On the cusp of the holiday season, and in the wake of yet another wild Black Friday, we'll commence our annual Wintertime Film Series with December's recurring theme of Consumption, on the theory that we all can use a little more mindfulness during a time when we're bombarded with cultural cues to buy more stuff. My hope is, as always, that folks will leave the salon ready to buy less stuff. So, for the 83rd Sustainability Salon, we'll feature several short films on the environmental and health consequences of manufacturing things (many of which people don't actually need), and some of those impacts being realized in our region and around the world. In between the films we'll have lots of discussion, followed by an excellent potluck supper and hopefully some music. Speakers will include local activist Pat Buddemeyer on a friendly competition to reduce single-use plastics in our lives, a community-focused interfaith challenge sponsored by Pittsburgh Friends Meeting; and Dianne Peterson (whose new business Dianne's Dishware helps address the single-use plastic problem for Pittsburgh events) on consumerism around the holidays: she'll offer creative solutions for trees/decor, gift wrapping, gift giving (or not), and holiday parties! More info on salons below, and check back for updates. And here's an essay to get you started: George Monbiot, in 2012, pondering pathological consumption.
The January 19th event, marking seven years of Sustainability Salons, will very likely focus on trains traveling through Pittsburgh -- where they go, how many, how often, what's on them, what hazards they present, and changes being proposed by rail companies. February and March (dates TBA) we'll be talking about two different "nuclear surprises." Surprising, because many environmentalists would not have considered ever supporting nuclear, but might just do so after our discussions!
Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill. Please don't arrive before 3 p.m. We generally start the program not long after 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!).
Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways. 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 (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 air quality, solar power, youth activism, greening business, greenwashing, 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.