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Connecting Virtually, Creating Conversations

Everyone has had to adjust their way of life since COVID-19 arrived: confined to our homes, practicing social distancing and trying to find new ways to connect.


We at Protect PT have been able to do so in an educational and encouraging way thanks to encouragement of our members and supporters. It started when we decided to put on “virtual lunch hours” between staff members and the public in April as a way to share updates in an easily-accessible way.


We realized that we could expand this format to include individuals leading the way in areas like climate action, environmental justice, sustainability, and other forms of activism. This would allow us to have conversations with unique people - some we’ve never even met in person - and share those conversations with the public.


It all kicked off in May when we talked with young leaders involved in putting on the Climate Strike in Pittsburgh last year. They shared their passion in a way that was admirable and inspiring.


Since then, we’ve hosted 14 additional virtual lunch hours on a near-weekly basis.


We’ve discussed what leachate is as a result of fracking with Dr. John Stolz, and even pulled back the curtain regarding the economics of fracking with John Detwiler, who has worked in areas of fracking and environmental justice for the last 10 years.


We’ve explored ways people can continue to be active in fighting for the issues that matter most to them.


This led us to the discovery of craftivism: a term defined by the combination of creativity and activism. It’s a perfect tool for introverts or crafty individuals, and a safe way to use your voice.


Karen Feridun, founder of Berks Gas Truth and co-founder of Better Path Coalition, explored the different ways you can mobilize residents and the techniques you can use to have your voice heard in-person, and now virtually.


We’ve had empowering conversations with leaders in their respective fields.


Our talk with Maya K. van Rossum, founder of Green Amendments For The Generations, highlighted the Green Amendment and how it’s shifted legal cases in favor of the environment and how influential it's going to be in the years to come.


Our most viewed lunch hour with George Alexander, author of the blog DragonPipe Diary, was focused on the safety issues surrounding Mariner East and how to keep yourself and your neighbors safe.


As far as upcoming conversations, we’re excited to welcome Rolling Stone environmental reporter Justin Nobel, who will uncover the research behind radioactive oil and gas waste this Thursday, Sept. 10.


We hope these lunch hours have inspired and encouraged you, just as we have enjoyed learning from others knowledge and experiences. We get so much out of these lunch hours, whether it’s wisdom, inspiration, encouragement, or new friends. We like to think we’ve become a better organization because of it and been able to hear a new perspective on a myriad of topics and issues.


If you’re interested in exploring our past conversations head over to our Youtube channel and subscribe to see whose brain we pick next.

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