Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Darren Butler to offer eco workshops Jan. 17 and 18

A New Year's Weekend With Darren Butler
Saturday (9:00 AM - 9:30 PM) and Sunday (9:00 AM - 6:30 PM), Jan 17-18, 2009
Culver City

FREE evening activities may be available, including the launch of a new activist group, The 7th Congress of Southern California (see below).
See below for full announcement. Enrollment, payment, and refund policy appears below course announcement.
Attendance at this event is limited to approximately 40 and may fill up rapidly. Please enroll early to avoid disappointment.
To contact Darren Butler:
(818) 271-0963

To sign up, mail payment to:
Darren Butler
PO Box 589
Topanga CA 90290-0589

After Jan 9, 2009, please inquire to confirm that enrollment is still available prior to sending payment.

A 2009 New Year's Weekend With Darren Butler

How do solar cookers and other direct-gain solar devices actually work? Who was the ancient Greek Goddess Peitho and how can ancient Greek approaches to speaking make us more persuasive as moderns? Is is it possible to make 20 friends one-at-a-time in 45 minutes? And what are the best practices for pruning, grafting, and winter/spring gardening in Southern California?

Join Darren Butler in celebration of the new year with an intensive weekend of education; fun; community; hope; new and ancient ideas and perspectives; and new and old (and maybe a few ancient) friends. Enrollment cost is discounted for anyone who has hosted or attended a paid workshop or course with Darren Butler since Jan, 2007 (see below).

Daytime workshops will be held at an office in Culver City, with the evening party on Sat, Jan 17 and the launch of a new activist group, The 7th Congress of Southern California, on Sun, Jan 18, to be held at the Culver City home of Traci Reitz, Community Sustainability Liaison for the City of Santa Monica.

Volunteers needed:
One or more volunteers are needed to help prepare for and coordinate the event, and help with logistics during the weekend. Volunteers receive free attendance. Contact Darren Butler if interested in volunteering (see email/phone number above).

Schedule Summary (note that a half-hour break is provided between sessions):

SAT, JAN 17:

9:00 AM Arrival recommended

9:15 Welcome and announcements

9:30 - 11:00 Direct-Gain Solar Energy and How to Make a Solar Water Still

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM The Enneagram as Permaculture for Personality Analysis

1:00 - 2:00 Lunch

2:00 - 3:30 Pruning and Grafting

4:00 - 5:00 Winter/Spring Gardening and Edible Landscaping in So Calif

5:00 - 6:00 Walk (ten minutes) or carpool to Reitz residence, specify dinner orders

6:00 - 6:15 Beyond Trends in Sustainability

6:15 - 6:30 Upcoming Courses

6:30 - 7:15 Speed Acquaintanceship

7:15 - 8:15 Potluck Dinner and Party

8:15 - 9:30 Rediscovering Fun: Games for Grownups

SUN, JAN 18:

9:00 AM Arrival recommended

9:15 Welcome and announcements

9:30 - 11:00 Small-Space Food Gardening

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM Kairos, Logos, Ethos, Peithos: Ancient Greek Rhetorical Approaches for Modern Persuasion and Activism

1:00 - 2:00 Lunch

2:00 - 3:30 Introduction to Greywater Use and System Design

3:30 - 4:00 Walk (ten minutes) or carpool to Reitz residence

4:00 - 4:15 Upcoming Courses

4:15 - 4:30 Introducing The 7th Congress of Southern California

4:30 - 5:00 7th Congress discussion, brainstorming, ideas, possibilities

5:00 - 6:30 7th Congress Inaugural Session: Imagining the FutureEnrollment

$80 for Saturday only, $55 for Sunday only, $120 for both

For people who have taken a paid workshop or course from Darren Butler since Jan, 2007:
$70 for Saturday only, $45 for Sunday only, $95 for both

Enrollment fee covers snackfood but no meals (see below).

If space permits, there will be free attendance for the evening activities. Free attendance to the Saturday evening party will be offered first to spouses, family members, and significant others of attendees, and to the Sunday evening launch of 7th Congress to those who are interested in being a part of the group.

Paid enrollment is required to ensure attendance to evening events, and availability of free attendance may be uncertain until the week prior to the event. Contact Darren Butler if interested in free attendance to either evening activity.

Food and Meals:
Attendees are on their own for breakfasts prior to arrival, and for lunches on both days (lunchtime is an hour each day). Bring sack lunches that don't require refridgeration or that will keep for four hours during the morning, or plan to go out to eat locally, or if living nearby, return home. Snackfood is included in the cost of enrollment and will be provided both days. Attendees are welcome to bring potluck snacks to share. Menus for delivery or group pickup from local restaurants will be on hand for Saturday's dinner, including for at least one nearby vegan restaurant. Cost of Saturday's dinner is not included in the enrollment fee and will be paid directly by attendees to restaurants.

Lecture and Event Descriptions:
Note: Each lecture introduces the basics of a topic that will be offered as a longer course during 2009.

SAT, JAN 17:

9:30 - 11:00 AM Direct-Gain Solar Energy and How to Make a Solar Water Still:
Covers the basics of direct-gain solar energy devices such as solar cookers and solar food dehydrators. Where would your drinking water come from in a local disaster such as an earthquake or severe weather event? Will cover simple methods for building a solar water still to produce pure, distilled, drinkable water from plant materials, polluted water, and waste liquids.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM The Enneagram as Permaculture for Personality Analysis:
The Enneagram is a system for understanding human personality. Because it provides predictability, treats healthy as well as unhealthy behavior, and considers personality traits not to be necessarily good or bad but rather in or out of balance, overexpressed or underexpressed as a response to deep fears, I consider it to be the permaculture for personality analysis. Lecture will cover the nine personality types based upon the nine core personality fears, how some of these personalities tend to act when healthy and unhealthy, and what needs to be done for example personalities to find wholeness and balance.

2:00 - 3:30 PM Pruning and Grafting:
Will cover basics of pruning and grafting, with an emphasis on fruit trees and pruning young trees for structure, form, and to maximize yields.

4:00 - 5:00 PM Winter/Spring Gardening and Edible Landscaping in So Calif:
Will begin with a short review of best practices for gardening during winter and spring in Southern California, and then will open for audience questions related to these topics. Bring your concerns, confusion, and plant/tree problems for discussion.

6:00 - 6:15 PM Beyond Trends in Sustainability:
Is it possible that even if millions or billions of people around the world do everything "right" by the environment according to current sustainability trends that we might still lose our biosphere? What is realistically needed to save what remains of the natural systems that support human civilization and Earth's biosphere? How can such massive changes possibly occur?

6:30 - 7:15 PM Speed Acquaintanceship:
Two groups of twenty (or half event attendance). One minute per person (two minutes per pair) to expose your hopes, dreams, fears, greatest accomplishments, character quirks, or at least to share your profession, shoe size, favorite food, or whatever you choose to tell about yourself. Two minutes per pair for twenty pairs rotates through completely in 40 minutes. Can such a logistical marvel actually be accomplished? Will the one minute you present about yourself evolve or get more wild with each new presentation? Will it change depending upon whom you're paired with? Can a two-minute speed-acquaintanceship deepen into a lifetime friendship? You may learn as much about yourself as you do about other people in the Speed Acquaintanceship event. This is an experimental prototype event based upon speed dating, and is intended to break up the cliques that normally develop at parties based upon who already knows whom, which of my classes people have attended, or whatever other criterion prevails at the moment.

8:15 - 9:30 PM Rediscovering Fun: Games for Grownups:
When was the last time you actually PLAYED with a group of grownups? Some of us still play with other grownups, such as through church or community sports teams, but even in those cases the fun is usually secondary to seeking exercise or accomplishment, and for most of us, such play is long lost under the weight of work, schooling, childraising (my grandma used to tell me that you rear children and you raise cattle, but I believe now we do generally raise children in the US), stress, projects, paying bills, activism, and preparing for the end of civilization. To be human is to need play. To be willing to play with others is to trust, and to trust is to have community. I will endeavor to provide the safe space, the alcohol availability during dinner, and the ideas and rules for games to encourage (drum roll, please) lighthearted grownup play. The rest is up to you.

SUN, JAN 18:

9:30 - 11:00 AM Small-Space Food Gardening:
Learn basics of growing veggies, herbs, berries, and fruit in small urban spaces, along stairways, on windowsills, balconies, and patios, in pots or other containers, or in vertical spaces. Will begin with lecture on best practices for small-space food gardening and then open for audience questions and discussion.

11:30 AM - 1:00 PM Kairos, Logos, Ethos, Peithos:
Ancient Greek Rhetorical Approaches for Modern Persuasion and Activism: The two main methods humans have for resolving conflicts are speaking and violence. The ancient Greeks attempted to perfect methods for speaking so that they wouldn't have to kill each other. In the modern world, the skills of persuasion, meaning speaking so that violence and killing won't be necessary, are largely lost, and we constantly resort to violence and killing to obtain what we believe we need or to resolve conflicts. As moderns, in my opinion we understand logos best, and still have a sense for ethos, but generally do not understand kairos, at least as it pertains to communication and conflict resolution, and as with so many of the ancient divinities and what they represent, we have almost entirely abandoned the goddess Peitho, and I believe we pay a high price in human blood for having done so. This lecture will introduce basics of ancient Greek rhetoric for modern persuasion, and is taught with gratitude for and acknowledgement to my father, Professor Emeritus Terrell M. Butler, who introduced me to ancient Greek rhetoric many years ago, whose ideas will inform the lecture, and whose love of rhetoric sparked my interest in learning more about it.

2:00 - 3:30 PM Introduction to Greywater Use and System Design:
With water rationing likely in Los Angeles and other Southern California cities during 2009, greywater use is increasingly important and popular. Intelligent systems remain illegal throughout California (although state laws are apparently not being enforced), but are nevertheless increasingly common. Lecture will include a discussion of greywater basics, possibilities, and options, with time for audience questions.

4:15 - 4:30 Introducing The 7th Congress of Southern California:
The name "7th Congress" is taken from the famous saying in the Great Law of the Iriquois: "In every deliberation we must consider the impact on the seventh generation, even if it requires having skin as thick as the bark of a pine." 7th Congress is a community group begun in order to deliberate, solve problems, "pass" resolutions or recommendations, build a body of knowledge, network and link to existing resources, share ideas and best practices, and develop approaches for all aspects of life during transition to global sustainability, during probable energy descent and possible "collapse," defined here as steady or abrupt simplification of human social systems and culture locally or globally.

I foresee the 7th Congress of Southern California as an activist group based in educational activities, thinking/feeling/intuiting to solve problems, networking, and resource-gathering. It might study and make recommendations for how to challenge and change California greywater laws, produce plans for building composting toilets or solar ovens out of simple materials, or begin a nationwide campaign to boycott ALL products sold in noncompostable external packaging beginning, say, Jan 1, 2012 (to give manufacturers three years to redesign), or produce advice and "pass" resolutions on any number of other topics. It would pursue direct activism for carefully selected projects but more generally stay current on what is being done in key areas, sort ideas and information, track resources, and provide advice to policymakers; municipal, community, nonprofit, profit, and other groups; as well as individuals.

5:00 - 6:30 7th Congress Inaugural Session: Imagining the Future:
How do we see the near future (ten to thirty years) and the far future (thirty to thousands of years)? What are some of the most frightening and hopeful possibilities? How are we as individuals making choices today, in the now, based upon how we perceive the future? Are these choices resulting in surprises, positive results, increased or decreased fear? Has the future we imagined for ourselves when we were younger actually materialized? How have our lives changed over the past few years based in how we perceive the future? What are the opportunities for us as individuals and as a possible new activist group within the current economic crisis? Bring your visions, ideas, hopes, and fears about the future for open discussion.

Darren Butler is a Consulting Arborist, Ecological Designer, and Sustainable Landscaping Specialist. His recent projects include designing food forests in residential landscapes, which are forest-like systems that produce food with minimal maintenance once established, and developing ecoliteracy and permaculture courses for children. He has appeared on several episodes of "Weekend Gardening" for a large international television audience as an expert horticulturist and landscaper, on NPR radio, in newspapers, and other media. He has taught Sustainable Landscape Design and Diagnosing Plant Problems for the University of California Master Gardener Program in Los Angeles since 2006, Small-Space Food Gardening and Drought-Tolerant Landscaping at Descanso Botanic Gardens, and worked with the Getty Villa to develop a gardening-related workshop. He holds many landscape- and plant-related certifications and licenses.

In 2007 and 2008 he developed curriculum for and taught certification programs in Sustainable Biointensive Gardening and in Edible Landscaping. He currently serves on the statewide Steering Committee for all University of California Master Gardener programs, and is a frequent speaker throughout California, including the recent 2008 University of California Master Gardener Conference. He works as a consultant and designer for a broad variety of clients from celebrities to nonprofit organizations, volunteers hundreds of hours per year mostly to help low-income people grow and eat more nutritious food, and has recently acted as horticultural consultant for the Edible Walls project through for the homeless in downtown Los Angeles.

He has been gardening since childhood, and developing expertise in Southern California gardening since 1996.

Enrollment, payment, and refund policy:
For this weekend event, full enrollment fee must be paid to reserve enrollment. Full refunds less $20 will be available until seven days before the event. No refunds thereafter except for cancellation by the instructor. Substitute attendance for late cancellations is welcome. If details change after enrollment has been paid, full refund is available until three days before the first class if cancellation is based upon the change(s).

Payment is by check, cash, or money order and should be sent to Darren Butler, PO Box 589, Topanga, CA 90290. Contact me if you prefer to pay with a credit card via the internet.

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