Local groups with an eye toward emissions reduction gathered Saturday Nov. 3 at the West Chester Municipal Building to share goals, accomplishments, and challenges at the first Greenhouse Gas Pollution Summit.
West Chester BLUER (Borough Leaders United for Emissions Reduction), an ad hoc committee formed by Borough Council to reduce greenhouse gas pollution 10 percent below 2005 levels by the year 2015, hosted the first of what is planned to become a quarterly event. Nearby townships, schools, and regional groups were invited to share both their successes and challenges to encourage new ideas and collaboration to reach mutual goals of sustainability and reduced carbon emissions.
In addition to BLUER, participants included West Vincent Township Sustainability Committee, Westtown School, Downingtown West High School, West Chester University, Chester County Planning Commission, Chester County Citizens for Climate Protection (4CP), PennFuture, and the Delaware Valley Regional Planning Commission.
A common theme that emerged was concern over the intersection between the environment, public health and the economy. “We have engineered physical activity from our environments,” said Wes Bruckno of the Chester County Planning Commission. This means not only are we increasing pollution with our dependence on cars, but has severe public health implications as this lack of physical activity means an increase in obesity. “The economy and society exist within the environment,” said Dianne Herrin of BLUER. “Without the environment, there is no economy or society.”
Important conversations were started at the first Greenhouse Gas Pollution Summit, and to continue to grow these relationships, planning for how to move forward with future Summits are already in the works. We invite all community-based emissions reductions groups to join the conversation by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelly Graham Bochich is a member of BLUER. She can be reached at KG570301@wcupa.edu