Tag Archives: Clear Lake Transition Initiative

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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Spring, sprung

It feels to me like Transition Houston has a lot of momentum, especially recently.  Since the recent Training for Transition in Houston (story here) a lot has been happening.  We’ve had a successful move of meeting location to a new evening and venue, another excellent Permablitz (pictures here–thanks and photo credit to Charlie Lindahl!), and another well-attended Green Film Series screening with EP and Rice Environmental Club.  I understand a lot is going on in our neighborhood initiatives too, from the Clear Lake Transition Initiative with their seed swaps, Permablitzes, and movies, to Transition Midtown with rumors of a community garden and more!
 
One of the things that is really exciting to me is that several of our Action Groups are hitting the ground running with thought and creativity.  You will see below that the Energy Action Group has an event coming up this weekend on Sunday, at which you are invited to see solar cookers in action as well as help determine the path the Energy group takes.  Several people who have volunteered to facilitate the Transportation Action Group have also met recently, and have already excellent ideas for reskilling workshops related to bikes.  The Housing Action Group is also taking first steps, with initial investigations into a very special field trip (more details soon).
 
All of this activity is associated with the planned demise of the Initiating Group and its evolution into the Core Group, comprised of representatives of our Neighborhood Initiatives and Action Groups.  The Core Group meets the last Tuesday of each month (a week before the following months Transition Houston Hub Meeting), and you are welcome to participate especially as a representative of a neighborhood or Action group.
 
We have much to do, but it feels like we are now well on our way.  Please join us at our Hub meeting on Tuesday, April 5, to learn more and find out how you can participate!

Energy Action Group Planning Meeting and Solar Cooking Demo, Sunday, April 3
The Energy Action Group will be holding a second meeting which looks to be both fun and informative!  Solar cookers (and their products!) will be demonstrated, followed by a meeting to plan the path of the Action Group.
 
Among the topics on the agenda are the solar cooker demo, planning a Solar Cook Off, and discussing and drafting longer-term goals of the Energy AG such as sharing knowledge internally and externally about energy efficiency and conservation or reskilling seminars with energy experts.  Anyone and Everyone is welcome to this planning meeting–or, if you just want to buzz by, check out a solar oven, then take the kids to the zoo, then please do.  There will be drinks and snacks and a solar cookie with your name on it!

Energy Action Group Meeting and Solar Cooking Demo
Sunday, April 3
3:00 p.m. – If you have a Solar Oven you would like to demo & set up
4:00 p.m. – Meeting (while solar oven(s) are cooking in the background
Hermann Park (Between the Reflection Pool and Miller Outdoor Theater)
For more information and RSVP:   Ning or Facebook.

If you have questions please call Theresa, 832-433-3570

Transition Houston Hub general meeting, Tuesday, April 5
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). 
 
We will be reflecting on our last Permablitz, planning for the next, discussing our participation in the Transition US 350 Home and Garden Challenge, 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. 
 
Regarding 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).  If you bicycle, there is a small bike rack on the central island of the Church parking lot.

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

Looking forward to seeing you at these events!

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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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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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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!

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November is Transition Time too

It is very nice here at the beginning of November to have the return of cooler weather, but the farmer (and avoider-of-lawn-watering) in me is hoping for for some rain as well.  October certainly wasn’t a dry spell as far as events and activities of interest to our Transition community go, from our very interesting Transition Houston meeting with guest speaker Richard Johnson, to the Global Work Day on 10-10-10 in which so many of our members were involved including at Transition Houston and Clear Lake Transition Initiative’s Permablitzes, to the most excellent GreenWeek activities which engaged at No Impact Project workshops and the Green Fest at The Last Organic Outpost…what a month it has been!
 
Now here we are in November and our activities continue apace in learning from each other and from experts in our communities.  We hope that you might have time to participate in these many opportunities to learn about–and build–a resilient Houston area.

Transition Houston monthly meeting, Monday, November 1
It is hard for me to believe, but it is time for our November monthly meeting already!  We will have a special focus on Permablitzes at this meeting, with a recap of the 10-10-10 Permablitzes and discussion of upcoming ‘Blitzes including the one discussed below on November 13.  We will also have reports from neighborhood Transition Initiatives, Action Group reports, announcements, and our traditional time for snacks and conversation.

Transition Houston November Meeting
Monday, November 1
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Urban Harvest
2311 Canal St.
Houston  77003
for more details:  transitiontexas.ning.com/events/transition-houston-november

Pallet Building Workshop starts Monday, November 1
New Jura Natural Building owner and Transition Houston member David Reed is holding a free pallet building workshop near Waller starting on Monday, November 1.  Natural building techniques have much to recommend them during transition times, as they often recycle materials or use low-cost and low-embedded-carbon materials.  Says David:

We will be teaching YOU how to build a home out of the highly abundant waste material: PALLETS!  We will be insulating the pallet walls with slip straw and then plastering the inside and outside with an earthen plaster.  The roof will have a rainwater capture system and the home will have a grey water system.  We will be working on this pallet house until it is finished, hopefully in time for the cold to set in!
 
Please RSVP to Dude@newjurabuilding.info or call 832-775-3930.  Lunch will be provided, a $10 donation/person is suggested.

Clear Lake Transition Initiative meeting, Thursday, November 4
The Clear Lake Transition Initiative will be holding their monthly meeting on November 4.  Among the agenda items are Fall permablitzes, film screenings, and a Transition Town introduction.  Rob Williams from CLTI shares this:
 
Interested in having a suburban farm on your property? Maybe just harvesting and recycling water? Or maybe you just want to get involved. You won’t want to miss the next CLTI meeting on Thursday November 4th at 6:30-8:30 pm at the Coffee Oasis in Seabrook.
 
Call me at 281.705.4307 or email me at clearlaketransition@gmail.com for more information.

Clear Lake Transition Initiative Meeting
Thursday, November 4 ·
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Coffee Oasis
4650 Nasa Rd 1
Seabrook  77586

Transition Houston Permablitz #4, Saturday, November 13
Our next Permablitz promises to continue our tradition of excellent learning and community-creating opportunities while building resilience one bit of land at a time.  This one will be held in the Transition Japhet Creek community.  Current plans include driving a well, adding drip irrigation to existing garden beds, installing a rain barrel, planting an herb garden, and a cob building workshop which will result in a cob oven.  While most of the Permablitz will be finished around mid-day, the cob workshop will continue to 5pm.  As is our tradition, we will have a potluck after the morning portion of the Permablitz.

“Cob or cobb is a building material consisting of clay, sand, straw, water, and earth, similar to adobe. Cob is fireproof, resistant to seismic activity, and inexpensive. It can be used to create artistic, sculptural forms and has been revived in recent years by the natural building and sustainability movements”.- Wikipedia

Preparation work for the cob oven will begin on the weekend before the Permablitz (November 6 or 7).  If you would like to participate in that as well please RSVP to Jim Ohmart (JMOhmart at AOL dot com or 713-674-2528).

David Reed of New Jura Natural Building (www.NewJuraBuilding.info) will teach the cob building workshop.  This workshop will cover the basics of mixing cob and plastering techniques involved in building a cob oven.  David also offers more advanced cob building classes for building larger structures including homes. You can learn about and sign up for those classes at this workshop.
 
The Japhet Creek Community is on the near-Eastside of Houston.  The hosts offer these directions:  If you’re coming US-59 exit I-10 East.   Once on I-10 East exit at the Waco St,  Exit 771-A, first exit past US-59.  At Waco St turn right (south) to the first stop light at Clinton Dr.  Turn Left (East) on Clinton to the second street on the right (Emile).  Turn Right (South) on Emile and go two blocks to Inman.  Turn in the next driveway on the left at the warehouses and park there.  Our house is 4510 Inman on the left.  Enter on through the gate on the right side of the house.  If you get lost call 713-674-2528.

Transition Houston Permablitz #4
Saturday, November 13
8:30 am – 5 pm
4510 Inman St.
Houston  77020
Please RSVP to Mark Juedeman (mjuedeman at gmail dot com)

Sustainability seminars and workshops
Members of Transition Houston have passed on word about several seminars/workshops coming up that will address sustainability issues:
 
Sustainability Pay$ – The Copenhagen Experience, Tuesday, November 9
The Royal Danish Embassy, the Royal Danish Consulate in Houston, the American Danish Business Council, and the Shell Center for Sustainability invite you to join us for this workshop which will present some of the best examples to reflect on the path Denmark has followed to make it the most energy efficient country in the EU.
 
The morning session presents a focus on the municipalities that are leading the way to carbon neutrality. In the afternoon we will present the business case and the technology to assist in implementing these practices to allow Denmark to reach its aggressive goals.

Sustainability Pay$ – The Copenhagen Experience
Tuesday, November 9
9:00 am – 3:30 pm
Shell Auditorium, McNair Hall
Rice University.
Please register at:
http://shellcenter.rice.edu/Content.aspx?id=2147483654

Houston-Galveston Area Council Fall Planning Workshop, Friday, November 12 
Join us for our annual fall planning workshop to learn how your community can plan for sustainable growth. This free workshop will feature presentations on encouraging conservation through development codes, integrating density and a mix of uses, revitalization, and sustainable economic development.
 
Topics of Discussion:
 
Establishing the Framework: Why Sustainable Growth?
Revitalization as an Economic Engine
Dealing with Density
Successful Strategies for Designing with Nature
 
Space is limited, so please reserve your place today.

Houston-Galveston Area Council Fall Planning Workshop
Friday, November 12
9:00 am – 12:30 pm
H-GAC Conference Room A, Second Floor
3555 Timmons Lane
Houston  77027
713-627-3200

Houston Peace and Justice Center Awards Dinner, Friday, November 12 
Last, our friends at the Houston Peace and Justice Center (and good friends they are, acting as our fiscal sponsors and providing significant financial support for the May 1 Local Business Conference) are having their Annual Awards Dinner on Friday, November 12.  This really looks like an exciting event, as they will have as their guest speaker and honoree Dr. Helen Caldicott:

Dr. Helen Caldicott is our 2010 National Peacemaker Awardee.  She resides in Australia, but travels worldwide to promote peace, justice and protection of the environment.  Dr. Caldicott is co-founder of Physicians for Social Responsibility and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her outstanding advocacy work over many years.   The Smithsonian Institute named Dr. Caldicott one of the most influential women of the 20th Century.   She is the subject of several films including “If You Love This Planet” which won an Academy Award for Best Documentary Film in 1982.  She is author of several books which will be available at the dinner, and she hosts a radio show on KPFT Radio titled “If you Love this Planet”.   More information on Dr. Caldicott can be found on the HPJC website www.hpjc.org.

As the HPJC says, this is a wonderful opportunity to network with other people and promote our cause.  The dinner is a fundraiser for the Houston Peace and Justice Center, a 501(c)(3) organization, so that they can continue their vital work for peace and justice in the community.

Houston Peace and Justice Awards Dinner
Friday, November 12
6:00 pm
Marriott Houston West Loop
1750 West Loop South
Houston  77027
Go to the HPJC website www.hpjc.org, or call 832-288-4099 for more information

One amazing thing to me is that these activities all take us up only to mid-November!  The Transition Movement, and other organizations which share our concerns and values, are increasingly active in the Houston region.  While our challenges are tremendous, we continue to believe that these community-based efforts to raise awareness and build resilience are our best hope.

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All of that wishing for good weather must have paid off…

It is really good to see the long-awaited and hoped-for cooler Fall weather finally arrive.  I find my personal reserves of energy restored, and I’m looking forward to a full plate of activities during the beautiful days of October, including our monthly Transition Houston meeting.

Transition Houston October meeting, Monday, October 4
As highlighted in our last newsletter, Richard Johnson, Sustainability Director at Rice University, will be a special guest speaker at Transition Houston’s October meeting.  Richard will be discussing climate and resource depletion threats, the current status of Houston sustainability, and opportunities to build our community’s resiliency.  We will also be discussing plans for our 10/10/10 Permablitz (our project for the 350.org Global Work Party), No Impact Project workshops, reports from Transition neighborhoods, and plans for Transition training in early 2011.  As always, we will close out the meeting with refreshments and conversation.

Richard Johnson at Transition Houston October Meeting
Monday, October 4
7:00-9:00PM 
Urban Harvest, 2311 Canal St., Houston, 77003
For details see  the event listing

No Impact Man Screening, Friday, October 1
Priyanka Johri sends word of a free screening of “No Impact Man” on Oct 1st in the Woodlands area:

There are several screenings all around Houston and we wanted to bring it to our neighborhood too. Please pass it on to your friends, neighbors and group members in surrounding areas who may be interested. We are located at the boundary of The Woodlands & Conroe. Everyone from The Woodlands, Conroe, Willis, Kingwood, Spring, Tomball and Magnolia are invited.

Please carpool or ride your bike if you can.
Hope to see you here.

No Impact Man free movie screening
Friday, October 1
7:00 PM
Indus Valley Sustainable Living Institute & Pure Mutts Animal Sanctuary
2463 Bill Smith Rd., Conroe, TX  77384
Contact –
EcoLiving@IndusValleySustainableLivingInstitute.com

Solar Tour and Social, Saturday, October 2
Please remember the Houston Solar Tour and Social this Saturday, October 2.  Matthias Jung of Transition Houston is the chair of this year’s tour, and he and his colleagues have arranged for an excellent renewable energy and green living experience.

Solar Social (pre-Tour event)
Saturday, October 2
9:00AM to Noon
at the University of Houston, College of Architecture Building
 
Solar Tour
Saturday, October 2
Noon to 5:00PM
Self-guided tour
 
For details about both go to the Tour website.

Transition Houston Permablitz, Sunday, October 10 (350.org Global Work Party)
Quealy Antin, our Permablitz coordinator, has been working with the Permablitz team to hold a Permablitz on October 10:  Learn by doing!  Work with us at Transition Houston’s October Permablitz on the 10-10-10 Global Day of Action. We’ll apply Permaculture principles to create an example of local resiliency and turn a suburban landscape into a gorgeous food garden. The ‘Blitz will take place in Sharpstown, Houston’s oldest modern suburb. Bring shovels, gloves, loppers, clippers, and anything else you think we could use. Extra points for wheel barrows!  Early morning coffee, snacks, and lunch will be provided by the host family.

Transition Houston Permablitz
Sunday, October 10
8:30am – 1:00pm
7502 Croton Street
Houston, TX  77036
details at the Event Listing.

Clear Lake Transition Initiative Permablitz, Sunday, October 10 (350.org Global Work Party)
And Clear Lake Transition has a Global Work Party planned too!  The plant a seed ~ feed the need community garden at St. Christopher Episcopal church is a donation garden providing fresh organic produce to the food pantry at Interfaith Caring Ministries in League City Texas. We will be planting an orchard, fall veggies, installing rain barrels and irrigation, and building compost systems all under the counsel and direction of Certified Master Gardeners and Permaculture designers. This community event will provide labor for the garden and a hands on educational experience for the participants, with several guest speakers on permaculture, sustainability, making lifestyle changes, and building community resilience.

Plant-a-Seed Feed-the-Need Permablitz
October 10
8:30am – 3:30pm
2508 St. Christopher Avenue
League City , TX, 77573
details at the Event Listing
 and Blog

Transition Houston Leisure Learning class, Monday, October 18
We want to remind you of the opportunity for your interested family and friends to learn about Transition.  On the evening of Monday, October 18 Transition Houston will be presenting a class at Leisure Learning about the Transition movement and Transition Houston, followed by a visit on Saturday, October 23 to the Japhet Creek Transition community.  If you have family or friends who are curious about the Transition movement, what it is all about, and what it means for Houston please tell them about this class.  A portion of the class fee will go to Transition Houston for our projects.

Transition Houston–Strategies for the 21st Century
Monday, October 18 7-9:30pm (field trip on Saturday, October 23, 10am-noon)
Greenway Plaza Area: Richmond/Kirby
for registration and details see the class page.

GreenWeek Houston, October 10-17
GreenWeek Houston is a collaborative effort brought to the City of Houston by the USGBC Emerging Professionals, Houston Green Scene and the Last Organic Outpost.  GreenWeek Houston is designed to connect, educate, facilitate and inspire fellow Houstonians to live in a sustainable way that preserves and enhances our City.

Following the No Impact Man film, book, curriculum and experiment created by Colin Beavan, USGBC Emerging Professionals are implementing a week of No Impact activities taking place all over the Greater Houston area.  See the EP website for specific details on each event, and please join us!

Houston Training for Transition, February, 2011
As we mentioned in the mid-September newsletter, there has been a good deal of interest amongst Transition Houston members about having another Training For Transition (T4T) class, following up on last November’s very successful course.  The class is useful for those who want to learn about the Transition movement as well as those who are already involved.  We have now also received interest from Transition Dallas folks who are starting up their Initiative now.

There has also been a significant expression of interest from the Dallas Transition community in our class, and so it looks even more likely that the class might happen, probably in mid-February 2011.  There is still time for you to express your interest in attending by contacting Mark Juedeman (mjuedeman at gmail dot org).  The cost of the two-day class, including breakfast and lunch, Friday potluck, and optional garden tours, is likely to be around $200.  There will also be a few partial scholarships available.

Enjoy these good October days and myriad opportunities to learn Transition skills!

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