Friday, June 27, 2008

A Environmentally Friendly way to get around Rochester, NY

With a little hesitancy, because I don’t usually promote businesses, I’m suggesting that you check out this new transportation company in Rochester. They have a web site and though I’d like to see everyone on a bike, instead of a gas guzzler as a transportation fix, this bike rickshaw idea appears promising. I mean China has been doing this things for a long time, so why not borrow good ideas from other countries and makes some money and help our environment?

Here's what they say at Roch City Rickshaw "We are Roc City Rickshaw, the newest mode of transportation in Rochester, NY. Our mission is to provide a fun and environmentally friendly way of traveling around the city. It’s safe, convenient, and an inexpensive way for locals and visitors to enjoy the beauty of Rochester."

Thursday, June 26, 2008

North Pole May Be Ice Free for First Time This Summer

North Pole May Be Ice Free for First Time This Summer: "Arctic warming has become so dramatic that the North Pole may melt this summer, report scientists studying the effects of climate change in the field.

'We're actually projecting this year that the North Pole may be free of ice for the first time [in history],' David Barber, of the University of Manitoba, told National Geographic News aboard the C.C.G.S. Amundsen, a Canadian research icebreaker."

For the Week of June 17 - July 2 2008 Question:

Are you concerned about the apparent lack of interest by our local news media about a possible uranium leak into Lake Ontario that may affect us here in Rochester?

A couple of weeks ago, I posted two news items on a possible uranium leak in Ottawa, Canada that could have possibly leaking into Lake Ontario. I have e-mailed a local newspaper about it and got no response. One visitor to my site mentioned her concern for the Rochester area that this possible leak might create, but nothing else. I find it strange that a possible leak of uranium into a body of water that links Ottawa and us has not been mentioned in our local news. Maybe some local media has and I have not heard about it. Or, maybe the leak did not happen. Anyway, here’s my question: Are you concerned about the apparent lack of interest by our local news media about a possible uranium leak into Lake Ontario that may affect us here in Rochester? If you have not heard about this issue, check out these two links below about this story:

  • Uranium Producer Warns of Lake Ontario Pollution - New York Times OTTAWA — Cameco, the world’s largest uranium producer, has told the Canadian nuclear regulator that its refinery might have leaked uranium, arsenic and fluorides into Lake Ontario. Cameco A section of the Port Hope, Ontario, plant of Cameco, the world’s largest uranium producer. The plant at Port Hope, Ontario, across the lake from Rochester and down the shore from Toronto, first refined uranium for the Manhattan Project during World War II. It has been temporarily closed since July to remove contaminated soil. (May 22, 08) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia
  • Cameco testing for uranium leak in Lake Ontario - The world's largest uranium producer is looking into whether the element, along with arsenic and fluorides, might have leaked into Lake Ontario from its Port Hope processing plant.A spokesman for Cameco Corp. said that computer modelling in recent weeks shows that "small amounts of contaminated groundwater may be entering the harbour," but it's still unknown whether that is actually the case.(May 5, 08) Latest news from The Globe and Mail in RSS 2.0

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science

A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science: "The A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science
In recent years, scientists who work for and advise the federal government have seen their work manipulated, suppressed, distorted, while agencies have systematically limited public and policy maker access to critical scientific information. To document this abuse, the Union of Concerned Scientists has created the A to Z Guide to Political Interference in Science."

FJR: It’s a very odd state to be in when our government is not honest and forthright with environmental information we need to know to survive. Somehow environmental science, what’s going on with our environment, has become politicized—and that’s crazy.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

The Silence of the Bees - Are you on top of this issue?

Sunday, June 15, 8:00pm
CHANNEL 21 (WXXI)
View more broadcast times
Visit the Web site
The Season 26 opener probes colony collapse disorder---the dramatic loss of honeybees in North America and Europe. The honeybee is responsible (via pollination) for one of every three bites of food people eat. Included: long-term ramifications.

FJR: One of the interesting quotes from this exceptional PBS program is that in terms of immediate ramifications the Bee Colony Collapse Syndrome (CCS) will be more catastrophic than Global Warming. I cannot vouch for this superlative statement, but CCS should be on your radar. The mainstream media in general has not done its job in making this environmental issue, the possible loss of bees, up-front-and-center of our attention.

The loss of bees could affect a third of the things we see growing around us and it will certainly profoundly affect our agriculture, meaning our economy, if this problem is not solved. The point that needs to be hammered on is that our government should make sure there are sufficient funds to conduct all the studies necessary to find out why bees are dying off. We cannot leave this to private industry or educational facilities. Check out “The Silence of the Bees” (You can view it online) to get the importance of this issue—don’t wait for mainstream media to get in your face with this because they won’t get it until it’s too late.

A Question: Mainstream Media and Climate Change News

Recently, I’ve come across on the Internet environmental scene speculations that the mainstream media refuses to connect ‘extreme’ weather events like the increase flooding in the West, Hurricane Katrina, droughts around the world, to Global Warming. Global Warming does predict that there will be more extreme weather events, including not so much more hurricanes (for example) as most intense hurricanes when they occur.

What do you think? Do you think mainstream media refuses for some reason to connect the dots between the alleged increase in ‘extreme’ weather events and Global Warming? If so, why would you think mainstream media would be reluctant to do that. Or, if not, why don’ you think the alleged increase in ‘extreme’ weather is an indication of Global Warming?

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

GreenTips Home (Index)

GreenTips Home (Index): "As the price of fossil fuels—and the environmental impact associated with them—continues to increase, more homeowners have become interested in generating their own, cleaner electricity. One option is wind power; the American Wind Energy Association (AWEA) estimates that a small residential wind turbine can, over the course of its life, prevent the generation of approximately 1.2 tons of smog-forming pollution and 200 tons of global warming pollution from conventional power plants. And depending on its size, a small wind system (which typically generates 5 to 10 kilowatts under optimal conditions) can lower the average home’s electricity costs 50 to 90 percent." --from Union of Concerned Scientists

Monday, June 16, 2008

Search Results - Commonwealth Club of California

Search Results - Commonwealth Club of California: "Elizabeth Kolbert - Global Warming AudioELIZABETH KOLBERT - GLOBAL WARMING Microphone. The audio of the the program is available in RealAudio format. Elizabeth Kolbert [5-08-06] ...
www.commonwealthclub.org/archive/06/06-05kolbert-audio.html - 3k - Cached - Similar pages"

FJR: If you really want to hear an excellent encapsulation of the Global Warming crisis and put it in perspective, I suggest you listen to this talk by Elizabeth Kolbert, writer for the New Yorker Magazine.

I’m aware that few make it to this online blog of mine, and those who do are already disposed to think rationally about the looming Global Warming crisis. And, further still hearing a reference to the New Yorker Magazine further limits the chance of speaking to the audience that does not get it about Global Warming, yet will all that in mind, I suggest that all listen to Kolbert’s speech.

Avoiding or dismissing the facts and about Global Warming won’t stop, what Kolbert called, “physics 101.” We are on a fast-track to our planet warming up and many have known about this going back a hundred years, but for many reasons—including outright media confusion on the matter—many still think that the jury is out on Global Warming. It isn’t. Global Warming is starting to get into many people’s faces, especially the poor. It’s in your life, if you become aware of the signs. But, it’s really going to be in your children’s faces, as the symptoms get more dire.

Really, check out this speech from The Common Wealth Club.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

BOTTLE BILL PASSES NYS ASSEMBLY – Please call your State Senator Today


The NYS Assembly passed the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, which calls for updating our nickel-deposit system to include increasingly popular non- carbonated beverages such as bottled water, iced teas, and sports drinks. It also would require beverage companies to return unclaimed deposits to NY to protect our environment. For more info, go to: http://newyork.sierraclub.org/rochester/bbbb.htm


The Bottle Bill is a great opportunity to make our communities cleaner, increase recycling, and generate more funding for recycling, parks, and other local environmental programs. But time is running out and the industry opponents are using all their clout to oppose it.That's why we need grassroots pressure on the State Senate, which has blocked this measure every year. Your action NOW could make the difference.


The next few days are crucial for this campaign. The Governor is ready and waiting to sign this into law, but he can't do that until S. 5850-a passes the Senate. Please CALL your Senator TODAY and urge the passage of S.5850-a, the Bigger Better Bottle Bill, in the Senate in the next few days before the legislature goes home for the summer!


CALL (okay to leave a message after hours - don't forget to leave your name, town, and phone number with your message if you do):


YOUR STATE SENATOR* (518) 455-2800 (Senate Switchboard) http://www.senate.state.ny.us/


* To find out who represents you, go to the Senate link listed above, or type in your address at http://nymap.elections.state.ny.us/nysboe/ .


Call to say "I URGE YOU TO PASS S.5850-A, THE BIGGER BETTER BOTTLE BILL, THIS SESSION!"

World Environment Day 5 June 2008 - UNEP

World Environment Day 5 June 2008 - UNEP
World Environment Day, commemorated each year on 5 June, is one of the principal vehicles through which the United Nations stimulates worldwide awareness of the environment and enhances political attention and action.

World can reach climate change agreement, says EU Environment Commissioner - Telegraph

World can reach climate change agreement, says EU Environment Commissioner - Telegraph: "A global agreement on fighting climate change can be reached next year, the EU's Environment Commissioner has claimed.
Stavros Dimas: EU must unite to save whales
Prince Charles: Help me save the rainforests
Earthlog: Prince Charles talks trees
Stavros Dimas said there were important signals from countries around the world pointing to a deal being struck when world leaders gather for the UN climate conference in Copenhagen."

Friday, June 13, 2008

t r u t h o u t | Chemical Law Has Global Impact

t r u t h o u t Chemical Law Has Global Impact: "EU's new rules forcing changes by US firms.
Europe this month rolled out new restrictions on makers of chemicals linked to cancer and other health problems, changes that are forcing U.S. industries to find new ways to produce a wide range of everyday products." Thursday 12 June 2008 » by: Lyndsey Layton, The Washington Post

FJR: This is an interesting development when you think of it because it has been impossible, especially during the Bush administration, to get US corporations to act environmentally responsibly. Our courts, environmentalists, nobody seems capable of getting our US corporations (remember when Bush said just after he got elected that the US would not join in Kyoto Protocol because it would hurt US industry?) to think of the consequences of their actions and products on our environment—only their self-interests rule with them.

But a new force, besides the rule of law, morality, or political power, may force US corporations to act environmental responsibly: foreign markets. Check out this quote: “The European Union's tough stance on chemical regulation is the latest area in which the Europeans are reshaping business practices with demands that American companies either comply or lose access to a market of 27 countries and nearly 500 million people.”

One way of the other, we as a people and how we govern our economics are going to have to live sustainably—or we won’t make it. We have to stop thinking and acting towards the environment in a selfish, short-term way and begin to think about all the consequences of our actions—despite how it may affect the bottom line on profits.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

On Day One | Submit Your Idea on Climate Change

On Day One Submit Your Idea on Climate Change: "Submit Your Idea on Climate Change
Enter your idea below...

Global climate change is emerging as the greatest economic, environmental, and political challenge facing the world. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change - which recently won a Nobel Peace Prize for its work - has clearly articulated the consensus of the world's scientists: climate change is happening, and it is a direct result of human activities.You're almost done! Please give your idea a title, select a username, add some tags, and we'll post your idea to On Day One as soon as you confirm your email address."

E. Bloomfield board gets earful on windmills - Rochester, NY - MPNnow

E. Bloomfield board gets earful on windmills - Rochester, NY - MPNnow: "East Bloomfield, N.Y. -
Less than two weeks after a Brace Road resident put up a 133-foot windmill, the Town Board held a hearing Monday on a proposed law that would have outlawed that same windmill."

FJR: Is our area doing its part on providing renewable energy sources in the light of rising gas prices and Global Warming?

Analysis of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008: The Pew Center on Global Climate Change

Analysis of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008: The Pew Center on Global Climate Change: "Analysis of the Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008
The Lieberman-Warner Climate Security Act of 2008 was debated in the Senate in early June 2008. This page pulls together various resources on the bill, including insights from economic modeling analyses, a bill summary and quick reference guide to the bill, as well a daily update on debate proceedings. Bookmark this page to easily access key material about the Lieberman-Warner bill."

Fury at Soaring Fuel Costs Spreads Around the World

Gridlocked cities, empty shelves and bloodshed as fury at soaring costs spreads around the world. Worldwide protests over the rising price of fuel escalated today, with the Philippines presidential palace besieged by lorries, fishermen burning their boats in Thailand, and Spanish petrol stations running dry as hauliers blockade major roads. Thursday 12 June 2008 by: The London Evening Standard

FJR: So, here we are: where those who told us a long time ago that we should develop a long term energy solution. We didn’t do that. We went for the short-term fixes, bought big gas guzzling vehicles, and refused higher taxes to fund future energy solutions. So, what do we do now that we are in a hole? Do we dig deeper and go for the politically convenient solution, or do we address this problem for the long term?

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Why does RochesterEnvironment.com do what it does? Listen to Bill Moyers

Broadcast Legend Bill Moyers on Media Reform: “Democracy Only Works When Ordinary People Claim It as Their Own”

More than 3,500 people gathered in Minneapolis this weekend for the fourth annual National Conference for Media Reform, organized by the group Free Press. The thousands of participants took part in panel discussions and strategized on efforts to fight media consolidation and democratize the airwaves. We play the electrifying keynote address by legendary journalist Bill Moyers. [includes rush transcript]

FJR: Every time I might get a little discouraged about the slight traffic on my web site (RochesterEnvironment.com) and this blog, all I have to do is listen to Bill Moyers or some of the other experts on Media Reform and I get energized. Out there in the corporate media, there is little respect or understanding about the nature of our environment of which RochesterEnvironment.com and Environmental Thoughts tries to enlighten the public about. Some day when the public tires or listening to the nonsense on corporate media, they’ll tune into the critical issue of their collapsing environment, and they’ll want to see one community’s snapshot of all the environmental news and information and they’ll stop over to RochesterEnvironment.com.

Sunday, June 08, 2008

Pass the Bigger Better Bottle Bill


One of the most important actions you can take this month is to let your state congress know that you want the Bigger Better Bottle Bill passed. Many groups have made is easy for you to do online: The Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s BBBB. Or NYPIRG ‘s NYPIRG: Bottle Bill. Or, Saving Wildlife Home’s Wildlife Conservation Society -- New Yorkers - Protect Your Environment!


It’s just too easy to do the right thing and get this major legislation passed.

Great lakes Pollution Health Link Study CDC

As a follow up on the alleged “blocked the publication of an exhaustive federal study of environmental hazards in the eight Great Lakes states” –from Great Lakes Danger Zones? The Center For Public Integrity Investigative Journalism in the Public Interest there’s a updated report out of Detroit: Great Lakes pollution, health link denied “No definitive link can be made between industrial pollution in the Great Lakes region and human health concerns, according to a revised version of a controversial federal study released Wednesday.”

I feel better about this issue already, don’t you?

Keep up with this story on The Watch List—environmental issues that should be on your radar.

Greetings the May 2008 RENewsletter is out.


RENewsletter comes in two formats: MS Word and Adobe Reader.




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


*** For complete information about this newsletter and downloading a version on your browser please go to:
http://www.rochesterenvironment.com/subscribe.htm


Please consider sharing this RENewsletter.
*** Also, if any of the links above do not work, please copy and paste the entire link to your browser's address line and it will work.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Global Warming and Ranking Rochester


Rochester got an ego boost in May ranking 14th for the least amount of carbon emissions for major US cities. While it’s good to note that our fair Eastern city (Western cities on the whole ranked lower than Eastern cities) did well for less carbon emissions) it’s also important to note that this study was not comprehensive. It “used data from 2005 that measured only power-plant emissions related to residential energy use and emissions from cars and trucks” (-from Rochester ranks 14th best in national study of cities' carbon emissions) and left a lot of other factors out. Some of the things we despair about (like higher prices for energy here in our upstate city and our short summer air conditioning use) actually accounts for some of our good numbers.

This report, the Shrinking the Carbon Footprint of Metropolitan America - Brookings Institution, would be dizzyingly optimistic if it were not for a sense of history and the wider issue of assessing environmental sustainability. We have had over the years many other reports that indicate troubling issues with Rochester’s air quality however you slice up the figures—carbon emission, smog, industrial pollutants, asthma data, or ground level ozone. And, because of the nature of environmental factors, Rochester’s air quality cannot be isolated from the rest of the world’s environmental indicators—climate, industrial pollution from Western power plants, lake effect weather, dust, other debris from faraway events (like volcanoes) and jet emissions--even if you can do so on paper. In the real world, trying to measure all the factors that influence our air quality is just about impossible.

One of the reasons I created RochesterEnvironment.com was to counteract the inclination of science and the media to compartmentalize environmental news and information so that a clearer picture of how our community’s environmental profile fits into the mosaic of the world’s environment. Of course I understand that in order to measure what is actually going on in our environment producing measurable data and real-time reporting is crucial. But, studies and new reports that trump previous reports does not give an accurate picture of our environment-nor anyone else’s. In other words, Rochester is part of the whole. Earth’s environment is One and we cannot really isolate Rochester’s climate gas releases or anything else from our neighbors and beyond.

So, how do we reconcile this optimistic report by the Brookings Institution with some past stories on our air, including May’s environmental news that the New York State Attorney General is suing the EPA for adopting lax smog standards?



My point here is not to trash the Brookings report or Rochester’s efforts at reducing our carbon footprint. I merely want to point out that all studies on our quality of air, including our carbon footprints, have to be seen over a long time in order to get a real sense of what is actually going on. In other words, what does it all mean? Is Rochester’s air quality sustainable? Are our policies, our daily practices (which influence the release of methane gas), and all outside influences moving us towards the lessening of Global Warming on this planet?

Or, are we blinding ourselves with the most recent studies that come around? Not seeing the forest because of the trees? Have our studies (which will always be limited in one way or another) merely misleading us because they are only a snapshot at a particular point in time, only a piece in the worldwide puzzle of climatic influences, lulling us into a state of irrational comparisons with other communities with whom we share this planet? Like ink dropped into a glass of water, whatever we do or don’t do on climate change will be affect by all other communities’ air quality—what they do or don’t do. So, how can we really evaluate our carbon footprint if we cannot separate ourselves from every other community, state, or country—or measure every factor that affects climate?

Of course, we must have such studies and continually monitor our own efforts here in Rochester and try and tease out what things we are doing right in order to not only improve our own efforts but share that information with others. And yet, Global Warming gases are not one-dimensional, they are multidimensional: past, present, and another dimension which is a part of what everyone else does. Environmental studies reported to the pubic must be archived, and compared with all other studies, in all other communities around the world so that we can actually measure our footprints on our environment.

My point: Like it or not, taking over the machinations of the planet, like controlling our carbon output, is going to be a herculean task. Resting on the positive results of one study, admits the legacy of many not-so-positive studies is myopic.