Advocates Rally for Climate Action in Center City

Media Contacts

PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center

Philadelphia, PA – On Tuesday, August 28th, citizens joined PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center, Clean Air Council, PennFuture, and the American Federation of Government Employees (AFGE) Local 3631 for a “Beat the Heat” Rally with free ice cream from Franklin Fountain at Logan Square to show that while Pennsylvania can cool off with frozen treats now, citizens need to make their voices heard and call for long term solutions to beat the heat and prevent the worst impacts of climate change.

Local leaders in the fight for a clean energy future, including:

  • Gary Morton, AFGE Local 3631 President;

  • Bill Madway, Green in ’18 Press Secretary ;

  • Rev. Greg Holston, Executive Director of Philadelphians Organized to Witness, Empower, and Rebuild (POWER);

  • Christine Knapp, Director of The Philadelphia Office of Sustainability;

  • Dr. Candace Robertson-James, Director of Master of Public Health Program for La Salle University’s School of Nursing and Health Sciences;

  • Megan Garner, Sustainability Manager with the School District of Philadelphia;

  • Jack Groarke, Deputy State Director for Senator Bob Casey;

  • Ezra Thrush, Director of Policy for PennFuture; and

  • Mollie Michel, PA Field Consultant for Moms Clean Air Force

joined citizens to raise their voices for climate action and to show that Pennsylvanians demand real climate solutions, not the unraveling of decades of hard work and life-saving environmental protections.

“Pennsylvanians want a safer environment and at PennEnvironment we believe that the Commonwealth should not have to suffer from a federal government that’s reversing all of our progress and making people sick,” said Flora Cardoni, PennEnvironment’s Climate Defender Campaign Director.

“As we all know there are several risks associated with climate change. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, climate change magnifies the ‘intensity, duration and frequency of extreme heat events’ which we continue to experience in Philadelphia,” said Dr. Candace Robertson-James, Director of MPH Program for La Salle University.

Across the country, and right here in Pennsylvania, record heat waves have been threatening citizens’ health and wellbeing.  These impacts will continue to worsen without action to mitigate climate change. But instead of listening to people feeling the heat, the Trump Administration continues to undermine our progress on climate change.

“Rolling back the protections that protect our children from the dangers of air pollution, climate change, and toxic chemicals, is not only misguided and dangerous, it is immoral,” said Mollie Michel, PA Field Consultant for Moms Clean Air Force.

“The wellbeing of Philadelphians has been violated. This abuse reveals a textbook example of environmental racism is in this city where pollution disproportionately impacts the lives of people of color. POWER is bearing witness to this inequity and empowering our neighbors to obtain climate justice,” said Rev. Greg  Holston, Executive Director of POWER.

Just this month, two major proposals were announced that would severely weaken our environmental protections. These proposals include a rollback of the federal clean cars standards and the recently announced replacement of the Clean Power Plan. Both of these proposals would severely diminish the standards that decrease our greenhouse gas emissions – the type of pollution that accelerates climate change and puts communities at risk.

“President Trump’s recent roll-back of the Clean Cars standards and his new replacement of the Clean Power Plan – known as the ‘Affordable Clean Energy’ rule – are examples of selling out Pennsylvanians’ health for corporate interests. President Trump and his allies have shown they will do almost anything to line the pockets of polluters even if it harms Pennsylvania families. We need the Commonwealth’s leaders in Washington and Harrisburg to stand strong for our clean air, pure water, and a healthy climate. The time is now,” said Ezra Thrush, Director of Policy, PennFuture.

In the face of these federal attacks, local action on climate change is more important than ever. So PennEnvironment partnered with local organizations and leaders in Philadelphia to rally for solutions at every level of government.

“AFGE is defending EPA’s legal authority and scientific mandate to regulate carbon emissions from coal plants and motor vehicles,” said Gary Morton AFGE Local 3631 President.

“Philadelphia is taking action to fight the causes of climate change, and as we do so we must also prepare our communities for the hotter and wetter climate project for our city. Even right now some neighborhoods can be as much as 22 degrees hotter than others, and climate change will bring even more hot days that will increase the risk of heat-related illnesses. That’s why we need the federal government to step up and take action to fight climate change rather than taking us backwards,” said Christine Knapp, Director of the Office of Sustainability, City of Philadelphia.

The event attendees, speakers, and sponsors committed to continue working together to fight climate change and fight back against the Trump Administration’s rollbacks of environmental protections, helping to ensure a livable climate for future generations of Pennsylvanians.

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PennEnvironment Research & Policy Center is a citizen-based, statewide environmental advocacy organization working to ensure clean air, clean water, and protecting Pennsylvania’s great natural heritage. For more information about this and other PennEnvironment projects, visit