Welcome back to Transition Culture for 2013. It is a year fraught with dangers yet also rich with possibilities. I hope that Transition Network, and this blog, and all the other resources out there for people wanting to embrace these possibilities will continue to support and inspire you through 2013. Let’s kick this year off with a talk I gave last October at Communicate 2012: Breaking Boundaries, hosted by the Bristol Natural History Consortium. I was asked to speak about what was my vision for 10 years in the future. May 2013 bring more, and firmer, steps towards its realisation:
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.
In his recent piece on climate change on the network, Jo Confino wrote of the dark place he found himself in after a few weeks immersed in the latest news on sustainability – his climate change “dark night of the soul” if you like. For the past six years I have been part of an experiment known as Transition, which encourages people to do just what Confino suggests: to sit with the pain of this awareness, while also pointing to a path beyond it.
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”:
Transition folks from around the world gathered last weekend at Battersea Arts Centre for the 6th annual Transition Network conference. In a week when the Arctic ice reached its smallest ever extent, scientists warned that the world’s weather could be on the verge of running amok and it was suggested that Saudi Arabia, always meant to be the ‘swing producer’ on whom the rest of the world could depend for reliable oil supplies, may become a net importer of oil by 2030, the theme of the conference was, appropriately, ‘Building resilience in extraordinary times’. Unlike previous conferences which had spanned two, perhaps three days, this was, in effect, a 6 day ‘Festival of Transition’, and it turned out to be an extraordinary event which deeply affected those attending.