Braddock Mayor John Fetterman to receive the ESA’s Regional Policy Award

The Ecological Society of America (ESA) will present its third annual Regional Policy Award to Mayor John Fetterman of Braddock, Pennsylvania at its 95th Annual Meeting on August 1, 2010 in Pittsburgh. The award recognizes a regional or local policymaker who has an outstanding record of informing his political decision-making with ecological science.

“Wow, what an incredible honor,” said Fetterman. “I am proud to accept this on behalf of Braddock.  Green is good policy for every community. And, as the poorest community in Allegheny County, we cannot afford not to be greener.”

A native of York, Pennsylvania, Fetterman earned his Master’s in Public Policy from Harvard University; since his 2005 election, he has worked to revitalize the town of Braddock. The Pittsburgh suburb was founded around the site of Andrew Carnegie’s first steel mill, the Edgar Thomson Steel Works, in 1873. After the decline of American steel, the town’s population fell from 20,000 to just 2,800. Fetterman has since started youth and art programs and founded a community center among other accomplishments in an effort to restore the area’s ruined buildings and damaged economy. One of his main initiatives has been the sustainable development of the town through environmentally-friendly building design.

“Mayor Fetterman has demonstrated that he is a leader in green development in the state of Pennsylvania and the region,” said ESA President Mary Power. “The strong emphasis he has placed on sustainability shows how economic, societal and environmental initiatives can work together. His committed and innovative approach to the challenges of green urban renewal is a tremendous inspiration for our society.”

Fetterman has also been involved in the Environmental Defense Fund’s advocacy for carbon caps and green technology. He has stated that a cap on carbon pollution would secure investment in new energy industries, aiding Braddock economically as well as environmentally. For example, he believes a rise in wind power demand would not only benefit the nation’s environmental health, it would create jobs at steel mills. Fetterman is committed to making these economic, environmental and social changes in the town of Braddock; his tattoos—some of which include dates of murders occurring during his term—display his continued efforts.

“It is my hope that if anything can be learned from our efforts in Braddock, it would be that environmental justice is social justice,” Fetterman concluded.

The ESA meeting, which has the theme “Global Warming: The legacy of our past, the challenge for our future,” draws together more than 3,000 scientists, policy makers and concerned citizens to explore the causes and consequences of global warming and to discuss ways in which ecology can inform management to address environmental concern, such as climate impacts on endangered species, food security and freshwater resources.

For more information on the Regional Policy Award and the 2010 ESA Annual Meeting, Contact Katie Kline at gro.asenull@eitak (or during the Meeting at 412-325-6060) for details or to register as a member of the press.