Nov 30: Climate change lecture at Pitt

From Climate Change to Political and Personal Change: Building a Prosperous, Sustainable World
How can we protect the historic Paris climate accord that was brought into force on November 4? The hard work begins now. The Paris accord is a giant step forward, but at the same time more ambitious actions such as earlier and deeper emissions cuts are needed to create a world in which all can thrive. So, does the agreement deliver us from climate catastrophe, or is it another diplomatic disappointment? Can we build an economy powered by clean, renewable energy in time?
John Sterman, Jay W. Forrester Professor of Management and the director of the MIT System Dynamics Group, will explore these questions with interactive simulations of the climate and economy developed by MIT and Sterman will discuss how these tools are used by policymakers and negotiators around the world, and will report on both the UN Paris climate summit last year and the just-concluded summit in Marrakech. Yet, as important as that work is, broad public support for action around the world is essential. For complex, contentious issues such as climate change, simply showing research isn't enough; progress only occurs when people learn for themselves. Sterman will demonstrate how interactive tools are being used by political leaders, policymakers, and members of the public around the world to build shared understanding of climate change and the task before us. Finally, we’ll discuss what each of us can do, professionally and personally, to build a safer, sustainable world in which all can thrive.
4 p.m. at the University Club (Ballroom B), 123 University Place, 15213. This talk is free and open to the public but space is limited -- please register online!
Sponsored by the University of Pittsburgh Honors College and Joseph M. Katz Graduate School of Business in cooperation with The Graduate School of Public Health, Mascaro Center for Sustainable Innovation, Carnegie Museum of Natural History, Phipps Conservatory and Botanical Gardens, and the The National Aviary.

Nov 15: Solidarity with Standing Rock

After the election of Donald Trump on Tuesday it is more important than ever that we fight injustice wherever it takes place and in whatever form it may occur.  That is why we urge you to join us for a family-friendly Mindfulness Walk in support of the Standing Rock Sioux tribe, gathering first outside Trinity Episcopal Cathedral downtown.
The 1,1720-mile Dakota Access Pipeline (DAPL) is being constructed to carry crude oil from the Bakken oil field in North Dakota to a refinery near Chicago. For months the Standing Rock Sioux tribe in North Dakota has opposed the pipeline, which would run close to sacred native lands and could contaminate their water supply from the nearby Missouri river.  The tribe’s protest has grown into a national call for respect of Native American rights, the entitlement to peaceful protest,  religious freedom, and the reduction of our reliance on fossil fuels.
The Mindfulness Walk will include a ceremonial Water Blessing as well as brief speeches.  Taking part will be Pittsburghers who have recently spent time in the camps at Cannon Ball near the tribe’s reservation.
Among several sponsors of this event are 350 Pittsburgh, Allegheny Clean Air Now, the Thomas Merton Center's Environmental Justice Committee, GreenFaith, Greenpeace, Marcellus Protest, Three Rivers Rising Tide, and the Sierra Club.
If you are unable to attend the Mindfulness Walk, you may send a message to President Obama (thanks to the Sierra Club for this avenue) and/or donate to the upkeep of the tribe’s protest camps.

11 a.m. at Trinity Episcopal Cathedral (328 Sixth Avenue, Pittsburgh PA 15222).  For more information contact Wanda Guthrie at (412) 661-1529.  Here's the Facebook event to share your plans!

Nov 12: Sustainability Salon on the Just Transition

Workers in a longwall coal mine in Greene County, now closed.
Following last month's session on Environmental Justice, the 58th Sustainability Salon will narrow our focus to the Just Transition:  making sure that, as society shifts from a fossil-based economy to a renewable energy economy, the workers aren't left out in the cold.  

We know from the REMI Report that there are a lot more jobs in a renewables-based economy than the fossil economy we have now, but they aren't doing the same things (so retraining will be necessary) and they aren't in the same places (so for instance, governments can offer incentives to locate manufacturing facilities for solar panels, wind turbines, and green building materials in the heart of coal country.  
Speakers will include author, scholar, and energy policy expert Patricia DeMarco (who hosts a radio show on this very topic) and labor historian Charles McCollester, author of The Point of Pittsburgh.  

Linking the energy transition, environmental justice, climate, and labor we'll also talk briefly about the recent trip out to Standing Rock organized by the healthcare workers' union last week, and the solidarity event taking place next week downtown (Tuesday, starting at 11 -- more details on MarensList, of course).  Local Peaceburgher Vikki Hanchin and Dakota elder Johnny Coe will be here to lead the discussion.

And, as always, mark your calendar:  the 59th salon on Visualizing Air Quality will take place on 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 environmental justice, 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 changepollution and climate, environmental 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. 

Nov 6: LowCarbon Crossings bike tour comes to Pittsburgh

LowCarbon Crossings

After riding 3764 miles across the United States, Mindy Ahler and Ryan Hall, known as the “LowCarbon Crossing Team”, will arrive in Pittsburgh on Sunday, November 6, 2016, as part of a bicycle journey to engage with communities along a 14-state route.  Through conversations on climate change, the Team aims to heighten the American public's understanding of climate issues and to inspire action towards climate solutions.  

The Team is expected to arrive at Bicycle Heaven, 1800 Preble & Columbus Ave. on the North Side, for a media stop at 1:30 pm and a Solidarity Ride at 2:30 pm.  After the ride, a presentation is scheduled for 6:30 - 8:30 pm at St. Andrews Church, 5801 Hampton in Highland Park.  The team will leave for WashingtonD.C. on Monday at 9:00 am from 412 South 27th St in the South Side Works (the location of REI Pittsburgh) and would love an enthusiastic biker send-off!

Nov 1: Death By Design film screening

Didn't experience enough scary stuff on Hallowe'en? Extend the holiday with this new film about the electronics industry. Many people love – and live on – their smartphones, tablets and laptops.  I'm posting this MarensList entry from a laptop.  A cascade of new devices pours endlessly into the market, promising even better communication, non-stop entertainment and instant information. The numbers are staggering. By 2020, four billion people will have a personal computer. Five billion will own a mobile phone.

But this revolution has a dark side, hidden from most consumers. In an investigation that spans the globe, filmmaker Sue Williams investigates the underbelly of the electronics industry and reveals how even the smallest devices have deadly environmental and health costs. From the intensely secretive factories in China, to a ravaged New York community and the high tech corridors of Silicon Valley, the film tells a story of environmental degradation, of health tragedies, and the fast approaching tipping point between consumerism and sustainability.

5-7 p.m. (film is about 90 minutes) in Porter Hall 100 at Carnegie Mellon University.  Free and open to the public; no registration is needed but you can respond or discuss on Facebook.

A few reviews:

You won’t look at your iPhone in quite the same way again after viewing Sue Williams’ thoughtful documentary -- Moira Macdonald, The Seattle Times

Vital. Provocative in its focus on giant American corporations. -- John DeFore, The Hollywood Reporter

Both jaw-dropping and heartbreaking, Death by Design forces the viewer to reconsider their whole approach to technology -- Hannah Clugston, Aesthetica Magazine

Everyone should see this film -- Sydney Brownstone, The Stranger