On June 28th, more than 175 people came to the headquarters of the International Union of Operating Engineers Local 95 to kick off the Clean Rivers Campaign. The Clean Rivers Campaign is a grassroots organizing effort to push for sustainable solutions to our stormwater challenges. ALCOSAN is set to release their plan for meeting the terms of the EPA’s consent decree for cleaning up our rivers at the end of July. With billions of dollars and the threat of higher costs to ratepayers at stake, it is essential that low-cost, job-creating green infrastructure solutions be a major part of the plan.
Since its proposed closing in 2007 because of an asbestos problem, Councilman Bill Peduto has been working with the community to preserve historic Schenley High School. Built in 1916, Schenley High School was not just the first high school in the United States to cost more than one million dollars to build, it was a visionary building — “a ‘Green Building’ ahead of its time.” Schenley was built to have fresh air and daylight in every classroom, as well as in corridors, stairs, lunchrooms, gyms and even the theater. The building has solid acoustic separations. Additionally, it was constructed out of limestone — a timeless material. And, having served the educational needs of nearly 100 years worth of students — it is, of course, a treasured place in the community.
Are you a developer, designer, researcher, or entrepreneur who wants to make a real difference? Code for America (CfA) was founded by Jennifer Pahlka in 2009. CfA believes that government would work better if it worked more like the internet — if it were more open, efficient and collaborative. They also recognize that cities are being asked to do more and more for their citizens with less and less money. In order to make city governments work better, CfA is building a new generation of Gov 2.0 apps. If you have a talent for tech and a passion for good government, CfA is accepting applications now for fellowships for 2013.
Our rivers provide 90% of our drinking water, but almost every time it rains in Allegheny County, our sewer system can’t handle it. That means sewage overflows into our rivers, our streams, and often into our basements. To solve this problem, we can do it the “gray” way and spend nearly 10 billion dollars of local ratepayer money. Or, we can do it the “green” way — with solutions like rain barrels, green roofs, rain gardens, porous pavement, and more trees — and improve our environment while saving billions of our own dollars.
As more people work from home — whether as freelancers, entrepreneurs, or teleworkers — coworking has become increasing popular. Coworking is where people share a working environment, but don’t usually work for the same organization. Catapult Pittsburgh, more than just a coworking space, is a coworking community.
TED ( Technology, Entertainment, Design) is a nonprofit organization started in 1984 which is devoted to “Ideas Worth Spreading.” Their two annual conferences — held in Long Beach/Palm Springs and Edinburgh, Scotland — feature some of the world’s most remarkable thinkers and innovators who are given 18 minutes or less each to give the talk of their lives. (As you might expect, TED Talks often go viral. You can see a ranking of the popularity of over 600 TED Talks here.)
We all know that Pittsburgh is an awesome city. Awesome Pittsburgh rewards ideas each month that add to the general awesomeness of our city with a $1,000 grant. They’re looking for projects which have both local impact and global resonance. Awesome Pittsburgh is one of over 40 chapters of the Awesome Foundation, a “worldwide network of people devoted to forwarding the interest of awesomeness in the universe.” These grants come with no strings attached. They are, in the words of one of the Awesome Foundation’s trustees, “a micro-genius grant for flashes of micro-brilliance.”
On Wednesday, June 13th, hundreds of parents, children and laid-off teachers from Pittsburgh and Philadelphia protested in Harrisburg over cuts to public education. Here’s The Inquirer on the protest and what these cuts will entail:
In February, Gov. Corbett proposed essentially flat-funding basic education aid, and eliminating a $100 million program widely used to fund full-day kindergarten. School districts have yet to recover from last year’s hit, when aid shrank by $860 million, leading to as many as 14,000 layoffs of teachers, staff and administrators statewide, according to union and school officials, along with reductions in music, language, arts, and sports programs, and local tax increases. So far this year the financially beleaguered Philadelphia district has made several rounds of layoffs — the most recent trimming 260 teachers and aides.
Global Solutions Pittsburgh strives to build support in this country for a “21st Century foreign policy built on the values of cooperation, teamwork and burden sharing.” They believe in the ideal of world peace though world law through such institutions as the United Nations. Their slogan is “Inspiring America to Engage the World.” Global Solutions Pittsburgh developed the Pittsburgh Human Rights Network and has participated with the Pittsburgh Darfur Emergency Coalition. Additionally, they offer programs for both teachers and students.
Dr. Mindy Fullilove is a social psychiatrist from Columbia University where she is also a professor of clinical psychiatry and public health. Her interests lie in the links between the environment and public health. In her 2004 book, “Root Shock: How Tearing Up City Neighborhoods Hurts America and What We Can Do About It,” Fullilove wrote about the traumatic stress suffered by people who had been displaced by urban renewal in the 1950s and 1960s. Fullilove adapted the term “root shock” from the trauma experienced by transplanted plants. In her book, Pittsburgh’s own Hill District neighborhood is prominently featured. Last year, the Pittsburgh City Paper interviewed Fullilove on her thoughts on the Hill District. You can read that article here.