Action for Solar Energy in Philadelphia, The Millers River Center for Regional Self-Reliance, and More

Glenn McRae and Adam Levine work to bring solar energy to Philadelphia, Terry Weaver offers nonprofit help to pregnant women, Ruth Suyenaga heads up the Millers River Center for Regional Self-Reliance, folksinger Michael Johnathon raises environmental awareness in Kentucky, Marty Stouffer brings American wildlife to TV sets, and Steven Brill brings urban foraging to NYC.

| September/October 1983

Action for Solar Energy in Philadelphia

Glenn McRae and Adam Levine are two dedicated young men who are involved in promoting energy conservation, and the use of renewable energy sources, in the greater Philadelphia area. Glenn's job at the Grass Roots Alliance for a Solar Pennsylvania (GRASP) evolved from volunteer work (he produced The Resource Guide for Solar Action in Philadelphia). GRASP now supports three staff members, and undertakes an array of community programs (including putting out a monthly newsletter, setting up hands-on workshops, holding energy fairs, etc.).

Adam is currently a freelance writer and treasurer of the Philadelphia Solar Energy Association (PSEA), a volunteer organization composed of energy consumers and professionals. PSEA's projects include the publication of the Philadelphia Solar Directory, and the presentation of workshops, lectures, and tours of local solar installations.

Adam and Glenn are both quick to point out that their groups represent only two of many that are doing similar work in urban settings. In fact, Glenn more or less summed up their feelings when he said, "We're achieving a really good complementary relationship; each group has its own niche, but none of us feel that we can do it alone. We're all trying to work together, and I think this is the real key to what we call the 'energy movement’ in Philadelphia." –JWD 

Birthright Centers Offer Help for Pregnant Women

Terry Weaver's enthusiasm for Birthright continues to grow after 13 years as a regional consultant in Atlanta, Georgia, where, in 1970, she started one of the first of today's more than 400 U.S. Birthright centers. The purpose of the organization—which is nonsectarian, nonprofit, and funded by donations—is to offer positive alternatives to abortion. Mrs. Weaver sees Birthright as a vehicle for providing love and support to troubled women. "Though Birthright is pro-life in philosophy," says Terry, "it will not turn away those who finally do opt for abortion, because its aim is to give hope to women and families who are discouraged and helpless."

In meeting emergency pregnancy needs, Birthright doesn't duplicate community resources, but works in cooperation with them. Its services include confirming pregnancies, locating medical facilities, obtaining housing if needed, and supplying maternity clothes and layettes (which volunteers collect, clean, and mend). Jobs are also found, not only for the women, but often for unemployed fathers-to-be. Volunteers are available to counsel and provide emotional support, as well.

The Atlanta center has some 50 workers and, in 1982, assisted 4,200 expectant mothers (from all economic strata and many races, who—while generally in their late teens and early 20's—ranged in age from 13 to 46). One of the center's favorite helpers knits baby sweaters, though she is 96 and almost blind.

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