May 31: Reforming Redistricting in PA

Fair Districts PA (FDPA) speaker Mark Anticole will explain PA's redistricting process, demonstrate how it undermines democracy, and then offer a solution to the problem. 
There will also be a second speaker (not affiliated with Fair Districts PA) who will speak about the Allegheny Democratic Committee.  

FDPA is a non-partisan coalition of citizens and organizations that seeks to reform Pennsylvania’s redistricting process to be impartial, transparent and accountable - promoting competitive elections and partisan fairness.  To this end, FDPA is informing the public and building a groundswell of support for House Bill 722 and Senate Bill 22.

Currently 92 representatives and 13 senators have signed on a co-sponsors of these bills. Can you help keep the momentum going?  
• Please attend this presentation and bring your friends.  
• Forward this email to anyone interested in our democracy. 
• Post it on your social media channels and ask your friends to share it. 
• Help us to spread the word about this important issue. 

And, between now and this event, call or write to your state legislators. Ask them to support Senate Bill 22 and House Bill 722. Legislators tally their messages, so your opinion is truly counted! 

6:30 p.m. at Alphabet City (40 West North Avenue, Pittsburgh).  For more information, contact Kitsy McNulty, Coordinator of FDPA Allegheny County – Pittsburgh Local Group at .  Fair Districts PA is a project of the League of Women Voters of Pennsylvania.

May 13: Urban Tree open house

Join Urban Tree in celebrating 6 years of progress.  Come experience the wood shop, finishing room, design studio and gallery.  Browse completed pieces & new projects underway and learn more about our process. 

11 a.m. - 6 p.m. at 7800 Susquehanna Street, Suite 401.  Open parking lot available at the building.
Be sure to visit our friends and neighbors throughout 7800 Susquehanna - other tenants also holding open studios on May 13 include:
Radiant HallMia TarducciStak CeramicsRyan LammieFoulke Fine Art ConservationAlba Art Conservation and Alexi Morrissey 

May 11: Food & Farming film screening

Under Contract:  Farmers and the Fine Print  

Join  Grow Pittsburgh and the Carnegie Library this growing season for the first ever Food & Farm Film Series, co-hosted by passionate and knowledgeable organizations and individuals involved in our local food systems. 
For the first time in a full-length documentary, contract farmers tell their stories and industry experts reveal how the corporate production model pits farmer against farmer.  Under Contract tells this story through the lens of global poultry farming, providing a timely glimpse into the little-understood fine print of modern agriculture.
6-8 p.m. at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Homewood branch  (7101 Hamilton Ave., Pittsburgh   PA  15208).  Free and open to the public.  

May 6: Sustainability Salon on Food

The 64th Sustainability Salon will take place on May 6th, with the second half (or third third, depending on how you count it) of our annual Focus on Food.  Local food, organic food, humane food, seasonal food, growing food, food issues, food education -- be here, and be sated!   Speakers will include Dan Dalton, manager of PASA's Three Rivers Sustainability Hub;  sociologist Alice Julier, director of Chatham University's Food Studies Program at Eden Hall Farm and author of Eating Together: Food, Friendship, and Inequality;  Jonathan Burgess of the Allegheny County Conservation District and the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council talking about food policy, urban agriculture, and soil health;  and local permaculture leaders Michelle Czolba and Darrell Frey, with their brand-new book The Food Forest Handbook The next salon will very likely be on June 17th, on the topic of Pittsburgh's Water Future -- the prospect of privatization, and the risk of contamination. 
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 films on Food SystemsClimate Adaptation and MitigationPlastic 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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. 

May 3: GASP Making the Connection on Urban Asthma

Join GASP for our next event in the Making the Connection Series:  Physical Activity, Air Pollution and Asthma in the Urban Environment Dr. Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir will discuss her research and afterwards there will be a panel of health and community experts to respond to her presentation. Networking and refreshments will be from 5pm - 6pm in the Hutchinson and Hayashi Auditorium.

5 - 8 p.m. at Magee-Womens Hospital of UPMC.  Registration is $5 per person. Please sign up online before attending.  Please review Magee parking information.  Visit the the GASP website for the most up to date event information.

Dr. Stephanie Lovinsky-Desir is Assistant Professor of Pediatrics in the Pulmonology Division of Columbia University Medical Center in New York, NY. She specializes in evaluating and treating children with asthma and other childhood respiratory disorders. She is also a physician-scientist that is interested in understanding the complexities of asthma in children living in urban environments. 
Dr. Lovinsky-Desir will address the complex relationship between the health benefits of physical activity and the potential risk of increased airway pollutant exposure during physical activity in urban polluted environments. She will highlight research from her group and others investigating the individual and combined effects of physical activity and pollution on asthma and airway disease. This work ultimately seeks to understand how to keep children living in urban polluted environments active and healthy.