MarensList is Experiencing Technical Difficulties

Due to a change in how this platform works, it has become very difficult to make new postings for future events.  I hope to find a solution soon, but in the meantime my apologies for a rather thin slate of events!  There really is a lot going on... note that I also share events on Facebook, so look me up there if you're at loose ends.  

Local food resources

The Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salons have continued each month.  The second Sustainability Salon (as well as the 14th15th, 26th27th, 38th39th, 51st52nd, 62nd, 63rd, 64th, 74th, 75th, 87th88th, 98th, 99th, 110th, and 111th) focused on food -- growing it, sourcing it locally, and eating more humanely.  Afterwards, Maren put together a list of many such local sources:  CSA farms, farmers' markets, grassfed and humanely raised meats and dairy, natural foods suppliers, bakeries, and advocacy organizations.  This list now resides on a growing Resources section of the Putting Down Roots Blogger site.

June 29: “The Recycling Lie” film and discussion


The plastic pollution crisis has become an international scandal. 

Industry has declared recycling as the solution.  But if recycling really was the solution, why are we creating more virgin plastic than ever before?  Could recycling really be the ultimate greenwash? 


We know that only a fraction (less than 9%) of the plastic we have EVER used is actually recycled!

What actually happens to the items you place in your recycle bin?


Register to watch the film (at your leisure or as a group) that follows the money into an industry that is seemingly designed to hide the problem rather than solve it;  tracking the black-market brokers who hunt for countries to dump our plastic, waste moguls getting rich by burning trash, and the organized criminals for whom waste smuggling is now as lucrative as human trafficking. 


Then join us and our panel of experts (7:30-8:30pm EDT via zoom) to learn which companies' waste is most often found locally. Dive deep into learning what the different types of recycling are, and what items are actually most likely to really get recycled. Learn what some local activists are doing to make their message known to companies producing non recyclable plastics and how you can get involved in a national campaign, “Plastic Takeback"

Come join our discussion, share you questions, thoughts and…. get inspired into action! 

6:30-7:30 p.m. EDT:  Film screening (or watch on your own anytime before the event; best quality if you stream it directly in either case).

7:30-8:30 discussion with panel

To register, go to bit.ly/PASUPFilm3 to receive:

1) link and password to view the film (you can screen it either prior to or during the event)
2) link for the zoom discussion Wednesday June 29th 7:30pm EDT

Our Panelists:

Alexis Goldsmith
Ms. Goldsmith, an energetic grassroots organizer who grew up in Indiana, and is the National Organizing Director of Beyond Plastics. After graduating from IU/Bloomington, she managed a farm, then served The Food Pantries for the Capital District. She went on to the Sanctuary for Independent Media, coordinating a permaculture campus and independent news program, the Hudson Mohawk Magazine. She has produced hundreds of interviews, mainly on petrochemicals and environmental activism. She co-founded the Hudson Mohawk Environmental Action Network, a grassroots consortium fighting for environmental justice and Indigenous rights along the Hudson River. She keeps chickens and plays the fiddle.

Clifford Lau 
Dr. Lau, a scientist concerned about the fate of our Spaceship Earth, earned his PhD in Synthetic Organic Chemistry from Ohio State University.  He has worked as an Industrial Chemist for 30 years holding several patents and publishing journal articles pertaining to polymer chemistry.  Lau teaches Chemistry and Environmental Science at several local universities and has recently been working with Environmental Groups such as Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community (BCMAC), Clean Air Council (CAC) and Climate Reality Project concerning the PetroChemical buildout in Southwestern PA. 

Sarah Allesio Shea

Ms. Shea has extensive first hand experience in local recycling as the Deputy Director at the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC), having been with the organization since 2005.  During this time, Sarah has been the program coordinator and facilitator of PRC’s Hard to Recycle Collection Events, has overseen more than 60 collections servicing over 31,000 people and recycling 2.8 million pounds of material.  Last year she became Collection Event’s Manager for PRC and began also managing the organization’s Household Chemical Collections.  In just one year the event was able to service 4000 participants and collected over 540,000 pounds of hazardous waste in 4 counties in southwestern PA.  Sarah established and has facilitated PRC’s ReuseFest program, now in its 10th year, an event that educates the public on the importance of reuse through collecting gently used items for Pittsburgh area nonprofits to support and further their missions  Sarah has been a member of the Clean Pittsburgh Commission, a commission of the City of Pittsburgh who works on quality-of-life issues in Pittsburgh, since 2008. She also serves on the nonprofit Communitopia’s advisory board.  

Myrna Newman
As the Executive Director at Allegheny CleanWays –- a nonprofit with the mission to engage and empower people to eliminate litter and illegal dumping in Allegheny County -- Ms. Newman can give us first hand insight on what consumer waste we find littered the most locally. She started as a part-time project coordinator in June 2007 and became the Executive Director in 2011. Prior to working for Allegheny CleanWays, Myrna was involved in public education for 14 years. Later she studied Sustainable Systems at Slippery Rock University, was the lead environmental field technician for a multi-million-dollar soil remediation project in Utah, and ran a small CSA on her family farm in Clinton.

June 25: Sustainability Salon gathering

Want to take a break from Zoom?  Let's get together!  Most summers over the past decade, we've had a No-Topic salon -- more of a social gathering than regular Sustainability Salons, when I don't have to interrupt the conversations for the presentations In a departure from our usual format of talks and discussion focused on a single topic, we'd have more informal, free-flowing conversation.  Then came the pandemic, and Zoom...  and in 2020 we just marched right through the whole season with a three-month series on economics (Energy EconomicsLocal Economies, and Social Investment).  Last year we had a couple of outdoor, in-person salons -- and I think it's time for another!  No topic (Powerpoints aren't really practical outside), but I'm sure we'll have lots of great conversation and enjoy reconnecting.

With a nice day in the forecast for Saturday (if a little hot), I'd like to invite folks (who are fully vaccinated and at least once boostered) to an in-person, outdoor gathering at our place.  And we'll spend our time outdoors, rather than congregating in the kitchen (though folks can pass through the house to use the bathroom or visit the roof garden).

So, with apologies to the faraway folks who have been enjoying our virtual events (and apologies to anyone who isn't vaccinated) -- have a nice day, wherever you are) -- the 125th Sustainability Salon will be a No-Topic Salon.  Outdoors, fully-vaxxed.  No need to be here the whole time;  no PowerPoints, just lots of conversation.  I think we can manage a potluck supper, like old times.  

At some point, we'll certainly share announcements and such, and brief talks not needing slides might materialize -- notably, it looks like we'll hear from Doug Webster of Fair Districts about its Fix Harrisburg campaign, and how people and groups can work together to address roadblocks in our state government.  And we'll hear about the latest threat to Pittsburgh's drinking water (and what you can do about it!).

In the meantime, a few other items of note:  

May 24:  The Environmental Health Project and Halt the Harm will host an expert-led discussion on the risks of exposure to PFAS substances during pregnancy.  More information and registration link are here.  

•  June 11-13:  Activists from all across Pennsylvania will gather in Harrisburg to call our government to task on climate change, fracking and pipeline hazards, and the necessary transition to a new clean energy economy.  The Pennsylvania Climate Convergence will take place over three days -- a festival with arts, education, and tabling;  a march and other actions around the city;  and a day of direct action at the Capitol.  Lots more information is on our web site -- and many opportunities to help shape the event!

•  June 18th:  Allegheny SolarFest returns!  This time, at Mill 19 in Hazelwood.  

•. June 25th:  The Rachel Carson EcoVillage has received plan approval, and continues to expand membership so as to begin construction.  The group is holding introductory sessions via Zoom on June 25th (10:30-noon), July 23, and August 27.  Learn more and register here.

•. June 29th: Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic (PASUP), in collaboration with Break Free From Plastic, will complete our series of three virtual film screenings, concluding with The Recycling Lie, a film exposing the fallacy of recycling as a solution to the plastic problem.  Lots more information and registration here!

•  PRC continues to hold online workshops about composting, rainwater harvesting, and waste reduction.  

•  Did you see the film The Story of Plastic, or the PBS doc Plastic Wars?  (and/or join us for Plastic Paradise at a winter film salon six years ago?)  ...What if you could bring up imagery of the toxic impacts of plastic production, and commentary by the people and communities living with them, over the world?  You can do all that with the interactive Toxic Tours tool.  Check it out!  

• Mask update:  Breathe99 masks (featured at November's salon on Pandemics and Air (video), and one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2020) are now being distributed by Our Children Our Earth, a local purveyor of alternatives to disposables (as well as classy wooden toys).  Contact Dianne via OCOE's Facebook page, or call (412) 772-1638 to coordinate a curbside pickup.  

This low-key, informal gathering will go from 3 p.m. to 8 or 9 -- a wide window so we're never too crowded.  Please be sure to RSVP if you might come!  I may need to cap attendance.  If you're not already on my Eventbrite list, please email me (maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to be added -- and let me know how you heard about salons!  To RSVP, respond via Eventbrite or simply email me with "salon" in the Subject line.  Along about Friday night/Saturday morning, I'll send out Directions & Other Information to all who have registered (but please register even if you know your way here).
For the uninitiated, a 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 (if there weren't a pandemic) with an environmental theme.  Each month we 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 climate actionforest restorationthe history of American consumerismregional air qualitypreserving Pittsburgh's forests, climate modelingapproaches to pipelinespipeline hazardsthe legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disasterthe judiciary and fair electionsconsumptionpandemics and air,  election law and activismair quality and environmental justicesocial investment,  local economies, the economics of energymutual aid networksocean healththe rise of the radical rightthe back end of consumptionapproaches to activism on fracking & climateair quality, technology, and citizen sciencesingle-use plasticselection activismelection law, whether to preserve existing nuclear power plantsadvanced nuclear technologiespassenger and freight trainsconsumption, plastics, and pollutionair qualitysolar poweryouth activismgreening businessgreenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/peoplefracking, health, & actionglobalizationecological ethicscommunity inclusionair quality monitoringinformal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakersgetting STEM into Congresskeeping Pittsburgh's water publicShell's planned petrochemical plantvisualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiativesfossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politicscommunity solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (beforeduring, 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 revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actionMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policyregional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food SystemsClimate Adaptation and MitigationPlastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceTriple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous GameA Fierce Green FireSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfood, food, foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).

Coronavirus update:   As you know, people in Pittsburgh and around the world are sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Social distancing is still the rule for most Americans.  That's a bit of a misnomer, though -- we need physical distancing to flatten the curve, but technology now allows for rich interactions even so!  I believe that community is one of our greatest strengths, so in March as events began to be cancelled, I hosted the first virtual Sustainability Salon via Zoom teleconference -- rather than gathering our usual 50-80 people in a contained space.   It went quite well (even engaging participants from hundreds of miles away), and we're looking forward to June's salon!  Please be sure to RSVP (via email with "salon" in the Subject: line, or via Eventbrite) so you'll receive the sign-on information.  

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.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, perhaps we can sing and play a bit if the weather's nice!

May 21: Sustainability Salon on Stoking Climate Action

Please join us on May 21st, via Zoom, for the 124th Sustainability Salon!  We'll talk about stoking climate action, with more-sustainable events!  
  
Climate change is becoming more and more evident around the world, from storms and floods to droughts and wildfires.  The need for action is ever more urgent as time goes on -- if humanity had taken appropriate measures starting several decades ago, the transition could have been easy.  Now there is really no time to lose!  

Pennsylvania is particularly problematic -- more fracking each year, proliferating pipelines, and shortly a huge petrochemical plant producing plastic, much of which will wind up floating in the oceans or being burned.  Pennsylvania remains among the heaviest fossil carbon emitters in the nation, and after a brief pandemic dip, our emissions are ticking up again.  Sadly, the majority of PA lawmakers are not taking climate change seriously, and this June activists from across the Commonwealth will converge on Harrisburg to call them to account for their inaction.  Saturday June 11th will be a festival day, drawing new folks into the movement with arts and education;  Sunday's march will highlight some of the most culpable parts of the state government;  and on Monday a day of action will bring these issues right to our public officials.  Organizers Karen Feridun and Jim Highland will fill us in on the details of the Pennsylvania Climate Convergence, what we hope to gain, and opportunities to get involved.  

Just a week later, Allegheny SolarFest will take place at Mill 19 in Hazelwood.  Organizer Fred Kraybill will share plans for this celebration of the renewable future we need to achieve.  

Climate action comes in many forms.  International agreements, national and state legislation, municipal plans.  Science, engineering, and business innovation.  Lifestyle changes, conscious and unconscious choices.  Protest marches, petitions to policymakers, and direct action.  And while we all want to walk the walk, in most cases we need to work with the tools at hand.  Most cars still burn gas;  most electricity still comes from fossil fuels.  However, a creative local company has been expanding the toolbox to include more sustainable technologies for events.  Walking the walk, as it were... the Climate Convergence, SolarFest, several Earth Day events last month, and many other events in our region will be powered by Zero Fossil, a Pittsburgh-based event specialist best known for solar-powered concerts and festivals.  We'll learn about what they do, and how they do it!  

In the meantime, a few other items of note:

•  May 16:  Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic (PASUP), in collaboration with Break Free From Plastic, is hosting a series of three film screenings, continuing on Monday, May 16th with We The Guinea Pigs, a film exploring the effects of endocrine-disrupting chemicals.  

•  May 18:  The Better Path Coalition will host a talk by author and activist George Lakey, about how climate activists can deal with political polarization.  

•  May 19:  A workshop for K-12 educators will focus on Shanti Gamper-Rabindran's book America's Energy Gamble: People, Economy, and Planet, and how to use it in the classroom.  The workshop will be led by Tracy Wazenegger, a science and global issues educator, along with Dr. Gamper-Rabindran;  Act 48 credits will be available.  Register here.  

May 24:  The Environmental Health Project and Halt the Harm will host an expert-led discussion on the risks of exposure to PFAS substances during pregnancy.  More information and registration link are here.  

•  June 11-13:  Activists from all across Pennsylvania will gather in Harrisburg to call our government to task on climate change, fracking and pipeline hazards, and the necessary transition to a new clean energy economy.  The Pennsylvania Climate Convergence will take place over three days -- a festival with arts, education, and tabling;  a march and other actions around the city;  and a day of direct action at the Capitol.  Lots more information is on our web site -- and many opportunities to help shape the event!

•  June 18th:  Allegheny SolarFest returns!  This time, at Mill 19 in Hazelwood.  

•. June 25th:  the next Sustainability Salon -- in-person, outdoor, no-topic.  

•  PRC continues to hold online workshops about composting, rainwater harvesting, and waste reduction.  

•  Did you see the film The Story of Plastic, or the PBS doc Plastic Wars?  (and/or join us for Plastic Paradise at a winter film salon six years ago?)  ...What if you could bring up imagery of the toxic impacts of plastic production, and commentary by the people and communities living with them, over the world?  You can do all that with the interactive Toxic Tours tool.  Check it out!  

• Mask update:  Breathe99 masks (featured at November's salon on Pandemics and Air (video), and one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2020) are now being distributed by Our Children Our Earth, a local purveyor of alternatives to disposables (as well as classy wooden toys).  Contact Dianne via OCOE's Facebook page, or call (412) 772-1638 to coordinate a curbside pickup.  

•  We cover a lot of important topics at Sustainability Salons.  If you're looking to get involved in any of them, feel free to connect with me (email with "salon" in the Subject is always a good method) and I can probably find a good match!  I also often post job opportunities on the Resources side of MarensList.  

Talks and discussion will run from 4 p.m. to 7:30 or so on Zoom (sadly, no potluck supper these days).  You're welcome to join the call for informal conversation after 3 p.m., and we aim to start the main program right around 4.  If you're new to Zoom, you may find my Zoom Reference Guide helpful.  If you RSVP via Eventbrite, you'll receive the Zoom registration link right away.  If you're not already on my Eventbrite list, please email me (maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to be added -- and let me know how you heard about salons!
For the uninitiated, a 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.  Each month we 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 (though the potluck and the music are on hiatus during the pandemic).  
Past topics have included forest restorationthe history of American consumerismregional air qualitypreserving Pittsburgh's forests, climate modelingapproaches to pipelinespipeline hazardsthe legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disasterthe judiciary and fair electionsconsumptionpandemics and air,  election law and activismair quality and environmental justicesocial investment,  local economies, the economics of energymutual aid networksocean healththe rise of the radical rightthe back end of consumptionapproaches to activism on fracking & climateair quality, technology, and citizen sciencesingle-use plasticselection activismelection law, whether to preserve existing nuclear power plantsadvanced nuclear technologiespassenger and freight trainsconsumption, plastics, and pollutionair qualitysolar poweryouth activismgreening businessgreenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/peoplefracking, health, & actionglobalizationecological ethicscommunity inclusionair quality monitoringinformal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakersgetting STEM into Congresskeeping Pittsburgh's water publicShell's planned petrochemical plantvisualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiativesfossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politicscommunity solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (beforeduring, 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 revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actionMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policyregional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food SystemsClimate Adaptation and MitigationPlastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceTriple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous GameA Fierce Green FireSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfood, food, foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).

Coronavirus update:   As you know, people in Pittsburgh and around the world are sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.  Social distancing is still the rule for most Americans.  That's a bit of a misnomer, though -- we need physical distancing to flatten the curve, but technology now allows for rich interactions even so!  I believe that community is one of our greatest strengths, so in March as events began to be cancelled, I hosted the first virtual Sustainability Salon via Zoom teleconference -- rather than gathering our usual 50-80 people in a contained space.   It went quite well (even engaging participants from hundreds of miles away), and we're looking forward to June's salon!  Please be sure to RSVP (via email with "salon" in the Subject: line, or via Eventbrite) so you'll receive the sign-on information.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, think back to our evening sings -- we typically ran the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs to the Beatles, and a fun time was had by all.  Folks would bring instruments, and/or pick up one of ours.  Conversations would continue through the evening, as well.  With a virtual event this is less likely to happen, but we can share music by turns, reminisce, chat online, and look forward to the post-COVID era!