Current Action Items

Current Action Items:  Here are a few quick ways you can let your voice be heard:

Stop Bush's last-minute attacks on the environment (via the League of Conservation Voters)

Convince the EPA to do its job on carbon regulations (via RePower America -- deadline is Nov 28)

CMU University Lecture Series

Carnegie Mellon's University Lecture Series.  During the academic year, a diverse series of amazing talks are held at Carnegie Mellon University;  many are related to environmental and social justice issues.    The talks are listed at
and more detail on each event can be found in calendar entries at

Local Food Guide

Every day:  Eating local helps sustain local farms, protect agricultural land from suburban sprawl, connects us to the land around us, and gets you fresher food.  Urban Foodworks has created a great guide to where you can find local food at stores, restaurants, markets,

The Allegheny Front

Every week:  The Allegheny Front, Pittsburgh's own environmental radio show, explores myriad topics relevant to the lives of people in our region.  Locally, listen Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on WYEP 91.3FM, or listen online any time.  The program has spread across the region, now playing on other stations including WIUP, WPSU, and WRFA.

The White House Organic Farm

There's a move afoot to get an organic farm going at the White House.  It's been done before, notably by Eleanor Roosevelt with WWII Victory Gardens -- it should definitely be done again, and permanently!  Perhaps we have a chance with the Obama administration.  Check out the video and petition at 
This is the green-roof, live-in bus in which the organizers are traveling across the country gathering support:

The Shift -- film about global activism

The Shift -- a movie being made by a movement Think globally, act locally... this list is all about acting locally.  A film now in production helps fill in the global side, and may be able to help propel the world onto a better path.  It's all about global activism, and all the local movements that make it up. It's due out in 2009, but there's an inspiring six-minute trailer at 

Left Out is back on the air

September 17:   Left Out, a public affairs radio show by CMU professors Danny Sleator and Bob Harper, returns to the air with a program featuring Thomas Frank, author of What's the Matter with Kansas? How Conservatives Won the Heart of America speaking about his latest book, The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule.
(Alternate Wednesdays at 5 p.m. on WRCT 88.3)

Harvest Festivals

Harvest Festivals
food plate
From PASA:  With Pennsylvania weighing in as the #3 PUMPKIN growing state in the nation, you'll have no trouble finding one to adorn your stoop! Take time to reflect on October's glorious bounty, tap into your inner-ghoul and visit a local farm to take delight in apples, pumpkins, seasonal squashes and gourds of all kinds!

Be sure not to miss these opportunities to join in the festivities:
Visit the BFBL website to find more pumpkins in your area.

The Bird Blog

The Bird Blog -- Avid birder (and fellow GASP board member) Kate St. John has created "Outside My Window," a lovely weblog of her observations and musings on wildlife in our region.   Check it out!

Fall Tree Plantings

Fall tree planting dates have been announced;  come volunteer in your neighborhood or elsewhere around town.
Plantings are made possible through TreeVitalize Pittsburgh, a joint project of the PA Department of Conservation and Natural Resources, Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy.  Friends of the Pittsburgh Urban Forest provides Tree Tender training and technical support.  (Various locations, Saturdays during October and November)
Dates and other info at

Dec 8: Self-Help/ World-Help Program

December 8:  Self-Help/ World-Help Program.  All Around is a new multi-purpose program blending self-improvement and improving the world.  Its goals are to help people build up their time, money, health and skills so they can do more for themselves and the world, support people's goal-attainment and efforts toward personal fulfillment, and support people's efforts to create a better community and world.  It's an integrated program for adults and mature teens.

They’re seeking a diversity of people so that everyone can both “reach a hand up for help, and reach a hand down to help others.”  At a time when people are economically stressed, All Around’s networking, support and skill-building can help build personal power.

The 1½ hour format allows 30 minutes for goal attainment support; 30 minutes for the Action Time (learning skills through Skill Exchange, getting feedback through Sounding Board, or doing advocacy); 15 minutes for Networking and celebrating accomplishments; and 15 minutes for the After CafĂ© social time.

The program begins Monday Dec. 8th, 7:00-8:30 pm , at the Garfield Community Center , 113 N. Pacific Ave.  To learn more, visit or call 412-363-9792.

Dec 7: Vision & Learning Workshop

December 7:  The Vision and Learning Link:  Students spend more than 75% of school time doing intense visual work less than a foot from their eyes. Vision is an often overlooked component of learning and reading problems. Here is a fun workshop that will give you practical tools to help children who are having trouble with learning. 

You are invited to attend this special workshop for parents, educators and professionals. You will learn how to identify children whose vision restricts learning, how the way children see the world affects their behavior, how to build school performance by enhancing vision, how to perform assessments and tests of vision skills and how and why vision development therapy works.

Dr. Elisa Beck is a developmental optometrist and specializes in working with children and adults with learning related visual issues, natural vision improvement and optometric vision training. She will present this free workshop on Sunday, December 7, 2008, from 1:00-2:30 PM at 4203 Murray Avenue in Pittsburgh, PA. Please RSVP to 412-491-0303.

Dec 6: Jonkanoo (Junk-A-New) in East Liberty

December 6:  The Legacy Arts Project presents JONKANOO (Junk-A-New), the Art of Red, Black, and Greening...  using the arts as a vehicle to raise consciousness and encourage participation of inner-city residents in the Greening of America. 
Jonkanoo is a world-renowned festival that originated in the Caribbean Islands.  It is a celebration of life that sprang from a people enslaved in body but not in mind or spirit.  We are building on the African American tradition of re-gifting out of necessity and practicality, and the longstanding African traditions of producing handcrafted goods, materials, and art forms.  
 The Legacy Arts Project is taking a slightly different spin on the traditional Jonkanoo festival by calling it Junk-A-New -- along with the celbration of the arts and heritage of Jonkanoo, we intend to educate the public on the many ways to recycle trash and junk -- creating art, alternative energy sources, donations, and other creative reuse.  We want to teach the community about African/Caribbean culture, but also engage people in preserving both the planetary environment and the local environment.
The program will include a keynote speaker on global warming and other environmental issues facing the inner city, information booths, art & music, and workshops.
(10 a.m. - 7 p.m. on Saturday, December 6, at the Kingsley Association, 6535 Frankstown Ave., East Liberty, 15206.)

Dec 4: UEC research seminar: Urban Forestry & Invasive Weeds

December 4:  Quarterly seminar of the Research Working Group of the Urban Ecology Collaborative, with talks on Urban Forestry and Invasive Weeds Research.  (9-12 in the Penn State Cooperative Extension conference room, 400 N. Lexington Ave. in Point Breeze).
    For info, contact or  

Here's an update on this upcoming session, from Mike:

We are pleased to announce the fourth Pittsburgh Urban Ecological
Collaborative Research Working Group Science Meeting for 2008.  The meeting
will be held at the Allegheny Office of the Pennsylvania State Cooperative
Extension Service (400 North Lexington Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15208-2521,
website:> from 9:30 am to noon on
Thursday December 4, 2008.

If you would like to learn more about the Research Working Group, please
contact Mike Masiuk (Penn State Cooperative Extension email:

Urban Ecological Collaborative Research Working Group
December 4, 2008 -- Meeting Agenda

Topic:          Horticulture Research

9:15-9:30       Socializing & Schmoozing
9:30-9:40       Welcome & Announcements
9:40-10:10      Norway Maple and Viburnum Invasiveness Research Project
               (presented via videoconference)

               – Dr. James Sellmer,
               Associate Professor of Ornamental Horticulture
               Penn State University

10:10-10:40     Trends, Practices, and Community: Research in Urban Foresty
               (presented via videoconference)

               – Dr. Bill Elmendorf, Assistant Professor,
                Urban and Community Forestry,
                Penn State School of Forest Resources

10:40-11:00     Is the grass Really Greener on the Other Side of the Fence?
               A Question of Sustainability

               Thesis of Anne Weidman, MLA Chatham University
               Presented live by:  Mike Masiuk, County Extension Director,
               Penn State Cooperative Extension, Allegheny County

11:00-12:00     Discussion - including format and topics for 2009
                   BRING YOUR IDEAS