Helen Gerhardt of Lawrenceville United will talk about LU's efforts to help vulnerable populations, and help frame the discussion. Gabriel McMorland is the executive director of the Thomas Merton Center, Pittsburgh's preeminent peace and justice organization, and helps coordinate Pittsburgh Mutual Aid. Anaïs Peterson, newly-minted University of Pittsburgh graduate and longtime activist around climate change, fossil divestment, and prison reform, is also a co-director of Pitt Mutual Aid, which is connecting displaced Pitt students with shelter, transportation, storage, food access, emotional support, and financial assistance. Daniel Little, founder of InvolveMint, has been turning that platform toward last-mile distribution to vulnerable populations in Braddock and Hazelwood. With restaurants mostly closed (or closed mostly -- only doing takeout), restaurant workers have been among the hardest-hit during the shutdown. A coalition of service-industry workers formed early on to address one anothers' needs for food, cleaning and hygiene products, and emergency cash: enter Pittsburgh Restaurant Workers Aid! We'll hear from Kacy McGill, one of the organizers. And 412 Food Rescue has been getting excess food onto the plates of folks who need it since long before the pandemic. 412's senior program director Jen England will talk about their innovative app connecting volunteers and introduce Community Takeout, a new program simultaneously supporting restaurants and fighting hunger. Once again, salon stalwart Mark Dixon will be moderating Q&A during our digital gathering. And I do mean stalwart -- Mark has been with us for most of the 99 previous salons (spoken at several, moderated discussions for others, and helped document many), and it was during a conversation with him that I conceived of the series in the first place, back in 2011!
Coronavirus update: As you know, people in Pittsburgh and around the world are sequestered at home due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Social distancing is still the rule for most Americans. That's a bit of a misnomer, though -- we need physical distancing to flatten the famous curve, but technology now allows for rich interactions even so! I believe that community is one of our greatest strengths, so in March as events began to be cancelled, I hosted the first virtual Sustainability Salon via Zoom teleconference -- rather than gathering our usual 50-80 people in a contained space. It went quite well (even engaging participants from hundreds of miles away), and we're looking forward to May's salon! Please be sure to RSVP (via email with "salon" in the Subject: line, or via Eventbrite) so you'll receive the sign-on information.
Salons usually run 3-10 p.m. at Maren's house in Squirrel Hill -- but this time we're on Zoom. Plan to join the call after 3 p.m., and we aim to start the program not long after 4, after folks have had a chance to (virtually) meet, mingle, and tour around an interesting and productive urban permaculture site. If you're new to Zoom, you may find my Zoom Reference Guide helpful. 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 Be sure to incldude salon in the Subject line if you email, 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!
Check back on MarensList (where you can find information on all sorts of environmental and social justice events, as well as better formatting for this event description) 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.
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 ocean health, the rise of the radical right, the back end of consumption, approaches to activism on fracking & climate, air quality, technology, and citizen science, single-use plastics, election activism, election law, whether to preserve existing nuclear power plants, advanced nuclear technologies, passenger and freight trains, consumption, plastics, and pollution, air quality, solar power, youth activism, greening business, greenwashing, the petrochemical buildout in our region, climate/nature/people, fracking, health, & action, globalization, ecological ethics, community inclusion, air quality monitoring, informal gatherings that turn out to have lots of speakers, getting STEM into Congress, keeping Pittsburgh's water public, Shell's planned petrochemical plant, visualizing air quality, the City of Pittsburgh's sustainability initiatives, fossil energy infrastructure, getting money out of politics, community solar power and the Solarize Allegheny program, the Paris climate negotiations (before, during, 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 revitalization, solar power, climate change, environmental art, environmental education (Part I & Part II), community mapping projects, environmental journalism, grassroots action, Marcellus shale development and community rights, green building, air quality, health care, more solar power, trees and park stewardship, alternative energy and climate policy, regional watershed issues, fantastic film screenings and discussions (often led by filmmakers) over the winter with films on Food Systems, Climate Adaptation and Mitigation, Plastic Paradise, Rachel Carson and the Power Of One Voice, Triple Divide on fracking, You've Been Trumped and A Dangerous Game, A Fierce Green Fire, Sustainability Pioneers, films on consumption, Living Downstream, Bidder 70, YERT, Gas Rush Stories, and food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, food, and more food (a recurrent theme; with California running out of water, we'd better gear up to produce a lot more of our own!).
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. If interested folks are online and everything is working smoothly by around 3:30, perhaps I can conduct a virtual tour.