Transition Culture

An Evolving Exploration into the Head, Heart and Hands of Energy Descent

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I no longer blog on this site. You can now find me, my general blogs, and the work I am doing researching my forthcoming book on imagination, on my new blog.

23 Nov 2010

New Report: ‘So what does Transition Town Totnes actually do?’

Transition Town Totnes has been running now for just over 4 years, and recently a group of us sat down to try and capture what has actually been achieved by the process.  It has been a very illuminating process, one that is very useful to do in terms of being able to get a sense of what has actually been achieved on the ground (I highly recommend it).  The name of the report, ‘So, what does Transition Town Totnes actually do?‘, comes from the question often asked by visitors to the town who come to see a Transition town, wander round the High Street and wonder why there are still cars and not windmills everywhere.   This report is designed to explain all that is going on below the surface (as well as on top of it…).

Copies of the report were distributed to the Town Council and last week I attended a meeting where I gave a brief presentation about it, following which the Councillors talked about how proud they were of TTT, and then unanimously passed a resolution supporting our work (here is a report from the local press).  The resultant report can be downloaded here (it’s a big file, about 5.5MB).  As TTT is a community organisation with no core funding, we are offering this report for free, but we hope that having read it you might feel inspired to make a donation to support our vital work:

My favourite bit of the report, the Executive Summary, sets out in numbers the impacts of TTT thus far:

People visiting Totnes to find out about Transition have brought an estimated £122,000 to the local economy • over 300 people have visited the town to undertake Transition Training • TTT raised the funding for the 74 solar panels on Totnes Civic Hall which will generate around 13,000kWh (a third of its demand, leading to the Council saving over £5,500) • 186 hybrid nut trees have been planted throughout the town • over 4000 Local Food Guides (in 2 editions) have been distributed • our Garden Share scheme means that now 30 gardeners in 13 gardens are able to grow food, providing food to over 50 families • over 70 businesses now accept the Totnes Pound • organised over 140 public events • more than 1,000 students at King Edward VI Community College have now participated in our ‘Transition Tales’ programme • over 75% of people in Totnes and Dartington are aware of TTT’s work • more than 600 people attended 4 workshops on renewable energy • there are now 59 ‘Transition Together’ groups in and around the town, who will each reduce their carbon emissions by 1.2 tonnes, each saving £601 per year • over 50% of those households are low-income • ‘Transition Tours’, a structured tour designed for those who want to visit the town to learn about Transition has, so far, had a local impact of £52,166 • The work of TTT  has inspired an international network of thousands of Transition initiatives • TTT has formed partnerships with 25 other organisations • the creation of the Energy Descent Action Plan engaged over 800 local people, gave talks to 35 local organisations and held 27 public meetings • 50 people have learnt to garden through our basic gardening course • over 400 people attended ‘Winterfest’, a one-day celebration of the work of TTT • 3 annual ‘Edible Garden Crawls’ have been attended by over 500 people • the 2010 ‘Energy Fair’ was attended by over 400 people • TTT’s email newsletter is received by over 2,000 people • TTT’s Garden Share scheme was the inspiration for Hugh Fearnley-Wittingstall’s national ‘Landshare’ campaign • Produced 10 short films about various TTT events • ‘Estates in Transition’, a day conference co-organised with Dartington, brought 65 local landowners and managers together to explore the impacts of peak oil and climate change • 57.2% of local people feel TTT’s work is either ‘highly relevant’ or ‘relevant’ to their lives • the Heart and Soul group provides support to 15 people working in TTT so as to minimise incidents of burn-out • TTT’s website has over 4,500 registered users • our annual Seedy Sunday events each attract at least 200 people • a recent grant of £75,000 from Community Builders is supporting our efforts to bring the derelict Dairy Crest site back into community ownership • TTT has generated a great deal of media coverage, including BBC’s The One Show, Al Jazeera TV, ‘In Business’ on Radio 4, and pieces in most daily papers, as well as regularly attracting international media attention….

Comments are now closed on this site, please visit Rob Hopkins' blog at Transition Network to read new posts and take part in discussions.


michael Dunwell
25 Nov 8:03pm

A long time ago I challenged Rob to beat the creation of a technician job in a polytunnel we got for a school to teach practical growing skills. This must have stung him into action! OK Rob. You win.
But haven’t we come a long way?

Dave Dann
27 Nov 11:07am

This is a list of effort applied but the tourists and visitors were interested in visible results?

21 Dec 5:38pm

Out of all the things listed, only 3 are actually doing something directly: planting the nut trees, exchanging seeds at the Seedy Sunday, and, when it happens, acquiring the Dairy Crest site. Transition is mostly awareness-raising and education. It supports other groups actually doing physical things. Nothing wrong with that, although I was disappointed in my local group’s not doing anything on the ground.

[…] Transition Totnes have secured grants to bring a site into community ownership. Maybe there is an opportunity to do the same for Norbury Park, in collaboration with Surrey Wildlife Trust. There are several Transition groups across Mole Valley who could assist with raising awareness and discussions around possibilities. And also continuing to support Norbury Park Sawmill. Conservation is not just about animals and land, its about people and their local experience being passed through generations. […]