Feb 28: Tuesdays with Toomey on Protecting the Environment

Senator Toomey must take a stand to protect all Pennsylvanians from environmental degradation and climate change, while supporting a just transition from fossil fuels and investing in a clean energy economy.
As we've done each Tuesday all year, people will gather at Crazy Mocha at noon and then march peacefully to the Landmark Building (there is a long ramp leading up to the gathering place--feel free to start early/late if you wish to take your time getting up there)
Please RSVP by clicking this link, and if you wish, sign our Petition to Senator Toomey. It will be printed out to deliver to his staff at approximately 10:30 AM, so please be sure to sign by that time.

Bring posters supporting Environmental Protection--and any other progressive issues you wish to address!  If you do not sign the petition, or have another issue to address, please bring letter or card for us to deliver to staff.  Please include your name and address, NO ENVELOPE, and keep it short and to the point!  (sealing letters in envelopes can add a delay as they may screen for anthrax and whatnot)

Talking points(thanks to our local Sierra Club):
  • This year, Senator Toomey will face a crucial choice: He can help defend the incredible recent progress our nation has made to protect the health of our families from pollution and climate change and to grow the clean energy economy -- or he can help the new administration and the fossil fuel industry launch new attacks on clean air, clean water, and the health of our communities.
  • Americans are demanding action to protect our air, water, and communities from pollution. We didn't vote for dirty air and dirty water -- but Senator Toomey isn't listening, instead he is pushing the dangerous agenda of big polluters.
  • Pollution has a disproportionately negative effect on low-income communities and communities of color already suffering from the worst effects of toxic pollution, including heart attacks, asthma, and premature death.  
  • Supporting action to tackle the climate crisis doesn’t just help protect our communities, it can help grow the clean energy economy and create thousands of new jobs.

Feb 19: Reflections on justice, peace and faith.

Working for a Future We Can Believe In 

Because justice, compassion, equality, peace and truth are the core of the Gospel message in every place and time, attendees will ask how faith guides our response to the era we live in.  How do we listen to, affirm, support, and encourage one another when we experience profound uncertainty and challenging transition?  What are our options for political, legislative, and social action in 2017?  How do folks ground themselves in God’s presence and a faith community?  There will be time for sharing, group discussions, and prayer.  

1:30-3:30 (doors open at 1) at Sullivan Hall on Mt. Washington (131 Bigham Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15211. Behind the former St. Mary of the Mount School which is on the corner of Grandview & Bigham Avenues).  RSVP required;  please egister via this Doodle poll: http://doodle.com/poll/frserayqd7nyb79q

Feb 11: Sustainability Salon Winter Film Series continues

The 61st Sustainability Salon will take place on February 11th, continuing our annual Winter Film Series.  'Cause it's winter!  (which is supposed to look like the photo at left, in case you forgot.)  (O wait, now it does, for a couple of days!)  But because Pittsburgh keeps ranging into the 60s in January and February (and lots and lots of other reasons), we'll be focusing on climate change -- both mitigation and adaptation.  
On the adaptation front, the film Facing the Surge looks at the situation in Norfolk, Virginia, which like so many coastal cities is already facing substantial sea-level rise and anticipating even more.  How to prevent the worst effects of climate change?  Reduce carbon emissions as fast as possible, primarily by eschewing fossil fuels.  Kirsi Jansa's Sustainability Pioneers has been taking us on virtual tours of people and places near and far, looking at potential solutions.  The eighth episode looks at how utilities are responding to climate change, and the emergence of community solar (our topic at the 20th salon, in 2013) in Boulder, Colorado.  We'll also screen an episode of Years of Living Dangerously that considers the prospects of electric and self-driving cars (featuring Ty Burrell, a.k.a. one of the dads on Modern Family) and also The West Wing's Bradley Whitford joining Citizens Climate Lobby to convince Republican legislators of the need to act on climate -- we'll have local CCL leader Ray Roberts with an update on CCL doings.  We'll also have opportunities for participatory advocacy, from letter-writing right here to connecting with efforts at the national (Carbon Fee & Dividend), state (the PA Solar Jobs Bill), and local levels (signing up volunteers for Mayor Peduto's reelection campaign -- and if you can't make it to the salon, you can also connect with the campaign by email).  And if you have space on your own roof to take very direct climate action, Solarize Allegheny is still on for another few months;  we'll have info on that, as well. 
The next salon will be on March 4th, with David Bernabo's Food Systems.  And in a rare burst of long lead time, the 63rd salon will almost certainly take place on April 8th.
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 not long after 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 (see below), 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 Shell's planned petrochemical plantvisualizing air quality, 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 Plastic Paradise, 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:  wine, 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 homemade or boughten.  Dishes containing meat or dairy are fine, though if it isn't really obvious please make a note of it.  We refill a bunch of growlers at East End and provide a big batch of mostly-homegrown pesto (cheesy and vegan), and other things as needed.  More details will come after you RSVP (hint, hint!). 

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. 

Feb 2: Gp Solar! workshop

You are invited to attend this Solar Workshop on February 2 to find out how easy and affordable solar energy has become. Moving to cleaner energy and becoming more energy efficient is an important solution to addressing climate change. Find out how you can be a part of the solution.

Help build a bridge to the new energy future:
Be Part of the Climate Solution – Go Solar!

Thursday, February 2, 2017
East Liberty Presbyterian Church, Room 234
116 S Highland Ave, Pittsburgh, PA, Pittsburgh, PA
6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
(Registration, light refreshments 6:15 PM, presentation at 6:30 PM)
Free registration: https://solarize350pgh.eventbrite.com
· Learn about the benefits of solar energy and energy efficiency
· Meet solar installers and current solar owners
· Get information about financing
As a partner in the Solarize Allegheny campaign – 350 Pittsburgh invites you to learn how solar can work for your home or business. Replacing dirty fossil fuels with healthy energy is a crucial strategy to address climate change and improve our local air quality.
While the Pittsburgh region has many cloudy days, we receive much more sun than Germany - the leading solar energy nation! Solar energy - the fastest growing energy source in the world - works well in Pennsylvania and there are already nearly 8,000 solar installations in Pennsylvania.  With the steep drop in solar costs and the 30% federal tax credit, solar has become a wise financial investment.
350 Pittsburgh has teamed up with Solarize Allegheny, a project funded by the Heinz Endowments and the Allegheny County Health Department to help residents and commercial property owners consider the benefits of solar energy. At this informational session, we will provide an overview of solar energy. You will also meet the two local, pre-screened solar installers and have the ability to request a free quote for your home through the program. Representatives from a local bank will be available to provide information about financing. Find out about the Urban Redevelopment Authority energy loan (PHRP Plus) with 0% interest for people with qualifying incomes. The installers are offering a $500 discount for all signed contracts by June 16, 2017!
In addition, representatives from the Sound Home Plan from Conservation Consultants, Inc. will provide information about making your home more energy efficient.
Free registration is requested: https://solarize350pgh.eventbrite.com. For more information, please visit the website at www.solarizeallegheny.org or contact Sharon Pillar, Solarize Allegheny project manager, at spillar@smartpower.org or 412-215-5995.

DON’T MISS the upcoming Solar Open House on Saturday, February 25, at 7211 Thomas Boulevard in Point Breeze from 10:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. Check www.solarizeallegheny.org for more information.