“I was deeply disturbed and sad about the state of the natural world and society.  Getting involved with Transition Pasadena has meant going from despair to community and being able to follow a passion and get help with it.  It changed my relationship to the problems”.  
Laurel Beck. Transition Pasadena, US.

Creating a vision that imagines a positive future for your community, not only provides you with a sense of hope and inspiration it also:

  • Provides a focus for your group
  • Communicates to others what you are doing and why
  • Inspires local people and other groups to get involved
  • Encourages people to think of new possibilities for their future

Your group may have many different elements in your vision that may contradict each other – that’s fine. No one knows what the future will bring, so allow your vision to change and adapt as new people join, and the world around you changes.

A List of Resouces

Frequently asked questions about creating a vision.

Do we need to have a vision in our Transition group?

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Yes! A vision is a call to action. It is a reframing of the dilemmas we are facing and offers new information and new potential. It is one of the keys we have that can unlock the collective genius of our place so we can create new ways of living and working. Vision inspires and motivates us to action. Without it we are left with protesting against what we don’t want, but are unable to articulate what we do want. While an outcome of a visioning process should never be taken as an absolute truth, or projection of what or where we might end up, it can inspire us to action and provide hope; or at very least an antidote to despair. For example, Martin Luther King said he had a dream, not a plan, or an answer.

What if we have disagreements about how the future should be?

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This doesn’t matter, but it is good to agree about principles – e.g. fairness, live within limits. What matters is that you have done a process and have some visions about the future you want. Focus on what you have in common rather than the differences. As in the previous questions, the outcome of a visioning process should never be taken as truth or how things are going to happen. The truth is no one knows what the future holds or how it is going to happen.

Is it ok to have a vision when there’s only a few of us involved?

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It is fine to do a vision for your community even though not all stakeholders are involved. You should see this as the beginning of any vision for your community, not the end. It might be good to find ways to include others later and make the process inclusive and expandable, rather than complete and narrow.

Some of us see the future as very bleak, what should do about that?

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It would be good to share what you see and why. It would be good, if possible, to feel into what might lie behind the ‘bleakness’. Maybe find a way to balance the bleak vision with things that are more positive. Find some time to talk about the truly exciting and inspiring things that are happening. It is fine to be negative, but one of the major reasons for burnout is that we get stuck in those bleak visions. Don’t get stuck there. Take time to express your anxieties. This is one of the areas an Inner Transition group can help with. While we are not suggesting you become relentlessly positive and try to pretend there aren’t awful things happening, if you can more beyond those feelings to something more balanced, you will feel better about yourself, your Transition group and our culture. Joanna Macy has some very interesting things to say about this born out of her long standing peace activism.

How can we engage the wider community to create a shared vision of the future we want?

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There are many ways to do this. One way is to create an open space process where you invite those in your community that are interested in creating new ways of living and working in your community.

Also check out the community involvement essential ingredient for more information on how to involve people.

Should we make a plan to the future we want such as an Energy Descent Plan?

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This is a very good ways of engaging a wider community in the issue of what sort of future you want. Many groups have used this method to great effect. Others have not. You should use the process that works for you in terms of time and resources you have for this process, and the buy in that you feel you can get from your community in this process.

We have produced a guide to energy descent action plans which gives a useful overview of this process.