Fri, 28 March 2008
The green industry sector in Pennsylvania is gaining momentum right now as you read this post. We have leaders in our state who are working very hard to produce clean energy, green jobs, and working to solve the problem of climate change through business initiatives that focus specifically on the sustainable future of Pennsylvania. The benefits are vast, as public interest, economic growth, and environmentally-conscious practices work in concert.
This week, PennFuture’s Christine Knapp and Tom Tuffey share inspiration from the monthly Urban Sustainability Forum in Philadelphia. The March forum took an in-depth look into the business of supplying clean energy and energy efficiency services. Hear from Sally Silver with the Chester County Economic Development Council, coordinating the Smart Energy Initiative for Southeastern Pennsylvania, a public/private partnership actively involved in both the supply side and the demand side of the clean energy/energy efficiency market; Sarah Hetznecker, northeast regional business manager of SunTechnics Energy Systems, a leading supplier of solar energy systems, helping to promote state and federal policies to make solar power systems more accessible to the public; Audrey Zibelman, executive vice president and chief operating officer of PJM Interconnection, which operates the world's largest competitive wholesale electricity market and ensures the reliability of the largest centrally dispatched grid in the world; and Brent Alderfer, executive vice president, Iberdrola Renewable Energies USA, a global leader in wind energy, already bringing thousands of new jobs to Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania is well positioned in the clean energy sector, and our potential to grow Great Green Jobs for the people of the Commonwealth is overwhelming. Support PennFuture’s initiatives to bring thousands of new jobs home, cut electric bills, and help stop our contributions to global warming by joining our campaign, and by becoming a PennFuture member today.
Policy changes will help make or break the new, clean energy economy of the future. Get involved in passing two critical pieces of legislation, SHB1 and HB2200, both pending in the Pennsylvania Senate. Contact your Senator today, and tell them the importance of a timely "yes" vote on these two bills.
Fri, 21 March 2008
All eyes in Pennsylvania are beginning to turn towards green jobs, as we focus on the overwhelming need to combat global warming, cut back on energy costs, and provide new opportunities for working families statewide. Pittsburgh recently played host to the first national Blue/Green Alliance conference, this year entitled Good Jobs, Green Jobs. The conference began a national discussion between labor, environmental, industry, financial, and government leaders on the economic, health and security benefits that are being and will be realized through the growth in the clean, renewable energy field, energy efficiency retrofits and upgrades, green chemistry, and many other environmentally-responsible endeavors.
A pre-conference event organized by cityLIVE, a monthly forum showcasing intellectual talent in Pittsburgh, brought s few of those national leaders together with a young leader from Pittsburgh to bring the green jobs conversation to a broader audience. Armed with a balanced blend of viewpoints, the cityLIVE forum featured moderator Nathaniel Doyno, executive director of Steel City Biofuels; Donele Wilkins, executive director of Detroiters Working for Environmental Justice; Dr. Jerry Paytas, director of research for the Economic Architecture practice of GSP Consulting; and David Foster, executive director of the Blue/Green Alliance, a strategic partnership between the United Steelworkers (USW) and the Sierra Club.
In this podcast, PennFuture's Alex Bard visits the Labor=Green forum, exploring with the presenters many of the principal concepts. You have an important role to play in the movement to bring thousands of great green jobs to Pennsylvania. Use PennFuture's Action Center to contact your state senator urging timely “yes? votes on two critical pieces of legislation that will significantly change the way we make and use energy in Pennsylvania: SSHB1 and HB2200. Passing this legislation will lay the policy framework necessary to support new green pipelines and support industries, and consequently a brighter, more secure, and healthy future.
PennFuture invites your business, organization or group to sign on to the Great Green Jobs Campaign. Visit the links within our campaign headquarters to learn more, and become a leading force behind the green jobs movement by joining PennFuture as a member and supporter.
Fri, 14 March 2008
It’s time to turn a new leaf. In America today, we are on the cusp of a major paradigm shift encompassing how we think about the environment, the economy and the way that these important areas of our lives interact. In the clean energy, carbon-constrained future, economic stability and job stability will grow together as we change the way we use and make energy.
In Pennsylvania, there are two critical pieces of legislation currently in the state Senate that are essential to us making the shift. Special Energy Session House Bill 1 (SHB1, the clean energy funding bill) and House Bill 2200 (the energy savings bill) will position Pennsylvania as a leader in the field of renewable energy development, at the same time spurring thousands of new family-sustaining jobs.
To inspire this change, PennFuture has launched our Campaign for Great Green Jobs this week, together with dozens of businesses, community groups, faith-based organizations, and environmental/conservation groups. Passing this legislation as soon as possible will not only enable Pennsylvanians to begin to reap the energy savings benefits such as lower electricity bills, rebates for energy efficient appliances, and grants for solar energy, it will enable the Commonwealth to compete with neighboring states for thousands of outstanding new jobs. And it will begin to significantly curb our state's massive contribution to the crisis of global warming.
Citizen action is essential. Contact your state senator today, and tell them that you want a “yes? vote on both SSHB1 and HB2200. Passing House Bill 2200 and Special Session House Bill 1 by the Senate would be a one-two punch against an economy sliding into recession, skyrocketing fuel prices and pollution.
Listen in to this week’s podcast, as John Hanger discusses the importance of the green economy and Pennsylvania’s clean energy future. PennFuture knows that a thriving economy depends on a healthy environment and healthy communities. Help us achieve this mission by joining us as a PennFuture member. Membership with PennFuture offers the opportunity to become a part of the solution to the challenges Pennsylvania is facing. Your voice counts: let it be heard loud and clear.
Fri, 7 March 2008
Bacterial resistance to antibiotics is a growing problem. The Union of Concerned Scientists estimates that 70 percent of all antibiotics manufactured are fed to healthy animals at livestock operations. Because of the concern of the role that the routine use of antibiotics plays in creating these super germs, many public health organizations have called for a complete or partial ban on the practice. These organizations include American Medical Association, the American Public Health Association, the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, the World Health Organization, and the National Association of State Public Health Veterinarians.
Animals at factory farms (large, concentrated animal feedlots that are becoming all-too-commonplace in the Commonwealth) are routinely fed low doses of antibiotics to enhance growth and to prevent outbreaks of disease. The constant low doses of antibiotics kill susceptible bacteria, but bacteria resistant to the drug survive and multiply. In short order, most of the bacteria become resistant to treatment by antibiotics.
In this podcast, PennFuture's Heather Sage talks with public health expert Dr. Amy Sapkota from the University of Maryland School of Public Health/Maryland Institute for Applied Environmental Health. Dr. Sapkota's work focuses on evaluating the relationships between human diseases stemming from infection, and the pathways to humans from agriculture, water production, and the environment. She explains the basics of antibiotics resistance and why public health officials worldwide are so concerned with this situation.
While overuse and misuse of antibiotics in agriculture are certainly not the only contributing causes to antibiotics resistance, they are a significant part of the problem, and one that must be addressed. Many of the antibiotics used in animal feed are also used in human medicine. If a person becomes infected with resistant bacteria, the use of antibiotics to treat a resulting disease may not work at all, or less effectively. People can be exposed to these bacteria by handling contaminated meat, drinking contaminated water or breathing contaminated air.
There are ways that we can protect ourselves from exposure to bacteria in our daily lives. Dr. Sapkota advises to wash hands regularly with warm water and regular soap (not antibacterial soap-- which is also contributing to antibiotics resistance), avoiding the use of personal products that are labeled as antibiotic, employing safe meat handling and meat cooking practices, buying organic products, and by taking any prescribed antibiotics properly.
But what about exposures from other pathways, such as contaminated air or water? This is where policy changes must be implemented. Part of the answer lies in limiting the use of antibiotics at livestock facilities. PennFuture's Safe Foods, Safe Families campaign is beginning to do just that. Visit our Web site to learn more about how we are working to keep medicines working for you. There is also a wealth of information at the Keep Antibiotics Working site.
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