Category Archives: Uncategorized

Movin’ on…

The website subgroup of the Outreach and Education Action Group has been working on an updated website for Transition Houston for some time, and all that effort is paying off!  We are going to concentrate our information share and move content to the new site:  www.transitionhouston.org.  Please bookmark that location and check with us often for news about Transition in the Houston region, Neighborhood Initiative and Action Group updates, calendar, newsletter archive, and more!

Once again, the new Transition Houston website:

www.transitionhouston.org

There are several other options for connecting with us.

We are on Facebook.

We are on Twitter.

And you can subscribe to our Newsletter!

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Filed under About Transition Houston, Uncategorized

I don’t know if you have noticed, but it is hot out there.  And dry!  One might think that we would all just retreat to the indoors and the AC, but our Transition communities find that there is always much work to be done (and fun to be had).  We have a lot going on over the next several weeks–despite the drought–and would especially like to share the many events that we and/or our friends are scheduling.

But first, a public service announcement shared by Linda Foss on the Transition Houston ning group:

NPR interviewed Trees for Houston who said that we are now in an exceptional drought and trees will begin dying if it doesn’t change or people don’t water them. Trees for Houston can’t keep up with all the trees they’ve planted and are encouraging people to water trees in esplanades and other public spaces near them.  I’ve forwarded this to the neighborhood associations around me.

He (the Trees for Houston representative) advised:

“Punch a small hole in a 5-gallon bucket. Fill it up, put it by your tree and it drips out. You’ll get more water percolating right where you need it in a more efficient way, than a broad lawn sprinkler system.”

Thank you Linda for taking the time to share this information with our community.  Here’s hoping that the rain we need will be coming this week, and that exceptional events like this one will prompt people to consider climate challenges and resilient community responses.

Transition Heights Initiating Meeting, Thursday, June 23, 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Website Poll closes Friday, June 24, Midnight

Energy Action Group Solar Ovens and Pallet Building, Saturday, June 25, 10:00am to 12:00 noon

Save the Date:  Transition Houston Hub meeting, Tuesday, July 5, 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Save the Date:  Green Film Series presents The Power of Community, Tuesday, July 12, 6:30pm

A Conversation with Rob Hopkins, Monday, July 18, 10:00am to 11:15am

Transition Heights Initiating Meeting, Thursday, June 23, 7:00pm
As a group of neighborhoods with a historic core, the Heights has many of the qualities that would make for an easier transition, such as walkability, pre-AC housing stock, and local and independent businesses.   Many of our Transition Houston members live in the Heights, perhaps many more than we are aware.  If you do live in the Heights, you may be very interested to know that a group of Transition Houston members are getting together this week on Thursday to initiate a Heights Transition neighborhood.

If you are interested in attending, please contact Jan by email (jankindel at aol dot com) for location and directions.

Transition Heights Initiating Meeting
Thursday, June 23
7:00pm
For location/information:  jankindel at aol dot com

Website Poll closes Friday, June 24, Midnight
As mentioned a couple of weeks ago, the Transition Houston Media Action Group has previewed three web page designs and are leaving it up to our membership to help make the final decision.  Whichever design gets the most votes will become Transition  Houston’s new website design.

Voting for the new design closes this Friday, June 24, at midnight, so please vote now!

Using the link below, you will have the chance to view functional designs which have dummy text and images.  Be sure to click around beyond the first page to see examples of other content pages, text treatments, popdown menus, etc.

For those of you who are concerned that the page may become stale if we are not be able to keep the fancy elements updated, such as slideshows and images, please note that all page content including menus, navigation, and slideshows are optional. Basically, any of the content you see in the samples can be  removed from displaying on the page.

Please take a moment to vote using this link:  http://www.transitionhouston.org/survey/webdesign

Energy Action Group Solar Ovens and Pallet Building, Saturday, June 25, 10:00am to 12:00 noon
The Energy Action Group of Transition Houston has a great event scheduled for this next Saturday, June 25.  Hosted at the City of Houston ReUse Warehouse, there will be two items of interest: solar oven field tests and a pallet reuse demonstration with David Reed of Texas Natural Builders.

Says Theresa of the Energy Action Group:  Join us for warm solar cookies and cold drinks. And leave with enough pallets to make your own quick and easy compost bin and the knowledge to harness the sun’s energy with reclaimed material.

If you’ve never been to the Warehouse, this would be a great chance to check out what’s available for your Transition projects.

Energy Action Group Solar Ovens and Pallet Building
Saturday, June 25
10:00 am to 12:00 noon
City of Houston Building Materials Reuse Warehouse
9003 N. Main., Houston, TX  77022
For more information and RSVP:  Ning or Facebook

Save the Date:  Transition Houston Hub meeting, Tuesday, July 5, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
We are still putting the program together for the July meeting, but we expect to have another excellent guest speaker, hear from our neighborhood initiatives and action groups, and find out which design won out for the new look to our www.transitionhouston.org website.

As is our tradition, the business program will end at 8:30 and the time for refreshments, conversation, and community will begin.

Transition Houston Hub Meeting
Tuesday, July 5
7:00pm to 9:00pm
Christ The King Lutheran Church
2353 Rice Blvd., Houston, TX  77005
For more information and RSVP:  Ning or Facebook

Save the Date:  Green Film Series presents The Power of Community, Tuesday, July 12, 6:30pm
The Houston Green Film Series partners (Rice University Environmental Club, USGBC Emerging Professionals of the Texas Gulf Coast Chapter, Transition Houston, and Houston Tomorrow) present The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil, on Tuesday, July 12.  Please save the date for this movie, and for the panel discussion which will follow.

The Power of Community is a documentary on how Cuba, an isolated island nation, rebuilt its quality of life following the collapse of cheap oil which had been supplied by the former Soviet Union. This film shows how communities pulled together, created solutions, and ultimately thrived in spite of their decreased dependence on imported energy.  The showing will take place on July 12th at 6:30pm at Talento Bilingue de Houston, 333 S. Jensen.

The Power of Community: How Cuba Survived Peak Oil
Tuesday, July 12
6:30pm
Talento Bilingue de Houston
333 S. Jensen Dr., Houston, TX  77003

New Thinking in the Transition Movement:  A Conversation with Rob Hopkins, Monday, July 18, 10:00am to 11:15am
Transition US has arranged for an opportunity for all Transition members to join in a conversation with Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition movement!  Dial in and join the live conversation on Monday, July 18:

Rob needs no introduction really but if you are new to the concept of Transition then this is a great opportunity to learn from the source.  Rob Hopkins is the originator of the Transition concept and co-founder of the Transition Network. He spent many years teaching permaculture and cob building, mostly when living in Ireland. Now based in Totnes, he is a member of Transition Town Totnes, works part time for the Transition Network, publishes www.transitionculture.org, is author of the ‘Transition Handbook’ and generally spends far too much time thinking about Transition stuff. He is also a Trustee of the Soil Association (the UK’s premier organic farming and gardening organization).

Rob will be exploring new and emerging ideas from the Transition Movement, and there will be opportunities to:

  • ask questions about Transition
  • hear new ideas from around the world
  • discuss how Transition is taking shape specifically in the United States
  • get updates on the follow up to the Transition Handbook & the film ‘In Transition 2.0′ along with much more

Especially exciting is that the conversation will be hosted by Richard Heinberg of the Post Carbon Institute.

Please click here to register online.

A Conversation with Rob Hopkins
Monday, July 18
10:00am to 11:15am CDT
via Telephone
Registration: Click here to register online

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Filed under Events, Meetings, Uncategorized

Busy May

Transition Houston and allied organizations have a lot of interesting events coming up over the next couple of weeks.  We especially hope that you will be able to attend our Hub meeting on Tuesday, as it will feature a guest speaker–arranged by the Transportation Action Group–who will be providing timely information about choosing a bicycle and accessories for safe and comfortable commuting.
 
Also please note the films that Transition Houston and Clear Lake Transition are sponsoring.  There has been much good press about The Economics of Happiness, as well as SRO screenings in many cities.  This will be the Houston premiere of the movie, and we encourage you to come see the movie and stay for the panel discussion featuring leaders in the local economy.
 
 
Transition Houston Hub Meeting, Tuesday, May 3, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
 
Transportation Action Group meeting, Tuesday, May 3, 6:15pm to 7:00pm
  
Houston Green Film Series:  The Economics of Happiness, Tuesday, May 10, 6:30pm to 9:00pm
 
Clear Lake Transition Film Series:  Vanishing of the Bees, Friday, May 13, 7:00pm to 9:30pm
 
Houston Peace Festival, Saturday, May 14, 1:00pm to 7:00pm
 
 
Transition Houston Hub Meeting, Tuesday, May 3, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Please remember the new Day and Location for our Transition Houston general meetings! We are now meeting on the first Tuesday of each month, at Christ the King Lutheran Church at the corner of Greenbriar and Rice Blvd. (near Rice Village). 
 
Desmond Startin is our special guest speaker at the May meeting, and he will be talking about gearing up for bicycle commuting with a focus on affordability. Desmond has been riding bikes for 16 years, and now commutes between his work, Performance Bicycles at Voss and Westheimer, and his home in the Heights.
 
We will also be reflecting on our very special Permablitz at the church (come early if you would like a tour), announcing the next event in the Houston Green Film Series, and hearing about all of the activity in our Action Groups and Neighborhood Initiatives.
 
As is our tradition, the business program will end at 8:30 and the time for refreshments, conversation, and community will begin.
 
Parking: If the Church lot is full, parking is available in the parking lot of the Rice Village Animal Hospital just across Rice Blvd. on the northwest corner of Rice and Greenbriar. Another option is the Rice University parking lot across Greenbriar from the Church ($1). Biike parking is on the median in the church parking lot (although somewhat limited).

Transition Houston Hub Meeting
Tuesday, May 3
7:00pm to 9:00pm
Christ The King Lutheran Church
2353 Rice Blvd., Houston, TX  77005
Information and RSVP:  Ning or Facebook

 

Transportation Action Group meeting, Tuesday, May 3, 6:15pm to 7:00pm
Also, the Transportation Action Group will be meeting immediately before our Transition Houston Hub meeting next Tuesday evening, May 3. You are welcome to attend if you have an interest in transportation issues, especially transit, bicycle, and pedestrian access.  We will meet at 6:15 in the courtyard of Christ the King Lutheran church. Among the topics of discussion will be plans for a series of talks and workshops to enable citizens to select, safely ride, and repair commuter bikes.

Transition Houston Transportation Action Group Meeting
Tuesday, May 3
6:15pm to 7:00pm
Christ The King Lutheran Church
2353 Rice Blvd., Houston, TX  77005
Information and RSVP:  Ning or Facebook

 

Houston Green Film Series:  The Economics of Happiness, Tuesday, May 10, 6:30pm to 9:00pm
Rice University Environmental Club, Emerging Professionals of the Houston USGBC, Transition Houston, and Houston Tomorrow present the next film in our Green Film Series.  You won’t want to miss this one, as it has had excellent reviews and several standing-room-only screenings across the US.  This will be the Houston premiere of The Economics of Happiness.
 
Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. It has also worsened nearly every problem we face: fundamentalism and ethnic conflict; climate chaos and species extinction; financial instability and unemployment. There are personal costs too. For the majority of people on the planet life is becoming increasingly stressful. We have less time for friends and family and we face mounting pressures at work.
 
The Economics of Happiness describes a world moving simultaneously in two opposing directions. On the one hand, government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. At the same time, all around the world people are resisting those policies, demanding a re-regulation of trade and finance—and, far from the old institutions of power, they’re starting to forge a very different future. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.
 
More information about the movie, including the trailer, can be found here:  http://www.theeconomicsofhappiness.org/.
 
Following the movie there will be an expert panel representing leaders in Houston’s economic relocalization to discuss how a new local economy is being developed here.
 
Schedule:
6:30 meet and greet
7:00 featured film
8:00 expert panel
 
A $5 donation is requested, but no one will be turned away.

Houston Green Film Series:  The Economics of Happiness
Tuesday, May 10
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Rice University Media Center
2030 University Blvd. (Entrance #8, Stockton and University), Houston, TX  77005
For more information and RSVP:  Ning or Facebook

 

Clear Lake Transition Film Series:  Vanishing of the Bees, Friday, May 13, 7:00pm to 9:30pm
The Clear Lake Transition Community is presenting another great movie at their really excellent outdoor venue.  It is worth a (carpooled) trip to League City to check it out, and the movie is both interesting and important.  Learn more about Vanishing of the Bees and watch the trailer at www.vanishingofthebees.com.

Clear Lake Transition Film Series:  Vanishing of the Bees
Friday, May 13
7:00pm to 9:30pm
Three Oaks Wine Bar Outdoor Movie Venue
601 E. Main St
League City TX 77573
For more information and RSVP:  Facebook

 

Houston Peace Festival, Saturday, May 14, 1:00pm to 7:00pm
Transition Houston will be tabling at the Houston Peace Festival, and we invite you to attend as well!  The mission of the Houston Peace Festival is to provide a day of celebration, information, and networking with local and national organizations whose work to improve our community and world aligns with Quaker values.  And, we are told, to provide awesome local music! 
 
Among the groups performing are Edmund Evans (Folk/Pop), Poopy Lungstuffing, Ben & Ciaran (Folk/Punk), Zwee (Funk/Jam Band/Soul), Zin (Conscious Rap), Brandon West and the Black Hats (Funk/Rock/Soul), Young Mammals (Indie/Rock) and a dance performance by the Erin Reck Dance Project.  Also featured will be a variety of food and kids’ activities (but please leave alcoholic beverages at home).

Houston Peace Festival
Saturday, May 14
1:00pm to 7:00pm
Live Oak Friends Meeting
1318 W 26Th St., Houston, TX
For more information:  Website or  Facebook

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leash/unleash

I really like the word unleashing.  One might think I would associate the word more with phrases like “unleashing the power of the atom” or “gasoline unleashing the power of your engine,” but in reality I think more of what I assume to be its origin:  unleashing dogs.  I imagine dogs straining at their leash, muscles tensed, rear paws digging in, front legs off the ground, ready to surge forward at the release, the very picture of potential energy.  And then at the moment of unleashing, that energy becomes kinetic and the dogs are off.
 
There is a lot of talk about unleashing in Transition.  One of the original 12 steps or ingredients of Transition is the “Great Unleashing,” where a Transition Initiative makes its presence known in the community.  I understand that now many communities decide to bypass the Great Unleashing, and indeed that may turn out to be our course for the Transition Houston Hub.
 
Right now, though, the unleashing that interests me is “unleashing the collective genius of our communities.”  I saw that in action this last weekend, as members of communities from Austin, Dallas, and our greater Houston area came together for a Training for Transition class.  The creative energy that was released was phenomenal!  I think we will see the shock waves of the unleashed creative energy reverberate in our communities for some time to come.
 
Come to our March Transition Houston meeting and hear about what was learned at the Training, and also about the many opportunities coming up to unleash our collective genius.

Transition Houston Hub general meeting, Tuesday, March 1
Please note the new Day and Location for our Transition Houston general meetings!  We are now meeting on the first Tuesday of each month, at Christ the King Lutheran Church at the corner of Greenbriar and Rice Blvd. (near Rice Village).  If you can, come at 6:30 on this first meeting so that we can look at how we can install native and/or food plantings in the Church green space in exchange for the use of the meeting space.

The neighborhood initiatives are ramping up, and we will hear what has been accomplished as well as what is coming up.  We will also recap the Training for Transition experience, hear what was done at the February Permablitz, and find out what is planned for the March ‘Blitz.

As is our tradition, the business program will end at 8:30, and the time for refreshments, conversation, and community will begin.

Transition Houston March Meeting
Tuesday, March 1
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Christ the King Lutheran Church
2353 Rice Blvd, Houston, TX  77005
For more information and RSVP see our event listing on Ning

Neighborhood Initiative Meetings
Our Neighborhood Transition Initiatives are really taking off!  Here are currently-scheduled monthly meetings, for three very active Initiatives.  If you have meetings scheduled for your neighborhood initiative, or if you would like to start up regular meetings, please contact Mark at mjuedeman@gmail.com or 832-655-5104.

Transition Midtown Dinner meeting
Wednesday, February 23
7:00pm
$3 contribution 

 
Transition Midtown Regular meetings
Third Wednesdays of the month
12:00pm to 1:30 pm
transitionhouston@gmail.com for details
 
Clear Lake Transition Initiative
Thursday, March 3
6:30pm to 8:00pm
Coffee Oasis
4650 Nasa Road 1 (at Kirby)
Seabrook, TX
For more information:  clearlaketransition@gmail.com or 281.705.4307
 
Transition Old Sixth Ward
Sunday, March 13 (2nd Sunday of the month)
6:00pm
transitionhouston@gmail.com for details


Roy Zimmerman House Concert, Friday, February 25
Friends from KPFT remind us that there will be a house concert in support of the local public radio station on Friday, February 25. 
 
Bob and Nancy Hentschel are hosting a house concert with Roy Zimmerman on February 25th.  He is a brilliant comedian/singer/songwriter who writes and performs “Funny Songs About Ignorance, War and Greed.”  For additional information and to listen to some of his music you can go to his website at http://www.royzimmerman.com/.  Reservations are required, and there is a suggested honorarium of $18 in advance, $20 at the door.  All contributions go to the performer and KPFT Public Radio (which, by the way, has been very supportive of Transition Houston).

Roy Zimmerman House Concert
Friday, Feb. 25th
Concert at 8:00 pm; 7:00 pm – potluck dinner and wine
Home of Bob and Nancy Hentschel
6610 Kendall Creek Drive, Sugar Land, TX 77479
To purchase tickets or make reservations call Nancy Hentschel 832-228-7642

Focus The Nation, Monday, February 28
The University of St. Thomas (UST) was very kind to let us screen In Transition 1.0 (the Transition movie) and hold an excellent panel discussion in one of their classrooms last Thursday.  Now there is an opportunity for us to attend a Focus the Nation event at the University of St. Thomas, and join them and the greater community to navigate the challenges and solutions to a clean energy economy and sustainable transportation. UST is holding a Focus the Nation Clean Energy Forum to educate the public on the innovative approaches our community is taking to make Houston a more sustainable place to live.
 
The forum will begin with a Meet and Greet period with sponsors and other community organizations. The presentations will commence at 5:30 with talks from Kevin Conlin, Sun-Stop Solar Service Stations; Ralph Parrott, Alternative Power Solutions; Katherine Warren, Boxley Group Energy Practice. A panel discussion will follow. This discussion will focus on identifying clean energy roadblocks and solutions. Panelists include all mentioned speakers as well as other community organizations. From this discussion, we hope to become more aware of steps that can be taken to advance, promote, and implement alternative energy technologies.
 
Parking for the event will be available in the Moran Parking Garage (corner of W. Alabama and Graustark) for $2. Please register for the event online at www.focusthenation.org/forums. (Preregistration is not required but appreciated).

Focus the Nation
Monday, February 28
5:00 pm – 9:00 pm
University of St. Thomas
Scanlan Conference Room (Upstairs in the Jerabeck Athletic Center)
4000 Mt. Vernon
Houston, TX 77006
www.focusthenation.org/forums

Two Workshops, Saturday, March 5
We have many opportunities for workshop education coming up in the next few weeks.  After seeing Dean Cook and others speak at the Soil Carbon panel discussion held last week, I am especially interested in Dean and Nell Wheeler’s upcoming workshop on making and using biochar.  Doubly so, after seeing during our pre-Transition Training tours last Friday what an excellent urban homestead they have established.

During the workshop Nell and Dean will use their clean burning charcoal stove to prepare a meal while simultaneously making more charcoal.  You will learn how to turn that charcoal into biochar, and how to apply it to the soil.  Biochar increases the biological activity of the soil, which increases the soil’s fertility and its ability to sequester carbon from the atmosphere (in addition to sequestering the stable carbon in the biochar). There is a small fee for the workshop.  For more information please contact Dean at 832-618-2032.

Biochar Workshop
Saturday, March 5
1:00pm to 4:00pm
Nell and Dean’s backyard
6181 Elbert St.
Houston, TX  77028
Space is limited – please RSVP to: nell.dean@rocketmail.com

Transition Woodlands and Greater North Houston’s Priyanka Johri is also offering a rain barrel workshop on March 5.  This one is earlier in the day, so you have a chance to attend both!
 
A rain barrel is a container that collects otherwise potentially wasted rain water from your downspout. An average house may shed over 30,000 gallons of water a year or over 300 gallons in just one rainfall event.  If allowed to run off, the water may carry with it fertilizers and pesticides which causes pollution in our water system.  By harvesting the soft water from rain and using it for irrigation you not only help your plants, but you also save money on your water bill and help the environment.
 
Participants will construct a 55 gallon Rain Barrel from a recycled plastic food grade container, and will be able to take it home with them for immediate use.

Build a Rain Barrel Workshop
Saturday, March 5
10:00am to 11:30am
Indus Valley Sustainable Living Institute
2463 Bill Smith Rd

Conroe, TX  77384
For more information contact Priyanka at 832-277-3577

Transition Houston Permablitz #6, Saturday, March 19
Please save the date for our sixth Transition Houston Permablitz, on the morning of Saturday, March 19.  This ‘Blitz will be held in the Westwood neighborhood, near Stella Link and South Loop 610.  Details of work scope and learning opportunities are still being developed, so please check our event listing here for updates.

Reductions in green infrastructure investment?
Finally, I would like to bring to your attention a matter of personal concern to me, and one that I think may likewise be of concern to other members of the Houston Transition community.
 
Jay Crossley, of Houston Tomorrow and also Transition Midtown, shares the news that:

The H-GAC Transportation Policy Council is set to vote on a measure to cut some bike, walk, transit, and livability spending from the 2011 TIP, which would further push our region’s transportation spending out of alignment with the priorities of the citizens of the region, as expressed in studies such as the Houston Area Survey.
 
Projects that are slated for cutting include walkability projects the likes of which many of us have been working on for many years, such as investing in sidewalks on the East Side to provide the neighborhood better access to the coming East Side Light Rail Line, thus encouraging small, walkable businesses, healthy lifestyles, and a more vibrant quality of life.  These projects would provide real quality of life, economic, and environmental benefits in ways that we have not really seen in the Houston region.
 
We have created a petition to enable citizens of the Houston region to show their strong support spending more of our scarce transportation funds on walkability, livability, bike infrastructure, and better transit.  Please click the following link to sign the petition.

http://org2.democracyinaction.org/o/6239/p/dia/action/public/?action_KEY=5685

These projects are the sort that I personally believe are necessary to support our transition from oil dependency.  If you likewise are concerned please take action as you see appropriate.

 

So, here we are, straining against our constraints.  Let’s unleash, and release our collective genius!

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Training for Transition Early Registration Closes February 12!

Transition Houston is hosting a Training for Transition course in Houston on Saturday and Sunday, February 19 and 20, at the Houston Mennonite Church, 1231 Wirt Rd. (north of I-10 just outside West Loop 610).
  
Whether you are starting a Transition initiative in your neighborhood, would like to start an initiative, want to be more effective within an existing Transition group, would like to know more about Transition, or would just like to meet fun and interesting people in a great educational setting, this course is for you. Especially exciting are the two excellent trainers from Transition US who will be facilitating the training. David Johnson and Maggie Seeley both have deep and broad experience in Transition and Transition initiatives.
 
A more complete description of the training, including a detailed course curriculum, can be found on the Transition US website’s training page.  Attendees from the 2009 Training for Transition in Houston will tell you that this is an course not to be missed!
 
Transition Houston will also be offering an optional and free event to course registrants on Friday, February 18. The last time Transition Houston hosted the T4T course we offered urban garden tours and a lunch seminar at Rice University, but plans for this year are still being finalized. There will be a kick-off potluck on Friday evening, which enrollees are encouraged to attend.
 
Venue details have not been finalized yet, but there will also be a special event on Thursday evening, February 17.  The movie In Transition (the Transition movie) will be screened, followed by a panel discussion which will include Maggie Seeley.  This event is the February screening of the Green Film Series sponsored by the Emerging Professionals of the USGBC, Rice Environmental Club, and Transition Houston.  It will also be free (although donations will be welcome!) and open to the public, so please save the date and plan to attend–and feel free to invite friends too!  Details about time and place will be posted here soon.
 
For course registration and more information please go to our Eventbrite registration page, or to the event on the Transition US training calendar.  Transition Houston has worked hard to significantly reduce the cost of the course (to almost half the price in 2009) if you register early by February 12, so please sign up soon.
 
This is a really excellent opportunity to gain a detailed knowledge of Transition and how to make it work in your community, as well as a chance to connect with others who share the same vision.  Transition trainings happen rarely in Texas–you are encouraged to take advantage of this opportunity now!

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P Words

There were a few “P” words on my mind as last week’s cold weather approached.  With the surge of cold weather headed our way I was thinking about things like prediction, preparation, proactivity, and protection for our garden and fruit trees.  I was also thinking that through listening to the prediction for cold weather and preparing appropriately, I could expect a positive outcome. 
 
Isn’t that what we are all about in Transition Houston?  We’ve been listening to the scientists and analysts, and we know we have some enormous challenges coming our way.  We know that some challenges are at our doorstep now.  But because we are living in awareness we see the opportunity to make a better and more satisfying life while reducing our fossil fuel consumption, our carbon emissions, and our economic debt. 
 
We really don’t have all the answers.  But as a creative community, we think we can come up with some really good ones.

Transition Houston meeting, Tuesday, February 8
As you may know from previous newsletters and discussions at our monthly meetings, we are reviewing when and where to hold our monthly Transition Houston meetings.  It appears that the first Tuesday of each month may be a better day than the first Monday of the month, to avoid conflicts with other meetings of interest to our community.  With this in mind, we are shifting this month’s meeting to Tuesday, February 8.  The time and venue (7-9pm at Urban Harvest) stay the same, at least for now.
 
We are very excited to have as a guest speaker Tiffany Tyler, the Chair of the Board of Central City Co-Op, who will be talking to us about the mission of the Co-Op, the benefits of supporting the Co-Op, and how we might collaborate on issues of mutual interest.
 
We will also be discussing the upcoming Training for Transition class on February 19 and 20, and many other events of interest.

Transition Houston February Meeting
Tuesday, February 8
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Urban Harvest
2311 Canal St., Houston, TX  77003
More information and RSVP here. 

Soil Carbon Panel Discussion, Monday, February 14
Houston Urban Gardeners (HUG), Houston Food Policy Workgroup, Houston Climate Protection Alliance, Urban Harvest, and Transition Houston are cosponsoring a panel discussion regarding the role of healthy soils in sequestering carbon.  Among the topics of discussion will be building soil carbon through use of compost and biochar. 
 
The panelists are:
 
• Jason Aramburu, founder of Re:char, which will make biochar machines for small farmers, especially in the third world. Their two-minute video  is a fine introduction.
• John Ferguson of Nature’s Way, a composting company, and a director of the Organic Horticulture Business Alliance.
Bruce A. McCarl of Texas A&M. His specialty is agricultural economics and he has published information on soil sequestration and climate mitigation.

Soil Carbon Panel Discussion
Monday, February 14
6:30 pm
Houston Garden Center (Hermann Park by the Rose Garden)
1500 Hermann Dr., Houston, TX

Permablitzes
Transition Houston and Transition Old Sixth Ward had a great Permablitz (Transition Houston’s #5) this last Sunday, and I trust that Clear Lake Transition’s Permablitz (#3) on the same day was a great success as well.   Thank you to our Transition OSW hosts Karen and Stephen for such thorough preparation, great projects, and welcoming home, and to all of the attendees for their hard work, eagerness to learn, and excellent potluck.
 
The current plan is for our next Permablitz to be held on March 19, in the Westwood neighborhood (off of Stella Link south of South 610).  Please save the date; we really would like to see you all at the next ‘Blitz too!  As you may know, we are working toward the point where you must have had volunteered at three Permablitzes to be eligible for hosting one at your home (this is the criteria established by the Melbourne, Australia, Permablitz originators).  We have very many people who would be eligible under these criteria if they were to volunteer at two more, and a number who will be eligible with just one more ‘Blitz under their belt.

We look forward to seeing you at the Transition Houston meeting on Tuesday, and at all our other Transition events.

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On the rising side of the activity curve

It is only six days into the new year, but there is already a lot of activity on the Transition front!  Here is a quick synopsis of events in the Houston region to mark on your calendar.  Please especially note that we have confirmed that our January 10th Transition Houston meeting will be held at Urban Harvest.
 
Clear Lake Transition Initiative Monthly Meeting, Thursday, January 6
The Clear Lake Transition Initiative is holding their first meeting of the new year tonight!  Meet and network with your fellow Clear Lake Transition group members and enjoy some delicious healthy organic food as we plan our upcoming Permablitzes, movie nights, and other upcoming events.
 
The event will be held at Nature’s Garden in Friendswood, with a reservation under “Amanda.”  It should be easy to find the Transition meeting, since it is a very small restaurant!

Clear Lake Transition Initiative January Meeting 
Thursday, January 6
6:30 pm – 8:30 pm
Nature’s Garden Organic Market and Cafe (http://www.nagamaca.com/ or (281) 996-9596)
400 W. Parkwood Ave., Friendswood, TX
For more info: Rob at 281.705.4307, Amanda at 832-405-9160, or email clearlaketransitioninitiative at gmail dot com

Transition Old Sixth Ward Monthly Meeting, Sunday, January 9
Transition Old Sixth Ward meets on the second Sunday of each month.  This month’s meeting will be held on this Sunday, January 9.  Among the topics of discussion are the Permablitz coming up on February 6 and how Transition OSW can invite lots of people from our neighborhood to the ‘Blitz to see how much can be accomplished when a group like this gets together.

Transition OSW Regular Meeting
Sunday, January 9
6:00 pm – 8:00 pm
For meeting location and more info please contact Stephen at crawfgames at earthlink dot net

Transition Houston Monthly Meeting, Monday, January 10
Transition Houston will be holding our January meeting on Monday, January 10, at Urban Harvest (2311 Canal Street).  Transition Houston’s first meeting of the year will have as its focus a discussion among its members to set the broad outlines of what we would like to achieve in 2011.  This includes events, training, permablitzes, monthly meetings (day of month and venue), film series, guest speakers, and more.  As always, we will close out the meeting with refreshments, conversation, and community!
 
We have confirmed that we will be meeting at Urban Harvest, in Room 124 (straight down the hall and on the right).

Transition Houston January Meeting
Monday, January 10
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Urban Harvest
2311 Canal St., Houston, TX  77003
For more information and RSVP:  transitiontexas.ning.com/events/transition-houston-january

Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale, Saturday, January 15
Fruit trees offer a great opportunity for abundant food with minimal effort, and can be a core element of personal resilience.  Fruit tree sale season is coming up early in the new year, with a number of organizations holding sale days.  One of the sales coming up very soon is the Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale.  This annual sale brings together far more types and varieties of fruit trees than can be found anywhere else in the greater Houston area  This year the sale is going to be held at Robertson Football Stadium, on the University of Houston Main Campus (Scott Street at Holman Street).

Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale
Saturday, January 15
9:00 am – 1:00 pm or until sold out
Robertson Football Stadium on the University of Houston campus Scott Street at Holman Street
For more information:  
www.urbanharvest.org/events/fruittreesales.html

Movie Screening:  Climate Refugees, Wednesday, January 26
As we mentioned in our mid-December newsletter, Transition Houston, the USGBC Emerging Professionals (EP), and the Rice Environmental Club are presenting the next film in our green film series on Wednesday, January 26.  The movie is Climate Refugees, a documentary film about “the human face of climate change.”  Information about the movie can be found at www.climaterefugees.com, including film trailers.

Climate Refugees film screening
Wednesday, January 26
6:30 pm
Rice University Media Center, corner of University Blvd and Stockton, entrance #8 on the Rice University Campus

Transition Houston Permablitz #5, Sunday, February 6
As mentioned above, our next Permablitz is scheduled for Sunday, February 6, in the Old Sixth Ward historic neighborhood.  We will have the scope of work and activities soon (planning is now underway), but for now please save the date!

Soil Carbon Panel Discussion, Monday, February 14
Houston Urban Gardeners (HUG), Houston Food Policy Workgroup, Houston Climate Protection Alliance, and Transition Houston are cosponsoring a panel discussion regarding the role of healthy soils in sequestering carbon.  Among the topics of discussion will be building soil carbon through use of compost and biochar.  More details to come, but for now also mark this date on your calendar!

Soil Carbon Panel Discussion
Monday, February 14
6:30 pm
Houston Garden Center (Hermann Park by the Rose Garden)
1500 Hermann Dr., Houston, TX

Training for Transition course, February 19-20 (tentative)
As we’ve discussed during the latter part of 2010, we would like to hold our second Training for Transition course in Houston early in 2011.  We are now tentatively planning to host the training on the weekend of February 19 and 20, although this will depend on venue and trainer availability.  We are also working to keep the cost as low as possible so that everyone who has an interest will be able to attend, and will be requesting volunteer help to make it both valuable and affordable.  Several of the people now actively involved in Transition Houston attended the course when we had it here in November 2009, and found it very useful and powerful.
 
This is a part of the class description, found on the Transition US Training page:

The T4T course is designed to give a detailed introduction to the most important skills necessary to successfully set up, develop, and run a Transition project in your locality. It is designed for people who are already in a group working to achieve this, or are thinking of creating such a group. The full curriculum for the T4T can be found here.
At the end of the course participants will:

  • Have a clear understanding of the context for Transition Initiatives, the current global situation and the transformational possibilities that arise from climate change, peak oil and the economic crisis.
  • Know what the Transition model is – including an in-depth look at the 12 steps, from inspiration, setting up the initiating group, all the way to having active and effective working groups.
  • Have experienced a joint visioning process.
  • Understand how to organize effective meetings such as public talks, open space days, and small theme working groups.
  • Understand the purpose and principles of an Energy Descent Action Plan.
  • Have the outline of an effective and inspiring talk on the Transition movement.
  • Have formed useful contacts with other Transition Initiatives and individuals interested in the Transition model.
  • Have a plan of action for themselves and their locality.

If you have not previously indicated an interest in the training (or are not sure if you have), or if you would like to be a part of the planning and logistics for the class, please let Mark know at mjuedeman at gmail dot com.

We trust that these events will help your new year to start out right, finding the antidote to anxiety and despair over the challenges of transition in our shared good work and good community.

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