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Transition Towns

 
                                      
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Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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Hey,

I cant seem to find much references to transition towns on this forum. probably its not really spreading to the states yet, or users here are not aquinted with it. Or maybe just not fans of it.

In europe and moderately in other parts of the world transition towns are a recent development that more or less comes from the permaculture networks around here.

It al started in scotland and england when in some rural villages permaculture minded people wanted to do something with their grown consciousness about the worldwide results of modern (agri)culture. They wanted to not only put their beliefs into practice in their own lives, houses and gardens, but unite with other like minded people, and work towards truly sustainable communities.

Not trusting that 'the market' or government would really take steps, they decided the best way to change is bottom up, since you can only change yourself, and not force change upon others.

The initial three transition towns developed an 'energy descent plan' together with some permie students for their local communities. In the initial stage of a transition town, different working groups usually evolved, groups focussed on local food, energy, education or health starting to work out achievable steps for the next 10 years.

Based on the experiences of the first few initiatives and their big successes they wrote the transition handbook, summarizing what they found that worked good or not.

Quite soon local neighborhood committees concerned about the state of the earth started to organize along this transition model. A transition to a local community that is independent from outside input. Resilient, socially coherent and sustainable community's.

You can read more about transition towns on
http://transitionculture.org/
http://transitiontowns.org

or browse on the websites of local inititives.

I was wondering if any of you know of this development, and if so what you think of it?

edit: typos
 
                    
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I can't speak for anyone but myself, but I have perhaps the distinct advantage (?) of having lots of family in the "red states" - ya know, the ones that voted for GW twice in a row, who want to drill the arctic for oil, who believe global warming is a hoax. 

It seems to me that the majority of people living in the states haven't yet had the realization that there's an urgent need to change how we live.  Or if they have had an inkling of that idea, they would much rather pretend that there's nothing we can do but wait until "the collapse" and carry on like they always have. 

It would take the consensus of an entire neighborhood to organize something along the lines of a transition town, and I imagine that there is still much resistance to any sort of change by most folks.  There are more progressive towns on the west coast that have created neighborhood 'eco-villages' but it is just not that wide spread yet.  California, looked upon from "middle ameria" (that is, the middle class in the states in the middle of the country), has a rep for being "weird" and "out there" and "hippie."  "Who would ever want to live like that?"  TT is a wonderful idea, I hope that it gains popularity among more of the majority here in the future. 

In the mean time, permaculturists and even more watered down "greenies" in the states often have to try and convince parents, other relatives, and probably even their friends that what they are passionate about matters.  That it doesn't have anything to do with "tree hugging politics,"  that these are answers to real problems that we really do need to solve.  From my own experience I can tell you it feels like an almost impossibly uphill battle.  My grandfather has told me I'm brainwashed (but then he also gave me a book called "Five Acres and Independence" sooooo...).  How can you respond to things like that?  How can you still interact with the people you love without making them feel that you're judging them? 

Maybe that's the problem.  Most people take the suggestion of change as a criticism of what they are currently doing.  And Americans DO NOT like to be critiqued.  We're perfect!  Land of the FREE home of the BRAVE, damnit.  If you can afford it, do it!  Drive that hummer forty miles to work, drink bottled water all day, and throw your fast food packaging out the window as you cruise back home to suburbia.  It's our RIGHT that our boys are FIGHTING for! 

  Sorry, I've been thinking of how to respond to this since you posted it.  A lot of angst in there apparently. 
 
                
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Location: West Coast of Canada
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Where I live, there is huge interest in transition towns.  There is a lot of interest in community sustainability and food self-sufficiency, and most people realize the need to scale back on energy (and all kinds of) consumption.  There is a group already hard at work to turn our community into a "transition island".
 
                                      
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hey marina, keith,

It would take the consensus of an entire neighborhood to organize something along the lines of a transition town, and I imagine that there is still much resistance to any sort of change by most folks.


Well of course you want to get as much people as possible on board, but in the beginning a transition town initiative starts out with a few people in the community organizing meetings, movie- and infonights. Some initiatives achieve a lot in a few years, they get a lot of work done, and make big steps in a few years.

Others don't get much further than those infonights.

I guess its a matter of long breath, and as the urgency grows, I am convinced that our wallet will drive us towards a more oil-independent lifestyle and society.

I see people involved in Transition Towns as pioneers working out ways to give shape to intentionally sustainable communities. Its not as if you reshape a random neighbourhood into an eco village in a few years.

In the mean time, permaculturists and even more watered down "greenies" in the states often have to try and convince parents, other relatives, and probably even their friends that what they are passionate about matters.  That it doesn't have anything to do with "tree hugging politics,"  that these are answers to real problems that we really do need to solve.  From my own experience I can tell you it feels like an almost impossibly uphill battle.


Yep.... i posted a little movie that sometimes help here:
http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/3153_0/meaningless-drivel/the-story-of-stuff-short-movie-about-the-circle-of-life

Where I live, there is huge interest in transition towns.  There is a lot of interest in community sustainability and food self-sufficiency, and most people realize the need to scale back on energy (and all kinds of) consumption.  There is a group already hard at work to turn our community into a "transition island".
hey, interesting, do you know if there is a weblog or site about that?

cheers
joop
 
                    
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I see people involved in Transition Towns as pioneers working out ways to give shape to intentionally sustainable communities. Its not as if you reshape a random neighbourhood into an eco village in a few years.


Good point!  I was being a negative nancy the day I posted what I had to say the first time around.    Happens some days. 

I have to walk a very fine line between recommending movies and suggesting/gifting books and being perceived as "preachy" by my family especially.  Like, a few a year is good.  I'll look into the story of stuff and see if they'd be open to its message. 
 
                
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Joop Corbin - swomp wrote:
 hey, interesting, do you know if there is a weblog or site about that?

I checked with the people who are leading the effort and apparently the website is not off the ground yet.  Coming soon, I guess...
 
Paul Cereghino
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Location: South Puget Sound, Salish Sea, Cascadia, North America
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Olympia, WA is hip  .. transition creates another layer of social network... we are a small community and the networks are starting to overlap and interconnect to such an extent... I am curious what is next...

http://transitionolympia.ning.com/
 
Scott Reil
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Working with a fledgling T-town group now and the New Haven, CT T-town  folk are offering help.

It IS coming to the U.S., but just getting here I think. But it will grow pretty quickly, I think...

HG
 
Scott Reil
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Location: Colchester, CT
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Greetings

Here's an idea that brings a whole new meaning to intentional communities

Transition Towns.

The idea has started abroad but is coming to North America; the concept certainly seems to be dovetailing with permaculture (the handbook is littered with Mollison and Holmgren quotes and concepts).

So what is everyone's take? Did I post it in the right place? Is it worth the effort to bring along the whole town, rather than concentrate on individual goals? Altruistic pie in the sky or emerging meme to save the human race?

S
 
                                      
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Location: Amsterdam, the netherlands
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hey scott,

there was a thread on this forum on TT, check it out at:

http://www.permies.com/permaculture-forums/3034_0/intentional-community/transition-towns
 
                          
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I just joined this forum and have some experience with Transition.  I took the T4T course (twice actually).  I failed to scrounge up any other initiators in my town and really have no avenue left here besides twiddling my thumbs waiting.  My situation is in no way unique.  I would actually feel better if I had other initiators but failed to get to a great unleashing, but to not even find any other initiators is pathetic.  I think it's too early to tell whether Transition has a winning formula or it is merely succeeding in places that have a demographic advantage.  I just know that it has no answers for people in my situation.

 
                                      
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Hey mos,
yeah i recognize your story, not in every place that people take initiative immediate succes follows. TT is not a magical formula although the inspiring speed of the concept spreading, and people doing presentations about them sometimes maybe implie.

It does have some very good elements in it that càn favor the needed factors to your advantages, but there are just too many factors that you cannot control. Maybe its just not the right moment, or maybe you just haven't reached or met the right people yet.

These type of plans, initiatives and activities are like plants, some are perrennial and will last, some come up and flower and spread seeds around very fast. Others die out but return later from roots like beets and carrots, and óthers are just annual; like most pioneers, they come up, flower and die. But they did fulfill an important task within the succession of a bigger (eco)system. Some seeds, no matter how potent they are, never even sprout. Because the circumstance weren't right. But those might change, and much later, when some-one else turns over some soil for some reason they come up and grow to full size.

the important thing is that the seed has been spread.

cheers
 
jacque greenleaf
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Location: Burton, WA (USDA zone 8, Sunset zone 5) - old hippie heaven
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Some folks in Hood River (Oregon) are talking about it. There is already an active local food group - Gorge-Grown Food Network - with several grant-funded projects. Also, I wouldn't be a bit surprised to hear that Eugene and Ashland (both in Oregon) have people trying to make it happen.
 
bunkie weir
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glad to see this thread. i have been following the Transition Culture blog posted above for awhile now. i noticed today there are several short videos posted of transition towns all over the world...

http://transitionculture.org/2010/04/12/an-april-round-up-of-what’s-happening-out-in-the-world-of-transition/
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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This link is mentioned in Paul's podcast 038, where we talk about a couple groups in my area.

I tried to keep the groups anonymous at first because I wasn't sure where the podcast was going! 

I would like to credit these wonderful folks now.

Transition Woodinville

Sammamish Valley Alliance
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Paul likes to call Transition Town movements:
1/3 peak oil issues
1/3 city repair
1/3 permaculture.

I joined my local group primarily for the permaculture, hands-on educational (reskilling) aspects. The positive solutions aspect.

I've been pleasantly surprised by how much I'm appreciating the community and social aspects as well.
 
Scott Reil
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My brother is currently heading up the food initiatives for Transition Town Albany (CA) and has gotten whole neighborhoods growing foods for local restaurants, started weekly garden swaps, and even gotten a rotational crew of folks helping knock each others gardens into shape. I love this movement; wish there was one near me... (I know, I know...) 

S
 
                              
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Scott Reil wrote:Is it worth the effort to bring along the whole town, rather than concentrate on individual goals? Altruistic pie in the sky or emerging meme to save the human race?


Well, that would all depend on your town, wouldn't it?

Here where I live(US, NY State), 95% of the population is hopeless to voluntarily change. Most of them even resist it, as if they were giving up on "modern society" and "human progress".

As you know, you are only in charge of yourself.
 
Jocelyn Campbell
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Transition Whatcom (Whatcom is a mostly rural county where Bellingham, Washington is located) just reached 1,000 members. TW's November newsletter has more details.

In the Seattle area, we are lucky to have SCALLOPS - Sustainable Communities All Over Puget Sound - basically a summit group for over 60 sustainability and Transition Town groups within 30-50 miles of Seattle.

mos6507 wrote:
I just joined this forum and have some experience with Transition.  I took the T4T course (twice actually). 


Transition Woodinville (the other TW around here) is just a year old and none of us have taken the T4T course yet. Mos, what did you think of it?
 
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