Monthly Archives: April 2010

Surprise (qualified)

To my mind one of the best sorts of discovery is that which at first is surprising, but with a bit of reflection makes a great deal of sense.
 
Like finding an avocado plant sprouting in my compost pile, for instance.  Of course! I think: the right combination of seed, fertilizer, and warmth.
 
Or like finding Transition sprouting in the oil center of Houston.  Think about it for a minute, and you realize the combination of people who know how difficult it is to find hydrocarbons and the people who consume hydrocarbons at a prodigious rate is fertile ground for a clear recognition of the risks of resource depletion.  Combine an awareness of how close we live to the coast (both in the horizontal and vertical) with an understanding of the implications of a changing climate on storms and sea level and you have growing concern about our carbon emissions.
 
So, holding a Local Business Conference in a city which is headquarters to many multinational corporations and dotted with big-boxes?  It makes sense, when thought about by people who understand how fragile complexity can be, by people who have seen how failure-ridden too-big-to-fail has become.  Simplicity, redundancy, community–these are the elements of a resilient city, and they define our need for a thriving local economy.
 
Tomorrow, Saturday, May 1 you have an opportunity to join local business people and their supporters to initiate a Buy Local Alliance for Houston and the Houston area.  There is still room to attend, so please join us at 8AM at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, 1805 W. Alabama St., to be part of a resilient future for our community.  Please visit houstonlocalbusiness.org for information and pre-registration.
 
And then join us at our May Transition Houston meeting on Monday evening, May 3, to discuss the outcomes from the conference, our next Permablitz, and all the good work that is going on in our Action Groups and neighborhood Transition Initiatives.  We will be meeting at Urban Harvest, 2311 Canal St. (on the near Eastside), at 7PM for our program followed by refreshments and connections.  More information can be found at the event listing here:  http://transitiontexas.ning.com/events/transition-houston-monthly-8.
 
We look forward to seeing you at these events, and toward building a resilient Houston together.

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Free Movie Screenings of Interest (did we mention that they are free?)

Transition Houston has long intended to have a Transition Film Series; unfortunately we are still not there.

But that doesn’t mean that there aren’t a lot of great movies with messages relevant to our Transition journey being screened in Houston.  For instance, the Emerging Green Builders Houston have been showing a number of highly relevant movies, and there are a couple more coming up.  Soonish!

For instance, there is this free screening of the movie: Tapped!

Friday, April 9, 2010 @ 6:30pm
New Living
6111 Kirby Drive
Houston, Texas
Seats 50; RSVP at EGB.Screenings@gmail.com

From the producers of Who Killed the Electric Car and I.O.U.S.A., this timely documentary is a behind-the-scenes look into the unregulated and unseen world of an industry that aims to privatize and sell back the one resource that ought never to become a commodity: our water.

From the plastic production to the ocean in which so many of these bottles end up, this inspiring documentary trails the path of the bottled water industry and the communities which were the unwitting chips on the table. A powerful portrait of the lives affected by the bottled water industry, this revelatory film features those caught at the intersection of big business and the public’s right to water.

And, on Tuesday of Earth Week, there is a free screening of  No Impact Man

April 20, 2010 @ 6pm
Green Building Resource Center
3300 Main Street
Houston, Texas

Limited seating: click here to RSVP

A movie about a guilty New York liberal who decides to practice what he preaches for one year. He turns off the electricity, stops making garbage, gives up TV, taxi’s and takeout and becomes a walking, bicycling, composting, tree hugging, polar bear saving, local food-eating citizen…all the while taking his baby daughter and caffeine loving, retail-obsessed, television addicted wife along with him.

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April Meeting and May Conference

One of the exciting things about our young Transition Houston initiative is that when we do something it is a “first” for us. 
 
One of the truly rewarding things about Transition Houston is that every one of these firsts have been so good
 
Good in many ways, but especially good in the way of building community and bringing people together to work for a better and happier future.  From our first meeting on March 18 of last year, to our first potluck on Labor Day (at which we learned we were “official”), our first Training for Transition class last November, to our first Permablitz this last weekend:  Transition Houston members have done good things and bonded in the real happiness of learning, doing, working, eating, and being together.
 
We have another first coming up on May 1 when Transition Houston, partnering with the Houston Peace and Justice Center, will sponsor Houston’s first Buy Local Business Alliance Conference.
 
During the conference local business people will gather to learn about the advantages of a Local Business Alliance. This partnership will help develop a “Brand Houston,” building trust in and credibility for local independent businesses. Activities will include setting up the framework of the Alliance and forming committees to create and support this organization. 
 
The economic viability of the City of Houston and its surroundings depends on our locally owned businesses. When local businesses buy more from Houston based suppliers and increase the number of local customers, our region will become more self reliant. Local businesses link communities together and everyone in Houston benefits when the money we spend circulates through the hands of Houstonians.  This is important to our Transition pathway, as relocalization increases resilience at many levels:  economic interdependence, reduced resource dependency, food sufficiency, etc.
 
If you are–or would like to be–a local business owner, or are part of an organization that supports local businesses, you will find great value in attending this conference and participating in the establishment of a a Local Business Alliance.  If you know someone who is a local business owner or support organization please pass this information on to them.
 
Our next Transition Houston meeting is coming up this next Monday, April 5, at 7pm.  We will be meeting at Urban Harvest, in room 124.  If you would like to learn more about the Local Business Conference please come to the meeting.  We will also discuss last weekend’s Permablitz (and talk about the next one coming soon!), hear about improvements to our web presence, and learn about what is going on in our Action Groups and Neighborhood Transition Initiatives.
 
The Transition movement in general is a great experiment, albeit with high stakes.  Transition Houston likewise is experimenting with self-organized, grassroot, community-based responses to the major challenges of our age.  We hope you will join us and lend your personal energy so that the experiment might succeed.

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