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Earth Day 2014: Climate Change in Rochester NY is exceptional, Part 8

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This is part 8 of a series of essays leading up to a major public discussion of Climate Change in Rochester NY on Earth day. On April 17, 2014 at 7PM, the Rochester Sierra Club will host a community discussion on Climate Change in our region with Mark Lowery, Climate Analyst, and manager of the state’s Climate Smart Communities program. The program is called 2014 Earth Day Forum “Climate Smart Communities: Let’s Get With the Program." This “Earth Day” event (I know, April 22 is actually Earth Day) will be held at the First Unitarian Church, 220 Winton Road South, Rochester, NY. We hope to reach the entire public—community, faith, and business leaders, students, the unemployed, the employed, young and old, healthy and not so healthy, rich and poor, and folks busy with other stuff —and have an old-fashioned community talk about the world crisis called Climate Change. Join your neighbors in a town hall meeting free from activism, ideology, politics, and denial.

Climate Change is occurring around the world and expressing itself right now in myriad forms. All major mainstream media, including a local report, are making much of the new Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Working Group 2 report, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability. Here’s a sampling of the news this week on the report’s release : Health Professionals Worldwide Demand Urgent Climate Action Following IPCC Report , Climate Impacts Are Going to Hit the Developing World Hardest, IPCC Says, U.N. Climate Panel Issues Dire Warning of Threat to Global Food Supply, Calls for Action & Adaption, Climate Change 2014: Impacts, Adaptation, and Vulnerability , Groundbreaking UN Report Warns Climate Change a Threat to Global Security and Mankind , New UN Report Is Cautious On Making Climate Predictions , IPCC Says Climate Change is Here, World Needs to Adapt , Climate impacts 'overwhelming' - UN , IPCC Report: A changing climate creates pervasive risks but opportunities exist for effective responses , IPCC report: climate change felt 'on all continents and across the oceans'.

The level of concern, the observations of present indicators, and possible consequences of Climate Change should seem exceptional. (In a strict sense Climate Change exceptionalism is the idea that this issue is of an entirely different order than other issues, which given its potential to send all life towards dangerous tipping points, it probably is.) However, putting that big question aside for the moment, on a local level all our concerns are exceptional in the sense that Climate Change will affect specific areas differently. If you take the time to read some climate studies that pertain to our region, especially the ClimAID report, you find that with its fresh water, temperate climate, excellent soil, we will be one of those regions that may not get hit as hard with Climate Change as many others—at least for a while.

Folks in the South and West are experiencing severe flooding and droughts that, according to climate studies, will be long lasting. There is more than a good chance that this Rochester region will be a place many will want to come to grow food and get enough fresh clean water—as long as we don’t frack it up. We have excellent transportation infrastructures (which includes the canal that can move heavy equipment) and getting better as the City of Rochester ramps up alternative transportation (walking and bicycling).

This local exceptinalism means that one of the things to appreciate about how to adapt to Climate Change in our region is to adapt to more folks coming here, where our economy will grow. We must protect the environment we have and ready ourselves for many who will find our region a wonderful relief from wildfires, droughts, massive flooding, sea rise, and much more.

To learn more about how Climate Change will affect our region and what plans we must take to adapt, come to this public conversation on Climate Change in Rochester, NY on April 17th:

Sierra Club invites leaders to 'climate smart' program Your town board members, village board members or county legislators may be smart, but are they climate smart? The Sierra Club thinks they should be. The Rochester-area chapter of the nation's largest environmental group is devoting its annual environmental forum on April 17 to climate change — and more specifically, the state's Climate Smart Communities program. Under that program, municipalities pledge to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions, increase energy efficiency and prepare for the effects of a changing climate. Ultimately, the program encourages municipalities to help their residents do the same. The Sierra Club already has sent invitations to every municipal leader it could identify in Monroe and Ontario counties and hopes to extend the offer to officials in other counties. "We're trying to get as many people who haven't signed up yet to at least listen," said Frank Regan, a former chairman of the Sierra Club's Rochester Regional Group who has an abiding interest in climate change. "I'm hoping to bring people in and talk about an issue that doesn't get talked about that much." (March 30, 2014) Rochester Democrat and Chronicle

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