WXXI AM News

Climate Change

What is the Climate and Community Investment Act? The legislation – which has passed the New York State Senate and Assembly – seeks to transition the state to 100 percent renewable energy. If enacted, supporters say the bill would create hundreds of thousands of jobs, protect workers in the fossil fuel industry, and support communities most impacted by climate change.

We’re joined by local climate activists and Assemblymember Sarah Clark to discuss the Act, the impact it would have if implemented, and how New York State is addressing climate change. Our guests:

What is a collective impact model when it comes to climate action? A local organization called the Climate Solutions Accelerator has recommendations and goals for how bring different sectors, ideas, and experiences together to combat climate change.

We talk with them about their mission and their work, and what they expect to see in terms of solutions in our region. Our guests:

  • Simeon Banister, co-chair of the Climate Collective Impact Steering Committee at the Climate Solutions Accelerator, and vice president of community programs of the Rochester Area Community Foundation 
  • Jan Nyrop, co-chair of the Climate Collective Impact Steering Committee at the Climate Solutions Accelerator, and associate dean of the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences at Cornell University, and Goichman Family Director at Cornell AgriTech in Geneva 
  • Kristen Van Hooreweghe, director of collaborative action for the Climate Solutions Accelerator 
  • Andrea McLean, resident consultant for the Climate Collective Impact Steering Committee at the Climate Solutions Accelerator, and lead resident ambassador for Connected Communities 

The Rochester Youth Climate Leaders are gearing up to host their annual Youth Climate Summit on April 14. The virtual conference will include a number of subjects: what climate change will mean for Rochester and the Finger Lakes; climate justice; Monroe County's Climate Action Plan; climate education; and more. We preview the conference with our guests:

  • Genevieve Guenther, founder and director of EndClimateSilence.org
  • Terry Smith, head of the Lower School at the Harley School, and co-coach of the Rochester Youth Climate Leaders
  • Anna Cerosaletti, junior at Penfield High School, director of operations of NY2CL, and head of "Color Your School Green" efforts for Climate Solutions Accelerator
  • Linden Burack, junior at School of the Arts, member of the Collective Impact Initiative Steering Committee with Climate Solutions Accelerator, and member of the Urban Ecologists Program for the Seneca Park Zoo

An upcoming education series is focusing on the injustice that is a cause and effect of climate change. “Climate of Change: 22 Days of Learning and Action for Intersectional Climate Justice in Rochester and Beyond” will address how environmental injustice harms the region.

This hour, we preview the series and discuss the broader issues of climate justice with our guests:

A new solar array in Wayne County is providing electricity for affordable housing communities in Rochester. More than 6,000 panels are generating power for more than 500 Rochester apartments. It's a partnership between GreenSpark Solar and Home Leasing. How does it work? And will the project serve as a model for other initiatives in the future?

We discuss the area's newest solar farm and how businesses can work together to address climate change. Our guests:

Here's something that would surprise many Americans: Rochester is one of the most reliable places to live if you want to avoid extreme weather. No hurricanes. No wildfires. No drought. Fresh water. Yes, snow, but manageable. As parts of the country deal with extreme weather and the effects of climate change, cities like Rochester and Buffalo are poised to become what Buffalo mayor Byron W. Brown called “climate refuges.” This hour, we talk with climate experts about Rochester as a destination for climate migrants. Our guests:

Three local municipalities are launching renewable energy programs. On Jan. 1, the Town of Brighton will be the first community in Monroe County to source 100% renewable power for the entire town. The Village of Victor and the City of Canandaigua will launch community choice aggregation programs on the first of the year.

Our guests discuss the programs, their impact, and their long-term green energy goals. 

Our guests:

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.

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