The March 2014 Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition
By rob hopkins 12th March 2014
Anyone reading this who was a fan of punk legends The Damned, or indeed of Captain Sensible’s solo work, will be impressed to read of his interaction with Crystal Palace Transition Town (CPTT). According to ‘Inside Croydon’, CPTT and other groups got together to clear up a “long neglected piece of greenery on South Norwood High Street, removing mountains of rubbish from the site” (see right).
Plans include a bench to be dedicated by Captain Sensible, the only person to have composed a song in praise of Croydon. We especially liked the following sentence:
“Apparently, it was not the fact that Captain Sensible was left off the council’s short list altogether, but that he was passed over when Ronnie Corbett was selected that irked the most”.
CPTT also, like several other Transition groups, recently celebrated Fairtrade Fortnight. Below, Steve O’Connell, Croydon Conservative Cabinet and GLA Member, dropped by to power up a Fairtrade smoothie:
There’s lots happening with trees at the moment out there. Transition Reading posted on their Facebook page “Fancy helping us to plant Woodley’s first community orchard in Woodford park next week?” You can read more about that project here. Transition Harborough held a free apple grafting workshop. Transition West Kirby have also been runnning apple grafting workshop:
Regional gatherings are one of the finest things that emerges in Transition. A regional gathering of Transition initiatives in Bedfordshire, Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, entitled “Big Push for Local Resilience”, takes place on Sunday 23 March. It will consist of Open Space Workshops facilitated by people who are using community-based approaches to develop local solutions to global problems. Its organisers say:
“The day will empower you to be part of the local Transition movement to a sustainable future, resilient to global problems such as: talk to others about climate change and reducing carbon emissions, develop a plan for engaging your community, including your local authorities, be aware of the wealth of experience available, and how to access it, recognise and celebrate all the good efforts being made. More information about the programe on the website of Transition Berkhamsted”.
Transition Town Berkhamsted’s John Bell and Emma Sherrington appeared Radio Dacorum’s ‘Sarah on Sunday show’. Here it is:
Here’s a small selection of newsletters produced by Transition initiatives over the past month: Transition Kentish Town, Transition Buxton, Transition Keynsham, the Brixton Pound and Transition Town Totnes. Transition Stroud held a screening of ‘In Transition 2.0’. Here’s the poster:
Ealing Transition and Transition Dorking appear to have been hanging out a bit … Ealing Transition tweeted “Nice to meet and swap ideas with members of @TTDorking today, at their pop-up ideas shop! #randomtransitionencounters“.
Transition Town Berkhamsted have been opposing a new multistorey carpark in the town, arguing the money would be better spent on promoting public transport and cycling. Transition Town Totnes’s Transition Homes project are seeking a Project Co-ordinator and Intern. See more here. TTT also recently got together to plant fruit and nut trees. TTT have restarted their Friday Transition Tours. If you are planning to visit and learn more about TTT, everything you need to know about the tours that take you around the town and introduce you to what’s happening there as well as to the history of the town, is here. They also have an incredibly full programme of Skillshares for the Spring.
They have also been preparing for the 3rd annual Local Entrepreneurs’ Forum which takes place on May 13th. They write:
What can we do to support entrepreneurs and create new models of investing? That was the main question of the ‘pre-Local Entrepreneur Forum’ event in Februrary in Totnes, where attendees could learn more about what it is and how you can make a difference. For the past two years, Totnes has hosted the Local Entrepreneur Forum, a jam-packed productive day bringing entrepreneurs, investors, and business experts together to learn, connect, and collaborate. The best projects pitch their business plans to the audience – the Community of Friendly Dragons – who pledge support of investment, in-kind capital, and ‘wellbeing’ services, such as massages and child care.
Transition Brockley went a-wassailing … here’s the photo:
The Kingston Pound is moving forward. It is set to be piloted at the Surbiton Food Festival on the 3-18th May. Those who commit to converting £20 or more into Kingston Pounds before the end of March will have their names incorporated into the note’s design. The group are also working to get Kingston Council’s support. Liz Green, council leader, told the local paper:
“The Kingston Pound can be a great catalyst for our local economy bringing local people together with local businesses like never before.”
Platform (“The everyday portal for sharing knowledge and intelligence on sustainability across Greater Manchester”) published a great piece about Transition Town Bolton, entitled The Alternative? Transition Town Bolton and the circular economy, which is really worth a read.
It being Spring and everything, there have been rather a lot of Seed Swaps around recently. Transition Worcester’s event took place on Saturday 8th March, 11am-3pm, outside the Guildhall. Here’s the poster:
Transition Horsham held theirs on February 22nd…
Transition Stratford’s Plant Swap is coming up, May 17th, and they’ve been urging people to sow a few extras in advance. OVESCO in Lewes recently were awarded funding to run a peer mentoring scheme with 10 community energy projects in Sussex to support them in bringing their projects to fruition. Here’s a quick video of each of the groups involved sharing their anticipation and excitement:
Transition Cambridge recently ran their Skillshare event, and here is the rather fine poster for it…
Transition Leamington’s Incredible Edible group have been planting up fruit in Leamington’s Old Town. Group member Derrick Knight told his local paper:
“With the help of some neighbours, we have planted cherry trees, redcurrants, blackcurrants, pear trees, strawberries, blackberries and loganberries. They are growing all around the perimeter of the site so people can pick the fruit as they are walking to the bus stop or into town. The whole idea is to demonstrate that fruit and vegetables do not have to be hemmed in and fenced off. You can just take it when you want.”
Transition Town Letchworth wrote a statement to their local paper in relation to the recent floods and climate change, which stated, among other things, that:
“We’ve heard a lot of talk about dredging and flood defences, but the solution to reducing the damage caused by future events like this needs to be much more holistic.”
They also recently were awarded £2,000 by the local Heritage Foundation to buy a thermal imaging camera. TTL energy group representative Julia Sonander said:
“We are really pleased that the Heritage Foundation has given us a grant to purchase a thermal imaging camera. This camera can be used by Letchworth householders to take a good look at their properties and decide where improvements can be made. A FLIR E6 thermal imaging camera is now on order from Stanburys in Baldock, the company will be providing TTL with free training.”
Transition Loughborough are creating a community allotment and recently shared the draft design for the site. You can see it here. Transition Kensal to Kilburn in London held a tree pruning workshop on Charteris Road in NW6. Here’s a photo:
Transition Kentish Town have come together with Transition Belsize to grow hops across the area to flavour a brew which the two groups will drink together this Autumn. An interesting piece of research has just been published looking at Transition in Edinburgh. Entitled The Production, Practice, and Potential of ‘Community’ in Edinburgh’s Transition Town Network by Gerald Aiken it is a very useful resource.
Transition Sandmount in Dublin recently held Ireland’s first ever Repair Cafe. Sounded like a great occasion…
To Hungary next. The last month was very busy for Hungarian Transitioners. Transition Wekerle in Budapest’s Draughtbusting programme has now been running for 5 years, organising workshops for interested local people to help know how to insulate their windows. But this winter they set up a new project: working with group of volunteers to insulate windows and doors in ten flats, all belong to poor, elderly people living in Wekerle.
Seed Swaps are not a phenomenon exclusive to UK Transition initiatives. Transition Kecskemét held one recently, offering an opportunity for people to get their hands on heirloom seed varieities, as well as to pick up some composting and gardening advice and learn about urban beekeeping.
Transition Wekerle and Transition Kecskemét met 13 Hungarian sustainable community initiatives in February in Budapest, all working in issue local economy, local food and innovative technology. The dynamic workshop was part of a 3 year project, which aims to connect active initiatives and with a mentoring program help them to learn practical projects from each other and apply them in their own communities.
Among these initiatives are villages and cities with permaculture gardening, seed banks, Community Supported Agriculture schemes, social cooperatives or community garden initiatives, but also socialy marginalised groups with very succesful paper briquettes projects, helping local people to produce their own fuel, work together and discover the power of the community.
Now comes news from Telheiras in Portugal. “In 2013, the Transition Initiative of Telheiras (Iniciativa de Transição em Telheiras, ITT), a neighbourhood of Lisbon, Portugal, transformed itself in a convergence center named after its website: Associação “Viver Telheiras” (“Live Telheiras” Association) with some important aims:
- Connect with other local entities and social networks to work more connected and closer to the people living in the neighbourhood.
- Become more sustainable in terms of human resources and money.
As more institutions and initiatives felt isolated, they found a fertile ground for their proposal to jointly look for sinergies and cooperation in service of the neighbourhood. The “Parceria Local Telheiras” (Telheiras Local Partnership) that resulted, has now received a grant from the programme “Active Citizenship” (EAA Grants), managed by Fundação Calouste Gulbenkian, in which funding from Iceland, Norway and Liechtenstein is gathered. This programme aims at strengthening Portuguese civil society, the advance of social justice, the protection of democratic values and sustainable development.
With this grant, a full time job is created for a year, while it also guarantees funding for the realisation of meetings between partners, jointly organised events (like the Telheiras Festival). It also provides resources to buy shared equipment and materials.
After a “near death” of the initiative in 2012, this is fantastic news. By carefully looking what inhibited the initiative to flourish, and connect to other initiatives aiming at supporting the development of the neighbourhood, conditions were created for a new life. The permanent attention that is available now, makes it possible to continue building on the heritage of what was started in ITT and to implement more transition type dynamics. A very significant step!
You can find more about what is happening in Telheiras on the communication – and information platform of the neighbourhood: www.vivertelheiras.pt.
Our thanks to Paul Hendriksen in the Netherlands for the following: “Transition Netherlands had a very successful National Meet-up in the first weekend of February. Throughout the 2-day event about 100 Dutch Transitioners attended various workshops and other sessions on a wide range of topics. The first was about the role of money and the economy from a Transition point of view on Saturday, and the second was about Inner Transition work, on Sunday. Nevertheless, the money-theme obviously touched hearts and souls of many participants, judging from the fervor and enthousiasm with which they discussed several economy-related issues.
Saturday also saw the first presentation of the Dutch variant on the REconomy project. People from over 50 Dutch Transition groups attended a workshop about why and how to address a systemic change of the economy towards one which is more properly (locally) scaled, respects ecological boundaries and is community-driven. For Dutch speakers — and those wanting to learn the language the hard way — a full report can be found here (but the pictures there speak for themselves).
To South America now. The first Transition Launch Training in Uruguay takes place March 29 and 30th. In Argentina, a Transition talk went down very well in a school that embraces Transition in San Luis, Argentina. Here is a photo of both students and Transitioners:
And now to the first Transition Launch training in Mexico, with thanks for Raúl Vélez for the info. Transition Playa del Carmen celebrated The Week of Transition last September in Yucatan´s peninsula at Playa del Carmen, Quintana Roo. We had the opportunity of delivering the first of seven trainings planned for 2014 in our country (Southeast, Southwest, Oaxaca and the Valleys, Central Mexico, Bajio Region, Northeast and Nortwest regions).
During the two-day Launch Training we shared with 27 participants a lot of great experiences. It was incredible seeing groups of Cancún, Puerto Morelos, Valladolid, Tulum and Playa del Carmen sharing their next steps as initiatives planing further together in an atmosphere of trust and empathy.
Translating the Transition concept to Mexicos cultural diversity and complexity is a great challenge. I am pleased to participate in Transition Mexico’s efforts to co-desing a process by which more initiatives may establish, nurturing the transition proces with Ancient Mexico’s knowledge.
From Brazil, here is a short video on what Transition is (in Portugese):
In the US, in a few days, Transitioners and resilience-builders from across New Hampshire will be coming together for the New England Regional Transition Gathering in Keene. You can read more about it here. Transition initiatives in the US have been experiencing the impacts of climate change. As part of our monthly theme of ‘living with climate change’, Joanne Poyourow from LA and Karen Tracy from Joshua Tree shared their experiences.
Greyton Transition in South Africa tweeted the following photo asking, quite justifiably, “Are we building South Africa’s first bottle brick building?”
April 3rd-4th sees the first Transition Launch training in Israel. Also, here is a video of a talk about Transition, in Hebrew, from Tivon in Israel. First Hebrew Transition talk we’ve come across thus far:
In Germany, two Spring Transition Launch trainings are coming up, one on 5-6th April in Horn Bad-Meinberg and the other on 10-11th May in Dresden. More information and registering to the training here.
Transition Regensburg has got a special visit in February. A group of some very enthusiastic people from Würzburg are going to set up Transition Würzburg, and visited the Bavarian town to gather information and practical advice on how to start a Transition initiative. According to their plan in summer they are going to open to the public with film events in Würzburg, starting with the film Voices of Transition.
In Australia, Transition Town Ranwick recently held an event with the great title “Assisting Each Other In Our Journey To Be Resilient, Self Sufficient and Compassionate Beings”. Transition Newcastle recently held their AGM, and convenor Graeme Stuart wrote a great Convenor’s Report which offers a great overview of what the group has been up to over the past year.
From Canada, Hassan Arif tweeted “Great mtg of Transition #Fredericton, environmental sustainability, amazing innovation in this city”. Also, Transition Town Powell River (nice logo guys – right) were selling seed potatoes at their Seedy Saturday this year as a fundraiser, and have a few left. They write: “If you missed us at Seedy Saturday and would like to get some, here’s what we have:
If you’re interested, contact them via their website.
Finally, a new report from Forum for the Future described Transition as “a significant global social movement with a hard political edge”. We can live with that.