Feb 26: The immortal Henrietta Lacks

Author Rebecca Skloot will discuss her exciting new book: The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks

Skloot's book, which took her 10 years to write, is already at #5 on the New York Times Non-Fiction Best Sellers List. It tells the story of Henrietta Lacks, an African American woman whose cells---taken without her permission in the 1950s at Johns Hopkins---have become a central tool of biomedical research. These "HeLa" cells, the first "immortal" human cells to be predictably cultured and reproduced in the lab, were central to the development of the polio vaccine in the 1950s. HeLa clones---trillions by some counts---continue to be a made, bought, and sold, and to fuel research around the world, including recent advances in radiation therapy, in vitro fertilization, and gene mapping. But Skloots work goes beyond the HeLa story. It's also the story of the Lacks family and deeply connected to the history of African Americans, current debates on informed consent, donor protocols, and the "business" of medicine.

Rebecca Skloot is an Assistant Professor at University of Memphis and an award-winning writer. She's a contributing editor at Popular Science and has been a correspondent for NPR's RadioLab and PBS's Nova Science NOW. Her work appears in The New York Times, O, Discover, Columbia Journalism Review, and Prevention. Skloot has degrees in biological sciences and nonfiction writing and has taught at Memphis, the University of Pittsburgh, and NYU's graduate program of Science, Health and Environmental Reporting.

3:30 PM in the Erwin Steinberg Auditorium, Baker Hall A53. Sponsored by the English Department

Feb 24: Black History Month keynote

Black in America2 by author Steve Perry. Dr. Perry is founder and director of a profoundly successful college preparation program for low income minority students, founder and principal of one of Connecticut’s most successful middle and high schools, sought after speaker, candidate for state representative, founder of a publishing house, community college adjunct professor, educational consultant, columnist, nationally recognized television and radio commentator, honored as a community activist, father, husband, and he’s just getting warmed up!

7 p.m. in McConomy Auditorium in the University Center at Carnegie Mellon University.

Feb 20: Open house for community education co-op

Attention: Community-oriented business owners, language instructors, green business managers, artists, accountants, consultants, real estate agents, and urban farmers: We want YOU to teach at our school!

Start-Up! is an incorporated, instructor-owned school whose mission is to empower the people of Pittsburgh in building locally-own, environmentally- friendly businesses that enrich our local community. Start-Up is partnering with The Kingsley Association to bring affordable business, environmental, and cultural education to the people and neighborhoods of Pittsburgh.

We are inviting potential instructors to an Open House to learn more about sharing your skills through Start-Up!

10 a.m. - 12 noon at the Kingsley Association, at the corner of Frankstown Road and East Liberty Boulevard. Admission is free with RSVP by Friday. Register by phone, 412-677-3109, or by email at startupinfo@startup1.org. $2 at the door. Visit our website at www.startup1.org

Feb 20-Mar 21: Permaculture course

Suburban/Urban Permaculture Course and Workshop -- Permaculture design is an ecological design system that incorporates principles of ecology, sustainable technologies and earth care ethics. Completion of a Permaculture certificate course entitles the participant to offer goods and services as a Permaculture consultant.

This course will take place at the LIPP Homestead, a 1.3 acre site in West View (two miles from the City line and just off of 279N). A 5000-square-foot organic garden space, stream, and original 1898 farmhouse and dairy house are what remain of the Lipp family farm. Course participants will work to increase the sustainability of the site through the application of ecological design principles and practices. A day will be spent at Three Sisters Farm and Bioshelter. Course leader Darrell Frey has been practicing and teaching Permaculture since 1986; other guest presenters will also participate.

January 31, 2010 - Introduction Workshop (6:00 pm to 9:30 pm; $30)

75-hour Permaculture Certification Course (weekends and evenings; $1200)
February 20-21, 9-5 PM
February 24, 6-10 PM
February 27-28, 9-5PM
March 13-14, 9-5 PM
March 17, 6-10 PM
March 20-21, 9-5 PM

To register, contact Darrell Frey at defrey@bioshelter.com or call 724-376-2797 or 412-931-3723.

Feb 19: Green Drinks on plastic to energy

Come and meet an exciting, experienced entreprenuer with a wide-range of experiences launching an innovative gasification techology that turns waste plastic into an alternative energy source.

Gerald Driggs is the CEO of a newly formed company called EcoClean Burners Incorporated. He has more than 30 years of experience as an entrepreneur, manager and strategic business planner. He is trained as an organizational development specialist and has applied those skills to various business ventures. He successfully launched three companies of his own in information technology fields creating information management applications such as outcome management systems for social service organizations and state-wide billing systems for special education services that have been replicated throughout the United States. He has served as COO in two “turn around” situations (one with an internationally recognized eco-fashion design and manufacturing firm), and with a Pittsburgh-based marketing firm. Most recently he served as the CEO of a consulting firm supporting more than 35 small businesses in southwestern Pennsylvania pursuing socially responsible business ventures. He is also an adjunct faculty member at the Art Institute of Pittsburgh.

EcoClean Burners is commercializing a pioneering combustion and burner technology that uses non-recyclable plastic as its fuel source. This alternative clean energy source creates heat that is used in traditional commercial (non-residential) boiler systems to produce hot water heat at a fraction of the costs now associated with traditional fuels such as heating oil and natural gas. The combustion technology is the first commercially viable application that uses waste plastic as a clean and efficient fuel source.

The EcoClean business uses unwanted and non-recyclable post-consumer plastic wastes from agricultural operations, recycling centers (curb-side pick-up), and certain commercial manufacturing establishments. These plastics will be processed by EcoClean and used as a clean burning fuel for heating buildings such as agricultural greenhouses, office buildings, commercial warehouses and any other building equipped with hot water boiler systems. We estimate that EcoClean burners will burn more than 150,000,000 pounds of waste plastic over the next 60 months.

This plastic-derived fuel technology creates new standards for other traditional fuel sources as well as other alternative energy sources to meet. Plastic waste is a by-product of either petroleum or natural gas. By using waste plastic as the basis of our certified fuel products, we are gasifying plastic back to its original molecular form and creating a new and clean energy source.

Green Drinks is back in downtown Pittsburgh -- at a great new home -- ready to have fun, meet new people, and socialize after work the 3rd Friday of February. Good eats and organic beer (free while it lasts).

5-9 p.m. at Mitchell's Restaurant, Bar & Banquet Center ( www.mitchells.tv ), 304 Ross St (at Third Avenue), Pittsburgh, PA 15219 (412) 471-3663; 2nd floor; smoke free.

Get Map & Directions »

For Port Authority Bus Routes: http://www.portauthority.org
What is Green Drinks?
Every month, people who work in the environmental field or have in interest in a greener planet meet up for drinks at places all around the world at informal sessions known as Green Drinks. We have a lively mixture of people from Non profit, academia, labor, government, media and business. Come along and you'll be made welcome. Just say, "are you green?" and we will look after you and introduce you to whoever is there. It's a great way of catching up with people you know and also for making new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there's always a different crowd, making Green Drinks an organic, self-organizing network.

These events are simple and unstructured. Make friends, develop new ideas, do deals and forge a new organic future. It's a force for the good and we'd like to help its spreading to other cities. Green Drinks meets on the 3rd Friday of each month from 5:00 - 9:00 PM...or later!! Put it in your calendar and count on it: Green Drinks is happening every month.

2010 Calendar - Save these Dates: March 19, April 16, May 21, June 18, July 16, August 20, September 17, October 15, November 19, December 17

Pittsburgh Green Drinks Data Sheet:
WHAT: The world-famous Green Drinks
WHEN: 5:00 - 9:00 PM
STATUS: Informal, self-organizing network
GLOBAL: Now active in 514 cities worldwide! Every month globally since 1989, locally since 2005. Average attendance: 90
RULE: Third Friday of every month
Mitchell's on Ross St. at Third
HOW: Walk, cycle, bus, boat, taxi or drive
WHO: Anyone working on environmental issues or who wants to!
WHY: Fun, contacts, alcohol, info, gossip, inspiration, business and pleasure
NEW: Just go up to someone and say "are you green?", and you'll be made welcome

still have more questions, comments or ideas, send to:pittsburghgreendrinks@gmail.com

Pittsburgh Green Drinks Logo

Feb 19: Environmentally Responsive Building Technology seminar

Sustainability and Computer Science seminar: Dale Clifford, assistant professor in the School of Architecture, will discuss "Environmentally Responsive Building Technology." He will uncover regions of creative thinking and technology transfer between computer science and architecture that enable the built environment to become more responsive and interactive to environmental change and user needs.

Noon in 6115 Gates/Hillman Centers on the CMU campus

Feb 18: Endocrine Disruption history talk at CMU

"Endocrine Disruption: An Overview of the History" by John McLachlan (Professor, Department of Pharmacology, Tulane University, New Orleans)

This talk is part of "Toward Sustainability: Changing our Physical and Chemical Environment", the 2010 Distinguished Lecture Series in Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy hosted by the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Education, Carnegie Mellon University, and Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc.

4:30p.m. in Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall). Free and open to the public.

Feb 17: Town Hall Forum on Climate Legislation and Green Jobs

Town hall forum on climate legislation and green jobs, designed to educate students and the general public on these issues and provide an opportunity for questions to be answered by expert players in the field. Panelists will include professors, representatives from industry (both blue collar and high tech), and Pennsylvania politicans. Panelists will each have a chance to state their views regarding the issues at hand, then will be asked pre-determined questions, and then the floor will be opened up to the audience so that YOU can have your questions answered!

7:00 pm (doors open at 6:30) in the auditorium (room 125) of the Frick Fine Arts Building on the University of Pittsburgh campus. Presented by PSEC (Pittsburgh Student Environmental Coalition) in association with Free the Planet, the Blue Green Alliance at Pitt, and the Sierra Student Coalition. RSVP via Facebook, or contact randy.francisco@sierraclub.org .

Feb 16: Enviros for Hoeffel event -- POSTPONED DUE TO SNOW

This event postponed until further notice due to hazardous snowy roads!

Joe Hoeffel is running for Governor in the May 18 Primary. Many of us in Pittsburgh supported Joe when in 2004 he ran against Arlen Specter for the US Senate.

As a Congressman, Joe established a strong environmental voting record. In the current campaign he has taken a strong stand on environmental issues: as Governor Joe will push for a severance tax on Marcellus Shale gas production, he will strongly support investment in green jobs and in a Green Building program, he will push to reduce air pollution from coal-fired plants, and he will protect our water resources for by example supporting the 100-feet buffer zones on all streams. You can learn how to help elect Joe Hoeffel at an "Enviros for Hoeffel" evening.

6:30 - 8 p.m. at Hoeffel's Western PA campaign headquarters, 214 North Highland Ave. in East Liberty (15206).
You can learn more about Joe and why he is running for Governor, here.

Feb 13: Three Rivers Community Foundation awards event

To celebrate 20 years of support for community-based organizations working for social justice, the Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) is hosting its 20th Anniversary and Champions of Change Awards. The event will be held at The Andy Warhol Museum on Saturday evening, February 13. The evening’s festivities will celebrate the Foundation’s 20 years of providing 440 grants to 260 grassroots organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania.

The event will include h
ors d’oeuvres and drinks, the inaugural Champions of Change Awards, live music, a strolling videographer, a social change arts show and poster contest featuring paintings, posters, and cartoons by local and national artists, an Andy Warhol Film and social justice film showing in the Warhol Theater, a tour of the exhibit halls on the first four floors of The Warhol Museum (and previews of new exhibits), performances, skits, and poetry readings by local groups and individuals, live drawing demonstrations by cartoonists, and a silent auctions of events/entertainment/sporting packages and art to benefit the TRCF grant-making endowment.

Anyone interested in celebrating the accomplishments of the Three Rivers Community Foundation, and learning more about social justice and change, is welcome to attend this event. To learn more, to register, or to sponsor the event, contact Anne Lynch at 412-243-9250 or email
trcf@trcf.net .

The Mission of the Three Rivers Community Foundation (TRCF) is to support grassroots organizations in the 10-county Southwestern Pennsylvania region that are working to promote social justice and bring about change in the areas of race, economic status, environmental justice, disability rights, and gender identity. Founded in 1989, TRCF is a member of the Funding Exchange, a national association of foundations that share a commitment to supporting community-based philanthropy through “Change, not charity.”

Feb 11: The Saudi Arabia of Coal

"Welcome To The Saudi Arabia of Coal" featuring YERT in Pittsburgh!

Join us for the Pittsburgh premiere of an original play by Jeff Biggers, produced by the Coal Free Future Project, and a sneak peek at the new eco docu-comedy, "YERT:Your Environmental Road Trip" featuring Jeff Biggers, Ben Evans. and Stephanie Pistello; directed by Stephanie Pistello. Films by Ben Evans and Mark Dixon. Set, Light and Sound Design by Coal Free Future Project with music by Ben Sollee.

8-10 p.m. at The Union Project, 35 East Walnut Street/ 801 N. Negley Ave., Pittsburgh, PA. $15 general admission, $10 for students. Sponsored by
Sierra Club (http://www.alleghenysc.org/),
Citizens Coal Council (
Center for Coalfield Justice (
& Mounain Watershed Association (

Feb 8: Endocrine Disruptors in Plastic talk at CMU

"Endocrine Disrupting Chemicals in Plastic: The Conflict over Safety between Scientists and Government Regulatory Agencies" by Frederick vom Saal (Professor, Department of Biological Sciences, University of Missouri - Columbia).

This talk is part of "Toward Sustainability: Changing our Physical and Chemical Environment", the 2010 Distinguished Lecture Series in Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy hosted by the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Education, Carnegie Mellon University, and Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc.

4:30p.m. in Porter Hall 100 (Gregg Hall). Free and open to the public.

Feb 8: Thomas Merton Center film

Please join Thomas Merton Center members and friends for the premier showing of 'A Foundry for Conscience: Four Decades of the Thomas Merton Center.' John Detwiler, a local videographer and member of TMC, has created this historic memoir speaking to the Center's impact in the greater Pittsburgh area over the past 38 years. TMC Board president Michael Drohan, will also present a brief up-date on Center happenings.

6-8 p.m. at the St. Andrew Lutheran Church, at 304 Morewood Ave., 15213. $5 admission. Food and drink will be provided.

Feb 3-6: PASA Conference

The Pennsylvania Association for Sustainable Agriculture (PASA) presents the 19th annual Farming for the Future conference. This year's title is The Sustainable Challenge: Providing for a Livable Tomorrow, and the conference will be held as always at the Penn Stater Conference Center in State College, PA. Pre-conference tracks will take place on Wednesday and Thursday. All the information is at the PASA conference site.

Feb 3: Sustainability and Design talk at CMU

"Design for Social Innovation and Sustainability: Design as Catalyser of Diffuse Creativity for Sustainable Changes" by Ezio Manzini (Professor, Design and Innovation for Sustainability, Milan Polytechnic University, Italy).

This talk is part of "Toward Sustainability: Changing our Physical and Chemical Environment", the 2010 Distinguished Lecture Series in Environmental Science, Technology, and Policy hosted by the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice Provost for Education, Carnegie Mellon University, and Shaw Environmental & Infrastructure, Inc.

4:30p.m. in Baker Hall A51 (Giant Eagle Auditorium). Free and open to the public.