Wednesday, November 2, 7:00-9:00 pm
Lake Monster Brewing, 550 Vandalia
(under the water tower)
Float sustainability ideas over a craft beer. Look for Allie and the "T" sign. Between Raymond and Fairview on the Green Line.
All-evening climate programming
Wednesday, November 2, starting at 6
National Geographic channel
Six Degrees Could Change the World.
Years of Living Dangerously: Energy in India, campaigns to obstruct solar power in the US (repeated at 10:00).
Years of Living Dangerously: Flooding in Miami (repeated at 11:00). The second season of the Emmy-winning series.
Prayer Circle for Standing Rock
Thursday, November 3, noon - 1 pm
Minneapolis City Hall, at light rail platform
Solidarity gathering for Dakota Access Pipeline resistance:
. Sign a letter to
Mpls Sheriff Stanek
(no redeployment of county personnel) and a
letter to Obama
Climate-Smart Finance to Drive Local Action (global online forum)
Friday, November 4, 10:00 am - noon CST
Short presentations by international experts: part of COP22 now underway in Marrakech, following up on the Paris agreement on climate change. I
nfo and registration
Transition in Bolivia
Friday, November 4, 6:30 pm
Dunn Brothers Coffee at Lake Street and River Road, Minneapolis
In Bolivia for 3 months, Vanessa Voller joined a Transition group made up of indigenous people. Come learn about it from Vanessa.
Financing a Cooperative Future
Wednesday, November 9, 6:30-8:00 am
Minneapolis Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall
Rm N-202 (on Green Line and #3 bus line)
Put your money where your values are. Joe Riemann of
tells how to form a co-op investment club and make choices to meet local needs. Free.
Do the Dow: Artists' open house
Friday, November 11, 6:00-10:00 pm
Saturday, November 12, noon-6:00 pm
Dow Building, 2242 University Avenue
Visit some of the artists of our Creative Enterprise Zone. I
Be the Spark: Four workshops
starts Sunday, November 13, 4:00-7:30 pm
St. Mary's Episcopal Church, St. Paul
Climate justice leadership: engage new people and build political will. Continues Nov. 20, Dec. 4, Dec. 11.
. From Minnesota's Interfaith Power & Light.
Transition Town ASAP
Thursday, November 17, 7:00-8:30 pm
At the Russelles', 1480 Chelmsford Ave.
Meets monthly, social time at 6:30. All welcome; working with an action group first makes sense.
Fix-It Clinic: Bring items to mend
Saturday, November 19, noon-3:00
199 Wentworth Ave. East, West St. Paul
Zero-waste heroes, unite! Learn from skilled fixers. Ramsey
counties sponsor these clinics throughout the metro.
* * *
"Opportunity is missed by most people because it's dressed in overalls
and looks like work."
-- Thomas Edison
* * *
Wishing you greener holidays
by Karen Lilley
Keep your carbon footprint small during Christmas and other holiday celebrations. Make it simple, local, meaningful-- and non-commercial. Include a handmade enclosure with gifts saying you hope your present will bring joy and lower your holiday environmental impact.
Give gifts of experiences.
Offer to teach a skill (sewing, using technology, riding public transit). Plan an outing or day together. Schedule a regular date for a visit, walk, or bike ride. Organize a group volunteer project. And then follow up!
Be a maker or doer.
Are you a baker, canner, woodworker, knitter, or crafter? Make something unique and personal. Are you handy with tools? Offer to do repairs or increase energy efficiency. Not so talented? Give "cookies in a jar," soup, or a wild rice mix of dry ingredients with a bow.
Recycle, upcycle, and reuse.
Remake a rarely-worn dress into an apron or a set of napkins. Recycle jeans into reusable shopping bags. Or shop at second-hand or consignment stores (
Half Price Books
, or Turnstyle). Remake last year's cards into new cards or gift tags. Reuse gift paper and ribbon. Email your Christmas letter.
Create new holiday traditions.
Go caroling with extended family and neighbors, or join the singing at
St. Anthony Park Home
Christmas morning. Share family history through photos, play board games, skate at Langford, or sled in College Park. Invite neighbors for hot chocolate.
Reduce your travel carbon footprint.
Fly or drive? An
says that, compared to flying, a solo cross-country drive could have twice the impact; train travel half as much. Or offset your flight: whatever airline you take, enter your info at Delta's
and find your trip's CO2 emissions. Use the Nature Conservancy link and donate to offset them.
Greener holidays can be less hectic and less costly. And more personal, fun, and memorable. Enjoy!
Karen Lilley has a special
interest in Zero Waste. Retired from the U of M, she's a former web manager for SAP Neighbors for Peace who now volunteers for the Blue House, a Uganda orphanage.
Editor's note -- Also for holiday sharing:
Spread sustainability with these two tiny six-page zines. Make them yourself: download from our website, print, and follow the folding instructions. Created by book artist Regula Russelle and her husband Michael.
* * *
"Respect Existence or Expect Resistance."
"Mni Wiconi ... Water Is Life."
--Standing Rock's Water Protectors
* * *
Join us... and stay in touch
Visit "Action Groups" at our
, email the leaders listed here, and drop in on a meeting. You'll find kindred spirits.
Or start a new group: email
Home energy curtailment:
Join our email list for this newsletter and biweekly e-calendar: send an email to Communications@TransitionASAP.org.
Visit our Facebook page:
click on "Request to join," then join in.
Follow us on
At @transitionasap1, stay current and track some events live.
Wild Weather, Snug Homes, Quiet Streets:
Sustainability Resource Fair November 12
by Mindy Keskinen
Join us Saturday, November 12 for a morning of learning and resource-sharing with University of Minnesota experts at Luther Seminary, Northwestern Hall, 1501 Fulham (corner of Hendon). Free from Transition Town ASAP, including child care and refreshments.
9:00 am - Doors open. See displays on electric cars (with models parked outside), home energy retrofits, and factors in our changing climate. Stay to hear
speakers who combine expert knowledge with humor and plenty of time for questions. The program:
11:15 to noon
- 9:30 - Changing Minnesota Weather: Not Whether, but By How Much. Mark Seeley shows the latest projections and tells why we now rank with Oklahoma for annual days with severe thunderstorms. Seeley is a climatologist, meteorologist, and radio personality.
- 10:05 - Retrofitting Minnesota Homes: Smart Ways to Shrink Your Home Energy Use (or, A Bad Insulation Job Can Take Your Breath Away). Taking a whole-system approach to home energy efficiency, Pat Huelman is the U's cold climate housing coordinator.
- 10:40 - The Quiet Revolution: Drop Your Carbon "Wheelprint" with Electric Vehicles (or, How Long an Extension Cord Do I Need?). Learn how e-vehicles can slash greenhouse gas emissions and help remake our economy. With Jukka Kukkonen of PlugInConnect and Fresh Energy.
- Learn more from speakers and neighbors, view displays, and enjoy refreshments. RSVP for child care is appreciated, but not required:
Can't attend? Visit our
for more on the local solutions underway.
Mindy Keskinen edits this newsletter for Transition Town ASAP. She's also a freelance editor and Gibbs Farm tour guide.
Accessory dwellings now permitted in South St. Anthony Park
ADUs offer stay-at-home downsizing options
by Michael Russelle
In St. Anthony Park, ADUs will
now be allowed in much of the
area below Robbins Street
(just south of Energy Park Drive).
Looking to downsize? How about right at home? For many residents within a half-mile of the Green Line, an ADU could be in their future. In St. Paul, accessory dwelling units (ADUs) are now permitted in most Residential and Traditional Neighborhood districts along the light-rail line -- the span from Emerald Avenue (the Minneapolis border, the left edge of this map) to Lexington Avenue, 3 miles east. That's all of the residential in South St. Anthony Park, but none in North.
This "win" is due, in part, to our Land Use Efficiency action group, also known as Housing Options. The group studied this topic, informed the neighborhood about ADUs, and even drafted ordinance language that would have applied to all of St. Anthony Park. In an initially unrelated effort, St. Paul Zoning was working on a new ordinance keyed to the light-rail line.
Approved by the city council on September 14, that ordinance allows new flexibility for homeowners. People with homes in South St. Anthony Park can now consider adding a second living unit to their property. The city's safety and inspections department will accept applications for ADUs as of mid-November.
Several types of ADUs are recognized:
- internal: a portion of the house is remodeled into a "home within a home"
- attached: a separate dwelling unit is attached to the main house
- detached, with two subtypes: (1) a completely separate building or (2) an addition to another accessory unit, such as an ADU atop a garage.
There are restrictions, of course. For example, lots must be at least 5000 square feet. A 49-by-102-foot lot qualifies; a 49-by-100 lot does not.
ADUs are small: 800 square feet maximum, unless it's one floor of a multistory house. Detached ADUs must be low: less than 15 feet, unless built atop a garage (in which case maximum is 25 feet or the height of the main house).
Importantly, an ADU will not change current restrictions on who can live on a lot. On lots zoned for single-family use, only one lineally related family plus up to two unrelated people (or a total of four unrelated people) may inhabit the home(s). To avoid problems that can arise with absentee landlords, either the ADU or the main house must be owner-occupied. Moreover, the ADU may not be sold separately from the main house, and new owners must continue to use both residences in accordance with the ordinance.
ADUs are a new way to downsize without leaving your property, but they also offer a friendly approach to increasing population density, provide living space for relatives, and reducing our carbon footprint, if they are built with energy conservation in mind. For more background and a link to the ordinance, visit our website's Housing Options page.
Michael Russelle works with several Transition action groups, including Land Use Efficiency and Community Solar. He serves on the board of the SAP Community Council and is an adjunct professor in the University of Minnesota's Department of Soil, Water, and Climate.
Choose a book by solar lamplight!
Two Little Free Libraries for Alden Square
by Betty Lotterman
To promote literacy, sustainability, and livability, the Friends of Alden Square have joined the "take a book, leave a book" Little Free Library movement. This fall they built their own a pair of libraries, for adults and for children, in the style of their park's gazebo-- which was also a neighborhood collaboration over 20 years ago. Together they're a reminder of what can be accomplished through group effort.
After Doug Derr's entry won the neighborhood design contest last summer, a group formed to build, paint, and install the libraries. Many neighbors contributed materials and money. On October 16, the FAS held its annual potluck and inaugurated the libraries by acknowledging the many neighbors who made them possible. See them at 1169 Gibbs Avenue-- or on the Little Free Library's map: enter zip code 55108. (Read about it in the
On the back of each library box is a solar panel that powers an
so readers can choose a book day or night.
Building the libraries let us come together again for a common purpose: through sharing books, we make our neighborhood more equitable and livable.
Betty Lotterman (at right, above) lives near Alden Square. A recently retired Spanish teacher, she supports our "Drop a Car" campaign. Betty can often be seen on her vintage Schwinn.
Notes from the Zero Waste Summit
by Ethan Engberg
Eureka Recycling, with the help of the Saint Paul Neighborhood Network, hosted the second annual Twin Cities Zero Waste Summit on October 22. Focusing on citywide sustainability, the summit featured speakers promoting the multidimensional zero waste movement and its growing presence here. Topics ranged from the Northeast Minneapolis Tool Library to corporate and individual composting, rubber playgrounds, and more. One topic in particular stood out: environmental justice and its place in the Twin Cities.
What is environmental justice?
Put simply, it is a movement in response to the direct and indirect targeting of environmental hazards and discrimination onto low-income and minority communities. Polluters like landfills, industrial plants, and truck depots have historically been sited near these communities, resulting in exorbitant increases in respiratory, reproductive, and other health complications; limited access to affordable food and water; and fewer opportunities for quality education and jobs.
Thus, environmental justice is tied into more than just the environment. It is an interdisciplinary approach to social justice through an environmental lens. The current movement blossomed in an effort to establish fair treatment for all people-regardless of income, race, or nationality-with respect to development, implementation, and enforcement of environmental rights and regulations.
How does environmental justice fit within the Twin Cities?
Janiece Watts, speaking on behalf of Neighborhoods Organizing for Change at the summit, touched on this topic. Their current EJ campaigns include rethinking the Minneapolis waste incinerator known as HERC (Hennepin Energy Recovery Center), which burns thousands of tons of waste daily. Composed largely of compostable and recyclable materials, this waste emits toxic pollutants into the predominantly lower income, African American communities surrounding the incinerator.
The HERC garbage incinerator at the edge of downtown Minneapolis.
And beyond closing HERC?
HERC is but one problem that affects these communities. There are a myriad of socioeconomic and political disparities that impact these people every day. Thus, environmental justice is tasked with addressing these intersectional issues on many levels, a fight that has limited the movement's effectiveness. Nevertheless, the future of the EJ movement, especially in the Twin Cities, is bright. Underlying the movement is the fight for increasing representation and participation of the lower income and minority communities in the larger decision-making processes that affect their homes and neighborhoods. As such, environmental justice campaigns will continue to help these communities find their voice.
How can we help?
There is no exact path to follow to create a just and safe society for everyone. But the best place to start is by increasing our own knowledge and educating others on the issues local communities face. Only with a well-informed citizenry can we work with the environmental justice movement, helping disadvantaged peoples find their voice, address these toxic issues, and move toward fair treatment for all.
Ethan Engberg is a Macalester student focusing on environmental studies and education, interning with Transition Town ASAP this fall. An Idaho native, he's also a cyclist and cross-country runner.
See the new documentary Before the Flood in full, free, on the 350.org website, among other places. Actor-climate activist Leonardo DiCaprio narrates.
At the climate conference in Marrakech November 7-18, nations will discuss plans to enact the Paris agreement on climate change. Learn more here.
The Carbon Fee & Dividend approach is gaining ground. Citizens Climate Lobby explains it well (here), as does Climate Solution's "Put a Price on It" campaign.
Minnesota's energy is in transition: The North Star Solar Project, largest in the Midwest, is complete in Chisago County (WCCO report), and Minnesota Power is closing two Iron Range coal plants ahead of schedule (Strib report).
In the video "A Better Place" (4:32), musicians around the world sing for freedom and justice. Listen and dance!
More scenes from our pop-up cider press in Hampden Park:
Hampden Park Co-op for helping with apple and cider choices
Gibbs Farm for lending the press
Submit news, story ideas, calendar items, reviews, photos, poetry, drawings, cartoons, recipes -- whatever supports a smaller footprint and a stronger community. For January, submit by mid-December. Contact editor Mindy Keskinen at Communications@TransitionASAP.org.
Transition Times ASAP appears in January, March, May, July, September, and November. The Transition Bee is our biweekly e-calendar. Back issues of both are on our website
Pat Thompson designed our Transition Times ASAP logo, and Regula Russelle created the Transition "t" and the Transition Bee logo.