Bike Palo Alto!

Join in for an afternoon of fun and learn how easy it is to bike in Palo Alto.  Bike Palo Alto! 2011 will be on Sunday, October 9, 1-4 pm.

Start at El Carmelo School (Bryant & Loma Verde) for bike safety info, helmet fitting, bike registration, and bike safety checks and maintenance. Then choose one of our highlighted routes and take a fun ride with free treats along the way including ice cream at Baskin Robbins and fruit at Mollie Stone’s & Whole Foods.

Bike Palo Alto! is a free, family friendly event, no pre-registration is necessary. Just bring your bike and helmet and be ready to lower your carbon footprint and have some fun! Event highlights:

  • Learn tips on how to bike safely on public streets and make sure your helmet is ready to protect you!
  • Get a great local bike map highlighting bike routes in and around Palo Alto!
  • Check out Palo Alto’s great bike routes and stop along the way for free ice cream and other treats!
  • Learn about bike safety accessories to make your ride safer and register your bike!
  • Want to know the best bike route from your home to your favorite destination? Ask the Route Wizard!
  • Bring your bike by for a free safety check and basic maintenance!
  • Sign up for our free raffle for a chance to win a great prize!

For more info go to:

Or find us on Facebook at

Bike Palo Alto! Sponsors: Palo Alto CEAP, City of Palo Alto Way2Go & Sustainability Programs, Mike’s Bikes, Whole Foods, The Sweet Shop, Starbucks, Baskin Robbins, Mollie Stone’s Markets, Traders Joes, Kepler’s Books, REI, Palo Alto Bikes, College Terrace Association & the Barron Park Association.



Transition Palo Alto sponsors Introduction to Resilience Circles

By Thomas Atwood

On a balmy September evening in the Bay Area, 27 people gather at World Centric in Palo Alto to learn about the resilience circle movement. Many are already participants in Transition Palo Alto, and bring a mature understanding of the ecological basis of our collective pain. Others come at the invitation of friends, or out of curiosity. They’ve come to learn about local consciousness raising groups that face economic stress together in a supportive setting. As the evening progresses, the group experiences the power of a primal ritual. Some might attend the same event and argue that a ritual never took place. But, like any good story, it always happens when humans tap into the collective wisdom of the faces around the fire.

Debbie Mytels recording "cultural messages."Debbie Mytels recording "cultural messages."

An opening reading from Meg Wheatley, Turning to One Another, sets the tone. Each voice contributes a line of the reading in turn, as though a Greek chorus had arrived just for the occasion. A round of introductions reveals a cast of characters that you might stereotype as comfortable, middle class residents of Silicon Valley, ground zero of American prosperity. The magic begins.

“What are the economic signs of the times?” facilitator Debbie Mytels asks. The room erupts with a familiar narrative. Small, local businesses are closing, and we’re seeing more empty storefronts. So many people don’t have health insurance, and six of them here in the circle. Adult children are living at home with their parents. Business people are running our education system. Worker productivity has increased over 40 years, but wages are stagnant. America has become an auctioning block of deep online discounts. Sailboats are going for a bargain at $2500. People who still have jobs are doing the work of three or more people. Employees of huge global enterprises are anxious, stressed, isolated, crying at their desks, and taking large doses of antidepressants.

The list goes on. A Stanford professor asked a student to lecture on dumpster diving. A technical writer with a PhD in English from Stanford couldn’t get a three-year supplemental employee contract renewed at a global software company. Another PhD had to go to Korea to find a job. People we know are internalizing the pain and blaming themselves, taking unhealthy solace in spectacle, illusion, and fast food. When the anesthesia wears off, the pain returns.

After an outburst of insights like these, the reading for Facing Economic Change simply cements in what’s already been said. Tough times lie ahead, and we are in a stage of fundamental transition. We won’t have more debt-fueled economic growth, and our economic model is not ecologically sustainable. A resilience circle is a place to support one another and prepare. The choir in the room wants to burst into song, but first the facilitators want to discuss cultural messages about the economy.

As more voices contribute to the circle, the burgeoning energy of the narrative takes on a life of its own. The media glorifies the wealthy and sets impossible standards, too many of us taking comfort in the hope that we’ll become “one of them.” Pundits foment fear. Talking heads scapegoat the poor, immigrants, feminists, gays, academics, the “elite liberal establishment”—anyone we don’t know well enough to hear their story. “You’re on your own.” “Be afraid.” “The world is divided into winners and losers, and losers shouldn’t get anything.” “The private sector and the invisible hand of the free market will fix everything.” “Go shopping.” “It’s your own damn fault.”

People are ready to talk about themselves, and the agenda opens the floodgates. The group breaks into pairs for a discussion question. “What are one or two ways that the economic crisis is touching you, or someone you love?” After ten minutes the group reconvenes to share back, and facilitator Thomas Atwood can’t write fast enough on his easel pad.

It starts with everyday frustrations, such as the distractions of an interrupt-driven lifestyle, hidden fees and penalties from banks, and 40 minutes on the phone trying to cancel a DSL service. It gets worse. Six people in the room have no health insurance, and one gave up in frustration trying to get through the process of comparing plans. A brother in law was laid off at age 65 just as he was asking for time off for surgery. One participant attributes a huge rent increase to a landlord trying to recoup his stock market losses. Another person had a 53% rent increase in January. A sister with a ten-year-old daughter has been homeless for three years, making her way through the shelter system and relying on the generosity of friends. Another woman volunteers for a rotating shelter at her church. After a series of job losses, a sister who started out as an Executive Director of a San Francisco non profit has given up on having a professional life in the US, and is now working in Afghanistan. A friend is living in a truck in the parking lot where someone works. Financial stress is forcing one woman to sell her house, which she characterizes as “her paradise.”

Mytels handles the logistics of next steps with a deftness born of years of experience as a community organizer. The group will take the seven-session curriculum from the national Resilience Circle Network together and finish by Thanksgiving. After working out the details, the group closes by standing in a circle and reading an excerpt from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King’s 1964 Nobel Peace Prize acceptance speech: “… I am not yet discouraged about the future. Granted that the easygoing optimism of yesterday is impossible.”

As if leaving is difficult, many linger in the room for conversation and debriefing. By 3:41 AM, Bart Anderson (a Transition Palo Alto organizer) has set up a Yahoo Group for the new resilience circle, saying that “I was keyed up after the great meeting of the Resilience Circle, so I thought I would use some of that energy productively.”

“It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.”

From The Moon Is Always Female, by Marge Piercy

Thomas Atwood greeting people at Palo Alto's first Resilience Circle.“Author Thomas Atwood greeting people at Palo Alto's first Resilience Circle.”

From Thomas’s bio:

I believe that the role of the magician in society was more interesting in antiquity, and I occasionally revive the “trickster” role in the persona of my magician alter ego, Alfonzo the Conjuring Fool. Alfonzo is crazy about the Faithful Fools Street Ministry in San Francisco (See HIs magic tends to surprise him as much as it does anyone else, fostering awareness of mystery and of the real-world misdirection and shell games going on all around us.

Speaking of foolishness, I earn my living as a technical writer in Silicon Valley. My poetry envisions relationships among spiritual, psychological, and scientific perspectives on the human condition.

I am learning to be a community organizer, because local and regional relationships have the best chance of surviving the coming collapse of an unsustainable industrial civilization powered by cheap oil. So I work with friends to organize resilience circles and build hope for a soft landing.

An introduction to Resilience Circles – Sept 15

We’re in this Together!

An Introduction to Resilience Circles
September 15, 2011

The Great Recession is a scary time. Debt, foreclosure, unemployment, anxious employment, evaporating savings, rising costs, job insecurity, and environmental uncertainties.

Resilience circles are a positive way forward. A resilience circle is a small group of people that comes together to:

  • Face economic and ecological challenges
  • Learn about root causes
  • Discover non-financial resources
  • Build relationships that strengthen security
  • Take steps for mutual aid and shared action
  • Learn about helpful community projects
  • Rediscover what we have and the prospect of a brighter future
  • Become part of a larger effort to create a fair, healthy, sustainable economy for all

For those already involved in local Transition activities, resilience circles are a natural way to tie in our concerns about peak oil and climate change with the real economic and personal challenges that we face. It’s all part of the same picture!

Join us for an introduction to Resilience Circles

We’ll learn about the resilience circle movement and how resilience circles are helping people turn hardship into strengthened relationships and mutual support. We’ll also plan follow-on sessions for those who want to get involved.

September 15
6:30 meet and greet
7:00-9:00 Intro to Resilience Circles
World Centric
2121 Staunton Court
Palo Alto, CA 94306

Hosted by Transition Palo Alto book group 4

For more information about the event write to, or

For more information about the Resilience Circle movement, see

Newsletter – September 1, 2011

September 1, 2011


Film series Films of Vision and Hope: Free Film Series – Food Connections! World Centric 2121 Staunton Ct. Time: Fridays 7:30 – 9:30 PM

* September 2 – Rebecca’s Wild Farm: Wildlife filmmaker Rebecca Hosking shows how she transformed her family’s farm in Devon into a lowenergy farm for the future, discovering that nature holds the key.

* September 9 – Establishing a Food Forest: Back by popular demand! In this fascinating film, famed permaculturist Geoff Lawton shows how to turn even the most unpromising ecosystems into thriving, productive food forests.

* September 16 – Locavore: Today, the average conventionally grown vegetable travels more than 1500 miles and is over-processed, stale, and without nutrition. Learn how the Locavore movement is changing all of that.

* September 23 – 100 Mile Potluck: It’s harvest season, and the autumnal equinox! Come to share food, conversation, and ideas.
TRANSITION POTLUCK – September 5, Sunnyvale, 5pm

Come to share the bounty of the season! Bring a dish with local, seasonal ingredients, if you can (tomatoes, eggplant, squash, seasonal fruit, local meats, or other). We’ll share where our ingredients came from and how the dishes were prepared. We’ll also talk about what’s happening with Transition-related activities for the coming year, including a new series of monthly potlucks that will focus on different themes. Friends and family of all ages are welcome!

Victoria Armigo’s house, 776 Henderson Ave, Sunnyvale, CA 94086, Tel 408 296-6605
RSVP (if you can) to,, or
QUAKEVILLE 2011 – September 10-11, Briones and Rinconada Parks

Quakeville 2011: IT’s BACK…if you missed last year’s Quakeville event, here’s your opportunity to participate. demos and a camp-out. The Weekly did a complete article, see
Link to flyer at For more, or to camp in Rinconada Park contact, Annette at
10 YEARS AND COUNTING – September 11 – October 7

Sept 11 – Oct 7, 2011 will mark the ten year anniversary of our nation continuously at war. 10 Years + Counting invites artists and others to take this historic moment as inspiration and use the power of creativity to illustrate the costs of war and imagine a more peaceful world. For visit or start an event in your area:

In July Rob joined us to discuss what was new in the Transition Movement. Join this follow up conversation where we expect to go deeper into what he is now referring to as the “ingredients” of Transition. September 12, 8am-9:15am online/by phone. Register online at:
TALK: MOVE TO AMEND – First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, September 12, 7-9pm

David Cobb is an organizer and rousing speaker for Move to Amend (and a former Green Party Presidential Candidate). Come see him speak about corporate personhood and how to end it. There will be a lengthy Q & A. Free and open to the public.

7-9pm, First Baptist Church of Palo Alto, 305 North California Avenue @ Bryant, Palo Alto, CA 94301

The Climate Reality Project is bringing the facts about the climate crisis into the mainstream and engaging the public in conversation about how to solve it. Founded and chaired by Al Gore, Nobel Laureate and former Vice President of the United States, The Climate Reality Project is 24 hours of real truth about climate change, at various locations around the world. For more information and to watch the video:
GRAN FONDO – September 17

Includes 3 events: Echelon challenge to walk, run, or bike multiple short laps for charity, Echelon Gran Fondo to cycle 60, 80, or 95 miles, and A Taste of Palo Alto – a taste of 15 fine Palo Alto restaurants. Taste of Palo Alto and festival free with each entry. Fundraising not required.
$25 public/$15 children
COASTAL CLEANUP DAY – September 17, 9am-noon

California Coastal Cleanup Day, an annual beach and inland waterway cleanup, is the state’s largest volunteer event. In 2010, over 82,500 volunteers removed more than 1.2 million pounds of trash and recyclables from our beaches, lakes, and waterways, one of the largest volunteer events in the world. Participate at
RESKILLING EXPO – September 24, Santa Cruz

A day-long symposium of workshops offered to the public free-of-charge and designed to impart skills that will increase food security, conserve water and build community resilience. More info at

Saturday, September 24, Museum of Art and History, 705 Front Street, Santa Cruz, 9am-5pm.


The City of Palo Alto is participating in the World Wide Day of Play, an annual event designed to encourage kids and parents to turn off the TV and play, especially out of doors. This would be a good time for neighborhood activities, group parties and exploring our open unique and glorious spaces. The new City of Palo Alto Community Services Department Fall 2011 brochure is now on line.

MOVING PLANET – September 24’s Bay Area “Moving Planet” Event is a global day of action. Learn more or join in on Moving Planet: A Day to Move Beyond Fossil Fuels, which promises to be the largest people-moving movement ever.

TALK: CLIMATE ADAPTATION – September 27, Avenidas, 5:30pm

Topic: “Climate Adaptation and Resilience” Speaker: Ann Clarke, Chief, Environmental Mgmt. Div., NASA Ames Research Center Informed

Decisions: Prostate Cancer Group. Facilitated by Dr. Leon Kaseff
The group provides a forum for open discussion with expertise provided by local medical professionals. Open to the public. Meets the 4th Tuesday in Jan, Mar, May, July, Sept, & Nov. Free and open to the public. Tuesday, Sept. 27th at 5:30 PM


Learn gardening in various classes Saturdays.
September 3: YOGA FOR GARDENERS with Patricia Becker Saturday from 10:30 – 12:30. FEE: $31.
September 10: START YOUR FALL GARDEN with Drew Harwell from 10:30 – 1:00. FEE: $35
September 17: INTRODUCTION TO GROW BIOINTENSIVE 10:30-12:30 FEE: $31, COMPOSTING 1:30-3:30 $31
September 24: TOP TEN HERBS TO GROW 10:30-12:30 FEE: $42

For more information, call Common Ground Staff at 650-493-6072 or email or visit Common Ground Garden Supply and Education Center, 559 College Ave., Palo Alto

Master Gardeners courses

Learn various techniques for your gardens with free classes. September 3 – Gardening in Containers. September 27 – All about Lawns. 10-11am, followed by Open Garden. For more information, call UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County at 408-282-3105 or email or visit Los Altos Library, 13 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos

Sept. 10th – University South Join Canopy at their upcoming Arborist-led Tree Walks. They gather every month on the second Saturday from 10AM to Noon. To request a brochure: or call 964-6110 x2.


October 9 – Halloween Costume and Garden Share, Bike Palo Alto
October 11 – Stanford Food Summit
October 21-30 – United Nations Association Film Festival (Education is a Human Right)
October – October 2011 in Washington, DC
TBA – Ladies’ clothing swap

Tuesdays – Reskilling Book Group, Conversation, Community and Calling
Wednesdays – Book group 2 continuing discussion, Reskilling group, Sustainable Meditation and Action Group (through September 21)
Fridays – Film series
2nd Sunday – Garden share at Common Ground
4th Sunday – Garden share at Full Circle Farm

Visit the website at for details
You can access the Calendar via:

Contact the Transition team
to get on or off the newsletter mailing list (the transitionpaloalto Yahoo Group) or to suggest events!

United Nations Association Film Festival

The theme for this year’s United Nations Association Film Festival (UNAFF) is EDUCATION IS A HUMAN RIGHT. The 14th annual festival runs October 21-30,  2011 in Palo Alto, East Palo Alto, San Francisco, and Stanford University.  The festival series has celebrated the power of documentary films in dealing with human rights, environmental themes, women’s issues, population, homelessness, racism, children, health, universal education, war, and peace. Transition Palo Alto is happy to partner with UNAFF.

By offering the very popular programs “UNAFF and Kids” and “UNAFF in Schools” and several panel discussions, UNAFF hopes to broaden the audience and initiate a meaningful community dialogue.


Phone: (650) 724-5544

Transition Labor Day potluck Sept 5

Calling all Transitioners, Friends, and Family

Labor Day 100 Mile Potluck
September 5, 2011, 5:00 PM

Come to share the bounty of the season! Bring a dish with local, seasonal ingredients, if you can (tomatoes, eggplant, squash, seasonal fruit, local meats, or other). We’ll share where our ingredients came from and how the dishes were prepared.

We’ll also talk about what’s happening with Transition-related activities for the coming year, including a new series of monthly potlucks that will focus on different themes.

Friends and family of all ages are welcome!

Sunnyvale home – RSVP for details

RSVP (if you can) to,, or

Newsletter – August 5, 2011

August 5, 2011

SUMMER SOLAR PROGRESSIVE PARTY – August 6, 5:00pm, Josina Ave, Palo Alto

Come to the 9th Annual Summer Solar Progressive Party – happy hour and munchies at David Coale’s cool solar-powered house 5-7pm, then at 7pm a potluck at Susan Stansbury and Cedric de La Beaujariere’s cool, solar-powered house. See the solar cooker, other solar toys, and meet sunny faces. Please bring a dish, preferably local and organic, to share with utensils to serve. Bicycles, electric cars, and other alternate modes of transportation encouraged. Sun Salutations happening all evening!

Saturday, August 6, 2011 5:00 PM – 11:30 PM Where: David (766) , Susan, Cedric’s (766)
Josina Ave Palo Alto CA 94306 RSVP to 650 815-8121 or 650-493-9121


Learn gardening in various classes Saturdays. $35. Aug 30 – Landscaping with edibles. For more information, call Common Ground Staff at 650-493-6072 or email or visit Common Ground Garden Supply and Education Center, 559 College Ave., Palo Alto

Master Gardeners courses

Learn various techniques for your gardens with free classes. Aug 9 – 1-2pm – Growing vegetable in the cool season, Aug 30 – 7:30-8:30pm – Cool season vegetable gardening. For more information, call UCCE Master Gardeners of Santa Clara County at 408-282-3105 or email or visit Los Altos Library, 13 S. San Antonio Road, Los Altos

MOVIE: America the Beautiful 2 – The Thin Commandments

Darryl Robert’s sequel: “America the Beautiful 2 — The Thin Commandments (A Look at our Unhealthy Obsession with Dieting and Other Weighty Matters).” This pre-release screening is open to the public and will be immediately followed by Q&A with the director. Aug. 13, 8 p.m. $15 advance/$20 at door. Visit Sofitel San Francisco Bay , 223 Twin Dolphin Drive, Redwood City


September 14 – Al Gore’s Climate Reality Project
October 1 – Craft and Halloween costume swap, location TBA
October 9 – Bike Palo Alto
October 11 – Stanford Food Summit


Tuesdays – Conversation, Community and Calling [alternate Tuesdays)
Wednesdays – Book group 2 continuing discussion [alt. Wed], Reskilling group, Sustainable Meditation and Action Group (through September 21)
Fridays – Film series
2nd Sunday – Garden share at Common Ground
4th Sunday – Garden share at Full Circle Farm

Visit the website at for details
You can access the Calendar via:

Contact the Transition team
to get on or off the newsletter mailing list (the transitionpaloalto Yahoo Group) or to suggest events!

1) New calendar! 2) Mercury-News features Garden Share

Now appearing: a new calendar of Transition-related events

Just press the Calendar Tab for upcoming Films, classes, discussion groups, conferences, garden swaps … (Thanks Rani!)

Mercury-News featurs Garden Share

And speaking of garden swaps. The idea was first introduced last year by TPA member Jan B. Garden swaps are now being held regularly. Neighboring communities have also picked up the idea. The San Jose Mercury News just highlighted one in Sunnyvale:

Sunnyvale: Garden share brings gardeners and their best goods full circle
SJ Mercury News
August 4, 2011

Fresh fruits, vegetables and flowers covered table after table at the first Sunnyvale Local Garden Share hosted at Full Circle Farm last month. About 30 adults and children came to the event put together by the farm, environmental education nonprofit Acterra, Sunnyvale Cool, Transition Silicon Valley and Summerwinds Nursery.

At the July 24 event, gardeners from Sunnyvale, Cupertino, Saratoga, Palo Alto and Santa Clara shared everything from apples, blueberries, plums, oranges and apricots to green beans, zucchini, herbs, peppers, tomatoes, flowers and even bread makers.

Organizers plan to host the sharing event on the fourth Sunday of every month and encourage all Silicon Valley gardeners to think of it as a “free backyard farmers market.”

“The intent of the garden share is to build community by sharing the excess from our gardens, getting to know each other and offering ideas and suggestions about edible growing,” Full Circle Farm volunteer Michelle Philips said.


Next Craft swap

Our third craft swap will be on Sunday, July 17 1-3pm at Opalz in Midtown Palo Alto. Please rsvp to rani: bacraftswap at gmail dot com if you’ll be coming!

Click here for more info on the craft swap, and information about previous swaps. Please share the information with crafters, artists, teachers, families, and others who may have or need supplies. Feel free to post the flyer:

Craft swap 3

Local Garden Share

Neighbors Sharing Food/Flowers/Herbs from their Gardens

Sunday, May 22, 11 AM – Noon  FREE !

Common Ground Garden Supply & Education Center
559 College Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94306

The first local Garden Swap was held August 21,2010, with people coming together to share produce, chat and get to know one another. Four other events followed where home gardeners met for a free exchange of garden bounty. Here is one guest’s rave review: “What a great event, like a free farmers’ market – grapes and raspberries and oranges and two types of apples, sage and oregano and rosemary and thyme, sorrel and a plethora of tomatoes, seeds to save and plant, and some beautiful flowers. Thank you!” – Rani

Sunday, May 22 will be the kick off event for the 2011 season.

Join us to share garden bounty. Bring what you have to share; take home something you don t.  Think of it as a free backyard farmers market.  (And if you can’t find what you’re looking for, the California Ave. Farmer’s Market is happening concurrently.)

Bring your homegrown fruit, vegetables, eggs, herbs, honey, flowers, seeds, & plant seedlings!

Throughout the Bay Area, neighbors are coming together for sharing locally grown, fresh produce. Our Palo Alto sharing event is supported by a coalition of community ecological organizations and neighborhood groups including: Acterra, Barron Park Green Team, Barron Park Garden Network, Barron Park Assn., Common Ground Garden Supply & Education Center, City of Palo Alto Community Gardens, Slow Food South Bay, and Transition Palo Alto.