Welcome to Transition!

We’re part of a world-wide grassroots movement to build local resilience and connections close to home. Since 2010, we’ve been mounting creative and thoughtful responses to the challenges of resource depletion, climate change, and economic instability. Help us unleash the power and creative genius of people and communities to create a vibrant future for generations to come. Scroll down for our recent activities blog.

2016 is the year of engagement!

It’s a critical year for our planet and for democracy, and we want to challenge everyone in our community to do something more to be involved, especially in the areas of climate change, democracy, social justice, and community building. Check these TPA blog posts for ideas on getting involved: How to get involved! and What you can do about climate change. And sign up for our spam-free mailing list for information about important activities and events.

And we want to hear from you! What are you doing this year to be involved? Send a message to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com.

Coming up:

  • Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – May 27, 2016 – “The Ecomomics of Happiness” film and discussion. Details to follow in early May.
     Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
  • New Economy Transition – May meeting  2-4pm, UUFRC. Details to follow.
  • Garden Shares 
    Second Sunday of each month, 11am-12, Palo Alto Community Garden 
    Fourth Sunday of each month, 11am-12, Full Circle Farm, Sunnyvale
  • Transition Cafes – Most Fridays, 6-8pm, Red Rock Cafe, Mountain View. Check your email each week (by Thursday) for the topic and details.

mailing list Meetup Group/Facebook group

May Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – The Economics of Happiness

“This passionate film presents a clear and articulate vision of what a shift in the scale at which we do things would look like…Very timely and powerful.”
Rob Hopkins, Transition co-founder

econ of happiness banner

Economic globalization has led to a massive expansion in the scale and power of big business and banking. 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. Government and big business continue to promote globalization and the consolidation of corporate power. But all around the world people are resisting those policies. Communities are coming together to re-build more human scale, ecological economies based on a new paradigm – an economics of localization.

Click here to read what others are saying about the film.

Friday May 27, 7:15pm gather – film starts promptly at 7:30 – discussion follows
Fireside Room, Palo Alto Unitarian Universalist Church
505 E. Charleston Avenue, Palo Alto



Book Group 6 and The Island of All Together

I’d been thinking about getting Book Group 6 together again (we hadn’t met since last fall), and wanted to start off the year with a good topic. I had been moved recently by seeing the video “The Island of All Together,” and decided it would be a good one to see and discuss. Filmed on Lesbos in Greece, the video features a series of conversations between Syrian refugees and European tourists and beautifully illustrates how people can find common humanity across cultures, circumstances, and life experiences. After the video, we all reflected on what home means to us, and how we can cultivate empathy with and appreciation of others – all key elements of our work in promoting community resilience. I strongly recommend the video, which you can see here: http://www.theislandofalltogether.com/
-Barbara Weinstein

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

A Seedy, but Tasty, Spring Share Faire


Transition Palo Alto‘s Spring Share Faire was a seedy event – build around seeds, that is.

An enthusiastic crowd gathered at Cubberley Community Center on a blustery spring day, happy to be inside and under cover, protected from the inclement weather.

We started the afternoon with the World Premiere of a new short film by Herb Moore made to Protect Community Seed Sharing.  The maestro was there in person for the event.  If you didn’t get to see the film live, you can watch it on-line – the effect isn’t quite the same, but you’ll enjoy it nonetheless:

Protect Community Seed Sharing from Herb Moore on Vimeo.

The film was followed by two sets of mini-classes.  In the Garden Room, we continued the seed theme with Hillie Salo talking to us about Seed Exchanges, Seed Libraries and the CA Seed Exchange Democracy Act (AB 1810), which Transition Palo Alto has endorsed.  Hillie was followed by Paul Higgins, manager of Common Ground Garden, who showed us how to propagate seedlings in flats and Peggy Prendergast, who led a very hands-on demonstration of worm composting, to the particular delight of the kids in attendance.

Next door, in the Food Room, things got really tasty.  Diane Ruddle led off by showing how to make preserved lemons and what to do with them.  She was followed by Margaret Szumilas, who taught us about sourdough bread and by Joyce Beattie, who taught us how to make compost soup (where you actually use things in order to keep them out of the compost!).

All the while, in the hall outside people were sharing goods – plants, books, kitchen gadgets and more – networking with their neighbors, registering to vote, and generally having a fun time.

Make sure to mark your calendars for June 10, when the next Share Faire will focus on Books and Media.

Here’s a slide show. Enjoy!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.


New Economy Transition – what’s up for the April meeting

New Economy Transition (NET) is the group that formed after Marco Vangelisti’s Essential Knowledge for Transition talks last fall on money, economy, and investment. The group has started to look at changes that each of us can make in our own lives, as well as other efforts to move away from business-as-usual.

This is the line-up for the April 20 meeting. All are welcome, whether you’ve attended before or not!

  • Evelyn Rodriguez, founding member of the brand-new Alternative Economies Alliance, will host a segment on decentralized, distributed structures and models  that generate economic vibrancy for the collective through more democratic engagement, participation, and shared stake in ownership. We are all more familiar with centralized forms of economies which tend to concentrate wealth, voice and power to the top few of a pyramid–yet they are only one option. Examples and stories vary from the longevity studies in Okinawa that highlighted economic and friendship roundtables to an upcoming municipal bond issuer that makes it viable for an ordinary citizen to know about and buy a single $20 bond in his own backyard for a local recreational park to a rideshare company that shares its equity with its drivers. We’ll also discuss how cryptocurrency and crypto-equity, local currencies, crowdfunding, time bank/exchanges, worker and member cooperatives and such can help expand prosperity.
  • Roy Kornbluh will speak briefly about moving mortgages from the big banks and about how lending institutions often buy and sell them.

March 20, 2-4pm
Unitarian Universalist Fellowship of Redwood City
2124 Brewster, Redwood City

How to get involved!

For inspiration to get involved in this pivotal year, here are some ideas and organizations that Transitioners have suggested in the key areas of climate, democracy, social justice, and community building. If you have other ideas, please let us know by writing to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com.


  • For events and actions related to climate change, check out the 350 Silicon Valley website.
  • Citizens Climate Lobby is taking a focus approach to climate policy, pushing specifically for a carbon fee and dividend to encourage a shift away from fossil fuels. Check them out here.


  • On a personal level, you can VOTE, and encourage everyone you know to register and vote as well. There’s much at stake. For local, non-partisan democracy events, activities, and endorsements, check out the local chapter of the League of Women Voters.
  • You can also support legislation that speaks to you. See “Living Seasonally” in this issue for Peter Ruddock’s note about the California Seed Exchange Democracy Act.
  • The California Clean Money Campaign has been working for years to clean up California politics. Current efforts are focused on the Voters Right to Know Act, which would require the top three actual funders of campaign ads to be identified. Learn more and get involved here.
  • Move to Amend is promoting a 28th amendment to the US constitution to affirm that money is not equivalent to speech, and that corporations don’t have the inherent constitutional rights of people. Check out the efforts of the local chapter here.

Social Justice

  • Based in San Jose, Human Agenda works for social justice solutions locally. Learn more about their projects and events here.
  • The Peninsula Peace and Justice Center hosts events and publicizes issues related to social justice.  
  • A new cold weather homeless shelter has been started in Sunnyvale. Click here to learn more about helping homeless people locally.

Community Building

  • You can acquainted with your neighbors, by hosting a block party, joining your neighborhood association, or signing up for a local social networking application like NextDoor.
  • If you were at the Transition holiday party in December, you’ll remember the presentation about Avendias, and the range of services offered for seniors and their families. 
  • Help out at the farm! Full Circle Farm has ongoing volunteer opportunities, which you can learn about at on their website.

What you can do about climate change

Want ideas on getting involved? A excellent way to start is in your own life – with your home and transportation.

David Coale has compiled some suggestions on what you can do about climate change. He’s done a version for Palo Alto residents and one for residents of other local communities.

Check them out and get inspired to take action!

What can Palo Alto residents do about climate change
What can You do about climate change