Transition Culture

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3 Oct 2012

A September Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition

Let’s start this month’s round up in Australia.  Transition Sydney also recently held an event about social enterprise and reviving local economies through resilience-building, entitled the ‘Living Economies Forum’, with a great range of speakers.  Here is the poster.  One of them was Michael Shuman, and here is his excellent talk, called “Building Resilient Local Economies through Local Investment”:

Also at the conference were Liesl Capper whose talk was called ‘The Entrepreneur’s Story: Raising Seed Capital for Business Success’:

… and Peter Swan, Manager, Bendigo Bank, Clovelly Community Bank, who spoke on “Banking on the Local Economy: The Bendigo Community Banking Approach”:

Here is Peter Driscoll, Transition Sydney, who spoke about “Living Economies, The Australian Regulatory Context”:

Also from Australia, here is a piece from EcotopiaTV about Transitions Sydney and Bondi, featuring a very energetic presenter bouncing between the two:

TT-Kenmore held a stall at their local farmers Moggill Markets where they swapped/sold backyard produce as well as offering native plants and trees.

From Canada, this page on Transition Towns via Changemakers uses the business model of Village Vancouver and outlines the summary, problem and solution.  TT-Comox Valley have arranged over the coming months to have local speakers talk about ways they’re incorporating the principles of Transition into their work and lives. The first one starts with a local architect.  Get a load of TT-Alberni Valley’s (BC) extensive autumn kale recipes here!

At the 2012 Transition Network conference in London, Lee Brain from Transition Prince Rupert gave an impassioned speech at the Transition Youth event on the day before the main conference:

Transition Winnipeg North has just held its great Unleashing and is already well on its way with some great projects having been inspired by another local community group in the South of the city. Read more on here in Winnipeg’s uptown mag.  TT Orillia (ON) has invited the community to learn about food security through food preservation – canning, preserving etc.

To Germany now.  An article on the spread of Transition in Germany with a focus on Münster, a university town in northwestern Germany which is also ready to make the Transition.  Here is someone in Transition Town Beilefeld (I think), who has made a cob pizza oven.  Or something.

Next to Italy.  Rob Hopkins was in Italy recently, for the 2012 Degrowth conference and to visit Transition groups.  He blogged about it extensively (beginning here), and his posts were all translated into Italian here.  Thanks to Adriano for posting this write up on his blog site after Rob’s visit to Italy (in Italian).  While there, Rob spoke at the DeGrowth conference in Venice (starts at 1:48:20) …

… at an amazing event in Ferrara (which he blogged about here), and then at an event in Parma, where he first spoke about Transition and how it works …

… and then about what is happening in Totnes in relation to local food:

Also here is a film about an event run by Arricia in Transizione which included a screening of parts of ‘In Transition 2.0’:

… and another talk, in Biella, about Transition, about which I can tell you very little:

… and a piece from Italian TV about Transition, which includes a trip to Totnes and some Italian initiatives:

Juan del Rio (more of him later) sent this report on Transition developments in Spain:

“Just few lines about what is going on in Spain. September has not been the best month in Spain, where hundreds of thousands took the streets against austerity and police brutality. Here you can see a video that chronicles those events. Yes, this is part of our own transition and we have to deal with it. Here you can listen the audio about the transitions in times of austerity workshop during the conference.

However other interesting things happened around transition and will happen this month of October. In September, 5 members of the newborn Spanish transition Hub participated in the transition London conference. Here you can read the chronicles of the conference in Spanish.  15th September a TedX event happened in Madrid where Rob Hopkins participated via videoconference and soon we will have the video. Here you have a picture.

Interest around transition in Spain is growing and in October three important events are planned all over the country:

Which no doubt this will mean a push for the movement and hopefully will help to build community and resilience in those complicated times”.

In Ireland, TT-Kinsale held two Go Wild events to explore the local woodland and wild plants.  TT-Whitehead has been awarded £1,000 by an organisation which recognises volunteering heroes who give large amounts of their time to their local communities. Read more here in the local Carrick Times.

A journalist from Sweden called Hans has done an interview with Juan del Rio from Transition Spain (in Swedish).  From Portugal, here are folks from some sort of Transition event in the Ciomra region boiling spaghetti on a rocket stove they made:

From the Netherlands, Bart Vanden Driessche wrote an article (in Dutch) about the recent Transition conference at Battersea Arts Centre which will appear on the hub website of Flanders and different blogs.  Many thanks to Corinne Coughanowr of Paris 15 en Transition for sharing the following report from France about an all-day gathering of Transitioners in Paris: 

“Our byword may be “resilience”, but it sure helps to have a little sunshine! Here in Paris, we actually planned an all-day meeting outdoors on September 30th for transitioners in France to get together. This was part of the *first ever* Concrete Utopia Festival, a ten-day extravaganza of events on Transition and Permaculture.

Most of the events in this festival were open to the wider public, but Sunday’s event was especially geared to Transition initiatives, so we could take time to meet, exchange and participate in workshops together. Following the adage that “the coffee breaks are where the best conversations take place”, we put in LOTS of those, not to mention lunch and happy hour at the end of the day.

The first thing to show up in the morning was the sun, along with gorgeous fall weather. Since we were graciously hosted by a shared garden association, we spent a beautiful day alongside pallets and pots of vines, flowers and ripening tomatoes.  Fifty to eighty people were there at any given time, and the program was followed somewhat “organically”. Our first objective was for people to find out who else was there, and to be encouraged to pursue conversations with each other throughout the day.

Badges, “mapping” and small conversation groups all helped, as did short presentations from the French hub and the French Trainers group. We were lucky to have Filipa Pimentel with us, who helped link us to the international HUBS and all the latest work they have been doing. Several of us shared some highlights from the Transition Conference in London earlier in the month.

Once the participants were lulled into feeling comfortable, we launched them into a new module we were testing, “Eco-psychology and Change.” After a brief exchange in pairs on something each person had successfully changed in their own behavior, we proposed a “complain-in” for groups of 6 to 8. From all the pet peeves for the behavior of others, each group put on a skit for the rest of us. After a good laugh, we looked deeper into the reasons and beliefs behind these behaviors.  Finally, a few strategies for presenting things positively and encouraging people towards a “new normal” were put forth.

The afternoon session started with a Transition Clinic in the form of a World Café. Topics were suggested by the participants around the central question “What keeps you from moving forward in your Transition initiative? “. Restitution from each table gave some excellent ideas on ways to move forward. The discussions on topics such as “how to integrate newcomers into an existing initiative” and  “creating a network of experts on specific topics (bicycles, renewable energy, eco-construction…) throughout our initiatives” will be posted on-line in the near future.

Our last module for the day was a miniature High Street exercise. Etienne and I had so loved this giant experiment at the London conference, that we couldn’t resist sharing a ridiculously short version. The amazing thing is that with five minutes preparation, we were able to take people through some of the essentials in less than an hour. When we heard all the ideas pouring forth from each group, we knew they were hooked. I loved the idea of using all the telephone poles for a pulley and rope local delivery system!  We think our objectives were met, since all day long, the conversations and exchanges never seemed to stop. And when at the end of the day, a spontaneous conga line broke out (see above), we were pretty sure everyone had had a good time!”

To the UK now.  Firstly, in Scotland, Portobello TT (aka Pedal-Porty) recently held a Green Homes Open Day in Edinburgh.  We reported on the Bristol Pound in last month’s roundup, and on Wednesday 22nd September it was finally launched (here‘s the piece from the Independent).  Here is the Mayor of Bristol making the first official purchase with Bristol Pounds:

It was an amazing launch event by all accounts, and it generated a lot of media coverage.  Here is a piece from BBC West News:

Ciaran Mundy appeared on

Here’s a nice piece which asks the various traders why they are participating in the scheme:

It has even inspired artists to make rather funky collage-type animated things about the Bristol Pound:

It also generated media all over the world, such as this piece from ElMundo (in Spanish).

The 2012 Transition Network conference has been blogged about extensively elsewhere, but here’s a piece of video feedback from someone who attended the first part of the Thrive training and also the REconomy day.  He seems to have had a good time:

Transition Hebden Bridge’s Health and Wellbeing Group have started running ‘Soup Dragon’ events, where people can drop in, have a bowl of soup and relax.  Here’s their rather fun poster:

T-Buckingham and the town council held a harvest fair in the spirit of creating community and were joined by local young farmers and the Brackley Morris Men.  The group have also secured a location for a community herb garden at the University of Buckingham.   Transition Town Shrewsbury recently held an Autumn Equinox Harvest Festival, aimed at celebrating the group’s work so far and planning for what comes next.  Here’s the poster:

They also recently posted this update on their hydro power scheme which has featured in previous round ups.  Here is some audio from about Transition High Wycombe, where Philippa Sawyer talks to Celia Carter about Wycombe’s Transition Town Food Group at the Wycombe Harvest Food Festival.

They also produced a rather excellent online local food map/guide thing, called ‘Food on our doorstep’.  You can find it here.  Here is the site’s banner which I really liked:

 TT-Wilmslow held a Green Doors event to show what can be done to save energy and money in average homes.  Transition Matlock have been going ‘Totally Locally’ and are about to launch a social enterprise supplying local food.  In Devon, TT-Exmouth held ‘Water Resources and Climate Change’ with a keynote speaker from South West Water who drew on his own observations of water management in Bangladesh, which he visited in 2010 as part of a WaterAid project.

Here is TT-Bridport’s Sept newsletter which includes news of a share in a £1 million big lottery fund allocated to groups in Dorchester and Bridport committed to developing resilience to climate change and building a sustainable food supply. Fantastic news.   TT-Lewes have been super busy this month with various events from open eco-homes which included this 1930’s retrofit to Food up Front 2013 and OVESCO, the Lewes community energy company at this year’s Transition conference at BAC. Busy bees.

In Totnes, the Atmos Totnes project continues its campaign to bring the town’s former Dairy Crest site into community ownership.  They recently unveiled Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall as their new Patron.  Here is a short video about his visit to Totnes:

In London, following the success of their first energy project, Brixton Energy Solar 2 has officially launched (see right)! Read more about this fantastic venture here.

The Brixton Pound also just celebrated the currency’s third birthday.  Here’s what they had to say about that, and here is a photo from their 3rd birthday party, taken from their very active Twitter feed (@brixtonpound):

TT-Putney have posted this open letter on behalf of Transition Putney Council Group.  TT-Tooting recently held their 5th Foodival, which sounded rather wonderful (see pics below).  You can read more about it here.

They event grew their own wheat for the Foodival!  Here Charles introduces the plot and what the idea is:

Then Jenny shows how it is very nearly ripe…

… and then, just before Foodival, they harvested it:

They also recently posted a great film about their Encounters Transition Tooting Shop, which was written about in previous roundups.  . Encounters Shops become meeting places in which local communities can collect and exchange experiences, memories, objects, journeys and thoughts about their lives, where they live and the wider world.  Here’s that film:

Here is T-Finsbury Park’s Sept newsletter which is full to bursting with inspirational activities and events.

Let’s start our stories from the US with Transition US’ very own September roundup (click here).  Transition Cadillac they threw an Earth Day celebration and 100 Yarden Kickoff event. The community was challenged to grow a 100 new food gardens (or Yardens) and responded magnificently: over 130 were registered on the day of the event, with more to come over the summer. Local farmers, gardeners, and businesses came out to share their techniques and produce, and local musicians Frank Youngman and the Earthworks Music Collective provided excellent entertainment.

Thanks to Billy Templeton of T-Honesdale (PA) for this message:

“Hello from Transition Honesdale!  Our Transition group has been publishing a print and online newsletter for the past year (we were awarded a $25,000 grant) and I thought some folks at HQ might be interested in some of the work we’ve been up to.  Here’s a link to our blog (online newsletter) and an article I recently wrote, “Lessons from the Dark Season”“.

The Payson community garden.

Also in PA, TT-Media held their annual Free Market event.  Payson, Arizona, is recognised by T-US as the 121st TT and they have been busy with their hugely successful community garden (see photo above) which is not easy in such a dry, hot climate with a lack of organic materials.  Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (MA) held their September Pot Luck celebrating and inspiring JP’s change-makers.

T-Ashland (MA) held their very first meeting! One of their first projects Grounds Around Townis already in process match making local businesses with residents gardens.  Our thanks go to Lisa Kivirist for sharing details of the Speed Skilling workshop being held this Saturday by Transition Green County (WI) at their wonderfully named Serendipity Inn. The day includes a portion dedicated to how Lisa and her partner John greened up their classic 1920’s style Wisconsin farmhouse from using wood heat to no VOC paints to lots of creative, frugal recycling or re-use.

Tina Clark gave a workshop on community building and resilience to a school in High Mowing which had been organised by the local Souhegan TT (NH).

Woodstock (NY) (yes, THAT Woodstock) held a Transition Festival (see photo above).  There are more wonderful photos of the event here, and this slideshow they posted on YouTube:

Finally, here are a few general bits and bobs. Rob Hopkins was recently GreenhousePR’s ‘EcoHero’, and answered a few questions for them. Here is an article called Times they are a Changing, from by Eric Puro who recently visited Totnes.  Alexis Rowell and Sarah Nicholl, both Green Party members and founders of Transition Belsize write about their experiences in both in the Green European Journal.  As part of the 100 Months campaign, Rob Hopkins was one of 50 people invited to share their thoughts as to what we should do with our remaining 50 months.

Transition Network’s REconomy, and Transition in general, was mentioned recently in an article in El Mundo, which also featured a rather nice photo of Juan del Rio from Transición Sostenible Barcelona and Filipa Pimentel, taken at the Transition Network conference in London (see below).  Finally here is a link to what is actually a rather good academic piece about Transition, which contains the bewildering line that “Rob Hopkins presents Transition strategy as a clever discursive bricolage”.  If anyone can explain what that means in time before the next one of these roundups we’d be very grateful.  Thanks everyone.