Tag Archives: Emerging Professionals

Permaculture goes mainstream, hope rises

Sometimes little things give hope that progress is possible, and that maybe “if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time,” to quote the Cheerful Disclaimer.  This last week the little thing for me was the discovery of permaculture by the New York Times.  Now, I’m not so naive to believe that seeing permaculture in the mainstream press is going to make a lot of difference immediately, although I wouldn’t be surprised to see a surge of interest in permie classes across the country with long-term benefits to both participants and the environment (FYI, classes are offered here in Houston by the Permaculture Guild of Houston, through Urban Harvest).

I think the important point is that awareness is growing in our country:  awareness of our ecosystem impacts, awareness of the lack of sustainability in our lifestyles and economy, and also awareness of that which is missing in our lives–community, connection, purpose.  Permaculture is a positive response to that growing awareness, as is the permaculture-based Transition movement.

There are a couple of opportunities to join with others in our Transition Houston community this week and next.  Please avail yourself of these options to increase your awareness and find connection with a community of folks working for a resilient Houston region.

Transition Houston Hub meeting, Tuesday, August 2, 7:00pm to 9:00pm

Green Film Series Presents Blue Gold: World Water Wars, Tuesday, August 9, 6:30pm to 9:00pm

Transition Houston Hub meeting, Tuesday, August 2, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
We hope to see you at Tuesday’s Transition Houston meeting, which will feature a guest speaker in addition to news from the Transition Neighborhoods and Action Groups.

We are very fortunate to have Peter Wang, League of American Bicyclists Cycling Instructor, as our guest speaker.  Peter is considered a local biking expert.  He’s everywhere as a go-to guy for media interviews about bikes, and has been involved in a lot of bicycle issues.  He is risk-averse–exactly the kind of guy you would want to help you practice being safer!–and has taught a lot of these safety classes.

Peter will present a video screening followed by a discussion. The video is Enjoy The Ride, about essential bicycling skills.  It will provide straightforward instruction for checking over your bike, bike-handling skills, and riding confidently in traffic.   The video is based on principles of the BikeEd curriculum developed by the League of American Bicyclists.

TOPICS COVERED

  • pre-ride checklist
  • bicycle handling skills
  • riding in traffic
  • identifying & avoiding hazards
  • riding in all conditions (night, rain, hills)

We will also have updates from our Neighborhood Initiatives and Action Groups.

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).  Bicycle parking is in the greenspace within the church parking lot.

Transition Houston Hub Meeting
Tuesday, August 2 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Christ The King Lutheran Church
2353 Rice Blvd., Houston, TX 77005
For more information and RSVP: Ning or Facebook

Green Film Series Presents Blue Gold: World Water Wars, Tuesday, August 9, 6:30pm to 9:00pm
The Rice University Environmental Club, Houston Tomorrow, the Emerging Professionals of the Houston USGBC, and Transition Houston present the August film in our Houston Green Film Series–Blue Gold: World Water Wars.

Based on the ground-breaking book by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke, Blue Gold: World Water Wars sheds light on the world’s rapidly approaching water crisis and suggests that wars of the future will be fought over water (as they are today over oil) as the source of all life enters the global marketplace and political arena.

Following the movie, we will highlight the local non-profit Living Water International that is working to solve global water issues.

Schedule:
6:30 Meet and Greet
7:00 Featured Film
8:00 Water Non-Profit Showcase

Refreshments will be served.   A $5 donation is suggested and greatly appreciated.

Blue Gold: World Water Wars
Tuesday, August 9
6:30pm to 9:00pm
Rice University Media Center
2030 University, Houston, TX  77005
For more information and RSVP:  Facebook

Looking forward to seeing you at these events!

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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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Reflections from a northern state

I’ve had ample opportunity during the last couple of weeks in Montana to consider a broad range of transition (with a small “t”) issues:  From first-hand experience on the producer end of the food system to watching grain and cattle prices rise.  From feeling the effects of an enhanced Arctic Oscillation, with temperatures only now moving above freezing, to watching the Weather Channel report the results of increased atmospheric moisture load as intense storms and heavy precipitation.  From watching oil prices rise (along with rhetoric about responses with no hope of addressing the fundamental issue of resource depletion) to watching my father’s 10-kW Bergey wind turbine continuing to crank out the clean kilowatt-hours–more than 46,000 of them in the five years since it was installed. 
 
Those challenges that Transition (with a capital “t”) emerged to address are here-and-now; we are not preparing for a distant future but are here to build a resilient and satisfying life in the present.  We are indeed fortunate to have found each other in this community, and fortunate as well that every one of you bring so much in knowledge, skills, experience, and passion.
 
There are always so much going on in the Houston Transition and Transition-related community, but this week we would like to highlight two upcoming opportunities for you to learn and connect.

Transition Houston Permablitz #6, Saturday, March 19
Our next Permablitz is coming up in just a week and a half, and like all of the others this looks like it is going to be a lot of fun and educational too!  Please join us as we build resilience one backyard at a time, with projects and experiences including:

  • Wildflower identification (great for the kids)
  • Build a 3 compartment compost bin
  • Build and plant two 4’x8′ raised bed vegetable gardens
  • Rebuild a snag (for wildlife habitat)
  • Plant a variety of fruit trees
  • Build a permeable front walk
  • And more!

As is the Permablitz tradition, breakfast will be provided.  We will have a potluck at the conclusion of the morning’s activities–please bring a labeled (name and possible allergens) dish.  It would also be helpful and consistent with our values if you could bring whatever plates, cups, and utensils you need.

Transition Houston Permablitz #6
Saturday, March 19
Start time at 8:30am
Lunch at 1:00pm
4021 Woodfin St.
Houston, TX  77025
for information and RSVP: Facebook or Ning

Houston Green Film Series: ScrapHouse, Tuesday, March 29
The Emerging Professionals of the USGBC Houston chapter, Transition Houston, and the Rice Environmental Club present the March film in our Green Film Series on Tuesday, March 29th.
 
ScrapHouse is a 44min documentary following the ScrapHouse build in San Francisco. It is directed by Emmy Award-winning director Anna Fitch and it aired in The National Geographic Channel in 2006.  The San Francisco Chronicle said of the film:

Forget about “Snakes on a Plane.” If you want to see a thrilling nail-biter of a film, check out the documentary “ScrapHouse.” It tells the story of how a team of architects, builders, structural engineers and scrap artists came together last year to build a house entirely out of garbage. No, not the green materials everyone is talking about, something greener than that — real and true garbage plucked straight from the waste stream.

The trailer for the movie can be viewed at www.scraphouse.org/Documentary.

We are again fortunate to have an expert panel available to discuss the film and answer questions after the screening.  The schedule for the evening is:
 
6:30pm Meet and Greet
6:50pm Meet the Sponsors
7:00pm Featured Film: ScrapHouse
7:45pm Expert Panel

Houston Green Film Series: ScrapHouse
Tuesday, March 29
6:30pm – 8:30pm
Rice university Media Center
6100 Main Street, Entrance 8 (on University Blvd.)
Houston, TX  77005
For information and RSVP: Facebook or Ning

I hope to see you at these excellent events!

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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!

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