Park Planning for the 21st Century

Parks are important to our society for so many reasons. Goals for parks are as diverse as the places they serve - they can filter water, provide green space, clean air, and lend ground for democracy to take place. This weeks guest, Kathleen is a park planner working for the City of Fort Collins, Colorado. Her background in landscape architecture allows her to facilitate changes, and build on complex relationships that exit between parks, our urban environments and peoples needs. Currently Kathleen is helping to shape the Sustainable SITES Initiative.

"The Sustainable Sites Initiative™ (SITES™) is an interdisciplinary effort by the American Society of Landscape Architects, the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center at The University of Texas at Austin and the United States Botanic Garden to create voluntary national guidelines and performance benchmarks for sustainable land design, construction and maintenance practices." (from www.sustainablesites.org)

Kathleen has also had experience designing and building natural playgrounds, and has studied the topic of childrens' play extensively.


Infrared footage of air pollution from gas drilling

"A Chesapeake Bay Foundation infrared video investigation of natural gas drilling and processing sites in Pennsylvania, Maryland, and West Virginia found invisible air pollution rising from almost three quarters of them." Learn more at the Chesapeake Bay Foundation.


Marcellus Protest 2011 Redux

On Friday November 18th, ralliers came together to demand change on the cost of doing business in the Marcellus shale and celebrate State College's passage of the Community Bill of Rights and Fracking Ban on November 4th. Read the storythe Centre Daily Times, WJAC TV, WTAJ TV, and follow-up story was printed online at The Daily Collegian.

We include here video excerpts courtesy of ScavengerhuntPA, a citizen finding unplugged wells across the commonwealth.

Responsible Drilling Alliance member Barb Jarmoska at Old Main...

..and at the Penn Stater outside of the Marcellus Summit.

Nathan Sooy of Clean Water Action.

Jeff Schmidt of Sierra Club Pennsylvania.

Pittsburgh councilman, Dough Shields.

Sustainability Now's Peter Buckland reads the letter we delivered to Penn State President Rodney Erickson, the Board of Trustees, and the staff at the Marcellus Center for Outreach and Research. Read the letter here.

We will follow up with President Erickson's response when we receive one.



Today Peter Buckland of Sustainability Now Radio joined Radio Free Penn State's Andy Nagypal and other panelists to talk about the unfolding child sexual abuse case that has enveloped Penn State, State College, and the nation. There is no shortage of stories to read on radio, the web, television, or newspapers covering former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky's alleged sexual predation on 8 boys and a possible high-level cover-up by Penn State officials including football coaching staff, athletics, finance, and the office of the President. The failures reach out into the State College community and beyond. It is nothing shy of crushing.

You can read the Pennsylvania Attorney General Office's Grand Jury indictment here. It is nothing short of awful. Readers should be advised that it contains graphic descriptions of childhood rape.

Mike and Peter at Sustainability Now want to reach out to the young men who were allegedly victimized, their families, and the entire community. Our deepest sympathies are with you and we hope that this Penn State community can serve you by doing better.


Groundswells Matter

The past week has been remarkable for environmental sustainability and energy.

On the local level, the State College Borough passed a Community Bill of Rights that includes a fracking ban. The referendum was passed nearly 3:1. This was in large part due to the work of Groundswell PA led by Braden Crooks and our team at work on the ground with EC3 and Sierra Club Moshannon.

On the national level, President Obama has delayed the Keystone XL Pipeline which would connect the dirty tar sands oil fields to Texas refineries and shipping. Last Sunday, 12,000 people surrounded the White House to show people want something different - less carbon, less pollution, more health, and more sustainability. People from the Centre Region have been involved in these issues. In September, Toni Gripp Brink went to Washington to join Bill McKibben, Josh Fox, Naomi Klein, James Hansen, and hundreds of others to protest the pipeline and the tar sands. Last weekend, Krystn Madrine of the Sustainable Kitchen went with her daughter to be in the human chain surrounding the White House. Obama landed in his helicopter during the event. It must have been quite a sight.

Perhaps Groundswells are on the rise. Occupy movements. Surrounding the White House. The recent Ohio referendum revoking the anti-union work of Ohio's governor. What's next?


Wondering about Candidates Critical of the Gas Rush

A Facebook group has come together called "Marcellus as the Polls 2011." This is their list of people who are running who are critical of the gas boom.