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.