WXXI AM News

Climate Change

We have a conversation about the new Office of Renewable Energy Siting. The office streamlines and expedites the siting of large-scale renewable energy projects in the state. We talk about the office's goals with local climate leaders.

Our guests:

  • Neely Kelly, renewable energy advocate and community organizer
  • David Alicea, NY lead organizing representative for the Sierra Club
  • Dominique LePoutre, Caledonia resident

Plastic usage, and plastic waste, has risen during the pandemic. Part of that is because we're in the world of takeout dining, and plastic packaging is everywhere.

Our guests discuss how we can find ways to reduce our own contribution to landfills - plastic and otherwise. They bring thoughtful ideas to everyday living. Our guests:

The Rochester People's Climate Coalition has a new name, a new website, and an updated mission.

It will now be known as the Climate Solutions Accelerator of the Genesee-Finger Lakes Region, or "The Accelerator" for short.

Executive Director Abby McHugh-Grifa said it better reflects who they are as an organization, what they do, and where they do it. 

The group's work is not limited to the city of Rochester. It covers a nine-county region.

We discuss climate migration. According to the New York Times, one percent of the world today is a barely livable hot zone; by 2070, that percentage could increase to 19 percent. Millions of people around the world have left their homelands to escape extreme weather conditions that have destroyed crops and ways of life. Researchers say that number will only increase due to the effects of climate change. The California wildfires have left many Californians asking if they should move. Last February, Buffalo Mayor Byron Brown declared his city a climate refuge. Rochester has become home to thousands of people from Puerto Rico fleeing the damage of Hurricane Maria.

This hour, we discuss climate migration from a number of angles. Our guests:

Fires on the west coast turned skies a sickening orange color for days, and eventually all that smoke and haze drifted all the way to Rochester. Our ostensibly sunny days last week were eerily gray. The dark orange in the west scared children and caused health concerns, particularly for people with breathing challenges.

Three of our guests are Rochester natives who now live in California and want listeners to understand just how frightening the sky had become. And we discuss the impact of climate change on our lives. Our guests:

  • Joseph Henderson, Ph.D., lecturer in the Department of Environment & Society at Paul Smith's College of the Adirondacks
  • Alison Konecki, arts professional and avid camper
  • Allie Larkin, author and avid hiker
  • Alex Wegman, writer and full-time mother

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:

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