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Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

One Minute Review: Happier People, Healthier Planet.

One Minute Review: Happier People, Healthier Planet by Teresa Belton. 

Reviewed by Jesús Martín.

Published last September , this is a book which deeply touches its reader, not only from a mental perspective also…

See More
Wednesday
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

Transition Mythology - Mythic Roundtable #3 Interview with Mythologist Willi Paul by Peter Ruddock, Transition Palo Alto

Transition Mythology -  Mythic Roundtable #3Interview with Mythologist Willi Paulby Peter Ruddock, Transition Palo Alto http://www.planetshifter.com/node/2255See More
Tuesday
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

The Transition Agony Aunt: "Help! Our meetings are boring us to tears"...

Dear Auntie, please help.  I love doing Transition, and I love the projects our group is doing, but I can't bear our Core Group meetings.  They are lacklustre, tedious and I feel myself losing the will to live in them.  I would love to be able to take some…

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Tuesday
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

The Resilience Center for the Transition (RCT) with Site Plan (PDF). A Permaculture & Reskilling Vision by Willi Paul, CommunityAlchemy.com

The Resilience Center for the Transition (RCT) with Site Plan (PDF). A Permaculture & Reskilling Vision by Willi Paul, CommunityAlchemy.comhttp://www.planetshifter.com/node/2254See More
Monday
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

Ackroyd & Harvey on "the creative response to climate change"

Heather Ackroyd (HA) and Dan Harvey (DH) work together as Ackroyd and Harvey.  Sculpture, photography, architecture, ecology and biology are some of the disciplines that intersect in their work, revealing an intrinsic bias towards process and event. For over 25 years their work has…

See More
Monday
Yuri Smirnov liked Yuri Smirnov's video
Sunday
Yuri Smirnov posted a video

Masterpeices: Wooden spoons from ecovillage of Kin's domains

See these wonderful masterpieces, wooden spoons (cherry wood, oak wood) made by my friend, the craftsman, living in ecovillage of Kin's domains Vedrussia. To...
Sunday
Yuri Smirnov posted photos
Sunday
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

Seeing Transition take flight: a day in Luxembourg

I had never been to Luxembourg before.  Having recently visited France and Belgium to meet Transition groups, I had just about got used to the fact that in one (I can't remember which) people kiss on one cheek, and in the other they kiss on two cheeks, and I always get it wrong,…

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Mar 21
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post
Mar 20
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

Podcast: SWIMBY the Musical: an update: "you have to reach for the stars"

Today's blog is a podcast recorded in poet Matt Harvey's composing shed in his garden in Totnes.  A few weeks ago, SWIMBY The Musical (original working title 'Transition Town: The Musical') raised…

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Mar 18
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

Peninsula Mythic Roundtable Invite from Mythologist / Entrepreneur Willi Paul, April 1, plus interview with Willi

Peninsula Mythic Roundtable Invite from Mythologist / Entrepreneur Willi Paul, April 1, 7:30 - 9:30 PM, Mountain View Community Center, Free. Plus an Interview with Willi by Peter Ruddock, Transition Palo Alto http://www.planetshifter.com/node/2252See More
Mar 17
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

From the archive: Transition Town Anywhere

Here's a piece from 2012 which is a great contribution to our Social Change and the Arts theme.  We also post it in loving memory of Battersea Arts Centre, whose magical space helped to…

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Mar 17
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

Sally Ludwig of Transition Guelph on the Transition Animal

Transition Guelph asked Sophy to help us scope out the current state of our initative and its progress toward the overall goal of growing resilience in our city. One of the tools she introduced was the Transition Animal. I believe…

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Mar 17
Profile IconTransition Network top stories

Transition movement returns to its Devon roots

It has been announced that delegates from across the world will be travelling to Devon, the birthplace of the Transition movement, in September 2015.  The inaugural Transition Network International Conference will be held from…

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Mar 17
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

Transition at Trinity: the Bristol Roadshow

Bristol was the first official 'Transition City'.  Transition Bristol has been instrumental in many pioneering initiatives in the city, such as the Bristol Pound, the UK's first…

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Mar 16
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

Juan del Rio on his new book: "It's been like a birth"

Juan del Rio is the author of the recently published 'Guía del movimiento de transición', the first book about Transition in Spanish.  He has been involved with social movements and Transition for the last 10 years, and is part of an initiative in his town of Cardedeu near Barcelona.  We thought we should hear a bit more about the book and how it came to be, so we gave Juan a call.  We'll start with a…

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Mar 16
Profile IconRob Hopkins's blog

The Transition Agony Aunt on how to respond to elections

Dear Agony Aunt.  This May sees the General Election in the UK.  What is your advice about how Transition groups should respond to elections?  How can we raise the issues we would like to see discussed by our local candidates, while retaining the party political…

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Mar 16
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post
Mar 14
Dayana Andrade and gina graham are now friends
Mar 13

DAILY GLOBAL SCAN FOR SIGHTINGS OF TRANSITION

Daily Transition News -- Scoop.it by Christoph Hensch

Sustainability Surprise Party - Transition Leader Network


We invite your creative participation in a bold new initiative: the global Sustainability Surprise Party. Its purpose is to bring the need for large-scale transformative change to the forefront of the public agenda in a way that vested interests cannot stop. During May 2014 individuals and organisations around the world will put on thousands of blogs, conversations and events telling the truth about the need and hopeful possibilities of transitioning to a life-sustaining society.

Nasa-funded study: industrial civilisation headed for 'irreversible collapse'?


Nafeez Ahmed: Natural and social scientists develop new model of how 'perfect storm' of crises could unravel global system


Accepting Applications: Fuller Challenge Cycle Open Now! | The Buckminster Fuller Institute


The Buckminster Fuller Institute formally announces the Call for Proposals to the 2014 Fuller Challenge. Recognized as “Socially-Responsible Design’s Highest Award”, the Challenge invites activists, architects, artists, designers, entrepreneurs, students and planners from all over the world to submit their innovative solutions to some of humanity’s most pressing problems. A $100,000 prize is awarded to support the development and implementation of one outstanding strategy. Entries will be accepted until April 11, 2014.

The Enterprising Ecovillager. Achieving Community Development through Innovative Green Entrepreneurship | Ecovillages Project


A handbook "THE ENTERPRISING ECOVILLAGER. ACHIEVING COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT THROUGH INNOVATIVE GREEN ENTREPRENEURSHIP" focus on green business and entrepreneurship, offering a practical guide on how ecovillages can create business opportunities that adhere to the principles of truly green thinking. It gives an overview of the different aspects that should be considered by the aspiring ecovillage entrepreneur, and presents examples of successful business stories from various ecovillages around Europe. The book also strives to remedy the reluctance that many ecovillagers feel toward business. Furthermore, it demonstrates the ways in which ecovillages are ideally suited to run businesses that are compatible with the well-being of both people and planet, the businesses of the future. 



Building the World's Most Sustainable Modern Town


Kalu Yala, a sustainable settlement for innovators, may be the alternative real estate model the world needs.


Transition Culture -- Rob Hopkins

One Minute Review: Happier People, Healthier Planet.

One Minute Review: Happier People, Healthier Planet by Teresa Belton. 

Reviewed by Jesús Martín.

Published last September , this is a book which deeply touches its reader, not only from a mental perspective also but from an emotional and active one. This is probably a book that doesn’t need to be advertised, word of mouth marketing will work for sure.

The subtitle “how putting wellbeing first would help sustain life on Earth” gives us some clues about the whole subject. Although it seems a kind of Catch-22, Teresa perfectly re-frames this situation. She frames the core idea well in the following paragraph:

“The burgeoning field of wellbeing research offers us a good understanding that the sources of real human fulfillment are to be found in non-material aspects of life. It confirms what we largely already know deep down but tend not to heed, that lasting happiness and satisfaction derive not from money and material acquisition, but from good relationships, active engagement in life, a feeling of belonging combined with one of self-determination, and a sense of meaning or purpose”

The first part of the book draws a landscape about the situation of our planet (climate change, peak oil, waste, planetary boundaries…), our whole society (consumerism) and the personal issue (mental health, unhappiness…), the last one mostly in UK, but it could happen in other countries because of the shared values. This is the ugly information that we all almost know. However, this knowledge has mostly been the seed of the change for the ninety-four people who will appear in the rest of the book.

The powerful idea of the book was to dive deeper into the causes and meaning behind the lifestyle of these people who answered yes to the following questions: Do you live a life of modest material consumption? Are you happy with your lifestyle?

Thanks to this research, Teresa unveils the personal causes behind the change or behavior of most of them. Here, the book becomes an inner experience. Everyone has something, some kind of history that can resonate in your own life. I think that it is not giving tips that one can change but with emotional experiences as Teresa reflects in her book where she gives words to these unknown heroes. Among them, there are some who are active in initiatives of transition towns.

Finally, most of the chapters offer us some conclusion and guidelines for action. The circle of head, heart and hands is closed. So if you want to feel an outstanding experience about empathy, values and change that could pick you up to a World of Wellbeing, just order your copy of “Happier People Healthier Planet” here.

If you would like to review something, a film, book or event, in a way that would take less than a minute to read, we'd love to hear from you.  Contact robhopkins@transitionnetwork.org.  

The Transition Agony Aunt: "Help! Our meetings are boring us to tears"...

Dear Auntie, please help.  I love doing Transition, and I love the projects our group is doing, but I can't bear our Core Group meetings.  They are lacklustre, tedious and I feel myself losing the will to live in them.  I would love to be able to take some suggestions to our next meeting for making them lively, enjoyable and something I look forward to.  Any tips?" J.L.  

Reading your question I wonder whether you’re a “meetings” kind of person, and whether it’s the right place for you to be in Transition? I don’t think meetings are for everyone – it takes a particular willingness to structure things, to be patient, to work with whoever else is there, that not everyone wants to do – and one of the great strengths of something like Transition when it’s working well is that we can all find the place where we can be of most use, while enjoying ourselves. 

It’s great to hear that the projects your group is doing are enjoyable – and it shows that there’s skills somewhere in your initiative for getting things to work well. If you want to work to improve the meetings, here are some ideas which have worked in other groups. 

Put “Our meetings” on the agenda, and plan some questions that will start a discussion about how everyone is finding the meetings and what could improve them – such as

  • What do you like about our meetings?

  • What works well?

  • How could meetings be more engaging, enjoyable and energising?

  • What could make our meetings more effective? 

Encourage a willingness to experiment – it’s what Transition is all about, trying new ways of doing things – so it’s good to practice that ourselves. 

What if we share food at one of the meetings? Or hear from each other about what we love about our place? Or say one thing we’d really like to see in the future? Maybe you can share food one time, and have social time with that – so you can get to know each other a bit better as people. For some people this can feel uncomfortable at first – it’s easier to just stick with the business – but most groups find that in the long run getting to hear more from each other warms the meetings up when we talk about things we care about. 

On a more practical note, many groups have found that getting some training in running meetings helps – in Totnes the core group all attended a one day training in meetings methods after just a few months of meeting, which meant we had some tried and tested structures for making our meetings effective and inclusive. 

There are good online resources on the Transition website we have:

Our Agony Aunt today was Sophy BanksFor more information about how to develop Transition then check out our Support Offer which provides a wide range of activities and resources to help you develop all aspect of Transition in your community.   Do you have a question for our Agony Aunt?  Please email her at agonyaunt@transitionnetwork.org.  

Ackroyd & Harvey on "the creative response to climate change"

Heather Ackroyd (HA) and Dan Harvey (DH) work together as Ackroyd and Harvey.  Sculpture, photography, architecture, ecology and biology are some of the disciplines that intersect in their work, revealing an intrinsic bias towards process and event. For over 25 years their work has been exhibited in contemporary art galleries, museums and public spaces worldwide.  They are also one of the contributors to Lucy Neal's book 'Playing for Time', and active members of Transition Dorking.  I started by asking them what, for them, is "art"?

HA: In a way now it’s become a way of life. As a way for people to get a handle on what we do we say we’re artists, but sometimes it will be the question "do you paint?" Or depending on who you’re having the conversation with, people by and large now say "what kind of art do you do?" Usually at this point, we bring out some postcards that we have lurking in our bags because working with visual media as we do, it just seems easier to say "ok, this is an example of what we do". That then allows people to go "oh, right, ok". Then they start to ask questions.

DA: Because our work doesn’t naturally fall into a category; it’s not painting, it’s not sculpture as such, it has its own life energy. So it’s quite difficult to explain what we do, but it is in very much a visual language.

HA: Well you’ve managed to explain it to me after about 24 years!

In your section for Lucy Neal's book 'Playing for Time' you write about "energising the creative response to climate change". What does that creative response to climate change look like, and why do we need one?

HA: I don’t think there is one singular way that we respond to it. Going back to the point that Dan and I first met back in 1990, the medium of our work was actually chlorophyll, working with seedling grass, using seedling grass grown in a clay base, growing vertically over an existing architectural structure. That was our point of connection. We were talking about processes of growth, processes of change, processes of transformation. In a way, whenever you are dealing with processes of growth, you have to also embrace the inevitability of decay or of degradation as well. So we’ve always been interested in these pivotal points.

Chlorophyll portrait: Void Gallery, Derry, Northern Ireland 2001.

Around 1988 I was really very keenly aware of all the conversations around the greenhouse effect. Following on from the very pivotal speech from James E Hansen about saying "Houston, we have a problem", and we’re pretty sure that what’s gone wrong is we’re unleashing far too much carbon dioxide into the atmosphere and this is causing this phenomenon called the greenhouse effect. This really caught my imagination, but I think it was a number of years before Dan and I started to actually…

Put it this way: we would never actually say "this is climate change". That doesn’t sit comfortably with us at all. We don’t like that bald categorisation of what we do.

DH: I think as artists, you work with things that interest you and intrigue you, and sometimes maybe things that you don’t understand as well. With one of the materials, working with the seedling grass the way we do and talking about chlorophyll and photosynthesis, in some ways it is the photosynthesis that has changed the climate, having created a climate that we can actually survive in. So it’s quite interesting, the way that works, starting to move into looking at the environment that we exist within.

Their 2003 project which transformed the unique site of Dilston Grove, a de-consecrated and now derelict church in Bermondsey, into a verdant green chamber of living grass.

Can you tell us a bit about some of your work, some of your projects?

HA: One aspect, just to pick up on what Dan was saying about the chlorophyll is that we make these very complex biochemical photographs working with chlorophyll as a light sensitive pigment so we can make these incredibly complex images that grown on the vertical we’ll often make the space into the dark room. The images are taken by ourselves, that we’ll project onto a wall of growing grass. And then within about 8-10 days, we have an incredibly detailed and very exquisite positive image.

DA: The only space that these species receive are from a projected negative onto them, so where the light falls it produces the chlorophyll and goes dark green, where there’s less light is goes less green. Where there’s no light, they grow but they stay yellow.

HA: These are pieces of work that we’ve been doing for about 24 years now. Specifically a project that we initiated in 2007 which we called ‘Beuys’ Acorns'. There is a very famous artist who died in 1986, Joseph Beuys, a German artist. He had incredible worldwide fame and he became very articulate and very passionate about ecology, about the environment, about nature. He actually was one of the founder members of the German Green Party. He got out of politics when he realised how toxic it was on some levels, but he could bring his fame and he could bring a lot of leverage to subjects.

Beuy's Acorns.

If you look at the way that Germany is now in terms of renewable energy, in terms of how it manages energy, how it’s managing the whole debate around climate change, it really is far in advance of where we are, where we seem to be at times almost Medieval wanting to go into fracking.

He did an amazing piece of work called ‘Seven Thousand Oaks’. He didn’t complete the project before he died, planting seven thousand trees. We collected acorns from a number of the trees and we’ve been growing them, we have about 200 surviving saplings. For the last few years, we’ve exhibited them in some high profile galleries and venues.

AH

We’ve also done some high profile events, for example the Nobel Laureate Symposium and we’re trying at the moment to get a major project in Paris happening to coincide with COP 21 which is based around tree planting, but it’s also about planting ideas, very multi-disciplinary, visions for now, visions for the future, which will place ecological and social biodiversity into a framework which is mutually beneficial, and will allow evolution that isn’t going to put us into boiling water.

DH: We got involved with a project ‘Cape Farewell’ in 2003 that was taking artists, musicians, writers and scientists on a very small sailing schooner into the High Arctic, and experiencing, seeing the changes that were taking place there. We were lucky enough to be involved over a number of years - the last trip was in 2007. But in that time actually really physically seeing the glaciers retreating, but also having scientists on hand, oceanographers and people to speak with, I think that stimulated a number of pieces of work.

HA: The 'Ice Lens'.

DH: There was a big lens that we carved out of a section of glacial ice. The idea was to get it to focus the sunlight to melt or burn things. Unfortunately, the warmest it got at that time was -27 and the ice just kept on glazing over and frosting and cracking, so we never really got it to focus the light, but it acted as a sort of sun catcher anyway.

Ice lens.

'Stranded'. 2006 and 2013. Natural History Museum.

There was another piece we did, ‘Stranded’ where we managed to access the skeleton of a stranded whale that was washed up in Skegness through the Natural History Museum. We fenced it on the beach, took the bones out and crystallised the whole piece, the idea was talking with oceanographers about changes in the chemical balance within the oceans that are directly affecting corals but also the plankton that the whales live on. So it was a piece that speaks directly with that. ‘The Polar Bear Diamond’ was another.

HA: We sometimes say that there’s an orchestration of responses that we have. It has very much grown out of our body of work. It’s very embedded in the way that we think about natural processes of growth and inorganic processes of growth such as crystals. Some of the earlier work we’re doing in some ways was drawing some really important science that’s been done in this country to show how critically important it is to plant more trees, have green roofs, have more parks in our urban and city spaces to counteract the effects of the heat island effect and warming temperatures and flooding and storms. We’re trying to get to the point where we’re trying to physically engage with people I suppose in more of an aesthetic than an activist role.

RH: And what’s your sense of the role that the Arts can play in Transition? Why does Transition need the Arts and then as an extension from that, why does the Arts need Transition?

HA: We all need art in our lives, whether it’s in the broader sense: music, writing, paintings, sculptures, beautiful aesthetic designs. Creativity should be almost welded into our beings, and whether or not one is an engineer or a physicist; the people I often find the most exciting are from very different disciplines. Lawyers have such an embedded creative approach which is also quite critical, and when I say critical I mean there’s a criticality there which is good, and communication skills are really important.

It’s about trying to use imagination, use vision, use wit, use insight, use, I don’t know, use inner dreams to navigate our way through these various crises that we find ourselves in. Art has been both a guardian and a guide and an absolute independent presence that has shaped and inspired going back to cave paintings really.

Yes, Transition is about getting ourselves off this fossil fuel dependence which is heavily promoted by businesses and corporations who we know historically have done some pretty rotten stuff to stop it advancing as we should do, but it’s also all about how we teach, how we share knowledge, what’s important in our world, what we deserve, what we should be protecting, what we should be embracing and celebrating as well.

[Here is the unedited podcast of our conversation].


Ackroyd & Harvey are just two of over 60 artists who have written sections for Lucy Neal's forthcoming book 'Playing for Time: making art as if the world mattered" (see cover, right).  The book is published at the end of this month.  TransitionNetwork.org readers can get £5 off Playing for Time.  Simply enter this discount code at oberonbooks.com - ONPFT2015.  Valid until 31 Dec 2015.

Seeing Transition take flight: a day in Luxembourg

I had never been to Luxembourg before.  Having recently visited France and Belgium to meet Transition groups, I had just about got used to the fact that in one (I can't remember which) people kiss on one cheek, and in the other they kiss on two cheeks, and I always get it wrong, either over-kissing or leaving people feeling short-changed.  My confusion was multiplied substantially therefore to find that in Luxembourg people kiss three times!  I kept life simpler by just shaking peoples' hands.  Once I had got used to the fact that the capital city and the country as a whole have the same name, it turned out to be a friendly and charming place. 

Compared to its neighbours, Germany, France and Belgium, Transition in Luxembourg is in its infancy.  Its genesis can be traced back to 2010, and the founding, by Katy Fox, of Centre for Ecological Learning Luxembourg (CELL).  CELL was initially founded as a vehicle to bring permaculture and eco-village thinking to Luxembourg.  Katy, who was moving home after living in Scotland for many years, was also inspired by subsistence agriculture she spent time studying in Romania.  In 2010 she also discovered Transition and liked the "inclusive, do-it-where-you-are, integrated, Head/Heart/Hands thing". 

logo So CELL was formed in 2010 as a structure that could put on trainings and events and generally raise the profile of these various initiatives as well as supporting the emergence of citizen-led, self-organising action groups with either thematic or geographical focus.  It had its formal launch in January 2011.  By 2012 the first community garden in Luxembourg city’s first Transition initiative was underway, and SEED, a group dedicated to saving seeds, had formed.  In April the first Transition group emerged, Transition Minett, which embarked on, among other things, urban gardening projects, food co-ops, an energy co-op and a DIY skillshare festival

Poater In 2013, Transition West began, a rural initiative with a rather nice logo (regular readers will know that I am a bit of a 'collector' of good Transition group logos - sadly I can't find this one online...).  They started doing interesting things with aquaponics among other things.  Transition West and the CELL headquarters are located in Beckerich, which has been pioneering energy autonomy projects (gas biomethanisation cooperatives with farmers, retrofitting houses, green energy and solar cooperatives, clusters for innovative businesses) since the mid-1990s.

In 2014, TERRA, a great CSA market garden, of which more later, got started.  Two more Transition initiatives formed in the north of Luxembourg, largely with a focus on food projects Transition Bonnevoie also formed.  Something is stirring. 

I spent one very full day there supporting the work of the Luxembourg Transition Network, who have recently been funded by the Ministry of the Environment to have a fulltime national co-ordinator in order to help accelerate Transition.  My first activity of the day was to run a four-hour workshop at Henri Tudor Centre, for architects planners and engineers.  Titled "The post-carbon city: the concept of 'transition towns'", the aim was to bring them up to speed on Transition and how it might relate to their disciplines.   

The Web of Resilience activity.

About thirty people came, from across that professional spectrum, and it was a very entertaining morning.  We played the 'Web of Resilience' game with string, we did a self-taught 'milling' exercise with the Transition Ingredients cards, we discussed Transition, the leaky bucket and how resilience differs from sustainability.  Very enjoyable, and hopefully useful for them too.

Then after lunch we headed off to TERRA, Luxembourg's first Community Supported Agriculture project.  Situated on a plateau looking across to Luxembourg city, the garden was started last year by three passionate permaculturists/Transitioner/food growers, Marko, Pit and Sophie. 

With Marko, Pit and Sophie of TERRA. Photo - Annick Feipel

Their 1.5 hectare site already contained a number of mature fruit trees.  To this they have added two polytunnels, a water tower, and many no-dig beds for outdooor crops.  As a CSA they already have 150 members who receive a monthly box.  They reckon that 200 would be the maximum their site could support. 

Conversation in the barn. Photo - Joanne Theisen

When I arrived, a large group of Transitioners and others were already there, and in a beautiful barn in which they sort and store their produce, we gathered for tea and a discussion of some questions that were, for them, especially pressing.  After a while, as the sun broke through outside, we headed out to see the field in which the CSA is based. 

Very impressive it was too, although clearly not the time of year to really see it at its finest.  They offer two different sizes of vegetable box, the 'Pierre Rabhi' (Rabhi is a well-known French advocate of small scale farming) and the larger 'Vandana Shiva' (for 3-4 people per week).  Most entertaining.  Thankfully the 'Rob Hopkins mixed nut assortment' has yet to see the light of day. 

Group photo at TERRA. Photo - Joanne Theisen

The garden.

From here we whizzed back into town for the evening's talk.  This was hosted at l'Athénée de Luxembourg, a secondary school, in their largest hall.  By the time the talk began, the hall was packed, standing room only, 350-400 people (I was told that generally in Luxembourg getting 50 people to a conference is an achievement, and 100 is exceptional, so this was quite something). 

 Photo - Joanne Theisen.

Norry and Katy (right) with Antoine and Nicolas, the translators. Photo - Joanne Theisen Photo - AnnickFeipel

The evening began with Norry, one of the co-ordinators of Luxembourg Transition Network, setting the scene, and then Katy Fox giving an overview of the arrival of Transition and its unfolding in Luxembourg.  I then spoke for about 40 minutes, with Nicolas and Antoine, my excellent translators, doing their very best to keep up.  We had a great Q&A session, and it all seemed to go down very well. Here are a few photos: 

Photo - Carole Reckinger.

Turning to your neighbour to 'digest' the talk. Photo - Carole Reckinger.

Photo - Carole Reckinger.

Book for sale. Photo - Joanne Theisen.

By the time I'd finished, the potluck supper brought by many people had largely been devoured, but I managed to get enough, and a beer, and had many good conversations with lots of different people.  Very enjoyable and entertaining.  Eventually I headed off into the night for a short night's sleep which included an odd dream about sharks nibbling my toes, before getting up early for the Eurostar home. 

My thanks to Katy, Norry and the other organisers, to Carole Reckinger and Joanne Theisen for letting me use their photos here, and to all the great people I met.  And wishing the guys at TERRA an abundant harvest in 2015.  

Podcast: SWIMBY the Musical: an update: "you have to reach for the stars"

Today's blog is a podcast recorded in poet Matt Harvey's composing shed in his garden in Totnes.  A few weeks ago, SWIMBY The Musical (original working title 'Transition Town: The Musical') raised over £10,000 in a Kickstarter appeal, and this was followed by some Arts Council funding.  

So now the team of Matt Harvey (poet/lyricist), Thomas Hewitt Jones (composer) and Chloe Uden (producer) are hard at work actually writing it.  So we met in Matt's shed to find out where they're up to and what happens next.  

They are still needing some funds, so if you are inspired to help them out, do get in touch.  They're on Facebook and Twitter. (You can either just play this podcast, or download it to listen to at your leisure).

Top Stories from Transition Network (UK)

Transition movement returns to its Devon roots

It has been announced that delegates from across the world will be travelling to Devon, the birthplace of the Transition movement, in September 2015.  The inaugural Transition Network International Conference will be held from 18th-20th September with 350 Transition representatives from across the globe expected to be in attendance at the event. The Conference is being held at Seale-Hayne – the ex-agricultural college now operated by the Dame Hannah Rogers Trust - just outside Newton Abbot. 

From its origins in Totnes, this ground-breaking Transition movement has spread virally to more than 1,200 communities in at least 43 countries.  From Brazil to Japan, from Canada to Croatia, people have been inspired to get together with their neighbours and make the place where they live, happier, healthier and more resilient.  Now Transition Network, the UK charity which works to inspire, connect, train and support these groups is organising an innovative, international conference in the county where the movement originated.

confernece

Hundreds of Transitioners are expected to attend in person and many more will be able to participate online through a live webcast event. They will share ideas and information, learn new skills and showcase the huge range of projects and activities through which people are reducing energy consumption and waste, taking care of each other and the environment, growing food more sustainably, supporting local enterprises and much, much more. 

Rob Hopkins, one of the co-founders of the Transition movement, says:

“This is a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Transition in all its forms in the place where it was born. Transition Network has had its base in Devon for over seven years and we’re incredibly excited to be welcoming hundreds of guests from across the UK and beyond to a region which is home to a wealth of great Transition groups and projects plus many related social enterprises ranging from permaculture to conservation; renewable energy co-operatives to community housing initiatives.  This is our chance to mark how far the Transition movement has travelled and discuss where we go next!”

The main Transition conference will take place on 19 and 20 September with fringe events happening in the two days leading into the weekend.  The event has been timed to follow the International Permaculture Convergence taking place in Essex earlier in September and it is expected that up to 150 delegates from that event will descend on Devon as part of a tour organised by Transition Town Totnes.  Hundreds of further arrivals are then expected over the weekend as the Transition conference swings into action.

The majority of the visitors will be housed at Seale Hayne, but some will be based in the surrounding area, including being hosted in the homes of local Transition activists.

Transition Network Conference 2015: March update

We are delighted to announce that after a couple of years with no Transition Network conference, it’s back, and it’s going to be a remarkable couple of days. It will take place at the wonderful Seale Hayne, close to Totnes in Devon, where we held the 2010 conference between 18-20 September 2015. This year’s conference will be a celebration of the truly international thing that Transition has become. Either side of it we are currently designing fringe events, trainings, tours and other things so you can make the most of your time. Tickets will go on sale in April.

The Conference is very much coming off the back of the International Permaculture Convergence that is occurring in Essex and which finishes just days before our own event. Around 150 delegates are expected to descend on Devon direct from the IPC as part of a tour organised by Transition Town Totnes which in turn leads into our conference. With so many International guests in the country anyway, and the National Hubs Gathering also planned to occur around this time in the UK, it seems appropriate that this year’s conference will really focus in on the unfolding Global Story of Transition.

For now though, we would love to hear from you a sense of the workshops you’d like to see on offer there and how you may contribute, particularly as part of the Friday Fringe events. We are looking to offer day-longs Transition Skills workshops over this day and welcome offers for this. Please send your ideas to info@transitionnetwork.org. There will be great food, there will be music and dancing, there will be a deep, rich, rejuvenating, reconnecting occasion where you’ll meet Transition folks from all over and have a chance to learn from one another. Keep an eye on the website for details, but for now, pop that date in your diary. We can’t wait!

March 2015 - Transition Network Newsletter

This month we have more on our conference and roadshows. A round up of the last theme 'The Power to Convene' and our new theme Social Change and the Arts. A call out to help us tell the Transition Story, The Transition Health Check to help uyou reflect on how your Transition initiative is doing. In Thinking Aloud we face the puzzle of who gets left with the unburnable carbon. Plus our Agony Aunt, book reviews and events coming up.


 

Transition Network conference
18-20 September 2015
We are delighted to announce that after a couple of years with no Transition Network conference, it’s back, and it’s going to be a remarkable couple of days. It will take place at the wonderful Seale Hayne, close to Totnes in Devon, where we held the 2010 conference. This year’s conference will be a celebration of the truly international thing that Transition has become. Either side of it we are currently designing fringe events, trainings, tours and other things so you can make the most of your time. Tickets will go on sale in April.

The Conference is very much coming off the back of the International Permaculture Convergence that is occurring in Essex and which finishes just days before our own event. Around 150 delegates are expected to descend on Devon direct from the IPC as part of a tour organised by Transition Town Totnes which in turn leads into our conference. With so many International guests in the country anyway, and the National Hubs Gathering also planned to occur around this time in the UK, it seems appropriate that this year’s conference will really focus in on the unfolding Global Story of Transition.

For now though, we would love to hear from you a sense of the workshops you’d like to see on offer there and how you may contribute, particularly as part of the Friday Fringe events. We are looking to offer day-longs Transition Skills workshops over this day and welcome offers for this. Please send your ideas to info@transitionnetwork.org. There will be great food, there will be music and dancing, there will be a deep, rich, rejuvenating, reconnecting occasion where you’ll meet Transition folks from all over and have a chance to learn from one another. Keep an eye on the website for details, but for now, pop that date in your diary. We can’t wait!


Transition UK Roadshows

  • Bristol 14 March
  • Berkhamsted 19 April

Don’t want to wait until autumn to connect with other Transitioners, share ideas and experiences and go away inspired? Then come along to one of the final two in our series of UK Transition Roadshows. For more about the fabulous things on offer see here:
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/roadshow


THEMES


Transitioners' Digest of 'The Power to Convene' (Jan-Feb 2015)
The theme for January February was ‘The Power to Convene’. You can read the editorial that set out why we felt it to be an important theme here,  and our ‘Transitioners’ Digest’ of the month’s content here.  

 

March & April Theme: Social Change and the Arts

Our new theme celebrates the publication at the end of March of Lucy Neal’s new book ‘Playing for Time’. The theme opens with an interview with Lucy, and with Rob Hopkins’ framing of the theme, and will feature interviews with many different artists, most of whom appear in Lucy’s book. If you have thoughts on articles or things you’d like to see, do get in touch.

When Transition forgets what it's called
Our month on Social Change and the Arts could be subtitled "Why the Arts need Transition, and why Transition needs the Arts". Over the next 2 months we will be exploring the relationship between Transition (and other approaches to social change) and the arts, speaking to some of the contributors to Lucy Neal's brilliant and remarkable new book 'Playing for Time: making art as if the world mattered' (published early April) and hearing about some inspirational projects and artists.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-03/when-transition-forgets-what-its-called-arts-and-social-change

Lucy Neal on 'Playing for Time'
Lucy's new book "Playing for Time: Making Art as if the World Mattered" is just about to be published in April gathers up stories with over 60 people giving voice to a narrative of change through the artwork they’re making.
In this interview she talks about the inspiration behind the book and the alchemy that arises from an imaginary world.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-03/lucy-neal-playing-time


Help us tell the Transition Story...
Transition Network is collecting examples of when Transition is framed in ways that work, or in ways that don't. And we need your help. If you could spare just a few minutes to share your thoughts we'd be deeply grateful.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-02/which-great-moments-tell-transition-story



REconomy

Working up and testing an idea for a Transition Enterprise
The second in a series of how-to blogs about the process of starting a Transition Enterprise. Mark Simmonds takes us through developing an idea, testing a business model and producing useful initial materials such as a feasibility study and marketing plan.
http://www.reconomy.org/working-up-and-testing-the-idea/


Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movements in the US
Marissa Mommaerts of Transition USA and co-author of “Weaving the Community Resilience and New Economy Movement: Voices and Reflections from the Field” brings together background, insight and extracts from this fascinating report which gathers ideas and learning from across the USA.
http://www.reconomy.org/weaving-the-community-resilience-and-new-economy-movements-in-the-us/


THINKING ALOUD

Who gets left with the unburnable carbon?
A report whose stark call to leave the substantial majority of fossil fuels in the ground by research associate in energy materials modelling at the UCL Institute for Sustainable Resources Christophe McGlade generated a lot of media coverage in recent weeks. In this interview he talks about the disconnect and the inconsistencies between current policy makers’ positions.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-02/christophe-mcglade-who-gets-left-unburnable-carbon

Zero Carbon Powys Conference
Mike Thomas was at the Zero Carbon Powys conference and heard about the latest Zero Carbon Britain report, how framing climate change is really important and what a Zero Carbon Powys could look like.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/michael-thomas/2015-02/zero-carbon-powys-conference


The Transition Agony Aunt
Initiating Groups that can't agree on anything.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-02/transition-agony-aunt-initiating-groups-cant-agree-anything

 


Obituary: Transition Free Press (2012-2015)

On this sad occasion, we pause to celebrate a shining beacon of our collective emergent culture. 
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-02/obituary-transition-free-press-2012-2015

 


One Book Minute Review
'Tiny Homes' by Lloyd Kahn.
How different would the world be if instead of expecting young families to try to survive in the private rented sector, they were instead offered the skills and training needed to house themselves?
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-02/one-minute-review-tiny-homes-lloyd-kahn

Introducing the first book about Transition in Spanish
The first new book about Transition not written in English is a landmark moment worth celebrating. Guía del movimiento de transición is the work of Spanish Transition activist and trainer Juan del Rio. We will be speaking to him soon about the book, what it covers and what his hopes are for it, but for now Rob Hopkins shares the Foreword he wrote which looks at why Transition matters, and why this book matters.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-02/introducing-first-book-about-transition-spanish


Community Engagement: our Support Offer theme for April/May

Alongside our themes, we also take a look in depth at an element of the Support Offer every couple of months.  For ‘Develop an Initiating Group’, we heard stories from initiatives such as Transition Stratford, Transition Black Isle and New Forest Transition how they got started.  Our next one is ‘Community Engagement’, and we’d love to hear from you. Do you have any stories to share with us about innovative and creative ways your initiative sought to engage the local community?  Please get in touch: info@transitionnetwork.org 


TRAINING 

The first Launch onLine in Spanish begins May 5th:
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/events/2015-05-05/curso-oficial-de-transici-n-online-en-castellano

Launch online (English) begins again in May. Details to follow.
See the link below for trainings and events on the UK and abroad. 
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/training


MA in Economics for Transition - Schumacher College
Economics for Transition is about creating an economic system fit for the ecological, social, economic and spiritual challenges of the 21st century as we make the great transition to low carbon, high well-being and resilient economies. May 1st 2015 is the closing date for applicants wishing to commence the programme in September 2015. 
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/ma-economics-transition-schumacher-college  




COMING UP

Join the Transition Bloc at the Time to Act March for Climate Change
Saturday March 7th
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/news/2015-02-25/join-transition-bloc-time-act-march-climate-change

Permaculture and Transition in Totnes
16-19 September
Applied permaculture in South Devon, featuring Transition Town Totnes, Agroforestry Research Trust, Landmatters Permaculture Community and lots more!
https://www.ipcuk.events/edge/permaculture-transition-totnes 

Transition UK Roadshows
Bristol 14 March
Berkhamsted 19 April
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/roadshow


Transition Health Check

How's your Transition initiative doing? The Transition Health Check is a great tool, a simple activity that offers a powerful tool to reflect on what's working and what's missing. Over the next few weeks on the website we'll hear from groups who've done it, but for now, here's the Health Check itself.
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/rob-hopkins/2015-02/have-you-done-transition-health-check-yet

 


More events
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/events

Follow Transition Network on Twitter
http://twitter.com/#!/transitiontowns 

Be a Friend on Facebook
http://www.facebook.com/transitionnetwork 

Film Reviews
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/films  

Transition Youtube Channel
https://www.youtube.com/transitiontowns 

Resources — Editor's Picks
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/resources 

Find previous editions of the newsletter here 
http://www.transitionnetwork.org/tags/transition-network-newsletter 

Subscribe to Transition newsletter: 
http://tinyurl.com/transitionregister 

This newsletter is published on the first Friday of each month. 

Join the Transition Bloc at the Time to Act March for Climate Change

The Time To Act March For Climate Change is nearly upon us, taking place on March 7th. Crystal Palace Transition Town have been asked to head up The "Transition Bloc" at the rally. This will serve as a rallying point for any other Transition initiatives and to welcome other Transitioners that turn up. As they put it, "the more people the merrier".

You can find out more about the march itself here, and make contact with the Transition bloc here and find out how to find them on the day.  For non-Facebook users, here's the website link for the march.  Let us know how it went!

Premier League rugby's 'Exeter Chiefs' commit to handling the Exeter Pound

Fascinating story from the Exeter Pound website 

The Exeter Chiefs have given their backing to a new local currency due to launch in the city this September.  One of the largest independent businesses in Exeter, the Premiership rugby club has committed to become part of Exeter Pound.

Not only will an image from Sandy Park feature on a special £E15 note issued to mark the Rugby World Cup arriving in the city, but the Chiefs have also pledged accept the Exeter Pounds and will look to spend them with their suppliers.

The currency will be launched in September before the tournament comes to the city in a bid to encourage people to support local independent businesses.  Chief executive Tony Rowe said: “I am very happy for Exeter Chiefs to work in partnership with Exeter Pound.

“We are an independent local business and, although one of the largest in Exeter, share their commitment to Exeter and keeping as much business as local as possible.

“I look forward to seeing an image from Sandy Park on one side of the £E15 RWC2015 note.”

Those behind the project have welcomed the support of the Chiefs at this early stage of development. Early commitments from people offering services from their own homes with a turnover of only a few hundred pounds a year are now joined by a business that last year turned over £12 million.

Daniel Hillier, local business owner and director of Exeter Pound, said: “The whole of the Exeter business community will take note of Exeter Chiefs’ support for the local currency.

“We welcome interest from all local independent businesses in the city, from large to very small and everything in between.”

Exeter Pound has invited local independent businesses to join them and other partners in a stakeholder meeting at Exeter City Council’s offices from 5.30pm to 7.30pm on Monday, February 23.

Gill Westcott, chair of the board of directors, said: “We want to hear from our stakeholders about how the scheme can be designed to best meet their needs, so as much money as possible circulates in the independent Exeter business community.”

The design competition for £E1, £E5, £E10 and £E20 notes closes in three weeks. People who live, work or study in Exeter are still invited to send in designs to be incorporated into the notes.

Pieces of art are welcomed from young and old, amateur and professional artists, designers, photographers and in any other art form that can submitted as a two dimensional image. Eight images are needed.

The competition judges, who all live or work in Exeter, are city council leader Councillor Pete Edwards, Dame Suzi Leather, most recently chair of Plymouth Fairness Commission, Dr Sarah Bennett, associate professor in fine art at Plymouth University, Si Paull, from local design company Sound in Theory, and Jon-Paul Hedge, editor of the Express & Echo.

For further comment please contact Ian Martin 07980 301058

 
 
 

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Who We Are

Welcome to the Transition in Action Social Network -- a spontaneous, grassroots, and continually evolving movement dedicated to:
  • Hosting GLOBAL TRANSITION IN ACTION to globalize superior local ideas and inspirations
  • Promoting Transition US.Org, the non-profit organization providing inspiration, support, training, and networking for Transition Initiatives across the United States, found at www.transitionus.org
  • Facilitating the international work of the Transition Network, based in the UK, found at www.TransitionTowns.org and www.TransitionNetwork.org
  • Connecting serious "transitioners", encouraging the development of local Transition Initiatives.
Peak oil, zero waste, financial security, localization, post carbon, local resilience -- announce your group, join in, make your voice heard.
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Nominate Your Favorite Quote

The best measure of success is the number of people you take along with you. -- Dan Bricklin, inventor of the spreadsheet, in a meeting of the Boston Computer Society at MIT, c.1983.

Each time a person stands up for an idea, (s)he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistence.
-- Robert F. Kennedy

"Money is like blood," says NEF researcher David Boyle. "Local purchases recirculate it, but patronize mega-chains or online retailers," he says, and "it flows out like a wound."

"Holding each other in the highest future intention" ~ Theory U

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. ~ Margaret Mead

Be Yourself. Everyone Else Is Taken!" ~ Charles Shulz

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