TCA Women’s Resilience Retreat

Womens_RetreatCome walk together as we rejuvenate, strengthen our resilience, and fire up our creativity in these changing times. We’ll provide time for laughter, contemplation, and opportunities to learn more about living lightly on the earth. Enjoy a fire circle, drumming, story-telling, conscious breathing, and more!

Transition Charlottesville Albemarle’s Women’s Resilience Retreat
Friday evening, Sept. 19 through Saturday evening, Sept. 20
@ EcoVillage Charlottesville, 480 E. Rio Road.

Rejuvenation * Skill Share * Meditation * Empowerment * New Friends

Sign up or find more information on Facebook or contact Joanie Freeman at 434-987-1026 or

$45 for campers/$60 for inside accommodations

Please join us

Climate Reality Check Coalition

I was sitting on a Climate Reality Check Coalition conference call. They do a monthly conference call to keep climate change activists updated on what is going on around the country. The guest speakers today were Tim Christopher from Bidder70 the movie and Becky Bond from Credo.

Tim gave a 4 year history of the climate change movement from 2009 when the focus went from appeasement to confrontation. Dave Redding and I were supporters of one such event when we did “The Walk for the Grandchildren”. He talked about the shift going to “Climate Justice” from just emissions reductions. Which has moved away from our power people as allies to being inclusive of disfranchised populations that don’t have the voice, and yet are now speaking up. He said the civil disobedience is a educational tool because it spotlights what people are willing to do for the changes needed. Tim also added that the civil disobedience started with the “photo op” arrests then moved to people truly putting themselves on the line and having felony charges and court hearings. These people out front need our support both morally and financially to pay for their defense just like he needed several years ago. Many people shrug off the facts and figures that we throw at them but will relate to personal stories. Natural inclination to understand why people are taking risks.

Becky Bond said there are 75,000 people around the country who have signed onto a pledge of resistance. Activating this pledge would be a last resort event to get President Obama to turn down the Keystone XL pipeline. She further shared:

The 5 top priorities of Credo.

  • Start out asking for what we want (not what you are willing to compromise) and then fight for it.
  • Attack villains, don’t try to align with or partner with them. Let’s not let energy companies help us write climate legislation.
  • Don’t give our friends a pass – hold them accountable even when its uncomfortable.
  • We need to get bigger – ask people to do bigger things
  • We need to step back often and ask what it means to go all in to win and then go all in.

Becky explained that the Climate Bill out of the House in 2009 was so watered down. Credo feels that we can’t accept half way. Back in 2009 there were 500,00 people involved, now 3.3 million. With the 75,000 people signing a civil disobedience pledge she emphasized that the climate concern is being acknowledged as the greatest crisis facing humanity and it is urgent.

She emphasized the need to be real and honest about what is coming, due to the climate problems we are now facing. President Obama has the Executive Action to stop the pipeline and address the carbon in our atmosphere and what else is being poured into our atmosphere.

Tim finished off saying, this is a “Climate Justice” movement, it is about making a “Generally healthy and just world”. (for everyone) 

Report: As coal declines, efficiency on the rise

Efficiency appears to be the only way for us to win the battle of keeping our planet from getting too hot! We do not appear to be able to convince our local power companies to develop clean energy, even though the costs are about the same as the costs of using coal.

More information can be found here:


Transition Cville VISION 2013 – Part 1

Thanks to everyone who shared their visions at our January Transition Town meeting! We collected 10 huge pages full of ideas on Energy, Economy, Transportation, Housing, Food, Water, Reduce/Reuse/Recycle, Family, Health, and Community. Our small group conversations led to some immediate project initiatives and lots more possibilities for the future.

What’s the next step? Look for it in your inbox next week.

The next step is to build a detailed strategic plan for 2013-2014 and identify folks who are ready to step up and help turn these ideas into reality. On or around Feb. 13, we’ll send an online survey to the local Transition community: which parts of this vision should become our top priorities, and what are YOU willing & able to work on this year? …or, what are you already working on that we can support and amplify? We’ll follow up on the survey results at our next monthly Transition Town meeting on February 25.

Don’t wait for the survey, or the February  meeting, if you want to get involved right away! Leave a comment below, or you can reach me at annmarie.hohenberger (at) gmail (dot) com or (434) 981-2004. I would love to hear about your project idea or put you in touch with a group that needs you.

Folks around town are already working on our vision. Thanks y’all!

Another piece of this vision process is to connect our efforts with work that’s already being done locally. The Transition Cville “Initiating Group” (our steering committee – currently me, Joanie, Dave, Stevo, Lorrie, Glenn, and Dana) will examine our community inventory of allies and brainstorm ways to support instead of duplicating.

Two of our most important potential allies – sometimes overlooked – are City and County government. They’re working hard to create a new Comprehensive Plan, and many items match beautifully with what Transitioners want to see in our community. Public involvement in the Comprehensive Plan process has been low (although Joanie and Dave have faithfully attended many meetings). In the coming months, let’s resolve as a Transition community to support and encourage our elected officials and public staff who are working toward sustainability.

Inspiration from the VISION meeting

At the end of our January 28 meeting, each person shared one thing they would take away from the Vision activity:

  • Explore reuseable technology that can facilitate tool libraries, time shares
  • Look at making a Cville mutual fund to aggregate financial resources for micro enterprises.
  • How can Transition Cville host an internship for youth?
  • Meet with local food hub to see how can work with them.
  • Contact Meredith Richards to “fan the flame” for warehousing capacity.
  • Look at steps for creating an energy cooperative.
  • Cheerleader for Better Business Challenge; encourage businesses to compost and have reuseable to go containers.
  • Tool Library, starting with Transition group.
  • be “Mr. Recycle”
  • Look at first steps for starting a local energy grid or wind farm.
  • Think about community being self contained and self sufficient.
  • Already working on generating cooperative businesses; going to Cleveland, Ohio to visit Evergreen’s energy cooperative, with a focus on low income.
  • Focus on Dominion Power and generate grassroots movement working with other groups to work together.
  • Not be miserable about the now! Also, buy more in bulk.
  • Women’s clothes swap. Writing letters for energy reform.
  • Raise awareness about Dominion Power and lack of renewables.
  • Convince a financial group to create a mutual fund for local investment. Involve young people in Transition – put together a curriculum package to offer to HS students.
  • Don’t need a refrigerator.
  • Take back your power (in all ways).
  • Integrate alternative healing modalities to bring together health, community and family – create a wellness bus or traveling herb kitchen.

And here’s a video from Transitioner Bob Fenwick that captures the spirit of the meeting and shows what we did.

Teen convinces Gatorade to remove additive

Look at what a teenager can do to make a change. Hmmm! What can we do when we work together?

When Sarah Kavanagh looked up the unfamiliar Gatorade ingredient “brominated vegetable oil,” she was shocked at its potential side effects. After a campaign by the teen, Pepsi has announced it will be removing BVO from its products. Sarah and Dr. Mehmet Oz talk about her successful fight.

Americans Die Younger Than Peers

A study by the federally sponsored National Research Council and Institute of Medicine found the U.S. near the bottom of 17 affluent countries for life expectancy, with high rates of obesity and diabetes, heart disease, chronic lung disease and arthritis, as well as infant mortality, injuries, homicides, teen pregnancy, drug deaths and sexually transmitted diseases.


Oil Sands Industry in Canada Tied to Higher Carcinogen Level

article By IAN AUSTEN in the New York Times  1/8/2013

Alberta’s oil sands industry has raised the levels of cancer-causing compounds in surrounding lakes well beyond natural levels, researchers reported.

Neighborhood ties may boost longevity

This article points out the need for neighborhood ties, community. It points out the need for elders to have close connections to their neighbors. I say we all need it no matter what age. Read the article and think about how that may add thoughts to our next community meeting on “visioning”.

Help keep our community water resources safe. Stop chloramine.

In March of 2014, the Rivanna Water and Sewer Authority plans to switch from chlorine to CHLORAMINE as a disinfectant in our water supply. Chloramine is a small molecule formed by the combination of chlorine and ammonia.  The water authority says it is being compelled by tougher EPA regulations, and that the chloramine switch would be the most economical. It doesn’t dissipate into the air like chlorine and stays in the distribution system longer.  The RWSA also claims that chloramine forms fewer regulated disinfection by products than chlorine.  However, there is much to be concerned about with chloramine, as it has negative health and environmental consequences.

Water is our most precious resource and the linchpin for our health, food production and economic well-being.  Without a clean, safe source of water, all of our efforts for relocalizing our food and economy – and making a resilient future for ourselves – are seriously undermined or rendered moot.

Below are a few of the problems encountered in water systems with chloramine. To help stop chloramine, read “What Can You Do?” at the bottom of this page.

-Filtration- Chlorine is relatively easy to remove from your tap water. Chlorine dissipates or out gases from water rather quickly on its own.  It can also be removed by common household water filters, like the Pur faucet attachments and Brita pitchers.  However, chloramine is very difficult to get out of the water.  Regular water filters will not remove it. Neither will more complex water distillation or reverse osmosis systems or even boiling the water.  The only reasonable way to remove chloramine is by passing the water over an activated charcoal bed system, and it takes a long time to effectively expose all of the chloramine-contaminated water over a large charcoal bed.  These systems can cost the water customer thousands of dollars. This is an expensive burden to place on the water customer.

-Short Term Health Effects- Hundreds of people across the country are reporting respiratory, dermal and digestive ailments when drinking or showering in chloraminated water.  Chloraminated water used to make baby formula can cause Blue Baby Syndrome. (monochloramine speciates into di and tri chloramine. Tri chloramine is a known respiratory irritant known to cause ‘swimmers asthma’ in lifeguards and routine swimmers. The same effect is being seen when chloraminated water is vaporized in showers.

-Long Term Health Effects- While both chlorine and chloramines are capable of forming disinfection by-products, chloramines also form additional disinfection by products that are up to 100,000 times more toxic.  Some of these highly toxic or carcinogenic  byproducts include hydrazine (component of rocket fuel), iodoacetic acids and nitrosamines. Several recent studies demonstrated a connection between the transformation of pharmaceuticals and common household products like shampoo and dish soaps and the formation of nitrosamines during chloramine disinfection. Nitrosamines are very potent carcinogens. This provides a possible link between the presence of trace levels of certain drugs and household products in drinking water sources and potential adverse health effects

In older homes, the chloramine leaches much more lead and copper out of pipes and soldering, and exposes the consumer to much higher lead levels.  If there is fluoride in the water also, the two chemicals act together synergistically to leach more lead than either chemical alone.  The blood lead levels in children living in Washington DC increased dramatically after the city switched to chloramine as a water disinfectant.

-Damage to plumbing infrastructure- Chloramine corrodes gaskets, valves, elastomer fittings and rubber plumbing parts like toilet flappers and rubber casings.  Chloramine can cause pinhole pitting in copper pipes. Leaks from the pinholes can cause mold to grow. Insurance companies do not cover damage from mold.   Appliances that come in contact with hot water (hot water heater, dishwasher, washing machine) will have shortened life spans.  This doesn’t just affect the homeowner, but every business that depends on hot water to conduct business, like restaurants and laundries.

-Environmental Damage- Water containing tiny concentrations of chloramine is deadly to aquatic life (fish, frogs, and invertebrates). The same is true of chlorine. However, there is a huge difference. Chlorine dissipates very quickly and chloramine takes weeks to dissipate. So if a water main breaks and leaks chloraminated water into natural waterways, chloramine keeps killing aquatic life, whereas chlorine, which can also kill fish and invertebrates, dissipates very quickly so the devastation is quite small in comparison.  Even a minor spill into a local waterway can result in a serious fish kill.  The stream, Pimmit Run goes through McLean, Va.  According to an article in the 4/2/08 edition of the Fairfax County Times, a water main broke, leaking “hundreds” of gallons of chloraminated water into Pimmit Run, and killing “at least 90 percent of the fish”, according to Ed Pickens of Fairfax Trails and Streams. This happened over several miles of the stream, the article stated.


1) Call or email your representatives on Charlottesville City Council or Albemarle Board of Supervisors.

2) Write a letter to the editor for the local newspaper.

3) Get the facts on chloramine:

4) Sign the online petition urging RWSA not to put chloramine in our  water supply: