Jan 15: Passive House tour

For those interested in seeing how one can have a house in Pittsburgh without a furnace, Lucy and Ayres will host a tour of their in-progress Passivhaus in Squirrel Hill.

Please RSVP via email to lucyna.debarbaro@gmail.com or on the Facebook page for the event: https://www.facebook.com/events/1095743137110785/  (CTRL-R will take you past the facebook login, if you're not a Facebook user).

3 p.m.;  please arrive on time.

Dec 14: Beaver meeting on ethane cracker

Concerned about the tentative Shell cracker plant we've all heard about up in Beaver?  There will be a community meeting about its possible environmental impacts on surrounding communities.

The meeting is with Clean Air Council & Environmental Integrity.  It will relate to community involvement, permitting processes, & air quality concerns.  

7 p.m. at the Beaver Borough Building, 469 3rd Street, Beaver, PA 15009

Dec 12: Climate Action march, rally, and panel discussion

Climate Action Beyond Paris 

Join Pittsburgh350, Clean Air Council, Sierra Club, Moms Clean Air Force, Earthworks, and PennEnvironment in Pittsburgh for a morning of climate action and education following the international climate negotiations in Paris.
Building Blocks for Climate Action Rally and March in Oakland
Gather at 9:45 a.m. on the steps of the Cathedral of Learning, on the Forbes Avenue side (by the Stephen Foster memorial, opposite Schenley Plaza).
A broad array of organizations and groups, friends and family, and communities will join in on the final day of global action.  Groups and individuals are invited to each create their part of an interlinking network of action by making a box with the name of their movement or struggle, to be built into a symbolic pyramid in front of the Carnegie Museum.

Climate Change Beyond Paris
Following the rally and march, join us at the First Unitarian Church of Pittsburgh (605 Moorewood Avenue, corner of Ellsworth) for a panel discussion on how climate change is impacting Pittsburgh and Pennsylvania.  Hear from local experts and leaders in the climate justice movement, and learn what Pennsylvania and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency are proposing to do about our state's massive methane pollution problem.  Bring your questions!

Dec 10: Inspire Lecture series: Jeremy Rifkin and Bill Generett

Envisioning a Sustainable, Collaborative and Inclusive Economy


Our current economic model is obsolete and inadequate at serving the needs of our communities, citizens, the environment and future generations.  This model, based on the availability of cheap fossil fuels, is ready to be replaced by a new and resilient model built on connectedness, collaboration, innovation and empathy.  This Third Industrial Revolution will integrate the power and prevalence of the internet with twenty-first century renewable energy technologies, while ensuring inclusion, diversity and opportunity for all of our citizens.  Jeremy Rifkin will present his vision and perspective on the future of the global economy, while Bill Generett will discuss how the Pittsburgh region can bridge the gap between the soaring innovation economy and struggling communities.

5:30-7:30 p.m. at the Hill House Kaufmann Center.  Please go here for more information and online registration.  

Dec 9: GASP and Filmmakers' In The Air

Join GASP at the Pittsburgh Filmmakers’ current exhibit In the Air: Visualizing What We Breathe.

6-8 p.m. at Pittsburgh Filmmakers' Melwood Screening Room, 477 Melwood Avenue, Pittsburgh, PA 15213.

Hear from the photographers, curators, and GASP. This event is FREE and open to the public. Enjoy light appetizers, drinks, and great music!

This event will show appreciation for our current members and will hopefully generate some new ones.  

Dec 5: Sustainability Salon winter film series

The 47th Sustainability Salon will kick off our annual Wintertime Film Series with A Fierce Green Fire, the return of Curt & Kyle, and Mark on Paris -- from Paris!  (and during & after the film and discussion, our always-interesting potluck fare).  The next salon will almost certainly be on January 23rd, and will feature a pair of documentaries about Donald Trump and the environmental (and social) impact of golf -- check back here on MarensList for updates.

Planned protests outside the Paris climate summit have been officially banned.  Some are taking place anyway,and others which took a more violent turn have been squelched.  What does this all mean?  At the November salon on Getting Money Out of Politics, we wound up talking about nonviolent resistance and civil disobedience with Curt Ries and Kyle Amsler of 99Rise.  We'll look at that with A Fierce Green Fire, a Sundance Film Festival Selection that is at once historical and current, contemplative and urgent, farsighted and immediate.  Kyle and Curt will be back with us, to help lead the discussion and give an update on the plans for Democracy Spring.

Speaking of Paris, our own Mark Dixon is there right now at 
COP21, both as a citizen journalist -- documenting what's going on both inside and outside the summit facilities -- and continuing his efforts to connect Pittsburgh to Paris in the most productive way possible.  He will be with us on Saturday, through the wonders of modern technology, to share his reflections on the summit so far.  We'll start our remote session with Mark by 4 p.m. (remember that he's six hours ahead of us).  You can also read his thoughts on the summit, his analysis of the climate negotiations taking place there, and the facts on the ground, on his blog Mark At COP21.  And -- a late-breaking addition -- Randy Sargent of CMU's CreateLab and Google, who shared the Shenango Channel at our recent air quality salon, is also in Paris (presenting a different project done in collaboration with Google, a 29-year time-lapse of Earth satellite imagery) and will be joining the conversation.  

And if there's time (an outside chance), we'll also dip into another documentary, A Force More Powerful on the impact of mass citizen action and nonviolent civil disobedience through history, with vignettes expanded into fascinating and sometimes horrific detail.  And we'll take a look at what historian and activist Howard Zinn had to say about the practice.

Spanning 50 years of grassroots and global activism, A Fierce Green Fire brings to light the vital stories of the environmental movement where people fought -- and succeeded -- against enormous odds.  From halting dams in the Grand Canyon to fighting toxic waste at Love Canal; f rom Greenpeace to Chico Mendes;  from climate change to the promise of transforming our civilization, A Fierce Green Fire is "nothing less than the history of environmentalism itself" (Los Angeles Times).  
 From the Academy Award-nominated director of Berkeley in the Sixties, and narrated by Robert Redford, Meryl Streep, Ashley Judd, Van Jones and Isabel Allende.  The film also features Lois Gibbs, Paul Watson, Bill McKibben, Paul Hawken, Stewart Brand, Carl Pope, John Adams, Bob Bullard, Amory Lovins, Barbara Bramble, Jennifer Morgan and more.

Why films this time (and in January and February)?  During the winter (when weather can throw a wrench into the best-laid plans), we take a break from our usual speaker forum to host screenings of important environmental films, sometimes with the filmmakers or other folks on hand to lead the discussion.  Please be sure to RSVP if you might come (email Maren with "salon" in the Subject line).  General information and links to past Salon topics are below.  January's Salon will be on the 23rd, and will probably feature a pair of exposés of Donald Trump;  check back on MarensList for updates!

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We usually 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 (at maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) 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;  it's 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 Getting Money Out of Politics, Solarize Alleghenyclimate (again, this time focusing on the upcoming COP21 negotiations), air quality (again, with news on the autism connection), reuse (of things and substances), neighborhood-scale food systems, other forms of green community revitalizationsolar powerclimate changeenvironmental artenvironmental 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfood, 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.  

If you haven't been here before, you may enjoy checking out our roof garden and solar installation (and now apiary!) as well as the many other green and interesting things around our place.  

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. 

Dec 5: Pipelines and other shale gas infrastructure

Pipelines In Your Backyard?
Shale Gas Infrastructure & Community Organizing

Marcellus Outreach Butler hosts a major presentation on Pipelines, and other Marcellus shale gas infrastructure.  Part of the SHALESHOCK series, the presentation will inform the public on the steps of moving the gas and gas liquids from wellhead to ultimate destination, and inspire further action on the issue.
Alex Lotorto from the Energy Justice Network will review the natural gas midstream, from wellhead to end use. Because our shale contains natural gas liquids as well as methane here in Butler County, Alex will cover how cryogenic processing plants work and why they exist. The three types of pipelines Alex will differentiate, are gathering lines, transmission lines, and distribution lines. Compressor stations are used to move gas along all pipelines.

After Alex reviews how the gas midstream works, he will discuss the problems with each part including land disturbance, basic wetland and stream ecology, land use issues, eminent domain and landowner rights, impacts on air quality, and how organization in the shale fields can be used to leverage companies in their decision making. This includes an overview of strategies and tactics that have been used across the state, including municipal ordinances, landowner coalitions, conservation groups’ monitoring, and direct action.

1 - 3:30 p.m. at the Butler Public Library, 218 N. McKean Street.  Program is free and open to the public.  Light refreshments will be served.  Photo by Sam Hoszwa.

Dec 4: Benefit concert for Coalfield Justice and against racism

With Burlap Road, Raging Grannies, PFM Harmonizers, Wesley and Wynston Peters, and Louis Suarez - a fundraiser for Youth Undoing Institutional Racism and The Center for Coalfield Justice.

7:30 p.m. (doors at 7) at the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House, 4836 Ellsworth Ave. 15213.  $15 donation ($6 students and unemployed);  bring pocket money for the bake sale, too!

Dec 1: Pittsburgh Tour of Climate Scrooges

Hit the streets with the Pittsburgh Tour of Climate Scrooges, a series of visits to people and organizations who are acting (or not acting) with apparent disregard for climate change and public health (these include Babst Calland, PPG, EQT, PNC, US Steel, Rich Fitzgerald, and the Allegheny County Health Department). Tuesday, December 1st at 2:00pm at the Gateway Center (Liberty Ave. between Commonwealth Place & Stanwix). For more information, visit http://bit.ly/PGHFlood, or email info@threeriversrisingtide.org