Chuck Collins

Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, USA.

Transition activist, pipeline resister, storyteller and campaigner

Tell us about your Transition initiative in 20 words: Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition is a…(starting 20 words now!) … multi-racial Boston neighborhood group reweaving social fabric, building resilience and strengthening relationships to face the economic and ecological uncertainties ahead.

What, or who, was your first encounter with Transition? Reading The Transition Handbook, going through a “Training for Transition,” watching the “Power of Communities” documentary film about Cuba.

What do you love about Transition?  I love the feeling of responding to big challenges at the local level, finding others who are passionate about reskilling ourselves and our communities.  And I love that it’s a global movement of people acting locally and sharing stories.

If there was one thing you would change about your journey through Transition, what would it be, and what would help you do it?   I think we were a bit rigid at first, looking at the blueprints as opposed to trusting our own thinking about how to build a strong local organization.  For example, it really helps to have some part-time staffing who can hold the scaffolding under all the volunteer work.  We thought we were breaking the rules.

When you’re not doing Transition, what do you do?  Raising kids, growing vegetables, blocking fossil fuel infrastructure projects. My day job is I’m a senior scholar at the Institute for Policy Studies, campaigning around issues of income and wealth inequality, co-editing I have a new book coming out in September about privilege – Born on Third Base – inviting the wealthiest 1 percent and the affluent to “come home” and bring their wealth home to local transition efforts.

What one piece of advice would you give someone new to Transition?  Find people who, in spite of the dire warnings, believe that we still have agency to alter the trajectory away from economic and ecological catastrophe.  Find people who are “helpful and hopeful,” interested in the power of just doing stuff, and who want to deepen their connections with neighbors and nature. Watch for the sparks of energy and action.