About the Environmental Change-Makers


Environmental Change-Makers helps people discover the joys, skills, connections and fulfilment of the new future.  We are one of the groups that are putting in place positive solutions to today’s most pressing issues.

ECM is centered in the Westchester neighborhood of Los Angeles, about 6 blocks from LAX international airport.  Participants in our events and activities come from all over the greater L.A. area, plus we mentor groups throughout Southern California.

 

Who we are

ECM was founded by Peter Rood and Joanne Poyourow.

Peter Rood is an Episcopal priest and is pastor at Holy Nativity parish.  It was Peter who convinced Holy Nativity parishioners to allow ECM to rip out the side lawn and create the Community Garden at Holy Nativity in 2008.  Peter is active in interfaith circles, thus ECM is often called upon to present to faith communities and to support them in their journey toward “green.”  Peter also assures that the ECM calendar of events includes topics about the “inner transition” — the changes to our heart, spirit, and philosophy and outlook — which are evolving and changing alongside our physical, outer world.  Peter is also a yogi and loves cooking and gardening.  More about Peter Rood

Joanne Poyourow is a writer, a food gardener, and an activist.  She designed the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, and continues to manage its plantings for ongoing abundant harvests.  She teaches many of ECM’s organic vegetable gardening classes, and helped design and found the Emerson Avenue Community Garden.  She is one of the founding members of Seed Freedom LA, and has had her fingers in the changes at many other local gardens as well.  In addition to having written three books, Joanne writes most of the ECM handouts, how-to guides, and booklets; she also blogs at Transition US, and co-teaches classes at Otis College of Art & Design.  All this, while homeschooling two teens.  Joanne’s home garden — located a few blocks from ECM’s Westchester site — is a busy place of city chickens, vegetable experiments, and weedy failures to learn from.  When she slows down a bit, she takes one of Peter’s yoga classes.

John Tikotsky is a landscape architect, and a member of ECM’s founding board.  John designed the rainwater harvesting at the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, and he conducts some of the organic vegetable gardening classes and hands-on workshops.  John did significant work in bringing the Emerson Avenue Community Garden from vague vision to abundant reality.  He has also assisted with garden-building projects such as the Good Karma Gardens.  John’s favorite garden topic is beneficial insects and how to attract a rich and biodiverse population of them.  More about John Tikotsky

In late autumn 2013, ECM launched a new chapter by creating an Advisory Circle to help run its operations.  The Advisory Circle currently includes Carolyn Peters, Nigel Raab, John Tikotsky, Christine Tope, and Kathy Turk.

 

History

ECM began in 2005 with a circle of five local neighbors sitting in the Holy Nativity Community Hall trying to decide what we could possibly DO about environmental problems like global warming.  In those days — before anyone had heard of “An Inconvenient Truth” — any discussion about global warming was more likely to provoke debate over whether it existed, than stimulate discussion about solutions.  Thus ECM’s What We Can Do focus was fairly unique.

In early 2008, ECM installed what has become their “signature garden,” the Community Garden at Holy Nativity, and that summer began offering the organic vegetable gardening class series.  The Episcopal Diocese of Los Angeles asked Joanne and Peter to write a book about what communities could do, and Environmental Change-Making was the result.

Meanwhile, Joanne had been learning about a budding circle of people over in England who were “doing something” about climate change and peak oil.  In late 2008, ECM brought trainers from the UK and hosted Southern California’s first ever Transition Training.  Transition Los Angeles got its start.

Over time, eight local groups formed, in places like Mar Vista, Culver City, and San Fernando Valley, with ECM representing Westchester.  Each of these groups had its own focus and perspective, depending on local needs and the interest of local participants.  Today “Transition in Los Angeles” is the term we use to describe all the action that is happening, so much to the credit of these local groups and the partnerships they have formed with like-minded groups.

In 2009, ECM was approached to create the Emerson Avenue Community Garden.  ECM saw it through design, organization, and early construction.  Joanne and John served on the founding board.  Today the Emerson Avenue Community Garden Club functions as its own separate 501(c)(3) entity.

In 2011 and again in 2012, ECM helped Loyola Marymount University bring international food-and-seed activist Vandana Shiva to Los Angeles.  During her 2012 visit, ECM arranged for a working group with local activists, and from this Dr Shiva encouraged the formation of the Seed Freedom LA coalition.  Today Seed Freedom LA is working to have Los Angeles declared a “GMO-free Zone.”

ECM was incorporated in 2012 as a California nonprofit corporation; it is in the process of applying for 501(c)(3) tax exempt status.

Link to:  ECM Accomplishments