“Pay As You Throw”

In 2017 so far, Andrew Baram has disposed of seven bags of trash. This seems like an impossible feat to the general public, but to Baram it is an attainable lifestyle. Watch as Baram advocates for the Pay As You Throw (PAYT) movement.

Created by Freya Bairdsen and Chris Baker Evens, with guidance from Point Park University Professor Christopher Rolinson. Evens, Bairdsen and Rolinson participated in the 2017 Multimedia Workshop, hosted by the Point Park University Environmental Journalism Program. During the two-day workshop, students and mentors were paired up and sent out to report on an assigned story topic, with the deadline set to 5:00 the next day.

A big thank you to our mentor, Christopher Rolinson and to Tom O’Brien and Andrew Baram for participating!

Allegheny GoatScape

Gavin Deming is the brains behind Allegheny Goatscape, a local North Side organization that helps control invasive knotweed and other overgrowth in Pittsburgh with a herd of hungry, frolicking goats.

Watch Point Park University students interview Deming about his eco-friendly landscaping business, as his herd of goats munch away along the waterfront.

Created by Point Park University Students Gracey Evans and Joseph Tischler with guidance from Daily Times Photojournalist Ralph Musthaler. Evans, Tischler and Musthaler participated in the 2017 Multimedia Workshop, hosted by the Point Park University Environmental Journalism Program. During the two-day workshop, students and mentors were paired up and sent out to report on an assigned story topic, with the deadline set to 5:00 the next day.

A big thank you to our mentor, Ralph Musthaler and to Allegheny GoatScape for participating!

Barking Slopes – Multimedia Workshop

The Barking Slopes conservation area used to be an area locals would avoid, with a steep hillside along a river that attracted crime, dumping and homeless encampments. Now, the Allegheny Land Trust is enacting a management plan to revitalize the area.

Created by Point Park University Students Megan Bixler and Briana Walton, with guidance from Times Leader Photojournalist Sean McKeag. Bixler, Walton and McKeag participated in the 2017 Multimedia Workshop, hosted by the Point Park University Environmental Journalism Program.

During the two-day workshop, students and mentors were paired up and sent out to report on an assigned story topic, with the deadline set to 5:00 the next day.

A big thank you to our mentor, Sean McKeag and to Allegheny Land Trust for participating!

Ep. 23: Scientists Need Not Apply?

 Ep. 23: Scientists Need Not Apply?

As originally seen on Trump on Earth

Image: Sam Clovis has been tapped to be Head Scientist at the USDA.(AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall, File)

It’s no secret that the Trump administration is often at odds with scientists, and his recent agency nominations continue to reflect that. Sam Clovis is Trump’s pick for Chief Scientist at the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Clovis has been many things —  Air Force fighter pilot, conservative talk show host, defeated U.S. Senate candidate, co-chair of Trump’s presidential campaign. But one thing not on his resume? Scientist.

If confirmed, Clovis would oversee USDA’s $3 billion research budget, which includes research to help farmers and ranchers adapt to climate change. Clovis has called global warming “junk science” despite 97 percent of climate scientists agreeing that climate-warming trends over the past century are “extremely likely” due to human activities. “I’ve looked at the science and I have enough of a science background to know when I’m being boofed,” Clovis told Iowa Public Radio in a 2014 interview.

Congress placed some pretty strict guidelines – actual laws –  that make this job hard to fill. But what happens when those laws are overlooked, even ignored, by the President?

Our guest in this episode of Trump on Earth, Mike Lavender, senior Washington representative for the Union of Concerned Scientists’ Food and Environment program, says that’s exactly what is happening with the Clovis pick.

“In 2008, Congress wrote into law that this specific position, the Chief Scientist at the Department of Agriculture, needs to have significant training and experience in agricultural research, education in economics. And when you look at Mr. Clovis’s background, there is literally no degree or no work experience that qualifies him for this job. It’s a key position that is often behind the scenes and doesn’t get much attention, but it really goes to investing taxpayer money into things that can keep our food safe, that can keep farmers productive and profitable, and that can keep our water clean.”

A number of farm groups, the American Farm Bureau among them, have sent a letter in support of Sam Clovis’s nomination. They say there are plenty of scientists at the USDA, and what American agriculture needs is a strong advocate. And that’s what they see in Sam Clovis. Valentine argues that those two things don’t have to be separate.

“There are dozens of qualified individuals who can fill this role very capably. And if you look back over 20 plus years in Republican and Democratic administrations, there’s always been a qualified individual in this position. So the argument that passion and advocacy is Mr. Corvis’s strongest suit — we would argue that that isn’t enough.  When you’re investing $3 billion of taxpayer money, passion isn’t enough to get the job done. You have to know what you’re talking about.You need to have a solid understanding of the background of our food and farm system to make those investments work in a strategic way that actually helps people.”

More than 60% of top science posts in the federal government that require Senate confirmation do not have a nominee, according to an analysis by the  Washington Post. And Valentine argues that there are significant consequences to losing “scientific voices in the room.”

“When you have more political voices, and in some cases only political voices, speaking up when there’s a need for science, and a need for science-based governance ,that’s a problem because there are so many questions…We’re not going to get cleaner air. We’re not going to get cleaner water. We’re not going to get safer through by making calculations that are other than science based.”


Mentioned in the episode:

This episode was hosted by Julie Grant. Follow her on Twitter. Trump on Earth is produced by The Allegheny Front, a Pittsburgh-based environmental reporting project, and Point Park University’s Environmental Journalism program.


2017 Multimedia Workshop

October 27-28th – Register Here

Point Park University’s second annual Environmental Journalism Multimedia Workshop is a free event that focuses on teaching storytelling through hands-on multimedia training. The two-day workshop will occur at Point Park University’s Center for Media Innovation. Participants will work in teams, paired with professional mentors, to produce a 3-5 minute multimedia project on a provided story-opportunity.

The completed media projects will be shared at a public presentation, Saturday evening, October 28th, at the Center for Media Innovation.

Learn basic interview skills, composition and how to produce a video-package in Adobe Premier.

Last year students had to chance to interview representatives at Garfield Community Farm, Blackberry Meadows, Allegheny Land Trust, and Penn Future. This year we are revisiting some of those same groups, as well as adding some new and exciting story opportunities to the list!

FRIDAY, October 27th

9:00 am: Meet team and professional leader at The Center For Media Innovation

9:30 am: Skype with Jasmine Goldband, Multimedia and Photo Editor at the Houston Chronicle. Hear about the environmental impacts of Hurricane Harvey from a journalist who experienced it first hand.

11am-5:30pm: Students will have the opportunity to connect with one willing, green-initiative participant to create their multimedia projects.

3pm: Pizza Refuel Break

4-5pm: Intro to Adobe Premiere with Broadcast Production Professor Robin Cecala

6pm: Pennsylvania Environmental Council (PEC) Communication Director Josh Raulerson will speak to students about his career as a reporter, and the importance of reporting on the environment. Raulerson has worked as a radio journalist at Pittsburgh’s NPR station 90.5 WESA, where he reported local news, developed original podcasts, and hosted the local broadcast of Morning Edition from 2011 to 2016. Prior to arriving in Pittsburgh, he worked as a host on Iowa Public Radio and as News Director at Aspen Public Radio in Aspen, Colorado.

SATURDAY, October 28th

9:00 am: Edit! Edit! Edit! Students meet with their groups to put the final touches on projects. Breakfast will be supplied, will dismiss for lunch.

6pm: Pgh to Paris contest winner announced

6:15-7:15pm: Documentary Filmmaker Kirsi Jansa of Gas Rush Stories will speak on her latest work with the production of the Sustainability Pioneers series.

  • Following Jansa, student’s completed projects will be shared.

To see last year’s projects please follow this link. The projects were published on our website, the Environmental-Report.org, as well as shared via our Facebook page.

Pittsburgh to Paris Contest

CMU, Point Park challenge Pittsburgh-area college students to create videos on raising awareness about climate change

The Steinbrenner Institute at Carnegie Mellon University and the Center for Media Innovation at Point Park University are collaborating on a multimedia competition to raise awareness about climate change. Entrants will have a chance to win a pair of round-trip tickets from Pittsburgh to Paris, courtesy of WOW Airlines.

When President Trump announced the United States’ exit from the Paris Climate Accord earlier this year, he said, “I was elected to represent the citizens of Pittsburgh, not Paris.” Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto’s response was that “we stand with the world and will follow the agreement.”

The Steinbrenner Institute and the Center for Media Innovation are issuing the “Pittsburgh (not) to Paris Climate Multimedia Challenge” to students of colleges that are part of the Higher Education Climate Consortium, part of the Pittsburgh Climate Initiative. The goal is to raise awareness about climate change by making a video that answers this question: What does this mean to you in a world where climate change is not an alternative fact?

Along with Carnegie Mellon and Point Park, eligible educational institutions include the Art Institute of Pittsburgh, Carlow University, Chatham University, Community College of Allegheny County, Duquesne University, La Roche College, The Penn State Center, Robert Morris University and the University of Pittsburgh.

Neil M. Donahue, director of CMU’s Steinbrenner Institute for Environmental Education and Research, has been studying climate change for almost 40 years. He notes that the 1979 Charney Report to the National Research Council warned that “a wait-and- see policy may mean waiting until it is too late.” “The causes and severity of climate change described in that nearly 40-year- old report have been

“The causes and severity of climate change described in that nearly 40-year- old report have been verified. We do see the effects and we hope that it is not too late,” Donahue said. “Pittsburgh has a

“Pittsburgh has a vibrant community from scholars to blue-collar workers making efforts to understand climate and poised to deploy solutions, and we have elected representatives who understand the problem and who are proactively working to solve it. This is a global problem, and Pittsburgh, Paris and all of their sister cities can solve it together.”

Submissions should be videos of any style, but cannot exceed 60 seconds in length and personal
statements are limited to 250 words. They must be relevant to climate change with a compelling
presentation and production. Videos must be uploaded with a hashtag of #P2PClimateChallenge to https://p2pclimatechallenge.pgtb.me/Qg4wkZ between noon Sept. 9 and 11:59 p.m. Oct. 2.

Online voting will run until Oct. 18 to determine 10 finalists. An expert panel will review the finalists and pick one winner, who will be announced at Point Park’s Multimedia Workshop, to be held Oct. 27-28 at the Center for Media Innovation.

“As our society actively debates climate change, I think about the world we are leaving behind for future generations,” said Christopher Rolinson, director of Point Park’s Environmental Journalism Program, which is conducting the workshop. “It is our responsibility to protect the air, water and land. While the responsibility to preserve the climate and environment begins locally, global climate change must be taken seriously from Pittsburgh to Paris, and worldwide.”

Svanhvit Fridriksdottir, vice president of Communications at WOW Airlines, said the company was proud to play a role in the competition, given WOW’s dedication to issues impacting the environment.

“We use brand-new airplanes that are very fuel efficient and environmentally friendly and also support various environmental initiatives in Iceland, including Landvernd, an organization dedicated to protecting and restoring Icelandic nature. WOW also recently opened solar-powered bicycle sharing stations in Reykjavik,” Fridriksdottir said. “We hope this initiative will succeed in promoting a healthier lifestyle for the benefit of the environment.”


Lou Corsaro
Point Park University

Ken Walters
Carnegie Mellon University

Al Gore and the Climate Reality Project

Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, October 17-19th 2017

“The Climate Reality Project announced today that the organization will hold its 36th Climate Reality Leadership Corps activist training in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, from October 17-19, with the generous support and partnership of The Heinz Endowments. Over the course of three days, world class scientists, communicators, and climate experts will join former US Vice President and Climate Reality Founder and Chairman Al Gore to train citizens to become Climate Reality Leaders, who organize their communities for action on the climate crisis.”

“Pittsburgh has taken a leadership role in fighting against climate disruption, but we need to fight even harder. The Vice President’s Climate Reality training is just what our residents and advocates need in this critical time, and I thank The Heinz Endowments for their commitment and generosity,” Pittsburgh Mayor William Peduto said.

Learn More Here