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August 22, 2016

Positivity celebrated at inaugural SustainPHL awards event

Overshadowed by Diner en Blanc, sustainability community seeks wider-scale recognition for recent honorees

Opinion Sustainability
SustainPHL awards Courtesy of TD Bank and Green Philly Blog/Facebook

At Thursday night's SustainPHL event, Leroy Fisher, center, was named the TD Bank Activist of the Year by Green Philly Blog for his work with Hunting Park United.

Among the many correspondences who arrived after the real-talk express rolled through the Diner en Blanc’s self-importance station last week was a pitch about an “alternate event to DEB that actually DID good on [Aug. 18].”

Suffice it to say, it was an eye-catching subject line, even if it was steeped in lighthearted sarcasm. In fact, it immediately warranted a closer look at an event which drew 250 people to WHYY’s studios Thursday night along Independence Mall West ($65 a ticket/food, drink and tables included).

The ceremony was a way to recognize the positive gains brought about by 13 award winners and 39 nominees at SustainPHL’s inaugural Citywide Sustainability Celebration and Awards. They ranged from "city leaders to unsung heroes," according to the event announcement.

“Although well-known organizations like the Bicycle Coalition and Philadelphia Water were recipients, there were also everyday citizens making a change,” said Green Philly Blog's Julie Hancher of the event. “These people truly deserve to be heard about on a wider scale.”

Considering that a citywide sustainability party is an event that truly brought Philadelphians together in an auditorium of positivity, Hancher was right!

She said she noticed "a few gaps covering the local sustainability scene since starting the Green Philly Blog in 2008." So, she created the event "to show the comprehensive range of Philadelphia's sustainability movement ... and inspire people to incorporate sustainability further – all in a fun atmosphere."

"Sustainability doesn't have to be hard, expensive or complicated, and we wanted to embody that message through SustainPHL," she said. "Each of the nominees is truly making an impact on the city, and the award recipients inspired the crowd."

So, I'm gonna go ahead and share details about Thursday night’s winners on a wider scale. 

A full list of nominees and categories can be seen via this link, but here are the winners honored with awards (and probably cleaned up after themselves before they left the ceremony):

• Sustainable Pioneer AwardJudy Wicks
• Neighborhood Champion: Sam Holloschutz
• Sustainable Communities: GreenFutures | Philadelphia School District
• Civic Sustainability Award: Morris Derry
• Local Advocate: Saleem Chapman
• Unsung Hero: Nic Esposito
• Business Innovation of the Year: Good Company Ventures
• Impact Business Leader: Wash Cycle Laundry
• TD Bank Activist of the Year: Leroy Fisher
• Locavore Champion: Rad Dish Co-op
• Climate Hero: Green City, Clean Waters (Philadelphia Water)
• #FuturePHL: Bicycle Coalition of Greater Philadelphia
• Sustainability Mentor: Lamar Gore

In accepting her award, Wicks told the crowd that, "When our work serves the greater good, we can build the city and region we want to live in."

Hear, hear.