Monday, January 30, 2017

Why Rochester, NY should release its Climate Action plan soon

Climate action plans (CAPs) are critical for addressing Climate Change locally and demonstrating to the public that their government has their priorities straight. Last year at this time, I wrote: “Why Climate Action Plans (CAP) are so important for every community” and in October I wrote this: “Connecting the dots between Rochester’s Climate Action Plan (CAP) and our disadvantaged communities”. Both articles give a robust argument for the release of the City’s CAP.

Mayor Warren has already spoken publically and forcefully about the role of government in addressing Climate Change:

"Cities must take a leading role in confronting climate change regardless of federal policy," Warren said. "I have no doubt this is what our citizens expect of us and will allow us to lead by example on this critical issue." (from, City aims to fight climate change, November 21, 2016, Rochester Democrat and Chronicle)

However, the City may decide to integrate the CAP rollout within rollout of the Comprehensive Master Plan  (technically, it is part of the Comprehensive Plan, but here I’m referring to its rollout to the public). Such a strategic embedding is not a good idea at this time. If this is done, and the CAP is not highlighted in the media separately, it conceals the compelling concerns our government has about Climate Change in our region. It demonstrates to the public and the media that Climate Change isn’t all that important.

Mayor Warren has taken a leadership role in defending Rochester’s status as a 'Sanctuary City' against the federal government’s new xenophobic attitude towards immigrants, and I hope she also maintains a similar degree of leadership regarding Climate Change. 

For a long time, a great complacency towards our environment has become entrenched in the US. The first Earth Day in 1970 came about because we had allowed our environment to descend to such a deplorable state that 20 million people rushed to the streets to protest. It resulted in the formation of a federal agency, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), to preserve and protect our environment. Now, the EPA is under a massive attack by the new administration, hoping to severely reduce the size and effectiveness of our nation’s leading environmental agency.

Official: Trump wants to slash EPA workforce, budget The former head of President Donald Trump's transition team at the Environmental Protection Agency said Thursday he expects the new administration to seek significant budget and staff cuts. Myron Ebell said in an interview with The Associated Press that Trump is likely to seek significant reductions to the agency's workforce — currently about 15,000 employees nationwide. Ebell, who left the transition team last week, declined to discuss specific numbers of EPA staff that could be targeted for pink slips. Asked what he would personally like to see, however, Ebell said slashing the agency's size by about half would be a good start. (January 27, 2017, AP

Over the years, the EPA came to understand that our gravest environmental threat would come as a quick warming of our planet, Climate Change. All our myriad environmental issues—pollution, loss of biodiversity, water quality, etc.—would be intimately entwined within a human-caused increase in greenhouse gasses. Much of the legal force in our country to address Climate Change came from the EPA. Now, the EPA is being gutted and science itself is being attacked. The American public, which includes scientists, educators, government employees, and ordinary citizens, finds itself in the absurd position of having to defend science. We cannot be complacent about science and our life support system anymore.   

The public needs to feel confident that their local government is on the ball in a time when our federal government is scrubbing environmental information from its agencies. The State of New York, as well as its cities, now needs to take the lead. 

Consider sending your personal note and/or one from your organization to: Anne Spaulding, Director of the Office of Energy and Sustainability: requesting that the City’s CAP be unveiled soon and separately from the Comprehensive Master Plan (Earth Day 2017 is a great and timely opportunity for it). This would be just a year from the first public announcement that the Rochester CAP was in the works and moving to a final drafting stage. Watch this video of the press conference in City Hall last year that includes the City’s announcement of Climate Action Plan.

In a time when many of the lights are going out on governmental climate change information critical to the public and media, Rochester needs to step up to the plate. It is long past time to be shying away from Climate Change.


Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Is Climate Change really an existential issue?

Oftentimes, writers, reporters, educators, and scientists refer to Climate Change as an existential problem. Here’s what they mean by that:

“In reality, the Earth is heating up, a point long beyond serious scientific dispute, but one becoming more evident as the records keep falling. Temperatures are heading toward levels that many experts believe will pose a profound threat to both the natural world and to human civilization.” (Earth Sets a Temperature Record for the Third Straight Year (January 18, 2017) New York Times 

Climate Change communicators usually don’t like to characterize the warming crisis as apocalyptic because it tends to overwhelm and paralyze their audience. And while this position may have some psychological validity to it, it doesn’t excuse climate denial. Facing the existential aspect of Climate Change by a large swath of humanity is critical because until it is framed correctly as “a profound threat to the natural world and to human civilization”, we won’t understand the urgency to address it.
Granted, trying to make the existential argument has the ‘crying wolf’ component. One would be hard pressed to find a time in human history when some faction or other didn’t think the world was going to end in their lifetime. In my own lifetime, there have been several doomsday prognostications (which obviously did not end in a complete disaster) including the Cuban Missile Crisis.  

But, as in the fable, it’s quite possible that however often the boy cries wolf, a wolf can still show up. (Note: ‘wolf’ here is a metaphor for BAD! but real wolves are not bad, they are vital components of our ecosystems.) In order for the public to sort out fable from reality, we need more expert scientists and their wonderful instruments. Their instruments are telling us that our atmosphere and oceans are warming. That our seas are rising. That increasingly extreme weather is occurring because of Climate Change.

Part of the existential nature of Climate Change and integral to properly understand the urgency is tipping points (or ‘thresholds’).  

Climate modeling is a critical tool for climate scientists and these computer models are able to factor in much of the climate data scientists are gathering, including economic models in order to anticipate how humanity will respond to various financial scenarios.  However, climate models are no panacea. They cannot predict a climate denier voted into the highest office in the most powerful nation along with a like-minded cabinet.

The more scientists learn about our ecosystems and climate the more they can predict some of the possible tipping points. But not what the results will be.

“The possible existence of thresholds implies that there may be limits to how predictable future changes to ecosystems will be and that we may be able only to identify thresholds where significant change will occur, but not what those changes will be.” (Schimel, David. Climate and Ecosystems (Princeton Primers in Climate, p. 159. Princeton University Press. Kindle Edition.)

This kind of doubt about the consequences of Climate Change is only a positive thing to climate deniers. For the rest of us, Climate Change is an existential problem because things can get out of hand very quickly.  

Time passes. 

Monday, January 16, 2017

Planning for Earth Day 2017 in Rochester, NY

In one fashion or another I’ve been promoting Earth Day events for almost twenty years in Rochester. In that time, local environmentalist have tried to capture the public’s attention on the one day of the year held sacrosanct for environmental concerns. Even our media, always looking for news opportunities, turns their attention towards our life support system on Earth Day.

Some of the environmental issues we highlighted to capture the public’s attention were:

·          “Biotechnology: An Organic Farmer’s Perspective” Keynote speech by Mary-Howell Martens
·         “The cost of sprawl to the environment, the economy, and people of the region” Keynote Speaker: Rochester Mayor William A. Johnson, Jr.
·         “From Crisis To Opportunity” A Forum on National, State, & Local Environmental Issues Keynote Speakers: Elizabeth Thorndike, David Higby, Jack Bradigan Spula
·         “Protecting and Policing New York’s Environment” Keynote Speaker: Peter Lehner, JD Chief of the Environmental Protection Bureau of the NY Attorney General’s Office
·         “Hemlock/Canadice: the Future of Our ‘Little’ Lakes” Keynote Speakers: Andy Beers and Jim Howe
·         “Transportation Alternatives for Rochester A Vision for the Future” Keynote Speakers: Richard Perrin, David Keefe and John Thomas.
·         “Local and Sustainable Food – Local Food Choices” Keynote Speakers: Michael Warren Thomas, Elizabeth Henderson, and Peter McDonald
·         “Transitioning to Sustainable Communities” Keynote Speaker: Tina Clarke from the Sustainability Institute
·         “Sustainable Production, Rochester’s Cutting Edge” Keynote Speakers Dr. Nabil Nasr, RIT’s Assistant Provost and Director of the Golisano Institute for Sustainability; Catherine Reeves, the Director of Sustainable Operations at Xerox Corporation
·         “Our Water’s Fragile Future: Hydrofracking, Climate Change, & Privatization” Keynote Speaker: Jim Olson, a Michigan environmental attorney
·         “Protecting Our Great Lakes Forever” Keynote Speaker: author Maude Barlow
·         “Climate Smart Communities: Let’s Get With the Program” Keynote Speaker: Mark Lowery, Climate Policy Analyst, Office of Climate Change, New York State Dept. of Environmental Conservation
·         “Climate, Energy, and Intergenerational Justice”: Keynote Speaker: Dr. James Hansen
·         “Agriculture and Climate Change: Formulating Sustainable Choices”

We covered many specific environmental concerns back in the day. But even within this short span of time, the themes have gravitated quickly towards Climate Change. In other words, we used to have a lot of separate environmental problems but now we have one. Climate Change is becoming a singularity at which many environmental issues, including public health and climate justice, are now swirling because it is an existential threat.  

This year’s Earth Day is special because our environment needs as much attention by the public as it did on the first Earth Day in 1970, where millions took to the streets.

“On April 22, 1970, 20 million Americans took to the streets, parks, and auditoriums to demonstrate for a healthy, sustainable environment in massive coast-to-coast rallies. Thousands of colleges and universities organized protests against the deterioration of the environment. Groups that had been fighting against oil spills, polluting factories and power plants, raw sewage, toxic dumps, pesticides, freeways, the loss of wilderness, and the extinction of wildlife suddenly realized they shared common values.” (The History of Earth Day, Earth Day Network)

Now, a couple of groups in Rochester are making plans for Earth Day 2017. The Rochester Sierra Club is inviting the “man who was elected as the first African American President of the Sierra Club, Aaron Mair.” (December eco-logue). At the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, we are working on a large parade downtown. Inclusiveness, joining together, and accepting everyone from every walk of life are key to any kind of solution that will matter.

In every way possible, we have tried over the years to engage the public and get them to demonstrate their concern for their life support system. As Climate Change becomes more of a threat to our existence, so are the efforts of environmental activists, even as a great cancer of climate denial metastasizes throughout our land.

Just after this Earth Day, the People’s Climate Mobilization begins in Washington, DC. 
“New year, new resolve. Time to mark your calendars for April 29th, 2017. That’s the date of the People’s Climate Mobilization, a major march in Washington, D.C., when we will come together with hundreds of thousands of people to reject Trump’s attack on our communities and climate, and push forward with our vision of a clean energy economy that works for all. Sign up to be part of it here, and connect with others near you who will be taking action in the run-up to April. We believe that in this moment of division, turmoil, and fear, it's important to put forward an alternative vision that inspires and connects. If we don't put forward our own vision -- of an economy built on justice and powered by clean, renewable energy -- then we let fossil-fuel-soaked nationalism, xenophobia, and hatred win. We need to show that more people still believe in our shared vision for the future than in Donald Trump's. That's where you come in: The only way this mobilization will work is if it’s driven from the bottom up by people like you. That's why we want to get you involved with the People's Climate Mobilization starting today -- whether you've helped organize a dozen marches before, or if you're a first-time participant.” (People’s Climate Movement)

Don’t sit this one out.

Monday, January 09, 2017

Climate Change educational centers

While we wait for the Trump administration to come to life

While we wait to see what the Trump administration is actually going to do or undo about addressing Climate Change, we can speculate about something other than gearing up for a lot of environmental fights. Of course, it’s prudent for environmental groups and states to protect our environment and not allow any backsliding on environmental protections we’ve already achieved. Our environment is our life support system, not a special interest; so those who ‘get it’ aren’t likely to let go of hope.

Along with preparations for traditional environmental strategies, environmental groups should be trying to figure out what went wrong in the last elections such that climate denial is now in vogue. We assumed that the public understands Climate Change—instead, they just thought other issues were more important, which is absurd. If the public knew that Climate Change is an existential threat that has to be adapted to, the US Presidential elections wouldn’t have even been close. I know, many people do not believe that Climate Change is a threat to our future, but this is an opinion based on many assumptions about past climate changes, past human endeavors, and probably a healthy dose of the will not to believe. (One can think of the ‘will not to believe’ in the context of Germany under Hitler where too many Germans chose not to believe what they were hearing about what came to be known as the Holocaust.) 

My thesis that everyone must know Climate Change

My thesis about our failure at the polls last November is that environmentalists, scientists, bloggers, and our media failed to communicate to the entire public that Climate Change is unavoidable, that it must be addressed whether we like it or not. I don’t mean to say heroic efforts were not made by many parties to present evidence of this crisis, but that we failed to reach enough. I believe that if the entire public really understood the evidence supporting Climate Change and the threat to our life support system that this crisis presents, they would not have allowed Climate Change to simmer on the backburners during our last election. Many civilizations— Mississippian culture, Ancestral Puebloans, and early Easter Island, just to name a few—failed in conditions of changing climate and/or environmental failure. Of course, these civilizations didn’t know they were wrecking their environment or failing to notice ominous changes. There is no such lack of information and evidence for Climate Change today.

(You could say that there are many instances where people know cigarette smoking will kill them, yet they do it anyways. I would argue that they don’t know it. They think they know it, but convince themselves that it won’t be them that gets nailed. Just look at their 95-year old grandfather who’s been smoking all his life. Or, there are folks whose doctor has told them they are going to die of smoking but continue regardless. These folks know that their number is up and figure it won’t make any difference now if they keep smoking. But, for my argument, civilizations don’t think like that. Civilizations don’t say that our way of life is killing us and continue business as usual anyways. Not knowingly. I believe humanity, everyone, hasn’t been presented with the full picture of how environments work and how they fail. They may know other climate changes, but they don’t know Climate Change.) 

There is already overwhelming evidence from our most credible sources that Climate Change is happening and that this crisis is a threat to our future. There are innumerable ways to get this information free. So there is no lack of expert climate information readily available. But here’s the rub: Somehow those who know Climate Change need to communicate this information to everyone on a scale and time frame that will matter. Pandering to people’s comfort zone is pointless; it encourages the wrong-headed notion that Climate Change can be addressed without challenging our way of life. If we could conduct a massive Spock-like mind-meld, I think we could go far in gaining a world-wide consensus on the urgency behind addressing Climate Change. We’d make the incorporeal jump between minds and bodies, clear of self-interests, beliefs, assumptions, politics and get to the heart of the matter.

Short of that, there may be a way to bake the reality of Climate Change into our present social and political zeitgeist so that it’s more comfortable for the majority of the public to accept it than deny it.

Climate Change Central

My thoughts strayed in this direction as I remembered the Climate Change Central project in Rochester back in 2008-09. So, for the record, I’m anchoring my idea on the great effort of two local women who spent their own money to set up a meeting place on Park Avenue to educate the public on Climate Change. They showed films, created a small library of books and pamphlets by local groups addressing Climate Change. They invited passersby to come in and just talk about Climate Change. It was a wonderful showcase for communicating with people about this crisis. Eventually, these women ran out of funds and the project vanished.

But this project could be resurrected in many ways and set on a much larger stage.

The vision:

I’d like to see brick-and-mortar institutions focused on Climate Change education in Rochester, and in every community. But first, I’d like to shoot for the stars with my vision of what could be: A climate institution where there would be a curator and staff of experts. There would be similar institutions in each community. Using our best communication tools, there would be displays explaining what climate change is and how this Climate Change is different. Each community would have Climate Change brought home through photo galleries, films, and artistic works that demonstrate how each community was contributing to Climate Change and how each community would be affected. For example, Climate Change in Rochester won’t look the same as Climate Change in Alaska (which is warming faster and more dramatically).

This climate institution would have books. It would have examples of climate models, with scientists describing how such systems worked. More public knowledge about climate modeling would convince many more people how rigorous predicting our future climate has become. Check this out:

Demystifying Climate Models By  Andrew Gettelman, National Center for Atmospheric Research Richard B. Rood, Climate and Space Sciences, University of Michigan Springer 2016 Download PDF from Springer Open Access "Uncertainty is not a weakness. Understanding uncertainty is a strength, and a key part of using any model, including climate models."

There would be interactive displays where various scenarios were modeled so the public could see the local advantages of taking action and the disadvantages of not doing so. It could be a sliding scale that would demonstrate various scenarios—like a scenario where we started building up our various infrastructures, like our sewer systems and highways, and then see what happens when there is more flooding—as predicted by climate studies. Activists and environmentalists would be able to set up booths explaining how climate justice for challenged communities are a vital component of addressing Climate Change. Projects would demonstrate likely outcomes in the future of where we took proper action and where we didn’t. There would definitely be an Internet station with online portals that would help visitors navigate and interpret the great wealth of data and information on this crisis.

My special climate educational dream project:

In the center of each institution would be a gigantic hologram, a 3-D image of Earth projected into a space where the public could walk around it and climb via a spiral staircase to perhaps several stories. This Earth hologram wouldn’t just be an image; it would be a computerized composition that visualized data from past and present monitoring data. It would be the ultimate pedagogical tool for Climate Change. The public would be able to see Earth breathe and react to the slightest biological and physical forces. The public would see various scenarios tested on this hologram and see what climate scientists see when they run possible situations in their models. Seeing Climate Change in this way would give the public, at every level of education and background, the feedback they need in order to grasp this extremely complex crisis.  

The Climate Museum

While many will see this idea as unlikely, wildly expensive, and completely improbable, something like it is actually is happening in New York City.

“We are launching a climate museum in New York City to serve as a hub for climate engagement and leadership in a challenging world. The Paris Agreement of 2015 holds great promise for the transition to a clean energy economy and culture. Despite the range of efforts across society to make this transition real, the threats of denialism and obstruction are more potent than ever. We must rise to this challenge together. To do so, we need something new: a public space where we can gather to learn about climate change, face our fears, share solutions, and commit to change. The Climate Museum will be this place: a cultural and educational institution dedicated to climate issues and solutions.” The Climate Museum  

The Climate Change imperative

This idea of a public space to learn about Climate Change must work. Traditional environmental actions—marching*, publishing newsletters, protesting, fighting in the courts, and even joining environmental groups--don’t get our entire public engaged. It gets lots of folks engaged, but obviously not enough. In fact, these activities may be distancing ourselves from the very public we are trying to reach. The NYC museum project must be scalable, in order for millions of people in all walks of life. Nobody doesn’t like museums, as millions already visit them each year.

A smaller vision involves relatively inexpensive public spaces where volunteers would explain Climate Change and connect with the public—as was the case with Climate Change Central.  After rent for a room, utilities, and insurance are accounted for, in-kind services, donations, and volunteers could make this project doable. Given the imperative of getting the public up-to-date on Climate Change, the cost would be minimal. Discovering the god particle, the Higgs Boson particle, cost billions and billions of dollars. Though a very interesting particle, it won’t save humanity. Just saying…

Time passes.

* I don’t mean to undermine the importance of marching, rallying, and demonstrating in any way—as I have been a part of the largest environmental marches in and around the Northeast for many years. For the purposes of this essay, I want to highlight in the importance of reaching folks who wouldn’t even think of marching in the streets to save their environment, which I suspect is a lot of people. Those are the people we need to reach.  

Monday, January 02, 2017

19 years of

When I began almost two decades ago, my goal was to demonstrate that environmental news was just as important and occurred as frequently as other news. Only, our local and national media weren’t paying much attention to the condition of our life support system. The Internet, I thought then, could provide anyone with an opportunity to collect news and information from an incredible number of sources—including all local media, governmental agencies, universities, digital books, and similar sources from around the world—that would help reach everyone.

I focused my efforts on a single region—Rochester, NY—as an experiment to find out what effect providing every environmental resource available to the public, media, environmental groups, governments, businesses, and individuals.

I found over the years that there was an incredible amount of environmental information and news that our local media was not disseminating to the public. Finding environmental news in the public interest was slow at first during the late 1990’s but as major issues evolved such as plastics pollution, water quality issues, and Climate Change, it became more important to prioritize environmental news than post whatever I could find. Also, many institutions, official agencies, and environmental groups were increasingly providing news, online studies, all free. Climate studies, official reports, and data abound on the Internet, ready for public consumption.

My position on getting environmental information to the public grew as I saw environmental issues like Climate Change grow, while public interest and knowledge on these critical issues seem to waiver and then diminish. (Note that the election of Trump to President, who is filling top positions in science agencies with climate deniers, is a low point in the public’s environmental awareness. Last November’s elections weren’t entirely a fluke, as still too many Americans don’t appreciate the urgency of addressing Climate Change.) Which is to say, my efforts and a lot of others to get the public to appreciate the urgency and scope of Climate Change and other environmental problems has failed.

Protecting our environment, I’ve come to believe, requires a different kind of journalism, one that communicates to the public the potential of various environmental threats before these issues reach the front pages of our media in the traditional way. By the time oil spills, invasive species breakouts, and climate warming itself reach public attention, they are oftentimes at a stage in their development that makes it difficult if not impossible to address them.

During’s existence, I’ve witnessed many positive developments that demonstrate a growing awareness of environmental concerns in our region:
  • The City of Rochester has developed and is ready to release its Climate Action Plan. This plan was a long-time coming and not only describes the threats coming to our region but governmental efforts to solve them. (When you think of the direction our nations is going, Rochester’s and other community’s efforts at this time are critical.)
  • The march last year on Nov 29th to support the UN’s Climate Change Conference, which produced the Paris Agreement, brought over 400 people into our streets. (Hundreds March To Support United Nation’s 2015 Climate Change Conference ROCHESTER, N.Y. (November 29, 2015) Time Warner Cable News 
  • Dr. Hansen’s talk in Rochester, NY on April 21st at Monroe County Community College. This event, sponsored in part by the Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club, brought together over 800 people. If you missed Dr. Hansen’s talk, check out this video.
  • For several years, Greentopia sponsored week-long festivals that brought in thousands of local people with activities focused on living sustainably. Greentopia still works towards making our community more environmentally friendly.   
  • The Center of Environmental Initiatives, now Genesee RiverWatch, has honed in on researching and cleaning up our Genesee River.
  • Back in 2008-2009 some inspired folks created ‘Climate Change Central’, a brick-and-mortar outlet for discussing and distributing information on Climate Change in the Park Avenue area. (I still think this concept is so great that efforts should be made to resurrect it.)
  • Monroe County passed the Neighborhood Notification Law, which protects children and pets from pesticide drift during pesticide applications. Our county also added 3-7 plastics in recycling, moved to single-stream recycling, and helps keep our parks clean with its yearly Pick-Up-The-Parks program.
  • Rochester’s Clean Sweep brings hundreds of volunteers to spruce up our gardens, streets, and remove litter. 
  • The inclusion of bicycle boulevards in the City Bicycle Master Plan and the pursuit of the Bicycle Friendly Awards keeps our city focused on active transportation (walking and bicycling), which will reduce greenhouse gas emission and make folks healthier.
  • In 2016 Rochester piled hundreds of folks onto buses, trains, and car pools heading to the People’s Climate March, helping to join with hundreds of thousands (about 400,000) to get a real climate deal. In the process of promoting Rochester’s commitment, the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition was formed and thrives today with over 100 member groups.
  • Started a couple of years ago, the Fast Forward Film festival encourages efforts by young folks to tell their story about our environment.

Much has happened in a positive direction, but not nearly enough.

The rise in social media and Smartphones over the years has been both a boon and bust. While it is great to get feedback and reach more people, what has also happened is that the silos of interest have become more narrow and entrenched. I use both Facebook and Twitter and they provide immediate feedback but they are also ephemeral. With social media it is possible to keep more of our base engaged while keeping that information completely invisible to anyone who does not understand or care to understand the role of our environment in our existence. 

By the close of 2016, the lack of environmental news and information is not as prevalent as the misunderstandings of it caused by bad players intent on sowing doubt where there really isn’t any. How environmental issues are framed, even by environmental groups, is now paramount in environmental communication. I don’t mean pandering to the public’s desire to see environmental issues tamped down to fit within our comfort zone. I mean properly framing environmental issues, especially Climate Change, as the existential threat that they are. Our past environmental abuses—pollution, loss of biodiversity, overconsumption—are going to make addressing Climate Change incredibly difficult. We are challenging our life support system beyond our ability to make it sustainable.

With the election of Trump the threat of less information coming from governmental sources seems more likely. (I hope our media is monitoring not only our environment but also whether our environmental agencies will be stripped of critical information.)

What has struck me in the last twenty years is that there is more breaking news on the state of our environment than I ever could have imagined: More oil pipeline ruptures, more Bomb Trains, more extreme weather events, more people in the streets sick and tired of allowing our environment to be trashed. This is not good because, as I have mentioned earlier, by the time environmental stories get to our headlines, they’ve probably become intractable.

The first UN Climate Change Conference was held in 1995 in Berlin, about the same time as began. Since that time, the Paris Agreement, a result of the 21st climate talks, became official. The world understands the threat of Climate Change as well as conscious beings, who caused this climate change, can understand. Humanity no longer has any excuse not to address Climate Change.

Humanity has an obligation to protect its life support system.

Time passes.