Tuesday, February 5, 2013


So unfortunately as most of us know, the Labeling of GMO’S in Prop 37 did not pass. The battle continues and we are still pushing to see GMO’S eradicated from out grocery stores and farms. We now bring you news right out of your favorite science-fiction novel…
Genetically Modified Salmon, the first genetically modified animal in the united states, coming soon to a store near you. The United States has been more then willing to use its consumers as one big test subject and now this salmon is ready to be dished up, unless we have something to say about it!

Aquabounty, the company that engineered this fish took the genes of a Chinook salmon growth hormone and an on-off gene from the fish Eelpout. They took these two genes and then inserted them into the eggs of an Atlantic Salmon. The result is a salmon that grows twice as fast as wild and farmed salmon.
The FDA is ready to launch this fish onto our dinner plates without even having studied its long term effects when consumed by humans.

This is not only bad news for humans, these new fish could threaten the already devastated wild salmon populations. A scientific study showed that if just 60 GMO salmon were released or escaped into the wild they could eradicate wild salmon populations in less then 40 fish generations.

Jeffrey B. Kindler
Board member of
Intrexon and
Obama Management
Advisory Team
Who is behind this?…. Intrexon is a biotechnology company focusing on the industrial engineering of synthetic biology. Intexron Co. owns 48 percent stock in Aquabounty. And one of their board members, Jeffery B. Kindler, is also a board member for President Obama’s Management Advisory Board!   Those who want to see the GMO Salmon approved always present and market their products and ideas under a facade of altruistic benefit for human kind when in reality it has always been driven by greed and profit at the expense of our well being!  DDT was promoted as a beneficial chemical as well and those who banked on that great idea never had to pay for the consequences to humans, animals, and environment that are still happening from that ‘great idea’.     

Fortunately there are many ways you can help to stop this madness.  Right now there is an open public comment period that ends on February 25th.  The FDA has to listen to public opinion before this science experiment can move forward and we need everyone’s help to stop this.  If this fish makes it onto into our stores and restaurants what ideas will be cooked up next.   

Leave Comment:  FDA,  before the Feb. 25th, 2013 deadline.  Docket # FDA-2011-N-0899.  Be sure to leave a comment for all 3 Dockets.  Be sure to write in your own words your reasons for your demands.  
Call:  FDA Center for Veterinarian Medicine. #240-276-9300 (9am-5pm EST) or TOLL FREE at 888-463-6332.   When prompted, press 3 to speak with an FDA representative, then press 6 for ‘Animal, Drugs & Feed’.  This will take you to the office of FDA Center for Veterinarian Medicine.  Leave your message and return number with your concerns about the approval of GMO Salmon.

Tell the FDA you will not eat GMO Salmon and you demand they do not approve of it here
Sign the International Petition  STOP THE FRANKENFISH ATTACK

Monday, December 31, 2012

Post 2012 - A New Beginning

Now that we have all successfully transitioned into Year One - Post 2012 we can move forward without so much 'end of the world' noise around our collective transition efforts towards a sustainable planet.  We cannot remember ever going through a 365 days cycle around the Sun that had so much intense activity and collective freak out on so many fronts.  

We trusted that everything would come back to center and it feels like it has been slowly calming down.  The question 'What now?" is reverberating in many circles and from what we have been able to glean it seems that folks are rolling up their sleeves to move onward and upward with renewed commitment.

Transition US is promising to engage in various projects, programs, and expansion campaigns in 2013 for its 'official' groups - their newsletter is currently circulating a whopping 7,500 subscribers in a national population of 350 million people so they have their work definitely cut out for them.  Their ideas for 2013 can be read in this 'Transition US - A Year in Review' doc.  

As sponsors of the 'unofficial' Transition Towns California Community Network - home to a little over 1500 members within a State population of 33 million - we can only promise our continued commitment and support in time/energy to members of the network through paying the hosting/subscription fees for the platform, providing management/administration, updating information/resources as often as we can, and simply holding space for folks to connect with each other.  

The 'what now' for our team is that we are beginning a new phase of our long term agenda that we have been calling our '7 Year Leap'...2013 to 2020.  

All of the work we have engaged in since the year 2000 was part of the Y2K to 2012 Agenda (probably been awhile since you thought of the Y2K collective freak out yeah?) We have succeeded in all of our main foundation building efforts and we are excited to be moving into the manifestation stage of over a decades worth of social research and experiments within the sustainability movement.  

The information we were able to gather during that time is sufficient for us to proceed with the actual on the ground manifestation of a Low Impact Sustainable Development agenda and we will be documenting and releasing this process onto all of the online networks that we sponsor and manage.  The Transition California Network will be the recipient of the bulk of this information and resources over the coming years and we look forward to deepening our existing relationships with all of the members whom we have established strong ties with. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Fall 2012 Transitions

2012 has been a year of seasonal activity for our team so far - the last update was the Summer Transitions post and now here we are in deep fall. 

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Summer 2012 Transitions

Mandatory labeling of GMO's, Clean Air Cities, Urban Farming Guys, California Homemade Food Act (AB1616), 1500th member of Transition California community, and extremely hot weather are the subjects of the Transition California 2012 Summer. 

It is the current heat wave that has us in front of the computers with the swamp cooler blowing on our backsides as we play a good game of catch up with all of the SeThInk Media sponsored networks.  Our last TCA network updates and broadcasts were in April so a great deal of things have happened for everyone and we hope to hear some news from you via blog post or simple sharing of media. 

Mandatory Labeling of GMO's

California is poised to become a GMO Free Zone and the rest of the country and even the world has their eyes on this November's vote.  Everyone has a right to know what is in their food and if you are as passionate as most people are about this issue then now is the time to help make sure this new law passes.  

Informing and educating people who do not know about GMO's is the best way to make sure the public is not fooled by any of the 'It's perfectly safe and feeding the world" propaganda coming from opposition interests.  Here is a blog that has great videos that can be easily shared via email.

Clean Air Cities

What does Berkeley, Santa Monica, Arcata, Oxnard, Santa Cruz, Richmond, Los Angeles, and 26 other major cities across the United States have in common?  They have all passed Clean Air Cities resolutions.  

"The Center for Biological Diversity’s Climate Law Institute has launched “Clean Air Cities,” a nationwide campaign urging cities around the United States to call on the Obama administration and the EPA to use the Clean Air Act to make significant reductions in greenhouse gas pollution.
Click on this image to check out our full-sized map of Clean Air Cities that have approved resolutions.
It’s clear that climate change is here now and already having a profound effect on the places we live, the natural resources we depend on and the species that provide rich biodiversity around the planet. We need to take significant steps now to curb greenhouse gas pollution and avoid the worst effects of runaway global climate change.
Cities across the country can be a powerful voice for prompting action in Washington. That’s why the Center is calling on volunteers from coast to coast to urge their local elected officials to pass resolutions in support of the EPA using the Clean Air Act to reduce carbon in our atmosphere to no more than 350 parts per million — the level scientists say is needed to avoid catastrophic climate change."

The Center is providing all the materials needed, including a sample city resolution and supporting documents. There’s also an online community through their Facebook page, where you can provide updates, ask questions and get support from other volunteers. They can connect you with others in your community and support you every step of the way.

Urban Farming Guys 

This past spring we found the "Urban Farming Guys" and we knew we had found a story and media resource that was not only the perfect example of what 'Transition' means but an inspiration that is spreading like 'green fire' across the country.  Check out this video and be sure to visit their website!


Currently in California if you were to make some jam or bake a cake and sell it to the public - like at a farmers market or bake sale - you are breaking the law if it is not prepared in a commercial kitchen.  Setting up a commercial kitchen is a huge investment and without some working capital pretty much prohibits the ambitious baker/cook from making a living selling their home made recipes and goods.  

That will change if AB1616, proposed by Assemblyman Mike Gatto (D-Los Angeles) becomes law.  32 other States have 'Cottage Food' laws that allow small-scale food sales from private kitchens.  This law does not include potentially hazardous food (PHF) like cheeses or meats but is meant to cover foods that are safely held and eaten at room temperature.  

Cottage food makers would still be subject to regulations like labeling and they would have to register within their local county.  They would also have to allow their kitchens to be inspected if a consumer complaint warrants it but inspection is not a prerequisite for registration.  

This has already passed the State Assembly and is currently in the Senate with its next hearing set for August 16th.  

This law would allow an enormous amount of economic and health benefits and the language reads:

 The Legislature finds and declares all of the following:
(a) Small businesses have played an important role in helping slow economies recover and prosper as an engine of job creation. During the 1990s, small businesses created the majority of new jobs and now account for 65 percent of United States employment.
(b) California, and the United States as a whole, are facing growing obesity and obesity-related disease epidemics.
(1) Two-thirds of American adults and nearly one-third of children and teens are obese or overweight, placing them at risk for developing chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and cancer.
(2) One in every nine California children, one in three teens, and over half of adults are already overweight or obese. This epidemic affects virtually all Californians.
(3) These health conditions are preventable and curable through lifestyle choices that include consumption of healthy fresh foods.
(c) For decades, low-income and rural communities have faced limited opportunities to purchase healthy foods. Often, without cars or convenient public transportation options, low-income residents in these areas must rely for much of their shopping on expensive, fatty, processed foods sold at convenience and corner stores.
(d) There is a growing movement in California to support community-based food production, sometimes referred to as “cottage food,” “artisanal food,” “slow food,” “locally based food,” or “urban agriculture” movements. These movements seek to connect food to local communities, small businesses, and environmental sustainability.
(e) Increased opportunities for entrepreneur development through microenterprises can help to supplement household incomes, prevent poverty and hunger, and strengthen local economies.
(f) At least 32 other states have passed laws that allow small business entrepreneurs to use their home kitchens to prepare, for sale, foods that are not potentially hazardous.
(g) Even some bake sales are currently illegal in California.
(h) It is the intent of the Legislature to enact a homemade food act specifically designed to help address these challenges and opportunities.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012


How is everyone doing these days?  

Our team often stays up late every night due to the nature of our work and our discussions usually always have that question come up as we ponder that 'state of the state'.  

We are constantly immersed in data/information mining and we wonder how any human is able to handle their daily lives without meaningful context.  We cannot imagine having to process all the events of the world without any reference point or even key words that lend meaning to anything - our key word of course is 'Transition'...we are in it...

Please share with us how you are doing on the network - pictures say a thousand words if you don't want to write anything and sometimes just sharing a link to websites that have been helpful to your own efforts can assist others as well.  

Our point is that we have spent hundreds of hours and a great deal of resources keeping this network up and evolving to serve the Transition community and we have been able to connect with quite a few of you, but the potential of connection and sharing has hardly been tapped.  

We attempted to rally some community-unity around the LabelGMO campaign but we were disappointed that only a handful of members joined the group that was set up....then later we learned from the campaign organizers that doing trainings online was prohibited so we had to back off on our own efforts as well. It is crazy how organizers set up limitations that effectively sabotage the potential online impact - Obama would have never gotten into office without the power of the internet and the LabelGMO campaign would have had so many more petition folks on the streets if they could have simply watched a training video online and downloaded the petitions...

We know that this network has some of the most committed and resourceful people in the State of California and we want to empower/support any collaborative/unified efforts.  

"Transition Towns' are 'local' orientated initiatives but this community has the chance to expand and evolve the Transition agenda beyond that.  The official Transition movement has been criticized as having a 'life boat' mentality and in some articles/forums we have read even worse things.  This network is not recognized by the official Transition circles so that gives this community an opportunity to expand any definitions or limitations that being 'official' would entail. 

We don't think this community has a shortage of visionaries or go-getters and it is time for some kind of collaborative action/effort that would serve as an example of how people committed to the successful transition can come together as 'Titans of Transition'.  So let's hear the ideas no matter how big or small...it just has to be something that can be done by everyone no matter where they live.  

How to make visions into reality is an art yet the rewards of having created a collective masterpiece are endless.  We know we are all seeking successful transition - what can be done on a statewide level that everyone would feel passionate and willing to commit some contribution?  Post your inspirations, ideas, thoughts, videos, or pictures here....

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Happy Spring Equinox 2012

Illustration image
The Earth's doesn't tilt towards or away from the Sun during the equinox (ill. not to scale).

March Equinox: March 20, 2012, 05:14 UTC

There are two equinoxes every year – in March and September – when the sun shines directly on the equator and the length of day and night is nearly equal. Seasons are opposite on either side of the equator, so the equinox in March is also known as the "spring equinox" in the northern hemisphere. However, in the southern hemisphere, it's known as the "autumnal (fall) equinox".
The March equinox 2012:
March 20, at 05:14 UTC
(or 5:14am).

Why is it called equinox?

On the equinox, night and day are nearly exactly the same length – 12 hours – all over the world. This is the reason it's called an "equinox", derived from Latin, meaning "equal night". 

However, even if this is widely accepted, it isn't entirely true. In reality equinoxes don't have exactly 12 hours of daylight

The March equinox occurs the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the Earth’s equator – from south to north. This happens either on March 19, 20 or 21 every year. On any other day of the year, the Earth's axis tilts a little away from or towards the Sun. But on the two equinoxes, the Earth's axis doesn't tilt neither away from nor towards the Sun, like the illustration shows. 

The length of day and night may not be equal on the vernal equinox, but that doesn't make the first day of spring any less special.
The fall and spring equinoxes, for starters, are the only two times during the year when the sun rises due east and sets due west.

The equinoxes are also the only days of the year when a person standing on the Equator can see the sun passing directly overhead.

On the Northern Hemisphere's vernal equinox day, a person at the North Pole would see the sun skimming across the horizon, beginning six months of uninterrupted daylight.

A person at the South Pole would also see the sun skim the horizon, but it would signal the start of six months of darkness.

Equinox Calendar Oddity

A spring equinox oddity: A rule of the calendar keeps it so the first day of spring is almost always March 20 or 21—but sometimes on the 19th.

Pope Gregory XIII Responsible for Gregorian Calendar
In 1582 Pope Gregory XIII established the Gregorian calendar, which most of the world now observes, to account for an equinox inconvenience.

If he hadn't established the new calendar, every 128 years the spring equinox would have come a full calendar day earlier—eventually putting Easter in chilly midwinter.  This is because there is not an exact number of days in a year.

Before the pope's intervention, the Romans and much of the European world marked time on the Julian calendar.

Instituted by Julius Caesar, the old calendar counted exactly 365.25 days per year, averaged over a four-year cycle. Every four years a leap day helped keep things on track.

It turns out, however, that there are 365.24219 days in an astronomical "tropical" year—defined as the time it takes the sun, as seen from Earth, to make one complete circuit of the sky.

Using the Julian calendar, the fall and spring equinoxes and the seasons were arriving 11 minutes earlier each year. By 1500 the vernal equinox had fallen back to March 11.

To fix the problem, the pope decreed that most century years (such as 1700, 1800, and 1900) would not be leap years. But century years divisible by 400, like 2000, would be leap years.

Under the Gregorian calendar, the year is 365.2425 days long. Which gets close enough to the true fraction tht the seasons don't drift.

With an average duration of 365.2425 days, Gregorian years are now only 27 seconds longer than the length of the tropical year—an error which will allow the gain of one day over a period of about 3,200 years.

Nowadays, according to the U.S. Naval Observatory's Chester, equinoxes migrate through a period that occurs about six hours later from calendar year to calendar year, due to the leap year cycle.

The system resets every leap year, slipping a little bit backward until a non-leap century year leap nudges the equinoxes forward in time once again.

Mayan Sacred Tzolkin
Perhaps 2012 would be a good year to simply adopt the Mayan Calendar which calibrates on natural time...?  They say it is the end of the old and the beginning of the new.... 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Springing Forward

Setting our clocks forwards and backwards has always seemed really lame to us and this year the 'forward' action made us once again question the whole premise of the biannual ritual.  So we did a little research and learned that there are many places around the world and even in the US that do not participate in this grand clock folly.

Rationale and original idea
The main purpose of Daylight Saving Time (called "Summer Time" in many places in the world) is to make better use of daylight. We change our clocks during the summer months to move an hour of daylight from the morning to the evening. Countries have different change dates.

If you live near the equator, day and night are nearly the same length (12 hours). But elsewhere on Earth, there is much more daylight in the summer than in the winter. The closer you live to the North or South Pole, the longer the period of daylight in the summer. Thus, Daylight Saving Time (Summer Time) is usually not helpful in the tropics, and countries near the equator generally do not change their clocks.
A poll conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation indicated that Americans liked Daylight Saving Time because "there is more light in the evenings / can do more in the evenings." A 1976 survey of 2.7 million citizens in New South Wales, Australia, found 68% liked daylight saving. Indeed, some say that the primary reason that Daylight Saving Time is a part of many societies is simply because people like to enjoy long summer evenings, and that reasons such as energy conservation are merely rationalizations.

According to some sources, DST saves energy. Studies done by the U.S. Department of Transportation in 1975 showed that Daylight Saving Time trims the entire country's electricity usage by a small but significant amount, about one percent each day, because less electricity is used for lighting and appliances. Similarly, in New Zealand, power companies have found that power usage decreases 3.5 percent when daylight saving starts. In the first week, peak evening consumption commonly drops around five percent.

The rationale behind the 1975 study of DST-related energy savings was that energy use and the demand for electricity for lighting homes is directly related to the times when people go to bed at night and rise in the morning. In the average home, 25 percent of electricity was used for lighting and small appliances, such as TVs and stereos. A good percentage of energy consumed by lighting and appliances occurred in the evening when families were home. By moving the clock ahead one hour, the amount of electricity consumed each day decreased.

In the summer, people who rose before the sun rises used more energy in the morning than if DST were not in effect. However, although 70 percent of Americans rose before 7:00 a.m., this waste of energy from having less sunlight in the morning was more than offset by the savings of energy that results from more sunlight in the evening.

In the winter, the afternoon Daylight Saving Time advantage is offset for many people and businesses by the morning's need for more lighting. In spring and fall, the advantage is generally less than one hour. So, the rationale was that Daylight Saving Time saves energy for lighting in all seasons of the year, but it saves least during the four darkest months of winter (November, December, January, and February), when the afternoon advantage is offset by the need for lighting because of late sunrise.

In addition, less electricity was thought to be used because people are home fewer hours during the "longer" days of spring and summer. Most people plan outdoor activities in the extra daylight hours. When people are not at home, they don't turn on the appliances and lights.

Although a 1976 report by the National Bureau of Standards disputed the 1975 U.S. Department of Transportation study, and found that DST-related energy savings were insignificant, the DOT study continued to influence decisions about Daylight Saving Time.

The argument in favor of saving energy swayed Indiana, where until 2005, only about 16 percent of counties observed Daylight Saving Time. Based on the DOT study, advocates of Indiana DST estimated that the state’s residents would save over $7 million in electricity costs each year. Now that Indiana has made the switch, however, researchers have found the opposite to be the case. Scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, compared energy usage over the course of three years in Indiana counties that switched from year-round Standard Time to DST. They found that Indianans actually spent $8.6 million more each year because of Daylight Saving Time, and increased emissions came with a social cost of between $1.6 million and $5.3 million per year. Commentators have theorized that the energy jump is due to the increased prevalence of home air conditioning over the past 40 years, in that more daylight toward the end of a summer’s day means that people are more likely to use their air conditioners when they come home from work.

However, the Indiana research findings don’t necessarily apply elsewhere. In cooler climates, for example, energy savings may well occur.

In addition, some argue that there is a public health benefit to Daylight Saving Time, as it decreases traffic accidents. Several studies in the U.S. and Great Britain have found that the DST daylight shift reduces net traffic accidents and fatalities by close to one percent. An increase in accidents in the dark mornings is more than offset by the evening decrease in accidents.

However, recent research indicates that pedestrian fatalities from cars soar at 6:00 p.m. during the weeks after clocks are set back in the fall. Walkers are three times as likely to be hit and killed by cars right after the switch than in the month before DST ends. Researchers from Carnegie Mellon University, who found a 186 percent jump in the risk of being killed by a car for every mile walked, speculate that drivers go through an adjustment period when dusk arrives earlier. Although the risk drops in the morning, because there are fewer pedestrians at 6:00 a.m., the lives saved in the morning don’t offset those lost in the evening.

This research corroborates a 2001 study by researchers at the University of Michigan, which found that 65 pedestrians were killed by car crashes in the week before DST ended, and 227 pedestrians were killed in the week following the end of DST.

There may also be an economic benefit to DST, as daylight evening hours encourage people to go out and shop, potentially spurring economic growth.

Idea of Daylight Saving Time
The idea of daylight saving was first conceived by Benjamin Franklin (portrait at right) during his sojourn as an American delegate in Paris in 1784, in an essay, "An Economical Project." Read more about Franklin's essay.

Some of Franklin's friends, inventors of a new kind of oil lamp, were so taken by the scheme that they continued corresponding with Franklin even after he returned to America.

The idea was first advocated seriously by London builder William Willett (1857-1915) in the pamphlet, "Waste of Daylight" (1907), that proposed advancing clocks 20 minutes on each of four Sundays in April, and retarding them by the same amount on four Sundays in September. As he was taking an early morning a ride through Petts Wood, near Croydon, Willett was struck by the fact that the blinds of nearby houses were closed, even though the sun was fully risen. When questioned as to why he didn't simply get up an hour earlier, Willett replied with typical British humor, "What?" In his pamphlet "The Waste of Daylight" he wrote:
"Everyone appreciates the long, light evenings. Everyone laments their shortage as Autumn approaches; and everyone has given utterance to regret that the clear, bright light of an early morning during Spring and Summer months is so seldom seen or used."
Early British laws and lax observance
About one year after Willett began to advocate daylight saving (he spent a fortune lobbying), he attracted the attention of the authorities. Robert Pearce - later Sir Robert Pearce - introduced a bill in the House of Commons to make it compulsory to adjust the clocks. The bill was drafted in 1909 and introduced in Parliament several times, but it met with ridicule and opposition, especially from farming interests. Generally lampooned at the time, Willett died on March 4, 1915.

Following Germany's lead, Britain passed an act on May 17, 1916, and Willett's scheme of adding 80 minutes, in four separate movements was put in operation on the following Sunday, May 21, 1916. There was a storm of opposition, confusion, and prejudice. The Royal Meteorological Society insisted that Greenwich time would still be used to measure tides. The parks belonging to the Office of Works and the London County Council decided to close at dusk, which meant that they would be open an extra hour in the evening. Kew Gardens, on the other hand, ignored the daylight saving scheme and decided to close by the clock.

In Edinburgh, the confusion was even more marked, for the gun at the Castle was fired at 1:00 p.m. Summer Time, while the ball on the top of the Nelson monument on Calton Hill fell at 1:00 Greenwich Time. That arrangement was carried on for the benefit of seamen who could see it from the Firth of Forth. The time fixed for changing clocks was 2:00 a.m. on a Sunday.

There was a fair bit of opposition from the general public and from agricultural interests who wanted daylight in the morning, but Lord Balfour came forward with a unique concern:
"Supposing some unfortunate lady was confined with twins and one child was born 10 minutes before 1 o'clock. ... the time of birth of the two children would be reversed. ... Such an alteration might conceivably affect the property and titles in that House."
After World War I, Parliament passed several acts relating to Summer Time. In 1925, a law was enacted that Summer Time should begin on the day following the third Saturday in April (or one week earlier if that day was Easter Day). The date for closing of Summer Time was fixed for the day after the first Saturday in October.

The energy saving benefits of Summer Time were recognized during World War II, when clocks in Britain were put two hours ahead of GMT during the summer. This became known as Double Summer Time. During the war, clocks remained one hour ahead of GMT throughout the winter.