Aug 1: Air permit hearing for Cheswick power plant


The Cheswick coal-fired power plant in Springdale is among the largest sources of dangerous pollutants in the county, contributing to polluted air and high asthma rates.

The American Lung Association ranked Pittsburgh as the eighth most polluted city in the U.S. based on annual air quality and the Allegheny Health Network found that 29% of Allegheny County 5th graders have and 11% more were at risk of developing the disease, due in part to the county's poor air quality.

Fortunately, the Allegheny Health Department has issued a new draft air permit that would require the owners of the Cheswick coal plant to limit the plants pollution, and they're holding a hearing to get public input on the new permit, August 1 in Pittsburgh.

Cutting pollution from the Cheswick coal plant would bring much needed relief to our community, especially families with children who suffer from asthma or are at risk from developing asthma.


6-9 p.m. in Building 7 of the Clack Health Center (301 39th Street, Pittsburgh 15201).  RSVP with the Sierra Club to help pack the hearing!  More information, online RSVP, and contact info are here.

Information bringing people together...


Local food resources

The Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salons have continued each month.  The second Sustainability Salon (as well as the 14th15th, 26th27th, 38th, & 39th) 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.

July 24: March for a Clean Energy Revolutio

In conjunction with the Democratic National Convention, there will be a Summit (Saturday the 23rd) and March (noon on Sunday) for a Clean Energy Revolution.  Buses are being arranged to bring participants from Pittsburgh to the march on Sunday;  lots more info below.

Why should you join us in Philadelphia?  Thousands will be coming together from across the country, meeting in the streets of Philadelphia, to peacefully march together and call on our elected leaders to ban fracking, keep fossil fuels in the ground, and quickly and justly transition to 100% renewable energy.  Our climate can't wait — we need decisive action, and that's why we'll be in Philly this summer.

March starts at noon, and includes Philadelphia City Hall, John F Kennedy Blvd & N Broad St, (Philadelphia, PA) -- More details here

Here are a few helpful links for planning your trip, and ways you can help: 
And last but not least, please consider making a donation to support the March for a Clean Energy Revolution. Your donation will help us get more people to Philadelphia by providing scholarships for transportation and housing.  Questions?  Contact Eva Westheimer, western PA organizer for Food & Water Watch:  ewestheimer@fwwatch.org513-600-0580

July 16: Sustainability Salon on Pittsburgh's Sustainability Initiatives


Pittsburgh has become a leader in green innovation, with ambitious goals for further progress on energy efficiency and sourcing, waste reduction, smart development, technology, diversity, resilience, and other fronts.  









For the 54th Sustainability Salon, we'll welcome back Mayor Bill Peduto to talk about Pittsburgh's sustainability initiatives, including the Smart Cities project.  We'll also have Pittsburgh's Senior Resilience Coordinator Rebecca Kiernan and ResilienceCorps Fellow Alex Cupo with more insights from Grant Street, and Eva Westheimer of Food & Water Watch to bring everyone up to date on the plans for next weekend's March for a Clean Energy Revolution -- before we break for a great potluck supper.  Please read on for more info!
The 55th Sustainability Salon will take place on August 13th, and as is our summertime tradition we'll have a more relaxed event with no speakers, just free-flowing conversation and the usual potluck and music.


Another note, then on to the Salon basics.  It is with heavy hearts that we say goodbye to Roger Westman, former head of the Air Quality Division of the Allegheny County Health Department and until quite recently one of the leading advocates for solar power in our region.  He spoke about Solarize Allegheny at the 45th Sustainability Salon last October (pictured here).  Continuing to tread lightly on the earth, he was recently laid to rest at the Penn Forest Natural Burial Park, the first green cemetery in Pennsylvania.

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We usually aim to start the program sometime around 4, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   Please email me (at maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  Also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!
Bring food and/or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events) for updates.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.  

As always, I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient!  One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)
For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  it's a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.

Past topics have included fossil 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 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).
Quite a few people have asked me what sorts of food to bring -- and my answer, as always, is whatever inspires you;  I believe in the "luck" part of potlucks.  Tasty noshings for the afternoon, hearty main dishes or scrumptious salads and sides for dinner, baked goods from biscuits and breads to brownies or baklava -- and/or beverages of any kind:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever.  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  

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, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 

Jul 9: Hazelwood Bike Fix-it Day

This Saturday July 9 is full of good events in Hazelwood.  In addition to the Marketplace event on 2nd Ave, they're holding the second annual FREE Bike Fixit Day and Bike Raffle at St. Stephen Parish Hall and Parking Lot from 10 am to 1 pm.  The cost of the raffle is listening to a bike safety talk, and they'll be doing simple bike repairs for free!   Also food, music, face-painting, games, and free bike maps.  It was a real family event last year and Hazelwood community members are once again invited to join in the fun, focused on real sustainable transportation:  Biking: Be the Engine!


Jun 17: Frackopoly book launch

How did so many Pennsylvania communities end up fracked? Is there any way out?

June 16: Marcellus Shale Documentary Project panel

Meet Martha Rial, Scott Goldsmith, Noah Addis, and Brian Cohen, four of the artists behind the Marcellus Shale Documentary Project (MSDP): An Expanded View.

Organized by The Documentary Works, MSDP: An Expanded View features new photography and video works by 
Noah AddisNina BermanBrian CohenScott GoldsmithLynn JohnsonMartha Rial, and Joe Seamans, and graphics by FracTracker Alliance. Co-curated by Brian Cohen and Laura Domencic, MSDP documents the social and environmental effects of natural gas drilling in the region.


6 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Center for the Arts (at 5th & Shady).  The exhibit runs May 6 to July 31st (Tues-Fri: 10am to 5pm, Sat: 10am to 4pm, Sun: 12pm to 4pm.)

Jun 15: Water at Wilkins School

As part of a Sustainable Gardening lecture series, the Wilkins School Community Center is hosting an evening on water:  
6:30 pm Healthy and Safe Water Management:  George Fuller, Chemist & Board Member, Wilkinsburg-Penn Joint Water Authority
7:00 pm Presentation by StormWorks, (9 Mile Run Assoc.) Up-Dates on new Water Barrel designs, permeable surfaces, rain gardens & other residential installations to control rain water and sewage overflow.
7:45 pm Discussion by Pat Buddemeyer on the storm water management system implemented by neighbors across row houses in the 5800 block of Black Street in East Liberty.
Time at the end for Q & A and Wrap-Up of Ideas
*Come Early to Meet and Greet East End neighbors (6:15 pm to 6:30 pm)!

Jun 11: Sustainability Salon on Fossil Energy Infrastructure


March for a Clean Energy Revolution


On the heels of the announcement this week that Shell will indeed be building an ethane cracker plant near Pittsburgh (a direct result of the shale drilling boom), the movement of hazardous materials around the state and across the country comes into particularly close focus.  Join us on June 11th to hear from activists, advocates, public health professionals, and people directly affected, while sharing potluck food and drink (more info below on what to bring).
At the 53rd Sustainability Salon, we'll consider Fossil Energy Infrastructure, and how to wind it down as the world transitions to a renewable energy economy.  We'll be talking about wells, compressors, pipelines, oil trains, and power plants --  as well as plans for the July 24th March for a Clean Energy Revolution in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention.  Speakers include Eva Westheimer of Food & Water Watch, who is organizing the Pittsburgh contingent for the July march;  Elise Gerhart, a landowner whose family's forest was recently mowed down in anticipation of a pipeline (despite valiant tree-sitting);  and Raina Rippel, director of the Southwest Pennsylvania Environmental Health Project, a public health organization that supports residents whose health is at risk from unconventional oil & gas development.

The next salon will take place on July 16th, when we'll welcome back Mayor Bill Peduto to talk about Pittsburgh's sustainability initiatives, including the Smart Cities project.

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We usually aim to start the program sometime around 4, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   Please email me (at maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  Also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!
Bring food and/or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events) for updates.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.  

As always, I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient!  One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)
For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  it's a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.

Past topics have included 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 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).

Quite a few people have asked me what sorts of food to bring -- and my answer, as always, is whatever inspires you;  I believe in the "luck" part of potlucks.  Tasty noshings for the afternoon, hearty main dishes or scrumptious salads and sides for dinner, baked goods from biscuits and breads to brownies or baklava -- and/or beverages of any kind:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever.  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  


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, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well. 

Jun 10: Health and Shale Gas

Health and Shale Gas Development:  State of the ScienceA one-day conference for healthcare providers and community members on unconventional gas development and related health impacts.

8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Hyatt Regency at the Pittsburgh International Airport.
Learn more and register (as the event gets closer) here: http://www.environmentalhealthproject.org/events/5
Sponsored by SW PA Environmental Health Project


Jun 8: Catching the Sun film screening

An unemployed American worker, a Tea Party activist, and a Chinese solar entrepreneur race to lead the clean energy future. But who wins and who lose

s the battle for power in the 21st century? Through the stories of workers and entrepreneurs in the U.S. and China, the film, "Catching the Sun," captures the global race to lead the clean energy future. Their successes and failures speak to one of the biggest questions of our time: will the U.S. actually be able to build a clean energy economy?
Sponsored by CCI, the Solar Unified Network of Western PA (SUNWPA), and The Penn State Center.  Join us for this exciting presentation and lively discussion, and get a sneak peek here: http://www.catchingthesun.tv/.
7 to 9 p.m. at the Environmental Charter School (829 Milton Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15218).

June 7: Stand in solidarity with Bluebird Farm

Organic farming pioneer Mick Luber of Bluebird Farm is a familiar face at some Pittsburgh farmers' markets.  Bluebird Farm, in Cadiz, Ohio produces fresh, organic vegetables, apples, and wild crops, including ramps, berries, and mushrooms, on about 65 acres, serving markets in Wheeling, WV and Pittsburgh, PA.

The Utopia pipeline, which would carry ethylene and propane to plastics manufacturing plants in Canada, is threatening to cross Bluebird Farm and could negatively impact the rich, organic soils Mick has worked so hard to foster for 36 years.

As part of a National Day of Action on Fracking, join OEFFA and Mick to oppose this pipeline and learn about all Bluebird Farm does to produce quality organic food for the communities it serves.

Farm tour at 2 p.m., potlatch at 5:30 (bring your favorite covered dish and recipe to share) at Bluebird Farm (86663 Fife Rd. Cadiz, OH 43907).  More info here.  Registration: Pre-registration is required.  To register, contact Eric Pawlowski at (614) 421-2022 or eric@oeffa.org.  


This tour is one of 21 farm tours and workshops OEFFA is offering this summer as part of the 2016 Ohio Sustainable Farm Tour and Workshop Series. In total, the series features 32 farm tours and 10 educational workshops, offered in partnership with The Ohio State University Extension Sustainable Agriculture Team, Advancing Eco Agriculture, Ashtabula Local Food Council, Columbus Agrarian Society, and Our Harvest Research and Education Institute.  All tours and workshops are free and open to the public and do not require pre-registration unless otherwise noted.  For more information about the series, go here

May 27-30: Heartwood Forest Council

Heartwood
2016 Heartwood Forest Council
Join Heartwood on Memorial Day weekend, to celebrate Heartwood and to envision the powerful possibilities that the future holds.  
Camp Otterbein (15779 Cox Road, Logan, Ohio 43138).  More information and registration here.

May 21: Sustainability Salon on Food (Part 2)


For our 52nd Sustainability Salonwe will continue our annual springtime focus on Food.

Speakers include Shauna Kearns of the Braddock Community Oven (and perhaps an apprentice or two), Timothy Lydon of the Factory Farming Awareness Coalitionand filmmaker David Bernabo who recently completed the third cinematic chapter in his Food Systems documentary series.  We'll have Mandela Lyon with CUSP's interactive Food & Climate activity;  it was fun for folks to visit, play with, and contemplate at the April salon (the activity was developed by the Pittsburgh node of the Climate & Urban Systems Partnership, which we featured in the December 2013 salon on Community Mapping).  Also, Alexis Rzweski will show how you can make your own yogurt with inexpensive supplies.

The 53rd salon will take place on June 11th, on the topic of fossil energy infrastructure (and how to wind it down as we transition to a renewable energy economy) -- we'll be talking about power plants, pipelines, and oil trains, as well as plans for the July 24th March for a Clean Energy Revolution in conjunction with the Democratic National Convention.    

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We usually aim to start the program sometime around 4, after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   Please email me (at maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  Also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!
Bring food and/or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events) for updates.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.  

As always, I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient!  One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)
For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum;  a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues;  it's a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.

Past topics have included getting money out of politicsSolarize Alleghenyclimate (again, this time focusing on the upcoming COP21 negotiations), 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 actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus 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 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfood, and more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).

Quite a few people have asked me what sorts of food to bring -- and my answer, as always, is whatever inspires you;  I believe in the "luck" part of potlucks.  Tasty noshings for the afternoon, hearty main dishes or scrumptious salads and sides for dinner, baked goods from biscuits and breads to brownies or baklava -- and/or beverages of any kind:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever.  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  


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, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations will continue through the evening, as well.