To help you get Transition started in your community we have produced ‘The Essential Guide to Doing Transition’ (available in several languages). It gives you an overview of Transition and outlines all the activities that that can help you to develop Transition in your community, as well as being illustrated with great stories from around the world.
Don’t worry if you feel overwhelmed after reading this guide, as we have also created a whole range of activities, guides and info sheets in the 7 essential ingredients section to support you through this process. Many of them are linked to from within the Essential Guide.
You will notice that this guide is about the processes you can use, it does not tell you what projects you should be doing or what issues you should be focusing on. This is because Transition is about local responses to problems and it is up to you to decide what to focus your attention on and how to frame Transition for your community. Lots of groups have developed Transition without carrying out all the activities mentioned in this guide, so feel free to do it your own way, we would love to hear what you have found to work.
Also don’t forget there is a Transition Training called Launch that is a great introduction to Transition and how to start. We thank you for taking this first step and welcome you to the Transition family, a global family taking steps at a local level to create a better world.
Here is a list of all the resources we have to help you do Transition.
- The Essential Guide to Doing Transition.
- The 7 essential ingredients section that has a range of resources to help you develop Transition.
- Health Check activity that helps you to see how well your group is doing.
- A guide to developing a core group once your Transition initiative is up and running.
- Training courses you can attend online or in person.
All these resources are great, but we also recommend that you contact the nearest Transition Group to you (if there is one) via our map and arrange to meet them for a chat about how they started Transition. You might also enjoy our film, ‘In Transition 2.0‘, which gives a good overview of Transition.
If you do start up a group please create an initiative to let us and everyone in the movement know you exist.
Frequently asked questions on how to start Transition
Don’t worry! Many Transition groups start with just one person with an idea and some enthusiasm! It is really useful to read The Essential Guide to Doing Transition, to get an idea of what Transition entails.
Check the Transition map to see if there’s a Transition group near you – and if so make contact with them.
Look for other people near you who might be interested. You could also join another local group for sustainability, carbon saving or another aspect of Transition that interests you and see if others are interested.
Transition is happening in many different place, cultures, and settings. There are Transition groups happening in rural European villages, Los Angeles, California, rural villages in China, rural villages in South Africa, and rubber tappers settlements in Amazonia, Brazil. There seems to be no hard and fast barriers to Transition groups being set up, or cultural setting where Transition isn’t be tried and tested. However, research is indicating that Transition groups in cities are more difficult to sustain than rural areas. However there are many TIs in cities; 24 in London and 15 in Los Angeles for instance. While Transition has spread rapidly in North America and Europe, it has been slower to take root in developing and non English speaking countries. Check out our maps of Transition groups and Hubs around the world.
A Transition group is usually started by a person or a group of people who having heard about it, decide to step up and begin this process in their community.
Read our The Essential Guide to Doing Transition for an overview of starting Transition.
There are Transition schools, universities (St Andrews, Malagar), and some Transition businesses (reconomy projects). There are not any Transition governments that we know of. Many local governments are very supportive of Transition in their area, and can work closely and support Transition rather than take it over or control it. As all of our organisations need to transition to something more sustainable, Transition has good processes and structures that make this transition more possible in a bottom up rather than top down way.
A good number to have in an Initiating group is 6-15. There are no hard and fast rules, but this number is big enough to have the skills needed, but small enough to know everyone.
Most importantly is to have people who are passionate about transition happening in their community. This group has the task of organising Transition in your area, which means involving the community, networking, and often running practical projects and events.
It is great to have people with the following skills/experience in your group.Organising – booking rooms, DVDs, speaker, projector and screen, refreshments, facilitator etc
- Facilitating meetings – agenda, inclusion, etc
- Running talks; dealing with process
- Publicity – press, website, designing posters and flyers
- Managing information – email lists, website
- Public speaking
- Networking with existing organisations and people
- Leadership –
- Relationship skills – group dynamics, managing conflict?
- Passion and commitment
- Reading the ‘field’ – someone with their ear to the ground who knows what’s going on locally.
Don’t worry if you don’t have all these skills in your group. We have a whole range of guides to help you with all of the above in our 7 Essential Ingredients section to help you to develop the skills needed. You can also get people to help and advise you with specific tasks and they don’t have to be part of the Initiating group.
There is a trade off between being open and inclusive and saying yes to everyone whenever they want to join, and having time together to get your group working effectively. Every time someone new joins or someone leaves, you are in a new group and it takes time to learn how to work in this group. (See the resource on how groups develop.) A good way to enable people to join is to open the group at certain intervals, maybe every 6 months, and then take the time to get to know each other, rebuilding the group. We have produced a guide to help with this.
Every country is different with respect to having a legal or recognised structure. It is important for the structure of the group to be transparent. The more legal and defined you are, generally, the more work it will mean to maintain that structure. So unless there is a good reason to be legal or to gain charitable status, and for many Transition groups there is, then keep the structure and legal structure ‘light’ and easy to setup and maintain. Often depending on your country, you will need a legal structure if you want to get funding from charitable trusts. If you intend to trade, ie sell stuff, then some kind of legal structure is necessary, and you will have to file accounts, and in some instances pay tax on any profits. Some groups have even set up a trading arm if this is likely to be substantial.
The more representative your initiating group is of different communities, ages, cultures, lifestyles, class, or political leaning, the easier it will be to ensure you engage the whole of your community. On the other hand the more difficult it will be to operate, and come to agreement. Ideally your group should represent the community you are serving. If it does not then you can plan campaigns or projects but sections of the community might well kick back against those plans. Our community involvement ingredient has lots of resources to help you with this.
There’s no perfect area for a Transition group to cover. A city (100,000 or more) is usually too big an area to cover, unless you are taking on a infrastructure role. Often, Transitioners have chosen a neighbourhood or postal code, if your community is only a few hundred and feels too small to get enough energy work together with other communities nearby, we have seen several villages coming together to form a group. People often have a sense of what scale is appropriate and feels manageable. It can also be good to start small and then expand later on once you become more established.
If the population of your town or city is more than about 100,000 it may be better to break into neighbourhoods or postal codes and start an group in one of these. In London a group in one place seeded helped to seed seven more groups nearby. You can always come together for big events, and to approach the city-wide authorities for larger scale projects.
When you register your group you:
- Can be found by other people and groups involved in Transition
- Will be kept up to date with changes to Transition Network website
You can also sign up to the monthly newsletter as an individual which keeps you up to date with what is happening in the Transition movement.
There is a Do Transition Section on this website which contains all the resources you need to start and develop Transition, which includes a The Essential Guide to Doing Transition, the 7 Essential Ingredients of Transition which has a range of resources to help you and a guide to moving to core group and information on building capacity There are also books, many of them have been translated into other languages.
There are plenty of ways you can keep up to date with what is going on in the world of Transition:
- Check out your National Hub website, sign up to their newsletter if they have one.
- Sign up to the Transition Network Newsletter on the Transition Network website
Check out the Transition Network website regularly