The Shell Ethane Cracker petrochemical plant under construction in Beaver County is designed to make plastic. Lots and lots and lots of plastic. And lots of pollution. And community challenges. So our community will be having a conversation to explore the nuances of plastic: the industrial roots, the problems, and the solutions. Please join us this Saturday, August 11, from 11am to 2pm at the Wilkins School Community Center at 7604 Charleston Ave., Pittsburgh, PA. Details below the graphic…

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Open to the Public

Saturday, August 11, from 11am to 2pm at the Wilkins School Community Center at 7604 Charleston Ave., Pittsburgh, PA

Keynote Speaker: Dr. Patricia DeMarco
Local Environmental Scientist & Author of “Pathways to Our Sustainable Future: A Global Perspective from Pittsburgh” (2017)

Panel Discussion Lead by Mark Dixon, filmmaker
-The local connection: Fracking/Cracking & Plastics
Doug Shields: Food & Water Watch
-Sustainable Alternatives
Dianne Peterson: Activist & owner of “Our Children Our Earth”
– Waste Management, and Recycling
Myrna Newman of Allegheny Clean Ways,

Vegetarian lunch included thanks to Chipotle!

A selection of Eco- friendly products from “Our Children Our Earth” will be available for purchase.

With appreciation for support from:
Wilkins School Community Center, Marcellus Protest, Senator Jim Ferlo, The East End Co-op, Our Children Our Earth and Concerned Citizens

More details and updates at:

This is not a formal NoPetroPA event, but we encourage all our readers to attend!


2 thoughts on “Re-Thinking Plastics: A Public Forum

  1. Hey Mark, you ought to invite Charles Schlieb to the Re- thinking plastics event. He showed up at our Sustainable Monroeville meeting Monday evening. None of us knew who he was until we looked him up after the meeting. He’s a BIG GAS guy and Hugely behind the Cracker. Go to the Sustainable Monroeville Facebook page to see what the speakers said. I live streamed most of what the speakers said, but I did not stream the attendees introductions when he was talking about his great work at the Energy Innovation Center. No more words. Elisa



    1. Hi, Elisa. You should consider some of your comments. I have been working environmental issues in the corporate context for my entire life, stunned and shocked by all I have seen over a long career. I first saw it in power generation and manufacturing during the 70s. Then, and in the decades before, there was no consideration given to the environment as you know. It was horrible, and corporations lied about it blatantly. Then I saw it in the agriculture industry, both as to chemicals and animal agriculture, together by far the largest contributor to pollution than any other industry. That caused me to go organic, and then to go vegan, 23 years ago. Even Sandra Steingraber admits hesitantly that you can’t really be an environmentalist unless you are vegan. More recently, I got involved in the oil and gas industry, and you know what, at least that industry has some people who knock themselves out to do it right, and of course others who don’t care a bit, and others who are in between. There is no monolithic industry, and everyone in the industry knows who the good guys are and who the bad guys are. We need to bring everyone up to the standards of the best guys. Since it is the natural gas industry that has allowed the US to lead the world in reducing greenhouse gases over the last decade, and brought down power prices for everyone, it actually makes some sense to work with that industry to see that things are done right. I was on Governor Wolf’s transition team and made attempts to increase the bar for natural gas companies over and above federal and state regulations–no traction there whatsoever to my surprise, probably because of the people on the team who really just wanted the industry to go away. As to petrochem, it is frankly impossible to duplicate the Gulf Coast’s Cancer Alley (thank God), and we are stunningly fortunate to have Shell, as opposed to some of the other companies in the field, here with the highest possible standards–and yes, people need to hold their feet to the fire of high standards. This will be the world’s most advanced, clean, efficient, safe facility of its kind, making products we need (yes, we need to get rid of most disposable plastics–that is a no-brainer). And of course, furthering wind, solar, renewable methane, geothermal, hydrogen fuel cells, waste fuel, etc. needs to be done as well, and I am pleased to work in those areas also. You should be happy that there are a few people who want to work from the inside, and when you want to sit down and discuss over a vegan dinner, let me know. By the way, I did enjoy your Sustainable Monroeville meeting, and thank you for having it. The lady from Washington County (whose name I am sorry I do not remember) was especially great. I remember seeing oil and gas activities in Washington County in the first few years and scratching my head as to why things were being handled as they were then, asking myself where the regulators were, why the standards of the best companies were not being followed, why companies could go cheap and not use state of the art protections for the people, animals and environment. (That is why I wanted things improved when I was on Wolf’s transition team.) Best, Charlie


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