Tag Archives: transition

In the face of adversity, community

Sometimes the challenges we are up against express themselves subtly, and other times they are as in your face as historic droughts, floods, and other extreme weather events increasing in frequency.  Or as in your face as the earliest 100 degree high in Houston history, or even the water bills I’ve been receiving to keep my plants alive.
 
And sometimes I might be tempted to despair at the magnitude of the challenges, and my insignificance in scale.  Such despair would be warranted, except that it isn’t any one of us alone against climate change or peak oil or economic instability.  It is all of us together, a community of the smartest, most creative, and hardest-working people that I have ever been privileged to work with. 
 
Better yet, it also isn’t just Transition Houston and our Transition Neighborhoods alone, but also us partnering with the many other organizations that are already here and on the ground working to raise awareness, create walkable and bikeable communities, relocalize our food and economy, weatherize our homes, and build distributed energy systems.
 
I’ve often said that one of the things that attracted me to Transition was the humility of the Cheerful Disclaimer:

Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact.

We truly don’t know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale.

What we are convinced of is this:

  • If we wait for the governments, it’ll be too little, too late
  • If we act as individuals, it’ll be too little
  • But if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.

Please join us for these upcoming events, to act as a community and do the work that needs to be done.  We especially hope to see you at the Transition Houston Hub meeting next Tuesday to hear about the very interesting and creative work that David Reed is doing in natural building and DIY energy.

People Powered Parade for Complete Streets, Saturday, June 4, 9:00am to 11:00am
The People Powered Parade for Complete Streets is for Houstonians seeking balanced transportation policies to ensure our roads and communities are safer, more livable, and welcoming for all, whether young or old, motorist or bicyclist, walker or wheelchair user, bus rider or shopkeeper.
 
We will gather at Tranquility Park starting at 9am and head off on the parade at 10am, with the last of the parade reaching Taft and Allen Parkway around 11am, at the main entrance to Free Press Summerfest.
 
Teams are encouraged, including banners and shirts, and all modes of transportation that are directly human powered are welcome.
 
Petition for Complete Streets for the Houston Region:  http://petition.houstontomorrow.org/
 
More on Complete Streets in general:  http://www.completestreets.org/
 
More on Ciclovías:  http://www.streetfilms.org/ciclovia-express-version/
 
For information or anything, please contact Jay Blazek Crossley at 713-523-5757 or jay.crossley@houstontomorrow.org.

People Powered Parade for Complete Streets
Saturday, June 4
9:00am to 11:00am
Tranquility Park
400 Rusk St., Houston, TX  77002
Information and RSVP:  Facebook or Website

 

Transition Houston Hub Meeting, Tuesday, June 7, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Transition Houston meets on the first Tuesday of each month, at Christ the King Lutheran Church at the corner of Greenbriar and Rice Blvd. (near Rice Village).
 
Our featured speaker for this month’s meeting is David Reed from Texas Natural Builders.  He will be providing an overview of alternative building methods including Strawbale and Cob (as for instance in cob ovens), and also DIY solar heating, hot water, and cooking.  Thank you to the Energy Action Group for arranging to have David speak to our group!
 
As is our tradition, the business program will end at 8:30 and the time for refreshments, conversation, and community will begin.
 
Parking:  If the Church lot is full, parking is available in the parking lot of the Rice Village Animal Hospital just across Rice Blvd. on the northwest corner of Rice and Greenbriar.  Another option is the Rice University parking lot across Greenbriar from the Church ($1).

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

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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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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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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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October is the busiest month (in warm Houston)

As the October weather cools down (we deeply and sincerely hope), activities of interest to the Houston Transition community heat up.  Here is our mid-September update and look-ahead for your anticipatory pleasure.

 

Transition Houston October Meeting October 4
We are very fortunate to have a special guest speaker at our October meeting.  Richard Johnson is the Director of Sustainability at Rice University, in which role he coordinates, supports, leads, and provides technical assistance for a broad range of campus sustainability initiatives, including high-performance “green” building, recycling, energy conservation, and environmental education.  Richard gave a talk at My Houston 2040 a couple of months ago that spoke directly to the challenges and responses of the Transition Movement.  You won’t want to miss his talk.  Details of the meeting can be found at transitiontexas.ning.com/events/transition-houston-monthly-137.

Transition Houston October Meeting
Monday, October 4
7-9pm
Urban Harvest (2311 Canal St., Houston)
contact:  Mark Juedeman (mjuedeman at gmail dot com)

 

No Impact Project
Our annual Labor Day Potluck was excellent, again–we had a great group of people, great food, and–this year–a special movie screening of the No Impact Man Movie.  If you missed that opportunity to see the movie there is another screening on Tuesday, September 28, 7:30pm-9:30pm, at the Houston Arboretum.  This is all leading up to GreenWeek Houston, October 10-17, presented by USGBC Emerging Professionals, Houston Green Scene and the Last Organic Outpost.  Many of our Transition Houston members are involved in GreenWeek, and several are actually going to be facilitators for No Impact Experiment workshops.  One of the facilitators, Nancy Edwards, provides this tidbit:

The No Impact Project is coming to Houston, Oct. 11-15, the week after 10/10/10, the Workday for the Planet.

After you see the film you might be frightened and think, “I could never do that, even for a week.  That’s too hard.”  Also from the film you get the impression that Colin Beavan spent all his time on shopping at the Farmer’s Market and childcare.  Actually his child had a daycare provider and he went to The Writer’s Room, a co-op office, during the week and worked on his book.

But the point is not to do everything that he did.  The point is to use the impetus of the project to learn and implement new ways to lower your own impact.  It is also an opportunity to meet other people at the evening seminars who are working on the same experiment and learn from their trial and error as well as your own.  If you want to sneak a peek at what you will be doing go to 10/11 – 10/15: No Impact Experiment (Evening Workshops).

I hope to see you at New Living, the green building and home store (6111 Kirby Drive) where I, along with Matthias Jung, will hold seminars Monday through Thursday evening  from 6:30 to 8PM  (The seminars are not required).  Mary Schultz and Jan Tijmes will be at Taft Street Coffee, 2115 Taft Street (between Fairview and West Gray), holding seminars there also.

Nancy Edwards
needwards at comcast dot net

 

10-10-10 Permablitz(s)
Speaking of the 10/10/10 workdays–our Transition community will be at work with two Permablitz projects on October 10!  Please save the date to participate in whichever is most convenient for you:

Transition Houston will be Permablitzing in the Sharpstown area of Southwest Houston on the morning of October 10.

The Clear Lake Transition Initiative will be Permablitzing all day on October 10 at the community garden at St. Christopher Episcopal Church in League City.

Details for both will appear in the Transition Houston newsletter at the end of the month, but for now please clear your calendar on 10-10-10!

 

Solar Tour and Social, October 2
As you can already see, October is chock-full of activities and events that will be of great interest to the Transition Community.  Here is another that you won’t want to miss–The 2010 Houston Solar Tour and Social, chaired by Transition Houston’s own Matthias Jung:

Are you curious about how solar systems work?  Learn about solar system designs, the costs and how a solar energy system will reduce your electricity bill.

Come to the ASES Houston Solar Tour for a first-hand experience showing a variety of solar solutions. From commercial installations and residential projects to solar thermal hot water and pool heaters, don’t miss out on this opportunity to see renewable energy solutions. Meet homeowners with solar systems, plus learn why solar energy systems are becoming more and more popular.

This year’s Solar Social will take place at the University of Houston’s College of Architecture. Stop by between 9 am and noon to meet the city’s solar installers and other groups involved with our growing renewable energy industry.  Learn about the Green Building Component Program at U of H, and see student projects that are being developed as part of the green building movement.

Transition Houston will be represented at the Solar Social, but we need volunteers to be a contact and to staff the table during the social.  Can you help?  Please contact Mark Juedeman (mjuedeman at gmail dot com) and let him know you are available!

 

APTA Annual Meeting, San Antonio, October 3-6
For those of you with an interest in transportation policy–a key tool in managing energy descent in our Transition communities–you may wish to attend the American Public Transportation Association annual meeting in San Antonio October 3-6.  Michael Davies (also a member of Transition Houston) will be attending, and can provide more information (davies88 at gmail dot com).

 

Transition Class at Leisure Learning, October 18
But wait, there’s more!  October isn’t done yet–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

 

Training For Transition Class, January 2011?
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.

Given the lead time required to plan a class, and indications that early next year would work best for the Dallas people, we are tentatively thinking about having the class in mid-January of 2011.  We still don’t have enough people indicating their interest for this class to make it definite, so if you would like to attend please let Mark Juedeman know as soon as you can (mjuedeman at  gmail dot com).  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.

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