One way to reduce consumption of new stuff is to extend the life of old stuff. Why send still-usable things to a landfill? Starting in the Pacific Northwest in 2013, the Buy Nothing Project is a philosophy, a movement, and a network of local gift economies that use Facebook. Cosette Cornelius-Bates, who leads our local group, will share her experiences through the growth of this movement here in Pittsburgh (and invite you to join, wherever you live!).
Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic (PASUP on Facebook) was featured at the 92nd salon, a year ago September (lots more commentary at that link). This time, PASUP people will share insights on reducing waste (especially plastic) in general, and at the holidays in particular. Danica Buchanan-Wollaston will introduce the organization, with an update on how PASUP is moving forward despite the pandemic (including an upcoming virtual gathering on avoiding disposables in the time of COVID). Sabrina Culyba will fill folks in on Recycle This Pittsburgh, PASUP's compendium of what can and can't be recycled locally. More Spirit, Less Waste! Dianne Peterson of Our Children Our Earth and Rebecca Stallings, author of the Earthling's Handbook will bring creative ideas to help make holiday gift-giving more meaningful, with less impact on environmental and human health. Are you feeling overwhelmed? Ed Wrenn, MD will inspire you to turn challenges into opportunities as we work together to tackle formidable plastics problems.
Other events in the offing: This week, you can visit an Antarctic glacier (virtually) and learn about important research on sea-level rise during Thwaites Glacier's Antarctica Week. Our house concert with Lui Collins scheduled for November 20th didn't happen, but you can catch her in a virtual show on December 6th. On Dec 13th, PASUP will resume monthly community meetings with a workshop titled Plastic and the Pandemic: Real Talk about Staying Healthy and Cutting Waste During COVID. And on Saturday Dec 19th, the Rachel Carson EcoVillage will hold a virtual information session to introduce this multi-generational cohousing community planned for Chatham University's Eden Hall campus.
Salons currently run from 4 p.m. to 7:30 or so on Zoom (sadly, no potluck supper these days). Plan to join the call after 3 p.m., and we aim to start the program right around 4. If you're new to Zoom, you may find my Zoom Reference Guide helpful. You can RSVP via Eventbrite to receive the Zoom registration link right away. If you're not already on my Eventbrite list, please email me (at maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to be added!
Please do RSVP each time -- it helps greatly in several ways Be sure to include 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 pandemics and air, election law and activism, air quality and environmental justice, social investment, local economies, the economics of energy, mutual aid networks, 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!).
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 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 June'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.
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.