So Popular Science Magazine announced last weekend the 50 Greenest Cities in these United States, ranked by a sum of numerical values given according to a city's performance by statistic in four categories: Electricity, Transportation, Green Living, and Recycling/Green Perspective. Not surprisingly, Portland, OR topped the list, that mecca of all things recycled and organic and pedal powered.
I was hardly surprised to find the following four to be San Francisco, Boston, Oakland and Eugene. And beyond that Cambridge, Berkeley, Seattle, Chicago, Austin, Minneapolis, St. Paul, Sunnyvale, Honolulu, Fort Worth, Albuquerque, Syracuse...
But I never would have imagined that Philadelphia factors NOWHERE on the list of the top 50 green cities. Or rather, I guess its just embarrassing to see it written like that on the internets for everyone to see.
Its true that we only recently got citywide recycling pickup, and there aren't even trash cans on many street corners and our bike lanes are sporadic...but Philadelphia! As a major American city and the one I call home, maybe its time you got your shit together?
I think I speak for everyone everywhere when I say go green or go home. Here are five ways that I wish Philadelphia would change for the greener.
1. I wish that our busses were zero emission, like the ones in Oakland and Austin so that I didn't have asthma just from living here.
2. I wish that our bike lanes were separated from traffic by a curb to encourage and empower more people to commute by bike until we overtook automobile traffic five to one.
3. I wish that we could elect to get our energy from renewable sources by just selecting a box and that it would be as affordable as gross energy.
4. I wish that there would be a recycling receptacle on every corner so that when I finish a 40 en route to some party I can toss it instead of hauling it around until I get home.
5. I wish that plastic bags were illegal.
6. I wish that cars had to pay a 50 dollar fee for daily entrance into Center City, the radius of which is so small that walking or biking everywhere is totally feasible. The proceeds could go to any number of things in this city that could use improvement and funding. Public education, for instance.
7. I wish that this city would invest in green building and converting so many of the abandoned spaces that are everywhere into affordable housing, instead of erecting suburban lookalike dwellings in the middle of blighted neighborhoods.
That's all I can think of for now. There's been lots of talk about Philadelphia as an artist haven, the new Brooklyn, but where's the benefit that comes with change? With the exception of Phillycarshare, which I am continuously impressed with, sometimes this place reeks with empty gentrification. All show and no followthrough.