OMG, wait till Stu gets wind of this! The city is now planning not just to keep the existing east-west bike lanes that inspired such outrage in the venerable DN columnist, but to add North-South bike lanes as well, according to today's report from Peter Mucha.
You can read the whole story for more details, but a couple stood out to your Earth to Philly correspondent:
"We've been working with police and the city's health department to come up with a program," she [Rina Cutler] said. ". . . We want people to stop putting other road users at risk."
With a radiation crisis still ongoing in Japan, the response from nuclear-energy advocates has been, essentially, to point a finger elsewhere and ask us if we want to remain dependent on coal and oil. Nobody, other than those whose livelihoods depend on these industries, seems to like coal or oil, so they make a pretty safe scapegoat as climate-change villains.
This strategy helps avoid looking at the intractable problem of safely disposing of nuclear waste, the potential for individuals' errors to compromise nuclear-plant safety, and the fact that "Nearly 30% of U.S. nuclear power plants fail to report equipment defects that can present 'substantial' safety risks." This last is from an NRC report just out today which you can read about at the Wall Street Journal under the headline, "US Nuclear Plants Not Reporting Equipment Deficits."
All the whistling past the radioactive graveyard can't disguise the fact that nuclear energy worldwide is up for a major referendum. Businessweek is reporting that Germany may be "set to abandon nuclear power for good," And perhaps not coincidentally, Grist says that Germany’s solar panels produce more power than Japan’s entire Fukushima complex. Now, obviously, all of Germany is larger than a single complex of reactors. But the comparisonis still thought-provoking, since nuke cheerleaders love to say how solar just isn't productive enough to compete on a large scale.
Just wanted to make sure everybody saw Dan Geringer's page one story about an ongoing urban farming project in Brewerytown, one that's hitting a milestone this weekend. Regular E2P readers will recall that we've been cheerleading for this phenomenon for a while and it's great to see it taking hold in different neighborhoods around Philadelphia.
Here's the opening of the article:
PUTTING HIS money where his dream is, Marathon Restaurants CEO Cary Borish is investing $100,000 to turn a long-vacant, blighted Brewerytown lot into Marathon Farm, which will supply his six Philadelphia eateries with fresh vegetables and feed the residents of a neighborhood that has seen its share of hard times.
On St. Patrick's Day, all of us who have a perceptible amount of Irish blood get to trump it up and get all ethnic-like about the "wearin' of the green." While some quasi-Irish folks (and a lot more non-Irish) will advise you to go for the green beer (or, what the heck, any color), others will go for dying public fountains green or wearing a shamrock to church services.
Here at Earth to Philly we want to tip you to one of the greenest things you can possibly do this spring, which will at the same time save you some green: Sign up now for April's Green Carpet Gala, a deluxe event sponsored by the Peace Advocacy Network. If you do so today or tomorrow you can take advantage of the special early-bird discount.
The event is a benefit for the local nonprofit Peace Advocacy Network (PAN), which was founded here in Philly about a year ago. It's a grassroots group run completely by volunteers. As its mission, PAN says it "strives for the absence of violence in the lives of animals - human and non-human alike."
Today while many of us in the news biz were glued to our desks working on Earthquake/Tsunami coverage, tremors of a different sort were being felt in Philly, as a new partnership was announced to ramp up the number of charging stations, and the speed of charging, available to the still-nascent electric-car culture.
As you'll recall, we've been watching the growth of this phenomenon for a while. But since Earth to Philly was unable to attend this announcement event, we'll pass along this press release that explains it all for you...
350Green to Bring State-Wide Network of Electric Vehicle Fast Charging Stations to Pennsylvania
This blog was out in front of the whole 'fracking' controversy in PA - back before opponents had started pushing that handy colloquialism - but in recent weeks as it's heated up I felt that even though we should have an update, there was not much more to say that wasn't already being said by Will Bunch.
Yesterday's PA budget, as unveiled by Gov. Corbett, makes an even stronger case that we're losing key environmental protections at the same time that funding to help anti-pollution efforts is drying up. I thought I'd put together a little post on that. Then I read Will Bunch's column at Attytood and said, you know what? People should just read this. So for today E2P is going to send you over to Will's blog to get your daily dose of eco-outrage (you can also find DN commentary/coverage from our own Signe Wilkinson, plus the Editorial Board's only-in-the-Daily-News phrasing "What Corbett's budget is full of"). There are plenty of other outrages therein, but given our focus here I would ask you to concentrate any outrage strictly on the environmental issues.
Feel free, however, to bring up those as well as any others related to Corbett's spending/non-taxing priorities when John Baer chats live on the topic at 11 a.m. this morning.
For your Happy Weekend reading, a couple of indications Nutter is making progress toward that "Greenest City in America" goal...
One is a press relase from the Natural Resources Defense Council naming Philly as one of the top 7 large regions in the country for "Transportation Innovation."
The main topic area is transportation, but in Philly's case the ‘Smarter City’ tag comes largely due to the city’s work to expand public transit to “food deserts” — neighborhoods without easy access to healthy, fresh food. So this covers both the transit and healthy-food angles.
Meanwhile, Biocycle points out several other areas in which real progress is being made despite some setbacks and economic obstacles, including in the area of storm water infrastructure, recycling, energy efficiency and more. Read the magazine's article at this link, and read on right here for the press release from the NRDC:
New Study Identifies Top 15 Metro Regions Leading in Transportation Innovation
NRDC’s Smarter Cities Project Reveals How Cities Across the U.S. are Raising the Bar for Affordable, Accessible, and Public Transit
New York, NY (February 23, 2011) – Today NRDC’s Smarter Cities project released a transportation study identifying 15 metropolitan regions with the nation’s leading transportation policies and practices. The study, created in collaboration with the Center for Neighborhood Technology (CNT), compares and profiles U.S. regions based on public transit availability, use and cost; household automobile ownership and use; and innovative, sustainable transportation programs.
“Innovative transit policies not only benefit the environment, but they also add richness to urban life by making city attractions and neighborhoods more accessible,” said Paul McRandle, Senior Editor of NRDC’s Smarter Cities Project. “By enhancing regional transportation programs we can improve our quality of life, boost our local economies, reduce air pollution and even benefit public health by making biking and walking safer and more enjoyable for commuters.”
As the Inquirer reports today, the final shutdown of the Willow Grove Air Station later this year will free up 892 acres just north of Philly for a purpose as yet undecided.
Many different constituencies are trying to get out in front of the issue and position their pet projects as front-runners. Here's the key section from today's story:
The Horsham Land Reuse Authority - a nine-member board made up mainly of local political and business leaders - is already fielding proposals from local governments, private developers, and nonprofit groups, ideas that will be culled to an officially endorsed redevelopment plan.
Open space: More than just a pretty place
By PATTY ELKIS & DONNA PITZ
BY 2035, southeastern Pennsylvania is expected to grow by 393,000 people and 241,000 jobs, growth that will provide considerable benefits to our economy. But what will it do to our open space?
Continuing at the current rate of land consumption, 167,000 acres of natural and agriculture land would be subject to development over this period - an area itself half the size of Montgomery County.
Pennsylvania's Growing Greener initiative provides support to conserve this land, but after a decade of success, the funding sources for Growing Greener are nearly gone.
As our elected leaders debate continued funding for Growing Greener, and as we plan for sustainable growth and development, it's important to recognize the value of preserved open space and the significant contributions it makes to our regional economy.
As can be seen in today's edition of Tattle, the controversy over the crap kids are being fed as school lunches continues to rage. Meanwhile, the USDA just released its latest dietary guidelines, pushing more strongly than ever the concept of basing our eating around plant-based foods. And a bunch of recording artists have been working with local record producers, and with some success, to tie the two together.
Back in October I mentioned a CD called "Healthy Food for Thought: Good Enough to Eat" that was put together by a Philly-area team and features pro-bono contributions from people ranging from Julian Lennon, Moby and Sweet Honey in the Rock to local folks such as Gene Shay, Kathy O'Connell and yours truly. The point of the album was to have fun exploring healthy plant-based food options for kids, with the proceeds goingn to the New York Coalition for Healthy School Food.
So is the album any good? Well, on Sunday we'll see if it's named Best Spoken Word Album for Children, as it's been nominated for a Grammy. (Could be a tough battle, considering "Healthy Food..." is up against sentimental favorite Anne Frank among others.) To celebrate the nomination and the general release of the CD, a party was held at the end of January in the studio of the artist who contibuted the cover, a fellow by the name of Peter Max.