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. Continue reading “Greywater: Legal and Not”

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? Continue reading “How do we help small businesses thrive?”

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. Continue reading “Change is coming – Hold on tight”

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.) Continue reading “8 Things you can do now, to prepare for summer heat”

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. Continue reading “The ProAction Cafe”

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. Continue reading “The Econ Puzzle’s Debut”

New directions in Change-Making

Happy Earth Day!  As you’ve undoubtedly heard a million times before, “Earth Day is every day.”  And at ECM that’s certainly the case.

That’s why today is a great day to highlight change-making projects that you can be a part of.  Today and every day!

Summer Solstice Local Foods Gala:  Save the date for Saturday evening June 21.  ECM’s Advisory Circle is cooking up a very special event you won’t want to miss! Continue reading “New directions in Change-Making”

Living with Climate Change

California drought.originally published by Transition Culture

No water.  That pretty much sums up living with climate change around here, in Los Angeles.  California is currently experiencing “the worst drought in 500 years.”  We had one minor “rain event” in October just before Rob Hopkins came to town, and another minor rain event in late January. Up until this week, we’d had 1.02 inches of rainfall since last July, instead of our normal 15 inches.  So much for our so-called “rainy season.”

As I write this, we’re experiencing an extraordinarily severe “biggest rainstorm in two years” (which may bring our total annual rainfall up to 3 inches, approximately the level of a prior “record drought”).  Soon we’re headed into what are traditionally our dry months.  In a normal year, zero rain typically falls between May and November. Continue reading “Living with Climate Change”

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.

Huh? Continue reading “Collapse? Maybe not.”

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. Continue reading “Economic Descent, hopefully with skillful means”