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Laurier is now a member of TRANSITION IN ACTION SOCIAL NETWORK
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PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post
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PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

“The New Farm Convergence, Year 1.0” - New Myth #52 / Myth Lab #11. Paintings by Wisconsinite Laverne Kammerude as Artifact. By Willi Paul, NewMythologists.com

“The New Farm Convergence, Year 1.0” - New Myth #52 / Myth Lab #11. Paintings by Wisconsinite Laverne Kammerude as Artifact. By Willi Paul, NewMythologists.comhttp://www.planetshifter.com/node/2176See More
Apr 12
Profile IconTada Gunter and Juan Antonio Castan Aban joined TRANSITION IN ACTION SOCIAL NETWORK
Apr 10
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

“The Coil Pattern and the Global Warming Meme”

“The Coil Pattern and the Global Warming Meme”http://www.planetshifter.com/node/2175Vision by Willi Paul, NewMythologist.comSee More
Apr 8
Keith Morris posted an event
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Vermont Scionwood Exchange and Grafting Workshop at Willow Crossing Farm

April 13, 2014 from 10am to 4pm
Hi Friends!Please share this with friends & networks, thanks! Hope to see you!Fruit Tree Grafting and Propagation:April 13, 2014 10 am – 4 pmat Willow Crossing Farm, Johnson, VTJoin us for a day of hands-on fruit tree grafting. We’ll begin in the classroom understanding the science of grafting, and practice bench-grafting apples, pears, plums, and other stone fruits.Everyone will have the opportunity to graft their own tree to take home!After lunch, we’ll go out and ‘top work’ multiple…See More
Apr 7
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post
Apr 5
Guillermo E. Miniño shared a profile on Facebook
Apr 4
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Apr 4
Guillermo E. Miniño is now a member of TRANSITION IN ACTION SOCIAL NETWORK
Apr 3
Akin Olatidoye added a discussion to the group Solar Gardens Community Network
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Call for Speakers Still Open - Microgrid Deployment Workshop in Barcelona

HOMER ENERGY MICROGRIDSmall is Beautiful....And starts 'The Big'. Very positive this micro policy path is just what is needed for the solar grids to be intimate, intuitive, responsive and helpful.Homer Energy is walking in the MicroGrid Path(Thank God for Mr. Les Squires and The Transitioninaction website that got be informed of Homer stuff) and Invites…See More
Apr 3
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post
Mar 26
Les Squires -- Webmaster shared mahan chandra borah's photo on Facebook
Mar 23
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

“Creating New Traditions for the Transition Movement?” Video Interviews, Transition Tales 3. By Willi Paul, NewMythologist.com

“Creating Local Holidays, Festivals, & New Traditions for the Transition Movement?” Video Interviews, Transition Tales 3 from Transition Palo Alto Sharing Expo, March 16, Common Ground, Palo Alto. By Willi Paul, NewMythologist.comhttp://youtu.be/h1ISiAzcjP4http://www.planetshifter.com/node/2171See More
Mar 23
mahan chandra borah liked mahan chandra borah's photo
Mar 21
Doris Anne Beaulieu posted a video

Public Opinion Of All Drivers Wanted

I need to see if I'm right or not so I want every driver who ever hit a mail box to please give me your opinion on this video.If you know of anyone who had a...
Mar 19
PlanetShifterMan posted a blog post

“Barn Dance Media Center” (BDMC). “Integrated Accelerator for the Permaculture & Transition Movement” - Vision by Willi Paul, NewMythologist.com

 “Barn Dance Media Center” (BDMC). “Integrated Accelerator for the Permaculture & Transition Movement” - Vision by Willi Paul, NewMythologist.com‘A barn dance is any kind of dance involving traditional or folk music with traditional dancing, occasionally…See More
Mar 15
Doris Anne Beaulieu posted a video

Woodpecker's Justice Story Of 1891

A horribly sad story,but one we can learn from so pass this video to all those you know with kids and bird loves.Interesting fact that needs to be shared.
Mar 14
mahan chandra borah posted a photo
Mar 11
Crystal Morris is now a member of TRANSITION IN ACTION SOCIAL NETWORK
Mar 10

Forum -- Step up to the Mic! We're Listening.

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.


Stories from TransitionUS.Org -- U.S. National Hub

Local Foods Expo Highlights Sustainable Berea’s Strategy to Increase Local Food Security

It was a miserably rainy day with a low of 41 degrees, but it didn’t dampen the spirits of more than 200 people who came to Sustainable Berea’s 5th Annual Local Foods Expo (LFE).  On this last Saturday in March, people skipped in the rain in the old-fashioned cake walk, huddled underneath the small cabin’s porch to spend $352 at the home-made pie auction, and bought almost all the stock of the participating vendors.

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Transition Culture -- Rob Hopkins

The impact of Transition. In numbers.

Here's something we'd love your help with.  How can we capture the impact of Transition in numbers?  We've done our best with what we can find, and we'd love to know what you would add from your local initiative. Any numbers you can put to your impact? Number of meetings? Amount of funding? Amount raised in a share option? Number of carrots grown on a train station? It's over to you.  Let us know (use the comments box below), and we'll publish the final version at the end of the month...

The Impact of Transition in numbers 

Number of countries with active TIs

44

Number of Transition initiatives registered with Transition Network

1,130

Number of initiatives in Japan registered with Transition Network

5

Number of initiatives in Japan registered on national Japanese Transition site

40

Percentage of those involved in Transition who are women

58% 4

Subscribers to the Transition Network newsletter in March 2014

17,929

Subscribers to the Transition Network newsletter in January 2011

9,309

Number of people who have done Transition Training in the UK and US

3,637

Percentage of those still active in Transition 4 years after doing Transition Training

86%

Number of UK pupils who have been involved in Transition Network's Schools in Transition pilot

Over 3,700

Percentage of Bristol Mayor George Ferguson’s salary paid in Bristol Pounds

100%

Number of members of the EU’s Economic & Social Committee who spent a day with their local Transition initiative

19 (all of them)

Percentage of TIs considering themselves “very” or “fairly successful”

75.7% 1

Number of times ‘Transition’ appears in UK government’s ‘Community Energy Strategy’ (2014)

10

Number of Transition Trainers in the world

137 in 25 countries

Number of initiatives in Brazil registered with Transition Network

4

Number of initiatives in Brazil registered on national Brazilian Transition site

61

Number of people involved in the average successful TI

189.5 1

Transition Network’s Twitter followers

13,500

Percentage of TIs that are legally constituted

64% 1

Theme most frequently tackled by TIs

Food 1

Amount raised through share launch by Transition Bath/Corsham’s community energy company (Bath & West Community Energy)

£750,000

Amount West Solent Solar Co-op (set up by New Forest Transition) is seeking to raise through shares for a community solar farm

£2,200,000

Average percentage of TI core group members who’ve done Transition Training

3 1

Turnover of 20 highly replicable Transition-oriented enterprises identified by the REconomy Project

 

£3.5m

Number of people they employ between them

 

109

Number of national Transition hubs formulating a strategy to support REconomy type activity in their country

 

7

Outside temperature that didn’t put off 100 people from attending the first ever Latvian REconomy event

20 below

Percentage of TIs who think they are “not good at diversity”

55.9% 1

Number of initiatives in Sweden registered with Transition Network

7

Number of initiatives in Sweden registered on national Swedish Transition site

192

Amount of CO2 saved per household by Transition Streets participants in Totnes

1.2 tonnes 5

Number of households in the town that took part

550 5

Amount of Google returns for the term ‘Transition Town’ (although some will also be people who live in towns and are undergoing gender realignment)

75,800,000

Number of times 2013 Guardian article about Transition was shared through social media

Over 10,000

Number of weeks The Power of Just Doing Stuff was No 1. In the Guardian Bookstores best sellers list

2

Number of times In Transition 2.0 was viewed on YouTube in its first 6 weeks there

26,000 6

Number of page views on TransitionNetwork.org during 12 months up to March 2013.

1,182,360

Number of downloads for Transition Network’s 3 recent Economic Evaluation reports

4,922

Percentage of people for whom Transition is their first experience of activism

32% 2

Number of States in the US where Transition is active

37

Number of languages in which In Transition 2.0 is subtitled.

22 6

Number of UK local currency schemes inspired through Transition

6

Bank of England’s estimate of amount of local currencies in circulation in the UK

£385,000

And their estimate of the amount of Sterling in circulation

£54.2 billion

Percentage of TIs that are city-based

27.5% 3

Percentage of TIs engaged in projects around food and growing

40% 4

Number of initiatives in New Zealand registered with Transition Network

11

Number of initiatives in New Zealand registered on national Transition site

70

Number of Transition initiatives set up by local councils.

0 4

Percentage of TIs reporting “attracting wider interest” as their biggest obstacle

76%

Percentage of TIs who have begun ‘building a bridge to local government’

83% 4

Numbers of people estimated to read each edition of Transition Free Press

30-40,000

Number of people attending a Transition Training in Nagymágocs, a central-south Hungarian village.

8 (should have been more but “most of the participants chose to go to a pig slaughter instead”.

 

References

1: Feola G., R J Nunes (2013) Failure and Success of Transition Initiatives: a study of the international replication of the Transition Movement, Research Note 4. Walker Institute for Climate System Research, University of Reading, August 2013

2: Seyfang, G. (2009d) Transition Norwich: a fine city in Transition.  Report of the 2009 Membership survey. University of East Anglia. 

3: Haxeltine, A., Seyfang, G. (2009) Transitions for the People: theory and practice of ‘Transition’ and ‘Resilience’ in the UK’s Transition movement.  Tyndall Centre for Climate Change Research Working Paper 134.

4: Seyfang, G., Haxeltine, A. (2012) Growing grassroots innovations: exploring the role of community-based initiatives in governing sustainable energy transitions.  Environment and Planning C: Government and Policy 2012, volume 30, pages 381 – 400

5: Beetham, H. (2011)  Social Impacts of Transition Together SITT: Investigating the social impacts, benefits and sustainability of the Transition Together/Transition Streets initiative in Totnes.  Research report, Transition Streets, (June 2011).

6: In Transition 2.0 is online at http://youtu.be/FFQFBmq7X84

Andrea Felicetti on Transition as "radicals without rebellion"

At this year's Political Studies Association International Conference in Manchester, Andrea Felicetti of the University of Canberra presented a paper called Radicals without rebellion? A Case Study on four Transition experiments. In it he explored "whether and how social movements can promote radical positions whilst refraining from adopting an oppositional approach".  This was one of the first pieces of research I have come across that explored Transition's approach to politics, so we contacted Andrea and asked him to write an article for us, presenting his key findings in as accessible a way as possible.  We are delighted that he agreed to do so. 

"After having met so many wonderful people engaged in Transition it is a real pleasure for me to have the opportunity to share here some of my work. My study focused on four Transitions, two in Italian towns in Emilia Romagna and Sicily and two from Australia in a suburb of Brisbane and in Tasmania. I did not have the goal to assess how good these groups are at doing Transition. Rather, I tried to understand them from a very specific perspective: a democratic point of view.

Being interested in deliberative democracy I see democracy not just in terms of, say, electoral competition or representation of interests but particularly in the quality of communication occurring within and among groups in societies. So, I tried to understand the internal qualities of these groups and their way of relating to the local politics.

There are many reasons for researching a movement like the Transition from a deliberative democratic perspective. To begin with Transition is an important phenomenon of itself. Also, understanding contemporary forms of citizens’ engagement is of sure interest to many contemporary scholars of democracy. For instance, in making communities more resilient and localised there is ground to make them more democratic too. The non-adversarial approach of Transition is especially fascinating to deliberative democrats who for long time have been showing some important limitations with traditional adversarial politics.

Taz The Transition is also especially interesting because although it has a do-it-yourself approach it also stresses the importance of quality communication among participants with local actors. Finally, many of the themes that are central to the Transition (for instance, climate change) are also fundamental for many deliberative scholars around the world.

I spent almost two months in each local community, participated in group activities and meetings, and interviewed Transition participants and other community actors. There is a great variation in terms of groups’ characteristics from a deliberative democratic standpoint. Whilst in some groups discussions had a lesser role, some case studies developed discursive processes that showed desirable characteristics from a deliberative standpoint and had a fundamental role in coordinating the various activities.

The internal features of a group and the relationship that it establishes with the surrounding context both seem very important to determine its deliberative and democratic qualities. When there is a firm commitment to democratic norms and when it is perceived that communication at group level is important to affect the community, groups are capable of developing high quality interactions. My findings, along with similar ones on other contemporary movements, challenge the view that the public is incapable of quality democratic engagement.

The good news in terms of the impact you are having is that Transition initiatives can actually promote democratic forms of engagement at the local scale. On the other hand though, there is no ground to claim that this is always the case. Groups establish original relationships with their surrounding environment and forms of engagement that is neither particularly deliberative nor democratic may prevail. This seems more likely to happen where the focus on ‘getting things done’ clearly prevails over other concerns (whilst more active groups are not necessarily those with a more pragmatic approach).

logo With regard to this latter aspect for instance it is worth noticing that often deliberative and democratic characteristics are not required in collaborating with local institutions. Actually, managing the relationship with local institutions puts under particular stress a group’s capability to develop democratic engagement. In line with other studies my work suggests that an environment where institutions are particularly responsive to citizens’ activism is not necessarily beneficial to the development of democratic interactions within groups and with the broader community.

My findings of course cannot speak for the Transition initiatives all over the world or the Network. However, even just in my study it seems that Transition means quite different things to different people. In the face of specific challenges participants have to make decisions on how to interpret Transition’s ideas. These choices not just affected the democratic qualities of groups but also their overall activity. Interestingly, those groups that tend to adhere closely the Transition guidelines have a good platform to build good quality and democratic interactions.

Although I have no recipe to develop deliberative democratic engagement in groups I think a few essential ingredients may include the following:

  • Don’t take the democratic nature of a group for granted. It is usually possible to interact democratically in groups but it does require effort.
  • Good quality discussions won’t happen naturally and having some form of moderation may have incredibly good effects.
  • Create moments for the group to decide how much it cares about good quality communication and how it intends to achieve it. Good quality communication is not necessarily about talking a lot but as much as making sure that there is always an open channel for effective discussion.
  • Being open won’t make you inclusive. Openness to different people and views won’t necessarily attract those people and views… an effort is needed in order to reach out to locals and take good care of them when they do show up. NB: having good quality communication implies that you are better able to ‘exploit’ the different contributions that people may give.
  • Help from institutions may greatly enhance your Transition but very different views and goals exist quite naturally among various actors. If you decide to partner with institutions (or any organisation really) make sure participants are happy with it (and with the ways collaboration is carried out along the way).

Quite normally some people tend take responsibility for different tasks. Some may talk to politicians, some may run activities, and some may contact other organisations... Make sure that someone takes care of nourishing engagement among actual people within the group and in the rest of the community. 

The Impact We're Having: Aveiro em Transição in Portugal

Aveiro em Transição is a Transition initiative in Portugal.  When they heard we were looking for tales of the impact Transition initiatives see their work having, they sat a group of people down who are active in the initiative and asked them the question.  Here's what they had to say.  

Jenny Tavares:

O que é a Transição? O que é estar em Transição? Perguntei-me há um ano atrás e, dia após dia fui encontrando as respostas entre desconhecidos que tornaram-se amigos, entre reuniões, oficinas e tertúlias. Começo a fazer coisas nas quais não tinha pensado antes: a plantar uma horta, a tricotar acompanhada de pessoas da cidade que nem sabia que existiam, a fazer pão em casa ou a colher plantas selvagens para fazer uma salada. Dou por mim a ouvir com atenção, a partilhar, a agradecer e a relembrar o quanto é importante “sonhar, fazer e celebrar”. 

Dou por mim a ser feliz, pé ante pé... em transição. 

Poster What is Transition? What is being in Transition? I asked myself a year ago, and every day I found answers among strangers who have become friends, between meetings, workshops and gatherings. I started doing things they had not thought of before: to plant a vegetable garden, knitting accompanied by townspeople who did not know existed, to make bread at home or harvesting wild plants to make a salad. I find myself listening, sharing, thanking and remembering how important it is "to dream, do and celebrate."

I find myself to be happy, step by step ... in Transition. 

Ana Jervis Cunha:

Já não sei o que é viver sem Aveiro em Transição, e começámos há menos de 1 ano! Era algo que sentíamos que tinhamos de fazer e, no momento certo apareceram de vários lados as pessoas/projectos/associações certas! Vemos crescer o número de participantes nos eventos e no grupo central, recebemos propostas, louvores e testemunhos de desconhecidos, que passam a amigos e parceiros, de como foi importante algum dos nossos eventos para melhorar a sua vida ou como querem colaborar na oficina de freeskilling. E isto melhora a nossa auto-confiança, auto-conhecimento e senso de comunidade, há um empoderamento (empowerment) mútuo!

Aprender a fazer iogurte em casa com um amigo de Paredes em Transição mudou a minha vida...e é tão fácil! Diminuí a dependência do supermercado em vários produtos alimentares e cosméticos. A criação do grupo Educação Livre Aveiro nas Mães de Transição Aveiro tem promovido uma rede de debate e apoio entre pais, filhos e educadores que aguardavam este momento com esperança numa educação alternativa mais ecocêntrica para as crianças. Profissionalmente recebo na quinta pedagógica onde colaboro, voluntários e formadores através de Aveiro em Transição, com quem temos uma parceria, e que nos estão a dar uma grande ajuda a construir um projecto de Educação Ambiental e Sustentabilidade único em Aveiro, onde as pessoas podem cultivar as suas hortas, aprender sobre os polinizadores no apiário e sobre a fauna e flora na floresta e charcos. 

Poster

I just don’t know what is to live my life without Aveiro in Transition, and we’ve just started less than 1 year ago! This was something we felt we had to do, and at the right time the right people/organizations/projects came up! The number of people in the core group and attending the events is rising, and we receive proposals, appreciation emails and messages from people saying how important one of our events was in order to improve their family life and others willing to share their knowledge in a freeskilling workshop. And this has strengthened our self-confidence and sense of community, there is a mutual empowerment! Learning how to make homemade yoghurt with a friend from Paredes in Transition changed my life… and it’s so easy to do!

I’ve become more independent from supermarket groceries. The Alternative Education Aveiro group, born from Mothers in Transition Aveiro, has promoted a network of parents, educators and children to discuss and create a non-traditional education. In the pedagogical farm where I work, I receive volunteers and educators from Aveiro in Transition, as part of a partnership, and they (we) are giving a lot of help building a sustainable environmental education project, unique in Aveiro, where people can grow their vegetables, learn about honeybees and pollinators and local fauna and flora. 

Ana Sofia Pereira:

A iniciativa de Transição ajudou-me, acima de tudo, a saber trabalhar em prol de causas e preocupações que já tinha de forma mais organizada e motivada. É incrível a força que a união de pessoas interessadas faz. Por causa da Aveiro em Transição, ganhei força para dinamizar o Mães de Transição Aveiro, um grupo informal de entreajuda para mães e famílias na zona de Aveiro. E a partir disso, surgiu a Educação Livre Aveiro, um grupo de famílias e interessados dispostos a criar um projecto educativo alternativo que abarque a problemática da transição desde muito cedo e na escola. A Aveiro em Transição abre caminho para muitas sinergias maravilhosas entre famílias e movimentos. Pode-se dizer que somos uma grande família, todos a crescer e a caminhar no mesmo sentido e todos a ajudar-nos mutuamente, tal como fazem as famílias. 

The Transition initiative helped me, above all, to know how to work in favour of causes and concerns I already had in a more organized and motivated way. It’s incredible the strength of a union of moblized people. Because of Aveiro in Transition, I found the motivation to create Mothers In Transition Aveiro, a mutual help informal group for Aveiro mothers and families. And through that came Free Education Aveiro, a group of families and people interested willing to create an alternative educational project which includes transition issues from early on. Aveiro in Transition makes way to a lot of wonderful synergies between families and movements. You can say we are a big family, all growing and going in the same direction and all helping each other, just like families do. 

A bread-baking workshop run by Aveiro em Transição

Jason Baker:

Through our initiative ELA (Education Livre Aveiro) we have been able to get our homeschooling project started. It really makes a big difference working as a group/ community. Also the free seminars about making bread, eating wild plants etc. have been very useful and inspiring. My sense of community has change so much since I have been participating in Aveiro in Transição. What a wonderful idea for wonderful people (us). Hugs Jason 

Andreia Ruela:

Gratidão

Com a formação Iniciativas de Transição, passei a reflectir e a agradecer regularmente todos os contributos (de pessoas, da natureza, da tecnologia) para que cada dia seja único e especial. Com este exercício diário, passei a ter mais consciência da interligação das nossas acções e a valorizar mais a simplicidade e os aspectos positivos de cada dia.

Partilha de Saberes

Com as oficinas de partilha de saberes promovidas pelo grupo de Aveiro em Transição tenho adquirido novos conhecimentos e competências muito úteis para o meu quotidiano e da minha família. A oficina que nos ensinou a fazer pão revolucionou a minha vida. Desde a participação nesta oficina, passámos a fazer pão em casa, a alimentar a nossa criatividade e a deliciar-nos com o produto final sempre único. Desenvolvemos o gosto de saborear aquilo que criamos e confeccionamos em conjunto. 

poster Since the Transition Initiatives Training, I reflect and thank all contributors (people, nature and technology) to make my days unique and special. With this daily exercise, I've become more aware of the interconnectedness of our actions and focus more on the simplicity and the positive aspects of every day.

I have acquired new knowledge and skills useful for my daily life and my family with freeskilling workshops promoted by Aveiro in Transition. The workshop where we learnt to make bread just revolutionized our life! We started to bake bread at home and feed our creativity. We’ve developed a taste to savor what we create and make together. 

Sacha Vieira:

Impactos da transição em Aveiro:

As oficinas de partilha de saberes estão a capacitar os cidadãos aveirenses nas mais variadas dimensões (e.g. fazer pão, croché, ervas aromáticas, ervas comestíveis e hortas verticais). Constatamos que participam pessoas que desconhecem conceitos como cidades em transição e permacultura e é cativante ver a sua curiosidade e sede de saber mais.  O grupo participante está a crescer a olhos vistos e as cadeiras começam a ser poucas.

Impactos da transição na minha vida:

A minha presença no grupo leva-me a confirmar a ideia de que existe uma solução para tudo e que é na partilha que está o ganho. Juntos, podemos fazer da vida e do mundo o que quisermos. Somos cada vez mais a querer uma comunidade saudável e feliz e é muito reconfortante este sentimento coletivo de identidade e de contribuição presente para o futuro. 

Impacts of Aveiro in Transition in the community: 

The freeskilling workshops are capacitating the citizens in Aveiro in varied ways (e.g.: homemade bread, aromatic herbs, vertical gardens, fixing bicycles). We realize that cities in Transition and permaculture concepts are not familiar for the community and it is pleasant to notice the curiosity and the willing to know more. The group is growing step-by-step and the venues start to be "not big enough".

Impacts of Aveiro in Transition in my life:

My integration in the Transition group in Aveiro gave me the feeling that there is a solution for everything. Sharing is all and the group/team atmosphere nurtures the certainity that together we can build the community we want to live in. We are more and more with the wish to build a happier and healthier world and there is a warmth feeling of contributing today for the present and also future. 

Maria José Valinhas:

I have been in transition for a while but the feeling of being part of a community feels great and reassures me that this is the way. Being part a community has opened "doors" in my life and others trough the sharing of knowledge, skills and help. It makes sense an Aveiro em Transição!

Eamon O'Hara on the "important catalytic effect" of community-led action

One of the most fascinating recent studies into the impact of Transition was Local Communities Leading the Way to a Low Carbon Societya report published by AEIDL (Association Européenne pour l’Information sur le Développement Local.  It looks at Transition, permaculture and ecovillage networks, what it calls the "Silent Revolution", "a potentially powerful driver of pro-environmental behaviour change".  We caught up with Eamon O'Hara, who created the report, to find out more about it, and about his conclusions. 

How did you create this report, and what research did you do for it?  

Cover I have been working at European level on programmes and initiatives dealing with local development for almost 20 years now and around 2008/2009. I started to become more aware of Transition and other similar movements that were developing around Europe. It struck me at the time that not much was known about these grassroots movements at European level, at least in Brussels, where I was based at the time.

There was some really great work being done, some great examples of local projects and communities that were transforming themselves, but it was off the radar for many people. Of course there was nothing abnormal about this. These were grassroots movements, developing organically at their own pace and normally this would be fine. But climate change and the drive for sustainability are issues that need urgent responses, so it seemed to me to be important to try to promote awareness and a wider replication of these initiatives in communities across Europe. 

From other programmes I worked on I knew there was considerable experience, and tools and methodologies, that could be drawn on to facilitate the exchange of good practice and ideas, but a necessary first step would be to build awareness around this movement and its potential. Over the next couple of years I began to make contacts within Transition, the Global Ecovillage Network and within other community-based initiatives focusing on climate change and sustainability. Then, in 2012, I received support from AEIDL, a Brussels-based association that I have worked closely with for many years, to carry out a preliminary study.    

This study was a combination of desk research and interviews with key people in the countries targeted. I focused mainly on 13 countries where I knew there were community-led initiatives focusing on climate change and sustainability. The study was essentially a mapping exercise, focusing on, firstly, identifying initiatives where they existed, and then trying to better understand the scope and scale of their activities. I had a limited budget, so this study was by no means exhaustive but I think it was an important first step in terms of developing an understanding and awareness of this fledgling movement. 

movers and shakers

How has it been received since you published it?  

It has been really well received. A lot of people have expressed surprise that they hadn’t heard about the initiatives featured before, especially given the scale of activities that now exist across Europe. It has certainly got the attention of policy makers in Brussels and I think this is something we need to build on. 

Another important outcome of the study, however, is that it allowed me to build up a strong network of contacts across the countries studied. These contacts represent a wide range of initiatives and I sensed there was a strong interest and desire among them to work more closely together. In some cases there had already been informal interaction, but there was a clear interest in taking this to another level. So, in follow-up to the study I set about coordinating a discussion between these contacts and from this discussion the idea of establishing a formal network emerged. This has since progressed to the establishment of ECOLISE, the European network for community-led action on climate change and sustainability. 

I think this is a hugely important development. ECOLISE now brings together all the key stakeholders involved in community-led action on climate change and sustainability in Europe and I think it is well placed to build on the awareness the study has created and really set about the task of championing the cause of community-led action on climate change and sustainability in Europe.  

What is your sense of the impact that Transition has had since it began?   

Transition has been pivotal. It has opened the door for ordinary people to get involved in reshaping their communities and in so doing reshaping society. That opportunity always existed for people, but Transition has provided the “how-to” guide, and by leading through example, has inspired people and given them the confidence to take action. 

However, I think Transition’s best days are still ahead of it. The challenge now, however, is to take Transition from being an initiative that is still largely limited to pioneering communities to a concept that is mainstreamed in the thinking and actions of every community. Of course Transition is not alone here. There are also other initiatives, such as the Global Ecovillage Network (GEN), Low Carbon Communities and others, and there is also considerable knowledge and experience available in movements such as Permaculture, but the essential principles are largely the same and I think this knowledge and experience now needs to be disseminated on a much larger scale.    

mainstream

You write that lobbying and advocacy "remains a relatively minor part of their activities and the focus is more on local rather than higher level decision making".  Do you see this as a weakness or a strength of the Transition movement?  

For me this is a weakness, but not just of Transition, of community-based initiatives in general. It is completely understandable, as I mentioned above, as Transition is a grassroots movement and there are obviously limited resources and capacity, but I think this is an important activity. To achieve the kind of scaling up I mention above, I think the Transition approach must essentially become part of mainstream policy and thinking and for this lobbying and advocacy are essential.  

But I think this can best be achieved by initiatives like Transition and GEN and others working together, and this is why I think ECOLISE has such an important role to play in facilitating this scaling up. 

You mention what you see as the "important catalytic effect" Transition can have, and how it has the "potential to change social norms".  Could you tell us more about what you meant by that?  By what mechanisms do you observe that it does that?  

Again, this applies to community-based action on climate change and sustainability in general, not just Transition. The catalytic effect is essentially about one community being an inspiration for others. Communities that have been successful in developing community energy projects or in reducing their carbon footprint are an important source of ideas and information for others. These communities demonstrate what can be achieved and in this way give confidence to other communities to follow suit. 

Various studies have also shown that community-based initiatives tend to have a longer term impact, which goes beyond the immediate effects on carbon emissions or other indicators. These initiatives are generally more holistic in nature, covering a wide range of issues, such as food, transport, energy, etc.. so they can impact on more than one aspect of people’s lives. But the group dynamic aspect of community-led initiatives is also important. Norms are established by groups, not individuals, so this potential for growth and learning within a group environment is an essential precursor for wider behavioural change.   

Having created this report, what do you see as the keys to Transition being able to go more mainstream?  What, for you, might its next steps look like, and what support would most skilfully enable that?  

cooperation I think the most important thing now is for Transition to work with the other partners in ECOLISE to create the conditions that will allow for the mainstreaming of community-based action on climate change and sustainability. This is a formidable task and one which can best be achieved by working together. It requires a coherent dialogue with policy makers on why and how community-led action on climate change and sustainability should and could be mainstreamed and what supports are required. It also requires a concerted effort to promote awareness of the potential of community-led action and to make available to communities across Europe the information, tools, guidance, training and advice they need to make this happen. 

It is important to be aware however that not every community will necessarily want to become a Transition town or district, but I don’t think this should be an issue. The key thing is to mainstream the approach, to make available the learning and knowledge and to allow flexibility for communities to use this and adapt it to their own circumstances. 

How impressed were you by the evolving evidence base for Transition?  Do you think researchers are asking the right questions, and is there a good body of evidence already would you say?  

Some really good work is being done in this area but I think more is required, not just for Transition but for community-led initiatives in general. To get policy makers on board and achieve the mainstreaming that is needed we need a more convincing argument as to the benefits. There is strong anecdotal evidence and some interesting studies have been carried out but we need to build on this and provide strong empirical evidence that supports the argument for mainstreaming. 

We also need to better understand the potential for replicating community-led approaches in different contexts across Europe. Local conditions on the ground vary considerably from one country, or one region, to another so we need to better understand how existing approaches can be adapted to different contexts. 

As an extension of this, we need to know what works and what doesn’t in different contexts. We need to be able to provide advice and guidance that is context specific. All of this requires a coordinated transnational approach to research and knowledge development, which is developing but still in the early stages.  

You concluded that: "Community-based approaches should not be seen in isolation. Their role must be seen in the context of wider action and an appropriate support framework must be established in order to assist the further develop and replication of these approaches, without losing their essential local, bottom-up ethos".  What is the role that Transition groups play do you think that none of the other scales can do?  

Transition groups and other local community-led initiatives play a key role in engaging with and mobilizing local communities.  By engaging local people they can unleash a resource that other levels can rarely unleash and facilitate the development of ideas and projects that are tailored to local needs and conditions.  Policies and programmes developed and implemented at higher levels rarely if ever achieve this.

However, if higher levels of governance and decision making recognize this important contribution of community-led initiatives then policies and programmes can be designed  in a way that makes space for and facilitates this local, bottom-up approach.

There is already a precedent in terms of EU rural development policy, part of which is implemented through a bottom-up, community-led approach. The European Commission has also proposed that this approach (community-led local development, or CLLD) be extended to other policy areas in the 2014-2020 programming period. This opens up a real opportunity to establish community-led approaches as an integral part of the EU’s response to climate change and sustainability. 

The Impact We're Having: Zsanett and Zoltán of Transition Hosszúhetény

Hosszúhetény is the most populous village in Baranya county, in the south of Hungary, with 3400 inhabitants. It's situated in beautiful natural surroundings at the foot of the Zengő peak of the Mecsek hills. People who live here are traditionally very proud of their natural environment, one famous example of which was in 2004, when fierce resistance from locals and green groups made the Hungarian government abandon a plan to build a NATO radar on the peak. While this event made Hosszúhetény somewhat famous, sustainability did not become a priority in everyday life of the inhabitants afterwards.

Things began to pick up in 2007, when the local government became a founding member of the Hungarian Climate-friendly Association. Around this time a civilian climate-friendly club also started in the village, which after a few years led to various initiatives to promote local and sustainable consumption and living. A group of around 20 people worked on various projects. A local marketplace was created with weekly market days from local producers and in 2012 a Local Exchange Trading System (LETS) started. We have annual seed swap events and we have organized various informative programs such as movie screenings and talks about sustainability and climate awareness, gardening workshops and lectures, health days, among others.

In December 2012 we held a screening of In Transition 2.0 (see photo below). The realization that there was a whole movement out there with the same objectives and ideas that we had was a heart-warming and encouraging experience. By this time we also knew that the real challenge is to keep the great ideas and projects running (the local market and the LETS had both become non-functional), and we wanted to learn how to achieve this.

Film screening

Eventually, a group of dedicated people participated in a Transition training weekend in October 2013. This training has given us valuable insights into the structures and dynamics of our local  community and it has started us on a new way to Transition. We are now in the process of learning how to get the most out of ourselves and our ideas. We are improving communication with the local government, finding ways to reach more people, helping to make the local events sustainable, raising awareness on food self-sufficiency.

We have also entered a 2-year project organized by Transition Wekerle, through which we will learn from and teach other transition communities, as well as build our local and national transition network. We believe the next years help us to strengthen our local community, learn new skills and set up new initiatives which help to make our village more resilient.

By Zsanett Roozental-Pandur and Zoltán Hajdú 

Top Stories from Transition Network (UK)

Melbourne Area Transition become landowners!

Here is a great story from Derbyshire.  Whistlewood Common Limited, the locally-owned cooperative set up by Melbourne Area Transition, has been celebrating its purchase of almost 10 acres of land near Melbourne. The society’s inaugural event – a “woollies and wellies” party on the land on 2 November included a bring and share lunch, a unique “beating of the bounds” ceremony involving both young and old, and the planting of the first tree. 

Whistlewood, a not-for-profit community enterprise, was set up to purchase land on Melbourne Common. The land bought by the group was last held in community ownership before 1791! The group quickly attracted grant funding from The National Forest Company, but still needed to raise a further £50,000 to meet the asking price for the land which was on the open market, and establish a credible plan to manage it. 

Melbourne Area Transition. And a gate.

Within just 16 weeks the group had formed an Industrial & Provident Society (IPS) (a type of co-operative), to hold the land and raised sufficient funds to put in a successful bid for its purchase. 

Whistlewood now has nearly 150 members drawn from or with links to Melbourne. This group of individuals and community organisations with an interest in resilient and sustainable local enterprise, will now determine what happens next. Amongst ideas already put forward are orchards, wildlife areas, a food forest, an outdoor kitchen, a celebration space and camping for local youth groups. 

Celebrating in the wind.

You can see their share prospectus here.  Find out more about the initiative at www.whistlewoodcommon.org 

I particularly loved the page on the group's website that read "So many of the projects that we “dreamed” about two years ago when we first started are now fully up and running".   Whistlewood Common Limited is no doubt one of them.  

Might your local food project qualify for the 'A Team Challenge'?

Every now and then a funding opportunity comes along which looks ideal to Transition groups, or at least to one aspect of their work.  We were excited to see the other day that the A Team Foundation, Funding Enlightened Agriculture (FEA) and Buzzbnk have come together to create a funding solution which will enable food and farming projects to get the funds and support they need to move forward.  

If you feel that your project might qualify, and this looks like just the kind of enlightened funding you've been looking around for, find out more about it, and how to apply, on the Bzzbnk site page.

They are looking for projects in the following areas of agriculture: 

  • Horticulture, especially organic horticulture, and those variants that are classed as biodynamic, or are within the broad category of permaculture, and especially when practised within city boundaries or on the edge of cities, which is grown primarily for the benefit of local communities, to create employment for young people or to support jobs for vulnerable people. 
  • Organic, or biodynamic farming practice (this does not need to be certified, but applicants will need to demonstrate that they are practising organic or biodynamic principles). 
  • Small-scale mixed farming (again organic in principle though not needing to be certified as such, and geared to serving local communities) in which crops (both arable and horticultural) and livestock are integrated synergistically; for example in which animals feed primarily or exclusively on land or surpluses that would otherwise be wasted, and in turn help to cultivate the land and maintain its fertility. 
  • Enterprises involved in the marketing and distribution of food that provide an outlet for local food production including small-scale farmers and growers. 
  • Organisations should be UK based, although its impact could be geographically wider.

They aim to support small enterprises that are in line with the principle of Enlightened Agriculture which is that: “Farming, horticulture and food distribution be expressly designed to provide everyone everywhere with food of the highest quality, nutritionally and gastronomically, without wrecking the rest of the world”. The basic approach is that of “agro-ecology”.  

If you feel that your project might qualify, and this looks like just the kind of enlightened funding you've been looking around for, find out more about it, and how to apply, on the Bzzbnk site page.

Established organisations as well as new enterprises and new entrants to the field will be considered.  Do let us know how you get on.  

Mary Portas and the Golden Tickets of Dorking

Here at Transition Network, we are always on the lookout for innovative tools for enhancing local economies, so here's a fascinating initiative underway in Dorking in Surrey.  Mary Portas, 'Mary Queen of Shops' and creator of the recent 'Portas Review', visited the town recently, guest of Transition Dorking, as part of the build up to the launch, this Saturday, or their 'Golden Ticket' promotion.  It's an inspired idea for boosting the local economy in the run-up to Christmas, encouraging people to get behind the town's independent traders, an approach that could be adopted in many other places.  

If the words 'Golden Ticket' bring to mind Wonka-esque unwrapping of chocolate bars, think again.  Transition Dorking describe the scheme like this: 

The Dorking Golden Ticket event is based on a very simple model. All participating shops are invited to choose a minimum spend and a prize for the day. At the close of business on the 9th November all participating shops will draw their one golden ticket and a winner will be chosen. Transition Dorking will publish the winners on this website and the Dorking Advertiser will also carry the information. 

Logo I spoke to Sally Elias, who is one of the key drivers for the initiative, who told me that initially one of the key discussions the group had had was around whether or not they should be promoting consumption and consumerism.  She told me:

"Although Transition does not promote consumerism as such, we are acutely aware of the fragility of many of our local independent businesses.  Many of them tell us that without a boost this Christmas they may not be here next Christmas.  As a Transition initiative we strongly see the importance of supporting our local economies.  People often feel they need to leave Dorking to do their Christmas shop, assuming that some key things they need they won't be able to get in the town.  What we're saying is "Try Dorking First", have a lot of fun while doing it and support your local traders".  

The Golden Ticket has proved a dynamic tool for inspiring great creativity in the town.  Traders have been asked to offer a "prize that money can't buy", something imaginative and playful.  One barber, who also makes short films, is offering the opportunity to cut his hair, and also to appear in one of his films.  

offer

A furniture repairer is offering either a few hours of his time or to teach people some of his skills so they can do it themselves. You can see the other prizes being offered by other traders on the Golden Ticket Facebook page.  The local Council have even agreed to waive the parking charges in the town for the day!  For Sally, seeing this depth of enthusiasm for the project has exceeded expectations:

"What it has really brought home to me has been hearing how much people love this place.  It is different, it is distinctive, and that matters to people.  Once people understood the idea and the word got out there, it's been amazing to see the reaction, the degree of support, and the creativity that has been unleashed".   

Currently 40 businesses are signed up to take part, more joining every day.  This weekend's event will be launched by local MP Sir Paul Beresford, who will be going walkabout and doing his Christmas shopping in the town.  When asked for her advice for other Transition initiatives who might like to do something similar, Sally's advice was to just go for it:

"We deliberately designed this to be as simple as possible.  We wanted something that didn't take 40 minutes to explain, that people could quickly grasp and could see the advantage of.  If anyone anywhere else wants to do this I can only recommend it, it has been an amazing experience, and also a great way to build connections and contacts across the town".  

 We will follow up and see how the experiment went.  If you have any questions, or would like to find out more, email transitiondorking@gmail.com.  

Your chance to learn how to do a REconomy Economic Evaluation for your local economy

The REconomy Project is running a training soon on how to do an Economic Evaluation for your community.

We've written before here about Economic Blueprints/Evaluations, and their potential for really refocusing on the possibilities of a more resilient and local economy. 

REconomy's Fiona Ward takes up the story:

If you don’t know what we mean by an Economic Evaluation (sometimes called an Economic Blueprint), then we suggest you read this first. If you know what it is, and you think you want to do one for your own place, then we have developed an online course that can help you. 

To find out whether this might be useful for you, please come along to our webinar Helping you do your own Economic Evaluation on Tuesday 19th November 18:00 – 19:30 (UK time). The access link will be confirmed here at least 24 hours in advance. All English speakers are welcome!

Why do an Economic Evaluation?

A successful EE process will help you do the following things:

  • Engage your local economic leaders and organisations e.g. local councils, businesses, colleges etc.
  • Develop a deeper understanding of your local economy.
  • Identify opportunities for new Transition-oriented enterprises.
  • Begin to build networks of existing businesses, by sector.
  • Support the growth of key resilience-building sectors, such as food, renewable energy, retrofitting.
  • Broaden the reach and impact of your Transition Initiative.

reconomy-centre

The EE work in Totnes led to the council providing this building for the REconomy Centre – an engine for new enterprises.

The webinar will cover:

  • Why do an Economic Evaluation (EE)
  • What are the main activities and outputs?
  • What does the online course cover, and what’s involved?
  • What needs to be in place before starting your EE work/the course?
  • What help is available to get these things in place, e.g. fundraising?
  • Other questions

The webinar will be delivered by Jay Tompt (EE course co-ordinator) and Fiona Ward (REconomy project manager).

If you are interested in joining this webinar, please email Jay Tompt to reserve your place – we will have a limited number of seats. To help you decide if this is for you, here’s some information about the course and the pre-requisites… 

Background to the course

Several Transition Initiatives have already conducted an Economic Evaluation activity (called an Economic Blueprint in some places), and more are in the process of doing so. It’s early days, but so far the results have been very positive, and we’re learning quite a lot from this experience as well.

We are seeing growing interest from TIs around the world who want to do their own Economic Evaluation (EE). So we have assembled the processes, experiences and learnings into a course that provides support and training to TIs (and similar community groups) who want to do their own EE. 

Design

This course is designed to support a small number of TIs (called the cohort) as they actually do the local Economic Evaluation work in their own community. Most of the work is self-directed activity over roughly a 6 month period (though the best timing is still being established).

The participants attend monthly skype sessions with the cohort and those with experience of doing an EE, and support each other. One on one support from those with experience is also available, and a step-by-step handbook is provided with examples and templates. Each cohort then becomes part of a growing network of local REconomy change-makers.

Here’s an overview of the course.  It’s currently in its pilot phase, and we hope to launch the first public course in Q1 or Q2 of 2014. 

Important pre-requisites

Transition is based on community-led change. The EE process is designed to be facilitated by a community group such as a Transition Initiative, and other community groups with similar aims are welcome to apply. It is not suitable for an individual.

We strongly suggest that your group should have sufficient funding in place to undertake the Economic Evaluation process. This includes a small contribution towards the costs of the course. It can take at least 3-6 months to raise funding. The first 3 TIs to do an EE each had a budget that covered around 75 days worth of effort, plus some costs – roughly £10,000-£15,000 depending on your day rates. We don’t feel it’s viable to run this process based on volunteer effort alone. 

sm P1130947a

Putting on large EE events like this one in Hereford requires resources to be in place.  You also need access to the required skills including project management, data analysis, report writing, report design and people who can interact credibly with senior people from a range of organisations.

Ideally, you have some existing relationships with key organisations in your community, and some track record of catalysing change there.

These conditions will help ensure your EE is as successful as possible – but if you don’t have these things yet, don’t worry! We are planning ways we can help you build your capacity, for example, to help you gain the skills you need to fundraise, or to build partnerships. You might need to do some of this capacity building work before you undertake an EE. 

To register for the webinar or if you have other questions, please contact Jay Tompt, the course co-ordinator.

Italy stages its first 'Transition Fest'

Transition Italy recently held the first gathering of Transitioners from across the country, to celebrate 5 years since Transition first arrived on those shores.  We are very grateful to Deborah Rim Moiso for sending us the following report of the event:

About a hundred Transitioners and their friends assembled in Passignano on September 20-21-22, up in the oak-covered hills above Lake Trasimeno in Umbria, Central Italy, to celebrate 5 years’ activities of Transition Italy, our national hub, in a three day “Transition Fest” aimed to empower and strengthen the national web of initiatives… as well as to have a lot of fun!

Poster The 2013 “Transition Fest”, the first such gathering in Italy, was designed through an online Dragon Dreaming process (for more on Dragon Dreaming, see here, the design method created by John Croft and his team to integrate planning, dreaming, acting and celebrating in a single flowing web.  Pierre Houben, from Transition Ferrara, was the initiator of the group:

“Once the partying was over, I really wanted to thank everyone for their help in making my dream come true… but I was at loss for words. How do you talk about a dream which is collective, whereby everyone came together to make everybody’s dream a reality?”

Together with Deborah Rim Moiso, from the national hub and trainers team, Pierre assembled a team: Manuela Trovato, of the Sicilian Permaculture Group, is from the deepest South, and brought inclusion issues and great ideas on how to facilitate participation from the far-flung corners of the nation. Valentina Bortolussi, with her Porto di Transizione group clustered in the vicinity of Venice, was the Inner Transition voice for the team. Participating, she says, strengthened her resolve to work with other groups with a focus on the inner dimension of the “Great Turning”. Federico Carocci, from the nearby Transition Trevi steering group, lent a hand with local affairs.

The opening circle of the Transition Fest 2013.

First things first, a place was chosen, the unspeakably beautiful environmental education centre Panta Rei, with its view over the lake, wood and cob architecture, fantastic cuisine accommodating all tastes, flexible room use, guaranteed sunshine (seriously!!) and even tree houses! If you need a venue for a gathering in the Mediterranean countries, look no further!

Feedback forms distributed at the end of the event confirmed our suspicions: Transitioners love to do things themselves, and the best thing you (as facilitators) can do is clear the space, set the boundaries, and let the fun begin. Activities offered by participants as “giveaways” to this temporary community included circle dancing and meditation in the morning, building board games to explain systems thinking, workshops on non violent communication and facilitation, and even a huge Mandala made of coloured salt which we then all danced on to return the colours to the Earth (and to most everything we stepped
on for the rest of the day).

Shoes!

Whole-group activities (and this was a BIG group!) included daily opening and closing circles, music around the fire in the evening, a “Marketplace of possibilities” morning dedicated to networking, and an amazing evening of “Pecha Kutcha” presentations from all over. We really recommend this format, which ensured the flow of the evening was fast-paced, never boring, and helped everyone keep their presentations to the point. It certainly facilitates fun and laughter.  Perhaps a time for discussion and reflection could have been incorporated afterwards (in this case, it got late at night and we all went to bed in our wonderful wooden cots decorated with willow branches).

Much good use was made of the space, with participants encouraged to decorate, hanging up posters and flyers from these past 5 years in Transition, trading clothes, seeds, books and useful material such as the brilliant Transition Cards (which in Italy we’ve taken to calling “The Transition Tarot: it can’t really tell you the future of your initiative… or can it?”).

Group

A Press Office team was assembled for the occasion, with the mission of gathering photos and videos of the event and getting the press interested (we had journalists buzzing around… and getting involved as well). Their work, by the way, was also enabled by the Transition Network through dedicated funding for this event, so thank you all (Filipa, Ben, that’s you!).

Looking for a way to put all this in words, I turn to systems thinking: each element of the net is strengthened in opening itself to others. In such a gathering, so much information was exchanged, and so many hugs, smiles, encouragement and laughter, that we emerged really sensing how much stronger our Italian web had become as an outcome. In the words of Roberto Salustri, a participant and core member of the Castelli Romani Transition group:

“It so happens when we come back from a meeting related to practical ecology that we feel accomplishment and we’ve learned something new, but this time I’ve come back home really happy!  Happy because I was there and I was able to participate in working groups, I met new people and I found again old friends. Happy for not always beeing “in agreement” with everything but with the absolute certainty we could look for a solution in order to find common ground.  Happy about talking and discussing with so many people allowing me to learn about new experiences!  Happy because dreams can come true and we have begun to do so and because there are millions of people  who are already doing it. I felt invincibile not as a person but as something greater than the individual, something that lasts, something that was already there and there will always be as long as there will be the humanity. The Blessed Unrest that will save the world.  I’m glad I spent three days with great people, the same people I see every day, but I was able to know in the most  positive way. Leaving was really sad because I was waving friends but at the same time I was happy because surely we will meet again.  May be I will not see the better world that I’ve helped to create but I’ll be happy anyway!  A hug to everyone, those who were there, those who could not come and to those in the future.  See you soon, Roberto”

Lastly, here are some rather fetching portraits of some of the people who came...

Attendees

 
 
 

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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.

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