Tuesday, October 30, 2007

--**ACTION** - Learn How to Better Protect the Environment -

Ask EPA - If you could sit down to chat with the nation’s top environmental officials, what would you ask? Here is your chance.

This Thursday at 3:00 p.m., Administrator Stephen L. Johnson will host the launch of EPA’s new online interactive forum Ask EPA. Join the administrator online as he discusses the agency’s efforts to promote clean and dependable energy solutions, including the ENERGY STAR Change a Light Campaign. In this forum, the public will have the opportunity to ask the agency’s senior environmental officials questions on a wide range of environmental and human health issues. To submit a question now or during the live discussion on Thursday, visit the Ask EPA site ( http://www.epa.gov/askepa ).

You can also sign up to receive email alerts on upcoming hosts and topics. You can view or update your subscriptions or e-mail address at any time on your Subscriber Preferences Page. All you will need is your e-mail address. If you have any questions or problems e-mail support@govdelivery.com for assistance. This service is provided to you at no charge by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

It’s just the future:

Here’s a short little article in the New York Times that takes a glimpse of the Environment Century ahead. Many tend to see environmental issues low on the political agenda this coming elections year with Iraq and health care up near the top. Many also think that it’s great that Al Gore, with the UN Panel on Climate Control, won the Noble Peace Prize and that maybe now Al can jump into the presidential race and shake things up.

But the real deal, the most important story of this century is that this century is not going to be pretty. We keep going on with our preoccupation on our lives as if the future will be like the past and holding on to what we think are the most important issues to vote upon and don’t really think about what future changes to our environment really mean.

They mean, that all those other things you had planned for yourself and your children are probable going to be compromised by major environmental changes. The issues the candidates are arguing about, who’s going to be tougher on terrorism or who’s going to fix mess George W. Bush created in the last six years, are going be set against a backdrop of the increasing intolerable environmental consequences that we have been shoving back on the things we think important.

Really read this short article “U.N. Warns of Rapid Decay of Environment” by the New York Time without your political hat on, without your assumptions about what you hope for the future, without dismissing what the majority of scientists around the world are trying to tell us. And, then plan for the future.

Also read: Earth hurtling towards dangerous environmental "tipping point", report warns OTTAWA -- The planet is in danger of crossing a "tipping point" of irreversible damage to its atmosphere, climate, water and ecosystems unless governments can develop comprehensive strategies to promote growth and sustainability, warns a new report released on Thursday by an environmental advocacy branch of the United Nations." Windsor Star

Friday, October 26, 2007

Getting serious:

This issue -- viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS -- is one that I have been following for some time and it’s on some people’s radar and not on others. I asked some friends who fish in the Great Lakes regularly and they have not heard much at all about this fish disease since I told them about last spring, which might have begun in our area.

But, for many VHS is on their radar and they are getting serious about trying to contain this newly found invasive species caused fish disease. JS Online: Board OKs interim rules against fish-killing virus "The Natural Resources Board wants to step up the fight to stop the spread of a fish-killing virus to Wisconsin's inland lakes." Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana

Learn more about this issue here: *A new threat to our lakes is underway by Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS). Check out all news links on this issue in the past: VHS News Links Get the official info & guidelines: Fish Health Regulations in Response to VHS - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation Effective June 6, 2007. On June 6, 2007, fish health regulations were finalized to prevent the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) and other fish diseases into the inland waters of New York. A summary of the revised emergency regulations that the Department has adopted is as follows: NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Manmade planet

One of the great assumptions being made by those in power is that when we bump up against environmental problems, our best and brightest will up and fix them. Well, it’s not that easy. Seems like we really haven’t done our homework.

Planet Earth is very complex, a myriad of natural systems we barely understand, though we’ve been disrupting them and destroying. But, mostly we just have not understood the deep complexity of the natural systems that keep our environment sustainable because we have not done the studies about how these systems worked before we destroyed them.

Here’s an interesting insight as to how it tends to go when we think we can micromanage a three billion year old biological system that we barely understand. WATCHING ARTIFICIAL WETLANDS "Natural wetlands that are developed are supposed to be replaced by man-made wetlands somewhere else. But a new study is finding that most of those man-made wetlands aren't doing very well." (Oct. 22, 07) Environment Report

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Step It Up - Rally & March for the Climate

Step It Up 2007 - Rally & March for the Climate - November 3, 2007 11am-1pm Theodore Roosevelt Inaugural Site, 641 Delaware Ave. Buffalo, NY -Please try to attend and invites friends. -Please help by inviting political leaders (please see below)

Step It Up 2007 will sponsor a National Day of Climate Action on Nov.3, building on the success of the 1,400 rallies in April. In Buffalo, numerous groups are partnering to rally at the inaugural site of President Teddy Roosevelt, a true environmental leader. Bring signs illustrating global warming problems and offering solutions, or just bring yourself. To draw more attention to our cause, we'll march to the President McKinley Monument. Short talks will be given by invited speakers, the media will be present, and the events will be recorded in photos and videos. Please join us and help move our politicians to cut carbon emissions, grow green jobs and support clean, renewable energy.

Event description and annotated Google maps: http://events.stepitup2007.org/november/events/show/2221

Inspirational video (1 minute): http://stepitup2007.org/greenfinger A green stamp pad will be available at the rally for those interested.

PLEASE TAKE ACTION NOW by inviting politicians to the Step It Up event , even if you or they can not attend the event. Inform our politicians that we want them to take action to lead us out of a climate crisis by supporting clean, renewable energy and green jobs and by opposing new coal-fired power plants.

Invite our Federal Representatives: All have been been informed about the Step It Up event on Nov. 3 in Buffalo. 1) Click on a link below. 2) Read & Edit the form message, or just leave it as is.

3) Sign & Send the message. Invitations and Acceptances are being tallied at http://stepitup2007.org/ for ALL to see, politicians and VOTERS. For this reason, the form letter asks the politicians to RSVP to StepItUp2007.org

Invite Presidential Candidates: All have been been invited to the Step It Up event on Nov. 3 in Buffalo. Invite them again. Even if candidates don't attend, it's good to let them know that there are VOTERS out there who are very concerned about climate change issues.

Invitations and Acceptances are being tallied at http://stepitup2007.org/
For more information, contact David Kowalski at dfk2008@gmail.com

Thursday, October 18, 2007

**ACTION** - Environment & Health:

I believe that there is a strong relationship between our health and the health of our environment. Yet, whether you believe in this conjecture or not, we should as a society assume that because of the massive changes that mankind has wrought on this planet in the last couple of centuries (the Industrial Revolutions and the fact that there are over six billion of us) that in order to determine the accuracy of the above statement, we should be actively doing studies to find out how our environment is affecting our health.

In other words, if you disagree that our environment has much of an affect on our health, you base your dangerous assumption on the lack of facts. As a rational species, we must do as many comprehensive studies this issue as we can and actually find out the facts. Think of the opportunities for students in science for conducting studies on the affects of mankind’s footprints: the open space he has developed, the toxins he has released into our land, water, and air, what the loss of biodiversity actually means to our health. It’s pointless to argue this issue, unless we have the facts, and there should be no more hesitation or lack of resolve to get all the facts.

Here’s a way to take action: Trust for America's Health - Take Action "There is a strong connection between our environment and our health, and better information about this relationship will lead to an increased understanding of the causes of disease. Please click here to urge your member of Congress to cosponsor The Coordinated Environmental Public Health Network Act of 2007 (S. 2082/H.R. 3643)."

Thursday, October 11, 2007

State Health Commissioner Urges New Yorkers to Get Flu Shots

State Health Commissioner Urges New Yorkers to Get Flu Shots

From the report: "New York State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines, M.D., and New York State Health Chief of Staff Wendy Saunders receive their flu shots. Albany, N.Y. (October 11, 2007) - State Health Commissioner Richard F. Daines M.D., and State Department of Civil Service Commissioner Nancy G. Groenwegen will receive their annual flu shots today in Albany to urge New Yorkers to reduce their risk for flu this year. There were nine pediatric deaths attributed to the flu in New York state during last year's flu season. To emphasize how serious the flu can be for babies, the Health Department has a new poster featuring infants and the recommendation that kids from 6 months to 5 years old get a flu shot. (Photo below.) During this year's flu season, there have already been two reports of influenza in New York State and approximately 100 reports nationwide. "

Another reason for seriously considering getting your flu shot is to increase the market for flu serum production, thus readying ourselves for a possible pandemic flue. By getting your flu shots (my reasoning goes) this encourages more companies that produce flu serum by creating a healthy market for these companies, which in turn means that in case there is a possible flu pandemic a large infrastructure will be ready to copy, produce, and distribute the necessary antidote. It also would lower the price of flu shots, which means more people would get flu shots, which means there will a population less incline to get and pass on this very contagious disease.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

The Cure For Cancer

Living on Earth: DDT and Breast Cancer

Of course this is total speculation from an non-expert. But, something in this report by Living On Earth triggered this thought. Maybe we are trying to find the cure for cancer at the wrong end of the continuum. “Defenses against the development of abnormal growth” is maybe what is keeping all of us alive. If true this feature of our bodies (I’ve heard this only as a theory in evolution as to why most cancers show up in older age, because if they showed up earlier than when we can produce and nurture children we wouldn’t exist---so, as this idea goes, our bodies repress the development of cancer until we are older) actually is true, it maybe why, despite the fact that most of us carry man made toxins in our bodies, we all don’t get cancer.

A healthy body is able to fend off the body burden because we have these "defenses against the development of abnormal growth"—which is cancer. I’m thinking of all the groups and individuals who have devoted their existence to the elimination of cancer and I suspect that what they are talking about is preventing the expression of cancer. Or, keeping cancer at bay.

The cure for cancer (from someone who has absolutely no expertise in this area) is to stop man-made chemical from entering our environment, where we get them. This study suggests that we could be exposed to many dangerous chemical throughout or early in life, but it isn't until our defense mechanism gets old (or overwhelmed) that we get cancer.

It's only a thought of mine this, but I think it worthwhile to consider the amount of man-made (meaning, toxins not ordinarily present in our environment) chemicals that we have dumped into our air, land, and water is probably the way we should frame research into cancer--not just focusing on the human body itself and what is going wrong there. The problem with finding the cure for cancer, though not politically correct, probably lies in not considering enough the effects of the things we have dumped into the environment as part of caner research.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

September 2007 RENewsletter

In order to subscribe to newsletter, follow instructions on Google Groups : RochesterEnvironment - When you get any RENewsletter, you'll be able to unsubscribe at a click of a button.

RENewsletters come in two formats: Word and Adobe Reader. The reason is that while the Word format provides all the online features (all links on the newsletter work) not everyone can use this format. With Adobe Reader, a format that most browsers accept, there is a limited ability to follow the embedded links to online articles and web page, and e-mails that are a very important part of RENewsletter. Both formats print out perfectly for easy reading.

What you get in every Monthly RENewsletter --Free:

A monthly commentary and encapsulation of all the environmental news for Rochester, New York.

A free and comprehensive publication of all the environmental news pertaining to the Rochester-area environment.

Many of the sources of this publication's news are primary sources: EPA, NYSDEC, Mayor's office, Monroe County Executor's office, NYS Public Heath, NYS Attorney General, the NYS governor, etc. Radio, TV, and other news you get only gives a fraction of the environmental news you need each day.

You get all the environmental action items where you can help our Rochester-area environment online.

Get all the environmental events going on in our area each week.

Get a clear picture of all the things an online environmental service can do for our Rochester-area environment by getting updates on all that has gone on on this very busy site.

Check out the Site of the Week - a new Rochester-area Environmental site from over 80 Rochester-area Environmentalists, helping our local environment.

Coal Off The Table in Rochester

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. This statement by RG&E is a fundamental move towards a better environment, as coal is a very polluting and greenhouse gas energy source. The article hints that Senator Schumer’s recent visit to the Russell Station, where he “demand the company switch to natural gas” influenced this major decision, but I’m not going to get into that. Natural gas is not as good as a renewable energy source for the environment, but it’s far better than coal and we should all be breathing easier--literally.

As I have been promoting that RG&E take coal off the table for most of the spring and summer, I am very happy about this report. Because we get so much of our energy from Russell Station, it is important that this site be as clean energy as possible. Our own individual efforts to conserve and use energy more efficiently should get a positive boost now that we know behind our own efforts, our major sources of energy are working towards the same goal of a clean, non-polluting energy source are going there too.

I want to thank the folks at the Democrat & Chronicle, Senator Schumer, the people at RG&E (who seem to be getting it that the public wants clean energy) and those environmentalists who have been working quietly beneath the scene for this monumental change towards a better energy source. I hope all who read this keep following this story to make sure we don’t default to coal because of economic reasons and, if possible, push for an even better, more renewable source of energy for our area.

Environmental Film As Environmental News

As I watched the film “The 11th Hour” (which only ran a week) at the Little Theatre, several thoughts ran through my mind. One notion was that we all should help support the Little Theatre as a member and make sure that this unique film house in Rochester can sustain itself. No other theater in Rochester played “The 11th Hour” and that says volumes about getting one of the most important messages in this century out to the public, that the relatively small portion of the entire environment that is fit for mankind is in trouble.

Another thought was that according to three recent major studies --Vital Signs 2007 - 2008 by the Worldwatch Institute; the Red List by the World Conservation Union (IUCN) and “America’s Report Card on the Environment” a New Annual Survey by The Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University in collaboration with ABC News and Time Magazine –there is continuing evidence that we must, despite all else that is going on, turn our attention to the state of our environment.

I suspect that this movie will be a DVD soon, so you’ll be able to order it and watch it at home—and maybe invite friends. Getting people together to watch a film that doesn’t get much play on the normal movie circuit is becoming the way to get news in this day and age. Considering how irresponsible our corporate media is about reporting on our environment, that’s important.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Conducting Business as if the Environment Didn’t Matter

Bernard Vaissière: "Yes, the Bees Could Disappear" “Friday 07 September 2007 “Bee populations are declining all over the world. That fact has been known for a long time and the press has recently latched onto the subject. Bernard Vaissière, an Inra [French National Institute for Agricultural Research] researcher and one of very few French pollination specialists, evaluates this question for Futura-Sciences.”

The main news about Bee Colony Collapse Disorder is that there is no simple answer. More is that it maybe just a single straw in world of lots of causes. We tend to live in a world where a problem occurs, like the global decline of bee populations and just figure that scientists will go out and find out the answer and fix it. Well, it’s never that simple and this morass defines environmental our problems. According to the above article by TruthOut.org a specific disease appears at first glance to be the problem (actually a marker), but the real problem is probably the overall degradation of our environment due to an overload of toxins we have been pouring into our world for quite awhile now.

Kind of related to this bee problem and just because I’m reading this book at the moment-- Age of Turbulence: Adventures in a New World by Alan Greenspan -it seems to an uneducated economist as me, that a really simple question occurs. Why hasn’t our environment—brownfields left by industries, pollution, and the horrific state our environment is in today—not really factored into the economic thinking of economic leaders and thinkers? As I read Greenspan’s book, I continually look for any concern that the natural resources that we need to survive have any reality in the world of economists.

The answer, though I am not an expert, is all around us: Some countries are doing great economically, some OK, some horribly—but all are enduring massive environmental collapse and it doesn’t even enter into the bookkeeping of corporations or the Federal Reserve Chairman. Take trees, water, air—all these natural resources are treated in modern economics as invisible resources whose degradation have no consequences. In fact, as Greenspan suggests when a lake goes dead and you can’t drink the water, swim, or eat the fish, these events are just creative disasters, where a used-up market begins afresh and takes off on a new profitable and rapacious direction. In other words, it keeps an economy healthy when a new market comes along like the telegraph, when it has been blown away by the telephone.

There will be ‘disasters’ like people in the telegraph business who can’t adapt to the new paradigm, but the economy will be the better for it because of new innovations, new energy, whatever. As so, I must assume, when a market, say the lumbering industry that depends on millions of trees collapses because no one cared or thought of intelligent management of that resource gets replaced by the plastics industry and leaves behind a wasteland of destroyed watersheds (because there are no longer any tree root systems to hold back flooding, like what is happening in China) that has little effect on the global economy—except making people look for newer and more streamline markets to churn up.

I guess my whole point in this essay is that despite the ravages that our global economy is creating on our environment, just as long as our economy is doing OK, then everything is OK. Ah, no it’s not.