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

Transition Pasadena

June 2016

‘Beauty Bites Beast’

Conscientious Projector

Thursday, June 9, 2016
7:00 p.m.

Armory Center for the Arts
145 North Raymond Av


Conscientious Projector invites you to an evening with Pasadena Weekly columnist, author, activist, performer and local legend Ellen Snortland. This “sneak preview” pre-release version of her new documentary Beauty Bites Beast is a compelling and heartening look at a global movement empowering women and girls to counteract and prevent physical and sexual violence. The film centers on trail-blazing programs of self-defense for women and girls all over the world, teaching them to overcome fears, set aside myths of female helplessness, and protect their own bodies and emotional lives.

A community discussion with Ellen Snortland follows the film. Admission is free and the facility is accessible to disabled persons.

Conscientious Projector

Open Studios Art Tour

Sat & Sun, June 4 & 5
11 am - 5 pm

Throughout Altadena and Pasadena

This June’s show on the 4th and 5th will feature 75 amazing artists at 41 locations, plus some live music, poetry, and performances to compliment the Tour.

The Open Studios Art Tour provides an intimate view into the artist’s life and studio; to be able to see where and how ideas are conceived and developed.  When visiting an artist’s studio, the creative process becomes apparent and is unique to each artist.  It provides a personal, individualized experience, unlike the setting of a typical gallery show.  This is what makes our event so special. We don’t charge any admission fees, and welcome all of our neighbors to experience the Tour.

More info:

Pasadena Level 2 Water Shortage Now in Effect

Tues & Sat Only (Apr-Oct)

Update on California’s Water Situation

On May 18, 2016, the State Water Resources Control Board (“State Water Board”) voted to abandon the water conservation formula, which required water districts to reduce water use by a certain state-mandated percentage.

To replace the mandated percentage reductions the State Water Board introduced a new requirement for local suppliers, like the City of Pasadena, to apply prescribed reliability stress test and set water saving targets based on anticipated water shortfalls over the next three years.

Although California is still in an emergency drought situation State officials recognize that supply conditions have improved and as a result, drought rules were revised to become effective June 1 2016, which would end Pasadena’s conservation target of 26%.

Pasadena Water and Power is working on completing the reliability stress test and will submit the required report to the State Water Board by the June 15, 2016 deadline. For more information about the State’s water conservation standards visit

Level 2 Shortage Plan

As a reminder, Pasadena is still on a Level 2 Shortage Plan under City Ordinance Chapter 13.10, which became effective on June 1, 2015.

The plan limits outdoor watering to two days per week on Tuesdays and Saturdays from April 1 through Oct 31, and one day per week on Saturdays from Nov. 1 through Mar. 31.

The plan also prohibits watering between the hours of 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., requires water leaks to be fixed within 48 hours, and prohibits the filling of ornamental lakes and ponds. (Please note that the fall/winter watering schedule was also one day per week in 2014 under the previous Level 1 Water Shortage Supply Plan.)

 To view the City's Water Waste Ordinance, click here.   

Water Waste Enforcement will still be in effect to ensure Pasadena meets the goal of Senate Bill X7-7, which calls for 20% reduction by 2020.

We want to thank the Pasadena community for making great strides with conservation.

City of Pasadena

Altadena Music &
Art Fair

Sub Marquee

Every 1st Wednesday
4:00 pm - 8:00 pm

Altadena Farmers' Market
600 W Palm Ave


Don't leave the kiddos at home today! The Lab for Hands-On Learning and Exploration brings their innovative, child-led activities to the market. Today's activity is "Sink or Float". A variety of recycled materials, found objects and nature are provided for children to experiment with how their creations react in water and how they can move with wind. This activity, as with all LAB activities, is process oriented leaving children to determine their own outcomes and answer their own questions.

626 Open Streets

Presented by METRO

Sunday, June 26, 2016
8:00 am - 2:00 pm

South Pasadena to Azusa, see details at


Walk, Run, Skate​, Bike and Explore the "626" along ​18+ miles of open streets linking 6 Foothill Gold Line stations and 7 San Gabriel Valley cities ​from South Pasadena to Azusa on 6.26 Day.
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a part of Transition Network

Making Friends while Banning ’Foam

Good TO-GO Campaign and Styro-Free Pasadena

Pasadena City Council unanimously approved a ban on polystyrene food containers on May 9, 2016!

Michiko Lynch is a new Transition Pasadena member and a Queen of Zero Waste in her own life. (She's down front in the photo.)  She brings Mason jars to the butcher to put her meat in, and carries non-disposable silverware and food containers in her car.  She  also describes herself as a Tree-hugger-hugger, since her main squeeze, John Lynch, is an arborist.

Michiko inspired several Transition members and other Eco Activists in our community to launch the Good To-Go Campaign, part of ongoing efforts to ban Styrofoam containers. A group effort led to the creative name and logo, a vibrant social media campaign, stickers, petition signatures mounting to the hundreds, plus many personal letters to council and a formal letter signed by 20 local organizations, businesses, and faith groups.

We didn't accomplish this alone; we connected with many new and old friends along the way. And we owe thanks to all the volunteers and supporting citizens including: Styrofoam Free Pasadena, Day One, Arroyo Seco Foundation, Arroyos and Foothills Conservancy, Altadena Heritage, Arroyo Food Co-op, All Saints Church Sustainable World Ministry, Pasadena-Foothills Chapter of Citizens Climate Lobby, La Loma Development/The Shed, Neighborhood Church Green Council, Pasadena Audubon Society, Pasadena Group - Los Angeles Chapter of the Sierra Club, Throop UU Church, Waste Less Living, Zanja Madre, Repair Café Pasadena, Throop Learning Garden, Mulch for the People, and

We also thank: Pasadena City Council, the Staff of the Department of Public Works, and the Environmental Advisory Commission.

We are determined to keep this momentum going!
  • We are building and strengthening relationships with our newly invigorated local Eco Activists Group.
  • We will remain vigilant. We will not allow the drafted ordinance veer off of a path to adoption.
  • We also support the citizens of other San Gabriel Valley and Foothills communities who want to ban polystyrene.
  • And we support a “Yes” vote this November to keep the statewide plastic bag ban.
As Michiko says, "I have found my people!"

— Therese Brummel

Free-Food Plants Have a New Home

Free-Food Garden (formerly at Arroyo Food Co-op)

Originally envisioned by Sylvia Holmes and a small group of co-op and community members back in 2013, the Free-Food Garden became a flourishing hub of plants and public space. Native plants placed along the parking strip completely filled in the space, mounding beautifully and covered with flowers. The three fruit trees adjacent the co-op had grown taller than the gardeners who tended them, and many veggies and small fruit filled in around the trees, ready to be picked by neighbors and passers-by.
Alas, the lease on the building has run out, and the Arroyo Food Co-op is moving on. So what of the garden?
It’s spring, a time of renewal.

And so, Sylvia reached out to Lamar Anderson, the president of the garden leadership council at Villa Verde Rooftop Garden at Villa-Parke, and asked him to visit and survey the garden. He agreed to relocate the trees and plants to the park garden plots, and recruited volunteers for the challenging eight-block move.
There was a fond farewell gathering for Free-Food Garden fans to meet, express themselves with chalk drawings on the pavement, and exchange food from their home gardens, and share memories of the good times at the Garden.
Sylvia briefed the Villa Verde team on how to transplant the trees. They dug out the Pixie Mandarin and Fuyu Persimmon, wrapped each root ball in a tarp, and settled the trees into a pickup truck. Team member Alicia comforted the trees en route to the Villa Verde Rooftop plots, where again free food will be available just as it was at the Free-Food Garden. When Sylvia brought worm castings for the plants in their new beds, she said she felt like she was visiting a family member in the hospital or adjusting to her children’s leaving home.

As for the native plants, since it is not the right season to plant natives, Roger Klemm, founder of Sunland Welcome Nature Garden who originally provided the natives, will take cuttings and propagate a new generation for the Rooftop garden.
Kudos to Sylvia Holmes for imagining and creating a warm and welcoming place, the Free-Food Garden, to bring people together in Pasadena, and for making sure that the legacy of this garden continues on! Be sure to visit the plants after they have settled in at their new home at Villa-Parke!

— Lin Griffith & Qrys Cunningham

Free Food Garden at Arroyo Food Co-op

Photos by Sylvia Holmes and Lin Griffith.

Throop Learning Garden

Sundays  — 8:30 am to 10:30 am

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

We are preparing a series of workshops on compost, hypertufa constructions for the garden, canning, pickling, and backyard produce preserving. We plan on constructing a Three Sister garden using a waffle technique in the first part of June. We are also planning a couple of family friendly events. Stay tuned for dates.

We meet Sundays from 8:30-10:30am. Come join us!

Notes From the Garden

The San Gabriel Chapter of the California Native Plant Society hosted Dr. Stephen Davis, plant ecologist from Pepperdine University, at its May meeting. Dr. Davis presented a talk on the extended drought and its effects on California chaparral. His research involved two “bookend” species essential to the healthy functioning of the chaparral ecosystem: Laurel Sumac and Bigpod Ceanothus. These plants were chosen as the two plants with the most hearty comeback potential after fire. Laurel Sumac has incredibly deep roots that persist after fire, allowing the plant to send up suckers after the main trunk has been burned. Bigpod Ceanothus seeds break open during fire, so seeds can germinate post fire.

Both are survivor species. Laurel Sumac may have roots as deep as 42’, allowing the plant to tap in to deep water resources. Bigpod Ceanothus Has great capacity for withstanding dehydration during drought times. Both have survivied for thousands of years.

But now we face the special challenges of climate change. Most droughts in California since the Pleistocene endured for 20 years or less. Occasionally droughts of 30-100 years were recorded. During these times normal air temperatures prevailed. Currently we are experiencing the mean temperature creepin, and in some cases, leaping in ways we have never experienced. Coupled with the lack of rainfall, Dr. Davis and his students have noticed a dramatic shift in the response of the bookend species.

Laurel Sumac has been attacked throughout the Malibu area by a fungus that usually lives commensurately with the plant. This is causing cankers to form throughout the plant that thwart the rise of water from roots to stems, thus stressing the plant and ultimately killing it.

Bigpod Ceanothus has relatively shallow roots (+-5’). During drought it dessicates readily, sending its energy into the main stem of the plant. If it dessicates too far it has the effect of splitting the bark, allowing air into flow passages, essentially creating a plant embolism. The plant dies back, unable to deliver fluid to all its parts. Also the seeds have been germinating not from hot fire followed by rain, but by increased soil temperature followed by hot, dry weather. In the current situation the seed sprouts only to be dried out and killed.

Dr. Davis and his students are documenting a phenomenon never witnessed before. Their area of study is an area in Malibu that burns every 7 years or so. Nonetheless he concludes that our chaparral landscape is in big trouble from climate change and extended drought.

For more information:

— January Nordman

Throop Learning Garden

Photo by Therese Brummel.

Repair Cafe Pasadena

Villa Parke Auditorium (with Pop-Up Museum!)

Saturday, June 4 — 10:00 am to 1:00 pm

Villa Parke Auditorium
363 E. Villa St., Pasadena

Along with tinkerers and tailors and tool sharpening, June's uniquely festive free event will have a bike repair station!

Patrons can give back by helping the Hill Street Library's Seed Library package and label seeds for free giveaway while they wait for repairs.  Michiko, our Zero Waste queen will be converting a Mason jar to a drink container by punching a hole in the lid for a zero waste straw. And there will be a surprise Pop-Up Museum, a creative, spontaneous experience focused on one topic.

There will be seedlings to share, garden advisors, the Really, Really Free Market, and free coffee compliments of Charlie's Coffeehouse in South Pasadena.

If you would like to help staff this event contact Therese Brummel

— Therese Brummel

Repair Café Pasadena

Photo by Therese Brummel.

Grace and Community

A few weeks back I was privileged to attend an Earth Holders retreat at Thich Nhat Hanh’s Deer Park Monastery. The retreat focused on a Buddhist response to climate change.

One dharma talk sounded a chord of understanding for me. The young sister giving the talk described how clues to the answer to an issue may lie in our language. An example of this is the word “earth”. The letters used in “earth” can be reordered to spell “heart”. This seemed a silly parlor trick, clever, but of no consequence. I became less attentive.

Then the sister turned to two concepts:
ill will and well being
the cause of suffering and the end of suffering.
She broke this down further to “ill” and “well”. What causes suffering and what releases one from suffering? Remove the Ls from these words and one is left with “I” and “WE”. My attention returned with an aha moment!

When humans focus on ill-will; like greed, avarice, hatred, injustice, or more concretely; gossip, bullying, disrespect, or coercion, they become isolated and bring suffering to themselves and their community. They eschew grace for superficial transitory power or short term gain. This is the underbelly of “I”.

When humans can define themselves as “I” as part of “WE” they move beyond isolation of self to the grace of recognizing interconnection and interdependence. Humans are social beings, in need of interaction, love, and kindness from a family, tribe, or community.

But how does this relate to climate change?

As humans, our corporal being consists of about 50% human cells and 50% other-bacteria, and other single cell organisms, without which we could not function. We inter-are with these beings that live in and on us. Awareness of this brings a new sensibility to the concept of community. If we inter-are within our bodies, could we also have the same type of relationship outside our bodies?

We breathe in microscopic organisms, oxygen, and dust with each breath. We are intrinsically linked to all life by this simple, automatic action. The trees in the forest exude oxygen that allows us to live and thrive. We breathe out CO2 which the trees inhale and thrive. This primordial balance illustrates how we interact with every organism on our beautiful planet. We exchange energy, nutrients, cycles, and consciousness with all beings through complex and often, indirect means. The awareness of this endless stream of interactions and  dependencies is grace. It is the foundation for healing ourselves and our relationship to our planet. Without this our attempts at altering climate change are fear-based and mechanistic, and doomed from reaching a wholistic resolution.

By embracing the concept of inter-being we open our hearts and minds to altering our intentional interactions with the world around us. Each individual act can be magnified when combined in the we through respect, honor, and love.

A starting point is a simple loving kindness meditation. Please soften the focus of your eyes and breathe deeply 3 times at each contemplation:

1- May I be peaceful, healthy and aware
2- May you be peaceful, healthy and aware
3- May Earth be peaceful, healthy and aware
4- May we be peaceful, healthy and aware

— January Nordman

Photo by Therese Brummel.
Published on June 1, 2016
Editor's Note: There was no newsletter in May.
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.