Transition U.S.A.

The evolving components of Transition U.S.A. including The Universe Story and the work of Joanna Macy.


To introduce some of the great thinking that is coming out of the Transition movement in this country, I’ll paste part of a wonderful article/speech by Micahael Brownlee Co-founder of Transition Colorado. It is a bit long, but very helpful in understanding this world-wide movement that is attempting to catch on in this country.

Here is Michael Brownlee’s list and conclusion.

“At Genesis Farm, in a rich and deeply supportive environment, working with Miriam MacGillis, Seanna Ashburn (another Transition Trainer), and others, we’ve held dialogues, presentations, and an ongoing series of two- and three-day workshops for Transition leaders.

Out of this exploration, several key themes have emerged:

Seriousness and urgency.
Permaculture principles and ethics.
New Cosmology/Universe Story.
Pattern Language.
Inner Transition/Heart & Soul.
He continues:

“It’s a long and intense process, but we’re beginning to see (and communicate) how the New Cosmology, the Universe Story, Permaculture, Heart & Soul, and Christopher Alexander’s work are very closely related—and how they’re just beginning to land together in the Transition movement. What this means, to me, is that we’re finally beginning to understand Transition itself as an evolutionary process, one of the most intriguing and promising processes to emerge on this planet! And it’s all absolutely integral with the 13.7 billion year process of the unfolding of the Universe—which of course is a continuing emergent unfolding.”

I loved reading the details here because I had the great privilege of attending the University of Creation Spirituality to study under some of the most innovative and spiritually alive members of our current society and many of them were mentioned in this article. Matthew Fox’s work in inventing Creation Spirituality is what led me there, but I think the most amazing part of my Master’s Degree program there was studying Cosmology with Brian Swimme. His understanding as a Physicist of the 13.7 year continual expansion of the universe from a spark to this current moment in time gives me a perspective that unites me with all that is and ever was. When my indigenous ancestors taught me that we came from the stars, they were so much more advanced in their understanding of the totality of life than most of us who are alive and so well educated today. Here is a trailer from Brian Swimme’s latest creation.

I also had the great good fortune to study with Joanna Macy, who gave me a deep perspective on what is happening on our planet with her amazing systems/Buddhist perspective. Both of them are referred to in Browlee’s article.

If you want the whole article by Michael Brownlee you click on the link below.

Indiginous Wisdom Today

Permaculture was developed from watching original peoples and their way of relating to the earth as well as observing nature. In this country, we owe a huge debt to our original ancestors. Mine lived on the East Coast of the U.S., but across the world we live on the development of our kin. Unfortunately our European ancestors decimated our indigenous fore mothers who in many ways kept the new arrivals alive with their natural wisdom. During this Thanksgiving season, instead of buying stuff let’s create rituals of gratitude for those who gave their lives and sometimes their cultures to plant this land.

Here is a collection of Native American Women portraits by Edward Curtis. Amazing the story a gifted artist can tell.

Permaculture, Beauty, and Mushrooms

I just discovered this amazing Permaculture teacher whose shtick is “Intimate Permaculture.” One of the main components of her work is creating beauty using Permaculture principles. As a sound artist(Performance Poet), I have a deep appreciation for visual art, especially the kind that is connected to life and the land versus elitist and exclusive. You can see her work on her blog by clicking on the photo of below. I aspire to follow nature in the beauty way too.

Permaculture Beauty

Learning how to create beauty with nature is an exciting endeavor. I’ll let you know how that one turns out. For now, I’m working on staying free of over-consumption, staying free of store and Black Friday, and enjoying some peace and quiet while my extended family is gone for a few days to see more distant family. By the way, I’m really getting into mushrooms as a food that could really save us. There are so many beautiful fungi.Click on the photo above for info. on the state of mushrooms in the U.K.

I Am a Poet

Poets make great entrepreneurs. Check out the Blue Economy.

Poets make great mayors of cities, entrepreneurs, Permaculture enthusiasts and much more. My days as an entrepreneur may be starting again. I’ve been studying and working with the Blue Economy, Gunter Pauli’s book and organization that is totally in sync with Permaculture. I’m enthused and hopeful.

I’m looking into growing mushrooms on coffee grounds. It’s an amazing Blue Economy venture. A woman named Chido in Zimbabwe started using the waste from the production of coffee to grow mushrooms and now has a great organization that is not only reviving the coffee production in her country, but also training orphans to grow mushrooms to feed themselves and others and have their own businesses. It’s a global world, but that doesn’t mean that the Western developed world is where the best and only treasures come from, in fact, much that comes from us is destructive. There are so many things we can learn from other cultures and individuals as well as from nature.

Blue Economy's Logo
Blue Economy Logo

The Blue Economy as well as Permaculture are based on learning from Nature. It’s amazing what we can do this community of all of creation. Find out more by reading,  “The Blue Economy,” or going to their web site by clicking the logo above. An amazing guru and pioneer in mushroom cultivation is Paul Stemets. Check out his work at

Calling all poets to the Blue Economy. Let’s make a new world!

Trees and Plants that do Garden Work

Mushrooms such amazing companions.

Of mushrooms and acacia trees.

Here’s an article about how trees planted with crops make the yield much higher.

I also thought about mushrooms a lot today. We are thinking of trying to grow them here maybe even commercially. They are so miraculous. There are several species that will greatly increase production if grown in with the garden plants. Here’s my ode to them.

how they hide and appear out of nowhere
and oh the power they have to make or break
a human being to alter consciousness to
feed the hungry millions dazzle the gourmet
rich and confound the farmer with outcomes
unbelievable like making food and compost
out of wasted coffee turning nuclear waste
into clear land these magicians of god
burying their offspring for later resurrection
are my guides and gurus today i’m thinking
right now about how they turn waste into
dancing love would you not love a bite
though it could kill you? a little knowledge
goes a long way here
i ask their spirits
teach me this dance
stay the night in my home
teach me to love your ways

Working with Soil Creatures–Composting

Composting is a stopgap measure that Permaculturists use until the land is re-established. Composting in place is the preferred method because it reduces labor and works with the whole ecosystem instead of imposing on it. Examples are sheet mulch works where the plants are and cover crops restore the dirt while they grow and when they are turned under in place. These are winter crops like buckwheat, white clover, oats, etc. I have an experimental line of buckwheat growing in the back yard right now to see if it helps hold the soil and begins to build it into the fertile community it once was. Plants themselves are the restorers of soil. I’ll go into that in detail when I get to the subject of what to plant.

My next steps are composting. In one place I merely buried some kitchen scraps for a while and then left it for planting sometime in the future. This might work if you have a long time. Secondly I created a compost bin with an old plastic garbage can. My 2 year old grandson and I drilled holes in its sides. He loves tools, especially ones that he calls machines. We then filled it with kitchen scraps, some yard waste and a little manure. We are still adding scraps. We lay it down and roll it a couple of times a week to keep things distributed. Hopefully it will be rich compost in a few weeks.

My next venture is Vermiculture which the founder and director of our local Time Bank is going to help me out with in exchange for Time Hours. I’ll let you know more details as the worms make them available. Here’s the design for the bin I’m going to build in the next few days. ”-

Here’s a great little video on Time Banking: youtube=]

I’m fascinated by this ancient way of composting by burying rotting tree branches and forest scraps. I think it adds heat to raised bed created, allowing things to grow that require more heat than is otherwise available. I may have to wait for a cooler climate to experiment with that one.I read that you can plant on it right away. It is basically buried rotting wood. Find out about that here:


1.Bin Composting

2.Buried Scraps



Arundhati Roy and Rock Throwing in Kashmir

I was going to write about compost today, but I follow Naomi Klein on Twitter and found this article from one of her Tweets.

If you’ve got a few minutes, please read it. Dr. Roy tells of visiting the danger zone that is Kashmir and the relationship of President Obama who is courting the Indian government at this time. Why is it that always what takes precedence is financial concerns. Obama some months ago had referred to the injustices in Kashmir and encountered extreme ire from the Indian government, so instead of standing up and continuing to protest the injustice he is now mute on the subject and likely to continue.  The violence of the Indian government is horrific including such torture as pulling out all the fingernails of children in Kashmir caught throwing stones. This is the way the Kashmir people protest against the takeover of their world, the throw stones no matter how many are killed. There seems to be no leadership on the will of a whole people who continue to protest by throwing stones.

Permaculture is about “Permanent Culture,” and cannot remain silent while cultures are destroyed by violence and greed. That’s my opinion anyway. So what is my Permanent Culture? Is there something for me to discover and defend even if I have to throw rocks against torture and guns? One thing that occurs to me is that the powers that be have greatly distracted us from caring about our civil rights and the liberties that were co-opted during the Bush administration. I don’t think the present administration has done anything much to restore what was stolen.

I wonder what I can do. A long time ago I decided that rather than protest, I would create alternatives so that I could say, “Check this out. Look over here. It’s a lot better than what’s been going on for as long as we can remember.” That’s shy the Blue Economy appeals so much to me and why I am part of a small group trying to make a demonstration project that shows a different way to do business. More about that later. For now, I’ll think about how to stand for justice and meditate about throwing rocks, maybe in a lake or creek but I’m now in the suburbs of California, not in the mountains of Colorado that I so recently left, so finding lakes and streams is a bit of a stretch.