Saturday, July 19, 2014

Accelerating the Transition to Clean Renewable Energy 7/23/14 in Sunnyvale

Community Choice:  Accelerating the Transition to Clean, Renewable Energy--Progress and Threats

Wednesday, July  23, 2014
7-8:30 PM
Sunnyvale Heritage Park Museum
570 E. Remington Drive
Sunnyvale, CA

What can a city do to accelerate the switch to clean and renewable energy? Many see Community Choice, which allows local control over electricity purchases, as an effective way of hastening the switch. Marin and Sonoma Counties are already providing their residents and businesses cleaner, greener and less-expensive electricity than the for-profit utility through Community Choice. Sunnyvale and Mountain View are jointly studying this model for electricity acquisition. However, a bill currently moving through the California legislature would change established State law to make adopting Community Choice virtually impossible.

Ann Hancock, Executive Director of Sonoma County's Climate Protection Campaign, will discuss the experience of Marin and Sonoma Counties with Community Choice and the current legislative threat to this model.  Melody Tovar, Regulatory Programs Division Manager in Sunnyvale's Environmental Services Department, will provide an update on the City of Sunnyvale-led investigation Community Choice.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Fourth Friday Film - Gaining Ground - July 25, 2014 7:30p in Palo Alto

July Fourth Friday - "Gaining Ground"

Film and discussion, plus special guest - producer Mark Lipman

In the midst of the economic meltdown, Gaining Ground explores the innovative, grassroots organizing efforts of the Dudley Street Neighborhood Initiative (DSNI) in Boston. Over the course of two years, you'll see a new generation of leaders working to prevent foreclosures and bring jobs and opportunities for young people to one of the city’s most diverse and economically challenged neighborhoods. More info about the film:

July 25, 2014 come at 7:15p for social time, film starts at 7:30p, discussion to follow
Recommended donation: $5-$10 to cover film costs and venue
Where: Fireside Room
Palo Alto Unitarian Universalist Church (UUCPA)
505 E. Charleston Avenue, Palo Alto, CA

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Summer Sharing Expo June 15, 2014 1-3p in Palo Alto

The Summer Sharing Expo is coming to Common Ground! Join us to share garden produce, goods, skills, and more on the afternoon of June 15th from 1-3pm in Palo Alto.

We will be having live music and fresh sun tea. Come see us cook in the solar ovens or make your own with the kids. Discuss permaculture in the salon, share your story on video, and learn ways to save water at home and in the garden. Learn more about composting and gardening, and how to reuse salvage fabrics and materials. Ride your bike or walk over after the farmer's market nearby, there's sure to be more!

As usual we will also be sharing garden produce, arts and crafts supplies, books, clothing, and toys, all in good condition. It's all fun, a great way to meet neighbors and help our planet, and free.

Come join us!

Sunday, June 15, 2014
Common Ground
559 College Ave, Palo Alto, CA

More information at

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Slow Money Farm Fest at Full Circle Farm Sunnyvale 6/7/14

Slow Money Farm Fest: Meet the makers of local food

Get invested in your local food system! On Saturday, June 7, 2014, Slow Money Northern California, a network of investors, farmers and entrepreneurs dedicated to catalyzing the flow of capital into local food systems, is hosting a Farm Fest at Full Circle Farm in Sunnyvale. Come celebrate the power of "locavesting," meet local food entrepreneurs and learn how to support sustainable food systems.

Sign up now. Space is limited and pre-registration ($25) is required

Monday, May 19, 2014

May Fourth Friday/Films of Vision and Hope - "Arise" - 5/23/14 7:15-9:30p in Palo Alto


Please join us for an inspirational film, narrated by Darryl Hannah, about how women around the globe are leading the way to a sustainable future by rebuilding their families, their neighborhoods and their communities.

The film shows how they are replanting trees in Kenya, conserving biodiversity in India, preserving sacred Native lands, protecting the rainforest in Ecuador, building more sustainable local communities, transforming food through urban agriculture, creating safe outdoor places to play, training women to build and install solar lights, and organizing to combat climate change.

May 23, 2014 come at 7:15p for social time, film starts at 7:30p, discussion to follow
Where: Fireside Room
Palo Alto Unitarian Universalist Church (UUCPA)
505 E. Charleston Avenue, Palo Alto, CA

Click for more info about the film.

Sponsored by Transition Palo Alto, Transition Silicon Valley, and the Unitarian Universalist Church of Palo Alto

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Community Resilience Challenge Event at Full Circle Farm Sunnyvale 5/17/14 1-4p

It's May and time for the Transition US Community Resilience Challenge.
We held a brainstorming session last month at to plan what we can do locally this month. The answer: Self watering planter workshop!
You are all invited to attend the Self-Watering Planter workshop at Full Circle Farm Sunnyvale.

A self-watering planter (SWP) is a planter that draws water on an as-needed basis from a storage reservoir.
SWPs have oodles of benefits:
  •   Reduce water loss by evaporation or over spray.
  •   Take the guesswork out of watering and reduce accidental over or under watering.

  •   Keep containers from drying out too quickly in hot weather.
  •   Let you go away over a long weekend without coming
    home to wilted greens.
  •   Provide a stable, consistent planting environment.
Why make your own?
Fruits and vegetables need plenty of water during their growing cycle. You can buy SWPs with big reservoirs, but they’re very expensive and often available only by catalog. Cheaper SWPs are available, but the reservoirs are too small (a mature cherry tomato plant in a container in full sun can drink up to seven cups of water a day). The bigger your reservoir, the longer you can leave your planter between watering, which anyone with a busy schedule can appreciate. By making your own SWP, you control the reservoir size.
As a bonus, once you learn how it works, you'll be able to retrofit any appropriate container to be self-watering.
When/where: Sat May 17, 2014 1-4pm
Full Circle Farm Sunnyvale, 1065 Dunford Way, Sunnyvale, CA
$30 includes all supplies required to create your very own self-watering planter
You MUST register and pay in advance to be able to have the provided supplies. Don't wait to sign up
we have supplies for a max of 15 people. To register and pay, go to
If you want to learn, but not make the planter or get the supplies, you can just show up.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Climate Action Plan Community Outreach in Sunnyvale 5/8/14 6:30 - 8:30p

A group of Sunnyvale residents and business folks have been working for nearly 4 years to draft an honest to goodness Climate Action Plan. This is a great opportunity to check out how this kind of thing actually gets done. If you are interested in seeing the result of their amazing effort, please consider attending their presentation of the plan:

On Thursday May 8, 2014 staff will host a community outreach meeting on the Climate Action Plan from 6:30 PM-8 PM, in the Community Room of the Community Center,  550 E. Remington Drive, Sunnyvale.  A good turnout would demonstrate interest in systematically reducing our community's GHG emissions.

Sunnyvale city government has been developing a Climate Action Plan (and an update of the transportation and land use parts of the general plan) for almost four years now. The goal of the Plan is to systematically reduce greenhouse gas emissions from our community. The effort included the extensive efforts of a citizen advisory committee which represented residents and businesses, city staff and consultants.  The citizen committee met 26 times plus additional subcommittee meetings during an 18 month period beginning in July of 2010. Then the draft plan and the general plan update went to the staff and environmental review process, where they hit some snags and perhaps some staffing shortages.

At last the draft Climate Action Plan is undergoing commission review.  Both the Bike and Pedestrian Advisory Commission and the Sustainability Commission unanimously recommended that Council adopt the entire plan. The Plan goes to the Planning Commission on Monday (April 28, 2014 8 PM, Council Chambers), to complete the Commission review process.

In addition, the Plan is available online from <> , right side of the page.  The draft Plan includes

  • a good executive summary,
  • background information,
  • the results of the community-wide greenhouse gas inventory that shows  where our emissions come from,
  • over 100 action items to reduce Sunnyvale's greenhouse gas emissions, and  
  • estimates of the size of the emission reductions we can expect from each  action item and a general idea of cost.
If all the actions in the CAP are implemented, Sunnyvale's GHG emission reductions are estimated to be twice the 2020 goal recommended by the State of California. This plan finally gets us moving in the right direction in a coordinated way.

The draft Plan finally goes to Council on Tuesday, May 20, 2014. The meeting starts at 7 PM, Council Chambers, City Hall, 456 West Olive Avenue.  Again, a good turn out would demonstrate interest. Informed and reasoned comments emphasizing things like
  • the reality of climate change,
  • urgency of addressing it,
  • the advantages of action,
  • the need to surpass the State 2020 goal (1990 levels by 2020 or 15%  below baseline levels, in our case 2008 levels) as this plan, if completely  enacted, would do.
  • the moral imperative of action,
  • your personal reasons for supporting action, etc.
would be helpful. A slim majority of our councilmembers are inclined to adopt the Plan, but supportive comments are helpful. Judging from the comments posted in the City's online survey, there will likely be comments denying the reality of climate change, poo-pooing the need to act, and objecting to any expense or staffing to support the effort.

If this Plan is adopted, Sunnyvale will have a solid policy basis on which to base strong action. Staff would then come back to Council within four months with an implementation plan.  Funding has not yet been identified, so even after the Plan is adopted, continued citizen engagement will be required so that Council knows that we want them to prioritize implementation of the Climate Action Plan.

Let's demonstrate how Silicon Valley residents concerned about Climate Change could get together to coordinate efforts--emails and oral comments to Council.

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