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"


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

This speech by Tim Flannery from 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 : - 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 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."

Drought on the East

My vote for the hottest environmental issue this month is Drought. Affordable and clean water is one of the many reasons why Rochester, NY is a great place to live--as you already know. But, the droughts going on in the South and West should be of particular concern to Rochestarians who have a quarter of the world's fresh water next door. Because the effects are more dramatic in other places and because the effects here of the drought do not seem to impact most of us here in the Northeast immediately this story just doesn’t get its do. It should.

In my opinion, it is inevitable that major amounts of waters will be diverted from the Great Lakes in the future—called ‘diversion’. I believe so for several reasons: 1. The droughts in the West and South are so damaging that peoples in these area will soon be in great need of fresh water. 2. Because of continual population growth in these areas, there will be no political will to curb that growth and so force high water prices and draconian water saving measures that the populace in these places will be clamoring for new water sources. 3. The water in the Great Lakes already has a sort of distribution system for taking this water by the network of existing water systems throughout the country (mostly in and around major metropolitan areas) making it possible for the South and West to get connected a lot easier than most people think.

I know my theory seems a bit far fetched for most, but looking far ahead (as we environmentalists tend towards) Diversion is going to be a serious environmental issue because the Great Lakes water levels are already dropping because of some dredging projects and Global Warming. Studies on how climate change will impact on the Great Lakes suggest that there will be a drop the source for new waters for the lakes—glaciers—because there won’t be as much water in yearly melts, and also because as the winters are warming, there will be less ice cover on the lakes, which means more evaporation.

Of course, there will be mad dashes to regulate and legislate against far-off communities diverting waters from the Great Lakes, because it is such tight system (mostly the water stays in the system, what gets out through the St. Lawrence Seaway gets back by glacier melt, about one percent), but I don’ t think that will be enough. Fresh drinking water is fundamental to human life and we got lots of it. Our distance fear of the profound disturbance caused by diverting large amounts of water from this enclosed system will pale against the immediate and desperate need for fresh water in places that do not have it. My points are: Diversion of waters from the Great Lakes should be on our radar because Great Lake water levels, our weather, and our ecosystem could be compromised. Secondly, I have no idea how we in the Northeast can say no to other large portions of our country who will be in desperate need of fresh water.

Here are some reports about this issue that back up my concern: NCDC: Drought spread through US in Sept. - Yahoo! News The Great Lakes, which together make up about 20 percent of the world's fresh surface water, have been in decline since the late 1990s. Lakes Huron and Michigan were about 2 feet below their long-term average levels, while Lake Superior was about 20 inches off, Lake Ontario 7 inches below and Lake Erie a few inches down. Yahoo! News - Top Stories Also the drought issue brings up the continual threat of diversion : States eye lakes water management :: News :: Post-Tribune Great Lakes water levels are near historic lows. And with droughts in the Southeast and Southwest, the pressure to turn to the Great Lakes as a source of fresh water is growing. So is the need for states to pass the Great Lakes Compact to prevent diversions. (Oct. 26, 07) Post-Tribune of Northwest Indiana

Nobel Peace Prize The Environment

Certainly, Al Gore and The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) winning the Noble Peace Prize in October is going to change the public dialogue on Global Warming. For one, it will be more difficult for the Global Warming detractors to dismiss the plethora of evidence behind the most important issue of this century. This is critical because the kinds of changes in energy use and ultimately the changes that we will have to make in our own lives will depend on the majority 'getting' the message that our planet is really warming up. It's not just an issue among many: it is the issue.

Gore's winning the Nobel also explains something profound to those pining for an Al Gore presidency. Why Gore chooses not to reenter the presidential race and affect climatic policies from the White House is instructive because his explanation, as discussed with, shows why getting the message out about the peril we are in and not trying again for the presidency is so important.

In the Interview, Nobel Peace Prize Goes Green, Gore said, "I tried my best [as Vice President] and I learned in the process that the opposition to the kind of dramatic changes that are needed is so deep and so ingrained that it may well be that the only way to bring about the kind of policy changes that are needed is to first of all bring about the changes in public opinion that make it possible for political leaders in both parties to do what's necessary."

This says volumes to me. The assumption that I, and probably many environmentalists have labored under for the last ten years, is that in order for mankind to curb mankind’s increase in global warming gases, it is necessary to provide the public with all the new information (that gets missed by the mainstream media) and then encourage the public to communicate their concerns to their public officials so that they can support the kind of wholesale changes necessary for a sustainable environment. And we were right. Those who have assumed that if Global Warming was such an important matter that their public officials would just take care of the matter assumed wrong.

For politicians, Global Warming is but one of the issues a political leader’s constituents must address. Indeed, they have a responsibility to abide by the interests of those who they represent. But these interests can be short-term and self-serving interests that oftentimes conflict and compound the difficulties in solving the Global Warming problem. Take energy costs for example, any solution that a politician adopts for providing cleaner energy will butt up against the public’s budgetary concerns. So, it becomes paramount that those publicizing the dangers of Global Warming help politician understand the primacy of addressing Global Warming—connecting the dots. We must prod, explain, and make clear to our public officials that all other concerns of the public—education, energy, health, safety—cannot be solved in a world that cannot be inhabited. The public then needs to express their concerns to their public officials so that those in power can act with the knowledge that their constituents are behind them.

We often malign our public officials for putting their fingers to the wind to find out which way public sentiment is blowing, yet that is why we vote for them. Regardless of our frustration at wishy-washy politicians, the last thing we want is for go-it-alone cowboy-like, public officials forcing our country in directions we do not want it to go. Rather, we want politicians to forcefully project and implement our decisions and ur country’s best interests—not theirs. So, if we want a sustainable planet, we are gong to have to convince our politicians that our environment is in danger and that we think it is critical for them do something about it. I think Al Gore found out the hard way that simply placing himself that the top of the political food chain is not enough to compel other politicians to make and implement measures to curb Global Warming. Politicians must have their constituents behind them on Global Warming initiatives before they begin acting on them, meaning we have to change the political climate for politicians so acting for our environment becomes easier that helping the polluters.

Therefore, Al Gore not running for president of the United States and using the pulpit of the Nobel Peace Prize to galvanize the public to learn about the importance of the Global Warming issue and then expressing that concern to their public officials is the right way to spend the force of his exalted status. We should all take note of Gore’s decision not to run for president and place it in the proper context: Global Warming is a real threat and major changes need to be made. BTW: On this note, the New York Times reports that the U.N. Warns of Rapid Decay of Environment, that “The human population is living far beyond its means and inflicting damage to the environment that could pass points of no return.” Check it out, this issue is too important to relinquish it to others with other agendas.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

October 2007 RENewsletter

In order to subcribe to this newsletter, follow instructions on Google Groups : RochesterEnvironment - Or 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.