Mar 31: Youth, Resist!

Hey, Pittsburghers age 14- 22, did you know that Shell Oil is proposing construction on a massive petrochemical facility just outside of Allegheny County with predictions that more industry will follow! 
Join us to learn how living near such a plant plant may affect YOU and your community!! Learn what it's like to live near a huge plant and what we can do to defend Pittsburgh's clean air and water, and our health!
We'll be screening the film "Fenceline: A Company Town Divided", eating free Chipotle and sharing ideas on how you can become involved in this (and other) eco activism. Discussion will be moderated by local filmmaker and activist, Mark Dixon (best known for the eco-adventure documentary, "YERT - Your Environmental Road Trip").

Cost: Free, Free and more FREE!  There's a Facebook event, too -- please RSVP by the day before, so we don't run out of Chipotle!  Please invite your friends, and spread the word!

Questions? Contact Ana├»s Peterson- 

This event is sponsored by 350 Pittsburgh's Unite 100 Campaign linking Climate Justice to Social Justice with the support of the Sprout Fund's 100 Days of US project.  Food provided by Chipotle!

Mar 29: Solarize Regent Square

Shining Light on Solar Energy in Regent Square

Join Solarize Allegheny for a presentation on solar energy, meet pre-qualified solar installers and solar owners, and get information you need to consider going solar. 

Solarize Allegheny is a project funded by The Heinz Endowments and Allegheny County Health Department to expand the use of solar energy in Allegheny County.

6:30-8:30 p.m. at the Wilkins School Community Center (7604 Charleston Ave. Swissvale, Pa 15218).  Free & open to the public;  light refreshments provided.  Sponsored by the Regent Square Civic Association and Solarize Allegheny .

Mar 24-25: Farm To Table conference

Growing Roots for Healthy Communities -- this year, bringing a cultural perspective to Pittsburgh's preeminent local food conference.

With the theme Growing Roots for Healthy Communities, it’s all about celebrating the diversity of farming and traditional cooking methods that make eating local fun, educational and enriching.

The conference provides consumers with two days of networking and educational opportunities. Seasonal cooking demonstrations, gardening, and information about the nutritional value of local food are presented by local experts.

Meet with other Locavores to discuss ideas about where their food comes from and where to find businesses and organizations who can provide them with healthy food and healthy lifestyle choices.

10 a.m. - 5 p.m. both days; additional events before and after each day.  At the David Lawrence Convention Center downtown.  Online tickets here, more information here.  There's also a Facebook event, in case you want to check in with friends!  

Mar 23-Apr 9: CMU International Film Festival

Focusing its lens on personal, cultural and global identity, the 11th annual CMU International Film Festival will use cinema to examine highly potent and topical issues.  Curated around the theme of “Faces of Identity,” the Festival boasts more than a dozen features, documentaries, and shorts—including many making their Pittsburgh debut.  Spanning 18 days and countries throughout the world from Peru to Poland, films and speakers will spark engaging dialogues about issues such as race, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, and the environment.  Some screenings are followed by Q&A sessions and receptions showcasing locally-produced ethnic cuisine.  The world’s only international film festival run entirely by students from several universities, the event also seeks to celebrate Pittsburgh’s own ethnic heritage and dynamic culture.  Don’t miss opening night on March 23 for the Pittsburgh premiere of With I, Daniel Blake, directed by renowned English director Ken Loach—who is acclaimed for creating films such as Riff-Raftackling pressing social issues.  Additional highlights include an epic biography about the pioneering, Nobel Prize–winning scientist Marie Curie, a powerful portrait of a young Chinese woman emigrating to Argentina, a story about political and environmental turmoil in rural Peru, and an examination of the new geological epoch in which we find ourselves -- in which humanity has put itself -- the Anthropocene.  

Lots more information, trailers, and tickets can be found here.

Mar 22: "Just Eat It" film screening

Join 412 Food Rescue and Repair the World: Pittsburgh for a FREE screening of Just Eat It, a food waste story. 
"We all love food.  As a society, we devour countless cooking shows, culinary magazines and foodie blogs.  So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash?  Just Eat It is a 74-minute documentary film about food waste and food rescue by Peg Leg Films in partnership with British Columbia's Knowledge Network."

6-8:30 p.m. at Repair the World: Pittsburgh (6022 Broad Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15206).  Free and open to the public, but please register here.

Mar 22: Climate talk by Bob Inglis at Ptt

Can Free Enterprise Solve Climate Change?

Subsidies and regulations have historically been used to address climate change, but have had limited success.  Free enterprise, however, may offer a lasting solution.  Join us as Bob Inglis, former member of the U.S. House of Representatives and now the executive director of, illustrates how American leadership and a level playing field could allow free enterprise to innovate a solution to climate change.

4 p.m. in Ballroom A of the University Club (123 University Place in Oakland).  Free and open to the public, but space is limited -- please sign up in advance.  More information and online registration are here.  There's also a Facebook event, in case you'd like to connect with friends for carpooling or the like.  

Bob Inglis of South Carolina lost his Congressional seat in 2010 to a member of his own party after twelve years of nonconsecutive service and two election victories, the second with 74% of the vote. At that time, Inglis was a steadfast denier of anthropogenic climate change and was strongly supported by the conservative base of his party. However, Inglis came to realize that he could no longer ignore the scientific consensus on climate change. Encouraged by the strong support of his family and despite the obvious risks to his political career, he declared his conversion to climate change action on a radio show in 2010. Largely on that basis he was roundly defeated for reelection by a Tea Party candidate later that year. Since then Inglis has served his new mission well. In 2012 he founded the Energy and Enterprise Initiative at George Mason University to promote free enterprise solutions to energy and climate challenges, and he founded “RepublicEN,” an organization of talent to educate the political right on conservative responsibilities and solutions for energy and climate issues. In 2015, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation awarded Inglis the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award for his valorous stand for the public interest that cost him his Congressional career.
Inglis holds a bachelor’s degree from Duke University and a law degree from the University of Virginia.  He is renowned throughout the country for his eloquent voice and leadership in mobilizing conservative principles and solutions for tackling climate change challenges effectively.

Mar 21: "Merchants of Doubt" screening

This acclaimed film, based on Naomi Orestes and Erik Conway's book, examines how tactics developed by the tobacco industry are being used once again by the fossil fuel industry to foster climate change denial.  

6:30 - 9 p.m. in the University of Pittsburgh's Barco Law Building, Room 113 (3900 Forbes Avenue, 15213).  Enjoy refreshments from 6:30-7, then the film at 7 followed by discussion.  Free & open to the public;  sponsored by Sierra Club Allegheny Group and Pitt Student Activist Legal Network. 

Mar 20: Ta-Nehisi Coates at Pitt

Ta-Nehisi Coates is the author of The Beautiful Struggle and Between the World and Me, which won the 2015 National Book Award, the PEN/Diamonstein-Spielvogel Award for the Art of the Essay, and was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award.  A former writer for the Village Voice and a national correspondent for The Atlantic, Coates has been awarded the Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism and the George Polk Award for his 2012 article "The Case for Reparations."  He is the recipient of a 2015 MacArthur Fellowship, and was named one of Time Magazine's 100 Most Influential People in 2016.  He recently wrote eleven issues of Marvel Comics's Black Panther series, which when it first appeared in the 1960's was the first comic book to feature a black superhero.

6:30 at the William Pitt Assembly Room (3959 Fifth Ave., 15213).  Free and open to the public; sponsored by the Pittsburgh Contemporary Writers Series.

Mar 18: Soil testing event

Free soil lead screening, with soil contamination and remediation information -- thanks to the Allegheny County Conservation District, Grow Pittsburgh, BUGs (Black Urban Gardeners), DECO Resources and other partners.  Learn why soil lead contamination is a serious problem in Pittsburgh.

Bring a properly collected, dry soil sample from your yard or garden, and it can be checked for lead and other heavy metals free of charge.  Staff will be on hand to answer questions and provide information on what to do next.

Instructions on how to collect your sample can be found here.  

12-3 p.m. at Grow Pittsburgh's Garden Resource Center (147 Putnam St., Pittsburgh, 15206).  For more information, contact Jonathan Burgess at the ACCD at 412-291-8017.

Mar 15: Community meeting on water & lead

A community meeting to learn more about the current lead crisis, and how you can help protect Pittsburghers' access to safe, clean water.  The meeting is convened by Alissa Weinman of Corporate Accountability International, in partnership with Pittsburgh United and the Our Water campaign.

7 p.m. at Repair the World Pittsburgh (6022 Broad Street Pittsburgh, PA 15206).  For more information, email Alissa.

Mar 11: Creatives for Climate workshop

Climate change is the biggest threat facing humankind – yet Americans have been slow to acknowledge that we are changing climate in very dangerous ways, and slow to move from climate awareness to climate action. Artists could play an important role in helping people face their climate fears and move to climate action.  Both individual and community health and well-being can be enriched when people rise to the challenges and work together.

Artists, designers, climate activists -- come explore climate solutions and create new ways to deal with climate change. Network and brainstorm with experts and peers alike. Get hands-on experiences working on climate change and solutions. 
9 a..m. - 3:30 p.m. at Repair The World (6022 Broad Street  Pittsburgh, PA 15206).  Cost:  $10, and you must register by Tuesday, March 7th.  Lots more information and online registration here.

Mar 10: Media Literacy workshop

Led by Doubt exhibition curator Nadine Wasserman, this workshop will evaluate sources in order to explore how to use media and information literacy to fact check, verify and monitor news stories. False news, click bait-y and satirical news have proliferated of late, particularly on social media, and it is essential that consumers be able to distinguish between facts and untruths. In this workshop, led by a journalist and a librarian, participants will learn how to distinguish between straight-up fake news and the murky realms of advertainment, opinion masquerading as fact, and reportage that is several steps removed from source material like scientific studies. 

Bill O'Driscoll is the arts and entertainment editor at Pittsburgh City Paper. He has also written extensively about environmental issues. In the area of media literacy, he is concerned about issues of fairness, credible sourcing and the use of the term "fake news" as a weapon to demolish the boundary between truth and falsehood.

Mary Phillips is a reference librarian at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

7-9 p.m. at Space (812 Liberty Ave. Pittsburgh 15222).  This workshop is presented in conjunction with Doubt, currently on view at Space through March 26.   There's a Facebook event here.

Exhibition information:  To doubt is to lack certainty. But beneath an absence of certainty and a hesitance to believe is a question. Neuroscience has proven that what we see is not reality, but what the brain thinks it sees based on a quick mental construction based on sensations, memories and desires. The work included in this exhibition privileges questions over answers in order to reveal the edge between what we see and what we think we see, what we know and what we think we know.

Artists: Lenka Clayton, Lori Hepner, Melinda McDaniel, Gina Occhiogrosso, Diane Samuels, Mary Temple

Feb 24, Mar 3, & Mar 10: Justice for All Film Series

Unite 100 Justice for All Film Series

350 Pittsburgh's Unite 100 Campaign with the support of Sprout Fund’s 100 Days of US, in collaboration with Marcellus Protest, will show three films at the Pittsburgh Mennonite Church in Braddock.

7 p.m. each evening at the Pittsburgh Mennonite Church (2018 S Braddock Avenue in Swissvale 15218).  Parking is available. There is a small lot very close to the church, there is on street parking, and a public parking lot 2 blocks away which will be marked. All are welcome!  

February 24
THE WISDOM to SURVIVE: Climate Change, Capitalism & 
Community.  THE WISDOM TO SURVIVE asks what is keeping us from action?  The film explores how unlimited growth and greed are destroying the life support system of the planet, the social fabric of society, and the lives of billions of people.  Will we have the wisdom to survive? This movie examines the challenges that climate change poses and discusses meaningful action that can be taken by individuals and communities.
Activists Terri Supowitz and Wanda Guthrie will lead a discussion after the film.
Registration is not required, but can be found here.

March 3
Named after a refinery now owned by Shell Oil, Norco, Louisiana, is home to two distinct communities — one black and one white. Though separated by mere blocks, their realities are worlds apart.  A modern David and Goliath story, FENCELINE shows how one small community and one
big corporation struggle to come to terms.  Conversation after the film with Thaddeus Popovich, environmental activist, and Mark Dixon, activist and filmmaker.

March 10
WE the PEOPLE 2.0 is a visual essay about the loss of democracy in the United States.  The film utilizes both original footage as well as found footage to describe a profound change in thinking at the grassroots level.  The story unfolds through the eyes of rural people who have faced decades of toxic dumping, drilling and mining in their communities. We learn with them that the reason why, in spite of all their efforts, they “get what they don’t want, again and again,” is because they are, by law, truly powerless in spite of propaganda that says they live in the “best democracy in the world.”  Doug Shields, leader of the movement that banned fracking in Pittsburgh, and Chad Nicholson, Community Legal Defense Fund Pennsylvania organizer, will be answering questions after the film.

Mar 9: Wild & Scenic Film Festival

The Wild & Scenic Film Festival – the nation’s premier environmental and adventure film festival – will stop in Pittsburgh in March as part of its nationwide tour to showcase environmental films that inspire action.

The Pennsylvania Resources Council and Allegheny CleanWays will host the evening of short films that showcase breathtaking ecosystems and powerful stories of individuals and communities taking action to protect their health and the environment.  Click here to find films screened at previous festivals.
6:30 p.m. (doors open at 6) at Chatham University.  Standard tickets are $15 with all proceeds benefiting PRC and Allegheny CleanWays.  Wild & Scenic Film Festival tickets can be purchased at the door or in advance online or by calling 412-488-7490 x105.

Mar 7: Dinner and a Documentary

Millions of people in the most vulnerable regions around the world are already being forced to leave their homes because of climate change.  Almost 40 percent of all the US carbon emissions come from buildings, both residential and commercial.  In many European countries energy efficient, climate friendly homes are common.  These low-carbon homes are popping up around the US too.  In the ninth episode of Kirsi Jansa's Sustainability Pioneers, Home Sweet Home, we follow a couple who is building a “passive house” – a tightly insulated low energy home – in the Pittsburgh area.  We also visit a 100-percent electric straw bale house in Butler County and explore how performing an energy audit in an old home can reduce energy bills and climate pollution.
Join Green Building Alliance, Passive House of Western PA, Carnegie Mellon University, and Conservation Consultants, Inc. to enjoy Dinner and a Documentary -- the premiere screening of the latest episode of Sustainability Pioneers, and panel discussion with filmmaker Kirsi Jansa, several people profiled in the episode, and local experts on home energy conservation.

6-8 p.m. at the Mellon Institute auditorium (Bellefield Avenue in Oakland).  Cost:  $10-25 (depending).  Register online here.

Mar 4: Sustainability Salon screening Food Systems

The 62nd Sustainability Salon will take place on March 4th, completing our annual Winter Film Series and beginning our annual Focus on Food (tricky, that Maren).  Our trio of winter film salons got a late start this season, and so will continue into March for the first half of our annual Food Focus.  Local documentary filmmaker David Bernabo will join us to share his film series Food Systems.  We'll also have Erin Hagan with the latest on the upcoming Farm To Table Conference.  
The next salon will be on April 8th, with more on food!  Local food, organic food, humane food, seasonal food, growing food, food issues, food education -- be here, and be sated!  Also, on the eve of that salon (the 7th), we'll be hosting a house concert with Mike Agranoff.

A few other upcoming events are germane to recent salons, and you can find info here on MarensList.  Another important film screening and discussion tonight -- or a Standing Rock benefit, if that's more your style.  A workshop on nonviolent action the first part of tomorrow (then come to the salon afterward!), and next weekend Creatives for Climate (register by Tuesday).  For aspiring gardeners, there'll be a free soil testing event at the Garden Resource Center.  And next week even more cinematic magic on Tuesday (premiere of the latest Sustainability Pioneers) and Thursday (Wild & Scenic Film Festival).

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, it's a mini-conference, it's 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 particular 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 Climate Adaptation and Mitigation, 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. 

Mar 4: Nonviolence workshop

Creating a Culture of Peace:  Constructive Nonviolence and Nonviolent Resistance

We will explore the spirituality and practice of nonviolence. Using a popular education process that respects and builds upon the wisdom and experience of every participant we will be given an opportunity to explore:

Constructive Nonviolence and Nonviolent Resistance
Social Change : Analyzing Social Change Movements
Community Building: Practicing skills
and Bystander Intervention Training – What to do when you’re by yourself, and you see someone being harassed
9:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pittsburgh Friends Meeting House (4836 Ellsworth Ave, Pittsburgh).  Free & open to the public, but please RSVP online.  Please bring a bag lunch;  coffee, tea, and flavored seltzer will be provided.  

About Elliott Adams: Chair of the CCP Board and Facilitator, former paratrooper and past President of Veterans for Peace, has dedicated his life to abolishing all war, served in many political and civic leadership positions, attended untold numbers of demonstrations, and worked at many levels, from stapling signs to doing logistics, organizing work, and conducting nonviolence training across the country for United For Peace and Justice, War Resisters League, School Of Americas Watch, Peace Has No Borders, Veterans For Peace, as well as Creating a Culture of Peace. Recently, Elliott spent time at Standing Rock with the Meta Peace Team International Exploratory Team.

Sponsors:  350 Pittsburgh Unite 100, Pax Christi Pittsburgh, EcoJustice TMC, Thomas Merton Center, and the Anti-War Committee TMC and 100 Days of Us.  For more info, contact

Mar 3: Standing Rock benefit

Mni wiconi! Water is Life!  Come on out for an evening benefitting Standing Rock. 

6-10:30 p.m. at 5118 Penn Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224-1616

        6:30- 7:30   Rachel Allen with ceremony & song
        7:45-8:45  Music of Anjroy
        9-10  Brooke Smokelin/Vox Lumina 

Also featuring Brittney Chantele.

There's also a Facebook event...