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5 Dec 2012

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

Let’s start this month’s bumper round-up (which contains some of the finest short films about Transition among many many other things) with the news that Transition Network has just been named as the winner of the highly prestigious European Economic and Social Committee’s Civil Society Prize.  This is great recognition for the work of the REconomy Project and so many people in hundreds of European local communities who are engaging their local civil society in developing low carbon futures and livelihoods which promote wellbeing for all in the community.  There are more than 500 Transition initiative community groups in 23 European countries (more than 1000 groups worldwide) who are working on the “transition” to a low-carbon, socially-just future.

Here’s what EESDC themselves had to say: “The Jury of the EESC Civil Society Prize has announced the winners of the 2012 edition, under the theme ‘Innovate for a sustainable Europe!‘, and has decided to award the prize to the following organisations:

1. Transition Network (United Kingdom)
2. CAIS Association (Portugal)
3. Livstycket (Sweden)

The overall objective of the civil society prize is to reward excellence in civil society initiatives and to celebrate the achievements of civil society organisations which have had the ingenuity to develop projects that have had a positive impact on Europeans’ lives, and have significantly contributed to promoting European identity and a sense of citizenship, embodying the common values underpinning the European venture.  The 2012 edition aims to reward innovative initiatives and projects, also on the regional and local level, in the field of sustainable production and/or consumption, and in the social sector”.

The award ceremony will be held on 12 December 2012 during the Committee’s plenary session.  Transition Network would like to thanks all European Transition Initaitives, and the REconomy project – we congratulate and respect you hugely – WELL DONE!  Now, on to Canada …

David Wimberly and Steve Mustain about to cut the celebratory cake at the Unleashing of Transition Bay St. Margarets.

Transition Bay St. Margarets had their Unleashing last week, an event which went very well by all accounts.  Here are a few words from the organisers it:

“Everyone there at the Great Unleashing agreed that it was a great success.  We really did put the Transition Initiative movement much more on the radar of people and politicians in our area.  The new Mayor of Halifax, Mike Savage attended, along with the new area Councillor Matt Whitman. Both went away feeling Transition Bay St Margarets is a group worth paying attention to, a group with much to offer.  And they were convinced of our interconnections with many other similar minded groups.  And we attending felt the same and enjoyed the many opportunities for connections to a growing, vibrant community in Transition, with a capital “T”.

The address by Nicole Foss was shocking and revelatory to all those so fortunate to be there. Many had heard most of the various pieces of information before.  But Nicole put it together so brilliantly and precisely that the import became much more deeply and urgently understood.  We were moved to consider more carefully our personal and collective resilience, or lack thereof, in the face of economic bubbles overdue to pop. We learned why getting out of debt is such a priority as well as why we need to quicken our path to personal and community strengths, especially in food, heat, skills, and tangible goods, like tools.  A local Twitter exchange grew so lively it even attracted the attention of our mayor and was mentioned by him when he spoke to us the next day.

Rob Hopkins’ talk, recorded specifically for us, was perfectly positioned after Nicole Foss’ discourse to bring us to the uplifting point that the Transition Initiative process is a powerful way to bring a cheerful and constructive path to the enormous opportunity of the changes upon us. We will soon be posting Rob’s talk to our website.  There is now discussion of this becoming an annual gathering for Transition Initiatives and a partners in the Maritime Provinces of Canada. Just what we wanted.  We are well and truly “Unleashed” and ready for the coming Spring of Transition!  Join us”.

Transition Bay St. Margarets also recently made two beautiful films about their work.  The first one is about their educational vegetable garden project, and the second is about the Farmers’ Market they now have up and running.

Transition Salt Spring sent us this short taster of what’s afoot on their island:

We have been a Transition town for going on three years now. We are an island of 10,000 with a “green” reputation. We have many great initiatives going on our island including community gardens and other food groups, our own currency, Transition Salt Spring Enterprise Cooperative, little transit service, car stop program, pathways, electric vehicle group, our own abattoir, almost all the food grown on our island is organic, big fall fair etc. I am also a part of the education committee. The education committee is planning an event for some time in early 2013 and we are interested in having you “skyped” to Salt Spring for this event. Thanks for all you do!

In Ontario, Transition Cornwall+, the Cornwall Community Museum and the Public Library partnered up to put on an event called Wintry Amusements to showcase activities from a simpler time. It brought together young and old to share skills, songs and stories.  They also made this very lovely short film about it:

John Towndrow of Transition Cornwall+ recently gave this presentation to Cornwall City Council about the group’s work:

In Australia, TT-Guilford held a hands-on bike maintenance workshop at a local Primary School. It is especially relevant in light of the 2029 Perth Bike Plan which aims to build 6,600km of separate bike lanes!

Many thanks to Josué Dusoulier in Belgium (and Filipa Pimental for the English translation) for the following:

“The first training “efficient and pleasant group” took place on 10 November in Liège, Belgium. Both participants and trainers were super happy.  Also, the weekend of Introduction to the Transition Initiatives Training was organised by Deltae and Terta is currently going on very well – positive visioning, resilience, re-localisation and inner transition are all issues that looked into and the reactions to this programme are really good”.

Transition is now stirring in Israel.  We are grateful to Deborah Heifetz for her write up on Transition Israel. It was a bit too long for this round-up, so what follows is a taster, and you can read the full piece here.

“The creation of the Israeli Hub has gathered momentum.  We had our first meeting July 15, 2012, when Frieder Krups and I returned from a Thrive training in Totnes.  Before I begin the story about the Hub’s unfolding, I’ll give just a little background about what motivated me because a Transition Hub in Israel exists within a larger socio-environmental-political context unique to the region.  That said, I am not an environmentalist per se, but engaged in peacebuilding through pedagogy and activism.  Recently exposed to and inspired by Hub directors Isabela in Brazil, Niels in Denmark and Carolyn in the U.S. and then experiencing the Thrive training I decided to create a Transition Israel Hub as a vehicle that could help bring about peace through parallel shifts in both Israeli and Palestinian civil societies. Frieder and I have Palestinian friends and colleagues working on the Palestinian side with transition-like projects but who are not yet connected to Transition per se. I see the potential to give mutual support for the parallel shift either directly and/or through the larger international network of the Transition Network”.

Transition group Grey Lynn 2030 joined other Transition groups in Auckland to take part in Sustainable City Showcase where they occupied a space in the community zone.  Sounded like a great event.

Many thanks to Claudian Dobos for this update from Romania:

“We are working around the clock on developing Transition towns!

  • with the occasion of international Buy Nothing Day, we organized at the same time in Bucharest and Timisoara a Free Stuff Bazaar. The event started from an on-line platform, Free Things (which has more than 10,000 members) and the idea is to promote sharing and gift economy. In the Bazaar people not only brought items, but also services, knowledge and a lot of fun.

For the first time this year, it was organized in 5 cities at the same time and the Transition movement associated with this great initiative.  Pictures here from Timisoara where the event was held on an important street in the town.

In Bucharest we had several hundred people showing up at the event, with 2 national TV stations doing stories on them. Bucharest location was in an experimental space (an architectural experimental house). Pictures from Bucharest here.

  • In Bucharest is on preparation for the day 30th a movie screening for In Transition 2.0 and a presentation of TTN with group dynamics, food sharing, etc.
  • workshop of textile manufacturing. Using textile remnants we sewed some small bags which we will used as gifts for the movie screening on day 30. In the small textile bags we will add vegetable and wheat seeds
  • another project that started is a seed bank/exchange system and connected with some organizations outside Romania that working in the same field
  • connected with some kindergartens and schools to start initial steps of school gardening projects and gardening education, both in Bucharest as in Timisoara. All using Permaculture
  • already starting to work on an upgrade for the website România În Tranziţie that would serve as a national hub portal for all future transition towns initiatives (currently two, in Bucharest and Timisoara) with SN support, and great visual
  • made 1st steps in registering an NGO for formal representation “Asociatia Romania in Tranzitie” as an instrument to support the movement at national level
  • the Romanian TT Movement was present at the conference that launched the Zero Waste platform in Romania.

And more and more is happening. More news in December”.

In Spain, November 16th saw the second ‘Reunión de INtransition Marbella’, an event captured in one of the most beautiful films about Transition that anyone has yet produced:

Here is the video presentation that Rob Hopkins gave for the event, with Spanish subtitles:

It also made the local TV news:

And you can see a collection of photos of the event either here or here.

From Italy, here is Transition pioneer Cristiano Bottone giving a talk (in several parts).  No location is given, but we assume, given that he is speaking in Italy, that the talk at least takes place in Italy somewhere:

Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 4 | Part 5

To France next, and we are very grateful to Kitty de Bruin for this report:

“The 10e meeting of Volubilis from 21 until 24th of November in Avignon, France had its  subject living, dreaming and creating the town and the landscape. Title: Vivre Ensemble Autrement.  Volubilis is an association with the aim to create a link between nature and culture, between men and areas, linking the European countries and the countries  at the other side of the Mediterranean sea.

The meeting had a cultural part, films, art gallery and music.  This year as subject Bread, with beautiful sculptures and all participants had to add a stone to a sculpture (see right).

During the conference among a lot of subjects : how to change the industrial economy and the financial, speculating  economy, the local money (le sol violette de Toulouse), organic and local agriculture, food, energy, transport and housing in the worldwide transition: examples and solutions, mobile and light homes, transit and transition in local areas.

You can read a report in French here.

From Deventer in Holland, here is a film about the Repair Cafe they ran recently:

To the UK now, and congratulations to Bath & West Community Energy (BWCE) who won Best Community Initiative in the RegenSW Green Energy Awards.  In the final for the running for the award were two projects that have emerged from Transition groups, BWCE and the Totnes Renewable Energy Society.

Reflecting on the victory, BWCE’s chairman Peter Capener wrote:

“We would like to dedicate our success (but sadly we can’t invite you all to a grand dinner) with everyone who has helped, invested, supported, worked and volunteered for Bath & West Community Energy over the last few years. You are all the reason we won – Thank you!”

TT-Honiton have been running for almost a year and as a result recently held a meeting to establish a thriving Food Group.  Still in Devon, here is an academic piece compiled by Janet Richardson of Plymouth University titled Health Impact Assessment of Transition Town Totnes, Transition Together/Transition Streets.  Also from Totnes, here is a short film about a visit made by members of the TTT Food Group to Otterton Mill to research the practicalities of setting up a grain milling project in Totnes:

Also here is a piece from ARTE TV (in German) about Transition Town Totnes, which also visited Bristol and Ottery-St-Mary, and in which Isabel Carlisle, who is working with Transition Network on education and youth in Transition, makes an appearance:

In Dorset, six unemployed young people benefitted from a DIY workshop held by TT-Bridport which taught basis trades skills such as carpentry, metalwork, electrical work and plumbing (see below).

In London, TT-Brixton are aiming to make Christmas more sociable and sustainable with their Make Christmas events where people can swap ideas about homemade gifts, cards and recipes and then get creative (see right)!   From TT-Lewes, here aresome handy November food growing tips.  TT-Shrewsbury (Shropshire) are re-running a community Christmas cardboard recycling scheme which will benefit two local charities.  T-Rye are getting established in the town with the support of the local council. They invited anyone interested in finding out more to a recent screening of In Transition 2.0 followed by a discussion.

One of the most vibrant strands of Transition Network’s work at the moment is REconomy, and here is an update on that from Fiona Ward:

This last month has seen a wide range of REconomy related activity going on – on the public sector side there’s the 2 day event for local government CEOs that is asking difficult questions about economic growth, and the new mayor of Bristol will take his £51,000 salary in Bristol Pounds – the local currency story goes from strength to strength.

The first reports from our Economic Evaluation project in Totnes are now publicly available and one of the things most helpful to our food analysis here was the CPRE food web report for Totnes. CPRE have just released their ‘mapping local food web toolkit’ so you can now do this bit yourself. We think the Economic Evaluation work is a promising way to help you connect with your local councils and other key organisations you need to work with to transform your local economy.

We are seeing growing interest in REconomy from other countries, and here’s a webinar recording of a talk that explains REconomy for Transition US. We are hoping to work with some Transition colleagues from other countries from 2013, so we can better understand which bits might be internationally relevant, and which bits will need to be made country specific. Also on the international front, REconomy’s very own Shane Hughes will be giving a TEDx talk in Lausanne, Switzerland in January. The talk is titled “Sleeping Giants of Economic Shift Change“. Shane has given this talk a few times at Transitiony events throughout the year and learnt much from fellow  Transitioners. He’ll now try to consolidate all this into a really concise argument for a credible alternative to the current economic system.

If transforming your local economy floats your boat, come and visit REconomy Project for advice and resources. There are also useful articles, funding announcements and discussions on our Facebook page (like us) or Twitter. And finally, The Roddick Foundation have kindly awarded us some more funding which will enable our project to continue into 2013, so many thanks to them. If you have any suggestions or ideas about how the REconomy Project could help you, please let us know via our contact page“.

Speaking of George Ferguson, the newly-elected Mayor of Bristol, announcing at his inauguration that he would be taking his full salary in Bristol Pounds, this was a story that generated a lot of press attention.  He later announced that all stallholders at the city’s St Nicholas Market would be able to pay their pitch fees using the currency, either in its printed form or Pay-by-Text.  He said ““I am a big supporter of the Bristol Pound and am determined we do all we can to support its development across the city.  Our thriving markets are seeing huge interest and usage of the currency so allowing traders to pay their pitch fees in the Bristol Pound is a practical way we can help its progress”.  Here he is with local traders (and Bristol Pounds):

Also, @Bristol, one of the city’s main tourist attractions, recently announced it would also be taking Bristol Pounds.  The Queen visited Bristol recently, and was presented, by Ferguson, with a presentation pack of Bristol Pounds as her gift from the city of Bristol.  Ciaran Mundy of the Bristol Pound said “we are proud to present these Bristol Pounds to the Queen. A new mayor and new currency symbolise the independent enterprise of the people of Bristol and our determination to create a resilient, more ethical economy that puts ordinary people first”.

Pay-by-text was first pioneered in Brixton, and here is a film about the Brixton Pound’s pioneering system:

Still in Brixton, Brixton Energy, interviewed recently at, recently completed their share launch for Brixton Energy Solar 2, their second community solar scheme.  Here is a photo of the team at the event that launched the share option, and you can see their share prospectus here.

Here is the US edition of the November Roundup direct from Transition US.  Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (JP NET) have created a pilot project in the form of local currency The Boston Bean!

Presumably the Boston Bean will be welcome currency at the new Eggleston Farmers Market (see right) which started up this month (at Our Lady of Lourdes Parish Hall/Brookside Ave)and will run through until the end of February 2013.

After many months of planning, talking with local farmers and negotiating a location, the market became a reality thanks to the hard work of Kate Peppard, local volunteers and help from Egleston Square Main Streets and JP NET. On the opening day of the market, the attendance was estimated to be 1,200!

JP NET have also been busy organising affinity groups in response to Hurricane Sandy.

One of our favourite things from the US this year has been this short film from the ‘We Can Do It!’ series, featuring Jena Malone (an actress from the film ‘Hunger Games’.  If you’ve never heard of it, ask a teenager).  We like this.  Very pink:

Almost one year to the day that they had their very first meeting, TT-Missoula (MT) goes official! They celebrated with a locally sourced pot luck meal.

Although this is also covered in the T-US roundup it is worth a second mention! Transition Viroqua (WI) held their Great Unleashing at the local High School. The event promoted Viroqua’s local economy with booths/tables for participating businesses and civic organizations from across the community. The afternoon featured key note speaker Richard Heinberg. Read a full report of the event both here and here.

Also in Viroqua, Community Meal is a twice monthly opportunity for folks to get together over food which has been donated by local growers and grocers. The food is prepared and served up in The Good Shepherd Church by volunteers.

Finally, the people of Lewes and beyond have paid tribute to Adrienne Campbell who died in October. Adrienne co-founded both TT-Lewes and Lewes New School, and was one of Transition’s most passionate and dynamic proponents. Read more about the amazing influence Adrienne had both on the town and on everyone she knew  in the local Sussex Express article Tributes to Lewes Eco Pioneer Adrienne and this blog piece from Charlotte du Cann – Swimming for Adrienne.  All of us here at Transition Network send our deepest condolences to Adrienne’s family at this time and will miss her greatly.



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

1 Comment

Jo Homan
19 Dec 2:10pm

John from Transition Cornwall+ gives an excellent presentation there. Incredibly clear and reasonable. I love the fact that he asks for so little from the council – passing a resolution to let the officials collaborate with them – this could have such a massive effect. It’s not requiring them to spend any money and he explains the benefits to them so well. What was the eventual outcome of this? And what are their plans, I wonder?