Aug 29: Climate film screening

A new documentary called Time to Choose was recently released, by filmmaker Charles Ferguson (he did "Inside Job", reviewed as the best documentary about the 2008 financial crisis). This film is about climate change challenges and solutions. The trailer and a longer blurb about the film are available here
The film *might* be screened on Monday, August 29, 2016 at 7:30 pm at the Southside Works Cinema (425 Cinema Dr, Pittsburgh) -- but only if enough people commit to buying tickets for the show by August 19th or so. Tickets cost $11. To reserve your ticket, go to . Your credit card will only be charged for the ticket after the screening is a "go". There's also a FB event where you can say you're going (or interested), but the key is to sign up on the Gathr page.

Aug 25: Screening of GASWORK

Come to the historic Homestead Works Pump House for a free screening of Gaswork.  This compelling documentary film by Pennsylvania filmmaker Josh Fox investigates the dangerous working conditions in the oil and gas fields, exposing workers to chemicals whose long-term impacts are yet unknown. The fatality rate of oil field jobs is seven times greater than the national average. This film is a powerful opportunity to educate and mobilize for action.   It includes interviews with workers who have suffered and families of workers who have been killed in the gas fields.  But it also offers hope.

Patty DeMarco, a local leader in energy, economic development, and environmental policy analysis will comment on the film.  Representatives from local unions will also comment.

7:30 p.m. at the Homestead Works Pump House (880 Waterfront Drive, Munhall PA 15120).  Free & open to the public, refreshments available.  Sponsored by Battle of Homestead Foundation.  
Call 412-478-5907 for additional information or questions.

Aug 19: Don't Just Sit There films at Phipps

Don't Just Sit There -- Do Something!  Laugh and learn while watching Joylette Portlock in her hilarious YouTube series.  Each short video features Portlock discussing a different piece of the climate change puzzle, integrating science, news and humor as she demonstrates easy actions viewers can take to combat environmental issues in their day-to-day lives. Portlock, who will lead conversation after the screening, is president of Communitopia, an organization dedicated to “making green mainstream.” After studying biology at MIT and receiving her Ph.D. from Stanford in 2006, she worked at The Climate Change Reality Project as well as PennFuture, resolving issues related to energy, air, water, mining and transportation.

7-9 p..m at Phipps Conservatory's Botany Hall (the small grand building to the left of the main conservatory).  

Aug 19: Climate film screening deadline

A Time To Choose is a new film about climate issues and solutions.  There's a Gathr screening afoot, which means that enough people need to sign up by about August 19th in order to confirm the booking.  More info in the Aug 29th posting:

Aug 13: 55th Sustainability Salon

Not like this (though this was excellent)
In a departure from our usual format of talks and discussion focused on a single topic, this month we'll have more informal, free-flowing conversation.  Overall event timing remains the same, but I won't be interrupting the conversations for the presentations!  And if the Right Folks turn up (you know who you are), we'll have a bit more time for music.  
I don't yet have the details for the 56th salon, but it'll almost certainly be on September 17th. 

More time to hang out this month!
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 -- but this time there is no program, so come hang out!.   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 the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiativesfossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politicscommunity solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (beforeduring, and after), 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 art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projectsenvironmental journalismgrassroots actionMarcellus shale development and community rightsgreen buildingair qualityhealth care, more solar powertrees and park stewardshipalternative energy and climate policyregional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with Rachel Carson and the Power Of One VoiceTriple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous GameA Fierce Green FireSustainability Pioneersfilms on consumptionLiving DownstreamBidder 70YERTGas Rush Stories, and foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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.  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. 

Aug 11-14: Driftless, a play about fracki

Driftless tells the story of a family living in Washington, PA where fracking is taking place.  The play follows the family through trials and tribulations that are presumably the results of living with air and water that have been polluted by fracking.  Saint Peter and Saint Barbara narrate the family’s experiences while providing valuable insights about the effect that fracking can have on our own lives, families, and futures. 

8 p.m. Thursday to Saturday, and 2 p.m. on Sunday at the New Hazlett Theater (6 Allegheny Square East, 15212, theatre phone 412-320-4610).  Lobby opens an hour before showtime (there will be lots to see and do).  The play runs 100 minutes, including a 10-minute intermission.  Free street parking, and $7 (cash only) parking at the Allegheny Health Network garage.  Tickets $15.00 advance; $20.00 at the door.  More info about Driftless and the Hatch Art Collective here.

Aug 1: Air permit hearing for Cheswick power plant

The Cheswick coal-fired power plant in Springdale is among the largest sources of dangerous pollutants in the county, contributing to polluted air and high asthma rates.

The American Lung Association ranked Pittsburgh as the eighth most polluted city in the U.S. based on annual air quality and the Allegheny Health Network found that 29% of Allegheny County 5th graders have and 11% more were at risk of developing the disease, due in part to the county's poor air quality.

Fortunately, the Allegheny Health Department has issued a new draft air permit that would require the owners of the Cheswick coal plant to limit the plants pollution, and they're holding a hearing to get public input on the new permit, August 1 in Pittsburgh.

Cutting pollution from the Cheswick coal plant would bring much needed relief to our community, especially families with children who suffer from asthma or are at risk from developing asthma.

6-9 p.m. in Building 7 of the Clack Health Center (301 39th Street, Pittsburgh 15201).  RSVP with the Sierra Club to help pack the hearing!  More information, online RSVP, and contact info are here.