Creating social change, Transition movement, Teaching powerdown

Government alone cannot do it.  There are plenty of cries to political entities to “do something about global warming.”

Yes, it is important for government to impose carbon limits — to drive home the seriousness of a unified effort.  To give us all a collective goal to strive toward.  And to rein in the huge corporations, without which this never will succeed, and over which we locals have very little power.

But at the same time as we ask government officials to take action on global warming, we must completely transform our lifestyles.   Continue Reading

Creating social change, Transition movement

In his blog today, Chris Guillebeau challenges his readers to list 100 dreams: “a completely unedited list of anything you might want to do or have more of in life. It’s like a bucket list, but most people don’t get all the way to 100 when creating a bucket list. The point is to really think about what you might like.”

Changing things up a bit, tempering it for my own topic(s):  in a world which is powering down, which needfully must powerdown and de-carbonize, what are your 100 dreams?  What might you want to do, or have more of in a powerdown life?

Continue Reading

Creating social change, Transition movement

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

Economic Resilience, Transition movement

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

Economic Resilience, Creating social change, Transition movement

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

Economic Resilience, Creating social change, Transition movement

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

Economic Resilience, Transition movement

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

Creating social change, Transition movement, Teaching powerdown

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. Continue Reading

Economic Resilience, Creating social change, Transition movement

Sunflower at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity
Sunflower at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity

It’s a sign of a really good essay when bits of it linger with you for days after you’ve read it and it keeps popping up in your mind. Naomi Klein’s “Why Science is Telling All of Us to Revolt and Change Our Lives Before We Destroy the Planet” is one of those. Her theme? “Global capitalism has made the depletion of resources so rapid, convenient and barrier-free that ‘earth-human systems’ are becoming dangerously unstable in response.”

“Serious scientific gatherings don’t usually feature calls for mass political resistance, much less direct action and sabotage,” Klein writes. She describes UC San Diego geophysicist Brad Werner at a major scientific conference as “observing that mass uprisings of people — along the lines of the abolition movement, the civil rights movement or Occupy Wall Street — represent the likeliest source of ‘friction’ to slow down an economic machine that is careening out of control.”

The part that keeps itching at me, days after I read Klein’s article, is the presumption that “mass uprisings” are the only way out of this mess.  Continue Reading