MarensList is Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Due to a change in how this platform works, it has become very difficult to make new postings for future events.  I hope to find a solution soon, but in the meantime my apologies for a rather thin slate of events!  There really is a lot going on... note that I also share events on Facebook, so look me up there if you're at loose ends.  

Local food resources

The Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salons have continued each month.  The second Sustainability Salon (as well as the 14th15th, 26th27th, 38th39th, 51st52nd, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 74th, 75th, 87th88th, 98th, 99th, 110th, and 111th) focused on food -- growing it, sourcing it locally, and eating more humanely.  Afterwards, Maren put together a list of many such local sources:  CSA farms, farmers' markets, grassfed and humanely raised meats and dairy, natural foods suppliers, bakeries, and advocacy organizations.  This list now resides on a growing Resources section of the Putting Down Roots Blogger site.

Dec 11: Sustainability Salon on Consumption and the Rise of Plastic


The 119th Sustainability Salon will be our annual early-December feature on 
Consumption (in part so that folks might sally forth into the holiday season and, I hope, buy less stuff).   

Laura Lovett is an associate professor of history at Pitt who studies race, sex, gender, and the environment.  Her course "The Age of Plastic: Modern Consumption and the Environment in the United States" explores the rise of mass consumption in the post-war era -- how we moved within a single generation to embrace a single-use plastic lifestyle -- and its implications for our environment and waterways.  Join us to see how American consumerism came to be.

Folks from Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic (PASUP) will share a bit of what we've been doing during the pandemic,  some thoughts on the intersection of consumption and happiness, and ways that you can reduce your plastic footprint this season and every season.

We'll also feature several local businesses that can help you get off the plastics/single-use train:
•  Our Children Our Earth is a local purveyor of alternatives to disposables (as well as classy wooden toys), and is having an outdoor open house this weekend (December 4 & 5), thanks to the balmy weather. 
•  The Refillery is a new store in Squirrel Hill, with home and body products you can take home in your own containers.  
•  Sol Refill will soon be delivering home, body, and pantry staples to Pittsburghers -- and recirculating the receptacles!  

 Check back here on MarensList for more details as the event approaches!  

Upcoming salons:  January's topic is TBA, but in February we'll continue our virtual walk through the woods -- Part 2 of our Urban Forest series -- with Forest Restoration.  


In the meantime, a few other items of note:•  December 8:  The ethane cracker plant just up in Beaver County is slated to crank up in the coming months, turning fracked ethane into plastic.  Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC) is hosting an online briefing for the public with experts on health impacts, emergency response, air monitoring, and firsthand experiences from similar facilities in Texas.  Register here.
•  December 15:  The Group Against Smog & Pollution (GASP, featured in last month's salon) is planning another event in our Making the Connections series:  The Alarming Link Between Pollution & Mental Illness.  Register here.
• Mask update:  Breathe99 masks (featured at November's salon on Pandemics and Air (video), and one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2020) are now being distributed by Our Children Our Earth, a local purveyor of alternatives to disposables (as well as classy wooden toys).  Contact Dianne via OCOE's Facebook page, or call (412) 772-1638 to coordinate a curbside pickup.  
•  We cover a lot of important topics at Sustainability Salons.  If you're looking to get involved in any of them, feel free to connect with me (email with "salon" in the Subject is always a good method) and I can probably find a good match!  I also often post job opportunities on the Resources side of MarensList.  

Talks and discussion will run from 3 p.m. (usually 4 p.m.) to 7:30 or so on Zoom (sadly, no potluck supper these days).  You're welcome to join the call for informal conversation after 3 p.m. (today, about protecting street trees from construction), and we aim to start the main program right around 4.  If you're new to Zoom, you may find my Zoom Reference Guide helpful.  If you RSVP via Eventbrite, you'll receive the Zoom registration link right away.  If you're not already on my Eventbrite list, please email me (maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to be added -- and let me know how you heard about salons!

For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  it's a mini-conference;  it's a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  it's a house party (if there weren't a pandemic) with an environmental theme.  Each month we have featured speakers on various aspects of a particular topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening (though the potluck and the music are on hiatus during the pandemic, so you're on your own for the delectables).
Past topics have included regional air qualitypreserving Pittsburgh's forests, climate modelingapproaches to pipelinespipeline hazardsthe legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disasterthe judiciary and fair electionsconsumptionpandemics and air,  election law and activismair quality and environmental justicesocial investment,  local economies, the economics of energymutual aid networksocean healththe rise of the radical rightthe back end of consumptionapproaches to activism on fracking & climateair quality, technology, and citizen sciencesingle-use plasticselection activismelection law, whether to preserve existing nuclear power plantsadvanced nuclear technologiespassenger and freight trainsconsumption, plastics, and pollutionair qualitysolar poweryouth activismgreening businessgreenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/peoplefracking, health, & actionglobalizationecological ethicscommunity inclusionair quality monitoringinformal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakersgetting STEM into Congresskeeping Pittsburgh's water publicShell's planned petrochemical plantvisualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiativesfossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politicscommunity solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (beforeduring, and after), air quality (again, with news on the autism connection), reuse (of things and substances), neighborhood-scale food systems, other forms of green community revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actionMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policyregional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food SystemsClimate Adaptation and MitigationPlastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceTriple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous GameA Fierce Green FireSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfood, food, foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).

Coronavirus update:   As you know, people in Pittsburgh and around the world are sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Social distancing is still the rule for most Americans.  That's a bit of a misnomer, though -- we need physical distancing to flatten the curve, but technology now allows for rich interactions even so!  I believe that community is one of our greatest strengths, so in March as events began to be cancelled, I hosted the first virtual Sustainability Salon via Zoom teleconference -- rather than gathering our usual 50-80 people in a contained space.   It went quite well (even engaging participants from hundreds of miles away), and we're looking forward to June's salon!  Please be sure to RSVP (via email with "salon" in the Subject: line, or via Eventbrite) so you'll receive the sign-on information.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, think back to our evening sings -- we typically ran the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time was had by all.  Folks would bring instruments, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations would continue through the evening, as well.  With a virtual event this is less likely to happen, but we can share music by turns, reminisce, chat online, and look forward to the post-COVID era!

Nov 22/23: New ROCIS cohort begins

ROCIS (Reducing Outdoor Contaminants in Indoor Spaces) is launching their next virtual air quality monitoring cohort – Cohort 50! - soon.  It is ideal to have participants who are already engaged in air quality advocacy (but all interested folks are welcome!).  Please share this information with others who may be interested in participating. 

The first step is to participate in an introductory webinar (either Monday night 11/22/21 or Tuesday morning 11/23/21) to better understand what is expected.  The webinar sign-up is here.   After that, webinar attendees can decide whether or not they want to sign up for the cohort.  Monitoring will begin on December 6th, and run through January 18th (it's fine if folks are away for a week or so during this period).  
 
Here is what one 2020 virtual cohort participant, Ann, said, "I was grateful to be a part of the ROCIS Virtual Cohort. The time and effort to participate were well worth it. My family and I feel we now have a greater understanding of our indoor and outdoor air quality and how to make changes to improve it. Thank you to everyone at ROCIS for this great opportunity!"
 
At the recent Wrap-up meeting from the last cohort, another participant said, “I am amazed at the high impact of simple solutions”
           
Here is the link to the ROCIS webpage describing the upcoming webinar and cohort. 
 
After the introductory webinar, and a person commits to participate, we drop off a loaned monitoring kit.  
This includes:  
3 Dylos particle monitors (1 outside, 2 inside)  
2 radon monitors
1 carbon monoxide monitor
1 CO2 (carbon dioxide) monitor  
 
Folks participate in the virtual meetings online.  Access to the internet and a computer are needed.  Participating in a cohort provides an opportunity to learn a lot more about indoor sources, and to more clearly see the interaction between outdoor and indoor air quality. 

Program leaders:  
Linda Wigington
ROCIS Team Leader
724 852 3085;   724-986-0793 (mobile)
 
Emily Dale 
ROCIS | Reducing Outdoor Contaminates in Indoor Spaces 
LCMP Coordinator 
724 833 8223 

Nov 6: Sustainability Salon on Pittsburgh's Air

For the 118th Sustainability Salon, we'll return to Zoom, and to our annual autumn focus on Air Quality

The Group Against Smog & Pollution (GASP, on whose board I serve) has been working to improve the air in our region for the past 52 years through education, advocacy, and litigation.  From school programs and our blog (a valuable clearinghouse of air-quality news and information) to lawsuits and technical comments on pollution permits, GASP both informs the public and holds polluters and regulators to account.  One recent achievement is helping Allegheny County create new episodic air pollution regulations to curtail industry pollution during occasional atmospheric inversions.  Project Manager (and past Executive Director) Sue Seppi will talk about the new coke oven rules that GASP helped develop at the County level (and U.S. Steel's reluctance to accept them) -- and will introduce the organization's new Executive Director, Patrick Campbell.  

Allegheny County Clean Air Now (ACCAN) was formed by people living downwind of the Shenango coke plant on Neville Island.  That plant shut down in 2015, but it was not alone among industrial polluters on the island.  Since 2018, ACCAN has been monitoring (with a camera and air monitor set up in collaboration with CMU's CREATE Lab) a company called Metalico operating an automobile and scrap metal shredder, producing a lot of toxic emissions that often blow into Emsworth Borough and beyond. ACCAN documented the emissions, and the data were used in an EPA enforcement action.  On top of all that, this spring a giant heap of mixed materials caught fire there, sending noxious fumes into surrounding neighborhoods.  ACCAN members Angelo Taranto and Karen Grzywinski (also on the GASP board) will share the group's work on issues related to Neville Island and other sources around the region.

Activist and filmmaker Mark Dixon has been working to establish a network of air monitors surrounding the almost-completed ethane cracker plant in Beaver County, providing fine particle and VOC measurements to supplement EPA devices and Shell's own fenceline monitors.  Mark will also bring us up to date on his documentary-in-progress, Inversion:  The Unfinished Business of Pittsburgh's Air (and we'll screen some samples of the film!).

Check back here on MarensList for more details as the event approaches!  

Upcoming salons:  The annual Consumption theme will return on December 11th.  January's topic is TBA, but in February we'll continue our virtual walk through the woods -- Part 2 of our Urban Forest series -- with Forest Restoration.  


In the meantime, a few other items of note:
•  Also on the air front, the fourth annual resident-led Town Hall on Our Right To Clean air will be on October 26th at noon (via Zoom).  All the information's here.  You'll also be able to find the video here -- and please sign the petition here!  
•  November 2:  Don't forget to vote!  (if you haven't already)
•  Curious about RGGI?  Join Climate Reality Project's webinar on November 3rd (7 p.m., online). 
•  More on air and health:  a regional summit on asthma, on November 5th (8-4:30, virtual).
•  The ninth annual Shale & Public Health Conference will be on November 16 & 17 (12-4 each day, also on Zoom).
•  The next Sustainability Salon will be on December 11th, on Consumption and the History of Plastics
• Mask update:  Breathe99 masks (featured at November's salon on Pandemics and Air (video), and one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2020) are now being distributed by Our Children Our Earth, a local purveyor of alternatives to disposables (as well as classy wooden toys).  Contact Dianne via OCOE's Facebook page, or call (412) 772-1638 to coordinate a curbside pickup.  
•  We cover a lot of important topics at Sustainability Salons.  If you're looking to get involved in any of them, feel free to connect with me (email with "salon" in the Subject is always a good method) and I can probably find a good match!  I also often post job opportunities on the Resources side of MarensList.  

Talks and discussion will run from 3 p.m. (usually 4 p.m.) to 7:30 or so on Zoom (sadly, no potluck supper these days).  You're welcome to join the call for informal conversation after 3 p.m. (today, about protecting street trees from construction), and we aim to start the main program right around 4.  If you're new to Zoom, you may find my Zoom Reference Guide helpful.  If you RSVP via Eventbrite, you'll receive the Zoom registration link right away.  If you're not already on my Eventbrite list, please email me (maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to be added -- and let me know how you heard about salons!

For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  it's a mini-conference;  it's a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  it's a house party (if there weren't a pandemic) with an environmental theme.  Each month we have featured speakers on various aspects of a particular topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening (though the potluck and the music are on hiatus during the pandemic, so you're on your own for the delectables).
Past topics have included preserving Pittsburgh's forests, climate modelingapproaches to pipelinespipeline hazardsthe legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disasterthe judiciary and fair electionsconsumptionpandemics and air,  election law and activismair quality and environmental justicesocial investment,  local economies, the economics of energymutual aid networksocean healththe rise of the radical rightthe back end of consumptionapproaches to activism on fracking & climateair quality, technology, and citizen sciencesingle-use plasticselection activismelection law, whether to preserve existing nuclear power plantsadvanced nuclear technologiespassenger and freight trainsconsumption, plastics, and pollutionair qualitysolar poweryouth activismgreening businessgreenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/peoplefracking, health, & actionglobalizationecological ethicscommunity inclusionair quality monitoringinformal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakersgetting STEM into Congresskeeping Pittsburgh's water publicShell's planned petrochemical plantvisualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiativesfossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politicscommunity solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (beforeduring, and after), air quality (again, with news on the autism connection), reuse (of things and substances), neighborhood-scale food systems, other forms of green community revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actionMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policyregional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food SystemsClimate Adaptation and MitigationPlastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceTriple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous GameA Fierce Green FireSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfood, food, foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).

Coronavirus update:   As you know, people in Pittsburgh and around the world are sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Social distancing is still the rule for most Americans.  That's a bit of a misnomer, though -- we need physical distancing to flatten the curve, but technology now allows for rich interactions even so!  I believe that community is one of our greatest strengths, so in March as events began to be cancelled, I hosted the first virtual Sustainability Salon via Zoom teleconference -- rather than gathering our usual 50-80 people in a contained space.   It went quite well (even engaging participants from hundreds of miles away), and we're looking forward to June's salon!  Please be sure to RSVP (via email with "salon" in the Subject: line, or via Eventbrite) so you'll receive the sign-on information.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, think back to our evening sings -- we typically ran the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time was had by all.  Folks would bring instruments, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations would continue through the evening, as well.  With a virtual event this is less likely to happen, but we can share music by turns, reminisce, chat online, and look forward to the post-COVID era!

October 23: Sustainability Salon gathering

Want to take a break from Zoom?  Most summers, we've had a No-Topic salon -- more of a social gathering than regular Sustainability Salons, when I don't have to interrupt the conversations for the presentations In a departure from our usual format of talks and discussion focused on a single topic, we'd have more informal, free-flowing conversation.  Then came the pandemic, and Zoom...  and last year we just marched right through the whole season with a three-month series on economics (Energy EconomicsLocal Economies, and Social Investment).   Although we've already had an in-person No-Topic Salon this year, with no other in-person salons for the past year and a half, let's get together once more before winter sets in!  

With a nice day in the forecast for Saturday, I'd like to invite folks (who are fully vaccinated) to an in-person, outdoor gathering at our place.  We won't do a potluck supper as in days of old -- that's a bridge too far, at this time (what with the Delta variant circulating, others probably brewing, and still less-than-universal vaccination).  And we'll spend our time outdoors, rather than congregating in the kitchen.  The weather looks to be nice but brisk, so be sure to bring a jacket! 

So, with apologies to the faraway folks who have been enjoying our virtual events (and apologies to anyone who isn't vaccinated -- have a nice day, wherever you are), the 117th Sustainability Salon will be a No-Topic Salon.  Outdoors, fully-vaxxed.  No need to be here the whole time;  no PowerPoints, just lots of conversation.  And no big potluck supper, just a little light afternoon fare.  Timeframe?  3-6 p.m., maybe 'till 7.

Be sure to RSVP if you might come!  I'll want to have a handle on numbers, and may need to cap attendance.

Upcoming salons:  November 6th will be our annual feature on Air Quality, among other things introducing GASP's new Executive Director, Patrick Campbell.  The annual Consumption theme will return in early December.  January's topic TBA, but in February we'll continue our virtual walk through the woods -- Part 2 of our Urban Forest series -- with Forest Restoration.  


In the meantime, a few other items of note:  

•  The fourth resident-led Air Quality Town Hall will take place on October 26th (noon, via Zoom), calling on our regional healthcare establishment to take the lead on prevention, not just treatment.
•  The ninth annual Shale & Public Health Conference will be on November 16 & 17 (12-4 each day, also on Zoom).
•  Speaking of climate and air pollution (as we often do), conventional lawn care produces something like 5% of the air pollution in the U.S., as well as considerable greenhouse gas emissions and runoff that pollutes our waterways.  Larger plants, especially natives, would instead sequester carbon, need less maintenance, hold more water in place when it rains, increase biodiversity, and benefit the local ecosystem in many other ways.  Wild Ones is a national organization promoting native plants and environmentally-friendly landscaping practices;  there's a new chapter starting up in our region!  Email Tamara for more information.  
• Mask update: I distributed all of the Breathe99 masks (featured at November's salon on Pandemics and Air (video), and one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2020) from my bulk orders, but still have some of the foam liners that address the condensation issue associated with a well-sealed mask, a few boxes of filters, and a couple of the new knitted fabric covers.  Please email me with mask in the Subject line if you're interested.  If you order your own mask, remember that there's a $10 discount for salongoers (code SUSTAINABILITYSALON)!  NewsflashOur Children Our Earth, a local purveyor of alternatives to disposables (as well as classy wooden toys), has added Breathe99 masks to their inventory!  Contact Dianne via OCOE's Facebook page, or call (412)772-1638 to coordinate a curbside pickup.  
•  We cover a lot of important issues at Sustainability Salons.  If you're looking to get involved in any of them, feel free to connect with me (email with "salon" in the Subject is always a good method) and I can probably find a good match!  I also often post job opportunities on the Resources side of MarensList.  

This low-key, informal gathering (still no potluck supper, but feel free to bring something simple if you like) will take place between 3 p.m. and 6 or 7 p.m.  Please be sure to RSVP if you might come!  I may need to cap attendance.  If you're not already on my Eventbrite list, please email me (maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to be added -- and let me know how you heard about salons!  To RSVP, respond via Eventbrite or simply email me with "salon" in the Subject line.  Along about Friday night/Saturday morning, I'll send out Directions & Other Information to all who have registered (but please register even if you know your way here).
For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  it's a mini-conference;  it's a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  it's a house party (if there weren't a pandemic) with an environmental theme.  Each month we have featured speakers on various aspects of a particular topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included preserving Pittsburgh's forestsclimate modelingapproaches to pipelinespipeline hazardsthe legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disasterthe judiciary and fair electionsconsumptionpandemics and air,  election law and activismair quality and environmental justicesocial investment,  local economies, the economics of energymutual aid networksocean healththe rise of the radical rightthe back end of consumptionapproaches to activism on fracking & climateair quality, technology, and citizen sciencesingle-use plasticselection activismelection law, whether to preserve existing nuclear power plantsadvanced nuclear technologiespassenger and freight trainsconsumption, plastics, and pollutionair qualitysolar poweryouth activismgreening businessgreenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/peoplefracking, health, & actionglobalizationecological ethicscommunity inclusionair quality monitoringinformal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakersgetting STEM into Congresskeeping Pittsburgh's water publicShell's planned petrochemical plantvisualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiativesfossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politicscommunity solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (beforeduring, and after), air quality (again, with news on the autism connection), reuse (of things and substances), neighborhood-scale food systems, other forms of green community revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actionMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policyregional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food SystemsClimate Adaptation and MitigationPlastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceTriple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous GameA Fierce Green FireSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfood, food, foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).

Coronavirus update:   As you know, people in Pittsburgh and around the world are sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Social distancing is still the rule for most Americans.  That's a bit of a misnomer, though -- we need physical distancing to flatten the curve, but technology now allows for rich interactions even so!  I believe that community is one of our greatest strengths, so in March as events began to be cancelled, I hosted the first virtual Sustainability Salon via Zoom teleconference -- rather than gathering our usual 50-80 people in a contained space.   It went quite well (even engaging participants from hundreds of miles away), and we're looking forward to June's salon!  Please be sure to RSVP (via email with "salon" in the Subject: line, or via Eventbrite) so you'll receive the sign-on information.  

If you haven't been here before, you may enjoy checking out our roof garden and solar installation (and now apiary!) as well as the many other green and interesting things around our place.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music -- and are pretty cold-hardy -- perhaps we can sing and play a bit!