Oct 29: Pittsburgh Solar Tour

Three Rivers Solar Source (a project of PennFuture) is your host on this self-guided open-house tour of homes that use solar energy.  You will find many such homes in Pittsburgh and surrounding communities.  All of the owners of these homes have graciously invited you to stop by, see, learn, and ask questions about their solar installations.

Your trusty blogger Maren's own house (where a new photovoltaic system is being installed in amongst a roof garden) is one of the homes on the tour.

It is exciting that so many solar homeowners want to show off their installations.  We are also excited that so many of these systems were installed by Pittsburgh's and western Pennsylvania's own solar energy businesses.  We know they'll love to show off their handiwork!

Some homeowners might take you on a tour of the other features that make their home more environmentally friendly (in Maren's little permaculture oasis, there is rainwater harvesting and stormwater diversion using a rain garden, pond, and rain barrels;  organic vegetable, herb, and fruit production;  shiitake mushroom cultivation; composting;  and a renovation/addition utilizing local wood and stone as well as recycled, reused, and salvage materials and passive solar design).  Some might answer questions and show the components of their system from their front yard -- it's up to the individual host.

The site hosts will be at their homes to greet visitors between noon and 4 p.m. on Saturday, October 29.  There's no need to register;  just choose a few locations you want to visit and stop on by!  Use the map and online PDF guide at www.pghsolartour.org to plan your tour.

Oct 21: Have a Ball with GASP

Friday, October 21, GASP has the Highmark SportsWorks at the Carnegie Science Center all to ourselves.  Come join us from 6 to 9 PM and run, bounce, spin, and climb on nearly 30 hands-on exhibits.  SportsWorks has activities suited for all ages.  Think baseball looks easy?  Have your fastball clocked and see if you can get it in the strike zone.  Try climbing to the top of the 25′ climbing wall, or strapping in to the bungee cords and turn yourself into a yo-yo.
Grab some delicious hors d’ oeuvres or a mixed rink, and join us in the conference room to hear from athletes from the Pittsburgh Passion, the Steel City Derby Demons, and USRowing, as well as local health professionals, to hear how air quality affects athletic performance.
End the night by munching on desserts and claiming the silent auction prizes that you bid on.
Our annual fall event is a fundraiser, but it is also a great way to reconnect with staff or members, and to learn about GASP’s recent work and plans for the future.
6-9 p.m. at the Highmark SportsWorks at the Carnegie Science Center.  Tickets are $50/person ($25 for ages 6-12, free for 5 and under).  Purchase tickets online, or pay by check or credit card by calling GASP at (412) 325-7382. Parking at the SportsWorks is available for $5.

Oct 18: Marcellus forum in Center Twp

What does Marcellus shale natural gas development mean for Center Township?

You are invited to attend an open informational meeting featuring local farmers and landowners who will share their personal stories about what it’s really like to live with hydraulic fracturing in rural Western Pennsylvania and a screening of a short documentary filmed in Bradford, PA, followed by a community discussion: What choice do we have?

Get the whole story before you decide:  Is fracking right for Center Township? 

6:30 pm - 8:30 pm at the Ghost Riders 2 Dance Hall, 1805 N Main St Ext in Center Township.  Free to the public and everyone is welcome;  refreshments will be provided.  Center Township residents are especially encouraged to attend. 
Presented by: Preservation Advocates for Center Township (PACT).  For more information, email 2011PACT@Gmail.com

Oct 18: Immigration discussion with County candidates

Looking Forward to Immigration (with Rich and Raja)


Pittsburgh is less diverse than 98 out of 100 of the largest metropolitan areas in the United States, according to the 2010 census - "whiter even than the Amish country around Lancaster, the Mormon population center of Salt Lake City, Midwest agrarian capitals such as Des Moines, Iowa, and far more isolated places like Boise, Idaho," says Gary Rotstein of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "How does a region built on immigration, albeit from previous centuries, come to have in 2011 such a small share of people of color?"

On October 18, cityLIVE! and Vibrant Pittsburgh will host a conversation between candidates D. RajaRich Fitzgerald and you, the audience, on the status of foreign born talent and diversity in the region. Economic development is at the heart of this discussion. For instance, 25 percent of U.S. business owners in the technology and engineering sector are foreign born, as are the owners of 24 percent of patent applications filed. Moderated by Melanie Harrington, CEO of Vibrant Pittsburgh, we will hear how our future leaders plan to tackle these issues in their future role as Allegheny County Executive.

This is an important conversation. Be there, or be really square.

6:30 p.m. at the New Hazlett Theater.   CLICK TO RSVP

Oct 15: Occupy Pittsburgh begins

The Movement Begins:  OccupyPittsburgh Day of Action
Rally begins at 11 a.m. at Freedom Corner (Crawford Street and Center Avenue in the Hill District);  arrive as early as 10 a.m.
March from Freedom Corner to Market Square: 11:45 a.m.
Movement Kickoff Rally 1:30 - 3 p.m. Market Square
Occupation of Pittsburgh begins at 4 p.m.  Mellon Green, Grant St. & Sixth Ave.

Occupy's website:  http://www.occupypittsburgh.org/

Oct 15: Marcellus health seminar in Canonsburg

Peters Township Marcellus Shale Awareness presents a Marcellus Shale Health and Educational Seminar


Health Impacts of Unconventional Gas Drilling  Dr. Poune' Saberi is participating in the Occupational
and Environmental Medicine Program at the University of Pennsylvania. She
is also a clinician at B.L. Johnson Sayre Health Center and faculty member
of the Family Medicine and Community Health Department. Her passion is
learning and teaching about the effects of environmental factors and
toxicology on personal health. She is currently undertaking a study at the
Center of Excellence in Environmental Toxicology about the health impacts
of unconventional natural gas drilling in Pennsylvania.

Marcellus Shale and Pipeline Infrastructure: What You Need to Know and Why
Lynda Farrell, Executive Director of Pipeline Safety Coalition, a
non-profit formed as a clearinghouse for factual unbiased information to
increase public awareness and participation in pipeline safety issues.
Lynda and four of her neighbors were successful in fending off eminent
domain in a landmark Federal Court decision to protect their land, steep
slopes and the historic Brandywine Creek. Lynda Farrell for over a decade
has combined her diverse background in education, finance, marketing and
farming to provide environmental/agricultural consulting and grant

Unconventional Natural Gas Extraction in Energy Production Landscapes:
Interactions Among Historical and Contemporary Processes

Dan Bain, Ph.D., Assistant Professor at the University of Pittsburgh,
Department of Geology and Planetary Science will relate how the
unconventional extraction of natural gas from the Marcellus Shale
Formation is a recent but rapidly growing activity in Pennsylvania that
depends on relatively recent technological advances and that our ability
to evaluate risks is hindered by limited experience in how production
activities effect the landscape.  In particular, areas in southwestern
Pennsylvania which have undergone earlier periods of historical coal
mining, introducing a relatively distinct set of shallow groundwater and
geochemical conditions.  Incorporating such differences into our
conceptual management frameworks is essential to successful evaluation of
risk in decision making processes.

Health and Safety Considerations of the Marcellus Shale Production Process
Jill Kriesky, Ph.D., is the Senior Project Coordinator for the Center for
Healthy Environments and Communities and an affiliate in the Graduate
School of Public Health at the University of Pittsburgh. She will address
the health and safety concerns at all stages of unconventional natural gas
drilling. The Center for Healthy Environments and Communities has a
community-based approach to analyze social, economic, political, policy,
behaviors and geographical variables associated with environmental issues.

Professional  Experiences in Health Care Relating to Workers and Patients
Registered nurses caring for injuries and illnesses related to natural gas
drilling will provide insight into concerns and safety issues as they
relate to their first hand experiences in their profession.

Duquesne University PresentationsDuquesne University Students of the class of Philosophy of Technology in
order to complete their service learning requirement will do two power
point presentations: What Constitutes Good Scientific Research with an
Examination of Problems and Conflicts of Interests Among Researchers and
Pennsylvania's Clean and Green Concerning the Impact of going from
Agricultural to Industrial.

Various environmental groups and health organizations will be present to
distribute information to the public.

Visit our website to register for door prizes www.ptmsa.com

9:30  AM  What Constitutes Good Scientific Research – Duquesne University
10:00 AM  Health Impacts of Unconventional Gas Drilling – Poune’ Saberi,
M.D., University of Pennsylvania
11:00 AM  Marcellus Shale and Pipeline Infrastructure – Lynda Farrell,
Executive Director, Pipeline Safety Coalition
12:00 AM  PA’s Clean and Green, Going from Agricultural to Industrial –
Duquesne University Students
12:30 PM  Natural Gas Extraction in Energy Production Landscapes – Dan
Bain, Ph.D. Geologist, U. of Pittsburgh
1:00  PM   Health and Safety Issues of the Mar.Shale Production Process –
Jill Kriesky, Ph.D. University of Pgh. GSPH
1:30  PM   Professional Experiences in Health Care Relating to Workers and
Patients – Registered Nurses

9:30 a.m. - 2 p.m. in the ballroom area of the Hilton Garden Inn - Southpointe (1000 Corporate Drive, Canonsburg, PA 15317;  use Exit 48 off of I -79;  (724) 743-5000).  Door Prize Registration at 9:30 AM

Oct 13-15: Convergence for Social Justice

For the first time ever, hundreds of grassroots organizations, groups, and individuals—spanning across 10 counties in Southwestern  Pennsylvania—will come together to participate in a major convergence to advance social justice in the region. The Three Rivers Community Foundation, in concert with other progressive grantmakers and organizations in Southwestern Pennsylvania, are proud to present:

Building Change: A Convergence for Social Justice

         Renowned Keynote Speaker Winona LaDuke
         Development of a five-year Action Plan for Building Social Justice for the region
         Five-day, multi-venue Building Change Film Festival
         Major Youth Leadership Event for 350 Young People (October 13)
         7 Pathways to Change Art Show
         Regional Champions of Change Awards Presentation and Ceremony

         Three Rivers Community Foundation Grantee Recognition Event

         Eclectic Mix of Entertainment
         Internship Fair

Additional activities include skill-building workshops, panel discussions, roundtable discussions, keynote speakers, and plenary sessions on a wide range of issues such as Disability Rights, Economic Empowerment, Environmental Sustainability, LGBTQ Advocacy, Peace/Human Rights, Racial Equity, and Women, Youth and Families Rights.

This event presents many opportunities for networking and involvement, including tabling, sponsorship, presenting, serving on a discussion panel, and participating in relevant workshops and skill building sessions.

October 13-15, 2011 at the Senator John Heinz Regional History Center.  Please spread the word to organizations and individuals working for social change.  For more information and to register for the Convergence, visit www.buildingchangewpa.org, email trcf@trcfwpa.org, or call 412-243-9250.  There are still opportunities to table and put an ad in the program book.  Join the buzz on Facebook by clicking here.

Oct 8: Marcellus protest at Marburger dairy farm

Keep fracking chemicals out of our milk, food and schools!
oct outrage image

Join Marcellus Outreach Butler and concerned PA citizens in opposing Exxon Mobil’s fracking operations on Marburger Dairy Farmland. Marburger Farm Dairy ("Quality in a Bottle") supplies local grocery stores and nearly 700 schools with milk and dairy products from the cows exposed to their new fracking operation.   If you believe our food supply and quality of life is more important than money and gas, come on out!

A rally will be held at the well pad on Marburger Property, Mars-Evans City Rd.,  approximately 1 mile out of Evans City.  Come early,  park in Evans City, and join us at EDCO Park in Evans City between 10:00 and 10:30am to march or be carpooled to the site for a protest rally from 11:30-12:30.  Note that no water or restrooms will be available, and if you come directly to the dairy be sure to leave roadsides in front of the well site clear for rally.  Following the rally at the well site, we will return to EDCO Park for a follow-up rally from 1 to 3 p.m. (pack a picnic lunch!).  Speakers and educational sessions TBA.

Oct 8: Jobs rally, resource, and unity fair


Come one and all to the PA Wants to Work; Jobs Now! Rally,  Resource and Unity Fair.

Join us at this dynamic community event for the whole family, kicking off at noon with speakers and live music featuring Pittsburgh's own Mike Stout.

This event kicks off the national week of action for jobs and unity with America's unemployed, laid-off and underemployed workers. This is the time to come together, get fired up, and demand immediate action from Congress to put America back to work.

Terry Miale, who lost her job when the whole company was outsourced, is our keynote speaker. She will tell the story of her journey from loss, despair and disillusionment to becoming a fighter for struggling workers and the American Dream for all. 

There's power in community and our strength is in unity.

12 noon to 3:30 p.m., with lunch served at 1:30.  Fall fun, crafts and books for the kids, and a free raffle for a Steelers basket.Spread the word;  you can also share this event on facebook.  Pittsburgh Federation of Teachers Hall, 10 South 19th St. Southside of Pgh, 15203.

 These agencies will be on hand: Operating Engineers Apprenticeship Program, Alliance for American Manufacturing, World Class Industrial Networks, Veterans Vocational Services, PA Health Access Network, We Are One Coalition, United Way, Just Harvest, OnePittsburgh, Carnegie Library, North Hills Community Outreach, Reading is FUNdamental, Family Foundations, Pgh Black Nurses in Action, Greater Pittsburgh Community Foodbank, Military Order of the Purple Heart, Goodwill, Working America, Guerilla Eye Services - Univ Of Pgh Dept of Opthalmology, ActionUnited, Rebuilding the Dream, Allegheny County Health Dept Mobile Unit, and more.

Oct 3: Pgh Food Bank at Sustainable Monroeville

Hunger and food access affects one in every seven people in the United States, a total of 14.5% of households.  Fresh produce is often the hardest item for families to obtain and purchase.  At the same time 12% of produce goes unharvested due to the cost of labor, market price of produce and other factors.  Kerri LaCharite, Produce Specialist at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank will speak about local and urban agriculture initiatives and volunteer opportunities in South Western Pennsylvania.

7-8 p.m. in the downstairs program room of the Monroville Public Library, followed by a walk around the new USDA People's Garden.  More info on the Food Bank at http://www.pittsburghfoodbank.org/ and on Sustainable Monroeville at 
www.sustainablemonroeville.com .  You can also join Sustainable Monroeville and Schwartz Market on Facebook!

Oct 1: Backyard composting workshop

You can turn all of your non-meat food scraps, your autumn leaves, your grass clippings, yard and garden waste, your newspapers, even some of your cardboard waste into high-quality compost! This is a rich soil conditioner that will improve the health and productivity of your lawn, trees, shrubs, flowers, veggies and house plants.
It’s easy to do, once you learn some basic rules, and have the right bin. And it’s a great way to re-connect with Nature, give something back, in a very direct way.

Pennsylvania Resources Council has been presenting these workshops for over a decade now. Over 15,000 households have gained solid instruction, quality bins and inspiration to do it themselves.
The workshop thoroughly covers the importance of composting, setting up a compost pile, proper maintenance, troubleshooting and some good ways of using finished compost.  Participants will receive an Earth Machine Compost Bin with attendance. Approved across the state as an ideal bin for urban and suburban areas, it has an eighty-gallon capacity (big enough for even the largest household). If not abused, it can last for many years.

10 a.m. to 12 noon at the Frick Environmental Center on Beechwood Boulevard (near Forbes Ave.).  $50 per adult, $55 per couple (this can be a relative, friend or neighbor, if you share a single bin); children <18 w/adult come for free -- this is a great project to share with your kids!  Register Online at http://www.zerowastepgh.org/  or by phone: 412-488-7490 x236

Oct 1: Rachel's Sustainable Feast

Join the Rachel Carson Homestead for the fifth annual Sustainable Feast! The Feast will showcase sustainable and locally-sourced dishes prepared by Southwestern Pennsylvania’s most popular and talented chefs from restaurants such as Six Penn Kitchen, Avenue B, Tin Front Café, Park Bruges, Red Oak Café, Quiet Storm, Oh Yeah!, LEVY Restaurants, and many more! In addition to mouth-watering cuisine, the event will also feature music, a farmers' market, eco-friendly crafters, artisans and businesses, and politicians and advocacy groups who work to protect our land, water and air.

Dr. Will Clower, food and health guru and author of The French Don't Diet, will speak about sustainability and healthy eating while he hands out chocolate to the crowd. There will be games and family-friendly activities for all to enjoy.

2-6 p.m. at the Springdale High School, just down the hill from Rachel Carson's childhood home.  Tickets are available now. Get yours today before they sell out! Attend the Feast

Oct 1: Furnish for Free!

Who's Your Brother is holding an event that you won't want to miss!

Furnish for Free, our first Community Event, is all about collecting re-usable furnishings, like: furniture, kitchenware, electronics, clothing, and basically anything that furnishes people and their homes. Our purpose is to keep good quality, re-usable goods OUT of the trash and into the hands of people who need them! We will display our collection on the first floor of a giant warehouse located at 201 N. Braddock, 15208, in the Point Breeze section of Pittsburgh (across from the East End Food Co-op), and open it up to the public on Saturday, October 1st. All attendees will have an opportunity to acquire what they need or want either for FREE or for a small donation of $5-10(plus?), whatever they can afford. We ask only that you become a member of Who's Your Brother, if you are not one already. Tell your friends and neighbors and let's have some fun!  You can also find the event on Facebook here.

9 a.m. - 2 p.m. at 201 N. Braddock Avenue, 15208, across from East End Food Co-op.