Patricia DeMarco Ph.D.

"Live in harmony with nature."

Sustainability Pioneers- Community Conversations Class

Sustainability Pioneers:

Community Conversations


Format: Five presentations of 90 minutes

Presenters: Patricia DeMarco and Kirsi Jansa

Syllabus Outline:

All Sustainability Pioneers Stories are here:

Session #1.  Introduction and Overview: Why Sustainability?

  • Introduction: Connecting climate, energy and health
  • Screening: Sustainability Pioneers 1: The Journey Begins
  • Discussion: Talking about Climate Change and Climate Solutions
  • Class Presentation: Sustainability Pioneers #1: Climate Change and Health Connections pd-for-pitt-osher-1

Homework for the next session: Measure your own carbon footprint.  

For Further Information on Climate and health:

An excellent overview of climate change and health interconnections done  in 2016.

Crimmins, A., J. Balbus, J. L. Gamble, C.B. Beard, J.E. Bell, D. Dodgen, R.J. Eisen, N. Fann, M. Hawkins, S.C. Herring, L. Jantarasami, D. M. Mills, S. Saha, M. C. Sarofim, J. Trtanj, and L. Ziska, 2016: Executive Summary. The Impacts of Climate Change on Human Health in the United States: A Scientific Assessment. U.S. Global Change Research Program, Washington, DC, 24 pp.

A more detailed study with epidemiological data and research needs included.

Portier CJ, Thigpen Tart K, Carter SR, Dilworth CH, Grambsch AE, Gohlke J, Hess J, Howard SN, Luber G, Lutz JT, Maslak T, Prudent N, Radtke M, Rosenthal JP, Rowles T, Sandifer PA, Scheraga J, Schramm PJ, Strickman D, Trtanj JM, Whung P-Y. 2010. A Human Health Perspective On Climate Change: A Report Outlining the Research Needs on the Human Health Effects of Climate Change. Research Triangle Park, NC:Environmental Health Perspectives/National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. doi:10.1289/ehp.1002272


 Session #2. The Transition from Fossil Energy to Renewable Energy

  • Introduction: Brief overview of the energy system and how it contributes to climate change
  • Screening: SP 2: From Haze to Sun and SP 8: Going Fossil Free
  • Discussion: Technology vs commitment
  • Homework for the next session:  Find out what your state and community is doing for energy efficiency and sustainability.
  • Presentation: Sustainability Pioneers #2: Transition from Fossil To Renewable Energy sustainability-pioneers-2-fossil-to-renewable-energy

– Suggested resources:

Session #3. Renewable Energy Opportunities and Challenges

  • Introduction: Federal, state and local jurisdiction over energy – how the system works
  • Screening: SP 4 It Takes a Leader and SP 5 Becoming Energy Independent
  • Discussion: What are the challenges and opportunities in your town?
  • Homework for the next session: Visit The Frick Environmental Center/Phipps/your town hall and learn about how these buildings are doing about energy efficiency and sustainability. Visit Solarize Allegheny and Solar City websites and learn about the solarize project.
  • Class Presentaton#3 osher-sp-3-re-challenges-opportunities
  • Suggested resources:

The database of State Incentives for Renewable Energy


Session #4. Community Centered Power

  • Introduction: Distributed electricity systems central power stations
  • Screening:  SP 3 It Takes a Village and SP 6 Rooftop Transition
  • Discussion: Making connections for finding common ground in the climate conversations.
  • Homework for the next session: Find out the position of your elected officials on climate change and climate solutions.
  • Presentations:P. DeMarco Community Energy Systems  sp4-the-way-forward-community-energy
  • Kirsi Jansa Discussion about engaging on climate change osher-4-kirsi-1-1
  • Suggested resources:
  • Mark Z. Jacobson, Mark A. Delucchi, Guillaume Bazouin,  Zack A. F. Bauer, Christa C. Heavey, Emma Fisher, Sean B. Morris, Diniana J. Y. Piekutowski, Taylor A. Vencilla and Tim W. Yeskooa.  100% clean and renewable wind, water, and sunlight (WWS) all-sector energy roadmaps for the 50 United States.” Energy Environ. Sci.,2015, 8, 2093.

  • City of Pittsburgh “Resilient City Plan” 
  • City of Pittsburgh- Office of Sustainability 

Session #5. The Way Forward

  • Introduction: Empowering Change to a Sustainable Future osher-sp5-empowering-change
  • Screening:  SP 7 From Paris to New York and SP 9 Home Sweet Home
  • Discussion: What is your power to shape the future for your children?
  • Homework for the rest of your life: Become an ambassador for critical thinking on climate action.
  • Suggested resources: