Our region: Margaret River and the Capes
The Augusta Margaret River Shire is located in the south western tip of Australia. Margaret River is the largest town with approximately 6000 of the Shire’s 12000 residents.
Transition Margaret River is based in Margaret River and inclusive of the surrounding rural community and small townships in ‘the Capes’, the area between Cape Naturaliste and Cape Leeuwin.
The area is rural with a history of dairy and timber industries which have given way to a world-renowned wine region and tourist (1.5 million per year) destination. The area has world-class surfing locations, forests and caves. It is a world biodiversity hotspot.
Transition Margaret River members are aware of the vulnerability of a small rural community in the time of climate change and economic pressures. The south west of Australia is considered to be particularly vulnerable to climate change. Significant changes are already being measured, for example climate change has contributed to the marked drying trend in the south west of the Western Australia. Sea levels on the west coast are rising at twice the global average. Projections include increasing temperatures, reduced rainfall and streamflow, rising sea level, changes in ocean currents, temperature and acidity, and an increase in extreme weather events including the magnitude and frequency of storm surges. Impacts include coastal erosion and inundation, reduced groundwater and surface water supplies, increased severe weather events and bushfire frequency and intensity, and altered terrestrial and marine habitats. There are serious implications for coastal settlements, agriculture including the viticulture industry, tourism and biodiversity.
Our aim is to build resilience and cooperation in Margaret River and the region to create a happier and more sustainable future.
How Transition Margaret River came about
It happened, as the best things often do, with people talking over a cup of coffee. Something was missing in the Margaret River region — a forum for exchanging ideas about sustainable living and local projects. Two people put out a call and an astonishing 70+ people turned up at Blue Ginger Café. Sustain Margaret River was born. Some of those people continued to meet, hosted by Felicity Haynes at her inspirational Tingrith Meeting House. Ideas bounced around as the group evolved a joint direction. The model of ‘Transition Networks’ was interesting and a turning point was four members attending the 2012 Transition WA Conference at Donnelly River in February. At our March 2012 meeting the group decided to change our name to Transition Margaret River in order to make transparent our desire to become an active part of the transitioning network in the south west. We became an official Transition Town in November 2012.
Transition Margaret River has drawn together a growing number of local community groups and individuals, creating a network of diverse people across our community who share common interests in a sustainable and hopeful future.
Our first steps
- Over 60 people attended a film night and community gathering on 20 June 2012, hosted by Transition Margaret River to celebrate the Festival of Transition, coinciding with the first day of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janiero. Felicity Haynes explained the background of the Transition movement before screeningIn Transition 2.
- The June event started a conversation about ‘transitioning’ to a sustainable future.Transition Margaret River hosted an ‘open space’ event on 22 July when some 40 people addressed the question ‘what are the opportunities for the Margaret River and Capes community to become more resilient in uncertain times?’
- Activities in 2012 included monthly film and bring-a-plate meetings, instituting a monthly ‘Swap Shuffle Share’ to share seeds, plants and produce in the Fair Harvest Barn, a community presentation by Canadian Nicole Foss on ‘Peak oil and the financial crisis’, a display at the Margaret River Agricultural Show, screening of the Sundance 2010 award-winning ‘Obselidia – the encyclopedia of obsolete things’ as part of encouraging youth involvement, involvement in ForeverGreen an organic afFAIR at the Margaret River Organic Garden, and numerous informal ‘get togethers’ to discuss individual projects.
- TMR hosted a Transition Gathering in Margaret River in December 2012 for people interested in Transition in south west WA to share ideas at a gathering of regional Transition groups and Transition supporters.
- In 2013 we consolidated our projects and developed a Communication Plan to spread the word and diversify our membership. We now have a Facebook page as well as the monthly email Newsletter, and a more diverse meeting and event format.
- Forming a partnership with Curtin University Sustainable Policy (CUSP) Institute (and using its Margaret River Tertiary Campus) was a turning point, enabling monthly free community seminars on sustainability topics as well as joint workshops. CUSP has an MOU with the Shire of Augusta Margaret River. Transition Margaret River has become the community partner for some joint initiatives with the Shire eg a community workshop on renewable energy.
Since 2012 our network has grown to about 450 people and community groups with a core group of more than 50 active ‘Transitioners’. Key themes include local food, permaculture, renewable energy, electric vehicles, reducing waste (especially plastic), sustainable living, water, climate change adaptation and community change. We promote ‘buy local’, sustainable development, arts and creativity as elements of a resilient community, and environmental protection.
Through raising awareness, seminars, partnerships, events and projects we are helping our community to build a low-carbon, healthier, happier future that is gentler on the earth than the way most of us live today.
You can find out more at https://transitiontmr.wordpress.com/