This month's Sustainability Salon will be on Saturday, October 13, in conjunction with the PennFuture Solar Tour. Upcoming dates and other alerts:
Next salon on November 10th featuring GASP and other speakers on regional air quality along with a visit by the CAPS Mobile Lab, fresh from monitoring Marcellus Shale drilling sites.
Please also note the followup information and action opportunity below from the Clean Rivers Campaign -- there's still time to weigh in on the ALCOSAN Wet Weather Plan (public comment period closes on October 19th).
Here's the scoop on this weekend's event: On Saturday October 13th, please join us for the ninth 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 power, food, trees and park stewardship, alternative energy and climate policy, and regional watershed issues, this month we'll welcome participants of PennFuture's regional Solar Tour as well as Sustainability Salon regulars. Check out the Solar Tour site for photos and information and an interactive guide (complete with a smartphone app!) about our house and 15 other sites in and around Pittsburgh, as well as stops in Cranberry, Washington, Westmoreland, Beaver, and Fayette Counties. You'll be able to visit hosts between 11 a.m. and 4 p.m. on that day, and then we'll carry on with our usual Sustainability Salon activities after that -- conversation, potluck food and drink, and an evening folksing. The Tour requires tickets (a mere $5 contributed toward tour expenses), but if you just want to come to our place then don't worry about it. I can also provide a limited number of tickets for the tour, if you contact me in advance.
At the last Salon, we enjoyed presentations by Tom Hoffman of Clean Water Action, Barney Oursler of Pittsburgh United, and John Stephen of Three Rivers Waterkeeper. All of these organizations and others are participating in a regional collaborative called the Clean Rivers Campaign, building the political power necessary to green the solutions to our Combined Sewer Overflow problem (ALCOSAN's current grey-infrastructure proposal can be seen here). Individuals and organizations still have the opportunity to attend public meetings and send written comments to ALCOSAN, and you can also quickly and easily sign onto the Clean Rivers Campaign itself -- please visit this site to add your name! Tom or I can also provide a separate organizational sign-on form by email, if you would like to connect on behalf of your organization -- that action will carry even more weight, and you can see the excellent company you'd be keeping here. You should send the completed form back to Tom.
On October 13, the Solar Tour starts at 11 a.m. here at our home in Frick Park and elsewhere around town; we'll settle down to conversation and such at 4pm and wind down by around 10 p.m. 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 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!