For the Transition Ferndale meeting at 7:00 pm on Wednesday, September 17, 2014, we’re going to have Let’s Go Green, an environmental awareness presentation by Gerald Hasspacher,  sponsored by The Southeast Michigan Group of the Sierra Club. The meeting will be at the Ferndale Public Library, 222 East Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, MI.

The environment is the basis of the web of life. A healthy environment can only be assured through environmentally knowledgeable citizens acting responsibility.

The Sierra Club’s Let’s Go Green presentation defines current environmental issues and presents practical tips for individual action.

An alternative title for this presentation might be Climate Change and You, because climate change is the controversial, persistent and unavoidable environmental issue of our time. It includes acidification of the oceans, sea level rise flooding costal areas, uncontrolled feedback effects such as releases of methane making climate change faster and more extreme, droughts in regions we depend on for growing food, and more.

In part, the talk will cover a number of things we might do to lessen our personal contributions to climate change. Of course, if we could get everyone on earth to use energy more efficiently and generally to use less energy, then we could have the opposite feedback effect, making climate change slower and less extreme.

Topics in the presentation include:

  • The Sierra Club
  • Sustainability – reduce, reuse, recycle
  • Making energy – the old way and the new way
  • Greenhouse effect and climate change
  • Ocean water
  • Melting ice
  • Sea level rise
  • Transportation
  • Hybrids and real time traffic control
  • Bicycling
  • MI threatened and endangered species
  • MI native and invasive species
  • Bird-friendly glass
  • Trees
  • Earth Hour

Tips in the presentation include:

  • Water usage
  • Battery disposal
  • Paper usage
  • Cutting plastic bag usage
  • Choosing healthy foods

Gerald has given this presentation numerous times over the past couple of years, to a variety of schools and community groups. It covers a huge amount of ground in a short time, because the topic itself is huge. Even if you are already familiar with the subject, you can expect to learn something useful. And of course, there will be time for questions and discussion after the presentation.

The meeting is free and open to the public. You need not be a resident of Ferndale to attend. Some light refreshments will be provided. We’ll be using the projector and screen for the powerpoint part of the presentation.

Transition Voice (link on left) is having a contest in which it is possible to win a DVD of the new award-winning documentary Voices of Transition. The rules are simple: Answer, in 100 words or less, the question, “What does the transition to a fairer, post-oil economy look like for you?”

Well, I entered the following comment:

Transition happens when business as usual fails. There’s plenty of that already, with more to come. Even people who prefer lobster, asparagus, ice cream and macadamia nuts will barter for locally-grown potatoes when the gourmet grocer closes. Transitioning individuals and transition towns develop alternative sources of food, shelter and so on before they are forced, when necessary resources and skills are difficult to find. Transitioners focus on the peaceful and productive aspects of surviving collapse; survivalists on the less peaceful. Which will dominate depends on whether collapse is sudden and severe, or more gradual. Let’s hope for gradual.

[end contest entry]

If I happen to win, then we can see the video at an upcoming Transition Ferndale meeting. And of course, you can enter as well. Just go the the Transition Voice article (http://transitionvoice.com/2014/08/win-a-dvd-of-new-film-on-transition/) and leave your own comment.

Art Myatt

For the regular August meeting of Transition Ferndale (7:00 pm on Wednesday, August 20 at the Ferndale Public Library, 222 E. Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI), we’ll be watching Chris Martenson’s “Accelerated Crash Course” video, and discussing it after the viewing. What’s it about? Well, it’s about the root causes of the prolonged economic crash we’ve been experiencing at least since the fall of 2008.

You can watch it at home before the meeting at http://www.peakprosperity.com/crashcourse/accelerated, and decide if it’s something you would like to discuss, or of course, you can just come to the meeting and see it for the first time.

Sorry for the late announcement. I’ve been distracted. Like about half the people in this area, I’ve been dealing with a basement that contained close to a foot of backed-up sewage last Monday night. Now there are piles of carpeting, former furniture and bags of miscellaneous ruined stuff sitting at my curb, and a return to something like normal is at least a plausible future secnario.

Unfortunately for us all, the new normal includes more superstorms, more economic failure and generally more turmoil, as Chris’s video makes clear. To quote Mr. Martenson: “… the next twenty years are going to be completely unlike the past twenty years.”

The question for us is, “What should we be doing about it?” And that’s what we’ll be discussing.

Chris Martenson’s early career was that of a Wall Street whiz kid who made lots of money early in life. He learned, from this experience, that the ideas about economic growth he was expected to sell to his clients were deeply flawed; that there are physical and biological limits to growth on our finite planet, limits that must be ignored or denied in order to believe in continuing economic growth in the pattern of past economic growth.

It’s a different way of coming to pretty much the same conclusions as people who start out concerned about environmental degradation including climate change. It’s also very like conclusions reached by people who start out with concerns about the social and economic injustice of wars for oil. Because it is a different approach, those of us who start from a very different point of view than being a Wall Stree investor can learn from it.

It should be an interesting discussion. It’s free and open to the public. We’ll supply some light refreshments – not a good substitute for dinner, but enough to keep you going until you can get to a proper dinner.

Art Myatt

The Nature of Cities

Wednesday, July 16, 2014, 7:00 pm

Ferndale Library, 222 East Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI

A 39-minute video, which will leave plenty of time for discussion.

From the film’s text introduction:

How can we make better cities than ever, better workplaces, better schools… how can we immerse ourselves in nature everyday instead of thinking we have to get in SUV and drive 50 miles? There is no doubt that we need nature. It’s absolutely essential to daily life. We can find it in the cities where we live, it’s all around us if we look, but there are also many innovative ways in which nature can be designed into urban environments.

This is the story of both the nature in our own backyards as well as that being built into to cities of the future. We’ve got to rethink everything that we do in cities today to make them profoundly more resilient. We know in fact that we need daily contact with the natural environment and we have to overcome this sort of bifurcation that cities and nature can’t coexist.

[end quote from film]

Our discussion will start with: How might we apply these ideas here? How have people around here already started?

Free. Open to the public. Light refreshments provided.

Save the date:  Sunday, August 3, 2014

1:00 PM to 5:00 PM

The Mercy Center, 28650 W. 11 Mile Road, Farmington Hills, MI

•Transition, Eco-Village, Climate Change, Plant Medicine, Gardening, Biodynamics, Sustainable Living, Permaculture… and being the change we need.

The vision is to become closer through better knowing each other and having more clarity about resources and people power in the area. Together we can accomplish more than anyone can ever predict or imagine.

We will come together to hear our collective voices, and listen deeply to our heart’s calling. It is an opportunity to connect, share what you’re doing and envisioning, to learn what actions others are involved in, be introduced to other groups, and to network.

Please bring your ideas, dreams, campaigns, cooperative venture ideas, recipes, services, brochures, charities, projects and favorite music, poetry, herbs, talents & seeds to share. This can become a multidimensional ‘vision board’ for each of us to share our goals and dreams for the near and distant future. It can be as exciting or as quiet and intimate as we chose to make it. Let’s create it together. …

We have a big room that will seat about thirty with powerpoint and internet facilities & an intimate treatment room in an old school with plenty of free parking, open nature space, a kitchen, and wheelchair access.

Everyone is asked to bring a plate to share for a potluck.

If your goal is to build a local community organization – like Transition Ferndale, for instance – then you need to have some idea how to go about it. On Wednesday, June 18, we’ll meet at 7:00 pm to explore a relatively new possibility in the “how to” category – Twitter. It may be that most people who have Twitter accounts use it for the most trivial of purposes, but that is already changing.

As usual for the third Wednesday of the month, we’ll meet in the Ferndale Library, 222 East Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI.

Often for these meetings, we have a relevant video to show and discuss. Less often (though we should do it more often), we have a presentation by a local person with some useful knowledge to share.

In this case, the local person will be Sean Yalda, a graphic and web site designer who has some experience running a Twitter account. Better yet, he has put in some time studying the possibilities and the effects of a well-run Twitter account, and he is willing to discuss his conclusions. Of course, tweets (the correct term for the product) do not exist in isolation from other social media such as Facebook and Pinterest. Neither are they isolated from older media – websites, television, radio, print publications and even billboards.

Here at Transition Ferndale, we have been using printed flyers, our own blog/website and an e-mail announcements list as complements to monthly face-to-face meetings. Twitter is something that we’ve never really considered. However, it turns out that a Twitter account is free, and you don’t even need a smartphone to have an account or to send and receive tweets. Apparently, we have something to learn in this area.

You don’t need to be a supporter of the Transition Towns movement to attend, or to find this a useful meeting. It doesn’t matter whether your interest is the Sierra Club’s Beyond Coal Campaign, the Alliance to Halt Fermi 3’s efforts to prevent Detroit Edison from constructing a new nuclear reactor, recruiting people to your local Time Bank, getting out the vote for a particular candidate in this fall’s election, or perhaps something completely different.

Sean is going to discuss how a local organization might use Twitter. It’s a tool. What purpose you have for the tool is up to you. The meeting is free, and open to the public. Some light refreshments will be available.

The library has a free internet connection. You’ll get the most out of the meeting if you bring your device – laptop, tablet or smartphone – and try doing some things with Twitter during the meeting, while Sean is available to answer questions.

If you are planning to attend, please send an RSVP note to almyatt@outlook.com.

Note this is not my normal email address. I hope to have RSVPs and only RSVPs at this outlook address. That will make it easier to for me to see how many people will attend, and to reply to them if the number happens to be larger than the room will handle. Please do not send an “I will attend” message to my normal email.

Thanks,

Art Myatt

In today’s culture, noise is all around us.

In the based-on-real life film, NOISE, actor Tim Robbins’ character is set off every time a car alarm is set off in New York City. It drives him mad. The 88 minute film is classified as Drama but it has many amusing scenes and the resolution is unforgettably astounding. Join us at the Ferndale Library – 222 E. Nine Mile Road in Ferndale, MI – to see it. Light refreshments and maybe popcorn again, like last month!

Wednesday, May 21, 7 pm. Free, open to the public. Discussion follows the film.

Transition Ferndale will have its next meeting in the Ferndale Library, 222 E Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI, at 7:00 Wednesday evening, April 16.

We’ll be showing a one-hour video, “Transition 2.0,” with stories from 16 different Transition Town organizations in 7 different countries. Then we’ll have a discussion focused (we hope) on what is being done locally, and what else we might do. The meeting is free and open to the public.

So, what is this transition movement? It’s about making the transition to a society much less dependent on consuming fossil fuel energies. Making many transitions might be a more accurate expression, because every locality will have somewhat different problems, and will evolve different ways of adapting. Concern about climate change, peak oil and economic collapse is a common thread tying all the different locations together.

The transition movement got started with people realizing there is good reason to be worried about both climate change and peak oil. Further, the globalized economy which depends on increasing consumption of fossil fuels is guaranteed to fail as the supply of fuels declines and the ability of the biosphere to absorb industrial waste products also declines.

This is not some abstract notion about the possibility of economic collapse at some distant future date. The economic collapse, in fits and starts, is already happening. Our financial system has already produced far more claims on real wealth than there is real wealth.

Think of dollars as players in a game of musical chairs, with real resources being the chairs. In the child’s game of musical chairs, chairs are removed one at a time, and players are also removed one at a time, in an orderly fashion with no awful consequences.

In our financial system, half or two-thirds of the chairs are already removed. When this round of music stops, the consequences will be extensive and not much fun at all. The scramble for chairs will not be orderly. Most people will not want to continue playing the bank/mortgage/stock market game. That’s one way to describe the coming economic collapse.

Will the collapse of our economy lead directly to the extinction of mankind? Well, if fighting over resources takes the form of nuclear war, then yes. We can hope everybody in charge of nuclear weapons understands there are no winners in a nuclear war.

Now, some people want to believe wars are not fought over control of critical resources. These people don’t have a coherent explanation of World Wars I and II, the multiple wars originating in the Middle East, or border wars from USA-Mexico to Russia-Ukraine. Control of resources is not the only reason for wars, but it is a critical element of every war, and the naked reason for some wars.

But the question is, does our current wrecking of the planet mean that we are headed directly for our own extinction? Collapse, yes; extinction, no, or at least, not necessarily. It’s certainly possible, especially if our reactions are stupid, but the extinction of humanity is not at all certain.

Here’s an excellent explanation of why, from http://thearchdruidreport.blogspot.com/2014/03/american-delusionalism-or-why-history.html

[begin block quote]

That insistence [humanity will soon be extinct] bespeaks an embarrassing lack of knowledge about paleoclimatology. Vast quantities of greenhouse gases being dumped into the atmosphere over a century or two? Check; the usual culprit is vulcanism, specifically the kind of flood-basalt eruption that opens a crack in the earth many miles in length and turns an area the size of a European nation into a lake of lava. The most recent of those, a smallish one, happened about 6 million years ago in the Columbia River basin of eastern Washington and Oregon states. Further back, in the Aptian, Toarcian, and Turonian-Cenomanian epochs of the late Mesozoic, that same process on a much larger scale boosted atmospheric CO2 levels to three times the present figure and triggered what paleoclimatologists call “super-greenhouse events.” Did those cause the extinction of all life on earth? Not hardly; as far as the paleontological evidence shows, it didn’t even slow the brontosaurs down.

Oceanic acidification leading to the collapse of calcium-shelled plankton populations? Check; those three super-greenhouse events, along with a great many less drastic climate spikes, did that. The ocean also contains very large numbers of single-celled organisms that don’t have calcium shells, such as blue-green algae, which aren’t particularly sensitive to shifts in the pH level of seawater; when such shifts happen, these other organisms expand to fill the empty niches, and everybody further up the food chain gets used to a change in diet. When the acidification goes away, whatever species of calcium-shelled plankton have managed to survive elbow their way back into their former niches and undergo a burst of evolutionary radiation; this makes life easy for geologists today, who can figure out the age of any rock laid down in an ancient ocean by checking the remains of foraminifers and other calcium-loving plankton against a chart of what existed when.

Sudden climate change recently enough to be experienced by human beings? Check; most people have heard of the end of the last ice age, though you have to read the technical literature or one of a very few popular treatments to get some idea of just how drastically the climate changed, or how fast. The old saw about a slow, gradual warming over millennia got chucked into the dumpster decades ago, when ice cores from Greenland upset that particular theory. The ratio between different isotopes of oxygen in the ice laid down in different years provides a sensitive measure of the average global temperature at sea level during those same years. According to that measure, at the end of the Younger Dryas period about 11,800 years ago, global temperatures shot up by 20° F. in less than a decade.

[end excerpt from Greer]

Clearly, climate change plus peak oil/gas/coal means we are in for a number of rough decades as both population and the industrial economy repeatedly decline in step with declining supplies of affordable fuels. Globalism will disappear, and then perhaps “nations” as they are defined today, with no exception for America. If ‘America’ means the two-party system of George W. Obama Clinton, it’s not a loss to be mourned. But humanity has a shot at surviving.

“Preparing for collapse” sounds a lot like survivalism. There’s a reason for that. Transition towns and survivalism are both responses to the same reasons for anxiety. Climate change, resource depletion (for which peak oil is a specific example) and an unsustainable economy are real problems that are not going away. We’ll all have to respond, both individually and collectively.

The Transition Towns movement generally takes the position that strengthening the local community and the local economy – especially the ability of the local economy to produce food – is the best thing we can do now to prepare for survival. That’s very different than the survivalist approach of hoarding food, ammunition and duct tape for individual survival while the community perishes.

Comments are open below, if you want to disscuss over the internet.

Or, if you’re in the area, you may want to come to the regular Transition Ferndale monthly meeting for a face-to-face discussion. It’s in the Ferndale Library (222 E Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI) at 7:00 pm on the third Wednesday of each month. If you can’t make it this month, then maybe later.

If you have a Facebook account, you might take a look at the Transition Michigan group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/TransitionMichigan/.

At our last meeting in Ferndale (about as southern as you can get and still be in Oakland County), there was a fair amount of interest in permaculture. In northern Oakland County, there is an active and organized group of permaculture enthusiasts. From Ferndale, it takes some driving, but just in case anyone is interested, I’m reproducing below a message from Dana Driscoll. As you will see, they use Meetup, and you do need a Meetup account to use the links:

Hi everyone,

Our OCPM [Oakland County Permaculture Meetup] Monthly Meetup will be next Wednesday [April 9, 2014] at 6:30 PM. We’ll be doing fermented veggies and krauts. Along with the hands-on skill share, we’ll have a potluck (bring any food, labeled), a sale table (bring things to sell if you have them and $$ to buy if you would like) and general community building and conversation. Parking is limited in Dana’s driveway, but there is lots of it out on the road. More info can be found here:
http://www.meetup.com/Oakland-County-Permaculture/events/173172822/

On Sunday, April 27th we are having our 100 Yarden Dash kick off event. The 100 Yarden dash is local challenge to increase the number of food producing yards and landscapes across Oakland County. We challenge you to start a garden if you don’t have one, or expand your current garden if you already do, or create edible landscaping and reduce the amount of “yard”. It’s as simple as growing some vegetables and herbs, planting fruit trees, edible shrubs, or removing your lawn to grow food. Sort-of like Victory Gardening meets the 21st century. YARDening! For this event, we’ll show examples of converted lawn spaces, make signs for our YARDens, and eat some good food. More info on the Dash can be found here: http://clarkston.100yardendash.com/about-the-dash/

To signup for the meetup, go here: http://www.meetup.com/Oakland-County-Permaculture/events/173319322/

Our OCPM May meeting will be held at Strawbale Studio in Oxford, Mi. There will be a short tour of the property and various sustainable and natural building projects. We’ll also focus on a land restoration design discussion/charette centered on a portion of the Strawbale Studio land that was recently disturbed by a pipeline repair project carried out by Enbridge. We hope to gather ideas and strategies that can be propagated across the length of the disturbance of the pipeline that offer ecological and potentially economic yields (food, fiber, habitat, etc.) More info about this meetup is here:
http://www.meetup.com/Oakland-County-Permaculture/events/173318892/

Finally, our OCPM Monthly meeting for June will take place at Bittersweet Farm in Clarkston, MI. We’ll be touring bittersweet farm and learning about biointensive gardening and community food projects. Bittersweet farm produces thousands of pounds of produce for the local food banks each year–this is a wonderful site to visit. More info about this meetup can be found here:
http://www.meetup.com/Oakland-County-Permaculture/events/173173512/

Hope to see you at our upcoming events!
Trevor, Dana, Paul, and Mark

Wednesday, March 19, 7:00 pm

Ferndale Public Library, 222 East Nine Mile Road, Ferndale, MI

This is Transition Ferndale’s regular “third Wednesday of the month” meeting for March.

Ferndale’s Becky Hammond will talk about back yard and front yard gardens, and “weeds” that turn out to be edible; even tasty. Sherry Wells will talk about the Ferndale Time Bank Garden Group. Live in an apartment, with no space for gardening? Maybe a community garden is the way to go. We’ll talk about it.

The meeting is free and open to the public. Light refreshments will be available. of ordinary people doing extraordinary things.

For an unusual instance of planning ahead, next month’s third Wednesday meeting (April 16, 7:00 pm) will feature a 1 hour and 7 minute video, “Transition 2.0.” It features 16 stories from 7 countries around the world. You’ll hear about communities printing their own money, growing food, building localized economies and even setting up community power stations. Transition is a social experiment about responding to uncertain times with community solutions. After the video, we’ll discuss how we might go about solving some local problems. Bring your ideas and your talents to share.

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