Where Does Philly Thrive Stand With the Green New Deal

The Green New Deal is a comprehensive platform seeking to transition the United States to a sustainable economy while creating millions of jobs in the process. It represents a shift in the national debate around environmental policy toward a solution that simultaneously addresses climate change and economic inequality. A resolution demanding that Congress create a plan for a Green New Deal was presented in the US House of Representatives by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year. While the resolution has not yet passed, over 100 representatives have signed on. National media attention has come in large part because the resolution reflects the goals and organizing work of the Sunrise Movement, a nationwide organization of young people fighting against climate change, and racial and economic inequality. As Sunrise considers ways to implement a Green New Deal both at a federal and local level, Philly Thrive has decided to ally itself as an organization with its mission. Listed below is a summary of major points in the resolution and ways in which Thrive’s work in Philadelphia aligns with these specific goals.

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Why Thrive Wants To Block PES's New Permits

Philadelphia Energy Solutions has been a long-standing fixture of Philadelphia industry. With this comes a backlog of environmental negligence and pollution. PES is the number one contributor of air pollution in Philadelphia. A September 2018 report from the Kleinman Center For Energy Policy at UPENN, “Beyond Bankruptcy” by Christina Simeone, takes us through their legacy of pollution, lack of public involvement in remediation projects (stakeholders and communities not having the opportunity to get involved), and how they navigated bankruptcy in order to keep operations running while casting off some debt.biogaspic.jpg

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Community Shows Up For Successful Public Hearing Training


Thrive held a successful public hearing training in preparation for speaking out against the proposed PES affiliated biogas plant. This training was designed as a resource to help community members feel comfortable with public speaking and share their personal testimonies with confidence in the setting of a public hearing.

It was a chilly November evening but this did not stop many familiar and new faces from filling DiSilvestro Hall. Lifelong Philadelphia residents, now far into adulthood chuckled about how when they were kids, they thought the flames from the oil refinery were cool, how the plumes of smoke looked beautiful to them. As they grew older they began to realize this industrial, factory looking splendor was actually spewing poisonous chemicals into the air leaving an involuntary imprint on their lives

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The Global Fight: EQAT's Power Local Green Jobs Campaign


Philly Thrive shares this city with other tenacious groups leading a movement towards better air quality, social justice, and a vision for a local green economy. This month features EQAT (Earth Quaker Action Team) and their Power Local Green Jobs Campaign.

In its Right to Breathe campaign, Philly Thrive demands a just transition to clean energy and living wage green jobs that provide for everyday Philadelphians. EQAT’s Power Local Green Jobs Campaign shows one way that this is possible in our region.

I had the pleasure of sitting down with members Christy Tavernelli and Greg Holt to get details about their campaign and PECO’s consequential negligence to accept solar.

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The Global Fight: Scandanavia's Green Energy Tranisition


Philadelphia is at the precipice of an amazing opportunity- it has the potential to step up and begin the switch to renewable energy infrastructure. Philly Thrive is a leader in Philadelphia's just transition to a green energy economy, lifting up communities that are most harmed by the city's toxic emissions. In this series, we will be spotlighting efforts around the region, the country, and the world to combat racist and murderous energy policies, and begin the transition to a green economy beneficial to all Philadelphians.  

The present federal administration is a clear enemy of the environment. One example of this are Trump's boastful statements  about undoing "the most" federal regulations-regulations put in place to protect the health of humans and the planet. While our president is busy denying climate change, other parts of the world are moving forward in climate policy, adaptation, and decreasing reliance on fossil fuel.

Let’s take a look at the Scandinavian countries. Despite being a land of long, cold winters, they are successful in their undertaking of reducing emissions. A 2017 paper by Benjamin Sovacool (https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0301421516307091) states that an energy transition for the area was financially practical because when they ran the numbers, “…external costs associated with health impacts of air pollution are roughly equal to additional investment needed to achieve carbon neutral scenario...” . And so far, 87% of electricity from Scandinavia is carbon free (Sovacool).

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Thrive is seeking board members!

Philly Thrive is currently looking to add two new board members by September--please see attached posting for more information.

Honoring Mothers in our Movement

The movement to win our Right to Breathe is blessed with leadership from many powerful mothers. We strive to honor these mothers every day - and on Mother's Day there's a special opportunity to look to their wisdom. Here's what Philly Thrive members Minister Michelle Pumphrey, .O, and Ms. Audrey have to say about motherhood and the right to breathe...


The Breath of Life: A Mother’s Tribute. Let me begin by saying that we must always thank God for giving us the breath of life! I am a mother of four, one deceased. As I carried each one of them in my body, there were things that I had to change to ensure that they would become healthy children. Being a cigarette smoker, I had to drop that habit! I did not want to play any part of affecting my children’s growth. Even now that they are grown, I still care about the right for them to breathe. Even my eight grandchildren and my three great grands. I came to the conclusion many years ago that a mother’s work is never done. I am a firm believer of that! So as a woman and a mother of Philly Thrive I will continue to be the mother who will fight for my children, grands and great grands - and for everyone else’s children - to have the right to breathe because it does take a village! - Minister Michelle Pumphrey

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Citizens Convene for a Vision of Philly's Energy Future


November fourth was an exciting day for Philly Thrive. After several months of surveying hundreds of Philadelphians on their experiences living near the PES oil refinery and their desires for our city’s future energy plan, we were able to witness the energy of our #WeDecide campaign manifest in a room full of citizens ready to engage. Folks of all backgrounds convened at Church of the Redeemer in South Philly to hear and discuss the results of the survey, and continue developing our vision for change.

With about 100 gathered in the banquet hall, the event started off with a powerful message from our first speaker, O – “WE are the ones we have been waiting for.” O reminded us that we are living on land that was stolen from the Lenape and other indigenous groups. After her introduction, speakers Zalaka and Johanna gave us the results from the #WeDecide survey. A summary of these results can be found here - notably, 95% agreed that the refinery should pay for the health damages it causes, and folks labeled “public health” and “public safety” as top priorities for future energy development decisions.


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Celebrating Thrive's Successful Summer!



 For the last few months our #WeDecide campaign has been taking flight! We’ve been putting our feet to the pavement all Summer long to bring out the voice of Philadelphia residents around the Right to Breathe. From surveying at all kinds of  community centers, churches, and functions to phone banking and maintaining a connection with all the folks we talked to, Philly Thrive has been getting the work done.

Kids and adults alike were drawing their collective dream for a more just and green future.


After all that hard work, sometimes you deserve a reward as well! That’s exactly why we got together last Sunday, September 24 for a celebratory barbeque. Music and laughter filled the air at Stinger Square park in South Philadelphia as old and new Thrivers mingled, enjoyed good food, and talked about both what we’ve accomplished and what’s soon to come. We were excited to have many new faces attend to share the fun and engage with our work!

 A few individuals were recognized with certificates for their leadership development over the summer, and we shared stories about particular occasions when their strength as leaders shone through. It was heartwarming to hear folks expressing gratitude for each other’s growth, hard work, and dedication.

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