May 2: Sustainability Salon on Turning Waste Into Resources (Part 1, Things)

One (wo)man's trash is another's treasure.   Or, at least, useful item!   Reclaiming, reusing, redistributing, rejuvenating, salvaging, upcycling, composting...  that's what we'll be talking about at the 40th & 41st Sustainability Salons on May 2nd and June 20th.  Between the two events, we'll be hearing from organizations leading the way in this realm including Construction Junction, the Pittsburgh Center for Creative ReuseGlobal Links,  412 Food RescueSteel City Soils, Eco-Soap Bank, and more.  Please RSVP if you might come (either via Eventbrite or via email with Salon in the Subject line) -- and remember that it's a potluck;  please bring food and/or drink to share!  Lots more information below:

In celebration of the imminent completion of our main staircase (mostly made of leftover materials from other parts of the house -- and replacing the old odd-shaped stairs, which never worked for our house post-renovation and which have now been collected by Construction Junction for a new life somewhere else), we'll focus this Sustainability Salon on Things.  Are you interested in finding out what's being done all over town with all sorts of Things, where to find Things of your own, and what to do with your Things when you're done with them but they're still usable?  We'll welcome Mike Gable, the executive director of Construction Junction, Pittsburgh's amazing building materials salvage emporium (where many of our Things came from, and to which quite a few other Things went to find new homes).  I'll talk about some of the components of our house, taken from homes all over the region of different eras, and Vince Finizio, the architect with whom I worked to plan our unusual renovation, will be here to share his insights as well.  Going smaller in scale, we'll hear from Erika Johnson (executive director of the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse), which encourages creativity, resource conservation, and community engagement.  And we'll have Kathleen Hower, co-founder and executive director of Global Links, which takes surplus medical supplies and equipment to places where they're really needed (currently Nepal is at the top of the list).

Next month, we'll look at less discrete stuff like food and soil and soap, more "substances" than "things".

I note that May 2nd is the same date as the second annual Pete Seeger tribute concert and sing, but that'll be in the evening, so folks who'd like to attend both events should be able to do so (I was mostly sad that I'll have to miss the other event!).

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We'll 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 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 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.  

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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