Environmental Effects

Patients as Person, City as Healer?
by Nathaniel Popkin

In the earliest days of the Center for Community Partnerships at Penn, a project I was a part of for a few years in the mid-’90s, we considered (but never executed) a “misery/happiness index” for West Philadelphia. The index was an idea of the historian Lee Benson, the Dewian visionary who believed that an engaged university was a unique engine of participatory democracy. Benson didn’t hope to facilitate another study of an urban neighborhood, but rather he wanted to create a quantifiable tool to help West Philadelphians reflect on the relationship between the quality of their own lives and the condition of the city they live in.
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A Simpler Time

Southwark offers a connection to local food
by Will Dean and Ashley Jerome

When you walk in the front door of Southwark, it feels a little like you’re going back in time, which makes sense. Southwark got its name from an 18th century district of the city and it fits because preserving history, including a tangible connection to the land, is important to owners Sheri and Kip Waide.
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Book Review: the Ecology of Commerce

The Ecology of Commerce: A Declaration of Sustainability
by Paul Hawken
Harper Collins, 1993, $19.96

Paul Hawken, author, entrepreneur and activist, debunks the tired notion that business and the environment are somehow at odds.  “Common wisdom holds that ecologists worry about nature while economists are concerned with human beings,” Hawken explains. “But economists are in fact taking care of economics, and human beings are abandoned to the marketplace.”
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Free Flow

An abandoned building becomes a hub for social activism in West Philadelphia
by Natalie Hope McDonald

Just off the Number 10 Green Line, west of the sprawling Penn and Drexel campuses and trendy restaurants, past the tiny street corner bodegas and dimly lit bars, a group of aspiring social activists saw something special in an abandoned building at 41st and Lancaster Ave. Up for sheriff’s sale a decade ago, the dilapidated storefront dating back to the 1920s had been taken over by squatters and musicians who mostly borrowed the neglected space for band rehearsals and impromptu powwows.
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Beer Us

Philly returns to its beer making past
by Will Dean

When Schmidt’s brewery closed in June 1987 after being bought by Wisconsin brewer G. Heileman, Philly officially switched from a beer-producing to merely a beer-drinking city. Although Schmidt’s wasn’t a taste explosion (my dad used to refer to it by a similar sounding expletive), the demise of the Northern Liberties brewer that once fermented a million barrels a year was a sign of the consolidation of a once thriving local industry.
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Transitioning Town

North Philly changes before our eyes
by Will Dean with additional reporting by Dana Henry

When you think about a sustainable city, what does it look like? Whether it’s a futuristic, shiny sci-fi wonderland or a green treehouse-like Ewok village, you probably don’t think of North Philly. With it’s abandoned industrial buildings and bad reputation for drugs and crime, it doesn’t seem like the place where a bright new future full of efficient gadgets and green spaces will emerge. That kind of thinking is a barrier, though, because it’s exactly in those kinds of places that local sustainability can emerge, and on February 4 the Fishtown, East Kensington and Old Richmond sections of North Philly made a step towards becoming the most sustainable section of the city, and perhaps even the country.
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Style and Substance

Philly U students learn the art and science of sustainable design
by Judy Weightman

Sometimes a random conversation with the person standing next to you in line leads to a new chapter in your life. That’s what happened to Rob Fleming and Chris Pastore, faculty members at Philadelphia University. “We were waiting to get our ID cards and started talking,” Pastore recalls. “It was immediately clear that we had to work together.”
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Spring Forward

A guide to get you psyched for spring in Philly
by Reesha Grosso

The best treatment for your Seasonal Affective Disorder is increased solar exposure, so leave those pajamas behind! Acclimate yourself to springtime’s greenery, partake in a bit of sunshine and prepare yourself for the inevitable onslaught of insects with this whirlwind tour of Philadelphia’s indoor and outdoor treasures, all committed to education and preservation. While most are free, all have options under $10 and are accessible by public transportation.
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Gimme Shelter

Unlike the rock ‘n’ roll documentary of the same name that marked the end of the innocent ’60s, this Schuylkill Center for Environmental Education (SCEE) design experiment is all about hope for the future. SCEE challenged local artists and designers to come up with innovative and sustainable shelter designs that connect the abstract ideas of living more consciously with the realities of the natural world.
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Revolution Brewing

How to make an old-time Philly brew
by Will Dean

Winter might seem like a time for shutting down and hibernating, but it’s also a perfect time for making a little something to help pass the cold months more easily. Here’s a simple recipe for a porter—a dark, malty beer that has a long tradition in Philly dating back to Revolutionary times—from George Hummel of Home Sweet Homebrew.

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Ask Mark

Philadelphia’s Director of Sustainability, Mark Alan Hughes, answers our readers

Q: When I saw you speak at Johnny Brenda’s a few months ago, you mentioned an idea to make Philadelphia government offices more energy-conscious by tracking their usage, setting goals and rewarding conservation efforts. Since that time, Mayor Nutter has announced massive cutbacks and I couldn’t help but wonder if your plan to curb the energy use by government offices has been put into effect.
—Elizabeth Reed, Northern Liberties

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Urban Jungle, Concrete Farm

Philly represents at statewide urban farming conference 
by Phil Forsyth

On February 7, over 80 enthusiastic farmers and eaters packed a workshop called Small Space Community Food Production in State College. Lisa Mosca and Sharat Samashekara of Philly Green—a division of the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society—energized the crowd about the possibilities of sustainable agriculture in an urban environment. In the crowd were some of the 120 folks, according to the official count, from Philly and the Southeastern Pennsylvania region that trekked to State College for the Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture’s (PASA) Farming for the Future conference. They came from urban farms, farmer’s markets and blogs to learn, network and, of course, eat some great local food.
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Recipe: Peach Turnovers

1/2 can  Three Springs Fruit Farm Canned Peaches
3 tbsp    Peach jelly
1 tbsp    Cornstarch
1/8 tsp    Cinnamon
1 frozen    Puff pastry sheet, thawed
1 lg    egg, beaten
2 tbsp    Cold Green Meadows butter, cut into cubes
1 tbsp    Sugar
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Daily Dish

Farm to Philly hosts bloggers who eat locally, seasonally

by Tenaya Darlington

I may not be a locavore—the word for someone who tries to source food from within 100 miles of her home—but I am definitely a locavore voyeur. I like knowing what people are cooking within 100 miles of my house. No wonder I’ve become a fan of the group food blog Farm to Philly. Call it a peep show into local kitchens. Yesterday I ogled a squash gratin dinner, then a post on purple soup. It inspired me to SEPTA over to Reading Terminal for red cabbage and purple potatoes so I could slow-cook my own lavender stew.

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From the Editor: Creative Change

When the New Kensington CDC was faced with mountains of garbage being dumped on their neighborhood’s vacant lots, they came up with an ingenious idea: plant trees around the perimeters of vacant lots. Just the presence of trees stoically standing guard proved discouragement enough for would-be garbage dumpers.
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