Transition Culture

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

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29 Jan 2013

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

Like most things in the garden, Transition initiatives tend to be more reflective and dormant in January, as is reflected in this month’s roundup.  We’ll start this month’s Round-up with 3 articles from the Japanese newspaper Asahi Shimbun, created by their Paris office about Transition.  We appreciate that very few of you read Japanese, but we feel they are things of great beauty in their own right, and hope you enjoy looking at them.  One of them relates to a visit to Totnes, although we’re not sure which one.

08.01.2013 Banques de tempssm

09.01.2013 Rurban-Totnessm

10.01.2013 Politiquesm

We’ll start our stories with Shane Hughes of Transition Network’s REconomy Project who was in Lausanne in the French-speaking part of Switzerland recently for TEDx Lausanne.  He gave a presentation weaving together Transition, social enterprise and the key elements of the emerging new economy.  The video isn’t ready yet, it should be out in a couple of weeks, but to sustain you until then, here is a picture of Shane in full flow on the TEDx stage:


Next to Belgium, and this piece from Josué Dusoulier:

“Last December, I was contacted by Thierry Hoyois, a friend who is a Zen Buddhist monk and responsible of the Zen group in Jurbise, in Ath’s area.  He came last year to some awareness raising activities of Ath en Transition and was very inspired by Inner and Outer Transition.

He said he talked about this with his Zen Buddhist friends and they were very interested… They had some reflection and activities about Zen and environmental issues. So he asked me in December if they could begin to build a Zen Buddhist community in Transition, even if they were not all from the same region…  I was so amazed I had to sit down. I told him that Transition is inclusive and that people can adapt it to their context. I also told that we were all concerned by the issues and by the building of positive alternatives.

And today he wrote me that the idea was really well received and that they decided officially to become a Zen Community in Transition… but not only in my area… They will do that with the European Zen Buddhist Association!  They are now at the beginning of their process. They will publish information on their website in the next weeks”.  This follows the recent formation of ‘Quakers in Transition’, looking to do something very similar in their tradition.

From Chile, Grifen Hope sends this update: 

Chile in Transition: Regenerative Design in the Transition towards Resilience


For the past 21 days the community of El Manzano, in the Bio Bio Region of Chile has been delivering the Ecovillage Design course certified by Gaia Education and recognised by the United Nations under the Decade of Education for Sustainability.

Over the last few decades various organizations such as the permaculture, Transition and ecovillage movements have been generating proposals to deal with social, ecological and economic changes of the early 21st century. In response these movements have begun to focus attention on collaborative and solutions based responses; on participatory democracy, economic solidarity, ecological regeneration and the awakening of human consciousness.

Our global network of networks are co-creating sustainable solutions for local resilience, seeking to reintegrate human communities as part of a larger super system, and not as agents of change dissociated from what happens in their environment.

El Manzano has been consciously working towards the integration of movements in Chile, bringing together the collective wisdom of emerging regenerative disciplines. As a local centre of an international learning community the community exits as a living demonstration, providing transformative learning events and pathways, undertaking action research as a think and do tank, connecting networks through mutually beneficial relationships, and providing consultancy an support services for people and communities to gain the skills of world co-creation.

This year the El Manzano community in partnership with José Luis Escorihuela, ‘Ulises’ & Nuria Gago of Gaia Education delivered the four modules of the Gaia Education curriculum from 5-25 of January. Ulises delivered the Social dimension, which involves decision making and participatory governance strategies for self determination, managing ourselves and groups. the Ecological dimension which investigates different strategies on natural energies such as solar, wind, geothermal and other, as well as natural building styles and organic agriculture was run by a team of teachers from around Chile including Jerry Laker and Alexis Torres from Pazimora and Pucon in Transition and Paulina Avila from Bioconstruyendo, Jorge Carrion, Javiera Carrion and Grifen Hope.

This was followed by the Economic dimension delivered by Felix Funders, Patricio Belloy Kauak and team from the Universidad Austral of Chile, whose approach was based on the model of Human Scale Development designed by Chilean economist Manfred Max-Neef, the traditional concept of Trueke or good exchange was also considered for this module, creating local currencies and economic solidarity. Finally, the course ended with the Worldview dimension where participants explore the diversity of human cosmologies and human potential considered as active participant in the evolution of earth systems.

The course has gathered a learning community of 45 people from different countries, including Spain, Portugal, Holland, USA, Mexico, Argentina and Chile. They all shared daily classes and tasks associated with community life, generating a family and friendly atmosphere where highlighted the outdoor classroom, interactive games and dances of a learning methodology that stimulate personal transformation and lead to the incubation of regenerative enterprise for local resilience.  To view some wonderful photos from this course, click here.

Our thanks to Gerd Wessling of T-Germany who has been working with Transition Network and Heinrich-Böll-Stiftung on Rob’s upcoming speaker event in Berlin on 28 February (in German).  In the Netherlands, Transition Town Treffen Wageningen held an event which showcased different aspects of Transition:

To Ireland now, and many thanks to Theresa Carter, Coordinator for LEAF (Laois Environmental Action Forum) and the Regional Transition Hub in Ireland for this update:

“As you know we surveyed our website members over the summer. They told us what they want but only a couple were willing to commit.  In view of the fact that we had rendered the MoU obsolete by not having a steering group some of the original members decided to call a halt to the facade. TINI was not operating as per the MoU and it was pointless paying for a website nobody was willing to support – despite having expressed a desire to keep it!

We initiated public discussion around the dissolution stating an evaluation would be beneficial. TN offered to facilitate this and the transfer of our website to theirs. As it turns out the data transfer cannot go ahead so we are considering options to make it self supporting. Alex is exploring Google Ads as a means of income.

For some reason I have a good feeling about all of this. That survey gave me hope. More and more people are interested in transition. I believe what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger. It would not surprise me if TINI comes out stronger after this process!”

Also in Ireland Transition Town Kinsale recently produced this video about an Open Space event they ran recently:

Here’s an oddity from Israel.  Daily Secret, which I think is Tel Aviv’s ‘Time Out’-type what’s on website for the city, recently posted the following:

“Where did that come from? A single leaf landed in our pint of beer. We were with friends and neighbors enjoying a drink at Makom Lashevet when suddenly, leaves started to fall inside the bar – and not a single window was open. We took a closer look and noticed that they were coming from a hidden second floor gallery. We climbed the stairs and discovered a group of people taking part in the ‘Transition Movement’ – a lecture series focused on how to be environmentally conscious within our neighborhoods. Stop by and enjoy a drink with a good conscience!”

It’s January, so in the UK at least that must mean it’s time for Potato Days!  At least it is in Lancaster … here’s Transition City Lancaster’s Potato Day Poster!


In London, TT-Brixton’s Textile & Clothing group held an Affirmative Applique session as part of the shared space with the Communications group.


Here’s a nice thing Transition Town Tooting (also in London) did recently.  To celebrate the end of 2012, they did a Word Cloud thing of the words that had appeared most on their website over the year.  Here it is:

wordle 4

They also had a stall at the UK Cold Water Swimming Championships at Tooting Bec Lido last Saturday (I’m feeling cold just thinking about it) where they talked to visitors about the work of TTT and presumably administered hot whiskies to multiple cases of hypothermia.  Transition Network’s Rob Hopkins was one of the speakers at the recent Independence Day conference held in Frome to celebrate independent traders and bring together people across the UK fighting to protect local economies from the predations of superstores.  Here is a film about the event:

Transition Town Shrewsbury volunteers Margaret Bowman and Howard Hutchings help with the cardboard recycling.  Pic: Shropshire Star.

Transition Town Shrewsbury volunteers Margaret Bowman and Howard Hutchings help with the cardboard recycling. Pic: Shropshire Star.

Transition Town Shrewsbury repeated last year’s highly successful ‘Cardboard Christmas’, where 45 volunteers gathered waste cardboard at key locations across Shrewsbury which was then sold to a recycling centre to raise money for Severn Hospice, Hope House and Friendly Neighbours, all local charities.  You can read more about it here and here.


Many thanks to Fiona Ward for this monthly REconomy Project update.  It features your first taste of the cover of Transition Town Totnes’ upcoming ‘Local Economic Blueprint’ (see right), a groundbreaking piece of work also underway in Hereford and Brixton.  More on those to follow in later Round-ups.  While we’re in Totnes, you might also enjoy this story of what it’s like to do work experience for Transition Network.

Transition Culture recently reported on the launch of Hodmedods, a social enterprise which has emerged from work done by Transition City Norwich and East Anglia Food Link, and which is making traditional beans available once more.  It is a very exciting story and an exciting project.  Here Rob Hopkins talks to Josiah Meldrum, one of the 3 people behind Hodmedods, to find out more about what they’re up to (you can read the transcript here):

Also, on this very day that we go to press (although that does sounds rather grandiose, all we actually do is click ‘publish’) Transition Town Taunton are holding their annual ‘mulls’, of which they write, “this month we are going to hold one of our yearly mulls. This is a chance to sit down and reflect on what we have achieved and mull on what we would want to do in the coming year”.  Here’s the cool little graphic that accompanies their invite:


To the US now.  TT-Media (PA) held their 2013 strategic planning day to recap the previous year’s progress and to chart out the coming year’s goals and projects.   TT-Viroqua (WI) is committed to citizen mobilization and communications in 2013 with their overall mission remaining ‘to promote, encourage, and support the re-localization of Viroqua’s economy’.  In honour of Martin Luther King Day, Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition (MA) held a potluck gathering on Voices of Resistance which included speakers who shared their stories of direct non-violent action.



Transition Town Charlotte in Vermont had their Unleashing, which sounded like a great event.  The event (see the 2 pics above) was run under the heading of “Celebrate Charlotte—a Festival of the Future”

Finally, from Sweden, here is an article (a digital media PDF in Swedish) on pages 4 to 10 of Grus & Guld (Gravel & Gold) which covers Transition in four countries which are facing particularly challenging times economically – Greece, Italy, Spain and Portugal.  Journalist Hans Mansson travelled with Transition Network’s Rob Hopkins from Venice to Ferrara last year and then on to other Transition groups.

Finally, here’s a great article by Sven Eberlein of T-Palo Alto (CA) on which covers many examples of Transition style sharing from different groups around the world – Bring Transition Town-style Sharing to your Community.  It is a very well-researched taste of what Transition groups are up to.  That’s it for this month, see you in 4 weeks!  Please send us in any stories that you would like to see here.

Correction: We reported in the December roundup that TT-Margaret River was the first official TT in Western Australia (WA). However, the first one was actually Transition Kwoorabup Denmark (WA). Our thanks to Donald Clarke for putting us straight!

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1 Comment

Craig Barnett
30 Jan 2:36pm

More on Quakers in Transition – British Quakers recently made a collective commitment to become a ‘sustainable, low-carbon community’, reported at:

In Friendship,