Saturday, December 27, 2008

Broken Promises on the Bay -

Broken Promises on the Bay - Chesapeake Progress Reports Painted 'Too Rosy a Picture' As Pollution Reduction Deadlines "Government administrators in charge of an almost $6 billion cleanup of the Chesapeake Bay tried to conceal for years that their effort was failing -- even issuing reports overstating their progress -- to preserve the flow of federal and state money to the project, former officials say." (Dec 27, 08)

Friday, December 26, 2008

Just another catastrophe

Though the size of this catastrophe is incredible, the Tennessee Coal Plant spill is getting incredibly little coverage from mainstream media.

You would think in a rational society that if there were a major debate about how mankind should develop energy during these Extraordinary Times (during The Sixth Great Extinction and Global Warming) we’d keep ourselves informed. We’d look at the pros and cons of all possible energy forms and decide (using a rational model of reality (sustainability) which best will provide our energy needs and protect our planet. But, we don’t.

Those in various power modes decide where the funding should go, who should get the tax breaks, what articles to print, and what will keep those in power instead of how we should power ourselves—even if it means un-sustainability (i.e., not surviving).

This coal sludge spill was a preventable man-made disaster, not an act of ‘god.’ Wind and solar power (that is, clean renewable power) may irritate many (especially those who have hitched their wagons to coal, nuclear, and oil) but it doesn’t pollute, create catastrophes, or warm a planet that is continuing to warm. So, what’s the answer to the disaster below, “Dig Baby Dig!” or “Hey, maybe we ought to rethink coal and other forms of energy production that are not sustainable, prone to accidents, and causing massive health problems.”

Does our generation have within itself the capacity for change that doesn’t doom our children? My guess is that we will continue to do the wrong thing. There will be more catastrophes and when we finally ‘get it’ it will be too late. And, when it’s too late, we’ll blame the environmentalist for not yelling loud enough for us to hear what we did not want to hear.

1, Democracy Now! Spill at Tennessee Coal Plant Creates Environmental Disaster “Parts of Tennessee remain buried under toxic sludge today after a major disaster at a coal plant. A forty-acre pond containing toxic coal ash has collapsed, spilling out millions of gallons of coal ash. Environmentalists say the spill is more than thirty times larger than the Exxon Valdez, but the story has received little national attention. Greenpeace is calling for a criminal investigation.” Democracy Now! Democracy Now! Streaming Video

2. Coal Ash Spill Revives Issue of Its Hazards - “KINGSTON, Tenn. — What may be the nation’s largest spill of coal ash lay thick and largely untouched over hundreds of acres of land and waterways Wednesday after a dam broke this week, as officials and environmentalists argued over its potential toxicity.” (Dec 24, 08) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

3. Water Safe, Cleanup Underway In Tenn. Dike Burst The Tennessee Valley Authority is reporting progress in cleaning up the sludge that coated a Tennessee neighborhood after a dike burst at a power plant Monday. (Dec., 26, 08) National Public Radio

Thursday, December 25, 2008

News on the Genesee River at Rochester, NY

What is becoming clear with this article [There's something fishy in the Genesee - again]and several others, Rochester City Newspaper is now the most important environmental newspaper in our area. Every other media in our area has dropped the ball on the most important issue of the day—the state of our environment.

The other media in our area—newspapers, TV, radio, etc.—when they publish articles on our environment at all are mostly pollution outbreaks, reprints from other media, or agenda-ridden stories that foster the illusion that we are ‘going green’ rapidly. Granted there is a shift in public, governmental, and business attitudes towards living a more environmentally sustainable life, but an honest, investigatory, and comprehensive appraisal of our complete environmental profile is missing.

Articles like this on the Genesee River, which is polluted and has not been visited by the media for years, is missing as Dr. Makarewicz notes an “understanding of the river's specific long-term trends.” If we were really serious about our environment, articles like this would occur daily.

Just one little concern: How can one talk about ‘industrial pollution’ of the Genesee River and not mention Kodak?

Coal Ash Spill Revives Issue of Its Hazards -

Coal Ash Spill Revives Issue of Its Hazards - "KINGSTON, Tenn. — What may be the nation’s largest spill of coal ash lay thick and largely untouched over hundreds of acres of land and waterways Wednesday after a dam broke this week, as officials and environmentalists argued over its potential toxicity."

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How to ‘Get It” on our environment.

Don’t know much about how our environment works? Don’t like to read long texts? Don’t like going to school? Just want the facts, in great depth, about how our environment actually works?

Why not attend a free online course on “Earth and Environmental System” by Dr. Christian Shorey from the Colorado School of Mines.

I highly recommend these incredibly thorough and accessible 53 lectures. They are about an hour long each and you can listen online or download to your IPod—or MP3 device. Get the basic facts about how our environment works.

In these lectures there is a wealth of absolutely necessary information that everyone on this planet should know Before they render an opinion about our environment. Dr. Shorey has done an incredible job of organizing and making this long series of lectures available to everyone. The podcasts are clear, professional, and even entertaining at times. EARTH AND ENVIRONMENTAL - SYSTEMS PODCAST - COLORADO SCHOOL OF MINES by - Dr. Christian Shorey

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Road Map for Environmental Protection

Road Map for Environmental Protection: Leading Environmental Groups Work with Obama's Team toTackle Top Issues "Nearly 30 environmental, science and conservation groups presented their top policy recommendations to President-elect Barack Obama's transition team yesterday. Representing millions of Americans, the groups provided a document laying out recommendations on key federal agencies and issues, including land, air, water, oceans and public health." --from

Friday, December 19, 2008

The Past Eight Years: It Wasn’t All Dysfunctional

We (those who care first about protecting that environment, which we need to survive) talk about the dysfunctional aspects of the Bush administration on monitoring and protecting our environment.

It’s all true. This is the most pro-corporate (though, I don’t mean to imply that being pro-corporate is anti-environmental) and anti-environmental administration ever in the US. Most federal environmental agencies, like the EPA, have been so carved up as to be, again, dysfunctional. The Bush administration’s version of science (which is like saying someone’s version of arithmetic, as if there were varying positions on it) surrounding the most examined environmental issue in history—Global Warming—has been horrific in the face of the overwhelming concern around the world on the most important issue of our time—man-made climate change.

Take off your political blinders for just a nanosecond and get your head around the implications of what even the possibility of man-made climate change and our dysfunctional way of approaching mean? (Would we react to a football-stadium-sized meteor hurling towards our planet in the say way? Would there be naysayers and political leaders carping about the science and bloggers ridiculing the laws of gravity and physics and anything that didn’t fit within the purviews of their narrow, uninformed, view of reality?)

Anyway, what I’m saying is this: While our government has been working to push their view or reality on us, that they are in charge of our environment and don’t worry your pretty little heads, there have been many ignoring this tragic lunacy and actually monitoring our environment and the laws enacted on its behalf. Many, many (that is, really, really a lot) of environmental groups, though they have been dismissed and marginalized, have done the bulwark of research and activity that our planet needs to help our way of life to become sustainable.

One such group is Environmental Advocates of New York and they have been both watching our environment and our laws. Check it out BILL RATINGS 2008, or continue to rage against the darkness or push a view of reality that isn’t, or a wait until all the evidence is in that we are cooked, or whatever.

Environmental Advocates of New York - Capitol Watch - Bill Ratings BILL RATINGS 2008 Every week during the New York State Legislative Session, Environmental Advocates of New York reviews all of the bills introduced in legislative committees or on the floor of the State Senate or the Assembly. We then issue a memo that summarizes the legislation and also describes our position on measures with significant environmental impact. - from Environmental Advocates of New York

Thursday, December 18, 2008

A New Green Era

Two quotes jumped out at me when I listened to “Meet Obama’s Green Team.” The first was President-elect Obama’s statement: “There is not a contradiction between sound environmental practices and economic growth.” Of course, Obama is going to have to say this over and over again, as he says, because for some reason or other doing the economic thing and the sound environmental thing have been at odds for a long, long time.

If we survive as a species, seven generations ahead our progeny will wonder at their ancestors who could have thought otherwise.

The other quote is by Lisa P. Jackson, the new chair of the EPA. Thanking her husband and kids for what this appointment will mean to them, she says, “Public service often comes at their expense and much less often at their reward.”

I am struck by the stark honesty of what someone truly devoted to the public good must think of holding public offices in these tumultuous times. Because there are many unscrupulous people in public life, we tend to forget that most are serving at a great personal cost to their lives.

The horrific rancor that is the face of the public arena today, where but few take the time to understand the issues and so must depend on the spokesmen of the extreme, make representing the public in good faith a dreary task at best.

Read and Listen to the video: Hard Task for New Team on Energy and Climate -

Thursday, December 11, 2008

A Gathering Storm - New York Wastewater Infrastructure in Crisis - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

A Gathering Storm - New York Wastewater Infrastructure in Crisis - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation

Sewage and wastewater treatment facilities in New York State are deteriorating. Almost all of New York's residents rely on these facilities to treat sewage and wastewater from our homes and businesses before they return it to our waterbodies. However, one-quarter of the 610 facilities in New York are operating beyond their useful life expectancy and many others are using outmoded, inadequate technology, increasing their likelihood of tainting our waters. Moreover, NYSDEC's report on 30-year water quality trends found evidence that New York is retreating from the significant gains achieved when the current system was originally constructed and there is still more to do. Every year, old sewers flooded by stormwater release more than 27 billion gallons of untreated sewage into the New York Harbor alone.

FJR: President-elect Obama's plan to help our infrastructure, isn't just an economic need.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up -

Back at Junk Value, Recyclables Are Piling Up - "The economic downturn has decimated the market for recycled materials like cardboard, plastic, newspaper and metals. Across the country, this junk is accumulating by the ton in the yards and warehouses of recycling contractors, which are unable to find buyers or are unwilling to sell at rock-bottom prices."

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Aren’t we Too Big To Fail?

We are hearing a lot about a major effort towards Green Jobs being created by the Obama administration. Steering our economy towards a sustainable future, what could be finer? I’ve created a page on for tracing the green industry news in Rochester and I have listed as many sources as I can for individual to find green jobs. Check out : Green Business.

But, this is only a shot-gun attempt at really locating an actual green job. We really do want green jobs. So, how does that actually happen? Where do we apply? Where do we get information on Green Jobs? What qualifications do we need? Do you have to have a lot of degrees and if so, in what? Can the average Joe like me get one? My local newspapers don’t have anything about green jobs, so they’re no help. Are local wind farms and other green industries hiring and if so how do you find out?

Our government is now bailing out zillions of banks, insurance companies, car companies—all those billions going towards those who gamed the system, ignored our environment, and now happily take our hard-earned dough—by taking us hostage by claiming that they are too big to fail. They want and demand that we save those that did the wrong thing—or we’ll get hurt more. (If that’s possible.) Now, we want a shot at helping the economy by helping the government help our environment, not by a hand-out, but restructuring the economy so that our money (taxes we have paid) provide us with a fair playing field by getting us employment in green jobs.

Aren’t we, the actual people who provide the foundation of our economy, who are bailing out those who took our money and now are taking away our jobs, the real group that is too large to fail? Steer me towards a nice green job and I’ll forget about those car companies that ignored our pleas for the last several decades that they produce green cars so that they would help reduce green-house gases and be able to compete with the foreign car market--and now demand that we save them.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

"Souless Greed" - by Charlotte Baltus

“Greed is no good and does no good”. "They simply have to give up mindless and soulless greed." The article implies that this needs to happen somehow voluntarily. That if we just had some stronger cultural bias against greed, we'd solve that particular problem. Ridiculous. Two points in this regard:

1 -- A system was concocted in which unbridled greed was allowed to run rampant, and lo and behold, unbridled greed ran rampant. It is idiocy to suppose that ANY system that does not curb this kind of greed, through regulations with real teeth as well as social expectations and sanctions, will ever see this sort of greed held in check.

2 -- Greed has many manifestations. As a progressive, I am one of the greediest people I know. I consider that progressive policies ARE quite greedy, although I would dub it "enlightened greed". Why do I advocate for a fair distribution of income and wealth? That health care is a basic human right? For a healthy environment? For sustainable living habits? Because that's the kind of society I personally want to live in. Even if I get to be one of the "haves" under the current regime (which I most certainly am), this is not the kind of society I want to live in. It turns my stomach. It is terrifically myopic, a burn-the-seed-corn strategy that strips hope from our future prospects. A squandering of nature's bounty as well as human capacity on a massive scale. An impoverished culture of acquisition that yields a throng of depressed, screen-addled marketing targets cohabitating with countless "have nots" lacking the basic wherewithal to live life with dignity. I say what we need is MORE greed – greed informed by perspective and a vision of a better way to live for all of us. So let’s worry less about greed per se and more about idiotic ideologies such as “the church of the invisible hand”.

This is the article I was replying to:

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Web that Nature Weaves

When I first began one of my main Rochester Issues (environmental concerns particular to our area) was Acid Rain. There were many stories on this issue and much made of the dying lakes in the Adirondacks due to sulphuric and nitric acids drifts from Western power plants. But, after placing scrubbers on power plants the effect of Acid Rain began to diminish and with it all news pertaining to Acid Rain. Seemingly, man had recognized a problem and solved it.

Hubris and delusion.

However, the web of life is not as simple as a man-made machine. It is hubris to think that we could spew out toxic gases into the atmosphere in fantastic quantities and believe there would be a quick fix. Stop the cause, like fixing faulty brakes, and your car is ready to go. This is hubris.

But beyond hubris, it is delusionary to believe that that the complex web of life can be fixed without ferreting out all the causal threads in what is always an infinitely deep connectivity that links all life with life. Upsetting the balance of Nature, in this case the PH of a lake, and even stopping the cause of the problem will probably only create another one-like the boy trying to plug holes at a dike. Another one springs anew.

These kinds of delusions feed our hubris on environmental matters and make our inexorable march towards catastrophe inevitable. We are like a virus that feeds on its own destruction, believing when victorious over a small battle with Nature that we have won the big battle when in truth what we have accomplished is to kill the host.

Periodic set-backs like Acid Rain and seeming solving them do not lead us to heed and caution us to investigate how our way of life may affect our ability to have our way of life. Rather, these small victories lead us towards more folly, ratcheting up our precarious relationship with our environment, possibly making our collapsed more intense. Out future will be a continual reaching towards dangerous tipping points and making them more profound.

And our media, which feeds on controversy and the whims of its audience, is not compelled to ferret out the rational results of large scale environmental problems—a wholesale disturbance that probably has manly consequences not obvious to a species not inclined towards getting at the bottom of the problems it causes. Quite the opposite, we tend to ignore anything that intrudes on our own beliefs.

However, back in reality, we usually have only an inkling of the real disturbances when first we cause to disregard the health of our planet. This story about the drop in calcium levels due to Acid Rain describes the nature of our conceit—we just don’t get it (that we are causing major disruptions in the very system we need to survive)—and probably won’t ‘get it’ until it’s too late.

Oh, Global Warming, an example of where we are ‘getting it?” Please. We’ve probably passed several critical points of no return, where the best we will be able to do is keep ourselves from cooking completely, and the economic crisis at present will further delude us into thinking that our economy is more important than solving our present environmental issues.

Indeed, the only environmental problems we seem capable of fixing are those that irritate us—one of which is the mere mentioning of environmental problems.

Read on: sciencetech Acid rain legacy hurting lakes - Canadian-led study finds calcium depletion in bodies of water result of the 1980s toxic crisis (Nov. 28, 08)

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change

United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change: "The United Nations Climate Change Conference in Poznań will be a milestone on the road to success for the processes which were launched under the Bali Road Map. The meeting comes midway between COP 13 in Bali, which saw the launch of negotiations on strengthened international action on climate change, and COP 15 Copenhagen, at which the negotiations are set to conclude.

The conference will include the 29th sessions of the Convention’s subsidiary bodies - SBSTA and SBI – as well as the 4th session of the AWG-LCA and the 2nd part of the 6th session of the AWG-KP. The Poznań meeting, which is expected to draw around eight thousand participants, will both advance international cooperation on a future climate change regime and ensure progress on key issues."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

A Parks For All?

Some in the Monroe County area believe that everyone should have the right to use our public parks for whatever they please, as they are public parks. Laissez Faire of the Commons, sort of thing.
Yet, we have many restrictions on how the public uses any of our public facilities. We do not allow bicycling on 490, 590, 390, or the New York State Thruway. Alternatively, we do not allow motorized vehicles (except maintenance) on the New York State Canal Path. So, should we allow aggressive biking off-trail in our parks? They do pay taxes.
Or, should our parks exist for the free expression of the majority, who walk and crave a peek at our dwindling forests?
And ,beyond the parochial, do our public parks, collectively, play a critical role in the operation of our environment—meaning, that beyond aesthetics, do the plants and animals and the soil that still exist in our public parks contribute to making our environment sustainable?
Or, as many probably believe, are our public parks like zoos, merely non-commercial blocks of land set aside for the pleasure of the most strident?
Read on: Mountain biking options in Monroe County parks studied Democrat and Chronicle Mountain biking could be allowed in at least one Monroe County park next year under a master plan update for six parks in the area bordering and south of Irondequoit Bay. (Nov 25, 08) Democrat and Chronicle Rochester news, community, entertainment, yellow pages and classifieds. Serving Rochester, New York

Monday, November 24, 2008

Obama urged to create 'Green New Deal' - The Boston Globe

Obama urged to create 'Green New Deal' - The Boston Globe: "The worldwide economic crisis is prompting a growing number of countries to back away from pledges to cut greenhouse gas emissions and invest in clean energy, just a week before the start of talks in Poland on a new worldwide climate change treaty."

Thursday, November 20, 2008

EPA Proposal Would Ease Clean-Air Rules for National Parks -

EPA Proposal Would Ease Clean-Air Rules for National Parks - Regional Administrators Decry Decision

"The Environmental Protection Agency is finalizing new air-quality rules that would make it easier to build coal-fired power plants, oil refineries and other major polluters near national parks and wilderness areas, even though half of the EPA's 10 regional administrators formally dissented from the decision and four others criticized the move in writing."

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Green Collar Jobs . NOW on PBS

Green Collar Jobs . NOW on PBS: "Can something as common as building materials represent an opportunity to create jobs, help the needy, and save the planet? This week, NOW looks at two 'green' projects keeping furniture, paint, cabinets, and other building supplies out of landfills and getting them into the hands of those who need them most. Will they be devastated by the economic meltdown, or do they signal a possible way out?"

Who Cares About Our Environment in Rochester?

So, where were they? The press, I mean. Last night, the mayor of one of the largest cities in New York State brings together community leaders and celebrates the public’s involvement in reducing our area’s carbon footprint. But nary a peep about it in today’s news. Unless, like Bush looking for WMD under his couch, I missed it completely.

Massive measureable amounts. What? Communities like Perinton, Irondequoit, and Brighton all have been reducing their energy consumption by innovation and commitment by their local governments? What you say? Carbon dioxide? Global Warming? Rochester and green what?

Mayor Duffy stands up in front of a full room of enthusiastic community leaders from all walks of life and says he would like to see this group come again and celebrate the wonderful grass-roots efforts of our area on the Low Carbon Diet Plan - What was that again? Climate change? Hello? Nobody covered that?

The press couldn’t walk down the street and find out what the mayor of Rochester, New York had to say about environmental efforts in our local communities? Maybe they were going to mention something about local efforts at recycling or reducing energy which could help all of us during this economic crisis, but they were too busy finding fault with the Governor’s bottle bill plan—too busy giving a one-sided rant about how your bottled water (our tap water is probably about ten times better for you) will go up fifteen cents that isn’t true and an act of depraved misinformation.

The mayor had a big meeting last night over at City Hall, you say. Well, what did he have to talk about? Hey, how about those Bills? And, did you see those great head shots of dead animals that hunters have been having fun killing that the Democrat and Chronicle is now posting on their website? So yeah, who really cares about the environment, that which sustains our existence? The press?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Can the Internet save the world?

Probably not. But, because it’s probably the biggest jump in the ability of humans to communicate (well, there’s the cell phone too, but forget about TV and radio because they’re only one-way communication—and that’s just propaganda) it can sure help.

Hard to push your world-wide anti-environmental agenda with the Internet around where everyone has their say—including scientist who can usually squash nonsense with sense. Anyway the Internet is a wonderful tool (which will probably supplant the print media) and with a pandemic flu being one of the great killers of our species, Google’s new tool could have a great impact on our collective ability to monitor the spread of this fast-moving killer. When the bird flu jumps from bird-to-bird to bird-to-to human, it’s bad. When that, in turn, jumps from human-to-human, it’s one of the fastest moving killers of human kind there is. Google’s “Flu Trends” will help us track the flu and maybe offer up clues as to how the inevitable pandemic flu might occur.

Of course, governments should be doing this job--tracking health problems world-wide--but lately most of them are busy warring with each other and trying to rein in their economies that they should have regulated in the first place. Allowing financial markets to regulate themselves--how’s that working out for ya? So, we’ll have to depend on Google and other wise businesses to do the right thing and help make our existence sustainable. Check out: Google’s “Flu Trends: Google Flu Trends

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

t r u t h o u t | The Midnight Deregulation Express

t r u t h o u t The Midnight Deregulation Express: "In his last days in power, George W. Bush wants to change some rules."

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 11/10/2008 | Probe sought of Bush handling of Alaska oil-spill case

McClatchy Washington Bureau 11/10/2008 Probe sought of Bush handling of Alaska oil-spill case
WASHINGTON — An environmental watchdog group asked the Department of Justice's inspector general on Monday to investigate whether the department had prematurely halted a criminal prosecution of BP for a 2006 oil spill in Alaska.

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 10/23/2008 | EPA weakens new lead rule after White House objects

McClatchy Washington Bureau 10/23/2008 EPA weakens new lead rule after White House objects

WASHINGTON — After the White House intervened, the Environmental Protection Agency last week weakened a rule on airborne lead standards at the last minute so that fewer polluters would have their emissions monitored.

Sorry For Bush?

For those getting sentimental and teary-eyed over the failed Bush presidency that tried and failed. (I’m not kidding this is an article in the Wall Street Journal “The Treatment of Bush Has Been a Disgrace What must our enemies be thinking?” (Nov 5, 2008). Rather focus on what he is about to do.

Behind closed doors Bush and Cheney created a Corporate-friendly energy policy—the public wasn’t invited. The Bush administration forced their illusion that corporations would monitor and curb their own environmental devastation. It didn’t work. They didn’t curb their pollution at bit. And, corporations didn’t go broke (we have to bail them out) because they were bending over backwards becoming more environmentally responsible --like implementing fuel efficiency. They went broke because they continued their unsustainable practices, despite public preferences for the alternatives.

Now, in the waning days of the Bush administration, while we angst about the collapse of all we worked for and tried to sustain (like our environment), the Bush administration is maniacally pushing its malicious anti-environmental agenda.

* “Rush to deregulate - Bush administration proposals to loosen EPA restrictions raise concerns for the environment” Nov 9, 08 - Dispatch Politics

* “Bush officials moving fast to cut environmental protections” Nov 6, 08 McClatchy

* “Bush team rushes environment policy changes” Nov 3, 08 Reuters.

* “A Last Push To Deregulate - White House to Ease Many Rules” Oct 31, 08 Washington Post.

Don’t feel sorry for Bush as he hangs his tail and leaves the White House as the most environmentally irresponsible president ever, contact Congress and demand that these last minute environmental deregulations be stopped.

Monday, November 10, 2008

DispatchPolitics : Rush to deregulate Columbus Dispatch Politics

DispatchPolitics : Rush to deregulate Columbus Dispatch Politics: "Ohio's dairy cows and power plants have almost nothing in common, except for the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Both groups would have less contact with the agency and might pollute more, say environmental advocates, if the EPA loosens restrictions on large livestock farms and coal-fired generating stations before President Bush leaves office.
They say that could happen under deregulations the Bush administration wants the EPA and other agencies to approve before President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January."

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Green Delusion

It’s nice to see that our major news print media offer up its token ‘green’ news story of the week. As the world bumps up against Global Warming tipping points even in our area (Buffalo news covered this topic a couple of weeks ago), pharmaceuticals are leaching into our waters, our recycling efforts fall far beyond neighboring communities, and the economic crash threaten to carve up environmental regulations, our major investigative media finds it way to mention ‘green’ colors in our home décor.

What wrong with this picture?

Have we become so tired of bad economic news that delusion in the form of painting over our environmental issues green rules the day? There could be articles about the move towards eliminating bottled water and returning faith in our public water system. Our major print media could be finding out why so many of us are still tossing computers and TVs on the curbside to got in our landfills, when there are many companies and non-profit agencies will to pick them up and reuse the parts. Investigative reporting could focus on the soundness of our infrastructure and whether or not our sewage is overflowing into Lake Ontario.

Instead, we get ‘feel good’ articles about an aesthetic movement towards our environment. We do not get a realistic appraisal of our area’s environment—the one that sustains our existence. I know newspapers are in trouble, but continually pandering to the public’s desire to ignore or believe that we are actually solving our environmental problems is the kind of irrational exuberance that led to our economic crisis today.

Only the environmental backlash is going to be much worse. There’s no bailout to be had when our environment becomes unsustainable.

Read on: Trend green, as in nature, for season's home décor Democrat and Chronicle Take the green movement to heart, add a flash of color or redo traditional to update home décor - (Nov 9, 08) Democrat and Chronicle Rochester news, community, entertainment, yellow pages and classifieds. Serving Rochester, New York

Saturday, November 08, 2008

A Bottled Water System?

Is it possible that our attitudes towards bottled water, which competes with our own tap water for public use, will change? When you buy water from someplace else and it comes in a plastic container and then landfill that plastic container aren’t you saying you have no faith in your public water system and you don’t care about the billions of more plastic (that aren’t even depositable) containers going into the ground?

Buying a facet and filling your own container of water to drink from Monroe County’s and Rochester’s water system is about as good as water gets—and that facet will pay for itself in about a couple of minutes.

CityNews: MPPs Defeat Province-Wide Water Bottle Ban But Leave Door Open To Future Edict A suggested ban on the sale of plastic water bottles in Ontario was struck down in the legislature Thursday amid mixed messages from the Liberal government that left the door open to a possible ban in the future. (Nov 6, 08)

Friday, November 07, 2008

McClatchy Washington Bureau | 11/07/2008 | Bush officials moving fast to cut environmental protections

McClatchy Washington Bureau 11/07/2008 Bush officials moving fast to cut environmental protections: "WASHINGTON — In the next few weeks, the Bush administration is expected to relax environmental-protection rules on power plants near national parks, uranium mining near the Grand Canyon and more mountaintop-removal coal mining in Appalachia."

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Editorial: Find compromise on fish virus testing | | Sheboygan Press

Editorial: Find compromise on fish virus testing Sheboygan Press: The decision to delay the implementation of proposed rules to contain a deadly fish virus is the right one. "The Department of Agriculture's Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service's rules require testing and inspections of farm-raised and bait species susceptible to viral hemorrhagic septicemia, or VHS. The virus has caused a number of large fish kills in the Great Lakes region."

FJR: Interesting article on a major fish disease throughout the Great Lakes region that has mostly been invisible in our area's media.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Brazil's endangered-animal list swells - World environment-

Brazil's endangered-animal list swells - World environment- Now 627 creatures in danger of extinction, up from 218 two decades ago "BRASILIA, Brazil - Brazil's new list of endangered animals is nearly three times as long as the last list 20 years ago, Environment Minister Carlos Minc said Tuesday, blaming development and deforestation for the change."

Monday, November 03, 2008

Bush team rushes environment policy changes | Environment | Reuters

Bush team rushes environment policy changes Environment Reuters: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - As the U.S. presidential candidates sprint toward the finish line, the Bush administration is also sprinting to enact environmental policy changes before leaving power."

Friday, October 31, 2008

A Last Push To Deregulate -

A Last Push To Deregulate - White House to Ease Many Rules

"The White House is working to enact a wide array of federal regulations, many of which would weaken government rules aimed at protecting consumers and the environment, before President Bush leaves office in January.

The new rules would be among the most controversial deregulatory steps of the Bush era and could be difficult for his successor to undo. Some would ease or lift constraints on private industry, including power plants, mines and farms."

FJR: It's not only been a nightmare, it's a nightmare that we aren't going to wake up from.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Environment VS Trails.

A trail in Victor, some want it widened some don’t. What, after reading the argument, are your thoughts on this local environmental matter?

Preserve The Trail (Railroad Mills Special Environmental Area - A Unique Part of the Auburn Trail Extension) The Coalition to save RRMSEA believes Victor's plan will have serious environmental impacts and will eliminate the wilderness feeling that makes the area so special. We propose a compromise that creates an accessible trail that can be enjoyed by a wide range of users, and preserves the sensitive and unique environment.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Environment – Opinion or Science?

There are voluminous conversations in all forms of the media about environmental matters. This is a fact. The environmental dialogues range from the absolutely absurd (like the Universe was created in seven day) to the reductionism of a specialized scientific inquiry—of which only a handful of scientists understand what they are talking about. This is a fact. Environmental matters are of interest to some and not important to others. This is not a fact, it is suicidal thinking.

Holding that you aren’t an environmentalist, or don’t care about our environment is like standing in front of a machine gun daring the shooter to practice his belief in ballistics. You’ll lose, it’s not an opinion.

In this day, when environmental matters have become so politicized, such as corporations and political machines that blanket the media with obfuscation about the dangers of global warming and pollution, concern about our environment has become a matter of opinion. It’s not, it is science.

What the point? Why should we care whether the public understands that environmental matters are science and not opinion? Well, if you think the mechanisms that operate our environment are merely opinions, you can form an attitude against the workings and importance of our environmental matters (as millions have) and dismiss all evidence pertaining to them.

If you know that the mechanisms of our environment are based on science, then you pay attention because you know if you don’t pay attention to the details you pay.

I’ve come across an excellent series of earth and environmental lectures and I implore you to check them out. You cannot breeze though this in a minute and launch an opinion. There are 50+ lectures and you’ll have to take time for it. You’ll have to listen to it in-depth and understand the fundamentals of environmental science. Dr. Shorey’s lectures are clear, methodical, and scientific-not a tirade about half-baked opinions on what should be mattering to us most—the environmental health of our planet.

Please, take some time and get a scientific overview of how our planet works before working up an irrational attitude towards what science is and what science has to say about our environment. If we don’t get it, if we don’t understand the science of our environment before we develop our opinions, then we will have become an unsustainable species—like the dinosaurs and the 95% of all the creature that have once existed on this planet.

We are humans and sure we have lots of stuff that the cave man didn’t, but gravity still rules and carbon dioxide still is excited by photons from the sun and we haven’t been issued a special pass because we think we are something special.


Friday, October 24, 2008

Why Are Cancer Rates High?

The real “bottom line” on the prevalence of cancer rates in any one area is, of course, environmental. We study smoking effects, we study eating, and healthy lifestyles. But, we don’t proactively check potential environmental causes of cancer—like years of air, water, and soil contaminations from industrial waste.

We don’t check the repercussions of the pharmaceuticals that get into our waterways, or how any of our man-made chemicals react, radiate, or produce ‘chemical cocktails’ (mixings chemicals that weren’t meant to be mixed). We don’t check these things unless there is a clear and obvious contamination that can’t be ignored.

There are a zillion possible environmental effects that could be causing our cancer rates to be high. But, we don’t proactively look for them because industry would cry “foul.” And, as we all know, the health of any one industry is more important that the health of our environment—not.

I am not singling out the Rochester area for the lack of proactive studies. No area does this on a wholesale assumption that man-made effects on our environment are having drastic cancerous effects on us.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

FRONTLINE: heat: watch the full program | PBS

FRONTLINE: heat: watch the full program PBS: "Melting glaciers, rising sea levels, fires, floods and droughts. On the eve of a historic election, award-winning producer and correspondent Martin Smith investigates how the world's largest corporations and governments are responding to Earth's looming environmental disaster."

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change News & Articles on

Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change News & Articles on "Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change
Search results: News articles and analysis about 'Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change' from"

FJR: Knowing this issue should be on par with Politics and Economy--on our front burner.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Canada to help poorer nations fight climate change

Canada to help poorer nations fight climate change: "Canada will give $100 million to developing countries to fight climate change, Prime Minister Stephen Harper announced Sunday.
Speaking at the closing ceremony of the three-day Francophonie summit in Quebec City, Harper said developed countries such as Canada are in a position to help poorer nations."

National Center for Environmental Health: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program | About CLPPP  | CDC

National Center for Environmental Health: Childhood Lead Poisoning Prevention Program About CLPPP CDC: "The Lead Contamination Control Act of 1988 authorized the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to initiate program efforts to eliminate childhood lead poisoning in the United States."

Bottled Water Quality Investigation: 10 Major Brands, 38 Pollutants | Environmental Working Group

Bottled Water Quality Investigation: 10 Major Brands, 38 Pollutants Environmental Working Group: "Bottled water contains disinfection byproducts, fertilizer residue, and pain medication"

2008 National Environmental Scorecard

2008 National Environmental Scorecard

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Question of the Day

It’s shouldn’t be a question, we should be changing our energy attitudes. This is the question of the day, will the economic crisis experienced world-wide slow down renewable energy growth? It’s too bad that it’s framed as a question, when it should be framed as an opportunity: Our present economics and reliance on fossil-burning fuel have failed us, now it’s time to change our economies so that our economies reflect their effect on our environment and all governments should be focusing on wind and solar power for our future energy needs—even oil and coal companies should devote their monies to making solar and wind power work (which, I know is heresy.)

Our underlying assumption about our economy is fundamentally flawed: We assume that The Economy (that man created) Rules – but it doesn’t Nature does. Throw a dollar at a hurricane and see what that does for ya.

Check this story Business Will global money meltdown tip the scales on clean energy development? Small projects may be hit particularly hard as discriminating lenders put cash in bigger ventures considered less risky - A squeeze in lending and fears that a global recession will continue to push down fossil-fuel prices could prove a major setback for the development of clean energy and deployment of green technologies.(Oct 14, 08)

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Renewable Energy, Not Nuclear

Although there are many nuclear plants around the world, one Chernobyl-like incident will chill any Global Warming argument used in favor of using nuclear power. Man is prone to error, despite the efforts of the best and brightest who build and maintain our nuclear power plants. For, when you think about it, they have to be the best given the consequences of a nuclear error. Also, nuclear plants take a long time to build (meaning paperwork), a lot of insurance, and lots and lots of water to cool the plants—not to mention the warmed waters discharges which affect fish life.

As for the “baseload” argument that coal and nuclear power are our only choices: If we redesigned our electrical grid so that computers could help channel energy loads when and where they are needed, solar and wind power could provide the necessary base loads. Critics are forever belying the reliability of wind and solar because the wind doesn’t always blow and the sun doesn’t always shine. Well, if the grid is large enough, the wind does always blow—somewhere. And already there are reliable solar batteries that can store energy when the sun doesn’t shine—it’s called heating water, which retains heat very well and could heat our houses.

As for the arguments about wind and solar power having to be given tax breaks by the government, it’s hard to take them seriously when one thinks about how many billions the US has allowed the oil companies in tax relief.

Isn’t it time to do the right thing on energy and go renewable energy? You won’t need an iodine pill for your thyroid, if you live next to a wind turbine.

Global Warming On Hold

The underlying science that greenhouse gases are warming up planet Earth have been suspended because of the World-Wide Economic Crisis. Carbon Dioxide and Methane Gas molecules have mutually agree not to react so vibrantly at this time. Until further notice, the media will cease its comprehensive coverage of this matter. The laws of physics too will step aside while mankind focuses on the repercussion his rapacious economic systems.

People can be assured that science understands that nothing is more important than the world market. Thus, no one need worry that their behavior or corporation’s, no matter how polluting, will have any affect on anyone’s health.

Also, please note: pollution of our air, water, and land, the loss of biodiversity, the scarcity of clean water, and all other environmental concerns have abated until this crisis is over. The laws governing our universe care.

All Environmental degradation in all forms will stop until future notice. At that time the media can resume its awesome coverage of sustainability matters—unless, of course, George Bush or Vice-president Dick Cheney, break either of their fingernails.

Rochester Sierra Club Tackles Water Privatization Issue

What if you lived by the largest body of fresh water in the world but could no longer afford to use it? Residents of Highland Park, Michigan – known as the birthplace of the auto industry – have received water bills as high as $10,000. They have had their water turned off, their homes foreclosed and their children taken away by social services.

Now they are struggling to keep water, a basic human right, from becoming privatized!

FILM RELEASE: “The Water Front” Shows Local Fight for Water Access Location: The Little Theatre – Theatre #3 Date: Wednesday, October 15, 2008 Time: 7:00 PM to 8:45 PM - Check the listing at the Little Theatre. 53-minute film followed by a panel discussion: Marian Kramer (Michigan Welfare Rights Organization), Ann Howard (RIT Professor, Department of Science, Technology & Society, Public Policy and Environmental Science Programs) and Wayne Howard (Chair, Sierra Club Atlantic Chapter Great Lakes Committee)

Exclusive: The methane time bomb

By Steve Connor, Science EditorTuesday, 23 September 2008 -

Arctic scientists discover new global warming threat as melting permafrost releases millions of tons of a gas 20 times more damaging than carbon dioxide

The first evidence that millions of tons of a greenhouse gas 20 times more potent than carbon dioxide is being released into the atmosphere from beneath the Arctic seabed has been discovered by scientists.

The Independent has been passed details of preliminary findings suggesting that massive deposits of sub-sea methane are bubbling to the surface as the Arctic region becomes warmer and its ice retreats.

Friday, October 10, 2008

How the Oil Sands Got to the Great Lakes Basin

By David Israelson
for the Program on Water Issues
Munk Centre for International Studies
University of Toronto

"Those refineries could “wipe out many of the pollution gains” made at the lakes since the 1970s, according to the study. "

Interesting reading.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

IUCN 2008 Red List - Home Page

IUCN 2008 Red List - Home Page

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™
The IUCN Species Programme working with the IUCN Species Survival Commission (SSC) has for more than four decades been assessing the conservation status of species, subspecies, varieties, and even selected subpopulations on a global scale in order to highlight taxa threatened with extinction, and therefore promote their conservation. Although today we are operating in a very different political, economic, social and ecological world from that when the first IUCN Red Data Book was produced, the IUCN Species Programme, working with the Species Survival Commission and many partners, remains firmly committed to providing the world with the most objective, scientifically-based information on the current status of globally threatened biodiversity. The plants and animals assessed for the IUCN Red List are the bearers of genetic diversity and the building blocks of ecosystems, and information on their conservation status and distribution provides the foundation for making informed decisions about conserving biodiversity from local to global levels.

Economics Seen Bolstering Case To Protect Nature |

Economics Seen Bolstering Case To Protect Nature "BARCELONA, Spain - Worsening damage to nature is jolting the world into doing more to protect animals and plants and new economic arguments will bolster the case for action, the head of a global conservation network said."

Monday, October 06, 2008

One In Four Mammals Risks Extinction |

One In Four Mammals Risks Extinction "BARCELONA, Spain - A quarter of the world's mammals are threatened with extinction, an international survey showed on Monday, and the destruction of habitats and hunting are the major causes."

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Only Eight Years to Save Earth

On Dire Consequences: [My thoughts on the talk by Anthony Marr, founder of Heal Our Planet Earth (HOPE) with Anthony Marr, titled "GLOBAL WARMING and MASS EXTINCTION" at the Brighton Town Hall Auditorium, Thursday, October 2nd, sponsored by ARAUNY Animal Rights Advocates of Upstate New York] Anthony Marr told a gathering of about twenty that mankind has about an eight-year window to solve Global Warming.

The threat of planetary warming caused by carbon dioxide isn’t our greatest worry; the threat caused by methane is the real worry. Seventy-five times more powerful at trapping heat than carbon dioxide, methane (which caused four of the five mass extinctions on Earth) is the “bomb” and carbon dioxide only the fuse.

I’m wondering if other credible sources are ringing the alarm on the ‘methane bomb’ and if so where are you hearing about it? In short, if there is an eight-year window in which to solve the Global Warming problem before runaway (feedback loop) warming on this planet occurs, why are only 15 people in a lecture hall privy to this cataclysmic scenario? Wouldn’t this be enough bleed to lead on the media?

Friday, September 26, 2008

It Ain’t Over ‘Till It’s Over:

Rochester and Monroe County receive a coveted “Honorable Mention” Bicycle Friendly Award and it shows our community cares about people getting around our city safely on non-polluting transportation.
Hopefully, winning this award, which brings together the efforts of the City of Rochester, the County of Monroe, the NYS Department of Transportation, The Genesee Transportation Council, and the Rochester Bicycling Club and others to improve our streets for an environmentally safe mode of transportation.
New innovations on bike technology, a change in the public’s attitude towards sharing the roads for bikes (and pedestrians who ((in terms of the law –Rule!)) , and linking trails to commutes could make bicycling to work and even shopping an integral way of life in Rochester—a way of life that reduces our carbon footprints, makes us healthier, and changes our gas-guzzling, myopic, view of transportation towards a more friendly and livable way of getting around. Big goal, but it can be done.
Next year, maybe the bronze, or the Silver, or even the Gold if we think of traveling around sustainably.
Check out this story: Rochester City & Monroe County, N.Y. Win "Honorable Mention" Bicycle Friendly Community Designation - Boulder Goes Platinum; 10 New Communities Earn Designation Biggest Round of Applications Since Program's Inception Ten new communities were honored with the League of American Bicyclists prestigious Bicycle Friendly Community designation. This was the program’s biggest application cycle to date—51 communities applied for the designation. There are one gold, one silver and eight bronze communities awarded, and 19 communities renewed their designations. Boulder, Colo., a renewing community, was promoted to Platinum, joining Portland, Ore. and Davis, Calif. as the only cities in the U.S. to have earned this top designation. --from League of American Bicyclists

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Associated Press: Democrats to let offshore drilling ban expire

The Associated Press: Democrats to let offshore drilling ban expire: "WASHINGTON (AP) — Democrats have decided to allow a quarter-century ban on drilling for oil off the Atlantic and Pacific coasts to expire next week, conceding defeat in an month-long battle with the White House and Republicans set off by $4 a gallon gasoline prices this summer."

The Wrong Thing

This story is so profoundly awful that I'm left speechless on its short-term idiocy. Our government has failed us yet again. Lifting the ban on off-shore drilling, instead of renewing the tax incentives on renewable (solar and wind) energy is so incredibly shortsighted and unsustainable it matches the destruction of the forests on Easter Island, leaving the island nation almost uninhabitable by humans.

So here we are, because gas prices have gone up and the oil companies have sought so successfully to paint themselves as safe and green in the media, the public and the democrats have caved in to what they know is our last chance to turn our energy policies around and fight Global Warming. We charge headlong past another point of no return in getting our climate under control (the last one was in the 1970’s, where man-made climate change could have been halted altogether) and open ourselves to oil spills, more profits for oil companies and more air pollution, and more big polluting vehicles on the road because there’s no incentive (except common sense and education) to change wholesale how we get our energy.

What if, instead of this total capitulation to the oil companies, we had decided to restructure our electrical grid so that it could move power to where it is needed, so extended the capability of the grid so that wind power generators all over this continent would supply electricity because there would always be wind blowing somewhere and be able to put online all sorts of energy supplied by homeowners using solar and wind and other renewable energy sources?

But, we won’t now because the oil companies have convinced most that drilling and putting our waters and climate in continual danger will keep them rich and solvent and you too—but maybe not your children. What do you think will be the legacy of our generation’s actions towards deregulating our economy and allowing corporation to run roughshod over our environment?

I’m afraid the next generation is going to be strapped with massive debt, and a very polluted world and perhaps like our generation when they start panicking like we are now, they’ll do the wrong thing, like we are doing, and find something very short-sighted and destructive to do—like wholesale drilling offshore for some quick-fix that will leave their future generations even more strapped. It’s what we do when something goes wrong in America: the wrong thing.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

The Election: Where’s the environment?

Of course there’s the present financial crisis due to the Reagan-era/Republican’s efforts to deregulate the financial market, the end of laissez-faire capitalism (because, like leaving environmental controls to corporations doing the polluting) it just doesn’t work, the fiasco in Iraq (because despite the media’s forgone conclusion of the ‘success’ of the surge, even General Petraeus, admits we must be very careful about withdrawing the American troupes from the precarious situation that’s on hold in Iraq), the desperate situation in Afghanistan, our squabbles with Russia, Iran, North Korea, you-name-the-country, and who “lipstick on a pig” refers to, where’s the discussion on our environment in this critical election year?

What about Global Warming? What about a serious debate on cleaning up the environment and curbing global warming gases—instead of the infinite regression of rants about what the oil companies want and don’t want? What about getting the big picture that despite all the (above) problems an unsustainable environment is one that we cannot live in?

You’d think that with so much information coming in about the state of our environment that we’d take a serious look at it during our election period, but mostly we simply root through our best one-liners and lob it at the enemy via the hungry-for nonsense media.

Maybe there’s intelligent life on Mars or Titian.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Green: Science . Policy . Living (

Green: Science . Policy . Living (

N.Y. Tests Turbines to Produce Power -

N.Y. Tests Turbines to Produce Power - "N.Y. Tests Turbines to Produce Power
City Taps Current Of the East River"

The EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index – Home

The EnviroMedia Greenwashing Index – Home: "Greenwashing:
It’s Not Black and White
Welcome to the Greenwashing Index — home of the world’s first online interactive forum that allows consumers to evaluate real advertisements making environmental claims. “Going green” has become mainstream for businesses large and small — and that’s a good thing. What’s not so great is when businesses make environmental marketing claims that can be misleading."

Eco-Buyer Beware: Green Can Be Deceiving - TIME

Eco-Buyer Beware: Green Can Be Deceiving - TIME: "Scot case was not happy. Vice president of the environmental marketing firm TerraChoice, Case last year sent his researchers into a big-box retail store to evaluate the green advertising claims of some of the products on its shelves. The results were startling: of the 1,018 products TerraChoice surveyed, all but one failed to live up fully to their green boasts. Words like nontoxic were used in meaninglessly vague ways. Terms like Energy Star certified were in fact not backed up by certification."

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

House to vote on offshore drilling Tuesday | Reuters

House to vote on offshore drilling Tuesday Reuters: "WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The House of Representatives is expected to vote on Tuesday on a comprehensive energy package that would open most of the U.S. coastline to offshore drilling, a Democratic aide said on Monday."

FJR: Don't drill, not here, not now.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

How Global Warming Threatens New York - by the NYS AG

Feature: "Feature: Fighting Global Warming
How Global Warming Threatens New York
Global warming is one of the most important challenges of our time, and presents an acute threat to New York's environment, public health and economy. Some of the grave impacts that unchecked global warming could have on our state include:
More Heat - By the end of this century, summertime temperatures in New York may increase by up to 14 degrees Fahrenheit B making our summers feel like those of South Carolina. This more intense and prolonged summer heat could result increased heat-related illnesses, especially in our cities. In New York City, for example, it is estimated that a one degree Fahrenheit increase in average temperatures could more than double heat-related deaths. Higher temperature could also increase smog and the respiratory diseases it causes, especially among children, the elderly, and New Yorkers with existing breathing difficulties. Further, hotter conditions favor the introduction and spread of insect-borne diseases, including Lyme Disease, Equine Encephalitis, and West Nile Virus."

Living on Earth: Sex, Drugs, and Oil Drilling

Living on Earth: Sex, Drugs, and Oil Drilling: "GELLERMAN: Sex, drugs and mineral rights -- As the US congress debates an historic
expansion in off-shore drilling, federal investigators say a dozen senior government officials responsible for collecting corporate royalties from drilling and mining on public property were involved in widespread corruption, including kickbacks from companies -- and yes, sex and drugs."

This fish story doesn't play well on VHS

It's like I've been say, Stay informed on Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) that is moving into the Great Lakes and spreading to many of our area's Finger Lakes, rivers, and streams. Our fishing industry and waters may never be the same.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Drill, Baby, Drill?

Do we really want to drill oil in the off-shore waters of the Untied States? Does the “Drill, Baby, Drill!” chant (at the Republican Convention) reflect a wise, long-term solution to “our nation’s addition to oil”—as President Bush put it? Or, is it one of those positions we used to take when we were five years old, where we wanted what we wanted it, when we wanted it, put our hands over our ears and wouldn’t listen to anything else?

Even the economic experts and oil companies agree that no oil from drilling off-shore will show up at the pumps for five or ten years. And, there isn’t much oil in off-shore America. The public is going to be paying millions in incentive tax breaks for this delusional (a false belief or opinion) off-shore drilling decision that won’t change gas prices, will put our environment in jeopardy, and incur more global warming--while the government is taking away any tax incentives away from wind and solar power here in the US—that really could make our country energy self-sufficient.

Not to mention, that there are always going to be oil spills from drilling oil in the oceans—and when they do and create massive damage to the environment. And, of course, the oil companies will do everything in their power to not pay for proper clean-ups (like in the Valdez oil spill ) when these inevitable spill do occur.

So, the public is swooning over the prospect of drilling for oil when they should know better. And, their politicians are falling all over themselves to please this public because they want the public’s vote. The illusory goal of elevating gas prices now will hamper our children’s ability to live sustainable lives because (like in the 70’s) we will bypass an opportunity to learn from another gas crisis and move wholesale to a renewable energy agenda.

They say we learn History so we won’t repeat mistakes. But, in the United State lately, when something bad happens, like a sharp jump in gasoline prices, our tendency is to shoot the messenger by angrily denying Global Warming and never asking questions later. We don’t look at the global warming issue critically and see a gas crisis as a warning and an opportunity to change; we find more places and more ways to drill and drill and drill again—like some Hollywood superhero with a violent, quick-fix, seemingly satisfying solution to a perceived threat that leaves us gasping for our popcorn.

Throw out science, throw out economics, throw out history, and throw out our future, but drill, baby, drill. However, even if you have doubts about Global Warming, wouldn’t it be prudent to check out the science on this matter? Doesn’t it seem rational that in a system as complex and chaotic as our climate, with a long latency period for changes in temperatures to show up in the weather, that we must act long before we are absolutely sure man-made global warming is occurring?

Drill, Baby, Drill” is on the delusional level of attacking Iran for its role in 9/11, which was not involved in the 9/11 attack.

Listen to Thomas Friedman who says it much better: Fresh Air from WHYY, September 8, 2008 . “Thomas Friedman is a man bent on revolution. In his new book, Hot, Flat, and Crowded, the three-time Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist writes about the need for a green revolution — and calls upon Americans to lead the charge.” - Fresh Air from WHYY

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

A town working towards a better environment...

Green Brighton Task Force Final Report
The Green Brighton Task Force is wrapping up its first year with an action plan that will be delivered to the Town government in September.

Have you read the report? What do you think? - H.R. 6052, The Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008 - H.R. 6052, The Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008: "H.R. 6052 would promote increased public transportation use, to promote increased use of alternative fuels in providing public transportation."

Instead of "Drill here. Drill Now" let's do something sensible like this bill.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

World Wildlife Fund: Conservation Action Network: Global Warming

World Wildlife Fund: Conservation Action Network: Global Warming: "Endangered Species Need Your Help

Deadline: September 15, 2008
The Bush administration is proposing changes that would seriously weaken the Endangered Species Act. Please oppose these changes.
The most effective way to comment is by submitting an official public comment to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. You must submit your comment yourself. Follow the simple steps below."

Sierra Club:

Sierra Club: Last week, the Department of the Interior proposed sweeping changes to this landmark environmental law.Under the new regulations, federal agencies would no longer have to consult with experts at the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Feedback: International Joint Commission May Drop Plan 2007 : WWNY TV 7

Feedback: International Joint Commission May Drop Plan 2007 : WWNY TV 7

EPA sets rules for lawn, boat engines

EPA sets rules for lawn, boat engines

Muzzling Little Engines -

This story concerns one of those quite little stories you hear about once in awhile and if you don’t know the issue it can sound strange and fantastic. The EPA forcing catalytic converters on small gas engines. What’s with that? Or, where did that come from?

We—meaning just about everyone--use these little engines in our boats and certainly in our mowers (though I personally have switched to a reel mower), but where did this pollution thing come from—are they serious? “There are more than 50 million pieces of lawn and garden equipment in use across the country today, and the Environmental Defense Fund, an advocacy group, said one riding lawn mower emits as much hourly pollution as about 34 cars.”

I have heard this story from an expert at a large forum on transportation. Off-road vehicles, which include tractors, lawn mowers, etc., are responsible for a large percentage of our air pollution. What amazes me is that the EPA is acting now to curb this problem. Of course, it’s not a new problem, but the small engine industries are so dismissive and the public so unaware of this pollution source it convinced me that forcing catalytic converters on these small engine makers was not going to happen in my life time. Where was the public outcry? Where were politicians yammering for pollution controls on our lawn mowers and leaf blowers? That kind of public responsibility would have put them out of office.

I’m mean the EPA has been fighting science and common sense on environmental matters for the last seven years, so what got them to do the right thing on this quiet but major air pollution issue? They could have just stonewalled it and asked for a zillion studies, pleaded a lack of funds, or just ignore it like they usually do and the public wouldn’t have been much the wiser.

In fact, the public still won’t be much the wiser that their environmental enforcement agency, The Environmental Protection Agency, issued a major anti-air pollution measure because most major media won’t even bother to run this story. They won’t run this story because no one told them how important it was, or the corporations that fund them also make small engines, or they don’t think the public will care because the home town sports team just clobbered the another home town sports team. Whatever.

I simply get amazed when our governmental bodies move to curb corporate excesses without a major fight because it’s unusual. Almost makes you think that no matter how dysfunctional our government and industry is on environmental matters, some people out there get it that our generation must stand up to environmental degradation because if we don’t…

Check this story out: EPA sets rules for lawn, boat engines Most non-road motors will be required to add catalytic converters to significantly reduce emissions. (Sept 5, 08) Detroit News Online Sunday, September 7, 2008 News, sports, features, blogs, photos and forums from Detroit and across Michigan

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Check out the NYS AG's "Environmental Protection Bureau

"The Environmental Protection Bureau, located within the Office of the Attorney General's Social Justice Division, plays a central role in protecting New York's environment and public health. With a staff that includes 40 lawyers and 8 scientists, the Bureau vigorously enforces both the State's and Nation's environmental laws. It also represents the State of New York in legal matters related to the environment. The Environmental Protection Bureau is recognized as a leader in the fight against global warming, reducing smog and other forms of air pollution, cleaning up our lakes, rivers and coastal waters, protecting wildlife and other natural resources, and safeguarding our families and communities against toxic contamination."

Our Generation’s Responsibility

Tragically, our media has not brought to the forefront the importance of the new rage in gas drilling in New York State. And, the public doesn’t seem to care where they get their fossil fuels, just as long as fuel prices remain low. That’s too bad because this issue—natural gas drilling in the wide-spread Marcellus Shale—could have a big impact on our air, land, and water quality.

This issue has been mentioned, but not highlighted like we do with political conventions or sport events or other passing interests. The New York Times published some stories recently on this issue -- Drilling Boom Revives Hopes for Natural Gas - (Aug. 25, 08) and “There’s Gas in Those Hills - New York Times” (April 8, 08) –and there is a press release from our governor-- - GOVERNOR PATERSON SIGNS BILL UPDATING OIL AND GAS DRILLING LAW; PLEDGES ENVIRONMENTAL AND PUBLIC HEALTH SAFEGUARDS – and the Democrat and Chronicle did a story recently: New York state bill could boost fuel output Democrat and Chronicle (July 14, 08).

But largely, this issue doesn’t reach genuine public attention because it doesn’t get much play—that is, the public doesn’t seem to much care about the potential environmental affects of gas drilling around us and the media is not disposed to hammer the public on matters the public should know about, just the issues the public wants to know about. Never-the-less, gas drilling in New York State is coming, just like wind turbines, just like nuclear power, and just like more coal-fired power plants. All these energy forms have issues that can greatly affect our environment and it seems as though only the people next to gas drilling sites or near wind farms seem to really care about the negative effects of these energy forms.

But, in the twenty-first century shouldn’t we be seeing the bigger picture? Haven’t we been given enough warning that it is obvious that our way of life—man-made pollution, global warming, etc.—is changing the planet? Yes, we are worried about jobs and getting affordable energy and keeping our properties from being contaminated and keeping its value while the public gets power to fuel our way of living. But, shouldn’t sustainability be the model of our reality, instead of “What-we-Wantism”?

That is, shouldn’t we be examining the repercussions of drilling for gas, or the potential environmental consequences of ramping up nuclear instead of focusing on our short-term perceived needs? I say “perceived” because the recent gas crisis (that we seem to be coming out of as gas prices drop) reveals that we can get around without a steady increase in fossil fuel use. In the last few months, people have driven less, walked more, biked more, car-pooled more and used public transportation far more in recent days—something they would not have done before the steep increase in gas prices.

Shouldn’t it be the responsibility of our generation (to our children) to adequately examine how our way of life affects the long-term health of our environment? Shouldn’t we be monitoring how we get energy, like drilling for gas in our area that could possibly release particulates into the air, or break into our water aquifers, or some of the other potentially pernicious affects of this form of energy? Or, should we merely ignore the fuzzy environmental issues (as the corporations would like) and make sure we make it through our own lives, hoping our children will find some other energy source that we’ve exhausted or harmed our environment with?

Other generations had their cause célèbre: securing our independence from Great Britain, freeing slaves in the Civil War, saving Europe in World War I, and preserving Democracy in World War II. Shouldn’t our generation, now that we know that our actions affect the planet, be preserving our environment for future generations? What is it that we do in our daily lives that reaches to such preeminence? If we fail to find a sustainable solution to our way of life by failing to inform ourselves about Global Warming, the negative effects of our energy use, water contamination, and the myriad of other environmental problems we face—we won’t simply lose some metaphysical value (like Freedom or Democracy) we cherish—our way of life may collapse.

Well, if you’ve made it this far into this essay, you may wish to go further and check out these two information sources on drilling in the Marcellus Gas shale. The first is a new site by the New York State Department of Conservation: DEC Launches New Web Page for Marcellus Shale Info - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation and the second is the Sierra Club Susquehanna Group’s -- MARCELLUS SHALE GAS DRILLING.

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Energy Tipping Point?

Just months ago, jumping into our gas-guzzlers to go anywhere from a three-minute drive to a couple of days drive seemed normal. Really normal, so much so that to consider anything else didn’t cross our minds. You bought the vehicle you could afford, meaning the sticker price. Then the gas crisis hit and we all paused because what fueled our vehicles was draining our pockets. For all the talk about Global Warming and air pollution and all the environmental stuff, it was the sharp rise in energy prices that changed our behavior. The story below about the drop in NYS Thruway use is an indication of an energy tipping point—the point at which the public will drastically change their driving habits. Bicycling increased, more walked, more car pooled, more bought scooters, more did less driving gas guzzling vehicles.

That’s a fact. Beyond all the arguments about whether we should continue using fossil fuels to fuel our moving about and how to go about changing our behavior towards the planet because the wide-spread use of fossil fuel warms our planet is this clear indisputable fact that all positions on energy use must accept: When the gas prices hit a certain point, people will change their behavior and begin using alternate ways to get around.

We learned a lesson in the last several months about our behavior—a get-in-your-face fact that many of us would not have considered before. We can and will change our lives if something so ubiquitous and jumping into our cars to get around changes radically.

But, what will that lesson be?

For me, when the gas prices hit $3.50 a gallon I left my car (which gets about 25 miles per gallon) in the garage and drove my wife’s car, which gets about 40 miles per gallon. And, I biked to the library and walked to the corner store, Now that the gas prices are going down, should I begin driving that car again? Or should I sell it to someone else who has given up their 10 mile an hour behemoth and considers my car a godsend?

Are we going to go back to our old habits of recklessly burning fossil fuels to get around—as we did back in the 70’s after the gas lines ended, or are we really going to change.?
My guess is that our sense of priorities is focused on our short-term needs and the long-term problem of energy use and its consequences will disappear as soon as the financial threat has appeared to disappear. My guess is that we won’t change to a responsible form of energy until we have to. My guess is that we’ll listen to the siren’s call from the fossil fuel producers that “everything will be fine now and don’t worry your pretty little heads.”

I may be wrong. Maybe we got it this time. Check below: - Use of Thruway down Fewer people are using the New York State Thruway. State records show nearly two million fewer cars and trucks traveled on the thruway in June and July compared to the same time last year. State officials blame the economy and high prices at the pump. (Aug. 27, 08) - Rochester, NY News, Weather, Sports, Health, Investigative, Entertainment

Friday, August 29, 2008

Environmental groups pick up where the media falls down

The public is more aware of the importance of environmental issues because environmental groups are helping to connect the dots. Left to their own, the media only publishes environmental stories when something happens that their editors think will grab the public’s attention and bring in more money.

Most environmentally irresponsible companies just want the pubic to forget about environmental matters—like when Vice-President Cheney closed the doors when developing energy policy. And, most politicians don’t bring up environmental matters unless urged to do so by the public. So, who gets the public to pay attention to our environment? Environmentalists.

Chect out: "Action on protective laws ever likelier - Congress, president, candidates pledge support for compactonservation community might be wondering how the tide turned so quickly. But Wisconsin state Sen. Rob Cowles (R-Green Bay) says it can be tracked back to citizens who became knowledgeable about the threats facing the lakes and then leaned on their elected officials. “There were environmental groups working with mayors up and down the Lake Michigan coast saying, ‘We’ve got to do this. We’ve got to protect the lake,’ ” Cowles says. “And those pressures eventually brought people to the table to move it forward.” --from (Aug 16, 08)

How's biking around Rochester, NY?

Did those high gas prices this summer get you out into the streets with your bike? If so, how did that go? Did you find the rage in the NPR story below?

My personal observation is that there is a lot of room for improvement, though I did not observe much road rage. As bicyclist in Rochester, there seemed to me to be a heighten awareness by cars and motorcyclists alike that I was there—and cars would give me space if they could. Overall, good drivers greatly respect good bicyclist, sharing the road with their gasless friends and weary of those racing down the sidewalks, or speeding down the wrong side of the road. Good bicyclists moved seamlessly through our streets hand-signaling keeping their eyes pealed for danger spots.

The trouble I see for potential problems is with bad drivers and bad bicyclists—though the car drivers always win (except in the courts.) Bad drivers talk on cell phones oblivious of bicyclists and pedestrians, don’t even slow down on “right on red”, and cop a ‘tude about bicyclists, who have as much right to be on the road as they do. And, bad bicyclists race down sidewalks oblivious to the fact the pedestrians cannot hear them approach from behind them.

Bad bicyclists don’t stop for street lights, observe any signs or rules of the road (not less care) and think it is the car driver’s job to find them amongst the myriad of things going on on a busy street. Though, bicyclists may be right, they may also be dead—as vehicles win in any collision.

My suggestion is that everyone learn about bikes and cars and rules of the road and sharing and become good drivers aware that bikes have as much right to be on the streets as they do and for bikers to realize that car drivers need to see them, meaning bicyclists should know the rules of the road too.

Here's the story by NPR: Cyclists And Drivers Vie For Space On The Road "Talk of the Nation, August 26, 2008 · High gas prices and heightened environmental awareness have led more bicyclists to take to already-congested streets. Road rage has escalated quickly — drivers complain that cyclists ignore traffic laws and cyclists contend that drivers deliberately try to run them down."

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Please don't trash that TV or Computer - Do the right thing - Recycle it

RECONNECT - This is a great program from Goodwill and Dell for the Rochester area for recycling those old computers--Get the RECONNECT FACT SHEET jobs, environmental y important--no way should we be seeing electronics on the curbside for garbage pickup:--from The Association for the Blind and Visually Impaired (ABVI)-Goodwill Industries of Greater Rochester, Inc.

Monitoring your environment and having fun

Good for your community: Good for your environment.

Did you know that tagging Monarch butterflies are a a good way to monitor our environmental health? If your community has not already joined in this great program by Seneca Park Zoo, sponsored by the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation , then you ought to check it out:

The Butterfly Beltway Project “Seneca Park Zoo has launched another exciting season of sharing the beauty and wonder of butterflies with the citizens of western New York. Thanks to the Daisy Marquis Jones Foundation (DMJF), our seasonal onsite butterfly experience will re-opened in June, while our offsite Butterfly Beltway garden-planting project kicked off in mid-May. Each year since 2002, we have added new gardens to the Butterfly Beltway, and as a result, our tally of gardens sits at 73. We plant gardens at senior-living centers and at facilities that serve urban youth, disabled youth, youth-at-risk, or other special-needs children. Each garden has special kinds of flowers that attract butterflies for feeding and egg-laying purposes. The gardens also provide critical shelter and rest areas for 75 local species of butterflies.”

Buying from local markets in Rochester, NY.

Buy local foods and help our environment. Another good way to help our environment and our economy is to help out our local agriculture.

In the United States (and probably around the world) we have so evolved in our food production and distribution so that there are many local food producers who feed the few and a few very large food producers who feed the vast majority. Though this model often keeps food prices low and uniform (though even that can be disputed), it also requires a vast quantity of fossil fuels (which warm the planet) to transport and in my opinion create a very dangerous dependency on a few food products (like wheat, corn, rice, soybeans, and a few others) which work against the need for biodiversity in our planets flora system.

Buying from local agriculture can help alleviate this propensity to depend of a few large agriculture corporations and sustain our environment—and maybe even give jobs to your locality. Not to mention, you can probably walk to your local farmer’s market and move food production away from a dependency on fossil fuels. Check out Monroe village Farmers' Market. Farmers' Market "Monroe Village Farmers’ Market Wednesday Evenings 4:30 to 7:30 June 18th to October 29th Blessed Sacrament Church Parking Lot Monroe Avenue Between Rutgers and Oxford Enjoy local musicians and artists in a fun community atmosphere." --from Monroe Village

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Give me one good argument against the Bigger Better Bottle Bill

In all the years we have tried to get the Bigger Better Bottle Bill passed, I have yet to hear a reasonable argument against its passage.

That it’s too much trouble for the public to bring back bottles, or that it’s too much of a burden on the grocers, or that the bottling companies won’t get enough money back is so incredible selfish and myopic as to wonder how this intelligent species of our is actually going to solve any environmental problems. Look, the first bottle bill was a success and since its passage tons of bottles have been brought back for recycling, instead of going into the ground. And, since that first law, there has been a vast increase in the number of products that use bottles that could be recycled if this law passes.

Deposit-able bottles works. Nothing else works that will keep a lot of people from just tossing bottles, which litter our environment, onto our sidewalks, roads, forests, streams, you-name-it. Give me one unselfish, environmentally responsible reason why we shouldn’t pass the Bigger Bottle Bill or concede that you don’t really care about the next generation.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The Mercury in Florescent Bulbs

This article has some good information about disposing florescent light bulbs—which you have probably heard by now contain mercury. It’s interesting to hear some people complain about the mercury in these bulbs, adopting an attitude of annoyance because these products which are being marched out as helping against Global Warming harm the environment also. Well, strictly speaking, mercury in any amount may be problematical. And, we do need to learn how to dispose of these bulbs, especially (like Australia) if we intend on passing laws against incandescent bulbs, which waste a lot of electricity.

But, here’s the point about the mercury in florescent bulbs that those marching out this complaint seem to forget: If they continue to use incandescent bulbs, they are mostly likely doing so with electricity supplied by coal-burning power plants, which spew lots of mercury into the air, which falls back down into our waters—especially the Great Lakes. The amount of mercury in florescent bulbs pales against that mercury release when we burn coal to light incandescent bulbs. It seems prudent to use florescent bulbs, and maybe store them away (hey, they last ten times longer than incandescent bulbs) until you can dispose of them properly.

Check out: Home Depot lets you recycle long-lasting bulbs Democrat and Chronicle Compact fluorescent light bulbs use 75 percent less energy, last 10 times longer than traditional incandescent bulbs, and over time yield sizable energy savings. But getting rid of them when they no longer work has been problematic. (Aug 4, 08) Democrat and Chronicle Rochester news, community, entertainment, yellow pages and classifieds. Serving Rochester, New York

How much publicity is our area doing on VHS?

Our state, to my knowledge, has not engaged in a massive campaign to educate the public on Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia (VHS) as Wisconsin has. Most people who I ask have not even heard of this invasive fish disease. Why not? Check out: Tests: State winning battle against VHS - Efforts to stop the spread of Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia appear to be paying off. (Aug 4, 08)