Welcome to Transition!

Help us build a vibrant and resilient society for people and the planet.

Coming up:

Fri June 30 Fifth Friday –  To the Ends of the Earth Film and Discussion,  7:30-9:30pm. Scroll down for details.
Tuesdays – Permaculture Cafe, 6:30-8pm, Red Rock Cafe, Mountain View.
Fridays – Transition Cafe, 6:10-8pm, Red Rock Cafe, Mountain View. Every Friday, except Fourth Friday. More about the cafe
2nd, 4th Weds – Freedom Writers, 7-9pm, Palo Alto. Details
2nd Saturday each month Palo Alto Garden Share, 1:30-2:30pm, Common Ground Demonstration Garden.
4th Sunday each month Palo Alto Garden Share, details TBD

To get involved, check out these links: 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 want to get in touch? Send a message to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com.

mailing list Meetup Group/Facebook group

Living in PA

I’ve lived in Palo Alto for 10 years now, the Bay Area for 18. Admittedly, this is not a very long time compared to some, but it’s longer than many of my neighbors, and by at least a decade, the longest I have lived in one place in my 40 years.

Still, as a one-and-a-half-generation East Indian, raised in the deep South, former scientist, eco-passionate stay-at-home-mom, sometimes I feel I don’t fit in. Other moms take kids to a plethora of museums miles away, know which is the hot new date night restaurant, bike miles and miles, attend pilates, and make homemade brownies in the same week. Instead, my days are peppered with conscious, difficult choices that juggle responsibility and mediocrity – we are late for school, so should we drive, bike, or walk? Shall I pick up that piece of trash? That one? That one? Can we let the dryer run – just this once? And those fruits – pick, let rot, or leave to wildlife? Pick up another orphaned mug I don’t really need, or leave it to fill a potential landfill? Let the kids wander while I cook, or play with them, watch them, and let dinner burn? Do they like to do yoga with me, or it is just an excuse for screen time?

These are the questions I ponder while I make that second batch of yogurt after the first failed (spent too long playing cards with my daughter), or pick apart moldy raspberries with my hands to save for freezer jam. There is joy in this – the not-knowing which way is right, exploring what works for us, fumbling our way to sustainability.

In my heart, I know it’s not enough, not nearly, not fast enough for what is coming, but this is the slow world of my choice, the one that lingers in vision. I wonder if others could see that being really intentionally in this world is a process that evolves even for the passionate, may they, too, might try. Maybe we can support each other as we dabble in the new, and take tiny steps towards giant leaps. All while the kids are watching.

June 30 Fifth Friday – To the Ends of the Earth – film and discussion

NOTE DATE CHANGE – IT’S THE FIFTH FRIDAY THIS MONTH!!

“To the Ends of the Earth” follows concerned citizens living at the frontiers of extreme oil and gas extraction, bearing witness to a global crossroads. They call for human ingenuity to rebuild society at the end of the fossil fuel era.

The people in the film are uniquely positioned to watch this global crossroads unfold. For example, the mayor of an Inuit village in Canada’s high Arctic who is concerned that seismic testing for oil in the ocean is blowing up the eardrums of the animals that the Inuit hunt to survive. Or the environmental lawyer who goes on a journey to areas that produce energy for the tar sands of Alberta — he learns of the massive inputs of energy that have to be put into this resource — and the reasons why the second largest oil project in the world is economically unsustainable. Or the river conservationist in Utah who fights to protect the Colorado River from oil shale projects that would disturb its headwaters.

“To the Ends of the Earth” brings forward the voices of those who not only denounce the rise of extreme energy, but also envision the new world that is taking shape in its stead: a future beyond the resource pyramid, a post-growth economy.

Friday June 30, 7:30-9:30pm
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
FREE (donations appreciated)

to the ends of the earth1

Building fences – and bridges – at Phoenix Garden

It was a perfect spring morning May 20 for work and relaxation at Phoenix Garden in San Mateo. (For more on the garden, check out Kris Jensen’s TPA blog post.)

Volunteers helped erect deer fences to protect a new orchard and other designated planting areas. William Mutch demoed his smooth scything technique, and several folks got into the ‘swing’ of it. And a new sign was erected to show what the garden will like when all the areas are complete.

After work, relaxation. We gathered together as the South Bay Bioregional Hub for a potluck and brainstorm about how sustainability activists can help each other. It is a co-creation project where people meet every month at an interesting project site to combine work and bridge-building in the hope of making more and more sustainability and community projects successful. As one example, Chris Searles shared information about his BioIntegrity project, which connects potential donors to environmental stewardship and restoration opportunities. To help build more bridges outside of these gatherings, we use the CrossPollinators – a website where sustainability change makers can share knowledge about community organizations and projects. Also, check out this cool video about how the Cross Pollinators helped the Freedom Farmer’s Market develop a website and marketing materials within just a few hours, just by bringing the right people together.

To learn more, check out The CrossPollinators, including the South Bay Regional Hub section.

Phoenix Garden has a work day the third Saturday of every month. If you’d like to learn more, contact Kris Jensen (krisxjensen@gmail.com). You can also check your TPA email and newsletter for details about garden work days.

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The CrossPollinators is an open-source digital platform where you and other changemakers can share your knowledge of community organizations and projects to help regenerate the world.

May Fete Fair

Since my children were babies, we have been going to the Palo Alto May Fete Parade and Fair. This Children’s Parade has vintage automobiles, local school bands, floats from each school and local community organization, and children biking, scootering, riding strollers, and walking down the middle of University Avenue, as onlookers cheer and announcers describe each group – in short, it’s a testament to community in and around Palo Alto. This year’s theme was “Who is your hero?” – so there were plenty of superhero costumes and buttons that announced each person’s personal hero.

The parade is followed by a Fair in Heritage Park, where food trucks offer food, children and adults attend booths full of low-tech games and information about community resources, and prizes are offered. This is where we came in – my friend Priya and I hosted the Transition Palo Alto table (which was also strategically placed next to the Zero Waste table!).

We taped up a paper wall to be our garden, and the children wrote and drew on flowers and leaves, answering the prompt “I am a Planet Hero when I…” – answers ranged from biking and recycling to saving bees and planting trees. We filled our paper garden with ideas.

Priya and I also demoed her adventure, Pebble Pod, which is a subscription box that will have ideas for bringing families together around culture, community, and environment. We showed how to make a simple solar oven from the black box – using chopsticks, cling wrap, newspaper, foil, and tape. Kids were thrilled with the idea of making s’mores inside, and adult visitors were interested to learn that the temperature inside can get as high as 200oF!

I’ll be marching again with my children next year, albeit with a new school group, because this is what community is about.

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Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – Biophilic Design, the Architecture of Life

Biophilic Design is an innovative way of designing the places where we live, work, and learn. We need nature in a deep and fundamental fashion, but we have often designed our cities and suburbs in ways that both degrade the environment and alienate us from nature. The recent trend in green architecture has decreased the environmental impact of the built environment, but it has accomplished little in the way of reconnecting us to the natural world, the missing piece in the puzzle of sustainable development.

Come on a journey from our evolutionary past and the origins of architecture to the world’s most celebrated buildings in a search for the architecture of life. Together, we will encounter buildings that connect people and nature – hospitals where patients heal faster, schools where children’s test scores are higher, offices where workers are more productive, and communities where people know more of their neighbors and families thrive. See the trailer

Friday May 26, 7:30-9:30pm
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto
505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
FREE (donations appreciated)

biophilic design

 

 

A Sad Farewell to Full Circle Farm

For the past 10 years, Full Circle Farm has welcomed the South Bay community back to the land. Through the annual summer camp and school programs, thousands of children have learned about the natural world, exercised the their bodies and minds, and enjoyed the delicious results. People of all ages have rolled up their sleeves to help plant, weed, and harvest, take care of the chickens, or just come out for some time in the sun.

Transition Palo Alto has partnered with the farm for the Sunnyvale Garden Share and many other events, including a Slow Money Farm Fest and several Earth Day celebrations, which together have attracted many thousands of people. 

So it’s with great sadness that we report that unless something happens to change the situation, the farm will close within the next few months. The Santa Clara Unified School District decided not to renew the farm’s lease, so the farm is due to close. The farm’s board of directors and parent organization Sustainable Community Gardens tried to work closely with the district to meet all of its requests and requirements, but ultimately, the district decided they did not want to renew the lease.

The Magic of Seeds

April Fourth Friday explored the magic of seeds, the grave threats they face, and the heroic efforts of seed enthusiasts to find, save, and share them for the benefit of life on earth. Attendees were treated to the compelling and visually stunning film – Seed: the Untold Story. Afterwards, organic farmer Grant Brians shared some of his organic farming experiences and displayed a variety of seeds.

Here’s what you can to do help.

Avoid buying GMO foods. We learned that the practices of Monsanto and other GMO seed Goliaths are destroying farmers who can no longer save seeds from year to year, but are forced to buy each year at exorbitant prices. And airborne seeds from GMO fields are contaminating neighboring organic fields, Buying organic and local are the best ways to say no to this system. Lots of websites have additional suggestions – here are a couple to check out:  Non GMO Foods (How to Avoid GMO Foods for Real), and How to avoid GMOs when you’re on a budget.

Help save endangered seeds. Hillie Salo from Silicon Valley Grows picks an endangered seed each year and asks for community involvement to increase the supply. Learn more at Silicon Valley Grows and from Slow Food South Bay.

March Against Monsanto. Join the March against Monsanto in San Jose on May 20.

Participate in seed share events. These seed share events are on tap for this year:

  • Sunday, July 23, 11am, Full Circle Farm/Sunnyvale
  • Saturday, October 14, 1pm, Rancho Rinconada/Cupertino

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