Repair Fair

Sat., March 28. 12 to 4 p.m.

Green Roof Nest Box Workshop

Sat., April 4. 1 to 3 p.m

BUILDPhilly Coalition Mayoral Forum 

Wed., April 8. 7:30 to 10 a.m.







Meet the Mayoral Candidates-Lynne Abraham


by Heather Shayne Blakeslee


Her Story:

Abraham’s bio has a lot of firsts. She’s the daughter of first-generation Americans who lived “on the edges of poverty,” and was the first in her family to go to college; she got a degree from Temple University and went on to Temple Law School. She is the first woman to be elected to the Municipal Court, and if she’s elected this year, she’d be Philadelphia’s first female mayor. She’s worked at the Philadelphia Redevelopment Authority, as a judge in Court of Common Pleas, ran the City’s 600-person law office, and was the City’s District Attorney for 19 years. She touts her independence from powerful interests with the campaign message, “Nobody’s mayor but yours.” 

Vision for a sustainable Philadelphia

There are many opportunities for making Philadelphia more sustainable. The Philadelphia Water Department has done an excellent job dealing with stormwater runoff in the context of our largely combined stormwater/ sanitary sewage system. To begin with, Philadelphia’s “Green City, Clean Waters” plan is an award-winning “25-year plan to protect and enhance our watersheds by managing stormwater with innovative green infrastructure.” By implementing the plan, the City has begun to enhance the quality of life for our residents by reducing river pollution in what have be- come more frequent storm events. In addition, the plan now proposes even tighter standards for runoff and water quality. I will fully sup- port the plan as mayor.

Fortunately, LEED has become the norm in construction of major new office buildings, corporate headquarters and other facilities. The zoning code should be reviewed to deter- mine whether additional incentives for green buildings—including low-scale development —should be added to the regulatory framework. The adaptive reuse of existing buildings eligible for inclusion in the National Register should be encouraged through regulatory relief and zoning bonuses; reuse of existing structures is generally in itself sustainable development because the bricks and mortar need not be replicated.

In any event, growing the population through in-migration (from the nation and from around the world), increasing jobs and strengthening the tax base will make Philadelphia a more prosperous and “more sustainable city.” A vibrant economy will help us afford the capital improvements necessary to make Philadelphia the “Next Great American City.”

Would you maintain or expand funding for the Mayor’s Office of Sustainability?

Expand. By increasing funding, the City will improve quality of life for its residents, create jobs, protect the environment, and attract green-minded businesses and residents. Specifically, each City agency will be held accountable for achieving sustainability goals.

What’s your perspective on balancing public health and economic development?

Job creation will be at the very top of my agenda, but the “Next Great American City” needs to be a healthy city for our own residents, and for those we want to welcome as new members of the community. We shall protect the environment and enforce applicable regulations governing air, water and other pollution. We shall also determine whether existing regulations are sufficient to protect public health.

On climate change and resilience

The City should encourage a citywide bike share program, Zipcar facilities and their equivalents, vehicles using hybrid and electric power, and vehicles using natural gas as a fuel. We should have available a detailed survey of flood-prone areas beyond those identified by FEMA and other agencies to help guide development decisions.

On water and responsible development

The Philadelphia Water Department is currently implementing the “Green City, Clean Waters” plan, and is amending the regulations to tighten the requirements both with respect to water quality and volume of onsite containment. As stated above, I will support the plan. In addition, the City is currently offering financial incentives and loans to support the efforts of private landowners. These efforts will continue in my administration. 



The Progress That’s at Stake

Political progress has been made, but much work remains

Eight years ago, the new crop of mayoral candidates were like sustainability seedlings, just beginning to poke their soft green heads above the soil and move toward the light.

There were some unintended moments of comedy along the way. During a candidate forum, one of the candidates purported to be a fan of “alterior energy,” and wondered aloud how a green roof would be mowed. The current class of mayoral contenders, and the City itself, has come a long way since our collective awakening, in large part due to the leadership of the Nutter administration.


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30 Places to Volunteer in Philadelphia

Greensgrow may just have a place for you. | Photo by Bryn Ashburn

Looking to do some good to help your community?

By Jacqueline Klecak and Michael Iannucci

Philadelphia is a city that offers many places to volunteer, all very different. You’re sure to find some that fit your schedule and align with your personal reason for wanting to give back to your community.

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Nature of the Brew

The Sly Fox Brewing Company creates a special beer
to benefit the Schuylkill River Trail

Southeastern Pennsylvanians who love nothing more than enjoying a cold, local beer in the great outdoors needn’t look further than Sly Fox Brewing Company of Pottstown to satisfy their thirst. In April, the brewery will release a new craft beer inspired by and benefitting the Schuylkill River Trail.

A portion of the sales of SRT Ale, a “hop-forward American Pale Ale” best for post-activity consumption because of its 4.7 percent alcohol by volume level, will go toward improvement projects on the trail it represents. The Schuylkill River Trail (SRT), which stretches from Pottsville to Philadelphia, is a multi-recreational series of trails along the Schuylkill River. Currently, the Schuylkill River National and State Heritage Area is looking to further expand SRT trail routes in addition to keeping up with regular maintenance. The donations from SRT Ale figure to be a big help. 

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Resistance Futile?

Emerald ash borer beetles target ash trees, like this one at Fairmount Park’s Smith Playground. | Photo by Christian Hunold

Tiny green beetles are coming to kill our ash trees

You might expect something as scary as the emerald ash borer to be much larger than it is. The shiny green beetles from East Asia top out at about a centimeter, but they’re enough to bring down an 80-foot ash tree as their populations explode.

“Once they show up, the trees in an area just start to crash really rapidly because they get so overwhelmed,” says Curtis Helm, Project Manager in Philadelphia Parks and Recreation’s Urban Forestry and Ecosystem Management unit.

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