Apr 30: Air Pollution and Heart Health

GASP Presents "MAKING THE CONNECTION: Air Pollution & Heart Health"

Did you know air pollution can affect heart health and can trigger heat attacks and strokes that cause disability and death?  
One in three Americans has heart or blood vessel disease and is at higher risk from air pollution.

Not only does air pollution exacerbate existing heart problems, but it may also paly role in the development of heart disease in otherwise healthy people.

DrCascioJoin Wayne Cascio, MD (Director of EPA's Environmental Public Health Division) to learn about the connection between air pollution and cardiovascular health.  Dr. Cascio has spent more than 25 years as a cardiologist helping people take care of their hearts.  Now he is bringing a broader view of public health to EPA by leading research on the links between exposures to air pollution and maintaining a healthy heart.

DrFabisiakIn addition, James Fabisiak, PhD, Associate Professor in Environmental & Occupational Health and is part of the Center for Healthy Environments and Communities at the University of Pittsburgh’s Graduate School of Public Health will present.  Dr. Fabisiak is one of the authors of the Pittsburgh Regional Environmental Threats Analysis Report and will discuss the air pollution challenges our region faces. 

5-8 p.m. at Allegheny General Hospital, Magovern Conference Center, 320 E. North Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA  15212.  Networking, food, and drinks begin at 5 p.m. and the program will begin promptly at 6.  Please register at: http://gasp-pgh.org/heart-health/  

Continuing Medical Education Credits offered.

Apr 25: FutureFest at Phipps

FutureFest 2015, a new public festival, is coming to Pittsburgh on April 25. The event is coordinated by Communitopia in conjunction with several partner organizations. FutureFest 2015 will give visitors a glimpse of the world of tomorrow through art, demonstrations, music, science, food, hands-on activities, and fun. The goal? Celebrating our successes and helping festival-goers imagine Pittsburgh’s achievable, sustainable future.

The list of planned activities for FutureFest 2015 includes five music performances from local artists - Black Little Birds, Gene Stovall, Devin Moses & The Saved, Proper People, and Misaligned Mind. It also includes hands-on activities for all ages, courtesy of several organizations. Visitors will be able to take a free, morning tour of the new, modular SEED classroom at Phipps, check out some great art, shop for eco-minded art and accessories, and much more. In addition to spearheading the event, Communitopia will be premiering a new music video in its Don’t Just Sit There - Do Something! video series, a parody of “Shake It Off” by Taylor Swift called “Break It Off,” about the importance of transitioning to clean energy. Visit http://FutureFestPgh.com for the most up-to-date listing of event activities.

By working with many different types of organizations: environment, health, justice, nonprofit and for-profit, FutureFest 2015 organizers want to show all the benefits sustainability has to offer.

Says Portlock with a smile, “We’re looking forward to it.”

FutureFest will be held on the front lawn of Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. and admission to Phipps will be half-price the day of the event.

About Communitopia: Communitopia is a 501(c)3 organization dedicated to the empowerment and engagement of the public in meaningful climate action. Through new media and project-based campaigns, we work to slow climate change and create healthier communities by identifying, researching, and advocating for individual, community, and federal solutions to reduce pollution and improve community resilience. We are helping lay the foundation for the climate-friendly, energy-independent society of tomorrow.

Apr 21: Empowering Communities for a Healthy Tomorrow (part 2)

Empowering Communities: Part 2  
Flame Retardants and Our Health  
Join Women for a Healthy Environment as Dr. Heather M. Stapleton presents her expertise on flame retardant exposures and impacts to human health, as well as a discussion on those populations most at risk, which might surprise you! This event also includes a screening of Toxic Hot Seat, which follows a courageous group of firefighters and mothers, journalists and scientists, politicians and activists as they fight to expose a shadowy campaign of deception that left a toxic legacy in our homes and bodies - a campaign so cunning, it's taken nearly 40 years to unravel.

Dr. Stapleton is the Dan and Bunny Gabel Associate Professor of Environmental Ethics and Sustainable Environmental Management, Nicholas School of the Environment, Duke University.  Her research projects are focused on identifying flame retardant chemicals in consumer products and exploring the routes of human exposure to these chemicals, particularly in children. In 2008 she was awarded an Outstanding New Environmental Scientist Award (ONES). In 2012 she testified in front of the US Senate Environment & Public Works committee on human exposure and toxicity of new-use flame retardants. We are pleased to co-host this program with the American Chemical Society.  

7 - 9 p.m.  (doors open 6:30) at the Carnegie Science Center's Science Stage (One Allegheny Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15212).  This is the first of a three-part series.  Register online for one ($10) or all three ($25) events.

Apr 16: Green Drinks with PRC

Join the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) for Green Drinks April to get you ready for Earth Day!  PRC is Pennsylvania’s oldest grassroots environmental organization and representatives will be there to talk about their great programs like  Zero Waste PA, Household Chemical & Hard to Recycle Collections, and Composting & Rain Barrel Workshops!
Come meet PRC staff to learn about what PRC is doing in the coming months and how you can get involved - Earth Day is just around the corner, so come on out and share what you'll be up to too.

5:30 p.m. at the Double Wide Grill (2339 E Carson St. on the South Side.  As always, Green Drinks is free and open to the public. Fingerfoods compliments of PRC! 


Apr 16: Corals as Climate Communicators

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Photo: Kim Cobb"Corals as Climate Communicators"

Dr. Kim Cobb, distinguished climate scientist in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Institute of Technology

4 PM at the Charity Randall Theatre (in the Stephen Foster Memorial Building at 4301 Forbes Ave., between the Cathedral of Learning and Schenley Plaza).  Free and open to the public, but space is limited -- please register online.  Parking is available in the Soldiers and Sailors garage, and lots of buses go right by Pitt. 
The public's hunger for information about climate change has never been greater, yet the politicization of climate change has made it difficult to separate truth from fiction. On the heels of news that 2014 was the warmest year on record, it is important to remember that the instrumental record of climate is relatively short, spanning a little over a century in some regions of the world but only a few decades in the more remote regions. Over the course of many trips to small coral atolls in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, Dr. Kim Cobb has spent over 15 years assembling a record of climate from corals that spans many millennia. The results help to place current climate change trends in context, demonstrating that such records are a critical piece of the climate change puzzle. Through video and photos, Dr. Cobb takes the audience to her field sites to hear the corals tell their climate story.
Reserve a seat button
This lecture has been made possible by the University of Pittsburgh Honors College in cooperation with Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, The National Aviary, and the NAS/NAE Science & Engineering Ambassadors Program.

Join the Pennsylvania Resources Council (PRC) for Green Drinks April to get you ready for Earth Day!  PRC is Pennsylvania’s oldest grassroots environmental organization and representatives will be there to talk about their great programs like  Zero Waste PA, Household Chemical & Hard to Recycle Collections, and Composting & Rain Barrel Workshops!
Come meet PRC staff to learn about what PRC is doing in the coming months and how you can get involved - Earth Day is just around the corner, so come on out and share what you'll be up to too.

5:30 p.m. at the Double Wide Grill (2339 E Carson St. on the South Side.  As always, Green Drinks is free and open to the public. Fingerfoods compliments of PRC! 


Apr 11: Sustainability Salon on building neighborhood-scale food systems

The 39th Sustainability Salon will focus once again on FOOD, and also revisit the green, healthy revitalization of Pittsburgh communities -- this time, by creating functioning local (neighborhood-scale) food systems.  Join us on April 11th (from 3-10 p.m., with potluck food and drink).  And now's the time to mark your calendar for next month's event, which will almost certainly take place on May 2nd -- we'll be talking about turning waste into resources.
Chatham Food Studies grad and Dylamoto's Market founder Dianne Shenk will give us the framework for integrated neighborhood food systems and ongoing work in Hazelwood.  Community members will be on hand for an informal panel discussion:  Jim McCue, a mainstay of community gardens;  Kyle Pattison, who is starting up Hazelwood Farms; Matt Peters, magical worm whisperer of the Hazelwood Hills (you see his worm castings for sale around town at places like the Co-op and my own occasional plant sales).  

HUFMapArrowsLooking to the other side of the Mon, the neighborhood of St. Clair is another "food desert," lacking any stores at all -- but that may be about to change:  the Hilltop Alliance (along with Grow Pittsburgh and the Allegheny Land Trust) is looking to create a CSA farm, farmer incubator, and community garden (which when completed will be the largest of its kind in the nation), coupled with an urban Eco village and restoration project on the site of the old Hilltop Village housing development.  The idea was recently presented to the White House by Mayor Bill Peduto.  Sarai Baxendell, the project manager for this new enterprise, will fill us in on the plans.

We'll also have Shelly Danko+Day, the City Planning Department's Open Space Specialist, who will be able to update us on the new Urban Agriculture zoning codes as well as her work with Hazelwood, St. Clair, and other areas around the city.  
Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We'll aim to start the program sometime around 4, 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.  And if you're new, please let me know how you heard about the Salons!

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.  

As always, 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, but for now it takes a while to to dot all my i's and cross all my t's.  (All the extraneous requests for the address don't help;  I have lots of other stuff I send out with it, but don't like to let them go unanswered so it adds hours to my prep time.  If you RSVP properly (see above), you should get the info by the morning of the salon!)

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 various aspects of a topic, interspersed with stimulating conversation, lively debate, delectable potluck food and drink, and music-making through the evening.

Past topics have included green community revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actioncommunity solar powerMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (led by filmmakers) over the winter with Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfoodfood, and more food (a recurrent theme;  with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).

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. 

Apr 11: Film screening: Enough Is Enough

The first film in the series, Enough is ENOUGH: The Jonny Gammage Story investigates the death of Jonny Gammage at the hands of Brentwood (Pittsburgh) police officers.  It develops into an impassioned plea for ending police brutality. 

You can view the trailer here.  

Noon at the East Liberty branch of the Carnegie Library.  Suggested Donation $2 for refreshments.
The screening will open with a short, directed by Billy Jackson and produced by the Pittsburgh American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) office, entitled “Pull Over....what to do”.  Afterwards, there will be a 15 minute Q&A session with a representative from the ACLU, .

Immediately after the showing of the feature film, Enough is Enough: The Jonny Gammage Story, everyone can take part in a powerful yet relaxed conversation about the many issues brought up by the work.  Co-facilitated by artist dialogue-facilitator Maritza Mosquera and program curator Thomas Poole, participants will explore ideas present in the works, our present concerns, joys, and visions for self and our community.  We will work to move the conversation to the next level by proposing an action for change that is agreed upon by the group and executed at a later date.

Maritza Mosquera has practiced liberation and diversity work for over 20 years; leading workshops and assisting in community transformation objectives through art and dialogue.  Thomas Poole is a filmmaker, curator and media educator.

Apr 11: Garden Resource Center opening

Spring has sprung, and it's time for the Grand Opening of Grow Pittsburgh's Garden Resource Center, a membership-based Tool Lending Library and Garden Supply Depot.

This event will include food, music, gardening tips & advice, kids' activities, free tool sharpening, and new member sign-ups.

9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the GRC at 147 Putnam St. in Homewood.  For more information, visit the Grow Pittsburgh web site or call 412-362-4769 x115.

Apr 9: Inspire lecture with Michael Slaby and Debra Lam

Were you one of the millions of people who marveled at the level of engagement in the 2008 and 2012 presidential campaigns? Something new and different took shape to create a buzz like we'd never seen before. While the two elections were quite different—one included a little-known "long-shot" junior senator from Illinois and the next featured an accomplished incumbent—both employed the same secret weapon...Michael Slaby. Slaby was THE guy behind the use of media and digital technology in these campaigns and many others since then. With majors in creative writing and biotech from Brown University, Michael Slaby has been referred to as possessing a Swiss Army knife of skills. His work on Obama for America, F*ck Cancer, LiveStrong, and Bright Pink, and for the United Nations and U.S. State Department demonstrates that a combination of passion for mission and deliberate strategy can result in unbelievable levels of engagement.
Debra Lam is a key in Mayor Bill Peduto's quest to create the "Next Pittsburgh." Charged with using innovation, technology, and sustainability to meet administration goals, Lam is helping the mayor define our region's future. With experience in global consulting and design and published articles on sustainable development and urban resilience, Lam offers a well-rounded perspective on global practices that can be applied to make Pittsburgh a world-class city with an engaged and efficient government.
Join Green Building Alliance and its co-presenting partners as we learn highly effective engagement strategies. GTECH's Andrew Butcher will guest emcee this event filled with beer, wine, food, networking, and inspiring conversation! 
5 – 8 p.m. in the Elsie H. Hillman Auditorium at Hill House Kaufmann Center, 1825 Centre Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15219.  Doors open at 5 p.m. to enjoy food, beer, wine, networking, and music.  Presentations begin at 6 p.m.  Tickets are $20.  If this does not fit your budget, please contact us and we can arrange for a discounted rate.  Learn more and register here.

Apr 6: Pitt Student Sustainability Symposium

The 8th Annual Student Sustainability Symposium at the University of Pittsburgh will feature keynote speaker Joel Salatin, nationally-reknowned alternative farmer, speaker, and author of nine books.  

The theme of this year's Symposium is "The Year of Sustainability" and will feature presentations by students, a panel of Sustainability Faculty Fellows, tabling by 25 sustainability-oriented student and community organizations, and a Dean's Hour lunch with Kenyon Bonner, Interim Vice Provost and Dean of Students.

11 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room at the corner of Bigelow and 5th, directly across from the Cathedral of Learning.  Don't think you can make it for the whole day?  You can also stop by for one or two of the scheduled events:

11:00 - 11:15           Opening Remarks:  Year of Sustainability
11:15 – 12:00          Sustainability Class: Student Presentations
12:00 - 12:30         WPTS Sustainability Tabling Competition
12:30 - 1:30            Free Lunch / Dean’s Hour
1:30 – 2:15              Sustainability Fellows Panel
2:15-- 2:30            Sustainable Solutions Competition Presentations
2:30 – 3:15              Tables / Break
3:15 – 4:30              Keynote Speaker: Joel Salatin (in the WPU Ballroom)
4:30 – 4:45             Announce Poster Winner / Wrap up

There's also a Facebook page for the event.

Apr 6: Sandra Steingraber on fracking

"Fracking is a Feminist Issue: Women Confronting Fossil Fuels and Petrochemicals in an Age of Climate Emergency" -- lecture by ecologist, author, and activist Sandra Steingraber.
The contemporary environmental movement in the United States is really two parallel movements: the fight against chemical pollution and the fight against climate change. The struggle against toxic trespass is largely populated by women activists and scientists (with Rachel Carson as its guiding figure), while climate science and activism is dominated by men (with James Hansen and Bill McKibben as iconic figures).  With climate change now an existential threat to children born today-and with a growing realization that toxic chemical production is driven by the economic needs of the energy industry-these gendered responses to the environmental crisis are rapidly evolving.  As both a biologist and a leading figure in the national fight against fracking, Steingraber will explore the role of women in the construction of knowledge about the risks of extreme fossil fuel extraction, gender disparities in the distribution of economic costs and benefits, the disproportionate burden of harm that women experience when their communities become targeted for oil and gas extraction, and the rise of women leaders in the anti-fracking movement.

7-8:30 p.m. in the William Pitt Union Assembly Room at Pitt (3959 Fifth Ave., 15213).  For more information visit the Gender, Sexuality, & Women's Studies website.

For more information, check out the event flyer.

Apr 1: Launch Party for Pittsburgh's 350.org

A group of local participants in the Climate Action March in New York City last September has formed ‘Pittsburgh350’ to increase awareness of climate change on our communities and to hold elected officials accountable for decisions affecting the Earth’s climate.  The public is invited to celebrate the launching of Pittsburgh350!

Come meet fellow climate activists and learn about the collaborative projects of divestment/investment, carbon fees, clean energy, and green infrastructure.  As a local affiliate of national 350.org, Pittsburgh350 intends to build a collaborative network of partners from individuals and community, environmental, labor, and faith-based organizations

7 to 8:30 p.m. at the Kingsley Community Center (6435 Frankstown Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15206).  Please Register HERE.  For more information, contact Peter Wray at pjwray@verizon.com.