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

Transition Pasadena

March 2016

The Human Scale

Conscientious Projector

Thursday, March 10
7:00 pm

Armory Center for the Arts
145 North Raymond Av


50% of the world’s population lives in urban areas, by 2050 it will be 80%. Cities have become the primary human habitat. According to revolutionary Danish architect and urban planner Jan Gehl, to make cities sustainable and livable we must design cities for people and re-imagine the very foundations of modern urban planning. Filmmaker Andreas M. Dalsgaard examines Gehl’s philosophy and practice in the stunningly photographed documentary The Human Scale.

Gehl and his team have been leading a revolution in urban design, bringing a more humanistic dimension to cities where people are not displaced by skyscrapers and car-centric urbanism. Dalsgaard’s film explores how Gehl and other like minded designers, city planners, and urban activists are transforming cities around the world such as New York, Beijing, Christchurch, and London.

Wesley Reutimann of Day One leads a community discussion following the film.

Conscientious Projector

5th Annual Climate Change Forum

League of Women Voters Pasadena Area

Saturday, March 19
9:00 am

Neighborhood Church -
Ross Chapel
301 N Orange Grove Av


From around the Globe to
Los Angeles

“The Paris Climate Talks and What They Mean”
Speaker: John Odell, Professor Emeritus of International Relations, University of Southern California, and Senior Fellow, Centre for International Governance Innovation, Waterloo, Canada

“The Fate of the Terrestrial Biosphere”
Speaker: Dr. Josh Fisher, Climate Scientist, NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), California Institute of Technology (Caltech);
Science Lead, ECOSTRESS Mission

“Now Trending: Air Quality Measurements, Challenges, and Climate Change”
Speaker: Jason Low, Manager, Atmospheric Measurements,
South Coast Air Quality Management District.

The League of Women Voters, a nonpartisan political organization, encourages informed and active participation in government and influences public policy through education and advocacy.

Transition Pasadena is a co-sponsor of this event.

League of Women Voters Pasadena Area

Thirty Days For
The Earth

Throop U.U. Church

March 20 - April 17

Throop U.U. Church
300 S Los Robles Ave

Join us at Throop Unitarian Universalist as we use the thirty days before Earth Day, to create community and deepen our connection to and care of our Earth. We do this through vibrant worship, educational events, spiritual reflection, and action with our church and the surrounding neighborhood.

Worship: Using our heads and our hearts, we explore our connection to earth through music, stories, reflection and ritual.

Education and Engagement: We connect to the beauty in our built environment through a series of curated Neighborhood Walks, designed to reawaken your sense of awe and wonder for our world. Visit Throop Learning Garden and add your “Earth Hope” to our olive tree. Party with us on Saturday,
April 16, 4 - 7 pm at a community event including music, poetry, art and more -
all with a focus on our Earth.

Action: We are taking the 30-day “Good To-Go” challenge, staying away from styrofoam for those thirty days. We will attend city meetings and talk one on one with our elected officials to ensure the Styrofoam Ban is passed.

Celebrate Earth. Love Life. Honor Creation.

Throop U.U. Church Pasadena

Mark Lakeman and City Repair


Monday, March 28
6:30 pm

La Loma Development
1355 Lincoln Av

Suggested donation, sliding scale: $10 - $20. No one turned away for lack of funds.

Placemaking Storytelling: The Village Heart is Everywhere with Mark Lakeman

Placemaking: Creating Human­centric Spaces
An evening with Mark Lakeman, founder of Portland's City Repair Project

"If we acknowledge that change is happening, we can choose the change. If anything can divert or overturn the dynamics of gentrification, it’s people being linked together." - Mark Lakeman

City Repair has inspired people to paint intersections, install benches, plant gardens, build Little Free Libraries, and other creative techniques which bring people together as a neighborhood and a community.

Mark Lakeman is a national leader in the development of sustainable public places. Lakeman created City Repair and the Village Building Convergence to reclaim city spaces for the people. In the last decade with the help of thousands of volunteer activists, he has directed, facilitated, and inspired designs for more than three hundred new community­ generated public places in Portland, Oregon alone, and many more worldwide.

Come meet Mark, hear some of his experiences and thoughts, maybe get inspired, and connect with people/projects who are launching similar projects to transform their local places.

Dinner will also be available for purchase.

The Shed/Zanja Madre
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a part of Transition Network

Repair Cafe Pasadena

Repair Cafe & Really Really Free Market

Saturday, March 26 — 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m.

Pasadena Senior Center
85 E. Holly St., Pasadena

The Right to Repair

Repair Cafe was visited by three interviewers last month: Pasadena Now, an independent journalist and a USC grad student of Urban Sustainability. The movement to repair things is all around us and grabbing attention.

This week we heard more conversation about growing support for the concept called “The Right to Repair.”  Manufacturers who change screw heads for electronics to make them impenetrable without the proper secret tool–which they will not provide–or who refuse to share owners' troubleshooting manuals, are being questioned on their motives.  Could it be planned obsolescence? We have a relationship with a San Luis organization online called iFixit. They are offering such elusive tools and manuals for all to share. This freely sharing attitude is the basis of our work too.

The Repair Cafe Foundation in the Netherlands, our mother organization, sent a survey to us this week investigating these questions, looking for solutions that may involve changes in public policy, consumer protection, and protection of repair people. The responses we and other Repair Cafes have submitted will be analyzed and shared by The Center for Sustainable Design at the University for the Creative Arts in the UK.

We salute you, the folks who generously share your repair skills, who are changing culture, slowly but surely for the better...Better for people, better for the planet.

Next Repair Cafe Pasadena is:
3/26 at the Pasadena Senior Center, 10-1. 85 E Holly St, Pasadena. 

Repairs will be accepted 10-noon. The Really, Really Free Market will have a sale: 100% off everything! Bring something, take something.

— Therese Brummel

Repair Café Pasadena

Image provided by club125.greenbelt, cc-by-2.0.


Styrofoam Free Pasadena

Community Action

Polystyrene is toxic and a blight to our environment!  It releases toxins into our food and drink, it does not biodegrade, it poisons our wildlife and waterways.

93 cities in California have banned it and we should too! Pasadena has been studying the issue for over 18 months and our city has not made it happen.  Let's let them hear from us!

Join the GOOD TO-GO campaign, sponsored by Transition Pasadena and other local partner organizations.

1. Sign It: the petition to ban styrofoam in Pasadena

2. Say It: with a sticker!  Wear the Good To-Go sticker and attach it to your restaurant bill to let them know you want "good to-go containers", not toxic foam.

3. Do It: take the personal challenge to not use or accept any Styrofoam for thirty days (or longer!) 

Stickers, and posters and cards, will be available at the March 26 Repair Cafe at Pasadena Senior Center.  Other places and times will be posted on the Good To-Go Facebook page.

Please Follow us, Like and Share!

Styrofoam Free Pasadena and
Good To-Go Campaign

— Therese Brummel

Artwork by Ginko

Mulch For The People

Mulch Delivery Requested By Citizens

State of the Mulch 2 attracted an eager crowd to The Shed December 8, 2015. Panelists Leigh Adams of the Arboretum and Melanie Winters of Water LA and The River Project brought expert information about how homeowners in our watershed can use mulch in contoured yards to reverse the current huge waste of stormwater. Greg Jones of Long Beach Public Works described how his city created a job-training program as a way of staffing home delivery of mulch over the past six years and also mentioned the Arcadia home delivery program. For Pasadena Public Works, Kenny Graham described how Pasadena provides mulch pick-up sites and Gabe Silva mentioned that a new state law requires the City to inform private companies such as arborists that they now must recycle organic waste.
After a lively Q/A conducted by moderator Sarah Leone, panelists and audience together discussed how to get more mulch to more people. Ideas on funding, staffing and locating a Pasadena mulch delivery program predominated.
On March 2, 2016, Sylvia Holmes and Lin Griffith for Mulch for the People  met with Charles Peretz and Kenny Graham of Pasadena Public Works to see which ideas from State of the Mulch 2 might be workable. The meeting started with the happy announcement that, as a pilot project, the City will provide compost from Athens Services as well as mulch at the Victory Park mulch pick-up site on dates available at

Then we explored the possibility of initiating a City mulch home delivery program. The main challenges are (1) a place to store mulch and (2) funding for additional staff.

For several years, Pasadena Public Works staff have been trying to identify City-owned vacant land that could be used as a “lay-down” area for storing and improving the quality of mulch. Crowd-sourcing could help here. If you can think of a bit of underutilized land not right next to any house and accessible by dump truck, please post a comment for us.
For staff and funding, we considered searching for grants available to cities for workforce development, water conservation or diversion of organic materials from landfill as required by new legislation. The existing Pasadena MASH program could possibly provide workers. Of partner organizations suggested, YouthBuild seemed to offer the best fit for providing workers. We welcome further ideas on these challenges.

Contact us by posting on our Facebook Page or email us at

— Lin Griffith

Mulch For The People

Photo courtesy of Sylvia Holmes.

Throop Learning Garden

Notes from the Garden

Sundays, 8:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m.

Throop Memorial U.U. Church
300 S. Los Robles Ave., Pasadena

Rainwater Catchment – A Short Update

Pasadena's mandatory ban on outdoor watering between February 25 and  March 10 has had minimal impact on Throop Learning Garden.

Thanks to the recent rains, we are using the stored water in our 1,320 gallon water tank to satisfy the needs of our vegetables, fruit trees, and recent transplants.

Many thanks to all who supported this endeavor.

— January Nordman

Throop Learning Garden

Photo courtesy of January Nordman.
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.