WXXI AM News

Climate Change

More than 3,000 local households will be part of a brand new community solar program — the first of its kind in the country. Here's the idea: Community solar is designed to enable households to receive the benefits of solar energy—lower electricity costs and reduced carbon gas emissions—without having to install panels on their home or property. But how does it actually work? Who pays for it? What are the drawbacks?

Our guests sort through the sometimes-complicated details to explain community solar, and what is coming to local villages. Our guests:

New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli joins us to discuss his latest actions regarding climate, and where the state invests its money. DiNapoli recently defended New York State as being among the most responsible governments in the world when it comes to investing or divesting from fossil fuels.

Youth climate leaders have called for aggressive action in making sure the state is not investing or propping up fossil fuels in any way. How do they view DiNapoli’s performance? We discuss it with our guests:

  • Thomas DiNapoli, New York State Comptroller
  • Hridesh Singh, board secretary for the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition, co-founder of the Brighton High School Climate Club, member of the leadership team for the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders, and executive director of the New York Youth Climate Leaders
  • Liam Smith, co-director of governmental affairs for the New York Youth Climate Leaders

Back in March at the outset of the pandemic, we heard predictions that this crisis would change the way Americans view climate action. Months later, we're getting some real research into whether that's true. The Nature Conservancy wanted to find out what New Yorkers think about making parks and open space more accessible and permanent. They wanted to know what New Yorkers think about how we travel, what we build, and how many resources we use.

On Connections, they reveal what they've found, and what it means for climate action. Our guest:

The Rochester Regional Group of the Sierra Club has postponed its Earth Day Environmental Forum, but its members are pushing forward with their work.

We’re joined by several of the forum’s presenters who discuss how climate change impacts at-risk communities, specifically in terms of health. It’s a conversation about environmental justice with our guests:

Earth Day is coming, and even during the pandemic, there's a lot going on. We talk with guests who are engaged in the following efforts: Developing a "Go All Electric" campaign to promote beneficial electrification; working on a framework to support the formation of citizen action teams in local municipalities; partnering with the City Wide Tenant Union to engage renters in advocating for healthy, efficient, affordable housing; intervening in RG&E's rate case; and convening a formal, climate-focused collective impact initiative for the Finger Lakes region.

Our guests:

Astrophysicist Adam Frank says this pandemic is a fire drill for climate change. Writing for NBC News, Frank says we're re-learning just how fragile life is. We have not conquered risk and uncertainty, much to our horror. But we are also learning how quickly we can mobilize to confront an emergency.

We discuss the painful lessons that can shape how our civilization deals with threats going forward. Our guest:

  • Adam Frank, astrophysicist at the University of Rochester

A year ago, Marielle Jensen Battaglia gave up plastic for Lent. She decided that she wanted to live differently. She wanted to find ways to eliminate plastic use -- and it turns out, there's plastic just about everywhere.

Her story received some of the most feedback from any show in 2019, so we've invited her back to discuss whether she's been able to sustain a mostly-plastic-free lifestyle. Our guest:

  • Marielle Jensen Battaglia, local resident

Three local villages made the switch to solar energy in 2019. We talk with leaders from Brockport, Lima, and Sodus Point about their decisions and what switching to solar means for their residents. 

In studio:

How well do public schools teach climate change? A new book aims to educate the educators who are doing the work of teaching climate change to students in Kindergarten and beyond. The authors have some serious criticisms of what is, and is not, being taught in most schools. They also examine the inconsistencies and the cultural forces involved in teaching climate change. They’re part of an event focusing on public education in climate change adaptation.

In studio:

  • Joseph Henderson, lecturer in the environment and society department at Paul Smith’s College, and co-editor of "Teaching Climate Change in the United States"
  • Don Duggan-Haas, director of teacher programs at PRI's Museum of the Earth, and president of the NAGT
  • Celia Darling, senior at Webster Thomas High School, and director of finance for the New York Youth Climate Leaders
  • Anna Cerosaletti, sophomore at Penfield High School, and Rochester youth director for the New York Youth Climate Leaders

nyyouthclimateleader.wixsite.com

Youth climate activists from Rochester and other communities across New York are calling on managers of the state’s two major retirement funds to pull their investments out of fossil fuel company stocks.

“The fact that New York state continues to have money invested in this industry is appalling and immoral,” said Hridesh Singh, a Brighton High School student and executive director of New York Youth Climate Leaders, a statewide group.

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