Show cover of Environmental Voices: The PennFuture Podcast

Environmental Voices: The PennFuture Podcast

PennFuture ( is an environmental advocacy nonprofit leading the transition to a clean energy economy in Pennsylvania and beyond. We are protecting our air, water and land, and empowering citizens to build sustainable communities for future generations. PennFuture's Environmental Voices podcast was created for one simple reason: to lift up voices in communities across Pennsylvania who are fighting against pollution, environmental injustice, and for healthy communities and people. Environmental Voices is sponsored by Envinity, designing and installing solar power systems for homes and businesses in Central and Western PA since 2005. Information on how Envinity can help to achieve net-zero energy can be found at


RGGI Litigation Update
The Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI) is one of Pennsylvania’s best chances at reducing our climate pollution. For years there’s been legislation and litigation to get PA to join this critical cap-and-invest program.On Tuesday, December 12, our policy and legal experts provided updates on where PA stands with RGGI now and answered questions from participants.PennFuture's RGGI Defenders program overview begins at 13:00Q&A begins at 15:58For more information about PennFuture, visit
46:26 12/13/23
An Evening With Michael E. Mann
PennFuture's President & CEO interviews renowned climate scientist and author, Michael E. Mann, on his journey from physics to climate science and his latest book Our Fragile Moment: How Lessons from Earth's Past Can Help Us Survive the Climate Crisis. For more information about PennFuture, visit
29:39 9/27/23
Connecting with Lake Erie
Lake Erie is the fourth largest lake by surface area of the five Great Lakes in North America and the eleventh-largest globally. The city of Erie is the main access point for Pennsylvanians to the Great Lakes. The 3,200 acre Presque Isle state park, featuring 13 public beaches, is the most popular of all of Pennsylvania’s state parks, with almost 4 million people visiting it every year. This “almost an island” reaches out into lake Erie creating both Pennsylvania’s only seashore, as well as the Presque Isle Bay that the city of Erie sits on. First Segment:First we'll  talk with filmmakers Melissa A. Troutman and John C. Lyons, who are the team behind the two-part documentary “Lake Erie, Our Kin” which was just released by WQLN public broadcasting in Erie. Melissa wrote it and she and John co-directed it and also conducted all the interviews for it. Included among her long list of credits, Melissa produced and directed the Rights of Nature documentary, “Invisible Hand” with executive producer and Emmy winner Mark Ruffalo. Born in Erie, John is an award winning filmmaker who had produced a number of feature length works and shorter documentaries. In 2020 he release the environmental horror film, UNEARTH about the evils that are released into the world when fracking goes wrong. If you would like to watch the two-part documentary, "Lake Erie, Our Kin” visit the website for WQLN, Erie’s public broadcasting station, Chronicles Page - Segment:For a number of years, a small but mighty group of activists in Erie have called themselves “Hold Erie Coke Accountable” which is exactly they have been doing in their efforts to require the Erie Coke factory, which sat right on the bay, from violating air quality emissions and spilling contaminants into the lake. The two leaders of Hold Erie Coke Accountable are Erie Benedictine Sister Pat Lupo and Dr. Mike Campbell, a distinguished professor of biology at Mercyhurst University.Third Segment:PennFuture is a statewide environmental advocacy organization, with offices in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Harrisburg, and the Poconos. Since 2020 we have also been in Erie. Jenny Tompkins is PennFuture’s Campaign Manager for Clean Water Advocacy - Lake Erie WatershedEnvironmental Voices is sponsored by Envinity.  Designing and installing solar power systems for homes and businesses in Central and Western PA since 2005. Information on how Envinity can help to achieve net-zero energy can be found at Envinity.comFor more information about PennFuture, visit
60:18 5/15/23
Earth Day, Environmental Justice, and Democracy
Every year on April 22, Earth Day marks the anniversary of the birth of the modern environmental movement in 1970. It was originally the brainchild of Senator Gaylord Nelson and was inspired by the protests of the 1960s, and so Earth Day began as a “national teach-in on the environment” and was held on April 22 to maximize the number of students that could be reached on university campuses.Earth Day now includes a wide range of events coordinated globally by EARTHDAY.ORG including 1 billion people in more than 193 countries. To talk about how PennFuture will be celebrating Earth Day, as well as how it connects to our work in Environmental Justice and Democracy work, we’ve invited two special guests to the show today. Maria Ocasio serves as PennFuture’s Lehigh Valley Field Coordinator. She is responsible for identifying, engaging, and mobilizing a strong base of volunteers within the community to bring about change and awareness on environmental issues in the Lehigh Valley. Through PennFuture’s Democracy for All program, Emily Gale is PennFuture's Director of Civic Engagement. In this role, Emily has created a new non-partisan voter registration program for PennFuture, which is currently active in active Monroe, Northampton, Lehigh, Dauphin, York, Lancaster, and Luzerne counties. Links referred to in this episode: more information about PennFuture, visit
34:20 4/10/23
Bonnie Van Alen - A Lifetime of Achievement in Conservation
Last year we aired seven episodes of Environmental Voices – and they all ran roughly an hour long. Today, we’re doing something a bit different. A shorter episode, about 20 minutes, and just one guest.For this episode we’re featuring a special interview with Jeanne Bonnie Van Alen. Bonnie recently stepped down from the position of Executive Director and President of Willistown Conservation Trust (WCT), a nonprofit land trust and conservation organization she founded over twenty-five years ago in Chester County, outside of Philadelphia. Bonnie is also being honored this year as one of the women receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award in Conservation from PennFuture’s 2023 Celebrating Women in Conservation Awards presented by Ecosave. Each year, PennFuture honors the accomplishments of outstanding women conservationists across Pennsylvania. The Ecosave presents 2023 Celebrating Women in Conservation Awards will tell the stories of 11 amazing women from Southeastern PA, and will take place live at the Fitler Club in Philly from 6-9pm on Tuesday, March 21st.  Along with the awards, the evening will feature drinks & a  dinner with an environmentally conscientious vegetarian menu. You can visit to purchase tickets and for more information about all the women being honored at the event. Unfortunately, Jeanne Bonnie Van Alen will not be able to attend the live event, so we have instead asked her to join this special podcast to learn more about, and to celebrate, her life’s work. For more information about PennFuture, visit
22:18 2/23/23
Influential Voices
Since we launched our Environmental Voices podcast in early 2022 we’ve produced 6 podcasts featuring interviews with 22 different people fighting to protect the environment in Pennsylvania and beyond. We’ve heard from artists and activists, authors and attorneys. We’ve been able to interview some pretty well-known voices including climate scientist Michael Mann, Secretary of the Department of Conservation and Natural Resources Cindy Dunn, and acclaimed activist Bill McKibben, and we’ve brought some new voices to you that you may not have heard from otherwise.  For our last podcast of 2022, we bring you two influential voices, each a leader in advocating for environmental protections in the Commonwealth: PennFuture’s new CEO & President, Patrick McDonnell and author, activist, and Delaware River Keeper Maya van Rossum who will talk about her new book, The Green Amendment.  Maya van Rossum has served as the Delaware Riverkeeper and leader for the Delaware Riverkeeper Network since 1994. She was one of the original petitioners in the landmark Robinson Township v. Commonwealth of Pennsylvania case decided by the PA Supreme Court in 2013 which strengthened environmental standing opportunities, declared unconstitutional key sections of the pro-drilling Act 13 legislation, and reinvigorated the strength of Pennsylvania Constitution’s Environmental Rights Amendment. Since then she has created the Green Amendments for the Generations organization. Most recently, Disruption Books has published the second edition of her book The Green Amendment – the people’s fight for a clean, safe, and healthy environment. Patrick McDonnell, the new CEO & President of PennFuture. Based in Harrisburg, Patrick brings over 20 years of experience on climate, clean energy and environmental issues to PennFuture. Prior to joining the nonprofit, he spent six years as Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection, leading key initiatives like passage of the state’s first carbon trading regulation, acceleration of the Commonwealth’s cleanup of waterways and a new focus on environmental justice issues. He also served as President of the Environmental Council of the States, the voice of state environmental agencies nationally. For more information about PennFuture, visit
58:49 12/19/22
The Inflation Reduction Act and the Environment
Environmental Voices: The PennFuture Podcast -  Episode 6: The Inflation Reduction Act and the EnvironmentOn August 16, President Biden signed into law the Inflation Reduction Act of 2022 also known as the IRA. This landmark 273 page statute includes several important provisions: such as extending Affordable Care Act subsidies, allowing Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices, and raising $738 billion in new revenue, $238 billion being used for deficit reduction. However, for today’s conversation we are going to focus on the IRA’s climate and energy provisions. With an historic $391 billion allocated to address domestic energy and climate change, it is the largest investment in combatting the climate crisis in United States history.  To help us unravel the details of this incredibly important law, we are excited to feature four fantastic guests today. Jessica Arriens, Program Manager, Climate & Energy Policy at the National Wildlife FederationProf. Michael Mann, Director of the Center for Science, Sustainability & the Media at the University of Pennsylvania and as a member of the National Academy of ScienceJeaneen Zappa, Executive Director of the Keystone Energy Efficiency Alliance Bishop Marcia Dinkins, Executive Director of Black Women Rising and founder of the the Black Appalachian CoalitionHosted by Travis DiNicola, PennFuture Director of Development For more information about PennFuture, visit
63:44 10/18/22
A Shared Vision for Pennsylvania's Environment and Communities
Environmental Voices: The PennFuture Podcast -  Episode 5: A Shared Vision for Pennsylvania's Environment and Communities As we approach the fall elections, securing our shared vision has never been more urgent. Tune into our latest episode to learn about the behind-the-scenes efforts by more than 30 advocacy organizations to develop  “A Shared Vision for Pennsylvania’s Environment and Communities.” This bold document is designed to put Pennsylvania at the forefront of action on climate change and environmental justice to protect our families, create jobs and ensure that every Pennsylvania community benefits. Speakers include organizers from PennFuture, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania, Sierra Club, and Make the Road Pennsylvania. Katie Blume, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Political DirectorMichelle Giles, Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania Policy AnalystMichael Mehrazar, PennFuture Campaign Manager for Watershed AdvocacyJenn Quinn, Sierra Club of Pennsylvania Legislative and Political DirectorDiana Robinson, Make the Road Pennsylvania Civic Engagement DirectorHosted by Travis DiNicola, PennFuture Director of Development The Shared Vision document can be found at: more information about PennFuture, visit
61:01 8/30/22
The Advocacy of Jacquelyn Bonomo
Episode 4 of “Environmental Voices: The PennFuture Podcast” celebrates the career and advocacy of Jacquelyn Bonomo, PennFuture's President and CEO who will retire in July after a brilliant 40-year career.  Bonomo, who first came to PennFuture as the organization’s Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer in August 2016, has served as the organization’s President and Chief Executive Officer since October of 2017. Her work in environmental advocacy started as a volunteer with the Sierra Club, and concludes with her leading a period of sustained growth at one of Pennsylvania’s most influential environmental organizations, PennFuture. In between, Bonomo has had a front row seat to some of the most important conservation developments of the last four decades, working at the national level and in 24 states and U.S. territories. In this episode, we tried to honor Bonomo's tremendous career by chatting with people who have worked closely with her over the last 40 years. Our guests include:  · Charles Bier, who is the Senior Director for Conservation Science at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. Before coming to PennFuture, Bonomo spent nearly a decade at the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy as that organization’s vice president of conservation programs. From 1999 to 2008, Jacqui was responsible for budgeting, planning and administration of the largest natural resource conservation program in the region, with staff in eight locations. She also increased the organization’s operating budget from $1 million to $5.7 million and grew staff from eleven to over 80 through 2007. · Cindy Adams Dunn, who has served as the Secretary of Pennsylvania’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources since 2015. From 2013 to 2015, Dunn served as the presidentand CEO of PennFuture. Like Bonomo, Dunn is one of the most noteworthyenvironmental advocates in Pennsylvania over the last several decades. · Tim Ference, with Friends of the Nescopeck, which is where Bonomo's environmental advocacy began.  For more information about PennFuture, visit
62:58 5/31/22
Women in Conservation - Making the Difference in Pennsylvania
Episode 3 of “Environmental Voices: The PennFuture Podcast” catches up with three previous Celebrating Women in Conservation Awardees who continue to do big things in Pennsylvania. One recently edited a book on EcoArt, another serves as a nature columnist for the Pottsville Republican Herald, and the third got appointed by President Biden to serve as the State Executive Director for the USDA Pennsylvania Farm Service Agency. Our guests include: Leah Zerbe won PennFuture’s 2019 Woman of Environmental Media, Marketing & Communications award for her outstanding environmental writings at publications such as Dr. Axe, Rodale Publishing, the Bucks County Courier Times, and the Philadelphia Daily News. Since that time, she has been an active participant in her community, including serving as the chair of the Pottsville Citizens Climate Lobby chapter, running after-school educational programs, studying to become a Master Watershed Steward, and most recently serving as a columnist with the Pottsville Republican Herald.Ann Rosenthal won PennFuture’s 2020 Women of Environmental Arts award recognizing her over 40 years’ experience as an artist, writer, and for her work which examines the intersections of nature and culture through timely issues, including climate change and biodiversity, Recently she co-edited Ecoart in Action: Activities, Case Studies, and Provocations for Classrooms and Communities, a collection that seeks to showcase how teachers, citizens, policymakers, and scientists can find inspiration in art. Heidi Secord is a winner of PennFuture’s 2021 Lifetime Achievement Award. Heidi owns and operates her 48-acre Josie Porter Farm with her husband Gary Bloss in Northeastern PA. Josie Porter Farm is a farmer led community-based food hub that supports other local and regional farmers and provides fresh produce to the community. Heidi also served as State President of the Pennsylvania Farmers Union and sat on the National Farmers Union Board of Directors. And Heidi was recently appointed by the Biden Administration to serve as the State Executive Director for the Pennsylvania Farm Service Agency. Susanne Whitehead is PennFuture’s Donors Relations Manager. Susanne is instrumental in organizing all aspects of our Celebrating Women in Conversation awards, including evaluating nominees.BONUS: CLICK HERE TO FIND OUT HOW NOMINATE A WOMAN FOR THIS YEAR'S CELEBRATING WOMEN IN CONSERVATION AWARDS - THE DEADLINE FOR NOMINATIONS HAS BEEN EXTENDED TO FRIDAY, MAY 13THFor more information about PennFuture, visit
45:15 4/27/22
Why Pennsylvania Shouldn't Heed Calls to Double-Down on Fossil Fuels
Episode 2 of “Environmental Voices: The PennFuture Podcast” shines a light on the coordinated effort of fossil fuel trade groups and politicians in Pennsylvania to use the Ukrainian crisis to their advantage. Our guests include: Bill McKibben, a renowned environmental advocate who is known for founding the global grassroots climate campaign known as 350.Org. McKibben has organized for climate action on every continent, including Antarctica. He played a leading role in launching the opposition to big oil pipeline projects and the fossil fuel divestment campaign, which has become the biggest anti-corporate campaign in history, with endowments worth more than $15 trillion stepping back from oil, gas and coal. His latest project is called Third Act, which works to organize Americans over the age of 60 to act on the climate crisis. Recently, he has been quoted and published in outlets like The New York Times, The Guardian, and The Washington Post. Ginny Kerslake, a Chester County resident who has been a passionate and outspoken advocate against the Mariner East pipeline for years. Ginny co-founded several grassroots organizations to raise public awareness about the project and has been a leading anti-pipeline voice in Pennsylvania. Rob Altenburg, who serves as PennFuture’s Senior Director for Energy and Climate. Rob is one of the foremost experts on clean energy in Pennsylvania, working with regulatory agencies and clean energy industry experts on climate and energy issues across the Commonwealth. Before the pandemic, Rob traveled extensively throughout Pennsylvania to talk to students, community groups, and other organizations on climate and energy issues, and of the benefits of transitioning to a clean energy economy.For more information about PennFuture, visit
50:33 3/31/22
Environmental Justice
PennFuture started this new podcast in February 2022 for one simple reason: to lift up voices in communities across Pennsylvania that are fighting against pollution, environmental injustice, and for healthy communities and people.Our goal on Environmental Voices: The PennFuture Podcast will be to tell the critically important environmental stories facing Pennsylvanians throughout all regions of the state. Large swaths of the state still, on a daily basis, suffer disproportionate impacts of dirty air and polluted water and we want this podcast to be a venue for those on the frontlines to share their stories. We also hope it will be an avenue to connect you with the work we’re doing here at PennFuture:  in the courtroom, at the State Capitol, and in your communities, to help protect our common environmental rights. Our guests for our first episode include:Melanie Meade, an environmental advocate from Clairton, Pa. who fights for clean air and a healthy environment in her community. Melanie is also involved in other important endeavors like the Black Appalachian Coalition, among others. We were thrilled to welcome Melanie as our first guest on our first podcast. State Rep. Donna Bullock, a representative from the 195th Legislative District in North and West Philadelphia, has served in the Pennsylvania General Assembly since 2015. In October, State Reps. Donna Bullock, Malcolm Kenyatta and Chris Rabb and Sen. Vincent Hughes introduced legislation that would codify the Office of Environmental Justice and Environmental Justice Advisory Board — making them permanent, regardless of who is in the executive branch. The legislation will also increase transparency and public input before polluting facilities are built or expanded in overburdened communities. We were very happy that Rep. Bullock took some time to discuss this very important legislation with us. Emily Gale, PennFuture's Director of Civic Engagement, who spoke about the organization's work on non-partisan voter registration, as well as the program's recent expansion into Allegheny County. For more information about PennFuture, visit
56:43 2/23/22