Monday, April 27, 2015

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.

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!

About this blog
Earth to Philly is a weblog focusing on earth-conscious technology, trends and ideas, from a Daily News perspective. We look at the "green" aspects of your home, business, food, transportation, style, policy, gadgets and artwork. If you have a Philly-related story, Click here to let us know about it!

The experts at Philadelphia's Energy Coordinating Agency answer your energy questions in our regular feature Stay Warm, Stay Green. Send in your question or questions to

Look for Jenice Armstrong to supply tips on green living as well as occasional columns on the subject of Green. She also blogs at Hey Jen.

Becky Batcha stays tuned for the here-and-now practical side of conservation, alternative energy, organic foods, etc. - stuff you can do at home now. Plus odds and ends.

Laurie Conrad recycles from her ever-growing e-mailbag to pass along the latest travel deals, fashion statements, household strategies, gadgets, cool local events and other nuggets of interest to those who appreciate a clean, green world.

Vance Lehmkuhl looks at topics like eco-conscious eating, public transportation and fuel-efficient driving from his perspective as a vegetarian, a daily SEPTA bus rider and a hybrid driver, as well as noting the occasional wacky trend or product. Contact Vance with your 'green' news.

Ronnie Polaneczky sees the green movement through the eyes of her 12-year-old daughter, who calls her on every scrap of paper or glass bottle that Ronnie neglects to toss into the house recycling bins. Ronnie will blog about new or unexpected ways to go green. She also blogs at So, What Happened Was...

Sandra Shea and the DN editorial board opine on any green-related legislation or policy. And we'll pass along some of the opeds on the subject that people send us.

Jonathan Takiff will be blogging mainly about consumer electronics - those things that we love to use and that suck too much energy. He'll spotlight green-conscious gizmos made in a responsible fashion, both in terms of materials used and the energy it takes to run them.

Signe Wilkinson draws the comic strip Family Tree, which follows the Tree family as they try to live green in the face of nattering neighbors, plastic-wrapped consumer products, and the primal teenage urge to spend vast quantities of money on hair care products of dubious organic quality.

In addition to these updates from our newsroom bloggers, watch for an occasional feature, Dumpster Diver Dispatches, from Philadelphia's original "green" community of artists, the Dumpster Divers. You'll learn about creative ways to reuse and recycle while you reduce, and about the artists who are making little masterpieces from what others throw out.

  • Dispatch #1: Margaret Giancola's rugs from plastic bags
  • Dispatch #2: Dumpster Divers in City Hall (Art in City Hall series)
  • Dispatch #3: Wild wood, New Jersey
  • Dispatch #4: Dumpster Divers award winners announced
  • Dispatch #5: From sweaters to colorful cuddling
  • Dispatch #6: Green artists retake South Street Sunday
  • Dispatch #7: Isaiah Zagar: He's a Magic (Gardens) Man

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