June 25: Sustainability Salon gathering

Want to take a break from Zoom?  Let's get together!  Most summers over the past decade, we've had a No-Topic salon -- more of a social gathering than regular Sustainability Salons, when I don't have to interrupt the conversations for the presentations In a departure from our usual format of talks and discussion focused on a single topic, we'd have more informal, free-flowing conversation.  Then came the pandemic, and Zoom...  and in 2020 we just marched right through the whole season with a three-month series on economics (Energy EconomicsLocal Economies, and Social Investment).  Last year we had a couple of outdoor, in-person salons -- and I think it's time for another!  No topic (Powerpoints aren't really practical outside), but I'm sure we'll have lots of great conversation and enjoy reconnecting.

With a nice day in the forecast for Saturday (if a little hot), I'd like to invite folks (who are fully vaccinated and at least once boostered) to an in-person, outdoor gathering at our place.  And we'll spend our time outdoors, rather than congregating in the kitchen (though folks can pass through the house to use the bathroom or visit the roof garden).

So, with apologies to the faraway folks who have been enjoying our virtual events (and apologies to anyone who isn't vaccinated) -- have a nice day, wherever you are) -- the 125th Sustainability Salon will be a No-Topic Salon.  Outdoors, fully-vaxxed.  No need to be here the whole time;  no PowerPoints, just lots of conversation.  I think we can manage a potluck supper, like old times.  

At some point, we'll certainly share announcements and such, and brief talks not needing slides might materialize -- notably, it looks like we'll hear from Doug Webster of Fair Districts about its Fix Harrisburg campaign, and how people and groups can work together to address roadblocks in our state government.  And we'll hear about the latest threat to Pittsburgh's drinking water (and what you can do about it!).

In the meantime, a few other items of note:  

May 24:  The Environmental Health Project and Halt the Harm will host an expert-led discussion on the risks of exposure to PFAS substances during pregnancy.  More information and registration link are here.  

•  June 11-13:  Activists from all across Pennsylvania will gather in Harrisburg to call our government to task on climate change, fracking and pipeline hazards, and the necessary transition to a new clean energy economy.  The Pennsylvania Climate Convergence will take place over three days -- a festival with arts, education, and tabling;  a march and other actions around the city;  and a day of direct action at the Capitol.  Lots more information is on our web site -- and many opportunities to help shape the event!

•  June 18th:  Allegheny SolarFest returns!  This time, at Mill 19 in Hazelwood.  

•. June 25th:  The Rachel Carson EcoVillage has received plan approval, and continues to expand membership so as to begin construction.  The group is holding introductory sessions via Zoom on June 25th (10:30-noon), July 23, and August 27.  Learn more and register here.

•. June 29th: Pittsburghers Against Single-Use Plastic (PASUP), in collaboration with Break Free From Plastic, will complete our series of three virtual film screenings, concluding with The Recycling Lie, a film exposing the fallacy of recycling as a solution to the plastic problem.  Lots more information and registration here!

•  PRC continues to hold online workshops about composting, rainwater harvesting, and waste reduction.  

•  Did you see the film The Story of Plastic, or the PBS doc Plastic Wars?  (and/or join us for Plastic Paradise at a winter film salon six years ago?)  ...What if you could bring up imagery of the toxic impacts of plastic production, and commentary by the people and communities living with them, over the world?  You can do all that with the interactive Toxic Tours tool.  Check it out!  

• Mask update:  Breathe99 masks (featured at November's salon on Pandemics and Air (video), and one of TIME's 100 Best Inventions of 2020) are now being distributed by Our Children Our Earth, a local purveyor of alternatives to disposables (as well as classy wooden toys).  Contact Dianne via OCOE's Facebook page, or call (412) 772-1638 to coordinate a curbside pickup.  

This low-key, informal gathering will go from 3 p.m. to 8 or 9 -- a wide window so we're never too crowded.  Please be sure to RSVP if you might come!  I may need to cap attendance.  If you're not already on my Eventbrite list, please email me (maren dot cooke at gmail dot com) with salon in the Subject line to be added -- and let me know how you heard about salons!  To RSVP, respond via Eventbrite or simply email me with "salon" in the Subject line.  Along about Friday night/Saturday morning, I'll send out Directions & Other Information to all who have registered (but please register even if you know your way here).
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 (if there weren't a pandemic) with an environmental theme.  Each month we 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 climate actionforest restorationthe history of American consumerismregional air qualitypreserving Pittsburgh's forests, climate modelingapproaches to pipelinespipeline hazardsthe legacy of the Fukushima nuclear disasterthe judiciary and fair electionsconsumptionpandemics and air,  election law and activismair quality and environmental justicesocial investment,  local economies, the economics of energymutual aid networksocean healththe rise of the radical rightthe back end of consumptionapproaches to activism on fracking & climateair quality, technology, and citizen sciencesingle-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 foodfoodfoodfood, food, 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!).

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.  

And if you like to make music or listen to homemade music, perhaps we can sing and play a bit if the weather's nice!

No comments: