Monday, September 27, 2010

Environmental Concerns are not Parochial:

Of course, Climate Change is global and affects all humanity everywhere, but many (if not most) other environmental concerns have a world-wide affect also because our environment is a massively complex system with few containment walls. 

Boundaries, like shores, mountains, plains, deserts, abound, but they don’t contain pollution and other environmental effects.  For example, an oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico seems so far away as to be non-existent as far as our environmental situation goes.  But, many of our area’s birds are migratory birds. 

If they pass through the Gulf and partake of one of the world’s largest wetlands for a stopover, they could be in trouble.  Meaning our area’s birds could be in trouble. This situation is only a graphic example of how all our environmental concerns are connected. 

That we are not aware for the myriad of environmental concerns which began in other areas on the globe and how they affect our environment is due to a lack of interest by our media and the public in connecting-the-dots.  But, if we don’t connect the dots on how environmental occurrences that happen in other area affect us the laws of physics will ensure that the dots get connected.  

How many more environmental stories about incidents in other areas are going to impact us here in Rochester, NY? Oil Spill Threatens Migratory Birds - National Wildlife Federation "As millions of birds head for the biggest spill in U.S. history, federal and nonprofit groups work with farmers to create safe alternative habitats 09-07-2010 // Laura Tangley The BP oil spill has contaminated huge swaths of some of the continent’s most critical bird habitat. Yet scientists say that, given the scale of the disaster, the toll of dead and injured birds to date—7,996 collected, 5,927 of them dead as of September 14—is lower than they initially expected. Compared to previous spills like the Exxon Valdez, which was much smaller, “our numbers have not been very dramatic,” says U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (FWS) biologist Gary Edwards, deputy regional director of the service’s Alaska region recently deployed in Louisiana. " (September 7, 2010) National Wildlife® Magazine - National Wildlife Federation

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Find out about GLOW: Great Lakes Off-Shore Wind Project

A great way to find out about the New York State Power Authority’s (NYPA) Great Lakes Off-shore Wind (GLOW) project is to attend the Center of Environmental Information’s annual “Community Salute to the Environment”. 

This event is a fund raiser for our area’s premier environmental education organization and in my view very important because it is an opportunity to find out what is going on with off-shore wind power generation in our area. 

This type of renewable energy could have a significant role in our area’s ability to offset greenhouse gas emissions, but there is little explanation in the press of how this is going to happen and many other details that the public needs to know.  

There has been some press about the various townships (including a story today “Irondequoit holds off on turbine opposition | Democrat and Chronicle) but not a whole lot of background on who is opposing this project, how it will be implemented, and more. For example, here’s a question of mine: “For those opposing this major renewable energy source for our area, what is their solution to our energy/climate change issue? 

In other words, if we don’t have wind power, aren’t we condemned to drill for gas and coal to get the energy we need?” One way to find out all this is to attend this program and ask Mr. Richard Kessel, President, New York Power Authority yourself. 

Community Salute to the Environment: 2010 Each year CEI celebrates community leaders and initiatives that have made a positive impact on our natural environment and honors the numerous environmental accomplishments in the Greater Rochester area. The 2010 event will be held at historic George Eastman House. Attendees are encouraged to tour the House, open during the reception. This year’s event will take place on October 25, 2010. CEI: Center for Environmental Information

Monday, September 20, 2010

Important meeting about energy, Rochester, and our water:

HYDRAULIC FRACTURING: WHAT IS IT AND WHY SHOULD ROCHESTER CARE?  

Rochester, NY - - A public forum about the Marcellus Shale and how gas drilling impacts us will take place Tuesday, September 21, 2010, from 6:30-8:30 p.m. in the Brighton Town Hall Auditorium (2300 Elmwood Avenue, Rochester, NY 14618). Admission is free.  

The panel of scientists and a family who is living through the nightmare right now in Dimock, PA, just south of Binghamton, aims to give the audience a balanced and truthful viewpoint of what will happen in New York state once drilling permits are granted to the gas companies.  

Dr Richard Young (presenter), SUNY Geneseo faculty member for 43 years, has spent most of his career investigating how the Grand Canyon was formed, He is among several geologists featured in the Season 2 premiere of the History Channel's "How The Earth Was Made" series. He was also featured in National Geographic's "Naked Science" series on PBS.  

Dr. William "Bill” Podulka (presenter) is a physicist with a lifelong interest in energy and environmental issues. In 2009, after learning about the impending gas drilling in the Marcellus Shale, he and his wife researched information on many different aspects of the gas drilling issue and created TCgasmap.org. He is chair of ROUSE (Residents Opposing Unsafe Shale-Gas Extraction), a grass-roots group in Tompkins County seeking to educate the public about gas drilling issues and working to protect residents from harm.  

Craig and Julie Sautner (presenters) are coping with the results of gas drilling in and around their property in northeastern Pennsylvania. The family lost their clean water source just one month after hydro-fracking gas drilling began. The Sautners are traveling to Rochester to voice their concerns about hydro-fracking and mobilize New Yorkers into action to protect their watersheds.  

Jack Ossont (moderator) is a member of the Committee to Preserve the Finger Lakes based in Yates County. After a stint as a Naval aviator during the Viet Nam era, Jack has worked tirelessly for over 30 years in community service including serving as a drug counselor, as a Yates County Legislator and as Director of Keuka Housing Council on affordable housing issues. He received the 20th Anniversary Environmental Leadership award from the NYS Citizen’s Environmental Coalition.  

This forum is organized and produced by two concerned Rochester residents, Anna Sears and Nedra Harvey.  

Media, please note: interviews may be arranged.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Knowing the impact of your Energy Source Matters:

Check out this major study on how the burning of coal for our energy affects our health and environment.

You can use interactive maps to Find Your Risk from Power Plant Pollution in your area.

Many will avoid this study because it will make them uncomfortable about using our present energy sources, but they should read it. Much of the energy that we have used to heat our homes and light up our lights has taken a great toll on our health and our environment. 

It’s important to acknowledge this when making energy choices—or when we avoid backing renewable, non-pollution, choices like off-shore wind when they are offered in our area This report shows that much has been done to reduce the negative effects of coal and more needs to be done. It shows that governmental measures to reduce the pollution from coal work.

But, it doesn’t show that moving to renewable energy wholesale would eliminate all of the effects of burning coal because the pollution affects of coal go further than just burning it.  Digging it, transporting, and getting rid of the waste, and the removal of mountain tops all are a part of an energy source that needs to end. 

The Toll from Coal - Clean Air Task Force (CATF) "Among all industrial sources of air pollution, none poses greater risks to human health and the environment than coal-fired power plants. Emissions from coalfired power plants contribute to global warming, ozone smog, acid rain, regional haze, and–perhaps most consequential of all from a public health standpoint – fine particle pollution. In 2000 and again in 2004, the Clean Air Task Force commissioned comprehensive studies of health impacts caused by fine particle air pollution from the nation's roughly 500 coal-fired power plants. " (September 2010) Clean Air Task Force

Friday, September 10, 2010

No Excuse for Curb-siding your electronics:

There are so many community recycling events (see below) that we post on this site, on our calendar, that no one in the entire Rochester, NY region should be putting their television or computers on the curb to be thrown into a landfill. 

Just check the calendar for the nearest electronic recycling event.

Eventually, it will be illegal in New York State to do this.  You, a resident, could get fined for putting your TV or computer out to the curb to the tune of $150 in 2015.

Check out: Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation “The NYS Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act (PDF) (38 kb) (Article 27, Title 26 of the Environmental Conservation Law) was signed into law by the Governor on May 28, 2010. The law will ensure that every New Yorker will have the opportunity to recycle their electronic waste in an environmentally responsible manner. The law requires manufacturers to establish a convenient system for the collection, handling, and recycling or reuse of electronic waste. Manufacturers of covered electronic equipment will be responsible for implementing and maintaining an acceptance program for the discarded electronic waste, with oversight by the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation.” -  New York State Department of Environmental Conservation

COMPUTER AND ELECTRONICS RECYCLING | SATURDAY, 10/16 The Town of Pittsford, in partnership with Maven Technologies, will sponsor a computer and electronics recycling event on Saturday, 10/16 from 9AM to 2PM in the parking lot of Pittsford Mendon High School. No appointment or packaging needed. Accepted items include computers, laptops, modems, servers, peripherals, GPS Units, cell phones, fax machines, copiers, CD players, IT equipment, audio/visual equipment, telecommunications equipment. Please note there will be a charge for monitors ($5), TVs ($10) and microwaves ($10).  For more information, click HERE (Computer and Electronics Recycling | Town of Pittsford).

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Living Environmentally Friendly is ‘Addictive?’

It is a strange use of the word ‘addictive’ to describe a family who wants to live responsible and sustainably.

One with an addictive attitude is usually associated with having a psychological or physical dependency on something that is bad for you.  For example, our society has an addictive behavior towards burning fossil fuels for energy because we keep doing it even though it is bad for our environment because it warms the planet and puts pollutants into the air.   

I’m all for using catchy words and phrases in my articles headlines to capture the public’s attention.  But, using ‘addictive’ in this way is incorrect and suggests that one can go overboard on living sustainably.  Which is nonsense.  The reverse is true. 

If we don’t align our behavior to the laws of physics that is our environment we will be living unattainably, which most of us are.  This family is leading the way to a sustainable future; the author of this headline is still addicted to an unsustainable existence.  

An addictive eco-attitude in Irondequoit | democratandchronicle.com | Democrat and Chronicle IRONDEQUOIT Family goes from 'energy-sucking' to energy-efficient — A windmill, greenhouse and chicken coop are outside indicators that things are a bit different at Jodi and Ted Aman's house on St. Joseph Street. The inside reveals other signs, such as an all-concrete, uncovered floor, as well as reused doors, cabinets and handrails. The Amans also have a geothermal heating and cooling system, which extracts energy from the Earth's core, and a solar design to maximize energy from the sun. (September, 8, 2010) Democratandchronicle.com | Democrat and Chronicle | Rochester news, community, entertainment, yellow pages and classifieds. Serving Rochester, New York [more on Green Living in our area]

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

Is Water Diversion from the Great Lakes Going to Happen?

Whether Denis Kucinich is right and there is a loophole in the agreements, so that water can be taken from the Great Lakes basin or not, I think it will happen anyway.  

Regardless of any agreement, international or not, when desperate areas outside the Great Lakes basin need fresh water to survive, I believe there will be a way to give it to them. 

Scientifically, this will change the character of the Great Lakes which only has a 1% natural refill of water.  

Morally, now to you keep a vast amount of fresh water from those who are desperate?  We are a long way from addressing this issue.

PolitiFact Ohio | Dennis Kucinich warns that loophole in the Great Lakes compact could allow exploitation of water Think of the Great Lakes compact as a fence.   The agreement is meant to wrap around the Great Lakes watershed and keep people from taking water out.   But U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich isn’t so sure.   He fears the states could be powerless to stop Great Lakes water from being exported from the watershed in small bottles. The lakes, 84 percent of North America’s surface water supply, are one of the world’s greatest natural resources that must be protected, he says. (September 1, 2010) PolitiFact Ohio | Sorting out the truth in politics

Saturday, September 04, 2010

Education Sustainability Theme

We are heartened to see that at least one of our schools of higher learning is focusing on sustainability.  At this time, when our economy is still struggling for jobs and our environmental problems are more dear, it would be prudent to see all our area’s education facilities focus on the importance of educating our young on sustainability. But it shouldn’t just be a catchy theme for this year. 

Our educational institutions should be so in tune with the importance of ‘getting it’ on our environment and how everything we do, how we shop, what employment we have, what stocks we invest in, all are related to our environment and being able to sustain ourselves in it. 

Some day we won’t be talking about sustainability in our education, in our economy, or in the way we build because there will be no other way.  Everything we do will have to be sustainable. 

Until we get to that point, it is critical that we educate our young on a component of their education that has been missing.  Environment, sustainability, and producing a green economy are not simply a temporary popular goal—there is no other way to survive.

MCC Fall Semester is More Green Monroe Community College’s school colors are black and gold, but students this fall will be seeing more green. A host of environmentally-conscious initiatives will greet students when classes begin Tuesday, Sept. 7: Green Courses Since Fall 2008, MCC students have been able to enroll in courses with a sustainability theme. (September 1, 2010) MCC NEWS