Collaborative Greening: Feasible in Pittsford, NY

Collaborative greening is good for citizens, municipalities, and the environment. Here’s how we’re working together in Pittsford to ensure that we make and keep our town green.

Tension and differing objectives

RAICA Tree Planting Walk Photo Credit Dave Inglis

There always has been, and always will be, tension between opposing groups, conservatives and progressives, government and citizens.

Government officials have a special challenge (if they have conscience and are not moved by money): to try to serve all the many needs of varying constituents, not just of big donors.

The Louisiana Citizens’ Guide states that “…for the government to work effectively, citizens must participate.” But citizens’ participation  at least is tricky, and at most frustrating.

Positive communication skills are a key to collaborative greening

Climate Outreach IPCC Communications Handbook.pdf

Even like-minded people can be at odds. As I heard one woman saying to another in a cafe, “I’ve given up activism. All the groups have really good causes, but they are always fighting with each other.”

As a psychiatrist, I am convinced that a good deal of the deterioration of our earth is related to the deterioration of our communications, not to mention our values. That is why I lead groups on Compassionate Communication for Conservation. An IPCC communications handbook for scientists for effective communication and public engagement on climate change is worth a look.

RAICA Tree Planting Photo Credit Dave Inglis

Collaborative greening is feasible in Pittsford

With considerable acreage between the Town and the Village that could conceivably become green space and conserved wetlands, and impressive cooperation, the Pittsford Comprehensive Plan is well written, and truly comprehensive. Proposed on page 49 is a group called Sustainable Actions for our Village Environment (SAVE), which states:

  • Principles of sustainability include conservation of open space and natural resources, sustainably managing energy demands, and significantly reducing negative environmental impacts on our natural and built environment.
  • Preserve and enhance the quality of open spaces, wetlands, woodlands, and other natural resources.
  • Insist on native plantings for all new projects and replacements throughout the Village.

Why are frogs important in Pittsford?

A Frog House is most concerned about the three paragraphs above. Our most recent petition includes these objectives and others. Achieving these plans will help the frogs, and the frogs will help us.

Frogs are bioindicators, meaning that if the frogs you know are sick or dying, this is an indication that the land and water are not suitable for survival for any life. For example, imagine a pool clogged with algae and algae blooms. You can be sure there are NO tadpoles in that water. The pool will have no fish, and there will be no monkeys, snakes or birds. You may not care if there are no snakes, and we don’t get wild monkeys here in the northern hemisphere, but most people up in these parts like to know the waters are healthy for fish, and to watch and hear the birds, bees, butterflies and frogs for their own and our enjoyment.

Scientists in Action Photo Credit
Malformations in Frogs Photo Credit

Most of the problems stem from chemical pesticides and fertilizers.

Because the frogs’ skin is porous, their inner organs and membranes absorb toxins such as chemicals and bacteria that spread. Some effects of pesticides and herbicides on frogs is to cause them to be missing or to grow extra limbs, and non-fertile eggs in a male frog’s body.

Would you really let your toddler or pets run on a chemically sprayed property? If you were pregnant, would you lie down on such a lawn?

The Business Insider has carried articles about the “sixth extinction,” knowing well how this can affect human beings AND business. They cite a UN report and IPBES, a global assessment organization, in two important articles addressing frogs as an ominous sign of the sixth extinction; and the possibility that we could run out of food without the million species facing extinction.

Business interest in this subject is quite an indicator of the importance of extinction!

Currently the Coronavirus is causing a great number of deaths throughout the world.It’s happening everywhere.The biggest risk for serious illnesses lies, not surprisingly, in areas that have been deforested for cattle grazing, development and the energy industry.  Mosquitoes are closely linked to disease spread, and are, in fact, are multiplying due to climate change. Although there is currently NO evidence that COVID-19, SARS, or MERS is spread through mosquitoes, people with other assaults on their immune systems (as from chemicals and other illnesses) are more vulnerable to all infections.

Nevertheless, mosquitoes are pests. One excellent reason to SAVE THE FROGS! is that frogs (and bats) eat mosquitoes.  Frogs are here to protect you.

A collaborative greening team

A Frog House is important to frogs, because our mission is to teach people about how important frogs are to our very existence. We are gathering signatures on petitions for constructive conservation moving forward, and committed to bringing actual change and improvements to everyone’s quality of life. Frogs are important to A Frog House because what frogs need is what all of us need and all of us can contribute. We must act quickly to keep air, water, and soil clean and safe for everyone.

For this reason, A Frog House has been working for months to bring about an educational and important day for Pittsford, in conjunction with the Village Arbor Day, and the Town Earth Day.

For the fast-moving presentation schedule and short bios of the presenters, see our Nature Symposium webinar event (April 25, 2020 from 10 am to 2 pm).

Edible Gardens, photo credit Patti Love

The day will begin at 10 am with a trio of activists who will discuss people and sustainability, the connection between nonviolence and the environment, individual actions that can make a big difference, and reaching into every corner to get people involved.

At noon, the subject is businesses and sustainability: an experienced sustainable gardener will talk about growing gardens without pesticides, followed by an entrepreneur expert on zero impact and minimizing waste.

At 1 pm, the former Brighton Town Supervisor and candidate for Monroe County Legislator, Sandra Frankel, will speak about what the Genesee Land Trust does and how it intervened to help save Corbett’s Glen. Pittsford Supervisor Bill Smith and Pittsford Mayor Rob Corby will roll out the comprehensive plan, especially as it has to do with sustainable practices.

The quick movement of the new COVID-19 Coronavirus in our state may even require postponement of the joint Arbor, Earth, and Save the Frogs Day! Festivities. We are planning on contacting a local television station about having the presentations made into a webinar.

Watch our website for updates for the actual date and site. We will update any information we get.