Transition Culture

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

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26 Feb 2013

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


We start this month’s round-up in Tooting in London.  Transition Town Tooting recently posted this film about their Foodival last year.  Foodival is an annual event which celebrates what local food means in this diverse urban context:

Also in London, TT-Kingston in collaboration with Save the World Club hosted a public meeting which covered fuel poverty, energy efficiency and the current Energy Bill. They were joined by local MP and Secretary of State for Energy and Climate Change plus many more representatives of national charity’s and NGO’s.

Transition Croydon looks to Cuba for inspiration as their first public event is a free screening of The Power of Community – How Cuba Survived Peak Oil.  Crystal Palace Transition Town recently won the Capital Growth Grow for Gold award for their community garden, a story that was told in more depth at Transition Culture recently.  In it, Rachel DeThample, one of the garden’s initiators, told the story of the Christmas dinner that she produced almost entirely from the garden:


Shared Space in Brixton is a regular Transition monthly event in which anyone is invited along to  meet  local people, get informed, be creative and mingle! This month is all about the Future Brixton project (see right).

We’ll return to the UK later, but here’s a great story, the twinning of TT-Guildford just outside Perth, Australia and Transition Bay St. Margarets in Nova Scotia, Canada!  You can read more about how this amazing Transition Town Twinning (the first we’ve ever heard of) came about here (spoiler alert – there was a wedding involved).  Also from Transition Bay St Margarets, check out these two wonderful videos – one on the Crossroads Educational Vegetable Garden which donates all produce to the local food bank and this one on Tantallon Village Farmers Market.

To Brazil now, and here is a great film, which proved very popular when we tweeted it recently, about Transition in Brazil:

Here is an update from France about what is happening with Transition Network’s REconomy Project there.  The first REconomy project in France near Lille, mentioned on the REconomy site of Transition Network, is an envelope producer Pocheco with a real ecological program, using a bamboo pond to clean the residues of ink and glue, beehives on the roof, teaching the workers how to become beekeepers, hybrid solar panels to gain energy and collecting rainwater. The envelopes are less expensive by improving and rethinking the way they are made and reducing the footprint.

The raw material comes from a European wood, where three trees are replanted for each tree cut for making pulp for paper. At the same time they started an association for the community to plant hedges and trees.  Here is an article on the REconomy website about Pocheo entitled why does a French envelope manufacturer have 12 beehives on its roof?

A French film crew from Les Ecofaubourgs recently visited Totnes and made a short film based around an interview with Rob Hopkins which includes some great footage of the town:

Josué Dusoulier sent the following from Ath in Belgium: “We have successfully organized our first “Repair Café”!  Volunteers are available to teach us to repair broken or damaged objects (clothing holes, appliances, computers, bicycles …).  As you can see on the TV reportage from regional TV (below) and on pictures, fifteen volunteers of all ages have repaired 50 objects in a friendly atmosphere for the enjoyment of visitors and members of other transition initiatives visiting us before to start their own Repair Café.

Following the success of this first edition, the organizers are already looking for a larger space to welcome the public. For now, once a month, Repair Café opens its doors at Ath! ”

Thanks to Gerd Wessling of T-Germany for this update from there:

“Rob Hopkins will come to Germany for the first time ever this February 2013!  Greeted by Germany’s finest (aka grey & miserable winter weather (!) we look very much forward to the expected boost in “Transition visibility” in the German-speaking countries, as well as the encouragement for our more than 100 Transition initiatives in Germany, Austria & Switzerland due to his visit and talks.

Invited by the “Heinrich Böll Stiftung”, Rob will speak on 2 evenings this week, Wednesday 27th February in Bonn (19h), and Thursday 28th February in Berlin (19h) with Renate Künast (Vorsitzende der Bundestagsfraktion Green Party Germany) & Barbara Unmüßig (Head of Böll Stiftung) (Livestream available)

He will be accompanied by some of the co-organizers, Gesa Maschkowski (Transition Bonn), Nils Aguilar (director of “Voices of Transition”) and Gerd Wessling (Transtion BielefeldTransition initiatives in Germany, Austria & Switzerland).  Any press inquiries please direct to: info(at)

To Ireland now, and Xavier Dubuisson of recently gave a talk about renewable energy entitled “The Future of Energy in Kerry”.  The talk, supported by Transition Corca Dhuibhne, looks at projects in Samso (Danemark) and Clonakilty (Ireland) as well as the ongoing energy audit of Kerry commissioned by Transition Kerry.

From Holland here is a film about Transition Town Deventer’s recent ‘Diashow’:

…. and Paul Hendrikson from the group recently appeared on this discussion on local television:

In Brechin, Angus, in Scotland, Eva Schonveld from Transition Scotland (and now Isle of Eigg resident) and Sandra Davidson from Transition Mearns (TraM) were invited to speak about Transition. You can read more about the event, which was opened by Convener of the City of Brechin, hosted by the District Community Council and chaired by Reverend David Mumford, here.

Transition in Zarzalejo made a strong appearance in this piece about how to prepare for the end of the oil age, from Spanish TV:

Here is some other Transition news from Spain, sent in by Juan Del Rio:

“Government corruption, evictions and suicides, social cuts and demonstrations. The crisis deepens and new alternatives arise. Transition towards something new is happening around, and the Transition movement is taking its own shape within that context. But let’s give few examples of what has happened around Transition last weeks.

The 9 and 10 of February, a Transition Launch Training, the first completely in Spanish took place in Marbella, south of Spain. But firstly the Friday 8 started with an open conference with nearly 100 people among them from local institutions that was a success. Here you can see an interview with Juan del Río and Alejandro Iraola done by the local TV that afternoon, explaining what is Transition and what was happening there that weekend.

The Saturday started the course organized by the local group of Transition Marbella, and the Initiative Transición Sostenible. The course was incredible, 25 people from different regions in the south of Spain shared, enjoyed, learned and taught within a magical atmosphere, sunny days and tasty cakes! New tools and empowerment for beautiful people and groups. Here you have an article about the event (in Spanish). Also the next 16 and 17 April in Barcelona and the 23 and 24 April in Madrid will take place the same course. Here is more information about it.

Malaga - April 2013 - Cartel 2¼ Encuentro anual de Transici—n  en Mijas 2013 - Transición SostenibleThe other big thing that happened is the launch of the 2nd Spanish Transition conference (see poster above), that with the title of “Tools for Transition” will take place in Mijas-Malaga the 12, 13 and 14 of April in beautiful farm-school. It will be organized by the initiatives of Mijas-Fuengirola, Coín and Marbella, and the Spanish Hub. The main objectives of the event are to:

  • get in touch, share and learn from each other
  • map the initiatives
  • give, share and develop tools for transition and
  • present the work done for the hub until now, and give new energy to it.
Last year's Transition conference in Marbella.

Last year’s Transition conference in Marbella.

During 3 days, 200 people are expected to participate in plenty of workshops, participatory dynamics and celebrations, somebody from another country would like to join us and share your transition tools with us? For more information, inscriptions, etc you can see here.  The first conference was an incredible success and this year with no doubt will be again magical. Here’s the video of the last one:

Back to the UK now, and Transition Town Reading recently appeared on BBC South Today speaking about their Draughtbusters initiative:

Transition Town Worthing recently held a Seed Swap at local Oak Grove college:

Transition Buxton in Derbyshire recently had a stall at their local university’s Go Green week, and took the opportunity to walk around and chat to the other stall holders and see what they’re up to:

Their Energy Group recently visited the local Busheyheath Farm in the Peak District to learn more about renewables in practice:

TT-Totnes (Devon) held an Inner Transition open meeting close to the old festival of Imbolc, the time of planting seeds for the New Year. Old faces and new were invited to join many discussions including one about the purpose of Inner Transition.  The Totnes Renewable Energy Society (TRESOC), the community renewables company which recently applied for 2 wind turbines on the edge of Totnes, recently lost the first round of the planning process for the project.  The local planner recommended refusal based on impacts on the view just from two listed buildings, the absurdity of which Naresh Giangrande considered in this recent post.  Here’s a film made by Chris Bird about the day of the decision:

Lou Austin of TT-Saltash (Cornwall) sent in this update:

“Summary of Local Landscape Character Assessment Workshop: Liskeard One Stop Shop, 5th February 2013 

Saltash Transition has worked with the Town Council over the years, most notably in helping with festival recycling, funding transition events/projects and having edible plants added to the town planters on the main street.  Usually, this involves us asking the Town Council for help, but recently they have asked us to help them.

They have invited one of us to sit on the Neighbourhood Planning Sub-committee, which will produce a strategy for the town’s development for the next 25 years.  Part of this process will seek to engage the community in providing more detailed Local Landscape Character Assessments and ascertaining what types of development is wanted.  The aim is to ensure that future development is appropriate to the needs of the community and the landscape.  And because of this, our Transition representative was asked to attend a workshop for councillors to learn more about how to conduct a Local Landscape Character Assessment, in order to learn a little about how to look at the landscape from an Architect’s point of view.

There are some concerns that the Neighbourhood Plans will lack teeth, but hopefully this is an issue that can be resolved”.

To the US, and the tale of the recent opening of Sustainable NE Seattle’s Tool Library was told recently at Transition Culture, which included interviews with two of the key people involved.

JP NET - Celebrate the Fruits of our Ocean - Poster

Eggleston Farmers Market, an initiative of JP NET (MA), held an event called Celebrate the Fruits of our Ocean (see poster, right). The main event was a cooking competition known as the Fish Throw Down – check out this video!

Here are some great tips from TT-Media (PA) on simple/doable lifestyle changes to challenge business as usual including this No Fly Pledge which has a silver/gold/platinum option!

Also from TT-Media is this lovely blog post in which the writer explores how they found their way in to Transition.  TT-Payson (AZ) explore the origins of upcyling and provide some day to day examples as well as some more creative ones.

That’s it for this month, do send us in any stories you would like to see appear next time.  

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

Marian van der Veen
26 Feb 2:01pm

Just decided to shed some light on an original way of making candles 🙂

Most people wouldn’t think of butter as a flammable substance, but in this project they are! We’re making emergency candles that burn for hours .. using some toilet paper, and a bit of butter!

Music by Jason Shaw (TU-ForeverBelieve)

Project inspired by: This was an original idea. I had been playing around with making candles with vegetable oil and was about to make a video on some ways to do that. One night an idea popped into my head about melted butter and I wondered if that would work.

WARNING: An open flame poses a fire hazard. Do not use near any flammable or explosive material. Use of this video content is at your own risk.

To make butter burn, we actually need to vaporize it first!

A bit of rolled up toilet paper acts as a wick, and when pushed down into the center of a block of butter and ignited, we’ve may have created the worlds simplest candle.

The butter below the wick begins to melt and soak up into the paper. The heat aids the liquid butter to be released as a vapor, and it’s the vapor that’s flammable.

I used an 8oz block of butter and cut it in half. Each half burns for about 4 hours each, however, during the last 2 hours it seems most of the butter liquifies and your wick may need some support. I used a paperclip to give some stability.

Another idea would be to cut the butter into 8 sections of 1oz each and make 8 candles! Each ounce should burn for about 1 hour.