Thu, 23 April 2009
How much "green" will Pennsylvania get from the federal stimulus bill, the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act? PennFuture's director of outreach Christine Knapp counts the ways our environment and economy will benefit during a recent appearance on NBC 10's Live @ Issue program with Steve Highsmith.
In addition to federal dollars flowing to improve the state's public transportation infrastructure, sewer and water line upgrades, and important energy efficiency projects, the stimulus bill also provides significant new funding for green jobs development. Philadelphia in particular is poised to capitalize now from new, sustainable jobs, thanks to hard work that the Sustainable Business Network and the Green Economy Task Force have done over the past year to create linkages between employers, trainers, and job-seekers. Similar work is underway just outside Philadelphia as part of the Smart Energy Initiative, a project of the Chester County Economic Development Council. Recognized as the 2009 Regional Economic Development Project of the Year by the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission, the Smart Energy Initiative is bringing together employers and other partners to create workforce and economic development opportunities in the clean energy sector.
Not to worry... there's plenty to go around. Check out PennFuture's special edition of Green Power Update that has a rundown of new federal and state funding for clean energy and energy efficiency projects. Whether you are a homeowner, business owner, entrepreneur or aficionado there's something in it for you. You can learn more about why it matters at one of our upcoming events-- our global warming conference in northeastern Pennsylvania, or our clean energy conference in Harrisburg.
Fri, 17 April 2009
In March, Philadelphia's Urban Sustainability Forum centered on the multitude of green-minded projects, initiatives, and groups working throughout Philadelphia neighborhoods. PennFuture's Christine Knapp spoke with a few of the featured presenters.
Who's got the greenest block in all of Philadelphia? Bets are it's one of the communities in Sustainable 19125, or it soon will be. As Shanta Schachter, director of development and operations for the New Kensington Community Development Corporation explains, they are out to show the Next Great City that their zip code has sustainability cornered. Focusing on advocacy, policy and infrastructure, most of the ideas for these neighborhoods have grown up from the neighbors themselves, and are taking root in a big way.
How do you make positive change in your neighborhood? Start with who you know, the person right next door, and work your way out in concentric circles, advises Lara Kelly, co-chair of Northern Liberties Clean and Green. Home to Liberty Lands, the largest privately-owned park in the city, and perhaps the northeast, this group knows a thing or two about how to successfully nurture a green-up activity from idea to reality.
Helping Philadelphia community based organizations do just that-- make concepts fundable, bricks-and-mortar projects, is Beth Miller's Community Design Collaborative, linking planners, architects, and landscape architects with neighborhood groups. The Collaborative funds that critical first 10 percent of projects, to aid in putting designs on paper, so that groups can move forward in obtaining support for completion.
To learn more about the Next Great City initiative, visit our Web site. There, you can get more involved by making a donation or taking action.
Thu, 9 April 2009
Best known for her book, Silent Spring, Rachel Carson was a true daughter of Pennsylvania, launching the modern environment movement with her powerful writing about nature and how humans change the natural world. Her family home, in Springdale, Pennsylvania, is now the site of the Rachel Carson Homestead.
According the Homestead’s website, “It is here in southwestern Pennsylvania that this little girl, who grew up to become ‘one of the most influential people of the 20th century,’ according to TIME magazine, developed her love or nature. The youngest and only child of three to attend college, Rachel Carson was a published writer by age 10. In addition she began a life-long love of the ocean - perhaps inspired by her daily view of the great Allegheny River. As a young adult, Rachel went on to finish degrees in biology and marine biology.” Rachel Carson is a graduate of Pittsburgh’s Chatham University, home of the Rachel Carson Institute.
Last month, the Institute and the Garden Club of Allegheny County held the Pittsburgh premier of the biographical film, “A Sense of Wonder,” featuring Kaiulani Lee’s portrayal of Rachel Carson's life and work. The film was followed by a panel discussion about Carson’s impact on the environmental and public policy.
PennFuture’s Joylette Portlock interviewed the other panelists about Carson, the film and the state of the environmental movement. This podcast includes interviews with Chatham University’s Nancy Gift, acting director of the Rachel Carson Institute; Fiona Fisher, director of communications at the Rachel Carson Homestead; and Dave Cooper, who presented the Mountaintop Removal Roadshow.
Fri, 3 April 2009
This week’s podcast features PennFuture’s Tanya Dierolf interviewing State Representative David Kessler (D-Berk) about the Organic Farming Transition Program.
Kessler details his work with the Rodale Institute in proving organic farming fights global warming and water pollution, grows healthier food, and improves the farmers’ bottom line. The new program, which Kessler successfully advocated last session, provides funding and expertise to farmers who wish to convert from non-organic to organic farming.
Applications for the program are online at the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture’s website.