Accomplishments


By our very name, the Environmental Change-Makers group is about ACTION – in our personal lives, in our local community, affecting the culture, affecting the world.  Here are a few of our accomplishments over the past 10 years.

 

Major Highlights
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  • ECM built and continues to maintain the renowned Community Garden on the grounds of Holy Nativity Church.  This garden teaches the skills of urban food production, raises awareness of food gardening, and provides fresh produce for LAX food pantry. (since June 2008)
  • ECM was the initiating group that brought the ideas of the international Transition Movement to many parts of Los Angeles and Southern California (Sept 2008).  The Transition Movement is a community-led response to peak oil + climate change + economic contraction.
  • ECM members founded and constructed the Emerson Avenue Community Garden on unused land at Orville Wright Middle School (LAUSD) from late summer 2009 through 2012.  This garden merges school garden with traditional plot-style community garden and community pocket park.  The Emerson Avenue Community Garden now continues as its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity.
  • [photostream available at ECM's Flickr account]

 

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  • ECM held monthly community meetings supporting members to embrace eco-solutions.  These included solar cooker building workshops, vegetable/herb seed swaps, “cluck trek” tour of local chicken coops, pickling and canning workshops, beer-making demonstrations, and much, much more!
  • ECM members initiated changes at the Holy Nativity site:  FS, MW persuaded HNP to become a Stryo-free zone.  HNP switched to recycled paper in their copier.  HNP’s facilities embraced full recycling and composting, thanks to signage and setup by Girl Scout Troop 918.
  • ECM ideas inspired personal changes too:  PR, MF, FS set up their composters.  PR, FS, MF began growing vegetables in their home gardens.  JW began using canvas bags.  JM, JP switched from conventional cars to Priuses.  PR, FS, JP, MF, JW began shopping at the local farmer’s market.  PR mulched her garden with what used to be hauled away as green waste.  KD took action about styrofoam in local restaurants, and JA began fighting pollution at the Port of Los Angeles.  JW created an environmental outreach to SJP, a large local parish, and began writing an environmental column in their newsletter (circulation 800 local families).  PR began working with local faith communities to encourage environmental action.
  • participated in the Union of Concerned Scientists effort to pass the California Global Warming Solutions Act.  ECM was an active body of voices in persuading a local Representative to vote for AB32.  (Jul-Aug’06)
  • Created two Earth Care Fairs for the local public (Oct.06 and Oct.07)
  • Participated in Loyola Marymount University’s Bellarmine Forum on Environmental Responsibility (Nov.06)

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  • Recognized by the City of Los Angeles and Councilman Bill Rosendahl for our “great work for the environment of the Westchester community, the City of Los Angeles, and the entire planet.” (Mar. 07)
  • Joined the Union of Concerned Scientists and the American Lung Association in approaching local Assembly persons about legislation which could help mitigate global warming.  (Mar.07)
  • hosted celebrity speaker Ed Begley, Jr. (Mar 07)
  • Participated in the Step It Up campaign (1300+ actions across the nation) to tell Congress “Step It Up – Cut Carbon 80% by 2050.”  ECM coordinated a march down Sepulveda Blvd within sight of the LAX airport flightpath. (April 07)
  • Participated in Santa Monica College’s EcoFabulous event (Apr 07)
  • partnered with Girl Scout Troop 245 to create a composting workshop, bringing more composters, worm bins and know-how to our local neighborhood (2007)
  • supported the L.A. County Board of Supervisors’ motion to consider the banning of Styrofoam in Los Angeles County. (June 2007)
  • the Solar Cooker hands-on building workshop drew 60 people (June 2007)
  • JP & PR were featured on KPFK radio (July 2007)
  • Created a forum about possibilities for transportation in Los Angeles, post-automobiles.  This included a screening of the movie ”Contested Streets”, followed by a community discussion.  Representatives of LA Councilman Bill Rosendahl’s office and California State Assemblyman Curren Price’s office participated. (Sep 2007)
  • presented at Culver City’s Green Summit, and participated in design charettes for their Sustainable Community Plan.
  • at the California Resource Recovery Association’s annual conferenc, showcased ECM’s community-based successes for organizers from across the state
  • considered to be among the “climate change planners, thinkers, movers and shakers in the LA area” by the Union of Concerned Scientists (Sep 07)

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  • participated in Focus the Nation, a national “teach-in” day about global warming solutions at Loyola Marymount University (Jan 2008)
  • hosted celebrity speaker Dave Wann, author of Affluenza(Feb 08)
  • ECM built and continues to maintain the renowned Community Garden on the grounds of Holy Nativity Church.  This garden teaches the skills of urban food production, raises awareness of food gardening, and provides fresh produce for LAX food pantry. (since June 2008)
  • Recognized by Urban Farming for “outstanding commitment to enhance your community” (June 08)
  • coordinated monthly (or twice-monthly) free organic vegetable gardening classes, to increase community reskilling in growing food (June 2008-late 2014)
  • ECM was the initiating group that brought the ideas of the international Transition Movement to many parts of Los Angeles and Southern California (Sept 2008)  Held a public series exploring “Life After Oil” focusing on What We Can Do about peak oil and global warming. This included a day-long seminar which drew participants from as far away as Paso Robles, Santa Barbara, and Laguna Beach (Sep 2008)
  • designed and coordinated the installation of a Rainwater Harvesting demonstration garden on HNP grounds (Oct 2008).
  • ECM formally voiced concerns regarding the issues of peak oil, global warming, and biocapacity in the comments period of several major Environmental Impact Reports in the area (LAX expansion, LMU Master Plan) (several times since 2008)
  • book “Environmental Change-Making” published (Dec 2008) about the Environmental Change-Makers group, telling how we got all this stuff done!
  • ECM & Holy Nativity Church won an Energy Oscar in the Education category, awarded by California Interfaith Power and Light (Dec 2008)
  • Hosted Southern California’s first official Transition Training (Dec 2008)

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  • Hosted workshops in the style of Joanna Macy (Mar 2009), sites for the Pachamama Alliance, and other speakers on the “inner” aspects of these Transition times.
  • Harvest Westchester project made the Channel 4 NewsNBC Los Angeles, March 2009
  • hosted celebrity speaker Owen Dell, author of Sustainable Landscaping for Dummies (Apr 09)
  • Peter Rood and his unique view of community were the subject of a national article “Entry Points “ in the Christian Century, May 2009
  • added a Medicinal/Culinary Herb Garden and a Citrus Garden to the Community Garden (spring 09). added tabletop raised beds so that elderly and limited-mobility gardeners could join in the fun (summer 09).
  • Transition Los Angeles, the organization that grew out of the Environmental Change-Makers, is prominently featured in a national article. ”Life After Oil “Whole Life Times , April 2009
  • ECM members founded the Emerson Avenue Community Garden on unused land at Orville Wright Middle School (LAUSD) in late summer 2009.  This garden merges school garden with traditional plot-style community garden and community pocket park.  The Emerson Avenue Community Garden now continues as its own 501(c)(3) nonprofit entity.
  • ECM members created Harvest Westchester, a local fruit harvesting program which enabled food sharing (began spring 09; program transferred to Food Forward nonprofit organization circa 2012)
  • hosted local action sites as part of the national/international “350.org” global warming campaigns (Apr ’07, ’08, Dec 09, 10/10/10, Sep ’11)
  • coordinated group orders of bareroot fruit trees that brought 111 new fruit trees to our local foodshed (21 in 2008-09, 27 in 2009-10, 36 in 2010-11, 20 in 2011-12, and 7 in 2014-15)

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  • founded the Ballona LETSystem, a local bartering network which operated in Westchester for approximately 2 years
  • “Alt-Econ” Joanne Poyourow spoke  on Southern California’s leading National Public Radio affiliate about Transition Los Angeles, the Environmental Change-Makers, and ECM’s new LETSystem, KCRW, March 2010
  • ECM’s Joanne Poyourow was interviewed alongside TreePeople founder Andy Lipkis for KCRW’s Earth Day show “Greening LA: A Status Report on the 40th Anniversary of Earth Day” on “Which Way LA,” KCRW, April 2010
  • organized the Cluck Trek, a tour of local chicken hutches.  It made the Los Angeles Times, and drew more than 150 participants (Sep 2010)
  • hosted local action sites as part of the national/international “350.org” global warming campaigns (Apr ’07, ’08, Dec 09, 10/10/10, Sep ’11)

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  • groundbreaking for the one-acre Emerson Avenue Community Garden (Jan 2011).  This garden merges school garden with traditional plot-style community garden and community pocket park.  Community workdays to construct the garden continued throughout the next year-and-a-half.
  • hosted celebrity speaker economist Stoneleigh (Jun 11)
  • hosted local action sites as part of the national/international “350.org” global warming campaigns (Apr ’07, ’08, Dec 09, 10/10/10, Sep ’11)

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  • ECM helped found the Transition Los Angeles city hub, nurturing similar groups in many other neighborhoods. By Aug 2012 there were 8 local Transition groups active in the Greater LA area.
  • worked with the Emerson Avenue Community Garden Club to create an award-winning float in the Westchester July 4 Parade
  • partnered with Loyola Marymount University to bring Vandana Shiva to Los Angeles, to an audience of 400
  • In partnership with Seed Library of Los Angeles, initiated a motion before Los Angeles City Council to declare the City of Los Angeles to be a “GMO-Free Zone” where genetically altered seeds and plants could not be grown.
  • ECM began working with sustainability classes at Otis College of Art & Design
  • hosted a hands-on pickling workshop with fermentation celebrity Sandor Elix Katz, to a lively audience of more than 55 people (Sept 2012)
  • second edition of publication “The Secrets of Soil Building” released (Nov 2012)

2013
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  • Built the cob seating area and outdoor classroom at the Emerson Avenue Community Garden (Feb 2013)
  • publication “The Quest for Higher Yields” released (Apr 2013)
  • Created a Launch Party for the “GMO-Free Zone” (Aug 2013), and moved the Motion forward through L.A. City Council subcommittees
  • publication “Your Community Garden” released (Sep 2013)
  • publication “10 Practical Tools for a Resilient Economy” released (Sep 2013)
  • helped host Vandana Shiva in Watts, to an audience of ~200 (Sep 2013)
  • brought international Transition Movement founder Rob Hopkins to Los Angeles for four events over three days, to combined audiences of ~400 (Oct 2013)
  • began working with sustainability classes at Otis College of Art & Design
  • JP & JT held together ECM ongoing operations through co-founder PR’s serious health crisis

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  • publication “Food From a Flowerpot” released (Apr 2014)
  • held ECM’s first-ever major fundraiser, the Summer Solstice Local Foods Gala (Jun 2014)
  • JP co-taught “Human Ecology”, one of the required classes in the Sustainability Minor at Otis College of Art & Design (spring semester 2014 & autumn semester 2014)
  • Got L.A. City Council to approve the Motion to create a “GMO-Free Zone” Accumulated letters of support from more than 100 local businesses and organizations, and collected more than 5,000 signatures from members of the public.  Councilman Paul Koretz wrote “I can’t think of an issue that has amassed as much support since the plastic bag ban days.”  Co-authored the draft Legislation, and pushed it through City Council subcommittees.  However in Dec 2014, attorneys and lobbyists hired by the Biotech Industry dramatically shut the legislation down.

2015

  • In partnership with Los Angeles Bread Bakers, building the Westchester Community Oven in the Community Garden at Holy Nativity
  • JP teaching a 10-session class “The Art of the Edible Landscape” at Otis College of Art & Design Continuing Education (spring semester 2015)
  • hosted social visionary Charles Eisenstein (Mar 2015)