A Shared Vision for Pennsylvania’s Environment and Communities

This year, Pennsylvania voters will choose our next Governor and vote in elections for our entire state House and half of our state Senate. The importance of these elections cannot be overstated, as they occur at a time of increasing threats to our environment, our democracy, and to those Pennsylvanians who are most vulnerable to threats of disenfranchisement and pollution.

Each election marks a renewed opportunity for Pennsylvanians to collectively determine the direction of our Commonwealth in the years ahead. That’s why PennFuture banded together with 30 other advocacy groups across Pennsylvania to craft a document that spells out the most pressing issues facing our state, while also offering policy solutions to create a more equitable and just Pennsylvania. 

Called “A Shared Vision for Pennsylvania’s Environment and Communities,” this 40-page document is the culmination of many months of hard work and determination. It is our hope that this comprehensive report will educate and guide candidates for office this year, and for future elected officials, on the most important environmental issues facing Pennsylvania. 

To read the report, please click here.

This election is a critical time to address the issues facing Pennsylvania’s frontline and environmental justice communities that have been disproportionately impacted by polluting industries, inequitable policy, and inadequate regulatory decisions for far too long. Not only must these inequities stop, but trust with these communities must be rebuilt as a first step to improving their health, well-being, environment and economies.

Pennsylvania faces myriad pressing environmental issues. The science of the climate crisis, and its impacts on the lives of Pennsylvanians, compels urgent and bold action. Our
waterways remain one of our most precious resources, yet they face a multitude of challenges from excess nitrogen, to pollution from plastics, to acid mine drainage. Aging homes throughout the state contain damaging lead, asbestos, and other environmental toxins that damage the health of the most vulnerable. Our democracy is under threat and without a healthy and vibrant
democracy, we cannot have a healthy environment. And we recognize that there are historic opportunities to reimagine how we can design our schools, workplaces, and homes in ways that are more sustainable and equitable.

Specifically, the document identifies seven pressing priorities we hope will be addressed by candidates running for office this fall. Those areas include:

  • Guaranteeing our right to clean air and a healthy climate
  • Safeguarding our right to pure water
  • Investing in an energy policy that supports people and communities 
  • Housing and land use that meet the needs of all Pennsylvanians 
  • Ensuring labor rights in the green economy 
  • Protecting our democracy means protecting our environment 
  • Quality environmental education for all students 

We seek leaders who find common ground with this vision. We seek leaders that are courageous enough to declare that Pennsylvania – as one of only two states nationwide with a constitutional guarantee of environmental rights – has a powerful but underutilized tool at our disposal to address environmental disparities and to protect the incredible natural heritage of our state. We seek leaders that recognize that we must do better.

This is a pivotal moment for the environment in Pennsylvania. The threats have never been more urgent. But thanks to the election calendar, the surging resistance to the status quo among citizens, and the unprecedented unification among conservation organizations in the state, the prospects for difference-making action have never been more positive. By building an army of volunteers committed to rising up for the environment and the Shared Vision, we believe our cause will be successful. Please join us.

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