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Feedback 04/09 

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Climate change and Rochester

An article in Rolling Stone Magazine last summer, "Goodbye Miami," stated that in the not-too-distant future – 25 to 30 years – most of Miami will be under water. It is predicted that sea levels will rise as much as 3 feet by 2100. Over decades, storms will become bigger and flooding may make living in places like southern Florida impossible.

Where will people migrate to when the seas rise and make living in a coastal environment impossible? The lack of fresh water in Florida, Georgia, Alabama, and other states add to the problem of living in an inhospitable area. The combination will mean that people will migrate north to the Great Lakes, where there is an abundance of fresh water.

We Rochesterians live in an amazing area: Lake Ontario, Finger Lakes, fertile soil. With Lake Ontario and our climate in Upstate New York seemingly changing into more of a Maryland climate, Rochester will be a magnet for those looking for a stable environment.

I spent four years on two U.S. Navy ships as a sailor in the early 1980's. On those ships, I covered thousands and thousands of miles, from Hawaii to Bahrain. Yes, this planet of ours is huge – but in reality, it is not. Earth is but a speck of dust in the grand scheme of things. From the surface of earth to where space starts is less than a hundred miles. That thin layer of atmosphere is all we have.

As you are reading this, millions of cars and thousands of factories around the world are spewing carbon dioxide into our fragile atmosphere. An adult would have to be thinking with a 9-year-old, not-fully-developed brain to think that our world will go on forever and that what we do as humans would not affect it.

Maybe everything I wrote about won't happen, but with the information we do have, it is time we started a discussion of the impact global climate change might have on our home, Rochester, New York.


Selective anonymity

I was asked by a reporter for a daily newspaper to provide on-the-record (disclosing my identity) comments on a story that was in the works. I had no problem with doing so, even though it might have meant my repercussions at my job. I am near retirement, so while it was of concern, there would be no great economic loss, even if I were fired.

I was also asked to find others who were willing to comment. I asked if they could speak anonymously, but was told that it was against the paper's policy. Many potential contributors would have suffered greatly if they were fired. I find this rather hypocritical, since the same paper continuously uses Associated Press and other news bureau's stories that include such phrases as:

"A person with direct knowledge of the death confirmed on Tuesday that ***** had died but didn't provide further details. The person wasn't authorized to release the information and spoke on condition of anonymity."

"The official spoke on the condition of anonymity because the investigation is still ongoing."

How can a newspaper have one policy for its own reporting and another for stories that it takes from other sources?


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