WXXI AM News

Climate Change

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.

NPR recently reported that clinical anxiety affects a small, but growing number of children and teens. One source of anxiety is climate change.

This hour, we sit down with a pediatrician and a clinical psychiatrist to discuss how to have conversations about climate change with young people. We also hear from a local parent and climate change activist who shares her techniques and experience with this issue. In studio:

  • Dr. Michael Scharf, M.D., associate professor of clinical psychiatry and chief of child and adolescent psychiatry at the University of Rochester Medical Center
  • Dr. Sandra Jee, M.D., associate professor of pediatrics and general pediatrician at the University of Rochester Medical Center and Golisano Children’s Hospital
  • Dr. Annalyn Gibson, M.D., child and adolescent psychiatry fellow
  • Sue Hughes-Smith, parent, and member of the leadership team for the Rochester People’s Climate Coalition

At midnight on Monday, Wegmans enacted its ban on most single-use plastic bags. That means customers can now use reusable bags or pay five cents for each paper bag. Community members are reacting to the change, with some complaining about what they call an inconvenience and added expense, while others are lauding the company for going more green. The move comes in advance of a state ban on plastic bags that begins March 1.

This hour, we discuss the impact of the change on customers and the environment, if and how other entities will follow suit, and how to have effective conversations about sustainability and recycling. Our guests:

Dawn Schlaks

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced his first priority in his New York state budget announcement on Tuesday: climate action.

The $33 billion plan includes comprehensive nature conservation, a more significant transition to renewable energy, and a major shift to carbon-free transportation.

“We start with the most aggressive climate change program in the country,” Cuomo said in his address. “Because my friends, the clock is ticking and it's ticking faster and faster."

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