March 31, 2020

Register for the 2020 symposium. Now rescheduled for October 26, 2020

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Dear Reader,

I sincerely hope this finds you well!!

     When I was young, if I misbehaved and was punished, my mother would say, “Let this be a lesson to you”.

     At this very minute we are finding ourselves in a state of confusion, isolation, anger and unfortunately some of us are terribly ill. We have become increasingly aware that, had our leaders followed the science and listened to the experts, we could have at least lessened the devastating effects of this silent enemy by early preparation. Those in charge found it easier to hope, that with the help of God, it would miraculously go away.

     This reminds me of a story:

     A man was stranded on his rooftop by a massive flood. Soon a man in a rowboat came by and shouted, “Jump in, I can save you”. The man on the roof shouted back, “No, it’s OK, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me.” 

     So the rowboat went on. 

     Then a motorboat came by and the man in the motorboat shouted, “Jump in, I can save you.” The man on the rooftop said, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.” 

     So the motorboat went on.

     Then a helicopter came by and the pilot shouted down, “Grab this rope and I will lift you to safety.” The stranded man again replied, “No thanks, I’m praying to God and he is going to save me. I have faith.”

     So the helicopter reluctantly flew away.

     When the water rose above the rooftop the man drowned. He went to heaven and finally got his chance to discuss this whole situation with God. “I had faith in you but you didn’t save me, you let me drown. I don’t understand why!”

     To this God replied, “I sent you a rowboat and a motorboat and a helicopter, what more did you expect?”

     The same people who ignored the science and experts on the need to prepare for a pandemic also ignore the science and experts about climate change, which is a catastrophe in the making. 

     When temperatures rose world-wide with greenhouse gases trapping more heat in the atmosphere, and droughts became longer and more extreme around the world…

     The rowboat came and we told it to leave. 

     When Sea ice in the Arctic Ocean around the North Pole started to melt at an alarming rate because of warmer temperatures, as permafrost melted, releasing methane into the atmosphere, and as sea level rising threatens coastal communities and estuarine ecosystems with more than 20 million people a year are forced from their homes due to climate change…

     We dismissed the motorboat and sent it away.

     The helicopter is hovering over us now. Can we learn from our mistakes? Will we grab the rope?

     As my mother said, “Let this be a lesson to you.”

     The important lesson for climate policy learned from the coronavirus outbreak, is that confronting a crisis is far more difficult and expensive when it is already here. As Shane Skelton, former energy advisor to U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan said, “the gross amount of money spent, and the disruption to the economy, is far less when you invest in prevention than in managed chaos and recovery.” 

     Elizabeth Sawin, co-director of the think tank Climate Interactive adds “Both the pandemic and the climate crisis are problems of exponential growth against a limited capacity to cope. In the case of the virus, the danger is the number of infected people overwhelming health care systems; with climate change, it is that emissions growth will overwhelm our ability to manage consequences such as droughts, floods, wildfires, and other extreme events.

     The good news is, this awful pandemic is affording us the largest scale unintended experiment ever. Satellite imagery from the European Space Agency shows that  pollution levels are being slashed. People are not using cars or other transportation, and industrial plants are closed. There are actually blue skies in China! What does this tell us? If we immediately accept the seriousness of climate change and insist that we are pro-active, we can start reaching for that rope from the helicopter.

     As we get together virtually with our families and friends for the Easter and Passover holidays, let this be a topic of conversation. 

     Although the Coronavirus Spending Bill just passed does not include the tax credit extensions and direct pay provisions sought by the renewable energy industries to help them weather the supply-chain and economic disruptions caused by the global pandemic, it also does not, as in past bills of this sort, allow a boondoggle for the fossil fuel industry.

A draw. However, making it much more difficult to reach for that helicopter rope, U.S. just announced rollback of auto pollution rules.

Not a good sign that our leaders are getting it!

    As George Santayana is often quoted, “Those who do not learn from the past are condemned to repeat it.” 

     This April 17th  would have been the Sixteenth year of the award winning Symposium on Energy in the 21st Century. For the past few years, 400 people have gathered to hear cutting edge presentations by incredible speakers giving us hope and a path forward to decarbonizing our environment to curb climate change. People have attended from all over New York State as well as many other states, and even from abroad. 

We are truly in difficult times. With the coronavirus looming, a gathering of that size became impossible. We all worked really hard to set up a “Virtual” Symposium with the same program. We were ready to go. However, New York State closed all non-essential businesses and the crew at Visual Technology, who were doing our tech work, had to close.

     We will reschedule the Symposium just as soon as we can, hopefully in the fall. 

     As is our ecosystem, we are resilient and will not allow adversity to limit our quest for solutions to the climate crisis in which we find ourselves. 

     I truly care about each of you. Feel free to contact me at:

     Please thank our devoted sponsors who are hanging in with us. We could not do what we do without them.

Rhea Jezer, Symposium Director




Comments from the Symposium 

The Symposium was fantastic! So many great ideas and so inspiring.

Kathy Evens, Your Content Goes Here

Thank you very much for another grand symposium!! The speakers were very interesting and  it was extremely encouraging to see 400+ folks working to save our earth!! The field trip was  such a surprise as I did not know we had a solar farm here in Baldwinsville!! Thanks again for all that you do to help save our amazing earth!! 

Susan Lison, Your Content Goes Here

Congratulations to Rhea Jezer for bringing together over 400 people to join in the discussion  on improving our environment – 15 years strong!

Sherry Dozier Owens, Your Content Goes Here

Thank you again for another great conference!! I learned so much, once again, and got in some really great networking. You rock!

Zack Dufresne, Your Content Goes Here

You did a marvelous job.The symposium was excellent! Thanks for all your work. 

Marcy Waldauer, Your Content Goes Here