Exposing corporate hypocrisy is the first step toward more accurate public perceptions of their overall impact. After a concerted effort by the Earth Quaker Action Team and allies a few years ago, PNC Bank (headquartered in "the greenest office tower in the world") shifted away from funding mountaintop removal coal mining.
SAY NO 2 EQT CAMPAIGN Locally, mammoth natural gas company EQT sponsors annual events from the downtown Pride March to Light Up Night. 350 Pgh and other environmental and social justice organizations are working to disable their program of image-crafting, pacification, and distraction. Come learn about the oil and gas industry's efforts to buy power and influence around the mid-Atlantic region, and how activists in Pittsburgh can take a stand against it. One company that best describes the problem is the Pittsburgh- based EQT Corporation and their efforts to fund community events to distract from EQT's environmental violence. EQT Corp. is the largest natural gas producer in the United States, and they own over a million acres of Marcellus Shale tract -- which, if extracted, could permanently destabilize our climate. They are also one of the lead developers of the Mountain Valley Pipeline which groups throughout West Virginia and Virginia are fighting against alongside activists in Pennsylvania who want to prevent EQT from fracking in their communities. EQT is not the only one, of course; other fossil industry players like Shell, Chevron, and Range Resources also avoid public opposition by sponsoring community organizations and festivals while they threaten our right to clean air, water, soil, and a safe climate. We'll have members of the Say No To EQT campaign with an update. (For more information about the campaign, email firstname.lastname@example.org).
One such community event was the Earth Day celebration this spring in nearby Moon Township. Sponsors of the event (and of the park where it took place) include fossil-energy giant Chevron. When Amanda Papa-Wasserman came upon their booth, she drew attention to the irony of their involvement, given their prominent role in the ongoing natural gas boom; they're at the center of some of fracking's environmental and health impacts. The company reps told her to leave, and were backed up by local police -- putting corporate interests ahead of first-amendment rights. She now faces half a dozen charges. Amanda will be here to share her story, adding a very personal angle to the issues raised by the Say No To EQT campaign.
On the climate front, the Congressional Climate Solutions Caucus has drawn some criticism regarding the voting records of GOP members (are they using it for political cover without consequences?), though the statistics can be viewed in a variety of ways. Local Citizens Climate Lobby volunteers (and salongoers) Barbara Litt and Perry Recker will address these concerns, and we can discuss the merits.
|photo by Garret Wassermann|
Donna Roberts, local filmmaker, educator, mom, and author of this PublicSource article about Pittsburgh’s own greenwashing problem will lead a discussion on the topic along with her Chatham University graduate students in Restorative Environmental Justice. Some are international urban planning students, so we’ll be able to get a global perspective.
You can always check back on MarensList for any late-breaking changes.
Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill. Please don't arrive before 3 p.m. We will start the program right around 4pm, 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 with salon in the subject line to be added!).
Bring food and/or drink to share if you can (see below), 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.
Sustainability Salon is an educational forum, it's a mini-conference, it's a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues, it's a house party with an environmental theme. We usually have featured speakers on various aspects of a particular topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/people, fracking, health, & action, globalization, ecological ethics, community inclusion, air quality monitoring, informal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakers, getting STEM into Congress, keeping Pittsburgh's water public, Shell's planned petrochemical plant, visualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiatives, fossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politics, community solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (before, during, and after), air quality (again, with news on the autism connection), reuse (of things and substances), neighborhood-scale food systems, other forms of green community revitalization, solar power, climate change, environmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projects, environmental journalism, grassroots action, Marcellus shale development and community rights, green building, air quality, health care, more solar power, trees and park stewardship, alternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food Systems, Climate Adaptation and Mitigation, Plastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One Voice, Triple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous Game, A Fierce Green Fire, Sustainability Pioneers, films on consumption, Living Downstream, Bidder 70, YERT, Gas Rush Stories, and food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, 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: wine, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever. The more the merrier! Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homemade or boughten. Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it. We refill a bunch of growlers at East End and provide a big batch of mostly-homegrown pesto (cheesy and vegan), and other things as needed. More details will come after you RSVP (hint, hint!).
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 green and interesting things around our place.