Feb 1: Sustainability Salon & Sing with Steingraber & Seeger

The Winter Film Series continues with with Living Downstream, an eloquent and cinematic documentary about environmental health based on the acclaimed book by ecologist and cancer survivor Sandra Steingraber, PhD.  Join us at the 25th Sustainability Salon to share Sandra's experiences as scientist, patient, and activist as she forms an environmental human rights movement called Walking Upstream.  You too can become a carcinogenic abolitionist.

With the death of the incomparable Pete Seeger this week, there will surely be a rousing sing in the evening (after the film, discussion, and potluck supper;  more on all that below).

The next Sustainability Salon will feature our annual focus on local, more humane, and more sustainable food — and will take place on March 15th.  

By the way, many salon-goers have admired the house across the street, with the pretty river birch.  The folks who live there are moving on, and the house is being sold.  Please contact me if you’d like more information about becoming our newest neighbor!

And a couple of notes by way of followup to previous salons:  

1.  One of the news outlets featured at our November salon on environmental journalism was  PublicSource — a nonprofit journalism website in Pittsburgh providing in-depth news about Western Pennsylvania.  They cover issues of energy and the environment, social justice, criminal justice, and more;  their motto is Dig Deeper.  I encourage you to sign up for their newsletter and become a member of our growing group of readers.  They’ll send you their stories in emails once a week and invite you to discussions about topics they cover.  You can sign up online at PublicSource.org.  And don’t forget to tune in to WESA (90.5 FM) at 7:30 on Saturday mornings (or online) for The Allegheny Front!

2.  For salon-goers who joined us at last winter’s screening of Gas Rush Stories (or wish they had), note that there are monthly community screenings taking place in Point Breeze, with conversations led by filmmaker Kirsi Jansa.

Living Downstream
This poetic film follows Sandra during one pivotal year as she travels across North America, working to break the silence about cancer and its environmental links. After a routine cancer screening, Sandra receives some worrying results and is thrust into a period of medical uncertainty. Thus, we begin two journeys with Sandra: her private struggles with cancer and her public quest to bring attention to the urgent human rights issue of cancer prevention.

But Sandra is not the only one who is on a journey—the chemicals against which she is fighting are also on the move. We follow these invisible toxins as they migrate to some of the most beautiful places in North America. We see how these chemicals enter our bodies and how, once inside, scientists believe they may be working to cause cancer.

Several experts in the fields of toxicology and cancer research make important cameo appearances in the film, highlighting their own findings on two pervasive chemicals: atrazine, one of the most widely used herbicides in the world, and the industrial compounds, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs). Their work further illuminates the significant connection between a healthy environment and human health.
At once Sandra’s personal journey and her scientific exploration, Living Downstream is a powerful reminder of the intimate connection between the health of our bodies and the health of our air, land, and water.  You can watch the trailer here.

3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3pm;  we usually introduce speakers (or start films) 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 (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation.  Please do so 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.  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.  

Note once again 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.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient! One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit (assistance would be welcome -- thanks to Beth for her help 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.  
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 community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Bidder 70YERTGas 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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