You know what I’ve noticed in Philadelphia? Virtually everyone here – Democratic National Convention attendees, protestors outside the convention, residents, you name it – is really, really concerned about climate change.
Some backstory on me, if you’re curious: after living in DC for more than a decade, I moved up to Philly with my wife a couple months ago when she got a great job opportunity. I do occasionally miss the charms of The Nation’s Capital, but it would be profoundly dishonest of me to pretend I’m not stoked to be here. I love this city – and I always have. I grew up in Wilmington, Delaware, in a house not 30 minutes from South Philadelphia, and my family’s roots in the city and surrounding area run deep. (Accounts vary, but some in the family say all the way back to the 1700s.) I love the people, the history, the culture, the food, everything. I look forward to Eagles games the way a little kid looks forward to Christmas. Every time I go for a run along the Delaware River Waterfront, the Rocky theme plays on repeat in my imagination (I need to step up my conditioning if I’m ever going to wind sprint up the Art Museum steps, though.)
As if all that weren’t enough, the average Philadelphian cares about the environment the way I care about it – a whole, whole lot. Environmentalism in general, and climate change in particular, are huge issues for folks around here. It’s jarring – in a good way – to suddenly find myself in a city where it feels like everyone you meet proudly wears the “Environmentalist” label. Entrepreneurs in Center City, coffee shop baristas in Queen Village – it doesn’t seem to matter. There are a whole lot of climate activists in DC, too, of course. But it is also a city where you will almost inevitably run into hardline climate deniers in social situations who gleefully and loudly deny the reality of climate science.
So the proponents of climate and clean energy action inside and out of the convention have fit right in here. The Democratic platform calls climate change a “real and urgent threat.” And thousands marched down Broad Street earlier this week in oppressive heat and humidity to demand clean energy policy action. Defend Our Future held a great event with policy and political leaders this week to discuss the future of climate change in the Democratic Party (we did a GOP event on the same topic last week, too.)
In a convention marked by tensions between some attendees, that’s something worth remembering. It’s a diverse group here, for sure. But virtually everyone – the visitors and the locals, and even those of us just starting to call this place home – can agree we need to act on climate change.