Mar 31: Climate talk and panel

The University of Pittsburgh Honors College in cooperation with Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and The National Aviary presents James K. Boyce on “Climate Policy as Wealth Creation”.

We need to drive investment in renewables and energy efficiency through economic signals, including carbon pricing as well as conventional environmental regulations. If and when we price emissions, via a carbon tax or a cap-and-permit system, a crucial economic and political question is: Who will get the money? Join us for the next Climate Change Lecture by energy economist James K. Boyce from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

a panel discussion will follow the lecture featuring:
    Erica Cochran, Carnegie Mellon University
    Paul Ohodnicki, National Energy Technology Laboratory
    Stephen Rose, Carnegie Mellon Electricity Industry Center
    Moderated by Christina Gabriel, University Energy Partnership

4:30 PM in the University Club (Ballroom B).  For full information about the lecture and to reserve your free seat, go here.

Mar 30: Urban Health workshop

Mar 30: "Out Here" film screening on queer farmers

Do you love queer farmers?  Get ready for a spring-time love-fest that will knock your socks off!

The Queer Video Vault is excited to present Out Here: A Documentary Film About the Hearts and Hard Work of Queer Farmers in the U.S. 

2-5 p.m. at the Melwood Screening Room (477 Melwood Ave. Pittsburgh 15213).  2 p.m. door (mingle, snacks), 3 p.m. film, 4 p.m. panel discussion with the film's director and local queer farmers doing beautiful things.  $5-$10+ sliding scale

You can see the trailer and more info at, and there's a Facebook event page.

Out Here is a full-length documentary film created by the Queer Farmer Film Project. Completed after 4 years in production, it looks at the experiences of queer farmers across the country and asks – what does it mean to be a queer farmer, is agriculture a safe space for queer people, and what are the relationships between food production and queerness?  It is the filmmaker’s dream that this project will give voice and visibility to queer people in agriculture and inspire a flagrant national discussion about gender and sexuality as they are related to our food system.”

You can follow the QVV online:

Mar 29: Women and Biking Forum

Bike Pittsburgh and Chatham University have partnered to host the city's first ever Women's Biking Forum in Pittsburgh!  

A day of facilitated workshops, discussion groups, and keynote speakers aims to provide a space where women can talk about their experiences and gain knowledge and resources. Women of all ages and skill levels will find workshops directed towards basic bike adjustments, upkeep, the fundamentals of riding, and how to choose appropriate layers for all-weather riding. Discussion groups will focus on riding with children and families, navigating bike shops, safety, incorporating bicycling into your life, and experiences (the good, the bad, the silly).
Bike Pittsburgh’s Women and Biking Program works to encourage more women to incorporate bicycling into life in a way that feels comfortable to them.  By opening the discussion about women’s lived experiences and challenges, we can assess how to better provide support and resources for women who want to ride bicycles in Pittsburgh. 
Sliding scale registration can be done online -- space is limited;  please RSVP here.  Build community with other women and enjoy a free catered lunch provided by Marty's Market and Highmark!
Presented by Bike Pittsburgh, transforming our streets and communities into vibrant, healthy places by making them safe and accessible for people to bike and walk. 
Chatham University prepares its students, bachelors through doctoral level, on campus and around the world, to excel in their professions and to be engaged, environmentally responsible, globally conscious, life-long learners, and citizen leaders for democracy.
* Women and trans identified people are welcome.

Mar 27: Climate change series at Pitt

The Global Studies Center, University Honors College and the Model UN Club, will present a series of four events to foster understanding and engagement on the urgent topic of climate change, with key participants in the debates at the UN and from major non-governmental organizations (NGOs).  All events start at 4pm and will be held at the O'Hara Student Center, 4024 O'Hara Street, on the Pitt campus.

January 30                  The UN Framework on Climate Change

February 13                Drowning: Climate Change Hits a Small Island

February 27                Outside Pressure: NGOs as Climate Change Stakeholders

March 27                     Making a Difference in Climate Change Discourse: The UN and/or Popular Movements 
Guest speakers, participating via video, will discuss the politics of climate negotiations, the possibilities and limitations of the UN in addressing environmental issues, and how civil society groups, from environmentalist to public-health and peace activists, engage the UN.  Recommended readings for each event posted on website. Each session will include time for Q&A and extended dialogue with the guest speakers.
The sessions will be moderated by Dr. Roger Rouse, Instructor in Global Studies at Pitt, and by Ambassador Ahmad Kamal, a professional diplomat from Pakistan who is the Founding President of the Ambassadors Club at the UN and a Senior Fellow if the UN’s Institute of Training and Research. 

Speaker bios, relevant readings and more about the sessions are available at the series website

Mar 21-22: Farm to Table conference

Farm to Table is all about connecting farms & local food producers to the community.  Eating real food & cooking at home are critical for maintaining a healthy lifestyle.  We hold community events throughout the region to  educate consumers about where they can buy local & how to prepare local foods. 
Friday & Saturday, March 21 & 22, 2014 from 10 am - 5 pm each day at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center downtown.  

Cooking demonstrations, speakers, kids activities and a giant Expo Hall full of local food exhibitors.  Our Keynote Speaker is Judy Wicks, author of Good Morning, Beautiful Business, and founder of the White Dog Cafe in Philadelphia, PA. 

You will meet farms, wineries, food producers, retailers, non profit organizations, farmers markets, CSAs, media groups and many more.  Check out our website for speaker schedule, exhibitor list and registration links.  Teachers can get free ACT 48 credits & registration. Email for details. 
Friday, March 21, 2014 from 5 pm - 8 pm
Join us Friday evening after the Farm to Table Conference to sample both local food & beverages.  Over 50 vendors participate and each supplies a taste of some local drink or dish.  A separate registration is required. 


Farm to Table Pittsburgh encourages Western PA consumers to eat real food from local farms, restaurants, personal chefs, food producers, CSAs, etc.  Farm to Table Pittsburgh started back in 2006 and is the nutrition component of the American HealthCare Group Wellness Program.  We're a family business based in Pittsburgh. Our Farm to Table theme is: Keep it Real, Keep it Local.  Our clients are employers, school districts, community groups and senior high-rise buildings.  We are scheduling Farm to Table School Assemblies.  We have programs for elementary, middle or high school aged children.  Kids learn where food comes from, how to eat healthy and about local farms.    

Mar 20-22: Celebration of Pittsburgh's New Economy

The Thomas Merton Center’s New Economy Working Group will convene a Celebration of Pittsburgh’s New Economy.  Learn what other people and organizations are doing to transform Pittsburgh’s economy into one where the rewards and benefits are equitably shared among business employees or employee-owners, stakeholders, and host communities; one that creates strong, nurturing social ties; and which replenishes the natural environment. There's a lot to celebrate!

There are three events slated for the Celebration of Pittsburgh’s New Economy:

Thursday March 20 – The NEWG sponsors Green Drinks, a monthly sustainability networking event.  5-9 p.m. at the Map Room, 1126 S. Braddock Avenue Pittsburgh 15218. 

Friday March 21Seminar on New Economy Solutions with Gar Alperovitz 
2-4:30 p.m. in the Frick Fine Arts Building on the University of Pittsburgh campus.

Evening Discussion with Gar Alperovitz 
5-8 p.m. the Adamson Wing of CMU's Baker Hall.

Saturday March 22 – New Economy Market, Gar Alperovitz on New Economy Solutions, local initiative highlights and workshops, New Economy Catalyst Awards. 
8:30-4 p.m. the Adamson Wing of CMU's Baker Hall.

For more information and to register for each of these events, click here.

Gar Alperovitz will first speak on the systemic, political, ethical, and cultural problems that prevent the majority of Americans from benefiting from unprecedented economic productivity and profits among the economy’s largest corporations. Then he will speak on solutions that are emerging from various efforts to make the economy more democratic and to increase economic benefits more broadly in society.
The NEWG is soliciting ideas that demonstrate new economy principles in action - that is, show innovative resource use, repurposing, or "upcycling"; carry out a business idea that creates shared value among the owners and community; or tell the story of an important new economy solution - and will make small awards - to support several ideas' execution as "New Economy Catalysts".                                                                                                                                                                                         Anyone working to bring about or benefit from a shared value, environmentally sustainable, or just economy.  The new economy is happening now;  find out where you fit in!
For more information and specific program times and location directions go to and NEWGatTMC  Participation is open to everyone. 

Molly Rush, a co-founder of the Thomas Merton Center, observes, “I, like millions of others, have come to believe our current global corporate and financial system of control is unsustainable. We must keep working to resolve these issues everywhere: in the streets, in the courts and the statehouses. But we also need to be creating an alternative system, one that is locally based, owned and run by the people, environmentally sound, and just. That new economy is, in fact, emerging; we are just too involved in the fray of everyday life to step back and see what it looks like and how we all fit in.” 
What is “The New Economy?” Definitions differ, but it is the economy of the future: one where economic success means fair and equitable benefits; one that uses of social, financial, and environmental resources efficiently; and where business activity replenishes our environment.   
New economy projects, businesses, and community benefits will be featured, from around Pittsburgh and elsewhere.  We are excited to be soliciting and awarding “New Economy Catalyst Awards”, small grants to projects that practically demonstrate new economy principles of being beneficial to their participants/creators, the community, and the Earth.

Why participants in Pittsburgh’s new economy will want to attend: Spend this time not only learning about the problems we face in an extractive economy but about solutions, meeting other people who are helping to create the economy that works for the 99%, together, build new and stronger ties, and to further cultivate what is already working. Help set in motion an economy that creates shared value – for businesses, employees, owners or employee-owners, and host communities alike.

Mar 20: Green Drinks for a New Economy

Green Drinks for March will be hosted by Pittsburgh's New Economy Working Group, kicking off the New Economy Celebration weekend, March 20-22.  The NEWG weekend will be a chance to learn what other peole and organizations are doing to transform Pittsburgh's economy into one where the reward and benefits are equitably shared among business employees or employee-owners, stakeholders, and host communities;  one that creates strong, nurturing social ties, and which replenishes nature.

5-8 p.m. at the Map Room, 1126 S Braddock Ave. in Regent Square (Swissvale, PA 15218).  Please register here.

Mar 15: Sustainability Salon on Food

The 26th Putting Down Roots Sustainability Salon (see below if that's new to you) will take place on Saturday, March 15th.  The topic will be FOOD -- growing it ourselves, and sourcing it locally.  This will be our third annual Food edition;  this is a good time of year for would-be gardeners to get started, and for urban folks to find their favorite farmers and markets.  

The March 15th Salon will feature environmental educator Joylette Portlock with great news about a new Farmers’ Market in Swissvale;  American Healthcare’s Erin Hart on the upcoming Farm to Table Conference;  Trevett Hooper, chef/owner of Legume Bistro, on navigating the balance between the most serious focus on local ingredients you’ll find in our area and the fantastic dining experience Pittsburghers are looking for;  Hannah Reiff of Garden Dreams with a virtual walk through the seasons in the operations of an organic urban farm;  Eryn Hughes on the role of the East End Food Co-op in the cycle of farm to table;  organic farmer Maggie Henry on the challenges of growing food in the face of the ongoing gas rush -- the latest twists in the path being earthquakes and forced pooling (there's a sign-on letter for those who can't make it to the hearings;  Gabe Tilove to talk about the Pittsburgh Canning Exchange, and Cameron Hassanzadeh with an introduction to Social Dish, a new program to connect Pittsburghers with local restaurants while supporting the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank.   

Seed sharing!  Prior to the Salon, from 1-3 p.m., we'll be hosting a Seed Sharing session, organized by Mary Beth Thakar.  She has already purchased a wide variety of vegetable seeds in quantity, and folks will sit down and chat while while divvying them up.  Should be a blast!  Space for that is quite limited, so be sure to email for more information and to sign up!  

A peek ahead at April 5th reveals Greg Boulos on the Blackberry Meadows Farm garden share  CSA and a produce-to-people program with food banks;  East End Food Co-op manager Justin Pizzella on their local grower/producer program and how it relates to expansion and to ethical and resilient food infrastructure;  Emily Schmidlapp of Just Harvest on EBT (food stamps) at area farmers’ markets;  local chef Jacob Mains on his innovative traveling Farm Dinner program;  Ian Johnson with a gentle path toward a more plant-based diet called Fooganism;  and organizer Margaret Kran-Annexstein of Food & Water Watch about the new Healthy Farms, Healthy Families initiative to rein in the abuse of antibiotics on factory farms (and the resultant drug-resistant pathogens) here in Pittsburgh and beyond.  More speakers may be added in the meantime;  check back on MarensList for updates!

More details about the salon speakers will be forthcoming, but c'mon out if you want to find out about how to start seedlings, make compost, get a garden going, grow mushrooms, keep bees and chickens, or ferment food and drink;  learn about food foraging or where to purchase wild edibles;  explore healthier eating, organic gardening, and permaculture concepts;  meet farmers and join a CSA;  connect with PASA, our regional sustainable agriculture organization;  find local farmers' markets, community gardens, school gardens, and volunteer opportunities;  see how grocery stores work with local producers;  think about humane and healthy livestock practices;  hear about other upcoming local food events like Farm to Table;  find out what's going on up at Eden Hall Farm;  source seeds, seedlings, and gardening supplies;  talk about preserving food at home, or learn about a great local restaurant, bakery, or wholesale supplier…  the list will depend in part on who can come!   Last year, we even had a cameo by Bill Peduto:

If you haven't been here before, you may enjoy checking out our roof garden as well as the many other interesting things around our place.  That'll mainly be happening between 3 & 4 p.m.

3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3pm (unless you're participating in the seed-sharing session).  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 email me with salon in the Subject line to RSVP (yes or maybe), or click on the link in your EventBrite invitation (if you're not already on my list, please email me to be added!).  Please RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, attendance varies widely, and these events have been so successful that we need to begin limiting attendance.  So RSVP early if you can, to ensure your participation!  The free virtual "tickets" on Eventbrite may run out (you don't need to print any tickets, by the way, just be on the list).  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.  Be sure to include salon in the Subject line, as I receive a ridiculous amount of email every day.  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.  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 once again 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.  So if you don't have it yet, please be patient! One of these days I'll streamline this process a bit (assistance would be welcome -- thanks to Beth for her help 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 community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Living DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas 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 or dairy 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. 

Mar 13: Inspire lecture with Bob Berkebile and Amy Piccirilli

Creating Healthy and Resilient Communities 

Bob Berkebile helped launch the US Green Building Council, the AIA's Committee on the Environment, AND the Living Building Challenge.  But you won't believe how versatile and far-reaching his work has been.  Here are just some examples of his projects:
Pittsburgh filmmaker Mark Dixon, of YERT fame, says "Bob is one of the most visionary leaders in America by any definition, and his focus on sustainable architecture and more recently, "Urban Acupuncture" is definitely worth seeing in person. If you can spare the time (and a little money) to attend, I know you'll be thrilled you did."

And on the local front, did you know that the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh was the FIRST YMCA in the country to hire a Sustainability Coordinator?  Well, now you do, and YOU can hear all about her story.  Amy Piccirilli has spent the past few years serving as the catalyst to integrate sustainability into the YMCA.  She's grown the organization's urban garden program, launched an aggressive utility monitoring program, created a robust green building policy, and adopted the Materials Red List (part of the Living Building Challenge, which Bob Berkebile helped launch!)
Amy's goal is to create healthy spaces to help foster the healthy minds and bodies that the YMCA serves on a daily basis.  Come hear Amy's story as she presents with Bob Berkebile at the Inspire Speakers Series!

In addition to talks by national and local speakers, each Inspire lecture features appetizers and a cash bar, time for networking before the talks, and live music.  5-8 p.m. (talks begin at 6) at Phipps Conservatory.  For more information and to register, go here.

Mar 13 & Mar 22: ACA health insurance info sessions

Get covered! Info sessions coming up in Oakland & Squirrel Hill

There’s still time to sign up for health care coverage.  The deadline is March 31, but the sooner you sign up, the sooner your insurance coverage starts.  Many people in western Pennsylvania qualify for reductions – sometimes major reductions – in the premiums.  The Affordable Care Act is working: more than 123,000 Pennsylvanians have already signed up for coverage.

State Rep Dan Frankel is sponsoring more local sessions to help people obtain health insurance through the Marketplace created by the Affordable Care Act.  Come learn about the Marketplace from trained educators.  You’ll also have the opportunity to sign up for free one-on-one help.  Please RSVP with his office at 412-422-1774 for either of these sessions:

•    Oakland: Thursday, March 13 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m., Oakland Career Center, 294 Semple St., Pittsburgh, 15213

•    Squirrel Hill: Saturday, March 22 from noon to 5 p.m., Carnegie Library, 5801 Forbes Ave., Pittsburgh, 15217

Mar 12: "Triple Divide" film screening with local policymakers and activists

 Fracking, With Liberty & Justice For All

       [Hey, this is the 1,000th posting on MarensList!]

Join the filmmakers Melissa Troutman and Joshua Pribanic along with a diverse expert panel for a special screening of the investigative documentary Triple Divide and a discussion about fracking.  

6:30 p.m. (doors at 6 p.m.) at the Bricolage Theater downtown (937 Liberty Ave, 1st floor, 15222).  Space is limited in this small theatre;  get your tickets ($15) and find more information including speaker bios here.

Catch a special screening and discussion of Triple Divide, an investigative documentary about the impacts from fracking in Pennsylvania, on March 12th, 6:30 PM at Bricolage Theater. It’s a film about the complex subject of fracking and will be shown as part of Bricolage’s Fifth Wall Series – which seeks to break down barriers between scripted storytelling and current events in an effort to create a forum for informed discussion about controversial issues.  Triple Divide has been called “a bombshell that could reverberate across the state" by Wilkes-Barre Times Leader. 

This debut documentary by journalists Joshua Pribanic and Melissa Troutman reveals how the state’s "world-class regulations” fall short in protecting people, communities, and the environment.  “We wanted to look at what impacts are occurring and how they’re being handled," says Pribanic. "If the state and industry say fracking’s under control, we wanted to see how. It’s only when we see the evidence that we can cast the stone."

“Pennsylvania has some of the best environmental laws in the country, but they aren't being enforced," says Troutman. "In addition, we’ve found during our investigation that basic freedoms which are supposed to be guaranteed to all Americans are being stripped from communities faced with fracking.” 

Academy Award-nominated actor Mark Ruffalo co-narrates the documentary, which is named after the triple continental divide in Potter County, Pennsylvania, one of four unique watersheds in North America where three major rivers begin—including the Allegheny River—and flow to separate parts of the continent.

Discussion with the filmmakers and expert panelists will be moderated by Bill Flanagan, host of “Our Region’s Business” on WPXI-TV. Panelists for discussion include attorney John Smith, who led the case that deemed key provisions of Pennsylvania’s oil and gas law Act 13 unconstitutional, Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald, engineer John Detwiler, who’s active in the group Marcellus Protest calling for a halt on fossil fuel extraction, and Dr. Kent Moors, director of the Energy Policy Research Group at Duquesne University. 

“We believe informed citizens are better citizens”, says Jeffrey Carpenter, artistic director at Bricolage. “With so many critical issues facing our community it's important that we create a space to ask questions and hear from thought leaders to help broaden perspectives and promote problem-solving. We believe using art as a crowbar to open the door to dialogue can make those conversations easier to begin and less intimidating to participate in."

“The boom in unconventional gas extraction has created the same debate that we see here in PA in communities around the world,” said Dr. Steven E. Sokol, President and CEO of the World Affairs Council of Pittsburgh. "On the one hand, there are proponents of fracking because of the opportunities offered by gas. On the other hand, people are concerned about the environmental and health impacts. This is both a local and a global issue."

Refreshments will be served before the screening which starts at 6:30 PM. Doors open at 6:00 PM and tickets are $15. The Fifth Wall Series is sponsored by World Affairs Council. For more information call Bricolage at 412-471-0999. For previews of the film see

TRAILER, STILLS, AND REVIEWS (embedding codes available at links)

Mar 11: "Standardized" film screening

How is the dramatic expansion of high-stakes-testing affecting our schools? What is the impact on our children and their learning? 
Come be a part of the conversation at the only public screening in Pittsburgh of the new film, "Standardized: Lies, Money, & Civil Rights (How Testing is Ruining Public Education)"

Please join us for a discussion as we try to think outside the bubble! 
Brought to you by the volunteer parents, students, teachers, and community members in the education justice movement. 

-- “For decades, standardized testing has been a part of public education. Within the last ten years, however, the testing has taken on a more important, and possibly more damaging, role. Test scores, mistakenly viewed as effective assessments of student ability and teacher/school effectiveness, are anything but. This film sheds light on the invalid nature of these tests, the terrible consequences of high-stakes testing, and the big money that's involved.”

5:30 in McConomy Auditorium in the University Center at CMU.  Suggested donation $5

Mar 8, 20, or 26: Veggie Gardening 101

Join the Pittsburgh Garden Experiment for a free lecture by experienced gardener and teacher Carol Brand.  She'll cover the basics of soils and vegetables, and answer those basic and not-so-basic questions you might have while starting a food garden.

11:30 a.m. at Schwartz Living Market, 1317 East Carson St. on the South Side.  For more information and to register, visit the PGE's Meetup site.  Note that the same class will be held at the McKeesport Library on the 20th, and the Fox Chapel Library on the 26th.  

Schwartz Living Market is an evolving collaborative space using permaculture design concepts in remodeling an existing building.  We'll get a brief intro on what they're doing during the class.  You can check out their blog here.

Mar 8: International Women's Day

Does this mean that all the other days are Men's Days?  Hope not;  that wouldn't seem very equitable.  Is there a Men's Day?  I don't think so -- and it's probably because all the other days are, by default.

Anyway, by way of celebration, here's an illustration that I drew for the logo of a Women in Science and Engineering conference which took place at Cornell on Earth Day (April 22) in 1989.  I just now photographed a T-shirt with the design, so it's not as detailed as the original -- but yes, I hand-stippled the Earth image from a card bearing the famous "Blue Marble" photograph taken by Apollo 17 in 1972 using a light table that my mother had made from a peach crate.  It wasn't trivial, as I did it in reverse, since it was to be printed in white on dark.

Mar 3: POSTPONED: Genetically modified food -- lecture at CMU

Sad to say, the DLS lecture by Dr. Michael Hansen that was to take place this afternoon at 4:30pm is cancelled!  Unfortunately, the weather and mechanical delays have wreaked havoc on Dr. Hansen’s travel plans!

If you forwarded the lecture announcement on to other colleagues or students please share this cancellation notice with them.

Apologies for any inconvenience!   We hope to reschedule Dr. Hansen’s talk before the end of the spring semester and we will announce a reschedule date as soon as possible.

Genetically Modified Food and Consumer Effects

The Carnegie Mellon University Distinguished Lecture Series in Environmental Science, Technology and Policy welcomes Michael K. Hansen, Ph.D. (Senior Staff Scientist in the Policy and Advocacy Division, Consumer Union). 

 Dr. Michael Hansen has been sharing his scientific expertise as a senior staff scientist with Consumers Union for more than 20 years. A biologist and ecologist who did his Ph.D. in the techniques of Integrated Pest Management, he currently works primarily on food safety issues. He has been largely responsible for developing Consumer Union positions on safety, testing and labeling of genetically engineered food and “mad cow” disease. Dr. Hansen’s areas of expertise include critical food safety and environmental health issues including mad cow disease, genetic engineering, and pesticide use.

4:30 p.m. in Porter Hall 100.  Environment at CMU events website:  

Mar 3: March and rally to support UPMC workers

Faith communities march to UPMC to support workers. 

As the city and region’s largest employer, UPMC has incomparable influence on setting wage and benefit standards for its own employees and for the city’s largest industry.  Yet even as UPMC continues to grow and prosper, it pays its largest group of workers – the service workers who keep the hospitals running -- so little that they are in a constant state of financial insecurity. In fact, many are living in poverty and rely on food stamps and other public supports just to get by.

UPMC is helping to drive the vast income inequality now facing our country. With $1.3 billion in profits during the last three years (and more than $4 billion in reserves), UPMC paid 28 top executives and doctors more than $1 million each last year, for a total of $48.8 million.  Meanwhile, by UPMC’s own admission (disclosed in the report), thousands of its employees are paid less than $12 an hour, a wage that does not support workers and their families, according to studies of the actual cost of living in the Pittsburgh area.

Because of UPMC’s size and influence on the local economy, raising UPMC workers out of poverty will have a much broader positive impact on the region’s economy.  A base wage of $15 an hour for UPMC workers would result in $75 million more in the hands of UPMC service workers, which would significantly improve their lives and pull many of them out of poverty;  tens of millions in new economic activity as a result of increased spending by these workers;  hundreds of new jobs, and substantial new revenue for the City and the public schools.

People from every neighborhood across our city are coming together to call on UPMC to improve wages.  PIIN, the Pittsburgh Interfaith Impact Network, is organizing a march and rally on Monday, March 3rd.  

Marchers will meet at 10:30 a.m. inside St. Benedict the Moor Church, 91 Crawford St (across from Freedom Corner) and at 11 a.m. the group will march from Freedom Corner to UPMC (600 Grant St.).  An interfaith lunch will be served, and rally and activities will take place all day at UPMC.  For more information, contact PIIN:, 412-621-9230.

Mar 3: Sustainable Monroeville film screening

Join Sustainable Monroeville for a plant-based potluck dinner and a screening of the documentary The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, as well as a preview of next month's movie: Latest in Clinical Nutrition with Dr. Michael Greger, M.D. and discussion following the film! 

6 p.m. (dinner) and 7 p.m. (film) at the Monroeville Public Library.  More info here.  Remember to pack in and pack out your plate, cup and utensils!  This is a "zero waste" meeting, so we hope you compost and recycle at home!!!