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.

9 Jan 2013

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

December is one of the quieter times for Transition initiatives, but even so, we’ve quite a packed December round-up for you.  We start, seasonally, with two Winterfests, a seasonal opportunity to celebrate and reflect on what a Transition group is up to.  We’ll start in Stroud, with this short film of the Transition Stroud Winterfest:

One of the key facets of Transition Stroud’s work is what it calls ‘Skillsgain’.  The Skills Gain group cover 4 key projects, courses, Draught Busting, The Repair Cafe and the Building Skills Action Group.  Philip Booth went along to Winterfest 2012 to find out more:

Transition Town Totnes, in Devon, also held their annual Winterfest which was extremely well attended.  A study group from Sweden, hosted by fantastic local social enterprise Big Green Canoe, recently came to Totnes to learn more about Transition, and their visit included a trip to the home of Jo Rotas, one of the nearly 700 households that took part in TTT’s ‘Transition Streets’ project.  Here, their tour guide Hal Gillmore and Jo talk about the project:

Transition Streets has spread from Totnes to elsewhere.  Sustainable Blewbury and Transition St. Albans are two examples, and if you’d like to run it where you live, have a look here.  The BBC were also in Totnes recently, looking at the independent High Street (8 out of 10 shops are independents) and how important it is.  You can read their article here.

In Bridport, Transition Town Bridport have made this short video about what they’re all about:

TT-Forres in Scotland continue promoting their exciting plans for an environmental and education healthy living centre. You can also watch a film below:

transition-free-press-00.previewPlease support their crowdfunding bid here.  And speaking of fundraising, if you like this monthly round-up of stories in an electronic format, just imagine how wonderful it would be to have a printed newspaper of Transition stories and news that could be distributed around your community.  Transition Free Press have 36 days left on their crowdfunding bid and they really need your support to make this wonderful vision a reality. Please click here and help them out.

Western Australia’s first official Transition Town, Margaret River recently went live. Read more here in their media release.  Margaret River was also the location for a Transition initiatives gathering 2012 where groups in SW Australia were invited to get together to share ideas and network.  Transition Town Guilford recently celebrated all the best Transition highlights from 2012.  Transition Town Southern Gold Coast held an OOOOBY (Out Of Our Own Back Yard) Day. Read more about this thriving community and their successful day here in the ABC Gold Coast.

To Belgium now.  Our thanks to Josué Dusoulier of Transition Belgium for sharing this update of what’s happening in the French part of Belgium (Wallonia – Brussels)

The Launch training in

The Launch training in Brussels, December 2012.

This month was like a marathon for our regional network and some of the initiatives…  First, the 1st & 2nd December took place our first Transition Launch Workshop, in Brussels. It was full of enthusiastic people. Some of them are going to begin new initiatives in their neighbourhood. We also had two students from ‘Campus en Transition’, a new Initiative launched by students of Brussels University.

On the 6th, we had a first rencontre emploi-transition, organised in Liège’s region. Around 30 unemployed people who want to find a job related to Transition or Permaculture or to create their own job were invited to come for a Pro action Cafe. They had the opportunity to share their ideas and receive feedbacks to go forward in their projects, or even find partnerships.

On the 8th took place a day with four other training workshops. Around 30 people came to learn more about how to make a good Transition Talk, about Permaculture design for transition, about Transition Website and Transition Short videos for the Internet.

On the 15th, we were very happy to welcome three people from the Flemish network to our workshop about how to lead an Open Space in our Transition Initiatives.

Also in Belgium, as we reported in the last round up, Transition Network was recently awarded the Civil Society Prize by the European Economic and Social Committee.  You can read Rob Hopkins’ blog about the trip to Brussels here, and here is a film of Rob receiving the Prize:

Our thanks to Bart Vanden Driessche for this update on the Flemish region of Belgium.  Here he shares three exciting developments in the Flanders area:

Inloopdagen in Turnhout: In the first weekend of December the Flemish hub organized ‘inloopdagen’ in Turnhout (Tournai).  Inloopdagen are organised on request of local TI or to fill gaps on the map of Flanders (the goal is to inform people and inspire them to start up new TI’s in places where there are non or just a few).

Transition Flanders - inloodagen turnhout

These inloopdagen were a collaboration between Natuurpunt, Warande the local TI U-turnhout and Transitie Netwerk Vlaanderen. During this weekend 60 interested people participated. The first day  the following topics were discussed: peak oil, climate change, economics, concept of transition towns and we ended with the movie How Cuba survived peak oil.

The next day it was time for permaculture, inner transition and the most important thing: starting new TI’s. We ended with a small drink.  By  organizing this we appeared in many newspapers, including Gazet van Turnhout and Gazet van Antwerpen.

Transition Berchem-Wilrijk and a new local currency: This Transition group was invited in 2012 as a partner by community work Posthof to join in the development of a local currency.  Progress has already been made, but some steps still need to be taken. We hope to launch the currency in 2014.  An article appeared in this  newspaper.


Transition Lier: This group restarted last year and is now speeding up with many projects to be launched this year.  Last summer the group started a garden sharing project, accompanied by a website on a regional level:  Since this summer over 70 people have registered and the website will be officially launched in February.

Other long-term projects  on the list for 2013 are a community  kitchen (volxkeuken), promoting of edible facade gardens to make the  streets greener and a lot of community-building activities.

Grifen Hope sent this update from the Bio Bio region of Chile:

Step by Step preparing the Ground in Bio Bio Chile

This has been a special year for our permaculture and transition community in the Bio Bio region of Chile. We have seen new faces working very hard, College groups wanting to know what transition is about, old faces, some of whom have not been so active these last years, we saw those who were always there and a lot of interest by the community.  We achieved some of our goals and were able to connect with active members.  But what is more important is that we were able to meet and co-create much more than in the past years.

In November we had a meeting and to end this beautiful year we came up with a two-day transition training program. The meeting was very dynamic and everyone looked enthusiastic. From that day on we knew we were on the right track.

The two-day transition workshop took place in the beautiful and near-to-downtown spot of “Las Urracas” in the city of Concepcion. This spot is occupied by the recycling association EMAUS, who kindly offered the location free of charge. The event was open to everyone and free thanks to an Environmental Protection Fund we gained in 2012 to co-finance transition events.  Almost everyone who applied to participate showed up.

We flowed the whole weekend. Almost nobody used a PowerPoint presentation because we felt confident and well prepared. We had a lot of interaction and a bunch of very active students. We managed to generate a very loving atmosphere and everyone felt comfortable enough to get some deep emotions out. We shared a lot of ‘mate’ (our typical herbal tea) as usual and had a lot of laughs. We facilitated as a consolidated group and felt warm. We ended up with hugs, recognizing in every person present in that place a friend on the road.

The course participants have rapidly organised into a local initiative, and this week held their third meeting to organise a Schedule of events in Concepcion for 2013. Those of us who facilitated the workshop went back home to share this beautiful experience with our family.  The following days I thought over why the workshop worked out so well.  I think it´s because we worked and spoked from our hearts, from experience, honest and open.

It seems the world is changing, and as old sets of beliefs crumble, new metaphors are emerging. There are many listening, searching for new ways of thinking and doing. We have been working in the right direction, and step by step have prepared the ground for the next wave of transition actionists in Bio Bio and Chile. Bring on 2013.

From Germany are two videos of talks about Transition, the first from Munster:

… and I’m not quite sure where the second one is from but it’s rather good:

To the Netherlands now, and thanks to Paul Hendriksen of Transition Town Netherlands for this update:

“Transition Deventer and Transition Netherlands recently won a contest, resulting in us getting a 5-year contract for exploitation of a 200m2 building plus about 1 hectare surrounding ground near the town centre of Deventer, plus 30,000 euro for necessary investments. We’ll pay a symbolic rent of 1 euro per month.   Here is a video about it from the local TV news:

Our winning project proposal includes creating a centre for practical sustainability and local resilience with amongst other a tea terrace & garden, a organic catering service (using veggies etc from our own permaculture garden) a theatre room (100+ capacity), local and national office and other multipurpose rooms for workshops, lectures etc. Here’s a web article (in Dutch) about these plans plus a downloadable pdf version including some images and floor plan.  So – all in all a wonderful start of the new year for us!

Bjarne Gantzel Pedersen of Transition Denmark sent the following update:

Dear Transition Family.  Happy New Year!  In our Transition Café on Thursday we are starting a new project in Transition Denmark: Transition Church.  In Copenhagen app. 16 churches are about to close (most Danish people only go to church at Christmas, weddings, baptism and funerals). Many of the churches are protected from being torn down.

On Thursday we invite everybody who has an interest in using the churches in a sustainable way. We will brainstorm on ideas of what to do in the churches – and decide how to proceed.  I will keep you informed”.

Rob Hopkins recently took part in the Congress CityRegion for the Basque Country, Spain which took place in Bilbao.  Igor Calzada for this update following Rob’s live talk to the  in late November 2012:

“First of all, I would really thank you due to your collaboration in the Congress CityRegion 2012 in Bilbao. I should tell you that the feedback received and the evaluation from the Basque Government has been highly relevant. Here is the talk (dubbed in Spanish):

We exceeded the initial estimates of the attendees: the normal amount is 175 attendees. This year we got: 402. Transition message and conference was great. There is a big interest to become a Basque Transition hub. At the moment, the Basque Government has changed from one party to another. But as far as I’ve known directly, the new Ministry of Territorial Planning was in the Congress and she got a really good impression about that.

Thanks to Janne Forsmark of Transition Sweden for this update on the EESC first prize awarded to Transition Network.  “It is great to have this prize” Janne wrote, “we had a big article in our biggest paper (in Swedish)”.

Transition continues to spread in Romania, here is a rather sweet video about a sewing group

In Canada, Transition Bay St Margarets held their Unleashing recently, as reported in the last of these Round ups.  You can read more about the event here.  Here is the video presentation that Transition Network’s Rob Hopkins gave to the event:

In the US, Transition Viroqua (WI) give some great tips on shopping local this Christmas.  Transition Palo Alto held a ‘Sharing Day’ for people to bring and share things for free:

TT-Payson (AZ) posts this article on reducing our consumption and learning to live with less ‘Stuff’.  In the St Anthony Park community of St Paul, MN, this article by Michael Russelle, a member of the local District 12 Energy Resilience Group looks in to the steps being taken by the community council to join forces with local environmental groups and become part of the Transition movement.  And following on from this article, here are details of the St Anthony Park first meeting organised for 17 Jan!