Monday, May 30, 2011

Climate Change predicts the spreading of certain diseases—even Lyme Disease in Rochester, NY

 

Climate Change predicts the spreading of certain diseases—even Lyme Disease in Rochester, NY:  Could this story today (see below) about the increase spread of Lyme Disease be related to Climate Change Rise in Lyme disease expected in the Rochester area | Democrat and Chronicle 

If you say, ‘no’, you are probably wrong.  If you say, “It cannot be proved that Climate Change is responsible for the present spread in Lyme Disease in our Rochester, NY region, you are probably right. 

So, what is the answer and why does it matter?  For one, Lyme Disease is a growing threat to our area’s public health, check CDC - Lyme Disease - NIOSH Workplace Safety and Health Topic

For another, trying to determine whether or not a disease like Lyme Disease is spreading because of Climate Change is not a discussion one can determine by checking the Internet or your favorite social media.  To find out the answer to this critical question one needs to find a recent thorough study that has focused on this issue.  That will require funding of some sort.  It will also require that your public health officials and government not be prejudiced against the prevailing scientific judgment that Climate Change is happening and happening quickly and will probably be responsible for the spreading of diseases due to the increased length of time vectors of disease will be able to survive in warmer weather.  

All this matters because Climate Change is going to affect public health in a variety of ways, which means your health will change, you medical insurance will change, and a lot more.  Check the possible predictions of Climate Change for our region:  Possible Climate Change scenarios of the Rochester, NY region

BTW:  This story today Ash borers are here to stay | Democrat and Chronicle | democratandchronicle.com  is also pertinent to this discussion on Climate Change because most probable reason we have an infestation of the Emerald Ash Borer is because these invasive species are able to better winter our winters because our winters aren’t as cold as they used to be—because of Climate Change.  Warmer winters mean insects that carry malaria and other disease can survive our winter.  

Climate Change is coming to Rochester, NY and it would be useful for our local news on items related to Climate Change be reported continually.  Without this, the public will be able to entertain the delusion that our region won’t be seriously affected by Climate Change.  Local news must reflect the most important issue of our century: Climate Change.

The Season Of Ticks: Could Climate Change Worsen Lyme Disease? "ScienceDaily (Apr. 27, 2009) — In a finding that suggests how global warming could impact infectious disease, scientists from Yale University, in collaboration with other institutions, have determined that climate impacts the severity of Lyme Disease by influencing the feeding patterns of deer ticks that carry and transmit it." Science Daily: News & Articles in Science, Health, Environment & Technology

Extended plastics recycling in Monroe County, now we want more

 

RRParkNow that Monroe County has extended plastics recycling to include #3 -#7 plastics, we want more. It’s like that old joke about the kid whose uncle gives him an apple. The kid’s mother says, “Johnny, what do you say to your uncle? The kids says, “Peel it please.” It’s never enough.

Those who have been trying hard to get recycling to work in a county where folks don’t recycle as much as they should and the market for recycling keeps shifting have got to be saying to themselves “Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good”. In other words, in the environmentalists’ attempt to have everything their way, which is impossible in our world, you’re going to stop what good has been done.

I disagree with this stance. Critical to understanding environmentalists is that they are advocates for the laws of Nature, rather than a badly thought-out economic system that has not included environmental degradation since its inception. For all the good it has done to lift our lives, our present economic system has trashed our environment. Hence, it doesn’t matter how far businesses and governments have to bend over to accommodate the laws of physics, because at the end of the day, if we don’t have a sustainable existence, an existence where we aren’t driving our environment into the ground, we are not going to make it. We applaud the efforts that Monroe County has made in recycling and we, as every other county in the world, have to move more quickly towards sustainability. Climate Change is upon us and a warming planet means we have to adapt and change our behavior on a large scale and rapidly. There’ no other way; we are in a race against runaway warming, whether you want to believe it or not. This is not the rapture or Chicken Little; it’s ninth grade Earth science.

So, here’s the next big step Monroe County could take in recycling. I know this isn’t a baby step; this is a giant leap over most New York State Counties: “Resource and Recovery Park.” It even sounds sustainable. Here’s a great definition of a Resource and Recovery Park:

“A Model for Local Government Recycling and Waste Reduction A resource recovery (RR) park is a new development in recycling. In its broadest sense, it is the colocation of reuse, recycling, compost processing, manufacturing, and retail businesses in a central facility. The public can bring all their wastes and recoverable materials to this facility at one time. An RR park may also be called an integrated resource recovery facility, serial materials recovery facility (MRF), recycling estate, industrial recycling park, recycling-based industrial park, or discard mall. A number of market forces are encouraging this type of development.” –from Resource Recovery Parks: A Model for Local Government Recycling and Waste Reduction

It wouldn’t be that far out for Monroe County to consider such a fantastic project. We now recycle plastics #3-#7. We lead the state in hazardous waste, pharmaceutical, and paper recovery. We are now considering (I heard it from a little birdee) a community composting center for massive composting, maybe like Tompkins and Onondaga counties. And, we are going to create an ECOPark: “The ECOPark will be a one-stop-shop for the disposal of everything not accepted by refuse haulers.”

Why not take all our ad hoc efforts at solid waste reduction, reuse, and recycling and go to the next level—a resources and recovery park. It’s not a total capitulation to the Zero Waste folks because it’s an admission that we are not going to move a sizable portion of our population to create no waste in the near future. We’d like that, but at this point in time the public wants to shop for whatever they want, enjoy a healthy environment, keep costs low, and all without having to lift a finger—except to cart their old TVs to the curb (please, don’t do that anymore) . A RRP accomplishes much of this by centrally locating a designated area, a park, that will host a series of facilities that specialize in all the various components of solid waste— while encouraging business partners to make a profit using their expertise. The benefits are great: green jobs, no dumping, recovering and reusing stuff we now plow into the ground.

Imagine, just imagine, that if one of our two terrific candidates for the upcoming Monroe County Executive office said this fall, “Let it be stated that before this decade is out, Monroe County will have its own resource and recovery park.”

Friday, May 27, 2011

Wasting fresh water in a land of plenty

 

It’s difficult to get folks in the Rochester, NY region worked up about wasting fresh water.  We look around and we are surrounded by the Great Lakes, the Finger Lakes, and several rivers.  But that’s an illusion. 

Though there is a lot of fresh water, Climate Change is going to change our water.  Other folks in other areas are going to want our water, though if more than 1 % of doesn’t get back into the Great Lakes Water Basin, our weather will change and so will our lake levels.  

You don’t have to take my word for it, check this out: Great Lakes Communities and Ecosystems at Risk | Union of Concerned Scientists

And, there’s the moral argument that we who have so much fresh water should not be wasting it when billions are in dire need of fresh water.  This conundrum is going to get worse. 

Find out how much water you are wasting, but going here:

MONDAY MASHUP: Calculate your water footprint | Great Lakes Echo "Harvard Graduate School of Design students Joseph Bergen and Nickie Huang are asking you to calculate your water footprint for World Water Day 2011. The students are winners of Visualizing.org and Circle of Blue’s World Water Day data visualization challenge. The data design website and Traverse City, Mich.-based water news organization posed a challenge in February—find some urban water data and design a way to help others visualize urban water trends and issues. " (March 28, 2011)

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Great summer reading while you’re frying

 

Lots of folks compile a list around this time each year for their summer reading on the beach, or wherever.  You want read those books you’ve been hearing about and now you’ll have the time to read them.  I have a suggestion. 

This isn’t actually a book, it’s a free online report, but it’s very readable.  It’s only about a hundred pages, but it’s very compelling.  It may be one of the most important ‘books’ you’ll ever read, but you’ve heard that before.  This time, it’s true.  I’m suggesting “Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change.”  

It may seem dry and unremarkable, but it isn’t.  Rather than one of those weepy novels, or self-help books that say you’re alright and it’s the rest of humanity that’s weird, this is a cold, hard, look at the state of our environment. 

It spells out the case for Climate Change in neat, unambiguous language and explains what’s coming down the pipe if we don’t begin addressing the most important issue of our day.  There’s no hype, no hysterical language, no wild assertions, no predictions not backed by serious research.  There’s no pandering to anyone or any corporation, no solicitations, no emotional outbursts, no saber rattling, just the facts—neatly given. 

This little book is just spells out what’s going on with Climate Change and what needs to be done to keep yourself comfortable for the next decade and your grandchildren from frying. 

In the Rochester, NY region, part of the Northeast portion of the states, we are already slated for a host of radical changes due to the lag in accumulating greenhouse gases.  So, we have to adapt.  You’ll need to know what the thinking is on that so you can shift about as more extreme weather comes upon us. 

And, if we don’t make an about-face on Climate Change, you’ll definitely want to know that because things will get very dicey if we continue as we are.  If you are running a business, you’re going to want to know what your out-of-the-ordinary expenses are going to be.  If you’re just an ordinary person like me, you’ll be fascinated by the by the extraordinary care that The Pew Center on Global Climate Change folks have taken to prepare a very readable and concise explanation of the most serious threat to our existence there is. 

This report is polished, pithy, and understandable to anyone over the age of ten.  No one who considers themselves well-read, educated, or worldly should avoid this report.  You cannot be on top of things, if you don’t know the absolute basics of Climate Change. 

This is just Climate Change 101, the fundamentals, the basic bottom line information you will need to know to be an informed citizen of the world.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Climate Change cannot be solved alone:

 

There are three international organizations that Rochester, NY could (and maybe does) belong to that help coordinate Climate Change efforts. One thing is for sure, no community, no matter how effective, can solve their Climate Change issues alone.

Every city, including Rochester, is only a small fragment of our entire environment and Rochester’s climate will be greatly affected by what communities around the world do or don’t do to curb the use of greenhouse gases. You can learn more about the need for world-wide cooperation from cities on Climate Change in the Climate Change 101: Understanding and Responding to Global Climate Change | Pew Center on Global Climate Change.

Let’s hope Rochester, NY is a part of these three organizations because we cannot change the climate or live on a warming planet without the cooperation of all.

  • ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability “ICLEI - Local Governments for Sustainability is an association of over 1220 local government Members who are committed to sustainable development. Our Members come from 70 different countries and represent more than 569,885,000 people. ICLEI is an international association of local governments as well as national and regional local government organizations who have made a commitment to sustainable development. ICLEI provides technical consulting, training, and information services to build capacity, share knowledge, and support local government in the implementation of sustainable development at the local level. Our basic premise is that locally designed initiatives can provide an effective and cost-efficient way to achieve local, national, and global sustainability objectives.”
  • Clinton Climate Initiative | What We Do | William J. Clinton Foundation “The William J. Clinton Foundation launched the Clinton Climate Initiative (CCI) to create and advance solutions to the core issues driving climate change. CCI takes a holistic approach, addressing the major sources of greenhouse gas emissions and the people, policies, and practices that impact them. Working with governments and businesses around the world, CCI focuses on three strategic program areas: reducing emissions in cities, catalyzing the large-scale supply of clean energy, and working to stop deforestation. Cities |With a majority of the earth’s population now living in urban areas, cities contribute more than two-thirds of the world’s energy and account for more than 70 percent of global CO2 emissions. Through targeted projects, including building retrofits, outdoor lighting, and waste management, CCI’s Cities Program helps municipal governments, at their invitation, improve energy efficiency and reduce emissions.”
  • Mayors Climate Protection Center “Mayors Leading the Way on Climate Protection "Mayors have single-handedly taken action on climate protection efforts and in many cases, creatively launched local energy efficiency programs to help reduce our carbon footprint in American cities." - Tom Cochran, CEO & Executive Director, U.S. Conference of Mayors Mayors are on the front lines of impacting human behavior - from their work on recycling, to aids prevention, and prostate cancer, they are changing human behavior every day. This is one of many reasons why 1053 mayors continue to join The U.S. Conference of Mayors' Climate Protection Agreement, vowing to reduce carbon emissions in their cities below 1990 levels, in line with the Kyoto Protocol. Seattle Mayor Greg Nickels was the founder of this movement.”

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Shouldn’t the burden of proof be on climate change deniers that it isn’t happening?

When you think of it there is no solid evidence that tornadoes—like the one in Joplin, Missouri –haven’t been caused by Climate Change. 

But wouldn’t it be a reasonable assumption that future reporting on extreme weather events (which are predicted by Climate Change) would at least mention ‘Climate Change”? 

In this article by National Public Radio (NPR), I was amazed to hear, “There's also no solid evidence that tornadoes have been influenced by climate change.” (5/23/2011) Scientists At A Loss To Predict Bad Tornado Seasons : NPR  NPR mentioned Climate Change in the same article as a weather event. 

Mostly, though we don’t have our weather reports including Climate Change, even though Climate Change predicts more extreme weather, heat waves, droughts, more snowfall, less snow pack, rising water levels, more glacier melt, and a lot more.  Let’s face it, weather people haven’t been onboard with the latest climate science: On Global Warming, Scientists and TV Weathercasters Are at Odds - NYTimes.com 

The reasoning not to equate single weather events with climate change is probably sound at this point because the science of making causal relationships with individual events is in its infancy. 

But think about this: Given that a lot of the seven billion people trying to adapt to modern living are burning up carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases at an unprecedented rate since the Industrial revolutions (there were two) isn’t it a reasonable assumption that there would be atmospheric consequences? 

How can we understand the extreme weather events we are experiencing if we don’t include Climate Change in our assessments? 

What (and I know this notion is going to be interpreted as extreme) if we put the burden of proof on our weather predictors to prove that Climate Change wasn’t responsible for the increase in forest fires (Russia last summer,) floods (Pakistan last summer) and this week’s tornado?
 
A reasonably intelligent species trying to sustain their existence would take the knowledge they have about how their environment works and then do everything in their power to understand how their environment works before they started seriously meddling with it. 

Short of attainting all the facts and understanding of how such a complex system works, these reasonable intelligent creatures would then proceed cautiously, assuming the precautionary principle before embarking on say burning fossil fuels on a large scale.  Not having done that wouldn’t a reasonably intelligent creature then assume that if a billion folks who were suddenly (in the last two hundred years) burning fossil fuels which put a greenhouse gas into our atmosphere and into our oceans expect that it would wreak havoc on their weather? 

It seems reasonable to me that all of our fossil fuel burning would warm the planet—even if I couldn’t prove it beyond a climate change deniers exacting standards.  (Joke intended.)  It doesn’t seem to be reasonable for a reasonable species to assume that because climate scientists cannot exactly prove individual events are caused by Climate Change that they are not. 

Wouldn’t it be reasonable to assume that Climate Change is changing our weather and our weather predictors would at least consider Climate Change in their understanding of our weather? 
This isn’t all just nonsense spilling from my mind.  Check out this story about linking future weather with Climate Change:
With Eye on Climate Change, Chicago Prepares for a Warmer Future - NYTimes.com “CHICAGO — The Windy City is preparing for a heat wave — a permanent one. Climate scientists have told city planners that based on current trends, Chicago will feel more like Baton Rouge than a Northern metropolis before the end of this century.  So, Chicago is getting ready for a wetter, steamier future.” (5/22/2011)
Why don’t we be reasonable and assume that our weather (now that carbon dioxide is 390 parts per million in our atmosphere, when it was 280 parts per million before the 1850’s) is being heavily influenced by Climate Change—and stop howling that every little tornado can’t be linked with climate Change? 

Prove it isn’t.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Energy choices fade in the future

 

By not making the right energy choices or no choices at all, we limit all our energy choices: Japan’s decision to increase its nuclear power over the years, instead of increasing renewable energy, highlights what happens in a world that is rapidly heating up and people choosing not to address it properly. 

Yes, nuclear power does not emit greenhouse gases on a large scale, but it is incredibly dangerous—as the March 11 earthquake and tsunami disaster in Japan point out. 

So, now in a desperate search to find the right solution to Climate Change and their energy needs, the Japanese have come upon a plan that they, and other countries around the world, should have considered long ago—a plan to put solar panels in every new building that is built.  (What’s sad is that this kind of brilliant measure would be impossible if major catastrophes did not happen.)

The Japanese won’t have time to consider many other energy options, as they (and most of the world) have squandered their time as Climate Change rushes forward.  They decided to trust an industry that doesn’t have a  history of being forthright on safety and preparation.  They believed that all would be taken care of by the experts.  They found that those watching the nuclear power plants were not doing their job and not ready for all possible contingencies—as should be the case in an energy options so wildly dangerous as nuclear power. 

Japan can go hogwild now with wind and solar energy, but not so much with the other choices—the fossil fuel, greenhouse gas emitting choices—because their choices are now limited.  There is no time to play around with Climate Change, their country’s energy needs, and safety.  So, this new idea is great; it’s just really late and has come at a great cost to the planet and Japan’s people:

Japan 'plans solar panels for all new buildings' "Japan is considering a plan that would make it compulsory for all new buildings and houses to come fitted with solar panels by 2030, a business daily said Sunday. The plan, expected to be unveiled at the upcoming G8 Summit in France, aims to show Japan's resolve to encourage technological innovation and promote the wider use of renewable energy, the Nikkei daily said." May 22, 2011) PhysOrg.com - Science News, Technology, Physics, Nanotechnology, Space Science, Earth Science, Medicine

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Climate Change will suffice, not rapture

Robert Frost thought the world would end (in his great poem) with “Fire and Ice.” But I think Climate Change will suffice.   
Humanity is up against a real and present danger with Climate Change and if our dependence on oil, our unstoppable drive towards development, our inability to curb our populations, and live sustainably were not enough to drive our species, and every other species, into oblivion, there’s the ‘rapture.’ Who knew? 
I came across this and was dumbfounded:
“A total of 41 percent of Americans think Jesus Christ is returning by 2050—that's 23 percent who say he is "definitely" on his way back and 18 percent that say he's "probably" coming soon.” (5/19/2011) Hurry Up And Wait for the Rapture | Mother Jones
Along with Climate Change deniers and those too busy to address the most critical issue of our generation, we have to deal with those who relinquish their responsibility to the next generation by believing in age-old nonsense. 
Though we are in in deep trouble from greenhouse gas warming our atmosphere and turning our oceans acidic because they have been absorbing too much of our carbon dioxide releases since the 2nd Industrial Revolution, our world is not coming to an end today. 
Trust me.  There’s going to be a tomorrow and there’s going to be human still polluting the planet well after 2050.  Things are just going to be hotter and more uncomfortable.
Without a wholesale change in human behavior, so we can reduce our greenhouse gases, the next generation and those beyond are definitely going to cook. 
This inclination to believe that the world is going to end at some near point is a mental quirk of our species that has endured for eons. If it’s not one prognostication of Armageddon, it’s another. 
We have to realize that it’s a major copout to believe in this abject nonsense and not deal with the real threats to our existence.
When those who believed that the world will end today, but does not, please start paying attention to climate scientists:
NSF.gov - To What Degree? - What Science Is Telling Us About Climate Change - How Do We Know?  http://www.nsf.gov/news/special_reports/degree/how_do_we_know.jsp 

Friday, May 20, 2011

Perversely it’s Endangered Species Day!

 

Like celebrating our birthdays, where each of us notes that we are one day closer to death, Endangered Species Day by the US Fish and Wildlife Service celebrates their success trying to halt the horrific march of the loss of biodiversity.  [See the press release Fish and Wildlife Service Celebrates Endangered Species Day. ]

We are losing animal species at the rate consistent with the five other major extinction events in world history—except this mass extinction is caused by humans.  So, why are we celebrating? 

Sure, there are some successes, but what do the relatively small successes in the great movement towards species extinction mean?  I don’t mean to denigrate the US Fish and Wildlife Service’s efforts to save endangered species in any way, but last year was the International Year of Biodiversity and very little mention of that here in the US. 

Should the strategy of trying to get the public to face serious environmental problems, like the loss of biodiversity due to our way of life, be to celebrate them?  It’s perverse. 

We should be adult enough to be able to say to the public, ‘Look, we have a serious problem with many aspects of our environment and the loss of biodiversity of one of them.’  Please learn about this issue and Climate Change because we need to make massive changes to our way of life quickly. 

Yet, I suppose if our government takes this tact, reminding folks of their moral responsibility to make sure their government insures that we have a sustainable environment, the public will vote them out of office. 

How perverse is that?

Endangered Species Program | What We Do | Habitat Conservation Plans | Overview "Endangered Species Day – May 20, 2011 "On May 20, 2011 the Fish and Wildlife Service will observe Endangered Species Day in order to recognize the national conservation effort to protect our nation’s endangered species and their habitats."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Is the Genesee River healthy?

 

Back in the 1990’s this story appeared about our Genesee River:

“Genesee River ranks "second among U.S. rivers that had cancer-causing chemicals dumped into them during a recent five-year period"--Rochester Digital Edition

What interesting is that in the subsequent years, no investigative reporting that I know of has done on an in-depth report on the health of the Genesee River?  Rarely is there even an article in any local news about the Genesee River. 

So, what does it mean that the Genesee River does not appear the ‘worst’ rivers list in American Rivers (www.americanrivers.org)?  It does not mean that American Rivers or any other environmental group has come to the Genesee River and conducted a full environmental study. 

What it does mean that no one has conducted a thorough environmental study on the Genesee River and sent that in to American Rivers. 

My point: The Genesee River could be very polluted, maybe one of the most ‘toxic’ polluted rivers in the US.  Who, without doing a compressive study, would know?  The Genesee River was used as a chemical toilet for decades and few I suspect are drinking the water near our (the Rochester region) end of the river.  Without a full testing of all our rivers, we cannot possibly believe that the Genesee River does not belong on anyone’s worst or most polluted list. 

One New York river lands on American Rivers Most Endangered List | 520 - An Environmental Blog | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle The Genesee River is not on the American Rivers list of America’s Most Endangered Rivers list, which was released early this morning. But the river that tops the list, the Susquehanna River, stretches into New York. (May 17, 2011) 520 - An Environmental Blog | Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Energy, don’t worry your pretty little heads:

 

As in most tragedies that surround corporate disasters—like the recent the BP Oil Spill, the West Virginia coal mine explosion, and the Japan nuclear disaster—we find out that those who were supposed to make sure they were following all the rules were not. 

They were ignoring the rules.  They were dismissing public concerns.  They were violating public trust.  They do it all the time and yet when reassurances are asked by our reporters and our government officials that all is being done to make sure dangerous activities like mining for coal, operating a nuclear power plant, or drilling down into our oceans is being done with the utmost care—we find out afterwards that they haven’t been so diligent and forthcoming. 

And, when a new project comes up, like more drilling in our waters and land, these corporations say they can do it safely and environmentally friendly and we go ahead and let them do it. 

Are we stupid, or are we so afraid that our way of life will be jeopardized that we still think we can treat our environment in the same ole haphazard way and expect different results? 

We want to believe that rich corporations can drill for oil and mine for coal and run nuclear power plants and give us cheap energy and that we can still have a sustainable environment. 

BTW: I was perusing a list of new books and I saw one about how the renewable energy industries are telling folks a great big lie. Their point, you cannot have a thriving economy and go whole hog on green energy.  I thought to myself, what a cynical and depraved attitude.  In their attempts to curb Climate Change, provide jobs, and change our behavior so we can have a sustainable environment, renewable energy companies cannot actually do that—this book alleges.  The forces of ‘we have to pollute so us fossil fuel people can go on making zillions of bucks, ‘ marches out the argument that the green industries are lying to you. 

But the whole point is this: we as a society have to make renewable energy work—or Climate Change will ruin our planet.  If the present way of running our economy isn’t working, it must change because the physics of Climate Change cannot change.  This is why the anti-renewable folks view is unsustainable—we are dealing with physics not ideology. 

And, renewable energy doesn’t get billions in tax subsidies, like the oil industry has, and will continue to have:

Democratic bill to end oil subsidies is defeated in the Senate - CNN.com “Washington (CNN) -- On a mostly party-line vote, the Senate on Tuesday defeated a Democratic measure to strip major oil companies of about $20 billion in tax subsidies over the next 10 years and use the savings to pay down the deficit. Three Democrats and two Republicans crossed sides in the 52-48 vote, preventing the bill from reaching a required 60-vote threshold for passage. Republicans opposed the measure, arguing the big five oil companies would pass any tax increases to consumers in the form of higher gas prices.”  (5/17/2011) CNN.com

So anyway, things will go on the way they are—until (bumping up against the laws of physics) they cannot.  It looks like the great trust that the Japanese people put into the nuclear power officials were misplaced, as they usually are:

Japanese Officials Long Ignored or Concealed Nuclear Dangers - NYTimes.com OMAEZAKI, Japan — The nuclear power plant, lawyers argued, could not withstand the kind of major earthquake that new seismic research now suggested was likely. If such a quake struck, electrical power could fail, along with backup generators, crippling the cooling system, the lawyers predicted. The reactors would then suffer a meltdown and start spewing radiation into the air and sea. Tens of thousands in the area would be forced to flee. (May 18, 2011) The New York Times - Breaking News, World News & Multimedia

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Recycling expansion:

 

Check out how your county recycling is going to expand as of June 1st. New Materials Accepted by the Monroe County Recycling Center Effective June 1, 2011 Lots of new stuff will be recycled that wasn’t before. 

Please consider compacting your recyclables now that you’re going to have more to recycle.   It wouldn’t do to have more junk flying around our neighborhoods just when we increased the amount of stuff we can recycle. 

And, if you need more recycling containers (blue bins) please contact your hauler.  If you are in the City of Rochester, that would be the City of Rochester.

Environmental Services | Monroe County, NY "Recycling Program to Expand June 1, 2011 For almost 20 years, Monroe County residents have enjoyed a progressive, convenient and continually expanding curbside recycling program. As is its charge from the county, Cascades Recovery, the Monroe County Recycling Center’s (MCRC) contract operator, examines the waste stream for sustainable recovery opportunities. In 2004, the Recycling Center began accepting all clean paper--allowing county residents to make a clear and affirmative impact on our local environment. Effective June 1st, the Recycling Center will accept plastic containers numbered one through seven for recovery. Additionally, aluminum foil, foilware and household metal pots and pans will be accepted for recycling. Customers of the MCRC may now rest assured that their yogurt cups and margarine tubs will stay in North America and be recycled into sustainable end-products. Full details of this expanded program are forthcoming, but this is clearly another positive step residents can take to not trash our future. Click here for a listing of new items accepted by the MCRC on 6/1/11--see below for the current recycling program. "

Monday, May 16, 2011

Media coverage of our environment:

 

One of the areas in which the media falls down on covering on our media is the ad hoc way in which the media actually covers specific issues.  Some sources play down an environmental concern, some play up, and some avoid it altogether.  

Most media won’t go out looking for obvious environmental news, like how our area is going to fare with Climate Change, because it doesn’t fit in with their patron’s assumption that Climate Change isn’t happening.  But, it is. 

There are many ways that our present mainstream media fall down on reporting about our environment, which the public needs to know in order to make informed choices on our environment in all aspects of their lives, including how they vote, what they buy, what to and where to recycle and much more. 

For a continual updates on how the media is doing on our environment check out this section of

Environmental Health News: “www.EnvironmentalHealthNews.org, a foundation-funded journalism organization founded in 2002, is published daily. Our daily e-letter, Above The Fold, is available for free. The mission of Environmental Health News is to advance the public’s understanding of environmental health issues by publishing its own journalism and providing access to worldwide news about a variety of subjects related to the health of humans, wildlife and ecosystems.” 

Don’t just assume that your media is adequately covering our environment.  There is stuff that is being left out, some of it purposely, and some media just don’t understand our environment at all.  Check out this useful service:

Media Reviews — Environmental Health News "EHS scientists and fellows critique media coverage. "

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Now recycling 3-7 plastics in Monroe County

 

It’s official: As of June 1st Monroe County will recycle 3-7 plastics. It’s been a long time coming, but many who have worked hard to influence Monroe County’s recycling policy to include 3-7 plastics are very pleased with the announcement by Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks:

“Starting June 1st, Monroe County residents will now be able to recycle plastic products labeled three through seven – in addition to plastics one and two, which we already collect. Expanded collection will give residents more recycling options. Now you will be able to recycle drinking cups, yogurt containers, take-out containers, and prescription pill bottles, just to name a few.” 2011 State of the County AddressMonroe County Executive Maggie BrooksMonday, May 09, 2011

We know that this decision to recycle 3-7 plastics was not made easily.  Although several of our surrounding counties have been recycling these plastics for years, Monroe County has maintained that there was not a stable market for them—meaning, when the market for these plastics dropped the county would have to quietly landfill them. They didn’t want that to happen.

“An expanded recycling program has been a priority of environmental groups for years, but the county had only accepted containers labeled 1 and 2. The county also is planning to open a disposal center on Avion Drive in Chili, called ECOPark, by the end of the year. The center will accept all waste not accepted by garbage trucks, including prescription drugs.” Brooks points to environment, jobs in State of County speech | Democrat and Chronicle

Local environmental, church, and community groups deserve credit for this change in recycling options, especially those folks who continually included in their events the collection of 3-7 plastics for years where they took these plastics, often times having to wash them by hand, and then truck them out of the county to some place that would take them.  There are also those who met with recycling officials week in, week out pointing how the markets have changed and made it possible to do this.  Those people know who they are and they rock.

You may well ask, why all the fuss? What do the numbered plastics mean and why this is important? Go here for a short article on the 1-7 plastics: “The 7 Types of Plastic & What They Mean to Your Health” – from The Green Guide Network.

You might also ask: What will this expansion of the county’s recycling program mean for our community? It will mean a lot. We’ll have less toxic trash going into our landfills; instead, these plastics will enter our waste stream markets as commodities. This ‘trash’ will become a resource for new businesses, new jobs, and incentivize collecting what presently despoils and harms our environment.

The expanded recycling program will also increase the stuff going into your recycle bin.  Please don’t let it overflow and go into your neighborhood. Stomp it down. If you need another recycle bin, ask your hauler (in the City of Rochester, that’s the City of RochesterJ).  Don’t let the solution to one problem be the start of another—more litter blowing around our neighborhoods.

Finally, I want to reflect on what Ms. Brooks said about recycling in her State of the County address: “During my time as County Executive, I have learned that when it comes to going green, there is one stand-out priority for residents. The County has received hundreds – maybe even thousands – of emails, letters, phone calls, and personal pleas advocating for an expansion of our recycling program.” 

I’ve been puzzling this fact that recycling is a “stand-out priority.” There are a lot of environmental issues out there and I’ve worked on a lot of them, but nothing grabs as much attention and the willingness for the public to join in and do something as the issue of waste does.  What most people tell me when I bring this up is that recycling is something everyone can do in their daily lives.  And folks want to pitch in.

Here’s what you can do: Write a thank-you note to Monroe County Executive Maggie Brooks and let her know how important this issue is to you. Encourage your media to continually remind folks to recycle—a ‘public service announcement’ that costs taxpayers zilch.  Join groups who are keeping the focus on zero waste, donating, reusing, and recycling. Write to your representatives to provide resources to be allocated for education, outreach, and enforcement of recycling. Write articles in your local neighborhood associations on recycling in your neighborhood. Do the vision thing: Help move our county beyond the decentralized ECOPark that’s planned to a centralized Resource Recovery Park, where everything we dispose of –hazardous waste, composting, toxic metals, and recyclables--all can be brought to one place.

And finally, recycle and don’t let anyone trash our planet.

Thursday, May 12, 2011

And now something totally different –for Climate Change scientists:

 

One of the great conundrums of our times is to get a public who doesn’t want to hear more bad news to understand and address Climate Change.  It ain’t easy.  Folks just don’t want to hear that our fossil-fuel based way of life is unsustainable. 

The truth is that we are warming the planet to an alarming degree and every day that we don’t do something about it the worse we make our environment for ourselves and the next generations. 

Scientists have been bending over backwards to present the oftentimes difficult material on the science of Climate Change so the public can understand what awaits us.  They have livened up a series of very entertaining and enlightening videos on Climate Change:  NSF.gov - To What Degree? - What Science Is Telling Us About Climate Change - How Do We Know?

Ramping up the dialogue, Climate Scientists have created something totally different to reach the pubic on the most important issue of this century.  It’s pretty entertaining.  But, when you think about it, it’s profoundly sad that serious climate scientists have to resort to the public’s denial of such science-based issue and pander to their desire for frivolity.

Climate Scientists Rap About The Dangers Of Climate Change (VIDEO) "Fed up with reporters pretending to be scientists, scientists are now pretending to be rappers. Or rather, scientists are attempting to communicate their message on a level that average, rap-loving people will understand. The question is -- should everyone just stick to their job, or is it time for a remix, since clearly something's not working with the climate change message? " (May 5, 2011) Breaking News and Opinion on The Huffington Post

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Changing energy directions:

 

I used to think back in the day when I was a college student (circa 1970’s) was that the only real way we would make significant changes in our environmental policies would be after a major catastrophe.  Despite the overwhelming evidence that pollution and the overuse of natural resources were wreaking havoc on our environment, it didn’t appear that serious changes would occur.  People would just keep arguing about whether the facts about environmental degradation were correct, or if they did accept the facts they’d use the argument that we had to have jobs and there is always a cost to that.   

But the Japanese reaction to their nuclear disaster may prove the exception to this assumption.  Because of all the problems in recent days with nuclear power, they’ve decided to consider their energy options from ‘scratch.’  (See story below.) 

Now, that is quite a thing for an entire country to change direction, or even consider changing directions from a major dependence on nuclear power to renewable power.  The political and economic forces behind the nuclear industry are such that for decades problems were overlooked, or not even seriously looked at.   The recent disaster changed all that. 

The Japanese are considering the real cost of how they get energy. Here in the States we tend, when digging a deep, deep, hole to continue digging deeper and deeper hoping for different results.  For example, though there is abundant evidence that hydrofracking releases methane in the process and makes some nearby drinking water sources flammable, we drill baby drill.  And, though there is ample evidence that hydrofracking contaminates wells that folks get their drinking water from, many still think that this process will do no harm to our region’s water quality.  

Will it take a truly major disaster for folks to realize that our water can be contaminated by hydrofracking, like what the Japanese have experienced with nuclear power?

Japan to rethink reliance on nuclear power - Asia-Pacific - Al Jazeera English Prime minister Kan says renewable energy will be a key pillar of new energy policy following nuclear crisis. Naoto Kan, the Japanese prime minister, has said that renewable energy would be a key pillar of the country’s new energy policy after one of the worst nuclear crisis in years, but that it would still rely on nuclear power for much of its electricity needs. Kan also said on Tuesday that Japan's basic energy plan to build new atomic reactors to increase the share of nuclear power in electricity supply in the future must be reviewed from scratch.  (May 10, 2011)  AJE - Al Jazeera English

How to monitor the health of our environment:

 

Collectively we don’t put anywhere near as much resources into to monitoring the quality of our environment as we should.  For example, we put the burden on the proof of dangerous chemicals on the complainants instead of the producers.  

This means that it takes a lot of money and resources to actively go out and check our environment to see whether what we humans do—developing, pollution, warming, etc.—have  an effect on the health of our environment.  And mostly, unless we actually see our rivers catch on fire, we don’t look for problems.  We like to assume that Nature can take care of itself, which it can if you don’t count our survival into the equation. 

But one of the resources we do have for helping us monitor the state of our environment with relatively little cost is birds.  Birds, because of their high metabolism and widespread traveling, offer us an insight as how they are doing, which in turn gives us an idea of how we are affecting our environment .  Check this out:

The State of the Birds 2011 "The Cornell Lab of Ornithology and partners launched the 2011 State of the Birds website on May 3. This ground-breaking report used eBird data to determine the distribution of birds on public lands and waters. More than one-third of land and all oceans in the U.S. are owned by the American people, yet until now the importance of these public lands and waters to our nation's birds had not been quantified. For the first time, eBird data revealed that public lands support more than half of the U.S. distribution of more than 300 bird species! The report shows the tremendous importance of public lands for bird conservation and identifies the most important opportunities for public land agencies. " Birds, Cornell Lab of Ornithology

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Much about High Speed Rail in local transportation news recently:

 

There are many news stories about more federal funding for high speed rail for New York State. As we have mentioned over the last year, high speed rail would be good for our environment by offering a viable choice for inter-state travel other than greenhouse gas emitting vehicles. But it’s going to take a lot more than the present funding to get a large portion of the public to consider train and other mass transportation options in our region.

Yet, it must happen as our present system is not economically or environmentally sustainable.

At some point—higher gasoline prices, loss of more jobs, and other economic issues related to our present car/truck/road transportation system and dramatic (frequent extreme) weather changes—the public will shift to a more environmentally friendly transportation system and we hope that is soon enough.

They will move to another transportation system because when a system is unsustainable, it means that no matter how ‘normal and presently conventional’ it seems to pay a sizable portion of our taxes, our paychecks on the present system, it will become cost prohibited at some point. Oil prices will overtake family budgets, building more roads and fixing all the existing bridges will be too much of a burden on the public.

But most of all, we are going to have to drastically reduce our greenhouse gas emissions soon and one of the quickest ways to do that is to begin using mass transportation, as many other countries are doing.

Small changes, like buying more fuel efficient vehicles, will not be enough in an environment that is quickly warming and perhaps moving towards a tipping point. The more we delay the massive changes we need to make in order to address Climate Change, the more drastic the changes will have to be.

That’s the thing about unsustainable practices in our environment: things come to an end.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Quietly our government takes Climate Change:

 

We have yet another reminder, despite the lack of continual coverage on Climate Change by the media, that our government does not have the luxury of avoiding the most important issue of our day. 

What I find remarkable is that while our government moves forward on addressing Climate Change, they do so in so in a quiet way.  This is the wrong approach. 

Our government must continually remind our citizens that massive wholesale changes must be made in our country—how we get energy, how we solve environmental problems, how we use transportation—and not pretend that they can do so without everyone’s participation. 

Climate Change Adaptation Task Force | The White House "On October 14, 2010, the Climate Change Adaptation Task Force, co-chaired by the White House Council on Environmental Quality (CEQ), the Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP), and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), released its interagency report outlining recommendations to President Obama for how Federal Agency policies and programs can better prepare the United States to respond to the impacts of climate change. The report recommends that the Federal Government implement actions to expand and strengthen the Nation’s capacity to better understand, prepare for, and respond to climate change. These recommended actions include: "

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Major Climate Change awareness event coming up in September:

 

We are hoping there will be many events in our area for the Moving Planet | A day to move beyond fossil fuels event coming up on September 24th, 2011.  Some are already in the planning stages.  This is important because it’s becoming all too obvious that Climate Change is not factoring into our local public’s attention, or our politicians’.  With our dysfunctional media, Climate Change is becoming too easy to ignore, despite the fact that is changing our present and threatening our future.  Climate Change should be a part of every environmental issue, including hydrofracking—which at the end of the day will increase natural gas use, which is a greenhouse gas, which warms up the planet.  But far too often Climate Change is not even mentioned in our local press when reporting on environmental issues. 

Let’s not continue to fool ourselves.  Climate Change is real and it is happening now.  Go to the experts (climate scientists) and get the whole story in a series of well-designed short videos on the things you should know about Climate Change: NSF.gov - To What Degree? - What Science Is Telling Us About Climate Change - How Do We Know?  Remember, there are many likely scenarios that Climate Change will inflict on our region: Possible Rochester, NY region Climate Change scenarios.

Not to mention our Air Quality is not so good:

Monroe County gets mixed marks for air quality | Democrat and Chronicle | democratandchronicle.com An annual air-quality ranking has given Monroe County a good mark for one air pollutant but a failing mark for another. The American Lung Association's State of the Air study, released Wednesday, graded this area an "F" for concentrations of ground-level ozone. The study said the ambient air in the county exceeded federal ozone standards 13 days between 2007 and 2009. The statewide average was 11.5 days during that period. (April 28, 2011) Democrat and Chronicle | Rochester news, community, entertainment, yellow pages and classifieds. Serving Rochester, New York | democratandchronicle.com 

Also, not to mention asthma: 05/03/2011: EPA Helps Build Awareness Around Asthma / Asthma affects nearly 25 million people in the U.S. WASHINGTON – To kick off Asthma Awareness Month, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is commemorating World Asthma Day by bringing awareness to a growing nationwide problem. Asthma has consistently increased over the past decade with more than 4 million additional cases reported, including nearly 1 million additional cases reported in children. One out of every 10 school aged children is affected and approximately 13 million people have reported having an asthma attack in the past year. EPA is taking action to ensure cleaner air and a healthier environment for children and families dealing with asthma. "All Americans should be able to breathe easy whether they’re at home, at work or on the playground," EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. "Yet too many of our children and family members suffer from asthma, resulting in doctor and hospital visits, lost learning time, more sick days and higher health care costs. It's our mission at EPA to protect the health of our communities by putting Clean Air Act safeguards in place to reduce levels of harmful pollutants in the air we all breathe. " (May 3, 2011) U.S. EPA Newsroom - News Releases

Also, consider that all of our area’s long-range transportation, solid waste, and energy plans include Climate Change as a major planning factor.  This is essential because these groups are accountable for addressing Climate Change in our area.  These plans are:

So, when we find specific events for this major event, we’ll let you know:

Moving Planet | A day to move beyond fossil fuels.  "Moving Planet is a worldwide rally to demand solutions to the climate crisis—a single day to move away from fossil fuels. For too long, our leaders have denied and delayed, compromised and caved. That era must come to an end: it's time to get moving on the climate crisis. Come on bike, on skates, on a board, or just on foot. Come with your neighbors and your friends, your family and your co-workers. Come be part of something huge. "

Tuesday, May 03, 2011

Rochester Bike Week May 20th – May 27th

BIKE-WEEK-LETTER_finalBike Week is coming up in May with several exciting bicycle rides in Rochester, NY. Check out Rochester’s Bike Week Schedule of events: Rochester Bike Week 2011 sponsored by the Rochester Cycling Alliance (RCA). The whole concept of Bike Week is to get folks to think about commuting to work and other short-travel destinations for a healthier community. One of the aspects about Bike Week that I highlight is to encourage folks to think about Climate Change and how bicycling or walking (active transportation) will reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we emit when we get around. Because, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), 27% of our greenhouse gases in the U.S. are emitted by transportation, active transportation can make a significant difference in our region’s ability to combat Climate Change.

Let’s not continue to fool ourselves. Climate Change is real and it is happening now. Go to the experts (climate scientists) and get the whole story in a series of well-designed short videos on the things you should know about Climate Change: NSF.gov - To What Degree? - What Science Is Telling Us About Climate Change - How Do We Know? Remember, there are many likely scenarios that Climate Change will inflict on our region: Possible Rochester, NY region Climate Change scenarios.

Also, consider that all of our area’s long-range transportation, solid waste, and energy plans include Climate Change as a major planning factor. This is essential because these groups are accountable for addressing Climate Change in our area. These plans are: ·

There are many other benefits, of course, to increasing the safety and viability of bicycling in our region. Bicycling can make you healthier, less stressful, improve your neighborhood, save you big bucks, increase the value of your home with bicycle boulevards, and much more. Bicycling and walking are alternative transportation options that will move us away from a present unsustainable transportation system that dominates our communities, paves over our environment, and takes a large slice of our tax dollars to maintain. Imagine being able to move around without having the myriad of expenses that go with owning a car.

Sure it will be difficult to transform the Rochester, NY region to change our traveling habits and use bicycles and walking to those short distances we most often travel. But there are a lot of folks who would consider these modes of travel if there were a safe infrastructure to do so: bike lanes, bicycle boulevards, more awareness by vehicle drivers for bicycles and walking, and more facilities for bicycles at shopping destinations and places of work.

Changing our area’s transportation system to better accommodate active transportation won’t happen without an effort on your part. Rochester area folks must demonstrate to their public officials and the public at large (not to mention the media) that they really want to get off the oil habit and have a healthier lifestyle. If the public doesn’t rise up and ride their bicycles, the transportation authorities will continue to think we only care about road repair and fixing bridges—and that’s where your tax dollars will continue to go.

Two rides that I have helped develop and consider critical for increasing bicycling in our area are the South Wedge/Public Market Ride and the Upper Monroe Neighborhood/Swillburg Ride. The first will help you visualize how bicycle boulevards will work in our community and the second will get you to think about bicycling on a beautiful Saturday morning on your bicycle with your neighbors to shop for healthy food at the Rochester Public Market, 280 Union Street North, 428-6907, http://www.cityofrochester.gov/publicmarket/

Be a part of the solution and demonstrate that we aren’t helpless consumers of an unsustainable lifestyle based on greenhouse gas emissions. Oh, I almost forgot to mention: You’ll have fun too.

Monday, May 02, 2011

Media crisis and environmental blindness:

 

This story (below) highlights how and why our present media needs to change so that the public can get a clear picture of what is going on in our rapidly changing environment.  There is no way the public can respond adequately and correctly to environmental issues if mainstream media is filling vacating newsrooms with PR personal who are expert at framing news for their own self-interests. 

We cannot have a democracy and respond correctly to environmental situations if we are being fed only information that has been shaped, often times, by the very people causing our environmental problems.  

The public can fight back against being environmentally blinded by switching off media that is pandering to their advertisers and corporate owners and going to media that is delivering real news.  Go here to find out more: Free Press | Media reform through education, organizing and advocacy 

PR Industry Fills Vacuum Left by Shrinking Newsrooms - ProPublica "This story has been co-published with the Columbia Journalism Review [1]. The Gulf oil spill [2] was 2010's biggest story, so when David Barstow walked into a Houston hotel for last December's hearings on the disaster, he wasn't surprised to see that the conference room was packed. Calling the hearing to order, Coast Guard Captain Hung Nguyen cautioned the throng, "We will continue to allow full media coverage as long as it does not interfere with the rights of the parties to a fair hearing and does not unduly distract from the solemnity, decorum, and dignity of the proceedings." It's a stock warning that every judge gives before an important trial, intended to protect witnesses from a hounding press. But Nguyen might have been worrying too much. Because as Barstow realized as he glanced across the crowd, most of the people busily scribbling notes in the room were not there to ask questions. They were there to answer them. "You would go into these hearings and there would be more PR people representing these big players than there were reporters, sometimes by a factor of two or three," Barstow said. "There were platoons of PR people." " (May 02, 2011) ProPublica

Sunday, May 01, 2011

Fudging Climate Change the best strategy?

 

ClimateChangeFor many activists promoting green practices, clean and renewable energy (like wind turbines), and better transportation, the best strategy is to shy away from interjecting Climate Change. Their reasoning, I suspect, is that the American public doesn’t really accept climate change and down deep inside cannot believe that something so dire and pervasive will be our future. True, Climate Change is downright distasteful. So, reminding the public that Climate Change is based on science and accepted by most climate scientist produces such an avoidance reaction that many activists believe that it’s best avoided altogether. (Note President Obama’s State of the Union Address in January of this year where he avoided referring to Climate Change for fear of irritating the public and the new Climate Change deniers just thrown into office: Obama State Of The Union Speech 2011: FULL TEXT & VIDEO)

Of course, the importance of green practices, which attempts to conduct sustainable business practices, is compelling on its own. Businesses and corporations have been polluting our environment for a long time. But even they are beginning to understand in a very economical way that they can no longer treat our environment as their toilet. It’s not only more profitable to operate one’s business in an environmentally friendly way; it makes you more competitive in a world economy that is going green.

Clean and renewable energy that saves us from the depletion of our natural resources such as mining for coal and drilling for oil is a worthwhile endeavor—even if Climate Change didn’t exist. Billions of tax dollars for both industry and individuals can be saved by using naturally replenished energy like wind, solar, and geothermal. These don’t pollute and put particulates into the air we need to breathe.

Active transportation, walking and bicycling, for short distances is good for the public health (it is part of a campaign against childhood obesity), and our communities that have been carved up and marginalized by our car culture. Even without the Climate Change argument (that 27 % of greenhouse gases come from transportation) a compelling case can be made to shift our transportation to less expensive, less dangerous, and healthier modes of travel. Just this week, the American Lung Association’s State of the Air: 2011 reports that Monroe County got an “F” for “High Ozone Days”: Monroe: State of the Air 2011 - American Lung Association

My argument is that activists advocating for the elimination of exemptions (that bypass our Clean Air Act and Clean Water Act) for hydrofracking and the myriad of other environmental issues, should keep Climate Change at the core of their strategy. Climate Change -- no matter how distasteful to the public and how successfully Climate Change cranks have been in dismissing this catastrophe— is happening. Climate Change changes every environmental issue. Hydrofracking should hinge on the fact that it is still drilling for a greenhouse gas that will warm up the planet—even if it is less polluting than coal, which recent studies bring into question. Because Climate Change is occurring so quickly, transportation issues should not be de-prioritized until our cars have burned every gallon of gasoline.

There’s no way around it: The public needs to take responsibility for Climate Change. Let our leaders speak with absolute clarity on the greatest issue of our times. No one’s beliefs, nor any corporation’s ideology, should be pandered to or trump our ability to address this issue. Climate Change is not only warming up our atmosphere, it is making our oceans more acidic because it has long been absorbing our excess carbon dioxide emissions. Check out this online documentary: Acid Test: The Global Challenge of Ocean Acidification, a short film by NRDC: Natural Resources Defense Council

Creating the illusion that climate change is not really the issue in efforts to change the public’s behavior on activities that increase greenhouse gases merely reinforces the public’s will not to believe. We shouldn’t be infantilizing the public by pandering to their desire to hear only what they want to hear. It is not quixotic to continually remind the public and our public officials that climate change is real. Skirting around the issue of Climate Change steals from the advocate his or her greatest argument and most compelling point. We must assume that the public will do the right thing once they have been given information honestly and forthrightly. Wasn’t that the whole point of creating a Democracy?