May 29: Paris to Pittsburgh screening

Join Lawrenceville Clean Air Now for a screening of Paris to Pittsburgh, a new National Geographic film produced by RadicalMedia in partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies.

LCAN is excited to share this film with our community, shedding light on the effects of climate change and encouraging each other to fight for our future.

After the film (1 hr 20 min), there will be discussion about ways we can take action together locally to address climate change.

6-8 p.m. at Carnegie Library - Lawrenceville (279 Fisk St., 15201)

May 28: Pgh Food Action Plan meeting

Community Meeting for the Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan

Just Harvest is a leading member of the Pittsburgh Food Policy Council. The Council is developing a Greater Pittsburgh Food Action Plan that will create regional strategies to prioritize healthy, affordable, and sustainable food for all.

Please join us for the first in our community conversations about ensuring food equity!  Come share your ideas, thoughts, and concerns about how food systems work in your community and ways to shape the future of our food system.
The six community sessions this summer are the best opportunity to provide input into the plan, so come make your voice heard!

5:30 – 8:00 p.m. at the Kingsley Center: 6435 Frankstown Ave in East Liberty 

May 25: Sustainability Salon on Food

For the 88th Sustainability Salon, we'll finish out our annual springtime Focus on Food.  

Sean Moundas, co-founder of the Pittsburgh Vegan Association, will take a look at the connections between environmental sustainability and veganism.  Eleanor Marshall and colleagues will share Grow Ohio Valley's vision of regional food security and the social context of their work, including a new Public Market in Wheeling, WV.  We'll have a repeat visit by local-food advocate and greenhouse impresario Stefan Vantchev, this time with a closer look at the climate, pollution, and financial costs to our communities of importing food.  Organic farmer, wellness expert, and cookbook author Janet McKee of Sanaview Farms will talk about the healing power of foods, her transition from the high-powered corporate business world to organic farming, and how you can grow sprouts and microgreens for pennies year 'round.

Following the talks and discussion, and returning to our recurrent theme of plastics -- a major health and environmental issue as the petrochemical hub invades our region, and a persistent pollutant killing marine life all around the world -- we’ve initiated a monthly dinner-table conversation for those interested in how to avoid pervasive single-use plastics (SUPs), and how advocacy may be able to limit regional impacts.  Quite a few local initiatives have been working on this issue (No Plastics Please, What's SUP, SUPless Mondays, No Straws 'n'At), and this is a great place to connect with them!

The next salon will take place on June 29th, starting a two-month series on Elections.  Two notes regarding last month's speakers:  
1.  Stefan & Hank's nonprofit Greenhouses for Everyone has a crowdfunding campaign for a new greenhouse in Clairton.  
2.  Lynne Cherry will be back in town soon with the Young Voices for the Planet project, a series of short films about young environmental activists -- inspiring to kids and adults alike, and also demonstrating the power of youth in public discourse.  Lynne is leading a series of educator workshops on civic engagement and democracy that will enable teachers and informal educators in our region to foster a new generation of activists using these amazing films.  The workshop originally scheduled for June 1st is being folded into the June 26th event at the Pittsburgh Botanic Garden.  As always, you can browse around MarensList for more events!

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.  After the talks and discussion (hopefully by around 7:30), we break for a potluck supper.  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 3 (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 we may need to limit 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.  If you drive down our street, please park only on the uphill-facing side, and take care not to block driveways on either side of the street.  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 (usually Friday night).  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;  fit'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 whether to preserve existing nuclear power plantsadvanced nuclear technologiespassenger and freight trainsconsumption, plastics, and pollutionair 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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 25: Donora Smog poetry book release party

Just released by Finishing Line Press!  

Mill Spit  by Alexandra Kemrer

Alexandra Kemrer’s poems have appeared in Voices from the Attic, Rune, and Pittsburgh City Paper’s Chapter and Verse.  She is a member of the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops under the direction of Jan Beatty at Carlow University. Her debut chapbook, Mill Spit, is based on her experience growing up in a small town on the Monongahela River when air pollution from the steel and zinc mills was severe.  She lives and writes in Pittsburgh, PA.

Join Alexandra for a release party, 6-8 p.m. at Commonplace Coffee Shop, 6736 Reynolds St. in Point Breeze  (formerly Make Your Mark).

Alexandra Kemrer’s Mill Spit takes us back in time to a mill kid’s childhood in a small Pennsylvania steel town where the mill itself is a character hulking in the background, as real and discontent as the adults caught in its soot.  Kemrer’s poems remind us that beauty and mystery are everywhere waiting to be discovered–in spite of the difficulties and grit, and sometimes in the difficulties and grit.
–Nancy Krygowski, author of Velocity (University of Pittsburgh Press)

The impact of bad air quality on children and communities is often invisible, easily ignored, and an aspect of history frequently forgotten.  Kemrer’s collection of intimate poems, Mill Spit, succeeds gently, yet powerfully, in highlighting the invisible threat of pollution and its profound effect on generations.  The poems sound a cautionary note in the present, as our decisions affect the future.
    –Sara Longo, Managing Director of Airviz Inc., maker of the Speck air quality sensor, daughter company of the CREATE Lab at Carnegie Mellon’s Robotics Institute.

Alexandra Kemrer’s Mill Spit invites us to see the mill town of Donora, PA, from the perspective of a child asking questions no adult will answer.  With sonic power and wild imagination, Kemrer explores working-class identity, the way our landscape shapes us and is shaped by us, and the pressures of family and history.  Mill Spit asks us to examine how we relate to industry and our environment, and powerfully confronts the human cost of profit.  These poems strive for beauty and joy amidst soot and grit—they sing out amidst forces that would silence them. Kemrer is a poet we all need now.
–Emily Mohn-Slate, author of Feed (Seven Kitchens Press)

In Mill Spit Alexandra Kemrer opens a furnace of memories of a steel mill town, of a neighborhood built on a hill too steep for cars where looking down at your feet is the safest way to walk.  In unsparing language she shows the amputations suffered in a place where even the light is rusted — If I catch you dancing, / I’ll break your legs; / you’re a mill kid, / my father said. And yet there is hope in pennies found and hidden and found, and beauty to be ransomed, even in the harsh fathers themselves—daisy chain of fathers’ hands / calloused pads grasp hot steel.  These poems hold together the English sparrow and white-hot steel.  They are, in just the way Keats taught us, beautiful and true.
– Diane Gilliam #poetry #chapbook

Mar 23: Fracking impacts

WHO PAYS? Health & Economic Impacts of Fracking in PA

This forum on the impacts of fracking in PA will examine what science and analysis tell us about the health effects and economic costs of fracking, who is paying now, and what the future price is apt to be.

Actions to address the issues will also be explored.

6:30-8:30 in the Convocation Center, North Wing at California University of Pennsylvania.
Free and open to the public. Free parking. Sponsored by the Environmental Health Project, Mountain Watershed Association, Center for Coalfield Justice, and Delaware Riverkeeper Network.

May 22: Where to Turn Resource & Job Fair

At the 16th Where to Turn Resource Fair and Job Fair, attendees will be able to connect with social service, health care, food, and education resources in an Exhibit Fair and speaker classrooms.   Check out the vendor list & speaker schedule and register today! Registration is FREE - click here. Social Work and ACT 48 Continuing Education Credits will be offered at this event.

9:00 a.m. to noon at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center. 

The Where to Turn Job Fair and Networking Happy Hour is 3:30 pm - 6:30 pm the same day!  All attendees will receive one complimentary alcoholic or non-alcoholic beverage.  Registration for job seekers is FREE and there will be on-site FREE child care for the Job Fair.  Employers attending the Job Fair include: Allegheny Family Network, American HealthCare Group, Community Living and Support Services (CLASS), Comfort Keepers, DON Services, Farm to Table Western PA, Gateway Health Plan, Goodwill of Southwestern PA, Guardian Elder Care and Partners for Quality, Inc.

May 9: Clean Air Now for the Mon Valley

Join the Breathe Project for a Listening Panel, and help amplify the voices of the residents of Clairton and the Mon Valley.
6-8 p.m. at Church of Jesus Christ, 508 Reed St., Clairton.  RSVP via Eventbrite.

May 6: Solar info session

Neighbors across Allegheny can now join our second round of the Allegheny County Solar Co-op. Co-op participants work with the help of Solar United Neighbors to make it easier to save money on the purchase of solar panels, while building a community of local solar supporters. Join Sustainable Monroeville and the Allegheny Solar Co-op for a free information session to learn about solar energy, as well as how the co-op simplifies the process of going solar while providing a discount through its bulk purchasing power.

7-8:30 p.m. at the Monroeville Public Library (4000 Gateway Campus Blvd, Monroeville 15146). Please register here if you can, or just come!