PennFuture Blog

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A New Strategy for Sparking Environmental Leadership in Pennsylvania

I’m sure many of you, like me, are thinking very hard these days about how to cross the divide between our personal views toward our planet’s future, and those held by people with very different views. How can an issue like a safe and healthy environment be viewed as a special interest, when such an issue is in everyone’s interest?  
That’s the question PennFuture and 25 of our colleague organizations took up this past winter as we sat down to craft the Pennsylvania Common Conservation Agenda, released this month. Our goal with the document was to first unite our diverse movement under the banner of the Common Agenda, a document that set forth a nonpartisan, pragmatic and achievable path forward to make real progress – and in a pretty short time period – toward clean air, pure water and a healthy climate, so our state can prosper and our economy thrive.  
The second question we asked ourselves was, in addition to getting our diverse community to agree on a common agenda, what did the Common Agenda need to look like for the highest elected official in our state – our governor – to find his way into parts of it and provide the kind of leadership the people of Pennsylvania are asking for?  
Lastly, to the end of political leadership, we decided the platform for opportunity and influence was the upcoming campaign for Pennsylvania’s governor and getting the candidates’ embrace of the agenda our aim. And so, to support the Common Agenda, we have launched PennFuture’s Green in ’18 campaign. More on that in a moment.
The Common Agenda bears down on seven major points that we are asking the gubernatorial candidates to consider and act on:
  1. Strengthening the 21st century workforce through green jobs;
  2. Championing the great waters of Pennsylvania from source to tap;
  3. Providing the PA Department of Environmental Protection and the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources with sufficient resources to fulfill their missions;
  4. Improving the Department of Environmental Protection’s ability to protect the public from the threats posed by natural gas and petrochemical infrastructure;
  5. Ensuring environment justice for vulnerable communities;
  6. Boosting current investments in the Growing Greener program, which protects our forests and farmland, restores watersheds and saves wildlife habitat; and
  7. Bolstering the state’s clean energy sector.
We have a big task in front of us – to convince the candidates – Governor Tom Wolf and State Senator Scott Wagner -- to speak up on these issues and to present their plans to voters for a better environment for us all. This is where you come in – you, the champions of your community’s air and water…you, the voter. Become part of our Green in ’18 campaign. There is much work to be done and here’s how you can help. We need volunteers to participate in the Green in ’18 campaign and advance the Common Agenda. We need folks who can devote substantial time to the agenda, participate in training and see it through all the way to Pennsylvania’s general election on November 6, 2018. There are other volunteer opportunities as well, so join in and be part of something really big and important for Pennsylvania’s environment. You can sign up to help here, and once you do, a member of the Green in ’18 staff will contact you.  
The Common Agenda has knitted together the environmental community, and is attracting new endorsers every day as business and other groups sign on to support it.  The solutions it presents were crafted to appeal to a broad cross section of our state, regardless of political affiliation, geographic location, urban or rural settings – and to appeal to the gubernatorial candidates.  Join in to help shine a brighter spotlight on these important environmental solutions today.  

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