Greywater: Legal and Not

Water.  Our gardens are aching for it.  And as toasty spring lengthens into official summertime, water needs will only increase.

Meanwhile, we’re completely overlooking a rather abundant water resource.  Greywater.  That’s water which has been used once before but doesn’t have anything nasty in it.

And since garden soil has enormous power to filter and cleanse a lot of what’s in that water, it seems like greywater and gardens should be a perfect fit.

How do we help small businesses thrive?

YLCoT bubble diagram2If you are a sustainability-oriented business owner, you probably wish your small business would provide you with a more reliable livelihood.

It’s hard to find business guidance which reflects the ways of the new economy.  It’s hard to make the shift away from the rape-and-pillage, Industrial Growth models.  It’s hard to find business advisors who truly understand our desire to create a better world.  But you’re in luck.

It’s a big job to sift through business advice and sort out which is appropriate – and which is inappropriate – for a new-future economy.  How do we create businesses that are gentler on the earth, and more fair and just to our fellow human beings?

Change is coming – Hold on tight

tantrumSeems like every week I get emails from yet another group that is “creating a network of local groups” for social change. Or expanding into a new reskilling class series. Or cultivating a citywide vision plan. Each of them valid in their focus, each one tackling their own aspect of The Great Turning. And each of them scrabbling for the same – limited – discretionary hours of volunteers and attendees.

Wonderful things are happening. The world truly is poised to make transformative change. Yet the cars still pour onto the freeway each morning, jets still roar at the airport, we continue to burn oil and belch CO2 emissions, buy-buy-buy, as we dutifully march on with the “ordinary” part of our lives.

Gotta make a living. Gotta raise the kids. Gotta visit the grandparents/show the kids Europe. Gotta stop by Target/Walmart/Costco and get something, etc. As much as the new consciousness is here, the old ways still press upon us.

8 Things you can do now, to prepare for summer heat

If you’re reading this and you live in L.A., California, or the U.S. Southwest, here are some simple things you can do now — as an individual or as a community group — to prepare for summer heat before the inevitable onslaught begins.

1. Install blinds and sun barriers. Look for thermal drapery lining fabric (available by the yard at many chain fabric stores) which will reduce the amount of heat that comes into your room. If you are a renter, get spring-tension-style curtain rods and there will be no holes for your landlord to complain about. If you own your own property, extend the overhang of your eaves with lattice or similar material so that it casts more shade. Or consider flying some of those triangle-shaped shade sails over patios and driveways that radiate heat.  (If you are able to take on a much bigger project, boost the insulation in your exterior walls and consider double-paned windows.)

The ProAction Cafe

TMVVWhen is the last time 20 people devoted 3 hours of their Saturday exclusively to you as a small business owner, and helping you achieve success?  In a nutshell, that was last Saturday’s ProAction Cafe at Transition Mar Vista/Venice.  And it was truly amazing.

Four local Transition-style businesses were “on the hot seat.”  After a brief intro to the format, the meeting broke into four small groups, Open Space-style, with one of the subject business owners at each of the four tables.

The Econ Puzzle’s Debut

Economic Solutions at Otis CollegeThis week marked the trimphant wrap-up of our Human Ecology class at Otis College of Art and Design.  It was a great group of students this semester, and their enthusiasm shone through in their final projects.

We celebrated with people from Transition Mar Vista/Venice as well as people from other departments at Otis.  As teacher Elektra Grant expained so well in her introduction, it seems approprate that the “Human Ecology” class has so many stakeholders.

Collapse? Maybe not.

The “new economy” demo

It’s all a matter of perspective.

In a previous post I argued that economic contraction is necessary and in fact underway.  Is this “Collapse” — that scary term that so many authors love to throw around?

I find the C word to be counterproductive.  Depending on where you are standing as the grand cascade of change ripples through, the ruthless C word might be how it all feels to you in the moment.  But the big scary C word disclaims all the brilliant aspects of the new, emerging economy.  It denies that there is anything positive going on.


Economic Descent, hopefully with skillful means

This post is in response to one by Rob Hopkins, which was in response to one byDavid Holmgren.  

In case I don’t use sufficiently ‘skillful means,’ please let me begin with stating: I am not advocating for intentionally creating an economic crash.

Rob says about economics “once it starts getting even vaguely complicated, leaves me rather puzzled.” I don’t shy away from complicated, although I do strive to simplify things as I explain them, so that more people can understand.  I have waded through tons of what many people lay out as possibilities for new economic alternatives, hunting for how to successfully unwind the terminally-flawed system we’ve got (success=relatively peacefully), and ideas for how to build a wiser parallel system.

Powerdown: Let’s Talk About It

We’re caught in the squeeze right now.

Climate change is advancing at an incredible speed. We know we should do something, but we lack the political will to do what it takes to hold it to 2°C. UN committees are now being counseled to prepare for 4°C of warming. To keep it survivable, there’s got to be a powerdown — starting today.

Meanwhile green-tech enthusiasts cheer the rapid rate at which certain countries are installing renewable energy infrastructure. But reports are now surfacing of shortages in the rare earth ingredients needed to make that renewable infrastructure. We don’t have enough rare earth materials to replace the whole fossil infrastructure and continue on our current level of consumption. No one dares speak the little secret: Even with renewables, there’s got be a powerdown.