February 2014 – Transition Network Newsletter
By Mike Grenville 6th February 2014
This month new strategies are unveiled by the Transition Network and the Government. REconomy launch a series of webinars. Lots of discussion about scaling up and the Social Reporters explore Permaculture and disasters. Plus the regular world of Transition round up, and books, films and new resources and some more nuggets for you to dig for.
NEWS AROUND THE NETWORK
The Transition Network Draft Strategy – What Do You Think?
Transition Network has been going through its own change process recently. We’ve reviewed and made changes to our staff structure and, over the last eight months, we’ve been asking ourselves lots of questions about the purpose and direction of our organisation. So here is the result of our enquiry – a draft strategy which describes our vision and purpose and the way we work and sets out our priorities for the next three years. We’ve talked to quite a few Transitioners about this along the way, but this is an opportunity for any and all of you to have your say. Please have a look at the strategy and respond to the questions below. The Transition Board will review and agree the strategy at the end of this month taking account of comments received by 26 February. Write as much or as little as you want – we’d just love to hear from you!
UK Government’s Community Energy Strategy unveiled!
The Community Energy Strategy which had a lot of input from Transition Network and other initiatives, is a fascinating example of what it looks like when Transition is able to start influencing (along with a range of other community organisations) national energy policy.
We know that many Transition groups would like to secure more resources (money, people, skills and other things) to help them meet their aims. The REconomy Project is offering 2 things to help you get started, wherever you live…
1) Helping your Transition group ‘Get ready to fundraise’ – a free webinar
Want to know what’s behind successful fundraising? Come to this webinar with 2 expert Transition fundraisers, and learn how to get ready to raise funds.
One of these experts, Tina Clarke of Transition US is interviewed here talking about some of the fundraising challenges:
2) REsourcing REconomy – 6 session online course
Do you have a REconomy project idea, but need funding to make it happen? With the help of our trainer and fundraiser, this course will help you create a real bid and find potential funders. To assess if you are ready for this, you can do the ‘Get ready to fundraise’ webinar first.
The January 2014 Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition
It includes a video from Stroud, a Bramble Bash in Crystal Palace, community gardens in Wandsworth and Cobham, a TREEmendous Fruit Tree Project in Southampton and Transition Haddenham held a cider competition while in Portugal reflections on closing a community garden, plus a Repair Cafe in Canada and news from Germany, Australia and USA.
Transition US 2013:A Year in Review
From adding new team members to rolling out advanced leadership trainings and hosting Rob Hopkins’ whirlwind US tour, 2013 was a big year for Transition US.
The directions Transition US will take in 2014.
Our theme for January was Scaling Up which generated a lot of content and discussion. It was framed by Rob’s opening piece, which set out the 5 factors that will enable Transition to scale up. We heard from Doria Robinson about the challenges of trying to scale up urban agriculture in the shadow of a Chevron refinery, from Nick Temple about scaling up social innovations, from Andy Lipkis, the man taking on LA’s water system, from Rosie Boycott on Capital Growth and scaling up urban agriculture in London and from Les Robinson on insights from his book Changeology.
Transition Network’s Ben Brangwyn shared how Transition is scaling up internationally, Sophy Banks discussed the risks of going for growth, and other ways to make an impact, and Josue Dusoulier looked at how the Belgian national hub is scaling up. We reviewed the rather good new film Local Food Roots.
Rob Hopkins offered some thoughts on David Holmgren’s recent paper Crash on Demand which he followed up with a post called ‘Reflections on being a Cultural Optimist’. He also explored “6 reasons why there’s no community in fracking”. We delved into what we might be able to learn from the potential, or not, of earthen building to scale up, through a trip to Kevin McCabes’s new ‘cob citadel’, hearing about a new clay plasters enterprise, and Robert Alcock’s story of building his own cob house in Spain.
Lastly, in our “how to discuss Transition with…” series, we looked at tips for discussing Transition with Conservatives/Republicans, MPs and civil servants, young people, local government and church groups. Our theme for February is ‘Resourcing your Initiative’. If you have anything you would like to share around that theme, do get in touch.
Permaculture and disasters were the two themes explored last month. The theme of Disasters great and small and looking at the potential for learning about ourselves, our worlds, great and small and how they may point the way to a different future. Caroline starts the week by looking at the most painful human disaster of the twentieth century, the Holocaust, followed by Diana taking an ecopoetic look at storms and two guest bloggers, Jo on the Workington floods and Chris on how Transitioners can fall into initiative disasters. For permaculture week, Ann prods at some Permaculture myths while Kerry sees how well it complements Transition plus Chris reports from Cuba and from an exciting housing development in the UK.
The disastrous state of being human
Today is Holocaust Memorial Day, anniversary of the day Auschwitz-Birkenau was liberated, time and place for us to remember millions who died or suffered in the Nazi concentration camps. It’s a moment to ponder the disaster of genocide and commit ourselves to creating a safer future.
The Strong Pull of Transition Disaster
Transition initiatives are started by groups of individuals who are committed, informed, high minded and aware of the needs of their own and wider communities. So why do they end in disaster, often after quite short lives and amidst such pain and acrimony that people are harmed and lost to Transition?
Researching Resilience: Workington after the flood
On November 20th 2009, while the eyes of the media were focused on the flooding upstream at Cockermouth, Workington suffered a different kind of disaster. All its bridges, apart from the railway bridge, were destroyed or so badly damaged they had to be closed.
An Ecopoetic take on the power of Storms
Ecopoetry goes several steps further than traditional nature poetry by recognising the interdependence of all life on earth and the irresponsibility of our attempts to tame and plunder nature in a modern world ruled by technology, self-interest and economic power.
Permaculture Gathering in Cuba
The rain is torrential and after just a few minutes roads become small streams and in low-lying streets there are cars with water up to their windows. For some unknown reason a policeman stands resolute at his post, water above his knees and dripping from his cap.
The Trouble with Permaculture
I’m not surprised that Permaculture hasn’t caught on with mainstream food growers. When I first encountered it about twenty years ago, I found it off putting, to say the least.
Transition Homes – a permaculture designed housing project in Totnes
I’m standing at the top of a gently sloping 7 acre field with wonderful views across the lush green countryside outside Totnes and over the Dartington Hall Estate – okay, actually I’m sat in front of a laptop in my kitchen but in my head I’m in that field!.
Transition and Permaculture should get together more often
Two movements working towards the same positive, resilient future using the same principles, why are they not more integrated? Why do those involved in them only vaguely know about the other? Why are we not reaping the benefits that each could gain from closer involvement? I am, if you were wondering, talking about the Transition movement and the Permaculture movement.
Thanks to some great responses from Transition Free Press readers, distributors, and some key start-up funding from Transition Network, the next issue will be coming out in May. Although they continue to work raising funds for core costs, the nationwide communications enterprise really depends on maintaining the vibrant distribution network of Transition initiatives, community groups and small businesses that they built up during the pilot. Plus individual subscribers really make a difference. Also could you be the new Food and Drink Editor?
The first Transition Launch training is happening in Israel, and the first Transition Thrive trainings are happening in Spain and Belgium, and Sweden. See here for details:
The next Launch onLine starts on April 23rd at 19.00 GMT for 8 consecutive weeks. For more information and to book:
Green Open Homes Events
Advice and support on running Green Open Homes events is available here
Building Thriving, Resilient Communities
A collection of books and online resources
The Power of Just Doing Stuff – German edition
The German title will be “Einfach.Jetzt.Machen!” and will be the first time since 2008 that a book about Transition will be published in German! It includes an extra chapter about Transition in Germany, Austria & Switzerland. Orders (in German) through TT Bielefeld can be placed here:
Two short films about food have been added plus you can now add comments to all the films listed.
How is your Transition Initiative doing? What some support to help you find out? Transition Initiatives are invited to participate and trial evaluation resources. See for more details:
Not Just My Cup of Tea – Teapot on Tour 2014
Mark Watson from Sustainable Bungay will traveling around the UK visiting people and places demonstrating how to connect to the plants growing locally and the kinds of teas you can prepare from them. If you’d like to host a teapot session with an accompanying Talk, Walk or Workshop find out more here
Grow Heathrow 4th Birthday Party
1pm Saturday 1 March
They will be breaking last year’s record of over 100 pizzas in our wood-fired clay oven, with a bigger feast, more face painting, seed sowing, arts, live music and, of course, the famous bike-powered sound system.
Your Step Up moment. In February on the website we’ll be speaking to people from across the Transition movement and asking them about the moment they stepped across from observing Transition to helping make it happen.
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This newsletter is published on the first Friday of each month.
Next newsletter 7th March 2014
Newsletter Editor: Mike Grenville,
from Transition Forest Row for the Transition Network