Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) has been busy throughout September, engaging in multiple community outreach initiatives to connect with hundreds of people.
On September 18, EFNC hosted a Public Community Meeting at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge that attracted more than 80 attendees. People came out to learn and ask questions about community environmental health issues, especially related to Clearview Landfill clean-up. Speakers included Dr. Marilyn Howarth (Director of Community Outreach and Engagement Core, Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology, University of Pennsylvania), Josh Barber (Remedial Project Manager Region 3, EPA), and Derron LaBrake (Ecological Consultant, Darby Creek Valley Association). EFNC President Terry Williams introduced new Heinz Refuge Manager Lamar Gore, who expressed eagerness to work closely with Eastwick residents and stakeholders in his new capacity at the Refuge. PILCOP lawyer Amy Laura Cahn moderated an insightful Q&A session, followed by light refreshments.
A few days later, on Saturday, September 20, EFNC staffed an exhibit table at the annual “Cradle of Birding & Conservation Festival” at John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge. We distributed myriad informational brochures and connected with hundreds of festival visitors interested in Eastwick community issues.
EFNC outreach efforts expanded to New York City on September 21, when EFNC organized a busload of community residents and supporters to participate in the historic “March on Climate Change.” EFNC President and bus captain Terry Williams rallied and entertained nearly 50 people who departed early that morning from the Penrose Plaza in Southwest Philadelphia. EFNC’s bus was one of 60 that transported thousands of marchers from Philadelphia to raise their voices in peaceful unity, demanding responsible action from our leaders on global warming.
Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition is one of nearly 1,000 organizations nation-wide that officially endorsed the People’s Climate March, with this statement: “The Eastwick Friends & Neighbors Coalition (EFNC) fully endorses the Peoples Climate March—anticipated to be the largest march on climate change in history. We are committed to working with our allies to amplify the call for world leaders to take bold action to address climate change and move toward creating a more sustainable global environment and economy that works for everyone. As part of EFNC’s continued environmental justice community education and engagement efforts, we look forward to organizing Eastwick community members and stakeholders to participate in the Peoples Climate March on September 21, 2014.”
EFNC appreciates the support and encouragement of the Sierra Club local chapter in this initiative, recognizing that climate change is a social justice issue, as well as an environmental one. Anne Lovatt, chair of the Sierra Club’s Southeastern Pennsylvania Group, states, “According to the EPA, not only is Pennsylvania the third largest producer of carbon emissions in the U.S., but Philadelphians suffer some of the highest asthma rates in the country as a result of air pollution associated with the burning of fossil fuels. Key areas in the region such as the airport and the nearby Eastwick community will also be on the front line of severe impacts from rising sea levels.”
Joanne Graham, EFNC Treasurer and Environmental Justice Committee Chairperson, was quoted in a Philly.com news article about the Climate March, explaining her interest in environmental issues stems from local community challenges. Ramona Rousseau-Reid, EFNC Vice President, described the experience as historic, powerful and life-changing.