Monday, December 31, 2007

Climate 411 » Global Warming Science 2007: Ten Top Stories - Environmental Defense

Climate 411 » Global Warming Science 2007: Ten Top Stories - Environmental Defense

Talking Heads Not Talking Climate - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog#more-118

Talking Heads Not Talking Climate - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog#more-118: "The odds that voters will be clamoring for climate leadership in meaningful numbers soon enough to limit building climate hazards are pretty low, a lot of analysts insist. For the moment, the Sunday shows, quite naturally, still focus on the issues voters care most about (war, money, health, candidates’ eating habits, race, religion, likability, gender). Can they step out in front? Should they? Will it matter?"

What Are They Waiting For?

What Are They Waiting For?: "The climate crisis will be the biggest challenge facing the next president.

But the top Sunday hosts don’t seem to think so. In 2007, they have asked: 2275 Questions


3 mentioned global warming"

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Rochester'sBiggest Business Story of the year:

Today’s Democrat and Chronicle highlights the biggest business story of the year, but this is not an easy thing to measure anymore. Hopefully, in the future all aspects of businesses, including their relationship to our environment will be heard:

Read Top area business story? Don't expect agreement (Dec 30, 07) "Frank Regan, former chairman of the Sierra Club's Rochester chapter, was especially passionate about the RG&E decision. "The PAETEC story may loom large in the public view of what visually constitutes change, but removing one of the largest coal-burning power plants in the Northeast and promising not to use coal in the upgrade will make all the other efforts the public makes ... to curb global warming worthwhile," Regan said in an e-mail. "If Russell Station just went back to coal, anything else our city did to stop global warming would have been negligible."

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Sequestration, a Slam Dunk?


Though building a new clean-coal power plant at the Huntley Station in the Town of Tonawanda (about an hour away by car) isn’t within the political purview of Monroe County, it is within our environmental sphere of influence. “Building a new clean-coal power plant at the site of the Huntley Station in the Town of Tonawanda would pump an estimated $133 million a year into the Erie County economy during its construction and a projected $94 million a year once the facility is running, a study to be released today found. (Nov 30, 07)” The Buffalo News: Business: Report lauds planned coal plant

Meaning, that if does not go well with the large-scale use of Sequestration (a silver bullet solution hailed as the savior of coal power) we will probably reap some of the consequences here in Rochester, just as we do from the power plants out West. I believe that all that we do personally to curb Global Warming will be negated if we, or anyone within our planetary influence, burns large amounts of coal for energy.

Here in Rochester, we have said no to coal. (Note: Russell Station plans change — Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. has withdrawn its application to convert Russell Station to a clean coal power plant and will instead go with the option of rebuilding the Greece site as a natural gas power plant. (September 29, 2007) Democrat & Chronicle) But, in a large weather system such as our (not to mention most of our weather drifts from west to east) what others do nearby affects our climate and air quality. Coal is a dirty power source: it emits lots of particulates which get in your lungs, a lot of carbon dioxide that has been trapped in the planet for millions of years and is release wholesale when burnt for energy) and mercury, when burnt in a power plant turns into “neurotoxin poisonous in soluble forms such as mercuric chloride or methylmercury.” –from Mercury (element) - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

So, if sequestration does not work, then a lot of money has gone down the drain on a process of making energy from coal merely a dream—and a nightmare if these projects go ahead without a guarantee that they will be clean. There are no fully running clean-coal plants using sequestration, and one of those trying are in doubt of ever going online: Environment ReportA FUTURE FOR 'FUTUREGEN'?” The federal project known as FutureGen now has a home. The zero-emissions coal-to- hydrogen plant is to be built in Illinois. It's been in the planning stages for several years. But, there are skeptics who doubt FutureGen will ever be built.”

My point: Sequestration is not a slam dunk as a solution for Global Warming. It’s an interesting proposal, but it has not been done on a large scale and millions of dollars are being spent on this concept because we don’t want to let go of coal—not because it has been proven to work on a large scale. Also, if this new project at Huntley Station does not work, but goes online anyway as a regular coal plant because they’ve already spent million of dollars on it and the public will be clamoring for more cheap energy, say goodbye to any real efforts in our area to curb Global Warming. You yourself can burn less energy and buy more fuel efficient cars (if you can find them after the EPA squashed California’s ((and by default New York’s)) new standards for fuel emissions) and that will make you feel good, but it won’t have a large, immediate effect on the buildup of Global Warming gases—which has been called for by the IPCC Fourth Assessment Report.

We must understand that fighting Global Warming demands a new set of priorities—now that there has been a world-wide consensus of nations and scientists that mankind can and does affect our planetary climate. Just changing our personal behavior and living green is not enough. We are up against a planetary problem that must be solved quickly and that means by billions of people. Large projects like the Huntley Station and the efficacy of Sequestration must be on our radar. The arguments for cheap electricity and creating a lot of jobs for many must be measured properly with the possible effects of our environmental concerns.

Erie Canal In Brighton

Erie Canal In Brighton: "Erie Canal In Brighton

Photos by Jay Greenberg

This is a collection of photos made during walks along the canal between S. Clinton Ave. and Winton Rd. This is my favorite walk in Brighton because of the many birds, other animals, and plants found in the area as well as the undeveloped open space which is now threatened by a development proposal. Perhaps the most notable feature of the area is the abandoned pastures of the former Gonsenhauser Farm. They provide increasingly scarce habitat for grassland bird species such as bobolinks, savannah sparrows, and eastern meadowlarks that are in serious decline nationally, primarily due to habitat loss. I've seen at least 85 bird species in the area over the years. To see my canal bird list, my 1998 Brighton-Pittsford Post guest editorial on the importance of the pastures as habitat for grassland birds, and my comments to the town board on the proposed development, click on the links below."

TUC Radio: Newest Programs

TUC Radio: Newest Programs

Dr. Lonnie ThompsonABRUPT CLIMATE CHANGE AND OUR FUTURE

Dr. Thompson issues a warning that the mountain glaciers he knows and loves are melting ever more dramatically just within the year of 2007. He is the leading expert on glaciers with 30 years of on location research. Dr. Lonnie Thompson saw one of the first ice cores that was recovered from a glacier when he was in graduate school. He was fascinated by the amount of data on earth history, past climate and world changing events that can be read from these ice cores and made the exploration of ice his life's work. He now teaches in the Department of Geological Sciences and is Senior Research Scientists at the Byrd Polar Center at Ohio State University.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Democracy Now! | "Today’s Decision Would Make George Orwell Proud" -- FCC Commissioner Michael Copps on the FCC's Vote to Rewrite the Nation's Media Ownership Rules

Democracy Now! "Today’s Decision Would Make George Orwell Proud" -- FCC Commissioner Michael Copps on the FCC's Vote to Rewrite the Nation's Media Ownership Rules: "“Today’s Decision Would Make George Orwell Proud”—FCC Commissioner Michael Copps on the FCC’s Vote to Rewrite the Nation’s Media Ownership Rules "

"The Federal Communications Commission voted three-to-two on party lines last week to approve a measure that would increase media consolidation. The new rule pushed through by FCC Chairman Kevin Martin lifts a thirty-year old ban on companies seeking to own both a newspaper and television or radio station in the same city. Michael Copps was one of two FCC Commissioners to vote against the rule. [includes rush transcript]"

Frank J. Regan: What have we lost? We have lost more objectivity and thus more information about our environment. The question, as more Big Media which wants its own view of the state of our environment projected onto the masses, for the future is: Where are you going to find out exactly what is going on with our environment? Who will you trust? For in the future, you will always have to ask yourself: “Am I getting my information about the state of my environment, including information on Global Warming, from a bias source?” If you are being spun by a media source that has an agenda or ideology on the environment, you may find your way of life breaking down without knowing about it—until the point where you cannot do anything about it.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

A Threat So Big, Academics Try Collaboration - New York Times

A Threat So Big, Academics Try Collaboration - New York Times: "The political landscape of academia, combined with the fight for grant money, has always fostered competition far more than collaboration.
But the threat of global warming may just change all that.

Take what’s happening at the Rochester Institute of Technology. In September the school established the Golisano Institute for Sustainability, aimed at getting students and professors from different disciplines to collaborate in studying the environmental ramifications of production and consumption."

Seeking Suggestions, and Offering Seasons Greetings - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog


Seeking Suggestions, and Offering Seasons Greetings - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog: "Seeking Suggestions, and Offering Season’s Greetings
By Andrew C. Revkin

Celebrations at a Russian tourist camp on the sea ice near the North Pole. (Credit: Andrew C. Revkin)As 2007 draws to a close, so does the second month of Dot Earth. This 100th post is two things — a season’s greeting and a call for suggestions (more on the suggestions below)."


Frank J. Regan's comment


My suggestion is that Dot Earth does not evolve too fast. Dot Earth hit the ground running, by having the credibility and professionalism of the NY Times behind it, and it is now probably one of the best blogs on the environment. The level of discussion between host and commenters is tops.

One of the questions concerning climate change and blogs I have is this: How does the public distinguish between scientific level proof of man-made climate change and the level at which they themselves must get involved? Without a majority of the public onboard with efforts to curb global warming, I don’t believe anything requiring such major changes can occur. And, if we wait until absolute scientific certainty on whether anthropogenic global warming points directly to a Pearl-Harbor-like crisis, it will be too late.

So, how can a blog already distinguished as Dot Earth help move the media towards responsible editing and reporting on the kind Objectivity (meaning, there is no middle ground on an unsustainable environment) a potential crisis like climate change deserves? In other words, how long towards major consequences of climate change do the media blur the line where public action is needed and scientific proof required? Can humans really handle a problem something as huge and consequential as Climate Change?

We cannot if we cannot talk sensibly about it between scientist and the public, Republicans and Democrats, rich and poor, the educated and not so educated.

Pope Makes Appeal to Protect the Environment - New York Times

Pope Makes Appeal to Protect the Environment - New York Times: "ROME — Pope Benedict XVI reinforced the Vatican’s growing concern with protecting the environment in the traditional midnight Christmas Mass on Tuesday, bemoaning an “ill-treated world” in a homily given to thousands of pilgrims here in the seat of the world’s billion Roman Catholics."

Monday, December 24, 2007

Watching for Local Signs of Climate Change:

This is probably a non-story for environmental news, but something I’m going to be watching over the years. One of the many predictions about how Global Warming will affect the Northeast is a change in some flora of our area, which will affect some business, and the production of maple syrup may be one of those. (Maple syrup shortage taps wallets - Prices are up after poor spring weather kept production down— If you'll be giving or serving New York maple syrup this holiday season, you probably paid more for it this year. A combination of consumer demand and a supply shortage have boosted prices 10 percent to 20 percent at many area retailers. (December 24, 2007) Democrat & Chronicle)

I’m hesitant to post this remark, because many view environmentalists as ‘alarmists,’ which of course we are—and must be. One of the most important roles for environmentalists, I believe, is to use their reason, education, observations, interactions with others and the environment, to foresee possible positive and negative trends in our environment.


Sadly, it has evolved that it is the trend of business to set the bar of environmental concern very high (in some cases absolute scientific proof) before determining whether or not something constitutes a danger. The problem is that with environmental degradation, long before something can be proven to the satisfaction of all, that bar will make it impossible to solve environmental problems, as many are irreversible.


On this note, I’m reading an interesting book “A Green History of the World: The Environment and the Collapse of Great Civilizations” by Clive Ponting. I suggest all read it because it provide a long sweeping view of history in terms of how mankind has affected our environment and in many cased doomed their civilization. I cannot help if this seems depressing to some, but hiding ones head in sand in these extraordinary times is the mark of a species heading for extinction.


Anyway, there are a host of possible ramification of Global Warming for our area that a prudent species should keep their eyes on: temperatures rising, a migration of plants and animals north as our climate adopts a Southern visage (though, most ((especially plants)) won’t move quickly enough), droughts, change in precipitation, lowering of Great Lakes water levels, coastal flooding, sea-level rise, shore-line change, extreme heat in our cities, more diseases (like Lyme disease, West Nile Virus, and maybe malaria) and more potent cases of poison ivy, air quality loss, agriculture changes, changes in the fisheries, changes in the dairy industry, changes in spruce/fir forest of the Adirondacks, alterations in winter recreation (did you know the NYS has “more ski areas than any other state in the nation”?), and an increase in ozone pollution."

Changing the criteria for news:


The Democrat & Chronicle is running an interesting contest in its news, here at the end of the year: What was the top business story for the Rochester area in the past year? (Dec 23, 07)


I believe without a doubt the biggest business story of this year was Rochester Gas & Electric decided not to upgrade its Russell Station coal burning plant with coal. (Russell Station plans change — Rochester Gas and Electric Corp. has withdrawn its application to convert Russell Station to a clean coal power plant and will instead go with the option of rebuilding the Greece site as a natural gas power plant. (September 29, 2007) Democrat & Chronicle)


It would be a real service to the city it the Democrat and Chronicle used this criteria, helping in the fight against Global Warming, instead of how many ‘hits’ a company gets or how popular an issue. The PAETEC story may loom large in the public view of what visually constitutes change, but removing one of the largest coal-burning producing power plants in the Northeast and promising not to use coal in the upgrade will make all the other efforts the public makes in their lives to curb global warming worthwhile.


If Russell Station simply went back to coal, anything else our city did to stop global warming would have been negligible, or impossible to counteract. Using the criteria of corporate responsibility and sustainability is more important it this point in time (after the Bali Climate Change Summit) than how many jobs or how titillating a business story.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

EPA Faces Wave of Challenges to California Waiver Denial

EPA Faces Wave of Challenges to California Waiver Denial: "EPA Faces Wave of Challenges to California Waiver Denial
WASHINGTON, DC, December 21, 2007 (ENS) - A powerful Congressional committee has launched an investigation into the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's denial of California's request to impose limits on greenhouse gas emissions from motor vehicles and other tailpipe toxics. It is the first time a waiver request has been denied under the federal Clean Air Act.
The Committee on Oversight and Govemment Reform has ordered EPA Administrator Stephen Johnson to preserve all documents relating to the decision he issued Wednesday not to grant a waiver of less stringent federal rules so that California's clean car law could take effect.

Congressman Henry Waxman of California (Photo by J. Kapitz)
Committee chair Congressman Henry Waxman of California has requested that Johnson provide all the documents from his office relating to the California waiver request to the committee by January 10, 2008. Documents from all EPA offices relating to this decision are to be handed over to the commettee by January 23."

delawareonline ¦ The News Journal, Wilmington, Del. ¦ Nuclear revival

delawareonline ¦ The News Journal, Wilmington, Del. ¦ Nuclear revival: "'There are three problems,' said Falkowski, a biochemist and biophysicist long affiliated with energy studies at Rutgers.
'One is an issue of economics. It's very expensive. Second, people believe there are major safety problems. Third, nuclear waste disposal remains an unsettled problem, even as waste stockpiles continue to increase.'"

F.C.C. Eases Media Ownership Rule - New York Times

F.C.C. Eases Media Ownership Rule - New York Times: "“In the final analysis,” Mr. Copps said, “the real winners today are businesses that are in many cases quite healthy, and the real losers are going to be all of us who depend on the news media to learn what’s happening in our communities and to keep an eye on local government.”"

Salt Lake Tribune - Where do the candidates stand on the environment?

Salt Lake Tribune - Where do the candidates stand on the environment?: "Environmentalism is an American value that we've been making up as we go along. The concept didn't exist when the Constitution was framed, and for most of our history, this country's rich natural resources gave us a sense of life without limits. But that admirably expansive spirit has left us with some bad habits, from political isolationism to the SUV. We now know that exploiting the Earth's abundance comes with a cost, and not just to a few endangered species. Our response in the next few years, including our vote for president, will help determine humanity's fate for decades, maybe centuries, afterward."

Friday, December 21, 2007

Climate Consensus Busted? - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog

Climate Consensus Busted? - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog: "The perennial tug of war over what average people should think and do about human-caused global warming has just experienced another big yank, this time from those saying actions to cut greenhouse gases are a costly waste of time."

A Reasonable Assumption

A decade and a half ago, I unscientifically began to reason that since the Industrial Revolution, when the churning of industry and the transportation of billions from fossil-fuels, the cutting down of billions of trees, the paving of billions of miles of asphalt roads, and the billowing billions of tons of industrial waste into the air, there would be consequences. It seemed a reasonable assumption that this assault upon our planet’s delicate balance of Nature, where clean air and clean water are critical to our existence, should be investigated thoroughly, with the thought that if there were even the possibility that mankind could affect something so profound as climate change, finding a conservative point along the continuum of action and scientific validity should be paramount.

Given the chaotic nature of our planetary weather system and our inability to rapidly change our collective behavior, I thought it would be prudent for an intelligent species to actively rule out the possibility of anthropogenic climate change. In my unsophisticated mind, just this hypothesis alone should have sent our species scurrying to investigate and find the appropriate level in which to act. Even primitive man would have run before the lion pounced.

However, the politicizing of this issue and the fears from powerful corporations that the status quo would be disrupted by this yet unproven concern has seriously affected our species ability to assess and act on this sensible concern. By the time anthropogenic climate change has been proven to the satisfaction of every myopic, monomaniacal ideologue we shall be hurled headlong towards climate collapse.

So now, after fifteen years and a consensus by the majority of scientist around the world, we have enough information to act. Scientists know that more global warming gases in the atmosphere warms things up and the public understands how difficult it will be to make positive changes in something as unwieldy as our climate.

But, the naysayers have not given up and the mainstream media fails to understand the preeminence of a healthy environment. Their slavish devotion to their misunderstanding of Objectivity, where every kook gets his chance to muddy the waters, rules. Every action towards sustainability seems thwarted by the few and the furious. Have we come to the point in human history where the angels of our better judgment have become bereft of intelligent action? For, it seems in the United State that the rich and powerful are fixated on their view of reality and that they intend on imposing upon the rest of us a world, regardless of its merit, without fairness or a chance for sustainability.

Ultimately, I hope that the world since Bali has decided to act on Global Warming. Even so, we must fight for life, like the shark hampered by the parasitic lamprey, while our energies are relentlessly sucked from us.

Frank J. Regan RochesterEnvironment.com

Thursday, December 20, 2007

New Report by the Nature Conservancy

an ounce of prevention - How to stop invasive insects and diseases from devasting U.S. Forests

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Find an Energy-Saving Light Bulb - Take the Pledge: Switch to Energy-Saving Bulbs - Environmental Defense

Find an Energy-Saving Light Bulb - Take the Pledge: Switch to Energy-Saving Bulbs - Environmental Defense: "Find an Energy-Saving Light Bulb
Energy-saving light bulbs now come in all shapes and sizes. Choose as many or as few criteria as you like and we'll recommend bulbs that match.
Some fixtures can be challenging to fit, so read our reviews, check the side-by-side pictures, and consult our tips for buying energy-saving bulbs. Thanks for helping to save energy and cut pollution!"

Countries Agree to Write New Climate Action Pact

Countries Agree to Write New Climate Action Pact: "NUSA DUA, Bali, Indonesia, December 15, 2007 (ENS) - Governments meeting in Bali today agreed to launch negotiations towards a strengthened international climate change pact. The new treaty will be a successor to the Kyoto Protocol, which expires at the end of 2012.

Success at the UN climate change conference in Bali. (Photo courtesy Earth Negotiations Bulletin)
The decision by 187 countries includes a clear agenda for the key issues to be negotiated by 2009. The agenda will cover action for adapting to the negative consequences of climate change, such as droughts and floods; ways to reduce greenhouse gas emissions; ways to widely deploy climate-friendly technologies; and financing of both adaptation and mitigation measures.
Concluding negotiations in 2009 will ensure that the new deal can enter into force by 2013, following the expiration of the first phase of the Kyoto Protocol."

Ethanol Industry Is Losing Clout In Congress as Food Prices Climb - WSJ.com

Ethanol Industry Is Losing Clout In Congress as Food Prices Climb - WSJ.com: "The stalling ethanol industry wants Congress to mandate greater use of the biofuel. But many of the industry's former friends have turned against it amid soaring prices for corn and other grains."

Think Outside The Bottle - Take the Pledge Today! - Think Outside The Bottle - Take the Pledge Today!

Think Outside The Bottle - Take the Pledge Today! - Think Outside The Bottle - Take the Pledge Today!: "Groups and individuals are pledging to choose tap water over bottled water and we need your help!

Bottled water corporations are changing the very way people think about water. Though many bottled water brands come from the same source as public tap water, they are marketed as somehow more pure. What’s more - bottled water corporations sell water back to the public at thousands of times the cost. Plastic bottles also require massive amounts of fossil fuels to manufacture and transport. Billions of these bottles wind up in landfills every year.

You can help reverse this trend. At events and over online networks tens of thousands are supporting the efforts of local officials to reduce the social impact and environmental harm of bottled water by prioritizing public water systems. Taking the Think Outside the Bottle Pledge is quick, easy, and sends the message that water is a human right, not a commodity.
Take the pledge!"

Coal Victories Across the Nation! :: Sierra Club

Coal Victories Across the Nation! :: Sierra Club: "Kansas: State Rejects Massive Coal Plant, Cites Global Warming Concerns
Iowa: State Regulators Rule Against Coal Plant Application
Oklahoma: State Regulators Rule Against Coal Plant Application
Arizona: Community Succeeds in Preventing New Coal Plant
Florida: Another One Bites the Dust
Kentucky: Court Says No to Peabody Coal
Florida: On a Roll Against Coal
Florida: In Landmark Decision, Florida Pulls the Plug on a Massive Coal-Fired Proposal
Missouri: Sierra Club and Utility Agree to Landmark Global Warming Plan
Texas: TXU Cancels Plans for 8 of 11 Proposed Coal-Fired Plants
Illinois: Major Clean Air Victory in Chicago
Illinois: Historic Settlement with Springfield Utility
Michigan: Community Succeeds in Keeping Polluting Coal Plant Out"

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Media Priorities

Hannah Montana made it to Rochester during an almost blizzard and out again. I don’t know who Hannah Montana is, but I’m glad she made it safely to and from Rochester. I know this because the local news was saturated with this topic all weekend. I could not find, however, a story about the climate talks in Bali, where the US dragged its feet on coming to an agreement with the rest of the world on curbing Global Warming gases.

Wait, it was mentioned here: ENVIRONMENT: You're getting warmer - News & Opinion - Rochester City Newspaper

I’m wondering what goes on in the minds of the editors of the media sources in our area. When I asked around to those who listen to local news, I found nobody who had any idea what Bali was or what was going on there last week. This is odd considering that in less than 24 hours, the Federal Communications Commission plans to vote through rules that will let the largest media companies swallow up more local newspapers and TV stations. This is the Media Ownership Act of 2007 (S. 2332) where the FCC made a token attempt to receive public comment on this issue and despite questioning by Congress on whether they even listened to the public concern about merging media companies, are pushing like mad to get this bill passed.

How has it come to pass that we have decided that it’s far more important to inform ourselves about the movements of a pop star than even mentioning that our environment is in deep trouble and our country, which releases more green house gases than any nation in the world, refuses to set limits or work with other nations? Check out this story from the NY Times: Bali Climate Talks - Global Warming - New York Times or any of the listing I've placed on my blog, Environmental Thoughts.

These are strange days indeed. I guess to some, like media editors, environmental matters, like sustainability and the survival, are now assumed to be patrician issues and they’re squeamish about the objectivity problem: If the media mentions that Global Warming could radically change our way of life and that our present administration refuses to help find a solution with other nations—they would have to trouble themselves to find someone to argue the opposite position. Of course, that is becoming increasing hard to do because most of the nation of the world and most of the scientists in those nations know Global Warming to be a major threat.
Here’s my point: As our mainstream media consolidates to save itself from making smaller and smaller profits, we the people are going to become more and more inundated with media views that don’t conform to reality. Environmental issues, which seem to threaten corporations, will be mentioned less and less, though they rise in importance around the world.

The world is watching us and they must wonder how such a rich, intelligent, and powerful country can have so many people who don’t even care about the planet they share with others. But, we sure do know about our pop stars and which sports heroes take what performance enhancing drugs. We are going on our merry way in this country oblivious to the looming environmental crisis of Global Warming and what other nations think of our dismissal of it.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Can the environment be too costly?

It’s an odd sense of priorities when we as a species decide that our way of life is more important than life itself. That we cannot and should not disrupt our economy to save ourselves and future generations from environmental degradation because we cannot fit it into our budget. How have things gotten to this state?

How can the smartest species ever to existed on this planet come to the collective decision that the system they use to motivate themselves (our economy) be so important that cleaning up and making our existence sustainable must take a back seat to a thriving economy.

If we were smart, we would alter our economy to accommodate our environment and insure our future. This can be done by allowing our environment to become an integral part of our economy—which, of course, it will do anyway because when you run out of natural resources, you run out of natural resources. When the planet heats up and you can’t grow crops that fed your economy, or cannot provide fresh water to your industry because of a sustained drought, or you can’t breathe the air your local industry creates, then your economy fails. So, this story is very weird in the sense that anyone things environmental issues can be put aside to save ourselves. If we don’t get our priorities strait, that a clean environment comes first, Nature will make sure we do. Read on...

Reports say warming hurts Mich., but are fixes too costly? The international fight over global warming, and what to do about it, is coming to Lansing, where a fight is brewing over proposed reforms that advocates say can repair environmental damage but critics contend a recession-plagued state can't afford. In the past week, two reports found that global warming already is harming the state. One, released Thursday by the National Environmental Trust, found the state ranks 10th nationally for carbon dioxide emissions blamed on warming. Last week, a three-year, binational study concluded rising temperatures already are a threat to the comeback of the Detroit River and Lake Erie. (Dec 14, 07) Detroit News Online Monday, December 17, 2007

Letter from Bali: A tragic truth | Gristmill: The environmental news blog | Grist

Letter from Bali: A tragic truth Gristmill: The environmental news blog Grist: "This is a guest essay from Andrew Light, an environmental ethicist and professor of philosophy and public affairs at the University of Washington in Seattle. He attended the Bali meetings as an observer and participant in a side event. The essay comes to us from Nusa Dua, Indonesia."

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Glass Half Full? | Grist | News | 13 Dec 2007

Glass Half Full? Grist News 13 Dec 2007: "The Senate on Thursday overwhelmingly passed an energy bill that would raise auto fuel-economy standards to 35 miles per gallon by 2020 -- but only after a more ambitious version of the bill ran into a roadblock. The more ambitious version, which the House passed last week, got a thumbs-up from 59 senators -- a handful of Republicans as well as all of the Democrats except Mary Landrieu from oil-friendly Louisiana -- but that was still one vote shy of the 60 needed to get it past a threatened filibuster. To push the bill through, Democratic leaders in the Senate dropped provisions that would have required utilities to get 15 percent of their energy from renewables by 2020 and would have cut tax breaks and subsidies for oil companies. The revised bill now goes back to the House for approval; the White House says President Bush will sign it."

Voices on Bali, and Beyond - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog

Voices on Bali, and Beyond - Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog: "Below you’ll find a variety perspectives on the climate treaty talks, sent by people who attended in various capacities. I’ll be adding more as they come in, along with comments from other experts in climate science and diplomacy. Your comments are welcome as well, of course. I plan eventually to compile an archive of “Voices on Climate” on Dot Earth. I’ll also be developing similar archives of perspectives on population, consumption, poverty, and other issues related to how we head toward 9 billion with the fewest regrets."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

U.S. Senate Approves Scaled Back Energy Bill

U.S. Senate Approves Scaled Back Energy Bill: "WASHINGTON, DC, December 14, 2007 (ENS) – The U.S. Senate approved a landmark energy bill Thursday night that requires the first increase in vehicle fuel economy standards in more than 30 years. But the bill is far less ambitious than Democrats wanted, as they bowed to pressure from Republicans and the Bush administration and removed a $22 billion tax package that would have cut tax breaks for oil companies and boosted support for renewable energy.
The removal of the tax package was a second blow to the renewable energy industry – earlier in the week Democrats had ceded to Republican demands to remove a renewable electricity mandate from the bill. The provision, approved last week by the House, would have required investor-owned utilities get 15 percent of their electricity"

Al Jazeera English - News - Us Agrees 'Compromise' Climate Deal

Al Jazeera English - News - Us Agrees 'Compromise' Climate Deal: "US agrees 'compromise' climate deal

The US decision to adopt the road map was a swift reversal from its earlier position [AFP]

The United States has dropped its opposition to a compromise deal with developing nations towards negotiations for a new pact to fight climate change by 2009, at UN talks in Bali.

The US's agreement on the Bali road map on Saturday appeared to clear the way for two years of talks towards a new climate accord to succeed the Kyoto protocol."

Bali breakthrough launches climate talks | Reuters

Bali breakthrough launches climate talks Reuters: "NUSA DUA, Indonesia (Reuters) - Nearly 200 nations agreed at U.N.-led talks in Bali on Saturday to launch negotiations on a new pact to fight global warming after a reversal by the United States allowed a breakthrough.
Washington said the agreement marked a new chapter in climate diplomacy after six years of disputes with major allies since President George W. Bush pulled out of the Kyoto Protocol, the main existing plan for combating warming."

Friday, December 14, 2007

globeandmail.com: Bali on verge of climate deal

globeandmail.com: Bali on verge of climate deal: "After two weeks of often-bitter wrangling, Bali conference delegates were on the verge of an agreement Friday on the parameters for tougher action on global warming.
The delegates from 190 countries were expected to ratify a compromise agreement this morning, setting the stage for two years of intense negotiations to settle the details on drastic reductions in the world's greenhouse gas emissions.
Despite the compromise between Europe and the United States, some aspects of the agreement were not yet finalized last night, and environmentalists warned that the situation was still volatile. They cautioned that the agreement could still fall apart when it is reviewed by all countries today."

UN climate talks at Bali seem near an agreement - International Herald Tribune

UN climate talks at Bali seem near an agreement - International Herald Tribune: "NUSA DUA, Indonesia: Countries represented at a United Nations conference on climate change looked to be heading for a landmark agreement on a time frame for negotiations to combat global warming, officials said Friday.
After a weeklong deadlock between the United States and the European Union, diplomats reported that agreements were falling into place, with Germany's environment minister, Sigmar Gabriel, joking that the 'climate in the climate convention has changed.'"

U.S., Europe Near Climate Compromise, E.U. Likely To Accept Non-Binding Emissions Goals To Get Bush Administration Onboard - CBS News

U.S., Europe Near Climate Compromise, E.U. Likely To Accept Non-Binding Emissions Goals To Get Bush Administration Onboard - CBS News: "(CBS/AP) The U.S. and Europe headed toward a compromise solution Friday at the U.N. climate conference, breaking a deadlock over how ambitious the goal should be in negotiating future cutbacks in global warming gases, the German environment minister said.

'I think the situation is good and the climate in the climate conference is good, and we will have success in the end,' Sigmar Gabriel told reporters, declining to give details of the talks."

Bali Climate Talks - Global Warming - New York Times

Bali Climate Talks - Global Warming - New York Times: "NUSA DUA, Indonesia — Countries gathering at a United Nations conference on climate change appeared to be heading toward a landmark agreement on a deadline for negotiations to reduce the world’s greenhouse gases, officials said Friday."

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Climate talks 'on brink' of deal

BBC NEWS Science/Nature Climate talks 'on brink' of deal: "Negotiators at the UN climate summit in Bali have adjourned talks, with delegates suggesting they are close to a compromise deal.
But there were reported to be lingering disputes about whether industrialised nations should adopt fixed targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
The EU wants to commit rich nations to specified emissions cuts, but the US, Canada and Japan are opposed."

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | Climate talks 'on brink' of deal

BBC NEWS Science/Nature Climate talks 'on brink' of deal: "Negotiators at the UN climate summit in Bali have adjourned talks, with delegates suggesting they are close to a compromise deal.
But there were reported to be lingering disputes about whether industrialised nations should adopt fixed targets for cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.
The EU wants to commit rich nations to specified emissions cuts, but the US, Canada and Japan are opposed."

Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog

Dot Earth - Climate Change and Sustainability - New York Times Blog: "After two weeks of steadily intensifying talks, briefings, speeches and “nonpaper” drafts, the world’s major countries early Saturday morning in Bali apparently agreed on a formal two-year schedule for trying to fix a faltering 1992 climate treaty."

New Boon for Great Lakes Region?


Since observing the news about the great droughts going on in the South and West (and the possible diversion of waters to those regions) I’ve also thought that our area’s loss of population to the South and West might be not only stemmed, but increased if the public thought of the advantage of our area having so much fresh water. Within this century, the one that might see dramatic changes in climate, it could be true that populations and industry might gravitate towards areas with lost of fresh, clean water.


Check this story out from Syracuse. We in Rochester will probably joining the bandwagon in the near future. And, this can have good and bad consequences, depending on how this new paradigm is handled. One good way would be to insure that our waters remain clean and fresh and attractive to any one wanting to move here or set up a business. Onondaga County to rest of nation: Plenty of fresh, clean water here ... - Syracuse.com Could the Southeast's water woes bring companies and jobs to Central New York? Onondaga County's economic development office thinks so. Starting next month and continuing through March, it will launch an advertising campaign touting the county's abundant supply of clean water and available land at a 250-acre site in Clay the county is trying to turn into a business park. (Dec 14, 07) News, Sports, Entertainment, Video, and Life in Central New York - Syracuse.com

Recycling Redux

Sometimes the greatest innovations have already been done. Recycling, extracting our junk into resources is probably one of the greatest hopes for curbing our environmental problems. No more landfills, no more toxins leaching into our ground and water, no more exporting toxic materials to the developing countries, no more waste--period.

Imagine taking everything we potentially throw away—steel, iron, paper, cardboard, computers, batteries, appliances, even house—and reusing everything. I mean everything, so that nothing gets wasted. Wouldn’t we be for the first time a responsible and thrifty society? Not really. It’s not such a wild new idea.

If lived through World War II, or watched The War - A Film By Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (2007) you know that massive recycling has been done before in the United States. You know that everyone, especially kids, will pitch in and learn how to extract and prepare everything not essential for the recycling project. You already know that these extracted items can be put in a place where the recyclers can get at them, where the recyclers can take them to industry to reuse them. Everything gets reused, nothing goes into the ground, less natural resources need to be ripped from our environment—sounds like an impossible dream, except that it’s already been done.

We can do it again if the public understands the importance and critical need for this to happen. When not only government, but industry remembers how to do this massive recycling, turning junk into new resources and products, our economy can thrive. Once galvanized recycling on the scale accomplished back in World War Two can be accomplished.

Bali Climate Talks - Global Warming - New York Times

Bali Climate Talks - Global Warming - New York Times: "NUSA DUA, Indonesia — Countries gathering at a United Nations conference on climate change appeared to be heading toward a landmark agreement on a deadline for negotiations to reduce the world’s greenhouse gases, officials said Friday."

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Strange Species

Below, I’ve listed some stories about the role the US is playing in the Bali Climate talks because I wanted to find out how the most important news story in the world got reported. I had to look hard, but I found several instances of Gore’s statement that the US has not joined with other nations to curb global warming gases.

It’s strange to me that the most important news there is, that the planet is warming up due to man-made causes, is not getting much play in the major media. It’s strange that the American people are not outraged that our country is dragging its feet on joining with other nations to agree on some program to curb global warming gases, even though we are responsible for most the man-made increase in these gases.

It’s very strange that a species that is allegedly as smart as we are reported to be is incapable of addressing the most critical issue of the day—one that threatens our very future. I’m endlessly fascinated by man’s inability to change our behavior towards what appears to most experts a danger to our existence. You’d think that a species as smart as ours would demand that the institutions they use to inform itself about the world they live in (the media) inform them of the most critical issue facing them—Global Warming and our environmental crisis due to our way of life. But we don’t. You have to hunt all over the world media to find about that our country, the most polluting in the world, refuses to join efforts to save ourselves. What’s with that?

NPR : Gore Condemns U.S. Stance at Climate Talks

NPR : Gore Condemns U.S. Stance at Climate Talks

Gore: US blocking climate progress - World environment- msnbc.com

Gore: US blocking climate progress - World environment- msnbc.com

Gore blames U.S. for blocking progress

Gore blames U.S. for blocking progress

EU, U.S. in climate deal standoff - CNN.com

EU, U.S. in climate deal standoff - CNN.com

New Warning On Arctic Ice Cap Melting, Satellite Images Show Volume Of Sea Ice At Summer's End Was Half That Of 2003 - CBS News

New Warning On Arctic Ice Cap Melting, Satellite Images Show Volume Of Sea Ice At Summer's End Was Half That Of 2003 - CBS News

Gore quotes NHL icon in apparent dig at Canada's climate stance

Gore quotes NHL icon in apparent dig at Canada's climate stance

BBC NEWS | Science/Nature | 2007 data confirms warming trend

BBC NEWS Science/Nature 2007 data confirms warming trend

Al Gore lays blame for Bali stalemate on U.S. | U.S. | Reuters

Al Gore lays blame for Bali stalemate on U.S. U.S. Reuters

Climate Choices in the Northeast

Climate Choices in the Northeast "See how global warming is changing the Northeast and how choices we make today will determine our children's and grandchildren's quality of life." --From Climate Choices www.climatechoices.org

Stop Big Media & Stop Global Warming


In just five days, the Federal Communications Commission plans to open the floodgates of further media consolidation across America.
If FCC Chairman Kevin Martin gets his way, your community will be inundated with even more mass-produced celebrity gossip and infotainment, and less local reporting and quality journalism: more of the the junk news that is making us sick.
Together we can stop them. We blocked them in 2003, and today we need you to show Washington that you don't want more media consolidation. To do it, we're building a "Wall" of opposition: your photo next to thousands of others, standing shoulder to shoulder against Big Media. We're going to deliver this Wall to the FCC. Add your name now.
Help Build the Wall Against Big Media
There’s a reason why the US was mislead into a preemptive war with Iraq and why the US fails to understand the crisis Global Warming presents—though the rest of the world does understand. The US is still sitting in front of the same big media that keeps misinforming and misleading them. If we don’t allow more voices to reach the public, we’re going to sink in our own delusions.

Wired News - AP News

Wired News - AP News Gore: US Blocking Climate Talks Progress - "BALI, Indonesia (AP) -- Nobel laureate Al Gore said Thursday the United States is "principally responsible" for blocking progress at the U.N. climate conference, and European nations threatened to boycott U.S.-led climate talks next month unless Washington compromises on emissions reductions.
The former vice president urged delegates to take urgent action to reduce emissions of greenhouse gases blamed for global warming, and told them that the next U.S. president will likely be more supportive of international caps on polluting gases."

We Americans tend to think that the reality we desire is the one that is. But, that is not necessarily so. There’s the real world, where we are part of a community that is trying to solve a planetary problem. There are going to be real consequences of being the greatest emitter of green house gases and just telling the rest of the world to deal with it.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Read or listen or watch the speech:

“It Is Time to Make Peace With the Planet”–Al Gore Accepts 2007 Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize was awarded Monday to former Vice President Al Gore and the UN’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change for their work to help combat global warming. “We and the earth’s climate are locked in a relationship familiar to war planners: ‘Mutually assured destruction,’” Gore said in his acceptance speech. “It is time to make peace with the planet.” [includes rush transcript] from DemocracyNow.org

Sunday, December 09, 2007

McKinsey & Company - Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost?

McKinsey & Company - Reducing U.S. Greenhouse Gas Emissions: How Much at What Cost?: "The central conclusion The United States could reduce GHG emissions in 2030 by 3.0 to 4.5 gigatons of CO2e using tested approaches and high-potential emerging technologies. These reductions would involve pursuing a wide array of abatement options with marginal costs less than $50 per ton, with the average net cost to the economy being far lower if the nation can capture sizable gains from energy efficiency. Achieving these reductions at the lowest cost to the economy, however, will require strong, coordinated, economy-wide action that begins in the near future. "

I submit that the public does not ‘get it’ on Global Warming.


“New polls actually show energy and climate change showing up high on the list of issues that voters care about” Bill McKibben - ENVIRONMENT: You're getting warmer - News & Opinion - Rochester City Newspaper

But, in what sense does the public ‘get it’ on Global Warming? Some say they understand that our planet is warming up. Some say this could even make their children’s life radically different. Some say land that wasn’t previously thought of as sellable or farmable will now be so because our area will have a longer growing period and a longer summer. Some understand that warming up the planet could adversely affect others in sea-level countries, like Indonesia. Others understand Global Warming in the sense of personal morality: They are changing their energy use and driving less with more fuel efficient vehicles.

But, what do we really mean by ‘getting it’ on Global Warming? Actually, Bill McKibben said that we “Don’t Get it” in his 1989 book The End of Nature. What does he mean? What he means is that when you say you understand or you care about this issue and you aren’t doing something to curb this preventable calamity, then you aren’t getting it.

I submit that the public does not ‘get it’ on Global Warming. If you say you ‘get it’ on the dangers of smoking to you and someone you are smoking near—you don’t get it. You don’t understand that there’s but a slim change that you are going to escape getting and giving someone who is held captive by your habit a very preventable and devastating form of cancer.

Likewise, you don’t get it on Global Warming if you think you and your progeny are not going to be profoundly affected by this environmental problem and that you are a part of it. If you aren’t changing your lifestyle to affect change, contacting or changing your media to insure that you are getting all the information you need about this subject, that you aren’t letting our government, and our candidates, know that this issue is your foremost concern—you don’t get it. You don’t get what McKibben is saying. You don’t get that Nature doesn’t care about your comfort zone, your values, your view of life, your beliefs, or how many solar panels dot your roof.

When you get it, when you understand that we are profoundly affecting the chaotic climate of this planet and that there is no precedent in human history to compare with the possible consequences of Global Warming on six billion plus people, and you’re doing something to affect massive and rapid wholesale change, then you’re getting it. When a shiver goes down your spine or an epiphany occurs in your brain, because you can see the direction our species is going is unsustainable and you’re motivated to move on it, like jumping out the way of an oncoming train, then my friend you get it. Don’t panic, don’t deny, don’t dismiss: Act!

Friday, December 07, 2007

Recycling Question for Monroe County


Recycling Question: "Is it okay to throw burned out fluorescent bulbs out with the trash? I understand there's some mercury in them: if there's a cheap alternative that ensures the mercury won't enter the food system, I'd rather do that."


My answer: You ask a very good question. There is a tiny (I mean really small amount) bit of mercury in each of these new fluorescent bulbs, but they should not go into the trash or the Monroe County recycling system. Yet, you should still replace your present incandescent light bulbs with fluorescent blubs because they are so much more energy efficient that some countries, including Australia, are now going to ban incandescent bulbs.


Here's what the Monroe County website says: "If discarded from a household, call 753-7600 (option 3) to set up an appointment for drop-off at the Monroe County HHW Facility. Please purchase fluorescent tubes with green ends—they have reduced mercury in them." If you need more information about what should and should not go into the Monroe County recycling system, go to the Monroe County Recycling page: Residential Recycling http://www.monroecounty.gov/des-residentialrecycling.php and check out the document: Material the curbside Recycling Program Does Not Include: http://www.monroecounty.gov/File/Non-Blue%20Box%20Program%20Materials.pdf


I would suggest that you wait until you get several (these bulbs last a long time, seven years, I've heard) and put them someplace until you have enough to make it worthwhile to call. However, by the time your florescent blubs burn out, Monroe County, a new company, or a local group of some kind will have developed a program for household residents to easily dispose of these bulbs properly. Many environmental groups, government, and industry are aware of the mercury problem and I'm sure it will be address. Please remember that the amount in any one bulb is vanishingly small and the bulbs last a long time, so the solution is coming.

About changing your media.

I believe in this day, when mainstream, corporate media blurs and spins important environmental information that we need to survive because of their specific ideologies and their shareholder’s economic interests, we have to change our media. We have to change how we get our media and the sources we use to inform us of what’s going on.

If the media we are accustomed to has mislead us or chooses on an unsound basis which stores we shall listen to and which they want us to ignore, then we have to change. There’s no shortage of new and old media out there. And by “out there,” one of the main conduits for finding out what exactly is going on in our environment is too surf around the Internet for trusted news sources, which can come from other countries, other industries, other groups—voices that don’t appear on our television or radios (Or, maybe they do, but we could not reach them except for the power of the Internet).

So, all this points to the importance of this story coming out of the NYS Governor’s office that can make it easier for all of us to have this choice of media: Affordable, High-Speed Broadband Internet for Every New Yorker - "Increased access to broadband service combined with digital literacy programs can dramatically improve social, cultural and educational opportunities that ultimately lead to increased job creation and economic development. This Universal Broadband initiative is a key component of the First Lady’s I Live New York initiative aimed at attracting and retaining New York’s next generation."

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

GreenTips Home (Index)

GreenTips Home (Index): "Twinkling lights on trees and houses are an icon of the holiday season, but their energy consumption might put a damper on your celebratory mood: this year’s holiday lights could generate as much global warming pollution as about 250,000 cars, according to UCS research. Most of this electricity is needlessly wasted, because the mini and C-7 incandescent lights used by most homeowners are only about 10 percent efficient. " from http://www.ucsusa.org/

Bali Bulletin

Bali Bulletin

Stay tuned to the most important event going on now. Find if the United States is going to continue to drag its feet on its responsibility to cooperate with all the other nations of the world on curbing Global Warming. Find out what’s the nations of the world are going to do about Global Warming. –from the Union of Concerned Scientists http://www.ucsusa.org/

Sunday, December 02, 2007

November 2007 Site Of The Month


When in comes to Recycling, we need innovative, profitable, and really useful solutions to putting our most toxic products back to work instead of into the ground, where they leach toxins for generations. Innovation means a new industry based on using recycled products should not only help the community by simply recycling but help the community by creating a product that the community needs.

So, this site of the month really helps get computers out of the ground, kept from being sent overseas where it goes into their ground, and provides Rochester with a useful, really inexpensive product. Computers are for everyone now and if you don’t have one, you’re not going to have the same chance to excel in our country, or have the same freedoms as those who do have a computer. So, at $24, getting a computer is the real deal, something needed, something really within the grasp of everyone that was going to poison us down the road if simply tossed into the ground.

SITE OF THE MONTH: Micrecycle “Our mission is to provide computers for education. Micrecycle refurbishes donated equipment to supply high-quality, affordable computers to families, schools and community organizations. We support community technology access and training for all members of the greater Rochester community. Micrecycle is a volunteer-based program dedicated to the vision that all people have affordable access to the benefits of computer and information technology. Micrecycle is a program of the Rochester Museum & Science Center.”

The November 2007 RENewsletter is out.




The reason for two formats is that while the Word format provides all the online features (all links on the newsletter work) not everyone can use this format. And while with Adobe Reader, a format that most browsers accept, there is a limited ability to follow the embedded links to online articles and web pages, and e-mails that are a very important part of RENewsletter.
Both formats print out perfectly for easy reading.
*** For complete information about this newsletter and downloading a version on your browser please go to: http://www.rochesterenvironment.com/subscribe.htm
*** Also, if any of the links above do not work, please copy and paste the entire link to your browser's address line and it will work.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Hemlock & Canadice Lakes


New book on the Hemlock & Canadice Lakes Watershed issue: If you have been following the major environmental story of the year about the possible sale of the Canadice/Hemlock Lakes watershed that the city of Rochester now owns, this new book offers some suggestions and some great photographs about this area. I don’t usually promote local environmental books, except when someone has taken the trouble to research and explain a specific Rochester-area environmental concern.


HEMLOCK and CANADICE LAKES "Kent Divers, photographer and Gloria Betlem, artist were married on the shores of Hemlock lake sixteen years ago. Now they have published their first book of images of Hemlock and Canadice, the lakes they hope will remain the pristine gems that they are Also, The book(s) will be shipped promptly, and proceeds from sales will help defray the costs of presenting copies to the decision makers in the fate of the lakes (Mayor Duffy, and City Council members) to give them a glimpse of what is at stake. Tax deductible donations towards this purpose can be sent to: Center For Environmental Information 55 St. Paul St. Rochester, NY 14604 payable to: Coalition for Hemlock and Canadice Lakes"

Blinded

How can you monitor what dangerous chemicals your community might be exposed to if our government has made it more difficult for you to know what has been dumped into your environment? The answer is simple. You can argue all day about the expense to businesses that this reporting of chemicals release burdens industry, or that you don’t particularly want to know, or any number of lame excuses. There are no excuses for the public being denied full information about what chemicals their communities are exposed to.

Why would an intelligent species blind itself to possible expose to dangerous chemicals that may compromise their own health, their families, and the future viability of their environment? The government can decide all it wants about where to place the bar on the amount of information given out to the public about dangerous chemicals, but that has nothing to do with at what point these dangerous chemical begin problems with our health and our environment. There should be no limit to the information we are given on what toxins have been released into our environment.

States join lawsuit against EPA -Case fights loosening of rules over reporting, tracking of toxic chemicals — New York joined a coalition with 11 other states Wednesday in suing the federal government to force stricter reporting and tracking of commercial use and storage of toxic chemicals. In a lawsuit filed in federal court in Manhattan, the states are seeking a reversal of a move last year by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency that relaxed the requirements for companies to report toxic chemicals they use. (November 29, 2007) Democrat & Chronicle

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Human Development Report Office – United Nations Development Programme

Human Development Report Office – United Nations Development Programme: "Climate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity at the start of the 21st Century. Failure to meet that challenge raises the spectre of unprecedented reversals in human development. The world's poorest countries and poorest people will bear the brunt. Read MoreClimate change is the greatest challenge facing humanity at the start of the 21st Century. Failure to meet that challenge raises the spectre of unprecedented reversals in human development. The world's poorest countries and poorest people will bear the brunt. Read More"

Tim Flannery | How We Can Save Ourselves

Tim Flannery How We Can Save Ourselves

Tim Flannery is Australian of the Year 2007, chairman of the Copenhagen Climate Council and a professor at Macquarie University.

"The governments of both Australia and the US are still trying to promote alternative approaches, by holding meetings outside the UN process that rely on voluntary measures. But as the CSIRO report makes clear, we are well and truly out of time to pursue such means. The reality is that the Kyoto negotiations are the only negotiations with a hope of creating a global treaty, and a global treaty is indispensable for combating a global pollution problem. If the CSIRO's report is not to become Australia's epitaph, our country must live up to its global climate responsibilities. The following actions are required - and this year, not next."

Is Rochester Doing It’s Part?


Probably seen as a positive movement for most, US states and cities taking on Global Warming in the face of national inaction, I see this trend as using a Band-Aid to fix a major medical problem. I don't think disparate communities using idiosyncratic methods to solve global environmental problems, that is, problems in a vast system of which each ecosystem is but a small part, is going to make the kind of wholesale, rapid, and effective changes our present environmental plight requires.


Rather we (as a species) should be coordinating our efforts worldwide so that we work in concert to create a level-playing field (that is, uniform rules working towards the same solution to combating the rise in anthropogenic greenhouse gases). Only in this way, will we be able to achieve the lowering of greenhouse gases on a planetary scale soon—which needs to be done. I think that each city and state coming to grips about this problem is a good sign, but doing it in this ad hoc way because Washington won’t, is not really going to solve the problem.


It may make individual and individual communities feel good, but our environmental problems are real problems, not philosophical quandaries. Solutions will not only have to be convenient for political ideologies, practical for business, and within consumers comfort zones, they will have actually have to work
By the way, how does Rochester, New York fair in this country rise in the climate change consciousness? Check out: CITIES BRACE FOR GLOBAL WARMING by the Environment Report

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Major report on the health of our Great Lakes.

Climate Change and Great Lakes Water Resources November 2007 - This report provides a comprehensive look at how climate change will impact water resources in the Great Lakes region and in other regions of the United States. By exploring the impact climate change will have in reducing water supplies across the country, this report highlights the need for water conservation laws and policies in the face of growing demand for clean, fresh water." --National Wildlife Federation is solely responsible for the content of this report.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

"We are in the Danger Zone"

“We Are Now In The Danger Zone”: Leading Australian Scientist Tim Flannery on Climate Change and How To Save the Planet"

"We spend the hour with one of the world's leading scientists studying climate change, Tim Flannery. An Australian mammologist, palaeontologist and field zoologist, he has discovered and named more than thirty new species of mammals. He has been described as being in the league of all-time great explorers such as David Livingstone. Flannery might be best known as the author of the bestselling book "The Weather Makers: The History and Future Impact of Climate Change." Earlier this year he was named 2007 Australian of the Year. Tim Flannery recently spoke before a packed crowd at the Lensic Theater in Santa Fe New Mexico as part of "Readings and Conversations," a series sponsored by the Lannan Foundation. Today, Tim Flannery's speech on the environment, how human activity is altering the earth's climate and what we can do to save it. " --from DemocracyNow.org

This speech by Tim Flannery from DemocracyNow.org is a must listen to.

Northeast States Renew Call for Power Plant Emissions Cuts

What use is it for the public to engage in a litany of personal conservation measures—like buying florescent bulbs, recycling, buying fuel efficient vehicles, etc. if their community is getting their electricity from polluting power plants?

Especially, if they get their power from coal, anything a person does to mitigate the effects of global warming will be negated by polluting power plants. In terms of its effect on global warming gasses, polluting power plants far exceed what most people in a community can create. So, if you are doing everything in your personal life to reduce your carbon footprints and you get your electricity from a polluting power plant, your efforts are of little practical value.

In order to curb global warming, we are going to have to do the things that will make a difference, not merely trying to feel as though we are.
read more digg story

Support Safer Alternatives - Environment America

take action for the environment

read more | digg story

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kill Your TV!


When you're in a hole, stop digging: Stop listening to the same media that misinformed you about the Iraq War and the dangers of Global Warming!

Why do most Americans say they are concerned about the environment (at least in some polls), but don't vote for candidates with strong environmental records. Why do we continue to living our destructive, non-sustainable way of life (the United States has only a fraction of the world's population and uses 25% of the fossil fuels) despite all the evidence that it going to be a terrific cost to future generations?

Is it because Americans are especially selfish or dense? I don't think so. I think the answer to most of our environmental problems is that we really don't get it; we don't understand the depth of our environmental problems because most of us are still trying to inform ourselves about the world in the same old way that led us to the state we are in--our environment on the brink of disaster. (By the way, if you think this last statement is an exaggeration, it's an indication that your listening to the same deluding media.)

If you live in the Rochester, NY area, there are several environmental issues that should be on your radar: Great Lakes Heath, Finger Lakes, Energy, Lead Poisoning, Recycling, Wetlands, Brownfields, Air Quality, Zebra Mussels, Deer Problem, Lyme Disease, Rabies, Urban Sprawl, Invasive Species, Global Warming, Commuting, Parks, Genesee River, Pesticides, Water Quality, West Nile Virus, Geese Problem, Wind Power, Food and the Environment, Animals and our Environment, Plants and our Environment, and Environmental Health. But are they? Granted most of these concerns won’t titillate or leave you breathless, but they’re important anyway because they'll define your existence.

Your radar? Well, this is a metaphor for those things that would have raised the hackles of our ancestors when their lives or the lives of their children were in danger. Here in the twenty-first century with our sophisticated shelters, cars, etc, we have conquered most of the things that usually kill us off immediately. But we have new long-term concerns: Mankind now influences, like never before our environment. However, we have so cushioned ourselves from the dangers of the weather, dangerous animals, and starvation that we tend to forget that Nature can still get in our face. We tend to forget because our media (which likes to please us and its corporate sponsors) tells us that things are pretty much OK and just keep listening to them. Most of the mainstream media—TV and radio—nurture the illusion that someone, somewhere is taking care of things for you.

But, they’re not. There were murmurs that Iraq was not an immediate threat and not associated with 9/11, but our media played it down. Our planet is warming up from man-made fossil fuels, but until recently (reports from the IPCC - Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change) this information was allowed to be blurred by critics who did not want you to change your buying habits—especially how you used energy. Indeed, there are numerous important environmental issues that get but scant coverage from our mainstream media, which is just now trying to slip a new provision through the FCC to take over both electronic and print media in your home town. (Check out: FCC Chief Proposes Letting Newspapers Own TV Stations -from FreePress )

In today’s world of hyper media hype and the consistent mischaracterization of important issues, many of the issues that truly need our attention are being subverted, ignored, or dismissed by critics with their own agenda.

How can I tell? Read some other newspapers around the world: Why is Europe more concerned about Climate Change than Americans? Look around you: Why are there so many invasive species in our area? Why do so many non-corporate media have so many stories, substantiated by a majority of scientists that many of our ecological systems are breaking down? Just remember: When is the last time you could eat the fish you caught without worrying about mercury contamination? The last time you could drink from a stream? When was the last winter that was filled with snow? Just reason: Why is transported oil considered so safe when there are so many major oil spills--note the recent San Francisco and Black Sea fiascoes? Why do so many claim nuclear power safe, when no one wants to store spend rods near them. Or, why people push the necessity of nuclar power, yet they get nervous unless the undeveloped countries are crawling with experts to see that they do get the nuclear bomb? Why do our bodies have so many man-made toxic chemicals in us (called the ‘body burden’)? Why is the animal and plant extinction rate today (now caused by humans) about the same as 65 billion years ago when the dinosaurs began to crash?

In short, there are countless instances that all is not right, that is, in a profound environmental way, but most know or care little about it all? What’s with that? What kind of self-deluding species are we? Is it just too depressing to think about the very real possibility that our way of life is threatening our very existence—or at least our children’s existence? Or, are we too busy? Maybe, like a speeding train, we’ve built up too much momentum living the way we do to consider that there might not be enough tracks to take us where we want to go?

Take a look at some of these Rochester issues that should be on your radar and consider the consequences of a bad trend. And remember, like the train analogy, most environmental trends cannot be stopped on the proverbial dime. Once upset, Nature balances itself, not caring how we might fare in the process.

What is the answer to our present dilemma? I believe that the answer is we need to change how we get information. We need to kill our corporate driven TV, radio, and movies. Or, we need to demand that mainstream media inform us correctly and continually on environmental issues in a responsible manner and with a concerned attitude. We need to consider the hypotheses of thousands (maybe millions) of environmentalist and scientists that there is something to this world-wide concern about the dismal state of our environment and actively check it out. Don't continue to listen to your favorite TV or radio host, who have their own agenda, but go research this issue yourself. Because you are alive today, you are responsible for educating yourself about the true state of affairs.

How can you, or any political party, dismiss the potentially most important issue of this century--our environmental plight--without actually checking it out yourself Dismissing it, or forming a hostile attitude towards those bringing you messages about our environment that you don't want to hear, or getting angry, but especially continually listening the the media that misinforms will have no effect on our environment. It may make you feel better, but it won't alter our plight.

When we increase global warming gases, continue to pollute our air, land, and water, destroy our biological diversity, there will be consequences that no state of denial will stop. Nature rules, there's no getting around it. When we change our environment so we cannot live it it--there you are.
So, if you're serious about informing yourself about our present Environmental plight, check out alternative choices for environmental news at Global Environmental News--and shut off the darn TV.

Monday, November 19, 2007

TUC Radio: Newest Programs

Understanding Climate Change doesn't get clearer than this:

TUC Radio: Newest Programs: "Dr. James Hansen THE THREAT TO THE PLANET How can we avoid dangerous human-made climate change Dr. James Hansen is one of the few scientists who have consistently warned that the impact that humans have on the climate is bringing about changes that are faster than we ever believed and may be irreversible if action is not taken now. Hansen is Director of the NASA Institute for Space Studies in New York City, and he teaches at Columbia. Since the late 1970s, he has worked on studies of the Earth's climate. He has run afoul of government censors since the 1980s. Repeatedly his testimony before Congress was suppressed or re-written. Hansen says that the unprecedented and rising amounts of greenhouse gases added each year AND the speed at which we are altering the energy balance of the earth are completely out of the range of proven earth history of hundreds of thousands of years. Hansen fears that we may soon be reaching feedback mechanism or tipping points such as the melting of the ice sheets that has already begun on Greenland and West Antarctica. In part one of this program Hansen gives a fascinating account of the earth's climate history, in part two he talks about solutions. Dr. Hansen's work - including the slide projections for this talk, can be found at <> For a broadcast quality mp3 version of Part ONE click HERE For a broadcast quality mp3 version of Part TWO click HERE For a PODCAST of Part ONE click HERE For a PODCAST of Part TWO click HERE code: A305 To order a cassette copy click here: $10.00 code A305CD: To order a CD click here: $10.00 "

Saturday, November 17, 2007

A Sense of Urgency:


If you don’t get a sense of urgency about our environmental plight by this statement from today’s release of the new UN panel report on Climate Change, then what will it take?


“If there’s no action before 2012, that’s too late, there is not time,” said Rajendra Pachauri, a scientist and economist who heads the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change. “What we do in the next two, three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment.” --U.N. Report Describes Risks of Inaction on Climate Change - New York Times.


Thursday, November 15, 2007

Choose Your Energy Provider


Chose your Energy provider: The days where you got your energy because of where you were are over. Now you have a choice.
"The website below lists all of the choices with info about each (like cost). You have to enter your zip code to have it list your choices. There is a checkmark that you can select that shows the breakdown in percentages of the energy sources. If the checkmark is green, at least 50% of it's source is renewable. So far, this is the most I've been able to find re: how environmentally friendly each choice is. It requires a moderate amount of work to be done by the consumer. " from Bob Siegel, Chairperson of the Energy Committee of the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club.*** Residential Electric Offers for VICTOR NY 14564 : ENERGYguide.com - Lower Your Energy Bills

Remember: November 15 is America’s Recycle Day.


America Recycles Day Wastes EPA & National Recycling Coalition - America Recycles Day "The National Recycling Coalition (NRC) is a national non-profit advocacy group with members that span all aspects of waste reduction, reuse and recycling in North America. The Coalition represents advocates from every region of the country, in every sector of the waste reduction field. Local recycling coordinators, state and federal regulators, corporate environmental managers, environmental educators and advocates, consumers and waste management professionals are all members of NRC."

Friday, November 09, 2007

U.S. Mayors Seek Federal Help to Protect Climate

U.S. Mayors Seek Federal Help to Protect Climate

Excellent example of how cities, like Rochester, could be a part of the world-wide solution to Global Warming.

NRDC: The Bees' Needs

NRDC: The Bees' Needs

RochesterEnvironment.com has posted many stories since spring on the problem of Bee Colony Collapse Disorder and what this could mean for our environment and agriculture. Now, it seems that there more that you can do than contact your congress person to fund more studies on this issue. Check out this article:

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

October 2007 Environmental Site of the Month


This site represents a great integration of Rochester-area environmentalism, the Internet, and the future of green business in our area. Find out lots of Rochester-area information on living green in Rochester and ways you can get involved. Environmentalism is not anti-business and this site proves it.

Rochester Green Living "Our goal is to help lower the environmental impact of the homes and lives of those living in the greater Rochester area. To reach that goal we will provide workshops in sustainability, promote local green events, be a free local resource in sustainable information, and create connections to other green businesses/groups throughout New York. We hope we will be the first stop on your journey to a deeper understanding of sustainability."