Climate change at the forefront of the 2019 SustainPHL Awards - Generocity Philly

Purpose

Aug. 9, 2019 8:00 am

Climate change at the forefront of the 2019 SustainPHL Awards

The fourth annual ceremony honored individuals, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies working towards a more sustainable Philly.

Kyla van Buren of Trash Academy in her plastic bag outfit at the 2019 SustainPHL Awards.

(Photo by Will Bleier)

Julie Hancher started the night off with a laugh that also left the crowd thinking.

Green Philly started when I discovered that my employer was throwing our recycling into the trash,” said the cofounder and editor of the media company. “Kind of like Philly earlier this year.”

The comment, part of Hancher’s opening remarks at the fourth annual SustainPHL awards, hosted by Green Philly, referred to the city sending half of its recyclable materials to a Chester incinerator from October until April, rather than reusing it. It was one of the event’s many challenges to authority.

"We have the knowledge to fight climate change, we have the technology to fight climate change, we lack the courage."
Rob Fleming

Climate change was the most prominent issue of Thursday night, where 29 nominees — individuals, businesses, nonprofits and government agencies — were honored at the award ceremony at WHYY for their work in sustainability.

“We have the money to fight climate change,” said Rob Fleming, a presenter and director of the Sustainable Design program at Thomas Jefferson University . “We have the knowledge to fight climate change, we have the technology to fight climate change, we lack the courage.”

Many speakers alluded to the greater effects climate change can have on marginalized populations.

“Climate change affects people in developing countries disproportionately to our own city,” said Erin Houston, one of the cofounders of Wearwell, an ethical clothing company which won the Business Innovation award.

Erin Houston and Emily Kenney, the co-founders of Wearwell, accepting the Business Innovation Award. (Photo by Will Bleier)

“We know that the people that will be the most impacted by climate change are the ones that have the least amount of power in our society,” Fleming said.

From our Partners

The event also featured a munch-and-learn prior to the awards, where attendees could view sustainability exhibits from organizations like Trash Academy, a project from Mural Arts that brings together young adults and community leaders to address trash issues through art.

Kyla van Buren, a Trash Academy organizer, donned a plastic bag outfit composed of 365 plastic bags, representing the average amount an American uses each year.

Jaime Gauthier, the Democratic nominee for the city’s third district (whose primary victory ended more than 45 years of her opponent’s family hold on the seat) presented three awards.

Through her work in community development, Gauthier said she saw engaged communities do incredible things, like residents who transform public parks from places of despair to safe, green community spaces.

Attendees were given reusable glasses to use throughout the night and dined on compostable dinnerware, making it a zero-waste event, Hancher said. One of the food sponsors, Hungry Harvest, supplied fruits and vegetables the organization uses — produce that would be rejected from grocery stores because of innocuous blemishes.

Arnett Woodall, founder of West Phillie Produce, accepting the Activist of the Year award. (Photo by Will Bleier)

“It’s been a long haul out in West Philadelphia,” Arnett Woodall, founder of West Phillie Produce, who won the Activist of the Year award said, describing the substance and food crisis facing his neighborhood.

“It’s time that we take notice to everything that we’re talking about in this room today,” Woodall said.

“The fight is still continuing,” he added.

The 2019 SustainPHL Award winners. (Photo by Will Bleier)

Here are all of your 2019 award recipients:

  • Impact Business Leader — Remark Glass
  • Social Impact — littlebags.bigimpact
  • Business Innovation — Wearwell
  • Neighborhood Champion — Kyle Shenandoah
  • Sustainability Mentor — Urban Creators
  • Sustainable Communities — Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild
  • Climate Hero — Joanne Douglas
  • Activist of the Year — Arnett Woodall
  • #FuturePHL — Ash Richards
-30-
LEAVE A COMMENT

From our Partners

Council of Economic Advisers’ proposed solutions to homelessness will actively harm people

On the Market: 29 openings at museums, agencies and nonprofits big and small

Opinion: A safe injection site will not be good for Kensington. Things will get worse

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

Systems blocking people from self-sufficiency

Philadelphia, PA

Community Legal Services, Inc

Aging & Disabilities Unit Paralegal- Two (2) Job Openings

Apply Now
Philadelphia

Fairmount Ventures Inc

Research Assistant (Part time)

Apply Now

Counting down the top 10 stories of all time at Generocity

Hey, nonprofit pros —watch your language

Opinion: Most of the people who want Safehouse in Kensington do not live there

SPONSORED

Generocity Philly

JEVS+SNHU partnership is creating affordable, flexible degree programs for Philly

Philadelphia

Fairmount Ventures Inc

Project Manager – Consultant

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

SteegeThomson Communications

Junior Associate

Apply Now
Philadelphia, PA

Community Legal Services, Inc

Homeownership & Consumer Rights Unit-Staff Attorney

Apply Now

Sign-up for daily news updates from Generocity