Welcome Transition Houston

Transition Houston is the 40th official Transition Initiative in the US.

Transition Houston joined the ranks of local coordinating hubs serving large cities, as it received its official status on Labor Day.  Houston is the US’ fourth-largest city, with a population of 2.2 million residents (and more than 5 million in the larger metro area), and is challenged by its sprawling nature, hot/humid climate, and reliance on the automobile.

Sadly, Harris County (in which Houston sits) is the largest CO2 emitter in the United States.  In addition to susceptability to the effects of peak petroleum, Houston is also at risk to the effects of a changing climate through drought, flood, and hurricanes.  If there is anyplace that needs to develop resilience, Houston is it!

Through these challenges Transition Houston sees opportunity:  strong neighborhood identity, a year-round growing season and balanced rainfall, topography and climate conducive to human-powered transport, examples of pre-airconditioning homes adapted to our climate, and a multitude of groups and organization already working towards aspects of relocalization, reskilling, local food production, energy conservation and efficiency, and awareness of peak oil and climate change.

Transition Houston is a young initiative which was inspired by the release of the Transition Handbook in the US in late-summer 2008, and has grown by word of mouth and through an online Transition Houston ning group (http://transitiontexas.ning.com/group/transitionhouston).  Our first general meeting was just over six months ago, and our core group formed soon after.  We are holding our membership and core team meetings on a regular monthly schedule.

 potluck photo

Photo: Transition Houston Labor Day meatless potluck, September 7, 2009. Photo by Colleen O’Brien.

During these first months the main focus has been on educating ourselves about Transition, building our internal community and connections to other groups, and preparing for growth.    Three neighborhood initiatives have formed so far (Transition Heights/Garden Oaks, Transition Westwood, and Transition Rice), and others may follow soon.

As the weather cools down this Fall our activity level is ramping up:

  • We’ve had a table at one of the local-only farmers’ markets and generated lots of interest.  We will have more appearances at farmers’ markets through the Autumn.
  • We are planning a Transition Film Series at Rice University starting in October, as a joint effort with the Rice Environmental Club and Rice’s Center for the Study of Environment and Society.  This will be an important part of our awareness activities in the community.
  • The first of a series of Permablitzes in Houston-and, as far as we know, Texas-will be held on October 31.  On Saturdays a group of volunteers will descend on a backyard to transform it into a food garden and harvest rainwater while learning about permaculture design principles.  We will hold a drawing to select our first three backyards at our October meeting.
  • We are especially excited to be working with Transition US to set up a Houston class of Training for Transition, which will be held on November 21 and 22 at Sheldon Lakes State Park and Environmental Learning Center.  We believe this will be the first T4T class offered in Texas.  Details and enrollment instructions are found at http://transitiontexas.ning.com/forum/topics/training-for-transition-class, or through the training calendar at http://www.transitionus.org/.  We believe this class will be key to building our capability to lead the movement toward resilience in Houston.

Transition Houston is looking forward to learning from other Transition Initiatives across the country, and sharing our successes and challenges.  Thank you Transition US for your support and encouragement!

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Thanks to Mark Juedeman for this update!

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