Sep 30: Sustainability Salon & Sing: Stormwater!

Many Pittsburghers are aware of our Combined Sewer Overflow problem -- whenever it rains, raw sewage along with stormwater runoff are flushed out onto streets and into streams and rivers.  Under a Consent Decree with the EPA, ALCOSAN has been working since 2008 on a plan to mitigate this problem;  they just published their Wet Weather Plan this summer.  Sadly, this multi-billion dollar plan involves more grey infrastructure (like digging gigantic tunnels under the rivers), than greener, more distributed solutions such as permeable pavement, rainwater harvesting and storage, green roofs, increased open space and vegetation, and generally wiser, more affordable, and more sustainable development (most of these approaches have many other benefits as well).  ALCOSAN has been educating the public about watershed issues for years, and points out that they do not actually control the land or facilities upstream (which lie in 83 different municipalities).  There's now a Public Comment period for ALCOSAN's Wet Weather Plan, and at this event you'll be able to learn more, brainstorm possibilities, and weigh in on the path forward.

On Sunday, September 30, please join us for the eighth Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salonanother in our ongoing series of monthly enviro-conversational gatherings with potluck food and homemade music.  Following our rousing discussions on solar powerfoodtrees and park stewardshipand alternative energy and climate policy. this month will focus on these regional watershed issues, the ALCOSAN Wet Weather Plan, and greener solutions to Pittsburgh's Combined Sewer Overflow problem.  Featured speakers will include John Stephen of Three Rivers Waterkeeper, Tom Hoffman of Clean Water Action, and Barney Oursler of Pittsburgh United and the Clean Rivers Campaign.  Check back here as the event approaches to learn about other speakers that will join us as they are confirmed.
3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.   Note that it's on a Sunday this time!  Please email me to RSVP (important for yesses ad maybes, please do so each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies from 25 to 75, and it helps to have a handle on numbers in advance!) 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.  Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events), for updates.  And in a rare bout of advance planning, next month's Sustainability Salon will be in conjunction with the PennFuture Solar Tour, on October 13.

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 to the Beatles, 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.
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.  
-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 some topic, others will be open to whatever comes up.  If you'd like to hear about a particular topic, or hold forth on your own area of expertise, let's talk about a future event!

Sep 30: Biodynamics workshop and potluck

Sep 29: Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival

Come to the Allegheny Green & Innovation Festival at Hartwood Acres & learn about sustainable living and innovation in all forms. This zero-waste, solar-powered event will include earth-friendly food & product vendors, crafters, green living demonstrations, children’s activities & much more!
11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at  Hartwood Acres (Please use the GPS Icon Middle Road Entrance).  Admission & parking are free!  You can find lots more information about activities, exhibits, and things to bring on the event web site.

Sep 28-30: Allegheny Defense Project fall gathering

The Allegheny Defense Project (ADP) is holding its 19th Annual Fall Gathering at the Homestead of Bill and Mary Belitskus near the Allegheny National Forest (ANF). The theme this year is "Defend Your Place." 
The Allegheny National Forest and its communities are targeted as resource colonies for unconventional shale gas extraction from foreign oil companies like Royal Dutch Shell.  Shell just received almost $2 billion in taxpayer handouts from our legislators to construct an ethane plant in western Pennsylvania. This climate changing fossil-fuel boondoggle will be fed through a maze of taxpayer subsidized wells and pipelines from the Allegheny forest and surrounding area.
Please join the Allegheny Defense Project in defending "our" place (water, air and soil) and celebrating our work of defending the Allegheny.  Take part in the camaraderie with fellow activists while camping, hiking, participating in workshops, listening to music, eating great food, and just having fun!
The Fall Gathering is a family oriented event providing time for Allegheny Defense Project members, supporters and “environmentally conscious” individuals to come together in the fall to camp, hike, eat and learn about issues impacting the Allegheny National Forest, Pennsylvania’s only national forest.
This year's Fall Gathering is RSVP only so that we can send you directions to the location and plan for food. (we will be asking for donations for each meal, or a donation of  $25 for the weekend). Meals are vegan and vegetarian, but feel free to bring your own supplies to supplement.  Visit the event web site for the event schedule, map (the event is in Kane, PA), contact information, and online registration.

You can come out and spend whatever time you have whether its for one event, a meal, any day, the whole weekend, or just stop by for the campfire in the evening. If you can provide a dish, or can help with kitchen duties please let us know :) Please also bring all of your own camping equipment including cup, plate, and spoon. If you would like to join us, but do not have equipment, we may be able to hook you up with some...let us know!


Celebrate your right to read without censorship, at FREADOM!  Join the ACLU for an evening of banned-books readings, as some of Pittsburgh's celebrities read selections from their favorite banned or challenged books.

7 p.m. at the Frick Fine Arts building, across from the Carnegie Library lecture hall.  Here's a Map (on University of Pittsburgh web site)

Readers will include

  • Jeremy Braverman, independent filmmaker
  • Dr. Goddess (Kimberly Ellis), writer, entertainer, entrepreneur, scholar, activist
  • Kathleen George & Hilary Masters, novelists , professors, married… to each other
  • Carl Kurlander, screenwriter, producer, Executive Producer at Steeltown Entertainment
  • Virginia Montanez, aka Pitt Girl, Blogger- That’s Church , Pittsburgh Magazine columnist
  • Gemini Children’s Theater, interactive children’s theater
PLUS: ( Avert your eyes! ) A Short History of Banned Art
For a list of over 1000 Banned and Challenged Books, click here.
Sponsored by
  • Greater Pittsburgh Chapter of the ACLU-PA
  • Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh
  • WYEP 91.3FM

The program is supported by a grant from the Judith F. Krug Memorial Fund of the Freedom to Read Foundation and with generous support from The Judith Krug First Amendment Fund of the Jewish Community Foundation of the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh

Sep 26: Marcellus and Medicalization: Art & Science of Air

Please join the Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research and CMU's Miller gallery for a talk by Albert Presto from the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies, held in conjunction with the ongoing Miller Gallery exhibit “Imperfect Health: The Medicalization of Architecture”

Wednesday, September 26, 2012 4-6pm: Presentation: Air quality, regional pollution exposure, & the Marcellus Shale by Albert Presto from the Center for Atmospheric Particle Studies
Co-Presented by Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research + University Health Services
Location: the CAPS Mobile Lab will be located outside of the entrance to the Purnell Center for the Arts, CMU.  Attendees are invited to visit the visit the CAPS Mobile Lab, stay for the talk and visit the Miller Gallery to view the Imperfect Health exhibit.

Sep 22: Fall Stream Sweep

Join NMRWA on Saturday, 9/22 and help us keep the stream clean and beautiful by picking up the trash and debris that flows into Nine Mile Run every time it rains. We will provide gloves, safety vests, and trash bags, but please wear long pants and sturdy boots or closed-toe shoes. 

Please register here. For more information, please contact Sara Powell at 412-371-8779 ext. 123 or

Sep 21: Green Drinks virtually visits Korea

Join host Ron Gaydos, GSE Chair, and the Rotary's Group Study Exchange team as they share their travel adventures in in South Korea earlier this year.

The focus of the GSE's journey to Seoul in the Republic of Korea was on was green buildings and sustainable development.  In the face of a rapidly growing economy and population, the ROK proved to be very forward-thinking about resources and the built environment. Your co-hosts this evening, Chelsea Burket, Jenna Cramer, Cat Sheane, Cole Williams, and their team leader Denny Crawford have far more to tell you than time allows tonight. We're figuring out a way to make photos, presentations, and other information available.  Stay tuned on that.

5:30-8:30 at Luke Wholey's Wild Alaskan Grille, 2106 Penn Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222 (412.904.4509).  Restaurant Website   and   Directions 

If you are interested yourself in participating in a future GSE, please take one of the flyers or get in touch with Ron at

Pittsburgh Green Drinks

Green Drinks Calendar for the remainder of 2012:

*  September 21st, Hosts, Green Building Alliance and Rotary Korea Team
*  October 19th Elements 
*  November 16th, Scott and Eva Kerschbaumer, EsSpa Kozmetica
*  December 21st, Someplace Special

What is Green Drinks? Every month, people who work in the environmental field or have an interest in a greener planet meet up for drinks all around the world at informal sessions known as Green Drinks. We have a lively mixture of people from NGO's, academia, government 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 some new contacts. Everyone invites someone else along, so there is 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' like to help it spreading to other cities.  Green Drinks meets on the third Friday of the month.  Put it on your calendar and count on it: Green Drinks is happening every month.

Email us at with questions, comments. 

 Pittsburgh Green Drinks Data Sheet
WHAT: The world-famous Green Drinks
WHEN: Third Friday of the month, 5:00-9:00 pm
STATUS: Informal, self-organizing network
GLOBAL: Now active in 812 cities worldwide. Every month globally since 1989, locally since 2005. 
Average attendance: 90
WHERE: Rotating venues in Pittsburgh
HOW: Walk, cycle, bus, boat, taxi or drive
WHO: Anyone working on environmental issues 
or who wants to!
WHY: Fun, contacts, alcohol (or not), info, gossip, inspiration, business and pleasure
NEW: Just go up to someone and say "are you green?", and you'll be made welcome.

Join the Green Drinks Email List

Sep 20: Clean Water Action fundraiser

Save the date for Clean Water Action's 2012 Fundraiser

6-9 p.m. at Bidwell Training Center/Manchester Craftsmen's Guild.

Sep 16: Grow Pittsburgh fundraiser

Our friends at Grow Pittsburgh are pleased to announce their third annual fundraiser, A Taste of Grow Pittsburgh will be held on Sunday September 16, 2012 from 2:00pm-5:00pm at Pittsburgh Center for the Arts in Shadyside.

The evening will feature an assortment of tastings from Grow Pittsburgh's restaurant partners that purchase locally grown produce from our urban farm sites directly from us and from those who host Let Us Eat fundraising dinners. 

Guests will be invited to indulge in organic foods, sip local beer, wine and coffee, bid on wonderful silent auction packages and enjoy live local music from Chet Vincent and the Big Bend!

Participating restaurants include: Abay, Alma, Avenue B, Bar Marco, Casbah, E2, East End Food Co-op, Habitat, La Prima Espresso, Legume, Root 174, Salt of The Earth, Square Cafe, The Porch at Schenley and Whole Foods

Tickets are $60 for Grow Pittsburgh Annual Members and $75 for the General Public.  

Not a Grow Pittsburgh Annual Member?  Join here!

 Purchase your tickets today!

Sep 16: National Orienteering Day

Get out and about with map & compass!  National Orienteering Day is just around the corner. As we did last year, this will be a free event for beginners and will have two beginner courses to try out. In addition, Jim Trautmann has designed challenging yellow (3.9 km), orange (4.6 km) and red (7.9 km) courses. We will also have a special "speed string-o" that will be free for everyone and takes only a few minutes; it will give you a chance to see how electronic punching works.

Registration and starts from 11 am to 2 pm; regular map fees applies for those folks that have done this before ($5/$4 for club members- price is per map: should family or group do the event together with just one map, entire group pays just for the one map purchased); for beginners and first-timers it is F-R-E-E. A fe

 w items to be given away in celebration of NOD. More information can be found at Driving directions are given below.

Starting any time 11-2 p.m. in Deer Lakes Park.  From PA Turnpike exit 48, go toward Cheswick/Springdale for about 0.5 miles (to the first traffic light). Turn left onto Pearl Street (this becomes Deer Creek Valley Rd). Follow this road for 5.7 miles going straight through at three stop signs.

The last stop sign is in north Russellton; take the next right after this stop sign (just past the First Commonwealth Bank). The road is labeled Orange Belt. Go about 150 meters under a railroad overpass and turn left into Deer Lakes Park. Follow the red and white orienteering signs in the park to the meet site.

From route 28, take exit 12 and turn right onto Hite Street. Follow Hite about 0.3 miles to the intersection with Deer Creek Valley Rd (also called Russellton Rd). Turn right at the stop sign and follow Deer Creek Valley Rd about 4.7 miles through two more stop signs. Then, continue as above.

Sep 15: ALCOSAN Open House

Especially as Pittsburgh considers its options for fixing the Combined Sewer Overflow Problem, it's a great time to check out the annual ALCOSAN Open House.  (and to join us for discussion of the issue at the next Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon)

ALCOSAN, a.k.a. the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, holds its annual Open Housethe region's largest watershed and environmental festival, featuring treatment plant and laboratory tours, watershed life presentations, hands-on environmental activities, games, food and fun!

9-4 p.m. at the ALCOSAN facility at 3300 Preble Avenue, 15233. Current directions by bus and car are online. The event is free and open to the public. Lots more information can be found here.

Sept 15: Tree Tender course on Washington's Landing

Become a Tree Tender in 2012!
tree tender logo
Not a Tree Tender yet?  Join Tree Pittsburgh at one of our popular coursesand learn about urban forestry, tree biology, pruning, planting, and tree maintenance basics.  We expect to train our 1000th Tree Tender in our March course!  Could you be him or her?  We plan to celebrate!

Register for one of these Tree Tender Courses here, and join nearly 1000 Pittsburghers greening the City, one tree at a time: 
  • Saturday March 10th, Carlow University, Oakland
  • Saturday June 16th, Rothschild-Doyno Collaborative, Strip District
  • Saturday September 15th, Western PA Conservancy, Washington's Landing
Tree Tenders was chosen as the "Best Way to Get Your Hands Dirty" by the City Paper in 2011! 

Sep 14: YERT screening in Millvale

Filmmaker Mark Dixon will be at a special FREE YERT screening in Millvale-- just across the river from Lawrenceville. Come on by if you have yet to see the film, or just want to hang out and watch it again!

50 States. 1 Year. Zero Garbage? Called to action by a planet in peril, three friends hit the road - traveling America with hope, humor...and all of their garbage - to explore the good, the bad, and the weird across every state in search of the extraordinary innovators and courageous citiz

ens who are tackling humanity's greatest environmental crises. As the YERT team layers outlandish eco-challenges onto their year-long quest, an unexpected turn of events throws the project for a loop in this awardwinning docu-comedy.
For more information:

This event is co-sponsored by the Department of Studio Arts at The University of Pittsburgh and the Millvale Community Library. YERT Producer and Co-Creator, Mark Dixon, will be there for Q&A after the screening.

Sep 13: Amy Goodman at CMU

"Amy Goodman has taken investigative journalism to new heights of exciting, informative, and probing analysis."—Noam Chomsky

The Silenced Majority pulls back the veil of corporate media reporting to dig deep into the politics of "climate apartheid," the implications of the Fukushima nuclear disaster, the movement to halt the execution of Troy Anthony Davis, and the globalization of dissent "From Tahrir Square to Liberty Plaza." Throughout Goodman and Moynihan show the power of ordinary people to change their media—and change the world.

Amy Goodman is a multiple New York Times best-selling author and the host and executive producer of Democracy Now! a daily independent news program airing on more than one thousand television and radio stations. Time named Democracy Now! its "Pick of the Podcasts," along with NBC's Meet the Press. Goodman is the first journalist to receive the Right Livelihood Award, widely known as the "Alternative Nobel Prize."

Sep 2: Stroll Through Schenley, a Healthy Air Walk

Join GASP and Venture Outdoors for a saunter through Schenley park.  Led by experts in the park's history, flora and fauna, and current condition, the walk will be an informative, relaxed exploration of one of Pittsburgh's most-loved green spaces.  Click the link below to contact Venture Outdoors for more information and to sign up!  Snacks & drinks are included.

1- 4 PM in Schenley Park, Pittsburgh -- in partnership with Venture Outdoors