Jul 31: Koch Brothers Exposed (free screening)

You are cordially invited to a free screening of Koch Brothers Exposed, the compelling new documentary film by Robert Greenwald
From the web-site: "Koch Brothers Exposed is a hard-hitting investigation of the 1% at its very worst... The billionaire brothers bankroll a vast network of organizations that work to undermine the interests of the 99% on issues ranging from Social Security to the environment to civil rights. This film uncovers the Kochs’ corruption—and points the way to how Americans can reclaim their democracy."Koch Brothers Exposed puts a laser-focus on the central question of our times: Will we have a government of, by and for We the People? --- or will big-money forces be allowed to perpetrate a hostile take-over of America's future?
Leaders in the Pittsburgh Coffee Party & the movement for publicly funded elections will intro the movie and facilitate after-discussion.
We Are One coalition partners are encouraged to turn-out and get the word out for this urgent, must-see film experience.
Come one and all! Bring a friend and spread the word.
6:30-8:30 p.m. at the first floor meeting room in the United Steelworkers Building downtown (60 Boulevard of the Allies).  Free parking in the garage beneath the building.

Jul 28: Stop the Frack Attack in DC

From California to New York, from North Dakota to Texas, people across the country are converging on the U.S. Capitol to tell Congress, the President and the world to end the rush to drill and STOP THE FRACK ATTACK.
Stop the Frack AttackJoin a nationwide coalition of citizens, communities and organizations declaring that the time is NOW to use our collective power to end oil and gas drilling that harms public health, water and air quality, and the climate.  The oil and gas industry will stop at nothing to burn all of America's supply of oil and gas.   In the past few years they've drilled thousands of new wells using the dangerous extraction process called hydraulic fracturing ('fracking') which uses millions of gallons of water and toxic chemicals to release natural gas.

Communities coast-to-coast have seen toxic fracking wells drilled beneath schools, in public parks, and in dense residential neighborhoods. That kind of recklessness is a dangerous sign of addiction - and it's time for it to stop.

Until now, the fight against fracking has mainly taken place in city councils, school boards and statehouses -- where it will, and must, continue. But on July 28th, anti-fracking activists are uniting as a national movement for the first time in Washington DC to demand our leaders stop the oil industry's reckless drive for profit.

We're expecting thousands of people to take a stand together - can you be there to join them?  Click here to find out more!

Jul 24: Rousing educational events in Market Square

First, workers, families, and community members will meet in Market Square to play "Low-Wage Limbo" and educate Pittsburgh about building our economy from the ground up.  From there everyone will march to City Council and ask them to pass a resolution that Pittsburgh is in favor of raising the minimum wage!  Folks will gather at 8:30 am in Market Square and will proceed with a march to City Council for a press conference and our resolution. 

Leading up to noon on the same day, A WAKE for OUR COMMONWEALTH: An ad hoc group of Pennsylvanians organized as the Sons and Daughters of Liberty is inviting citizens to participate in a Wake for Our Commonwealth, to be held on Tuesday, July 24th at noon in Market Square, Pittsburgh. The event will include street theater and a proclamation over the coffin of the sadly deceased Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. There will be a solemn and dignified procession preceded by some music.  Then, commencing within Market Square, beginning at noon, we will bear the casket of our deceased Commonwealth, followed by a revealing skit about the kind of state shenanigans that killed off representative government. There will be, at the end of the procession, a mocking and ridiculous interment of the Commonwealth at the hands of Governor Corbett.  A mix of music and outrage!

This reminds me (Maren) very much of the Fasnacht celebrations in Switzerland (the equivalent of Mardi Gras, lasting about a week and having a strong political component).  In the Swiss village where we spent part of our sabbatical the Prince of Carnival takes his special seat in the town office for the week of the festival (which is marked by many events including a parade of children waking the whole town up very early the first morning, troupes of costumed citizens making the rounds of local pubs and restaurants performing political comedy skits, and parades featuring some truly amazing bands brought together for the occasion), and at the end is sadly mourned (with many speeches and much weeping by costumed villagers -- many in drag -- paraded through the town, and ultimately hung off the bridge connecting Switzerland and Germany, burned in effigy, and the remains floated down the Rhine.

Jul 23: Community forum on Voter ID law

These new Voter ID laws are cropping up in many states -- supposedly to combat voter fraud, but in effect disenfranchising countless minorities, elders, students, and people with disabilities.  Find out about what's at stake, help educate your friends and neighbors, and get connected with outreach efforts.

Speakers and panelists will include PA Representative Dan Frankel, former Pgh Mayor Sophie Masloff, County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, ACLU Pgh director Barb Feige, LWV Pgh past president Arlene Levy, and County Elections Manager Mark Wolosik.

7 p.m. at the JCC (Levinson Hall), 5738 Forbes Ave. in Squirrel Hill.  Free and open to the public.

Voter ID forum

Jul 21: Sustainability Salon & Sing: Alternative Energy & Climate Policy

Join us for the Sixth Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon, another in our ongoing series of monthly enviro-conversational gatherings with potluck food and homemade music.  Following our rousing discussions on solar powerfood, trees and park stewardship, and a couple of open-topic events, this month's Sustainability Salon will focus on alternative energy and climate policy.  Featured speakers will include Fred Kraybill, with a PowerPoint about US energy policy and its results in the alternative energy realm, and Peter Wray, the Conservation Chair of the Sierra Club's Allegheny Group, who will hold forth on global and regional issues from Kyoto, China & India, and the "population" taboo to Citizens United and turnpike speed limits.  Check back here to learn about other speakers that will join us.
3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.   Please email me to RSVP (important, even if you know right where we live, or are a maybe, please do so each time -- it helps greatly in several ways) and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em.  Be sure to include "salon" in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  Bring food or drink to share if you can, along with musical instruments if you play.  

I'm still finalizing featured speakers;  check back here for event updates.
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 of any kind.  The more the merrier!  Local fare is always particularly welcome, whether homegrown or boughten.  Dishes containing meat are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, don't forget the evening sing -- we typically run the gamut from Irish fiddle tunes to protest songs, and a fun time is had by all.  Bring instruments if you play, and/or pick up one of ours!  Conversations will continue through the evening as well.
-salon |səˈlän; saˈlô n |:  (historical) a regular social gathering of eminent people (esp. writers and artists) at the house of a woman prominent in high society;  a meeting of intellectuals or other eminent people at the invitation of a celebrity or socialite.
Regular, that's the plan.  Eminent and intellectual people, to be sure -- that's yinz.  House, check.  Woman, c'est moi.  High society, celebrity, socialite?  Not so much.  Salons occurred in 17th-century France, purportedly powering the Enlightenment, and were more recently repopularized by the Utne Reader.  I've long contemplated hosting an ongoing series of conversational salons in this tradition: informal gatherings around the notion of sustainability.  Some will have a featured guest to lead a discussion on a particular topic, others will be open to whatever comes up. 

Jul 19: GASP Open House

Join us for GASPʼs Open House

Thursday, July 19th 5:30-7:30pm at our new office:
5135 Penn Ave., Pittsburgh 15224

• Learn about GASPʼs recent victories and current projects.

• Meet the GASP staff, board, members, and others who care about cleaning up our regionʼs air.

• View a recently discovered 1970ʼs short film and cartoon which depict the fight for clean air in Pittsburgh.

• Enjoy refreshing cocktails and yummy hors dʼoeuvres.

FREE and open to the public, but please RSVP to jamin@gasp-pgh.org.

Jul 19: Ford people & plug-ins at The Electric Garage

The Electric Garage will host Chris Lear, Senior Development Engineer in Ford's Plug-in Hybrid Vehicle group, along with a team of engineers and five plug-in hybrid vehicles (four Ford C-Max Energi PHEVs and one Fusion Energi PHEV, photo attached). The team has driven from Michigan for evaluation testing, taking advantage of Pittsburgh's hilly terrain, and the availability of level 2 charging at the Electric Garage. If you'd like to talk to the Ford engineers and see the latest plug-in hybrid vehicles from Ford, please attend this informal gathering on Thursday evening.

This informal open house will take place from 6-7 p.m. at The Electric Garage, 4621 Forbes Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15243.  Free and open to the public

Jul 16: Press Event for Clean Air

GASP'S Athletes United Needs You!     

Imagine: Pittsburgh's beautiful skyline, cyclists whizzing by on a trail, and you, all on the nightly news!  GASP needs you to come to a press event on Monday, July 16th, to show support for cleaner air for our region (and the whole country).

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is considering lowering the allowed amounts of particulate pollution in our air.  Particulate matter can affect your athletic performance and your overall health.  While any reduction will be appreciated, EPA is considering a range of levels--from a small reduction to a big one.  GASP will be submitting comments on their plan, asking EPA to choose their strongest option.   

And we can't do it alone.  We're looking for you to join us as we explain this to the media.  The more people in the frame, the better!  Come in your regular clothes or dressed in an outfit from your sport of choice--cyclists' spandex, skateboard pads, running gear, or whatever you'd like.  All participants will get a FREE Athletes United t-shirt, in white or charcoal (image here), and kids get a free kite!  Please contact Jamin via email or at (412) 924-0604 for information, to RSVP.

Press event begins at noon, in the parking lot behind Riverwalk Corporate Centre (formerly the Terminal Building) on the South Side.  Click here for a Google Map.  Walking/cycling directions:  take the Three Rivers Heritage Trail on the South Side to where it intersects 4th Street.  If you're driving, take 4th Street north from East Carson Streettoward the river.  Cross the railroad tracks, and turn right into the parking area.

Jul 15: Tour de Frack reception at the Pump House

Don't forget the Tour de Frack reception/benefit event at the Pump House!  Music by Mike Stout and Gerard Rohlf (of the famed "Newlanders" group, and likely other local folks for your entertainment pleasure!  Welcome the Tour de Frack bicyclists, who will be there ready to ride on after their ride in from the Butler area and the mass ride on Sunday afternoon!

Free admission, light snacks & pop provided.  Donations solicited but not required.  The Pump House is adjacent to the Waterfront mall in Homestead.  

July 15-28: Tour de Frack Marcellus bike tour


Activism in Motion...  Welcome to Tour de FRACK (tdf), an action oriented way to explore rural communities and the effects unconventional gas drilling from the saddle of your bike.  Traveling by bike connects you to a place in a way that no other mode of transportation does.  It allows you to see people, land, and even time from a new perspective.  

The bike is only a small part of the story.  This effort is designed to be a change in perspective and a vehicle to pull the national focus towards human tales of fracking while uniting the voices of those who have lived and seen its true dangers.

We are organizing a 14-day bike tour from July 15-July 28, 2012 from Butler, PA (about 45 miles north of Pittsburgh) to Washington DC along the Great Allegheny Passage (GAP) and C&O towpath (C&O)Along the Way We Will:

  • Organize, facilitate, and coordinate with events along the trail
  • Explore sites of proposed wells
  • Study renewable energy sources along the ride (wind, solar, and water power)
  • Point out the continuing damage caused by coal mining (acid runoff, mountain top removal)
  • Support local economies
  • Deliver personal accounts to the White House, EPA, Congress, and other bodies in DC
Want to join tdf?  Want to tell your story? Want to help organize?  Want to donate?  Want some tdf gear? You can also find tdf on Facebook.

Jul 15: Tour de Frack kickoff ride

More information at http://www.tourdefrack.com/ 

Jul 12: Climate Change & Health symposium

Health Care Without Harm and the Magee-Women’s Hospital of UPMC present 
A Symposium on Climate Change and Health.

"A warmer and more variable climate threatens to lead to higher levels of some air pollutants, increase transmission of diseases through unclean water and through contaminated food, to compromise agricultural production in some of the least developed countries, and increase the hazards of extreme weather.” 
-- World Health Organization

Terry Collins, Teresa Heinz Professor of Green Chemistry at CMU on "Energy and Sustainability"
Gary Cohen, President of Health Care Without Harm on Climate Change and Health

Panel Discusssion:  
Phillip R.S. Johnson, the Heinz Endowments Breathe Project
Dr. Noe Copley-Woods,Physician Practices to Reduce Waste in the Hospital Setting
Nina Kaktins, Pennsylvania State Nurses Association, “Nurses Role in Recognizing, Educating,  and Advocating for Healthy Energy Choices” 
8-11:30 a.m. in the Mellon Institute of Carnegie Mellon University, 4400 Fifth Avenue—enter the building at street level off South Bellefield.  The Mellon Institute Auditorium venue is on the second floor and easy to find from the South Bellefield Avenue entrance.  This event is FREE but registration is required by calling the Magee education department at 412-802-8299.  Nursing CE’s have been applied for.  

Jul 9-10: Retail Farm Market Tour

Explore some of the best examples of farm markets in the region on this two day tour through western Pennsylvania and eastern Ohio. We will learn about direct marketing as we sightsee—with plenty of discussions, food and fun for all.  We will tour eight premier farms and businesses with a focus on the marketing strategies that have helped make these businesses successful.

We will begin the tour at Giant Eagle’s flagship Market District in Robinson, PA and make our way north looking at some great examples of family owned and operated farm markets, ending the day with a relaxing wine tour and tasting at Wilhelm Winery. On day two we will head west to Covered Bridge Gardens in Jefferson, OH and fill the day with focuses on local meats, produce operations, CSA’s and agritourism.

We have something for everyone — seasonal, year round, produce, food, tourism, value-added, entertainment and educational farm direct-to-consumer marketing at its finest!

Who Should Attend:  Anyone interested in what makes a great farm visitor experience. Farm or farm market owner, manager, personnel or  general food enthusiast interested in seeing and learning from a variety of retail farm markets and agritourism entrepreneurs.

What You Will See: We will tour each operation and focus on what has made it a success. The emphasis is on seeing what other farm markets and businesses are doing. This is a great opportunity for peer networking, sharing and learning!

Early Bird Price (by June 15): $180 per person (double occupancy, $240 per person (single occupancy).  June 16-25: $210 per person (double occupancy, $255 per person (single occupancy).   
Fee includes transportation, overnight at Hampton Inn Meadville, 6 meals, all snacks, wine tasting and all tours.  

Buses will depart from the Penn State Extension's Allegheny County Office, where there is free overnight parking in a secure lot.  
Pick-up and return location details, contact information, tour schedules and lodging arrangement confirmation are sent as we process paid registrations.  
For additional information or to register, email 
Tawnesha Anderson or call 

Tour Itinerary:  

Giant Eagle Market District Settler’s Ridge
Pittsburgh, PA
Giant Eagle’s flagship Market District store offering a world-class shopping experience with the promise of the best and tastiest food ideas and discoveries that are sure to inspire the food lover in you.

Soergel Orchards Family Farm Market
Wexford, PA
Soergel Orchards, family-owned and operated since 1850, consists of a farm market, bakery, deli,
turn-of-the century gift barn, garden center, greenhouses, cider press, and most recently, a specialty foods store featuring organic, natural, gluten-free and allergen-free foods. It is a  Pittsburgh-area destination for wholesome family-friendly events, festivals and activities throughout the year.

Volant Village Shops    Volant, PA
Volant is a unique village of quaint shops and restaurants. The old-fashioned main street, nestled in the rolling hills of scenic western Pennsylvania Amish country, features
merchants dealing in the arcane, rustic and eccentric. From Amish furniture to miniatures to teas, specialties of all sorts abound.

Wilhelm Winery   Hadley, PA
Established in 2000, Wilhelm Winery was created from a passion for winemaking that started in a basement and grew into a full-scale business. Their philosophy on wine begins with growing and using only the finest quality grapes and their commitment to detail continues through the entire winemaking process. Wilhelm offers an Antique Wine Making Museum along with their delicious, handcrafted wines .

Covered Bridge Garden    Jefferson, OH
The Prochko family has been a part of the agricultural community in Ashtabula County since 1936. Today Covered Bridge Gardens produces over 45 acres of fresh market vegetables. Their produce is delivered to farmers markets across northeast Ohio and their farm provides Consumer Supported Agriculture (CSA) memberships to over 300 families.

Molnar Farms    Poland, OH
Family owned for three generations and counting, Molnar Farms offers the exceptional local produce.  Their farm market operates seasonally from strawberry season in May through Halloween, offering everything from sweet berries and famous corn to pumpkins and mums for fall and so much in between. They also carry fresh baked goods and specialty items.

White House Fruit Farm    Canfield, OH
Today the second and third generations of Hull Family operate one of the largest and finest farm markets in the state of Ohio. They now grow over 75 acres of fruit and vegetables, and sell all of their production on the farm as well as other local produce. In addition, White House offers Ohio cheeses and meats, homemade donuts, pies, breads & cookies. They are also known for their fresh apple cider and delicious homemade fudge.

Jul 1: Earlybird registration for Peacemaker Academy

The Peacemaker Academy is inspired by the Nonviolent Communication work of Dr. Marshall Rosenberg, as well as by teachers and learners around the world. We seek transformation for ourselves, our relationships, and the world, both through tangible changes in the systems in which we live, and through consciousness transformation in ourselves and others.

Join Steps2Peace (and my sister Santha) in the Hudson River Valley on several weekends this fall to explore what it truly means to 'be the change that we seek in the world.' As they create a field of play in which you can open to mutual care and compassion, you will examine what blocks and what supports the Peacemaker within us and within our communities.

By applying the principles of Nonviolent Communication and by building peacemaking and leadership skills, you will explore how "process-oriented" work like NVC can effect change on a deep systemic level, in whatever context is meaningful to each participant.

Topics May Include:

Inner Work: connecting to needs as basic life energies   *   living in alignment with principles of nonviolence   *   living interdependence   *   being powerfully vulnerable   *   transforming our response to habitual triggers   *   getting off the wheel of shame and blame   *   empathy and self-empathy   * self care: connecting with your own needs   *   avoiding burnout   *   being effective and joyful in relationships and work *   overcoming hopelessness, anger, shame and blame

Interpersonal Work: expressing ourselves honestly and authentically   * creating the understanding and connection we want * hearing others' experience in ways that deeply resonate with our own   *   rethinking how we hear and value story, the past, narrative and identity * transforming conflict to partnership *  learning how to hear" no", how to say "no"

Peacemaking and Changing the World: developing a needs-based focus for greater  effectiveness and systems change   * creating strategies that value everyone's needs   * transforming our perception to avoid replacing one system of domination with another   *  reconciliation and forgiveness  * supporting willingness to change in ways that respect and value all life   * violence, peace  and  nonviolence   * using restorative principles for systems change *  Restorative Circles *  community and community well-being   * the nature of power: power over and power with   *   gratitude and mourning *  spirituality  *   money as relationship   *   taking dialogue to the level of shared connection and shared strategizing   *   skills to stay in challenging dialogues

In addition to four Residential Trainings (September 6-10, October 6-8, November 3-4, and December 1-2), this program includes weekly tele-classes led by a trainer, weekly practice sessions, and participation in a Restorative System throughout the four months of the Academy.
Residential Trainings will take place just two hours north of NYC at Miriam's Well in Saugerties, NY. Miriam's Well is a beautiful sanctuary dedicated to spiritual growth and transformation , located where the Catskill Mountains meet the Hudson River Valley.  Between the monthly gatherings, there will be weekly teleclasses with a trainer and weekly partner support sessions.

More information is available on the Steps2Peace web site, and you can check back for updates and discussion on the Facebook event page.  An earlybird registration discount of $200 applies before July 1.