it or not, Climate Change is here in the room with us and we ought to talk about it because it’s not leaving. Bill Nye, the science guy, thinks talking about Climate Change is critical: 

Bill Nye demolishes climate deniers: “The single most important thing we can do now is talk about climate change.” In a Salon exclusive, the scientist discusses his new book, "Unstoppable," and the urgent need for climate action “To confront climate change, we all have to embrace two ideas. They are simple and familiar ideas, but that does not make them any less true. First: We are all in this together. Second: The longest journey begins with a simple step.” – Bill Nye On Nov. 10, Bill Nye will release a new book titled “Unstoppable.” As only Bill Nye can, he uses the book to explain the science behind climate change, debunks popular myths, and asks readers to take action in their own lives to create a sustainable future. The book is shot through with optimism, but Nye has no illusions about what lies ahead. The message is simple: Climate change is real; humans are causing it; and we have no choice but to build a better and cleaner world. (November 6, 2015) Salon

When we do talk about Climate Change should we set rules for how we talk about it? Should we only talk about it when it is unlikely to make others uncomfortable? Should we frame it only as an opportunity? Should we blame ourselves and everyone else for it? Should we be respectful—even if we are called bad names and get sticks thrown at us? Or, should we just talk about Climate Change and throw out the rule book?

Regardless of how we frame our discussions, Climate Change talks should take place in the open with lots of people around, during elections, during the holidays, at public forum, in any place where people gather.

Climate Change is not going away unless we make it go away but we cannot make it go away by trying to shut everyone up who tries to talk about it.

Time passes. 

Sunday, November 01, 2015

Preventing a crude oil train disaster in Rochester, NY too

You don’t need to understand French to understand this short video taken during the “Catastrophe à Lac-Mégantic.” [

Some background. The opening speaker at the “Oil-by-Rail: What’s Next” meeting in Albany on October 24th was a citizen from the small village of Lac Mégantic, Canada. Marilaine Savard, community leader from Lac-Mégantic--Quebec’s Citizens Committee--shared that community’s journey since the July 6, 2013 rail disaster. Marilaine showed the above video taken by a friend to a group of concerned groups from around New York State.

Her friend Adrien Aubert, risking life and limb, started taping this video from his cell phone immediately after the explosion—but it has only been recently released online. It’s raw and brutal, which can be felt regardless of what language you speak and seen when Adrien turns the camera on himself near the end of this powerful video.

The facts of the disaster are quickly summed up in Wikipedia:

“The Lac-Mégantic rail disaster occurred in the town of Lac-Mégantic, located in the Eastern Townships of the Canadian province of Quebec, at approximately 01:15 EDT, on July 6, 2013, when an unattended 74-car freight train carrying Bakken formation crude oil rolled down a 1.2% grade hill from Nantes and derailed downtown, resulting in the fire and explosion of multiple tank cars. Forty-two people were confirmed dead, with five more missing and presumed dead. More than 30 buildings in the town's centre, roughly half of the downtown area, were destroyed and all but three of the thirty-nine remaining downtown buildings are to be demolished due to petroleum contamination of the townsite. Initial newspaper reports described a 1-kilometre (0.62 mi) blast radius.” Lac-Mégantic rail disaster

But this description doesn’t quite cover the emotional toll which has taken this small village almost two years to begin their recovery. Now folks in Lac-Mégantic are starting to reach out to the world to help them find an economic recovery for their town that doesn’t rely on sending volatile crude oil through their beloved town and risking their lives many times each day. Our friends from Lac-Mégantic also want communities like Rochester to understand that we are subject to the same kind of threat as they were.

Senator Schumer has been trying to improve the safety of trains hauling crude oil for some time. Local firefighters are training for crude oil railcar accidents, though there’s no way to prepare for the kind of spectacular explosions when several ‘Bomb Train’ railcars blow up at once. Most of the folks who perished in Lac-Mégantic could not have been saved by any rescue team, no matter how well trained the first responders were, because the deaths occurred instantaneously from a fireball that rose hundreds of feet into the air.

Folks tend to ask when first learning about these crude oil railcar concerns, “Well, how else are we going to get our oil?” And we are told that we must provide an alternative to Bomb Trains by shifting dramatically to renewable energy. Which is the right thing to do. But when you think about it, shouldn’t the grave threat of a Lac-Mégantic-like disaster be enough of a reason to fix the problem right now—without the caveat that activists must come up with solution first? (If your neighbor likes blowing things up, should you be required to find something else for him to do before you complain?)

What can you do locally about this on-going crisis? Check this out recent press release:

“Mothers Out Front” Demonstrating in Fairport to Raise Awareness of the Dangers of Explosive Oil Trains

Fairport, New York Tuesday - November 3, 2015 Explosive oil trains are traveling right through the heart of Rochester. They travel through town centers, busy retail areas and right over High Falls. The oil in these tanker cars is more explosive than regular crude because it is obtained through a fracking process from the Bakken Shale formation in North Dakota. This “Bakken” oil has much higher levels of suspended volatile natural gas liquids. There have been over 30 derailments and explosions in recent years, including one in Canada that resulted in 47 deaths and the destruction of a town.

Each tanker car carries 30,000 gallons of Bakken crude, and according to the City newspaper, up to 300 of these tanker cars pass through Monroe County daily. The area within half a mile from the tracks in immediate danger from an explosion is considered the “Blast Zone,” and the evacuation zone is within a mile from the tracks. But the danger from toxic vapors that such an explosion would emit extends far beyond that. The tanker cars puncture at less than 20 mph. If even one tanker car explodes, it will require a multiagency disaster response for Monroe County. The public is urged to learn more and sign the petition at

Local “Mothers Out Front” members and allies will be demonstrating in Fairport where the railroad tracks cross North Main Street. So many people are simply unaware of the danger these “bomb” trains pose to the town and its citizens. The demonstration will occur on Tuesday November 3, 2015 from 4:00 PM to 5:30 PM.

Mothers Out Front is an organization of mothers, grandmothers, and allies, organizing to address the climate crisis by calling for a just, swift, and complete transition off of fossil fuels to clean energy. For more information contact:

Keri Kaminsky, Bakken Team Leader, Mothers Out Front

Monday, October 26, 2015

Testing the mood of insurance companies against Climate Change

Watching the past and present ‘behavior’ of the stock market then trying to predict its future behavior is (without trying to sound hyperbolic) mindboggling difficult. Lots of bucks along with much expert and non-expert prognostications go into predicting the market, which seems hell-bent on being unpredictable. Searching for a successful formula to make a profit on the market is like trying to cheer up a moody adolescent with candy. It could work, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

Like the stock market, which tries to predict the future of wealth, insurance institutions try to predict the future of financial risk. That’s why I find this new study-- Economic losses from US hurricanes consistent with an influence from climate change, in Nature Geoscience--so interesting. The author of this study claims that insurance losses due to hurricanes mean that Climate Change is sending us a clear message.

“The study claims that the extra costs in recent decades do not just stem from more homes, businesses and infrastructure that have been built near the coastlines. "Increases in wealth and population alone cannot account for the observed trend in hurricane losses," according to the study, whose lead author is Francisco Estrada, an economist at Mexico's National Autonomous University. Estrada and two colleagues from Europe said that this unexplained increase in economic losses over time is consistent with a climate change signal.” (Study: Climate change adding billions to U.S. hurricane costs, 10/19/2015 USA Today)

Actually, what interest me about this study is the media coverage of it. In the USA Today coverage, much of the article concerns itself with reactions to the study, including a naysayer who thought the study was ‘flawed’ and ‘misleading.’ An article in Insurance Journal describes the same study without the misleading and flawed parts. The insurance media seems to be embracing the message being sent by the study.

Whether or not, and to what degree, hurricanes are being affected by Climate Change is still being debated by climate scientists. The study above may not turn out to be part of the scientific consensus that Climate Change is sending us a clear message through individual hurricanes. No one study is likely to prove this message because (as Andrew Revkin of DOT Earth likes to continually reminds us), we need to be aware of the “single-study syndrome”, the tendency to think a single study can answer a complex, multi-causal issue.

For our purposes at the moment, if this study is causing insurance companies concerns it should be causing us concern. Whether we, meaning the general public, care to follow the precautionary principle and plan for Climate Change is one thing. But whether we like it or not, the insurance industry must follow this principle or they will go belly up. As a matter of fact, the insurance industry worldwide is very concerned about Climate Change:

“Hurricanes, floods, fires, and heat waves resulting in millions of dollars of damage are no longer unusual events. They are now a fact of life, posing increased risk to life and property while driving up the costs of recovery. Both catastrophic and smaller-scale floods have been on the rise in communities throughout the country. The Western wildfire season has grown longer as warmer temperatures and longer periods of drought have become more common, and tropical storms and hurricanes have brought catastrophic damage to the U.S. over the past two decades. Disasters with a price tag exceeding $1 billion, previously limited to one or two per year, now occur at least five to 10 times per year. Recent payouts for events like Superstorm Sandy have shattered previous records, taking a toll both on the federal budget and on the National Flood Insurance Program, which is now more than $23 billion in debt. As the frequency, severity, and cost of these disasters grows and federal spending on recovery rises, individuals, communities, and state and local governments must do everything possible to ensure they can withstand the next storm.” Bracing for the Storm, How To Reform U.S. Disaster Policy To Prepare For A Riskier Future, Produced by SmarterSafer, April 2015

You can argue all day long with climate deniers and even climate scientists (if you don’t mind looking foolish), but you cannot argue with the insurance industry. If they feel the need to raise your premiums or drop you altogether because they think they need to get their funds ready for Climate Change, then you either pay up or go without insurance. The insurance business is not in the charity business.

The slightest wiggle will send the stock market soaring or plummeting, whether the wiggle was a result of rational or an irrational exuberance. Similarly, if the insurance industry thinks it’s going to be bleeding money profusely in the future because a study links insurance payouts with hurricanes, everyone should listen. Especially the media.

When the media covers climate studies and the insurance industry’s reactions, reporters should first test the mood of the insurers before scouring the Internet for a climate doubter to get the measure of the report’s importance to us all. How the insurance industry is feeling about humanity’s preparations for addressing Climate Change and the financial liabilities the insurance industry thinks that they may be held accountable for is probably a more sound form of feedback for the public rather than a single critic’s opinion about how a single study was conducted.  

Monday, October 19, 2015

Rochester, NY’s role in Climate Change

Figuring out how to engage the local media (and thus the public) while planning local action around the 2015 UN Climate Conference in Paris has been a great challenge. Someone quipped that in order to get media attention on a march for Climate Change we would probably have to do something really crazy.

That’s a little over the top, but it does dramatize the frustration those concerned about Climate Change feel. Why won’t local media pay attention to Climate Change? We’ve marched in force through downtown Rochester in support of Pope Francis’s message; we’ve conducted a well-attended forum on addressing this issue for our local candidates; and we even orchestrated a rally in front of City Hall last year representing many diverse organizations to show solidarity with the busloads of folks attending the People’s Climate March last year.

But our local media didn’t show up for any of those events. That means that local concerns for Climate Change, a worldwide crisis that includes Rochester, occurs in an insulated silo where the public continues to believe this crisis is merely a special interest. It means our local elections will say nothing about addressing Climate Change locally. It means we’ll continue to address the probable consequences of Climate Chang in our region—more flooding, more harmful algae outbreaks, and more whacky weather—by doing the same things. 

Rochester is not engaged with Climate Change, even though, as an old industrial community, we’ve played a significant role in causing this crisis. You can say we didn’t know then that our fossil-fuel-burning way of life would warm the planet, but you cannot say it didn’t help warm the planet. It’s science. Now that we know that we’ve played a role in causing Climate Change, we should play a role in its solution.

From November 30th to December 11th, the COP21 Paris Climate Conference will determine our fate. Here’s the skinny:

WEBZINE "Have you ever heard about "ocean acidification"? Did you know that 20 to 30% of animal and plant species are under threat of extinction? To learn all about COP21 main issues, browse through our webzine and download the following fact sheets." -from COP21/CMP11 for a universal climate agreement"

Communities all around the world are working on local events just before the COP21 treaty to get our leaders to act.

“This will be our message as we take to the streets on 28-29 November: Keep fossil fuels in the ground — really, just stop digging and drilling — and finance a just transition to 100% renewable energy by 2050.” Global Climate March

But in Rochester, here’s the problem: What kind of an event will get sufficient media attention to get Rochesterians engaged on this issue? A march? A rally? A public forum? A concert with a major rock star? Street theatre—like maybe a fake die-in where folks lay down in the streets demonstrating a bleak future if we continue business as usual? Standing along the railroad tracks with signs about dangerous crude oil being transported through our communities on rickety rails and railcars designed for corn syrup, not highly volatile fossil fuels? A vigil with candles and prayers? A program on how to divest from fossil fuels from a prominent business man who has already walked this walk? (We are already planning this program. Stay tuned.) A lecture followed by a film like “Merchants of Doubt” to prove climate denial has been an orchestrated, heavily-funded lie? Blue ribbons in our trees to show solidarity with Paris? Flash mobbing our media outlets to wake them up? Giving away free cell phones? (Just kidding, we don’t have that kind of money.)   

A relatively small group of local folks wouldn’t have to stand on their heads and spit nickels to get media attention if the local media had been doing their job all along: connecting the dots on the local consequences of Climate Change. And now, as the window of opportunity to avoid catastrophic damage closes quickly, Rochester’s role in Climate Change threatens to be a pathetic lack of responsibility if we cannot reach our media.

Time passes.  

Sunday, October 11, 2015 endorses Sandy Frankel for Monroe County Executive

More than likely you’ve already decided which of the three Monroe County Executive candidates you are going to vote for in November. Or whether you’re going to vote at all. So I’m keenly aware that my chances of changing your mind are limited. Arguing that you should vote for Sandy Frankel and that you should do so based on Climate Change vastly decreases the likelihood that you’ll even hear me out. In our community, the phrase Climate Change deflates any election dialogue quicker than a pin poking a balloon.

Before your attention bursts altogether, let me march out the gist of my argument: This election is not about Ms. Frankel, it’s about you and your family and your future. You may think that your top priorities in this election are about your family, your jobs, your schools, taxes, guns, and our crumbling infrastructure—and they are. But none of these pressing issues can actually be solved unless the underlying reality of Climate Change is factored in. Because the job of Monroe County Executive is the most important political position in our immediate region, our community’s response to Climate Change will be orchestrated (whether intentional or not) from this position.

“The County Executive is the chief executive officer and administrative head of the Monroe County government. The County Executive develops policies, proposes legislation to the County Legislature, appoints department heads, directs the preparation of the annual operating budget and the Capital Improvement Program and coordinates the management of all departments. The County Executive also represents County interests to the local, state and federal governments.” Departments – Monroe County Government    

Sandy Frankel has spoken repeatedly about what she has done and what she plans to do in the future to help our community adapt to a quickly warming world. The GOP candidate has yet to even mention Climate Change, let alone defend her position. Rajesh Barnabas, the Green Party candidate, is a really great guy willing to move out of his comfort zone and busy life to inject some environmental and justice issues into this election—even though he has essentially no hope of getting elected. 

Even if you don’t believe in the science behind Climate Change (which, by the way, is the same science behind gravity), wouldn’t you want this issue debated so that the candidates were compelled to explain and defend their position? Sandy Frankel and Rajesh Barnabas have both attempted to bring this issue into this election at the Candidate Forum 2015: “Building an Economy for Climate Stability”. But the entire enterprise of informing the public by the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition was thwarted by a dismissive local media that couldn’t be bother to attend—and the GOP candidate who must think the best strategy is to sit this one out. The media, custodians of the public’s awareness of election issues, should not be deciding at this (almost too) late date that we cannot even have this crucial conversation about the worldwide crisis of Climate Change. A moral crisis as Pope Francis describes it:

“Accepting the urgency, it seems clear to me also that climate change is a problem which can no longer be left to a future generation.” (Pope Francis Addresses President Obama And Guests At White House (Full Transcript) 9/23/2015, The Huffington Post)

The Guardian, arguably the most responsible media in our warming world, has for the last year focused on framing the Climate Change issue as “keep in it in the ground”. ‘It’ being fossil fuels. That was phase one of their coverage. Phase two is Hope. Hope is essential in a world that is increasingly experiencing the consequences of a rapidly warming world, but irrational hope is counter-productive. An example of an irrational hope is when you know your car’s brakes don’t work but climb in the car and tear off down the road regardless, hoping that you won’t need to slow down or come to a stop. The Guardian is not advocating irrational hope. It’s advocating something like getting your brakes fixed then driving your car down the road.

“There is hope in the many voices who are now calling for action from their leaders. There is hope in the rapidly falling cost of renewable energy that is starting to transform our dirty energy system. There is hope in the pledge by G7 countries to phase out coal power. There is hope in the communities and innovators around the world who are getting on with the job rather than waiting for the politicians.” (10/05/2015, The Guardian)

Hope for our future, especially at the local level, cannot be based on climate denial, or a ”no-regrets” policy (which attempts to accomplish environmentally friendly actions even if Climate Change were to somehow prove to be false). Hope cannot be expressed in a sudden reversal of political strategy once it becomes clear that it’s your ox being gored—highlighted this week by Senator Graham’s about-face on federal disaster relief in the face of Climate Change disasters: Graham Opposed Sandy Aid, Now Wants Help For South Carolina. Hope expresses the best of humanity, the desire to prosper through a realistic appraisal of one’s goals. Hope cannot thrive if climate of denial has left us unprepared.   

Why ‘Once-In-A-Lifetime’ Flooding Keeps Happening Climate change is making rare weather events less rare At least nine people have died in flooding across South Carolina that has left city streets submerged in water, destroyed homes and closed more than 100 bridges. Nikki Haley, the state’s governor, described the disaster as one of such an epic scale that science suggests it would only occur once every 1,000 years. A flooding disaster of this scale was unlikely to be sure, scientists say, but climate change has transformed once-in-a-lifetime events into periodic occurrences. The flooding may have been hard to predict, but it should no longer come as a surprise. (October 5, 2015) Time

The job of the Monroe County Executive, as mentioned above, “represents County interests to the local, state and federal governments.” Many of those ‘interests’ fall under the bailiwick of our infrastructures, but it becomes very difficult to articulate the importance of addressing Climate Change locally if the public doesn’t understand the importance of our infrastructures. It’s pretty amazing that we have studies that have to ask, “What is infrastructure and why it is so important?” 

We aren’t even maintaining the infrastructures we have—water, waste water systems, telecommunications, transportation, and much more—let alone preparing them for more extreme weather (frequent heavy flooding, and heat) and all the other consequences that are happening and will happen with Climate Change in our area.  

Road and bridge funding sought by engineers and government leaders New York's infrastructure is crummy and getting worse, as anyone who drives on the state's roads probably already realizes. The American Society of Civil Engineers gives the state's infrastructure a C- in a report card it released this morning (the report is attached at the bottom of this post). But the grade is boosted by B- grades on parks and solid waste infrastructure. The state's roads get a D- and its bridges a D+. In Rochester, the roads are in such rough enough shape that they cost drivers an average $402 in repairs annually, according to the ASCE report. In Buffalo, the roads suck a little less, apparently, since they cost drivers there an average of $293 annually.  The ASCE looked at other areas, too. Drinking water infrastructure receives a C, for example, and the state's waste water systems get a D. (September 29, 2015) Rochester City Newspaper

We should be voting in the up-and-coming local elections based on how the candidates will address real threats to our way of life. For those wondering in the back of their minds at what point Climate Change will affect them personally, it is at the level of massive and frequent infrastructure breakdowns that they will notice. Then they will be more than sorry they voted for leaders who hadn’t prepared them and their built systems that make our way of life possible. If you’re thinking that we’ll just address these infrastructure problems when and if they happen, you just don’t know Climate Change. (BTW: These Climate Change threats to our local infrastructure are not simply my opinion. My insights are based partly on three official climate studies that pertain to our region: Responding to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) sponsored by NYSERDA, the New York State Climate Action Plan Interim Report, and the report on the “Northeast” by the National Climate Assessment, which is to say the US government.)  

We’ve barely had a dialogue during this critical year on Climate Change in our local elections even as the voting time draws near. In order for a democracy to work, its citizens must be well-informed. Accomplishing that has always been problematic—given that historically so many rich and influential entities (like the fossil fuel industry) have become the gatekeepers of our media--and even more so with an issue as inconvenient and complicated as Climate Change.

If we don’t have this critical public discussion locally, the position we will find ourselves in will be one of unpreparedness. No doubt anyone we elect will attempt to swat every fly, every flood, every heat wave, and every increasing Climate Change consequence. But once you take the time to discover the full implications of this crisis, you will realize a knee-jerk, ad-hoc reaction to these kinds of calamities is woefully inadequate. A leader is needed, one willing to take charge of an unpopular but critical issue that cannot be avoided. Going mum and sitting out forums on our environment in order to keeps one’s lead in the polls is not leadership.  

I have heard Sandy speak publically many times on the importance of addressing Climate Change locally—including her valuable support to those busloads of Rochesterians who marched in New York City for the 400,000-strong Peoples Climate March, September 21, 2014. As the former Supervisor of the Town of Brighton, one of the cleanest and environmentally conscious communities in our area, Frankel has a proven record of active transportation (walking and bicycling) action, action on urban forestry, educating and supporting greenhouse gas emission reductions in Brighton, and even spells out her position on Climate Change on her election page. Coming out on Climate Change during this election is breathtakingly bold considering Sandy’s GOP opponent has not dared mentioned a word about the elephant in our local election for Monroe County Executive.

At this point in time, even if you don’t believe in Climate Change, you should think the attention it has been given worldwide makes it worthy of our consideration in the race for Monroe County Executive. For the buck, as it were, on Climate Change will stop at the executive’s door. She must prepare us all for that. Sandy Frankel has proven that she is ready to lead. 

Monday, October 05, 2015

Climate Change in Rochester, we are here:

Scientists say we should bring climate temperatures back down to preindustrial levels. We’ve increased climate temperatures to about 1C above those averages. At the 2009 Copenhagen climate talks the world agreed to hold climate temperatures increases to 2C, which is what the COP21 Paris climate conference this year is struggling to achieve. But it looks like present efforts would only reduce climate temperatures to 1C from its present trajectory of 3.5C by 2100. If we fail altogether to bring down greenhouse gas emissions, we’re slated for about 4.5C.

Offers for Paris Climate Talks Would Reduce Warming by 1°C Warming could be reduced from 4.5˚C to 3.5˚C under INDCs submitted to date The current national offers of climate action submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) would reduce projected warming by approximately 1°C, according to a new analysis released today from Climate Interactive and MIT Sloan. A Paris agreement based on these offers would put the world on track for a global temperature increase of 3.5°C (6.3°F), with a range of uncertainty from 2.1 to 4.6°C (3.7 to 8.4°F), down from the 4.5°C (8.1°F) of warming above pre-industrial levels if nations continue on the business-as-usual track. (September 28, 2015) Climate Interactive

Some say that 4.5C is game over. Some say 3.5C is unendurable. Some say 2C is dangerously high and our lives will be dramatically altered. Some say the 1C we’ve already warmed our climate has set in motion catastrophic sea level rise, caused climate refugees and wars, produced extreme weather, and jeopardized our food production. And some say, humanity thrived in the Holocene which gave us a stable climate temperature for 10,000 years and that’s where we ought to reset the thermostat given that we haven’t a clue as to how our planet and all the beings on it will adjust to a tenfold increase in climate temperature changes.

Given all this and the media drama caused by Pope Francis’s spectacular climate-messaging visit to the US, you’d think we here in Rochester would be alarmed, exhilarated, and ready to join the world community on tackling this worldwide crisis. Many are. Most are not. The pope’s visit garnered a lot of media attention in Rochester. But local media did not connect the dots between the pontiff’s visit and his message on Climate Change. (Except one local media “Pope in D.C., calls for climate action” from the Daily Messenger, which to be exact was a reprint from AP.) In the local media there was no connection between the pope’s visit and how Climate Change is connected to our region. It’s as if the local media went out of their way to not report the obvious—if Climate Change is true in Washington, DC it must be true here also.

Despite the science, the danger of the COP21 Paris Treaty failing to deliver realistic goals, and the pope (with 4.2 billion followers) and the Muslim community (with 4.3 followers) pressing our leaders for Climate Change actions, Rochester is still, even at this late date, shrouded in climate silence. Local media ignore candidate forums on Climate Change, as well as a massive march through downtown (complete with police escort) highlighting the pope’s climate message.  It makes these heart-felt actions about as effective as a screen door on a submarine.   

It’s not hopeless. Many intrepid souls in Rochester are determined to get this community in sync with this global moral and physical disaster.

Thanks to Indymedia, Rochester, NY we got coverage of our local People's Climate March in Solidarity with Pope Francis. There were lots of labor and environmental leaders along with candidates for the up-and-coming local elections who validated the connection between what is going on internationally, nationally, and locally on Climate Change. 

People's Climate March in Solidarity with Pope Francis Marchers met at Rochester's Liberty Pole on September 24 2015 in an event to call attention to Climate Change.  The march coincides with Pope Francis' visit to the United States.  In June the Pope published an Encyclical (official proclamation) in which he said “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.” (September 26, 2015) Rochester Indy Media    

Thanks to the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition and the League of Women Voters Rochester Metropolitan Area, we had an amazingly fruitful forum to educate the public on how and why our local leaders need to address Climate Change. Just in case you missed the “Building an Economy for Climate Stability Candidate Forum 2015” Wednesday, September 16th (which is understandable because only a couple of local media mentioned it coming and none of them covered it when it occurred), here are some photos and highlights of this critical forum before this year’s local elections: Candidate Forum 2015 Recap.  

So it’s curious that the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle editorial board started carping about a non-substantive campaign for Monroe County Executive amidst their own campaign to obfuscate the local issues related to Climate Change that will affect all our lives: “Dinolfo and Frankel: How about a campaign of substance?” (9/26/2015, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle). It’s 'curiouser and curiouser that the D&C editorial staff accuses Frankel of “… emailing reporters because you are wondering if Ms. Dinolfo might be a climate change doubter, you are not really doing the voters a favor either.”

Throughout this year, with harmful algae outbreaks (which the EPA links with Climate Change) in four of our Finger Lakes, 10 million gallons of raw sewage overflowing into the Genesee River on June 2nd due to the flooding that comes with heavy rainfall (now a feature of Climate Change in our region), and the pope coming to the USA to get our leaders to act on Climate Change for the Paris Climate Treaty in November, the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle and most of the other local media have been mostly mum. 

So when Sandy Frankel talks about addressing this crucial and substantive issue in debates, rallies, and discussions that are not attended to by this media, it’s no wonder that she must resort to constantly questioning whether her GOP opponent is a climate denier. One can and should wonder if our media and candidates are climate change deniers when they do not proactively report their position on this mother of all problems.

As the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation’s Climate Smart Communities program points out, in Climate Smart Communities Guide to Local Action, leadership is going to be required at the local level. “Altering the built and natural environment in anticipation of predicted climatic changes, or in response to actual changes, which will alleviate the risks associated with unavoidable changes in climate.”

Ms. Frankel has been continually speaking on the importance of addressing Climate Change since this election began, but our local media have not been covering Climate Change and questioning how all the candidates will lead on this issue—which will have a great impact on all the other substantive issues in this campaign.

We are at a quite amazing point in Rochester as we head towards a very important local election that will determine our collective response to Climate Change. Most of us are unperturbed, uninterested, and unconvinced that this crisis includes us here in Rochester. There at least three more forums where our three county executive candidates will talk to the voters.

Time passes. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

Six reasons why Rochester media didn’t cover election forum

On Wednesday evening, Sept. 16th, from 7 to 9PM, at least fifteen candidates for local county and city offices addressed questions on “Building an Economy for Climate Stability” to a large gathering at the Harley School in Brighton. It was a unique opportunity for voters to hear their potential leaders speak about how they would help create a climate for green jobs and address Climate Change locally. Everyone in the room at Harley had a chance to hear the science of Climate Change urgently brought to the local level from their well-informed and enthusiastic candidates. Except the Rochester media was not there. Not one. Not only that, but none of our local media (except Rochester City Newspaper and WXXI’s “Connections”) helped promote this critical local forum that attempted to address the crisis of our age.

Why not? Why wouldn’t the media in the third largest city in New York State bother promoting and covering an election forum that would encourage more citizens to attend, vote, and get educated on local election issues? This media silence is even more puzzling given the constant navel-gazing by our mass media as to why the public doesn’t vote:

Forum asks: Why don't we vote?  | Meager turnout in last week's primary election left voting advocates wondering why so few people exercise their right to vote, and how to get more citizens to the polls. The League of Women Voters of the Rochester Metropolitan Area will seek answers at a public forum at 7 p.m. Monday at Asbury First United Methodist Church, 1050 East Ave. Nazareth College professor Timothy Kneeland will lead a discussion with George Moses, director of North East Area Development, and Andrea Cain, vice president for programs and interim CEO of Community Place. (September 17, 2015) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

So to help you understand this seeming hypocritical stance by our media (wanting voters to vote but refusing to promote or cover election forums), we have come up with some conjectures as to how this bizarre phenomenon might have come about:
  • 1.   The forum in question--“Building an Economy for Climate Stability Candidate Forum 2015”—included the word ‘climate’. ‘Climate’ brings to mind the phrase “Climate Change’. As everyone knows, Climate Change is very controversial in the Rochester region—even though 97% of climate scientists say that it is happening, it’s human caused, and we need to do something about it. Rochester media doesn’t want to have elections about controversial stuff. If the forum had been about puppies, sports, or keeping taxes low, Rochester media would have felt safe enough to let the public know about the forum.
  • 2.      Pope Francis didn’t attend the forum. Even though he has written one of the most powerful and cogent books on the need to address Climate Change in his encyclical, if Pope Francis had attended the forum, Rochester media would have filled the room. The media would have fallen all over itself to promote this event. But then there wouldn’t have been any room in the room for the public. The public would have been forced behind barricades several blocks away from the forum, only able to pine longingly for the Pope’s attention. So we are pretty certain that the local media, as goes the GOP Catholic presidential candidates, would just as soon have the Pope stay home at the Vatican so no one feels morally compelled to act.  
  • 3.      The GOP Monroe County executive candidate didn’t come. If she had come, Rochester media would have done everything in their power to promote this event and cover it because she is the sure winner. Our media likes winners, winners of races, winners of lotteries, winners of anything really. But the GOP Monroe County executive candidate didn’t come because the media didn’t promote the event and threaten to cover this forum. If the media had threatened to come, then the GOP candidate would have had to come. I know, this crazy logic is Catch 22 but that’s how local politics works. If you are going to win the election anyways, why go to a forum where you’ll have to disclose how you would lead on Climate Change? You might not even believe in the science of Climate Change. Duh! And so speaking to the public on Climate Change would be very awkward and needlessly threaten your lead. It’s easy: if you’re going to win anyways you have to be pushed by the media to talk to the public about things you don’t want to talk about, and you’re certainly not going to be pushed by a media that doesn’t see the point of a democracy. 
  • 4.      Rochester media was too busy watching the National GOP debate that evening and besides no one as colorful as Donald Trump was scheduled to be at the local forum. If Donald Trump had been at the local forum, instead of performing on national TV, Rochester media would have had a chance to publish some very quotable (though crazy) quotes from the Donald.  But he wasn’t, so they didn’t.
  • 5.      Rochester, as everyone knows, is in a sweet zone and not subject to the laws of physics. The world is burning up, but not Rochester. Proof of this is weather for the last two winters (we’ll forget about the last two decades) was very cold; we had a very picturesque winter with lots of snowmen and children sledding. Rochester media thought it the height of absurdity to cover an election forum about our region addressing the consequences of Climate Change—when we weren’t experiencing any of those alleged consequences. It would be like covering a story about the best way to get to the Emerald City when there isn’t even a Yellow Brick Road to get there.
  • 6.      The Rochester media didn’t know about this event. All local media’s email went down at once just as they were being contacted by the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition (RPCC) and the League of Women Voters; all of the hundred-plus candidates contacted conspired to keep it a secret; and (risking your incredulity further) the media has been oblivious that an election is coming up this year and has completely failed to keep up with related events.

Once the public understands that the media is a business and not an information system, it’s easy to understand why Rochester media would not go out of their way to promote and cover an event that wouldn’t bring them any money. As a matter of fact, if they were to imply by their very coverage of this event that Climate Change was important enough to cover, the media might find that many of their subscribers would unsubscribe. Why would customers attend to a media who published stuff they didn’t want to hear about? Or, because the media hasn’t been connecting the dots locally on Climate Change over the years, then suddenly attending a forum on addressing Climate Change, it could cause their customers to question why customers were buying into this dysfunctional media in the first place.

The media, for various reasons, did not choose to cover this forum. And so once again those concerned about this worldwide crisis as it pertains to our region grind away ineffectually in a silo of silence—a place where the rest of the community isn’t bothered by this crisis (until they are by the laws of physics). Rochester goes on ignoring the fact that it is the job of their elected officials to protect them on a planet that is quickly warming.

Time passes. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

The inconvenience of the Pope’s Climate Change visit to the USA

Ahead of Pope Francis’s visit to the United States and an address to a joint session of Congress was the pontiff’s release of his climate encyclical. The “ENCYCLICAL LETTER LAUDATO SI’ OF THE HOLY FATHER FRANCIS ON CARE FOR OUR COMMON HOME”, an incredibly clear and eloquent argument for the moral imperative for addressing Climate Change, is assumed to be a part of the pope’s message to Congress.

Read: “Pope Francis' American Crusade The pope takes on climate change, poverty and conservative U.S. clerics (9/10/2015 Rolling Stone)

Pope Francis has continually led on the myriad efforts to make the COP21 Paris Treaty a success, a treaty that attempts to keep greenhouse gases to a livable level, produce a worthwhile Green Climate Fund, and produce a unified method for tracking GHG emissions. Ultimately, as the pontiff has no official negotiating powers, his authority comes from his unique positon to gain the attention of the world media, governments, his Christian followers, and other religions’ leaders.

Having said that, the pope still has his work cut out for him. The media, our governments, and the populace in developed nations (who have already reaped the lion’s share of benefits from burning fossil fuels) seem disinclined to hear the Pope’s central message: Climate Change is happening, humanity is at least partly responsible, and we have a moral obligation to address this crisis. Rather, the spectacle of a papal visit, complete with all the pomp and circumstance (including the selling of Pope T-shirts), threatens to distract everyone from the major reason for the pope’s visit to the USA.      
This local news item about ten Rochester area folks winning tickets to see the Pope in Washington, DC highlights media’s Climate Change dysfunctionality.
10 local people win tickets to see Pope Francis  The Pontiff will be in Washington, D.C. later this month 10 people from the Rochester area have won tickets to see Pope Francis in Washington, D.C. later this month. (September 9, 2015) 

It’s a sure winner for the media to announce the lottery winners of anything. As far as the media are concerned, It’s doesn’t matter what prize people win; announcing lottery winners brings in readers and revenue. Except the real importance of this story is conveniently missing. That a New York State Senator has found a way to promote the pope’s visit to Washington, DC to speak to Congress, which will include urging our reluctant leaders to take action on Climate Change, has been entirely dodged by the media. A fixation on a lottery, the gritty details of winners and losers, better suits a media that is far more interested in grabbing people’s attention than connecting the dots to the most important issue in their customers’ existence. 

Our US Congress is a critical obstacle in the world’s attempt to mitigate Climate Change, as the GOP-led institution threatens to pull the rug out from under any agreements that President Obama makes at the COP21 Paris Treaty in late November.

The Pope’s talk to Congress will be a great inconvenience to those (including a couple of presidential candidates) who will not connect morality with Climate Change, whose publishing outlet is a front for the fossil fuel industry, and those whose view of the world is not anchored in science.

Our local media cannot stop the pope from talking about Climate Change. Nor can they not cover the visit, it’s just too much of a money-maker for them. But what they can do is dazzle the public so that the visit becomes more like the ostentatious theatrics of a rock star stopover than an historic attempt to right the moral compass of our time.

There will be many attempts in Rochester, Buffalo, and around the world to highlight the importance of the pope’s visit. Your participation in any of these events might catch the notice of our local media to start paying attention to Climate Change:

·         Monday, September 21, 2015-­‐ Interfaith Prayer Service in St. Mary’s Catholic Church at 15 St. Mary’s Place in Rochester, NY @ 5:30-­‐6:30.
·         Thursday, September 24, 2015-­‐ March for Climate Justice at Liberty Pole in Rochester, NY @ 4:30 p.m.
·         September 24 at 4:00pm | (Niagara Square ) Buffalo Place - 671 Main Street - Buffalo, NY 14203
o   Rise Up for Climate Justice! Rally at Niagara Square on September 24 GETTING TO PARIS AND A SANE CLIMATE AGREEMENT Mobilizing Western New York for Climate and Economic Justice  (September – December 2015)  Rise Up for Climate Justice JOIN US  Rally at Niagara Square on September 24 at 4:00pm  The day Pope Francis speaks to the U.S. Congress Vigil/Fast during Paris Talks, Nov. 30 – Dec 11,
·         September 24, 2015 | Washington DC
o   People’s Rally for Climate Justice - Moral Action on Climate - MAC On September 24, Pope Francis will address a joint session of Congress, and we will gather in support of his call for urgent action to address the climate crisis and create a new future of economic equality, social justice, and environmental equity.  Join us in Washington DC or plan events where you are, and post them here!READ the People’s Climate Covenant: A Formula for U.S. Leadership at the Paris Climate (Listing thanks to Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo.)
·         During the week of September 21-25,
o   Week of Moral Action for Climate Justice - MAC During the week of September 21-25, thousands of people will come together - in Washington DC and across the country - joining with Pope Francis to underscore the moral aspect of the climate crisis, and to call America to heed its moral duty to act for climate justice. MAC Website: (Listing thanks to Re-ENERGIZE Buffalo.)
·         Oct. 1st, 7 pm at St. Boniface Church, 330 Gregory Street, Rochester, NY
o   “Major Presentation on Pope Francis's Environmental Encyclical You've heard that Pope Francis has written an encyclical (a formal letter) calling for urgent action on climate change. And here's your chance to learn exactly what's in this strong, important document, addressed to "every person living on this planet." Dr. Gerry Gacioch will speak about "Pope Francis Encyclical top 10" on Oct. 1st, 7 pm at St. Boniface Church, 330 Gregory Street. Dr. Gacioch, who is Chief of Cardiology at Rochester General Hospital, is passionate not only about heart health but also about the health of our planet. A nationally known speaker, he is famed for his engaging and challenging presentations about Catholic Social Teaching on the climate. Here's a teaser from the Pope's encyclical, subtitled On Care for Our Common Home: "Our common home is falling into serious disrepair.… In the meantime, economic powers continue to justify the current global system where priority tends to be given to speculation and the pursuit of financial gain." The Pope also analyzes "the intimate relationship between the poor and the fragility of the planet," since "everything in the world is connected." Come hear more: Oct. 1st, 7 pm at St. Boniface Church, 330 Gregory Street, Rochester, NY.”

Related: On Wednesday, September 16 7:00-9:00 PM at the Harley School, 1981 Clover Street, in Rochester, the Rochester People's Climate Coalition and the League of Women Voters are hosting a forum on Building an Economy for Climate Stability. This event, moderated by Dr. Susan Spencer, President and Founder of ROCSPOT, presents a unique opportunity for voters to learn how their candidates’ platform relates to Climate Change solutions. 

It remains to be seen whether the Republican candidate for Monroe County Executive will show up, whether the media will show up and cover this event, or whether the local media will even mention this forum—which is an attempt to educate the entire Monroe County public on how Climate Change will be addressed locally.

Our local media, which likes to make much of nothing and nothing of much, must find Climate Change very inconvenient, especially when physics and the pope are threatening their artful dodging on the mother of all problems by coming here and shaking things up.

Time passes.