Welcome to Transition!

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

Coming up:


Tue Apr 9 Game Night, 7-9pm Palo Alto.
Mon Apr 15 TPA Inner Transition group, 6:30-9pm Sunnyvale.
Apr 15-22 Extinction Rebellion. Details TBD.
Fri Apr 26 Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope. Teach me to be wild film and discussion. 7:30-9:30pm.
Fireside Room, UUCPA, 505 E Charleston, Palo Alto
Sun Apr 28 Sunnyvale Garden Share. 11am-noon, Charles St. Garden, Sunnyvale.
Fridays, except fourth Friday Transition Cafe, 6:10-7:45pm, Red Rock Cafe, Castro St., Mountain View Check your email for details each week.
Tue May 7 Green New Deal Town Hall, 6:30-8:30pm, Register and details here.

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


Green New Deal Town Hall – May 7

Tue, May 7, 2019, 6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Rinconada Library, 1213 Newell Road, Palo Alto
Free, register at EventBrite

A Green New Deal Resolution has been proposed in Congress by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey. The stated goal is to address climate change by creating millions of new green jobs that will decarbonize our economy.

These broad brush strokes provide a framework for legislative action. Now we as a society get to have a conversation about what we want the details to be.

Join us for a community discussion where you’ll learn about the Green New Deal and how you can help push for meaningful climate legislation nationally and in California.

6:30 – Doors Open
7:00 – 7:05 – Welcome
7:05 – 7:20 – A Solution That Rises to the Scale of the Crisis: A Green New Deal
7:20 – 7:35 – Gearing Up for a California Green New Deal
7:35 – 7:45 – Opportunities for Green Jobs Creation
7:45 – 8:15 – Discussion (in breakout groups then full group)
8:15 – 8:25 – Pathway to Victory
8:25 – 8:30 – Closing & Thank you

Co-sponsored by Transition Palo Alto

4/26 Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope: Teach me to be Wild


Friday April 26, 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
Free, donations appreciated.


This month we are screening the film “Teach Me To Be Wild” https://teachmetobewild.com/

The filmmakers Rajesh Krishnan and Anne Veh will be joining us for this very special evening. After the film John Malloy (featured in the film and Healing Circles) has offered to anchor a healing circle after the screening. The Film ends in naturally creating a safe space and it lends itself well for a circle of reflection. You can read more about their circle experiences here in the Daily Good article: http://www.dailygood.org/story/2258/holding-circles-of-healing-rajesh-krishnan-anne-veh/

Also learn more about John Malloy here:

“We Are All In This Together” A Conversation With John Malloy

John Malloy shares his life journey including his work over the last five decades with vulnerable communities in the Bay Area and his life mission of preserving and fostering the Native American Heritage.

“The Wisdom Of Circles” In Conversation With John Malloy 

In this intimate conversation with ServiceSpace anchors, John Malloy dives into the wisdom of circles, the role of anchors and facilitators, the nature of human groups, and different types of leadership.

Download and share flyer: Flier_11x17_A3_TransitionPaloAlto_Apr26_2019

Inner Transition April 15th

On April 15, 2019 the TPA Inner Transition Hearth & Soul group plans to meet at 6:30p. Location TBD. We will share a potluck at 6:30, listen to a Sounds True Waking up in the World presentation by Tara Brach PhD at 7p, followed by discussion at 8p. Details below for Session 2: Engage

Inner Transition  – New Group Continuing this Month

Tara Brach, PhD – Disarming Our Hearts: Letting Go of Blame

We have a deeply conditioned habit in our individual and collective psyches of making others wrong, fixating on “bad others.” For us to evolve and move toward a more peaceful and loving world, we need to release this trance of blame and bring a deep and caring presence to the vulnerability and intrinsic goodness in all beings. Through didactic presentation, stories, and reflections, this session explores how we get imprisoned in the habit of blame and the ways that the practices of mindfulness and compassion can free us. Highlights include:

  • The suffering of separation—how mistrust and fear are sustained by the habit of blame
  • Beginning to release the armoring around your heart
  • Learning to bring a compassionate presence to the unconscious, unmet needs that drive you
  • Freedom from trance—recognize the vulnerability and sacredness that lives in others and all beings

Oily Wells March!

March 16 -18
Palo Alto to San Francisco


TPA is joining with other social justice, environmental, and faith-based groups, led by 350 Silicon Valley, to march for action in March. The 3-day, 34-mile walk from Palo Alto to the Wells Fargo offices in San Francisco will protest Wells Fargo’s continued investment in disastrous climate projects, including tar sands, pipelines, and extreme condition extraction.

Learn more about the action…

From Victoria Armigo:

For those who want to act in the world, please consider attending some part of this 3-day Oily Wells march that TPA is cosponsoring.

This is an invitation to join me and 350 Silicon Valley as we ramp up a campaign to expose “Oily Wells” by participating in the March for Fossil Fuel Freedom, a 3-day, 34-mile march from Palo Alto to the bank’s San Francisco headquarters on March 16-18. The pilgrimage will offer a chance to meet other concerned folks (from partners such as Idle No More SF Bay and the Sierra Club) and act as a human billboard attesting to the rapidly deepening climate crisis and the prospect for sustainable solutions.

It would be great if participants would please  register online today (3/11).  We need to know how many delicious vegan meals and snacks to serve to how many people and where.

We will spend two nights in church and community halls, with food and support vehicles for carrying gear provided. At “stagecoach stops” along the way there will be educational presentations and performances (featuring Oily Wells himself). Learn more and register now at www.OilyWells.com.

Just having you there, at any point along the way, as a show of support means a lot.

Please RSVP today.

3/22 Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – Redefining Prosperity: The Gold Rushes of Nevada City

Friday March 22, 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
Free, donations appreciated.

Born in the California Gold Rush, Nevada City was once the scene of some of the most destructive environmental practices on earth. By the 1960s, the town was a backwater, its extractive industries dying. Then it was discovered by the “back to the land movement.” It was a second gold rush but with a different idea of gold based on nature, community and a sense of place.  Learn more…


See the trailer…

Heart and Home

It was dusk, and we sat at oblong tables laid for a meal- forks, knives, spoons, tablecloths, in a space I’m used to seeing filled with rows of folding chairs with an inspiring film playing in the dark. Instead, the space was lively and bright, with clusters of chatter and people going in and out. As people trickled in, food was heaped on plates from the buffet, and conversation began to flow.

Two hours earlier, a crew of five – Peter, Chris, Victoria, Diana, and Yon – had shopped, chopped, sautéed, tossed and simmered this bountiful menu at Victoria’s beautiful home: chicken stew, vegan vegetable stew, salad with dressing, two types of fruit salad,
mushrooms, brown and white rice, baguettes, and oranges. The food was carried over to the UUCPA church and served.

It sounds like an ordinary dinner or potluck, like so many we have had in Transition Palo Alto, but this one was different. This time we weren’t just cooking for ourselves, but for others, in particular for those who are less fortunate this winter.  Like other things in Transition, it was community-building for a greater purpose.

In partnership with Heart and Home Collaborative, we fed not our usual members but instead housed and unhoused members of the community, joining in on what they do every day. We mingled, listening wide-eyed at their struggles this winter, connecting eye to eye with neighbors, offering an ear and shoulder, being heard and seen ourselves.

Soon it was not just our bellies that were full, but also our hearts.

As I and my children headed home for bedtime, we reflected, grateful for all we have, for all we can offer, and the knowledge that if ever we, too, are in need, we have a loving circle who will feed us and welcome us with open arms.

Transition Café – Transition Town Questions

We had an energetic, vibrant film night, last Friday, which generated lively, engaged conversation well into the night. The film was on the life of David Fleming, author of Lean Logic, a highly influential pattern-language book. When the credits began to roll, nobody left. When the conversation started, nobody left. I had intended the small group conversations to run for 10 minutes or so, but the energy was still climbing at that point, so we went until the energy started to drop a bit, then joined back together in the larger group, then folks stuck around and talked for some time after the big group ended. What fun! Although we all seemed to enjoy the film, we didn’t necessarily agree with everything in it. Some questions which struck me, that y’all asked:

The folks in the film, and the demographic in the room, were primarily, but not entirely, White folks. Given that the Transition Town ideals appeal to a much more diverse audience than just upper-middle-class White folks, and there are lots of folks who are doing Transition Town work, whether they call it that or not, who are from widely diverse backgrounds–ethnic, cultural, economic, religious, generational…how do our meetings come to more represent that? Transition US is taking this question seriously, as we want our decision-makers and gatherings to resemble America in the most comprehensive ways possible. While we do hold that whoever shows up are the right people, we also hold the question: “Who is not here, who needs to be?” I have heard many responses to this question, what are yours?

Transition Towns, at their outset, took an approach of addressing peak oil and climate change through energy descent and relocalization. Peak oil was seen as an easier gateway, as it was certain to hit folks in their wallets, and inspire action sooner than climate change, which is likely to be a big, vague boogeyman until it is much too late to take action.

So far, we have been wrong about this. Peak oil has turned out to be more nebulous than we thought, oil companies did decide that tar sands and fracking were worth the costs, etc. In our area, we have found that local food systems have been a better gateway, but other regions have found things like urban gardens, social justice, disaster preparedness, community building, relocalizing, local money systems, etc, to be better conversation starters. What do you think? What speaks to you about Transition Towns?

Another question was, paraphrased: are there other local Transition Town initiatives, and where are they? Transition Palo Alto is a hub, in that it doesn’t just serve Palo Alto, but has representatives of other cities, as well: Sunnyvale, Los Altos, Saratoga, Casa de Fruita. Most of us lived in Palo Alto, at some point, but not all, but the name Transition Palo Alto stuck, Transition Silicon Valley did not. Do you want to start a Transition Town initiative in your area? What would it take to get that started? What would your initial focus be?

Lastly, energy descent is a big aspect of Transition Towns. This is the practice of decreasing your energy needs, not just by shifting them over to “clean tech” but actually decreasing the total amount of energy you use. So far, this has been a tough sell in technology-heavy and technology-aspiring cultures, but will need to be adopted, worldwide, if our life is going to continue on this planet, in any form we might recognize. How have you been incorporating this into your own life?

There were others, and we’ll probably visit each of those questions as individual topics in future Cafés, but those will do, for now.

I will likely miss next week’s conversation, on 8 March, but feel free to self-organize. I may send a prompt, anyway.

Transition Town Questions, this Friday, 1 March, at Red Rock. Sometimes we go to dinner afterwards, maybe we will this week, too.

The Guidelines are below. Read ’em, learn ’em, bring a copy if you think yer gonna forget ’em!

Venue Information is below the Guidelines, and check out the Random and Useful Other Stuff below the notes section. Feel free to forward this widely!

Transition Café Guidelines
-Whoever shows up are the right people
-Whenever it starts is the right time
-Speak when you are moved to speak
-The conversation gets to go where it wants to go
-Pauses in conversation are good, they allow information to sink in, thoughts to happen, and quieter people to have a chance to speak
-Silent listening is fine, you do not need to speak if you do not wish to
-The “Law of Mobility”: if you feel like you are neither learning nor contributing, you may use your mobility to find a place in which you are doing so
-Bring friends! If we overpopulate the venue, we’ll figure something else out
-If you are able, please buy stuff from the venues. We’re trying to support local businesses!
Anyone can host a Café! All you need is an hour or two, an independent café you like, this list of guidelines, and a starting subject. Bring something to read while you wait for folks to show up (see the first guideline).

Please note venue changes:

This week, we will be meeting on Friday, 1 March, from ~6:15-7:45pm, at Red Rock Coffee, in Mountain View.

Thanks to everyone who has been supporting the venues by buying stuff while we’re there!

See you at the Café,



Notes: Consequences

Got too involved in the conversation, sorry!

Please join us on tpa_cafe, or tpa_chat, you can join at http://www.transitionpaloalto.org./

Random and Useful Other Stuff:
Toby Hemenway’s (author of Gaia’s Garden and The Permaculture City) website: http://tobyhemenway.com/articles/
Growing Food in a Hotter, Drier Land, by Gary Paul Nabhan
Thinking in Systems, a primer, by Donella H. Meadows
Masterminds and Wingmen, Rosalind Wiseman
Queen Bees and Wannabees, Rosalind Wiseman

I’ll post other links and readings in this space, as they occur to me.

2/22 Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – the Sequel film and discussion

Friday February 22, 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
Free, donations appreciated

‘Every political party in the world bases its program for improving human life on economic growth. But it’s not possible for that to continue indefinitely.’ 

In fact, the signs of civilization collapse are everywhere, generating fears of a terrible future with no resources and no growth.

But what if the fears of no growth aren’t true?  What if there is a way for people and economies to thrive without endlessly growing?

David Fleming was a visionary author and thinker whose work has inspired many and has who been called the granddaddy of the Transition movement. The Sequel draws on Fleming’s work to daringly reimagine a thriving, resilient civilization after the collapse of our current economies.
See the trailer…

david fleming

Clean up Oily Wells

From Victoria Armigo:

I know that you share my concern about the impact of climate change and the urgency to act. I’ve struggled to find a way to make a meaningful difference, to bring more of us together to support each other and make our voices heard. Here’s what my friends at 350 Silicon Valley and I have come up with: the  March for Fossil Fuel Freedom.
Details about the march can be found on our website but in a nutshell…
●  When: Sat March 16 – Mon March 18 (join for just a day or half a day)
●  Where: Palo Alto to SF (14 mi/day—or about 5 hours of walking—for a total of 34 miles)
●  Who: Up to 150 people from our partners including  Sierra Club, Climate Reality Project, Interfaith Power & Light, Idle No More, PODER, and many others.

What I look forward to most about the march is meeting kindred spirits who share my hopes and concerns, walking and talking about what can make a difference and also why it’s hard to do so, and learning more from our partners who will provide educational insights and lively entertainment during rest breaks along the way.

The climate emergency will not blow over. We are at that moment. Having you as part of this march would mean so much to me personally and make it a lot more fun! Please join me on the march or sponsor me.
PS — If you’re on FaceBook,  here’s our event page.

Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope – Demain (Tomorrow)

Friday January 25, 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto

For the new year, join Fourth Friday for a look at creative solutions to the ecological crisis. The acclaimed French film Demain (Tomorrow) follows Cyril Di,  Mélanie Laurent, and their team to ten different countries to learn more about the impending disaster how people are working hard to avoid or mitigate it.

A Variety reviewer wrote this about the film:

As ever with this sort of advocacy film, there is a danger that it will only ever preach to the converted. And that’s perhaps why the filmmakers’ approach is so smart: ‘Tomorrow’ wastes little time trying to convince us that that world is ending. It takes that as a known fact, and then highlights the people who are fighting in small but appreciable ways to stop that from happening. Almost inadvertently, it therefore embodies not just the how, but a pretty good reason why humanity ought to survive: It has people like these in it, ordinary people whose example, be it ever so idealized here, makes … tomorrow seem not quite so bleak.

FREE, Donations appreciated.
Co-sponsored by Transition Palo Alto, 350 Silicon Valley, and the Green Sanctuary Committee of UUPCA.