1. The Gentrification Problem: The Environmental Crisis of Unaffordable Housing
  2. The Roots Run Deep: The Environmental Crisis of Unaffordable Housing
  3. There Is No Cost to Live: The Environmental Crisis of Unaffordable Housing
  4. Fixing Up Philly’s Homes: Charles Ellison for WHYY
  5. Punishment Past Prison Walls: Environmental injustice in the Carceral State
  6. RACISM IN THE WATER
  7. THE “INFLATION REDUCTION ACT” IS NOW LAW. SO, HOW DOES IT HELP BLACK PHILLY?
  8. PHILADELPHIA HAS AN AIR TOXIN PROBLEM. WHAT IS THE CITY GOVERNMENT GOING TO DO TO FIX IT?
  9. Want to end gun violence now? Let’s save Philly block by block
  10. Here are steps Philly could take to cool urban heat islands
  11. The gas prices conversation we should be having
  12. Reclaiming Black land is challenging but not impossible
  13. Black clergy: Churches can sway views on climate crisis
  14. Can old Philadelphia refineries be cleaned up and restored?
  15. Here’s how Black Philadelphia can help in the environmental justice battle
  16. City Launches Environmental Justice Advisory Commission
  17. FIXING THE STRUGGLE SPACE
  18. SOLAR POLICIES ARE FALLING BEHIND – SO, HOW DO WE CATCH UP?
  19. IS PHILLY’S “TAP” WATER PROGRAM WORKING?
  20. Ian Harris
  21. Melissa Ostroff
  22. THE WATER BILLS ARE WAY TOO HIGH
  23. THE KEY TO APPROACHING FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES ON ALL THINGS GREEN
  24. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  25. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  26. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  27. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  28. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  29. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  30. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  31. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  32. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  33. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  34. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  35. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  36. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  37. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  38. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  39. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  40. WILL THERE BE ANY MASS TRANSIT LEFT AFTER PANDEMIC?
  41. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  42. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  43. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  44. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  45. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  46. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  47. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  48. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  49. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  50. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  51. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  52. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  53. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  54. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  55. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  56. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  57. THE PLAN FOR A 100 PERCENT CLEAN FUTURE IS SAVING NATURE
  58. WHAT SHOULD A PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AGENDA LOOK LIKE?
  59. THE NEED FOR ABOLITIONIST TEACHING
  60. PUBLIC LANDS & SAVING NATURE
  61. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  62. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  63. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  64. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  65. THE NATURE GAP
  66. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  67. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  68. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  69. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  70. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  71. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  72. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  73. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  74. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  75. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  76. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  77. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  78. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  79. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  80. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  81. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  82. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  83. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  84. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  85. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  86. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  87. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  88. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  89. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  90. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  91. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  92. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  93. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  94. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  95. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  96. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  97. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  98. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  99. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  100. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  101. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  102. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  103. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  104. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  105. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  106. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  107. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  108. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  109. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  110. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  111. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  112. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  113. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  114. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  115. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  116. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  117. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  118. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  119. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  120. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  121. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  122. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  123. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  124. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  125. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  126. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  127. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  128. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  129. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  130. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  131. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  132. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  133. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  134. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  135. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  136. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  137. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  138. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  139. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  140. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  141. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  142. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  143. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  144. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  145. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  146. Are You Going to Drink That?
  147. The Origins of ecoWURD
  148. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  149. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  150. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  151. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess
Monday, January 30, 2023
  1. The Gentrification Problem: The Environmental Crisis of Unaffordable Housing
  2. The Roots Run Deep: The Environmental Crisis of Unaffordable Housing
  3. There Is No Cost to Live: The Environmental Crisis of Unaffordable Housing
  4. Fixing Up Philly’s Homes: Charles Ellison for WHYY
  5. Punishment Past Prison Walls: Environmental injustice in the Carceral State
  6. RACISM IN THE WATER
  7. THE “INFLATION REDUCTION ACT” IS NOW LAW. SO, HOW DOES IT HELP BLACK PHILLY?
  8. PHILADELPHIA HAS AN AIR TOXIN PROBLEM. WHAT IS THE CITY GOVERNMENT GOING TO DO TO FIX IT?
  9. Want to end gun violence now? Let’s save Philly block by block
  10. Here are steps Philly could take to cool urban heat islands
  11. The gas prices conversation we should be having
  12. Reclaiming Black land is challenging but not impossible
  13. Black clergy: Churches can sway views on climate crisis
  14. Can old Philadelphia refineries be cleaned up and restored?
  15. Here’s how Black Philadelphia can help in the environmental justice battle
  16. City Launches Environmental Justice Advisory Commission
  17. FIXING THE STRUGGLE SPACE
  18. SOLAR POLICIES ARE FALLING BEHIND – SO, HOW DO WE CATCH UP?
  19. IS PHILLY’S “TAP” WATER PROGRAM WORKING?
  20. Ian Harris
  21. Melissa Ostroff
  22. THE WATER BILLS ARE WAY TOO HIGH
  23. THE KEY TO APPROACHING FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES ON ALL THINGS GREEN
  24. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  25. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  26. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  27. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  28. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  29. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  30. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  31. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  32. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  33. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  34. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  35. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  36. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  37. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  38. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  39. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  40. WILL THERE BE ANY MASS TRANSIT LEFT AFTER PANDEMIC?
  41. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  42. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  43. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  44. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  45. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  46. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  47. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  48. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  49. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  50. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  51. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  52. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  53. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  54. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  55. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  56. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  57. THE PLAN FOR A 100 PERCENT CLEAN FUTURE IS SAVING NATURE
  58. WHAT SHOULD A PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AGENDA LOOK LIKE?
  59. THE NEED FOR ABOLITIONIST TEACHING
  60. PUBLIC LANDS & SAVING NATURE
  61. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  62. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  63. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  64. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  65. THE NATURE GAP
  66. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  67. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  68. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  69. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  70. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  71. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  72. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  73. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  74. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  75. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  76. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  77. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  78. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  79. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  80. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  81. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  82. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  83. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  84. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  85. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  86. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  87. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  88. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  89. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  90. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  91. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  92. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  93. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  94. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  95. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  96. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  97. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  98. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  99. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  100. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  101. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  102. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  103. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  104. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  105. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  106. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  107. THE LACK OF DIVERSE LEADERS IN THE GREEN SPACE Environmental Advocacy Organizations – especially the “Big Green” – Really Need More Black & Brown People in Senior Positions
  108. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  109. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  110. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  111. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  112. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  113. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  114. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  115. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  116. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  117. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  118. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  119. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  120. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  121. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  122. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  123. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  124. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  125. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  126. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  127. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  128. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  129. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  130. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  131. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  132. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  133. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  134. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  135. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  136. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  137. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  138. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  139. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  140. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  141. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  142. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  143. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  144. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  145. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  146. Are You Going to Drink That?
  147. The Origins of ecoWURD
  148. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  149. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  150. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  151. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess

Part I in a series that examines how the Philadelphia School District responds to heat waves, winters and other impacts from environmental change

It was just a few day into the school year and Philadelphia public school students were already receiving early dissmal.  

Not because of streets slick with black ice or because it was time for standardized testing. All because it was too hot.

In late August, Philadelphia schools were dismissed as the temperature both inside and outside rose to the 90s. The so-called “heat index” pushed it into triple digits. Students and staff found themselves in sweltering classrooms.

This came after the District, patting itself on the back, decided to start the school year earlier than usual in order to have more break-free school weeks. Yet, during the first week alone,there were three early dismissals, as well as cancelled after-school activities.

Chevonne Harris, 39, a constituent services representative for Philadelphia City Councilwoman Cindy Bass, wasn’t surprised.  “I predicted it because it was still summertime,” said Harris. “I know the decision was made to get ahead of the snow but they also have to consider that it can be unbearably hot.”

Harris has four children. Two of them go to charter schools and the other two go to AMY Northwest, a public school located in Roxborough.

At the charter schools, Mastery Gratz and Master Wister, Harris said each classroom had individual window units and was supplied with air conditioning.  The only hot areas were the hallways, lunchroom and gym.

But her kids who went to Northwest, complained of there being no air conditioning and her 14 year-old son had several nosebleeds.

“They have to take into consideration these classrooms are already overcrowded,” said Harris.

When early dismissal was announced, Harris said she was fortunate enough to have children who are old enough to look after themselves.

“Had my children not been old enough to watch themselves, I would have had to rely on my village or leave work early to pick them up,” she said. “Which would require me to use personal hours and that would have been a major inconvenience.”  

When ecoWURD reached out to the Philadelphia School District, officials responded with an email saying they’ve taken the following actions regarding schools and excessive heat, especially those without central air:

  • Delivered hundreds of bottles of water to schools
  • Principals have set up cooling stations in large areas of the buildings
  • At some schools lunch is being served in classrooms if the cafeteria is too hot
  • Hundreds of fans have been distributed to buildings
  • More fans are being ordered
  • School Building Engineers have been reporting to work as early as 4 a.m. to run the systems early and attempt to cool buildings

Is this enough, however?  Average monthly temperatures in Philadelphia have been rising noticeably since the 1980s and heat-related illnesses are increasing dramatically, according to recent research by Brown University Gregory Wellenius. But, is the Philadelphia School District itself aware of these trends? Do the measures it outlined above truly prepare Philadelphia’s public schools for climate change?

For now, officials suggest it’ll have to do.

Currently, only 27 percent of Philadelphia’s schools have central air conditioning. Most Philadelphia school buildings are older and, according to the school district, cost a lot more to update.

According to the District, there are about “33 school buildings and 551 classrooms that have the capacity to add more window units without requiring an electrical service upgrade.” The cost would total up to $1.3 million.

The cost to have air conditioning in all buildings: $144 million.

“I view that as money well spent it’s necessary, it’s necessary to be spent on these kids,” said Harris.

However, Philadelphia school officials will argue that the price tag of installing a/c in every school building is what’s holding them back from quickly getting it done. What’s interesting is that the estimated cost to put air conditioning in 300 Philadelphia schools buildings for over 200,000 students – $144 million – is much higher than the already approved cost of nearly $30 million (a fraction of the PSD estimate) by New York City to put an air conditioning unit in every classroom over the next five years.  The New York City public school system serves 1.1 million students in over 1,800 buildings – and 13 percent of those buildings were built at the dawn of the 20th century.  

Still, the District knows exactly what the gaps are and how much money they need. In fact, lawmakers created a reimbursement program specifically for school safety risks. The District has a total of $4.5 billion dollars worth of repairs. Senator Vincent Hughes (D-PA-7) brought the report to Harrisburg in an effort to receive assistance from the Commonwealth, but that’s all on on hold.

“That’s because of who controls Harrisburg,” Hughes explained during a broadcast of Reality Check on WURD. “And the people who control Harrisburg don’t like Philadelphia too much.”

Meanwhile, Donna Cooper, the executive director of Public Citizens for Children and Youth, says the most important thing is to “make sure we don’t just react.” There are some important questions the District must ask.

“Do we start school early to increase learning time? And what is the opportunity we gain from that?” she said. “Then weigh that against the cost of addressing the obvious impact of global warming.”

Cooper explains, giving District officials the benefit of the doubt, that Philadelphia schools aren’t the first in the state to begin in August.

“There are lots of schools that start in August  across the state,” said Cooper. “They’ve seen the change in climate, but Philly never saw it before.”

Cooper said we now must ask how resilient are city public facilities and whether or not they can weather these climate changes. Moving forward she said change is essential, particularly as temperatures rise. And, for her, it isn’t buying and installing hundreds of  air conditioning units.

“[The District] needs to push down its energy consumption and find ways to keep students in a comfortable learning environment with the lowest energy cost,” Cooper explained.

Simply adding more air conditioning units that are then ramped up in the heat would not only have a negative impact on the environment but would divert money from the classroom. That means there would be budget cuts. Less books, less of the arts and less materials.

Though there are various options that offer clean energy like implementing solar panels or  solar water heating. Yet, these potential partnerships have not come to fruition.  

Interestingly enough, Solarize Philly – the city’s ambitious program to solar panel every home – pitched a plan in 2016 to do just that for every school. “PEA {the Philadelphia Energy Authority] believes that installing solar at-scale across Philadelphia public schools, would reduce costs, advance environmental education, and create local jobs,” wrote Solarize Philly manager Laura Riggell at the time. “Additionally, such an installation would contribute momentum to the School District’s GreenFutures sustainability goals, provide significant opportunities for Education for Sustainability, and catalyze future investments in clean energy and energy efficiency on other Philadelphia schools and in the city at large. PEA has issued this report in response to SDP’s request for more information about rooftop solar.”

Solar panel installations could help schools avoid the cost and hassle of completely retrofitting ancient school buildings with conventional electrical systems. In short: solar panels could be separate systems that extend lines separate from the old electrical lines. It may not be a permanent fix, but research shows that its a safe, cost-efficient and effective temporary fix that’s clean energy, as well. Despite the request for the proposal coming from the District, there’s no indication either Superintendent Hite or the school board at the time bothered to consider or implement it. And a source close to City Hall who won’t be identified by name continues telling WURD’s Reality Check that Hite has actually rejected a donation of solar panels to schools.  

Since the mid-2000s, there have been 14 other school districts throughout Pennsylvania that have successfully installed solar systems in their schools.

“A lot of what we heard [was] ‘the school district is difficult to work with’,” said Lee Huang, a school board member in a September “Reality Check” interview with WURD.

Huang and  fellow board member, Leticia Egea- Hinton stated that they’ve created a “community partnership committee” to help foster these relationships.

The purpose of the committees, Huang said, would be to see “ What partnerships and resources are out there? Where can we leverage them for the children? And what can we do at a board level to make sure the district is easy to work with when piloting new things?”

Whether its more funding,  more partnerships or more air conditioning units,  Philly schools are facing the realities of a warming planet. Climate change waits for no one – including the city of Philadelphia.