12 Dec 2007
Ted Trainer’s Transition Q&A Part Two.
In Transition Town Totnes at the moment, some of these are being addressed. Forming new banks is very very difficult in the UK given the regulations, but the town already has a Credit Union, and we are looking into the creation of new investment models that can allow people to invest their money in such a way as to support the relocalisation process. The Totnes Pound is, I suppose, a kind of ‘public institution’, and is currently setting up as a Community Interest Company (CIC). One of the most exciting developments is that TTT, together with the Town Council, the Chamber of Commerce and various other local groups, have formed the Sustainable Business Park group who are putting together a proposal for the Dairy Crest site in Totnes, an 8 acre site, formerly home to a large milk processing plant which closed a few months ago. The idea is to create, as you might imagine, a sustainable business park, featuring a number of green businesses, business incubator units, urban agriculture and training facilities, powered by the nearby river and right next to the railway station.
Also, recently launched in Totnes was TRESOC (the Totnes Renewable Energy Society), which has emerged as a sister company to TTT, and which is a Industrial and Provident Society which offers a mechanism whereby people can invest money which is then used to install renewable capacity. This is a very exciting development, and their prospectus is due soon. We are hoping that our next programme of events (January to April ’08) will also trigger the establishment of a Community Supported Agriculture scheme in the community.
**4. Are there committees thinking about the needs of youth, aged, disadvantaged in the locality…providing for them more satisfactorily, and harnessing their labour skills and energy?**
One of the things that is challenging about Transition work is that we are starting to implement strategies that will be needed beyond the peak when the economy is still booming. This is particularly the case when it comes to complementary currencies like the Totnes Pound, but is also the case with some of the things you are talking about. I think that communities reorganising so as to take care of their own elderly populations is something that we probably won’t see on any significant scale until the reality of peak oil and/or a major recession really starts to bite.
We are trying to encourage as much volunteering as possible, and increasingly to design big events that allow people to get involved. We are also planning a short film competition for young people on the theme of “Totnes in 2030”, an extension of the Transition Tales work we have been doing in local schools. I think some of the other Transition initiatives are also exploring interesting ways to draw in as diverse a range of people as possible to the various aspects of their work. I think that given that we are still at the top of the economic curve, part of what Transition Initiatives are doing is seeding the groups and reweaving the networks so as to make appropriate responses possible when the severity of our situation becomes more clear to more people once we pass the peak.
**If you are part of a Transition Initiative, please do share your comments here on your experience and thinking on Ted’s questions…**