News and events for Transition and sustainability in Pasadena, Altadena, and nearby communities along the Arroyo Seco.

Transition Pasadena

March 2015

Special Event: Charles Eisenstein - March 19

“Shark Loves the Amazon”

Conscientious Projector

Thursday, March 12
7:00 pm

Armory Center for the Arts
145 N Raymond Ave, Pasadena


Shark Loves the Amazon takes a look at what it will take to protect the world’s largest, endangered rainforest and support millions who now live there.  

Many still think of the Amazon as a land populated primarily by indigenous people surrounded by exotic flora and fauna, but that’s no longer a fully accurate picture. More than 20 million Brazilians have migrated there in recent decades and are themselves struggling to survive amidst modern challenges presented by deforestation, the free market economy, climate change and biodiversity loss. Mark London, author of The Last Forest: The Amazon in the Age of Globalization, written with journalist Brian Kelly, offers an  analysis and a vision for a sustainable future for the region.

A community discussion follows the film.

Conscientious Projector

Free Food Garden at
Arroyo Food Co-op

494 N Wilson Ave, Pasadena

Volunteers, donors welcome!

The Free Food Garden at the Arroyo Food Co-op is a Transition Pasadena placemaking project, creating a water-wise garden for the neighborhood to enjoy.

Sustaining the Free Food Garden community days are scheduled weekly, and posted on the Arroyo Food Co-op Free Food Garden Facebook page, or email to get on the weekly email list.

Everyone is invited to stop by, meet new friends, and help sustain something wonderful for the whole community enjoys.

Free Food Garden at
Arroyo Food Co-op

4th Annual –
Climate Change Forum

League of Women Voters
Pasadena Area

Saturday, March 21
9:30 am - 12:30 pm

Neighborhood Church
301 N Orange Grove Ave


Wondering how you can help with climate change? Learn how to "Grade your own Carbon Footprint" and talk with local, sustainably minded groups! Attend this free public forum hosted by League of Women Voters Pasadena Area.

For more information, visit
LWV – Pasadena Area

My Water Pledge

Let’s show them how it’s done, Pasadena! For the first time ever, Pasadena’s gearing up for the National Mayor’s Challenge for Water Conservation.

From April 1 - 30, Pasadena’s Mayor is asking every resident to go to to take a simple four-step pledge to save water.

For complete details, visit:

Cool Roofs Update

The City of Pasadena has made two more significant moves to reduce Urban Heat Island Effect!  Peter and Rob, scientists and members of Transition Pasadena and Citizens Climate Lobby, met with City officials to educate and inspire them on this concept in 2014. We are happy to announce that city policy is that new roofs on low slope homes must now be Cool Roofs, reflecting rather than absorbing much more solar energy AND there will be a rebate for doing so! These roofs look the same as regular roofs, come in a variety of colors, and cost no more.

The importance of Cool Roofs and planting shade trees, which also has a rebate incentive, is that these are measures that will help cool the entire city as warming due to climate change increases. They will also help people to reduce energy consumption for cooling their homes. Therese Brummel has just submitted a rebate request for her Energy Star cool roof and whole-house fan. 

Thanks, Peter and Rob!

Some facts:
—By 2050 Pasadena will have four times as many extremely hot days over 95ºF
—Cool roofs keep living spaces several degrees cooler on hottest days.
—Urban areas with non-reflective roofs, and pavement instead of plants, can be up to 22ºF warmer than surrounding areas.
—With a cool roof, there is less need to run your AC, saving energy and reducing CO2 emissions.

For more info on cool coofs:

Arroyo SECO Network of Time Banks

The Arroyo SECO Network of Time Banks is a local exchange system designed to inspire trust and reciprocity. It is a collective, working towards empowering the community by facilitating co-operative trade. Time banking is built on the idea that each of us has unique gifts, talents and resources to share and that everyone’s time is equal. The ASNTB aims to encourage systemic social change and economic equality.

The Time Bank is now accepting new member applications. Tell your friends that have been waiting to join.

For more information, visit

Arroyo Food Co-op is member-owned, community market. Everyone can shop, anyone can join. Now open to the public, limited hours, seven days a week.

The Co-op is located at:
494 N Wilson Ave in Pasadena.

For more information about the Co-op, visit:

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a part of Transition Network

“The More Beautiful World Our Hearts Know is Possible”

A talk by Charles Eisenstein

Thursday, March 19 — 7:00 pm

Armory Center for the Arts
145 N. Raymond Ave., Pasadena


In a time of social and ecological crisis, what can we as individuals do to make the world a better place?

Renowned author and visionary, Charles Eisenstein will give a talk on the critical failings of the mainstream economy and opportunities for change, the topic of his widely acclaimed book, “The More Beautiful World our Hearts Know is Possible”.

“This inspirational and thought-provoking book serves as an empowering antidote to the cynicism, frustration, paralysis, and overwhelm so many of us are feeling, replacing it with a grounding reminder of what’s true: we are all connected, and our small, personal choices bear unsuspected transformational power. By fully embracing and practicing this principle of interconnectedness—called ‘interbeing’—we become more effective agents of change and have a stronger positive influence on the world.” -

Learn how a shifting paradigm is gaining momentum in communities throughout the world, and how you can get involved in local efforts to promote more sustainable, human-scale economics. A community discussion will be held immediately following the talk.

Tickets available on-line, or at the door. Variable ticket price, no one will be turned away for lack of funds.

The Local Economy Incubator of the Arroyo Sustainable Economies Community Organization is excited to host this event with the support of Transition Pasadena and
Project Butterfly.

“A More Beautiful World” Reading Circle

Friday, March 13 — 6:45 pm

Arroyo Food Co-op
494 N. Wilson Ave., Pasadena

Transition Pasadena will be hosting an informal reading and community discussion of the Charles Eisenstein book (Eisenstein will not be at the reading circle,) at the Arroyo Food Co-op; all are welcome!

Poster by Ginko Lee

30 Days for the Earth

A series of talks, workshops, and encounters leading up to EARTH DAY 2015

Throop Hall, Throop Unitarian Universalist Church
300 S. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena

Donation of $5 for talks, requested at the door

Our relationship with our earth home is one of the most important and primal relationships. It informs how we conduct ourselves in all other relationships.

Transition Pasadena partners with Throop Unitarian Universalist Church to present a series of talks, workshops, and encounters that highlight our relationship to the earth, our stewardship, and possibilities for healing.

"Carbon-free Prosperity"

Sunday, March 22 — 2:00 pm

Rob Haw, JPL Systems engineer and climate activist will look at the science and behind human caused global warming. He will delineate a range of possible solutions for slowing climate change put forth by various groups, including Citizens Climate Lobby. Rob will also give personal examples of how to decarbonize your impact on the planet.

"Joy of Low-energy Living"

Sunday, March 29 — 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Climate scientist Peter Kalmus will share his experiences as he and his family journey toward a lower carbon footprint, focusing on how using less fossil fuels turned out not to be the burden one might expect … in fact, he says it’s made his life happier!

The second part of Peter’s presentation will guide the audience to calculate their carbon footprints, then present concrete ways to decrease their impact on the planet. Please bring a pencil, calculator, and information about your driving, flying, and consuming habits, including a gas and electric bill, to get the maximum from the workshop. If not available, Peter will show ways to ‘guess-timate’ your usage.

"Rethinking Water"

Sunday, April 12 — 2:00 pm

Meredith McKenzie, Cal Poly Pomona lecturer and water activist, will present a talk on California’s water infrastructure, the drought, and long term strategies for sustainability and rehabilitation.

"We Roll Up our Sleeves…"

Sunday, April 19 — 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm

Please join us as we welcome many environmental, sustainability, and social justice groups for a meet and greet mixer of casual conversation and ways to get active.

"Earth Healing, Heart Healing"

Four Thursdays on March 26 and April 2, 9, 16

7:00 pm to 9:00 pm

What is your intention for earth care and connection during
“30 Days for the Earth”? ” Join us on four Thursday nights to explore your heart connection to nature through meditation, discussion, and movement. To reserve space, please email:

— January Nordman

Throop Learning Garden

Throop Unitarian Universalist Church

Poster by Ginko Lee

Mulch for the People

The drought sounds increasingly serious, and yet most Pasadena houses still have front lawns!

Pasadena will pay us to remove them; so what’s stopping us? You say you don’t fancy hours of back-breaking work, digging out your lawn? We’re happy to tell you that it’s much easier than that: spread cardboard over your lawn, get free chipped-tree mulch from the City and spread it 6 inches deep over the cardboard. No digging, and your lawn is gone, ready for replanting with drought-tolerant plants and trees for summer shade.
So where can you get this mulch? The City provides some at Victory Park once a month, but it will need to provide much more, and really get the word out about using mulch for lawn removal, in order to change the amount of pure drinking water Pasadenans are using on lawns.

Support the efforts of Mulch for the People by calling or emailing your council person today! And read more at:

— Sylvia Holmes & Lin Griffith

Mulch for the People

Photo by Sylvia Holmes

Solutions can be Simple, Pasadena!

Pasadena is one of only three cities in this state to have its own Health Department rather than being part of the county system.  Pasadena Health Department is currently trying to address the issue of poor nutrition and obesity, specifically in the Northwest part of this city which has been identified as a “food desert” for lack of sufficient fresh food access.

Two of the solutions they have identified are: (1.) promoting and supporting community gardens, and (2.) placing fresh fruit at check stands in the many mom-and-pop food stores/liquor stores.  But small food markets may be reluctant to move the more profitable bongs and condoms away from the check stand to make room for fresh apples and oranges. 

We see a simple solution: Plant fruit trees in public places!  But there’s a hitch: the City of Pasadena has a policy (‘unwritten’ according to city arborist, Darya Barar) of not allowing planting of fruit trees (except olive) on city property.  So here are two city plans at odds with each other: improve fresh fruit access, but don’t plant fruit trees.

We envision creating an orchard in each city park, where local neighbors take responsibility for fruit tree maintenance and the fruit is available to everyone. Win: improves our nutrition. Win: strengthens our community ties. Win: improves our food security for the long term.

Help this solution come to life by speaking out your support at the upcoming Urban Forestry Advisory Commission, Wednesday, March 11, 2015 – 6:00 PM City Yards (2nd Floor), 233 West Mountain Street. Contact Therese Brummel to learn more about this Transition action.

— Therese Brummel

Photo by Sarah Sammis/Flickr

A View from the Piano

Community, music, and Repair Cafe

I've been observing community formations since we started this Transition Initiative so many years ago. Many of us have noted that community is quite likely the most important aspect of Transition work. I've had some observations recently that happily, I now have the time to write about.
Many years ago, when the former Arroyo Time Bank co-hosted the Altadena Urban Farmers Market, several of us noticed the large-scale community that developed, as people came to shop. By the time of the last market day, we further realized that a lot of people were coming and hanging out even after many of the vendors had sold out. We decided that people were hungry for "in the flesh" real community and were enjoying the community vibe. It certainly was a wonderful feeling that got generated each month. A feeling that isn’t available in online communities.

With each of our projects since then, we have been kind of subconscious of this aspect, then peripherally conscious, and now, in the last year, I would say it's become a primary goal to create this community feeling. Certainly the Placemaking efforts embody this consciousness most directly. I think our community building efforts are quite noticeable at the Repair Cafe.

I've had a variety of roles during RC, but over the last year I’ve been playing the piano and I've been able to observe this “community thing”. When a performer concludes a piece, the most obvious reaction of the community (audience) is the applause. There are also interactions during a performance and it is this communication that is the essence of great art. This is true in performances where the audience is sitting down and listening intently and in other performances where the piano is a background sound. The audience is moving around and talking, etc. I’ve noticed that I can get an audience to respond to what I’m doing even in the background kind of performance. It’s especially noticeable with volume changes. I can also hear, or feel the reaction to a particular note that I make sing or a particularly delicious melody or a dramatic change in volume. There are other times as well.

One thing that has been fun to play with is the dramatic change in mood in a multi-movement piece of music. For example a fast and happy first movement that contrasts with the second, typically quiet and sad, movement. A particular Clementi Sonatina in C has a short second movement, where I like to see how quiet and softly I can play it. It’s fun to see how quiet I can get talking people to be, even while they're talking during this particular second movement. The melody is so lush and when I bring it down in volume, it seems that people want to hear it so badly, that the “room” will get quieter. Even at RC, I notice this effect. The community breathes as one.

Many of us have noticed the community aspect of RC and are consciously working to build that part of it. If you haven’t come to experience Repair Cafe yet, you owe it to yourself to come to one. Even if you don't have anything that’s broken, come and participate in the Really Really Free Market, or listen to some music. If you have a thought that there’s something you could perform please contact me. Even if it isn't a musical performance, let's figure out how to do it. I can be reached at

— David Cutter

Repair Cafe Pasadena — Save the Date!

The next Repair Cafe will take place on April 18,
10 am to 1 pm at The Peace and Justice Academy.

Repair Cafe

Arroyo S.E.C.O Network of Time Banks

Building Community in the Garden

All plants grow in community. It is a natural process that has developed over millions of years. We see this in microcosm each time we plant. Broccoli doesn’t thrive in a tomato patch, but excels when planted with kale and potatoes. Sometimes buffer plants can be used to create a mycorrhizal divide that will allow unlike plants to thrive together. Then the goal can be growth and living to ones’ potential.

We see this same process in our garden community. We plant ourselves firmly and grow in community. Yet sometimes there is disagreement or conflict. Sometimes our shared vision falters. At these times our buffer is heart-to-heart communication.

We begin with a moment of silent meditation to ground ourselves. Then we sit together silently as one person speaks. We listen from the heart, without thinking ahead to what we might say. We speak from the heart, honoring those we address while addressing the issue. We know our voice is heard and valued by the attention and focus of our listeners. Through this process we come to resolution. We create peace so that all in the garden thrive.

Throop Learning Garden

300 S. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena

Sundays, 8:30 am to 10:30 am

Notes from the Garden

Rain initiated a riot of wildflowers at Throop Learning Garden. Swathes of colorful poppies, phaecelia, sages, and ceonothus paint the garden in oranges, purples, and blues.

Winter crops of kale, lettuce, and onions co-mingle with spring crops of peas, beans, and chard. Blossoms abound on the apple and plum trees in clouds of pink and white.

Bees and hummingbirds hover enjoying the sweet nectar of abundant blossoms. The ravens have returned to their nest in the belfry.

The garden is never more beautifully alive than when all is abloom. Come by and enjoy the color, fragrance, and food.

— January Nordman

Throop Learning Garden

Published on March 10, 2015;  CC BY-SA

Transition Pasadena is a community group working to make positive changes in our community as we face global climate change, peak oil, and economic uncertainty. We share our skills working on projects to increase local resilience and strengthen community connections. Our members live in Pasadena, Altadena, and nearby neighborhoods including Highland Park and Eagle Rock.