<![CDATA[NBC 10 Philadelphia - Green News]]>Copyright 2017http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/green http://media.nbcnewyork.com/designimages/NBC10_40x125.png NBC 10 Philadelphia http://www.nbcphiladelphia.comen-usWed, 29 Mar 2017 22:40:39 -0400Wed, 29 Mar 2017 22:40:39 -0400NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[There's a Farm Inside This Shipping Container in South Jersey]]> Wed, 15 Mar 2017 11:56:45 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Shipping+Container+Farm+Poster.png

You can grow quality food anywhere. This shipping container farm proves it. Hoping to bring fresh food to communities who need them the most, a trio of Millennials from South Jersey formed Homegrown Farms. The controlled environment allows them to grow greens quickly and efficiently.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Badlands National Park's Climate Change Tweets Deleted]]> Tue, 24 Jan 2017 22:04:07 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Badlands+park.jpg

The Twitter account for the Badlands National Park in South Dakota published a series of tweets Tuesday on climate change. A few hours later, the tweets were deleted.

The first tweet, posted an hour after President Donald Trump signed executive orders advancing the construction of the controversial Keystone XL and Dakota Access oil pipelines, said: “The pre-industrial concentration of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere was 280 parts per million (ppm). As of December 2016, 404.93 ppm.”

Just moments later, the account posted another tweet: “Today, the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere is higher than at any time in the last 650,000 years” — with the hashtag “#climate” added for good measure.

The next tweet said: “Flipside of the atmosphere; ocean acidity has increased 30% since the Industrial Revolution. ‘Ocean Acidification’ #climate #carboncycle” 

The last tweet said: "Burning one gallon of gasoline puts nearly 20lbs of carbon dioxide into our atmosphere." 

According to a National Park Service spokesman, the tweets were posted by a former employee who is not authorized to use the park's account. Tom Crosson, NPS's chief of public affairs, told NBC the park was not told to remove the tweets but "chose to do so when they realized that their account had been compromised."

"At this time, National Park Service social media managers are encouraged to continue the use of Twitter to post information relating to public safety and park information, with the exception of content related to national policy issues," Crosson added.

Tweeting about climate change isn't out of character for Badlands. The park's Twitter account feed addresses the national security implications of climate change, rising water temperatures and the decline of species driven by global warming. But it does contradict President Trump's stance on the issue. He has repeatedly claimed climate change is a hoax.

In response to the tweets being deleted, DNC national press secretary Adrienne Watson released the following statement: “Vladimir Putin would be proud.”

Tuesday's tweets followed a brief suspension Friday of the National Park Service’s Twitter account, as well as those of all its bureaus, over retweets the Department of the Interior deemed "inconsistent with the agency’s mission."

The prohibition came after the National Park Service’s official Twitter account, a bureau of the department, retweeted a pair of posts to its 315,000 followers. One of the tweets was a photo that compared the crowd gathered on the National Mall for Trump to the much-larger gathering that stood in the same spot eight years earlier for President Barack Obama's first swearing-in. The tweets were later removed from the feed, and the National Park Service apologized for sharing them.

A day later, Crosson said the agencies could resume tweeting “Now that social media guidance has been clarified.” It was not immediately clear what information was in the guidance. 



Photo Credit: Badlands National Park
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<![CDATA[Look to States, Companies if Trump Shifts on the Environment]]> Thu, 22 Dec 2016 08:02:37 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/180*120/GettyImages-86002177.jpg

Next year, even if President-elect Donald Trump does try to save the environmentally retrograde coal industry as promised, Google will be heading in the opposite direction — buying enough wind and solar energy to account for all of the electricity it uses at its data centers and offices around the world.

Another of Trump's promises, to abandon the Paris climate agreement, prompted hundreds of American companies, among them Mars, Levi Strauss, Nike and Starbucks, to write urging him to abide by the agreement and the decreases in greenhouse gases it calls for.

And in California, Gov. Jerry Brown warned after the election that if Trump puts an end to research conducted by NASA, "California will launch its own damn satellite."

With a Trump administration threatening to reverse the current administration's environmental agenda — his choice to lead the Environmental Protection Agency has sued the agency repeatedly — corporations and states, not the federal government, could be out front on advances to replace fossil fuels with renewable energy, create clean-energy jobs and keep the air and water free of pollution.

"A motivated state can accomplish a great deal," said Michael B. Gerrard, the faculty director of Sabin Center for Climate Change Law at Columbia University in New York City. "California is the jurisdiction leading the world on action on climate change. It has adopted a very ambitious plan that in most respects does not depend on the federal government."

California's goal: to reduce pollution 40 percent below 1990 levels by 2030. The plan will be anchored by the state’s own cap-and-trade program, which sets a limit on emissions and creates a market for carbon allowances.

California's governor vowed last week to challenge any attempts to halt climate change research, including NASA's satellite programs that collect information on temperature, ice and clouds. Climate scientists have been worried about the future of the program since two of Trump's space policy advisers wrote about the agency's focus on "politically correct environmental monitoring."

"We've got the scientists, we've got the lawyers and we're ready to fight," Brown told a meeting of the American Geophysical Union.

Elsewhere states in the Northeast have come together to create a regional cap-and-trade program. Hawaii plans to use 100 percent renewable energy by 2045. Illinois' lawmakers this month voted for the Future Energy Jobs Bill, which is expected to expand clean energy, create thousands of jobs and spur billions of dollars in investment in what the Environmental Defense Fund called "the most significant clean energy economic development package in the state's history."

Twenty-nine states plus the District of Columbia require utilities to get a minimum percentage of their power from renewable energy, according to the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory. In 2013, the renewable portfolio standards accounted for 2.4 percent of nationwide electricity generation and a 3.6 percent reduction in fossil fuel generation.

Lawmakers who are less aggressive about advancing renewable energy are under pressure. Ohio's Republicans just voted to make the state's program optional and not only has Gov. John Kasich objected but the solar panel manufacturer, First Solar, which has a research laboratory in Ohio, is threatening to leave, taking with it the $100 million it spends in the state, according to Cleveland.com.

Most of the ways that states would reform the mix of their energy generation do not depend on the federal government, though tax credits for wind and solar energy are helpful, Gerrard said. The principal regulation that does require federal okay, though not money, is tighter fuel-economy standards for motor vehicles, he said. If the federal government were to back off those standards, California could pass its own but only with EPA approval. Other states could then adopt California's standards. There also are limitations on a state's ability to control the sources of electricity that flow into the state, he said.

Even states that are politically hostile to national efforts to fight climate change are taking action, often for economic reasons. Texas, for example, with the most proven oil reserves, is among the states that sued and temporarily blocked President Barack Obama's signature Clean Power Plan, the first to set a national limit on carbon pollution. At the same time, it is leading the country in the development of wind energy, which provided nearly 12 percent of the energy used in the state last year.

Gerrard said he was apprehensive about Trump's planned environmental program. The announced agenda calls for backpedalling on many of the country's most important environmental laws, he said.

"If Congress starts pre-empting state laws, then we're in wholly new territory,” Gerrard said. "Hopefully they won't be that aggressive in trying to kill environmental protection."

There are some areas where the federal government does pre-empt state regulations such as those governing nuclear power, but not many, Gerrard said. And even if laws are not repealed, Trump could starve the EPA of the money it needs and slow enforcement dramatically, he said. It's also not clear if Congress will act to overturn Obama's recent protection of the bulk of U.S.-owned waters in the Arctic Ocean and certain areas in the Atlantic Ocean from future oil and gas leasing.

The United Nations warns that climate change is already affecting every country on every continent with severe weather and rising seas. And if left unchecked, the effects will likely be "severe, pervasive and irreversible."

During the campaign Trump pledged to "cancel" U.S. participation in the Paris Climate Agreement, though he later told The New York Times he had “an open mind to it.” Bailing on the agreement could leave the planet in peril, scientists say.

The Paris deal, which officially went into effect last month, aims to avert the most dangerous effects of global warming by limiting the rise in the global average temperature to below 3.6 degrees Fahrenheit. That's the tipping point beyond which many believe the effects of climate change will become irreversible, according to Climate Interactive, a Washington, D.C.-based think tank.

The United States, the world’s second-largest polluter, has pledged to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions by 26 to 28 percent below the 2005 levels by the year 2025. That accounts for about 20 percent of the expected reductions, Climate Interactive found.

What Trump believes about climate change isn’t clear. During the campaign, he tweeted that it was a Chinese hoax meant to make U.S. manufacturing less competitive, though later he said his comment was a joke. In a video detailing his agenda for his first 100 days in office, he said, "I will cancel job-killing restrictions on the production of American energy – including shale energy and clean coal – creating many millions of high-paying jobs."

Then there are his nominees, proponents of fossil fuel and climate change skeptics. Environmentalists panned all of them.

The Oklahoma attorney general, Scott Pruitt, who would lead the EPA, questions how much effect human activity is having on global warming and is among the state attorneys general to sue over Obama's Clean Power Plan, a case that is pending. Former Texas Gov. Rick Perry, picked to head the Energy Department, has said he would eliminate the department and has mocked "the secular carbon cult." Montana Rep. Ryan Zinke, Trump's choice for the Interior Department, has claimed climate change is not "proven science" and supports ending a moratorium on federal coal leases on public lands.

Finally, Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson, who would become secretary of state, leads a company under investigation into whether it withheld information from investors showing man-made emissions were changing the climate. Under Tillerson's leadership Exxon Mobil has endorsed the Paris agreement and shifted its stance on climate change, though Tillerson has continued to question predictions about its effect. 

"This is an administration that is dead set on putting polluters ahead of people every single time," said May Boeve, the executive director of the environmental group, 350.org.

Danny Cullenward, an energy economist and lawyer at the Carnegie Institution for Science in San Francisco, said that it was an important time to focus on the private sector and on government other than at the federal level.

"I would agree that states are absolutely in the driver's seat,” he said. "And I think that goes to some really interesting opportunities to do things right, albeit maybe at a small scale.”

States should focus not just on decreasing their own emissions but also on models that can be adapted to other places — ones with smaller regulatory agencies, for example, that need simpler policies to adopt.

"A lot of the regulation in the energy sector has traditionally been at the state rather than at the federal level," he said. "So states that want to change the way their energy systems, particularly their electricity systems, are operated have a lot of authority to do that."

A federal government determined to roll back environmental regulations could do real damage, environmentalists say. The GOP-led Congress has tried to pass almost 150 measures to reverse environmental regulations, including working against ones that set limits on mercury and ozone, said Jeremy Symons an associate vice president at the Environmental Defense Fund. The conservative House Freedom Caucus has provided Trump with a recommended list of regulations to eliminate, 43 of which are aimed at undermining the country’s progress on clean energy, while others would go after environmental protections, he wrote.

"It might be nice to think that things will just move forward but you can’t ignore Washington and the potential move in the opposite direction,” Symons said.

And although progress will be made outside of Washington, a lack of federal backing will hurt, Symons said. Not only is time running out to combat climate change, but with renewable energy affordable and creating jobs, this is when the country should be accelerating the transition, he said.

"If Washington is a drag pulling us backwards instead of propelling us forwards, there is an enormous missed opportunity there," he said.

A too ambitious agenda could backfire as happened to President Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, said Symons and Steven Cohen, director of Columbia University's Earth Institute. Reagan's choice of Anne Gorsuch Burford for the EPA resigned after 22 months after she cut the agency's budget by 22 percent and came under fire over mismanagement of hazardous waste cleanup. The Bush administration had to reverse itself on plans to withdraw rules limiting arsenic in drinking water.

Regulations often force an improvement on an industry, and people's expectations are raised, whether for health and safety or clean water and air, Cohen said. Ralph Nader's "Unsafe at Any Speed: The Designed-In Dangers of the American Automobile," published in 1965, eventually led to safety advances such as seat belts, airbags and antilock brakes — despite resistance from automobile manufacturers concerned about cost. Today, customers pay more for vehicles with higher safety ratings, Cohen said.

Climate change is more difficult an issue to tackle, because it is occurring everywhere and its effects are still largely in the future, he said. He would reframe the issue as one of air pollution.

"Air pollution, water pollution and particularly toxic waste, these are issues that people see and feel and smell," he said. 

The EPA has been one of the most successful agencies, its regulations curbing pollution that had been rising in concert with an expanding economy, Cohen said. By the 1980s, the GDP kept growing but absolute pollution levels started to fall, he said. Some businesses might be harmed by regulation but society as a whole benefits, he said.

"The idea that you have to choose between protecting and growing the economy is simply untrue," he said.

Google announced this month that it would be powered 100 percent by wind and solar power next year — meaning that the amount it buys from renewable sources each year will match the electricity it uses. It signed its first agreement to buy all of the electricity from a wind farm in Iowa in 2010. In the six years since, the cost of producing wind power has come down 60 percent and that of solar power, 80 percent, the company said. Going forward, Google will be focused on signing agreements for low-carbon power that is not intermittent such as hydro and biomass.

"Many corporations realize they can save large amounts of money, energy efficiency of operations by lowering electricity and natural gas bills," Gerrard said.

Ceres, a non-profit organization advocating for sustainable business practices, has found that more than 60 percent of the Fortune 500 companies have set goals for the use of renewable energy or the most efficient use of energy, said Anne Kelly, a senior program director. States as a result are diversifying their energy sources to attract those businesses and the tax base and jobs they provide.

"There's really something to be said to the unstoppable momentum of the private sector, particularly in the area of procuring renewable energy," said Anne Kelly, a non-profit organization advocating for sustainable business practices.

Ceres will continue to make a clear business case for clean energy, for listening to the demands of power purchases not just power suppliers and the oil lobby, she said. Regulations such as the CAFE or corporate average fuel economy standards — first enacted by Congress in 1975 to increase the fuel economy of cars and trucks — are sending the right market signals and spurring the changes needed to transition to a low-carbon economy, Kelley said. Companies are locking into long-term power purchase agreements to try to avoid the volatility of natural gas prices.

"Given the momentum that I see in terms of private-sector leadership and state action makes me very optimistic,” she said. “I am certainly concerned about what could happen at the federal level but I’m optimistic about the states and all of our environmental laws have originated at the state level."



Photo Credit: Getty Images
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<![CDATA[Philly Wants to Recycle Your Leaves]]> Wed, 02 Nov 2016 10:56:35 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Leaf+Pile+Generic+Leaves+Generic.jpg

Philadelphia’s Streets Department will begin collecting and recycling fall leaves from the city’s curbs Monday but most of you will need to take your leaves to the city to get them composted. The annual collection service will last six weeks.

Anyone in the city can carefully put leaves in biodegradable bags and drop off those leaves at nearly two dozen sanitation centers around the city. (Click here for a full list.)

But for those in neighborhoods where the leaves really pile up, the city will use machines to clear the decaying leaves. There are regulations, however, to ensure the leaves are picked up on the designated days for each neighborhood.

The streets department will only collect leaves that are neatly raked to the curb or in biodegradable paper bags. This reduces contamination so the leaves can be recycled. Additionally, residents are urged to avoid mixing trash into the bagged leaves since they won’t be usable.

People who wish to recycle or remove their leaves, but are not in an area selected for the collection program, can drop off their bagged leaves at one of 23 locations spread out throughout the city on Saturdays (excluding the Saturday following Thanksgiving) from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. from Nov. 19 to Dec. 17. You can also drop your bagged leaves at any of the city's five Sanitation Convenience Centers from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday to Saturday.

The city will use compactors to crush the leaves. The leaves will then be composted in Fairmount Park, said the streets department.

Leaves can be also reused for personal composting at your own home.



Photo Credit: AP
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<![CDATA[Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Expands to Montco, Bucks]]> Mon, 28 Nov 2016 15:24:41 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/spotted+lanternfly1.PNG

Pennsylvania Agriculture Secretary Russell Redding said the discovery of the Spotted Lanternfly in 25 more municipalities in southeastern Pennsylvania is cause for vigilance, not alarm.

Citizen reports of the pest allowed the department to expand the quarantine, said Redding.

"If they had simply ignored what they found, that would have allowed the pest to spread, potentially reaching more areas and creating a larger problem," Redding said. "If we're going to be successful in eradicating this pest, it's going to take a collaborative effort."

The guarantied municipalities, by county, are:

  • Berks County: Alsace, Amity, Centre, Colebrookdale, Douglass, District, Earl, Exeter, Hereford, Longswamp, Maiden Creek Maxatawny, Oley, Pike, Richmond, Robeson, Rockland, Ruscombmanor, Union and Washington townships, and the boroughs of Bally, Bechtelsville, Birdsboro, Boyertown, Centreport, Fleetwood, Kutztown, Lyons, St. Lawrence and Topton
  • Bucks County: Milford and Richland townships and Richlandtown, Quakertown and Trumbauersville boroughs
  • Chester County: East Vincent, East Coventry, North Coventry and South Coventry townships and Spring City
  • Lehigh County: Upper Saucon, Lower Macungie, Upper Milford, Lower Milford, Whitehall, and South Whitehall townships; the boroughs of Alburtis, Emmaus, and Macungie; and the cities of Allentown and Bethlehem
  • Montgomery County: Douglass, Marlborough, New Hanover, Upper Hanover, Upper Providence and West Pottsgrove townships, and the boroughs of East Greenville, Pennsburg, Pottstown, Red Hill and Royersford
  • Northampton County: Bethlehem City

The quarantine of the infested areas restricts movement of any material or object that can spread the pest. This includes, but is not limited to, firewood or wood products, brush or yard waste, remodeling or construction materials and waste, packing material-like boxes, grapevines for decorative purposes or as nursery stock, and any outdoor household items such as lawnmowers, grills, tarps and other equipment as well as trucks and vehicles not typically stored indoors.

The Spotted Lanternfly is an inch-long, black, red and white spotted pest and is native to China, India, Japan and Vietnam. The species is invasive in Korea, where it has attacked 25 plant species that also grow in Pennsylvania.

Prior to its discovery in Berks County in the fall of 2014, it was not found in the United States.

Adult female Lanternflies lay egg masses on any flat surface, including outdoor furniture, equipment, stone and block and vehicles in autumn, said officials.

If you go camping or hiking, Redding advised to check your equipment before and after you leave the woods to make sure you do not have an egg mass on your equipment.

Each egg mass contains 35 to 50 young Spotted Lanternflies. If you see an egg mass, scrape it off, double bag it and throw it in the garbage, or place the eggs in hand sanitizer or alcohol to kill them.

If you are in a quarantine zone and see one of the pests, Redding stressed that you should kill it as there is no need to report it.

If you live outside the quarantine zone and see a Spotted Lanternfly, place it in alcohol or hand sanitizer in a leak proof container and submit the sample to your county Penn State Extension office or to the department's entomology lab for verification.

It is stressed that you do not move live pests as there are places in the quarantine area that do not have active populations of the Spotted Lanternfly.

For further information and to access the "Spotted Lanternfly Checklist" click here.

If you live outside the quarantine zone and see a pest, photos of Spotted Lanternflies can be submitted to badbug@pa.gov. You can call the Invasive Species Report Line at 1-866-253-7189 to report details of the sighting and your contact information.



Photo Credit: Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture]]>
<![CDATA[Old Train Tracks Turn Into Philly's Own High Line]]> Tue, 01 Nov 2016 06:27:53 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Phase+I+Rail+Park.jpg

From former rail tracks, a park will come.

Friends of The Rail Park, a nonprofit, take the next step in fulfilling their vision, inspired by The Promenade Plantee in Paris and the High Line in New York, to bring life to The Rail Park.

The nonprofit was able to raise enough money, through fundraising and advocacy efforts, to begin construction on Phase One of The Rail Park Project.

From June 1 to Sept. 30, residents were able to get a taste of what the park will be like through the Philadelphia Horticultural Society's Pop-Up Garden.

The entire vision is for a 3-mile stretch of unused Reading Railroad lines, connecting 10 neighborhoods from Fairmount Park to Center City, to be transformed to a public park used for community engagement. Phase I of the project includes a quarter-mile stretch from N. Broad and Noble streets extending east and south to Callowhill Street near 11th Street.

This first phase will also include streetscaping along the 1300 Block of Noble Street.

With help from the Center City District and the City of Philadelphia Parks and Recreation, the nonprofit would like to see the Rail Park become a public park and an attraction for residents and tourists.

Friends of the Rail Park will break ground on the project Monday afternoon with Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney and Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf in attendance.

The Friends of the Rail Park have support from the Philadelphia Museum of Art, the Barnes Foundation, the Free Library, the Community College of Philadelphia, the Pennsylvania Horticultural Society, Asian Arts Initiative and others to bring their vision to life.

The nonprofit said it plans to provide public programming at the park focused on health and wellness, education and arts and culture, and to work with Philadelphia Parks and Recreation to ensure the Rail Park is well maintained and a beautiful and public space.

Construction is expected to begin soon after the groundbreaking and finish in early 2018.



Photo Credit: Kyle Huff, via The Rail Park]]>
<![CDATA[Climate Action Group Gets 80K Millennials Registered to Vote]]> Fri, 14 Oct 2016 07:37:15 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Pennsylvania_voter_registration_temple_student.jpg

Nearly 80,000 new millennial voters could be making their vote count in the upcoming presidential election.

NextGen Climate PA, a political action committee focused on curbing climate change, announced Thursday that they had registered 79,938 voters on more than 90 campuses around the Keystone State.

The climate change group said a majority (more than 52,000 registrations) were done in person ahead of the Oct. 11 voter registration deadline.

NextGen, which has endorsed Hillary Clinton, openly states its lack of support for Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. "It will take all of us to make sure we don’t let Donald Trump wreck our climate and our economy." [[396833241, C]]

Of course, just because 80,000 college students registered to vote doesn’t mean they will cast votes for Trump or Clinton come Nov. 8 but it does open up the door for millennials concerned about the environment to vote.

"Polling has consistently shown that millennials are more likely to support a candidate who will make addressing climate change a top priority--- and NextGen Climate PA is proud to play a role in ensuring young people's voices are heard at the ballot box in November." said NextGen Climate PA state director Pat Millham. [[338107532, C]]

The group said it planned to "Get Out the Vote" come election day.

NBC10 didn’t immediately receive responses about the millennial voting push from either presidential campaign.



Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[College Students Build Oyster Habitat]]> Wed, 20 Jul 2016 06:42:07 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000016344020_1200x675_728416835529.jpg Students from Stockton University will construct an oyster reef in Little Egg Harbor Bay, the goal is to increase the oyster population.]]> <![CDATA[Breaking Ground on Trail Connecting NE Philly Neighborhoods]]> Fri, 10 Jun 2016 12:01:47 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000015705856_1200x675_703062083803.jpg "Green space is extremely important." Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney joined others to break ground on the K&T Trail to connect the Tacony and Wissinoming neighborhoods.]]> <![CDATA[New Water Stations Expand Along Kelly Drive]]> Fri, 20 May 2016 10:14:08 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Water+Station+Image+-+St++Joes+Boathouse.jpeg

The Philadelphia Water Department is unveiling a new network of public water stations along Kelly Drive as the city celebrates the 90th Stotesbury Cup Regatta.

The four stations increase access to public drinking water while combating the plastic bottle trash people leave along the Schuylkill River. 

The new, bright blue and yellow water kiosks are meant to make refilling reusable water bottles easy. The four new stations along the trail are are even pet friendly-featuring speacial bowls for our four-legged friends to enjoy. 

The stations stretch between East Falls and the Philadelphia Museum of Art and are a central piece of the water department's #DrinkTapPHL movement which began in 2015. It highlights public drinking water as a healthy, litter free, smaller carbon footprint alternative to bottled drinks.

The public is invited to celebrate the new kiosks with a ribbon cutting Friday at 2:30 p.m. at the Grandstands on Kelly Drive. Public drinking advocates, such as Philly Water Commissioner Debra McCarty, will be in attendance as well as spokesdog Shorty and Water Woman -- powerful defender of Philly's waterways.

]]>
<![CDATA[SEPTA Buses Go Green]]> Thu, 21 Apr 2016 09:24:27 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000014908672_1200x675_670614083529.jpg Next spring SEPTA will debut electric buses on certain routes.]]> <![CDATA[#DreamItGreenIt: 6 Easy Ways to Help Save the Planet]]> Tue, 19 Apr 2016 04:20:21 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-488398873-%281%29.jpg

Saving the planet doesn’t have to include huge lifestyle changes or big purchases. This Earth Week, which begins April 17, think of small alterations you can make at home and your workplace that will have a positive impact on the environment. Whether it’s shortening your shower by a minute or turning your faucet tightly after each use to prevent drips, every contribution counts toward a greener future.

Take a look at six things you can do now:

Love Your Leftovers:
According to the EPA, one-third of purchased food in the U.S. gets thrown out every year.

Ninety-five percent of the wasted food turns up in landfills, where it rots, releasing a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. 

The EPA and organizations like GreeNYC make a few suggestions to help prevent over-shopping for food. Before hitting the store, check to see what you already have, and try to produce recipes with the perishable items before they go bad. By pre-planning your meals, and portioning them out, you’ll have less of a chance of throwing away food.

Before tossing your leftovers, see if you can take the rest for an at-work lunch, or try using your leftovers in an altogether new meal for the next day. If you can’t finish all your perishable foods, try composting or finding a local composter in order to get rid of your food in an eco-friendly way.

Turn It Off:
Switching unnecessary lights off and turning off the tap while brushing your teeth conserve energy and water — and shrink your utility bill.

“Turning off the water when you brush your teeth can help you not only save money, but it also reminds you that those resources belong to everyone,” said Kathleen Rodgers, president of Earth Day Network, a nonprofit based in Washington, D.C., that works to spread environmental education and policy.

When going to bed, be sure to turn off electronics you don’t use. Try to take shorter showers and make sure your toilet doesn’t leak. A leaky toilet could be wasting 200 gallons of water a day while a faucet that leaks at a rate of one drip per second can waste more than 3,000 gallons of water in a year, according to the EPA.

Grow Your Own:
Adding some green into your living space can help improve air quality in any kind of home, according to Rodgers.

“Houseplants are a great source of oxygen,” she said. 

Rodgers also suggests growing small potted plants, like herbs, that you can use in cooking. Growing some of your own food, whether it’s a small plant on a windowsill, or an entire outdoor garden, is not only better for you, but rewarding as well. 

“Connect yourself to nature and see what you can produce,” she said.

A Greener Clean:
Many conventional cleaning products contain harmful toxins and Rodgers suggests cutting down on chemicals like bleach as much as possible.

“They’re not good for your water system,” Rodgers said. “They have a place in hospitals, not kitchens.” 

Try to replace some bleach-heavy household cleaners with nontoxic alternatives that get the job done without adding unhealthy chemicals into your home, she suggested. Common household items, like vinegar and baking soda, can be used as alternatives. Check product labels to make sure the cleaning supplies you use are safe and eco-friendly. 

Go Organic — Or Choose The Right Produce: 
Eating local and organic all the time may not be practical or financially feasible for everyone.

There are conventionally grown fruits and vegetables that tend to test low for pesticide residues, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The Environmental Working Group, which puts out an annual Shopper’s Guide to Pesticides in Produce, recommends: avocados, sweet corn, pineapples, cabbage, frozen sweet peas, onions, asparagus, mangoes, papayas, kiwis, eggplant, honeydew melon, grapefruit, cantaloupe and cauliflower. 

“It’s critically important that people really pay attention to what they're eating,” Rodgers said. 

Check Your Home:
Is your house drafty? According to Energy Star, air leaks in door and windows waste a lot of energy and increases utility costs. 

“If you added up all the leaks, holes and gaps in a typical home's envelope, it would be the equivalent of having a window open every day of the year!” Energy Star said. 

Making sure your home is insulated and using only energy-saving light bulbs and appliances can save hundreds on your electric and water bills. 

Another way to be more green at home is to get rid of all paper and plastic dishware. Always opt for reusable plates, cups and utensils, and especially avoid paper napkins. Get reusable cloth or compostable paper napkins instead. 

Get Rid of Junk Mail for Good:
Cities like New York produce over 1 million tons of junk mail each year. Receiving junk mail isn’t just an annoyance, it’s a waste of decreasing resources like wood. The EPA reports that nearly half of unsolicited mail received isn’t even recycled. According to the Environmental Paper Network, a 10 percent national decrease in paper use would provide an equal greenhouse gas emissions reduction, as would 280,000 cars being removed from the road. 

Junk mail also contributes to an increase in carbon emissions. Smartphone apps like PaperKarma help you control what ends up in your mailbox. Take a step further by choosing to receive electronic bills.



Photo Credit: Getty Images/Moment RF]]>
<![CDATA[Cities With Most Energy Efficient Buildings ]]> Mon, 18 Apr 2016 09:24:36 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Energy_Star_Buildings.jpg

Owners of commercial buildings across the country are taking steps to make their properties more energy efficient, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. 

The agency says the energy consumed by commercial buildings is the largest source of emissions in many cities. 

But more than 28,000 buildings have earned the EPA's Energy Star certification by becoming more energy efficient in order to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 

Every year, the EPA puts out a list of the cities with the most energy efficient buildings across the country. 

This year, Washington, D.C., was the number one major metro, with 686 green buildings. Los Angeles and San Francisco rounded out the top three.

San Jose topped the EPA’s list of mid-sized cities with the most green buildings, followed by Honolulu and Virginia Beach. 

According to the EPA, Midland, Texas, had the highest number of energy efficient buildings — 34 — out of the country’s smallest cities. Sioux City, Iowa, and Martinsville, Virginia, followed. 

The EPA says energy efficient buildings have saved more than $3.8 billion on utility bills — and they have prevented the greenhouse gas emissions equivalent to the annual electricity used by more than 2.6 million homes. 

The EPA ranked cities based on the number of buildings that earned the Energy Star in each area in 2015. The agency released its first list of city rankings in 2009.



Photo Credit: Energy Star
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<![CDATA[Philly Airport Parking Goes Green, saves Money]]> Fri, 29 Jan 2016 11:29:20 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/PPA+Executive+Director+Vince+Fenerty+speaking+at+today%27s+PHL+Airport+press+conference+with+PECO+CEO+Craig+Adams..jpg

Philadelphia International Airport is getting a little more efficient with some help from its friends.

Philadelphia Parking Authority officials joined PECO and airport officials for a check presentation Thursday morning in recognition of the PPA's completion of the first phase of its airport "Arrivals Road Project."

The installation of 1,400 energy-efficient LED lights -- which will save about $120,000 a year in energy and maintenance costs -- made the PPA eligible for a $121,742.30 PECO Smart Equipment Incentives rebate, said the PPA.

"The PPA has embarked on a comprehensive energy efficiency initiative aimed at reducing costs and saving energy in our seven garages at PHL, as well as our three Center City garages," said PPA executive director Vince Fenerty. "We will be replacing all existing lights with new LED technology over the next few years."

The PPA has around 19,000 spots at the airport.

"By changing our lighting systems to LED technology, we reduce our demand on electrical power," said airport CEO Chellie Cameron.

The greening of the lighting systems gained praise from PECO.

“I want to congratulate the Philadelphia Parking Authority and Philadelphia International Airport for their commitment to sustainability and ongoing efforts to improve energy efficiency,” said  PECO president and CEO Craig Adams.



Photo Credit: PPA]]>
<![CDATA[Ever Think About Where All That Sewage Goes?]]> Fri, 04 Dec 2015 17:11:37 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Frankford+Creek+Philly+Sewage+System.jpg

Every time you flush the toilet, you're adding to a problem that old cities like Philadelphia around the United States have to deal with, sewage. But Philadelphia is getting praise for its plan to keep sewage out of area waterways.

The nasty situation can get nastier when heavy rains come and tax the 3,700-mile-or-so labyrinth underground in the City of Brotherly leaving area creeks, rivers, basements and manholes vulnerable to getting flooded with sewage.

A Popular Mechanics article “How Philadelphia Will Solve the Sewage Nightmare Under Its Feet” breaks down what's happening underground:

On a typical day, the system handles about 471 million gallons of waste, though it can handle as much as a billion gallons a day if necessary. If the total goes beyond that, the excess flow must be released somehow. Last year, some 11 billion gallons of sewage was released from the system and dumped into local waterways, untreated, because it was more than the system could handle. In colonial times, it was standard practice to dump waste into the harbor or throw into the streets and let the rain wash it into sea. People figured the sea was deep and large, and anything dumped there would disappear or dissolve. We now know that's not the case. The only upside to the release is that it prevents sewage from backing up into people's homes. Most of the time.

"The only time you'd see that happen is in a hurricane, where, literally, there is so much storm water rushing in, the whole system is at capacity, and it might pop open a basement fixture, like a utility sink or a floor drain, or even a toilet, if there's one down there. That happens in all these big cities," Deputy Commissioner of Planning and Environmental Services for the Philadelphia Water Department Chris Crockett said. "Basically, in most cities if you get two inches per hour of rain and throw in a high tide, the opportunity for basement flooding is likely."

Read more about how Philadelphia is using green initiatives at homes, businesses and public spaces to combat sewage run-off by lowering the amount of water finding it’s way into the sewers.

READ MORE: Popular Mechanics



Photo Credit: Caren Chesler/Popular Mechanics]]>
<![CDATA[Philly Starts Curbside Leaf Collection]]> Wed, 04 Nov 2015 10:51:05 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/Leaf+Pile+Generic+Leaves+Generic.jpg

Philadelphia’s Streets Department will begin collecting fall leaves from the city’s curbs Monday. The annual collection service will last six weeks.

But there are regulations to follow to ensure the leaves are picked up on the designated days for each neighborhood.

The streets department will only collect leaves that are neatly raked to the curb or in biodegradable paper bags. This reduces contamination so the leaves can be recycled. Additionally, residents are urged to avoid mixing trash into the bagged leaves since they won’t be usable.

The city carefully selected areas that receive a significant amount of leaf buildup -- mostly in northwest and Northeast sections of the city. People who wish to recycle or remove their leaves, but are not in an area selected for the collection program, can head to any one of five sanitation centers to drop off their bagged leaves or one of 23 locations spread out throughout the city on Saturdays (excluding the Saturday following Thanksgiving) frm Nov. 21 to Dec. 19.

Leaves can be also reused for personal composting.



Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Local Building Gives Way to Environmentally Friendly Airports]]> Thu, 27 Aug 2015 21:37:46 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/222*120/FAA+Building+Material+Pavement.JPG The Federal Aviation Administration dedicated its new National Airport Pavement and Materials Research Center in Egg Harbor Township. The building allows engineers to research environmentally-friendly airport materials.

Photo Credit: NBC10]]>
<![CDATA[Del. Gov Announces Rebate Plan for Clean Drivers]]> Thu, 16 Jul 2015 20:44:33 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000011191156_1200x675_485751875974.jpg Delaware Gov. Jack Markell announced a rebate plan for the state's drivers who buy or lease electric or alternative fuel vehicles and hyrbids.]]> <![CDATA[Greenhouse Gases Biggest Threat to Polar Bears: Study]]> Wed, 01 Jul 2015 16:55:39 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/GettyImages-77960094polarbears71151.jpg Greenhouse gas emissions remain the "primary threat" to polar bears, according to a study released Tuesday by the U.S. Geological Survey. Polar bear populations will decline even if emissions are stabilized by the end of the century, the study said. Polar bears have been categorized as a "globally threatened species" under the U.S. Endangered Species Act since 2008. The two main threats to polar bears are melting sea ice and disappearing prey. The study concluded that polar bears would suffer whether carbon emissions grew at their current pace or peaked in 2040 and then declined. The only optimistic scenario would involve "immediate and aggressive" cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, researchers said.
Get More at NBC News

Photo Credit: AFP/Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Camden Urban Garden Opens to Feed Families in Need]]> Mon, 01 Jun 2015 08:32:07 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000010603716_1200x675_454840387510.jpg Volunteers teamed up to plant fruits, vegetables and herbs at 2nd and Kane streets in Camden as part of a new 2-acre urban garden that will help feed families in need in Camden County. The garden will also host activities such as fall festivals, cooking classes and dinners.]]> <![CDATA[Lack of Rain Impacting Crop Growth on NJ Farms]]> Thu, 28 May 2015 22:38:30 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000010565493_1200x675_453694531655.jpg Local farmers say their fields haven't seen any rain, those who have need more and the wait for rain is beginning to impact some key crops.]]> <![CDATA[Pa. Born Falcons Teach Lesson in Conservation, Protection]]> Thu, 21 May 2015 21:01:37 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000010476055_1200x675_449002563764.jpg Two of three peregrine falcons that hatched on the ledge of an office building helped teach a lesson in conservation and protection in Pennsylvania's capitol Thursday.]]> <![CDATA[Philly's the Best at Bathroom Recycling]]> Wed, 06 May 2015 13:27:29 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/recycle-bins-generic.jpg

What Philadelphians are doing in the restroom is being recognized.

The City of Brotherly Love has officially topped the list as America’s best recycling bathroom city, beating its top two competitors New York and San Francisco, according to the online survey Unilever Recycling Index.

The nationwide survey, conducted by consumer goods company Unilever, found that more than half of the city's residents recycle their empty bathroom and beauty products.

The City of Brotherly Love came out on top with 52 percent of residents reported recycling, according to the survey. New York took second place with San Francisco following its lead.

Atlanta had the worst bathroom recycling score with only 23 percent of residents reported recycling their empty shampoo bottles. 

The survey also found that parents and men are more likely to recycle bathroom goods and empty bottles in comparison to their counterparts. 

The average nationwide statistic shows Americans are more likely to get a drink, charge their phones or answer a phone call than toss their empty bathroom products in the recycling bin. 



Photo Credit: NBC]]>
<![CDATA[New Jersey Recycling System Increases Tonnage]]> Mon, 27 Apr 2015 07:15:05 -0400 http://media.nbcphiladelphia.com/images/213*120/WCAU_000000010142614_1200x675_434969667571.jpg A new recycling system will be unveiled Monday in Mount Holly, Burlington County at the Occupational Training Center. The new process will be able to take care of 35 tons per hour.]]>