Green Initiatives & Environmental History for: Pennsylvania
Rich in historic lore, Pennsylvania territory was disputed in the early 1600s among the Dutch, the Swedes, and the English. England acquired the region in 1664. Philadelphia was the seat of the federal government almost continuously from 1776 to 1800; there the Declaration of Independence was signed in 1776 and the U.S. Constitution drawn up in 1787. Pennsylvania was the scene of pivotal battles fought in the Revolutionary and Civil Wars. In 1776 a provincial convention dominated by radical patriots created the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania under one of the most democratic of the new state constitutions.
Maple, walnut, poplar, oak, pine, ash, beech, and linden trees fill Pennsylvania’s extensive forests, along with sassafras, sycamore, weeping willow and balsam fir. Red pine, paper birch, sweet gum, mountain laurel, June-berry, dotted hawthorn, various dogwoods, dewberry, wintergreen and wild ginger are also fairly common in the state. The small whorled pogonia and the northeastern bulrush are now considered threatened and endangered.
The white-tailed deer, black bear, red and gray foxes, opossum, raccoon, muskrat, mink, snowshoe hare, common cottontail, and flying squirrels persist in Pennsylvania.
14 species are on threatened or endangered list of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, including the Indiana bat, the bald eagle, orangefoot pimpleback pearly mussel, dwarf wedgemussel, and pink mucket pearlymussel.
Green Building Alliance is a non-profit organization that advances economic prosperity and human well-being in western Pennsylvania by driving market demand for green buildings and green building products. It advocates green building principles in many forums, and their initiatives range from preserving the past with the greening of historic buildings to protecting future through efforts to slow global warming. Their projects include: providing resources for funding, LEED rating systems, renewable energy, green building practices and local green building products; Green Schools Initiative with schools going green with ample natural light, high-quality acoustics and healthy indoor air quality; tracking robust building performance; Climate Initiative which is a collaborative effort designed to lead residents, businesses, government and institutions in the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.
State hospitals are also increasingly engaging in sustainable operations, and are committed to support systemwide waste reduction, energy efficiency, renewable resources, and conservation. They are implementing the following routinely: using plastic materials that are DEHP and PVC-free; using biodegradable paper products for food service; implementation of alcohol recycling in hospital labs; extensive recycling programs in place for paper, plastic, cardboard, batteries, fluorescent lights, medical, and hazardous waste; use of non-toxic cleaning products; and purchase of new indoor air quality meter.
Pennsylvania Technology Student Association, Natural Resources Defense Council, and the hospitality sector of the state foster environmental stewardship in their operations and facilities through carefully planned programs of sound resource management and environmental protection. They are committed to developing sustainable forward-thinking practices, promoting personal responsibility in recycling and conserving natural resources, and reviewing energy consumption and operating procedures, replacing them with high-efficiency alternative methods.