Category Archives: Uncategorized

Earth Day Chalkings in West Chester

Thanks to the many owners of businesses and other properties, passersby on Earth Day, April 22, were treated to—and often had to walk around or over—a variety of artistic chalkings on sidewalks along High St. (Read about our opening ceremony HERE.)

Below are some noteworthy samples, identified by location.

Bryn Mawr Running
2 West Market
Meatball U.
Katie Mac
Unitarian Congregation
Bryn Mawr Running
Dia Doce

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

PA has a long way to go in renewables

This image from “Inside Clean Energy: Three Charts that Show the Energy Transition in 50 States” by Inside Climate News reflects some good news: “The Energy Information Administration reported last week that, for the first time ever, the United States generated more electricity from renewable sources in 2020 than from coal.”

On the other hand, our own state, which has contributed far more than its fair share to fossil fuel extraction* and therefore to the current global climate crisis, has done far less than its fair share to ramp up renewable energy production, ranking 23rd among the 50 states plus DC (2020 figures). Note that Texas and California are so far ahead of the others that they are shown on a different scale at the bottom of the chart.

It’s clearly a matter of political will, not geography; otherwise, why would PA rank so far behind 7th-place Minnesota in both wind and solar energy? And if it weren’t political, why would Kentucky rank dead last, even after tiny DC?

*Although antecedents around the world go back thousands of years, the first modern oil well is considered to have been drilled in Titusville PA in 1859. Even today, among the states PA ranks 2nd in producing natural gas, 3rd in coal, and 18th in crude oil (2019 figures from EIA download).

PA legislative Climate Caucus urges priorities

On Jan. 27, the legislative Climate Caucus sent a letter to Gov. Wolf, whose signatories include, from Chester County, Rep. Danielle Friel Otten (D-155) and Sen. Carolyn Comitta (D-19).

The letter, entitled “The social, economic, and environmental case for a Climate Action budget,” urges that “Pennsylvania’s budget framework be intentional in its efforts to address the three crises of our moment: racial justice, economic recovery in the wake of COVID-19, and advancement on climate action in Pennsylvania.”

Download the letter here.

TED Talk on Climate by Katharine Hayhoe

You’ll have a chance to listen to more of renowned climate advocate Katharine Hayhoe this spring. Stay tuned! And for starters, view her TED talk here to find out how to talk to people who don’t want to hear facts but may be reached through their personal values. Summary from TED:

How do you talk to someone who doesn’t believe in climate change? Not by rehashing the same data and facts we’ve been discussing for years, says climate scientist Katharine Hayhoe. In this inspiring, pragmatic talk, Hayhoe shows how the key to having a real discussion is to connect over shared values like family, community and religion — and to prompt people to realize that they already care about a changing climate. “We can’t give in to despair,” she says. “We have to go out and look for the hope we need to inspire us to act — and that hope begins with a conversation, today.”

FoodFirst defends sustainable agriculture

FoodFirst has long been a leader in defending the rights of non-industrial farmers as not only more environmental but also maintaining the human rights of traditional tenders of the land.

As the statement says, “due to fervent support for corporate interests, the U.S. government’s representation to the UN Food and Agriculture Organization and the Committee on World Food Security neglects the needs and betrays the rights of workers and smallholder farmers in the U.S” — and throughout the world as well.

Read the full statement here.