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Transition Culture - an evolving exploration into the head, heart and hands of energy descent

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Welcome to Transition Culture. Kick back, put your feet up, pop the kettle on. Here I write about all sorts of stuff. Dip in, and make yourself at home.  Feel free to comment and chip in.  I'm Rob by the way.

Rob Hopkins's blog

Light posting during August

As is the tradition here at, we're taking it easy over August, reacharging our batteries, and trying to model being an organisation that takes its being as importantly as its doing.  So there may be things posted here during the month, but not much.  We hope you get to do some good things, take some time in nature, spend time with friends and family.

What I submitted to the Museum of Fossil Fuels

The wonderful Happy Museum just opened an online Museum of Fossil Fuels, which they introduce like this: "We invite you to ponder what object would best represent the shift from our fossil fuel dominated present to a more sustainable future and donate it to our new virtual museum.  Objects can be large and historically significant or small and personally resonant.  The virtual nature of the museum means size, scale, ownership and care of the object are not an issue so let your imagination go!".  So I did.  

The EU wants to block Romania's 51% local food shift. Who cares?

Amid all the mayhem and turmoil of recent weeks, here's a news story you may have missed.  The Romanian parliament unanimously passed an amendment to the country's "Law on the Sale of Food Products" bill which states that every large supermarket in the country must ensure that 51% of the fruit, vegetables, meat, eggs, honey, dairy products and baked goods they stock are "locally sourced".  As a demonstration of how enlightened policymaking can unlock Transition, it's an eye-catching and paradigm-shifting piece of legislation.  But is it legal, and, actually, does that matter anyway?

A new way of introducing Open Space

Today we are going to share with you a great exercise that was created for the 2015 Transition Network Conference at Seale Hayne in Devon.  On the second day we did a big Open Space event, which was introduced by Maggie Seeley from Transition Alberquerque in New Mexico.  Rather than the standard way of explaining Open Space, which you may well have done, Maggie and a group of Transition Trainers developed a different way of explaining it, based on how a flight crew gives passengers safety instructions and information about the flight.  Maggie has kindly allowed us to post the script they used to do it.  

Tony Blair, Godzilla, and the Banquet of Consequences.

In February 2003, in Dublin, I marched against the impending Iraq War alongside 100,000 other people.  Similar protests took place around the world that day, including around a million people marching in London.  Today, 13 years, and 250,000 violent deaths later, with millions of people displaced, we now have official recognition of what those of us who marched knew all along, that we were right.  As Sir John Chilcot put it in his report published yesterday, "we have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort”.  I listened to Tony Blair's press conference afterwards, full of proclamations that lessons have been learnt, but for me, in all today's coverage, one fundamental lesson went unaddressed.

'Tomorrow' ('Demain') premieres in London: article and podcast

On Friday 1st July, at the Everyman Cinema in Muswell Hill, London, the film that has proven to be a phenomenon in France, 'Tomorrow' (or 'Demain') has its first formal screening.  The film's producers, Cyril Dion and Melanie Laurent, travelled from Paris to be there, as did some of those who appear in the film.


Transitioners' Digest (May-June 2016): Renewal

Our theme has been 'Springtime Renewal', and we have cast our net far and wide.  Our opening editorial piece looked at the sense of renewal that arises from the recent Hillsborough decision and what happens when a great wrong is finally named and addressed.  We heard from Cat Johnson how Transition Palo Alto in the US are creating a culture of sharing in Silicon Valley.  Transition Stroud began their 10th year in existence with an event that Rob Hopkins was invited to speak at.  He created a blog and a podcast that captured the energy and spirit of the evening.   

Naresh Giangrande reports from Shell's 'Powering Progress Together' event.

“We’ll always have Paris. We lost it until you came to Casablanca. We got it back last night.” 

Trust was a theme at Shell’s ‘Powering Progress Together, collaborating for a Low Carbon UK’ conference. Notably the lack of trust: in politicians, the political process, and business experts so nakedly exposed by Brexit. Trust, not law, formed the basis of the Paris Agreement so recently concluded. We at Transition Network stated right from the beginning of the Transition movement that if we wait for action, by governments and business, on issues of climate and resource scarcity, it will be ‘too little too late’. Have we moved into a new trust-based post Paris Agreement world?  

A letter to you, dear Transitioner, from Pella Thiel.

This letter, by Swedish Transitioner Pella Thiel, was written as an introductory speech at the conference ”In transition for resilience”, the final forum of the international REALS project, held in Järna, Sweden in June 2016.  REALS – Resilient and Ecological Approaches to Living Sustainably, is a project to increase learning, awareness and access to information in relation to sustainable lifestyles, waste reduction and sustainable resource management in western Russia, Belarus, Sweden and in the Baltic Sea region. To underpin this, the project aims to generate cross-sector and international networks within the theme of sustainable living. It involves the Ecovillage, the Permaculture and the Transition movements as well as private and public sectors. Here is the letter, which Pella read to the conference:  

This #ProgrExit starts with your longing

Nobody knows what the Brexit vote will mean for the UK.  People are reeling after a campaign marked by very poor quality debate, some deeply dangerous and divisive framing, a decision many didn't really understand and an election where only 36% of young people, who are those most affected by the decision, turned out to vote.   The result has led to an outcome some predict will turn out to be worse than the crash of 2008, and which is already creating heightened tensions between nations, generations, classes, North/South, with xenophobic attacks  on the rise.  It's a scary time.  A time, for me at least, for grief. The most troubling time I've ever known here.  But I'm not going to write a long gloomy blog about how awful this is, there are enough of those out there.  Believe me, I've read most of them over the last few days.

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