Dec 14: Sustainability Salon on Community Mapping

What can we learn about our community through geography?  What stories can maps tell?  What connections emerge?  The 23rd Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon & Sing will focus on several different community mapping projects.


Pittsburgh is part of a multi-city collaborative called the Climate & Urban Systems Partnership.  One of the components of this initiative, pioneered at the New York City hub, is a regional map showing climate change indicators.  As Pittsburgh is sharing its interactive educational activity kits with the other cities, we are also implementing New York's model mapping project here.  Project leader (and Carnegie Museum of Natural History's director of learning research) Mary Ann Steiner and the Pittsburgh CUSP team will talk about the project as a whole, discuss how the map can reveal Pittsburgh's stories, and lead a design charrette to figure out what local examples of climate impacts, adaptations, and mitigation programs we can display in the Pittsburgh version.

Another local mapping project is being spearheaded by the New Economy Working Group of the Thomas Merton Center for Peace & Social Justice.  It will highlight local businesses, activists, and resources supporting a diverse, sustainable, cooperative, and democratic economic system for our region.  Mark Dixon is leading this effort, and will bring us up to date on the progress so far as well as the philosophy behind this kind of New Economy.

We'll also hear from Alexis Rzewski, who recently completed detailed trail (and stairway) maps of Frick Park and the South Side Slopes.  And we'll have an update from Sam Thomas on GASP's Bike Air Monitor program, showing crowd-pedaled pollution maps of our region.

3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3pm;  we usually introduce speakers beginning around 4pm after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   Please email me to RSVP (important for yesses and maybes, please do so each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and it helps to have a handle on numbers in advance (we may need to begin limiting attendance);  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.  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.  If you'd like to start making your own kombucha, please bring a pint jar along.  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.

Note that 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.  One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit (assistance would be welcome -- thanks to Beth for all her help so far with the transition to EventBrite), but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  
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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 a particular topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included environmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees & park stewardshipalternative energy & climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings & discussions (led by the filmmakers) over the winter with both YERT and Gas Rush Stories, and foodfood, and more food.

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 are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  

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. 

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