Mendo Island Journal — Timely. Useful. Sometimes Cranky.

Archive for the ‘Mendo Island Transition’ Category

Transition: The Greek Town that Already Opted Out of the Euro…

In Mendo Island Transition on June 13, 2012 at 5:49 am

From STUART BRAMHALL
The Most Revolutionary Act

An interesting  BBC feature about a flourishing Greek town. They have plenty of money because they have their own local currency – the TEMS.

If video fails to play go to free link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9y9R0v96K48&feature=youtu.be

A Video About Greek Time Banks

A second BBC video about Greek time banks, where services are exchanged without money:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=endscreen&NR=1&v=dz1KQkUJPkA

From the Wall Street Journal

Also check out a fascinating article (from the Wall Street Journal Market Watch, no less) about all the countries (including the US) that are setting up barter systems and local currencies in their determination to alleviate the human misery causes by the global economic crisis:

“China, France, Ireland and other countries are seriously examining the feasibility of launching their own government sponsored barter systems. On December 8, 2011, The City of London released a report titled ‘Capacity Trade and Credit: Emerging Architectures for Commerce and Money’ with the goal of creating a barter hub of sorts for Europe in London. In the U.S. more than twelve states have legislation pending to create State currencies to serve as an alternative to the currency distributed by the Federal Reserve and commercial banking system.” Link to Full Article

Re-introducing the Drachma as a Complementary Currency

And James Skinner’s  A dual-currency solution to the Greek debt crisis, with a a proposal to address Greece’s money shortage by keeping the euro and re-introducing the drachma as a complementary currency:

According to Skinner:

More…

Transition: The New REconomy Website…

In Mendo Island Transition on June 8, 2012 at 7:55 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

Finally! It’s here! After what feels like years of hard graft (but was really only 9 months or so) the REconomy Project website is now live. What a relief, I can tell you. What started out as one of those conversations in the team that go “hmmm I think we need to build a totally new website of our own, so it does exactly what we want – I can knock up a wordpress template based site in a few days” has turned into something rather more labour intensive.  This is a bit like the thinking that went “we need a 5 minute video for the homepage, that will probably take a couple of hours” and then consumed over 27 hours of time! It’s been quite a learning curve for us. But we’re delighted with the result, and we hope you like it too.

The website provides the latest tools and resources that can help you build a local economy where you live. We have tried to organise them all in a logical way so you can find what you need. Trying to figure out the navigation of the website has taken more time than anything else, and led to the most heated arguments.

Here’s a linked picture of one of the webpages just to give you flavour of one of the many great posts. More…

Transition: Give Me That Doom Time Religion…

In Mendo Island Transition on June 6, 2012 at 5:09 am

From ERIK CURREN
Transition Voice

[Previous articles from this conference posted recently here and here. -DS]

To deal with the scary bits of an economy facing collapse, a campground in the middle of the forest will put you in a different frame of mind than a hotel conference center.

I don’t usually think of people interested in peak oil, climate change and economic collapse as particularly religious. “Spiritual” maybe — Sufi dancing and Lakota Vision Quests are OK and agnosticism is better. But peak preppers are usually not the kind of folks you’d expect to see in the pews on Sunday at First Presbyterian.

The Age of Limits conference held at the end of May offered some new insights on how religion, as an organized institution, could play a key role in helping people deal with the collapse that the conference’s speakers think has already hit many parts of the world, including much of the US.

Though at this event, neither religion nor collapse were what they used to be.

The speakers, collapsitarians all — Dmitry Orlov, John Michael Greer, Gail Tverberg and Carolyn Baker — apparently weren’t born again while reading the Book of Job and didn’t hear the voice of God while fasting during Ramadan. As to the mother of all religious organizations, the Catholic Church came up only as the example of an institution that has outlasted the rise and fall of empires and nations and even today seems to enjoy great immunity from legal prosecution (pedophilia crisis, anyone?). More…

Transition: Emotional Resilience In Traumatic Times…

In Mendo Island Transition on May 31, 2012 at 7:00 am


From CAROLYN BAKER
Age of Limits

In March, 2011, I returned from Northern California where residents there were profoundly anxious regarding the effects of radiation on the West Coast from Fukushima. How not, when on April 1, the San Francisco area newspaper, Bay Citizen, reported that “Radiation from Japan rained on Berkeley during recent storms at levels that exceeded drinking water standards by 181 times and has been detected in multiple milk samples, but the U.S. government has still not published any official data on nuclear fallout here from the Fukushima disaster”?

In typical American media fashion, out of sight, out of mind. Fewer and fewer stories of radiation realities in and issuing from Japan are being reported in mainstream news. An occasional comment surfaces, usually assuring us that we have nothing to fear. It’s all so benign. Apparently, we can now move on to “really important” stories like the 2012 election campaign.

And yet, whether explicitly stated or not, Americans and billions of other individuals throughout the world, are not only terrified about radiation but about their economic future—an economic future which will be inexorably more ruinous as a result of the Japan tragedy and its economic ripples globally. By that I do not mean that they feel mild anxiety about embellishing their stock portfolios, but rather, are feeling frightened about how they are going to feed their families, where they will live after losing their house in foreclosure, where they might find employment in a world More…

Transition: Sustainable Living as Religious Observance…

In Mendo Island Transition on May 31, 2012 at 6:50 am

From DMITRY ORLOV
Club Orlov

I have spent the last few days at a conference organized by the Four Quarters Interfaith Sanctuary near Artemas, Pennsylvania. Titled “The Age of Limits,” it was well attended and promises to be one of a series of annual conferences to address the waning of the industrial age and the social adaptation it makes necessary. This conference was quite different from all the others I have attended.

First, the venue is a campground; a beautiful one, consisting of lush meadows surrounded by an equally lush but passable forest girded on three sides by a fast-flowing creek of cold, clean water. This sanctuary is dedicated to nature spirituality, and includes a very impressive stone circle and a multitude of little shrines, altars, charms and amulets hung on trees. (Also included is an assortment of cheerful hippies skinny-dipping in the creek.) Second, spirituality was prominently featured in the presentations: the question of spiritual and emotional adaptation to fast-changing, unsettled times was very much on the agenda. Third, the campground is owned by a church; one of undefined denomination, theological bent or specific set of beliefs, but a church nevertheless. Lastly, the campground is run by a monastery that is at the heart of this church; the monks and nuns do not wear habits, do not seem to have taken any specific vows other than those of loyalty, poverty and obedience, but in substance not too different More…

Transition: How to Start a Tool Lending Library…

In Mendo Island Transition on May 31, 2012 at 6:00 am

From DAVID LANG
MakeZine.com

David Lang, something of a reluctant maker, is on a journey, intensively immersing himself in maker culture and learning as many DIY skills as he can, in part through a generous arrangement with our pals at TechShop. He’s regularly chronicling his efforts in this column — what he’s learning, who he’s meeting, and what hurdles he’s clearing…

Throughout my Zero to Maker journey, I’ve prided myself on how much I’ve been able to accomplish without actually owning many of the tools I’ve needed. As someone with a tight budget and an even smaller studio apartment, I’ve been pleasantly surprised at how much I can accomplish through collaborative outlets like TechShop and Noisebridge. However, last week, my strategy fell apart.

While working on building a standing desk in my room, the cheap, electric drill I was using totally gave out on me. I was building the desk out of large pieces of reclaimed wood, the drill was a critical part of the equation, and hauling the entire project to TechShop made no sense. If only there was an easy way to borrow a tool. Turns out, there is, but not for me because I live in San Francisco. If I lived across the Bay in Berkeley or Oakland, I could swing by the local Tool Lending Library and get what I needed.

Tool Lending Libraries work just like book lending libraries, except they allow the temporary use of tools instead of books. They allow a community to access the tools they need More…

James Lee: Local Money…

In Mendo Island Transition on May 25, 2012 at 5:46 am

From JAMES LEE
Anderson Valley

‘Give me control of a nations money supply, and I care not who makes it’s laws’ ~ Amschel Rothchilds

It is critical to understand when, how and why the privately owned, for profit, corporate Fed Reserve and their crony banksters plan to eliminate the dollar and convert us all in one fell swoop to a digital currency.

Less than 7% of all transactions are cash. Merchants, big and small, are now switching to the new Paypal Iphone swiping technology that attaches to YOUR iphone, as they undercut the 3% fee charged by the major credit card companies, making the conversion to a digital currency seamless.

“PayPal today launched a new device, called PayPal Here, in the US, Canada, Australia and Hong Kong, that consists of a free, triangle shaped card reader and mobile phone application. The gadget connects into the top of iPhones and iPads allowing merchants to take payments on the go from any any of the four major credit cards (including American Express), PayPal accounts and even checks!”
http://www.business-opportunities.biz/2012/03/15/paypal-introduces-credit-card-swiping-iphone-device/

Spain, Italy and Greece have enacted strict (less than $1500 Euro) customer withdrawals of cash More…

Transition: Peak Money…

In Mendo Island Transition on May 24, 2012 at 5:30 am

From SHAUN CHAMBERLIN
darkoptimism.org

[The Strongbow Bankers video below is priceless... -DS]

“To be truly radical is to make hope possible, rather than despair convincing.” – Raymond Williams

Last month I was one of forty or so attendees of the Transition ‘Peak Money’ day. It was a great collection of people, from theorists to community activists, and an important opportunity to reflect on the challenges facing us all as the glaring errors at the heart of mainstream economics start to take their toll. This post is far more personal reflection than report, as Rob Hopkins has already done a great job on that front.

The key theme that seemed to run throughout the day was of ‘collapse’. Sadly, travel problems meant I was an hour late to the event, but the first sessions I witnessed were reports from Transitioners in Portugal, Ireland and Greece on the impacts of the economic problems there. The talk was of collapse having already happened for many there, with statistics quoted including an 89% increase in Greek unemployment in three years, and Irish suicides having doubled since 2007.

This part of the day pulled no punches. Most of us were left grey and shaken as the harsh reality on the frontlines of the crisis was relayed. For me, a defining memory of the day was watching alternative economists in attendance sitting listening to this – people who have spent decades warning of these outcomes and trying to head them off – their heads shaking sadly with lips pursed, hands involuntarily coming to their faces in dismay as their Cassandra curse unfolds. Of course, the statistics were not new to them, but hearing these stories in person More…

Transition: New Film Showing Tonight in Ukiah 5/21/12 at 6:30pm

In Mendo Island Transition on May 21, 2012 at 6:53 am


TRANSITION UKIAH VALLEY
PRESENTS

In Transition 2.0
Trailer here

Join us and become inspired!

The Saturday Afternoon Clubhouse
107 S. Oak Street

Monday, May 21st
6:30 PM

$5-10 Donation requested

This film is an inspirational immersion into the Transition movement, gathering stories from around the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.  You’ll hear about communities printing their own money, growing food, localizing their economies and setting up community power stations.  Here is a story of hope, responding to uncertain times with solutions and optimism.  Join us and learn how you can help prepare our own community for a more resilient future.

Transition Ukiah Valley is part of an international localization movement to build community resilience in the face of peak oil, climate change and economic instability.

Contact:  707-462-9405

A Fiscally Sponsored Program of the Cloud Forest Institute.
TUV Film/Speaker Series Sponsored & Supported by S.A.C.
~~

My Town in Transition: How to change the story of the place where you are…

In Mendo Island Transition on May 18, 2012 at 4:50 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

[Click: Transition 2.0 Film Showing Next Monday Evening 5/21/12 in Ukiah -DS]

The video of this is here.

“Hello.  I want to tell you a story which pulls together a lot of what we’ve heard already and looks at what that might look like in the context of one place. And it’s a story which I think can change the world. It’s a story which already is changing the world. It’s the story of my town, Totnes, in Devon.  A town of about 8,500 people, midway between Exeter and Plymouth.   But before I can tell you the story what I really want to tell you about Totnes, I have to get another one out of the way first.

Totnes was once referred to as the “Capital of New Age Chic”, that’s ‘chic’ not ‘sheep’. The idea of a “Capital of New Age Sheep” is too horrible to imagine. The Western Morning News, the local paper, in an article which I’ll be coming back to later, once referred to the average resident of Totnes as a “sandal wearing, crystal gazing soap carver subsisting entirely on brown rice and organic parsnips”. And Matt Harvey, our local poet, says that when you’ve lived there too long your body starts to secrete a hormone called ‘Totnesterone’, where your masculine and feminine come into perfect balance with each other.

More…

Transition: Seed Swap Ukiah Farmers Market Today Saturday 4/21/12 9:30am

In Mendo Island Transition on April 21, 2012 at 5:45 am

Seed Swap in the Ozarks

Seed Swap 
Saturday 4/21/12
9:30am – Noon

Ukiah Farmers Market
Alex Thomas Plaza/School Street

Bring seeds in labeled envelopes
Vegetables, natives, flowers, herbs

Leave seeds at Mulligan Books beforehand
if you cannot attend…

Transition Ukiah Valley is part of an
international localization movement
to build community resilience

~

 
From CAROLE BRODSKY
Ukiah Daily Journal

Peggy Backup, Scott Miller and partner Trudy Morgan sit at the couple’s kitchen table, eating dried pears gleaned from a local orchard and sorting seeds into small, labeled paper envelopes.

The trio and other members of Transition Ukiah Valley are preparing for a seed exchange event taking place Saturday, April 21 at the Ukiah Farmers Market.

The Transition Ukiah Valley group began meeting in 2011. The group is part of a worldwide transition movement that started in the United Kingdom in 2005 to address issues they believe are impacting local communities as the effects of climate change, skyrocketing oil prices More…

Transition: Which train would you rather be on?…

In Mendo Island Transition on April 13, 2012 at 5:09 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

I am really pleased today to be able to share with you some of the key outputs from Transition Streets, which I have written about here before.  Let’s start, for people who are new to the concept, with this short video which beautifully captures how Transition Streets worked in Totnes:

Transition Streets has already been rolled out in places other than Totnes, but in a few weeks, a whole supported programme will be coming out whereby you will be able to run it in your community (I’ll let you know). You can see the first section of the Transition Streets workbook here to get a flavour of it. It is a great example of the tool from ‘The Transition Companion’ called ‘Street-by-street behaviour change’.

The main output from Transition Streets is the ‘Final project report’, which “shares information about the Transition Streets project, funded by the previous government’s Low Carbon Communities Challenge funded: how it worked, what it achieved, what was learnt and where we are heading next”.  You can find a summary of its findings here.  It is a very thorough round-up of the project.

However, the most fascinating to me is “Social Impacts of Transition Together (SITT): Investigating the social impacts, benefits and sustainability of the Transition Together/Transition Streets initiative in Totnes“, which goes into the more qualitative aspects of Transition Streets, what motivated people to get involved, what changes people made More…

How Many Circles Does it Take to Make a Community?

In Mendo Island Transition on March 28, 2012 at 5:15 am

From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

Last evening I spent a couple of hours with three of my Bowen In Transition colleagues — Don Marshall, Rob Cairns and Robert Ballantyne — discussing what, if anything, we might do to start preparing our community (Bowen Island, off Vancouver BC, population 3800, area 20 sq. mi.) for the economic, energy and ecological crises — and perhaps even collapse — we expect to see in the coming decades.

Bowen in Transition, like many global Transition Initiative communities, is already doing several short-term small-step activities — learning about and (at a personal level) applying permaculture principles, obtaining and acting upon home energy audits, compiling a list of local experts in sustainable food, energy, building etc., holding awareness events etc. But as I noted in my recent Preparing for the Unimaginable post, I am concerned that we need to start thinking about longer-term, larger-scale, community-wide changes if we want to have a community sufficiently competent, self-sufficient and resilient enough to sustain ourselves through major and enduring crises.

I have read More…

Dave Smith: Transition — Clothes and Cars That Last Forever…

In Dave Smith, Mendo Island Transition on March 5, 2012 at 5:00 am

From DAVE SMITH
Ukiah

Old Levi didn’t last forever but his old blue jeans do. I still have a pair of Levi’s 501 denims I wore in high school 50 years ago… and they still fit! The style then was to roll up the leg hems once. The blue suede shoes from Junior High are long gone but those Levi’s still sit in storage in a foot locker and if we ever have a Sock Hop in Ukiah I’m gonna to put them on…

Pity old Levi. Walmart screws up his pants along with everything else they touch

Used to be there were cars that would last forever. In the 60s it was the Plymouth Valiant getting 500,000+ miles before collapsing… and only then because they had hung around so long people started pointing and hooting at the silly fin design and they slunk off to the junkyard on their own and died there of embarrassment …

In the 70s it was the Datsun 510. I know, I had one just like this… More…

Transition: 55 Real Things to Worry About If You Must…

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on March 4, 2012 at 7:02 am


We have other things to worry about right now…

From KATHY McMAHON
Peak Oil Blues

Peak Oil, Climate change and the Greater Depression will pose many challenges to our way of life but let’s get real, for a moment: Golden Hordes aren’t one of them. At least not now. Economic depression brings with it a host of serious problems, and I think you can say quite confidently, without being a chicken little, that most of the world is in a Greater Depression. But still, we’ve got a few years to go before we can say that the USA is no longer a viable culture, when no one wants to live in Paris or London, when potatoes no longer grow in Poland, and before donkey’s begin pulling our rusted-out cars. Bikers with shotguns; weaving socks from milk thistle; crashing waves drowning our cities; evacuating your house on a moments notice to house troops; the government coming to confiscate your precious metals; a mass exodus of cities as the violence and mayhem escalates to untolerable levelsall of these things should not be on the top of the list of what to prepared for.

So what should be?

1. Job loss is up there.

2. We’ve already seen retirement accounts deteriorate, leaving us less money to live on in our aging years.

3. Our elderly today, like that 93 year-old who froze to death in his kitchen, will face real challenges in keeping themselves medicated, warm and fed. It may be time to get concerned about the old folks who live on your street, and start having tea with them on alternating days.

4. The rising price of everything from food to fuel is likely to be a serious problem for a lot of us.

5. Food pantries won’t be able to feed all of the people who need resources from them, and people who used to give generously to those same pantries, might now be lining up for help.

6.Managing depression–emotional depression, that is, should be up there. More…

Transition: Taming the Zoning Monster…

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on March 3, 2012 at 8:00 am

From SHARON ASTYK
Casaubonsbook

For the last several years I’ve been working on the invention of “Urban and Suburban Right-to-Farm Laws” and have had some notable successes including a legal conference on the idea and a few municipalities that have implemented them. This is one of the reasons I think this is so incredibly important – zoning presumptions simply can’t be allowed to prevent people from using less and meeting their own needs.

Over the last 50 years, food and zoning laws have worked to minimize subsistence activities in populated areas. Not only have we lost the culture of subsistence, but we’ve instituted legal requirements that make it almost impossible for many people to engage in simple subsistence activities that cut their energy use, reduce their ecological impact, improve their food security and improve their communities. In some cases, these laws were instituted for fairly good reasons, in many cases, for bad ones that associate such activities with poverty.

Scratch most of the reasons for these things both for zoning laws and HOA policies, and you’ll find class issues under their surface in the name of “property values.” There are ostensible reasons for these things, but generally speaking, they derive from old senses of what constituted wealth They stem from the notion that what constituted wealth was essentially having things that don’t do anything More…

Transition: When they cut Social Security by 40%…

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on February 18, 2012 at 5:06 am

From JOHN ROBB
Resilient Communities

As most of us already know, the Greek government is bankrupt.

So far, it has been forced to cut expenses by 34%.

That means they have already made deep cuts in pension payments, government employee incomes, and government employee headcount.  And they are just getting started.

The Greek economy is in free-fall and likely to set the record for the most severe depression in a modern country so far this Century.

Our collective problem is that the Greek experience will soon seem commonplaces. Almost all of the nations in the West are headed towards a Greek style bankruptcy given current trends. The US deficit alone is running at over a trillion a year with NO end in sight. So, eventual bankruptcy of the US and most of the EU isn’t a question of what is right or just or what could happen in a perfect world.  It’s what is likely to happen.

Given this, the question you should be asking yourself is:  What would happen if the US and the EU cut their budgets as deeply as Greece?  What if there was an across the board budget cut of 40%?

This is an important question since it is almost certain to happen and it will be ugly.  Why?  The number of people that…

  1. currently work for the government,
  2. get a government pension (or military pension),
  3. or get social security/medicare/income support payments

is very large.

So, for planning purposes More…

Transition: 10 Reasons for Financial Optimism (If You Invest Locally)

In Mendo Island Transition on February 11, 2012 at 7:40 am

From MICHAEL SHUMAN
LivingEconomies.org

Even though these are tough times for tens of millions of Americans, there’s reason for hope.  That’s the message of my new book from Chelsea Green, Local Dollars, Local Sense:  How to Shift Your Money from Wall Street to Main Street and Achieve Real Prosperity, which showcases dozens of ways individuals, businesses and communities are reinvesting their money locally and creating new jobs.  To give you a little taste of what’s in the book, let me share my Top 10 Reasons for Optimism.

10.  Wall Street’s Decline – Fortune 500 companies have long enjoyed an unnatural competitive advantage as all of us have unquestioningly forked over some $30 trillion of our retirement funds into their stocks and bonds.  This lemming behavior is now coming to a close. Occupy Wall Street has been so effective that even Newt Gingrich is questioning our fealty to “vulture capitalism.”  My book documents that the long-term historic rate of return for U.S. stocks has been an astonishing 2.6% per year.  Against that record, all kinds of many local investment opportunities seem fabulous!

9.  Main Street’s Rise – Evidence continues to mount that local small businesses are the best job producers in the U.S. economy, at least as profitable as their global competitors, and becoming increasingly competitive (thanks in part to groups like BALLE).  Local investment can pay off, big time, if we can figure out how to create, pool, trade and evaluate local “securities” more efficiently.

8.  The Crowdfunding Revolution – The bad news is that archaic More…

A Day in the Life of a Transitioner…

In Mendo Island Transition on February 9, 2012 at 5:00 am

From CHARLOTTE DU CANN
Transition Norwich

It was cold when I woke up last Sunday. The jackdaws were gathering in the fields and there was a hard frost on the ground. Ah, good I said to myself. Then I sighed, put on two large jumpers and went downstairs to put the kettle on for coffee and a hot water bottle. Switched on the computer and got down to work. It was 7am.

How has Transition changed my life? Utterly, completely, forever. This is not how I would have started a Sunday morning several years ago. I would not, for example, have known why the birds were feeding in the arable fields, I would not have rejoiced in and lamented the frost, thinking simultaneously of the vegetables and the fruit trees that need a winter to flourish and the shivering people in the Occupy encampments. I would not have put on two recycled jumpers or got down to write a blog at 7am. The central heating would have automatically warmed up the house, and I would be up around nine, thinking about my private world, lying in a hot bath.

I could go through each moment of that Sunday and every detail would form part of a Transition narrative: from my breakfast millet (Sustainable Bungay buying group) and apples (our Produce Swap day) to our neighbour’s car that we now share. But most of all it would show how that narrative is shaped by the times I go up to Norwich and my relationships with the people there.

Here I am at 11.30am talking to Kit at Occupy Norwich about Occupied Times in London. I’ve put some stuff in the kitchen, I tell him More…

Transition: Seeing Wendell Berry’s Wilderness Again…

In Mendo Island Transition on February 8, 2012 at 5:00 am

From CHRIS CHANEY
Transition Voice

In the early ’90s I made the conscious decision to drop out of college. I distinctly remember the day I withdrew from classes and made the call to my parents. I remember thinking: “Now I’m a statistic.” College dropout.

I watched as the debt grew and my confidence in finding a suitable career faded. I made the decision to drop out based on the reality that I could avoid debt and simply work. I resolved to be satisfied with less. I broke my social contract outright.

Believe it or not, I had a plan.

No, I didn’t start up a software business. I didn’t pursue any entrepreneurial track to riches. My plan was simply to get any job I could and spend my free time exploring the Red River Gorge which is located near where I grew up in Eastern Kentucky. My plan had no long term component.

I don’t know when I first discovered Wendell Berry’s The Unforeseen Wilderness, but it was about this same time in my life. I wanted to read it, but as a poor college dropout with little cash to spend on books it remained out of my hands for a time.

One day I was out with a friend and saw it on a bargain table. I had no cash, but the friend, seeing my eagerness to read it, bought it for me. It was a fortunate encounter because the book changed the way I looked at the world, my life, and the landscape of my soul. More…

Transition: Building community resilience to cope with collapse…

In Mendo Island Transition on February 7, 2012 at 5:00 am

From DAVE POLLARD
How To Save The World

In my previous article, I recapped and built upon Nicole Foss’ (Stoneleigh of The Automatic Earth blog) presentation in Vancouver last week. The first part of her presentation, I noted, was about the current intractable economic (and specifically debt) problems we face at all levels (governments, corporations, individuals), and how neither of the most-supported top-down alternatives (austerity or stimulus) can hope to improve the situation or avoid total economic collapse.

The second part of Nicole’s presentation focused on what we can do, at the local community level, to prepare for and build resilience to cope with this collapse. There are a number of things, she said, we can do personally:

  • Get out of debt, so that our property cannot be foreclosed upon or repossessed when the situation worsens and we are unable to repay these debts.
  • Keep as much cash on hand (and not in the bank) as reasonably possible (enough to last several months).
  • Acquire useful, non-perishable hard assets (when the economy fails, so will trade, making many hard goods hard to obtain and expensive).
  • Do not depend on governments to do anything useful.
  • Be wary of banks (they may simply close when ‘runs’ begin, preventing you from accessing your money).
  • Be wary of insurance companies and plans (they will not be able to pay out when their investments collapse).
  • Find the right place to live and move there (in or near small towns near healthy agricultural areas; avoid suburbs).
  • Learn practical essential skills, both technical and non-technical (e.g. mediation, facilitation).

There was considerable discussion near the end of the presentation More…

Transition: New film being unveiled in England today…

In Mendo Island Transition on February 2, 2012 at 5:30 am

From TRANSITION NETWORK

[New film series from Transition Ukiah Valley to be announced soon... -DS]

‘In Transition 2.0′ is nearly ready to be unveiled to the world! We are very excited about this inspiring new telling of the Transition story, and want to tell you more about it here, and about how it will be rolled out over the coming months. To get us started, because we are so excited about sharing this with you, here is the film’s trailer, directed by Caspar Walsh.

Hopefully that has sufficiently whet your appetite for what is a remarkable film. We describe it thus:

“In Transition 2.0 is an inspirational immersion in the Transition movement, gathering stories from around the world of ordinary people doing extraordinary things. You’ll hear about communities printing their own money, growing food everywhere, localising their economies and setting up community power stations. It’s an idea that has gone viral, a social experiment that is about responding to uncertain times with solutions and optimism. In a world that is awash with gloom, here is a story of hope, ingenuity and the power of growing vegetables in unexpected places”.

It has been produced by Emma Goude, with animation by Emilio Mula, photography by Beccy Strong and with stunning original music by Rebecca Mayes. They have drawn together stories from around the world showing Transition initiatives at the various stages of transitioning their communities. In order to be able to feature some of the stories from overseas More…

Occupy a Garden This Year: How to sow vegetable seeds directly into the soil…

In Mendo Island Transition on January 31, 2012 at 4:00 am


Onion Seeds

From VERONICA HAWKINS
HowToDoThings.com

[See also Monsanto’s new seeds a dead end below... -DS]

If you have a patch of land that you are not making use of, why not consider planting vegetables?

Nowadays, people should be more practical in sourcing basic necessities such as food. Plant some vegetables in your garden and enjoy the freshness of your food while also saving money to purchase your other needs.

To know more about how you can sow vegetable seeds directly into your garden, read on.

  • Pick a spot. Make sure that the land in which you plan to plant is not covered with sand or rock beds. The soil should be conducive for the vegetables to grow on.
  • Purchase the materials you need. Go to the nearest gardening store to purchase all of the supplies you need for this project.
  • Pick the vegetables you want to plant. Be cautious about the type of vegetables that you want to plant. This will be very much dependent on the weather conditions of your area. Try to research online on what types of vegetables are suitable in your area and the type of soil and land area that you have.
  • Read the seed packaging instructions. Each seed will require a different way of planting. Read the instructions in the packaging to know how much depth you need to dig to plant and how much sunlight and water the seed needs in order to grow.
  • Set up your soil. Make sure that the area where you will plant is composed of suitable soil More…

What to do? Take Action! Build the new economy by generating alternatives…

In !ACTION CENTER!, Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on January 28, 2012 at 6:30 am

From The Economics of Happiness

Across the world millions of people are actively resisting the process of corporate globalization while simultaneously creating viable local alternatives in the here and now. This powerful emerging movement represents a radical departure from ‘business as usual’. In place of the imposition of a single, global world economy, the new paradigm seeks ‘a world that embraces many worlds’ – an adapting biocultural mosaic rather than a global monoculture. Proponents of this approach call for ‘small scale on a large scale’ rather than one-size-fits-all, ‘too big to fail’ blueprints. In turn, the kind of solutions that are being generated flow from diversity, are attentive to the ecological particularities of place, are more responsive to social needs, and are often far more equitable, participatory and democratic.

Help create the new economy from the ground up!

Support local independent businesses, cooperatives & social enterprises…


Buy local first

Keeping money circulating locally will help reinvigorate the local economy and generate desperately needed jobs. If you are a business owner, source locally for your supplies and services whenever possible and engage in fair and sustainable (‘translocal’) trade for those goods that can’t be sourced locally.

The 3/50 Project

Local Multiplier Effect

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies

Start or support a “Local First” campaign in your town or city

Business Alliance for Local Living Economies – Local First

The New Economic Foundation’s Local Multiplier 3

Civic Economics

Crossroads Resource Center

Join, start or support a local worker cooperative

Help create more equitable and democratic local economies… More…

Our time to come alive…

In Mendo Island Transition on January 21, 2012 at 4:50 am

From DIANNE MONROE
Transition Voice

This is an amazing time to be alive!

“Yeah, right,” my inner cynic says, “crumbling economy, peak oil, peak everything, melting ice caps, mass extinctions…”

The list goes on and on, all woven together, I remind my cynic within, by the fact that we’re living in a time when the old is crumbling, which is when there’s the greatest opportunity to create something new.

And that is an amazing time to be alive!

If you’re alive today, you’re part of this Great Unraveling/ Great Turning, or whatever we choose to call it. If, like me, you’re middle aged or beyond, we’ve lived through the apex of a global empire now passed irrevocably into decline.

When exactly that point of turning was passed is the topic of many discussions. I’m not sure how important it is to know the precise point. We know that something big happened on the way down with the economic crisis of 2008, even if the mainstream economic pundits keep assuring us that prosperity is just around the corner.

We’re experiencing this great crumbling from within, and that’s a very good (if at times painful) thing. In times of crumbling, when the old way of being and doing can no longer hold itself, can no longer hold us in its grip, there’s greater fluidity, a greater opening. In times like these even small actions can reverberate widely into the future.

That makes it an amazing time to be alive.

The gift

Think about all the humans that have ever lived. They lived through times of joy and plenty, through wars, famines, natural disasters. They lived through the rise and crumbling of empires. More…

Transition: What it looks like when food grows everywhere…

In Mendo Island Transition on January 13, 2012 at 5:15 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture
Transition Ukiah Valley

Today I’d like to share a map with you (you can download a hi resolution pdf of it here — caution, it’s a big file), and I’m hugely grateful to Geri Smyth for giving me this.  It is a map of the town of Guildford (or Guldeford as it was then) in 1793.  Regular readers will know I love a good map, and I have spent a fair while poring over this one.  There are a couple of things I love about it.  Firstly, it is the most amazing piece of draughtsmanship.  It is a thing of extraordinary beauty in a way that Googlemaps can only dream of.  The way its laid out, the calligraphy, the attention to detail, are beautiful in a way very few people could recreate today.  But what is so extraordinary, upon closer inspection, is how it captures what it looks like when food grows everywhere. Think of it, if you like, as Incredible Edible Guildford, circa. 1739.

This is a Guildford before the car, before before shopping malls, before tarmac.  It is also clearly a Guildford with a much lower population than today, with far far lower living standards, and with a lot more mud on the soles of its shoes.  My reason for posting this beautiful artifact isn’t to romanticise times that were very different, and in many ways much harder, rather it is to marvel at what a really local food culture looks like in reality for those of us who have no living memory of such a thing.

We see, for example, that the hospital has its own vegetable garden. The Free School has its own orchard.  While many of the houses have their own gardens, others appear to have allotments out the back, large pieces of land divided into plots.  In the centre of the map is a cluster of coaching inns, each of which have yards full of vegetable gardens.  Behind every house, on every piece of ground, food is being grown.  It is an extraordinary snapshot of a time when food production was the principal form of urban land use after roads and buildings. More…

Transition and Walmart: Some thoughts from England about Big Box expansion and Being Local

In Around Mendo Island, Mendo Island Transition, Walmart Blues Series on December 15, 2011 at 6:49 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

“Another world is not only possible… she’s opening a bakery round the corner”. Reflections on the Portas Review.. “Local people”, she argues need to be seen “as co-creators not simply consumers”…

We have very little time to make this stuff happen, it needs to happen now…

["High Street" in England means "Main Street" here... -DS]

I spent a fascinating afternoon on Monday at an ‘Economic Summit’ (nowhere near as glamorous as it sounds) for Members of South Hams District Council and West Devon Borough Council.  The meeting was called to update councillors on the strategic thinking within the councils in terms of the economic development of the area and to hear their views on it.  Three communities were invited to present to the councillors the work they were doing to regenerate their economies, and Totnes was one of them.  What I want to do in this post is two things simultaneously.  I want to give some reflections from that meeting, but also give a review of ‘The Portas Review’ (“an independent review into the future of our high streets”) which was published yesterday.  Together they give a sense of the two deeply different narratives that were on show at the Summit, the dangers that their incompatibility presents, as well as the opportunities that emerge.

More…

Transition: How To Start Participatory Budgeting For Our Towns

In !ACTION CENTER!, Mendo Island Transition on December 7, 2011 at 7:11 am

From SHAREABLE

Have you noticed all the cuts being made to your city budget? To schools and libraries, fire fighters and social services, and other public spending? Think you could do a better job managing the budget? Soon, you may have that chance.

Through a process called “participatory budgeting”, residents of over 1,000 cities around the world are deciding how to spend taxpayer dollars. In October, four districts in New York City launched the second such process in the US. This article offers some initial tips for how you could start participatory budgeting in your city.

What is Participatory Budgeting?

In 1989, the Brazilian city of Porto Alegre developed a new model of democratic participation, which has become known internationally as More…

Transition: Made By Hand Since 1879

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on December 5, 2011 at 7:21 am

From LINDSAY CURREN
Lindsay’s List

I’ve had a long time love of old school printing presses. I love the quality and the raw nature of the medium. I also love that it’s done by hand.

As a writer and graphic designer, I’ve long harbored the fantasy that when the world hits the skids after peak oil really delivers its coming wallop, that I would shift to printing on a local scale. Maybe I’d run a local newspaper. Or maybe, like Hatch Show Print, I’d do everything from cards to posters, art for display to whatever printed pieces my customers needed.

Of course, this depends on my getting all the equipment in advance, and learning to use it, so that when the economy does crash, and resources are scarce, I’m in place to do my local printing superhero thing.

Yet, here I am, typing away online. I’ve got an iPad but no printing press. That’s why it’s still a fantasy for me. Hey, a girl can dream.

But in Nashville, Tennessee, where Hatch Show Print lives, the hand-made print world is completely real. In continuous operation since 1879, Hatch Show Print still makes all their work by hand, from cutting plates to setting type to applying ink to cranking the rollers that print the job right there right then. More…

Transition: There’s No Place Like Liberty Tool

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on December 5, 2011 at 6:00 am

From THE ETSY BLOG

Located in the middle of the state of Maine, Liberty is not far from the capital, Augusta. The town is small (the most recent estimate is a population of 932) but charming. My parents bought a house there when I was seven years old, and I’ve visited in the summer for a week or two ever since. There are a grand total of two shops open on a daily basis: a store that sells T-shirts and the Liberty Tool Company.

As a child I couldn’t appreciate the unique nature of a place like Liberty Tool, which was started by H.G. “Skip” Brack in 1976 as an addition to his other stores operating under the Jonesport Wood Company umbrella. With its ageless tools, trinkets, and other bric-a-brac, what kid really can? I thought it was boring. I wanted to spend the summer hanging with my friends at the beach, devouring fast food, and eating candy. I put little stock in the quality of things and more so in the quantity. But, as I’ve grown older and more mature, I’ve found it necessary to ornament my life with items of real worth and value. The importance of this has become especially clear to me in the last decade or so, as the continued erosion of those things I once held dear — books and music records immediately come to mind — turns the world I inhabit digital. And that’s why Liberty Tool carved out such a special place in my life.

More…

The first review of ‘The Transition Companion’

In Books, Mendo Island Transition on October 19, 2011 at 7:50 am

From TRANSITION CULTURE

Here is a review of ‘The Transition Companion’ by Maddy Harland from the new edition of Permaculture Magazine.  You can download a pdf of the page on which it appears here.

Transition is now a worldwide grassroots movement that looks climate change and peak oil squarely in the face and dismisses the utter impossibility of endless economic growth on a planet of finite resources. It offers community based solutions to help people in villages, towns and cities adapt to the inevitable challenges of the oncoming reality of profound economic and social change unflinchingly and with a good degree of humility and good cheer. It’s a collection of recipes for building community, environmental regeneration, relocalised economies and so much more.

Transition emerged from an energy descent plan process during an in-depth permaculture design course taught by Rob Hopkins at Kinsale Further Education College in the early 2000s and has since spread around the world. Rob’s first book, The Transition Handbook (2008), introduced the concept and explained how to set up Transition initiatives. It went down a storm. Other titles followed in the series – on local food, money, planning a Transition ‘timeline’, and how to influence local government with these ideas – by a variety of authors working with Rob and the other co-founders of the movement. Almost a decade of experimentation unfolded. This new volume offers stories of Transition initiatives from all over the world, plus practical Transition Tools for starting, and perhaps more critically, maintaining a Transition initiative. It’s an impressive collection of ideas and praxis.

I read so many books about peak oil, the state of the world, and environmental degradation that I often glaze over. This one is different. It has authority born from practical experience, a musculature that is immediately engaging, even reassuring. It feels mature. The book is not afraid to catalogue the limitations and failures, even celebrate them, as well as the successes. I like the way the book was crowd sourced. Rob blogged on each Transition Tool and invited feedback and ideas. The participatory aspect brings it alive: here is more than one visionary man’s voice but a whole chorus of voices. There’s a good degree of futurecasting within its pages: stories from a future that has embraced transition, some not without their humour. As computer scientist, Alan Kay said, “The best way to invent the future is to predict it.” That’s exactly what this book aims to do. More…

Mendo Island Transition: Create your own job

In Mendo Island Transition on October 3, 2011 at 4:00 am

From YES! MAGAZINE

Need some ideas about how to start a DIY business and make some money doing what you love? Check these five entrepreneurs profiled in Yes! Magazine and then think about what you might do in the post-jobs economy.

1. Former Meat Plant Goes Veggie
Alex Poltorak prepares a hydroponic food-growing system for the rooftop of The Plant. A former meatpacking facility in Chicago, The Plant is being deconstructed and transformed into a net-zero-energy vertical farm. Its roof is the site of Poltorak’s first gig; his business, Urban Canopy, turns city roofs into farms. Poltorak wants to shorten the distance food travels “from farm to fork,” he says, “in addition to utilizing idle rooftops, creating local jobs to manage these rooftop farms, and providing more sustainably grown produce for local communities.”

2. Real-Life Benefits for Women

Ana Sanchez has worked with Southwest Creations Collaborative in Albuquerque, N.M., for the past 12 years. The business offers living-wage jobs More…

Food From The Sky [Transition]

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 29, 2011 at 7:32 am

From FOODFROMTHESKY.org.uk

A brilliant urban food growing initiative on the roof of the Budgens supermarket at Crouch End in London... a Permaculture community garden growing food to sell in the supermarket below while providing a learning and educational space for the different part of the communities. We are growing vegetables, fruits, mushrooms and herbs grown to organic standard with children and other members of our diverse community – sold through the store 8 metres below.


~~

Mendo Island Transition: Project Kleinrock — Setting up a local internet completely free of Internet Service Providers and untouchable by the government

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 28, 2011 at 5:00 am

From PROJECT KLEINROCK

[Needs a nerd... -DS]

Following are the details of a project to create a completely autonomous “second layer” of the Internet, completely free of the influence of or need for Internet Service Providers, and untouchable by the government. This plan is named after Leonard Kleinrock, inventor of the Internet Packet. It has been enacted after news of a bill entering the United States Senate which would allow a President to disable all Internet connectivity within the United States. (We later heard that this bill More…

Brazil’s Local Money [Local]

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 26, 2011 at 8:12 am

From WSJ

Towns Issue Their Own Money, Which Brings Local Discounts

[...] The capivari circulates only in this dusty, agricultural town 60 miles north of Rio de Janeiro. The money is an effort by the town, one of the poorest in southeastern Brazil, to encourage its 23,000 residents to spend locally.

The capivari is one of 63 local moneys now circulating in needy towns and neighborhoods throughout Brazil.

Ten months after introduction of the capivari—named after the capybara, a pig-sized rodent common in a local river—the currency is More…

Local Businesses Key to Income Growth

In Mendo Island Transition on September 15, 2011 at 7:39 am

From STACY MITCHELL
New Rules Project

The results of a new study suggest that the key to reversing the long-term trend of stagnating incomes in the U.S. lies in nurturing small, locally owned businesses and limiting further expansion and market consolidation by large corporations.

Economists Stephan Goetz and David Fleming, both affiliated with Pennsylvania State University and the Northeast Regional Center for Rural Development, conducted the study, “Does Local Firm Ownership Matter?”  It was published in the journal Economic Development Quarterly.

Goetz and Fleming analyzed 2,953 counties, including both rural and urban places, and found that those with a larger density of small, locally owned businesses experienced greater per capita income growth between 2000 and 2007. The presence of large, non-local businesses, meanwhile, had a negative effect on incomes.

“Even after we control for other economic growth determinants … the non-resident-owned medium and large firms consistently and statistically depress economic growth rates … The other major result is that resident-owned small firms have a statistically significant and relatively large positive effect” on income growth, the authors report. Small firms are defined as More…

Mendo Island Transition: Knitting a new future

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 13, 2011 at 8:44 am

From JOANNE POYOUROW
Transition US

My name is Joanne and I am a knitter. (Yep, it’s that serious)  For quite some time I have made excuses, telling myself that “knitting was one of those reskilling things” and it was a powerdown craft. But I got to thinking about it seriously this week.

Here, in the middle of urban Los Angeles, knitting is a pretty elitist hobby. It might be a “reskilling type of thing” good for necessary clothing-making somewhere out on a farm where there are plenty of goats and sheep. Or if I took to raising angora rabbits. Because when the serious hiccups in the economy come, when the darker transportation issues of peak oil set in, the boutique yarn stores I patronize today likely won’t be around anymore.

Although every seriously addicted knitter has her enormous stash of yarn, even that won’t last long under such circumstances.  Cotton takes too much acreage, and bamboo requires tons of processing before you can make it into yarn. I don’t think my neighbors would tolerate pigmy goats.  Newspaper we have in great supply, but it doesn’t make washable clothing.  I’ll be out of raw materials.  I have no sustainable supply.

Some of the Transition groups around here have been hosting Repurposing Old Clothes workshops. This is where everyone brings in something old from their closet, plus a spare bit of fabric or some trims. They put it all in a big pile. Then people start pulling garments from the pile — probably not the ones they brought with them. The workshop flows best when you invite someone with an eye for design to help put cool things together. Then out come the sewing machines (or the thread-and-needle). In a powerdown future in the middle of a city, I think we’ll have plenty of leftover mass-produced clothing that can be repurposed like this. More…

Who’s building the do-it-ourselves economy?

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 9, 2011 at 5:40 am

From SARAH VAN GELDER and DOUG PIBEL
YES! Magazine

Corbyn Hightower was doing everything right. She worked long hours selling natural skin care products, flying between cities to meet customers, staying in posh hotels. She pulled down a salary that provided her family of five with a comfortable home in a planned community, a Honda SUV, health insurance, and regular shopping trips for the best natural foods, clothes, shoes, and toys.

Then the recession hit. Her commissions dried up, and the layoff soon followed. Life for Hightower, her stay-at-home husband, and three children changed quickly.

First the family moved to a low-rent house down the street from a homeless shelter. They dropped cable TV, Wi-Fi, gym membership, and most of the shopping. Giving up health insurance was the most difficult step — it seemed to Hightower that she was failing to provide for her young daughters. Giving up the car was nearly as difficult.

As our economy goes through tectonic shifts, this sort of adaptation is becoming the new normal. Security for our families will increasingly depend on rebuilding our local and regional economies and on our own adaptability and skills at working together. At the same time, we need government to work on behalf of struggling families and to make the investments that create jobs now and opportunities for coming generations. That will require popular movements of ordinary people, willing to push back against powerful moneyed interests.

Where are the jobs?

How did we get to an economy in which millions are struggling?

Officially, the “Great Recession” ended in the second quarter of 2009. For some people, the recovery is well under way. Corporate profits are at or above pre-recession levels, and the CEOs of the 200 biggest corporations averaged over $10 million in compensation in 2010 — a 23 percent increase over 2009.

But for most Americans, there’s no recovery, and some are confronting homelessness and hunger. More…

Mendo Island Transition: Sustaining Our Better Angels

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 4, 2011 at 8:40 am

From PEAK OIL BLUES
Excerpted

[...] Pragmatic Altruism vs. Violent Mindset

As Stuart Twemlow, M.D. points out, we in the US are exposed to an”endless deluge of unmitigated violence, in the media, on the Internet, and in print, which subtly and gradually helps to shape a defensive “violent mindset” that reflects in the way we treat each other.”  In this violent mindset, people attempt to “spend much time trying to win at any cost” and “gauge personal success by economic and material gain.”  Despite the overwhelming evidence of the harmful and shaping effects of exposure to violence and its cancerous effects on communities, a “debate” about the impact of violence on the psyche continues.  Dr. Twemlow compares the “debate” about these facts as similar to the lengthy antique “debate” about cigarette smoking and lung cancer.

The violent mindset vs. what he calls the “pragmatic altruistic” mindset impacts the collective community consciousness in areas of creativity, thought patterns, ruthlessness, economic prosperity, More…

Rethinking Transition as a Pattern Language

In Mendo Island Transition on September 1, 2011 at 8:30 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

In 1977, Christopher Alexander and colleagues at the Centre for Environmental Structure at Berkeley University published a book called ‘A Pattern Language: towns, buildings, construction’, the second in a series of 3 books. Fifteen years later, a much younger me was a student on my permaculture design course in Bristol. On Day 5 of the course, the teacher introduced ‘A Pattern Language’ to the group, as though it were some ancient, dusty, sacred text, in much the same way as I now introduce people to it. He lovingly flipped through the book and introduced the concept of patterns and why this book was essential for the design of anything.

I borrowed his copy and took it home that night. Initially it looked huge and impenetrable, but once I had read the ‘key’ at the beginning, I flew through the book in a couple of hours. What blew me away was not the these ideas were in any sense revolutionary or new, but rather that it captured and put its fingers on so many things that I had felt and been unable to articulate. Why do some built environments make you feel alive, connected and celebratory, and why do some make people want to stab each other?  Why does the heart soar in the old parts of Sienna, in St Ives, in Paris, and not in most of Swindon or Slough?

More…

Roundup of what’s happening in the world of Transition

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on September 1, 2011 at 8:20 am

Bath, England

From TRANSITION CULTURE

Bath, England was host to the Youth Climate Change delegates, and Transition Bath undertook to feed them with an entire meal using only food sourced within walking distance of the city.

To celebrate Eat Local Week, Transition Colorado put on an evening with Joel Salatin called “Local Food to the Rescue”. Joel is a third generation alternative farmer at Polyface Farm in Virginia’s Shenandoah Valley.   At New York’s GreenFest, Tina Clarke and David Noonan from Transition US joined David Korten, visionary leader, economist, author and former Harvard Professor for a Forum on Building Local Economies.

In Portland, Oregon, David Johnson and Jim Newcomer of Transition PDX were recently interviewed on local radio, a great piece that covers Transition internationally, nationally and locally. Well worth a listen.

More…

Mendo Island Transition: The significant benefits of food localization

In Mendo Island Transition on August 30, 2011 at 7:30 am

From MICHAEL BROWNLEE
Colorado Transition

The local food shift is gaining significant traction in Boulder County, growing well beyond the euphoric early adopter stage into early majority territory. It is unfolding so rapidly and so unpredictably that it could well be called a revolution.

If it hasn’t already, the issue of local food is about to land on the desks of public officials and political candidates, perhaps even in unexpected ways. One candidate, aware of this shift, contacted Transition Colorado and requested “talking points” on this important issue. What follows here is a very preliminary and incomplete briefing intended to help all officials and candidates quickly bone up on some of the major issues and prepare to deal with the challenges that are coming their way.

Since our current food-related laws and policies were created — and most public officials were elected or appointed — long before the local food shift began to take hold, familiarity with these issues could be crucial not only to candidates’ political future, but also the well-being of the communities they serve.

Roots of the local food shift More…

Common Security Clubs or Resilience Circles

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on August 5, 2011 at 9:15 am

~

[See also Thom Hartmann and Economist Ravi Batra analysis videos below...]

In these uncertain times, the Great Recession has reminded us of our vulnerabilities. Debt. Foreclosure.  Unemployment and Anxious Employment. Evaporating Savings. Rising Costs. Job Insecurity.

In response, Resilience Circles (also called Common Security Clubs) are forming around the country, using and adapting free tools provided by the Resilience Circle Network.

What is a Resilience Circle?

For stories, read about our Profiled Circles here. A Resilience Circle is a small group (10 – 20 people) that comes together to increase personal security by:

  • Courageously facing our economic and ecological challenges, learning together about root causes.
  • Building relationships that strengthen our security and undertaking concrete steps for mutual aid and shared action.
  • Rediscovering the abundance of what we have and recognizing the possibility of a better future.
  • Seeing ourselves as part of a larger effort to create a fair and healthy economy that works for everyone.

In the process, a Resilience Circle allows neighbors (co-workers, etc) to get to know one another, find inspiration, have fun, and strengthen community.

Structure of a Resilience Circle

The free, open source Resilience Circle Curriculum provides a guide for facilitators to lead groups through seven initial sessions.  Participants help prepare for and lead these meetings.

After seven sessions have been completed, a circle can decide More…

Food Resiliency Action Groups: Growing Food Together

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on August 4, 2011 at 6:45 am

From PEAK MOMENT TELEVISION

Having learned “How Much Food Can I Grow Around My House?” (Peak Moment 87), Judy Alexander kept right on going. As chair of the Local 2020 Food Resiliency Action Group in Port Townsend, WA, she helped initiate 25 community gardens in her county within four years. Sitting in her own neighborhood’s garden, she talks about the power of cooperative gardens compared with individual plots. There’s something for people of all ages and skills to do (even non-gardeners), while enjoying learning from one another, and building closer neighbors and a more secure community.
~~

Don Sanderson: Some random thoughts

In Around Mendo Island, Mendo Island Transition on July 30, 2011 at 9:01 am

From DON SANDERSON
Hopland

Our modern society appears to be saturated with fear, which is quite reasonable it seems to me. On the far right, the Tea Party and its wealthy supporters are attempting to build barriers to keep the world out. On the left, we are more inclusive, but are also searching for ways to shield ourselves. Yet, on both ends and in the middle, we are attempting to escape while taking at least the rudiments of our lifestyles with us. I reflect on so-called transition towns. Can you think of such a community, say a possible Ukiah, without electricity and or natural gas? We can’t live long without water, but without electricity the city’s wells would cease to function – as would its sewer system. Would we carry our water from Mendocino Lake or the river? How would we cook our food, if we can find any, with fire wood? How would we cut it without a chainsaw? How would we burn it in our houses as mostly are presently constructed? How would we haul it out of the woods? From where will we get our clothing and shoes when they wear out? If you think these would be difficult, think of attempting to survive in San Jose.

So, we depend upon high tech engineers to develop solar, wind power, and biofuel solutions.  But, the development and maintenance of such depends upon cheap, available fossil fuels and electricity in so many aspects. We, our modern lifestyles, are so locked into such expectations. Even the most radical of us can only dream of returning to earlier times maybe only a century past in much of the country when human and animal labor were preeminent and most communities More…

Mendo Food Sovereignty?

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on July 23, 2011 at 11:33 am

Thanks to Janie Rezner

Sedgwick, Maine has done what no other town in the United States has done. Earlier this year the town unanimously passed an ordinance giving its citizens the right “to produce, process, sell, purchase, and consume local foods of their choosing.”

This is WITHOUT government regulation.

This includes raw milk, locally slaughtered meats, and just about anything else you can imagine. It means that farmer and patron agree to enter into private agreements with one another, and settle any disputes that arise personally and civilly.

It is the way things used to be done before Americans sacrificed their freedoms to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Food sovereignty ordinances are what must be in place to enable an explosion of local food production. This is only the beginning!

Learn about the international principles developed by Via Campesina in this entry from Wikipedia

Via Campesina’s seven principles of food sovereignty include:

  1. Food: A Basic Human Right. Everyone must have access to safe, nutritious and culturally appropriate food in sufficient quantity and quality to sustain a healthy life with full human dignity. Each nation should declare More…

Transition: Resilient to what?

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on July 8, 2011 at 5:30 am

From ROB HOPKINS
Transition Culture

I was reading through the Executive Summary of the World Economic Forum’s Global Risks 2011 this afternoon (as you do) and the chart on page 3 caught my eye. In it, the authors set out all the risks they see in the world on a matrix which positions the various risks by their perceived impact on the global economy and by the perceived likelihood of their happening. What you might expect to be at the top, given recent media reports, would be the threat of terrorism or perhaps some hideous computer virus that knocks out nuclear power station.  But no.  There at the top, leading the pack, are climate change, ‘extreme energy price volatility’ and fiscal crises.

In my research over the past couple of years on the subject of resilience, I often ended up at the question of ‘resilient to what?’  In a paper for the think tank DEMOS called ‘Resilient Nation’, Charlie Edwards listed the things he felt we should be preparing resilience to. They were climate change, floods, extreme weather events, pandemics, energy shortages, nuclear attacks, terrorism and a few others.  The UK government Cabinet Office runs ‘Regional Resilience Teams’ who are charged with creating plans for each region. Yet the main focus of this will most likely be on terrorism and pandemics.

More…

Transition: Hard work + Vision = Kilowatts

In Around the web, Mendo Island Transition on July 6, 2011 at 7:54 am

From TRANSITION CULTURE

Naresh Giangrande reports…

Nothing sets me off more than people who portray Transition town folk as a bunch of happy clappy, ‘we just vision it and it will happen’ eco activists. Last night’s EGM of TRESOC was a delightful, difficult, heart warming, and frustrating exploration of unknown territory; raw Transition in Action. It was a good example of what happens when a project moves from the great idea phase into real decision involving, in this case, significant sums of money, within a community. Suddenly emotions run high, and fragile relationships can become frayed. Although last night I think we emerged intact, more or less. It is what happens when a community expresses it’s will grounded in a positive vision- amazing things can happen.

The workload for the directors is going through the roof as four projects are taking shape;

The 4.5 MW wind farm development is moving forward, data collection is being done to enable an autumn 2011 planning application to be made.

  • An Anaerobic Digestion scheme now has a technology partner, Monsal Ltd who are taking an equity stake in the project, with South Hams District Council and the Dartington Trust also on board.
  • There is a request from TQ9 developments for TRESOC to supply a bio mass boiler for the new development at Baltic wharf. More…

Home-Scale Energy Now

In !ACTION CENTER!, Mendo Island Transition on June 16, 2011 at 8:18 am

From JOHN MICHAEL GREER
The Archdruid Report

The logic applied in last week’s post to photovoltaic solar power can be applied more generally to a fairly wide range of technologies that can, under the right circumstances, provide a modest supply of electricity to power those things for which electricity is really the most sensible power source. I want to talk about a couple of those in tthe weeks to come, partly for the sake of completeness, partly because the options I have in mind offer some distinct advantages, and partly because touching on a series of examples will make it easier to grasp certain common themes that aren’t often addressed on those rare occasions when discussions of the future of technology manage to make it out of the realm of popular mythology in the first place.

I don’t mean that last comment as a joke, by the way. If mythology can be defined as the set of stories that people in a given society use to make sense of the universe and themselves, contemporary beliefs about the future of technology in the cultural mainstream of the industrial world fill that role, doubled, tripled, and in spades. Those of my readers who have More Home-Scale Energy…

Home Power Plant Nation

In Mendo Island Transition on June 16, 2011 at 7:15 am

From CHRIS BOLGIANO
Bay Journal News Service
Via Transition Voice

The old dream of going off-grid has changed into today’s reality of using the grid as your own battery

It’s a gorgeous day full of singing birds and sunlight. Beautiful, streaming sunlight. Soon the photovoltaic system that added some aggression to my passive solar house in the mountains of western Virginia will be one year old, the time of reckoning.

Getting off the grid has always been nirvana for 1970s back-to-the-landers like me. With net-metering – a 21st century update of the dream – I am still connected, selling excess electricity in summer when the sun is high, and buying electricity at night and in winter. The grid has become my battery, although my home system includes batteries for three sunless days of essential services if the grid is knocked out: water pump, stove, freezer, and playing old movies through the storm.

In rural Appalachia, self-sufficiency is the traditional way of doing things.

More Home Power…

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 4,526 other followers