January  2016       Smaller footprint. Stronger community.     TransitionASAP.org      District 12, St. Paul, Minnesota
In this issue:

Happy new year! Let's toast last year's progress--local and global--
and hope for even greater strides for sustainability in 2016.  Join us. 


Transportation Committee (SAPCC)

Monday, January 4, 6:30 - 8:30 pm
Community Council office, 890 Cromwell Ave. 

All are welcome to this standing committee of the St. Anthony Park Community Council. (Note: you may also be interested in Transition Town ASAP's Transportation action group, which meets February 10.  See listing below.)

Let's Start a Tool Library in St. Paul:
Learning from a successful project 
in Northeast Minneapolis

Tuesday, January 5, 6:30 pm
Hamline Midway Library branch
1558 Minnehaha Avenue

Northeast Minneapolis has a thriving system for tool-sharing and shared workshop space:  Visit its website and Facebook page to learn more. John Bailey will tell us about it, and we'll discuss how a similar project could work in St. Paul. Free and open to all.

Mission: "To cultivate a more resilient and equitable community and reduce waste by empowering residents with access to tools, training, and workspaces."

Transition Tap

Wednesday, January 6,  7-9 pm
Urban Growler, 2325 Endicott

At this monthly pub get-together, kindred spirits float their sustainability ideas over a craft beer. Try a Cranberry Berliner Weisse, Bonfire Smoked Porter, or Cowbell Cream Ale. Look for Allie, Kevin, and the "transition t" sign. 

Land Use Committee (SAPCC)

Thursday, January 7, 7-9 pm
Jennings Community Learning Center
2455 University Avenue

The SAP Community Council's committee on land use welcomes all who are interested. Meetings are monthly. This time, the agenda includes final feedback on accessory dwelling units: See Philip Broussard's article at right. 

Citizens' Climate Lobby:
Monthly meeting (by phone)

Saturday, January 9
Visit website for details. 

Guest speaker is Hahrie Han, author of How Organizations Develop Activists and professor of Environmental Politics at UC Santa Barbara. 

Give & Take: 
Creative Enterprise Zone's
annual interactive celebration

Thursday, January 14 
Doors open at 6, program at 7
This year's location: 
Independent Filmmaker Project - MN,
Vandalia Tower,  550 Vandalia, suite 120.

Open to all, this upbeat evening features short presentations, games, and creative networking. Whether or not you're an artist or creative professional, it's an inspiring evening. The p resenters include: 
  • designers Thomas Oliphant (furniture) and Lynn Barnhouse (interiors)
  • Independent Filmmaker Project MN's exec director Andrew Peterson
  • SPNN youth media makers
  • Patty Radford Henderson of Union Park Marketing 

Visit the Facebook page  to RSVP.  We're lucky to have these forward thinkers in the neighborhood. How might Transition Town and the CEZ share 
more projects?  Hmm...

Sustainable Food and Land
action group 

Friday, January 15, 7 pm
All are welcome. For location, email

Join planning for seed-starting workshops, pollinator-friendly yards, food preserving sessions, and more. A good entry point into Transition Town ASAP. 

Reflective Circle

Saturday, January 23, 12:30 -2:30 pm
SAP Public Library, 2245 Como Avenue

Let's seek the seeds of change within ourselves. The Circle offers a welcoming space for the inner work of adjusting to the challenge of climate change. We take turns responding to simple but thought-provoking questions about the natural and human systems we live in, often finding new ways forward. This is a great entry point into climate change work. Details on the web page.

Environment Committee (SAPCC)

Wednesday, January 27, 7-9 pm
Community Council office, 890 Cromwell Ave.

All are welcome to these meetings of the SAP Community Council's environment committee, which leads service learning projects, including the cleaning and greening of the neighborhood. 

Climate Adaptation Conference: 
Transforming Awareness into Action

Thursday, January 28
DoubleTree by Hilton (Mpls North)
2200 Freeway Boulevard, Minneapolis

For local officials, planners, engineers, natural resource practitioners and others interested in adaptation strategies: energy, emergency management, communication, water resources, tribal communities, and more. We'll learn from corporations, mayors, and each other. Register here. Fee: $125 ($100 before Jan. 12). 

Transition Town ASAP
planning group 

Thursday, January 28, 7:30-9 pm
At Mindy Keskinen's, 2240 Hillside Avenue

This group meets monthly for long-term planning and community collaborations. All are welcome; those who've already worked with an action group may find it most rewarding. Come early at 7 for social time. 

Transportation action group

Wednesday, February 10, 7 pm
All are welcome. For location, email

Come see what this imaginative group is up to! (Visit the web page for clues.) Topics include Bicycle Benefits, coordinated garbage collection, Phase 3 of Raymond improvements, Drop a Car and Drive 25 campaigns, and Open Streets 2017. This group is a good first foothold for Transition Town activity.


"It does not make sense to invest my retirement money in a company
whose business plan means that
there won't be an earth to retire on." 

--Bill McKibben 


We're on social media, too

Visit our Facebook page:
At facebook.com/TransitionASAP, stay up to date with events, photos, and news.


Join our Facebook group:
At facebook.com/groups, find
Transition ASAP, click on "Request to join," and soon you can join the conversation.


Follow us on Twitter:

At @transitionasap1, stay current and track some events live.



Join an action group
Visit "Action Groups" at our website, email the leaders listed here, and drop in on a meeting. You'll likely find kindred spirits.  Or start a new group: email Michael Russelle to brainstorm.

Community solar:  Steve YetterBarry Riesch

Home energy curtailment:   Tim Wulling

Housing options:   Phil Broussard

Reflective Circle:  Marilyn Benson  

School liaison:   Mimi Jennings

Sustainable food:  Kit Canright Lois Braun

Transportation:  Pat Thompson

Zero waste:  Gary Carlson ,   Brandon Sigrist


We welcome your ideas
Submit news, story ideas, calendar items, reviews, photos, poetry, art, cartoons-- anything on a "smaller footprint, stronger community." 

Transition Times ASAP  is published six times a year: in early January, March, May, July, September, and November. Recent issues are on our website. For the March issue, submit by mid-February. The Transition Bee is our biweekly e-calendar. 

For submissions or to join our email list:
contact  Mindy Keskinen , editor (Communications@TransitionASAP.org)

Pat Thompson designed our Transition Times ASAP logo, and  Regula Russelle created the Transition "t" and the Transition Bee logo.

Fossil fuel divestment: An idea whose time has come?
by Mindy Keskinen

It may be the fastest-growing movement you've barely heard of. After spreading quickly though U.S. college campuses in recent years, the movement to divest money from companies with big stakes in fossil fuels is now catching on more widely. It's a tool to help accelerate the shift from an extractive economy to a sustainable one.  And if divestors redirect their money toward cleaner energy and community enterprises, better yet. 

At a November 12 session sponsored by Transition Town ASAP, Patty O'Keefe of MN350 gave us an overview. To prevent global warming above 2 degrees Celsius, she said, most of the world's remaining oil, gas, and coal must stay in the ground. And, since these resources are more and more costly to extract, some fossil fuel companies are already underperforming the market, a trend that may well continue. Carefully done, divestment can make sense both morally and financially. And we can start with our personal finances.  Although Transition Town ASAP can't offer specific financial advice, we do suggest researching the issue: see the resources listed below. 

Groups can take a stand, too. Municipalities, faith groups, schools, and college endowments are among the institutions exerting financial and social pressure this way.  Below: Minnesota state pension divestment advocates spread the message on Global Divestment Day last February.

Divestment helped end apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. It can help end the fossil fuel era, too. As MN350 puts it, "We need to remove the 'social license' of the fossil fuel industry that currently allows it to change the chemical composition of our atmosphere in the name of profit."  

Mindy Keskinen edits this e-news and helps maintain the website for Transition Town ASAP: to share your ideas, email her at Communications@TransitionASAP.org. She's now divesting her savings from fossil fuels.  

* * *

Some divestment resources 
  • https://campaigns.gofossilfree.org/petitions/divest-saint-paul-from-fossil-fuels
Update on accessory dwelling units:
Discussion on ADUs continues January 7
by Philip Broussard

As you may recall, the St. Anthony Park Community Council formed a special task force last year to study the issue of accessory dwelling units (ADUs) in our neighborhood. Although that task force submitted its final recommendations to the Council's Land Use Committee (LUC) at a December 3 meeting for review and possible further action, there wasn't enough time that evening to fully discuss them. We agreed to resume discussion at the next LUC meeting, slated for Thursday, January 7 (see listing at left).

You may also recall that Transition Town ASAP's own Land Use Efficiency action group (LUE) had already developed a set of recommendations on the topic. A year later, the special task force has also gathered community input, and its suggested guidelines are fairly similar. The main difference: the task force recommends allowing internal and attached ADUs, but not detached designs, while the LUE favors all three types.  (For more background, visit the Housing Options page of Transition Town ASAP's website.)

For those who favor allowing detached ADUs-and there were several at that last meeting-the Jan. 7 LUC meeting may be the last opportunity to voice that preference before the committee decides to accept the task force's recommendations as written, or to modify them to allow detached designs.

Another less discussed difference between the two sets of recommendations: While the task force recommends that property owners may not rent out both units for any length of time, the LUE action group suggests specific, temporary conditions under which the property owner could rent out both units simultaneously.

Coincidentally, the December meeting agenda also included St. Paul city planner Jamie Radel, who reported that the city's planning staff were considering allowing ADUs on a citywide basis, with a possible "test case" on properties within half a mile of the Green Line. Those staffers will provide updates on their process as they become available.

Philip Broussard is active in Transition Town ASAP's Land Use Efficiency action group (also known as Housing Options). He's an architect who lives and practices in St. Anthony Park.

Another neighbor drops a car:
Six months on two wheels
by Betty Lotterman

Shortly after retiring, I decided to get rid of my car. That was in June.  I haven't survived a winter yet, but so far, I'm really happy with my decision.  And I'm really glad I live in St. Anthony Park, a great place to try this experiment because of the many public transit options and streets with bike lanes. So with six months of experience, these are my ten suggestions for how to make it work it you want to do the same thing.  
  1. Get a bike that's comfortable to ride. I found my 1950s vintage bike on a yard sale and I love it.
  2. Get some good baskets on your bike. You're going to need them for hauling stuff.
  3. Get a helmet with headlights front and back. Darkness comes early at this latitude at this time of year.
  4. Get some cleats for your boots. You can't afford to fall on the ice.
  5. Get a GoTo card at metrotransit.org. Set it up to renew automatically from your bank account.  You never have to worry about having money to go somewhere.
  6. Download the Transit Trip-MN app to your phone. You can quickly find out when the next bus will arrive at any bus stop in the Twin Cities.
  7. Use the Trip Planner at metrotransit.org.  It coordinates all the different kinds of public transit and tells you the quickest way to get from here to there wherever here and there are. I print the schedule it gives me to OneNote and then I can easily access it on my phone as I'm out and about.
  8. Enroll in bicyclebenefits.org and enjoy discounts from businesses that are also enrolled. (Hopefully more businesses in St. Anthony Park will join and we can make our community even more bike-friendly.)
  9. Don't give up if your first month is a bit rocky. Like anything worth doing, there's a learning curve involved. 
  10. Enjoy your new freedom of never having to worry about changing the oil in your car or getting new brakes or tires. 

If you're interested in ditching the car but are afraid it might not work for you, you can certainly contact me at bettylotterman@gmail.com. 

Betty Lotterman is a recently retired Spanish teacher who lives near Alden Square. She looks forward to being more involved in neighborhood activities. 
Recapping the Paris climate summit:
Behavior change-- and systems change
by Mindy Keskinen

"The climate summit was a bottom-up process," said Paris delegate Ellen Anderson, head of the University of Minnesota's Energy Transition Lab. And that's what made it different from the preceding global climate negotiations over the past 20 years. 

Each nation submitted a carbon-reduction plan in advance, Anderson pointed out. As the summit unfolded, leaders from endangered island nations played a key role, and grassroots groups from all over the world took part. (One was Transition US: see its  online summit recap .) The result was the first agreement that commits all nations to climate action. While not legally binding, it represents a more serious shared commitment. Future global meetings are planned to redouble efforts to keep global warming under 2 degrees Celsius.  

Anderson was one of seven panelists who gathered December 16 at the U of M's St. Paul campus to reflect on Paris. Also on the panel: Laura Bishop, Best Buy's VP for Public Affairs & Sustainability; Rep. Melissa Hortman; Kate Knuth of the U of M's Institue on the Environment; Breck science teacher Beckie Alexander; Macalester senior Kayla Walsh, who's researching climate refugees; and environmental studies student Morgan Murphy.
Among the Minnesota-based groups in Paris was Climate Generation, which hosted the panel, now available as a free web recording.  With its mission of climate education, CG empowers youth to address climate issues wisely. 

Nicole Rom of Climate Generation introduced three of the panelists.

Avalon School science teacher
Lauren Leith (left), a Climate
Generation education ambassador
in Paris, talked with Ellen Anderson.

Generations mingled at the 
reception. Rhiannon (lower right) live-tweeted: @transitionasap1.

In panelist Kate Knuth's words, "Behavior change is great. Now how about systems change?" The summit offered hope for both, the panelists agreed. 

As we work together on the community level, we can also take action through these channels:
  • Get to know MN350, our state's arm of 350.org. (350 refers to the targeted safe parts-per-million level of carbon in our atmosphere.)
  • Citizens Climate Lobby coordinates ongoing education and action events: Check the CCL Minnesota calendar.
  • The Climate Mobilization calls for action "at wartime speed": Take the pledge and share it with others. 

"Twenty-five years ago, people could be excused for not
knowing much, or doing much, about climate change.
Today we have no excuse ."

--Desmond Tutu 

Beekeeping: This winter, learn how 
Beekeeping is both a science and an art--and anyone can learn how. With care and commitment, the rewards can be bountiful. 

Here a t the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus, we have world-class resources in our backyard. MacArthur Fellow Dr. Marla Spivak and technician Gary Reuter teach one-day workshops for beginners and second-year beekeepers. Now's the time to plan for the upcoming season. For details or to register, visit the U's Bee Lab site

Workshops: Beekeeping in Northern Climates
Saturday, February 27:   Getting Started 
For beginners and those considering the idea. 
Sunday, February 28:   Keeping Bees Year after Year 
Skills for long-term success.

Not quite  ready to take the plunge? Consider hosting a hive on your rooftop. Experts will maintain it for you, and you'll help rebuild our honeybee popoulation. Visit the U's Bee Squad  web page to learn more.
The Transition Town - All Saint Anthony Park initiative grew from the Energy Resilience Group, a subcommittee of the Saint Anthony Park Community Council's Environment Committee.  Visit the   SAPCC website  to learn more about Saint Paul's District 12 neighborhood projects, including the Creative Enterprise Zone.  Lend a hand!

Our purpose:
To raise our understanding in Saint Anthony Park of climate, the limits of fossil fuels, and the adaptation of our community that is possible and positive.

What's a Transition Town? 
It's a community starting the transition from a fossil-fueled, energy-intensive way of life to a more satisfying, locally oriented community with increased stability in disruptive times.