1. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  2. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  3. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  4. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  5. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  6. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  7. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  8. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  9. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  10. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  11. THE NATURE GAP
  12. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  13. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  14. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  15. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  16. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  17. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  18. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  19. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  20. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  21. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  22. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  23. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  24. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  25. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  26. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  27. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  28. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  29. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  30. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  31. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  32. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  33. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  34. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  35. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  36. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  37. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  38. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  39. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  40. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  41. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  42. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  43. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  44. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  45. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  46. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  47. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  48. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  49. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  50. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  51. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  52. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  53. 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
  54. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  55. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  56. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  57. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  58. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  59. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  60. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  61. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  62. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  63. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  64. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  65. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  66. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  67. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  68. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  69. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  70. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  71. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  72. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  73. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  74. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  75. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  76. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  77. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  78. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  79. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  80. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  81. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  82. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  83. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  84. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  85. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  86. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  87. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  88. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  89. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  90. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  91. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  92. Are You Going to Drink That?
  93. The Origins of ecoWURD
  94. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  95. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  96. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  97. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess
Tuesday, October 27, 2020
  1. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  2. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  3. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  4. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  5. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  6. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  7. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  8. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  9. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  10. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  11. THE NATURE GAP
  12. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  13. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  14. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  15. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  16. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  17. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  18. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  19. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  20. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  21. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  22. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  23. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  24. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  25. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  26. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  27. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  28. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  29. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  30. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  31. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  32. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  33. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  34. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  35. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  36. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  37. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  38. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  39. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  40. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  41. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  42. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  43. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  44. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  45. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  46. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  47. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  48. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  49. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  50. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  51. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  52. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  53. 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
  54. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  55. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  56. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  57. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  58. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  59. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  60. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  61. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  62. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  63. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  64. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  65. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  66. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  67. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  68. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  69. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  70. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  71. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  72. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  73. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  74. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  75. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  76. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  77. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  78. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  79. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  80. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  81. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  82. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  83. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  84. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  85. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  86. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  87. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  88. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  89. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  90. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  91. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  92. Are You Going to Drink That?
  93. The Origins of ecoWURD
  94. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  95. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  96. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  97. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess

by Lynn Robinson | Guest oped | Neighbors Against the Gas Plants

We’ve all had that moment.  We’ve all experienced it:a certain, embarrassing social situation when

you’re enclosed in a room with someone else or other people – and either you or one of those people

pass gas … a “silent but deadly.”  Clinically known as flatulence. And you know that being

enclosed in a room, when you or someone else passed it (that “silent but deadly”), it was awkward

to do or say anything.  

That’s what happened in City Council recently when the fracking industry used SEPTA to

pass gas on our city.  It was a very awkward affair.

It was too awkward for any Philadelphia lawyer or environmental engineer to risk defending our

organization’s (Neighbors Against the Gas Plants) appeal to the air permit for SEPTA’s gas power

plant, in Nicetown, and too awkward for certain funded organizations and universities to discuss it,

or speak up.  After all, it was SEPTA – and, according to SEPTA’s own public opinion surveys,

everyone supposedly loves SEPTA.

The ongoing development of a “natural” gas plant in North Philadelphia is nothing less than a form of corrosive feudalism.  But there is a serf counter movement on the rise. Growing numbers of residents are becoming more aware. SEPTA’s power plant in Nicetown has grown its sunflower stem of scientific enlightenment, past the shunning daisies behind opaque veils, and has emerged, instead, as a symbol for the beginning of the end of environmental racism. Nicetown residents, who don’t need to identify as liberal to imagine bad air quality choking their quality of life and progress, have surprised a dismissive aristocracy with articulate passion for their children’s health

They are simply demanding their constitutional right to breathe clean air.

There’s a new coalition forming in Philadelphia determined to address climate change and environmental justice head-on.  That means getting our city, our home, off of fossil fuels, including natural gas. It means reversing course on the trend radiating from the fracking fields, which has been pushing natural gas power plants, vehicles, and single use plastics made from gas.

The new coalition is also saying no to projects like SEPTA’s power plant in Nicetown and Philadelphia Gas Works (PGW) proposed Liquified Natural Gas plant in SW Philadelphia. In the case of the latter, the PGW gas facility would actually enlarge the city’s gas infrastructure, and encourage more gas usage here and elsewhere.

We’re pressuring PGW, especially its chair, City Councilman Derek Green, to redefine PGW’s mission.  It must transition the city to renewable energy technologies and stop using gas. This transition would actually grow the economy and help the environment: it would provide many local jobs, add solar panels to all flat roofs, and retrofit buildings with better insulation and electric or geothermal heat. Councilman Green finally announced that in January or February there will be a City Council hearing about the PGW’s mission.

Perhaps it’s time to change its name and take the word “gas” out of it altogether.

You may have heard that natural gas is a transition fuel, or something that is “clean.”  There’s no such thing as clean gas. Certainly, when natural gas burns it creates less CO2 than coal and oil. But the process, from drill site to end use, involves methane leaks and makes gas usage more warming to the atmosphere than any other fossil fuel in existence.

The founder of the coalition to stop PGW’s LNG plant, 350 Philadelphia, first sounded the alarm on another gas plant: the SEPTA site in Nicetown.  A year later, Neighbors Against the Gas Plants rose up as both partner and a local voice from the one mile radius. Once in operation, that plant would make people sick and exacerbate current health conditions that have already deteriorated. Many diseases are attributable to local air quality. The plant is built now and appeals hearings are ongoing.

The reason SEPTA decided to produce its own energy was to appease politicians in Harrisburg, PGW leadership, and possibly some of its board members who are involved with the natural gas industry.  SEPTA committed to buying gas, and to build natural gas power plants in Philadelphia that would produce electricity for regional trains. Since PECO has been adequately supplying power, SEPTA set about creating justifications for this switch from PECO.

For their first gas plant, SEPTA chose their Midvale property in Nicetown, close to Wayne Junction. It’s not an accident that Nicetown is a low income, predominantly African American neighborhood. By convenient design, toxic dumping is usually forced on such populations which often lack resources to fight back.

It’s called environmental racism.

I live next door to Nicetown, in Germantown.  On winter rush hour mornings, the air outside

is even offensive to my cat.  In summer, air conditioning cannot provide the missing oxygen my body craves.  I see my neighbors slump around, or resting, head bowed, on porches, looking miserable. One neighbor across the street actually survives on an oxygen tank.

Don’t blame asthma on lifestyle choices. One Neighbors Against the Gas Plant member grew up by the refinery.  Before the age of 2, a doctor performed a tracheotomy to enable her to resume breathing. Her severe asthma miraculously disappeared at age 19, when she moved away, to Mt. Airy.  

There is no such thing as a safe or benign project that burns toxic materials. SEPTA marketed

their Nicetown plant as safe, based on a flawed computer model that used background air samples

from a greener neighborhood, 3.5 miles away, on Lycoming Ave.  

Nicetown, chosen for the first of six SEPTA gas plants, is a low income and predominantly African

American neighborhood.  Air Management Services, a division of the Philadelphia Health Department, issued the air permit without considering (or, perhaps, completely ignoring) its own department’s Community Health Assessments. Nicetown has the city’s second highest childhood asthma hospitalization rate: 31% of children are asthmatic. Adult asthma grew from

9.3% in 2000 to 25% in 2015.  Nicetown and parts of North Philly have the highest mental illness,

cancer, and AIDS mortality rates.

Their own statistics don’t matter to them?

These diseases are attributable to local air quality. The EPA found Nicetown to have more exposure

to diesel exhaust than 90 – 95 percent of the nation’s neighborhoods, and more fine particle pollution than 78 percent of neighborhoods in the country.  Even the state Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) deemed Nicetown an “Environmental Justice Area” or a “census tract where 20 percent or more individuals live in poverty, and/or 30 percent or more of the population is minority.” Not only is Nicetown one of the most economically distressed areas in the city, but it’s also more than 60 percent Black.

Even SEPTA’s transit employees union supports our appeal to revoke SEPTA’s air permit, because 700 employees work on SEPTA’s Midvale property. But the question stands: who is advocating for us, the 37,000 people living within the mile radius?  

We’ve met with state politicians and some members of council.  They responded by writing letters,

speaking at our appeals hearing, and Councilwoman Cindy Bass published a June editorial in the Philadelphia Tribune.  Recently, the City Council Committee on Public Health and Human Services held a hearing on environmental disparities and heard public testimonies on environmental justice. SEPTA’s gas plant came up repeatedly. We asked for legislative action to keep the plant from firing up.

In December, Physicians for Social Responsibility submitted a resolution to the chairs of those

committees, Councilwomen Bass and Reynolds Brown.  No response yet. As Eric Marsh,

Nicetown resident and father of an asthmatic daughter, said in his testimony, “Where’s the Beef?  

Where’s the beef at City Council?”

Can Council admit the awkward mistake of 2016, when it supported SEPTA’s gas plants as good for

Philadelphia Gas Works?  The Kenney administration will not lead on this.  His loyal defense of SEPTA’s project denies the science that methane leaks make natural gas the most climate warming of all fossil fuels.

It’s perfect timing for new people to step up to the plate.  Elongated appeals hearings were crafted to

discourage the public. So, the public must show up! The next hearing takes place on January 8th, 10AM 1515 Arch St. 18th floor.

And sign a petition: energyjustice.net/SeptaGasPlant. Encourage organizations to sign 350Philadelphia’s coalition letter to prevent PGW’s proposal for a Liquified Natural Gas Plant at its

Passyunk SW Philly property.

SEPTA has absolutely no need for new power plants to run trains. It simply came under pressure to

buy natural gas. The real question is: Does SEPTA have a choice about being a natural gas

customer? It always has. And we, as residents, are exercising our choice to remind them.

LYNN ROBINSON is a North Philadelphia resident and Director of Neighbors Against the Gas Plants