Welcome to Transition!

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

Coming up:

Friday July 27 July Fourth Friday, Program TBD. 
Second Tuesdays each month Games Night, 7:00-9:00pm. Palo Alto. Please RSVP to transitionpaloalto@googlegroups.com for address and other details.
Fourth Tuesdays each month TPA Community Council, 7-9pm, Palo Alto. Check your TPA email for location and details later in the month.
Fridays, except fourth Friday Transition Cafe, 6:10-8pm, Red Rock Cafe, Castro St, Mountain ViewMore about the cafe
Weekends Garden Shares:
First Saturday each month: Mountain View Garden Share,
12 noon-1pm, Heritage Park in Mountain View.
Second Saturday each month: Portola Valley Garden Share,
10-11am, Portola Valley Town Center.
Fourth Sunday each month: Sunnyvale Garden Share,
11am-noon, Charles St. Garden, Sunnyvale.
Every other Sunday, starting 5/6: Redwood City Garden Share, 1266 Connecticut Drive, Redwood City. Contact rhamsa14@yahoo.com for updates.

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


Transition Café – Patriotism

I like to talk about Patriotism, this time of year. Initially, it just seemed like an interesting subject, given that the word “unpatriotic” was to the administration of Bush II what “fake news” is to Donald Trump and his followers. That is, a term used to immediately shut down a conversation and turn a room against the person the term was used to describe. Although, we’re now hearing that Donald Trump, too, is “weaponizing patriotism”. Other words are used this way, obviously, I’m just using those as examples.

Last year, I realized that I had patriotic feelings for California, as we had stood up to Trump’s politics of hate by declaring as a sanctuary state. That was a big deal, to me, as I tend not to feel a great deal of pride of belonging to any governmental body. Reflecting, though, that may not be entirely true, but it’s true enough.

These days, reports come out of Washington D.C. of loyalty oaths to Donald Trump being a requirement for being hired in the White House, and even suggestions that that practice may be applied even beyond, into other branches of government, and candidates saying that their election came down to the simple question of whether or not they were loyal to Donald Trump. In other times, that would have been laughable, but now it is chilling, watching the behavior of those around him.

In other areas of the country, July 4th was celebrated by welcoming immigrants into citizenship, with the patriotic celebration of the ideals like hospitality, welcome, and warmth that many believe this country to have been founded on.

Each side describes themselves as “true patriots”.

Patriotism, at its root, is a sense of belonging to something and an acknowledgement of relationship. It can refer to loyalty to land, to family and/or friends. This comes from Wikipedia, though, and their definition seems to have changed even in the time I’ve been writing this.

What is patriotism, to you? If you have been part of this conversation in the past, how has your answer changed? I don’t have easy answers to this, for myself. I feel a strong loyalty to the radical inclusivity espoused by California, the state I grew up in and live in. When I think of moving out of state, I think of what I’d be giving up by doing so, and that is a hard bridge to cross. Climate change may force us all to move north, of course, bringing our ideals with us, and changing the cultures we interact with. I like the idea of becoming a refugee more, as someone who welcomes refugees and immigrants, than as someone who had not, but it is hard to move to someplace entirely new, at least for me, and especially as a refugee.

Of course, if we’re forced north, many others may be, too, many identifying as patriots, mashing our ideals up, together. What happens, then? Is patriotism simply another way to create “other”, or can one have patriotic feelings towards all sentient beings?

Can one be patriotic to an idea, rather than to a place or a government? I think so, what do you think? Is there positive patriotism? I wonder if that becomes a question of compassion.

How is this conversation relevant to living in the Transition Era?

Patriotism, at Red Rock Coffee, this Friday, 6 July, from ~6:10-7:45pm. We often go to dinner afterwards, maybe we will this week, too.

Also, and I’ll be developing this idea more in the coming weeks, the Transition Café e-mails may be shifting to a different space, off of the main Transition Palo Alto list. Stay tuned to find out how to put yourself on that list.

As much as we try to schedule when Red Rock’s upstairs is open, sometimes we cross up with another event which has the upstairs closed to us. Thank you for your flexibility in working with those evening! We will try to post a note as to where we have gone, with Red Rock.

Apparently, some e-mail programs cut this announcement off in the middle of the Guidelines, with the rest of the e-mail appearing as code. When you respond to tell me about it, my whole e-mail is often visible in your response. Maybe hit “respond”, and then scroll down in that draft? One respondent suggested that there may be a [read more] prompt that you can click on. Let me know what works…

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 Cafe 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, 6 July, from ~6:10-7:45pm, 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: Rejection
Democratic Socialists of America

Is it productive to practice civil disobedience, or does it drive the victim narrative of the Republicans?
Tapping into the anger that is present in the nation, in different ways?
Easier to feel fear than anger?
All of these fears, what do we do with them?
Is it “all just energy”?
Is “just doing something” better than doing nothing?

When we reject people for their actions, does that make us like them?
Peoples’ lives are at stake, we need to realize that, and act like it.

Random and Useful Other Stuff:

Toby Hemenway’s (author of Gaia’s Garden)

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.

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

New Book Group Starting Up

–submitted by Victora Armigo
You are invited to join a new book group series focusing on Deepening Resilience. We’ll begin by featuring two books.

The first book will be Prosper! How to Prepare for the Future and Create a World Worth Inheriting 2nd Edition, by Chris Martenson  & Adam Taggart. The book is about how to build personal resilience by developing eight forms of capital (a concept taken from permaculture).

The next book will be Who Do We Choose To Be?: Facing Reality-Claiming Leadership-Restoring Sanity by Margaret J Wheatley. This book is about creating “islands of sanity” and what I see as building emotional and social capital.

I would like to see the first book group do a deep dive together on these 2 books. Space is limited, and everyone in the group should be committed to reading and participating.

My hope is that folks from the first group will lead subsequent book groups. So if you’re not accepted into the first group, you may be able to participate in a subsequent group.

We are thinking 1st,  3rd and 5th Tuesday evenings, beginning on 7/17/18 at 7p at Victoria Armigo’s home. Victoria, Barbara Weinstein, and Paul Heft are leaders of this book group.


TPA at the re:Maker Fair

On a very hot summer day, Transition Palo Alto joined other local organizations at the Mitchell Park Community Center for the re:Maker Fair.  The Fair, sponsored by the Palo Alto Library, brought together skill shares and information tables in the spirit of a Maker Fair, but with a twist:  we all showed people how to make things out of things that might other wise have gone to waste, hence re:Maker.

Transition Palo Alto’s table was dedicated to the use of food scraps that might otherwise have been tossed.  The centerpiece of our simple table was a guessing game, where we had put different food scraps in brown paper bags.  We were amused that some people were nervous to reach into the bags! – did they think we put sharp objects in there?  The bags actually contained onion skins, potato peals, carrot tops and celery leaves, and few people guessed them all.  Having guessed the contents or not, people were then made aware of what produce we had and were asked what to do with all of them together.  The answer, of course, was to add water and to make Vegetable Broth.

We offered them some tips, which we now offer to you:

  • Do you know which vegetables and scraps to use in broth?  Jennifer’s Kitchen offers a great list of vegetables and suggested uses.  For example, onion skins add color, but if you want a nice onion-y flavor, do add a piece of the onion flesh as well.  And don’t overdo the carrot tops or you’ll make the broth too bitter.
  • The Crisper Whisperer adds yet more tips.  Potato peels, and potato of course, make a thicker broth.

We also suggested an easy method of production which had light bulbs turning on over heads:

  • Keep a container in your freezer for raw scraps and add to them as you chop your veggies.
  • Take out what scraps you need for the dish you are making, balanced for taste – but make a bigger batch than you need for that dish.
  • Put the unneeded broth in ice cube trays and freeze them.  Dump the ice cubes into a labelled container if you wish.  This way you will have small amounts of broth for flavoring side dishes, such as rice.

Of course, when you strain the broth, you will still have scraps for your compost pile.  Just fewer of them and with much of the taste and nutrition extracted for your broth.

We had a great time with the Library and hope to join them again at community events in the future.  And/or have them join us at their cousin events, our Share Faires.


May Transition Palo Alto Community Council

On Tuesday, May 22, Transition Palo Alto’s Community Council met for the second time.  Six intrepid souls met at the Prolific Oven in downtown Palo Alto to hash through the business of Transition.


We first set our mind to considering the pending election and the question set by the Steering Committee in the May TPA Newsletter:  should we endorse local propositions.  The group decided, after much soul searching, that we should not endorse propositions in the name of Transition Palo Alto.  TPA is not a membership organization, nor a registered 501(c)3 – or other- non-profit.  The assembled group thought that in order to use Transition Palo Alto’s name on an endorsement, TPA ought to have a more formal structure and a publicly defined process for endorsements, such that all members could become involved, whatever membership then entailed.  This might seem less than satisfying, but in fact it was very satisfying:  we had a group of supporters, with inclusion beyond the steering committee, come out with a well thought through position.


We did come up with our own opinions, which are those of the assembled group only.  We agreed that we supported Proposition 68 and that we opposed Proposition 70.  We decided that since none of us were residents of San Jose, we were not going to take a position on Measure B.  (Spoiler:  in yesterday’s election 68 passed, while 70 and B were both defeated.)


We talked about the City of Palo Alto’s draft Zero Waste Plan.  Most people hadn’t read it.  It is a significant document, running to about 50 pages, including charts and appendices.  Those who skimmed it were impressed by its vision, short term and long.  We decided that it was indeed something which Transition Palo Alto should comment on and kicked off a committee to make comments.  If you would like to participate, send us a message.


We ran out of time before returning to our Resource Map conversation.  One thing we’re learning is that these conversations are deep and take time.  We’ll want to put multiple items on the agenda, but order them for urgency in case we run out of time.  We’ll want to return to the Resource Map conversation soon, and if we don’t have time to finish it in the Community Council, then it may just have to kick off its own separate project.


Look to join us in Council some time.

Dolores – June Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope

June 22 7:30-9:30pm 
Fireside Room, Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto, 505 E. Charleston, Palo Alto
All ages welcome! FREE, Donations appreciated.

“Exuberantly inspiring… makes you want to march and dance.” — San Francisco Chronicle


What makes a consummate activist? What does it take to be someone who dedicates their life and liberty to advancing social, economic, and environmental justice?

This month we’ll take a close look at Dolores Huerta, one of the most important, yet least known, activists in American history. An equal partner in co-founding the first farm workers unions with Cesar Chavez, her enormous contributions have gone largely unrecognized. Dolores tirelessly led the fight for racial and labor justice alongside Chavez, becoming one of the most defiant feminists of the twentieth century—and she continues the fight to this day, at 87. With intimate and unprecedented access to this intensely private mother to eleven, the film reveals the raw, personal stakes involved in committing one’s life to social change. See the trailer…

Co-sponsored by Transition Palo Alto, the Green Sanctuary Committee of UUPCA, Peninsula Peace and Justice Center, and Fools Mission.

Transition Café – Markings

–William Mutch


I met a traveler from an antique land
Who said: Two vast and trunkless legs of stone
Stand in the desert…near them in the sand
Half sunk, a shattered visage lies, whose frown,
And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command,
Tell that its sculptor well those passions read
Which yet survive stamped on these lifeless things.
The hand that mocked them and the heart that fed;

And on the pedestal these words appear:
‘My name is Ozymandias, king of kings,
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!’
Nothing else remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare,
The lone and level sands stretch far away.

-Percy Bysshe Shelley

I have been admiring the markings of Coyotes on the land I live on and steward, of late, scrapes and scats. At least, I believe the markings to have come from Coyotes. Scat placed carefully, to draw attention to it, either visually or through scent. One pile placed exactingly in the center of the intersection of three driveways on our hill, another in the center of the path down from the house onto the rest of the hill, in a similar placement to multiple scrapes which have shown up, lately, a couple of which I watched being scratched into the mulch of the path. The second pile is placed in such a way that the scent is barely noticeable near it, but it fills the living room, powerfully.

Some of the furred peoples are somewhat more particular about where they place their scat than others, leaving it carefully in places where it will communicate clear messages to others of their species, or to other species alert to such relationships. Ephemeral, not intended to be anything but, yet with their own beauty, to those with attention which takes in such things.

How dare I associate Coyote scat with a sonnet of an English Romantic poet? I will leave you to your own feelings on that, but will ask…what markings do you leave on the world? All of us leave tracks of some kind, of course: footprints in mud, dust, or sand…or in relationships or social groups…or the fabric of history…

These things are ephemeral, at best, fading quickly or slowly, but not always predictably. Footprints made in clay can be clear for far longer than a statue of a long-forgotten king or queen, or even their descendants or culture. Thought forms can be around for long, as well, though, and some say that they bubble up from a dynamic ground of being, somehow, long after they have been forgotten by mortal memories (not just in Star Wars, although that was neat how they did that!).

What markings do you leave upon the world? Are they the same as the markings you think you leave, that you want to leave? What are the shape of the footprints you leave on your relationships with those who love you, those who do not love you, those who may feel completely differently about you someday than they do today? It is easy to think that we will not be remembered, after we are gone, or that we will be remembered long into the future, but who knows? Perhaps your journal, your mad musings, ends up in a cave somewhere, to be found by the survivors of whatever our generation has wrought, and will be interpreted as the words of whatever divinity a future society worships (or else they would not have survived for so long). Archaeologists and anthropologists learn a great deal from analyzing toilets, latrines, and scat piles. What do yours say? About you? About your culture?

How would you feel if your great sonnet were to end up in an essay with a couple of piles of scat? How about if your carefully-considered, exquisitely-placed scat piles were to end up in an essay with a sonnet composed by someone so crass as to consign your artistic medium to an outhouse or toilet?

Who knows? What do you want to happen? Is it ever too late to change that? What if it isn’t too late, however old you are, however close to the end of your mortal life? A good friend of mine left her physical form behind a few years ago, and the ripples of her state change have created benevolence, understanding, and good works in the world that she likely did not anticipate, in her time as a mortal. Still, she lived a life that many of us would envy, and folks are realizing that they could emulate. She certainly would have had a less-pleasant side, too, most of us do, but folks aren’t talking about that. No monuments, no vast and trunkless legs of stone, just ripples of good will, stirring hearts long past her mortal life, and perhaps long past our mortal memories of her.





Spring Share Faire June 10

Mitchell Park Bowl
3700 East Meadow Dr
Palo Alto, CA 94303 [MAP]
Sunday, June 10, 2018
1:00 – 3:00 PM

Don’t miss the Transition Palo Alto Spring/Summer Share Faire this Sunday afternoon. We’ve got an awesome batch of skillshares lined up:
Improv Techniques with Roy
Cockadoodle Do’s and Don’ts with Victoria
Tool Care with William
Science Experiments with Hamsa
Lace making with Suzanne
Food prep with Diane

We’ll also share goods – garden and clothing, books and household items, toys and more.  And we’ll share each other’s good company while building a stronger community.

Please plan to join us.  If you’d like to volunteer as a greeter, for set-up or clean-up, or for whatever, send email to transitionpaloalto@gmail.com.
2018 spring share faire flyer