Friday, September 4, 2015

Green in more ways than one

In today's Daily News you'll find an op-ed by a couple people who have been integral to our city's efforts to transform itself in a "green" direction - Mayor Nutter and Allyson Schwartz.

Green in more ways than one


In today's Daily News you'll find an op-ed by a couple people who have been integral to our city's efforts to transform itself in a "green" direction - Mayor Nutter and Allyson Schwartz. While Greenworks Philadelphia has its strengths and weaknesses as we at Earth to Philly have mentioned, Nutter continues tirelessly to push us all toward a working model he believes will benefit not just the planet at large but our local economy. Here he and Representative Schwartz explain their respective agendas in a little more detail.

Nurturing the green economy


WHILE "going green" has long been associated with protecting the environment, we believe it should also be associated with saving and earning money. Clean, sustainable and livable communities go hand-in-hand with economic growth.

In these tough economic times, many American cities and towns are searching for innovative ways to go green, seeking to make investments that will ultimately save taxpayer dollars and increase local property values.

These efforts come in many forms - revitalizing municipal parks and public spaces, landscaping neighborhood gateways and key corridors, planting trees, constructing green roofs, cleaning and maintaining vacant lots. Collectively, these green infrastructure investments make neighborhoods healthier by improving air quality and lowering surface temperatures, increase property values and help municipalities effectively manage stormwater runoff.

For many cities and communities green infrastructure is integral to addressing short- and long-term economic challenges.

Philadelphia, thanks to local leadership, and strong state and federal partnerships, is a national leader in urban greening.

Our city believes in the economic merit of green infrastructure, and for good reason. Trees, parks and other green space change peoples' perception of their neighborhoods, adding economic value and enhancing real-estate values. Planting trees and creating new public open spaces also creates jobs.

At a recent congressional hearing in Philadelphia, experts from across the region and the U.S. noted Philadelphia's national leadership in thinking, planning and building green. Through Greenworks Philadelphia, Mayor Nutter's visionary sustainability strategy, Philadelphia is on track to become the greenest city in America by 2015. Greenworks Philadelphia sets up goals related to reducing local energy demand, lowering greenhouse gases and creating new green jobs, as well as significantly increasing the city's green infrastructure.

One of the reasons Greenworks Philadelphia could set forth an aggressive green-infrastructure strategy is that we have a wealth of local experts, including our own Water Department, to turn to for guidance.

Other areas of the nation are not so fortunate. Despite strong agreement on the economic benefits of building a green infrastructure, many cities and communities often lack the knowledge and technical expertise that has allowed Philadelphia to be such a leader.

To meet this challenge, Rep. Schwartz wrote the Green Communities Act (HR 2222), a plan that encourages public-private partnerships in 80 cities to educate local governments on the best strategies to plan, build and maintain green infrastructure. These cities will then be eligible for grants to help implement their green initiatives.

Business and environmental leaders recognize how important policies strengthening green infrastructure are to sustainable communities and economic growth. Already, more than 50 business, community and environmental organizations, including the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, the Pennsylvania Nursery and Landscape Assn. and the National Association of Clean Water Agencies have endorsed the Green Communities Act.

Mayors from around the country also recognize the economic importance of green infrastructure. Recently, at its annual meeting, the U.S. Conference of Mayors passed a resolution endorsing the ideas outlined in the Green Communities Act and recognizing the impact that green infrastructure has had in Philadelphia.

AS WE WORK to stimulate our economy, put Americans back to work, and improve the environment, it is clear that one essential way forward is through green infrastructure investments. The Green Communities Act and Greenworks Philadelphia are leading the way to a cleaner and more sustainable America for all of us. *

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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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