US Energy production: not going well

by Bill Haaf

Political leaders are talking about climate but unfortunately, America and the world are still on a path to hit a 2.5 C increase in average temperatures.

Terrible impacts will occur: billions of human deaths, wars, drops in crop yields, collapse of ocean and lake fisheries due to heating and lack of oxygen in the water, loss of huge forests, continuing rapid decline in biodiversity on land and in the water….

Before you vote for US Senate and Representative, ask candidates: “Have you and will you push for renewable energy? Do you see climate as a crisis?”

As the following charts show, the US is still very low in renewable energy, even if we were to count nuclear as renewable because its power stations do not produce greenhouse gases. The first chart shows electricity generation only.

The second chart shows even worse news in total energy use:

• Fossil fuels totaling 79%: petroleum oil 35%, natural gas 34%, coal 10%. And this does not count all those methane leaks all along the supply chain into  your home

• Renewables 12%.

• Nuclear 9%.

2022: Are we at the climate crossroad?

by Paula Kline, Ready For 100 and West Chester Green Team

Many of us in the West Chester area have come a long way in the last year in our understanding of climate change. The extreme weather in June of 2021 and the devastating flooding from Hurricane Ida this past September gave us all a warning that climate disruption is too close for comfort. This fall was a pivotal moment for clarifying what we are all facing and what we, in West Chester, can do.

To start with, the UN published a scientific assessment of climate in an Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) report. The IPCC report verified that climate change is now clearly occurring, that this change is accurately predicted by the climate models, that significant further climate change is already baked in, and that to stay within the guard rail of 1.5 degrees Celsius of warming, we need to drastically reduce our emissions and dramatically increase access to renewable energy. The authors didn’t mince words: they described the report as a “code red for humanity.” Without immediate measures, the IPCC makes clear, the world is likely to hit 1.5C by the early 2030s. It is a sobering and challenging picture.

The IPCC report served as a backdrop to the UN meeting on climate in early November in Glasgow, known as COP26 (for the 26th meeting of the Conference of the Parties).  Some progress was made at this conference. Learn more here and here.

On the home front this fall, we continued to encourage local government leadership and inspire action at the household and business level. West Whiteland, West Bradford and East Fallowfield joined a growing number of Pennsylvania communities—over 35—in passing resolutions to align with global climate targets. There are now more than 170 communities in the U.S. to commit to ambitious goals to address the threats to our health and property in the face of extreme weather and air pollution.

Several states, including Hawaii, New York, Maine, Nevada, New Mexico, and California, and 11 counties have made similar commitments. Local government leadership has been critical to the growing movement to transition away from polluting fossil fuels: in 2016, less than 2% of people in the US lived in a place committed to 100%. Today, that number is 28%—1 in 4 people in the US now live in a place committed to 100% clean energy, including right here in the West Chester area.

Highlights from the end of 2021

• We celebrated National Energy Efficiency Day with a workshop on Efficiency First! and with declarations from Congresswoman Chrissy Houlahan, the Chester County Commissioners, West Chester Mayor Jordan Norley, and the state legislature. (West Chester proclamation to the left; download County proclamation here.)

• We organized the third Chester County Clean Energy Virtual Tour which kicked off on October 2nd. It showcased the solar and other clean technologies adopted locally through 3-minute video “tours,” which are both entertaining and informative, of farms, homes, businesses, government buildings and houses of worship. Dave Weber accompanied his tour with guitar music and evocative songs from “You are my Sunshine” to “Let the Sun Shine.” He and his family avoided over 73,000 pounds of CO2 emissions and often get electric bills that say, “No payment due.”

The tour also gave Chester County building owners and renters a glimpse at how a variety of solar systems look in and around structures with different architectural styles, from an 1840’s barn to LEED-certified buildings. In addition to homes, other tours focused on public buildings. West Bradford’s Township Building illustrates the benefit of installing a Geothermal Heating and Cooling System in new and renovated government facilities. The Stroud Research Center offered an inspiring example of the energy efficiency that offices and schools could undertake, in addition to its exceptional water management system. Central Baptist Church in Wayne shared their multi-year plan to become a Net-Zero congregation. The Hillside Elementary tour (Tredyffrin/Easttown School District), narrated by students, highlighted the benefits of green roofs. If you missed the tour, check out the videos here.

Looking ahead to a critical year 2022

At our annual retreat we decided to continue to build public awareness and engagement to support (1) the policy level action at the municipal, county and state level; (2) household level action and (3) energy transitions for high emitters in our community.

Understanding that the window of opportunity for avoiding the worst aspects of climate disruptions, we encourage you to discover what you can do. Here are a few options:

Policy level action at the municipal, county, and state level

• Contact your municipal Environmental Advisory Council (EAC) or Sustainability Advisory Council (SAC) and ask them what more they can do to lead by example. Ask if the municipality has an energy transition plan, a climate action plan and a natural disaster/resilience plan. Urge them to commit to shifting to renewable electricity and electric vehicles (EV’s) for their fleet and police vehicles. Ask them to work with PECO to make solar and EV-ready buildings connections easier for everyone.

• Speak up: be sure you are on the mailing list for the advocacy group of your choice, so you can make sure your voice is heard on state-level decisions. There are many bills hostile to our future we need to stay abreast off. Options include PennEnvironment, the PA Chapter of the Sierra Club and Conservation Voters of PA.

• Volunteer to spread the word at tabling events in the West Chester Area. We have a “virtual table.”

Think about your household and daily life

•Learn what you can do where you live by consulting the resources gathered by West Chester’s Clean Energy Future, an outgrowth of the shared work done by members of the West Chester Area Council of Governments’ Clean Energy Plan.

• Get a PECO energy assessment (which is free for low income households). Only a fraction of area households have taken this simple and cost effective first step. Do it this week!

• Find out if solar is right for your house through Solarize Southeast PA.

• Take the West Chester Area Electric Vehicle survey. Need a new car this year? Make it electric!

• If you have a house you would like to include in the 2022 Clean Energy Tour, or would like to help organize the tour, contact Nora Ziegler.

• Let’s get high emitters on board, such as school districts and water authorities. If you want to help them with their transition to clean energy, we are looking for volunteers! Contact Paula Kline if you are interested in supporting a clean energy transition for the West Chester Area School District.

• Supermarkets are high emitters and contribute to the pollution from the refrigerants they use in their cold aisles. We are organizing to address this issue locally. Want to help? Contact Marian Pflaumer.

• Volunteer to spread the word at tabling events in the West Chester Area. We have a “virtual table” and hope to be back at township community days and local events next summer. Contact Kathy McDevitt to get involved with the Outreach Committee.

Whether you appreciate the beauty of the natural world, love your children or grandchildren or cherish the entire commonwealth of life that is now at risk, you can play a part. Please get involved at whatever level you can!

Light Pollution: Why it’s a problem and what we can do about it

by Professor Marc Gagné

Most of us are familiar with air, water, and land pollution, but did you know that light can also be a pollutant? Since Thomas Edison’s patent of the tungsten light bulb in 1906, artificial electric lighting has transformed our lives. But in the process, we have lost an
important part of our human heritage: the night sky.

Less than 100 years ago, most everyone could look up and see a spectacular starry night sky. Today 80% of Americans cannot see the Milky Way from their home. Over the last century, the increased, excessive and widespread use of artificial light at night has not only impaired our view of the universe but has adversely affected the Earth’s climate through human energy consumption, numerous plants and animals that have relied on Earth’s regular rhythm of night and day for billions of years, and human health and safety.

Light pollution is a major contributor to the climate crisis. Large amounts of electricity are needed to generate light, and electricity is often produced by burning fossil fuels. Uncontrolled outdoor lighting wastes energy. As much as 50% of outdoor lighting is wasted, increasing greenhouse gas emissions, and contributing to climate change.

Plants and animals depend on the daily cycle of light and dark to regulate reproduction, nourishment, sleep, and protection from predators. Scientific research has linked light pollution to negative and deadly outcomes for many creatures including amphibians, birds, mammals, insects, and plants.

For example, some nocturnal birds use the moon and stars for navigation during their migrations; and they can become disoriented when flying through brightly lit areas. Female sea turtles shy away from areas with bright lights, which interrupts their nesting patterns. Newly hatched turtles are so drawn to lights, so instead of heading to the ocean, they often end up on land instead.

Research suggests that artificial light at night can negatively affect human health as well, increasing risks for obesity, depression, sleep disorders, diabetes, and breast cancer. Scientists have also established a link between light pollution and air pollution. Light from our cities can destroy nitrate radicals that form at night and help to cleanse the air.

In addition to the negative economic, environmental and health impacts associated with light pollution, we are losing a precious natural resource: our nighttime environment.

Outdoor lighting illuminates the sky, hiding the stars and changing how we experience the night. If you would like more information about light pollution and what we can do now to improve our nighttime environment, the International Dark-Sky Association is a good place to start.

Despite a century of uncontrolled outdoor lighting, there are ways to combat light pollution that will make a difference right away. The West Chester Green Team is addressing the problem of light pollution by creating a local Dark Sky Initiative.

If you would like to learn more about the West Chester Dark Sky Initiative, please contact Marc Gagné at mgagne@wcupa.edu. The Dark Sky committee’s kick-off meeting will be held in the West Chester University Planetarium on Tuesday, February 1st at 6:00 PM. All are welcome to attend.


West Chester Green Team Bylaws

(Our officers as of fall 2021 are Margaret Hudgings, President; Christi Supple, Vice-President; Nathaniel Smith, Secretary; David Wickard, Treasurer.)

1. The West Chester Green Team is a civic organization in Chester Chester PA that works to educate the local public and to establish and nourish green initiatives in the local community in harmony with nature and each other, promoting the health of all living things and of planet Earth. All members of the public are welcome to join in the Green Team’s public activities, receive information, and to donate in support of our programs. The Green Team’s activities will be limited to the purposes set out in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; it will not engage in political or legislative activities prohibited under section 501(c)(3).

2. The West Chester Green Team’s areas of interest shall include: slowing climate change; promoting renewable energy; reducing plastics use and trash volume and promoting recycling; reducing use of pesticides. herbicides and other potentially harmful chemicals; promoting organic gardening, healthy foods, and composting; encouraging maintenance and planting of trees in urban areas; protecting water quality and healthy watersheds; serving as a Transition Team chapter; and others to be adopted over time.

3. The West Chester Green Team is governed by a Board of Directors of 6 to 10 individuals who meet regularly, at a time that the Board shall set but that may be temporarily modified by the President as circumstances require. Board members serve for four years. unless they resign earlier; they may serve more than one term. New Board members are appointed by the officers as needed, subject to ratification by the Board.

4. No Board member shall receive any financial gain from any activity, purchase or program of the West Chester Green Team.

5. When a vote of the Board becomes necessary, it shall be decided by a majority of members present.

6. The President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected by majority vote of members of the Board present at a meeting, providing the election has been announced to the Board at least one week in advance. Each office may be shared (co-President, etc.) but no individual shall occupy more than one office plus one co-office.

7. Terms of office shall run for one year, from October 1 through September 30. There is no limit on reelection. If an officer resigns or otherwise becomes unable to serve, an election, as indicated above, shall be held promptly to select a replacement.

8. The President shall take measures to assure the successful operation of the organization, preside at meetings, and delegate tasks to other officers or individuals.

9. The Vice-President shall assist the President, take the lead in special projects as requested by the President, and act in the President’s absence in conducting business.

10. The Secretary shall take minutes at meetings, submit them to the Board for modification and approval, and perform other duties as assigned by the President.

11. The Treasurer shall take in funds, expend funds as decided by the Board, and at each meeting make available a written accounting of income, expenses, and the balance of funds.

12. The President may delegate functions to other officers or individuals as appropriate.

13. The President, in conjunction with the other officers, shall set the agenda for  meetings.

14. Between meetings the officers shall deal with issues that in their judgment require rapid action, but shall consult the Board when feasible.

15. The West Chester Green Team as an organization does not endorse or support any political party or candidate. The Green Team may confer and work with elected or appointed public officials or invite them to speak publicly at events, providing emphasis is on the individual’s expertise, background, and ability to effect change. Green Team officers and members may endorse or support any political party or candidate, as long as they make it clear that they are speaking as individuals and not on behalf of the organization.

16. Officers may run for public elective office, but if elected they shall resign as officers.

17. Members shall refrain, at meetings or other activities on behalf of the group, from promoting commercial activities, whether their own or others’.

18. The Board may modify these bylaws by approval of 2/3 of the members present at a Board meeting, providing the proposed action has been included in an agenda distributed at least one week in advance.

19. The West Chester Green Team Board of Directors hereby authorizes the Treasurer or Secretary to open a West Chester Green Team account at an appropriate bank to receive income and pay for expenses, with the Treasurer and Secretary each to have signatory authority for writing checks.

20. Upon dissolution of the corporation, any remaining assets will be distributed to another nonprofit, government agency, or for another public purpose.

As adopted by the West Chester Green Team executive board on 4/15/21 and subsequently amended. Signed and dated by the officers:



  • Post

1. The West Chester Green Team is a civic organization in Chester Chester PA that works to educate the local public and to establish and nourish green initiatives in the local community in harmony with nature and each other, promoting the health of all living things and of planet Earth. All members of the public are welcome to join in the Green Team’s public activities, receive information, and to donate in support of our programs. The Green Team’s activities will be limited to the purposes set out in section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code; it will not engage in political or legislative activities prohibited under section 501(c)(3).

2. The West Chester Green Team’s areas of interest shall include: slowing climate change; promoting renewable energy; reducing plastics use and trash volume and promoting recycling; reducing use of pesticides. herbicides and other potentially harmful chemicals; promoting organic gardening, healthy foods, and composting; encouraging maintenance and planting of trees in urban areas; protecting water quality and healthy watersheds; serving as a Transition Team chapter; and others to be adopted over time.

3. The West Chester Green Team is governed by a Board of Directors of 6 to 10 individuals who meet regularly, at a time that the Board shall set but that may be temporarily modified by the President as circumstances require. Board members serve for four years. unless they resign earlier; they may serve more than one term. New Board members are appointed by the officers as needed, subject to ratification by the Board.

4. No Board member shall receive any financial gain from any activity, purchase or program of the West Chester Green Team.

5. When a vote of the Board becomes necessary, it shall be decided by a majority of members present.

6. The President, Vice President, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected by majority vote of members of the Board present at a meeting, providing the election has been announced to the Board at least one week in advance. Each office may be shared (co-President, etc.) but no individual shall occupy more than one office plus one co-office.

7. Terms of office shall run for one year, from October 1 through September 30. There is no limit on reelection. If an officer resigns or otherwise becomes unable to serve, an election, as indicated above, shall be held promptly to select a replacement.

8. The President shall take measures to assure the successful operation of the organization, preside at meetings, and delegate tasks to other officers or individuals.

9. The Vice-President shall assist the President, take the lead in special projects as requested by the President, and act in the President’s absence in conducting business.

10. The Secretary shall take minutes at meetings, submit them to the Board for modification and approval, and perform other duties as assigned by the President.

11. The Treasurer shall take in funds, expend funds as decided by the Board, and at each meeting make available a written accounting of income, expenses, and the balance of funds.

12. The President may delegate functions to other officers or individuals as appropriate.

13. The President, in conjunction with the other officers, shall set the agenda for  meetings.

14. Between meetings the officers shall deal with issues that in their judgment require rapid action, but shall consult the Board when feasible.

15. The West Chester Green Team as an organization does not endorse or support any political party or candidate. The Green Team may confer and work with elected or appointed public officials or invite them to speak publicly at events, providing emphasis is on the individual’s expertise, background, and ability to effect change. Green Team officers and members may endorse or support any political party or candidate, as long as they make it clear that they are speaking as individuals and not on behalf of the organization.

16. Officers may run for public elective office, but if elected they shall resign as officers.

17. Members shall refrain, at meetings or other activities on behalf of the group, from promoting commercial activities, whether their own or others’.

18. The Board may modify these bylaws by approval of 2/3 of the members present at a Board meeting, providing the proposed action has been included in an agenda distributed at least one week in advance.

19. The West Chester Green Team Board of Directors hereby authorizes the Treasurer or Secretary to open a West Chester Green Team account at an appropriate bank to receive income and pay for expenses, with the Treasurer and Secretary each to have signatory authority for writing checks.

20. Upon dissolution of the corporation, any remaining assets will be distributed to another nonprofit, government agency, or for another public purpose.

(As adopted by the West Chester Green Team executive board on 4/15/21 and subsequently amended.)

The Trouble with Salt

An article by Diane Huskinson titled “The Trouble with Salt” at the Stroud Water Research Center explains the dire problems caused by road salt in our area. And let’s not think the problem is confined to snow season; in fact salinity remains high in summer, when warmer temperatures make salt even more toxic to aquatic organisms! Stroud has a program for monitoring the quality of local streams. See the article for more info and links.

Our municipalities need to solve this problem, since they are the ones putting the great majority of the salt into our streams. Rain gardens and green infrastructure such as retention basins can help; and also of course reducing salt use, especially in low-speed byways like alleys. See also info at our component group Don’t Spray Me!

2021 Recap: West Chester Tree Team and Living Landscapes

by Courtney Finneran

Even in the midst of the ups and downs of the COVID-19 pandemic, 2021 turned out to be a successful and dynamic year for the West Chester Tree Team and the Living Landscapes Committee. Our community chose to prioritize spending time outside, gardening in the soil, and educating themselves on the benefits of native planting. Below is a recap of some of the highlights. Stay tuned next month to learn about some exciting things that our committee has planned for 2022, including several native planting volunteer events at Goose Creek and Chestnut Street Garage. If you are interested in supporting our group, please email WCTreeTeam@gmail.com and let us know! 

Street Tree Plantings in 2021

Over the spring 2021 and fall 2021 planting seasons, the West Chester Borough Arborist planted a total of 190 new trees in street right-of-ways and parks across town. We are still counting on our Tree Team volunteers (that’s you!) to keep an eye on our street tree canopy in your travels across town. Remember that in the Borough, a permit is required for any tree work performed on street trees as well as use of a preapproved landscape firm. 

Goose Creek Invasive Removal Project (April 2021)

WCGT partnered with the Tree Commission in organizing a volunteer invasive removal and native planting project. On April 17, 2021, approximately 20 volunteers showed up to remove invasive vegetation from a 200-ft length of the banks of Goose Creek near Greenfield Park.  Once the area was cleared, volunteers laid down a thick layer of wood chips provided by the Public Works Dept. Invasive species removed include: Multiflora Rose, Porcelain Berry,  Oriental Bittersweet, Japanese Honeysuckle, Garlic Mustard, Knotweed and more. 

Following the removal, local Borough residents Linda Glaum and Woody Lathbury have continued to care for the project area by showing up regularly to continue to remove invasive species, and planted native perennials and grasses alongside the native riparian trees planted by the Borough Arborist. Native plantings donated by the Glaums include Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum), a PawPaw, Virginia Willow (Itea virginica), Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea), Cutleaf coneflower (Rudbeckia laciniata), and false sunflower (Heliopsis helianthoides),

This project was led by the West Chester Green Team in partnership with the Public Works Department, the Borough Arborist, and the Borough Tree Commission.  

Lawn to Native Pollinator Garden Conversion (May 2021)

In May 2021, members of the West Chester Transition Team’s Living Landscapes Committee created a publicly accessible native pollinator garden located in the 500 block of South Maryland Ave in West Chester Borough to showcase an affordable DIY project to convert a monoculture lawn into a gorgeous and ecologically beneficial native pollinator garden. 

Accessible from the sidewalk, the new 200-square-foot native pollinator garden provides nectar for butterflies and hummingbirds and food for caterpillars. Native plants have evolved to act as hosts to our native insects and therefore provide a highly valuable resource that cannot be provided by non-natives.

Green Man Garden Tour (June 2021)

In June of 2021, the WCGT developed a self-guided walking tour of 10 home gardens across the Borough. The tour included a scavenger hunt where each of the home participants hid a green man/woman in the landscape of the garden area. The WCGT website contained all the details including the sample walking route.  The tour focused mostly on showcasing native gardens including lawn conversions across various scales, including some established, some new, and some in process. This may be an annual tradition, so reach out if you are interested in supporting this effort in 2022! 

Chestnut Street Hellstrip Garden (September 12, 2021)

The WCGT Living Landscapes committee organized a native planting project for the “hellstrip” along East Chestnut Street at the Chester County History Center.  This strip of dirt between the curb and sidewalk now includes a 7 ft long x 3.5 ft wide strip of native plants — all donated by WCGT members — including “shorter” perennials, grasses, and cover.  

E. Prescott Alley / Chestnut St Garage Garden (October, 2021)

The West Chester Business Improvement District (BID) reached out to the WCGT to help beautify one alleyway in downtown West Chester in an effort to achieve an important goal in the BID’s five-year plan. Members of BID and WCGT together recognized the urgent need to install a native pollinator garden which would provide an educational component with informational signage, an ecological oasis providing habitat for pollinators, and a beautiful landscape component of the urban environment. Phase 1 efforts completed in 2021 included planning and design, and a volunteer-led work day where approximately 20 individuals removed the original mature invasive shrubs, installed a new garden path, planted several redbud trees and 12 native shrubs. In Spring 2022, volunteers will be asked to help plant over 2,000 perennial plugs to help complete the project. This new garden is located at the base of the Chestnut St Garage (on the East Prescott Alley side) and serves as a highly visible entrance point for visitors to the West Chester Borough business district. 

The Garden where Nobody Goes

(A thought for the solstice, when our minds turn to longer days and a growing season ahead. Of course we want others to enjoy our plantings… but then, there is also the temptation of having it all for ourselves!)

I keep a garden where nobody goes, beyond river and mountain, a long way from home. Every midsummer, I come to patch its winter-worn fabric with new phloxes or hollyhocks and pull out the weeds that have made their yearly pilgrimage to see if their turn to dominate the world has come. The water I pour onto the sandy soil is sucked rootward after a moist moment in the sun. The rest of the year, my garden has to get along by itself. If a neighbor strolls by in May, or a couple from town in September, they enjoy colors I never see: daffodils, day lilies, cream and magenta wild asters that mingle with the florist breeds. There are four gardens there, one for each season, each direction of the compass, each side of the white house with the green trim. It is a house that nobody knows, unless they walk right up to it along the grassy drive under low-growing branches. From the paved road, it is down the hill, across the magic curtain of the brook, and into the trees. In my grandparents’ time, outsiders could see it without drawing near, but no longer. Like an old farm couple living off its acres, it exists quietly. Friends say it is generous of me to keep a garden where nobody goes and a house that nobody knows. I say, not really: if everyone did it, things would be different, that’s all, as it would be in the city, at the end of the work day, people came outside to sit on their doorsteps and strum their guitars in the evening air.

— Nathaniel Smith, 1990’s

Chester County officials share ideas for sustainable living at Thirsty for Justice panel discussion at West Chester University

Many thanks to the 4 distinguished Dec. 7 panelists (Senator Carolyn Comitta, Representative Dianne Herrin, Commissioner Josh Maxwell, and Faith Zerbe of Delaware Riverkeeper Network), to West Chester University Office of Sustainability Director Dr. Brad Flamm for hosting and welcoming us back to our favorite LEED-certified Business and Public Management Building, to West Chester Mayor Jordan Norley for presenting beautiful citations to WCGT founders Margaret Hudgings and Nathaniel Smith, and to the 60 environment supporters who attended!

Green Team members Nathaniel Smith, left, and Margaret Hudgings are lauded by Mayor Jordan Norley during Tuesday’s panel discussion at WCU. (SUBMITTED PHOTO-ERICA THOMPSON)

And we are grateful to reporter Bill Rettew for being with us and for his Dec. 8 article of the above title in the Daily Local News, ably describing the evening’s events, which in a timely symbol of the symbiosis between residents and elected officials brought together two legislators who are both former West Chester Mayors, a County Commissioner who is the former Mayor of Downingtown, current Mayor Norley, and incoming West Chester Mayor Lillian De Baptiste (nearest to the camera below).

Sixty residents learned how to protect the environment during a Green Team panel discussion, Tuesday, at WCU. (BILL RETTEW – MEDIANEWS GROUP)

An Environmental Trip to Welkinweir


By Kristine Kearns

On November 13th, I had the privilege to travel to Welkinweir; an estate in Pottstown with an arboretum, nature preserve and historical house. The space was used to gather dozens of people from different Environmental Action Committees (or “EACs”) from nearby townships. I sat in a corner of the room in an upholstered wooden chair surrounded by others there to represent their environmental groups.

Welkinweir house, from https://welkinweir.org/history/

Aspects like these of our community are vital for the protection of the environment. While some initiatives go through the local governments, it is up to community members and volunteers to ultimately take care of our earth and our surroundings because no one else will do it for us.

A few examples of other EACs included the Phoenixville Green Team, the Homegrown National Park Association from East Brandywine, and Schuylkill township EAC. Iboard n
Phoenixville, a “biomax” project is underway which allows biosolids to act as a renewable source and become biochar and fuel. The Homegrown National Park association is working on creating more children’s nature libraries, maintaining trails, and encouraging people to plant wild lawns with native plant species. Schuylkill township EAC has focused on stream preservation, addressing environmental policy and connecting with other EACs in the surrounding areas.

The West Chester Green Team got to present our progress, represented by board member Gillian Alicea. Our work has included advocating for renewable energies, moving forward with the Borough of West Chester’s Sustainable Storefronts program in banning disposable plastics and finding a way to introduce a curbside compost program.

Upon observing each EAC, I found the community aspect to be particularly powerful. Instead of an initial impression that the morning would consist of informative speech after informative speech, the connections people made helped to create more meaning and more inspiration in the overarching environmental goals. In order to restore our soils, increase compost initiatives, reduce plastic waste and attract native species it is imperative that numerous people are involved in participation. Climate change is a daunting global issue, but beginning in our backyards is the first step to seeing and creating change. In fact, many at the Welkinweir gathering mentioned inspiration from fellow townships and EAC members, noting the West Chester Green Team’s Sustainable Storefronts program traveling into the ideas of other nearby towns.

My only wish is that I would love to see expansion of the already successful and ever growing environmental projects. It seems it is possible that we can reach even more areas, expand into city communities, and meet more people from more diverse backgrounds. A lot of positive change is on the horizon. There are many eager hands willing to help and give a green “thumbs up” to the progress made so far.

Concluding the session, I met a few friendly faces and took comfort in knowing the various associations and voices sharing passion for environmental work. I sipped some tea and snuck a few gazes out the windows which overlooked beautiful bodies of water. It felt like the forest and the sky were smiling down on us… as if the earth instinctively knows when people are willing to put in work to aid each others’ home.