Monday, November 9, 2009

Transition Time

Last year, when oil prices spiked, I had friends say, "It's time to trade in my SUV."

Although prices have gone back down (relatively speaking--I can remember when I was ten years-old and would confuse the gas price sign with the temperature!), we're going to hit a crisis point sometime. Fossil fuels are a non-renewable resource. It's a fact we have to face.

There's a group in Houston--and a sub-group in The Heights!--that is starting to face this fact and figure out ways to solve this dilemma in a local, grassroots way.

Transition Houston (and Transition Heights) are thinking about ways to re-localize communities. Megan Parks, a fellow Heights resident and one of the folks involved with the movements, says that "everything we do is global in scale" which is "made possible by cheap fossil fuels."

The Transition movement started in the United Kingdom and addresses these ideas: What would we do if energy were really expensive? How would we maintain our quality of life?

For those involved with the Transition movement, the answers involve finding solutions at a local level. In other words, they look for a "community-scale response." They find ways to "depend less on large institutions and depend more on ourselves."

The Houston component of this international movement is in the infancy stage. Some of the projects they've undertaken include building a solar hot-water heater, a solar oven, and a chicken coup. Additionally, the Transition Heights group has done some work with Garden Oaks Elementary to determine ways to make the campus even more environmentally-oriented.

Megan grew up in Houston went to college here. After a few years in another state, she moved back to Houston and started looking for an environmental community. She was happily surprised to find one. She and a friend started organizing a happy hour for environmentally-friendly folks called Green Drinks. These monthly networking happy hours lasted for four years.

Finally, Megan realized that it was time to stop talking and actually do something. She was an "on paper engineer"--an engineer who had never actually built anything herself. She got involved with Transition Houston and Transition Heights to get something done.

Currently, she's researching all the environmental activism that's already being done in The Heights to look for natural connections and partnerships.

For those of you who are interested in joining the movement, the Transition Houston meetings take place the first Monday of the month from 7-9pm at Urban Harvest. You can contact Megan for more information about how to get involved in the Heights group.

I think I'll be going to the next meeting. Let me know if you want to carpool!


  1. I can't get megan's e-mail from your link-- could you send it to me?

  2. @ Rebecca: Sorry you're having difficulty! Can you right click on it and hit "copy e-mail address"? Let me know if that doesn't work...