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

Rob Hopkins's blog

Eamon O'Hara on the "important catalytic effect" of community-led action

One of the most fascinating recent studies into the impact of Transition was Local Communities Leading the Way to a Low Carbon Societya report published by AEIDL (Association Européenne pour l’Information sur le Développement Local.  It looks at Transition, permaculture and ecovillage networks, what it calls the "Silent Revolution", "a potentially powerful driver of pro-environmental behaviour change".  We caught up with Eamon O'Hara, who created the report, to find out more about it, and about his conclusions. 

The Impact We're Having: Zsanett and Zoltán of Transition Hosszúhetény

Hosszúhetény is the most populous village in Baranya county, in the south of Hungary, with 3400 inhabitants. It's situated in beautiful natural surroundings at the foot of the Zengő peak of the Mecsek hills.


Why I despise self checkouts with a rare and unbridled passion

It's time for a rant about SACAT.  "About what?" you might most reasonably cry.  'Semi Attended Customer Activated Terminals', that's what.  In plain English, it's those self checkout things that are taking over shops up and down the land.  In 2008 there were 92,600 such units in use worldwide, by the end of this year it is expected to top 430,000.  In the UK, 32 million shoppers now use them every week, over one third of Tesco's store transactions every week are self checkout. I recently went to WHSmith at St Panchras station in London, the first shop I've been into that is 100% self checkout.  No staff.  I turned around and walked back out again.

Jo Hamilton on why monitoring and evaluation matters for Transition

What role does measuring and evaluating your impacts have to play for Transition initiatives?  How important is it, and how straightforward is it in a group that is already busy "doing stuff"?  Jo Hamilton is a researcher at Oxford University’s Environmental Change Institute whose research focuses on those very questions. Together with colleagues Ruth Mayne and Kersty Hobson, she is currently developing a project called Monitoring and Evaluation for Sustainable Communities (MESC) to develop and trial a range of tools to enable groups to self monitor and evaluate their work.  She's still recruiting groups and is running 3 workshops in April and May for groups who'd like more skills and insights on how to do this (more below). 


The impact we've having: Marie Goodwin of Transition Town Media

“What's the catch?” she asked as she idled up to the table. The yard was filled with blankets and tables, boxes and miscellany scattered over almost every square inch except for the well-marked paths. Our information table was welcoming people at the entrance, and this question was asked over and over again to our organizing team. “What's the catch?” 


The impact we're having: Nicola Vernon of Transition Town Greyton

Greyton Transition Town has been in existence for just over two years and is beginning to have a significant impact on our community.  The one way which stands out for all of our community is what a great vehicle it is to bring about social integration.


Nic Marks on measuring wellbeing and happiness

Nic Marks founded the Centre for Wellbeing at the London-based think tank New Economics Foundation and also more recently founded Happiness Works. Much of his work has focused on measuring wellbeing and happiness, as captured in his excellent talk from 2010.  When thinking about how a Transition initiative might measure the extent to which it is successfully helping to building wellbeing and happiness, he felt like the best place to start. 

The impact we're having: Stephanie Hofielen of From the Ground Up

From the Ground Up (FGU) was launched in March 2010 by Transition Town Kingston with the mission to bring affordable, local organic fresh food to our communities.  Dissatisfied with the limited variety, variable quality and high cost of fresh organic food from our conventional sources, Transition Town Kingston took action.


Sir David King on climate change as "the biggest diplomatic challenge of all time"

We are really honoured to be able to share with you today an interview with Sir David King.  Sir David is currently Special Representative to the Foreign Secretary in the UK on climate change. For 7 years, between 2000 and 2007, he was Chief Scientific Advisor.  Much of his current role is focused around the negotiations for an international treaty in December 2015 in Paris, the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21).  He calls this "the big moment to achieve a global agreement", adding "I believe this is the world’s biggest diplomatic challenge, I’m even going to say the biggest diplomatic challenge of all time".  He spoke to Transition Network's Sarah McAdam. 

On Transition's impact and reimagining the road to Paris 2015

Monday's IPCC's report presented a stark and focused reminder that business as usual will lead to "severe, pervasive, and irreversible impacts", and that the impacts of climate change are already "widespread and consequential".  Our theme for April is "what is the impact of Transition, and how do we know?" In this piece, I want to explore three questions.  What is the impact we hoped Transition would have when we first came up with the idea, what impact are we actually having, and what could we be doing differently to increase that impact? Big questions, especially in the light of the IPCC's report.  Although we'll go into them in more depth as the month goes on, let's make a first stab at them here. I also want to run an idea past you. 

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