Mar 26: Environmental Justice/Racial Justice/Gender Justice

Environmental Justice is Racial Justice is Gender Justice  
Jaqueline Patterson, Director, NAACP Environmental and Climate Justice Program

6-8 p.m. at the Frick Fine Arts Building Auditorium, University of Pittsburgh (across the street from Carnegie Library Main Branch).  Reception to follow talk.
Jacqueline Patterson serves as director of the NAACP's Environmental and Climate Justice Program (ECJ Program). The ECJ Program works to "provide resources and support community leadership in addressing this human and civil rights issue by advocating for:" (1) reducing harmful emissions, particularly greenhouse gas emissions, (2) advancing energy efficiency and clean energy, and (3) strengthening community resilience and livability. Over her career, Patterson has worked in a variety of roles - from researcher to activist - in a variety of subject areas - from women's rights to HIV/AIDS to racial justice to environmental justice and beyond. She has authored several papers and a book chapter covering these topics and more. Patterson holds a master's degree in social work from the University of Maryland and a master's degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University.

More info including suggested readings are on the Facebook event page

Mar 24, Apr 21, 28, May 5: E-Waste recycling events

E-Waste Recycling and Data Destruction Events:  Spring clean-ups hosted by CyberCrunch  

Mar 24:  10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Mt. Lebanon Public Library, 16 Castle Shannon Blvd, 15228).
April 21:  10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Calvary Episcopal Church (315 Shady Ave. in Shadyside, 15206).
April 28:  10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church (384 Fox Chapel Road, 15238).
May 5:  10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Ferdinand Church Annex, 2535 Rochester Rd, Cranberry, 16066).

The following computer components will be accepted for FREE at these events:

Desktop, laptops, tablets, servers, hard drives (optional on-site hard drive shredding will be offered for $10 per hard drive)
LCD (flat screen) monitors
Cell phones, Ipods, MP3 players, etc.
Computer peripherals include keyboards, mice, printers (< 50lbs), power supplies, motherboards / circuit Boards, cables, UPS batteries & backup systems, power supplies, memory, hard drives, computer fans, routers, switches, wireless routers, access points, bridges, firewalls, cabling, modems, KVM switches
Phones, phone systems
AC adapter & wiring

The following items will be accepted for a $10 DISPOSAL FEE per unit:

Audio/video equipment
Radio, receivers, amplifiers, tuners, equalizers, tape decks
VCR, DVD & Blue Ray Players
Wooden speakers
Consumer/household goods
Sweepers, hair dryers, toasters, blenders, coffee makers, microwaves and other consumer electronics
Small Freon containing appliances including window air conditioners and dehumidifiers
A portion of proceeds benefit the Fox Chapel Presbyterian Church.

The following items will NOT BE ACCEPTED:

CRT (old style monitors)
Universal Waste
Alkaline batteries
Light bulbs
Large Freon containing appliances

Can’t attend the event?
CyberCrunch offers data destruction by mail.
Checkout our mailback program at

Mar 24: Fracking In Our Future?

“Every Nation on the planet, except the US, has recognized the dire threat of climate change and is committed to carbon reductions.  Currently, the state of Pennsylvania has fully embraced frack gas which is just as big a threat to our climate as coal.  We must redirect their attention to advance clean energy and clean energy jobs.  Working together, we can change our future for our children and their children.”
— Larry Schweiger 

Larry Schweiger is a leading voice in the environmental movement nationally and in Pennsylvania.  He is currently the Chapter Co-Chair of the Climate Reality Project here in Pittsburgh.  He has also served as President and CEO of PennFuture, the National Wildlife Federation, and the Western Pennsylvania Conservancy. 

7 p.m. at the Sixth Presbyterian Church (1688 Murray Ave. Squirrel Hill, Pittsburgh).  Free and open to the public, but seating is limited; please register online at or call 412-421-2752. 

Mar 22: Panel on Petrochemical Plants

How will our city be impacted by the proposed upwind petrchemical plants? 
Can we afford to accept Allegheny County’s rank in the top 1% of cancer rates ?
What can we do to prevent the proposed plants?
What can we do to to prevent the plants and supporting infrastructure from threatening our air and water?  “Climate and local air quality are not issues for environmentalists only, they are issues for anyone who wants well-being for humanity“  Rev. John Creasy

Come learn about the danger and what you can do to prevent the proposed massive petrochemical hub threatening our air, land and water: 

The presentation will feature Matt Mehalik, Director of the Breathe Project, and a panel of dedicated activists:

Rev. John Creasy, pastor of the Open Door Church- Garfield, permaculture teacher and farmer at Garfield Community Farm, Boar Member of Pennsylvania Interfaith Power & Light, and the Pittsburgh Presbytery Peacemaking Team.

Terrie Baumgardner, Climate Reality Volunteer and member of the Citizens To Protect the Ambridge Reservoir where the encroachment of Shell’s Falcon Pipeline threatens the watershed of this pristine reservoir.

Nora Johnson, Climate Reality Volunteer, Earth Care Team- Sixth Presbyterian Church as well as a Pittsburgh member of Citizens to Protect the Ambridge Reservoir.

7-9 p.m. at the Thomas Merton Center (5125 Penn Ave., 15224).  Light refreshments will be served. 

Mar 22: Know your Water Rights

To celebrate World Water Day and the universal human right to water, the Our Water Campaign is hosting an event for community members to learn about the rights they have as PWSA customers to safe, affordable drinking water! 

Starting April 1st, PWSA will be under the PA Utility Commission (PUC) and you will have new rights as PWSA customers. Come find out what PUC oversight will mean for your drinking water. 

Our event will feature a guest legal expert from the PA Utility Law Project, where their mission is to help Pennsylvania’s low-income consumers connect to and maintain affordable utility and energy services within their homes. 

6:30-8 p.m. at The Shop in Homewood (621 N Dallas Ave., 15208).  Doors will open and dinner will be provided at 6.  You can RSVP on Facebook:

Mar 20: Fracking talk and discussion

FRACK GAS: A Bridge Too Far…  Larry J. Schweiger (President Emeritus and past CEO of PennFuture, Chair of the newly-formed regional chapter of the Climate Reality Leadership Corps) will discuss the impacts of fracking, ethane cracker plants and petrochemical development on our air quality and potential hazards; our water and food supply and safety; community seismic activity; occupational hazards, noise levels and the psychosocial tolls of boom and bust cycles.

Allegheny County's air quality is still ranked among the most unhealthy of all counties in the United States.  While those at the northern edge of the county have been somewhat spared from the industrial portion of these air quality problems, things are about to change.  Soon, the Shell ethane cracker plant in Potter Township will go into service.  This is 13 miles, as the crow flies, from Bradfordwoods.

7 p.m. at Bradfordwoods Community Church (4836 Wexford Run Road, Bradfordwoods, Pa 15015)  Free and open to the public. Sponsored by the Bradfordwoods Conservancy.

Mar 17: Sustainability Salon annual Focus on Food (Part I)

For the 74th Sustainability Salon, we will return to our annual Focus on Food!  March speakers will include Pittsburgh Open Space Coordinator Shelly Danko+Day, with an update on the City's Adopt-A-Lot program, the Food portion of the City's Climate Action Plan, and the ongoing Farmers' Market survey;  Alyssa KailGrow Pittsburgh's Community Garden Sustainability Coordinator;  longtime organic CSA farmer Don Kretschmann;  and Jennifer Rafanan Kennedy, the Acting Executive Director of Pittsburgh United, who will brief us on upcoming contract negotiations for employees of a key component of our local food system, Giant Eagle -- and what we can do to help support the workers seeking family-sustaining wages.
And although our weather is having its ups and downs as Spring approaches, the Wintertime Film Series seems to retain its icy grip upon us -- we'll include a film screening, as well.  Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story looks at our systemic obsession with expiry dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, and reveals the core of this seemingly insignificant issue that is having devastating consequences around the globe.

Please be sure to RSVP, so that I can get a head-count, and also send you important information!  

The April salon will also be on the topic of Food, and will take place on April 21st.  Note that there has been a little shuffling of speakers;  you can always check back here on MarensList for the latest information! 

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We will start the program right around 4pm, 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 with salon in the subject line to be added!).  

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 climate/nature/peoplefracking, health, & actionglobalizationecological ethicscommunity inclusionair 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. 

Mar 4: March Forth for Air Quality

Wake up from your winter hibernation and thaw out on a hike with folks from the Group Against Smog & Pollution and Frick Environmental Center.  With a view of one of our nearest major sources of air pollution, we’ll talk about regulations on such facilities, as well as how to protect yourself from air pollution while being active outdoors.

1-3 p.m., stepping off from the Frick Environmental Center (2005 Beechwood Blvd, 15213).  Please register online.  There's also a Facebook event.  


Mar 2: Food waste film and panel

Food Waste Documentary and Panel Discussion

We all love food. So how could we possibly be throwing nearly 50% of it in the trash?

Just Eat It: A Food Waste Story looks at our systemic obsession with expiry dates, perfect produce and portion sizes, and reveals the core of this seemingly insignificant issue that is having devastating consequences around the globe.

Join Carnegie Mellon as they kick off National Nutrition Month with this award-winning documentary, followed by a panel discussion featuring members, partners, and friends of the university community including student representatives from Sustainable Earth; Jen England, Director of Operations at 412 Food Rescue; Maren Cooke, founder of the Pittsburgh Sustainability Salon and board member of Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP); and Chef Trevett Hooper from legume bistro.

6-8:30 p.m. in Cohon University Center's McConomy Auditorium.  (the CUC is the big building near CMU's parking garage on Forbes Avenue.  Parking is free after hours, too!)  Free and open to the public.  Light refreshments of wasted food and ugly fruit will be provided by CulinArt and 412 Food Rescue.

Mar 2: Inconvenient Sequel at IUP

Free screening of Al Gore's second climate film, An Inconvenient Sequel:  Truth to Power at IUP!  If you haven't seen this film, you should go.  And if you're nearby, go anyway!  

6 p.m. in room 225 of the Humanities and Social Services building at Indiana University of Pennsylvania (Indiana, PA).  Free and open to the public.

Mar 1: ‘Say No to EQT’ Rally

‘Say No to EQT’ Rally
Noon on Thursday, March 1
EQT Plaza, 625 Liberty Avenue,
Pittsburgh, PA 15222

EQT is the largest natural gas producer in the United States, relying heavily on fracking and its harmful effect on families and communities. To soften its public image EQT has sponsored the following events in Pittsburgh:

• The EQT Equality March (Pride)
• The EQT 10 Miler
• The EQT Children’s Theater Festival
• Light Up Night
• The EQT Regatta
• The July 4th Celebrate America Festival

But the reality is that EQT:
·      Is building a pipeline in Virginia and West Virginia despite citizens opposition.
·      Was fined $1.1M by DEP for drilling water pollution
·      Leads an industry that fuels climate change.
·      Funds politicians who promote anti-LGBT policies
·      Offers landowners cash not to sue them for air and noise pollution.
For More Information Contact: