Dec 6: Fossil Fuel Challenges

Protecting Our Communities:  Environmental Challenges from Fossil Fuel Extraction in SWPA

• Find out from our elected representatives what’s going on in city, county, state and federal government to combat climate change and promote alternative sustainable energy and other environmental initiatives 
• Hear about local creative sustainability projects • Learn from experts about the threats from fossil fuels 
• Hear activists’ stories 
• Learn more about and get involved in the local environmental movement

Doug Shields, Food and Water Watch 
Matt Mehalik, PhD, The Breathe Project 
Joanne Martin, Re-Imagine Beaver County

Elected Leaders Committed to Speaking 
PA State Senator Jay Costa 
PA State Representative Dan Frankel 
PA State Representative-Elect Summer Lee 
Allegheny County Executive Rich Fitzgerald 
Allegheny County Councilman Paul Klein 
Representation from the Office of Mayor William Peduto, City of Pittsburgh 
Pittsburgh City Councilman Corey O’Connor 
Pittsburgh City Councilwoman Erika Strassburger 
Forest Hills Borough Councilwoman Patty De Marco

TABLING ORGANIZATIONS— GET INVOLVED AT THE EVENT! ACCAN (Allegheny County Clean Air Now), BCMAC (Beaver County Marcellus Awareness Community), Breathe Project, Clean Air Council, Communities First, Food & Water Watch, GASP (Group Against Smog and Pollution),d League of Women Voters, Mom’s Clean Air Force, Bend The Arc, No Petro PA, North Braddock Residents for Our Future, Our Children Our Earth, Sierra Club, Southwest PA Environmental Health Project, Sustainable Monroeville, PennFuture, Marcellus Outreach Butler, and Re-Imagine Butler County.

7-9 p.m. at the Jewish Community Center of Greater Pittsburgh (5738 Forbes Ave. 15217).  Please .  For more information: Rabbi Ron Symons 412-339-5395.

Dec 3-4: 24 Hours of Reality

It’s a fact:  Fossil fuels are driving a climate crisis and threatening our health. On December 3 – 4, Climate Reality and former Vice President Al Gore will be joined by an all-star line-up of artists, thought leaders, and scientists for 24 Hours of Reality: Protect Our Planet, Protect Ourselves.  Tune in and learn how we can make a healthy future a reality:

Dec 1: Sustainability Salon on Consumption, Plastics, and Pollution

On the cusp of the holiday season, and in the wake of yet another wild Black Friday, we'll commence our annual Wintertime Film Series with December's recurring theme of Consumption, on the theory that we all can use a little more mindfulness during a time when we're bombarded with cultural cues to buy more stuff.  My hope is, as always, that folks will leave the salon ready to buy less stuff.  So, for the 83rd Sustainability Salon, we'll feature several short films on the environmental and health consequences of manufacturing things (many of which people don't actually need), and some of those impacts being realized in our region and around the world.  In between the films we'll have lots of discussion, followed by an excellent potluck supper and hopefully some music.  Speakers will include local activist Pat Buddemeyer on a friendly competition to reduce single-use plastics in our lives, a community-focused interfaith challenge sponsored by Pittsburgh Friends Meeting;  and Dianne Peterson (whose new business Dianne's Dishware helps address the single-use plastic problem for Pittsburgh events) on consumerism around the holidays: she'll offer creative solutions for trees/decor, gift wrapping, gift giving (or not), and holiday parties!  More info on salons below, and check back for updates.  And here's an essay to get you started:  George Monbiot, in 2012, pondering pathological consumption.

The January 19th event, marking seven years of Sustainability Salons, will very likely focus on trains traveling through Pittsburgh -- where they go, how many, how often, what's on them, what hazards they present, and changes being proposed by rail companies.  February and March (dates TBA) we'll be talking about two different "nuclear surprises." Surprising, because many environmentalists would not have considered ever supporting nuclear, but might just do so after our discussions!  

Salons run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill.  Please don't arrive before 3 p.m.  We generally start the program not long after 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 a trail map 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 qualitysolar poweryouth activismgreening businessgreenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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.