Monthly Archives: April 2010

Awakening the Dreamer – Changing the Dream

Awakening the Dreamer – Changing the Dream is a masterfully compiled multimedia collection of video excerpts, music, photographs, quotations, animation, live presenters, dyads, group processes and wisdom snippets – from Joanna Macy, Thich Nhat Hahn, John Robbins, Paul Hawken, Wangari Maathai and Vandana Shiva, among others – that, in only four hours, clearly distils the facts and elicits and presents answers to four questions:


Where are we?
How did we get here?

What is possible for the future?

Where do we go from here?

When I first experienced Changing the Dream, I had just watched the climate docudrama, Age of Stupid, and was keenly aware of the precariousness of our position on the edge of collapse, as cheap oil, the fuel behind our consumer society, runs out and its effects on our climate grow more severe. The symposium helped me connect my heart to the issues and see things through a wider lens.

A key concept is that we in the West have been “entranced” by years of marketing to believe that we need something outside ourselves to be satisfied, and that ever-increasing consumption is the answer. Although it is clear that our addiction to manufactured stuff is driving climate change, perhaps we are not so much “stupid” as hypnotized. Stores and manufacturers seduce us with brand images and logos and condition us to feel we cannot live happily without them.

Achuar RafaelThe Awakening the Dreamer Symposium was put together several years ago by the Pachamama Alliance in response to a heartfelt plea from the indigenous Achuar people of Peru/Ecuador, whose shamans had predicted that the world was on the verge of a terrible catastrophe, which only industrialized countries could avert. The version I experienced was a recent improvement that is taking the Bay Area (and beyond) by storm as more and more attendees are inspired to become facilitators and bring the symposium to their own groups and associations.

At the crux of the event is the revelation of one simple assumption under which we have been operating for centuries, the reversal of which will make it inevitable that we reduce our consumption, care more for the earth and each other than for profit, and rebuild our lives in resilient communities. Can you guess what it is?

The Symposium offers a beautiful, compact introduction to the Transition concept, so I am delighted to announce that the Pachamama Alliance and the Transition Network are currently formalizing a partnership. You can experience Awakening the Dreamer – Changing the Dream yourself on June 6th at the Albany Senior Center (see calendar). We are asking $10 – $20 for the event, but no one will be turned away for lack of funds. Please invite friends and be prepared to be moved.

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Posted in Uncategorized on April 29, 2010

Albany Arts & Green Festival

Join us at the first annual Albany Arts & Green Festival where we celebrate both the arts and the environment!

Sunday May 2nd, 2010

11:00 AM – 3:00 PM (Transition Albany presentation at 2:00 PM)

Memorial Park & Veterans Hall

Performances |  Green Workshops

Food  |  Art  |  Green Orgs

Free Bike Valet Parking  |  Free Bike Tuneups

Kids’ Zone  |  Floor Lamp Exchange Program

Free Small E-Waste Collection

Albany today is developing a reputation for having a vigorous public arts program and being one of the greenest cities in the country. So it’s not surprising that this year we are celebrating “arts and green” together! Art helps see and appreciate beauty, and protecting the environment helps create a beautiful world!

Read more about the event on the City’s website.

Transition Albany presents at 2:00 PM

Inside the Veterans Hall workshop room.

Building Community Resilience, the Best Preparation for an Uncertain Future: An introduction to Transition Towns and Transition Albany

Transition Albany invites all of Albany to create a positive transition from fossil fuel dependency to vital, engaged, resilient, and interdependent community. Catherine Sutton will be presenting the principles of Transition Towns, with updates from her recent visit to some original Transition Towns in England.

Come visit the Transition Albany table inside the Veterans Hall!

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Posted in Uncategorized on April 24, 2010

A Sense of Place



Earth Day, Thursday, April 22, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Walk to/on Albany Hill including Ceremony

Meet at Peet’s Coffee & Tea, San Pablo & Carlson

With Friends of Five Creeks & Corrina Gould, Chochenyo Ohlone

You are invited to participate in a walk that will include some of Albany’s history, an overview from Albany Hill, and a ceremony to honor the ancient keepers of this land and to ask assistance as we recreate a low energy, local-based lifestyle.  Wear shoes with traction and bring a stick if you need one for walking on steep trails.

The event will be held rain or shine.

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Posted in Uncategorized on April 12, 2010

The Joy of Life on Two Wheels

Sunday, April 11th

1:30 – 4:00 PM  |  Albany Library Edith Stone Room

An event to inspire more bicycle riding!

  1. Short Film: Vélib
  2. Guest Speaker: Laura McCamy
  3. Presentation: Albany Bike Master Plan

Bicycles –  they’re practical and fun!

Did You Know? In Albany, vehicles on local roads (that’s excluding I-80 and San Pablo) account for 24 thousand metric tons (CO2e) of greenhouse gases per year! That represents about 2.7 million gallons of gasoline! This is obviously not a sustainable habit. Luckily, there’s a quick and healthy solution for most of those local trips (and longer distance ones too): the good old bicycle!

Guest Speaker: Laura McCamy

Alameda County’s Bike Commuter of the Year

Laura will talk about easy and fun ways to add biking to your life! Laura gave up her car three years ago, and bike commutes from Emeryville to San Francisco. She generally rides her bike to the MacArthur BART station in the morning and leaves it securely locked there using the new eLockers, or simply takes the bike onto BART. She even does all her errands using a 100+ lb capacity bike trailer, including Saturday trips to the farmer’s market. Hear about her experiences and glean useful advice for bringing bicycling into your daily life.

Check out the article she recently wrote for Momentum Magazine, the magazine for self-propelled people!

Albany’s Bicycle Master Plan

Presentation by Albany Strollers & Rollers

Come learn about about Albany’s Bicyle Master Plan – what’s planned, what’s been done, what hasn’t, and future revisions to the Plan. The Master Plan will make bicycling easier, safer, and more convenient for riders in Albany!

Short Film: Vélib

From the E Squared Film Series

Imagine a nearly free bicycle rental program to use in your daily life. Pick one up near your starting-point and drop it off near your destination. In Paris, you can do just that with Vélib!

+ PLUS +

Take a Test Ride!

On unusually practical bicycles meant for urban commutes and chores.

Available for sale:

Bike lights and other cool stuff.

This event is co-sponsored by Albany Stollers & Rollers

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Posted in Uncategorized on April 1, 2010

Get Free In-Home Solar Advice

Free Energy Efficiency and Solar Advice Offered in Albany

Starting now, SmartSolar offers its free services to Albany residents!

Are you interested in making your home more energy efficient and self-sufficient? Would you like more information about solar technologies before talking to a contractor?

SmartSolar offers independent, site-specific analysis of solar and energy efficiency opportunities for local residents and businesses. This free service demystifies solar and energy efficiency investments with unbiased, consumer-friendly information and advice.

A SmartSolar audit assesses a property’s potential for installations of solar technologies and energy efficiency measures, including cost-benefit analyses, information about local contractors, building codes and ordinances, financing options, rebates, and incentives. SmartSolar can also help clients navigate the management of solar projects at their properties.

For more information, visit the SmartSolar website, call them, or come see them at their workshop about energy efficiency and solar at the Albany Arts & Green Festival on Sunday, May 2nd. The workshop is tentatively scheduled for 12:20. Check the workshop schedule closer to the date on the City’s website.

Contact SmartSolar:


Phone: (510) 981-7750.

The SmartSolar program is offered by the local nonprofit Community Energy Services Corporation with funding from the U.S. Department of Energy’s Solar America Cities Initiative and in partnership with the cities of Richmond, El Cerrito, Albany, Berkeley, Emeryville, and Oakland.

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Posted in Uncategorized on April 1, 2010