Nov 23: Shale gas conference & health fair

This conference/health fair features nationally known experts presenting the latest research about shale gas extraction and public health, plus interactive exhibits.

Saturday November 23, 2013  9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Heinz History Center, 1212 Smallman Street Pittsburgh PA 15222 (5th Floor).  Sponsored by the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.  FREE and open to the public but you must register to attend.  Lots more information and registration at    (or call 1-800-61-SHALE (800-617-4253))

Nov 23: Upcycle Make & Take

Future Tenant is teaming up with Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore to present The Upcycle Make and Take, a workshop for creating original holiday ornaments out of recycled materials.
Future Tenant is celebrating the possibilities of creating beautiful art while also being kind to the earth.  Surrounded by the repurposed artwork of Tree Pittsburgh’s Arbor Aid exhibit, The Upcycle Make and Take event allows you to channel your own inner artist! Guests will be able to get creative and do their own upcycling by using a variety of recycled materials to create holiday ornaments. 
Materials for this event were generously donated by Habitat for Humanity’s ReStore. 
According to their mission, “The Habitat for Humanity ReStore sells reusable house building and home improvement materials to the public…All proceeds from the sale of donations help place families in affordable shelter in the Greater Pittsburgh area. The ReStore provides an environmentally and socially responsible way to keep good, reusable materials out of the waste stream while providing funding for Habitat’s community improvement work.”
12-2 p.m. at Future Tenant, 819 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15222.  $5 fee.
To learn more about the ReStore, please visit their website at For more information about this event and other Future Tenant programming, please visit

Future Tenant is a non-profit art space located in downtown Pittsburgh at 819 Penn Avenue dedicated to showcasing the work of emerging artists through exhibitions that offer a cutting edge perspective on the Pittsburgh art scene.

Nov 21: Anthony Ingraffea in Butler

The Fracking & Your Health Speakers Series welcomes Dr. Anthony R. Ingraffea, Cornell University School of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Tony Ingraffea is the Dwight C. Baum Professor and Weiss Presidential Teaching Fellow in the College of Engineering at Cornell University. He is also Director of the Cornell Fracture Group and of the Cornell Center for Theory and Simulation in Engineering and Science. Author/co-author of over 200 publications in computational and experimental mechanics, and Principal/Co-Principal investigator of over $32M in sponsored R&D at Cornell, Ingraffea specializes in fracture mechanics and is Co-Editor-in-Chief of Engineering Fracture Mechanics.

Dr. Ingraffea’s recent research projects have been sponsored by the NSF, NASA and DARPA and focus on development, verification, and validation of multi-scale, physics-based simulators of fatigue and fracture processes. Applications have been in a wide variety of material and structural systems.

7 p.m. at Succop Theater at BC3, 107College Drive, Butler, Pennsylvania 16001.  This is a FREE event by the Fracking & Your Health Speakers Series.  Sponsored by the Physicians, Scientists, and Engineers for Healthy Energy - See more

Nov 20: Idle Threat film screening

Can one man’s quest to make the world a better place for everyone to live in, really work?  George Pakenham, self-described vigilante (and filmmaker), walks the streets of New York to stop what many see as a victimless crime: idling. What they don’t realize is how they are contributing to asthma air pollution and the oil crisis. In order to raise awareness, Pakenham goes door-to-door – that is, car door-to-car door – explaining to unknowing drivers that they are breaking the law when they idle for more than three minutes. He just wants the law to be enforced. (2012; 60 min) 

The director is scheduled to attend. 

With Short: Gas Rush Stories: Renewable Energy Experts by Kirsi Jansa. 

7 p.m. at the Harris Theater (
809 Liberty Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15222).  Tickets are $9, available here.  Part of the 32nd Three Rivers Film Festival, co-presented with the Breathe Project.

Nov 19: Gerald Friedman on Single-Payer Health Care

Save Lives, Save Dollars:  The Economic "Cents" Behind Single-Payer Health Care Reform

A public talk by Economics Professor Gerald Friedman, University of Massachusetts--Amherst, and author of the Economic Impact Studies of the single payer model for Pennsylvania (would be established by State Sen. Jim Ferlo's SB400) and for the US.  

7-9 p.m. at the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh, 605 Morewood Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  Co-sponsored by Health Care 4 All PA, University of Pittsburgh's School of Social Work, and the Church. For additional information, email Bob Mason or visit

Nov 18: Film screening Robert Reich's "Inequality for All"

Inequality for All is a new documentary that blends facts, infographics, interviews, and profiles of families whose lives have been scarred by the new economy. All of that is backgrounded against the story of Berkeley Professor Robert Reich’s lifelong work to push for a just economy—including his frustrations serving as Labor Secretary during President Clinton’s first term. The film highlights the fact that working families and the middle class are getting crushed while the super-rich game the system and that idea that it is up to us to build an America that works for all of us.

Inequality for All ties the vast increase in income inequality to the loss of unionization, the diversion of economic growth from wages to CEO compensation and profits, the financialization of the economy, cutting taxes for the wealthy, and the failure of government to keep investing in education and infrastructure.

We invite you to join us for a free screening. Robert Reich himself will be Skyping into our venue for a Q and A. At the screening we will highlight some of the ways we fight inequality here in Pittsburgh and the surrounding region.

Sponsored by the CMU Center for the Arts in Society, Make it Our UPMC, The Pittsburgh Collaborative for Working Class Studies, One Pittsburgh, the Thomas Merton Center, the Carnegie Mellon International Film Festival “Faces of Work,” the CMU English Department, and the CMU Office of Student Affairs.

6:15 p.m. (doors open at 6) in McConomy Auditorium of the Carnegie Mellon University Center (5032 Forbes Ave, 15213 -- near Forbes and Morewood.  Parking is free after hours in the Morewood lot, parking area #3 on this map).   Sponsored by university and community groups including the Center for Arts in Society at CMU, OnePittsburgh, the Humanities Center Film Festival "Faces of Work," and the newly-formed Pittsburgh Collaborative for Working Class Studies.  For more information, contact Kathy M. Newman (Professor of English):  email or 412-983-7094.

Nov 18: City Council hearing on green infrastructure

Join the Clean Rivers Campaign for Investing in Opportunity: Growing Community Benefits Through Green Infrastructure

Join the CRC at 10am (or 9:30 if you want to attend the press conference)  for an important and timely discussion with the Pittsburgh City Council on how we can maximize our largest-ever public investment to stop water pollution and solve multiple community needs at the same time by investing in green infrastructure.  Expert panelists from PWSA, DC Water, the Blue Green Alliance, the Urban Redevelopment Authority, the Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy, and others will share their perspectives and experiences on how green infrastructure has the potential to solve water quality problems, create family-sustaining jobs, and revitalize communities.
It's our responsibility to ensure that public investments in infrastructure create economic opportunities and healthy communities for generations to come.  Help us pack the Council Chambers and show our elected officials that Pittsburgh is ready for strong leaders who make smart and fair investments that benefit local people and create healthy, safe communities.  
Join us and show the City Council that Pittsburgh residents are READY to go green!

Post Agenda Hearing at City Council is at 10 a.m.,  press conferences at 9:30 a.m. at City Council Chambers, City-County Building, 414 Grant Street, 5th Floor.  
Get more details (including a map) and RSVP here:

Nov 18: Environmental history lecture -- Paul Sabin (POSTPONED)


The Bet: Paul Ehrlich, Julian Simon, and Our Gamble Over Earth’s Future
by Paul Sabin, Associate Professor of History and American Studies, Yale University

Are we headed for a world of scarce resources and environmental catastrophe, or will market forces and technological innovation yield greater prosperity?  In this lecture, Yale University professor Paul Sabin will draw on an iconic story to examine the historical conflict between environmentalists and their conservative critics and trace the origins of the political gulf that separates the two sides.  In 1980, the iconoclastic economist Julian Simon challenged celebrity biologist Paul Ehrlich to a bet. Their wager on the future prices of five metals captured the public’s imagination as a test of coming prosperity or doom.  Ehrlich, author of the landmark 1968 book The Population Bomb, predicted that rising populations would cause overconsumption, resource scarcity, and famine—with apocalyptic consequences for humanity. Simon optimistically countered that human welfare would flourish thanks to flexible markets, technological change, and our collective ingenuity. Sabin's lecture will weave the two men’s lives and ideas together with the era’s partisan political battles to show how the clash between environmental fears and free market confidence helped create today’s gaping and rancorous political divide.

Lecture: 4:30 - 6:00 PM, Reception: 6:00 - 6:30 PM in the Peter/Wright/McKenna Rooms in CMU's University Center.  Free and open to the public.  More information on CMU's Environmental History lecture series here.

Nov 16: Sustainability Salon on Environmental Journalism

How do the media -- print, broadcast, and online -- affect public perception of environmental issues?  The 22nd Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon & Sing will focus on environmental journalism, with a terrific group of speakers:
    • Don Hopey, lead environmental reporter for the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette and president of the Society of Environmental Journalists, and David Templeton, coauthor of the groundbreaking Mapping Mortality series.
    • Kathy Knauer, executive producer of The Allegheny Front, Pittsburgh's own environmental radio show on Essential Public Radio, along with reporter Reid Frazier, fresh back from a foray down to Louisiana to learn about the implications of a Shell facility planned for Beaver County
    • Sharon Walsh, editor of the regional online news outlet, Public Source
    • Bill O'Driscoll, who covers a host of environmental issues for the Pittsburgh City Paper
    • Kirsi Jansa, an environmental journalist from Finland known locally and beyond for Gas Rush Stories, which we featured in our February Salon.
Timothy Puko, the writer responsible for much of the Tribune-Review's great environmental coverage, was hoping to join us as well but will be out of town.

The next Sustainability Salon, on December 14th, will be about several Community Mapping projects. January 11th we'll have the first of our wintertime film screenings, along with the usual potluck and sing, winter weather permitting!

3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3pm;  we usually introduce speakers beginning around 4pm after folks have had a chance to meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site.   Please be sure to RSVP (important for yesses and maybes, please do so each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and it helps to have a handle on numbers in advance (we may need to begin limiting attendance);  also, weather and such can be unpredictable and it's good to know who to contact if there's a change -- and I'll send directions and/or a trail map if you need 'em on Friday or Saturday.  If you email, be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  You can also RSVP on Facebook or EventBrite.
 Bring food and/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.  If you'd like to start making your own kombucha, please bring a pint jar along.  And if you aren't yet on my list, if you're interested in Sustainability Salons (and our occasional house concert, simply contact me and I'll put you on my email list.

Note that I'll be sending out directions and such, and any late-breaking info, to all the RSVP'd folks by the morning of the salon if not before.  One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit (assistance would be welcome -- thanks to Beth for all her help so far with the transition to EventBrite), but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  
For the uninitiated, a Sustainability Salon is an educational forum, a venue for discussion and debate about important environmental issues, a house party with an environmental theme.  We usually have featured speakers on a particular topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.
Past topics have included grassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees & park stewardshipalternative energy & climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings & discussions (led by the filmmakers) over the winter with both YERT and Gas Rush Stories, and foodfood, and more food.

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:  wine, beer, hard or sweet cider (the latter we can mull if you like), juice, tea, whatever (I've got the kombucha covered, though it's always fun to compare).  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 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. 

Nov 16: Farm to Table Harvest Tasting

Join Grow Pittsburgh, American Healthcare, and scores of local restaurateurs, growers, bakers, brewers, vintners, and other exhibitors at the 2nd Annual Farm to Table Pittsburgh Harvest Tasting!  Each vendor will provide samples & will have products for sale.  

The Farm to Table Harvest Tasting is a casual gathering that allows consumers to experience first-hand the quality and diversity of locally grown, produced and prepared food. It will be held at The Waterfront in Homestead, PA. The event will be indoors with an outdoor seating option.  

We are expecting 800 local food enthusiasts. This is a great event to meet local Pittsburghers who value their food and are excited to learn how to access local food and beverages. 

The atmosphere is relaxing: music and local food conversation abounds.

3-7 p.m. at 270 West Bridge Street, West Homestead, PA 15120.  Tickets are on sale now -  they're $25 now, $35 after November 10.  A portion of ticket sales will benefit Grow Pittsburgh, an urban agriculture nonprofit.  

Nov 16: Artist health & housing fair

GPAC's inaugural Health & Housing (HE-HO) Fair for Artists, held on Saturday, November 16 from noon - 6 p.m. at the Kingsley Association, will bring artists, their families and low/moderate income citizens directly in touch with local healthcare and housing experts and providers. Through vendors and well-organized seminars, HE-HO will prepare our community of artists for the forthcoming health care reform, the Affordable Care Act, and empower our creative community with the right knowledge on mortgage lending and fair housing by gaining information about buying, renovating, or retrofitting a property. HE-HO will offer health screenings, educational resources, seminars, one-on-one meetings and hands-on activities. Performances by jazz vocalist Anqwenique Wingfield, Phat Man Dee, and the band, Delicious Pastries will complement the Healthy Artists’ exhibition of art posters and the screening of their documentary, Healthy Artists. Poetry will abound with live readings. Child care will be available on-site. HE-HO is sponsored by Dollar Bank and Highmark (Blue Cross Blue Shield), with media sponsorship by City Paper.

Nov 14: Inspire Lecture on Art & Environment

The Art of Environmental Health: Bridging the Gap Between Art, Science, and Community Action
Kicking off this season’s Inspire Speakers Series is an artist and engineer whose innovative and moving approach to creating healthy communities offers a perfect introduction of all that is to come in the sophomore year of this lecture series.  Natalie Jeremijenko will take audiences on an Adventure in Wonderland, where she’ll talk about socio-ecological systems designs, the sport of wrestling rhinoceros beetles, and other strategies to measurably improve our shared environmental health and increase urban biodiversity.

Bobby Vagt, president and CEO of The Heinz Endowments, will discuss the foundation’s work with The Breathe Project, a coalition of residents, businesses, and governments in Southwestern Pennsylvania that are working together to clean up the region’s air quality for the health of its families and economy. He will also share ways that audience members can become involved in this issue.

5:30 – 8 p.m. at Phipps Conservatory & Botanical Gardens, One Schenley Park, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.  Registration is $45, or $25 GBA and Partner Organization Members (Partner organizations for this event include: Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, Tri-State Area School Study Council, The Breathe Project, AIA Pittsburgh, and Sustainable Pittsburgh, or $20 Emerging Professionals, or $15 Students.  You can register online.  *Networking begins at 5:30 and will include coffee and cookies, followed by presentations at 6:00 p.m. Phipps Cafe will be open until 6:00, with the option to purchase to-go food and drinks to bring into the event space. Register here to join the speakers for dinner after their talks.

Check out the rest of the Inspire Speakers Series presenters here! GBA Members save $51 by purchasing the entire series!

About Natalie Jeremijenko:
Named one of the most influential women in technology in 2011 (by Fast Company), Natalie Jeremijenko is an associate professor in New York University’s Visual Arts department and also directs the school’s Environmental Health Clinic (The xDesign Clinic). The clinic’s model is similar to other universities’, except that students and community members make appointments to discuss environmental health concerns and leave with prescriptions for action (instead of pharmaceuticals). Natalie’s unique combination of experience and education has allowed her to view environmental and human health issues through the lens of both an artist and scientist. With degrees in biochemistry, engineering, neuroscience, and history & philosophy of science, she’ll lead audience members through an exploration of the connections between art, science, and community action in creating healthy communities.

More about Natalie:
·         Recently awarded one of 2013 World’s Most Innovative People for her Ecological Innovations by the World Summit on Innovation and Entrepreneurship
·         Named one of the most influential women in technology in 2011 (Fast Company)
·         Included in the 1997 and 2006 Whitney Biennial of American Art
·         Included in the 2006 Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Triennial
·         University of Technology Sydney solo exhibition
·         Previous academia includes Visual Arts faculty at University of California, San Diego; Faculty of Engineering at Yale University; Visiting Professor at Royal College of Art in London; Distinguished Visiting Professor in the Public Understanding of Science at Michigan State University
·         See Natalie’s TED Talk here
·         Learn more about Natalie and her recent exhibitions

About Bobby Vagt, President & CEO, The Heinz Endowments
Bobby Vagt became president & CEO of The Heinz Endowments in 2008 and provides a wide range of expertise to the foundation, including past work in mental health, housing, education, and the environment with special focus on the needs of underserved and underrepresented portions of the population.  Earlier, while he was president of Davidson College from 1997 to 2007, the North Carolina institution became the first liberal arts college in the country to eliminate loans as a part of financial aid to needy students. The change enabled these students to rely primarily on grants, thus removing the barrier to college attendance presented by debt.

During his career, Mr. Vagt has been warden of a North Carolina prison; director of clinical programs in an Alabama mental health center; assistant director of the budget for the state of New York; and executive director of several public benefit corporations in New York, including the Municipal Assistance Corp., which was created to save New York City from bankruptcy in the 1970s. In addition, he has extensive experience in the business world, having been an executive in the oil and gas industry for more than 10 years.  As a volunteer, Mr. Vagt’s efforts have been directed primarily at children and youth. He has served as chairman of the Children’s Defense Fund and as a parish associate responsible for youth programs at churches in New York and Texas. Mr. Vagt earned a Bachelor of Arts in psychology from Davidson College and a Master of Divinity magna cum laude from Duke University.

Nov 11: Bill's Excellent Adventure at the Manor

The 14th Ward (Squirrel Hill and Point Breeze in Pittsburgh) Independent Democratic Club is hosting Mayor-Elect Bill Peduto at the Manor Theater.
Bill has been traveling to other cities in the US and Europe to check out some of the ways they run city government.  Come hear his observations of best practices and other ideas from that "Excellent Adventure," and ask him your own questions. 

7-9 p.m. at the Manor Theater in Squirrel Hill (1729 Murray Ave. 15217).  The event is free, and feel free to bring friends along! for more information. 

Nov 9: PA Wild Resources symposium

Pennsylvania's Wild Resources Symposium
Get an update on the current status of select Pennsylvania flora and fauna. This symposium is geared toward teachers, informal educators, and those interested in flora and fauna.
8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. at Beechwood Farms Nature Reserve.  The symposium is presented by Western Pennsylvania Nature Center Roundtable (WPNCR).

Register online today!