12 Jan 2007
10 First Steps for a Transition Town Initiative #3. The Official Unleashing.
Despite one overexcitable **Transition Culture** reader writing that *”‘Organising the great unleashing’ …has the added bonus of sounding totally filthy”*, it is, perhaps disappointingly, nothing of the sort. We use the term ‘Unleashing’ because that is the sense that this event should embody. Through the first 2 stages, ideally you now have a groundswell of people fired up about peak oil and climate change and eager to start **doing something**. The aim of this event is to generate a momentum which will propel your initiative forward for the next period of its work.
The Official Unleashing of Transition Town Totnes was held last September, and had been proceeded by about 10 months of talks, film screenings and so on. By the time of the Unleashing, we felt that there was sufficient energy in the town to do this. This was based, entirely unsubjectively, on the fact that numbers at events were steadily increasing, more people wanted to stop us in the street to talk about it, and also the fact that we were getting impatient to kick it all off. How you judge when to do yours is entirely a matter of personal judgement.
Some groups, such as Transition Penwith, started pretty much from cold with an Unleashing, because they had the opportunity of having Richard Heinberg present it, a rare enough possibility. The ideal though, as I see it, is a bit like one of those toy volcanoes that children like; you gradually add a bit of vinegar, a bit of baking powder, a bit more vinegar, a bit more baking powder, until the pressure inside builds to an unbearable point, and then BAM, there is the Unleashing. It marks the arrival of the project, and it is a celebration of the community’s desire to act.
At the Totnes Unleashing, we began with a welcome by the Mayor of Totnes, who welcomed everyone and gave the project her blessing. Then I spoke, giving the case for peak oil and climate change, and that the two offer the great incentive to act and to build a world that could be preferable to the present. Then Chris Johnstone, author of ‘Find Your Power’ spoke. In his talk he said,
>“Totnes has an opportunity here to be ground breaking internationally. Maybe in 400 years time… they will look back to this time at the beginning of the 21st century as a crucial time, as the last decades of the Oil Age, the time of the Great Turning. Maybe they will tell stories about what happened in Totnes. Maybe this evening will be something that is the beginning of one of those stories. If you look ahead at the future, there are gloomy possibilities, but there are also inspiring possibilities, and you are part of an inspiring possibility by being here tonight