Tag Archives: Permablitz

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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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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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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P Words

There were a few “P” words on my mind as last week’s cold weather approached.  With the surge of cold weather headed our way I was thinking about things like prediction, preparation, proactivity, and protection for our garden and fruit trees.  I was also thinking that through listening to the prediction for cold weather and preparing appropriately, I could expect a positive outcome. 
 
Isn’t that what we are all about in Transition Houston?  We’ve been listening to the scientists and analysts, and we know we have some enormous challenges coming our way.  We know that some challenges are at our doorstep now.  But because we are living in awareness we see the opportunity to make a better and more satisfying life while reducing our fossil fuel consumption, our carbon emissions, and our economic debt. 
 
We really don’t have all the answers.  But as a creative community, we think we can come up with some really good ones.

Transition Houston meeting, Tuesday, February 8
As you may know from previous newsletters and discussions at our monthly meetings, we are reviewing when and where to hold our monthly Transition Houston meetings.  It appears that the first Tuesday of each month may be a better day than the first Monday of the month, to avoid conflicts with other meetings of interest to our community.  With this in mind, we are shifting this month’s meeting to Tuesday, February 8.  The time and venue (7-9pm at Urban Harvest) stay the same, at least for now.
 
We are very excited to have as a guest speaker Tiffany Tyler, the Chair of the Board of Central City Co-Op, who will be talking to us about the mission of the Co-Op, the benefits of supporting the Co-Op, and how we might collaborate on issues of mutual interest.
 
We will also be discussing the upcoming Training for Transition class on February 19 and 20, and many other events of interest.

Transition Houston February Meeting
Tuesday, February 8
7:00 pm – 9:00 pm
Urban Harvest
2311 Canal St., Houston, TX  77003
More information and RSVP here. 

Soil Carbon Panel Discussion, Monday, February 14
Houston Urban Gardeners (HUG), Houston Food Policy Workgroup, Houston Climate Protection Alliance, Urban Harvest, and Transition Houston are cosponsoring a panel discussion regarding the role of healthy soils in sequestering carbon.  Among the topics of discussion will be building soil carbon through use of compost and biochar. 
 
The panelists are:
 
• Jason Aramburu, founder of Re:char, which will make biochar machines for small farmers, especially in the third world. Their two-minute video  is a fine introduction.
• John Ferguson of Nature’s Way, a composting company, and a director of the Organic Horticulture Business Alliance.
Bruce A. McCarl of Texas A&M. His specialty is agricultural economics and he has published information on soil sequestration and climate mitigation.

Soil Carbon Panel Discussion
Monday, February 14
6:30 pm
Houston Garden Center (Hermann Park by the Rose Garden)
1500 Hermann Dr., Houston, TX

Permablitzes
Transition Houston and Transition Old Sixth Ward had a great Permablitz (Transition Houston’s #5) this last Sunday, and I trust that Clear Lake Transition’s Permablitz (#3) on the same day was a great success as well.   Thank you to our Transition OSW hosts Karen and Stephen for such thorough preparation, great projects, and welcoming home, and to all of the attendees for their hard work, eagerness to learn, and excellent potluck.
 
The current plan is for our next Permablitz to be held on March 19, in the Westwood neighborhood (off of Stella Link south of South 610).  Please save the date; we really would like to see you all at the next ‘Blitz too!  As you may know, we are working toward the point where you must have had volunteered at three Permablitzes to be eligible for hosting one at your home (this is the criteria established by the Melbourne, Australia, Permablitz originators).  We have very many people who would be eligible under these criteria if they were to volunteer at two more, and a number who will be eligible with just one more ‘Blitz under their belt.

We look forward to seeing you at the Transition Houston meeting on Tuesday, and at all our other Transition events.

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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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