PERC Members Converge for Annual Conference
The Pennsylvania Environmental Resource Consortium held their annual event on Feb. 5 at the Rachel Carson building in Harrisburg. According to a statement by PERC, the purpose of the meeting was to gather relevant information regarding a partnership between Pennsylvania colleges that are PERC members and Pennsylvania State government that will encourage other local and county governments to develop and implement climate change and greenhouse gas emissions reduction strategies and programs that will enhance the resilience and adaptation to climate change impacts.
PERC founder Donald Brown talked about the benefit of having a meeting where all the members come together.
“It allows us to form partnerships between universities and state agencies,” Brown said.
The meeting began with a short welcome followed by the first panel which covered the topic of current PERC school activities on climate change and community change. There were two speakers in the first panel, John Dernbach from Widener University Law School and Brandi Robinson from Penn State University. Dernbach talked about how he had approached the city of Harrisburg about teaching a class on sustainability and about a program that would take the legal skills of his students and apply them to the real world of local governments. Robinson focused her presentation on whether Penn State’s new Bachelor of Arts degree led to jobs in science policy and the Penn State Park Inventory program.
The second panel had to do with local government leadership on climate change issues in Pennsylvania local governments. There were three people who spoke during the panel, Richard Freeh, the City Energy Project Manager from Philadelphia, Alan Sam from the State College Borough, and Dan Zimmerman from Warwick Township. Freeh spoke about what Philadelphia was doing regarding greenhouse gases and how colleges were helping out by conducting municipal and city wide greenhouse gas inventories and creating the Green Works Sustainability Plan. When Sam spoke he focused on some of the work State College Borough had done in the past and talked about two current programs, Sustainability Community Collaborative and Sustainable Pennsylvania, both of which created connections between Penn State and the surrounding community. Zimmermann discussed Warwick Township’s Climate Change Initiative that included two methods reducing energy use and planting trees.