Oct 22: House concert with Layla Frankel and Brad Yoder

A little folk, a bit of blues, a smattering of soul.  Please join us for another great show in the Putting Down Roots Occasional House Concert Series!  This time, we are proud to present Chicago-based singer-songwriter Layla Frankel, along with local favorite Brad Yoder.

Layla's music is a blend of blues, folk, and soul sounds featuring expressive vocals that bring to mind Bonnie Raitt and Nora Jones.  

Raised in a musical family in Chicago, Layla has been delighting audiences of all ages for as long as she can remember.  A performer from a young age, she played with her father Joel both on stage and on his children's records.  As a teenager, with formal training in choirs and a range of musical influences, Layla began composing songs and quickly developed her own vocal style.  At the University of Illinois, she started as a jazz studies major, but soon realized that her passion lay in songwriting as well as music.  She began to focus on creative writing and poetry while also singing in big bands and jazz combos -- gaining experience as a songwriter and band leader.

Honing her craft as a songwriter, she recorded a debut EP, Tame the Fox -- music conceived during a 600-mile hike along the Israel National Trail, carrying a backpack and a copy of The Little Prince (which inspired the title).  

Layla Frankel performs in Chicago as a solo artist but is often accompanied by her full band consisting of bass, drums, lead guitar, rhythm guitar, and backup vocals. Her debut six-track EP, "Tame the Fox" was released in April 2017.

Opening for Layla will be local singer-songwriter Brad Yoder!  We'll enjoy a taste of Brad’s unique mix of humorous, poetic, political, funky and edgy original songs, covering a musical range from folk to indie rock (with unexpected musical and lyrical twists) which has earned him a loyal following ranging from kids to retirees.  

House concert at 7 p.m. (doors open at 6 for an optional potluck) at our home in Squirrel Hill.  Directions and other info will come after you RSVP -- and please do RSVP even if you know your way!  RSVP by email to maren dot cooke at gmail dot com with "concert" in the Subject line, with name(s) of attendees -- and/or via the Eventbrite notice that will appear soon, if you're on the email list for Sustainability Salons (email me with "salon" in the Subject line if you'd like to be added!)  Suggested donation is $10-15 (goes to the performers;  we won't use Eventbrite tickets but we will be passing the proverbial hat)

Previous Putting Down Roots house concerts have included Two of a KindMike AgranoffSparky & Rhonda RuckerPutnam SmithKen Gaines and the Squirrel Hillbillies, and Randal Bays & Davey Mathias.  And coming up on December 1st, we'll welcome Michael Holt!  We also host a regular monthly environmental education event called Sustainability Salons;  the next one is on October 21st.  

Oct 21: Sustainability Salon on Community Inclusion

Including and Engaging Underserved Communities   
[the 70th Sustainability Salon will take place on November 18th!]

This October, on the heels of the Climate Reality training in which many of us participated (1400 total, from thirty-odd countries;  what an amazing three days!), the 69th Sustainability Salon will take a look at how well -- or poorly -- Pittsburgh's less-well-off neighborhoods are faring in the closely-linked realms of environmental and social justice.  How much of the environmental health burden of polluting industries and aging infrastructure falls on low-income communities?  How widespread is an understanding of how climate, pollution, and public health relate?  How fairly are the costs and benefits of environmental improvements like energy efficiency, public transit, and air and water quality standards distributed?  How can the voices of minorities and low-income folks be included in the policy conversation?
There may be some exciting, late-breaking additions to the speaker roster (I'll post them here when confirmed -- see below for the latest!), but the lineup will include these amazing activists:
On the climate front, we'll have Nicki Aviel of the Sierra Club's Ready For 100 campaign.  Ready for 100 has been reaching out into traditionally underrepresented communities to get input on the city's new Climate Action Plan and help make sure that the plan is as effective and equitable as it can be as we make the necessary transition to 100% renewable energy. 
We'll return to last month's theme of air quality monitoring, in the context of stressed communities, with Harold Rickenbacker GASP board member and PhD candidate in Pitt's Civil & Environmental Engineering program.  Harold has been working to characterize indoor and outdoor air in Homewood, Larimer, and East Liberty.  
And we'll hear from Laura Wiens, director of Pittsburghers for Public Transit.  PPT is a grassroots organization of riders, drivers, and advocates working to defend and expand public transit because transportation is a human right: everyone should have access to safe, affordable, and environmentally-sustainable transit operated by union drivers paid living wages.  Laura will be talking about communities that have mobilized to restore bus service in transit deserts, the campaign for affordable housing near good transit, and the fight for equity with the BRT and Proof of Payment proposals.
Also, I am pleased to announce an additional speaker:  Pitt toxicologist, public health researcher, and  GASP board member James Fabisiak will join us to share his insights on environmental justice in Pittsburgh's communities and around shale gas facilities.
Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We 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.   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 air quality monitoringinformal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakersgetting STEM into Congresskeeping Pittsburgh's water publicShell'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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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. 

Oct 20: GASP-toberfest

Join the Group Against Smog & Pollution for fun fall festivities at GASP-toberfest as we celebrate a year’s worth of victories. Now more than ever we need champions for clean air, and we want to thank our members and volunteers who have continuously helped us to improve the air quality of southwestern Pennsylvania. The evening will include authentic German food and drink, silent and pick-a-prize auctions, fall-themed games and activities, and live oompah/polka music from Roger Day (tuba), Janice Coppola (clarinet), and Frank Pusateri (accordion). We will be honoring two community members–Mark Dixon and Dr. Deborah Gentile–who, through activism and education, have truly stood out as Champions for Healthy Air. Our featured speaker will be Rebecca Kiernan, the Senior Resilience Coordinator for the City of Pittsburgh, who will speak on the city’s Resilience Plan and its implications for our air quality.

5:30-9:30 p.m. at Penn Brewery (800 Vinial St 15212)

More info and online registration at http://gasp-pgh.org/gasp-toberfest-friday-october-20-2017/ .

Oct 13th: Pittsburgh Solar Tour

PennFuture’s 7th annual Pittsburgh Solar Tour encourages solar and clean energy solutions by connecting citizens to residential, commercial, and public solar installations and installers. Each year, this free event attracts more than 200 people from western Pennsylvania. 
This year's tour will be on Saturday, Oct. 14 from 12 to 4 p.m. 
There will be:
  • Various stops with educational resources & knowledgeable solar owners and advocates at each one 
  • Free bus tours (12 P.M. and 2 P.M.) with solar experts meeting at the Frick Environmental Center  
  • Mapped bike paths provided by Bike Pittsburgh as well as a guided 2 P.M. East End Bike Tour starting at 7211 Thomas Boulevard Pittsburgh, PA 15208 (near Center for Creative Reuse in Point Breeze) concluding at East End Brewing Company 
  • A list of sustainable restaurants throughout the region provided by Sustainable Pittsburgh 
  • free mobile app for self-guided tours
The Pittsburgh Solar Tour is held each October in conjunction with National Solar Tour month sponsored by the American Solar Energy Society and is a featured tour on the National Solar Tour.

Oct 13: Book event: Daring Democracy

Daring Democracy: Igniting Power, Meaning, and Connection for the America We Want

An optimistic book for Americans who are asking, in the wake of Trump's victory, What do we do now? The answer: We need to organize and fight to protect and expand our democracy.
With our democracy in crisis, many Americans are frightened and uncertain. So, the legendary activist and author of Diet for a Small Planet, Frances Moore Lappe, and organizer-scholar Adam Eichen teamed up to tell the underreported story of a "movement of movements" arising to tackle the roots of the crisis. The authors view the Trump presidency as a symptom of a shocking anti-democracy movement and expose the events that drove us to this crisis. But their focus is on solutions: how people from all backgrounds, committed to an array of social-justice causes, are creating a canopy of hope, what Lappe and Eichen call the "democracy movement." To save the democracy we thought we had, argue the authors, we must take our civic life to a place it's never been. The arising democracy movement's innovative and inspiring strategies are enabling millions of Americans to feel part of something big, historic, and positive. Democracy is not only possible but essential to meet the most basic human needs for power, meaning, and connection; joining the democracy movement is thus a daring and noble undertaking calling each of us.
Frances Moore Lappé is the author or coauthor of eighteen books about the environment, world hunger, and democracy, including Diet for a Small Planet, which has sold three million copies. Articles featuring or written by Lappé have also appeared in O: The Oprah Magazine, Harper’s, the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Boston Globe, Nation, People, and elsewhere. A recipient of the Right Livelihood Award (often called the “Alternative Nobel”) and eighteen honorary doctorates, Lappé is the cofounder of the organizations Food First and the Small Planet Institute.
 Adam Eichen is a writer, researcher, and political organizer working to build a democracy that represents and empowers all voices in society. In 2015, Adam was elected to the board of directors of Democracy Matters and has since helped guide the organization’s communication program. In 2016, he was appointed deputy communications director for Democracy Spring, a historic national mobilization comprising more than a hundred organizations working for campaign-finance and voting rights reform.
6:30-7:30 at the Penguin Bookshop (417 Beaver Street, Sewickley, PA 15143)