Tuesday, November 22, 2011

PolarTrec at Sustainable Monroeville in collaboration with the Monroeville Public Library

PolarTREC (Teachers and Researchers Exploring and Collaborating) is a program in which K-12 teachers spend several weeks participating in hands-on field research experiences in the polar regions. In May 2011, Gateway High School teacher Jim Pottinger went on expedition to Greenland to join a team studying solar radiation on the Greenland ice sheet. The team traversed the ice sheet several times and then lived and worked at Summit Station, located at the peak of the Greenland ice cap atop 3,200 meters of ice. The goal of the project was to gain a better understanding of the Earth's heat balance -- the solar radiation reflected back into space and absorbed by our planet. Join us at Monroeville Public Library on Monday, December 12, 7:00-8:30 p.m. as Jim shares stories and photos from the expedition.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Vandana Shiva in Pitttsburgh. Pure Joy and Inspiration!

Last night, I went to Point Park University to hear Vandana Shiva, "world- renowned environmental leader and thinker...She is the founder of Navdanya ("nine seeds"), a movement promoting diversity and use of native seeds. ..(she) set up the Research Foundation for Science, Technology, and Ecology in her mother's cowshed in 1997. (Her organization)..has done studies that have validated the ecological value of traditional farming and have been instrumental in fighting destructive development projects in India." She also written many wonderful books including Soil, Not Oil: Environmental Justice in an Age of Climate Crisis, 2008, Staying Alive: Women, Ecology, and Development, 2010, Earth Democracy, Justice, Sustainability and Peace, 2005, Water Wars: Pollution, Profits and Privatization, 2001, Biopiracy: The Plunder of Nature and Knowledge, 1997, (all South End Press) Monocultures of the Mind (Zed, 1993) and The Violence of the Green Revolution (Zed, 1992)

A few of my friends, Steffi S. Eric V. a student from Point Park University, Vandana Shiva and me!

The talk was one of the most upbeat and inspiring talks I have ever heard. Shiva is grass roots and talked about the improtance of doing anything, any small thing, to work towards the world we want to see. She explained how turning land and soil to the organic way by enriching the soil, the earth will heal itself in a very short time, in two years.

After the talk, there was time for Q& A. I told Dr. Shiva that I usually ask questions. Following her talk though, I expressed my admiration that she spoke so well and summarized the healing plan for all of us people, plants, and all organisms through re-establishing the biodiverse earth, that I did not have any questions. Instead I told her what we are doing in our community of Monroeville to work with these issues. I told her about how we are linking the Food Not Lawns campaign with the urban core through the Schwartz Market project on Pittsburgh's Historic South Side.

So the newly established garden behind the Monroeville Public Library in cooperation with the library and the municipality is the first huge step in an outstanding direction. This winter, I will be thinking about, planning,  and designing a food garden for our front lawn, out here in this suburb called Monroeville. Our January meeting will be dedicated to the idea of Food Not Lawns. Join Us!

So what does this have to do with the urban core? Well, the urban folks do not have much space to grow food. Let's provide our suburban food for sale in the city and help the city folks establish their own rooftop gardens and urban farms....We are working step by step by step to establish a vibrant Schwartz Market on the South Side on Historic East Carson Street, main street USA! See http://1317eastcarson.blogspot.com. for more on this urban project. The market is available for vendors to sell food and some art, or have their goods sold. Please contact me if you are interested in being involved on any level out here in the suburbs or in the South Side.

I can be reached by e-mail at elisabeck@aol.com which I check almost daily, or sustainablemonroeville@gmail.com which I check infrequently!

So why am I so excited? Because when a person like Vandana Shiva says, oh, yes, that she did not talk about that last night, but that connecting the rural farmers with the urban core is so important and telling me that what we are doing is exactly what needs to happen, I get even more inspired! Perhaps she'll mention some of our after talking in her talk today at Carnegie Mellon University between 12:30 and 1:30 or tonight when she receives the Thomas Merton Award at the Sheraton in Station Squrare.

Join Us in this magnificent journey of vibrant life!  Elisa Beck :)

Elisa Beck