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
The legacy of air pollution from PES refinery is intergenerational. So many stories were shared of personal health problems, family health problems, deaths. One elder who lost their child to a pollution related disease was asked “What does the right to breathe mean to you?” she answered “Life,” without hesitation.
Despite the severity of the subject matter, the atmosphere was one of optimism and tenacity. The Philly Thrive Choir led the group in a song that instilled hope and unity. Philadelphians took turns speaking from their hearts in a supportive environment. One woman posited to the room in all sincerity,” What does clean air actually smell like?”
The intent of attending and public hearings is to halt the expansion of PES so as to eventually force them to pay the community for the damages that have been caused. Please stay tuned for the date and show up if you are able! We can build a new future of clean energy, a green economy to support communities, and stop the sacrifice of Philadelphian’s in the name of fossil fuels.
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