First, after lobbying Pasadena officials for two years, Pasadena 100, a climate-concerned coalition saw evidence of its impact. At the City’s recent public presentation on our 20-year energy plan, it was clear that a group of citizens with a unified message can be heard. The city has been responsive to our ask for more renewable energy. Each solo voice may not have had this impact. Better together.
Then, at the final performance of the Griffith Park Summer Shakespeare Festival, the power for lighting and mics was in and out. At a dramatic moment, an actress called to the audience “Please light me!“ Boom! Hundreds of cell phone flashlights went up! The audience cheered itself and her. Better together. These moments reaffirm my personal commitment to stay engaged in spite of a daily distressing newsfeed that can feel like a global tailspin.
Why do we join groups and make partnerships? Because deep down we each know that we have more impact when we are unified. We are put on this planet not as isolated beings, but as a network of living things, human, animal and plants, and so we instinctively know that we are connected to everything that surrounds us. It is empowering to share commitments. It fortifies and solidifies the vision we carry.
The shared vision that our neighborhood could be more attractive to people and pollinators by transforming a plot of dirt in front of the post office on Mentor Ave. into a native garden came together two years ago. Now, an eye-catching garden with seasonally morphing colors, shapes and sizes delights motorists and beckons pedestrians at an otherwise bland corner. The habitat that thrives between the stone wall of the post office and the concrete and asphalt of the sidewalk and street was hit hard by the 118 F scorch we had on July 6. Now that we are being teased by days in the mid-80s, neighbors are beginning to reimagine how to make this respite for the eyes more resilient and more beautiful still. This month, three different groups of neighbors each brought a load of free city mulch to freshen the garden and to help retain moisture in the soil when the next inevitable heatwave hits. Better together.
Placemaking, a process for activating a space to build community, has this principle: Have ten things going on because people show up for different reasons.
Here's the upcoming Garden Event recipe:
1) solicit arroyo stone donations for texture in the garden
2) gather folks to hold a vision for beauty that supports bugs and birds
3) add a few shovels and buckets and plants
4) get the Beautiful Swales advocates to come teach about and create water catchment swales and
5) maybe add a bicycle-drawn piano, Piano à la Carte.
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Refurbishing the Native Plant Garden at the Jackie Robinson Post Office
Saturday, October 6
8 a.m. to 11 a.m.
1355 N. Mentor Ave., Pasadena 91104