Earth to 2010 Philly - A look back

What a year it's been for Earth to Philly! Since everybody else on the planet is doing it, we'll take a moment to look back at some of our favorite stories and trends from 2010 as presented in this blog.

We'll skip the BP oil spill, which, although the biggest environmental story since, I don't know, the dinosaurs got wiped out, was not as locally-oriented as the others we'll get to. For similar reasons we'll only note in passing our interviews with Moby (April, for the book Gristle) and Harry Shearer (August, for the movie The Big Uneasy).

One success story followed by Sandra Shea was the transformation of the city's parks system, a pet peeve of the Daily News for many years. Editorials exhorted readers to Come out for the parks, reminded them of a "Parks meeting tonight," gace a tentative thumbs-up in How to save a park and celebrated the city's overhaul in New Park City. In 2011 we'll see exactly how it all pans out.

Also, Ronnie Polaneczky had a few posts chronicling the West Philly SuperCar team, competing for the hybrid X prize and ultimately missing the finals but remaining "Unstoppable." And we would be remiss to ignore the coverage of Earth Day's 40th Anniversary, topped by a Yo! cover story.

But over the course of the year, the biggest story on these screens was the evolution of Philly's trash and recycling operations. Ronnie kicked it off in March with "Trash fee: Where you can stick it," critiquing an early rumored version of the proposed trash fee that involved stickers. As the plan was proposed we covered the back-and-forth of multiple opinions on the fee until it was abandoned. Meanwhile we chronicled, if not fomented, growing discontent over solar-powered Big Belly trash cans, mainly griping about having to use a grimy handle in order to throw something away. Meanwhile we were beating the bottom of the garbage can for better recycling awareness and options, something to make it simpler and easier for Philadelphians to figure out what & how to recycle. I pressed Mayor Nutter on this at a Recycling Rewards appearance in May and got what seemed like a standard "we're working on it" blow-off... until August, when word leaked out that the recycling program would now take all plastics, #1 through #7. We were way out in front of this story sorting out fact from fiction long before the city did their official presentation of the new system

Let's not forget the "Wheels" stories. On the one hand we had electric cars, which began the year as still a mysterious possibility on the horizon (then up on the outskirts of Philadelphia), and ended with charging stations in town and our slamming of Ford for skipping Philly in their electric Focus rollout. On the other hand we had the 2-wheeled menace/savior, the bicycle, usually presented versus Stu Bykofsky. Stu found what looks like shaky evidence from the Bicycle coalition and we arranged a live (and lively) chat between the two parties. In the end, they're both still standing tall, though hopefully with a little better understanding of each other.

And through it all, the globe continued to warm, commenters here continued to deny it, and we had the Christmas miracle of a post on a controversial topic that yielded only thoughtful, reasoned debate in its comment section. Let's hope for more of that here and in the world for 2011!

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