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Transition Culture - an evolving exploration into the head, heart and hands of energy descent

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Welcome to Transition Culture. Kick back, put your feet up, pop the kettle on. Here I write about all sorts of stuff. Dip in, and make yourself at home.  Feel free to comment and chip in.  I'm Rob by the way.

Rob Hopkins's blog

Sophy Banks on Creating a Culture of Celebration

When I was about 12 a friend of my sister came on holiday with my family. We were quite a typical family of three irritable siblings – when someone started singing or playing an instrument another child was guaranteed to tell them to “Shut up, that sounds horrible”.  We were continually fighting over whatever shifting thing was deemed to be the desirable whatever – sitting in the middle, sitting by the window, going first, going last. My sister’s friend who joined us was an only child and I was stunned to find that she only ever said nice things – to everyone.

How we celebrate! Transition Town Wilmslow's energy group

Like many Transition groups we have spawned different subgroups at different times to meet particular interests and concerns. The Energy group has been going for quite a while and what picked it up was putting in a bid for government Local Energy Assessment Funding. This brought out some new talented people, who have run businesses and charities, a Nobel prize winner on climate change, Cheshire Groundwork as fund holders, and got us a successful bid. In turn that brought in staff time to get out publicity, recruit a lot of new volunteers to use thermal cameras, and advise householders.

Celebrating Transition at the Transition Northwest Conference

Saturday 12th July saw the first pilot Transition Roadshow take place, the Transition Northwest Conference.  And if the four subsequent Roadshows are to prove anywhere near as good, then it represents a great new evolution in how to celebrate and support Transition at the local level.  The conference was held at the University of Cumbria in Lancaster, hosted by the Institute for Leadership and SustainabilityTransition City Lancaster had done wonders in pulling together the event, and their care and attention to detail was clear throughout. 

Chris Johnstone: "Without celebration, we wither away"

Chris Johnstone works in the area of the psychology of resilience, sustainable happiness and is co-author, with Joanna Macy, of Active Hope: how to face the mess we're in without going crazy. Chris appeared at both the Unleashing of Transition Town's Totnes and Lewes, and has interacted with different Transition groups ever since. He's also an accomplished musician (you can hear him playing briefly at the end of the podcast of our interview).  I started by asking him why celebration matters:

How we celebrate! Transition Bristol

 A couple of weeks ago, Transition Bristol held their Small Green Sunday event, to celebrate and reflect on all that they have achieved over the last seven years.

Dave Pollard: Celebration: nodding with a smile to the Sacred

Transition Network's Ben Brangwyn interviewed author, social entrepreneur, thinker, blogger and systems thinker, and also member of Bowen in Transition, Dave Pollard, while he was at Schumacher College recently for their Dark Mountain course.  Our month's theme of Celebration ran through their discussion. 

The house that Baz built

Given that our theme this month is 'Celebration', this feels like a good time to share the story of the oddest talk I ever gave, which took place at a celebration, and which left me with a question I have been unable to answer to this day, one that perhaps you might be able to help me out with.  Sometime around 1998, I was invited to give a slide show at a wedding, thankfully not something I have been invited to do before or since. 

How we celebrate! Crystal Palace Transition Town

The words "A.G.M". and "celebration" don’t exactly flow together. A.G.M. conjures up: minutes; agenda items; amendments to constitutions; corrections to amendments to constitutions; and generally men in suits coughing to get attention. A top table. Members and officers. Two hours listening to people talking.  In this blog I wanted to take a look at how we evolved our A.G.M. over the last three years and how it’s become more and more useful for our group (Crystal Palace Transition Town).  

An inspiring taste of Transition in Germany

It’s just as well I enjoy travelling on trains, as Germany is a long way from Totnes.  That enjoyment however does not extend to the train I’m writing this post from.  It’s the 40 minutes-delayed Koln to Brussels train, packed with people, and I’m in the carriage in which the air conditioning is broken, on a day when it is over 30 degrees outside.  I’m surrounded by lots of sweaty faces.  I’m on my way back from 2 packed and inspiring days in Germany, helping with the promotion of the German version of The Power of Just Doing Stuff (Einfach. Jetzt. Machen!). 

Naomi Oreskes on the roots of climate change denial

Naomi Oreskes is a historian at science who teaches and does research at Harvard University.  She is the author, with Erik Conway, of the excellent The Merchants of Doubt: how a Handful of Scientists Obscured the Truth on Issues from Tobacco to Global Warming.  We caught up by Skype to talk climate scepticism, science and the relationship between the two.  I started by asking who the ‘Merchants of Doubt’ are, and why she felt compelled to research and write about them.

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