Tue, 31 October 2006
It's almost impossible to sum up the accomplishments of the inimitable Wangari Maathai. She recently returned to Pittsburgh (she received her Master's degree in biology at the University of Pittsburgh in 1965) to receive an honorary doctorate, and to speak at the national convention of the Society of American Foresters. The 2004 Nobel Peace Prize Laureate has impacted the lives of countless people. Perhaps one of her most important contributions to the world is her ability to inspire great action in others.
In this podcast, PennFuture's D.J. Trischler speaks with Wanjira Maathai, Wangara's daughter and the Executive Director of Green Belt Movement International, the organization her mother founded. Wanjira shares how each person must follow our hearts in order to enjoy whatever it is we do in life. She believes it would be impossible to follow in her mother's footsteps. So she is creating her own path, based on her own interests, and although her path was very different, she is now working alongside her mother.
Whether you are an environmental activist or not, the words of Wanjira Maathai are compelling. She speaks of how we might all conquer our fears, and accomplishing all that you wish to in your lifetime.
Leave us a comment about this podcast by clicking "comment" below. We'd love to hear about what inspires you. To learn more about PennFuture, visit our Web site, or e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Fri, 27 October 2006
This week the citizens of Pennsylvania proved that when they speak and act together, they are (as they should always be) more powerful and more influential than high-priced industry lobbyists. Thanks to citizens and editorial writers across the state, and their vocal opposition to proposed legislation to kill the Clean Vehicles Program, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives decided not to consider this legislation as initially planned. This decision means that the clean cars program, which would help protect Pennsylvania seniors and children from air pollution that sickens and kills, will move forward. The failure to consider Senate Bill 1025, a bill to kill the Clean Vehicles Program, allows Pennsylvanians to have easy access to the cleanest and most fuel-efficient cars, cutting gasoline use and our reliance on foreign oil.
In this podcast, PennFuture's Jan Jarrett speaks with PennFuture President and CEO John Hanger about this rare and glorious win for public health, national security, the economy and the environment. John outlines what happened, why this program is so critical for Pennsylvania, and what needs to occur over the next month to ensure that the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program stays in place so that we can all breathe a lot easier.
With the Clean Vehicles Program, Pennsylvanians will finally be able to purchase the most technologically advanced, fuel-efficient and cleanest cars, striking a blow against our addiction to foreign oil from Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia and Venezuela. Saving the Clean Vehicles Program also saves Pennsylvania jobs and industry, since federal law requires that we cut air pollution, and the clean cars program cuts one-third of that pollution, avoiding stricter standards on many businesses.
Senate Bill 1025, which passed the Senate in February, was considered dead by most observers. The Clean Vehicles Program regulations requiring cars sold in the Commonwealth to meet more protective pollution standards beginning with the 2008 model year were passed by a 16-2 vote of the Environmental Quality Board on September 19, following public comments of nearly 5,000 citizens in favor of the new rule and an extensive public involvement process. However, SB 1025 was raced through the House Transportation Committee on October 17, after a full-page ad paid for by out-of-state special interests appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot-News, and less than 24 hours after the committee leadership suddenly announced the consideration of the bill. House leadership then put the bill on a fast track, to be considered on the last voting day of the House session before the election break.
The Clean Vehicles Program standards were developed by the state of California, and are the only option besides the weak standards of the federal government. Once the clean cars program is fully implemented, Pennsylvania will join Maine, Massachusetts, New York, Vermont, Connecticut, New Jersey, Rhode Island, Oregon, Washington and California in opting for the clean cars program.
To stay informed, please visit PennFuture's Web site and click "Take Action," where you can sign up to receive up-to-the-minute action alerts on this and other critical environmental issues. To learn more, e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Direct download: PFuture06_Pennsylvania_Clean_Vehicle_Program_Update.mp3
Category:Clean Cars -- posted at: 11:54 AM
Fri, 27 October 2006
Energy is arguably the most important environmental and national security issue we face as a nation today. Global warming and its impacts demand immediate action, and development and use of renewable energy for electricity production, together with energy conservation, are critical components of the solution.
In Pennsylvania, we have significant wind energy development potential. Thanks to the Commonwealth's Alternative Energy Portfolio Standard (AEPS), ever-increasing percentages of renewable energy production must be part of Pennsylvania's electricity supply. As a result, we will grow economically as the industry expands, but at the same time, we will be curbing our state's contribution to global warming, as we decrease our dependence on fossil fuels.
In this podcast, PennFuture's Jan Jarrett speaks with two leaders in the field of wind energy about the development of commercial-scale wind farms in Pennsylvania. In less than a decade, our state has become a trail-blazer in the field of wind energy, and this will continue. Jan talks first with Sam Enfield from PPM Atlantic Renewable, a company that sites and builds large wind farms. He describes the complex challenges in getting projects off the ground. Jan then talks with Community Energy founder and Executive Vice President Brent Alderfer, a pioneer in wind and supplying green energy choices to Pennsylvania's electricity consumers.
Stay tuned to our podcasts for a subsequent piece by Jan that explores the challenges at hand for siting wind farm developments across the state, including local zoning, developing a process to avoid wildlife impacts, and examining the possibilities of developing renewable energy projects on public lands.
To learn how you can make the switch to clean, renewable, local energy, visit Clean Your Air. For more information on this and other renewable energy issues, visit our Web site or e-mail us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Wed, 18 October 2006
For those of you following the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program progress, you've been invigorated by the nearly 5000 people statewide who overwhelmingly commented in favor of the rule this summer. That's because you know that the program will cut unhealthy and even deadly air pollution from one of the most predominant sources: our own cars and trucks. And you also know that in the bargain, we'll come away with options to buy more fuel efficient vehicles, saving us gas and money. The program will even help to cut back on Pennsylvania's contributions to global warming.
Despite the groundswell of public support, and an affirmative vote to move ahead toward better public health by the state's Environmental Quality Board, legislators this week opted to move on nasty legislation that kills the program, favoring instead a weak federal rule that leaves Pennsylvania short on achieving legally-required cleanup targets for unhealthy air pollution.
SB 1025 passed the Pennsylvania Senate in February, but was for many months bottled up in the House, presumably because Representatives had the good sense to pay attention to citizens and their support for the rule. SB 1025 takes away the Pennsylvania program that would require a certain number of cars and trucks sold, leased, and rented in the Commonwealth meet low emission standards, making what we have in place today "optional," (read: over), and putting in its place the federal rule that many of our neighboring states have already replaced. The House is poised to take a vote on the bad Senate bill as soon as October 23rd.
In this podcast, PennFuture's Christine Knapp talks with folks who came out earlier this year during one of the public hearings on the program. Pennsylvanians everywhere shared personal stories about why cleaner cars and trucks truly matter to them.
After listening, we urge you to take action in support of the program by asking your State Representative to vote NO on SB 1025, or any legislation that would block the Pennsylvania Clean Vehicles Program. To learn more, visit our Web site or contact us at podcast (at) pennfuture (dot) org.
Fri, 6 October 2006
Cooler weather is generally the norm as autumn arrives in Pennsylvania. But September and October have been particular warm this year, and as a result, we haven't seen the disappearance of things like mosquitoes we normally would. These and other signs have Pennsylvanians concerned about what is to come as a result of global warming.
Increasingly, members of the medical community are taking the public health threats associated with global warming very seriously. In this podcast, PennFuture's Joy Bergey talks to Dr. Daniel Wolk, a geriatrician and family practitioner in the Philadelphia region. Dr. Wolk has observed how older people have suffered more so than other segments of the population from heat waves in the past decade. He has become increasingly alarmed by the effects global warming on human health, including the spread of malaria and West Nile virus through mosquitoes. And in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Wolk reflects on how the medical community has been woefully unprepared for the devastating public health impacts that such a disaster causes.
Joy talks to Dr. Wolk to learn more about his deep passion for the issue and for his activism. Dr. Wolk has become an advocate and educator within the medical community to engage doctors, nurses, and health practitioners to join in the critical work of action now to raise awareness and preparedness, before it is too late to react.
To learn more about PennFuture's Cool Pennsylvania campaign to stop global warming here at home, visit our Web site. You can also e-mail us at info (at) pennfuture (dot) org for more information, and to join our weekly e-mail list of global warming information and to learn more about how you can help.
Tue, 3 October 2006
Green building practices are quickly becoming more than just a trend, especially in Pennsylvania's biggest cities. We've covered what's been going on in Pittsburgh. In this podcast, PennFuture's Christine Knapp investigates the green building movement in the Philadelphia region, and its importance to the environment in which we live. These interviews were conducted at the opening event of the fall series of Philadelphia's Urban Sustainability Forums.
Christine speaks with John An, AIA, LEED-AP, from Atelier Ten Environmental Designers. An and Atelier Ten have been involved in the current construction of Philadelphia's largest skyscraper, the Comcast Tower. His specialty is lighting, day lighting, and energy standards. An is also doing work on the Battery Park city project in New York City.
We then hear from Carlton Brown, co-founder of Full Spectrum NY. Carlton believes that people living on the low end of the economic spectrum suffer the most from the habitats that they live in. As a developer, Brown focuses on affordable green housing, emphasizing the universal right to live in a sustainable, affordable environment. Brown is working to see affordable green housing become the norm, and not the exception, in cities everywhere.
Christine wraps up with Bruce Fowle, FAIA, LEED, a world-renowned architect, and the senior principal and co-founder of FXFOWLE Architects in New York City. Fowle has been producing green, natural buildings since he began in the late 1960s and he continues his respect for the environment with the present construction of the New York Times headquarters building, which will be one of New York's largest green skyscrapers. Fowle focused his talk at the forum on the changes in the green building industry over the years, and the current U.S. position in the international green building movement.
To learn more about The Next Great City Initiative, e-mail us at podcast (AT) pennfuture (DOT) org.
Direct download: PFuture06_UrbanSustainabilityForum_GreenBuilding.mp3
Category:Urban Sustainability Forum -- posted at: 11:27 AM