Climate action: needs lots of people getting out in the street and making demands

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Gadfly:

I agree with Kathy, except that I don’t think we can expect legislation to solve this problem — especially given the current legislature. It’s going to take lots of people getting out in the street and demanding action. Turn the “climate strike” into more of a walkout and less of a rally-type event. Picket lines at legislators’ offices.

Peter Crownfield

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

“Instead of working to mitigate climate change, many PA legislators are making things worse”

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Kathy Fox is a member of the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council, a co-chair of the Northampton County Council of Democratic Women’s Environmental Committee, and a member of the Board of Directors of the Bethlehem Food Co-op.  Kathy involves herself in positive organizations and activities that foster community, environmental awareness, education, and good health. 

A tip o’ the hat to Steve Repasch for passing on “How Penn State Is Cutting Greenhouse Emissions In Half — And Saving Money” as “something to add to the climate discussion.”

Gadfly:

I agree with Ted Morgan’s statement in his recent “Your View” article about the enormous challenge of mitigating climate change, wherein he stated, “those political actors and fossil fuel producers who resist the necessary changes are guilty of crimes against humanity.”  Have you read or heard of the PA legislature’s package of bills deceptively named “Energize PA”?  They are nothing but eight industry-focused bills with the main purpose of promoting more fossil fuels. HB 1100, which gives a huge tax credit for petrochemical manufacturers, has already passed. And now they are working to pass three more bad bills: HB 1102, 1106 and 1107, which support the fossil fuel industry and strip the PA DEP of its ability to protect our environment and public health. The natural gas industry is eyeing Northeastern PA as a place to build more petrochemical plants.  Contact your representatives immediately, and tell them we don’t want PA to be supporting the fossil fuel industry and why we should be transitioning away from fossil fuels, not subsidizing them. Instead of working to mitigate climate change, many PA legislators are making things worse. We need legislators who protect their constituents, not support industries which damage public health.

Kathy

How to Festival UnBound

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

The City Forester makes a house call!

Kim Carrell-Smith is a 31-year resident of Bethlehem’s historic Southside, where she taught public history at Lehigh University for almost two decades. She is also an aspiring gadfly, buzzing in on issues of historic preservation, public education, city government, and other social justice issues. She tips her wings to the master gadflies who have served our community for so long!

Thanks for posting, Kathy!

And our city forester David Shaffer (very kindly dropping by my house in response to my questions on Gadlfy–now there’s public service!) pointed me/all of us toward the city’s website for ordinances and more info regarding trees.

*See https://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/public_works/forestry.html for straightforward guidelines  (not written like ordinances!) about types of trees they recommend, where and how to plant trees, etc.

*But also useful are the ordinances themselves: the city’s “SALDO,” which is the ordinance governing “subdivisions or developments.”  This might pertain to Kate’s question on Oct 1 on the Gadfly blog. There ARE requirements developers need to follow, and the forester enforces them. Hurray!

*And the actual city ordinance governing trees and shrubs: https://www.bethlehem-pa.gov/ordinance/articles/ARTICLE0910.html

But how great that he is on the agenda for the EAC! He seems like a very professional, conscientious guy.

Tree tending and planting (even removal) on public property require a certified arborist, and can be costly, I learned. What if as a city we could figure out a way to do what Community Action Development Corp of Bethlehem did on Hayes Street (with Southside Vision funding), when they planted trees up and down the hill in the old tree wells?

Could the Environmental Action Committee perhaps apply for grants to get trees planted in some low income neighborhoods?

Kim

How to Festival UnBound

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

“Are climate obstructionists guilty of crimes against humanity?”

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Ted Morgan, “Are climate obstructionists guilty of crimes against humanity?” Morning Call, October 2, 2019.

Alarming reports from a wide variety of science-based and international studies keep coming, warning us of disasters that lie ahead if the world fails to make massive cuts in greenhouse gas emissions.

Recognizing this, on Sept. 20, millions of people around the world engaged in a “Climate Strike,” the largest climate protest in history.

Despite the dire urgency for action, the Climate Action Summit produced only modest pledges from a minority of nations. Not surprisingly, the United States was silent. President Trump did not participate in the summit, instead declaring at a separate U.N. gathering, “The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots. The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations.”

There are two fundamental issues here.

First, most nations of the world, many states and localities within the United States, even some corporations and the U.S. military, now recognize that we all face a profound global challenge. While several governments have taken preliminary steps toward altering their emissions, and even more have pledged to do so, these steps remain woefully inadequate if the world is to avoid cataclysmic outcomes.

Second, the United States government, led by the Trump administration and its fossil-fuel producing allies, not only has done nothing to ameliorate climate change, it is blatantly accelerating the race to destruction.

By itself, climate change has caused 150,000 deaths each year (according to findings of a team of health and climate scientists from the World Health Organization and the University of Wisconsin at Madison). That number could double in a decade, and has contributed to 5 million human illnesses every year.

That would seem to suggest that those political actors and fossil fuel producers who resist the necessary changes are guilty of crimes against humanity.

It’s Thursday, October 4, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

How to Festival UnBound

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

Concerned about tree plantings in the City? — come to the EAC tonight

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

ref:

At least a tree with each new build

Why is it so difficult to get more trees put in along our streets?

Everybody:

You are invited to attend the next Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council’s meeting, which will be held on Thursday, 10/3/19 at 7 p.m. at Illick’s Mill. Dan Shaffer, the city’s new forester is on the agenda. Come out to meet him and ask your questions directly to the source. This will be the first time the EAC members will meet him too.

Kathy Fox

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

Peter punches! Pow!

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Gadfly and Kate:

Might be a good stress reliever.

Just a reminder that spreading to new areas is common for most species; in the era of global warming, that will increase as temperatures exceed the range in which they can survive.

There is, of course, no contest for what is probably the most invasive species of all time — humans.

Peter Crownfield

Require future mega-warehouse developments to dedicate rooftop space for solar generation

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Bill Gontram is a Philly transplant happy to find a nice quality of life on the Southside.

Gadfly:

EAC’s solar panel entreaty got me thinking. Given that the Lehigh Valley and especially Bethlehem with close proximity to I-78 is such a desirable (profitable) location for mega-warehouse development, it should be a requirement for future developments to dedicate rooftop space for solar generation. The added cost should be minimal (or zero with a PPA ) and well within the developer’s feasibility requirements. It should also be possible to purchase rooftop easements on existing buildings to allow installation by solar companies as well as municipalities.

Bill

Hmmm, Gadfly seems to recall an article or study on this subject that passed through the blog, but he can’t find it now. Can anybody give us a reference?

And isn’t the sentiment Bill provided in his by-line sooooo good!

Sounds of the student strike

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Gadfly’s a shy guy. Not much for public speaking. Seeger

And really not a strike, rally, demonstration kind of guy.

Except for the singing, that is. He would sing along.

Like with Peter, Paul, and Mary (Peter was at Sellersville yesterday!).

And with Pete Seeger. Whose spirit will visit us next Saturday.

But, as Gadfly realizes, strikes / rallies / demonstrations have an important role to play in empowering and consolidating change agents, galvanizing public opinion, and fostering political change.

And such activity by students is especially noteworthy.

Gadfly couldn’t get to the student Global Climate Strike at Payrow Plaza week ago Friday.

So he’s glad that follower Dan did and provides us with some audio that captures the bubbling passion the issue of climate change generates.

The chants:

The demands:

The danger (storms):

The apocalypse (pre-teen):

The political action group (Sunrise):

The environmental group (Sierra):

The elected official (Tara Zrinski):

The things you can do (10 ways):

The religious perspective (Muslim):

Gadfly knows that climate change issues are dear to the heart of many followers.

If you were there on Payrow Plaza or at some such other gathering, what would you say to gain the attention of the crowd when the mic was passed to you?

Interesting thought experiment.

Gadfly invites your comments.

It’s Sunday, September 29, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

The Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) follows up with the Parking Authority and gets good news

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Lynn Rothman chairs the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC).

9/25/19 Bethlehem Parking Authority

Good afternoon. My name is Lynn Rothman, speaking on behalf of the Bethlehem EAC.

I’m here today so that we can both put faces to the names in the EAC’s July letter to you. As you may know, the City of Bethlehem is embarking on a Climate Action Plan with the goal of reducing our ghg emissions for the health, well-being and sustainability of ourselves and future generations.

To help our City achieve this goal, we entreat the BPA to put solar panels on the proposed
Polk Street Garage, as well as existing and future garages. As shown in the photographs of other garages that were included in our letter, solar panels do not appear to inhibit the
available parking area.

The Authority could purchase solar panels, and through energy savings, recoup the initial investment over a period of years, thereafter reducing or eliminating the cost of electricity.

The EAC also wants to be sure you are aware of financing options for solar systems that
require no upfront costs.

A Power Purchase Agreement, or PPA, requires no upfront costs and entails having a solar provider own and maintain your solar system. The PPA provider may qualify for tax credits and accelerated depreciation. Under this scenario the Authority would agree to purchase electricity from the provider for 20 yrs. During that time the provider is responsible for all maintenance. After 20 yrs. the Parking Authority would have the option to continue or to purchase the solar system. Depending upon the size of the system, the price the PA would pay should be close to the going rate for electricity.

Even better, you could apply any excess power generated at the Polk Street garage to other garages within 2 miles. This is called virtual net metering.

Detailed information is available from solar providers that work with financial institutions.

Another possible option would be Commercially Assessed Clean Energy or C-PACE. No
upfront cost is required, rather a loan for the solar system would be tied to the property.
It’s unclear whether the Parking Authority would qualify for C-PACE, but you can find out by speaking with a representative from the Sustainable Energy Fund. SEF will be
overseeing the C-PACE program and is currently working with Northampton County on a
cooperative agreement.

As stated in our letter, we also recommend that new structures use a sustainable design
and LED lighting. We advise that trees be planted as densely as possible on the property to sequester carbon, help clean the air, provide cooling and aesthetically enhance the entire development.

Thank you for your time and consideration.

Lynn hadn’t heard anything after the July letter to the BPA. She found that the letter had somehow gone astray, but the BPA exec director told her, “The BPA is working towards sustainability. 100% of the BPA facilities should have LED lighting by next yr. At least 90%  of facilities are currently equipped with LED lighting. BPA has a consultant looking at solar comprehensively for all garages as opposed to a singular garage. EV charging stations are also prominent.”

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

The real threatening “toxic dust cloud” approaching is not political

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.

Gadfly:

An invisible “toxic dust cloud” is indeed approaching, but it’s not the political noise from DC. The underlying corruption is nearly a constant. Sometimes it’s more visible / blatant, sometimes almost invisible or concealed by “civil” manners.

The real threat right is the threat from less-visible, more-fatal systemic changes. I’ll just give two examples:

1. Our industrialized food system relies on synthetic fertilizers and pesticides, undermining our health and destroying the web of life on which we all depend.

2. Global warming & climate change threaten the future and the Sixth Great Extinction is underway, with entire species dying off at an estimated 1,000 times the normal background rate.

Two things, however, are very visible: an exponential increase in extreme weather events and widespread failure to take action to mitigate GHG emissions and to adapt to the changes that are on the way. Greta Thunberg’s comparison was apt — people are watching the latest entertainments & news distractions while the house is on fire.

Peter

It’s Friday, September 27, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

Past climate change due to natural feedbacks

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Benjamin Felzer is an associate professor at Lehigh University in the Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences. Ben has expertise in climate and terrestrial ecosystem modeling, and his research focuses on biogeochemical cycling of carbon, nitrogen, and other substances between the land and atmosphere.

Gadfly:

The reason why the terminology changed from “global warming” to “climate change” has nothing to do with the science. Rather, Republican pollster Frank Luntz, based on focus groups, determined that “climate change” was less threatening politically than “global warming.” What we are experiencing now is, in fact, global warming. That does not mean there is warming at every location on the earth or that every year is warmer than the preceding year (as there is interannual variability due to things like ENSO), but that on average, global temperatures over climatic timescales of 15-30 years or so continue to increase.

What past climate change tells us is that almost every major climate change in earth’s history is either caused by or amplified by changing levels of greenhouse gases (carbon dioxide or methane). When greenhouse gas levels go up, the world warms; when they go down, the world cools. Glacial/interglacial cycles were amplified by changing CO2 levels, the warm Eocene (55 million years ago) saw an outburst of methane, the warm Cretaceous (100 million years ago) had high CO2 levels, snowball earth was caused by fluctuating CO2, and even the early earth, when the sun was less bright than today, was warmed by high CO2 and methane levels. Obviously, in these cases, the elevated greenhouse gases were not caused by humans but by natural feedbacks. But we know what effect adding greenhouse gases has on the climate!  And today it is humans who are adding these greenhouse gases to the atmosphere.

CO2 levels have fluctuated between 200 and 280 ppm between glacial/interglacial cycles over the last million years. In the year 1860, they were at 280 ppm. Today, they are at 400 ppm, and still rising. There is no question as to why they have risen – it is due to human activity that began with the Industrial Revolution – burning of fossil fuels (as well as cement production). There is also no question that based on current socioeconomic trends, CO2 levels will continue to increase, with reasonable projections above 700 ppm by the year 2100. So, we have not yet even doubled CO2 concentrations since 1860, but will surely do so in coming decades. Global temperatures have already risen 1oC, but with even greater increases in atmospheric CO2, they will rise even further (projected another 2-4oC by 2100).

It is so important to understand attribution – why climate changes at different times.  The Little Ice age was a relatively minor cooling event that probably was due to an extended 80-year period without sunspots, known as the Maunder Minimum, as well as relatively larger number of volcanic eruptions. Changes in sunspots normally have very little effect on the climate as there is an 11-year sunspot cycle, so only when sunspots shut off for a century or so would they have a discernible effect on the climate. That is not the case now.  Differences in radiation between maximum and minimum sunspots in the cycle are simply too small to account for the warming we have witnessed. In fact, while the lower part of the atmosphere, the troposphere, has warmed, the stratosphere has cooled. That is a unique greenhouse warming signature that would not have occurred if the warming were due to the sun, as greenhouse gases are essentially keeping the heat near the surface.

So, yes, climate has changed in the past.  But we have a pretty good understanding of why past climate change occurred, and the larger ones all involved changing greenhouse gases due to natural feedbacks. Climate is changing now, and humans are the primary culprit. We know what we need to do in order to slow it down – reduce the amount of greenhouse gases we put into the atmosphere. How, or if, we choose to do so is up to us.

Ben

It’s Friday, September 27, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

Resolving some of the confusion about natural gas

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.

Gadfly:

I don’t want to have a big debate on climate science, but I might be able to resolve some of the confusion about natural gas. Just this morning, I was working with a student at Lafayette looking at just this question, and we found the answer at the Energy Information Administration.

When it is burned, natural gas has far lower GHG emissions than other fossil fuels, so it is marketed as a “clean” fuel. Unfortunately, the “upstream emissions” — from the wellhead, transmission pipelines & compressor stations, and even the gas mains that deliver it to homes — are, on average, higher than the combustion emissions.

According to the Cornell engineers who studied this in detail, the total emissions from natural gas rival those of coal.

Peter

(In conjunction with the student strike last Friday, Bruce Haines has kicked off an important thread here, but Gadfly would still like to invite posts directly related to our local in- process Climate Action Plan.)

Common ground even though differing views on climate change

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Bruce Haines is a Lehigh graduate who returned to Bethlehem after a 35-year career at USSteel. He put together a 12-member Partnership to rescue the Hotel Bethlehem from bankruptcy in 1998 and lives in the historic district.

Gadfly:

I truly respect Breena Holland & enjoy debating our polar opposite positions on virtually everything EXCEPT bad government in Bethlehem, where we come together on local issues.

Clearly I have not been brainwashed in school by liberal faculty pushing for control over our lives by using climate change as a vehicle for such control.

Climate science has evolved from the Global cooling scare in the 70’s/80’s to global warming at the turn of the century to simply climate change more recently as the facts failed to support their mantra along this road.

Climate change has been occurring for thousands of years as a natural phenomenon, including global warming ending the ice age long before fossil fuels were ever conceived.

The fossil fuel industry does not deserve demonization & to deny that natural gas isn’t more favorable to Breena’s cause vs coal or oil is simply bizarre.

While we will continue to differ on this subject, I will continue to look forward to working with Breena where we can find common ground. Defending neighborhood preservation or bad economic development decisions by our local government officials will bond our otherwise diverse opinions.

Bruce

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

The strikers’ generation has been taught climate science

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Breena Holland is an Associate Professor at Lehigh University in the Department of Political Science and the Environmental Initiative. She is a past and current director of Lehigh University’s South Side Initiative.

Gadfly,

What my friend Mr. Haines fails to admit is that the golden egg is actually not golden. Its yoke turned out to be a slow-release poison, which the climate strikers clearly have learned a lot more about. Their generation was taught climate science, and because of that, they don’t view the problems of transitioning away from fossil fuels as something that can avoided while rich fossil fuel companies continue to externalize their costs on the rest of the world. What’s the point of a strong economy if it slowly kills the planet that all species need to live?

While every one of Mr. Haines’ claims can be contested on empirical grounds — natural gas is not resulting in dramatic emissions reductions, and the price of it will go up in PA because it will be exported thanks to frackers’ abuse of eminent domain to set up pipelines, etc.—what his comments reveal is simply that he has not familiarized himself with the science of climate change and its consequences. If a person denies the seriousness of the problem, then the strikers look unreasonable. But if you take the problem seriously, then it’s obvious why the crisis can’t wait for fossil fuel companies to clean up their mess, and why we need to start talking about real alternatives rather than appeal to 20th century economic ideas that favor endless growth at all costs. The strikers are choosing life over growth, in part because they have a lot more of it ahead of them than me and Mr. Haines. If he doesn’t get that, then he needs to pick up any serious scientific journal that publishes actual data on the science of climate change. Climate change is still an inconvenient truth.

Breena

Festival UnBound

Need for a reality check on climate change

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Bruce Haines is a Lehigh graduate who returned to Bethlehem after a 35-year career at USSteel. He put together a 12-member Partnership to rescue the Hotel Bethlehem from bankruptcy in 1998 and lives in the historic district.

Gadfly:

With regard to the Student strike for climate change. When is someone going to put some sanity into the climate change mantra? They are espousing to kill the goose that laid the golden egg!!

Our country’s leaders strategically unleashed the fossil fuel industry about 40 years ago to make us energy independent from the grip of the oil cartel in the Middle East as you will recall. Remember the long lines at the gas pumps & sky high energy prices? We finally just now have achieved energy independence thru the creative investments in technology to include lateral drilling & fracking. The industry succeeded in driving down prices by increasing supply—Economics 101!!

Now Bernie Sanders & Elizabeth Warren want to lock up the leaders of the industries that spearheaded this initiative. Prices of fossil fuels have been driven to unprecedented low levels to allow America to become world competitive & actually bring back lost manufacturing from offshore. Manufacturing relies on energy & brings higher paying jobs than the service industries fostered during the Bush/Obama administrations.

Low-cost Natural gas is replacing both coal & oil as the primary fuel for power plants as well as other energy consumption. This is resulting in dramatic reductions in CO2 emissions here in America at a same time of unprecedented economic growth.

Solar & Wind energy is clearly a minor player today & a long term supplemental energy source as it is unreliable & requires massive storage capacity to provide consistent power.

Killing air travel & cows is a wild pipe-dream that would destroy our economic leadership in the world & cost jobs for inner city minorities & for average Americans trying to rise above the middle class.

There needs to be a reality check with these preposterous proposals from our politicians in addition to the brainwashing of our youth in our schools. They clearly aren’t being taught enough history & economics. The leaders espousing elimination of fossil fuels clearly missed these classes along the way or simply want to control our freedom of choice.

Bruce

Gadfly would like to keep our attention on local issues, and Bruce will soon follow-up with comments on our in-process Climate Action Plan.

Festival UnBound

We need the city to adopt a resolution declaring a climate emergency

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Peter Crownfield is officially retired but spends most of his time working with students in his role as internship coordinator for the Alliance for Sustainable Communities–Lehigh Valley.

related story: Justine McDaniel, “In Pennsylvania, a lot of talk and no action on climate change, experts say.” Philadelphia Inquirer, September 23, 2019.

“It’s Sunday, September 22, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?”

I wish I did, Gadfly!

The city issued an RFP for climate a action planning that was due over 2 months ago. (I was told that 4 proposals were received, but the City has refused to make the proposals public.) And they have not yet awarded a contract.

We need the city to adopt a resolution declaring a climate emergency and to direct all departments and employees to mobilize an all-out effort to reduce GHG emissions and to involve the entire community; the resolution also should call on businesses and educational institutions to do the same. ‘Business as usual’ is not acceptable.

BASD adopted a Climate and Sustainability Commitment over 5 years ago, but have not reported any significant progress on fulfilling the commitment. (The facilities department had already done an outstanding job of reducing energy use, even before the Climate and Sustainability Commitment was adopted.)

In the meantime, teachers in every subject area and every grade level can find ideas for teaching climate change by looking at the Teacher Guide section at teach-climate.net. Zinn Education Project also has some excellent resources for teachers.

Parents & students should demand that schools give appropriate attention to the climate emergency!

Peter

And now it’s Monday, September 23,
do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Festival UnBound

 

Recommending this blog on sustainability by a Bethlehem native

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Gadfly has started to follow the Radical Moderate blog by Alison Steele, a Bethlehem native and Liberty grad: “The purpose of this site is to document my exploration of different ways to reduce my own footprint.”

Alison is Director of Community Programs & Advocacy at Conservation Consultants, Inc. in Pittsburgh.

Her recent post is on a climate change scarf!

Gadfly remembers that Brian Hillard of our Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) met her on the conference circuit and reported on their conversation.

Give the work of this local daughter of “former-hippie parents” a look!

It’s Sunday, September 22, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

 

Festival UnBound

Student climate strike in Bethlehem (and around the world)

Festival UnBound
Ten days of original theatre, dance, music, art and conversation designed to celebrate and imagine our future together!
October 4-13

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Gadfly couldn’t attend. Comments invited from those who did. Did followers have any kids or grandkids who were there?

Sarah M. Wojcik and Kayla Dwyer, “Global Climate Strike inspires Lehigh Valley residents, students to rally against inaction on climate change.” Morning Call, september 20, 2019.

Madison Bold doesn’t see how her attendance score in high school is going to matter if a threat as massive as climate change is left unchecked. Bold, 16, a sophomore at the Lehigh Valley Charter High School for the Arts, was among about 20 students who left class Friday to join protesters of all ages in Bethlehem’s Payrow Plaza as part of the global climate strike, inspired by a Swedish girl the same age as Bold. Millions attended the event around the world, including a handful of locations around the Lehigh Valley.

At Lehigh University’s front lawn in Bethlehem’s South Side, students used a bullhorn to persuade peers to join them in their march to City Hall. There, Lehigh students joined more than 150 others gathering to show support for action on climate change. “Skip your classes! Save the planet! Join millions!” organizer Connor Burbridge shouted to students shuffling past. A few stopped to watch before moving along, but more and more found their way into the growing cluster of students.

Even so, the turnout – roughly 100 by 1:30 p.m. when the group marched across the Fahy Bridge to Payrow Plaza – thrilled organizers. Oliwia Krupinska, a Lehigh senior studying astrophysics, had no sense of the response at the university. The event was organized by various groups in an intentionally decentralized fashion, but that made it hard to understand the reach.

Students called on each other to make small, personal changes to effect change: Drive less, cut down on meat consumption, start composting. Students were encouraged to refrain from viewing the issue from a partisan lens and take ownership in whatever parts of campus or community they are – be it in their communication classes or mechanical engineering courses.

Student leaders also called on Lehigh University to enact policies and practices, such as banning single-use plastic on campus and divesting university finances from the fossil fuel industry, to combat climate change.

“It’s our job to hold our own school responsible,” Krupinska told the students gathered.

A group of environmental policy graduate students said they had no classes during the planned march. But given their course of study, suspected they’d get in more trouble if they didn’t join the mobilization.

“This is also about showing solidarity with youth around the world,” Clopton said. “I think it’s important that Lehigh and little cities like Bethlehem join this conversation. It’s just as important for places this size to stand up and fight back.”

“This gets people together to network and start conversations,” he said. “And for young people, getting them this experience is important. Chanting can be contagious. Once you do it, people want to come back to it. We all have it in ourselves to be leaders.

It’s Saturday, September 21, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Festival UnBound

Student Climate Action strike today, Payrow Plaza — can anyone go and report?

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Many Gadfly followers are committed to action on Climate Action. Student strike event today at 2PM Payrow Plaza.

Gadfly would like to cover but can’t make it.

Could one or more followers attend, participate, and send comments for posting here?

Michelle Merlin, “Lehigh Valley climate strikes planned for global day of action.” Morning Call, September 20, 2019.

  • Ashley Barrasso, a student and the president of the Climate Action Network at Northampton Community College’s Bethlehem campus, is also hoping people take note of the climate strike, including one at Payrow Plaza in Bethlehem.
  • She was inspired by Thunberg’s trip across the Atlantic, and realized that her group needed to participate in the global climate strike. One will take place at NCC’s campus from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., and another in front of City Hall from 2 p.m. to 4:30 p.m. Lehigh University students are also planning a strike at 1 p.m. on campus and will move to Payrow Plaza.

It’s Friday, September 20, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Bethlehem school kids’ art work adorns reusable tote bags in the battle against single-use plastic bags — order yours now!

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Beth Behrend is a member of the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) and the guiding hand on the proposed ordinance to ban single-use plastic bags.

Beth EAC Totes

Gadfly:

At the end of last school year, I organized a drawing contest (Beth contest) in the Bethlehem schools with the theme “Designing for a Cleaner Future.” The purpose was to have students draw a picture that promoted a cleaner environment. Students could also include a motto or saying in their designs. I received over 100 submissions from kindergarteners to high school seniors. Four winners were chosen, and their designs were printed on reusable tote bags. These bags are being sold as a fundraiser to support environmental projects in the schools. We already have a 5th grade class who would like to use some of this money to start a pollinator garden at their school.

From left to right in the picture, the winners are a 3rd grader from Lincoln, a 7th grader from Nitschmann, a 5th grader from William Penn, and a senior from Liberty.

I sent a flyer to all principals and art teachers in the school district. Not all art teachers had an email posted on the BASD website, but a flyer was at least sent to the school’s email or principal’s email. Not all schools replied, and some replied but did not submit artwork. The youngest submissions were from kindergarteners and the oldest were high school seniors.

The bags are $8/each, and Gadfly followers can order bags (why not more than 1?) using the form attached: beth Order Form

Beth

Beth EAC Totes

It is Sunday, September 15, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

 

The EAC beating the drums at City Council

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

You know Gadfly loves the Environmental Action Council (EAC). They just don’t talk about things, they do them, and do them.

Here’s EAC chair Lynn Rothman pitching to City Council August 20 the letter with environmentally focused design suggestions for the Polk Street Garage that she sent to the Bethlehem Parking Authority on July 29. Follow-up is good.

And Ann Gastlinger reminds Council on September 3 that we’ve got a “plastic crisis” and pushes for passage of the plastic bag ban ordinance the EAC, led by Beth Behrend, sent them weeks ago, so that it will be ready for implementation as soon as the legislative moratorium enacted by the State ends. Not letting them forget.

Your non-tax dollars at work by your “neighbors” pitching in and volunteering!

The banning of the ban of single-use plastic bags

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Here is interesting commentary on the (temporarily anyway) banning of the banning of single-use plastic bags, an ordinance proposed by our Environmental Advisory Council and point person Beth Behrend that Gadfly reported on a few weeks ago.

Wait till next year, Beth!

Greg Vitali, “Your View: How a state senator blocked Pennsylvania bans on plastic bags.” Morning Call, August 14, 2019.

In the final days of budget negotiations, a powerful state senator quietly inserted language in a budget related bill that would prevent Pennsylvania from regulating single use plastic bags.

State Senate Majority Leader Jake Corman (R-Centre) inserted a provision in the fiscal code that would prohibit the commonwealth and its municipalities from regulating single-use plastic bags and other containers for one year — ostensibly to allow more time to study the issue.

Sen. Corman’s district includes a single-use plastic bag manufacturing plant — Hilex Poly in Milesburg, Centre County. This plant is owned by Novolex, one of the world’s leading manufacturers of single-use plastic bags. Novolex has lobbied against plastic bag regulation in other states.

Given the backdrop of these national, state and municipal plastic bag programs, Corman’s assertion that another year of study is needed before Pennsylvania or its municipalities should consider enacting plastic bag regulations lacks plausibility. To the contrary, Corman’s actions are consistent with a continuing, parochial effort to protect the Novolex plastic bag manufacturing plant in his district.

Legislation to prevent plastic bag regulation has been opposed by most Pennsylvania municipal associations, including the Pennsylvania Municipal League, The Pennsylvania State Association of Township Supervisors and the Pennsylvania State Association of Boroughs. Local governments want the tools of plastic-bag fees and bans to help them deal with local problems such as litter, the clogging of storm drains and sewers, and the stressing of landfills.

Much-needed plastic bag regulations will be prevented or delayed because our elected officials in Harrisburg have allowed the actions of one powerful senator to carry the day.

Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan on the move

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

“There is no reason why good cannot triumph as often as evil.
The triumph of anything is a matter of organization.”
(Kurt Vonnegut)

Councilman Reynolds has been the main driver in the formation of a local Climate Action Plan, dating back to his “Bethlehem 2017” report, which can be found linked on the Gadfly sidebar.

Here we are two years later, and Gadfly was pleased to attend the Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) meeting last night at Illick’s Mill at which members discussed proposals from four organizations to write a plan for the City.

The EAC is chaired by Lynn Rothman, and the members are Elizabeth Behrend, Elisabeth Cichonski, Kathy Fox, Brian Hillard, Brian Nicas, and Mike Topping. Nine other members of the public were also present.

As explained by chair Rothman, the EAC had input into the call for proposals and now was invited to make recommendations before the City made the final decision and awarded a contract to one of the bidders. The City has allocated funds for the project to begin this year, and it sounded to Gadfly that the project would take about a year to complete.

Next year we could have a Climate Action Plan!

Each of the four proposals was lengthy and densely packed with information. EAC members reviewed them beforehand and discussed them one-by-one at the meeting.

Gadfly is always proudly pleased to show our non-tax dollars profitably at work. Here to give you a taste of the meeting is the final section in which Council members ranked the proposals for their recommendation to the City. Most interesting in the later portion of this clip is a discussion of attention to underserved populations.

Nicely done!

It’s Friday, August 9, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

Climate Action Plan taking a big step

(The latest in a series of posts relating to the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

Hey, speakin’ of the Environmental Advisory Council and the Climate Action Plan:

NOTICE is hereby given that the Bethlehem Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) will conduct a special meeting on Thursday, August 8, 2019, at 6:30 PM, at Illick’s Mill, 100 Illick’s Mill Road, Bethlehem PA 18018. The purpose of this meeting is to discuss and make any pertinent recommendations to the City regarding proposals from four environmental consulting firms to write a Climate Action Plan for the City of Bethlehem. 

This is a public meeting and all interested parties may attend and be heard. Rescheduled or special meetings will be advertised in compliance with the Act of July 3, 1986, P.L. 84. Information about the EAC is available on the City of Bethlehem’s website at www.bethlehem-pa.gov, under Authorities & Boards.

Elisabeth Cichonski

Secretary, EAC

It is still Wednesday, August 7, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?

The Environmental Advisory Council recommendations on the Polk Street Garage

(The latest in a series of posts relating to parking, the environment, Bethlehem’s Climate Action Plan, and Bethlehem’s Environmental Advisory Council)

The good ol’ Environmental Advisory Council (EAC). Love ’em!

Always a step ahead.

Look at this July 29 letter to the Bethlehem Parking Authority about the design of the Polk Street Garage (be sure to note the interesting photos):

EAC to Parking.Authority

The EAC has recommendations concerning electric vehicle charging stations, solar panels, stormwater management, tree replacement, and car idling impact.

This is exactly the kind of thing that Gadfly expressed concern about in a post yesterday when he said, “Gadfly is wondering, for instance, how the garage fits in with any related City goals — like walkability or Climate Action or whatever.”

Gadfly worries that the BPA works independently.

He hopes that the Polk Street Garage design will have plenty of public review as well as the routine technical scrutiny from the City departments.

He is not sure what “power” the EAC has, but you would think the City would be under great pressure to make sure the BPA follows such recommendations.

If we are serious about a Climate Action Plan, such recommendations must be followed.

It’s Wednesday, August 7, do you know where your local Climate Action Plan is?