Envision a Green New Deal for the Pittsburgh Region

Starting Jan 12, 2020 | One Smithfield Street Pittsburgh PA 15222


Come to a series of meet-ups – part reading group, part strategizing/organizing sessions.  We will read and discuss Naomi Klein’s new book, On Fire: The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal, then quickly transition to working on plans to implement policies for our Pittsburgh area that build to a just future while combating climate change.  Session will be led by representatives working on the ground in areas of water, air, food, energy, health, public transit, housing, jobs, movement building, and education

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About the Green New Deal Discussion

The release of Naomi Klein’s powerful new book, On Fire, The (Burning) Case for a Green New Deal brings us a powerful vision of how we can and must confront a changing climate. We can only succeed – and potentially thrive – by also understanding the impediments of racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia, class conflict and other unjust currents in our lives. To fail to understand and confront these will doom us to fail in meeting the climate challenge. Building a movement based on inclusion with no group left behind can lead us to solving our climate threat and creating a bold and better new world. It is in this spirit that we bring together every stakeholder in our common future to meet, learn and plan.

Green New Deal Discussion Schedule

11 Sessions every other Sunday 5-7pm January through May 2020.



Naomi Klein Essay


January 12

Introduction: Our justice/climate crisis and the need for systemic transformation.

Introduction: “We Are the Wildfire” pages 1-53

Carl Redwood: Hill District Consensus Group, Homes for All, Abolitionist Law Center board member, Co-Chair of Pgh United coalition of community, labor, faith, environmental organizations 

Fred Brown: Forbes Fund President & CEO, environmental justice leader,  climate justice trainer, policy analyst, helped launch Urban Transitions Cities Movement.

January 26

Atmosphere: Causes of global warming, local pollution conditions, health impacts, reparation, repair.

“Season of Smoke” 207-233

Dr. Neil Donahue: CMU Professor of Chemical Engineering, Chemistry, and Public Policy, Director of CMU Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research

Jay Ting Walker: Community Organizer for Clean Air Council , Chair of Green Party of Allegheny County, 

Secretary of Allegheny County Transit Council, member of Pittsburghers for Public Transit. 

Rachel Filippini: Director of Group Against Smog and Pollution (GASP), a citizen’s group focusing on region air quality; Allegheny County Air Pollution Control Advisory Committee; Pgh United board

Zachary Barber: Clean Air Advocate for PennEnvironment, he is leading their Clean Air for Pittsburgh campaign, working to mobilize the public and local leaders to curb Pittsburgh’s air pollution.

February 9

Mass Migration driven by war, economic violence, climate. How do we achieve immigration justice?

“Let Them Drown: The Violence of Othering in a Warming World”


Verónica Lozada: Casa San Jose Community Organizer with a degree in Psychology from University of Santa Cruz, Bolivia and years of experience in social services, and family-based education.

Laura Perkins: Emergency Response Organizer for Casa San Jose, a community resource center  serving as action coordinator and support base for Latinos recently arrived in and around Pittsburgh.

Wasi Mohamed: ACLU PA State Board of Directors; Chair of Pgh Commission on Human Relations, of Welcoming Pittsburgh Commission, and of PA Commission on Asian Pacific American Affairs.

February 23

Energy systems: fossil fuel impacts and sustainable energy systems such as wind, solar, geothermal, etc.

“Capitalism vs. the Climate” pp70-103

Dr. Patricia DeMarco: Rachel Carson Scholar; served as Executive Director of Rachel Carson Homestead Association & Director of Rachel Carson Institute; 2019 Carnegie Science Award in Environment

Al Hart: field organizer and negotiator for 20 years for United Electrical Workers (UE) over 10 yrs managing editor of the union’s national newspaper, the UE News.

Ben Wilson: organizer for UE, previously SEIU organizer representing workers in the hospital, mental health, nursing home, and assisted living industries.

March 8

Water and Blue-Green Alliances: Labor and Environmental Coalitions

“A Hole in the World”

p 54-69


Dr. Ned Keyter MD American Academy of Pediatrics Council on Environmental Health, PA Physicians for Social Responsibility board member; Climate Reality Project Leader; part of Breathe Collaborative.

Mike Stout Battle of Homestead Foundation Board, President of Izaak Walton League Allegheny County Chapter, former Grievance Chair, retired steelworker USWA Local 1397 Homestead Works. 

Heather McClain: Environmental Justice Organizer for One PA,  part of the Our Water Campaign, working to ensure safe, affordable, publicly controlled water for all. Background in public radio.

March 22

Human Rights, housing, transportation and mobility, disability justice, democratic community planning process.

“The Leap Years: Ending the Story of Endlessness” pp 169-190

Dr Jackie Smith: Chair of Pittsburgh’s Human Rights City Alliance, Pitt Sociology professor: activism and research addresses relationships between economic globalization, social conflicts, popular struggles.

Laura Chu Wiens: Director Pittsburghers for Public Transit which mobilizes transit riders and drivers for equity, access & transparency within our public agencies, former labor organizer with Unite Here.

Paul O’Hanlon: Chair of City-County Disability Taskforce, Fair Housing Taskforce; Neighborhood Legal Services Housing Attorney for 20 yrs; disability, poverty, housing, transportation and voting advocate.

Crystal Jennings: Stewardship and Community Engagement Manager for City of Bridges Community Land Trust, building diverse, equitable community ownership that preserves permanent affordability.

April 5

Arts, education, vision, inspiration, interfaith and intercultural bridges.

“The Art of the Green New Deal”p 272-279

“A Radical Vatican” 137-148


Rosamaria Cristello: Executive Director, Founder of the Latino Community Center; Co-Chair Allegheny County Immigrants & Internationals Advisory Council; board of Pitt Office of Child Development.

Dr. Dan Sheid: Duquesne University Associate Professor of Theology; author of The Cosmic Common Good: Religious Grounds for Ecological Ethics; research focus on interreligious ecological ethics.

Kirsi Jansa: A documentary filmmaker of Sustainability Pioneers and Gas Rush Stories, co-founder and one of the Creatives for Climate collaborative artivists.

April 19

Movement building: Earth Day Action

“Movements Will Make, or Break, the Green New Deal” 259-271

Briann Moye: One PA Environmental Justice Organizer, Organizer for Center for Coalfield Justice

Heather McClain: One PA Environmental Justice Organizer

Sean Chisolm: President of Sunrise Movement Pittsburgh Chapter

Mike Stout: President Izaak Walton League, Allegheny County Chapter

Extinction Rebellion: TBD pending confirmations, including  other organizational members of Earth Day Steering Committee and environmental justice leaders.

May 3

Food systems and health/healthcare

“Hot Take on a Hot Planet” 191-206

Dawn Plummer: Pittsburgh Food Policy Council Director; ACHD Plan for a Healthier Allegheny Chronic Disease Working Group, Pittsburgh Human Rights City Alliance, Johns Hopkins Food Policy Networks,

Raqueeb Bey: founded the Black Urban Gardeners and Farmers of Pittsburgh Co-Op, Garden Resource Coordinator for Grow Pittsburgh, Homewood Sustainability Action Team

Other speakers TBD pending confirmations.

May 17

Tree Care, reforestation, permaculture, ecological restoration

“Capitalism Killed Our Climate Momentum, Not ‘Human Nature.’

Jake Milofsky: Tree Pittsburgh Director of Tree Care and Reforestation; Master’s Degree in Environmental Horticulture and Ecological Restoration from the University of Washington

Maren Cooke: Planetary scientist turned environmental educator and activist ( GASP, PASUP, 350Pgh, CCL, CRL), organizer/ host of Sustainability Salons and MarensList, urban permaculture micro-farmer;

Rev John Creasey: founder and Executive Director of Garfield Community Farm, a place of experimentation for sustainable urban food production, ecological restoration and community activism.

May 31

Next steps: planning solutions to address the climate crisis in Western PA

“Epilogue: The Capsule Case for the Green New Deal”

Dr. Jamil Bey: President and CEO UrbanKind Institute; founder Black Environmental Collective Group: professional geographer and policy analyst working on interconnectivity of economics, politics, history, culture, health, social movements, and the environment in his analyses and community leadership.

Dr. Patricia DeMarco: Rachel Carson Scholar; served as Executive Director of Rachel Carson Homestead Association & Director of Rachel Carson Institute; 2019 Carnegie Science Award in Environment

Where It’s At

 All sessions are at 1 Smithfield St. in downtown Pittsburgh with free parking in back and on many buslines. Dinner is potluck and starts at 4:30pm before the session begins at 5pm. Classic Lines Bookstore in Squirrel Hill will offer a 20% discount on the book. Please email us at GND.discussion@gmail.com as soon as possible to order a book, for updates on speakers, or if you need accommodations or childcare.You can also call 412-518-7387 if you have any questions.