Cob repair days – March and April

20160423_121558(1)Want to play in the mud? Are you interested in building with cob? (straw + mud combination, a sustainable building method) A small team will be repairing the Westchester Community Oven during selected workdays in March and April.

Damage to the Oven

During one of the fierce January storms, high winds lifted the rain tarp and the Oven was exposed to a downpour.

How to keep fighting – the 2017 version

It’s a new year. But even moreso, it’s a completely new era. The ground rules have all changed – from what is fact, to what is science, to what is news – to the point that many of us hardly know which way is up.

In the midst of all this turmoil, there have been a few articles which really helped me solidify my own direction.

One of these is a thoughtful, well-considered post by Ijeoma Oluo, “7 Ways you can keep fighting for justice in 2017.” And the things it recommends are both healing and calculated to gain long-term action.

Placemaking and City Repair in Los Angeles

Are you interested in this kind of fun? Here’s a marvelous video about Mark Lakeman’s City Repair work in Portland.  We’re putting together a project in Los Angeles! If you’re interested (or curious), contact the Environmental Change-Makers.  The initial planning team is forming now! Tentative dates for L.A. Placemaker Training: March 26-27, 2016.  Design charette

Join people around the world calling for climate action

parisshoesThousands of people are marching this weekend in cities everywhere to call for climate action at this coming week’s Paris negotiations.  The photos are now streaming in from around the world. (Check 350.org or the #climatemarch hashtag)

In Paris — where police shut down the planned march because of the recent terrorism — people made sure their voices were still heard, in beautiful fashion.  At dawn, thousands of people lined up their shoes, so that their shoes marched when they could not.  And they formed a human chain throughout the city.

Don’t you wish you could join them?

Green Friday – Nov 27 – an alternative to consumerism

IMG_1673Be a producer, rather than a consumer.

Are you sick of all the ads and consumerism that now invade our lives even before Halloween?  …the deluge of STUFF that you know is so bad for our planet, its climate, and all humanity …

Do you want to do something simple, to help put in place solutions?  Do you want to gather with people who understand?

Come to ECM’s Green Friday event on Friday Nov 27.

Reflections on 10 Years of Change-Making

Sunflower 300In November 2005 we held a small gathering — a book launch party for Legacy: A Story of Hope. We didn’t know it at the time, but that small gathering was the first for a group that would become the Environmental Change-Makers.

It was the start of a chain of change-making events and projects that would see the building of the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, the Emerson Avenue Community Garden, and the Westchester Community Oven. It would include hosting various Transition Trainings, and being the “initiator” for the Transition movement for many sites across Southern California.

It would mean having influence on edible gardens across the area, initiating a local fruit gleaning program, and championing Divestment campaigns both at home and nationally.

It would include big events like hosting a 5-day Seed School, running logistics for Vandana Shiva, and trying to pass a local GMO-free initiative. Deeply reflective events like the Work of Joanna Macy. Chaotic events like the Cluck Trek tour of local chicken coops. It would include dozens of vegetable gardening classes, and small events like local seed swaps and quiet monthly garden parties.

But it all started with a story.

ECM 10th Anniversary Party – Nov 14

Yes, the Change-Makers have been stirring up trouble for 10 years now!  And in that time, we’ve done lots of cool projects in Westchester and beyond.

Come celebrate ECM’s 10th anniversary, on Saturday Nov. 14.  Enjoy wood-fired pizza at the Westchester Community Oven. Celebrate all the accomplishments through the years. Reminisce about past events, and look forward to fun projects yet to come!

Cactus juice preservative for the cob oven

opuntia juiceI’m “cooking up” a batch of Opuntia juice preservative.  It is a traditional weather coating used on adobe and cob structures.  We will be adding it to the final coat on the Westchester Community Oven when we re-surface it next weekend.

I had to post this because it is absolutely a frightful color of green.  No filters in that photo!

To make the preservative, you finely mince or puree cactus pads (Opuntia species, better known as prickly pear, or “nopales”), which yields a goopey green glop.  Then you pour this into a 5-gallon bucket of water, at which point it doesn’t mix with water right away, so it really looks like Shrek had a horrible head-cold.