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MEDIA 

Anger Is an Energy Lack of mainstream coverage leads to online hub for eco-conscious citizens by shaun brady

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uring the 2008 Jacques Sapriel at Philadelphia mayTEDxSoudertonHS oral election, the in 2012 Academy of Natural Sciences hosted a series of debates centered on sustainability issues. If you don’t remember hearing about them at the time, Jacques Sapriel wouldn’t be surprised. “There was very little coverage,” Sapriel recalls, obviously still annoyed by the memory. “I was incensed. And the way I function is, I get very frustrated and then I decide to do something about it. I’ve been working in technology for 30 years, so my initial idea was to create a central platform and a place for conversations.” That anger-fueled inspiration led Sapriel to design PhillyEcoCity.com, envisioned as a hub for eco-conscious citizens to meet, discuss and find information. The site features a news blog, an event calendar, a database of green organizations in the region and forums for green jobs and volunteer opportunities. “I would like it to be a place where people who have an interest in sustainability, whether it’s minimal or passionate, can find out who is doing what, where, easily,” Sapriel says. “I’d like people to be able to find cool things that inspire them and a way to connect with other people who

are on the same wavelength.” Originally from Strasbourg, France, Sapriel initially became concerned about the environment and climate change during the energy crisis of the 1970s. That concern has only grown in the three decades since he arrived in Philadelphia, heightened, he says, by the fact that he has two sons, both now in their twenties. “We’re just seeing the beginning of what global warming is looking like, and 15 years from now it’s going to be much more blatant,” he says. “If I just go to despair and anger, that’s not productive. I am quite angry, to be honest; that’s one of the ways that I motivate myself. But we cannot do nothing. That’s only going to make things worse.” Get involved at phillyecocity.com .

POPKIN CULTURE

A writer’s multifaceted exploration of the city expands to fiction For Nathaniel Popkin, Philadelphia is an endless playground. He has explored the city through the lenses of journalism, film, essay and — with the October 30 release of his new novel, Lion and Leopard — fiction. Lion and Leopard gives a voice to Romantic painter John Lewis Krimmel (1786-1821), a German immigrant who challenged the norms of Rationalist art with his paintings of street scenes. Popkin felt a connection with Krimmel because he “shoot[s] in the same kinds of places that Krimmel would sketch and paint.” Krimmel died in an accident near the farm of Rationalist artist

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Charles Willson Peale, whose journal is missing pages from that day. Thus, a Philadelphia story was born. As founding editor of the web magazine, Hidden City, Popkin tells the stories behind unique structures and preservation efforts in Philadelphia. In his first two books, Song of the City (2002) and The Possible City (2008), Popkin breathed life into the city’s history via literary nonfiction. When asked about the switch to historical fiction in Lion and Leopard, Popkin says, “My work comes from a love of literature and an interest in the world around me — the city, history, what might be. [Fiction] is just a different form of that inquiry.” —Katy Diana Lion and Leopard is published by The Head and the Hand Press, a craft publishing company based in Kensington. Explore at theheadandthehand.com .

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Profile for Red Flag Media

Grid Magazine December 2013 [#056]  

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Grid Magazine December 2013 [#056]  

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