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 (washingtonpost.com)

Green: Science . Policy . Living (washingtonpost.com)

N.Y. Tests Turbines to Produce Power - washingtonpost.com

N.Y. Tests Turbines to Produce Power - washingtonpost.com: "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?

WashingtonWatch.com - H.R. 6052, The Saving Energy Through Public Transportation Act of 2008

WashingtonWatch.com - 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 Detnews.com Sunday, September 7, 2008 News, sports, features, blogs, photos and forums from Detroit and across Michigan