Friday, August 31, 2012

Arrogant nuclear industry says our lights will go off if we ditch them

 

There’s something depraved and a little too self-serving about a report from the nuclear industry that if you don’t keep their unsafe nuclear plants you’re lights are going to go off.

Report: Closing nuclear plants on Hudson River could cause NYC outages BUCHANAN, N.Y. (AP) — The operators of the state’s electric grid are warning that closing the two Indian Point nuclear power reactors in Westchester County could result in blackouts. The New York Independent System Operator, or NYISO, says in a draft report that closing Indian Point would leave New York’s electric grid “degraded” on summer days and other times when the system is under stress. The report, which will be released this fall, is intended to advise the power industry about New York’s energy needs. (August 27, 2012) Syracuse.com

How about we remove an industry that is being moved out of German and Japan because of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster and a long history of ‘errors’, and inability to get rid of their waste safely and instead redouble our efforts at renewable energy like solar and wind and ramp up energy conservation, update our energy grid with a smart grid, and improve energy efficiency?

Unlike the Fracking industry in New York State, which is at this moment still under a moratorium, the nuclear energy business has already got their nose into our tent and it’s going to be very difficult to remove them –no matter how lousy their safety and performance record is.

But to have the media characterize this nuclear report only as a threat to our energy supply by an industry attempting to hold us hostage to the dangers of nuclear energy, without reminding us of the other choices, better choices we could make on energy, is galling. Germany and Japan are going to kick the nuclear industry out and keep their lights on, so can we.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

We are not amused by the media’s reporting on the anti-Fracking rally in Albany yesterday.

 

It’s interesting to read that the media’s characterization of yesterday’s Albany anti-Fracking rally was framed this way: “The Independent Oil & Gas Association of New York, an industry trade group, was not amused.”

IMG_2062_2But unlike Queen Victoria’s clowns, we weren’t trying to delicately and humbly amuse the lofty and mighty powers of the Fracking industry.

As I recall, though it was many hours ago, we were trying to get in the face of the Governor of New York State and demand that he stop Fracking New York State!

We had a lot of experts speak about Fracking and others who described what it’s like living near Fracking sites in Pennsylvania for years.

So, we are not amused at Fracking or the likelihood that Fracking will ruin our water; and, we are most certainly not amused to have the media suggest that it is from a position of superiority and scientific infallibility that the Fracking industry can look down on the citizens of New York State.

More than 1,000 protest fracking in Albany march ALBANY — When more than 1,000 people marched in the streets of downtown Albany to protest hydraulic fracturing on Monday, they left little doubt who they were targeting. Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s name and face were featured on dozens of neon signs wielded by protesters, each of them urging him to ban the much-debated technique used during the natural-gas extraction process. His picture was on the face of a larger-than-life cardboard puppet that adorned one person’s shoulders, with an angel to one side of his head and a devil to the other. (August 27, 2012) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

Monday, August 27, 2012

Bottom of the ninth on Fracking New York State, but it’s not over

 

Ok team. I know; it looks bad. We had the home-town advantage and somehow we blew it. We’re trailing far behind. I know that. The other team, heady with imminent victory, is already popping their Champagne corks. Sure, they didn’t completely walk all over us. Those moratoriums we threw down have slowed them up considerably. But let’s face it, if they pass Fracking, they’ll kill Home Rule and there will be a complete rout.

We knew it would be tough. The other side has already clobbered many other states with shale gas, one by one. I know, it’s galling. They haven’t played fair. They don’t have to disclose their Fracking chemicals so none of us know what the hell they’re using against us. And, there’s not enough refs to make sure the wells are drilled according to our state’s laws. They’ve poured millions into ads misleading the public into thinking Fracking can be done safely and with no harm to the environment. That’s weird because we don’t even get a clause about public health into the Fracking rules. Can you believe that! And yeah, even though a major documentary shows other folk’s water starting on fire, somehow or other we’re supposed to think drinking fire water is good for us.

Get this. They’re going to tear up our roads and leave us with the bill. On top of that they’re going to send their Fracking waste, whatever’s in that goop, through our wastewater treatment plants that we have to freaking build for them! I know, you’re mad as hell. We’ve been hoodwinked, out-spent and if that’s not enough there’s a mad California Gold Rush thing going on with Fracking even though this summer’s heatwave has convinced just about everyone but a few deadbeat deniers that Climate Change is going to cook our kids. It looks grim.

But it’s not over. There’s still time. I know you folks have it in you. You’re New Yorkers, for goodness sake. Teddy Roosevelt and Franklin Roosevelt, New York State governors, then presidents of our country stood tall on environmental issues. We endured Love Canal but then got the Environmental Protection Agency started. We have the strongest environmental regulations in the country. We’re not pushovers. We can do it. We can develop a sensible energy policy without Fracking, without spoiling our water, without warming the planet, without threatening our sovereignty, and without tearing up our countryside’s underpants with a zillion miles of rock-exploding gas pipes.

Good grief. We out-number them. There are 19,465,197 New York State citizens. We don’t need Fracking; the gas industry needs it so they can make a lot of money off our natural resources. It won’t give us half the jobs solar and wind power will. We have environmental science on our side and believe me our lakes and streams can do just fine without Fracking fluids filling fish gills, thank you very much. We also have the precautionary principle on our side, which says if you don’t know what the hell your doing, stop doing that! We won’t let New York State be another one of their guinea pigs.

Ok, here’s my last pitch before I send you out for the last inning. This isn’t a game. The health of our environment is not a sport. We should be, at this point in our evolution, smart enough not to threaten our environment’s future when Climate Change is upon us. Blaming the governor after the first Fracking spill won’t bring our drinking water back. We have to win. Get to Albany, NY on Monday, August 27th, sign up for the ‘Don’t Frack New York Rally’ http://www.dontfrackny.org/sign-up/, and give’m hell.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Local mainstream media links Climate Change and electric grid vulnerability on front page!

 

Throughout the spring and summer of our country’s, heatwaves, droughts, March warming, and wildfires there were precious little mentioning of connecting these events with Climate Change in our local media. They reported on all these extreme events in great detail, except failing to connect them with the prevailing science and numerous climate studies that have long predicted this. Granted this isn’t unusual: Media Turn A Blind Eye To Record Greenland Ice Melt

Overall, there’s been a great reluctance, despite the science on the present extreme (read The New Climate Dice: Public Perception of Climate Change By James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy — July 2012.) and the fact that the presidential candidates have not been grilled on this critical issue this election year. The GOP denies Climate Change and President Obama is afraid to talk about it even though he launched a major press report in April of this years to address it:

Administration Releases 10-Year Global Change Strategic Plan: The Obama Administration today released a 10-year strategic plan for research related to global change, identifying priorities that will help state and local governments, businesses, and communities prepare for anticipated changes in the global environment, including climate change, in the decades ahead.. (April 27, 2012) United States Global Change Research Program

But finally today our local paper finally gets around to connecting the dots to the threats of extreme weather to our electric grid because of Climate Change.

The power grid: How secure are we? Extreme weather is altering the discussion about reliability of electricity distribution and how we protect it from nature and humans. Extreme weather is putting America’s power grid to the test, with a year-long run of violent storms and record heat battering a system built for fairer skies. Energy officials are acknowledging climate change as a force that has to be reckoned with — even as concern grows over other threats that can set off catastrophic blackouts. (August 26, 2012) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

It may seem unremarkable to many to see “Climate Change” in this context, but believe me it is remarkable. It’s remarkable because of how long it has taken mainstream media in our area to begin connecting the dots on Climate Change. Though City Newspaper has done so and is still doing a series on it: CLIMATE CHANGE: EXTREME FARMING.

So yes, the threats to our electric grid are real, but they have been real and known to our government and power authorities for some time. It’s not really news. Check out this quote from one of the most comprehensive and important climate studies for our New York State Region back in 2011:

Examples of adaptation strategies for the Energy sector described in Chapter 8 include changes in power dispatch rules to de-emphasize the use of vulnerable system assets; establishment of larger incentives to promote energy efficiency in order to reduce energy demand during extreme heat events and associated peak load demands; strategies to promote the more rapid deployment of distributed generation technologies (including solar, on-site combined heat and power technology, etc.) to both reduce demand on the grid and reduce site-specific system vulnerabilities; construction of additional power generation capacity to offset anticipated periodic losses in hydropower availability; changes in flood protection land-use practices to site power generation capacity in areas less vulnerable to flooding or extreme weather events; and requirements that utilities begin upgrading their transmission and distribution systems to prepare for demand growth associated with changing temperature levels around the state. Page 10, Report 11-18 Response to Climate Change in New York State (ClimAID) funded by New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (2011)

The real news, the news that is not being reported, is that there are a litany of consequence or Likely Changes, that are coming to our region—and are anticipate by many Climate Change Studies—but not brought to the public’s attention by the media.

This is why the public doesn’t ‘get it’ on Climate Change, while doubt and denial are so convenient. Our media just doesn’t equate extreme weather unless it gets in their face, as obviously threats to our electric grid have done. Kind of hard to hide the fact that you’re power is down and keeps going down every time a lot of folks turn on their AC’s.

This all matters because we are going to elect a president without having a critical conversation on Climate Change. It matters because there is no way we are going to make expensive changes to our electrical grid without the public understanding the real threat and connecting to Climate Change. And, there are many other scenarios that are going to need public understanding—Climate Change threats to transportation, telecommunications, and public health—that will need long-term and expensive planning. In order for the public to elect the best leaders to address Climate Change and get behind the very expensive measures to adapt to Climate Change, they need their media engaged and continually reminding them of what is at stake.

If our media is going to try and sneak in the connections with Climate Change and threats to our electric grid only when avoiding it is impossible, it will likely be too late to get the public behind the kind of efforts that will be needed. When it gets really hot, everyone will want air conditioning, and our grid will go down because it has not been fortified.

The above report about Climate Change and the threat to our electric grid must be done in every community and on every possible consequence with Climate Change, not just our electric grid. The public has been blinded too long on Climate Change because our media has made that so convenient.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Recycling app idea – calling all app designers

 

I know this idea is pretty far out there as the consumer buy and throw away status quo goes, but still it has its merits.

What if someone designed an app for a Smartphone that took a picture of a TV or some other electronic device that had been marched to the curb, plotted the location, and sent that information to a list of local electronic recyclers?

The recyclers could then scan that information to see which one of them had the bandwidth to pick up the device before the scavengers broke into the device, took what they wanted, and scattered the remains about your neighborhood.

With the new Electronic Equipment Recycling and Reuse Act - NYS Dept. of Environmental Conservation no one is supposed to be plopping their electronic junk to the curb, but they still do with appalling regularity.

With this new app you could record that abuse of our new law, get the device off the road and recycled properly—and the app would include a pay structure so that you could get a few bucks from the recycler for your efforts.

Again, I know this might put fear in the hearts of those who don’t want to take the time to recycle their stuff properly but just want to buy new stuff and have their old stuff magically disappear.

But that’s illegal now(soon under this new law, homeowners will be charged for putting their TV’s curbside) and besides it’s unsustainable—which is to say it threatens future generations ability to have a sustainable future.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Let’s be reasonable on Fracking and Climate Change

 

It’s hard to figure out why so many are so complacent about the looming Fracking decision coming to New York state and the lack of discourse on Climate Change in this year’s presidential elections. Both are going to come to a conclusion soon and will have very long-term impacts, maybe forever.

For some these issues just as aren’t as interesting as sports. Some are too busy. For others, they’ve had the rational branches of their brains rendered null and void by their political party’s beliefs. Or, the quiet majority still believes that the invisible hand of capitalism will sort everything out by the mindless machinations of money. And, there are those who say they just don’t care. But that isn’t a reason so much as the point Jesus was making in Luke 23:34 when he said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know ...”

Others may be lured by the golden mean fallacy—where it is believed that the answers can be found by warring parties compromising. Extremist rhetoric, like that of Barry Goldwater's acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican Convention—“Extremism In The Defense Of Liberty Is No Vice”—still sends shivers through political analysts today. Reasonableness, as a general principle, seems to be the best course. But there is an inherent deception in thinking our gravest problems can be solved in a middle ground. Both Fracking and Climate Change are unlikely to be solved reasonably by giving in to the popular zeitgeist of reasonableness because the measure, the final arbitrator, is not social propriety, but the cold hard laws of physics.

On Fracking, the governor of New York is going to make a decision at any moment. He is going to do this despite a litany of issues that have yet to be resolved—public health issues, Fracking chemical disclosures, possible water contamination, public road repairs, drilling for more greenhouse gases, sufficient well monitoring—and while any one of these should give the governor pause, the long-term threat to our sovereignty over our environment may be the most immediate. If the numerous Fracking Reasonablemoratoriums across the state are undermined by a ruling that supersedes Home Rule, all the concerns above will play out—whether we want them to or not. Because of the pervasive character of Fracking, where horizontal drilling bores underneath us for miles, we will have lost control of the very land beneath our own communities.

On Climate Change and the presidential elections: Both parties for all their sound and fury seemed to have agreed not to talk about Climate Change, which is quite a trick considering the devastating heatwaves this summer and the prognostications by the experts that this is the new normal. The leader of the most powerful country in the world won’t have to explain his position on the most important issue in the world.

Nothing seems to be changing on either of these two issues; we are running headlong towards a version of the future that doesn’t have to be but probably will be because too many don’t want to appear unreasonable.

Highlighting that, what’s really dismal about the prognosis in 2052-A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by a host of Climate Change experts is that all along the progression of warming we’ll deny it and fight every plan to solve it unless it pleases our most immediate self-interest.

Time passes.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

RENewsletter | August 19, 2012

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

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[08/12/2012 – 08/19/2012]

Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |

Opening Salvo: “Let’s be reasonable on Fracking and Climate Change”

It’s hard to figure out why so many are so complacent about the looming Fracking decision coming to New York state and the lack of discourse on Climate Change in this year’s presidential elections. Both are going to come to a conclusion soon and will have very long-term impacts, maybe forever.

For some these issues just as aren’t as interesting as sports. Some are too busy. For others, they’ve had the rational branches of their brains rendered null and void by their political party’s beliefs. Or, the quiet majority still believes that the invisible hand of capitalism will sort everything out by the mindless machinations of money. And, there are those who say they just don’t care. But that isn’t a reason so much as the point Jesus was making in Luke 23:34 when he said, "Father, forgive them, for they do not know ...”

Others may be lured by the golden mean fallacy—where it is believed that the answers can be found by warring parties compromising. Extremist rhetoric, like that of Barry Goldwater's acceptance speech at the 1964 Republican Convention—“Extremism In The Defense Of Liberty Is No Vice”—still sends shivers through political analysts today. Reasonableness, as a general principle, seems to be the best course. But there is an inherent deception in thinking our gravest problems can be solved in a middle ground. Both Fracking and Climate Change are unlikely to be solved reasonably by giving in to the popular zeitgeist of reasonableness because the measure, the final arbitrator, is not social propriety, but the cold hard laws of physics.

On Fracking, the governor of New York is going to make a decision at any moment. He is going to do this despite a litany of issues that have yet to be resolved—public health issues, Fracking chemical disclosures, possible water contamination, public road repairs, drilling for more greenhouse gases, sufficient well monitoring—and while any one of these should give the governor pause, the long-term threat to our sovereignty over our environment may be the most immediate. If the numerous Fracking moratoriums across the state are undermined by a ruling that supersedes Home Rule, all the concerns above will play out—whether we want them to or not. Because of the pervasive character of Fracking, where horizontal drilling bores underneath us for miles, we will have lost control of the very land beneath our own communities.

On Climate Change and the presidential elections: Both parties for all their sound and fury seemed to have agreed not to talk about Climate Change, which is quite a trick considering the devastating heatwaves this summer and the prognostications by the experts that this is the new normal. The leader of the most powerful country in the world won’t have to explain his position on the most important issue in the world.

Nothing seems to be changing on either of these two issues; we are running headlong towards a version of the future that doesn’t have to be but probably will be because too many don’t want to appear unreasonable.

Highlighting that, what’s really dismal about the prognosis in 2052-A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years by a host of Climate Change experts is that all along the progression of warming we’ll deny it and fight every plan to solve it unless it pleases our most immediate self-interest.

Time passes.

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com (Click on my email for feedback)

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* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @ http://twitter.com/#!/FrankRrrr On Twitter and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterEnvironment and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment, I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up. We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news.

The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to safe ourselves?

Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan

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NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

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UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]

  • 8/18/2012 -As we are bound and determined to put every scintilla of fossil fuels from the ground into the atmosphere despite Climate Change, we ought to know what some of the tactics are.  Wouldn’t it be better to go solar and wind rather than tar sands?  Infographic: How Tar Sands Oil Is Produced The oil product extracted from Canada's tar sands isn't like conventional crude. Known as bitumen, it's sticky and so thick, it can't flow down a pipeline without extensive processing. There are two methods for getting bitumen out of the ground and turning it into usable products. Both are complex, energy-intensive and expensive processes – but high oil prices are finally making tar sands profitable. NPR Environment
  • 8/18/2012 - Consider the impacts of our food on our health and our environment:    "Sierra RRG Vegetarian/Biodiversity Committee DVD Potluck Series Ongoing series of DVD vegetarian potlucks. First date Sunday, 9/9, 5:30 pm "Forks Over Knives" at Margie Campaigne’s home. MUST RSVP to 585 288-2224 to reserve limited seating, get address.  FoodsForYourSoul.com: "The film suggests that Americans are simply eating themselves to death with their unhealthy, (and unsustainable–my word) food choices like fast food, junk food, and excessive amounts of meat…. It also introduces us to the idea that what we eat has more than just health implications, but also environmental ones."
  • 8/18/2012 - Check out this short video on water quality for Lake Ontario: Warning From Lake Ontario Waterkeeper YouTube (8/9) "Lake Ontario Waterkeeper presents information about water quality in Lake Ontario."
  • 8/18/2012 - Our lawns in our Climate Change future?  In the future, as Climate Change makes the dry and hot conditions like this summer the new normal, we might all view our lawns as part of the region’s environment baseline, returning it as much as possible to a state before human management.  When you consider how much of our region is privately owned,  it would have a profound impact on our ability to have a sustainable environment. Going natural with your yard Dead grass can be replaced with an eco-friendly alternative Drought-like conditions in July left many area lawns parched and brown. That has led to more inquiries about ways to replace lawns with natural landscaping, area experts say. “More people are just fed up with their yards this summer,” says Laurie Broccolo, president of Broccolo Tree and Lawn Care in Henrietta. Already there is a national movement toward more sustainable landscaping that leaves less of a carbon footprint, so the dry conditions made more people curious, area landscape professionals say. (August 18, 2012) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle
  • 8/17/2012 - Do we need gadgets to check the quality of Nature’s services? This water drinking app (see below) is a great idea, where you check to see if there are any drinking advisories on Canadian drinking water, but it’s got to run shivers down your spine.  Have we become so inured to poor water quality through the shifting baseline syndrome of industrial pollution that we need to check an app on our Smartphone before we drink any municipality’s water?   Back in the day, we would just come to a stream and drink the water, just turn on the tap and drink.  Now, because pollution is so ever-present, it becomes a good idea to check advisories immediately before we drink the water or, even swim in the water.  more...
  • 8/17/2012 - Interesting argument on why not to Frack NYS because the domestic price of gas is so low our land will be torn up and our water put in jeopardy so we can send this gas overseas.  So, I have to ask again: Will Fracking be a Resource Curse for New York State?, read on: Exporting Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) Is Still Bad For The Climate — And A Very Poor Long-Term Investment The surge in U.S. production of shale gas is creating a surge in permit requests to build liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals. That’s because the glut of U.S. gas has dropped domestic prices sharply below global price levels. I explained back in June why “Exporting LNG Is Bad For The Climate.” But the New York Timeshas just run a misleading op-ed, “The Case for Natural Gas Exports,” so the issue clearly merits a revisit. (August 16, 2012) Think Cliimate Progress
  • 8/17/2012 - Hike tomorrow: "Fern Hike at Thousand Acre Swamp    Saturday, August 18, 2012, 10:00 AM   This event is free & open to the public   The Thousand Acre Swamp 1581 Jackson Rd - between Atlantic Ave & Plank Rd, opposite Penfield Center Rd Penfield, NY 14526   Parking lot is at the end of the access road.  A hand lens will be helpful.   For more information contact Marie Heerkens at 585-773-8911..   The Thousand Acre Swamp Sanctuary is a property of the Central & Western New York Chapter of the Nature Conservancy   Susan Pixley, Chair Thousand Acre Swamp Preservation Committee "
  • 8/16/2012 - ACTION: Let’s stop assuming that our Great Lakes is a toilet for industry and our sewer systems.  Help Keep Sewage Out of the Great Lakes Billions of gallons of combined raw sewage and storm runoff are dumped into the Great Lakes each year. Raw sewage, trash and personal hygiene products — along with industrial wastewater, household chemicals, urban runoff, herbicides and pesticides — often flow into the lakes after heavy rains.   Bacteria, viruses and other pathogens in untreated sewage pose a significant health risk and are one of the causes of Great Lakes beach closings and swimming advisories. Trash can float in the water and pollute shorelines for miles. Swimmers at many beaches face multiple closings a year, and boaters can find themselves traversing waters littered with an offensive blend of garbage and sewage. Help Us Reach 5,000 Signatures Sign the Petition and Share It with Your Friends --fromAlliance for the Great Lakes
  • 8/16/2012 - When you’re in a really big, abnormal storm your guts will tell you Climate Change denial ain’t working.  Hope it’s in time.  Extreme Weather Weather Gone Wild Rains that are almost biblical, heat waves that don’t end, tornadoes that strike in savage swarms—there’s been a change in the weather lately. What’s going on? The weekend forecast for Nashville, Tennessee, called for two to four inches of rain. But by the afternoon of Saturday, May 1, 2010, parts of the city had seen more than six inches, and the rain was still coming down in sheets. Mayor Karl Dean was in the city’s Emergency Communications Center monitoring the first reports of flash flooding when something on a TV screen caught his eye. It was a live shot of cars and trucks on Interstate 24 being swamped by a tributary of the Cumberland River southeast of the city. Floating past them in the slow lane was a 40-foot-long portable building from the Lighthouse Christian School.  (Spetember 2012)  National Geographic
  • 8/16/2012 - I’m not a big believer in polls myself, but one gets a feeling that the American public is not as daft on Climate Change as our politicians and media make them out.  I’m thinking the public doesn’t really want to sacrifice future generations from having a healthy planet because it might inconvenience our generation while it turns to a greener economy—one that doesn’t treat our environment as a negative externality.  But I don’t have much proof on my belief because we are still continuing business as usual and the planet is warming up and we aren’t doing much about it.Voters wish politicians would fix the climate. Really. Believe it or not, politicians can mention the fact that the health of the planet is being slowly eroded due to carbon pollution and they won’t immediately be impeached. Kind of a surprise, right? Especially if the only evidence you have at hand is how willing elected officials are to discuss climate change. From the available evidence, it seems that members of Congress would rather talk about their sympathy for Al Qaeda than suggest that maybe we should take common-sense steps toward not ruining the climate. (August 14, 2012) Grist
  • 8/15/2012 - Climate Change and nuclear power cooling issues have already been anticipated in climate studies but invisible to public. Extreme Heat, Drought Show Vulnerability of Nuclear Power Plants Reactor shutdown in Connecticut is latest sign that nuclear energy would face challenges from climate change. Will 2012 go down as the year that left the idea of nuclear energy expansion in the hot, dry dust? Nuclear energy might be an important weapon in the battle against climate change, some scientists have argued, because it doesn't emit greenhouse gases. But separate of all the other issues with nuclear, that big plus would be moot if the plants couldn't operate, or became too inefficient, because of global warming. (August 15, 2012)Inside Climate News [more on Climate Change in our area]  
  • 8/15/2012 - ACTION: Take action on FrackingAction to stop Gas Storage Facility in Finger Lakes!  People’s Action to stop the Proposed Gas Storage and Transport Facility in the Finger Lakes! WHEN: Friday August 17th 4:00pm-7:00pm; meet up with us when you can- see our planned route! WHERE: Watkins Glen, NY WHAT: A March Though the Village of Watkins Glen- bring yourself, your friends, your neighbors! Sign up at: gasfreeseneca@gmail.com STARTING POINT: At 4:00, meet at Seneca Marine Park parking lot near the “Village Marina Bar and Grill” off North Decatur Street; (Address: 2 Seneca Harbor Watkins Glen, NY 14891)  (August 10, 2012) ShaleShock
  • 8/15/2012 - The question about Fracking in NYS: What will be the outcome of land-use restrictions and Fracking? The Ans: NYS is left hanging NEWS BLOG: FRACKING FIGHT – STATE VS. LOCAL Officials in many New York communities have already passed laws to keep high-volume hydraulic fracturing outside of their limits. But the bans and moratoriums have raised a big question: if the state ultimately allows high-volume fracking, will the local protections survive? Ultimately, the courts will decide the matter. In fact, earlier this year a judge upheld a ban in the town of Dryden (see this article in Businessweek), which was encouraging to fracking critics and some local-level government leaders. (August 14, 2012)  City Newspaper
  • 8/15/2012 - ACTION: Regardless of what side of the isle you are on politics, don’t you think the presidential candidates should state their position on Climate Change?  A presidential election is the platform at which our country should be discussing something as critical as Climate Change.  Please sign this petition and get the most important issue of this century on table: Climate Challenge: Two Questions For Mitt Romney "When it comes to the climate crisis, Mitt Romney has been evasive and inconsistent. The stakes are too high to play politics with the planet, so we're issuing Mr. Romney a direct challenge by asking him two simple questions. If you happen to land on Mitt Romney’s website, try to check out his policy positions on climate change. But don’t look for them for too long; there’s nothing on there about the most pressing issue facing the planet. That's right, he doesn't even mention climate change. " 350.org
  • 8/15/2012 - ACTION: Interested in doing something about recycling in the Rochester,NY region?  This year at the Greentopia Festival the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s Zero Waste Committee is going to be the Recycling Rangers.  We will be helping orchestrate recycling for the Greentopia Festival.  We need volunteers, about 120 volunteers, to help us encourage the public to recycle properly.  We’ll train you in a few short minutes and we’ll only ask a few hours of your time.  Also, check out this amazing feature to this year’s festival recycling.  The video “The Great Recycle 2012” is as must see—from The Great Recycle" is Coming to Greeptopia Please contact Davedhgdeals@aol.com so he can get you signed up and scheduled. 
  • 8/14/2012 - Attend a workshop on converting waste cooking oil to biodiesel."Converting Waste Cooking Oil to Biodiesel Want to save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create an outlet for used cooking grease and oil, or reduce the amount of oil and grease sent to a wastewater treatment plant? Then plan to attend this special biodiesel information program/workshop at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on August 21, 2012.  More information here"
  • 8/14/2012 - Good to see Climate Change is taken seriously by major mainstream media:Extreme heat and droughts -- a recipe for world food woes (CNN) -- With extreme heat and the worst drought in half a century continuing to plague the farm states, there are important lessons to be learned for all of us -- farmers, consumers and the world's poorest populations alike -- about the effect of climate change. (August 13, 2012) CNN.
  • 8/13/2012 - Politics, inside the belway, and Climate Change: I’ve been listening to theSlate’s Political Gabfest for years and I think this is the first time the Gabfest crew discussed Climate Change at any length.  It’s interesting because the discussion highlights Washington inside the belt way thinking on the greatest issue of our time: It says to me that those who analyze politics in Washington, DC are clueless as to the issue of Climate Change, thinking they can watch something like a train wreck as if they were someplace safe alongside the tracks and not on the train.  more...
  • 8/13/2012 - NYS too must recognize the links between the anticipated rises in West Nile Virus incidents due to Climate Change:  West Nile virus outbreak causes Dallas to declare emergency Which is why climate change means that we’ll see more mosquite-borne diseases. With warmer winters (like the one the Northeast just saw), mosquitoes will remain more active, longer. And warmth also improves transmission: (August 10, 2012)  Grist

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EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.] If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

August 2012

  • August 21, 2012 - The session is free, but registration is required. Reserve your spot by calling (585) 475-2872 before August 16, 2012.
    • Converting Waste Cooking Oil to Biodiesel Want to save money, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, create an outlet for used cooking grease and oil, or reduce the amount of oil and grease sent to a wastewater treatment plant? Then plan to attend this special biodiesel information program/workshop at Rochester Institute of Technology (RIT) on August 21, 2012.  This workshop is intended for professionals working in the municipal waste disposal industry and in local/regional/state departments of transportation and environmental services. More information here"
  • Saturday, August 25, noon to 6pm | Monroe Avenue between Rutgers and Oxford
    • Spokes and Ink – A Bike and Poster Party Spokes and Ink at the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education Saturday, August 25, 2012 Noon to 6pm Monroe Avenue at Oxford/Rutgers   Spokes and Ink is a new festival in Rochester that brings bicyclists and artists together.  This event on Monroe Avenue showcases the diversity of both groups – avid cyclists, recreational riders, the environmentally aware, letterpress printers, graphic designers and talented artists of all sorts!     There will be poster art, food and merchandise for sale, live music and activities to attract a crowd.  In the inaugural year of 2011, Spokes & Ink drew 600+ guests.  2012 is expected to be bigger and better!   If you are interested in reaching this wide-ranging demographic who are into bicycles and art or just want to support this activity for others, please consider a sponsorship.  Your business or organization could benefit from the exposure that is possible at Spokes and Ink.   What: Spokes and Ink – A Bike and Poster Party Where: Monroe Avenue between Rutgers and Oxford When: Saturday, August 25, noon to 6pm   Proceeds from the event will benefit the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education and R Community Bikes.   The Genesee Center for the Arts & Education is a community-based 501(c)3 organization that educates, encourages and inspires all people to create and enjoy the visual arts. We have 40+ years of experience in serving the Rochester community with great arts programming including classes, exhibits, studio access and special events. R Community Bikes is a grassroots, 501(c)3 organization that collects and repairs used bicycles for distribution, free of charge, to Rochester, NY's most needy children and adults. Their mission is meeting the basic transportation needs of those in the community who depend on bikes for recreation as well as for transport to work, school, rehabilitation programs, and training sessions.   If you have any questions about the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education or about Spokes and Ink,  please call the office at 585-244-1730.  We look forward to hearing from you!
  • Wednesday, August 29th , 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm, Brook Street Playground, Geneva
    • Castle Creek Community Stream Monitoring Event Wednesday, August 29th , 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm, Brook Street Playground, Geneva A Family Friendly Event! To complement the FLI’s upcoming downtown Geneva window display, “Going With The Flow”, the Finger Lakes Institute is hosting a community stream monitoring event in Castle Creek, Geneva’s urban stream. With a focus on environmental awareness, participants in this event will learn from stream ecologist Dr. Susan Cushman about the health of Castle Creek and what indicators are used to measure stream health. Community members are encouraged to attend and to bring children and friends as they will all have a chance to get their feet wet finding stream critters and measuring water quality. Participants will receive a free take-home water monitoring kit, while supplies last. This event, sponsored by the Ontario County Water Resource Council and in cooperation with the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center, is free and open to the public. Participants should meet at Brook Street Playground on Brook St., Geneva. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants MUST wear water-shoes to participate. Happenings | the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute

September 2012

  • September 5, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the American Legion, 5 Wright Street,Holley, NY 
    • EPA to Hold Public Meeting on Plan for Final Phase of Cleanup At Diaz Chemical Superfund Site The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is proposing a plan to clean up contaminated soil and ground water at the Diaz Chemical Corporation Superfund site in Holley, New York. The soil and ground water are contaminated with volatile and semi-volatile organic compounds, which can cause serious damage to people’s health. The EPA’s proposed plan calls for the use of a technology to treat six areas of soil and ground water that continue to cause contamination of ground water in a broader area.  The EPA will hold a public meeting on September 5, 2012 at 7 p.m. at the American Legion, 5 Wright Street,Holley, NY to explain the proposed plan and to answer questions. Comments will be accepted until September 12, 2012. (August 13, 2012) EPA News Releases for Region 2 [more on Brownfields in our area]
  • September 10th - 16th - High Falls region, Rochester, NY
    • Greentopia 2012 Greentopia 2012 is a week-long celebration of inspiration through art, music, organic and locally grown food and beverages, ideas and activism. The expanded event will contain four programmatic aspects, which include Greentopia Innovation, Greentopia Film, Greentopia Music and Greentopia EcoFest. In its first year the event drew between 18-20,000 people to the historic High Falls district. Through how-to workshops and cutting-edge films, visitors learned about big green ideas and how to apply them creatively in everyday life. There are special family activities, a community recycled art installation, mouthwatering organic and local food and beverages, and all kinds of live music. Businesses and organizations showcased products and programs that help to restore the planet, promote green living – even save consumers some money.
  • Friday, September 14, 2012 | Rochester Plaza Hotel, 70 State Street, Rochester, NY 14614
    • A business-to-business conference on green practices for our region:   Greentopia | INNOVATION | Rochester, NY "CEI and SWBR Architects would like to invite you to attend the first annual Greentopia: INNOVATION conference on Friday, September 14, 2012. This business-to-business conference is meant to enlighten, inspire, and ignite green ideas, action and innovation. Formerly CEI’s Triple Bottom Line (CEI: Center for Environmental Initiatives - Triple Bottom Line Conferences) conference, this event is geared towards professionals from all walks of life, creating the perfect opportunity to network, obtain new insights, and share business practices. As an innovation conference including presentations, case studies, and panel discussions, our aim is to promote cutting edge concepts in business incubation, innovation, green practices, and showcase brilliance in environmentally conscious technological design and implementation. Engaging and dynamic speakers will be joining us from all over the northeastern United States to present the latest innovations in business practices, sustainability and technology. You may even be able to pick up some CEU credits for selected topics. Complete details about the conference, including registration and exhibiting can be found at:Greentopia | INNOVATION | Rochester, NY "

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ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date.

  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
    • ACTION: Regardless of what side of the isle you are on politics, don’t you think the presidential candidates should state their position on Climate Change?  A presidential election is the platform at which our country should be discussing something as critical as Climate Change.  Please sign this petition and get the most important issue of this century on table: Climate Challenge: Two Questions For Mitt Romney "When it comes to the climate crisis, Mitt Romney has been evasive and inconsistent. The stakes are too high to play politics with the planet, so we're issuing Mr. Romney a direct challenge by asking him two simple questions. If you happen to land on Mitt Romney’s website, try to check out his policy positions on climate change. But don’t look for them for too long; there’s nothing on there about the most pressing issue facing the planet. That's right, he doesn't even mention climate change. "350.org
  • ACTION: Due date: Now
    • Let’s stop assuming that our Great Lakes is a toilet for industry and our sewer systems.  Help Keep Sewage Out of the Great Lakes Billions of gallons of combined raw sewage and storm runoff are dumped into the Great Lakes each year. Raw sewage, trash and personal hygiene products — along with industrial wastewater, household chemicals, urban runoff, herbicides and pesticides — often flow into the lakes after heavy rains.   Bacteria, viruses and other pathogens in untreated sewage pose a significant health risk and are one of the causes of Great Lakes beach closings and swimming advisories. Trash can float in the water and pollute shorelines for miles. Swimmers at many beaches face multiple closings a year, and boaters can find themselves traversing waters littered with an offensive blend of garbage and sewage. Help Us Reach 5,000 Signatures Sign the Petition and Share It with Your Friends --fromAlliance for the Great Lakes
  • ACTION: Due Date: September 12
    • Interested in doing something about recycling in the Rochester, NY region?  This year at the Greentopia Festival the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s Zero Waste Committee is going to be the Recycling Rangers.  We will be helping orchestrate recycling for the Greentopia Festival.  We need volunteers, about 120 volunteers, to help us encourage the public to recycle properly.  We’ll train you in a few short minutes and we’ll only ask a few hours of your time.  Also, check out this amazing feature to this year’s festival recycling.  The video “The Great Recycle 2012” is as must see—from The Great Recycle" is Coming to Greeptopia Please contact Dave dhgdeals@aol.com so he can get you signed up and scheduled.
  • ACTION: Due Date; this summer
    • Another opportunity to be a citizen scientist in our NYS region.  Citizen Scientists will be critical in gathering info for Climate Change. DEC Seeks Participants for Summer Game Bird Surveys New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today encouraged New Yorkers to participate in surveys for two popular game birds: wild turkeys and ring-necked pheasants. "Citizen science efforts such as these provide our wildlife managers with invaluable data and give people the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York's wildlife resources," Commissioner Martens said. "I encourage you to take the time to record your observations of turkeys or pheasants while exploring the outdoors or driving through the state's beautiful landscapes this summer."  (August 2, 2012) Press Release of NYS DEC
  • ACTION: Due Date now
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
    • Tired of meteorologists failing to connect the dots between Climate Change and our daily weather?  Do something about it. Take action:     Forecast the Facts WE NEED OUR TV METEOROLOGISTS TO REPORT THE FACTS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. According to a recent national survey, more than half of TV weather reporters don’t believe in human-induced climate change. Meanwhile, their viewers are facing unprecedented climate-change induced heat waves, droughts, and flooding.
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
    • Tell the NRC: Expand emergency evacuation zones Today, NIRS and 37 other organizations submitted a formal Petition for Rulemaking to the NRC to expand emergency evacuation zones around U.S. nuclear reactors and make other improvements in emergency preparedness. We're calling this the Nuclear 911 campaign. You can join us as a co-petitioner below! The widespread radioactive contamination caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster (and Chernobyl before it) makes clear that the current 10 mile Emergency Planning Zones in the U.S. are woefully inadequate to protect the American people. "Nuclear Information and Resource Service - NIRS
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
    • What to do something concrete about solving Climate Change?  Go here: "Are you passionate about changing the conversation about the climate crisis? Are you interested in leading the climate movement? What if I said you have the chance to be personally trained by Al Gore to educate others about climate change? This summer, you could have that chance. I'd like to invite you to apply to be one of our esteemed Climate Reality Presenters -- impassioned volunteer leaders who bring the reality of climate change to people around the world. We call our grassroots network of Presenters the heart of our Climate Leadership Corps. Learn more: "Climate Reality "To reveal the complete truth about the climate crisis in a way that ignites the moral courage in each of us. "Climate Reality | Climate Reality Training Application
  • ACTION: Due date: Now

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AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]

Friday, August 17, 2012

Do we need gadgets to check the quality of Nature’s services?

 

This water drinking app (see below) is a great idea, where you check to see if there are any drinking advisories on Canadian drinking water, but it’s got to run shivers down your spine.

Have we become so inured to poor water quality through the shifting baseline syndrome of industrial pollution that we need to check an app on our Smartphone before we drink any municipality’s water?

Back in the day, we would just come to a stream and drink the water, just turn on the tap and drink.

Now, because pollution is so ever-present, it becomes a good idea to check advisories immediately before we drink the water or, even swim in the water.

And few see the alarm in this state of our existence because most of us have grown up where water quality has been questionable in our lifetimes (because of past industrial practices) that it seems normal. Sadly, it probably is.

Sadly, we’ll all probably need more and more apps to check and see if those ecosystem services nature provided for us (an absolutely absurd way to view Nature, as if Nature was just another company) have been contaminated by us because we’re blind to our affect on our environment because we created an economic system that is blind to the environmental damage it incurs—until of course we can catch a polluting corporation and take them to court. (And in the US we are possibly electing a new president whose political party thinks environmental regulations are keeping corporations from people giving people jobs.)

We are so in denial about our environmental health:

Introducing the Waterkeeper Drink Guide "The Waterkeeper Drink Guide is a smartphone app that shows you current Canadian drinking water advisories. Using a sortable list or map view, you can quickly and easily identify communities across Canada where there are concerns about the quality of the drinking water. There are four types of drinking water advisories in the Waterkeeper Drink Guide. These advisories are updated daily by The Water Chronicles, based on information from official government sources: Boil Water Blue-Green Algae Water Shortage Do Not Consume. " Lake Ontario Waterkeeper

Monday, August 13, 2012

Politics, inside the belway, and Climate Change:

 

I’ve been listening to the Slate’s Political Gabfest for years and I think this is the first time the Gabfest crew discussed Climate Change at any length.

It’s interesting because the discussion highlights Washington inside the belt way thinking on the greatest issue of our time: It says to me that those who analyze politics in Washington, DC are clueless as to the issue of Climate Change, thinking they can watch something like a train wreck as if they were someplace safe alongside the tracks and not on the train.

With Climate Change, we are all on the train. Even the media will go headlong into the crash unless they start piping up and get the conductor’s attention.

You would think that such smart folks following such important issues as they do in Washington, DC would start to feel as sense of alarm and responsibility about changing the political intransigence on Climate Change, instead of merely noting the toxic nature of bringing Climate Change into the political discussions.

If we cannot talk about Climate Change during the presidential elections, when can we talk about it?

The Ode to Nixon Gabfest “Listen to Slate's show about Mitt Romney’s tax plan, shifting public attitudes on climate change, and a New Yorker profile of Paul Ryan. Emily talks about a new study by James Hansen on extreme weather events—Hansen has a Washington Post op-ed that summarizes his findings. Anthony talks about his research on American opinions about climate change. An update to his “Six Americas” survey is here. Bill McKibben’s recent piece in Rolling Stone argues for the creation of a political movement around climate change.” (August 10, 2012) Slate’s Political Gabfest

Strike while the Climate Change iron is hot

 

ClimateChangeChampionThe small, but financially powerful, klatch of Climate Change deniers must be feeling beleaguered as so much information contrary to their belief system surfaces wildly throughout our media. Besides major articles that connect the present warming in the US (The New Climate Dice: Public Perception of Climate Change by James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy — July 2012 and Global Warming's Terrifying New Math | Politics News | Rolling Stone by Bill McKibben), there are innumerable articles that make it plain that our present warming is like nothing else in the past several hundred years:

  • To date, 2012 is hottest year on record for the Northeast “New data released by the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell shows the Northeast's seven-month average (January through July) of 49.9 degrees was the warmest such period since 1895, the year such record keeping began. It has been the second warmest such period in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the warmest first seven months of the year in the rest of the Northeast.”  (August 7, 2012) Chronicle Online
  • California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate “Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak. A series of state-sponsored scientific studies released Tuesday warns that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe and damaging wildfires, emergency room visits and strain on the electric grid as the Earth continues to warm and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast.” (July 31, 2012) Home - San Jose Mercury News

Climate Change champions must use this present heatwave as a teaching opportunity for the public before their attention wanes—like it did after Love Canal and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill when we returned to business as usual. For without public understanding and support of Climate Change, most will continue to see this summer’s heatwave as merely a unique string of weather events.

However, Climate Change champions should also take heed of NYT environmental reporter Andrew Revkin’s warning of the irrational exuberance that followed NASA’s story about a remarkably quick melting of Greenland’s glaciers this July.

‘Unprecedented’ Greenland Surface Melt – Every 150 Years? The flow of news releases and background science content from NASA is generally excellent, but the space agency badly blew it earlier this week with this headline, which has now reverberated around the Web: “Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt.” (July 25, 2012) Dot Earth

I mention Revkin’s article to highlight several points about the tangled web of Climate Change. It’s complicated and easily confused by those who benefit from sowing doubt. Environmentalists shouldn’t overstep the real facts with misleading facts, for the accumulated evidence over the past thirty years has been quite enough to convince an overwhelming majority of climate scientists that our atmosphere is indeed warming up.

Let’s be clear; this is the message from the UNFCCC Seventeenth Conference of the Parties, Durban Wednesday, 30 November 2011:

“Warming in the climate system is unequivocal; Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations; Continue greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.”

Climate Change is like no other issue humanity has ever faced, where our actions and inactions will affect the fate of the entire planet. Absurdly, and almost impossible to imagine, the series of heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts that have ravaged our country this summer are absent from the one arena where it might actually result in action on an issue of this magnitude—the presidential elections. Even though it was only last April that President Obama released Administration Releases 10-Year Global Change Strategic Plan -- “… prepare for anticipated changes in the global environment, including climate change”, the issue of Climate Changes goes ignored (although not ignored by Climate Change champions like US Senator from Nevada Harry Reid and US Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders.)

Already we have missed great opportunities to take responsibility for our planet, and that means years of continued warming even if we could stop all anthropogenic greenhouse gases right now. One such missed opportunity was President Carter’s July 15, 1979 ‘malaise’ speech in which he told the American people:

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.

All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve our energy problem. The American Experience

Because President Carter’s opponents successfully characterized the speech as dismal, our country leaped down ‘a mistaken idea of freedom’ path and voted in a president who unleashed the full power of free market fundamentalism, therefore removing any chance of addressing energy issues that are directly connected to Climate Change. Considering the threat of Climate Change now, what if we had listened more closely to President Carter then?

Winston Churchill said of us, "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." While that may garner hope for some, Climate Change champions would do well not to let this summer’s Climate Change reality disappear back into business as usual. For ‘business as usual’ is interpreted by most Climate Change studies as the worst case scenario for those who follow us.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

RENewsletter | August 12, 2012

 

The Free environmental newsletter from RochesterEnvironment.com

“Our Environment is changing: Keep up with the Change.”

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[08/04/2012 – 08/12/2012]

Opening Salvo | NewsLinks | Daily Updates | Events | Environmental Site of the Month | Take Action |

Opening Salvo: “Strike while the Climate Change iron is hot”

The small, but financially powerful, klatch of Climate Change deniers must be feeling beleaguered as so much information contrary to their belief system surfaces wildly throughout our media. Besides major articles that connect the present warming in the US (The New Climate Dice: Public Perception of Climate Change by James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy — July 2012 and Global Warming's Terrifying New Math | Politics News | Rolling Stone by Bill McKibben), there are innumerable articles that make it plain that our present warming is like nothing else in the past several hundred years:

  • · To date, 2012 is hottest year on record for the Northeast “New data released by the Northeast Regional Climate Center (NRCC) at Cornell shows the Northeast's seven-month average (January through July) of 49.9 degrees was the warmest such period since 1895, the year such record keeping began. It has been the second warmest such period in Pennsylvania and West Virginia, and the warmest first seven months of the year in the rest of the Northeast.”  (August 7, 2012) Chronicle Online
  • · California prepares for harsh realities of changing climate “Climate change is real and unfolding, and the outlook for California is bleak. A series of state-sponsored scientific studies released Tuesday warns that California can expect more scorching heat waves, severe and damaging wildfires, emergency room visits and strain on the electric grid as the Earth continues to warm and sea levels rise along the state's 1,100-mile long coast.” (July 31, 2012) Home - San Jose Mercury News

Climate Change champions must use this present heatwave as a teaching opportunity for the public before their attention wanes—like it did after Love Canal and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill when we returned to business as usual. For without public understanding and support of Climate Change, most will continue to see this summer’s heatwave as merely a unique string of weather events.

However, Climate Change champions should also take heed of NYT environmental reporter Andrew Revkin’s warning of the irrational exuberance that followed NASA’s story about a remarkably quick melting of Greenland’s glaciers this July.

‘Unprecedented’ Greenland Surface Melt – Every 150 Years? The flow of news releases and background science content from NASA is generally excellent, but the space agency badly blew it earlier this week with this headline, which has now reverberated around the Web: “Satellites See Unprecedented Greenland Ice Sheet Surface Melt.” (July 25, 2012) Dot Earth

I mention Revkin’s article to highlight several points about the tangled web of Climate Change. It’s complicated and easily confused by those who benefit from sowing doubt. Environmentalists shouldn’t overstep the real facts with misleading facts, for the accumulated evidence over the past thirty years has been quite enough to convince an overwhelming majority of climate scientists that our atmosphere is indeed warming up.

Let’s be clear; this is the message from the UNFCCC Seventeenth Conference of the Parties, Durban Wednesday, 30 November 2011:

“Warming in the climate system is unequivocal; Most of the observed increase in global average temperature since the mid-20th century is very likely due to the observed increase in anthropogenic greenhouse gas concentrations; Continue greenhouse gas emissions at or above current rates would cause further warming and induce many changes in the global climate system during the 21st century that would very likely be larger than those observed during the 20th century.”

Climate Change is like no other issue humanity has ever faced, where our actions and inactions will affect the fate of the entire planet. Absurdly, and almost impossible to imagine, the series of heatwaves, wildfires, and droughts that have ravaged our country this summer are absent from the one arena where it might actually result in action on an issue of this magnitude—the presidential elections. Even though it was only last April that President Obama released Administration Releases 10-Year Global Change Strategic Plan -- “… prepare for anticipated changes in the global environment, including climate change”, the issue of Climate Changes goes ignored (although not ignored by Climate Change champions like US Senator from Nevada Harry Reid and US Senator from Vermont Bernie Sanders.)

Already we have missed great opportunities to take responsibility for our planet, and that means years of continued warming even if we could stop all anthropogenic greenhouse gases right now. One such missed opportunity was President Carter’s July 15, 1979 ‘malaise’ speech in which he told the American people:

We are at a turning point in our history. There are two paths to choose. One is a path I've warned about tonight, the path that leads to fragmentation and self-interest. Down that road lies a mistaken idea of freedom, the right to grasp for ourselves some advantage over others. That path would be one of constant conflict between narrow interests ending in chaos and immobility. It is a certain route to failure.

All the traditions of our past, all the lessons of our heritage, all the promises of our future point to another path, the path of common purpose and the restoration of American values. That path leads to true freedom for our nation and ourselves. We can take the first steps down that path as we begin to solve our energy problem. The American Experience

Because President Carter’s opponents successfully characterized the speech as dismal, our country leaped down ‘a mistaken idea of freedom’ path and voted in a president who unleashed the full power of free market fundamentalism, therefore removing any chance of addressing energy issues that are directly connected to Climate Change. Considering the threat of Climate Change now, what if we had listened more closely to President Carter then?

Winston Churchill said of us, "Americans can always be counted on to do the right thing...after they have exhausted all other possibilities." While that may garner hope for some, Climate Change champions would do well not to let this summer’s Climate Change reality disappear back into business as usual. For ‘business as usual’ is interpreted by most Climate Change studies as the worst case scenario for those who follow us.

FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com (Click on my email for feedback)

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* Got news? | Go to my blog: Environmental Thoughts - Rochester, NY or Tweet me @ http://twitter.com/#!/FrankRrrr On Twitter and Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/RochesterEnvironment and Examiner/RochesterEnvironment, I post local environmental events, news, and commentary as soon as it happens. If you think this newsletter, which continually informs our community on our local environmental news, events, actions, is worthwhile, please encourage others to sign up. We who care about our environment and future need to ‘Occupy’ the Rochester media to change how the public views environmental news.

The great conundrum of our times is that in a time of rapidly occurring Climate Change and a rapid disintegration of the environment that we need to thrive and survive, mainstream media still marginalizes environmental concerns. [Check often for this continually updated list on the possible consequences of Climate Change in our region--supported by facts.] If there isn’t a quick and substantial change in how environmental concerns are reported, edited, and chosen in mainstream media, the public will continue to believe that environmental concerns are merely special interest matters, issues they can avoid if they choose.  How can we inform the public and monitor our environment without abridging our Freedoms--in enough time to safe ourselves?

Anything else you're interested in is not going to happen if you can't breathe the air and drink the water. Don't sit this one out. Do something. You are by accident of fate alive at an absolutely critical moment in the history of our planet. -- Carl Sagan

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NewsLinksEnvironmental NewsLinks – [Highlights of major environmental stories concerning our area from the past week]

· Bat populations fall 90% from white-nose syndrome; Hudson Valley caves are research target

· Discovery Part of New York State's EAB Early Detection Program An Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) infestation was found in the Catskill Forest Preserve at a state-owned campground,

· Drought Forces Reductions in U.S. Crop Forecasts

· West Nile virus outbreak causes Dallas to declare emergency

· California Gathers Facts to Plan for a Hot, Dry Future

· Some Idaho Farmers Pray, Others Turn On The Water

· Governor Cuomo Announces $107 Million Available Through NY-Sun Inititiative for Large Solar Power Installations

· Anti-frack signs go missing in Richmond

· Cleanup planned at Irondequoit Bay Marine Park Green living catching on in the suburbs

· Governor Cuomo Signs Bill to Protect Public Health by Requiring Sewage Plants to Notify Public When Discharge Occurs

· Series of Test Results at TCI Site and in the Surrounding Community Indicate No Threat to Public Health

· PCB tally isn't known

· Canada must focus on energy sector to meet emissions target

· Storms linked to climate change may be depleting the ozone layer, study shows

· Profits on Carbon Credits Drive Output of a Harmful Gas

· U.S. Freezes All Nuclear Power Plant Licensing Decisions

· Obama Fast-Tracks Renewables on Military Bases, Public Lands

· Cape Vincent’s Planning Board mulls termination of BP wind application

· Green growth plagues south end of Canandaigua Lake

· Andrew Cuomo signs sewage discharge bill

· Papers show heavy PCB traffic at TCI

· Drought Prompts Attack on U.S. Renewable Fuel Standard

· Cayuga County legislators oppose new BV7 plan

· Drought: Farmers dig deeper, water tables drop, competition heats up

· State of the Lake: new report investigates water quality and health of Lake Champlain

· Fossilized polar bear jawbone speaks to scientists about climate change

· It's official: It's been hot in the Northeast

· Beekeepers are abuzz over climate change and mounting bee losses

· Offshore Wind Energy in New York…Coming Soon!

· To date, 2012 is hottest year on record for the Northeast

· Governor praises coal-to-biomass plant conversion at Fort Drum

· Rochester Hearing & Speech to recycle hearing aid batteries

· DEC's fracking review grows to 4,000 pages

· Fracking poses risk to water systems, research suggests: U.S. study

· Heat tough on Great Lakes fisheries

· EWG Responds to Report that New York is About to Approve Fracking

· End of the anti-frack world near

· Analysts Conclude Fracking Wastewater Poses Substantial Risk to Drinking Water

· Lump of Coal: Promising Mine Deal Hits Headwinds

· Fracking concerns voiced in Ontario County

· City of Canandaigua ponders bottling water

· Governor Cuomo Announces Unprecedented Acquisition of 69,000 Acres of the Former Finch Pruyn Lands in the Adirondack Park

· Climate change is here — and worse than we thought

· GreenSpace: Parents' groups urge action on climate for children's sake

· Growing willows for fuel

· UPDATE: Cuomo commits to spend $49 million in "historic" expansion of Adirondack forest preserve

· Dryden, NY: A Year at the Center of Debate Over Fracking

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UpdatesDaily Updates – [Connecting the dots on Rochester’s environment. Find out what’s going on environmentally in our area—and why you should care? Clicking on -DISCUSSION – will take you to my blog “Environmental Thoughts, NY, where you can add your comments.]

  • 8/11/2012 - Because our Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club’s Zero Waste Committee is going to be the Recycling Rangers, helping orchestrate recycling for theGreentopia Festival, we thought you ought to see this amazing feature to this year’s festival recycling.  The video “The Great Recycle 2012” is as must see. "The Great Recycle" is Coming to Greeptopia | ECOFEST Honest Tea will be bringing "The Great Recycle" to Greentopia | ECOFEST September 15th and 16th, making Rochester the third stop on their nation-wide campaign!    Having launched only a few months ago in New York City's Times Square, "The Great Recycle" is Honest Tea's effort to get people excited about recycling again. Featuring the world's largest recycling bin at 30ft. in height, Honest Tea is aiming to recycle as many bottles as they've sold by 2020.   Donations will earn prizes such as: a free cold bottle of Honest Tea for one bottle recycled; t-shirts, reusable bags, or sunglasses for five or more bottles recycled; and a gift certificate for a mountain bike for 200 or more bottles recycled (while supplies last).     To get a better grasp on how large the bin really is, see for yourself in the video below! (August 10, 2012) Greentopia Festival
  • 8/11/2012 - Local media publishes article on West Nile Virus in our area. Even suggests influence of Climate Change (warming) Natural and necessary ways to Keep West Nivle Virus at bay (August 10, 2012)  RochesterHomePage.net
  • 8/11/2012 - Just in case you’ve missed how extraordinary hot this summer has been, go here to get top stories on the heat that is US.  Heat Wave: The Best Reporting on Our Rising Temperatures July was the hottest month ever in the continental U.S., and the past twelve months have been hotter than any such period on record. Half of all counties in the country have been declared disaster areas, mainly due to drought. We’ve rounded up some of the best journalism on the effects of rising temperatures. Got others you’re burning to share? Add them in the comments. (August 10, 2012) ProPublica
  • 8/11/2012 - The state of the Climate Change issue is tightly packed into this short video by Bill McKibben.   It gets to the heart of the matter: Bill McKibben's Thought Bubble: The Fight of Our Time "Bill McKibben, founder of 350.org, global thinker and leader, and author of several books; including The End of Nature, and Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet, shares this call to action for what could not only be the biggest fight of our time, but of all time. The fossil fuel industry is quickly destroying the planet, and making the fight to protect our future increasingly challenging as industry lobbying, and unabated growth continues. We all need to come together and rally behind leaders like Bill McKibben, 350.org, and countless others, to save this planet. How? With passion, spirit, and creativity, and as Bill says, sometimes putting our bodies on the line. Will you join the fight? "
  • 8/10/2012 - Major step forward in NYS by Governor Cuomo addressing Climate Changeby informing public of sewage discharges – as there will be more frequent combined sewer overflows due to an increase and frequency of extreme rain fall as predicted byClimate Change studies for our region.  Until the public gets the information they need to know, that sewer discharges are happening, they will be oblivious of some of the worst consequences of Climate Change in our area. Governor Cuomo Signs Bill to Protect Public Health by Requiring Sewage Plants to Notify Public When Discharge Occurs Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today signed legislation that will require publicly owned sewage treatment plants and sewer systems to notify the general public whenever the facility discharges untreated or partially treated sewage.   "New Yorkers have a right to know when potentially harmful, untreated sewage is discharged into waterways in their communities," Governor Cuomo said. "These new notification requirements will let the general public know when untreated sewage is released in water bodies, especially swimming beaches and fishing areas. In addition, this new law will also raise awareness to the need for upgrades and maintenance of our state's wastewater infrastructure. I thank the bill sponsors for their work on this important law."  (August 9, 2012) Governor Andrew M. Cuomo/Newsroom [more onWater Quality in our area]
  • 8/10/2012 - It shouldn’t take an economic crisis to get us on a bike.  The tragedy that is forcing many Greeks out of their vehicles and onto a bike for commuting to work and other short distances highlights how inexpensive bicycling is instead of owning, paying for gasoline, insurance, and maintenance for a car.  Moving towards a more environmental mode of travel is what we should all be moving towards as we take more responsibility for our environmental footprints.  Our way of transportation, vehicles that emit 27% of our greenhouse gases, is not sustainable and one factor or another is going to force us to change our ways.  Squeezed by debt crisis, Greeks ditch cars for bikes (Reuters) - Greece's dire economic plight has forced thousands of businesses to close, thrown one in five out of work and eroded the living standards of millions. But for bicycle-maker Giorgos Vogiatzis, it's not all bad news. The crisis has put cash-strapped Greeks on their bikes - once snubbed as a sign of poverty or just plain risky - and Greek manufacturers are shifting into fast gear. The high cost of road tax, fuel and repairs is forcing Greeks to ditch their cars in huge numbers. According to the government's statistics office, the number of cars on Greek roads declined by more than 40 percent in each of the last two years. Meanwhile, more than 200,000 bikes were sold in 2011, up about a quarter from the previous year.  Reuters (August 8, 2012)
  • 8/09/2012 - Learn more about Fracking in NYS at this event: Economic Impacts of Hydrofracking, Aug. 16, Bully Hill, Hammondsport Forum on the Economic Impacts of Hydrofracking Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:00 to 7:00 pm Bully Hill Vineyards 8843 Greyton H. Taylor Memorial Drive Hammondsport, NY A discussion of the economic impacts of hydrofracking compared to sustainable alternatives will be held Thursday, Aug. 16, at Bully Hill Vineyards in Hammondsport.  Bully Hill is located at 8843 Greyton H. Taylor Memorial Drive. The forum will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  Discussion and questions will follow the presentations. A reception with refreshments will be held before the presentations. During the reception, photographer Steve Knapp from Barrington will show slides of his photographs of Keuka Lake. The program is free and open to the public.  Reservations requested.  RSVP to sean.king@bullyhill.com.
  • 8/08/2012 - Other stuff kills birds than wind turbines.  One of the main arguments against putting up wind farms in New York State has been the toll on birds—though even major bird organizations realize that Wind Power is a major component in driving down Climate Change that has already threaten many bird populations.  Wonder if those same people who march out the bird/kill argument and also addressing these threats to birds: more...
  • 8/08/2012 - We’ve been hearing that High Speed Rail in New York State isn’t exactly dead (High-speed rail for Upstate NY picking up speed without Reps. Ann Marie Buerkle, Richard Hanna onboard ) and we’d like to think that it is inevitable.  High speed rail could be a major solution to the greenhouse gases we release via how we get about because folks could use a single train system for medium (across state) distances.  And, if you bike to the train station, load your bike on the train, and then continue on your trip by bike, then your carbon footprint gets reduced a lot.  So, maybe there’s hope:   Q&A: Amtrak President Joe Boardman on the Rational Inevitability of High-Speed Rail"Amtrak plans to build a next generation high-speed rail network along the east coast zipping business travelers from New York to Philadelphia (or D.C.) fast enough to get them to their cheesesteak power lunch in a little more than half an hour. But the $151 billion plan lacks a dedicated funding source–a source that railroad executives are asking Congress to provide at a time of hostility to big projects. So Transportation Nation’s Alex Goldmark chatted with Amtrak President and CEO, Joe Boardman about the future of our nation’s rail network, and the prospects for Northeast corridor bullet trains in particular. " (August 6, 2012)  Transportation Nation
  • 8/08/2012 - Did you know another major Climate Change talks--Doha Climate Change Conference - November 2012 -- are coming up this fall?  Understandable if you didn’t because our mainstream media has been not been doing their job on adequately informing the public on Climate Change.  But you can find out about the talks and what they are going to do here: FACTBOX-Main issues to be resolved in U.N. climate talksLONDON, Aug 6 (Reuters) - Almost 200 countries face the tough task of agreeing a new global climate deal by a deadline of 2015, forcing all nations to curb emissions of planet-warming greenhouse gases. Environment ministers will meet in Doha, Qatar, from Nov. 26 for two weeks to start preparing the new accord. Below are the main issues they face: (August 6, 2012)  AlterNet
  • 8/07/2012 - How about a security Fracking deposit by drillers for 1 trillion dollars, so when they ruin our water we at least get a fraction of our state’s value back?  We make tenants do this when they rent our homes and apartments, so why not these folks who are going to use our state as their drilling grounds and have promised they won’t ruin our water, our roads, our environment, and our existence?  Put their money on the line, like we are putting our existence on the line for Fracking. Fracking poses risk to water systems, research suggests: U.S. study A new scientific study of the risks associated with Hydraulic fracturing — or “fracking” — in the United States, found that current methods for wastewater disposal put drinking water at risk. Fracking involves pumping a mixture of water, sand and other chemicals deep underground at high pressure to fracture rocks, allowing the trapped natural gas to flow and then be pumped to the surface. While resource companies have used technology in Canada and the U.S. on a small scale for decades, it’s expected to ramp up significantly in B.C., Alberta, Quebec and New Brunswick, as deep shale gas reserves are tapped in an effort to exploit natural gas deposits and diversify Canada. (August 6, 2012) The Vancouver Sun [more on Fracking in our area]
  • 8/07/2012 - What we're reading: 2052-A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years"This website is a supplement to the book 2052-A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, written by Jorgen Randers, and to be published by Chelsea Green Publishing, Vermont, USA on June 1, 2012. The book can already be ordered fromwww.chelseagreenpublishing.com or www.amazon.com and will later become available in bookstores, most likely in more languages. The German translation is published by www.oekom.de  After the launch of the book, this website will also provide links to reviews of the book. "
  • 8/07/2012 - There’s enough reason for a majority of the public to accept #climatechange into their hearts and act for their children.  A group of mothers thinks it’s time to act on Climate Change: GreenSpace: Parents' groups urge action on climate for children's sake And our top Climate scientist thinks so too:  The New Climate Dice: Public Perception of Climate Change By James Hansen, Makiko Sato, Reto Ruedy — July 2012. Are Recent Heat Waves A Result Of Climate Change? The last couple of years have certainly felt unusually hot in many parts of the U.S., but are they really all that unusual? Many people wonder whether a warming climate is turning up the temperature or whether it's all just part of the normal variation in the weather. Among scientists, there's a growing view that these latest heat waves are indeed a result of climate change.  (August 6, 2012) NPR Environment [more on Climate Change in our area]
  • 8/07/2012 - Looks like a great documentary about something we should be finding more about: environment and cancer. Documentary traces links between cancer and the environment Finger Lakes, N.Y. — A free screening of a feature documentary based on a book by cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber takes place Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at Bristol Valley Theater, 151 S. Main St. Naples.  The documentary, “Living Downstream,” is described as a poetic film that follows Steingraber during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. The event is free, with donations appreciated. (August 6, 2012) MPNnow.com
  • 8/07/2012 - Bottling and then selling Canandaigua Lake water sounds like Privatization of public waters to me.  Might want to watch this local talk on water privitization from the Sierra Club.  "Missed our 14th Annual Environmental Forum Our Water’s Fragile Future: Hydrofracking, Climate Change, & Privatization --Then watch the video:  Might want to think this one out: City of Canandaigua ponders bottling waterCanandaigua, N.Y. — While drinking bottled water one day, City of Canandaigua Councilmember David Whitcomb had an idea. “I thought, why doesn’t the city bottle water and sell it?” Whitcomb said. Bottling water from Canandaigua Lake and selling it would be a way to gain revenue without raising taxes, he said. The issue is on tonight’s planning committee agenda; however, discussion is still in the preliminary stage.  (August 6, 2012) MPNnow.com  [more on Water Quality in our area]
  • 8/06/2012 - Will Fracking be a Resource Curse for New York State? Be afraid; be very afraid if the Fracking moratorium gets lifted in New York State.  It’s hard to imagine but the possibility of New York State falling under the specter of Resource Cursebecause of Fracking looms.  A resource curse is where “…refers to the paradox that countries and regions with an abundance of natural resources, specifically point-source non-renewable resources like minerals and fuels, tend to have less economic growth and worse development outcomes than countries with fewer natural resources.” Wikipedia Marcellus Shale becoming top US natural gas field more...
  • 8/06/2012 - Great idea for businesses to save energy dollars and help our environment: CEI - FL E$C: Geothermal Energy Seminar "Geothermal Solutions for Commercial and Industrial Buildings Are you a business owner, developer or facilities manager who wants to know more about how Geothermal Heat Pumps could work for your building? The Center for Environmental Initiatives (CEI) is hosting a free seminar on: "Geothermal Solutions for Commercial and Industrial Buildings," followed by a guided tour of a local facility that currently utilizes geothermal technology, right here in Rochester, NY! Thursday, August 23, 2012, 7:45 AM - 10:30 AM More information and Registration Register Today! Space is limited. " Center for Environmental Information  - CEI
  • 8/03/2012 - ACTION: Another opportunity to be a citizen scientist in our NYS region. Citizen Scientists will be critical in gathering info for Climate Change. DEC Seeks Participants for Summer Game Bird Surveys New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today encouraged New Yorkers to participate in surveys for two popular game birds: wild turkeys and ring-necked pheasants. "Citizen science efforts such as these provide our wildlife managers with invaluable data and give people the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York's wildlife resources," Commissioner Martens said. "I encourage you to take the time to record your observations of turkeys or pheasants while exploring the outdoors or driving through the state's beautiful landscapes this summer."  (August 2, 2012) Press Release of NYS DEC

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EventsRochester Environmental Events Calendar – [The most complete listing of all environmental events around the Rochester, New York area.] If you don’t see your event, or know of a local environmental event, please send me the info: FrankRegan@RochesterEnvironment.com with (EV event) in the subject line. Also, be sure to check other calendars and environmental series for multi-day events.

August 2012

  • Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at Bristol Valley Theater, 151 S. Main St. Naples. 
    • Documentary traces links between cancer and the environment Finger Lakes, N.Y. — A free screening of a feature documentary based on a book by cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber takes place Aug. 14 at 7 p.m. at Bristol Valley Theater, 151 S. Main St. Naples.  The documentary, “Living Downstream,” is described as a poetic film that follows Steingraber during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. The event is free, with donations appreciated. (August 6, 2012) MPNnow.com
  • Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:00 to 7:00 pm Bully Hill Vineyards 8843 Greyton H. Taylor Memorial Drive Hammondsport, NY
    • Economic Impacts of Hydrofracking, Aug. 16, Bully Hill, Hammondsport Forum on the Economic Impacts of Hydrofracking Thursday, August 16, 2012 5:00 to 7:00 pm Bully Hill Vineyards 8843 Greyton H. Taylor Memorial Drive Hammondsport, NY A discussion of the economic impacts of hydrofracking compared to sustainable alternatives will be held Thursday, Aug. 16, at Bully Hill Vineyards in Hammondsport.  Bully Hill is located at 8843 Greyton H. Taylor Memorial Drive. The forum will be from 5:00 to 7:00 pm.  Discussion and questions will follow the presentations. A reception with refreshments will be held before the presentations. During the reception, photographer Steve Knapp from Barrington will show slides of his photographs of Keuka Lake. The program is free and open to the public.  Reservations requested.  RSVP tosean.king@bullyhill.com.
  • Friday, August 17, 2012 6:00 PM- 7:30 PM | Irondequoit Bay Marine Park, 4993 Culver Road, Rochester, NY 14622 (Meet at the Barefoot Wine tent, in the parking lot at the end of Culver Road on the lake side!)
    • Barefoot Wine is teaming up with the Alliance for the Great Lakes to host a public Adopt-a-Beach™ cleanup at Irondequoit Bay Marine Park. Following the cleanup, volunteer’s ages 21 and older are invited to attend a celebration featuring Barefoot Wine and surf-inspired fare at Marge’s Lakeside Inn. The event is part of a partnership between Barefoot Wine and the Alliance’s Adopt-a-Beach™ Program to help clean up Great Lakes beaches and shorelines and offer a special celebration to recognize volunteers’ efforts.  In 2011, more than 8,000 Adopt-a-Beach™ volunteers removed 32,668 pounds of trash at 254 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.  This cleanup is part of a series of events this summer with Barefoot Wine and the Alliance for the Great Lakes.  For more info on additional events in your area, visit: www.greatlakesadopt.org. For more information about this event, please visit www.greatlakesadopt.org and search for Irondequoit Bay Marine Park! "
  • Saturday, August 25, noon to 6pm | Monroe Avenue between Rutgers and Oxford
    • Spokes and Ink – A Bike and Poster Party Spokes and Ink at the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education Saturday, August 25, 2012 Noon to 6pm Monroe Avenue at Oxford/Rutgers   Spokes and Ink is a new festival in Rochester that brings bicyclists and artists together.  This event on Monroe Avenue showcases the diversity of both groups – avid cyclists, recreational riders, the environmentally aware, letterpress printers, graphic designers and talented artists of all sorts!     There will be poster art, food and merchandise for sale, live music and activities to attract a crowd.  In the inaugural year of 2011, Spokes & Ink drew 600+ guests.  2012 is expected to be bigger and better!   If you are interested in reaching this wide-ranging demographic who are into bicycles and art or just want to support this activity for others, please consider a sponsorship.  Your business or organization could benefit from the exposure that is possible at Spokes and Ink.   What: Spokes and Ink – A Bike and Poster Party Where: Monroe Avenue between Rutgers and Oxford When: Saturday, August 25, noon to 6pm   Proceeds from the event will benefit the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education and R Community Bikes.   The Genesee Center for the Arts & Education is a community-based 501(c)3 organization that educates, encourages and inspires all people to create and enjoy the visual arts. We have 40+ years of experience in serving the Rochester community with great arts programming including classes, exhibits, studio access and special events. R Community Bikes is a grassroots, 501(c)3 organization that collects and repairs used bicycles for distribution, free of charge, to Rochester, NY's most needy children and adults. Their mission is meeting the basic transportation needs of those in the community who depend on bikes for recreation as well as for transport to work, school, rehabilitation programs, and training sessions.   If you have any questions about the Genesee Center for the Arts & Education or about Spokes and Ink,  please call the office at 585-244-1730.  We look forward to hearing from you!
  • Wednesday, August 29th , 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm, Brook Street Playground, Geneva
    • Castle Creek Community Stream Monitoring Event Wednesday, August 29th , 6:00 pm- 7:00 pm, Brook Street Playground, Geneva A Family Friendly Event! To complement the FLI’s upcoming downtown Geneva window display, “Going With The Flow”, the Finger Lakes Institute is hosting a community stream monitoring event in Castle Creek, Geneva’s urban stream. With a focus on environmental awareness, participants in this event will learn from stream ecologist Dr. Susan Cushman about the health of Castle Creek and what indicators are used to measure stream health. Community members are encouraged to attend and to bring children and friends as they will all have a chance to get their feet wet finding stream critters and measuring water quality. Participants will receive a free take-home water monitoring kit, while supplies last. This event, sponsored by the Ontario County Water Resource Council and in cooperation with the Geneva Neighborhood Resource Center, is free and open to the public. Participants should meet at Brook Street Playground on Brook St., Geneva. Children under 12 must be accompanied by an adult. Participants MUST wear water-shoes to participate. Happenings | the monthly newsletter of the Finger Lakes Institute

September 2012

  • September 10th - 16th - High Falls region, Rochester, NY
    • Greentopia 2012 Greentopia 2012 is a week-long celebration of inspiration through art, music, organic and locally grown food and beverages, ideas and activism. The expanded event will contain four programmatic aspects, which include Greentopia Innovation, Greentopia Film, Greentopia Music and Greentopia EcoFest. In its first year the event drew between 18-20,000 people to the historic High Falls district. Through how-to workshops and cutting-edge films, visitors learned about big green ideas and how to apply them creatively in everyday life. There are special family activities, a community recycled art installation, mouthwatering organic and local food and beverages, and all kinds of live music. Businesses and organizations showcased products and programs that help to restore the planet, promote green living – even save consumers some money.
  • Friday, September 14, 2012 | Rochester Plaza Hotel, 70 State Street, Rochester, NY 14614
    • A business-to-business conference on green practices for our region:   Greentopia | INNOVATION | Rochester, NY "CEI and SWBR Architects would like to invite you to attend the first annual Greentopia: INNOVATION conference on Friday, September 14, 2012. This business-to-business conference is meant to enlighten, inspire, and ignite green ideas, action and innovation. Formerly CEI’s Triple Bottom Line (CEI: Center for Environmental Initiatives - Triple Bottom Line Conferences) conference, this event is geared towards professionals from all walks of life, creating the perfect opportunity to network, obtain new insights, and share business practices. As an innovation conference including presentations, case studies, and panel discussions, our aim is to promote cutting edge concepts in business incubation, innovation, green practices, and showcase brilliance in environmentally conscious technological design and implementation. Engaging and dynamic speakers will be joining us from all over the northeastern United States to present the latest innovations in business practices, sustainability and technology. You may even be able to pick up some CEU credits for selected topics. Complete details about the conference, including registration and exhibiting can be found at:Greentopia | INNOVATION | Rochester, NY "

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ActionTake Action - Often, I receive request to pass on alerts, petitions, Public Comments on local developments, and environmental items needing action by the Rochester Community and around the world. I’ll keep Actions posted until their due date.

  • ACTION: Due date: August 17th :  
    • Friday, August 17, 2012 6:00 PM- 7:30 PM | Irondequoit Bay Marine Park, 4993 Culver Road, Rochester, NY 14622 (Meet at the Barefoot Wine tent, in the parking lot at the end of Culver Road on the lake side!)
  • Barefoot Wine is teaming up with the Alliance for the Great Lakes to host a public Adopt-a-Beach™ cleanup at Irondequoit Bay Marine Park.Following the cleanup, volunteer’s ages 21 and older are invited to attend a celebration featuring Barefoot Wine and surf-inspired fare at Marge’s Lakeside Inn. The event is part of a partnership between Barefoot Wine and the Alliance’s Adopt-a-Beach™ Program to help clean up Great Lakes beaches and shorelines and offer a special celebration to recognize volunteers’ efforts.  In 2011, more than 8,000 Adopt-a-Beach™ volunteers removed 32,668 pounds of trash at 254 locations in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, New York, Ohio and Wisconsin.  This cleanup is part of a series of events this summer with Barefoot Wine and the Alliance for the Great Lakes.  For more info on additional events in your area, visit: www.greatlakesadopt.org. For more information about this event, please visit www.greatlakesadopt.org and search for Irondequoit Bay Marine Park! "
  • ACTION: Due Date; this summer
    • Another opportunity to be a citizen scientist in our NYS region.  Citizen Scientists will be critical in gathering info for Climate Change. DEC Seeks Participants for Summer Game Bird Surveys New York State Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Commissioner Joe Martens today encouraged New Yorkers to participate in surveys for two popular game birds: wild turkeys and ring-necked pheasants. "Citizen science efforts such as these provide our wildlife managers with invaluable data and give people the opportunity to partner with DEC to help monitor New York's wildlife resources," Commissioner Martens said. "I encourage you to take the time to record your observations of turkeys or pheasants while exploring the outdoors or driving through the state's beautiful landscapes this summer."  (August 2, 2012) Press Release of NYS DEC
  • ACTION: Due Date now
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
    • Tired of meteorologists failing to connect the dots between Climate Change and our daily weather?  Do something about it. Take action:     Forecast the Facts WE NEED OUR TV METEOROLOGISTS TO REPORT THE FACTS ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE. According to a recent national survey, more than half of TV weather reporters don’t believe in human-induced climate change. Meanwhile, their viewers are facing unprecedented climate-change induced heat waves, droughts, and flooding.
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
    • Tell the NRC: Expand emergency evacuation zones Today, NIRS and 37 other organizations submitted a formal Petition for Rulemaking to the NRC to expand emergency evacuation zones around U.S. nuclear reactors and make other improvements in emergency preparedness. We're calling this the Nuclear 911 campaign. You can join us as a co-petitioner below! The widespread radioactive contamination caused by the Fukushima nuclear disaster (and Chernobyl before it) makes clear that the current 10 mile Emergency Planning Zones in the U.S. are woefully inadequate to protect the American people. "Nuclear Information and Resource Service - NIRS
  • ACTION: Due Date: Now
    • What to do something concrete about solving Climate Change?  Go here: "Are you passionate about changing the conversation about the climate crisis? Are you interested in leading the climate movement? What if I said you have the chance to be personally trained by Al Gore to educate others about climate change? This summer, you could have that chance. I'd like to invite you to apply to be one of our esteemed Climate Reality Presenters -- impassioned volunteer leaders who bring the reality of climate change to people around the world. We call our grassroots network of Presenters the heart of our Climate Leadership Corps. Learn more: "Climate Reality "To reveal the complete truth about the climate crisis in a way that ignites the moral courage in each of us. "Climate Reality | Climate Reality Training Application
  • ACTION: Due date: Now

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AwardEnvironmental Site of the Month Award – [On the last Sunday of each month, we present an environmental award for the Rochester-area environmental web site or blog that best promotes the need to protect and offers solutions for our area's environmental issues.]