Living Green in the City-Philadelphia

April 20, 2015 by Emily Curran

Philadelphia is known to many as the City of Brotherly Love.  Rich with history and art, it is bursting at the seams with culture, creativity, and experience.  Living in the shadow of this reputation, however, is a well-kept secret of Philly; one that may only be known to its inhabitants, and only to those who are deeply rooted in the dirt beneath the beautifully historical trees.  That’s right, Philadelphia is a lean, mean, green city scene.


Not only does it’s ranking as the fourth best walking city in the U.S. attribute to this title, but Philadelphia’s reliance on fresh, local, and organic foods boasts a clean and green lifestyle for all of its residents.  In Rittenhouse Square particularly, there are a surplus of dining establishments where this focus is the main concern, including Hip City Veg and Rittenhouse Farmers Market.  Interspersed throughout the rest of the city, there are also several Farm-to-Table restaurants such as Farmacia, Vedge, and White Dog Cafe - one of the oldest establishments of its kind that purchases all of their meat, poultry and eggs from local family farms. 


Philly also caters a great deal of its green energy toward children, with a hefty handful of shops and activities to keep them busy.  For instance, Drexel University’s Academy of Natural Sciences frequently showcases fun and exciting exhibits that are jam-packed with educational adventure.  Philadelphia is also 13% parkland, placing it in the top third of the 100 most populous cities and offering up some great space to get outside and enjoy the newly-budding spring weather.


No kids? No problem.  There is plenty of green fun in Philadelphia for people of all ages.  It might interest your family sports fanatic to know that Lincoln Financial Field (home of the Philadelphia Eagles) generates the most electricity of any NFL stadium, and in the greenest way!  With 14 turbines and solar panels, the stadium produces six times the amount of power used during a single Eagle’s home game and creates zero waste.  For an after-game beer, you can check out Yard's Brewing Company, which holds the title of Pennsylvania’s first wind-powered brewery. 


You can also plan your trip to Philly around this year’s Greenfest celebration, where you will spend the day enjoying live music and some of the city’s top green vendors in an environment that is completely fueled by solar-powered generators.  They even offer a complimentary bike valet, leaving you free from the stress of the dreaded parallel kick-standing.  


And perhaps the greatest part about the city’s devotion to green living is the support provided by its own government.   With the Green City, Clean Waters 25-year plan instated by the Philadelphia Water Department, the city works together to collect and treat storm water and maintain attractive, swimmable rivers and streams.  In addition to this, Mayor Michael A. Nutter has taken great care in posting and updating Greenworks: an annual update on the citywide sustainability efforts towards energy, environment, equity, economy, and engagement.  


Of course, while the cultural side of Philadelphia continues to thrive, it may not be the first place that comes to mind with the question of environmental gold.  But in the past few years, the City of Brotherly Love has made such great strides for Mother Earth that the love has begun to transition from brotherly, to motherly.