Natural and Affordable Habitation, a film/discussion series that explores:
- How can we use building technogies to make our homes ecologically and economically responsible?
- What are the alternatives to conventional construction?
- Who are the people who choose different dwellings?
- What is it like to live in these places?
- How have people overcome the barriers to change?
September 30, 2016 – Garbage Warrior tells the story of how Mike Reynolds' earth ship community came to be: the vision, philosophy, and architecture, highlighting the mulitple political challenges they endured along the way toward fulfillment of their dream.
October 7, 2016 – First Earth boldly sweeps through history and geography around the world to explore the rich varety of cob and earthen home dwellings, in a presentation supported by several environmental and social commentators.
October 14, 2016 – Sampler of Alternative Homes shows us a variety of homes and the creative people who built them using solar design and environmentally low impact materials, including abobe, straw bale, earth sheltering, papercrete, earthbags, hybrid and recycled containers.
October 21, 2016 – The Ghastly Tragedy of the Suburbs finds James Howard Kunstler at his most entertaining and caustic, describing what he calls “the greatest misallocation of resources in human history”. Follow that up with How We Live, a report by MacNeil/Lehrer about how Burlington, Vermont turned to cohousing as a solution to spiraling costs of housing.
November 4, 2016 – Living Large shows the extremes of the McMansion trend, while Passive House Revolution pushes the envelope (literally) to minimize energy footprint with super-insulation.
November 11, 2016 – We The Tiny House People takes us through some of the most compact home spaces, the enthusiasm of the people who choose to live within them, and the rapidly expanding cultural movement surrounding them.
November 18, 2016 – Youth involvement... First, 88 Days from Ground to Green is the story of how Greensburg, Kansas rebuilt their school (and the whole city) using ecological construction after a devastating tornado. Then, see in Solar Decathlon how students from around the world competed to construct their solar house designs on-site on the Washington Mall.
December 2, 2016 – Blueprint for the Future captures the vision of renowned arhictect Paolo Soleri for cities with nature-based design principles to enhance human life while minimizing ecological impacts, and a prototype called Arcosanti built in the Arizona desert.
Hungry for Change: Food, Ethics, and Sustainability
Wednesday evenings: March 23, April 13, April 27, May 11, May 25, and June 8, 2016
There is a $60 fee to cover course costs; pre-registration required.
In this six-session course we will explore the interconnected nature of food systems and our relationship to them; examine the impact our food choices have on our health, the health of others, and the health of the planet; and consider the ethical and polical implications of our current food system and our personal food choices. Each session is based on a set of readings from the Northwest Earth Institute course book with discussion led by local facilitators. This course is offered in partnership with the Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice, Chelsea Community Kitchen, and Transition Town Chelsea.
Wednesday, March 23, 2016: The First Bite The global food web has become increasingly complicated with the industrialization and globalization of our world. Session one explores the interconnectedness of food and our relationship to it, and previews the topics that will be explored in the rest of the course. Facilitated by Richard Andres, Tantre Farm.
Wednesday, April 13, 2016: Politics of the Plate Session two focuses on the global gelpolitics of food systems, including hunger, subsidies and externalized costs. What are the connections and what can we do to bring about more equity?
Wednesday, April 27, 2016: A Healthy Appetite This health-focused session examines how our current food system affects the health of our selves and our loved ones. Topics covered include GMOs, lifestyle diseases, soy, organics and pesticides. Facilitated by Diana Dyer and Yael Dolev.
Wednesday, May 11, 2016: Just Food Our eating choices often have hidden ethical implications. Session four explores the ethical and justice considerations of what we eat and how it's produced, including factory farming and humane meat, fair trade vs. free trade and human rights violations in Florida's tomato farms. Facilitated by Jane Pacheco and Stephanie Willette.
Wednesday, May 25, 2016: Eating for Earth Session five discusses how climate change affects food supply and how our current food production system contributes to climate change and environmental degradation. Facilitated by Patrick Zieske and Jan Wright.
Wednesday, June 8, 2016: Hungry for Change This solutions-focused session looks at some exciting things others are doing and what we can do to affect change.
Participants will be guided to deepen their relationship with the natural world through spending some solitary time in nature, creating a mask to help them adopt the persona of another being, and using their imagination to foster compassion for all of our fellow beings with whom we share the biosphere. In doing so, we will open ourselves to resources of courage, endurance and creativity which are available to us in the web of life. We will play together, giving ourselves over to the moral imagination of the child within to become more conscious of the commonality of our fate as life on this planet. We will build trust among us and a deeper sense of community in preparation for taking action in defense of Earth and future generations.
Claire Maitre will facilitate this workshop. Since 2001, she has received training with Joanna Macy in the Work That Reconnects, the name given to the body of experiential workshops pioneered by Dr. Macy and friends that serve to reconnect us with the web of life and with each other so that we might better serve the healing of our world.
Fairy Doors: Create and Connect
10:00 a.m. Saturday, March 26, 2016
Suggested $5 donation for individuals, $15 for families
Do you believe in fairies? Do you have a desire to connect with nature? Then join artists, families, and nature lovers alike for a fun filled day of creating and connecting.
Join us for light breakfast and an orientation at Michigan Friends Center followed by a nature walk where we will collect items and select a tree to install our finished fairy doors. Then we will come back to construct our unique fairy doors and enjoy a few fairy tales. Once completed, we will spend time installing and admiring the fairy doors.
The Michigan Friends Center will lead a facilitated discussion of the book Animal, Vegetable, Miracle by Barbara Kingsolver on the subject of food, health, and the environment. You can pick up your copy of the book approximately a month in advance at the library. In her book, Kingsolver tells the story of her family's move across the country to a new life of more sustainable healthy food -- by establishing their own farm and by obtaining all their other food from local sources. Along the way, her story informs us about the merits of local food, concerns about the conventional industrial food system, and impact on our environment and our health through the choices we make. Participants in the book read will also be invited to continue with a longer course offered in six sessions during the spring called 'Hungry for Change' for a deeper examination of related food issues.
This program will take place at and is co-sponsored by the Chelsea District Library, at 221 S. Main Street in Chelsea.
In her book Why Civil Resistance Works, Erica Chenoweth argues that nonviolent campaigns for political change are more successful than violent ones. A video of a talk by the author will be shown and a discussion of her research results will follow.
Ecstatic dance is an opportunity for open expression and exploration in a nonjudgmental environment. Come and dance (or lie on the floor and listen) to a range of music compiled by Matt Demmon. All ages welcome! Please bring a dish to pass for potluck afterward. Feel free to contact Heather McRae-Woolf with any questions.
Suggested donation: $10/individual, $15/family.
Thomas Princen will discuss the trials and tribulations of teaching transition at a time when there is no single body of literature and certainly no consensus on what "the transition" is or will be. He will draw on his research on "ending the fossil fuel era," localization, and sufficiency to elaborate key concepts. He will describe how students and others use such ideas to guide their work, both academic and applied.
This will be followed by a drumming circle with Tree of Life drummers.
Talk and concurrent children's program begin at 2:00; the drumming circle is at 3:30.
Search for Meaning and Happiness in Our World
a film series co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea
Fridays from April 24 through June 12, 2015
7-9 pm film in Michigan Friends Center building
All films are FREE [donations welcomed]
Come out to our Spring 2015 film series! Moving through a world in transition, we take this opportunity to step back (or step deeper inside) to examine one of the fundamentals of human existence. We hope this eclectic set of films will spark fruitful group discussions. Where does happiness come from and where are we going with it?
April 24 – We are showing a very special surprise film about the interplay between global economic forces
versus localism and human-scale happiness. Do not miss this one
May 1 – Happy combines real life stories of people from around the world together with interviews with
leading scientists in happiness research
May 8 – Bhutan: Taking the Middle Path to Happiness shows how one small traditional Buddhist country
has made happiness into a national priority, while balancing the influx of Western materialistic elements
May 15 – The Happiness Machine is a darker view about how consumer marketing systematically defeats
happiness by conjuring false needs within people... and further, manipulates us into a society of consent
May 22 – Captivated argues from a Christian perspective that our lifeless technological gadgets draw us away
from God and each other
May 29 – Family, Friends, and Lovers explores how interpersonal relationships are so critical to our wellbeing,
highlighted by lessons gleaned from several case studies
June 5 – A multi-pack of happiness... One of the Last, cultivating it through the eyes of a traditional farmer,
The Communal Heart pulsing in voices signing together, and Living Lightly which finds it in a scythe.
June 12 – Project Happiness wraps up wtih a group of young people on an international quest to discover
the secrets to happiness, culminating in a meeting with the Dalai Lama.
We are pairing up Earth Oven parties with sustainability-focused activities all summer. Bring your own toppings for pizza. Learn how to bake in the oven. We plan to do this once a month starting in May.
Saturday, May 9, 2015 : Wild Plant Walk, pizza starts at 4:00 PM
What is the true secret to happiness? Are the things our society tells us we should have for personal satisfaction and success really the gateway to being happy? Join us to explore these questions and more as we discuss the book The Myths of Happiness. Copies of this book will be available for checkout at our circulation desk starting Wednesday, April 1st. In partnership with Chelsea District Library.
Join Holistic Health Practitioner and herbalist Linda Diane Feldt for a slow stroll to identify and talk about local medicinal and edible wild plants. Handouts provided. Children are welcome. Linda Diane has written two cookbooks on dark green leafy vegetables and wild food. Since 1994, she has given a free class monthly on herbal wisdom through The People's Food Co-op. She also twitters on wild local food @wildcrafting For more information on Linda Diane's books, classes, and more www.lindadianefeldt.comThe class will be held rain or shine.
Join us for a lively discussion about the convergence of ideas between Western science and Eastern thought. We begin from the viewpoint that we are all “blind men” trying to understand the elephant of Reality. Since we are inside the elephant, no one can truly see the whole shape, but each may bring another valid perspective. We will examine the perspectives of science and Buddhism.Discussion leader is Steve Daut, author of the soon-to-be-published book Buddha Science. You can find Mr. Daut’s blog and social media sites through www.stevedaut.com
Join Washtenaw Audubon Society President, Juliet Berger, for this family friendly event, a bird hike around the lake and trails.
Children who are interested in nature and birds are welcome. Not suitable for very small children.
Bring binoculars if you have them. No pets!
Join the summer coordinator, Shana Weddington and FLCC member and earth oven builder, Brendan Bradley, for a community shared event. Let's come together and enjoy the beautiful weather of early autumnt! Fresh pizza dough is provided. Bring a topping to share and your own beverage. After the pizzas are done, feel free to bring bread or other things to bake in the oven!
Suggested donation $5 per family
All ages welcome!
Join us for a special Food Justice program with Interfaith Council for Peace & Justice. The evening will kick off with a guest speaker and include interactive discussion and specific calls to action for individuals and groups. At Michigan Friends Center ICPJ will focus on why the food we waste (both personally and institutionally) is a climate problem and what we might be able to do to help solve the problem.
2013 Peace and Justice Series
May 15, 7:00 pm
Book Discussion: The New Jim Crow
A discussion of the book The New Jim Crow with Terry Madden. The book looks at the disproportionate incarceration of blacks and other minority populations in the United States through the lens of racial analysis.
March 6 2013, 7:00 pm
Restorative Justice, Janelle Nystrom and Margaret Rohr
Restorative justice is a process that tries to heal the harm done by a crime by involving the offender, the victim and the community, emphasizing restitution rather than punishment, and involving the whole community rather than an isolated criminal justice system. Janelle Nystrom of Washtenaw Prisoner Reentry and Margaret Rohr of The Dispute Resolution Center will talk about how restorative justice is being used to keep conflicts from entering the legal system and to help citizens returning from the criminal justice system reintegrate in the community.
February 7 2013, 7:00 pm
Michigan's Criminal Justice and Corrections System, Natalie Holbrook
Michigan incarcerates roughly seven times the number of people per capita as does Ontario right across the Detroit River, and Michigan spends more money on incarceration than it does on higher education. Who are these people in prison? Is holding them behind bars making us safer? Natalie Holbrook, the Director of the American Friends Service Committee Criminal Justice Program will discuss these and other issues of criminal justice in Michigan.
January 23 2013, 7:00 pm
Immigration Rights and Racial Profiling, Laura Sanders
Many people are unaware that immigration law enforcement is having profound and unexpected consequences, not just in southwestern border states, but throughout the country, including Chelsea and other communities in Washtenaw County. Laura Sanders will speak about the activities of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights in Washtenaw County and the need for immigration law reform.
Sanders is one of the four co-founders of the Washtenaw Interfaith Coalition for Immigrant Rights. WICIR is an all-volunteer, grass-roots organization, created in March of 2008 in response to an immigration raid of a local mobile home community where numerous people were deported and families were separated. WICIR responds to increased immigration enforcement in the Washtenaw area by providing for the immediate needs of affected families, community education, political action toward local policy and national immigration reform, and community organizing that brings the targeted, immigrant community into the center of the organization to guide our projects. WICIR volunteers make up a diverse group including people from various faiths, academic and social justice groups. Laura is also a clinical social worker, instructor at the U of M School of Social Work, and provides therapy to families in the area.
2013 Technology Perspectives: a film series co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea
Fridays from September 27 through November 15 / 7:00 to 9:00 PM
All films are FREE [donations welcomed]
A film series with discussions that examine how Technology has impacted and shaped our view of the world, our minds, our health, our social relationships, our society, and the natural world. A wide variety of topics and accompanying films are utilized in our tour of the various issues. The public is invited to attend one or more weeks, or all of them.
September 27 – Us Now showcases many examples in which digital technology and networks are
enabling creative new social structures that were formerly impossible. Brave New World jolts us into
the fast-arriving world where nothing is private and life goes on.
October 4 – Surviving Progress asks us to consider whether our relentless drive forward
technologically and economically has outstripped our human ability to manage the consequences and
the Earth's ability to absorb it all. Instinctively we may think that we want progress. But have we
evolved to be too “smart” for our own good?
October 11 – Genetic Roulette presents the controversial views of Jeffrey Smith and other researchers
about what genetically modified organisms may be doing to our bodies silently and unseen, tying
GMOs in our food to the mysterious upsurge in several categories of human health problems.
October 18 – The Use and Abuse of Vegetational Concepts. Need we say more? The film says a lot about how a mechanistic view of reality has penetrated into the deepest reaches of how we think about ourselves and the world around us, including so-called eco “systems”. Director Adam Curtis brings forth historical details to pack in the maximum ideas-per-second. Hang on, it is a whirlwind.
October 25 – Trigger Effect, in fine retro style, details the world's present dependence on complex technological networks through a narrative of New York City and the power blackout of 1965. Are we becoming more or less resilient? This film also explores non-linear effects of introducing new technologies into societies, from the ancient invention of the plow to the discovery of oil in Kuwait.
November 1 – Digital Nation assesses some of the effects of the digital revolution on our minds: information overload and multitasking, transformation of education and learning, and the schism between virtual reality and real reality. “Digital natives” and “digital immigrants” often view the issues differently.
November 8 – Clones and Drones week! Clone dives into the miraculous potential and frighteningpossibilities behind genetic cloning, including impact on the natural concept of a family. Drone On shows the peaceful/beneficial uses of drones in addition to the destructive uses we have heard about.
November 15 – Towards a Sustainable Future (Auroville 36 Years of Research) Demonstrates that technology can follow a path that is integrated with nature. This uplifting film chronicles the deliberate attempt to build a “city of dawn” in the coastal region of India with people from all around the world developing and experimenting with technologies to support the project.
Fridays, 7:00 to 9:00 PM: February 15, February 22, March 1, March 8, March 22, April 5, April 12
2013 Permaculture From the Ground Up Film Series (co-sponsored by Transition Town Chelsea)
All films are FREE [donations welcomed]
Permaculture (derived from "permanent agriculture") is a branch of ecological design that emphasizes sustainable architecture and self-maintained agricultural systems modeled from natural ecosystems. Permaculture uses advanced human knowledge to work with nature instead of against it to design abundant, integrated food production systems for home and community. It is one of the Transition Movement's founding principles.
In a series of films and discussions, see how permaculture can transform our world while it helps to sustain our community and elevate our spirits. For all, from the gardening enthusiast to the nature lover to the aspiring homesteader to the intellectually curious... Let's get started and find out what is possible. To be followed by design demonstrations at local sites.
Films and discussions will encompass practical aspects of permaculture for anyone from the gardening enthusiast to the aspiring homesteader, and also include forays into social, spiritual, and community dimensions. Light refreshments. We hope to incorporate some investigational tours of the local natural environment on some dates. Following the end of the film series, we are planning design workshops at several sites in the Chelsea area. Free; donations welcome.
February 15 – Introduction to Permaculture Design, with Geoff Lawton, takes us into the world of
permaculture design and introduces a new way of looking at the world. Learn how to apply design
skills by observing, analyzing and harmonizing with the patterns of Nature. Based on Bill Mollison's
72-hour Permaculture Design certificate course.
February 22 – A Permaculture Perspective is a talk by Bill Wilson about the importance of
permaculture with case studies to suggest that it is a way of living in authenticity within a lower
energy context. Ruth Stout's Garden journeys into the life of a woman who, from an age of over 90
years, offers a great deal to young and old about gardening and sustainable living at her homestead
in upstate New York.
March 1 – Rob Hopkins, founder of the Transition Movement, reveals in an in-depth interview how
the movement emanated from the permaculture design process. Permaculture: A Quiet Revolution
follows visionariues from around the world at the 8th International Permaculture Convergence with
strategies to arrive at self reliance and sustainability through the permaculture process.
March 8 – Power of Community depicts how in the midst of crisis, people in Cuba transitioned from
a highly mechanized industrial agricultural system to one using organic methods of farming and local,
March 22 – Soils brings back Geoff Lawton, from beneficial minute soil microbes found in compost to
massive regenerative landscapes systems that harvest water, demonstrating his vision for creating a
world of abundance by deep understanding of soil.
April 5 – Urban Permaculture continues with Geoff Lawton showing how to apply the Permaculture
design technique to the urban environment and how to redesign the back yard. Designing the Urban
Garden shows by example how to start a design on paper.
April 12 – Forest Garden with gardener Martin Crawford shows how he moved from conventional
organic gardening to creating a forest garden from a bare field in Devon, England. Martin shows you
how to plan your planting to mimic the layering, density, and diversity of a forest.
Saturday, April 20, starting at 2:00
2013 Earth Day Celebration
Talk by Tom Princen, who studies the keys to environmentally sustainable communities and corporations, followed by singing by Tom Gerard, then drumming with Jeremy Montagne and Tree of Life drummers.
Thomas Princen’s most recent book is Treading Softly: Paths to Ecological Order. His present work is called, “Leave It in the Ground,” a way to end our dependence on fossil fuels, with strategies of how to achieve that post-fossil society.
This page is currently being updated. Please contact us if you have specific questions about previous program events at the Michigan Friends Center.