Surprisingly (or not) very few New York politicians have energy, sustainability, or the environment at the center of their campaign platforms. For representatives seeking to gain millennial votes, taking a stand for sustainable development seems like a gimme.
And yet, commitments are paltry and policy initiatives are few and far between.
This month I’m going to contact each representative in NY and those seeking to unseat incumbents and get them to state their positions on the following topics and explain what each topic means in their own words:
sustainable economic development
wind, solar, and geothermal energy production & distribution
building envelope efficiency
high-volume horizontal hydraulic fracturing (fracking)
The U.S. Farm Bill
Any additional topics? Shoot them to me and I’ll add them to the list.
Even after taking an entire semester of graduate school to study fracking I still have a lot of questions, concerns, and see the potential power of extracting shale gas. It’s a heated issue with a lot of passion on all sides.
I’ve found these resources helpful and I hope you do too.
Environmental Defense Fund is leading a series of 15 research studies to capture data on methane leakage from both the upstream and downstream processes of natural gas extraction.
The first, Measurements of methane emissions at natural gas production sites in the United States, appeared in the Proceedings of National Academy of Sciences, October 2013.
Diane Rehm of NPR station WAMU, hosts a roundtable on the environment every month, Environmental Outlook.
The May discussion was energy outlook and heavy on potential impacts of fracking, from environmental, geo-political, domestic politics, and green energy investments.
On November 14, 2013 she hosted Gregory Zuckerman, author of “The Frackers.” Mr. Zuckerman has a very interesting centrist approach.
Both are worth the listen
Last is a recent study from the Yale Project on Climate Communication, American perceptions of hydraulic fracturing. This study examines people’s perceptions, associations, and commonly held beliefs about fracking.
Please share any important information you come across.
Researchers at the University of Maryland have assembled an amazing/sad map showing the decline of forests globally.
Click over to their website to see forest cover changing through time.
Not only is this worrisome for all the creatures that call the forest home, but trees are known as “carbon-sinks,” organisms that absorb carbon dioxide. When that tree dies, whether naturally or from man, all that stored carbon is released into the atmosphere.
So with each tree we fell, we’re not only losing the tree, but we are fundamentally changing our biosphere, increasing the carbon in our atmosphere and depleting our natural carbon sinks.
BERND HEINRICH wrote an excellent piece in the NYTimes explaining the complexity and intrinsic value of forest ecosystems.
Is there anything we individuals can do?
Have you heard the sad news about our iconic North American moose?
As the winters get warmer blood sucking ticks live are no longer dying in the winter and they are sucking the blood out of our precious moose. This is making their hair brittle, breaks it off and all you can see is the hollow white inside making them appear white.
For more in-depth information follow these links below:
Is there anything we can do?
Nature’s brillant display every fall is slowly fading into the realm of things that were. Amy McDermott from Columbia University’s Earth Institute explains in this short article why.
Here in the Hudson Valley of New York we have unknowingly welcomed a new Asian immigrant, the stinkbug. Thanks to our global economy stinkbugs caught a free ride across the Pacific by hiding in the dank, dark crevices of shipping containers and arrived in Allentown, Pennsylvania in the fall of 1998.
While these insects have been flourishing, one of my favorite insects, the Monarch butterfly is not doing as well adapting to our changing world.
Our Northeastern Monarchs migrate from Canada to the same forest in Michoacan, Mexico every year.
But each year illegal logging is shrinking their Mexican home.
Add to that changing blooming periods, the destruction of milkweed (their favorite), and suburban sprawl tearing apart the fields and meadows they thrive in and we’re facing potential extinction of a very beautiful, magical creature.
It makes me wonder, will my grandchildren be left with an Earth that can only support invasive, noxious creatures like stinkbugs? Will butterflies become a thing of the past in my lifetime?
The Atlantic Cities
Stink Bug, Penn State
Enraptured by the tides of the Hudson, I watched the river at high tide, swollen from the unprecedented rains of Hurricane Sandy, silently seep into waterfront restaurants, homes, and luxury yachts, reminding me that nature does not discriminate in its destruction.
Rivers have run in the background my entire life: My first home was on the banks of the Snake River in Jackson Hole, WY; I grew up in the Hudson River city of Troy, NY and I now call the Hudson Valley home, with the Hudson River my travel companion on my commute from the country to the city.
Despite living so close to rivers before Hurricane Sandy they were just a backdrop, an afterthought, a beautiful slash through the landscape.
Is climate change the universe’s way of bringing us back to nature?