Our Perspectives on the Latest Issues
Early on in 2020, even after a very successful mid-March rally against petrochemical subsidies in the state Capitol that was organized by the PennFuture team and supported by many partners, the pandemic and recession gave me serious doubts that PennFuture would be able to carry on our mission, let alone remain an essential force for environmental protection.
As I reflect on the past and difficult year, that feeling couldn’t have been further from what actually transpired – PennFuture distinguished itself as unparalleled in statewide environmental advocacy.
Sure, the fact that the legislature remained in session, and was sufficiently emboldened to attempt many bad things, helped, and cemented PennFuture’s essential role in 2020 as a watchdog of the legislature and of polluters. But we also did so much more: defeated over 50 bad pieces of legislation designed to roll back previously hard-won environmental protections; seven legal actions taken; three major policy reports published; a virtual campaign to protect Pocono headwater streams that yielded almost 2 million social media posts and advocate-produced video content; and 800,000 voters or prospective voters civically engaged.
Our communications output was exhaustive: literally hundreds of media placements; the production of 15 issues of our lockdown inspired early-warning publication "The Bark"; and a full on counter-offensive of published content countering the many false narratives the fracked gas, petrochemical and plastics industries spew regularly.
The year wasn’t without its extreme difficulties. The ongoing racism so brutally exposed by Black Lives Matters; the health end economic disparities exacted upon communities of color by COVID and its recession; the attempted robbery of the presidential election; and the deep divisions that define us.
So 2021 must be a year to grapple with these realities, while we seek ways to reset society’s desire for clean air, water and a healthy climate.
I can’t say enough about the extraordinary talent, energy and commitment of our staff team and the long list of great work not mentioned here. We are fortunate to have the encouragement and good counsel provided by our board of volunteer leaders.
With the help of readers, advocates and supporters like all of you, when 2021 arrives, PennFuture will be ready.