January  2017 UPDATE    Smaller footprint. Stronger community.   TransitionASAP.org    District 12, St. Paul, Minnesota
In this issue:

What can we learn from Germany's fast-growing renewable power system?
Find out in this issue.  Above: Minnesota's Fenton Wind Project in Mortenson. 
Financing a Cooperative Future
NEW DATE: JAN. 30. See blue listing below. 
St. Paul Tool Library 
Volunteers needed!
Wednesday, January 11
Choose a shift:
9:30-12:30 or 12:30-3:00
St. Paul Tool Library
755 North Prior Avenue (just north of Menards)
The new tool library opens in March! We need capable hands to help build workbenches and shelving using plywood, 2-by lumber, and power tools. No experience needed: tools, materials, and on-the-job training provided. Good company, too.

To sign up for a shift:
  1. Click on this link.  
  2. Choose the morning or afternoon shift.
  3. Sign up (it's easy-- no need to register an account or use a password).
  4. If possible, fill out a Volunteer Intake form (if you haven't already).
Or donate materials! These are needed:
  • 4x8 sheets of plywood, 1/2" or 3/4" (any grade, preferably full sheets)
  • 2x4s and 2x6s, 8 feet or longer
To donate or ask questions, email David Tzeutschler. T he St. Paul Tool Library will lend a variety of power and hand tools, garden tools, and workshop space to members who join for a $55 annual fee. Why buy when you can borrow-- and promote Zero Waste? Visit the SPTL FB page .

Citizens Climate Lobby: 
A state-level carbon tax? 
Saturday, January 14, noon - 1:45 pm  (arrive early; talk starts at noon)
Macalester College Campus Ctr, room 215 
At this monthly meeting, Minnesota's CCL chapter joins the audience for a nationwide talk (video or phone). This time it's Yoram Bauman, "stand-up economist" and author of The Most Sensible Tax of All. In a referendum last fall, Washington state came close to passing a carbon tax. What can we learn, and what's next for Minnesota? (Also known as "carbon fee and dividend," the idea is explained well  here.) 

Start the rollout! 
Monday, January 16
New pickup day in SAP (Monday), new carts, and three new materials accepted: cardboard tubes and food boxes; refrigerator boxes (like butter). Info.

Zero Waste action group 
Wednesday, January 18, 7:30 pm
Brandon Sigrist's, 2236 Commonwealth 
Join others finding new ways to reduce, reuse, recycle-- and inspiring neighbors to do the same. Lots of creative potential here!

Conversational Arabic 
starts Friday, January 20, 12:00-1:30 pm
At Mizna, 2446 University Ave. West 
Language skills help us welcome diverse neighbors. Learn some everyday Arabic in ten weeks: $200.  Info. The Arab-American cultural center  Mizna is here in South St. Anthony Park.

Transition Twin Cities meetup: 
Finding synergies for local groups
Sunday, January 22, 2:00 pm
Dogwood Coffee, 825 Carleton Street
(here in South St. Anthony Park!) 
Let's share ideas and resources for greater impact. Meet Transitioners from SAP, Longfellow, Corcoran, Northeast Mpls, the north metro, and elsewhere in the Twin Cities.

Be the Spark: Four workshops
starts Sunday, January 22, 4:00-7:30 pm
St. Mary's Episcopal, 1895 Laurel, St. Paul 
Climate justice leadership: engage new people and build political will. Continues the next 3 Sundays. Info (MN Interfaith Power & Light). 

Learn to grow microgreens indoors 
Monday, January 23, 6:30 pm
Gandhi Mahal, 3009 27th Ave S., Mpls 
Twelve days from seeds to delicious, healthful greens. Info and RSVP link on the FB page.

Transition Town ASAP  planning group 
Thursday, January 26, 7:00-8:30 pm
1496 Raymond Ave.
We meet monthly to plan projects for a smaller footprint and a stronger community. All welcome. Come at 6:30 for social time.

Backyard chicken basics
Saturday, January 28, 1:00-3:00 pm
EggPlant Urban Farm Supply, 1771 Selby 
Imagine your own small flock of hens: it might be simpler than you think. Register. Course repeated Saturday, February 11, same time. 

Financing a Cooperative Future
Monday, January 30, 6:30-8:00 pm
Mpls Central Library, 300 Nicollet Mall,
room N-202 (on Green Line and #3 bus line)
Previously planned for Jan 9, now Jan. 30.
Joe Riemann of  Coop Principal shows how to form a co-op investment club and make choices to meet local needs. Follow-up to last fall's meeting, but newcomers are welcome. 

Minnesota Environmental Congress
Friday, February 3, 8:00 am-6:00 pm
Details in article at right .

Talking Climate Change
Monday-Friday, March 13-17
Audubon Center Northwoods, Sandstone, MN 
How can we communicate engagingly about this topic? Through climate storytelling and strategic framing geared to the listener. At this Institute for Non-formal Climate Education, gain skills through interactive workshops with experts. Hosted by Climate Generation. Info.
Volunteer at a Fix-It Clinic
Saturday, March 25, 11:00-2:00
Macalester College, Kagin Commons
Are you handy with appliances, electronics, even mending? Volunteer at one of these rotating monthly clinics. Plan ahead for March, or help this winter in White Bear, Minnetonka, or Shoreview. Info on the Fix-It websites for 
Ramsey  and  Hennepin  counties. 

"What if global warming isn't only a crisis? What if it's the best chance we're ever 
going to get to build a better world?" 

-- Naomi Klein
author of
This Changes Everything

Transition US conference in Twin Cities this summer
Pencil in the last weekend of July: that's the likely date for the first-ever national Transition US gathering . Here in the Cities, we'll swap success stories and lessons learned in the shift to sustainability. Thanks to all who chipped to the matching-grant fundraiser. Confirmed dates and venue will be announced soon.
Join us... and stay in touch
Visit "Action Groups" at our website, email the leaders listed here, and drop in on a meeting.
Or start a new group: email Michael Russelle .

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

Join our email list for this newsletter and biweekly e-calendar: send an email to Communications@TransitionASAP.org. 


Visit our Facebook page

At facebook.com/TransitionASAP ,
stay up to date with events and news.
Join our Facebook group :
click on "Request to join," then join in.
Follow us on  Twitter:  @transitionasap1


We welcome your ideas
Submit news, events, reviews, photos, art, cartoons, recipes-- all to support a smaller footprint and a stronger community. For March, submit by mid-February: email Mindy Keskinen.

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 Bee logo. 
Timely updates! Calendar items (left) and...
St. Paul's 2040 Plan: 
Speak up now for climate resilience
Late-breaking news! See left for several new events. 

And step up to comment on St. Paul's 2040 plan-- which, as of now, barely mentions climate-change mitigation or adaptation. Shouldn't climate resilience be on the city's short list of "Themes and Priorities"? Public comment welcome through Jan. 31. Visit this community feedback page and speak up: Climate response should be one of the organizing principles for any wise plan. 
Germany's energy transition:
Minnesota's opportunity to learn from a clean-energy leader
by Sherman Eagles

Germany is a world leader in the transition to renewable energy. Since 2011, Minnesota policymakers have partnered with Germany to share information about experiences and policies shaping change in the energy system. On November 29 in St. Paul, a German delegation of energy policy experts presented to the first-ever joint meeting of the Minnesota Public Utilities Commission and Minnesota Environment Quality Board. After hearing about Germany's energy transition efforts and lessons learned, a panel of Minnesota energy policy experts responded with future trends and opportunities for our own energy system.

Germany began working on a national energy policy after the 1973 oil crisis. Its goal at that time was energy independence. After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster in 1986, Germany began to phase out nuclear power generation, an effort that was greatly speeded up after the 2011 Fukushima disaster. The government has now committed to closing all nuclear power plants by 2022. 

To achieve energy independence without nuclear while reducing greenhouse gas emissions, Germany has heavily subsidized renewable energy: primarily wind and solar. Half of the country's electrical generating capacity is now from renewables, with a goal of 80 to 95 percent by 2050. Starting in 2000, Germany created 370,000 jobs in renewable energy over a 13-year period. During this transition, Germany has learned a few lessons that could help Minnesota avoid some potential difficulties.

Barn roof solar installation in Selm, Germany. 
photo: Stefan Thiesen / Creative Commons 2011

Germany's Alpha Ventus offshore wind farm and energy substation.
photo: Gary Norton / US Dept. of Energy 2010

T he rapid expansion of renewable energy in Germany came with a cost and some surprises. A surcharge was added to the cost of electricity to consumers, providing a subsidy for renewable energy development. A surprise was how quickly the cost of renewable energy generation dropped, resulting in large profits for renewable energy investors from those consumer-paid subsidies. In addition, an increasing demand for energy in nearby countries led Germany to export some of its power. So despite the new cleaner energy sources, fossil-fuel-powered plants continue to operate in Germany. The lessons learned from these surprises are that the clean-energy goal has to be carefully formulated, and the subsidy needs to take into account future changes in the cost. If the goal is to reduce greenhouse gases, then just increasing renewable power may not accomplish it. Adding cheap energy from renewables is likely to promote development and increased energy use.

Another difficulty was the placement of the renewable power sources. Most of the renewables, especially wind, are in northern Germany. But the nuclear and fossil fuel power plants that need to be replaced are in the south and west. It has now been determined that three new high-energy transmission lines are needed. Because of public demand that these lines be underground, their cost is very high, some 32 billion euros. But without them, the added power would cause network congestion and compromise operational security. Adding more renewable capacity will be limited until the new transmission lines are completed. The lesson Germany learned is that planned grid expansion should be integrated with renewable energy expansion. 

What opportunities do Minnesota's energy policy experts see for us, and how can we benefit from what Germany has learned? Three points emerged in the discussion. 
  • We should promote efficiency. Minnesota's existing utility efficiency programs save us as much energy as we produce with wind, and twice as much as we produce with natural gas. Better use of efficiency programs would further reduce our energy needs and ease the load on our existing electrical grid.
  • We need to manage the grid and the new renewable sources in an integrated manner. Failure to expand the grid appropriately will limit the amount and the pace of our clean-energy development.
  • We need a system-wide approach to our energy transition. By 2040, 70 percent of our existing electricity generation will need to be replaced. This is a major opportunity to decarbonize, but replacing this capacity with renewable power sources will take system-wide planning. Germany is now looking at such an approach,with targeted energy reductions from various sectors of the economy such as buildings, transport, and agriculture. 
Hopefully Minnesota can continue to share information with Germany about making a successful transition to renewable energy.

Sherman Eagles 
has lived in South St. Anthony Park for over 40 years. He was involved with starting Green Grass Grocery (predecessor to Hampden Park Co-op), the SAP Community Council, the SAP Community Gardens, and the SAP list serve. 
February 3, open to all, and in our own backyard
Minnesota Environmental Congress 
This free conference will raise awareness in five areas-- water, land, air, energy, and climate-- and spark dialogue between citizens, community leaders, and government officials. It's a project of the Minnesota's Environmental Quality Board, mentioned in Sherman Eagles' artlcle above. 
Register now, and plan to attend on the U of M's St. Paul campus at the Continuing Ed & Conference Center, 1890 Buford Avenue.

Friday, February 3 

9:00    Welcome & keynote by meteorologist Paul Douglas 
10:30  Breakout sessions 
  • Minnesota's Energy Actions to Affect Climate Change
  • Adaptation and Resiliency: Meeting the Challenges of Our Changing Climate
  • Pollinator Policy: Opening the Door to Wider Participation
  • The Year of Water Action: Building a Water Ethic in Minnesota
  • Transportation Evolution: Powering, Funding and Redesigning Our Transit System
12:15  Lunch
1:30    Breakout sessions
  • Adapting Our Regulatory Tools to Today's Needs
  • The 2017 Environment and Energy Report Card in Action: Turning the Curve on Our Environmental Priorities
  • Approaches to Civic Engagement: Tools and Best Practices
  • Aligning Strategies for Effective Community and Local Government Planning
  • Accessing the Levers: Influencing Minnesota's Environmental Governance
3:30   Environmental Justice: Panel discussion
5:00   Reception and closing

Can you report on a breakout session for the March newsletter? Email Mindy. Honorarium: a loaf of homemade bread.
How to stay cozy with the heat turned down:
Fashionable layering
by Madeline Harpell  

As Minnesotans, we know winter brings many changes to our daily routine: dig up the puffy jackets and find your ice skates, embrace the foggy eyeglasses, and don't forget the slosh ever-gathering near the front door. While it is dreadful for some, others thrive in bitter breezes. Personally, though at heart I am a summer-dweller, I like to perceive these long winter months as a challenge: how can I be the most cozy and fashionable with the available clothing in my closet?

I used to be wary of "overdoing it" with differing types of clothing in one outfit, but I've found that multiple patterns and styles, no matter the kind, will often be strikingly fashionable paired with a bout of confidence. My favorite layering piece this year is a pastel-colored knit poncho, snagged from a local vintage store (see below). On a typical day, I like to sport a long-sleeve with a large knit sweater on top (and sometimes more than one!). Additionally, I wrap

Got some reading to do? Michael and Regula sometimes bundle up and read together.
around my neck one small and one large scarf, and socks up to my knees under a pair of jeans. To top it off, I wear a pair of thick mittens and my great-grandmother's wool hat.

As I prepared for this year's winter season I found myself wondering, what do others wear to keep warm--and trendy--in the cold weather? While spending time with a couple of my good friends, Regula and Michael Russelle, I asked how they fashion their winters, and captured

their looks in a few photos. Here's what Regula says about layering in the wintertime: "The fingerless gloves work wonders and are ideal at the keyboard and when I read or knit. At present I am wearing three layers of clothing plus two hand-knitted scarves. The top layer is a loose-fitting kimono style top that can contain all manner of warm layers beneath and still let me move freely and in style." 

No need to fret over which long-sleeve will keep you the warmest: wear them both! Wear your layers (and many patterns!) with confidence, my friends.  Stay warm!  

Madeline Harpell is an artist and fourth-year student at the University of Minnesota. She is passionate about Earth and human life, meaningful relationships between and surrounding those entities, and collaborative expression and action.  

Editor's note: How do you style Transition? (Left: my winter biking headgear.) Silly or stylish, share your outfits-- or your family and friends', with their OK-- and Madeline will put a slideshow on our website. Email photos to  Mindy Keskinen.
News & notes 

Did you miss our Sustainability Resource Fair last fall? E-vehicles, home energy systems, expert climatecasting ... see slides on our website.

Read Minnesota's 
Top Ten Energy Success Stories of 2016, gathered by 
Clean Energy Resource Teams.

Is a rooftop hive in your future? Beekeeping in Northern Climates, March 4 at the U of M's new Bee Lab on the St. Paul campus. Meet the Bee Squad!  
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.