Monthly Archives: June 2011

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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Thank You Marybeth

Marybeth Seligmann has been a cornerstone of Transition Houston since it was founded–actually, even before it was founded.  Marybeth was the first person with whom I shared my copy of the Transition Handbook after I read it (and was blown away by its exploration of climate change, peak oil, and community responses).  We were taking the Houston Permaculture Guild’s permaculture class together in the Fall of 2008, and her enthusiastic response to the book was the incentive to continue exploring what Transition might look like in Houston.  She was involved right from the beginning in that exploration, including planning our meetings, expanding our membership, getting the word out, facilitating meetings, and providing strategic direction as an original member of the Initiating group.  Marybeth has been the first to say that “we can do this” and she has always been right.
 
Further, she is also responsible for our Permablitzes, as her permaculture project was researching Permablitz history and application, and providing guidelines for implementation in Houston.  She has led the Permablitz planning committee (now the Permablitz Action Group) for much of its existence, and has been been the head, heart, and hands of the group.  I wish I had as much energy as Marybeth exhibits during the Permablitzes–or, for that matter, in any activity in which she is involved!
 
For the last year or so Marybeth has felt a call to move to the mountains of North Carolina, near Asheville, and now the time has finally come for that call to be answered.  Thursday is Marybeth’s last day in Houston, and our Tuesday meeting will be her last, at least as a resident Houstonian.  Transition Houston’s loss will be Transition Asheville’s gain.  I am sure that Marybeth will be continuing her Transition education there and, we hope, sharing what she learns with us, but I also fully expect that Transition initiatives in North Carolina will be learning a lot from her!
 
Please join us at the Tuesday Transition Houston meeting to say goodbye to Marybeth, and express your appreciation for what she has done to make Houston a bit more resilient and a lot more hopeful.

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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

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