By Meenal Raval
Fossil fuels are everywhere in our daily lives. So much so that we hardly notice them. Doing the laundry? Your dryer is likely burning gas. Taking a shower? Your basement water heater is likely burning gas, too. A quick quesadilla before heading out? Umm…likely your stove is a gas stove. And that disposable water bottle you just tossed into your bag for the day? It’s made of plastic, which is made from oil. Read More
By Randy LoBasso
Four weeks after 9/11, the Delaware River Port Authority ordered a shutdown of the Benjamin Franklin Bridge walkway after local reporter Paul Moriarty broadcast a report speculating about the walkway’s vulnerability to a terrorist attack. Read More
By Lois Volta
There’s no right or wrong way to run a household, so balance in the home means something different for everyone. We all come from our own places, have our own intimate, ingrained domestic habits, and generally don’t like being told what to do. Disagreement within the home can threaten our sense of autonomy, personal space and conceptions of fairness. If you bear the brunt of the mental and physical load of the home, it’s natural to be upset. In asking our partners or housemates to engage in domesticity, we can expect a vulnerable and sometimes volatile experience Read More
by Claire Marie Porter
In his battle against invasive plant species in the Philadelphia region, Max Blaustein is taking prisoners.
Boards displaying various vine cuttings are tacked to a barn wall at the Greenland Nursery, which Blaustein has managed for the last decade. Chinese Wisteria vine, thick and bendy, a hairy English ivy clipping and the pale-colored flaky Japanese honeysuckle vine are lined up like criminal suspects. Read More
by Bernard Brown
When Craig Johnson saw his neighbors getting picked on, he knew he had to get involved. It didn’t matter a bit to Johnson that his neighbors were snakes.
Johnson lives in Glen Fern, a historic house dating back to the mid-1700s that sits at the end of Livezey Lane—a street that is crossed by the Wissahickon’s Orange Trail and is close to Devil’s Pool, a popular swimming hole. Although Glen Fern is the last house on the Lane, a den of northern water snakes occupy a prime bit of real estate a few yards just beyond at the base of an old stone dam on Wissahickon Creek. Read More
by Grid staff
Green Building United, a green building education and advocacy nonprofit, is now accepting nominations for its annual Groundbreaker Awards. The award celebrates green building leadership, innovation and impact in greater Philadelphia that is helping move our region towards a sustainable and healthy built environment.
To celebrate the awards winners and finalists, Green Building United will host a Groundbreaker Awards event on Wednesday, September 25 in the Comcast Technology Center.
2018 Groundbreaker Awardees and Finalists included: Read More
By Claire Marie Porter
Dr. Anna O. Marley, curator of historical American art at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts (PAFA) wants to set the record straight: The history of landscape painting in America does not begin in New York, as has been historically believed, but right here in Philadelphia. Read More
By Alex Mulcahy
We can all breathe a sigh of relief upon hearing the news that the Philadelphia Energy Solutions refinery in Southwest Philly will be closing. And after we exhale, it might finally be safe to inhale again, too. Make no mistake, this is a huge victory for the residents of Philadelphia. PES has been a flagrant violator of environmental laws, and is the largest single source of toxic pollution in Philadelphia County. Ding dong, the witch is dead!
But whose victory is this? While the closure of this pollution machine is cause for celebration, it’s important to recognize the real cause of the closure. It wasn’t activism, or a sudden concern for the health of a community breathing dirty air everyday. It was money, and this should give us little comfort. Read More
By Jillian Baxter
While the City seems content to keep giving Philadelphia Energy Solutions more chances, others have run out of patience.
“There are thousands of Philadelphians who live in close proximity to this plant and 1,000 workers who show up everyday with the goal of providing for their families and getting home safe,” says At-Large Councilmember Helen Gym in her response on Twitter. “The refinery should be shut down until a full and independent investigation by city, state, and federal officials have determined the cause of the explosion and the fires, assessed and improved safety protocols, and communicated clearly to residents and workers of these findings.” Read More
by Alex Mulcahy
Should you be concerned about the aftermath of the explosion at the Philadelphia Energy Solutions oil refinery? It depends who you ask.
“If I lived there, I would not be in my home right now,” says Dr. Peter DeCarlo, a professor from Drexel’s College of Engineering, whose research interests include outdoor air quality and particulate matter. “I would be… waiting until the fire was completely extinguished. Then I would return home, and I would open all my windows and doors to… get more fresh air into the home to flush out anything that might have entered from the fire.”
Sounds pretty serious, yet the City seems much less alarmed. Read More
By Alex Mulcahy
Can a business succeed if it puts its values first? In the cover story this month, we look at three cacao-plant businesses that focus on the welfare of the farmer as their primary goal. (The Philly Foodworks ad on the inside back cover has a similar message, and it’s worth reading about their creative strategies designed to help local farmers succeed.) Read More
By Jillian Baxter
Climate Dads, a group founded by a couple of Philadelphia fathers, has partnered with This Place Will Be Water to spread the word that rising sea levels won’t just affect coastal communities. Neighborhoods all over Philly - Port Richmond, Fishtown, Society Hill, and Southwest Philly, just to name a few- all face serious threats of flooding if the earth warms just 2ºC (3.7ºF). Read More
By Jillian Baxter
The Pennsylvania Horticultural Society (PHS) is offering a workshop June 18th-20th to teach how to design, build, and maintain an accessible and sustainable garden. The workshop is a mix of lecture and hands-on activity – teachers and community leaders will offer training, and attendees will actually build a garden. Read More
by Jillian Baxter
Sustainability icon Judy Wicks does not want John Boehner, or people like him, bogarting the burgeoning cannabis and hemp business. Boehner, former Speaker of the House and longtime defender of anti-marijuana legislation, now stands to make millions from the sale of marijuana investment firm Acreage Holdings as a member of the board. Meanwhile, during his time as Speaker, 420,000 people were arrested for marijuana charges.
“This is like a gift,” Wicks says, “and we are giving it away to big companies.” Read More
By: Jillian Baxter
Anything on your to-do list? UK-based marketing agency Blueclaw claims you have about 2,136 years until climate change spurs a series of unsurvivable catastrophes that decimate the whole of the human population and commences what we like to call “the end the world.” Better get moving!
The online guide How Will the World End predicts our demise, analyzing the impact that extreme weather events, disease, nuclear war, and even an asteroid collision would have on the world’s population. Read More
By Constance Garcia-Barrio
Black women centenarians have seen Philadelphia go from oil lamps to LEDs. Their recollections paint a spoken portrait of the faith that has leavened their lives, and of their bedrock work of homemaking, guiding children, nursing the sick and other tasks essential for a thriving city. Read More
By Bernard Brown
Just past midnight on Friday, April 26, a common greenbottle fly sleeping on a leaf was immortalized by Navin Sasikumar in iNaturalist as Philadelphia’s first observation for the City Nature Challenge 2019. Read More
By Claire Marie Porter
On a windy spring afternoon at the Quaker “Meeting Cottage,” a wide yellowish-brown house on the grounds of the Germantown Friends School, Lois Volta, 36, a musician, writer, mother and professional cleaning consultant gives a tour of her home—and her inner world. Read More
By Steve Neumann
Chris argerakis, a music teacher now in his 11th year at Andrew Jackson Elementary School in South Philly, remembers how desperately his program needed money when he began teaching at the start of the 2007 financial crisis. To raise funds, he resorted to cold calling local businesses within a four-block radius of the school to see if they could help. Read More