Thursday, September 3, 2015

See tomorrow's eco-propaganda today

Those of us who ride SEPTA every weekday are doubtless familiar with the "Protect Philadelphia's Hidden Streams" Art Contest.

See tomorrow's eco-propaganda today

Keith Palmer´s winning entry, from the Flickr page
Keith Palmer's winning entry, from the Flickr page

Those of us who ride SEPTA every weekday are doubtless familiar with the "Protect Philadelphia's Hidden Streams" Art Contest, as its winning entries are hard to miss up there just above head level with the ads, and frequently more visually appealing than the latter .

Since 2000, the program has spotlighted the artwork of Philly schoolkids, trading public-transit superstardom (and art supplies and gift cards).for their drafting skills in delivering a "Don't Pollute" message. It's administered by the Philadelphia Water Department with support from the Partnership for the Delaware Estuary.

While I'd admit up front, as a rider and something of a doodler myself, that the overall quality of these tends to be variable, that was also true of the slickly produced short bursts of poetry that used to occupy those spots in the late 80s and early 90s, and at least all of these have something important to say. And the program is something of a win-win, in that by getting schoolchildren to think in terms of a public-service ad, the partnership spurs thinking about the underlying problem, so even those who are not represented here are learning and thinking about "pollution that occurs when rainwater flows across the land on its way into nearby waterways, washing pollutants like fertilizers, litter, and leaky motor oil into storm drains," as the partnership explains it in its press release.

You can get a peek at the road ahead in this respect by heading over to the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center (on the Schuylkill behind the Art Museum) for the awards ceremony that takes place later this afternoon, starting at 4:30 p.m. If you can't make it there today you can peruse some of the winning entries online at their Flickr page, which has not only JPEG images but winning video submissions.

In addition to the bus ads, award-winning entries will also be published in a calendar that the Fairmount Water Works Interpretive Center will make available to the public for free.

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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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