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    Women + Sustainability = Powerful Force of Nature

    Did you know there’s a women sustainability group in Philly? (If you’re a GP reader, you should – since we wrote about it previously.)

    Let’s back up. How did this happen?

    The group was formed during a time when three friends were in between work opportunities and with that space they realized something was missing locally for sustainable professional networking. Lo and behold, Women for a Sustainable Philadelphia was born. Two years later the online Facebook group now meets in person for networking, fireside chats, and thought leader discussions.

    Short lesson here is that sometimes space away from our day-to-day life produces the most creative ideas, can be productive and enrich our lives in unexpected ways. This group is a prime example: We’re coming together with shared values and goals to collaborate, support, and share ideas because (let’s face it) we’re all in this (changing climate) together.

    What We Learned about the Water Around Us

    Last week, The Women for a Sustainable Philadelphia group had their third meetup discussing the health of Philadelphia’s water. The event, ‘The Water Around us’ featured guest speakers Julie Slavet – Executive Director of Tookany/Tacony Frankford Watershed, Stephanie Wein – Water and Conservation Advocate at PennEnvironment, and Amy Liu – AICP, Watersheds Planner in the Green Stormwater Infrastructure Unit at the Philadelphia Water Department.

    The panel’s theme was about underlying realities of the city’s water quality. It was an engaging conversation that delved into the highlights and faults of our city’s water system.

    Here are a few of the panel’s takeaways:

    Wein of Penn Environment stressed the importance of lead in water. Medical experts estimate that more than 24 million American kids will lose IQ points due to lead exposure. The research finds many of these kids will be exposed to lead in their schools’ drinking water. That’s why Penn Environment is working to ‘Get the Lead Out.‘ One solution they’re working on is installing filters certified to remove lead at every tap used for drinking or cooking.

    Liu shared about how Green Cities Clean Water is responding to rapid development in the city.  Every time a property is developed in Philadelphia that disturbs more than 15,000 square feet of earth, it triggers PWD Stormwater Management Regulations, which require management of the first inch of stormwater runoff.

    Fun fact from Slavet of TTF: DYK why the Tookany-Tacony sounds so similar? Tomato, Tamato. The headwaters of the creek begin in Montgomery County, where the main stem is called the Tookany. When the creek passes into Philadelphia at Cheltenham Avenue the name changes to Tacony. These two names come from the native Lenape word tèkëne, meaning woods or wilderness. The creek flows into the Delaware River just south of the Betsy Ross Bridge.

    Overall, the evening’s discussion showcased the forward-thinking initiatives to help in 3 key areas; displacing the adverse effects of stormwater runoff, the importance of watersheds, and the impact of aging infrastructure.

    The main takeaway is that we are all connected to this indispensable resource, and it’s our combined responsibility to ensure it’s protection for today and generations to come.

    If you’re interested in attending future events, request to join the Women for a Sustainable Philadelphia Facebook group here.

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    Nicole Matthesen

    About Nicole Matthesen

    Nicole Matthesen is nature lover, ocean conservation advocate, and ambassador for all things related to living a sustainable lifestyle. If there’s a Philly event related to an environmental sustainability you can expect to find her there.

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