Nov 22: Sustainability Salon on Revitalizing Communities

The 34th Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon  (see below if that's new to youwill take place on Nov 22nd (3-10 p.m.).  Please be sure to RSVP if you might come (email Maren with "salon" in the Subject line).  The next Sustainability Salon will be on December 13th, kicking off our third wintertime environmental film series.  General information and links to past Salon topics are below -- and you can always find information about this and many other environmental and social justice events on MarensList.  Upcoming dates include educational events along with practical opportunities for activism and advocacy on sewer ratesair quality, and mountaintop removal financing.
At past Sustainability Salons, we've talked about green building, renewable energy, watershed health and green infrastructure, trees and parks, local food systems, community-building, green jobs, and social justice.  For the November salon, we'll bring it all together and talk about green, equitable community revitalization -- in terms of global concepts, and also with a close look at some local efforts.  We'll be joined by architect and local EcoDistricts leader Christine Mondor of EvolveEA, Millvale teacher Brian Wolovich (cofounder of the Millvale Community Library), and Larimer activist Fred Brown of the Kingsley Association.  We'll also have Elisa Beck of Sustainable Monroeville and Schwartz Living Market, who is working to link urban and suburban communities through planned Forest Gardens and other initiatives.  Additional speakers are in the works, so check back here!

The 2014 Grosvenor Report ranked Pittsburgh as the most resilient US city and number five in the world. To determine this, they assessed the vulnerability of our physical environment and our city's capacity to adapt or transform to challenges to the physical environment. This dual emphasis is a great lens to view neighborhoods and smaller towns--the scale where we are most likely to plan and take action. 

To become more resilient, communities need to think about the 'hardware' of the physical environment and the 'software' of community capacity. Ecodistricts are a way of thinking about community resiliency and revitalization. Ecodistricts define environmental, social, and economic goals which can only be achieved by addressing our physical environment as well as our ability to take action. Ecodistricts challenge our sense of  urban revitalization as simply design and construction projects--ecodistricts are an ongoing process that shapes a community's capacity as well as  their environment. 

3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We'll aim to introduce speakers beginning around 4 p.m., after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   Please email me 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.  

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, 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 solar 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 Living DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfood, 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 or dairy 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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