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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.

Sep 26: Sustainability Salon on the Paris Climate Summit.

Warm enough for you?  This just in:  July 2015 (above) was the hottest month on record.  The 44th Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon & Sing will take a hard look at where we are on global climate change.  Local environmental filmmaker Mark Dixon, who represented Pittsburgh at the World Summit Climate & Territories meeting in Lyon in July and will be attending the COP21 international climate summit in Paris this December as a journalist and activist, will fill us in on the path to Paris, the international negotiations so far, and his efforts to connect Pittsburgh to the process.  Mark is a familiar face from salons past when we featured his films YERT and The Power Of One Voice.  Other local climate-change leaders will be here as well, to talk about what's being done in and around Pittsburgh.

Check back here on MarensList for updates on salons (and lots of other environmental events in and around Pittsburgh).  Please always RSVP if you might come to any of our events...  and read on for important information:  

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;  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 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 policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfood, 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 (I've got the kombucha covered, though it's always fun to compare).  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 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. 

Sep 16-18: Conference on Toxin-Free Products

The International Living Future Institute, ILFI, best known for starting the Living Building Challenge, will be hosting a national conference on Toxin Free Products in Pittsburgh on September 16-18. 

The International Living Future Institute will hold its first Living Product unExpo at the David L. Lawrence Conference Center.  The focus of the unExpo is on creating and sharing information about healthy products of all types, with the intention of transforming the materials marketplace. The unExpo will present a unique opportunity for manufacturers and designers to network, learn from one another and aggregate market power to demand toxin-free ingredients and sustainable practices, and participate in a stimulating agenda of education tracks, tours of Pittsburgh-area Living Building projects, networking and product demonstrations. Interactive events will include an interactive Inspiration Wall to identify the key leverage points needed to change the materials economy; a Public Day for Pennsylvania residents to participate; inspirational Keynote addresses; custom booths showcasing sustainable products and services and the LPrize, rewarding the best ideas in green chemistry, industrial design and manufacturing.

WHAT IT IS
·         The world’s leading place for design and manufacturing professionals to learn about game-changing products that will transform the marketplace.
·         A unique opportunity for manufacturers and designers of all sizes to network, learn from one another and aggregate market power to create transformative impact.
·         A stimulating agenda of education tracks, inspiring keynote presentations, tours, networking and product demonstrations showcasing the latest trends in sustainable products.
·         Announcing the LPrize, a new competition to celebrate and reward the best ideas and innovation in green chemistry, industrial design and manufacturing.
·         Exciting interactive events, including:
o   Innovation Wall, a facilitated workshop/art installation that identifies key leverage points needed to change the materials economy.
o   Public Day: the unExpo hall will be open to the general public.
o   Custom booths featured at the heart of the conference, with main events on the unExpo floor.

WHAT IT ISN’T
·         Not another sales conference—instead, a curated program that will inspire an industry revolution.
·         Not a cramped facility with no windows and low ceilings. The David L. Lawrence Conference Center is LEED Gold Certified—all sessions, including the exhibit hall, are in beautiful day-lit spaces.
·         Not a conventional trade show—exhibitors will have interactive opportunities to connect and build relationships with key thought leaders in their target market.
·         Not limited to the building industry—designers and manufacturers of all types will be in attendance.
·         Not a shotgun approach to sales. Rather, this is a highly targeted audience focused on innovation, design and sustainability.

At the David L. Lawrence Conference Center downtown.  Online registration, program information, and sponsorship/exhibitor opportunities are here. 

Sep 12: Fossil Free Energy Fair

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Featuring the latest green energy sources and technologies such as electric vehicles, sustainable products and green business solutions. Tesla, Chevy Volt, Nissan Leaf and other electric cars will be on display.

This year’s fair will incorporate an electric car show and cruise in conjunction with National Drive Electric Week. Owners of electric vehicles and plug-in hybrid cars are invited to log in and register to display their vehicles.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Cranberry Commons Shopping Center (Rt. 228, Kohl’s lower parking lot) Cranberry Township, PA 16066.

http://www.fossilfreeenergyfair.com/

Sep 12: Summit on the impact of fossil extraction

Landscape Today: Community Impact Summit

LTCIS
Join the Center for Coalfield Justice for a community-wide summit bringing together local and regional community members, organizers, experts, and leaders.  The summit is the last installment of CCJ's Landscape Today series, which has produced several specialized atlases and reports focused on the landscape and community in southwestern Pennsylvania.  

Residents of Washington and Greene counties and others in this region who live with the daily impacts of fossil fuel extraction are experts on coal mining, shale gas drilling, and health effects, as well as our land, air, and water. We know that there are rarely spaces for both local and regional leaders to come together, share knowledge, and collaborate where extraction is actively occurring. We are glad that we can provide an opportunity for people to come together to discuss continued work on these crucial issues. Please register for the summit because we will be providing a catered lunch and only 90 spaces are available for the day. You can read more about CCJ's Landscape Today projects here: http://bit.ly/1g5vv8p

8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on the Washington & Jefferson College campus in Washington, PA.  The summit is free and open to the public, and will include lunch and a cocktail hour at the end of the day.  Please register here (http://goo.gl/forms/6qRYfTTjnL), or call (724)-229-3550 or e-mail eva@coalfieldjustice.org for more information and questions.

Below is an overview of the summit schedule (more details to come):
  • 8:00-8:45     Sign-in and Orientation 
  • 8:45-9:00     Welcome
  • 9:00-9:45     Environmental Justice Presentation
  • 10:00-10:45   Watershed Panel
  • 11:00-11:45   Mining & Drilling Panel
  • 12:00-1:00   Lunch (lunch will be provided)
  • 1:15-2:00    Indicators of Community Health
  • 2:15-3:15    Workshops
  • 3:30-4:30    Workshops
  • 4:30-5:00    Closing
  • 5:30-7:30    Cocktail Hour at the Washington Winery  

Sep 9 - Oct 14: GASP/Osher class on air pollution


GASP to Teach OSHER Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI) Classes
What role will you play to provide clean air for our children and grandchildren? Air pollution, one of the primary causes of climate change, is also a cause of asthma, lung diseases, and other health related issues (that particularly affect young people). This September and October, GASP and other experts will present classes that examine air pollution in Allegheny County and its effects on our health.

You will learn about the main air pollutants affecting human health, the sources of those pollutants, and what is being done locally to reduce pollution. You will also learn how to advocate for healthy air, including receiving information about regulatory agencies, public hearings, community monitoring opportunities, and more. You can help clean up the air and minimize health and environmental effects of air pollutants!

1-2:50 p.m. on Sept 9, 16, 30 and October 7, 14, at the University of Pittsburgh.  See page 8 of the Fall 2015 Catalog for more details.  Learn more about OLLI and their classes here.  The normal OSHER fees/membership costs and age requirements do not apply for these classes, so feel free to call 412-624-7072 and sign up today!

Sep 5-27: Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks with King Lear

Once more into the parks, dear friends!  Once again Pittsburgh Shakespeare in the Parks has created an outdoor, interactive version of a classic -- this year, King Lear -- and will perform in several of our great local parks.  


Free and open to the public (but donations are welcome!) on Saturdays and Sundays in September:

Sept. 5-6, 2 PM: Frick Park
      Beechwood Blvd. & Nicholson St., Squirrel Hill (map)

Sept. 12-13, 2 PM: Arsenal Park
      40th and Butler Streets, Lawrenceville (map)

Sept. 19-20, 2 PM: Schenley Park
      Flagstaff Hill, Schenley Drive and Frew Street (map)

Sept. 26, 11 AM & 2:30 PM: Frick Park (Note: This is a two-show day!)
      Beechwood Blvd. & Nicholson St., Squirrel Hill (map)

Sept. 27, 2 PM: Frick Park
      Beechwood Blvd. & Nicholson St., Squirrel Hill (map)


Aug 29: Stop Fracking Near Schools march and rally

Children should be safe in their schools.  Join with other concerned individuals willing to stand up to protect school children from the hazards of nearby gas drilling and related activity.  Come and be among “the adults in the room” to protest the placement of this toxic and potentially dangerous industrial activity near our schools.  

Where: March begins at Butler Jr. High (former Middle School), 225 East North St., Butler, PA 16001 and will end with rally at 1:00 PM in Diamond Park, 277-317 S Main St., Butler, PA 16001 (here's a map).

Aug 26: Solarize Squirrel Hill Kickoff Workshop

Join Solarize Allegheny, SmartPower, the Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition, solar installers, and local solar homeowners to learn about how and why to go solar!

5:30-7:30 in the Community Room of the Squirrel Hill branch of the Carnegie Library.

“We don’t get enough sun in Western PA for solar power.”   That is something we’ve heard over and over, but it’s just not true.  There are over 200 solar homeowners in Allegheny County who are happy to be generating all or part of their electrical needs right now.  In fact, Allegheny County gets more sunlight than Germany, the nation with the most solar generating capacity. 

The earth receives thousands of times the energy from the sun than all the energy used by humans.  There’s a cartoon that shows a couple of people looking down a hole in the earth under a very bright sun saying, “There must be energy down there somewhere!”  When will we realize that the sun is our most abundant power source?  Solar panels are quiet, reliable, proven technology. 

Imagine generating your own electricity right on your roof, or in your yard!  No charge from the electric company, no distribution losses, no pollution. Unfortunately Pittsburgh is right downwind from many power plants on the Ohio River in West Virginia and Ohio.  Heard the talk about the harmful effects of air pollution?  A lot of that impact comes from those power plants.  This is another reason that our region is a great fit for solar.  Even though we might not have as much sunshine as Arizona, the electricity generation around here is mostly from coal, and the population density is much higher.   So a great many health problems can be avoided by going solar in our region -- and you’ll be lessening your carbon footprint, to boot.

Another comment we hear often is that solar panels are too expensive.  However, the price has come down tremendously in recent years – now they can be installed on your home for less than $4.00 a watt.   That can make the payback period for a typical homeowner about 8 to 11 years.   If the initial cost, let’s say around $20,000, is too daunting then think about financing.  It’s possible that the monthly payment will be less than your old electric bill.

One of the least expensive ways to go is to remain “grid-tied.”  That eliminates the need for costly batteries because you can use power from the grid as needed.  But when the sun is up, you get to use your own power first -- and if there is any excess then you send it out on the grid for others to use.  Duquesne Light reads your meter each month just like before, but if there is any excess generation they send you a check once a year for the “net” surplus. 

While we’re thinking about money, did you know there is a 30% federal tax credit for any system installed?  That credit is set to expire at the end of 2016, but for now you can deduct 30% of the cost of a system from your federal taxes you owe when you file.   That makes a $20,000 system cost you only $14,000. 

So what does one need to have for successful solar installation?  A roof or yard with good sun exposure (ideally facing generally south), with little shading from trees or surrounding buildings.   A good roof is also important;  the panels have a life of 25 or more years so you don’t want to put them on a roof that will need to be replaced soon.

The other thing you need is a good installer and that’s where Solarize Allegheny/Solarize Squirrel Hill makes it simple for you.  Solarize Allegheny is a campaign funded by The Heinz Endowments and managed by a non-profit organization called SmartPower.   Solarize Allegheny has been used successfully by Point Breeze homeowners and other neighborhoods in the County.    By going to www.SolarizeAllegheny.org you can get free quotes from at least two local, pre-screened and qualified installers.  They can tell you if your home is a good candidate for solar panels, provide options and prices, and if you choose to proceed, they do all the work from obtaining permits to doing the installation and arranging for inspections.  It’s simple and affordable.

The Squirrel Hill Urban Coalition is leading the effort to solarize Squirrel Hill right now.  We will be holding workshops, solar tours, and other functions to help you out.  Go to www.SolarizeAllegheny.org  for a schedule of events and more information.


                        This article written by your SHUC Solarize committee

Aug 22: Sustainability Salon on Air Quality and the Autism Connection

The 43rd Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon & Sing will take place on Saturday, August 22nd.  We'll learn about the Mom's Clean Air Force from local leader Aviva Diamond, and the new group Allegheny County Clean Air Now from co-founder Thaddeus Popovich.  We'll hear from GASP Executive Director Rachel Filippini on what the Group Against Smog & Pollution has been up to, as ever working hard to help clear the air in Pittsburgh and across the region.  And we'll continue GASP's series Making The Connection, with University of Pittsburgh epidemiologist Evelyn Talbott -- who has demonstrated an association between children's exposure to fine particulate pollution and their risk of autism spectrum disorders.

The 44th Sustainability Salon on September 26th will relate to the upcoming COP21 climate summit in Paris and will feature Pittsburgh emissary Mark Dixon and other local climate leaders;  check back on MarensList for updates.  Please always RSVP if you might come to any of our events...  and read on for important information:  

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;  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 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 policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfood, 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 (I've got the kombucha covered, though it's always fun to compare).  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 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. 

Aug 22: Pittsburgh VegFest

All of the city's best veg food, vendors, art, crafts, live music and non-profit animal groups will be on hand.

11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Allegheny Commons East  (255 E Ohio St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15212).  
Free and open to the public;  you can RSVP via Facebook.

Aug 21-30: BikeFest

Join Bike Pittsburgh for the eleventh annual BikeFest, a community celebration of all-things-bicycling in Pittsburgh.  Too many rides and other events to list here, starting with the kickoff dance party held at Spirit Lodge in Lawrenceville and culminating with PedalPGH -- check out the BikeFest web page for an event listing and more info!

Aug 8: Bike Around the Bomb

BIKE AROUND THE BOMB:  A bike ride to raise awareness of the dangers of nuclear weapons.  This 20km bike ride traces the thermal blast radius of a small nuclear weapon.  On the 70th anniversary of  the bombing of Nagasaki, this ride will encompass the University of Pittsburgh, South Side, Downtown, Lawrenceville, & the North Side.  This area represents a zone of devastation, overwhelming any possible humanitarian relief.  We ride in solidarity with others around the world to eliminate the threat of nuclear weapons.

Bring a bike!  Bring a friend!

9:30am at Schenley Plaza.   Please register at bikearoundthebomb.org.  All ages & abilities welcome!   Co-sponsored by Remembering Hiroshima, Imagining Peace, and Global Zero.