Welcome to our last Digest of 2014. Our theme this month was ‘Less is More’, and it began with an editorial that looked through the Christmas ads on TV and suggested what a Transition TV ad might look like. One reader even offered to organise a crowd-funding appeal to ensure it got made for next Christmas. While we’re on the theme of the annual stuff-binge that is Christmas, I also followed up last year’s The Day I Closed My Amazon Account post by reflecting on how my first Amazon-free year has been. In short, it’s been great. Highly recommend it.
What can we learn from times in history where people have lived with less than we do today yet who still managed to live rewarding, productive, happy lives? We spoke with Azby Brown, author of ‘Just Enough’, about the Edo period in Japanese history. It turns out that in many ways it was a great model for a sustainable society. You can read our conversation in two parts, Part One here, and Part Two here.
We also heard from Inez Aponte, in an article called From dismal science to language of beauty – Towards a new story of economics, which argued the case for a new story for economics. We dipped into the archives and published an interview I did with Douglas Matthews, shortly before his 100th birthday in his farmhouse kitchen near Totnes, looking back to a time when people had much less, in terms of material goods, than they do today.
December also saw the publication of our Support Offer, many months in the making, the perfect starter’s pack for doing Transition. It has 9 elements, and you can read it, and give us some feedback on it, here. We introduced a new feature, ‘One Minute Review’, our look at a book or film and review it in a way that should take less than a minute to read. Our first was a new book about Incredible Edible Todmorden. If you’d like to do one, let us know.
We talked to Pandora Thomas, permaculture activist and board member of Transition US, about the Pathways to Resilience programme she has co-founded for people coming out of prison in California. We talked about resilience in response to the “Prison Industrial Complex”, about race in Transition and social entrepreneurship. Her work is inspirational.
Lastly, the Western Morning News asked me what I would do “If I Ruled the World”. Frankly, the power rather went to my head, as you will read in the article I wrote for them.
Starting in January, we will be changing things around a little based, in part, on our recent survey about the Transition Culture blog (results here). Each theme will now last for 2 months, and will be accompanied by an exploration of one element of our new Support Offer. In January/February, our theme will be The Power to Convene, and the element of the Support Offer we’ll be exploring will be How to start Transition: Developing an initiating group. If you have anything you’d like us to cover, do get in touch.
Everyone at Transition Network would like to send you Season’s Greetings, and wish you a wonderful, Transition-filled, nourishing and connecting 2015. We’ll leave you with the news that poet and writer Matt Harvey has launched a crowdfunding appeal for Transition Town: The Musical. What’s not to love about that idea? So in honour of that, and to wrap up our theme, we’d like to leave you Matt’s poem, ‘Less is More’.
Can less be more, can more be less?
Well, yes and no, and no and yes
Well, more or less…
More bikes, fewer cars
Less haze, more stars
Less haste, more time
Less reason, more rhyme
More time, less stress
Fewer miles, more fresh (vegetables)
Fewer car parks, more acres of available urban soil
More farmers’ markets, less produce effectively marinated in crude oil
Less colouring, more taste
More mashing, less waste
Fewer couch potatoes, more spring greens
Fewer tired tomatoes, more runner beans
More stillness, less inertia
Less illness, more Echinacea
More community, less isolation
Less just sitting there, more participation!
More wells (not oil ones, obviously), fewer ills
Fewer clean fingernails, more skills
More co-operation, less compliancy
Less complacency, more self-reliancy
Less competition, more collaboration
Less passive listening, more participation!
Less attention defic…, more concentration
Less passive listening, more participation!
Less of a warm globe, more a chilly’un
More of a wise world, at least 34 fewer parts of C02 per million
Less stress-related cardio-vascular and pulmonary failure
More nurturing quality time in the company of a favourite clematis or dahlia
More craftsmanship, less built-in obsolescence
More political maturity, less apparently-consequence-free extended adolescence
More believed-to-be-beautiful, known-to-be-useful things
Less cheap, pointless, petroleum-steeped stuff
So Yes, less is more – and enough’s enough…