Oct 29: Time for a Consumer Revolution

It's Time for a Consumer Revolution

Are you concerned about climate change? Tired of companies stealing your data? Worried about how disconnected we all are from each other?

Are you looking for a way to take direct, serious, positive action?

There is a way.

Sagea Technologies (https://sagea.tech/) has been working on a solution that makes TECHNOLOGY work for us instead of against us. A solution that creates real value for our communities--that lets us build a sustainable future, together.

We want to help you:
REDUCE carbon emissions
REDUCE consumerism
SAVE money
REUSE goods
SHARE local resources, labor, and skills
PROMOTE local, circular economies
GROW your local community

You can help us REVOLUTIONIZE the way we do things as a society.

This October 29th, please join us at the Bloomfield Garfield Corporation’s Community Activity Center. Doors open at 7:00 PM. We'll have light refreshments and a presentation at 7:30 PM about our project. Then we want to listen to and learn from you: how can we use this work to uplift communities in Pittsburgh? How can our vision for change meet the needs of YOUR community?

7-10 p.m. at 113 N Pacific Ave, Pittsburgh, PA 15224-2440

P.S. Please feel free to share this with your local community leaders, and other deeply passionate folks who you think might be interested!

Oct 27: PASUP action meeting

Are you concerned about the negative effects of single-use plastics -- to birds, to ocean life, to our own health?  If so, please join us for a Take Action on Plastic Waste event convened by PASUP (Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic).  We'll have a short film screening and a group meeting, then break into action groups around various solutions of interest.  

2-4:30 p.m. at Construction Junction (214 N. Lexington St. in Point Breeze).  Light Refreshments will be served.  To sign up in advance, email pasupgroup@gmail.com, or RSVP on Facebook.  You can also join our Facebook group!

Oct 26: Sustainability Salon on Air Quality, Technology, and Citizen Science

We are what we breathe (in part, anyway).  The 93rd Sustainability Salon will once again look at air quality (an autumn Salon tradition).
Carnegie Mellon's CREATE Lab (the Community Robotics, Education and Technology Empowerment Laboratory) has been producing hardware and software to educate and support breathers for years, from the SPECK monitor and the Smell Pgh app to smoke plume characterization and visualization.  Computer scientist and architectural designer Yen-Chia Hsu will share the latest developments on CREATE Lab projects related to air and citizen science, and you'll have a chance to try out the smoke labeling tool on your own device.  Environmental filmmaker and air-quality activist Mark Dixon has helped create a regional network of PurpleAir monitors (map at left), and founded NoPetroPA.  He'll bring us up to date on the air impacts of the expanding petrochemical buildout, and will share footage from his upcoming film, Inversion:  The Unfinished Business of Pittsburgh's Air.
We'll also discuss the upcoming election, from individual candidates to the Parks referendum.  Check back here for updates!

The next salon will take place on November 23rd.  And as I noted at last month's salon on single-use plastics, the next action meeting of PASUP is on October 27th.  In the meantime, there are a number of important actions around the Shale Insight conference on Oct 23rd (where 45 is the keynote speaker, beating the drum for the fossil energy and plastics industry, and who knows what else).

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.  After the talks and discussi
on, we'll break for a potluck supper (and more conversation).  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 notice (if you're not already on my list, just email me with salon in the subject line to be added!).  

Please do RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways.  Among other things, 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 single-use plasticselection activismelection law, 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 foodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodfoodand 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 sort 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.  Please try to minimize single-use plastic -- if you're thinking of a deli tray of vegetables, just get some whole veggies and we can cut 'em up here!  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 (again, no single-use packaging) and provide a big batch of homemade/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 24, 26: Power Beyond Extraction

In conjunction with the Shale Insight conference, which brought activists together for ceremony and demonstration on Wednesday, there is a series of events about energy and allyship put together by the Natural History Museum (not the Carnegie, but a traveling pop-up museum based all around the country and collaborating with brick-and-mortar museums).

Thursday at 6 p.m.  and Saturday at 2 p.m., both at the Carnegie Museum of Art auditorium

Oct 23: Peaceful Trump/Fracking Protest

A peaceful Anti-Fracking/Trump Protest at the Convention Center will close a day of protests: the last of 4 large-scale local protests is expected to bring together 2000+ Pittsburghers in unity.

Standing in solidarity directly outside President Trump’s fracking industry speech and campaign rally at Pittsburgh’s David L. Lawrence Convention Center this Wednesday, over a dozen local activists, environmentalists, politicians, and performers will be offering more sustainable solutions to our nation’s energy needs and other urgent issues facing our country starting at 7PM EST.

“We are disgusted that Trump is taking a break from impeachment proceedings and overburdening our local law enforcement and other city personnel near the upcoming anniversary of October 27th’s mass shooting with a commercial fracking industry speech he’s turned into a last-minute chaotic campaign rally,” said local activist and protest organizer, Jia Ji. “To offer a peaceful alternative filled with inspiring speeches, poetry, and music, we’re asking that all protesters gather with us outside the downtown convention center to say ‘Good riddance and please don’t come back!’ to Trump on his way to the airport.”

The 6:00PM Peaceful Anti-Fracking Trump Protest at the Convention Center (www.facebook.com/events/488702295191609) will be the last of four large-scale local protests during Trump’s visit to Pittsburgh, which also include:

Estimated total confirmed attendance between all four protests is in excess of 2,000 people. Due to downtown road closures and heightened security, organizers strongly urge all attendees to take public transportation, carpool, rideshare, and/or walk to the protests, follow safety guidelines announced by volunteers and police, and not purposefully obstruct traffic. For those with additional accessibility needs and/or other concerns, please immediately send a message to PeacefulProtest@edeify.com.

Speakers and Performers:

Lisa Freeman is an urban farmer and a member and voice for "the oppressed". Advocate for food access and equity through the Manchester Growing Together Garden! Owner of Freeman Farms & Greenhouse, she works on supporting the rights of low income & marginalized communities that live in food desserts the right to have access to fresh food, healthy food, clean water, clean air and clean neighborhoods!

Mark Dixon is a filmmaker, photographer and activist, and a board member of the Thomas Merton Center. Mark is co-founder of NoPetroPA.com, an online resource for anybody interested in learning about how to push back against the Shell ethane cracker plant and broader petrochemical expansion in our region.

County Council candidate Bethany Hallam is a lifelong native of Ross Township in Allegheny County. She recently defeated a 20 year incumbent in a countywide race for Allegheny County Council At Large on a platform of green jobs and ending fracking in Allegheny County because everybody deserves to breathe clean air and drink clean water.

Chalk4change PGH co-founder Lorenzo Rulli is a local activist fighting to not only see the change, but be the change by engaging with every person he can. He will talk about the people directly and immediately (minority groups/POC/low-income neighborhoods and families) affected by climate change and here in PA what we can do to start giving those folks a better chance to be apart of the fight against it. He would like to get more people to come out every Friday down at the city building where advocates sit in the steps from 12-4PM weekly.

PA House candidate Emily Kinkead is an attorney and native Northsider. She has spent over a decade working on the most pressing issues facing our state and our country - money in politics, gerrymandering, healthcare, housing access, criminal justice reform, and the climate crisis. She is running to represent Pennsylvania’s 20th state House district because the incumbent’s silence on these and other important issues in Harrisburg is deafening and we need leaders in our State Legislature who will champion people over politics and morals over money.

Congressional candidate Jerry Dickinson is a Constitutional law scholar and professor who has written nationally and testified in the US Senate about the absurdity of the Trump Wall. He is also a zealous advocate for housing rights, from when he was a Fulbright Scholar in South Africa to when he started the Housing Rights Project at Reed Smith and established a Community Land Trust for some of Pittsburgh hardest working and most vulnerable families. Jerry is currently a law professor at Pitt Law, a husband to a wonderful wife, father to a delightful daughter, and a Democratic candidate for the US House of Representatives. As your congressperson, Jerry intends to be the strong loud voice of the Pittsburgh region, fighting hard to combat the climate crisis by advocating for the Green New Deal, fighting for better workers' rights and universal healthcare, and fighting to repair the damage that Trump has done to this country.

Stephanie Biersdorff, Jonas Salk Health Activist Fellow at the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, is a Jewish feminist, food justice activist, young adult cancer survivor, and believes that nutritious food is a human right. After receiving her Bachelors of Science in Horticulture in 2015, she later earned her Masters Degree in Food Studies with a focus in Food Politics from Chatham University in 2018. During her fellowship at the Greater Pittsburgh Community Food Bank, her research in food and nutrition policy influenced her Master’s thesis: The Case for a “Food as Medicine” Approach by the Emergency Food System to Address Chronic Health Concerns of Food Bank Clients. Stephanie is passionate about and committed to working to help end hunger in communities of need and understands how food insecurity leads to complex health complications that continue to exacerbate the cycles of poverty for many lower income individuals. Stephanie is currently a Salk Health Activist Fellow for the Jewish Healthcare Foundation, researching the ways in which we can prevent medical errors to improve patient outcomes, save lives, and provide better healthcare for all. 

Dr. Elisa Be is a Spiritual Nutrition advisor. She’ll soon be publishing a book on Spirituality & Live Food Nutrition.

Spoken word artist Mae Catino is an engineer, designer, food artist, global adventurer, city dweller, and country bumpkin. She is passionate about all things sustainability related, and finds joy in translating her learned lessons into inspiring rhymes. 

Kirtan singer Melissa Franklin is a local resident, artist, and sing-along enthusiast. From Standing Rock in North Dakota, to New Vrindaban in West Virginia, it is not lost on her that fracking is happening on holy land, that all land is sacred, and water is life.

Oct 23: Decolonizing Green Power

Renewable energy is a new frontier for economic growth. Facing increased global pressure to curb emissions, the companies most responsible for planetary global warming are erecting wind farms, building solar panels, and expanding renewable energy infrastructure without reducing their investments in the extraction economy. These companies are not the only ones investing in the power of the sun. Building on centuries of Indigenous knowledge about the sun’s power to give life, Indigenous communities across the continent are modeling a solar energy future that breaks from the profit motive. This panel considers green energy as a site for decolonization, asking how Indigenous activists are advancing an alternative future for green energy by connecting green technology development to the grassroots movements resisting fossil fuel expansion.

6:30-8:30 p.m. at Phipps Conservatory. While this event is free to attend, R.S.V.P. is required, as capacity is limited. Please email market@phipps.conservatory.org to make your reservation.
Judith LeBlanc (Caddo), Director, Native Organizers Alliance

Phyllis Young (Lakota), Standing Rock Sioux Tribal Council Member (former), #GreenTheRez
Henry Red Cloud (Lakota), Founder, Lakota Solar Enterprises
Mark Tilsen (Oglala Lakota), Extinction Rebellion and NDN Collective
Melina Laboucan Massimo (Lubicon Cree), Sacred Earth Solar

Decolonizing Green Power is presented as part of "Power Beyond Extraction", a programming series at Pittsburgh-area museums timed to coincide with the Shale Insight Conference, an annual convening of oil/gas industry executives. The series is curated and organized by The Natural History Museum, a traveling pop-up museum founded by the art collective Not An Alternative in 2014. An ongoing art intervention, The Natural History Museum has a mission to unleash the power of museums as agents of change.


Judith LeBlanc (Caddo) is Director of the Native Organizers Alliance and a board member of The Natural History Museum. The Native Organizers Alliance is a national Native training and organizing network which provides Native organizers, tribal governments and nonprofits with trainings and support for strategic campaign planning and community engagement based on Indigenous values and practices. Judith is currently working with tribal governments, traditional elders and Native community groups in South Dakota who are organizing to prevent the building of the Keystone XL Pipeline.

Phyllis Young (Lakota/Dakota) leads the #GreenTheRez campaign of the Lakota People’s Law Project to bring renewable energy to the people of Standing Rock. Young served as a Tribal Council Member of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe from 2012 to 2015, and as official “tribal liaison” to the Oceti Sakowin Camp during the struggle to stop the Dakota Access Pipeline. Her presence was felt daily by the tens of thousands who traveled to the resistance camps protesting the pipeline. Phyllis is a long-time member of the American Indian Movement, and co-founded Women of All Red Nations with Madonna Thunder Hawk in 1978. She also served as a board member of the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian for 15 years.

Henry Red Cloud (Lakota), is the founder of Lakota Solar Enterprises on the Pine Ridge Reservation in South Dakota. One of the first 100% Native-owned and operated renewable energy companies in the nation, LSE employs tribal members to manufacture and install solar air heating systems for Native American families living on reservations across the Great Plains. Henry also manages the Red Cloud Renewable Energy Center, a one-of-a-kind Native educational facility where tribes from around the U.S. receive hands-on green job training in renewable energy technology and sustainable building practices. Henry’s work provides Native Americans with “a new way to honor the old ways” through sustainable energy solutions that are environmentally sound, economically beneficial, and culturally appropriate.

Mark K. Tilsen (Oglala Lakota) is a poet, educator, and activist from the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation. In the Dakota Access Pipeline struggle, Mark acted as a direct action trainer and police liaison, and continues to provide trainings and teach-ins about the lessons learned from Standing Rock. He has been involved with the L’eau est La Vie Camp, a Native-led prayer camp aimed at stopping the proposed Bayou Bridge Pipeline in Louisiana at the tail end of the Dakota Access Pipeline. Mark’s most recent book of poems is It Ain’t Over Til We’re Smoking Cigars on the Drill Pad: Poems From Standing Rock And The Frontlines.

Melina Laboucan-Massimo (Lubicon Cree) is from northern Alberta, Canada and has worked on social, environmental and climate justice issues for the past 15 years. Currently a Fellow at the David Suzuki Foundation, her research is focused on climate change, Indigenous knowledge and renewable energy. Melina is the founder of Sacred Earth Solar, a company empowering frontline Indigenous communities with renewable energy. For over a decade, she worked with Greenpeace Canada and the Indigenous Environmental Network internationally and currently serves on the boards of Seeding Sovereignty and NDN Collective as well as the executive steering committees of the Indigenous Clean Energy Network and Indigenous Climate Action. Melina is the host of a new TV series called Power to the People which documents renewable energy, food security and eco-housing in Indigenous communities across North America.

Oct 23: Defend the Water day of action

Native Water Ceremony – Noon
Join us at the Point State Park Fountain - at the confluence of the Allegheny, Monongahela and Ohio Rivers. Stand in solidarity with members of the Seneca community and other Native and faith leaders to protect our rivers and waters.

March – 1 p.m.
We will march from Point State Park down Liberty Avenue past the EQT global headquarters to 10th Street where we will walk through the tunnel under the David L. Lawrence Convention Center to the Three Rivers Heritage Trail along the Allegheny River.

Rally – 2 p.m.
Join us for a rally outside the Shale Insight Conference at the Convention Center where representatives from the oil & gas industry, government, academia and others are plotting a future for gas and petrochemicals in the Ohio River Valley and around the world. We will hear many speakers representing Native communities, youth leaders, public health experts and others. Enjoy music performances, drumming and dancing!

Decolonizing Green Power
Panel Discussion – 7 p.m. (doors open at 6:30 p.m.)
Renewable energy is a new frontier for economic growth. Facing increased global pressure to curb emissions, the companies most responsible for planetary global warming are erecting wind farms, building solar panels, and expanding renewable energy infrastructure without reducing their investments in the extraction economy. These companies are not the only ones investing in the power of the sun. Building on centuries of Indigenous knowledge about the sun’s power to give life, Indigenous communities around the continent are modeling a solar energy future that breaks from the profit motive. This panel considers green energy as a site for decolonization, asking how Indigenous activists are advancing an alternative future for green energy by connecting green technology development to the grassroots movements resisting fossil fuel expansion.

You can find updates at the Facebook event.

Oct 22: DC Microgrids in Pittsburgh

Come learn and connect with the people and organizations who are leading the development of DC Microgrid technology projects in the Pittsburgh region.

Hear from a panel of experts ranging from researchers to early business adopters and renewable energy installers. We will also provide tours of the Millvale Food + Energy Hub renewable energy microgrid system.

Justine Russo - Pitt Ohio Project (business)
Elizabeth Cook + Krysia Kubiak (public utilities)
Ian Smith - EIS Solar (energy system installation)
Katrina Kelly-Pitou -Resilience, Smith Group (project development + modeling)

5-8 p.m. at New Sun Rising (112 Sherman St, Pittsburgh, PA 15209).  Free to attend, but you must register here.

Oct 17: Just Harvest fundraiser

What would a future without hunger look like?  And how do we get there?

Join Just Harvest for their new fall fundraiser:  A Future without Hunger

For the past 30 years Just Harvest has hosted an annual Harvest Celebration Dinner every fall to bring together members, supporters, and allies for an evening to support Just Harvest’s mission.
This year, they have revamped their annual fall fundraiser into an exciting new two-part format that sparks conversation about a better and brighter way forward.  Together we can build a future without hunger!  More details and online tickets for both events are here.  

Oct 12: GASP's 50th Anniversary Gala

GASP's work today is as important as when we first started. Remaining strong and relevant for 50 years is no small task. It’s time to celebrate our accomplishments and this momentous occasion.

GASP will be celebrating this special occasion at the historic Rodef Shalom Congregation in Oakland. Guests will enjoy live music, food and drinks, and a silent auction, followed by the Michelle Madoff Award of Environmental Excellence Ceremony recognizing five amazing women working to improve the environment.

GASP’s 50th Anniversary Celebration will serve as our annual fundraiser, with all proceeds helping to fund our education, advocacy, and legal work.

5-8:30 at Rodef Shalom, 4905 Fifth Ave., 15213. Tickets $75-$125; please register here! (and you can let folks know you'll be coming on Facebook)

Oct 5: March for Peace

1. We demand an immediate end to all forms of war in which the United States is currently engaged. 

2. We demand an immediate reduction of the U.S. military budget by at least half, including nuclear weapon divestment, with reinvestment into social & infrastructure programs. 

3. We demand an end to the militarization of domestic law enforcement organizations

Gathering at 11 a.m. at Schenley Plaza.  Check for updates on Facebook.  For more information, email PghAntiWar@gmail.com .

Endorsers include the Anti-War Committee of Pittsburgh, Council on American Islamic Relations (Pittsburgh), Veterans for Peace Chapter 47, Extinction Rebellion (Pittsburgh), Black Political Empowerment Project, St. James Church Peace and Social Justice Committee, Coalition Against Violence, Green Party of Allegheny County, International Workers of the World (Pittsburgh), 350 Pittsburgh, and the Women’s International League for Peace Freedom 

Oct 4: Protect Black Women march and rally

In response to the recent attack on black women at an Exxon gas station on the North Side, and the release of a University of Pittsburgh study that confirmed that Pittsburgh is the worst place for Black women to live, we are asking the community and allies to come march, protest, make noise, and let the rest of the city know that the we will no longer stand for the injustices toward black women in this city, nation and world. Please come out, and help center black women, girls, trans women, and non-binary folks.

6-9 p.m., gathering at Penn Ave. and Main St. (Bloomfield/Lawrenceville).  Updates on Facebook.