1. Punishment Past Prison Walls: Environmental injustice in the Carceral State
  2. RACISM IN THE WATER
  3. THE “INFLATION REDUCTION ACT” IS NOW LAW. SO, HOW DOES IT HELP BLACK PHILLY?
  4. PHILADELPHIA HAS AN AIR TOXIN PROBLEM. WHAT IS THE CITY GOVERNMENT GOING TO DO TO FIX IT?
  5. Want to end gun violence now? Let’s save Philly block by block
  6. Here are steps Philly could take to cool urban heat islands
  7. The gas prices conversation we should be having
  8. Reclaiming Black land is challenging but not impossible
  9. Black clergy: Churches can sway views on climate crisis
  10. Can old Philadelphia refineries be cleaned up and restored?
  11. Here’s how Black Philadelphia can help in the environmental justice battle
  12. City Launches Environmental Justice Advisory Commission
  13. FIXING THE STRUGGLE SPACE
  14. SOLAR POLICIES ARE FALLING BEHIND – SO, HOW DO WE CATCH UP?
  15. IS PHILLY’S “TAP” WATER PROGRAM WORKING?
  16. Ian Harris
  17. Melissa Ostroff
  18. THE WATER BILLS ARE WAY TOO HIGH
  19. THE KEY TO APPROACHING FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES ON ALL THINGS GREEN
  20. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  21. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  22. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  23. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  24. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  25. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  26. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  27. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  28. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  29. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  30. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  31. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  32. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  33. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  34. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  35. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  36. WILL THERE BE ANY MASS TRANSIT LEFT AFTER PANDEMIC?
  37. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  38. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  39. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  40. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  41. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  42. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  43. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  44. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  45. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  46. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  47. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  48. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  49. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  50. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  51. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  52. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  53. THE PLAN FOR A 100 PERCENT CLEAN FUTURE IS SAVING NATURE
  54. WHAT SHOULD A PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AGENDA LOOK LIKE?
  55. THE NEED FOR ABOLITIONIST TEACHING
  56. PUBLIC LANDS & SAVING NATURE
  57. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  58. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  59. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  60. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  61. THE NATURE GAP
  62. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  63. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  64. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  65. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  66. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  67. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  68. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  69. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  70. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  71. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  72. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  73. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  74. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  75. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  76. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  77. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  78. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  79. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  80. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  81. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  82. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  83. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  84. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  85. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  86. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  87. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  88. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  89. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  90. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  91. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  92. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  93. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  94. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  95. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  96. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  97. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  98. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  99. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  100. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  101. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  102. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  103. 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
  104. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  105. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  106. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  107. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  108. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  109. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  110. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  111. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  112. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  113. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  114. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  115. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  116. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  117. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  118. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  119. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  120. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  121. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  122. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  123. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  124. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  125. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  126. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  127. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  128. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  129. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  130. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  131. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  132. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  133. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  134. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  135. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  136. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  137. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  138. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  139. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  140. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  141. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  142. Are You Going to Drink That?
  143. The Origins of ecoWURD
  144. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  145. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  146. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  147. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess
Monday, November 28, 2022
  1. Punishment Past Prison Walls: Environmental injustice in the Carceral State
  2. RACISM IN THE WATER
  3. THE “INFLATION REDUCTION ACT” IS NOW LAW. SO, HOW DOES IT HELP BLACK PHILLY?
  4. PHILADELPHIA HAS AN AIR TOXIN PROBLEM. WHAT IS THE CITY GOVERNMENT GOING TO DO TO FIX IT?
  5. Want to end gun violence now? Let’s save Philly block by block
  6. Here are steps Philly could take to cool urban heat islands
  7. The gas prices conversation we should be having
  8. Reclaiming Black land is challenging but not impossible
  9. Black clergy: Churches can sway views on climate crisis
  10. Can old Philadelphia refineries be cleaned up and restored?
  11. Here’s how Black Philadelphia can help in the environmental justice battle
  12. City Launches Environmental Justice Advisory Commission
  13. FIXING THE STRUGGLE SPACE
  14. SOLAR POLICIES ARE FALLING BEHIND – SO, HOW DO WE CATCH UP?
  15. IS PHILLY’S “TAP” WATER PROGRAM WORKING?
  16. Ian Harris
  17. Melissa Ostroff
  18. THE WATER BILLS ARE WAY TOO HIGH
  19. THE KEY TO APPROACHING FRONTLINE COMMUNITIES ON ALL THINGS GREEN
  20. ICYMI: Watch highlights, panels at ecoWURD’s 2021 Environmental Justice Summit
  21. BLACK MOTHERS NEED CLEANER & SAFER ENVIRONMENTS – IT’S A PUBLIC HEALTH IMPERATIVE
  22. USING DANCE TO SAVE A RIVER
  23. TRACKING PHILADELPHIA’S AIR QUALITY
  24. GETTING RELIGIOUS ON CLIMATE CRISIS
  25. WE NEED MORE BLACK PEOPLE IN AGRICULTURE
  26. WHEN THERE’S NO CLEAN ENVIRONMENT, WE HAVE NOTHING
  27. A PREMATURE END TO EVICTION MORATORIUMS
  28. THE LACK OF BELIEF IN CLIMATE CRISIS IS JUST AS MUCH A THREAT
  29. YOU CAN’T HAVE RACIAL JUSTICE WITHOUT FAIR HOUSING
  30. RUN OVER THE SYSTEMS: THE FUTURE OF ENVIRONMENTAL ACTIVISM
  31. PENNSYLVANIA IS “WAY BEHIND” ON SOLAR. HOW DOES IT CATCH UP?
  32. Pandemic Relief For Black Farmers Still Is Not Enough
  33. A BLUEPRINT FOR THE NEXT URBANISM
  34. THAT ELECTRONIC & CLOTHING WASTE PILES UP. SO WHERE TO PUT IT?
  35. THE WOMB IS THE FIRST ENVIRONMENT
  36. WILL THERE BE ANY MASS TRANSIT LEFT AFTER PANDEMIC?
  37. A FRIDGE FOR EVERYONE WHO’S HUNGRY
  38. OLD SCHOOL FOSSIL FUEL ECONOMY VS. NEW SCHOOL CLEAN ENERGY ECONOMY
  39. ENVIRONMENTAL INJUSTICE IS THE TOP SOCIAL JUSTICE PRIORITY
  40. IN 2020, DID “BIG GREEN” BECOME LESS WHITE?
  41. CLIMATE ACTION CAN POWER OUR RECOVERY
  42. IN PANDEMIC, AN HBCU DOES IT BETTER
  43. A DANGEROUS LACK OF INFECTIOUS DISEASE PROTECTIONS
  44. HOW FAST CAN A BIDEN PRESIDENCY MOVE ON CLIMATE ISSUES?
  45. CRAFTING A BLACK-DRIVEN CORONAVIRUS AND CLIMATE “STIMULUS” AGENDA
  46. Penn to donate $100 million to Philadelphia school district to help public school children
  47. BLACK ECOLOGIES IN TIDEWATER VIRGINIA
  48. WHAT IS “FROM THE SOURCE REPORTING?”
  49. LEADERSHIP IN ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE
  50. THE ECOWURD SUMMIT LAUNCH
  51. National Geographic Virtual Photo Camp: Earth Stories Aimed to Elevate Indigenous Youth Voices
  52. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2020
  53. THE PLAN FOR A 100 PERCENT CLEAN FUTURE IS SAVING NATURE
  54. WHAT SHOULD A PRESIDENT’S ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE AGENDA LOOK LIKE?
  55. THE NEED FOR ABOLITIONIST TEACHING
  56. PUBLIC LANDS & SAVING NATURE
  57. TOO MANY NATURAL GAS SPILLS
  58. GREEN IS THE NEW BLACK
  59. BLACK VOTERS ARE THE ECO-VOTERS CLIMATE ACTIVISTS ARE LOOKING FOR
  60. CANNABIS PROFIT & BLACK ECONOMY
  61. THE NATURE GAP
  62. BLACK PEOPLE NEED NATURE
  63. WHAT IS TREEPHILLY?
  64. IS AN OBSCURE ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE IN HARRISBURG DOING ENOUGH?
  65. AMERICAN ENVIRONMENTALISM’S RACIST ROOTS
  66. “THERE’S REALLY A LOT OF QUIET SUFFERING OUT THERE
  67. “WE NEED TO GET INTO THE SUPPLY CHAIN”
  68. “AN ENVIRONMENTAL LAW THAT GIVES YOU A VOICE”
  69. URBAN PLANNING AS A TOOL FOR WHITE SUPREMACY
  70. HEAT WAVES REMIND US CLIMATE CHANGE IS STILL HERE
  71. Farming While Black: Soul Fire Farm’s Practical Guide to Liberation on the Land
  72. IN PANDEMIC, MAKING SURE PEOPLE EAT & HOW HBCUs HELP
  73. WE’RE NOT DONE, YET – MORE ACCOUNTABILITY IS NEEDED AT THE PES REFINERY SITE
  74. COVID-19 IS LAYING WASTE TO RECYCLING PROGRAMS
  75. THE PHILADELPHIA HEALTH EQUITY GAPS THAT COVID-19 EXPOSED
  76. THE POWER OF NEW HERBALISM
  77. THERE’S NO RECIPE FOR SUCCESS
  78. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit
  79. ecoWURD Earth Day Summit 2020 Press Release
  80. Too Much Food At Farms, Too Little Food At Stores
  81. THE LINK BETWEEN AIR POLLUTION & COVID-19
  82. CORONAVIRUS REVEALS WHY ENVIRONMENTAL JUSTICE IS STILL THE CRITICAL ISSUE OF OUR TIME
  83. FROM KATRINA TO CORONAVIRUS, WHAT HAVE WE LEARNED?
  84. COVID-19 SHOWS A BIGGER IMPACT WHERE BLACK PEOPLE LIVE
  85. THE CORONAVIRUS CONVERSATION HAS GOT TO GET A LOT MORE INCLUSIVE THAN THIS
  86. MEDIA’S CLIMATE CHANGE COVERAGE KEEPS BLACK PEOPLE OUT OF IT
  87. “WE DON’T HAVE A CULTURE OF PREPAREDNESS”
  88. PHILADELPHIA HAS A FOOD ECONOMY
  89. HOW URBAN AGRICULTURE CAN IMPROVE FOOD SECURITY IN U.S. CITIES
  90. MAPPING THE LINK BETWEEN INCARCERATION & FOOD INSECURITY
  91. PHILLY’S JAILS ARE, LITERALLY, MAKING PEOPLE SICK
  92. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit 2019
  93. ecoWURD Environmental Justice Summit
  94. “We Can’t Breathe: Zulene Mayfield’s Lifelong War with Waste ‘Managers’”
  95. “Is The Black Press Reporting on Environmental Issues?” by David Love
  96. “The Dangerous Connection Between Climate Change & Food” an interview with Jacqueline Patterson and Adrienne Hollis
  97. “An Oil Refinery Explosion That Was Never Isolated” by Charles Ellison
  98. “Philly Should Be Going ‘Community Solar'” an interview w/ PA Rep. Donna Bullock
  99. “Is The Litter Index Enough?” an interview w/ Nic Esposito
  100. “How Sugarcane Fires in Florida Are Making Black People Sick” an interview w/ Frank Biden
  101. Philly Farm Social – Video and Pictures
  102. #PHILLYFARMSOCIAL GETS REAL IN THE FIELD
  103. 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
  104. PLASTIC BAG BANS CAN BACKFIRE … WHEN YOU HAVE OTHER PLASTICS TO CHOOSE FROM
  105. WE REALLY NEED POLITICAL STRATEGISTS LEADING ON CLIMATE CHANGE – NOT ACADEMICS
  106. EMERGENCY PREPAREDNESS IN A MUCH MORE CLIMATIC WORLD
  107. A SMALL GERMANTOWN NON-PROFIT “TRADES FOR A DIFFERENCE”
  108. IS PHILLY BLAMING ITS TRASH & RECYCLING CRISIS ON BLACK PEOPLE?
  109. BUT WHAT DOES THE GREEN NEW DEAL MEAN FOR BLACK PEOPLE?
  110. HOW GREEN IS PHILLY’S “GREENWORKS” PLAN?
  111. The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy event recap #ecoWURD #phillyisgreen
  112. Bike-friendly cities should be designed for everyone, not just for wealthy white cyclists
  113. RENAMING “GENTRIFICATION”
  114. FOUR GOVERNORS, ONE URBAN WATERSHED IN NEED OF ACTION
  115. JUST HOW BAD IS THE AIR HURTING PHILLY’S BLACK FAMILIES?
  116. EcoWURD Presents:The Future of Work in Philly’s Green Economy
  117. IF YOU ARE LOW-INCOME OR HOMELESS, THE POLAR VORTEX IS LIKE A FORM OF CAPITAL PUNISHMENT
  118. NOT JUST FLINT: THE WATER CRISIS IN THE BLACK COMMUNITY
  119. DO THE TRAINS STOP RUNNING? THE SHUTDOWN’S IMPACT ON MASS TRANSIT
  120. BLACK WOMEN & THE TROUBLE WITH BABY POWDER
  121. A WHITE COLLAR CRIME VICTIMIZING NICETOWN
  122. IN NORTH CAROLINA, CLIMATE CHANGE & VOTER SUPPRESSION WORKED HAND-IN-HAND
  123. LOW-INCOME NEIGHBORHOODS WOULD GAIN THE MOST FROM GREEN ROOFS
  124. YOUR OWN HOOD: CLOSING THE GENERATIONAL GREEN DIVIDE IN BLACK PHILADELPHIA
  125. THE PRICE OF WATER: LITERAL & FIGURATIVE THIRST AT WORK
  126. THAT CLIMATE CHANGE REPORT TRUMP DIDN’T WANT YOU TO SEE? YEAH, WELL, IT’S THE LAW
  127. RACIAL & ETHNIC MINORITIES ARE MORE VULNERABLE TO WILDFIRES
  128. NO IFS, ANDS OR BUTTS Philly Has a Cigarette Butt Problem
  129. HOW SUSTAINABLE CAN PHILLY GET?
  130. USING AFROFUTURISM TO BUILD THE KIND OF WORLD YOU WANT
  131. UNCOVERING PHILLY’S HIDDEN TOXIC DANGERS …
  132. WILL THE ENVIRONMENT DRIVE VOTERS TO THE POLLS? (PART I)
  133. ARE PHILLY SCHOOLS READY FOR CLIMATE CHANGE?
  134. 🎧 SEPTA CREATES A GAS PROBLEM IN NORTH PHILLY
  135. 🎧 BREAKING THE GREEN RETAIL CEILING
  136. That’s Nasty: The Cost of Trash in Philly
  137. 🎧 How Can You Solarize Philly?
  138. 🎧 “The Environment Should Be an Active, Living Experience”
  139. Philly’s Lead Crisis Is Larger Than Flint’s
  140. Despite What You Heard, Black Millennials Do Care About the Environment
  141. Hurricanes Always Hurt Black Folks the Most
  142. Are You Going to Drink That?
  143. The Origins of ecoWURD
  144. We Seriously Need More Black Climate Disaster Films
  145. 🎧 Why Should Philly Care About a Pipeline?
  146. 🎧 Not Just Hotter Days Ahead… Costly Ones Too
  147. Philly’s Big and Dangerous Hot Mess

By Dylan Lewis

 

 

Incarceration has always had environmental repercussions (and vice versa), but even more important are the people who are bearing the burden of those impacts. 

 

Black communities across the country are seriously affected by the carceral system – nationally, one in 81 Black adults in the U.S. is serving time in state prison. When we talk about environmental justice, we cannot separate the carceral system from our climate as the two are inextricably linked – and yes, this applies to ecoWURD’s home city of Philadelphia and throughout the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, both clear examples of what’s happening throughout the country.  

 

Discussing that and more was Adam Mahoney of Capital B Magazine, who joined Charles Ellison on ecoWURD Magazine to discuss the jail boom in the midwest. His recent article from Capital B, “Across the Midwest, Counties Are Building New Jails on Toxic Land,” explores the push to build facilities on contaminated and polluted lands. Mahoney explained that money is what is ultimately driving these projects. Governments are still reaping the benefits of Covid relief funds and viewing the unused toxic land as a site for revenue-producing jails. For example, in Cleveland a $750 million jail is being built on an old oil refinery.

 

This boom in jail construction does not only hurt those who will be housed within the facility, but it also puts construction workers and, later, prison staff at risk for serious diseases and long-term health issues. “It’s not about being healthy,” Mahoney told ecoWURD, “when we think about incarceration and rehabilitation, that’s what is usually sold, but it gets muddy when you say ‘we’re building this to better our community. We’re doing this to better people’s lives,’ but we’re building it on a site that will quite literally do the opposite in terms of environmental health and public health.”

What about Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania is not the Midwest, but we have to question what’s going on in our own state when neighbors in Ohio are willing to build jails on toxic sites. Within the past 10 years, there have been several instances where state facilities have either been built on or near a site so toxic that it had disastrous effects on incarcerated peoples.

 

In 2014 the Abolitionist Law Center published an investigative report on State Correctional Institution (SCI) Fayette about the toxic living conditions within the prison. The report reads:

 

Surrounded by ‘about 40 million tons of waste, two coal slurry ponds, and millions of cubic yards of coal combustion waste,’ SCI Fayette is inescapably situated in the midst of a massive toxic waste dump. Over the past year, more and more prisoners have reported declining health, revealing a pattern of symptomatic clusters consistent with exposure to toxic coal waste: respiratory, throat and sinus conditions; skin irritation and rashes; gastrointestinal tract problems; pre-cancerous growths and cancer; thyroid disorders; other symptoms such as eye irritation, blurred vision, headaches, dizziness, hair loss, weight loss, fatigue, and loss of mental focus and concentration.

 

The state of Pennsylvania prides itself on having “a distinguished reputation in penology” – yet, there is nothing distinguished about sentencing people to suffering and, ultimately, death. There is nothing “rehabilitating” about giving people serious, long-lasting health conditions. In fact, the Commonwealth is considered the birthplace of this country’s (very broken) carceral system. Is the unjust treatment of incarcerated people surprising given Pennsylvania’s roots in punishment? No. However, it could set an example for other states if the oldest incarcerator assessed and corrected its own failings.

 

More recently, State Correctional Institutions Frackville, Mahoney, and Phoenix (formerly known as Graterford) all had issues with unusable water. The water supply for Frackville and Mahoney is situated amid abandoned/active mines and mountaintop removal activity, which is often associated with disastrous environmental effects. The water at Graterford Prison tested positive for the carcinogenic toxin chromium-6. The building has since been renovated, but it still resides in the same location. These are just some of the known examples of the environmental injustice that occurs within the Pennsylvania state prison system. The state’s beloved coal country also built its industry on the premise of destroying the land for economic gain and now the government has continued the tradition by destroying the health of its citizens.

 

How about our City of Brotherly Love?

The Philadelphia Department of Prisons operates four facilities all located in the Northeast section of Philadelphia. This cluster of prisons is located less than two miles away from the Metal Bank Superfund site. According to the Philadelphia prison population report, 72 percent of the prison population is Black whereas the city is about 41 percent Black; 9 percent of the prison population is white when the city is 39 percent white. Prisons located near a superfund site combined with the majority of the incarcerated population in the city being Black is clear environmental racism at work. 

 

This is an instance in which the oppression Black communities face is compounded by intersecting issues (see intersectionality). We cannot say that incarceration is separate from the environment. We see the link between poverty and incarceration as well as the link between poverty and the environment, but too often we detach the political/economic from the environmental. In reality, all of these forces are operating at the detriment of our community. 

 

Who are the people?

Angela Davis was right when she wrote in her essay Masked Racism: Reflections on the Prison Industrial Complex that “prisons do not disappear problems, they disappear human beings.” The Constitution celebrates “We the People,” but what happens when our governments continuously strips people of their personhood?

 

The eighth amendment reads: “Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted.” Building and maintaining prisons and jails on toxic sites is cruel, unusual, and excessive. Someone could finish their sentence and be left with severe health problems as a result of the environment. No amount of revenue is worth leaving people with debilitating illnesses – but in America we treat incarcerated people like they are disposable, like a price can be put on their lives.

 

Article I Section 27 of the Pennsylvania constitution states:

 

The people have a right to clean air, pure water, and to the preservation of the natural, scenic, historic and esthetic values of the environment. Pennsylvania’s public natural resources are the common property of all the people, including generations yet to come.As trustee of these resources, the Commonwealth shall conserve and maintain them for the benefit of all the people.

 

Our state constitution clearly reads that “the people” have a right to a clean and safe environment. Is it really saying that incarceration means that someone is no longer a person? Building prisons on toxic sites indicates that a state and more broadly, this country, believes they have the right to punish past the prison walls.

 

We must make the shift from a framework that centers punishment to one that prioritizes rehabilitation and the humanity of incarcerated persons. This cannot exist within our current prison system. Perhaps, we should dare to reimagine something new – a way of thinking that removes the focus from profit and punishment and gives the power back to the people.

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