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Help Sierra Club help the earth

They say that if you drop a frog into a saucepan of water and turn the burner on low, it will happily swim around, unaware of the slowly warming water, until it boils to death. It seems to me that is exactly what we are allowing climate change to do to us.

We are happily swimming around in the comfort, convenience, and abundance afforded us by a couple of centuries of burning coal, gas, and oil. Most of us, including our leaders, do not appear concerned that air temperatures in equatorial regions of the planet are already reaching the limits of human endurance. Nor are we particularly disturbed that in our own country, drought is affecting agriculture in the state where most of our vegetables are grown and floods are delaying planting in the states where our beef and cereal grains come from.

By the time drought and flooding take out New York's agriculture, insect infestations take out our forests, and coastal refugees overwhelm our social infrastructure, it will be too late to do anything about it.

The United Nations' intergovernmental panel on climate change, which collects and analyzes climate data from around the world, stated in its 2018 report that we have only 12 years to cut our carbon emissions by 50 percent before the planet warms beyond our ability to do much about it.

I am on the executive committee of the Rochester Regional Group Sierra Club, the nation's oldest and largest environmental organization. The national park system, the clean air and clean water acts, and the absence of fracking in New York are all, in large measure, due to its efforts. We are in the front lines of the battle against climate change.

We have paid lobbyists and lawyers in Washington, Albany, and many other state capitals. Locally, we volunteers spend much of our efforts trying to get the word out about the seriousness of climate change – and we are woefully understaffed. We are desperate for energetic leaders who can write and speak well before the public and media. We need people with ideas and organizational skills who are politically savvy and who are facile with conventional and electronic media. We also need less-skilled people like myself to run errands, staff information tables, and show up for rallies and other events.

Most of the people doing this work for the Sierra Club and similar groups are old grayheads who have been at it a long time. Many are tired and will be leaving the saucepan before it comes to a boil. (Nevertheless, they persist.).

The boiling point is not far off. Some scientists think that the social and agricultural underpinnings of civilization may unravel as soon as 2050. Most of us grayheads will be long gone. Who will replace us? Who has the courage to take up this desperate cause in the 11th hour? Children who are unaware of what's coming are depending on you. Please contact me at


A loopy idea

Mayor Lovely Warren's proposal to fill the remainder of the Inner Loop is one of the most ludicrous ideas to emanate from City Hall in decades. The Inner Loop serves as the only thoroughfare connecting the east and west parts of downtown outside of Main Street. During morning and afternoon rush hours, it is congested, and when Main Street and other city arteries are closed for repairs or because of parades and other events, it is a valuable and necessary connecting link.

Main Street is a joke. It's only one lane in each direction, and even in mid-day westbound traffic is often backed up from St. Paul Street to Gibbs Street. Main Street in downtown Canandaigua is an ideal blueprint on how traffic should function.

The Inner Loop proposal is a huge waste of money when city roads like State Street, North Street, the intersection of Lake Avenue and Driving Park, and others are in deplorable condition.

The railroad and railroad bridges separated downtown from northern residential areas long before the Inner Loop was built. I trust the mayor is not proposing that we eliminate the railroad service.

If you want people to come downtown for various events and business reasons, a smooth flow of traffic is necessary. You don't construct roads for the traffic conditions that exist at 2 in the morning.

I urge readers to contact their local, state, and federal representatives to oppose this ill-conceived idea.


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