Tag Archives: peak oil

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Meetings, Uncategorized

In the face of adversity, community

Sometimes the challenges we are up against express themselves subtly, and other times they are as in your face as historic droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events increasing in frequency.  Or as in your face as the earliest 100 degree high in Houston history, or even the water bills I’ve been receiving to keep my plants alive.
 
And sometimes I might be tempted to despair at the magnitude of the challenges, and my insignificance in scale.  Such despair would be warranted, except that it isn’t any one of us alone against climate change or peak oil or economic instability.  It is all of us together, a community of the smartest, most creative, and hardest-working people that I have ever been privileged to work with. 
 
Better yet, it also isn’t just Transition Houston and our Transition Neighborhoods alone, but also us partnering with the many other organizations that are already here and on the ground working to raise awareness, create walkable and bikeable communities, relocalize our food and economy, weatherize our homes, and build distributed energy systems.
 
I’ve often said that one of the things that attracted me to Transition was the humility of the Cheerful Disclaimer:

Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact.

We truly don’t know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale.

What we are convinced of is this:

  • If we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late
  • If we act as individuals, it’ll be too little
  • But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.

Please join us for these upcoming events, to act as a community and do the work that needs to be done.  We especially hope to see you at the Transition Houston Hub meeting next Tuesday to hear about the very interesting and creative work that David Reed is doing in natural building and DIY energy.

People Powered Parade for Complete Streets, Saturday, June 4, 9:00am to 11:00am
The People Powered Parade for Complete Streets is for Houstonians seeking balanced transportation policies to ensure our roads and communities are safer, more livable, and welcoming for all, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper.
 
We will gather at Tranquility Park starting at 9am and head off on the parade at 10am, with the last of the parade reaching Taft and Allen Parkway around 11am, at the main entrance to Free Press Summerfest.
 
Teams are encouraged, including banners and shirts, and all modes of transportation that are directly human powered are welcome.
 
Petition for Complete Streets for the Houston Region:  http://petition.houstontomorrow.org/
 
More on Complete Streets in general:  http://www.completestreets.org/
 
More on Ciclovías:  http://www.streetfilms.org/ciclovia-express-version/
 
For information or anything, please contact Jay Blazek Crossley at 713-523-5757 or jay.crossley@houstontomorrow.org.

People Powered Parade for Complete Streets
Saturday, June 4
9:00am to 11:00am
Tranquility Park
400 Rusk St., Houston, TX  77002
Information and RSVP:  Facebook or Website

 

Transition Houston Hub Meeting, Tuesday, June 7, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Transition Houston meets on the first Tuesday of each month, at Christ the King Lutheran Church at the corner of Greenbriar and Rice Blvd. (near Rice Village).
 
Our featured speaker for this month’s meeting is David Reed from Texas Natural Builders.  He will be providing an overview of alternative building methods including Strawbale and Cob (as for instance in cob ovens), and also DIY solar heating, hot water, and cooking.  Thank you to the Energy Action Group for arranging to have David speak to our group!
 
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).

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

Leave a comment

Filed under Events, Meetings

In Transition 1.0 Movie Screening and Panel! Tonight, February 17!

Please remember the Green Film Series screening of the movie about the Transition movement, In Transition 1.0, at the University of St. Thomas Thursday, February 17, evening.  This will be a really great event, with an entertaining movie and an excellent panel to discuss and answer questions.
 
Green Film Series:  In Transition 1.0 (the Transition movie), Thursday, February 17
 The Emerging Professionals of the USGBC Houston Chapter, Houston Tomorrow, Rice Environmental Club, and Transition Houston are screening the movie In Transition 1.0 on Thursday evening, February 17.  The movie will be shown in Room 213 of the Robertson Science Building, on the University of St. Thomas campus.
 
In Transition 1.0 is the first detailed film about the Transition movement, filmed by those that know it best, those who are making it happen on the ground. In the film you’ll see stories of communities creating their own local currencies, setting up their own pubs, planting trees, growing food, celebrating localness, caring, sharing. You’ll see neighbors sharing their land with neighbors that have none, local authorities getting behind their local Transition initiatives, schoolchildren making news in 2030, and you’ll get a sense of the scale of this emerging movement. It is a story of hope, and it is a call to action, and we think you will like it very much. It is also quite funny in places.
 
The screening will be followed by a panel discussion and Q&A to address the issues raised by the movie and answer audience questions about the Transition movement.  The panelists will include Lisa Slappey (English and Environmental Studies, Rice University), Steve Stelzer (Program Director, Green Building Resource Center), and Maggie Seeley (Transition US).  Maggie is one of our trainers for the Training for Transition class we are hosting this weekend.

We will gather for conversation and refreshments at 6:30, introduce our sponsors at 6:50, start the movie at 7:00, and begin our panel discussion at 8:00.
  
This event is be free and open to the public, so please plan to attend–and feel free to invite friends too!  Robertson 213 is building #43 on this interactive map (http://www.stthom.edu/Visitors_Community/Maps/Index.aqf) of the University of St. Thomas campus.  Directions to the University of St. Thomas are here:  http://www.stthom.edu/Visitors_Community/Maps/Directions.aqf.  Parking is available on campus in the Moran Center Parking Garage (building #26) for $2 (please make sure to have exact change), or you can usually find on-street parking nearby.

Green Film Series:  In Transition 1.0
Thursday, February 17
6:30 pm: Meet, Greet, and refreshments
7:00pm: Featured Film: In Transition 1.0
8:00pm: Panel Discussion
Robertson 213, University of St. Thomas
More details and requested RSVP on Ning or Facebook

See you there!

Leave a comment

Filed under Events

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.

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

2011: Another year into the Transition

The beginning of our seasonal climb from the shortest day of the year towards the longest reminds me of the image (provided by Rob Hopkins, I believe) of the iconic peak-oil Hubbert Curve turned upside down.  In this more positive representation, we are swimming upwards from the depths of our oil dependency toward a satisfying and happy, albeit different, life.  Transition Houston has been exploring that future in small pieces with our awareness-raising, our community-forming, and manifestations of resiliency such as our permabiltzes.  During the new year we will continue that work, but also explicitly connect with other aligned organizations through our Action Groups, and progress toward a Great Unleashing.
 
There are several events of interest in the works for January 2011, including the Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale, screening of Climate Refugees, monthly meetings of Transition Houston, Transition Old Sixth Ward, and the Clear Lake Transition Initiative, and a Clear Lake permablitz.  More details will come soon regarding the monthly meetings and permablitz, but for now here is information about the fruit tree sale, a related volunteer opportunity, and the movie screening.

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 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).

Event: Urban Harvest Fruit Tree Sale
Place: Robertson Football Stadium on the University of Houston campus Scott Street at Holman Street
Date: January 15, 2011
Time: 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. or until sold out

Buy a tree or two from the largest one-day fruit tree sale in the U.S. and learn “the how to’s” at the presale talks:

Presale talks: Heidi Sheesley and Ray Sher
Place: United Way of Greater Houston, 50 Waugh Drive at Memorial Drive
Dates: Tuesday, January 4 (7 to 9:30 p.m.) and Saturday, January 8 (2 to 4:30 p.m.)
Learn more at www.urbanharvest.org

Volunteers needed for Fruit Tree Sale, January 13-15
The Urban Harvest sale can not happen without the contributions of volunteers, both for setup on Thursday and Friday, January 13 and 14, and on the actual day of the sale on Saturday, January 15.  You do not have to volunteer for every one of those days!  If you are interested please contact Bob Randall as soon as possible.  His contact email is baeb at comcast dot net.  This is a great opportunity to learn about the sorts of fruit and other productive trees and bushes which are well-suited for the Houston area, and to meet other interesting and like-minded people.

Movie Screening:  Climate Refugees, Wednesday, January 26
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.  More details will come soon, but please save the date!

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

Transition Houston is looking forward to another great year of community, connection, relocalization, and resiliency in 2011.  We wish you a happy and joyful New Year!

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Welcome to Transition Houston!

Transition Houston is an optimistic and energetic response to the dual challenges of climate change and peak oil at the local level. The Transition Movement supports the transition from oil dependency to local resilience by equipping communities with creative adaptations in areas such as food, energy, health, education, spirit and economy to generate a road map towards sustainable living.

Transition Houston serves to build on the wisdom of the existing resources in Houston’s diverse community to inspire, network and train localized communities to consider and adapt Rob Hopkins’ transition model. Together we can unite pools of ingenuity and skills to unleash the collective genius of our own people in finding self-determined solutions.

 Transition takes action by:

  • Raising awareness of peak oil and climate change and related issues.
  • Building resilience across a wide range of areas and scales, and doing all we can to ensure general environmental resilience.
  • Providing access to good information in ways which are playful, articulate, accessible and engaging, and which will enable people to feel enthused and empowered rather than powerless.
  • Empowering communities with tools to relocalize its resources and reskill its members.

Transition Houston meets on the first Monday of every month at 7 p.m. at Urban Harvest, 2311 Canal St., Houston 77003.

For more information, please email us at transitionhouston@gmail.com or join our collaborative forum.

1 Comment

Filed under About Transition Houston