Sep 30: GASP Night at the Aviary

Clean Air is for the birds…and people too!  The Group Against Smog & Pollution is a longstanding local nonprofit working to improve air quality in southwestern Pennsylvania (on whose board I serve).  This fun-filled evening will celebrate our work and encourage everyone to continue to fight for clean air in our region.
Enjoy admission to the National Aviary on Pittsburgh’s North Side, delicious food and drink, and silent and pick-a-prize auctions.  Kids can decorate cookies and take home their own pollution catcher.  Bird expert Kate St. John will be a guest speaker;  you can see her bird and nature blog at  We’ll also have personal bird encounters with an owl, a bird of prey, and a penguin -- and an up-close look at Malayan Flying Foxes!
GASP Board Member Walter Goldburg, PhD will also be honored at this event with a Lifetime Achievement Award, for his work with GASP since…before GASP even existed!  Learn more about Walter in a past newsletter article about him.

6-9 p.m. at the National Aviary (700 Arch Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15212 - View Map)
$50 for members, $65 for non-members (cost includes membership), and $20 for kids 12 & under.  Advance registration is required.  More information and instructions for registration are here.   

Sep 24: Environmental Grief gathering

Edge of the Wild, An Environmental Grief Gathering - Ecopsychology practices for resilience.
We need resilience to face not only our personal challenges but also the environmental disturbances that we see, hear about, and experience every day.  Grief does not only arise from the death of a loved person. We are witnessing the death of many species, landscapes, and cultures, and these losses are as crippling and heartbreaking. 
To face the world the way that it is takes courage and a unique strength.  By speaking about the environmental losses we notice (and deny), we discover our inner resources and our capacity to respond.  As we admit to our fears and sorrows about what is happening in the world, we learn how to transmute the blocked energy of numbing into the flow of grief, strengthening us to take a stand and protect nature and ourselves.
The group will gather on this healing land to create a safe container to experience the art and craft of grief.  The ecopsychology practices taught in the Work That Reconnects* and by Radical Joy for Hard Times* will guide our experiential day of talking with the earth, witnessing and being witnessed, discovering tools of empowerment, and finding wonder amidst disturbing circumstances. 
The facilitators draw upon their diverse backgrounds in compassionate environmental activism, coaching and therapy to support this sacred work.

10 a.m. to 4 p.m., at the Edge of the Wild (an hour north of Pittsburgh).  Fee for materials, firewood, healthy lunch and snacks $85.00, students $65.00.  Registration required

Sep 17: Sustainability Salon on Climate Change

Ice on the Beaufort Sea breaks up earlier every year.  (photo: NASA)
As the first cruise ship arrives after traversing the Northwest Passage -- ushering in an age of "extinction tourism" -- we'll return to the pressing topic of Climate Change for the 56th Sustainability Salon on September 17th.  With a nod to our annual fall focus on air quality (which we'll continue in December), Carnegie Mellon's Neil Donahue will talk about the relationship between pollution and climate.  Elise Yoder will give us an update on 350 Pittsburgh's activities.  And L. Ray Roberts will fill us in on the continuing efforts of Citizens Climate Lobby to promote a carbon fee and dividend program to use natural market forces to move us toward a renewables economy.  

The 57th salon on Environmental Justice will take place on October 1st

A note for the perspicacious salon observers: the event originally scheduled for this date,  annual fall focus on Air Quality, with In The Air: Visualizing What We Breathe, has shifted to December 3rd.  
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!).  
July's salon with Bill Peduto
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. 

Sep 17: Reclaim! event at PCCR

Come find a bonanza of materials for creative projects at Reclaim!

Expired design samples often get thrown into the landfill when they go out of style – but they have plenty of creative life left in them!  At the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse, we collect and weigh thousands of pounds of samples from local designers and architects, and add in an assortment of other surplus materials like trophy parts, binders, and media.  Then, we open the warehouse door, and invite the public to take as much as they want for a $5 minimum donation per person.  This semi-annual event is great for artists, crafters, educators, and DIY aficionados, but everyone is welcome to participate.  Our unique and quirky retail shop will also be open during the event, and we hope that creative people who haven’t yet visited will take the opportunity to explore it.

If you are an architect or designer interested in donating materials, please contact Barbara Moore ( to make an appointment, or to find out about sponsorship opportunities.

In less than 8 months, and with two events, RECLAIM! has diverted over 6,000 pounds of materials destined for the landfill. With the Fall 2016 edition, we would like to exceed 10,000 pounds.  This semi-annual event is a program of Creative Reuse, carried out with the help of teams of volunteers.

This event coincides with Pittsburgh's Re:New Festival, a month-long celebration of creative reuse, transformation, and sustainability.

11 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Center for Creative Reuse (214 N. Lexington St. in Point Breeze, around to the side of the building housing Construction Junction).  $5 minimum donation per person.

Sep 15: Sustainability Pioneers screening & conversation

Sustainability Pioneers Screening and Community Conversation... This event will include a welcome and introduction by Sustainability Pioneers producer Kirsi Jansa, and a 45 minute documentary screening of four Sustainability Pioneers episodes – including the premiere of the 8th episode. After the screening, Mary Beth Mannarino, Clinical Psychologist, Associate Professor of Graduate Psychology at Chatham University will lead the community conversation on the topic titled “Climate on My Mind, Facing and Transforming our Climate Fears”.

7-9 p.m. at the Harris Theater downtown (809 Liberty Ave, 15222).  Tickets are $8, and will be available in advance and at the door.  More information: .  Re:NEW Festival films presented by Xfinity

Sep 14: Resilience Fair

What can the City of Pittsburgh do to help make your community more resilient?  The Resilient Pittsburgh Team is excited to announce the launch of its very first Resilience Fair! Join them for an update on the City’s Resilience Strategy, and come visit local speakers and resource tables that showcase city-wide resilience initiatives.  Learn how Resilient Pittsburgh is working to make Pittsburgh and our residents stronger, and how you can get involved.  Bring your thoughts on what a resilient Pittsburgh should look like.    Attendees are encouraged to RSVP, if possible, so that food, activities, and resources can be planned for everyone!  Look for more information on the Fair and the guest speakers in the ResilientPGH Newsletter -- Sign up here to receive future issues.

4-8 p.m. at the South Side Market House (1 Bedford Square at 12th St., 15203).  Food and drink will be provided.  Please RSVP here if you can, but by all means come on out to the Fair!

Sep 10: Frick Environmental Center opening

The Pittsburgh Parks Conservancy is putting the finishing touches on the new Frick Environmental Center -- and celebrating this with an all-day public event!

10 a.m. - 6 p.m. at the new Center on Beechwood Boulevard.  Free and open to the public.  Lots more information here

Visit the new Center during this full day of festivities and take part in historical and technical tours of the building and grounds;  free all-ages musical performances, yoga classes, and poetry readings; family-friendly activities like hikes, seed ball making, and tree identification;  tasty bites from area food trucks, and much more!

Sep 10: Go Green Festival

The folks at Marcellus Outreach Butler have been working hard for over a year to put together the Go Green Festival promoting the switch off fossil fuels to renewable sources as the answer for a sustainable clean energy future.  You have been there, and done that, and got that message?  Good, well then we urge you to come out and demonstrate your support for saving the planet from the devastating effects of fossil fuel.

Considering an electric car in your future?  The Electric Car Show and Cruise has 30 owners of EV's (Electric Vehicles) and PHEV's (Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) bringing their cars to show, talk about their ownership experience and offer rides.  Check out the show special EV being offered at $11,000 off window sticker.

Considering a Solar panel installation? Several installers will be on hand to help you.

So, please come out, show your support, who knows you might even win a $100 Kohl's Gift Card.

For more info contact coordinator Lou Hancherick at 724-513-6125