Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Find that Green Job in Rochester, NY.

First, Full Disclosure: I have a personal stake in finding a green job. I'm looking for a worthwhile part-time green job and I am willing to share anything I can find out about this until I get and green job and well after I find one. I want everyone who is out of a job to find a green job.

Help yourself, help a friend, help our environment. So, find a Green Job in Rochester, NY area: Green Business Jobs Rochester, NY environmental jobs Rochester RochesterEnvironment.com - Green Jobs - This is merely a laundry list of possible job search sites that might lead you to a green job. I have not vetted these sites, except to check them for a green job (and I haven’t found one) so I cannot say if one is better than another.

I have tried to screen out those sites that look like job searchers, but are schemes for ripping you off—which is prevalent out there in Internet land. I’m willing to expand this section (I am doing a total reshaping of RochesterEnvironment.com soon) so send me your ideas, your thoughts on how to join this great movement by President Obama to get American employed with Green Jobs.

Hey, I’m looking for a green job too, so this list is a valuable way to scan all the major job search engines, with as many specific green job services that I can find. Got more Green Job sites I can list? Contact me Got some good strategies in find a green job in the Rochester, NY area? Contact me. Got any info that would help someone in our area get a green job, Contact me and I’ll pass that information along. Got a Green Job for me, Contact me.

Here’s my two cents on how to get a Green Job: There needs to be a viable, practical, and sensible way to retrain not only engineers for green jobs, but all people in all sectors. Us common folks, who have been paying dearly for the bailouts in this Great Recession, want to work and benefit from the prosperity that can be ours too. Colleges get some green courses for folks can get credentials for green jobs. Public officials create some massive training programs that fit all skills to the new economy. Common folks, demand a good green job and a green country. Contact me

The Case for Climate Change - Rochester Lecture

In case you missed the talk by world-renown climatologist, Dr. STEPHEN H. SCHNEIDER, last Friday (April 24th) at Rochester City Hall (sponsored by the Green Team), you can still visit his web site and get the facts. I thoroughly enjoyed Dr. Schneider’s talk because a scientist, a member of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, discussed the relationship between science and the media. Why has the media done such a bad job in delivering the message about climate change to the public?

Few who have talked about this subject in our area have done so with such authority as Dr. Schneider and I wish the media had done a better job in promoting this event. The case has been made by the science community that Climate Change is major threat to our way of life and the media should be informing the public properly. Check out CLIMATECHANGE.NET

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Sacrificing Beauty

In their efforts to preserve the aesthetics of their community under the looming threat of renewable energy, the folks over at Cleveland’s city council may be ‘throwing the baby out with the bathwater.’ In their haste to get in front of the potential problems a new energy infrastructure might entail, they maybe be crippling our ability to keep our way of life. OK, that’s a bit strong, but let me go on.

Ostensibly, Cleveland city council wants to make sure that their new wind farms don’t become a ‘visual nuisance’ or ‘unsafe.’ They think, and I quote the reporter: “…civic beauty should not be sacrificed on the altar of sustainability.” (April 15, 2009) Cleveland proposes ordinance to regulate aesthetics and safety of wind turbines - Arts - Cleveland.com In truth, they may be merely trying to stop a form of energy they just don’t like.

Let’s take the safety issue first: It’s laudable that Cleveland (and many other communities mentioned in the article) city council should ensure the safety of newly placed wind turbines given the horrific results of many other forms of energy production. For several generations energy production has poisoned our air, water, and ground. But, isn’t safety the bailiwick of engineers? Adequately train the engineers in green technology so that the blades don’t fall off or the turbines aren’t placed in a bird migration corridor and things will be just fine. Though annoying to some people, a badly placed wind turbine is not like placing a nuclear plant on a fault line, or a mountain-top removal site upwind of a children’s school.

Now the ‘visual nuisance’ thing: I can appreciate that a planning board of a large city would want the advice of professional architects to make sure something as tall and striking as a wind turbine or even a wind farm would fit into what is perceived by the political and business elite as the visual beauty of their city. But, should their guiding principle be to place Beauty over Sustainability? Does this even make sense?

Admittedly, it’s a great line, indicative of Hollywood and even Keats: “Civic beauty should not be sacrificed on the altar of sustainability.” How many films have our eyes moisten at the sight of Beauty, rather than be compromised or besmirched, perishes in a conflagration of perversity? And, John Keats’s immortal line:” Truth is beauty and Beauty truth, that is all you know and all that you need to know." Beauty, as Truth--as say, physical comeliness, a great enduring principle, as a skyline—who would want them sacrificed to anything? Great line.

But, think about the absurdity of this position: Beauty should trump our future, our way of life. For, if you continue to base your future on an energy mode that is unsustainable, (like coal or nuclear) by definition that means it goes kaput. If you have a phantom economy instead of a sustainable one, you get a Recession.

Sustainability for a planning board, a politician, a citizen, even an architect should be their Holy Grail, a Beauty for which all should be willing to sacrifice on any altar. If something is not sustainable, it ends. Period. Sustainability is Beauty; you cannot sacrifice your future and be there to appreciate it too.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Our Environment and Our Jobs:

What we don't know and what we want to know. What we know is that our environment and our economy (most critical our local economy) are in trouble. We know that the previous presidential administration was dismissive of our environmental problems and didn’t quite believe in anthropogenic climate change. We know that the present Obama administration ‘get’s it’ on our environment and intends to both right our environment and our economy.

We know that US stimulus plan monies are coming to our area because the Obama administration is talking about federal funds for a Albany to Buffalo (through Rochester) high speed rail being on of the ten corridors in this nation our country is willing to spend to increase jobs and help our environment. What we don’t know is how you and I are going to benefit from all this change. Are we, the common folk here in the Rochester area, going to see a rise in jobs and are those jobs going to help mitigate climate change?

Maybe this idea is the key: Green Jobs/Green Homes NY: An unprecedented statewide initiative to retrofit one million homes in five years Green Jobs/Green Homes NY (GJ/GH NY) is a blueprint for mass-scale greening over five years. The program will make New York homes energy efficient, lower fossil fuel emissions, and combat climate change. It will save households an average of 30-40% of energy consumption, produce around 60,000 quality green jobs and obviate the need to site new power plants."

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Congress sets marathon hearings on fixing global warming | McClatchy

Congress sets marathon hearings on fixing global warming McClatchy: "WASHINGTON — As Congress began work Tuesday on groundbreaking climate legislation, Washington lawmakers were unusually optimistic on Earth Day 2009 about getting at least some climate-change legislation passed this year."

Sunday, April 19, 2009

The State of Rochester Environmental Coverage

From someone who has witnessed an evolution of local environmental news coverage for over eleven years—daily—I have two sweeping observations. There are positive leaps forward in our collective ability to monitor our environment and profoundly disturbing signs that we learning less and less about our environment that is changing more and more. Without hard cold facts about our environment’s state, we are either reacting to or ignoring crucial facts we need to flourish. Charles Darwin reminds us of gathering correct data: “False facts are highly injurious to the progress of science, for they often endure long; but false views, if supported by some evidence, do little harm, for every one takes a salutary pleasure in proving their falseness.”

The good news about environmental coverage in our area is the Internet. The dream of super connectivity has come true. Though nonsense and frivolity on a scale never before imagined has come along with this instant world-wide communication system, so has the accessibility of information about our environment. The openness and depth of information provided by public officials (primary sources of research, policy, and litigation) is unprecedented. You can pull news and information from all your public officials and governmental departments daily—and you don’t have to wait for the media to massage it for you. Press releases, notices of public input, documents, etc., are mostly free and open to the public.

Also, environmental groups online have accelerated the concept of the public as investigative reporter. They oftentimes develop their own funding for local studies on our environment—and publish it freely to the world on the web. Some large groups, like the Audubon Society, produce primary information about birds that is unavailable from any other source. Smaller groups, with their growing constituency, are gathering information about the affects of our way of life on our environment like ants searching for food. There is, in my sweeping generalization, a geometric rise in the public’s awareness of our local environment accompanied by a voluminous data.

The bad news about our environment is the Internet. The public’s rush to the ease of gathering information and the bewildering breath of it from the web is sucking the lifeblood from print media. And while some shrug their shoulders at the creative destruction (inherent in Capitalism, where is it necessary for some industries to die in order for others to be born) of our previous media, there’s an alarming extinction event accompanying this demise: Good environmental reporters are losing their jobs and no one is taking their place.

The Internet is good at a lot of things, but it has failed to generate a nurturing environment for serious environmental reporting. As newspapers fail, so does local environmental coverage. And while we can gather more and more information from more and more sources, those sources are not providing us with the kind of objective and investigatory reporting that comes with competing local newspapers. This is a fact. It is so disturbing to some congress people that some are considering giving local news coverage a non-profit status. The First Amendment isn’t being destroyed by the Internet, it’s getting watered down. The present state of local environmental reporting is like that of party—there is lots of stuff, but not much that is good for you. Our ability to find thoroughly vetted data to finely tune our environmental monitoring is becoming vanishingly small.

Friday, April 17, 2009

U.S.: Warming gases are health threat - Climate Change- msnbc.com

U.S.: Warming gases are health threat - Climate Change- msnbc.com: "WASHINGTON - Having received White House backing, the Environmental Protection Agency declared Friday that carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases are a significant threat to human health and thus will be listed as pollutants under the Clean Air Act — a policy the Bush administration rejected."

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Article - WSJ.com

Article - WSJ.com: "Time Warner Cable Inc.'s (TWC) plans to test a consumption-based pricing model for broadband Internet in several markets have provoked a public backlash, adding to the cable industry's difficulties in adjusting to a digital media future."

Congressman Eric Massa : Press Releases & Statements : Congressman Eric Massa to introduce legislation designed to prevent Job Killing Broadband Internet Caps


Congressman Eric Massa : Press Releases & Statements : Congressman Eric Massa to introduce legislation designed to prevent Job Killing Broadband Internet Caps: "CORNING, NY - Today Congressman Eric Massa (D-NY) announced officially that he is drafting legislation designed to prevent job killing broadband internet downloading caps. The Massa Broadband Internet Fairness Act would prohibit unfair tiered price structures from internet providers. The bill will also address the importance of helping broadband providers create jobs and increase their bandwidth while increasing competition in areas currently served by only one provider."

FJR: This issue is crucial. If this proposal is not fought, some people--the poor, the out-of-work, and many more could be limited in their ability to monitor the state of our environment. Call Congressman Eric Massa and give him your support o this issue.


This assault by Time Warner on the public to charge for Internet usage according use is going to create a set of information classes in our country. To be informed and stay engaged in our democracy is under threat by this proposal. Those who cannot afford the higher rates will have access to less of the Internet, which even now accounts for much primary information, news, and public documents. If Congress allows this attempt by Time Warner to gouge the public for Internet use, it will open the door to more attempts by more companies to do the same. Internet usage has become too important to our basic rights and freedoms to be controlled by a communications company.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Limited Transportation Choices

Few things strike more dread in the American heart than being told that our choices are going to be limited. We are an “in the Pursuit of Happiness” kind of people. The day after President Obama was elected many gun owners feared that their right to bear arms was going to be compromised and acted accordingly.

"Everybody was scared he was going to take the ammo away or he was going to tax it out of sight on the prices," Dury says. "So people started stocking up, buying half a lifetime to a lifetime supply of ammo all at one time." Apr-07-2009, “All Things Considered

But, delaying important transportation decisions will accomplished what the British in 1775 never could: Force limited options on our future choices.

At a recent lecture, a local transportation expert ended his talk on our area’s future transportation options with his prediction that if we don’t address our transportation issues now, our choices in the future will be limited. I’ve been pondering this eerie prognostication trying to get a feel for what he meant.

I think he meant this: Had we seriously addressed our transportation options presented to us back in the 1970’s when the oil cartel pushed oil prices beyond our comfort zone, where cars lined up on odd/even days to get fuel according to their license plates, today would be different. Today, there might have been a thriving auto industry with a line of electric car and hybrids to choose from. There might have been well-designed communities where most jobs and stores were within safe walking and bicycling distances. Instead, ignoring the world-wide automobile market that was moving towards leaner and more efficient vehicles, and smart growth community designs, Americans in the 1980’s and 90’s continued to buy and make larger gas-guzzling behemoths. We just love to drive faster and further packed with more stuff inside.

Then, last spring, we were confronted with the specter of limited choices. We might have to move closer to our jobs to afford the fuel, forfeiting that suburban McMansion we had dreamed about. We might have to give up buying a lot of other things to pay for transportation costs. Food prices rose, because transportation costs rose; public transportation costs rose (though here in Rochester the price of bus travel did not go up); and, large vehicle purchases dropped. Suddenly, many of the things we desired seemed to disappear as an option.

As the economic crisis deepened, we realized that the American automobile industry itself was failing—despite a precipitous drop in gasoline prices. Now large personal vehicles are vanishing because not only can’t we pay for them, but the manufacturers themselves may be going bankrupt—years of ignoring the signs of change. And, people were starting to care about how our transportation choices affected our environment.

If we don’t develop a comprehensive transportation policy, we are going to be left to the mercy of the repercussions. Though, we already have limited our options. You can forget about ordering any vehicle you want, in any style that pleases you because car shows won’t include them. You can forget about cheap, accommodating public transportation because we are in crisis mode. Many of the new city designs to attract business and tourists and many transportation options (like high-speed rail) are going to be limited because our public officials will be addressing our weakening infrastructure with a limited tax base.

As our children graduate this spring, the world will still be their ‘oyster.’ But it will be a smaller oyster.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Restructuring in the Face of Climate Change - Green Inc. Blog - NYTimes.com

Restructuring in the Face of Climate Change - Green Inc. Blog - NYTimes.com: "From the end of March to early April, BP, the British oil giant, hosted 50 college and university students from around the globe, along with several conservationists, climate change experts and energy executives, on an expedition to Antarctica. Jeffrey Marlow, a master’s student in Earth science and engineering at Imperial College, London, was among the students. He chronicled his journey, and the discussions of climate change and energy development that unfolded along the way, for Green Inc. The following is one several installments."

Thursday, April 09, 2009

Sunday, April 05, 2009

You're Not Going to See Anything

Early in the Climate Change debates even scientists conceded that we wouldn’t see much of the effects of it in our lifetimes. So, they labored under impression that one of the ironies of catastrophic weather change is that, though there would be adequate evidence for the professional scientist, the public just wouldn’t see anything. In the water and air systems so incredible large and complex as the ones on our planet, it would take (lag) time for the warming forces to counteract the cooling forces and the other yearly weather patterns (El Niño and La Niña) to tease out the over-riding evidence of global warming.

Another, and given human history, perhaps an even greater hurdle for getting the public to see the gradual rise in climate patterns is the persistent penchant for our species not to see what does not match our preconceptions. Most actions (true or not) by our enemies are interpreted by us as bad and vice-versa. Mark Twain used to say, “If it is a Miracle, any sort of evidence will answer, but if it is a Fact, proof is necessary.”

And, proof to the satisfaction of the majority of the scientist on this planet falls on the side of the evidence that the planet is warming up. But, increasingly, that proof appears not to be simply buried in the minutiae of vigorous testing that shrouds most scientists’ professional lives. It is clear and present. And, there will be consequences.

If you don’t see it, perhaps it’s because you don’t want to see it. Or, maybe it’s because the media you choose to view does not choose to focus on the most important issue of our time—that we are driving the planet’s climate to a point that is not sustainable for us.

Whatever the reason, copping a ‘tude’ against the growing evidence towards rapid climate change won’t stop it. Odds are, you personally are going to see and be affected adversely by the change—not just your children or grandchildren. Acknowledging the evidence and supporting the best ideas to combat anthropogenic climate change might slow it down.

Here are some recent (very recent) articles by some responsible media about climate change that will affect us in Rochester, New York from surrounding media sources. If you haven’t heard them, consider changing your media. That’s how change occurs.
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SUNY ESF study: Migrating bird species range farther north in reaction to climate change Now scientists in Syracuse may have solved the local mystery in a study with much larger implications: Their research suggests the Canada warbler is among a variety of North American bird species moving north as a result of climate change. (March 29, 09) Syracuse NY Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather - syracuse.com

Cornell professors to brief Capitol Hill on ‘How the Warming Climate will Change Agriculture,’ March 27 ITHACA, N.Y. – David Wolfe, Cornell professor of horticulture and Arthur DeGaetano, Cornell professor of climatology, will speak on Capitol Hill to explain how the warming climate will change agriculture on Friday, March 27, 1:30 p.m., at 1324 Longworth House Office Building, Washington, D.C. - Cornell Center for a Sustainable Future - News

Secretary Salazar Releases Study Showing Widespread Declines in Bird Populations, Highlights Role of Partnerships in Conservation Washington, D.C. – Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar today released the first ever comprehensive report on bird populations in the United States, showing that nearly a third of the nation’s 800 bird species are endangered, threatened or in significant decline due to habitat loss, invasive species, and other threats. (March 19, 09) Northeast Region, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

Great Lakes ice cover shows climate change's existence -- and its complexity - Metro - cleveland.com Looking for some solid evidence that global warming is forcing slow but certain changes on the Great Lakes region? (March 23, 09) Cleveland OH Local News, Breaking News, Sports & Weather - cleveland.com

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Disinfectants Turn Swimming Pools Into Toxic Brews

Disinfectants Turn Swimming Pools Into Toxic Brews: "URBANA-CHAMPAIGN, Illinois, March 31, 2009 (ENS) - The chemicals used to disinfect drinking water and swimming pool water react with organic material in the water with toxic consequences, a new study has shown.
The process of disinfecting water with chlorine and chloramines and other types of disinfectants generates a class of compounds in the water called disinfection by-products."