Ben Brangwyn's blog http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn en Scaling up internationally http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2014-01/scaling-internationally <h2>Scaling up – next week, the world!</h2><h3>Introduction</h3><p>This is a little tale of the spread of Transition internationally. We think it’s a relevant story for Transitioners because of the parallels that happen across all sorts of levels of scale. Some of the conflicts, dynamics and prejudices that I see in my own life also show up in some way in our little organisation of Transition Network, and are reflected back in the Transition groups here and the wider movement around the world. Perhaps some of this international expansion story may yield insights that will help your local initiative with the challenges of maintaining momentum, staying true to the values that inspired you to start or get involved in your Transition group, finding the right balance between exerting control and “just letting go”.</p><h3>In the beginning...</h3><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/MapUKInitiatives.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/MapUKInitiatives-200x198.jpg" alt="UKmap" width="200" height="198" class="float-right" /></a>Transition Network started up on a wing and a (non-denominational) prayer at the end of 2006 in the hope that the early social experiment started by Naresh Giangrande and Rob Hopkins in Totnes might replicate broadly elsewhere. The initial design, with its simple “12 Steps” and “7 Buts”, already had that flavour of replicability that my earlier jobs in business had trained me to spot. And by that time, a few very smart people in early adopter communities in the UK – Lewes and Stroud in particular – were already playing with the idea.</p><p>We concentrated on the UK at first, setting up the website, going on the road, connecting initiatives, sharing learnings, writing blogs, putting flags in googlemaps, building a mailing list, launching a newsletter. We even put on our first Transition conference early in 2007 in Stroud – Richard Heinberg played a big role there.</p><p>It was clear that we needed an international perspective – Richard Heinberg had told us that, and the levels of interest we were getting even in 2007 from not just English-speaking countries like New Zealand, Canada, USA and Australia but also Italy, Spain and France told us the same thing.</p><p>But how could we, as insular, parochial and culturally myopic Brits help catalyse transition in places we’d never visited and which had cultural nuances we couldn’t even imagine?</p><h3>Beyond the shores of the UK</h3><p><br /><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/MapEuropeInitiatives.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/MapEuropeInitiatives-180x222.jpg" alt="EuroMap" width="180" height="222" class="float-left" /></a>Before we could figure out a sensible answer, two initial examples quickly showed us that this had already started. First, we saw that people in Spain, Italy and Germany were translating articles and material from our website and adding it to blogs over there. Then, a “Transition Italy” website popped up. We expected that this would get noticed by appropriately concerned potential transitioners in those countries and accelerate the adoption of the Transition model there, and we also suspected that without some kind of coordinating group at the centre in those locations, their initial efforts might get diluted somewhat.</p><p>That central coordinating group seemed like a crucial piece of the puzzle for local initiatives. And at a broader level of scale, we’d set Transition Network up as a central resource to “Inspire, Inform, Connect, Support and Train” communities to adopt and adapt the transition model to transform their own locale. In the spirit of scaling up, might we see in some kind of wonderful fractal way, something happen at a national level along similar lines?</p><h3>First National Hubs</h3><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/MapAusNZInitiatives.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/MapAusNZInitiatives-220x138.jpg" alt="OzMap" width="220" height="138" class="float-right" /></a>Pretty soon, at the end of 2007, Ireland popped up on the radar. We already had excellent relationships with highly motivated and capable people who had been working in this field for ages, and this made it easy to start off the conversations about a group starting up to represent Ireland and Northern Ireland nationally.</p><p>Another island nation turned up next - New Zealand. The guy who we’d recently seen videos of doing awesome Transition presentations said he’d be prepared to help catalyse and support Transition there. Based on our conversations and the available evidence, it looked like if he couldn’t help Transition scale up there, no one could.</p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/MapAmericasInitiatives.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/MapAmericasInitiatives-220x137.jpg" alt="USmap" width="220" height="137" class="float-left" /></a>Next, we were approached by a pre-existing organisation in the US to represent transition over there. And now, in terms of scaling up, the stakes suddenly took a stratospheric leap – the USA population is getting on for 100 times bigger than New Zealand. The appeal of an existing established and influential operation taking on this catalysing and supporting role was very seductive. On the other hand, how on earth could we make sure that Transition Networks aspirational mishmash of values - experimentation, playfulness, inner/outer, empowering the genius of the local community, non-confrontational, local variability – were replicated appropriately in an organisation in a far away country where we didn’t have any real influence? Should we just go with the flow, or should we start exerting influence strongly? This really was too big to screw up and so, after many brain aching conversations, we came up with a thing we called a “memorandum of understanding” to negotiate the relationship between Transition Network and this new “hub”. Crucially, that memorandum stipulated that the people who were in key roles in that hub had to be in a local initiative.</p><p>This last critical criterion proved to be the most effective in maintaining those values and was, I think, a key bit of magic fairy dust that helped build out this fractal model. It’s as though actually getting involved in a local initiative really encourages the playfulness, the collaborative and the systems thinking approach that underpins Transition. Obviously this criterion also is exclusive – if Transition isn’t your thing in your own community, then maybe you’re not the right person to inspire, support and represent Transitioners in your country. This criterion really helped us collaborate well with the US and establish a relationship with an embryonic Transition US and Resilience.org that seems to have really helped replicate the values and approach of Transition in that massive country.</p><p>Before the end of 2008, another five hubs had emerged – Scotland, Japan, Sweden, Italy and the Netherlands. Scaling up was happening, and yet it wasn’t entirely obvious to us how each country was adopting and adapting the Transition model. Were Transitioners in, say Japan, staying true to the initial values and aspirations that started off Transition in the first place? Should the Transition model change in the light of new things learnt elsewhere?</p><h3>The Training World Tour</h3><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/WillHay2.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/WillHay2-150x263.jpg" alt="Training" width="150" height="263" class="float-right" /></a>By now, Transition Training was getting into full swing, and a proposal came forward for a trans-global training tour. This would be perfect to help replicate a more refined and nuanced Transition model internationally, to train up an international network of trainers, and to bring back the experiences of other places to enrich the stories of Transition and to evolve how Transition was communicated generally. Sophy and Naresh went to seven countries, training transitioners and trainers in the US, Japan, Canada, New Zealand, Australia and Hong Kong. (Since then there have been another seven or so ‘Train the Trainers’ and now there are trainers in twenty four different countries, with the training having been delivered around thirty different countries).</p><p>By the levels of interest and response we saw in the wake of this tour, training is an incredible effective means of scaling up. Not just in terms of existing transitioners getting in-depth exposure, but in terms of those people then being able to communicate some of the benefits of getting involved to others in their community.</p><h3>Questions of relationship between Transition Network and Hubs</h3><p>I wonder about the relationship between Transition Network and the National Hubs. Does it replicate in any way the relationship between the core group in a Transition Initiative and the theme groups or projects that emerge from it? What kind of influence is it appropriate to exert? How do we best support them? To what extent should we get involved if there’s a conflict in a Hub?</p><p>We’re still feeling our way through these questions, and the MoU has been a useful instrument for establishing a baseline to these relationships. But not everyone felt an agreement was necessary. New Zealand, for instance, didn't feel that any formal arrangement was appropriate, exerting a level of independence from the "British imperial overlord" which initially came as a surprise, and then became completely understandable and taught us that these relationships worked best if they were invitational rather than imposed.</p><p>This question of dependence on, or independence from, a coordinating body shows up everywhere in Transition and Transition groups have used a variety of devices to broker their relationship with theme groups or projects - there doesn't seem to be a one-size-fits-all solution.</p><h3>The Hubs find their voice</h3><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Singer.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Singer-230x138.jpg" alt="SingerPlacido" width="230" height="138" class="float-left" /></a>It’s been interesting to see how the Hubs have grown from being a set of separate entities to having their own sense of collective identity and are exerting a stronger and stronger influence on what we do at Transition Network. It’s mirrored how much attention we’ve been giving the entire international dimension of our work here.</p><p>The first time we really noticed “international” as a collective voice was at our conference in 2011 in Liverpool. We held a meeting on the last day to talk about international matters. Sixty international transitioners turned up and we were all taken by surprise at the numbers – even though by then another eight Hubs had formed.</p><p>It was a year later at the London conference in 2012 that we were able to achieve our broader aspiration to help the National Hubs to become a cohesive group. This was really helped by a rather wonderful individual who had come forward from Brussels to offer her services in helping us with international matters. During the follow-on day to this conference designed specifically to nurture the embryonic group of National Hubs, several working groups emerged covering: Funding, Decision-making, Comms and “Family”. These groups intended to carry forward the collective intentions of the group. A big question here was whether Transition Network was sufficiently resourced and focussed to support this happening. I don’t think we were, and in the end, only the Funding group really delivered on their aspirations.</p><p>At this point we realised we were going to have to devote more time and attention to the whole challenge of “going international” if we wanted an international network of Hubs – crucial in our mind – to take off. Our funders had convinced us that we had a sufficiently suitable international recipe and approach, but organisationally, we lacked the strategic capacity to move properly in that direction without potentially losing impact in other areas we were also focusing on. It was clear we needed to substantially reconfigure and strengthen our organisation before making this leap.</p><p>Could this be true for local Transition groups? That in order to effectively broaden their impact they’d need to do some powerful internal work to raise capacity within the core team? As I write this I’m struck by how this also applies at the personal level – if I’m going to broaden the reach and impact of my work, I need to pay a lot of attention to my own inner capacities to handle the diversity, workload, potential conflicts and sheer complexity that this might bring.</p><p>At each of these levels of scales – international, local group, personal – this “restructuring” in order to be ready to scale up can initially be disruptive. Much soul searching, a lot of difficult work, high levels of uncertainty as these shifts take place. I’ve certainly seen it as Transition Network went through its own reorganisation process, and I’m certainly still going through my own process as I get to grips with the role of International Coordination.</p><h3>The Hubs get their own conference</h3><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/DSC_0805.JPG" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/DSC_0805-300x199.JPG" alt="HubsConference2013" width="300" height="199" class="float-right" /></a>Following the restructuring and some dedicated resources becoming available to support the Hubs, we organised a conference in Lyon, France for the autumn of 2013.</p><p>I felt it to be a massive milestone in Transition Network’s history. Here were forty individuals, from around twenty countries across Western and Central Europe, from the Far East, from South America, from Scandinavia all coming together to create a cohesive network of national level practitioners. In terms of scaling up, this was, as our US transitioners might say, a “whole new ball game”.</p><p>This disparate group coalesced into a set of working groups along the similar lines as London meeting. Now that we have significant dedicated resources helping them, we can see that these working groups are already delivering against their plans. In a very grown-up process of self-determination, they’re answering the questions: “What is a Hub?”; “How do we create a culture of family across our Hubs?”; “What platform should we use for collaboration?”</p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/SmilingFaces.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/SmilingFaces-300x122.jpg" alt="HubsConference02" width="300" height="122" class="float-left" /></a></p><p>Is there a mirror process happening in Transition Initiatives? Are the theme groups and projects asserting themselves in as part of a movement towards greater self-determination and greater levels of cohesiveness? Could this be happening at regional levels within countries where a centrally placed resource helps the region coalesce as a cooperative group and become a learning network? In our experience at the National Hubs level is that this only happens when we at the centre are able to support them through this process.</p><h3>What’s the International picture now?</h3><p>We’re starting to plan for the National Hubs conference for 2014. The working groups are convening and pursuing the priorities set at the 2013 meeting in Lyon. Other National Hubs are emerging to join this network and enrich its understanding of social change. Transition Network is able to call on this group to help refine its messaging, strategies and priorities.</p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/FractalMirror.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/FractalMirror-200x296.jpg" alt="Mirrors" width="200" height="296" class="float-right" /></a></p><p>We’ve got a way to go, but for the first time since this funny little idea with its wildly ambitious dreams got off the ground in 2006, I’m feeling that we’re really getting to grips with what scaling up internationally really means.</p><p>The short term future, as ever, is a mystery to me and I’m expecting it to be full of surprises and challenges. I’ll struggle forwards with all my prejudices, uncertainties and sense of the enormity of the tasks ahead. And again, I’m sure I’ll be struck by parallels across all the levels of scale I’m working on.&nbsp;If the&nbsp;aspirational mishmash of values that work at my personal level - experimentation, playfulness, inner/outer, non-confrontational, respecting local variability, systems thinking - can work in the projects that I'm involved in locally, and also in our little organisation Transition Network, and then beyond that within this growing network of National Hubs, then I see this level of alignment at different levels of scale being a sign that we're heading in the right direction.&nbsp;</p><p>My intuition is that the more we see these parallels and the more fractal this model of transition appears at these different levels of scale, then the stronger and more robust we’ll all be in the face of challenges ahead.&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2014-01/scaling-internationally#comments Wed, 29 Jan 2014 17:54:53 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 34701 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Transition in a corporate setting, in Brazil http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-10/transition-corporate-setting-brazil <h2>Change makers program -&nbsp;<span style="color: #353535; font-size: 0.813em;">How to help your workers transition to a more resilient and happy life by connecting them to their own purpose.</span></h2><h2><span style="color: #353535; font-size: 0.813em;">by&nbsp;Monica G. Picavea from Transition Brazil and Transition Sao Paulo.</span></h2><p>Here in Sao Paulo in Brazil, our ChangeMakers Program, (I’d love to call it “Transition in Organisations”) &nbsp;helps mainstream enterprises transition to a more resilient and more sustainable way of operating. Our small Brazilian business, Oficina da Sustentabilidade, developed this program inspired by Transition Towns Movement<sup>1</sup>, the Gaia Education Curriculum<sup>2</sup>, and Permacultural<sup>3 </sup>concepts.<!--break--></p><p><a href="http://edgblogs.s3.amazonaws.com/planeta/files/2012/03/697_monica_picavea.jpg" class="colorbox" title="MonicaFromBrazil"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/e75bd0157f4c0a76b41106f4e1e4029e-300x194.jpg" alt="MonicaFromBrazil" title="MonicaFromBrazil" width="300" height="194" class="float-right" /></a>We based this program on all these viral and amazing concepts because we believe that if you can spread the seed of transition inside the actual system, it can make the change from inside. This especially applies regarding the inner transition of the people who work within the company, who, given the right tools, make the transition by themselves.</p><p>Based in the concept of the “Theory of Change” of the Berkhana Institute<sup>4</sup>&nbsp;that nobody can change anyone, we seem to have successfully created a gently-paced learning process, in which people feel compelled to make their own inner transition.</p><p>The method is based on providing to both the employees of the company and to the communities that constitute their areas of direct influence, a single set of learning tools and a programme of collaboration. These tools are a combination of approaches from:</p><ul><li>the Transition Towns movement</li><li>the Gaia Education curriculum</li><li>permaculture concepts</li><li>the Oasis methodology from Warriors Without Weapons (<a href="http://warriorswithoutweapons.wordpress.com/elos-philosophy/">http://warriorswithoutweapons.wordpress.com/elos-philosophy/</a>)</li></ul><p>and we use them to help people figure out how to create a life that a) has less impact on the environment; b) is more collaborative and resilient; and c) could represent the transition of these systems to a new and much needed way of life on the planet.</p><p>The next key element of our ChangeMakers program is a concept that is sometimes alien to the participants. It introduces the idea that the community of workers within the organisation and community of local people are actually a single community in their own right. And not only are they part of the same group, but that they can also work together.</p><p>This simple change of point of view can make a very powerful inner transition inside all the participants, because it breaks down the barriers of apartheid between enterprise, government and community, and instead, presents the truth that indeed that everybody is part of the community.</p><p>Typically, after this realisation, the previously disconnected groups will now want to do something together in a big collective activity, involving the organisations’ planning group actively seeking inputs from the people that live around the place and creating conditions that enable the local people to want to participate as well.</p><h3>Changing words, change concepts and results</h3><p><a href="http://www.oficinadasustentabilidade.com.br/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/547201_522369474456871_479311282_n.jpg" class="colorbox" title="IsabelaAtWork"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/4524dd31112f2da96f944cdf7e410332-420x280.jpg" alt="IsabelaAtWork" title="IsabelaAtWork" width="420" height="280" class="float-right" /></a></p><p>When we've observed that this “everybody is part of the same community” idea has sunk in to the people we're working with in the ChangeMakers programme, we develop this concept one step further. We show that all these people, who have been pigeon-holed within society as “consumer”, “goverment”, “community”, “NGOs”, “business”, are not just the same people&nbsp;trying to live together in community but that they also share key objectives:</p><ul><li>to live in harmony with themselves and the environment</li><li>to be able to fulfil their dreams and life purposes that sometimes did not always seem congruent with their work, where they live or groups they relate to.</li></ul><p>Next we introduce our own “Formula of Happiness” based on the work of Professor Martin Seligman, of Harvard University:</p><blockquote><p>F = L + C + V&nbsp;&nbsp; <sup>5</sup></p></blockquote><p>This equation proposes that our happiness (“F”) is made up in the following proportions:</p><ul><li>("L") 50% is pre-established and limited by our genes</li><li>(“C”)&nbsp;8% depends on – our circumstances in life (eg level of education, religion, civil status and income)</li><li>("V") 42% is influenced by factors that are under the control of the individual (eg: levels of engagement, positive emotions, social connections, meaning and purpose, achievements or milestones in their life)</li></ul><p>When this concept is understood, the person changes his own concept of what is possible, and how he can influence his own happiness now.</p><p>When they combine this knowledge with collaborative activities using Transition tools, they can truly see their contact points with other groups and how their actions and interests intersect. And this, according to Berkhana Institute’s<sup> 4</sup> studies on the origin of change, is where change really happens in humans – in their intersection points with others.</p><p>It’s when these intersections are brought clearly into view at the same time as the individual is exposed to different opinions, new realities, new ways of seeing existing realities and new ways to act and behave – that’s when inner change happens.</p><p>The next steps of the programme are very practical. First, this group identifies a distinct area of the business, identifies the contact points this area has with the various communities outside the business, looking at impacts and aspects of direct influence. Then, depending on their capabilities and interests, the group proposes a plan of action to create practical projects which typically include permacultural concepts and a respect for the local culture and way of living.</p><h3>A practical case</h3><p>This year, we have started working with a multinational goods company which operates in several markets and has a huge number of products. It has very clear and bold sustainability goals:</p><ul><li>growing by reducing its environmental footprint by half</li><li>positively impact 1 billion people by improving their quality of life in some aspect</li><li>the source of 100% percent of their agricultural suplies, be based in sustainable materials</li></ul><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Brazil-GraphicFacilitation.JPG" class="colorbox" title="BrazilGraphicFacilitation"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Brazil-GraphicFacilitation-500x206.JPG" alt="BrazilGraphicFacilitation" title="BrazilGraphicFacilitation" width="500" height="206" class="float-right" /></a>To achieve these results the company did its best to create a meaningful sustainability plan. However, the employees felt that it would be always have limited impact without a) real engagement by people they were hoping to bring benefits to, and b) a real belief by these people that they were making valuable contributions to the program itself, doing actions themselves to "improve the life of a billion people".</p><p>So, we started the process of Transition with them. First, we set up a pilot in one of their factories and presented to their group the methodology that we planned to use, the “12 ingredients” of Transition <sup>6.</sup></p><p>It was a stretch for many of them – one ingredient in particular made them fell a little uncomfortable. In a company world which tries to calculate and mitigate all risks, the notion of “<em>Letting it go where it wants to go</em>” felt like a loss of control and an invitation to bring in a whole set of unknown risks.</p><p>But “<em>Letting it go...</em>” is much more than just an ingredient, it’s a principle of participation and collective co-creation.</p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Brazil-DynamicsWithGroup.JPG" class="colorbox" title="Dynamics"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Brazil-DynamicsWithGroup-300x219.JPG" alt="Dynamics" title="Dynamics" width="300" height="219" class="float-right" /></a>So, with this in mind, a group containing workers from the factory, people from the community, people from the health system and from the educational system assembled for a 5 day training course covering concepts of Transition, Gaia and Permaculture.</p><p>One of the first tasks they undertook was a diagnosis with the community, using the Appreciative Inquiry <sup>7</sup> approach.</p><p>They went into the community and connected with them to a) identify all the things about that community that they thought were wonderful and b) to find out who was behind them.</p><p>Even at this very early stage, this process has yielded some significant and fascinating results. Here are some quotes from the people involved:</p><blockquote><p>“We feel a big change on these groups, especially inside the factory, and particularly with their work groups. The concepts of collaboration and its tools are helping other sectors of the company and making them more engaged, increasing their involvement in the company, in their work and in their roles in society.” explains the HR manager.</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>“Since we started this process, more than doing something good, I started to believe that my purpose has a place inside my work, and I can do something else for my community and to the world” – M.L... manager of soap sector</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>“I’m from a jewish Family, and we use to help a lot of people, and for the first time I feel that in my work, and working here I can keep on helping in a very natural way. It makes something that is a conviction, stands with my everyday life.”.</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>“I performed some music to our changemakers group, because singing is my biggest passion. Knowing all the musical activities I already did here in the factory, our supply leader decided to record a cd, with all our production. I believe that this thing of changemakers are really a big change of life, that can let us help a lot of people to be happier as we are.” – C.F. – soap machine operator.</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>“I can say that we used to visit the community, but not with this way of looking, and it make all the difference to think about solutions, and more, I think that the dynamic of creating a vision of a positive future is a very powerfull tool to work with community. Even working as a social assistant I never thought this way.” S.F.M. – Social Assistant of the Government.</p></blockquote><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Brazil-OpenSpace.JPG" class="colorbox" title="OpenSpace"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Brazil-OpenSpace-300x233.JPG" alt="OpenSpace" title="OpenSpace" width="300" height="233" class="float-right" /></a>These are some of our qualitative evaluations covering just these four months of work. Next year in early 2014 the company will make their Sustainability Report, and later that year they’ll be starting a two year research evaluation looking at key indicators regarding the people involved in the project. In both of those, particularly the latter, we expect to get a much fuller picture with more qualitative indicators and a quantitative analysis of all the work. We’re hoping that these metrics and analyses will enable us to make this programme even more effective and more replicable.</p><p>There will be much more of this story to tell sometime in the future - we’ll let you know how it goes...</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><p>&nbsp;</p><p>References</p><ol><li>Rob Hopkins</li><ul><li>Transition Hand Book – 2008</li><li>Transition Primer – 2007</li><li>Transition Companion - 2011</li><li>The Power of Just Doing Stuff - 2013</li></ul><li>Gaia Education Curriculum – <a href="http://www.gaiaeducation.org/">www.gaiaeducation.org</a></li><li>Permaculture - <a href="http://www.permaculturedesigntraining.com/">www.permaculturedesigntraining.com</a></li><li>Berkhana Institute – <a href="http://www.berkhanainstitute.org/">www.berkhanainstitute.org</a></li><li>Martin Seligman – Authentic Happiness – PENN – UNIVERSITY <a href="http://www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx">www.authentichappiness.sas.upenn.edu/Default.aspx</a></li><li>Rob Hopkins - Ingredients of Transition – Transition Handbook</li><li>Appreciative Inquiry – Cooperrider, Ph.D. – Case Werstern Reserve University, Weatherhead School of Management. 2009&nbsp;</li></ol><p>(All pictures from&nbsp;Oficina da Sustentabilidade)</p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-10/transition-corporate-setting-brazil#comments Wed, 30 Oct 2013 18:47:07 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 33973 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Ben's International blog #1: the early days http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-10/bens-international-blog-1-early-days-0 <h3>Introduction</h3><p>During the month of October, Rob is over in the US, catalysing, rabble-rousing and inspiring change in the way only Rob can do. In the meantime, I've taken on the role of "Site Editor" for this month, and the theme is "International". Rob's a hard writing act to follow. To call him prolific would be like calling an arctic tern a "prolific flyer" or the earthworm a "prolific burrower" - they just wake up in the morning and start doing it. Still, follow I must...<img src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" alt="&amp;lt;--break-&amp;gt;" title="&amp;lt;--break--&amp;gt;" width="1" height="1" /><img src="/sites/all/modules/contrib/wysiwyg/plugins/break/images/spacer.gif" alt="&amp;lt;--break-&amp;gt;" title="&amp;lt;--break--&amp;gt;" width="1" height="1" /><!--break--></p><h3>&nbsp;A bit about me</h3><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/BenHiRes.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/BenHiRes-130x173.jpg" alt="Ben Brangwyn" width="130" height="173" class="float-right" /></a>For those who don't know me, I co-founded Transition Network late in 2006 with Rob, building on the amazing work that Rob and Naresh Giangrande had started as pioneers in Transition Town Totnes (which in turn was building on the work of permaculture and the myriad movements that put social justice, people and biodiversity ahead of profits and power). Since then, Transition Network's team of two has whirlygigged into what now feels like a very solid core group of thirteen. Around us, we have a board of trustees, trusted advisors, the social reporters, transitioners far and wide, and crucially, an expanding international gang of National Hub coordinators. As part of our recent increased emphasis on reflecting the "international" nature of transition, I've recently taken on the role of International Coordinator - a concept so vast I often find it hard to get to grips with.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><p>I thought for my first post, people might be interested to hear the initial story of how Transition spread internationally, leaping from shore to shore and culture to culture in ways that never fail to surprise us.</p><h3>Going "international" - and in the beginning...</h3><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/KinsaleEDAP.JPG" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/KinsaleEDAP-130x182.JPG" alt="Kinsale EDAP" width="130" height="182" class="float-right" /></a>... there was, of course, Kinsale in Ireland and the document that caused such a stir internationally. In 2005, Rob and his permaculture students wrote up the&nbsp;<a href="http://transitionculture.org/wp-content/uploads/KinsaleEnergyDescentActionPlan.pdf" target="_blank">Energy Descent Action Plan</a>&nbsp;for Kinsale. Their inspiration was Colin Campbell, "The End of Suburbia" movie and the strange absence of any documented bottom-up community-level "action manuals" to address fossil fuel addiction and climate change. The EDAP, that little document which heralded so much, was downloaded so many times it almost blew up the town's internet connection. Not long after, the Transition concepts landed in Totnes, along with Rob, his family, his record collection and all their worldly goods.</p><p>Transition Town Totnes came out of the collaboration between Rob and Naresh Giangrande (co-founder of Transition Training and one of our core team) as they struggled with the task of motivating the town to get busy on redesigning itself for a lower carbon future. The Transition Culture blog charted this course and its posts started pinging around the globe.</p><p>Back in the UK, by the end of 2006, the first movers were Portabello in Edinburgh, Lewes, Stroud, Forest Row, Glastonbury, Bristol, Penwith and Brixton in London. Transition Network took form at that point, establishing itself to inspire, encourage, network, support and train transition initiatives. The first few nodes of what was to become an international network of transitioners began to connect.</p><p>In the spring of 2007,&nbsp;Rob's blog, Transition Culture was getting a lot of international hits, and our first piece of community guidance - the Transition Primer - was getting downloaded from multiple countries. Our first big international hop was over the Atlantic to the US, where the&nbsp;<a href="http://www.postcarbon.org" target="_blank">Post Carbon Institute</a>&nbsp;started systematically reposting our blogs and materials, including the Primer.&nbsp;</p><p>By May 2007, Transition Network was an officially UK charity, and we were getting emails from people with addresses that ended in “.nz”, “.fr” or states like “North Carolina”. The personal assistant to the Governor in Washington State requested the Primer. We’d hoped from the start that transition would be international in scope, but hadn’t expected it to happen quite so quickly.</p><p><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/SunshineCoast02.jpg" alt="SunshineCoast" width="164" height="113" class="float-right" /></p><p>In June 2007 the first of many Italians contacted us. Then the first of many from Spain.</p><p>By July 2007, we’d heard from Ashville, Point Reyes, Ashland, Putney, Washington (not the Whitehouse...) and Arlington in the US. Also making contact with us was Australia from places with exotic names like “Sunshine Coast” and “Surf Coast Shire”. Could the transition model work there too?</p><p>We even heard from someone in Paris!</p><p>Each one of these was a “holy cow, what’s happening!?” moment. We knew the ideas were spreading, and we constantly wondered what shape they might take as they made their journey across oceans and continents. Would these ideas and models be understood in the way we hoped?</p><p><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/JamesSamuel2.jpg" alt="James Samuel" width="94" height="94" class="float-right" />Our first really convincing sign that the ideas travelled well happened that summer – it was a video of someone in New Zealand (James Samuel) giving a really solid set of Transition Talks. Seeing this evidence of just how robust the transition model was gave us a lot of confidence.</p><p>Over the rest of the summer, we saw increasing levels of interest from Australia, New Zealand, and then Canada, including Quebec. Helped by a couple of articles penned by trend spotting journalists in international publications, and we’d get emails like this:</p><blockquote><p>"Having discovered the Transition Towns model only 24 hours ago through the New Internationalist article, I am very excited about it. The local City of Sydney Council recently invited citizens to a free screening of the film “Crude Awakening” about peak oil, and they certainly give the impression that they are aware and concerned with sustainability and climate change issues. &nbsp;I will see what I can stir up here in Sydney and rely heavily on your experience. Thanks again.</p></blockquote><blockquote><p>"Hi folks - I’m SO excited to find you.&nbsp; I’ve been reading about Peak Oil for two years now and felt I was all alone in this.&nbsp; Currently I live in St. Paul, MN but my husband and I are working on Canadian permanent residency and have a home on Vancouver Island"</p></blockquote><p>By September 2007, early Spanish and Italian transitioners were starting to translate some of the materials. It was now that Germany first popped up on the radar thanks to the fact that Transition was getting mentioned by trainers in the world of ecology and social change and by influential bloggers in this domain, with titles like “Reality Sandwich”.</p><p>National Transition websites started&nbsp; popping up – Italy was the first.</p><p>By now, the incoming emails indicated that the most common introduction to transition was also the most powerful:</p><blockquote><p>“I heard about transition from my friend Helen in our neighbouring town, Carterton”</p></blockquote><p>People were drawn to transition for all sorts of reasons, and the international nature added to that diversity. Some of the reasons were a little extreme:</p><blockquote><p>“I live in Florida and I see the imminent danger of being here when oil prices climb so much that we can't afford to drive&nbsp;and the costs of food&nbsp;grows so much that we&nbsp;will starve to death.&nbsp;We should really have everyone growing gardens in their backyards but&nbsp;I don't even know if that's even possible in Florida as the top soil is contaminated by the builders.”</p></blockquote><p>&nbsp;Others were a bit more positive:</p><blockquote><p>“Learning about your effort at this time is quite serendipitous. I am gathering together a few close activists on Wednesday to discuss an initiative I am calling "Abundant Iowa City".”</p></blockquote><p>In the autumn and winter of 2007, the US was where the most interest was coming from, prompted by an International Forum on Globalisation event in Washington DC in which Transition featured and by&nbsp;<a href="http://richardheinberg.com/category/museletter" target="_blank">Richard Heinberg’s prolific writings</a>&nbsp;and talks. By now there were plenty of video and audio files about transition online, all of which helped the international expansion. Just googling a couple of these “climate change”, “peak oil”, “relocalisation”, “fossil fuel addiction” would bring up a website that mentioned transition.</p><p>Around that time, we also got wind of an Energy Descent Action Plan from Australia and Rob followed it up with a blog post archived here:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.transitionculture.org/2010/02/22/transition-sunshine-coast-delivers-edap/">www.transitionculture.org/2010/02/22/transition-sunshine-coast-delivers-edap/</a></p><p>Some other surprise contacts were from Mexico, Sweden and Argentina.</p><p>Usually, the people who contacted us were concerned townsfolk. However, we’d occasionally get someone from an official local government position, such as the Assistant Director of Development for the City of Boynton Beach, Florida, USA saying:</p><blockquote><p>“The City is in the early stage of exploring the green building movement which has been very slow to catch on here in Florida. Your Transition Initiatives Primer&nbsp;would be an interesting item to add to our debate and discussion.”</p></blockquote><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/PortlandPeakOilTaskForceBriefing.JPG" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/PortlandPeakOilTaskForceBriefing-80x124.JPG" alt="Portland Peak Oil Briefing" width="80" height="124" class="float-right" /></a>We were never sure what the council officials did with the information we passed to them – we tended to focus on initiatives rather than the councils, so whether or not Boynton Beach ever got any greener, we’ll never know. We were aware, however, of a few places in the US passing “peak oil resolutions”, such as Portland, San Francisco and Bloomington, but that was the only country that seemed to be facing these challenges at that municipal level.</p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Logo-TransitionNewZealand.JPG" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Logo-TransitionNewZealand-250x62.JPG" alt="Logo-TransitionNewZealandAotearoa" width="250" height="62" class="float-left" /></a>Late in 2007, Richard Heinberg’s visit to New Zealand kicked off a lot of interest too.&nbsp;By this time there are 35 initiatives in New Zealand and our perception of it as a bastion of resilience is strengthened. Soon a Transition New Zealand website appears, and appropriately in honour of the indigenous peoples, it included the word “Aotearoa” in its name.</p><p>By now, Transition Training was in motion, with one course in Totnes, one in Bristol and one in London before the year end. This served to activate a lot more interest in the UK, and also fired up the visitors from foreign lands who made the journey to do the training – including Japan and Sweden.&nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp; &nbsp;</p><p>Just to give you an idea of the level of interest in transition at grass roots level at that time, my personal archive of enquiry emails in just a single week shows over 230 exchanges with communities, mainly from the UK but with plenty of other places represented. We’d been going less than a year and It all felt a little bit out of control. Well, a lot, actually.</p><p>We’d started Transition Network with the hope of inspiring, encouraging, connecting, supporting and training communities – this was tough enough in the UK where we were actually situated. How on earth would we put this aspiration into effect this beyond our shores?</p><p>Two solution to this conundrum would raise their welcomed heads early in 2008 – and that’ll be the subject of the next “Going International“ posting.</p><h3>Postscript</h3><p>If you were there at the start and I've left you out - complain here! Or if you had an impression or experience from these early days, post it here - we'd love to have those crazy maelstrom days reflected back at us.</p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-10/bens-international-blog-1-early-days-0#comments Fri, 04 Oct 2013 12:21:38 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 33692 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Junk Raft Armada in Spain http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-07/junk-raft-armada-spain <h3 dir="ltr">Where fun, water, "rubbish" and flotation devices meet...</h3> <p><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/QId6mcGQpFaU2K4y-7_EwVhPZTLD1M2It_jFTMVGH3wyUQhVBndBANxpcQ97KiORZ5TWn94kb4V__zsFucMBPdyyZP_kpgxOnr4oKkzEEXlafgs0KPY" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/51050dfe65f67a1a56dd5d681bc7b3c2-500x281.jpg" alt="Junk Raft Armada afloat" width="500" height="281" class="float-right" /></a></p> <p dir="ltr">There's a million different actions that communities are taking around the world that are helping us get away from a fossil fuel addicted, ecosystem destroying, highly inequal ways of living. Here's one in Spain that appeals to the inner vagabond in me.</p> <p>An international mix of activist, builders and performers, collectively known as The Junk Raft Armada, are gathered in Calafou, Spain to build a fleet of three or four junk rafts. In July 2013 they will embark on a trip down the Rio Ebro, spreading important ecological messages along the way. Ranging from 22 to 45 years old, they are concerned about our planet’s ecological state. Since the first crew met, they have wanted to do something about it - here is the plan.</p> <p>Their “rubbish idea” started in 2012 and since May this year, crews have been working on gathering materials from the streets of Barcelona.&nbsp;Inspired by the bizarre, by recycling and re-purposing, the crew of the Junk Raft Armada wants to explore innovative ways to give new purpose to scrap and demonstrate viable, sustainable alternatives to travelling and living.</p> <p>The rafts are being constructed from old furniture, pallets, crates, steel and bits and pieces - all items discarded by Barcelona. The eco-pirate ships are being decorated with everything from bottle caps, old beads, furniture, shade cloth, plastic, toys and other treasures we gathered on our scavenging trips through the urban jungle.</p> <p>Flotation for the rafts also gets gathered on the streets; hundreds of plastic bottles (from 5l water containers to 25l oil barrels) have been sown together to (literally) keep the project afloat and hundreds more are still needed.</p> <p>You might be wondering, is this just an excuse for some summer rafting fun? Nope, they're deadly serious. Here's what Antony says:</p> <blockquote><p>“As you know I’ve been asking people for donations for the junk armada project. I received some feedback from a friend who felt it was not helping environmentally and we just wanted an excuse for a jolly river trip.</p> <p>At the moment we are working and living&nbsp;in a post-industrial work commune – tied into very large anti-capitalist industrial structures, co-operatives and outreach programmes. Within the industrial Catalan region things are bad, very bad.&nbsp;Huge numbers of factories, full of resources, materials, and working spaces are derelict.</p> <p><a href="https://lh4.googleusercontent.com/4uKm7ygf-065qWsdztVl_oEDmKMErJU2TDjoe6gkILiRg0axhmSNJUfiQJ7RaEDw0UfP-EsxC_SnC4BO_LzFWIa-RaB0wgj49WC0bSC52neks9oWHZY" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/92e22dbaace8cd3828e501dec3d5b058-250x266.jpg" alt="Junk Raft Armada logo" width="250" height="266" class="float-right" /></a> </p><p>What the residents of Calafou are doing is how I like to think of recycling; re-using forgotten materials and sharing skills, swopping, growing, developing and building networks / communities. In my opinion recycling has been stereotyped in order to make it easier to consume in an ironic way – believing that the plastic is taken care of once you put it in the right recycling bin is part of the problem. We need to start thinking where it goes (usually a landfill or the ocean!) and how we can prevent it from getting there.</p> <p>This project has been the steepest learning curve of my life. We have learnt a huge amount from the people at here which we will naturally share with local communities along our journey. We are working hard to communicate the right messages.</p> <p>Obviously stuff like handmade recycled crafts and boats aren’t going to change the world. Parts of the Ebro are completely ruined environmentally and although this might not be about cleaning rivers and chasing purist ideals, it’s about trying to change people’s respect for material and our vital natural resourced.</p> <p>I want to help people see what they can create from trash and help them to understand their resources. By sharing our experiences to a large community online we are hopefully encouraging people think about alternative approaches to waste. Simple things, like checking for wood in skips before buying it, or sharing skills and working on projects yourself rather than going to a professional.</p> <p>This has been the most challenging project I’ve ever worked on, but I know it will help sculpt what I choose to do with my skills going forward and hopefully help to change the status quo.”</p> </blockquote> <p dir="ltr"><a href="http://junkarmada.files.wordpress.com/2013/06/dsc08478.jpg?w=700&amp;amp;h=525" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/fc112d08e91c8daaf9e90f949a23fcec-300x225.jpg" alt="Junk Raft visitors" width="300" height="225" class="float-right" /></a>The multi-talented crew are busy planning performances to share with the people along the Ebro, wherever they step ashore. The interactive performances will be full of fun, fire, dancing, songs and costumes and props made from recycled materials. This will be their medium to spread essential messages, educating people about the vast amount of waste that our society generates and how much of it is ending up in our vital waterways.</p> <p dir="ltr">The rafts set sail from Tudela on the 20th of July and they hope to reach Caspe by the 20th of August.</p> <p dir="ltr">For more information visit their<a href="http://junkarmada.wordpress.com/">&nbsp;website</a> or<a href="http://www.facebook.com/JunkArmada"> Facebook Page</a>. If you would like to make a contribution to help keep this initiative afloat, please<a href="http://www.indiegogo.com/projects/junk-raft-armada-2-0?c=home"> go to the Indiegogo Campaign</a>.</p> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-07/junk-raft-armada-spain#comments Mon, 01 Jul 2013 17:31:24 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 32852 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Transition in Amazonian communities http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-06/transition-amazonian-communities <h2>A report from Transition Trainer, May East, after a training in Amazonas, Brazil</h2> <p>We'd never claim that Transition is universally applicable, but there's plenty of evidence that it's highly adaptable to different places and cultures. This latest "tale from the edge" shows how key elements of the Transition trainings can enrich and empower communities and cultures far removed from those where many of these approaches have been developed.</p> <blockquote><p><strong>Mapiá Village Transitioning Amazon Communities</strong></p> <p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Amazon-Mapia.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Amazon-Mapia-300x208.jpg" alt="Amazonia" width="300" height="208" class="float-right" /></a>The Mapiá Village is an intentional community created by traditional forest people with about 600 inhabitants and is the main village in the Purus National Forest (PNF), in the state of Amazonas, Brazil. It was founded 30 years ago guided by a collaborative culture, solidarity, recognition of the divine aspect of nature and social equality. Currently, it faces the pressures of the current globalized development system and needs to find creative local solutions to support the survival of its present and future generations.</p> <p>The PNF is a Federally protected area comprising 256 000 ha of Amazon forest. Over one thousand people live in the PNF, distributed in four population zones. According to the PNF Management Plan (BRAZIL, 2009)&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>“the Purus National Forest is a socio-environmental laboratory with human, institutional and community resources which favor the creation of resilient livelihoods based on the local development of appropriate technologies for forest communities”</strong>.</p> <p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Amazon_BackCasting_CeudoMapia.JPG" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Amazon_BackCasting_CeudoMapia-300x225.JPG" alt="AmazonBackCasting" width="300" height="225" class="float-left" /></a>Recently Mapiá Village hosted a Gaia Education Design for Sustainability programme - <strong>AmaGaia</strong>- with approximately 90 participants who are now trained in the social, ecologic, cultural and economic dimensions of ecovillages and transition town processes. Participants ranging from 14 to 79 year old came from several river settlements, including Amazon indigenous communities and reps of government institutions working in the region.</p> <p>As part of the action learning process 8 working groups were created: Culture and Celebration; Education; Health; Governance and Infrastructure; Income Generation; Food Production; São Sebastião Farm Community; and the Purus Nation Forest.&nbsp;Each group created a collective dream and designed a strategy to be carried out during the next cycle, seeking to put in practice and locally adapt the contents learnt in the design for sustainability programme.</p> <p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Amazon_Engaging_Discussions.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Amazon_Engaging_Discussions-210x140.jpg" alt="MayInAmazonas" width="210" height="140" class="float-right" /></a> </p><p>The group learnt the participatory methods of Transition Towns and engaged in the process of visioning the future of the region. While back-casting they answered key questions on <strong>how a resilient local infrastructure might become a reality</strong> and <strong>how we may get there year-on-year</strong> through a jointly designed and meaningful map of concrete actions.</p> <p>Through Gaia Education EDE and the Transition Training activities Mapiá Village&nbsp;has now strengthened its role in the promotion ecovillage and transition strategies and best practices in sustainability to isolated communities living in the Purus National Forests, in the heart of Brazilian Amazon!<span>&nbsp;</span></p> </blockquote> <p>Thanks to May (pictured above right) and all the Transition Trainers out there at the "edge of Transition".</p> <p>(Image credits: May East)</p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-themes"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Themes:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/education">Education</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-06/transition-amazonian-communities#comments Thu, 20 Jun 2013 14:55:13 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 32163 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Letter from UK Transitioner: "what Transition has done for me" http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-06/letter-uk-transitioner-what-transition-has-done-me <p>The Transitioner below articulated rather wonderfully something we hear quite a lot from people - that getting involved in a Transition Initiative gives them a sense of place and purpose that had previously been lacking.</p><p>It was a lovely letter to receive and very much affirms one of the key outcomes we've always hoped for - engaged citizens doing something that satisfies some deep and significant personal needs while being of service to their local community and beyond.&nbsp;<span style="font-size: 0.813em;">[Ben]</span></p><hr /><blockquote><p>28<sup>th</sup> May, 2013</p><p>Dear Rob,</p><p>I just wanted to write to you about your visit to my town later in the summer.&nbsp; Sadly I won’t be able to welcome you alongside my colleagues in the Steering Group, as my husband and I had already arranged to be on holiday and there is no way I can change these arrangements.&nbsp; I am terribly disappointed but will do whatever I can to help organise and promote your visit before we go.</p><p>The reason I am writing to you is to both excuse myself for not being here when you visit, but also I would have wanted to thank you in person for all the extraordinary work you do, so writing this is the next best thing.&nbsp;</p><p>I have lived in this town since 1981 and never quite understood why I am here. I never particularly liked living here until I discovered, 3 years ago, that it had become a Transition Town. Becoming a member and then joining the Steering Group has completely revolutionised my life.&nbsp; I really feel that I can, and am, gradually making a difference and an important contribution to this town now.</p><p>I went to my first 'Be The Change Symposium' a year before joining my local Transition Initiative and within 3 weeks did a Permaculture Introductory Course.&nbsp; I did my 5 month Permaculture training the following year and have since spent the last 2½ years doing a Permaculture Diploma, so becoming a Transition Group member has given me a fantastic opportunity to help build a sustainable community in my home town and a practical outlet for my Diploma.</p><p>I know that there may be an opportunity to visit some of our local projects with you and I would have loved to show you our Community Permaculture Plot that I set up 3 years ago, with help from my fellow Transitioners.&nbsp; Maybe someone else can… but I wanted to say that it has been an utter joy and a dream come true to be able to create and share it.</p><p>So I just wanted to express my deep appreciation for you and your wonderful team, who help souls like me realise their dreams, by creating a truly free-thinking, practical, creative, inspirational and quite revolutionary organisation that I am proud and grateful to be part of.</p><p>I hope our town gives you an amazing welcome and that you really enjoy your visit.</p><p>Very best wishes, PC</p></blockquote><hr /><p>Heart-warming stuff, eh? Makes us all feel good about the work we're doing, and why it's so necessary at the personal level, as well as at all the other broader layers of scale.</p><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-themes"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Themes:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/inner-transition">Inner Transition</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-06/letter-uk-transitioner-what-transition-has-done-me#comments Mon, 03 Jun 2013 15:24:17 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 31890 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Living through the petroleum bubble http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-05/living-through-petroleum-bubble <h4>Robert Bateman, who is part of the <a href="http://transitionsaltspring.ning.com/" target="_blank">Salt Spring Island Transition Group</a> in British Columbia in Canada, sent in an essay that we thought some people might find interesting.</h4> <blockquote><p>Robert was born in the 1930's, so has lived through WWII and the rise of the Age of Petroleum. I'm not sure there's much here in the way of radically new material, but I think it's important to see how some people from that era view the world we've created. He uses the term "sin" and "sinful" within the text, which suggests to me that he feels there is a significant moral dimension to this discussion.</p> <p>So here's how one Canadian sees the world now, looking at it with eyes that first opened in 1930.</p> <p>Happy reading. Ben Brangwyn.</p> </blockquote> <hr /> <h3>PETROLEUM POWER PROBLEMS 2013</h3> <p>This is a story I have watched unfold since the mid-point of the 20th century. The total transformation of planet Earth has happened due to cheap energy. Has this been a good idea? Perhaps, even if we could find a new, cheap energy source, it might be a bad idea. Do we need to change our goals?&nbsp;</p> <p>At the beginning of the 21st century the modern world of developed countries is living in a beautiful bubble. The luxury and conveniences of this bubble are prodigious and would have been unimaginable at the beginning of the 20th century. As luck would have it, I was born outside the bubble in 1930. From a toddler in the Depression years to a youth in WWII and then in the post-war boom, I watched the bubble form around me. Of course, like millions of others I am enjoying the luxuries and conveniences of the bubble because I also am in the middle of it. Needless to say even more millions of people, especially in the developing world, do not enjoy these luxuries and conveniences because they are not in the middle of it. It is my belief that they never will be. This is because the bubble cannot grow forever. In fact it is most likely it will either shrink or burst. Most people alive today were born either in the bubble or wishing they were. They think that it is a permanent co ndition. Well, no condition is permanent.&nbsp;</p> <p>This beautiful bubble I have watched grow in my lifetime has been due to the power of commercialized petroleum. Andrew Nikiforuk, in his book The Energy of Slaves, has used slave power as a metaphor for petroleum power. Throughout history slaves were necessary to do much of the work that permitted great empires to grow. This applied to the Assyrians, Greeks, Romans, Aztecs and even the British Empire. In the 19th century coal and steam power did much of the work that humans and animals used to do. But that was nothing compared to the punch of petroleum power once it was harnessed in the early 20th century. Human slavery was almost totally supplanted. It is said that a Roman citizen’s family had an average of 6 slaves as help. At the present time the average North American family has the equivalent of 400 slaves powered mostly by petroleum or its energy equivalent.&nbsp;</p> <p>The purpose of this essay is to show that although using slaves (of whatever kind) to do our work has enormous benefit and convenience, slavery does have its down sides and unfortunate unintended consequences.&nbsp;</p> <p>In the early 19th century Alexis de Tocqueville, a French historian and explorer, travelled all over America. This was before the Civil War so there was still slavery in the south. He observed that the South was characterized by “grandeur, luxury, pleasure-seeking , and prone to idleness.” The anti-slavery North, on the other hand, was “self-sufficient, enterprising and tolerant.” A southern slave owner was quoted as saying, “Even if owning a slave is sinful, it certainly has its conveniences.”&nbsp;</p> <p>The conveniences and luxuries of our petroleum-powered world are overwhelmingly obvious. But what we need to consider as part of the package are the sins. The petroleum power problems are grievous sins indeed and they have grown to seemingly unmanageable issues. Here is a brief list of them. The details could fill an entire large library. I have watched them come about in my lifetime.&nbsp;</p> <ul> <li>The planet has been turned into a man-influenced sphere and not in a good way.&nbsp;</li> <li>The atmosphere has been changed due to the addition of carbon dioxide and other pollutants. Hundreds of thousands of people die every year from air pollution.&nbsp;</li> <li>The oceans have been degraded and changed. Most large fish have gone; many species are commercially extinct or actually extinct. Coral reefs are doomed and carbon dioxide has acidified the oceans threatening oxygen-giving plankton.&nbsp;</li> <li>Life on land has also been degraded. Many birds and amphibians and mammals are gone or threatened with extinction. Untold damage has been done to lower forms of animal life. Forests are a tiny fraction of what they were when I was a boy.&nbsp;</li> <li>Human population has exploded. It took all of history until the time of my birth (1930) for the first 2 billion people. Human population is now about 7 billion. The first billion came after half a million years. The last billion took 13 years. This has been made possible by petroleum driven conveniences and tools.&nbsp;</li> <li>Human occupations and ways of life have been destroyed. I have watched farms and farming communities vanish. Many, many jobs have disappeared due to labour-saving devices. Our jobs have been shipped overseas because of cheap petroleum-powered shipping costs. Many cultures have disappeared. In the 1950s and 60s I have visited peoples in Africa and Asia who are now extinct.&nbsp;</li> <li>If anything is sinful, I consider wiping out natural heritage and human heritage to be sinful. Petroleum power is responsible, albeit in an unintended way.&nbsp;</li> </ul> <p>Humans throughout the world face a tragic dilemma. We have dug ourselves into a deep hole of underemployment and overproduction (this is entirely due to petroleum power). When we ask the experts how to get out of the hole they say, “Dig deeper, downsize and fire more people. Increase production.” We don’t need to increase production. We have plenty of manufactured stuff. In fact in almost every category we have too much inventory. We also have over capacity in manufacturing sitting idle due to lack of demand. And we have so-called “dead money”, sitting around waiting for something meaningful in which to invest.&nbsp;</p> <p>Underemployment is like a growing plague on society. One in three university graduates end up in low skilled jobs. 67% of new Ontario teachers are unemployed or underemployed. On the other hand Switzerland has only 2% youth unemployment. They have systems in place to address the problem. I feel almost overwhelming sadness when I view the oppressively gargantuan quantity of retail available. How many shopping malls, how many airport retail outlets, how many online retail opportunities exist? Even in villages as well as cities in Africa and Asia I see masses of goods and hopeful salespeople and not much buying. Is shopping the purpose in life?&nbsp;</p> <p>We don’t need more production; we need more meaningful work. But that has been taken away by machines or shipped overseas. I think that meaningful work, not shopping, is the purpose in life. E. F. Schumacher said, “Next to the family, it is work and the relationships established by work that are the true foundations of society. If these foundations are unsound, how can society be sound?” In spite of the way people complain about work I have observed that even teenagers seem happier when they are accomplishing things. Leisure often leads to mopiness. Our educational institutions pump out thousands of hopeful graduates every year but our society cannot, for the most part, offer them meaningful work in their field. Instead we offer them “McJobs” and entertainment. This reached a crescendo in the 1980s when Neil Postman wrote Amusing Ourselves to Death. We now have a large part of the younger generation drowning in a cacophony of narcissism with social media or video games. Escapism has turned to fantasy such as vampires and the Walking Dead or depressing dystopias full of explosions or breakdown. Is this great fodder for young minds of the future? Someone has said, “Small minds are fascinated by the extraordinary, great minds are interested in the ordinary.” Are we training a generation of small minds?&nbsp;</p> <p>The leisure to be immersed in self-indulgent entertainment applies largely to the developed world that is unable to find meaningful work. On the other hand, half the less developed world still does meaningful work and it is often not easy. This is the female half. Throughout history, except for the affluent population, women have done much of the work and they still do. Since the 1950s when I travelled in Africa and Asia I noticed that it was the women who looked after the children, did the agriculture and even the marketing of their produce. Traditionally the men did the hunting and warfare (both now mostly illegal). In some cultures they did the weaving, but that is now provided by machines from overseas. So young men in the developing world have every reason to be frustrated and disappointed in future prospects. At the same time they can see in magazines, television and now other electronic devices, the luxury and conveniences of the developed world. When this frustration is combined with testosterone, ambition and resentment it can provide fuel for crime and rioting and when stimulated by religious extremism, a mission of Jihad. A warm gun, fellowship and a promise of Heaven can bring meaning when meaningful work is missing.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is not exaggerating to blame the convenience of petroleum “slaves” for the disappearance of meaningful work in the 20th century. After all, what does “labour-saving” mean?&nbsp;</p> <p>The conclusion of the list of “sins” is that perhaps having so many energy slaves is not only bad for the planet and in many ways for mankind, but it may be bad for the soul. Maybe luxury, leisure and shopping should not be the great goal of mankind. Maybe actually earning our life through work is a good idea. Or at least there should be a balance. First should come the values, then should come the technology.&nbsp;</p> <p>Is there a way forward? There may be miracles in our future but the only way to a better world that I can see is to lessen our dependence on petroleum and other fossil fuels and so reduce our dependence on those “slaves”. It is unlikely that people will voluntarily give up on conveniences, especially if they are cheap. A few good-hearted citizens making sacrifices to lower our dependence on fossil fuels will not make a real difference. However, if fossil fuels become more expensive then market forces will reduce their use. Northern Europe has made some difference through legislation and carbon taxes.&nbsp;</p> <p>My mother was born in 1900 into an upper middle class family in Springhill, Nova Scotia. She was born into a world with very little petroleum influence. Her family cooked on a flame, lit with a flame, travelled on foot, by horse or by sail. How long had mankind had those things as a normal part of life? Four thousand years? … since the days of the early Mesopotamians? Yet my mother, who had the world of her daily life in common with ancient times, saw a man walk on the moon and fully benefitted from our 20th century bubble of luxury and leisure. I was, as I said, born in 1930, before the bubble. During WWII we had rationing in Canada. We had enough gasoline to drive to our rented cottage twice each year. We were very short of sugar, flour, butter and meat. At our cottage the running water was me with a pail. We had no electricity for stove or light or refrigeration. Television and jet travel were not even dreams of the future. Yet I would venture we were just as happy or happier in those days than folks in our modern world. Nikiforuk addresses the topic of petroleum and happiness. More energy does not translate into better living. The USA uses twice as much energy per capita as does Europe. Americans, however, have higher obesity, suicide, murder, incarceration and child mortality than Europeans. They also have lower literacy, numeracy and life expectancy. Research shows that Americans are less happy than they were 50 years ago.&nbsp;</p> <p>It would seem to be possible to have a good life with less petroleum and other energy slaves. In fact, the good news is that it might be inevitable. The experts in studying peak oil tell us that we have used up all of the “low hanging fruit” of cheap, high quality oil. We are now resorting to desperate extraction measures, expensive, dangerous and polluting “tar sands” mining or hydraulic fracking. In his books Why Your World is Going to Get a Whole Lot Smaller and The End of Growth, Jeff Rubin predicts the end of our petroleum orgy. He is the former chief economist of world markets for the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce. His research indicates that market forces will bring about a great reduction of petroleum dependency. Legislation and good-heartedness will not drive people away from oil, but the market will. If Canadians wish to have fresh strawberries in January in the future,&nbsp;<span>they can do so for perhaps $125 a box. Higher transportation costs will change the world. Manufacturing will return to local areas and so will agriculture. Canadian shops will&nbsp;</span>once again see “made in Canada” on product labels. Jobs in manufacturing and farming should return to North America. China will become dependent on their own domestic market. In fact, this is already starting to happen. Communities the world over will become more cohesive and self-reliant. Perhaps my grandchildren’s lives at the end of the 21st century, when they are close to my present age, will be more like my grandparents’ lives than they will be like mine in this beautiful early 21st century bubble. Of course, the end of this century should still have many of the electronic gadgets we now find amusing or useful. It is hard to predict exactly the shape of society but a less energy-intensive world could be much more satisfying. It will certainly be better for nature.&nbsp;</p> <p>Let us hope that in desperation to maintain growth and new energy sources that we don’t have a catastrophic bursting of the bubble. I suspect that the 2008 recession is not a temporary phase. It is the beginning of the end of growth triggered of course by Wall Street.&nbsp;</p> <p>The sooner we stop perpetrating the silly myth of infinite growth on a finite planet, the better. There is currently optimism about huge supplies of shale oil and gas under the United States. Experts who look at the economics of this potential say that this will not change the picture of the imminent end of the age of oil. We will always have petroleum products and the uses will extend to the distant future. However, we will not have cheap oil to maintain this beautiful bubble. Those days will soon be over. Geo-scientist David Hughes , who is dedicated to studying energy sustainability says that the promotion of hydraulic fracking is basically a Ponzi scheme. The costs and complications will be prohibitively high but some early investors might make money promoting it.&nbsp;</p> <p>We are at or near “peak oil” and what comes next is “peak water”. Experts say that we will be in a few decades. According to the World Bank, wars of the 21st century will be fought over water. The amount of potable water is finite. We can live without oil for a week. Try living without water for a week. Fracking, as well as the so-called oil sands use and pollute enormous quantities of water in order to make this “special oil”. Under the Vice-President Cheney’s administration fracking was exempted from significant E.P.E. regulation. This is known as the “Halliburton Loophole”. It is a travesty that cannot stand. We must do true cost accounting.&nbsp;</p> <p>It is possible to have a ‘small is beautiful’ planet. E. F. Schumacher, who wrote the book of that title, suggests the holy trinity of “Health, Beauty and Permanence” as the goal for humankind. It will be helpful to have a rich and fulfilling life in a smaller bubble through engagement with nature. It does promote health and appreciation of beauty and it is not expensive. In fact, progressive places like Norway have been engaged with the “Friluftsliv” (free air life) for generations. Rob Hopkins has described possible ways forward in his Transition Handbook – from oil dependency to local resilience.&nbsp;</p> <p>We have been burning, in a wasteful and destructive way, 50 million years’ worth of carbon in a scant one or two hundred years. The luxury and leisure, although very convenient have turned out to be not worth the problems created by our over-dependence on energy slaves. Even if we did discover a new, cheap energy source, it could cause even more damage to nature and to meaningful work. Serious energy conservation will unquestionably be better for nature and the planet. It would seem it will also be better for humanity. Perhaps a future of “less” will indeed be “more”. On any scale of history our bubble is but a flash in the pan. I have watched its luxury and its sins grow in the last 50 or 60 years. I can now see its end, which will be either gradual or catastrophic. We need new goals and if handled with wisdom and grace our future can be beautiful.</p> <h4>Robert Bateman,&nbsp;axboshkung [AT] saltspring [DOT] com</h4> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-05/living-through-petroleum-bubble#comments Wed, 08 May 2013 12:06:43 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 31507 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Dentistry in a time of energy descent http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-03/dentistry-time-energy-descent <h4>An earlier blog post by Ben Brangwyn, from the dim distant past of 2007</h4><p>There is a deafening silence from the world of dentistry on the subject of Peak Oil. As we move into the era that marks the end of cheap and abundant fossil fuels, all healthcare systems will need to adapt to the ensuing constraints, dentistry included.</p><p>In this short paper, two UK dentists respond to a set of questions regarding dentistry and Peak Oil that were recently posted on the ODAC website. Both dentists have chosen to remain anonymous for the moment. They are identified, rather unimaginatively, as Dentist #1 and Dentist #2.</p><h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Introduction from Dentist #1</span></h3><blockquote><img src="https://transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Dentistry.jpg" alt="Dentist" width="259" height="306" class="float-right" /><p>As a quick intro, here are some notes about the state of dentistry right now. Most of the focus in the UK is on NHS dentistry [as opposed to private], because until recently, this is where the majority of dentists worked. This is now changing however.<br />Prior to last year, if a dentist had room on his books and a patient called them, that patient would generally be seen (although it was not uncommon to have to wait). However, one has to remember that at that time 50% of the population didn’t have a dentist. The newspapers picked up on this fact and turned it into a big story. All of a sudden, people who weren’t really bothered suddenly got scared because there was a perceived shortage of dentists. This resulted in a flood of people vying for limited places, which resulted in shortages, letters to MPs and more media attention.</p><p>In 2000 the government released a document called “Options for Change” which promised to change the way dentistry was done. Under the old system “General Dental Services” (GDS), patients paid a fixed price for each item of treatment, the price being set by central government. In real terms these prices had been below the rate of inflation, meaning that some dentists had to work harder and do more to get paid the same.</p><p>Dentists complained and started to go private, so the government set up different trial schemes across the country to try out a new approach. This was known as “Personal Dental Services” (PDS). The dentists loved PDS, as did the patients and the Primary Care Trusts (PCTs), but the government didn’t because, released from financial pressure, dentists started spending more time with patients, doing more prevention, and taking it easier. But this meant that fewer procedures were done for the same money. Gordon Brown (then UK Chancellor of the Exchequer) hated this.</p><p>Everything learnt in PDS was scrapped and targets were introduced. At the same time, funding was devolved from central government to local PCTs.</p><p>Dentists are now paid to meet targets. Any money patients pay to dentists goes to the PCTs, who haven’t been given enough money by government, and are thus mostly even more in debt. If dentists don’t meet targets they are financially penalised. This is resulting in and ever increasing wave of dentists leaving the NHS.</p><p>That’s how dentistry stands at the moment in the UK.</p></blockquote><h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Questions and answers</span></h3><p>Q1. Name the top 5 energy intensive procedures in modern dentistry.</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Probably implants, anything involving dental laboratories, and anything requiring a drill. We are moving to single use, disposable everything due to unscientific scares about nvCJD etc. The actual waste produced by dental practices is increasing year on year as regulation upon regulation gets foisted on us.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed</li></ul><p>Q2. Name the top 5 materials in frequent use that have the longest supply chains</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Cannot answer that, but most dental materials suppliers do offer next day delivery as standard. There was a recent problem with a shortage of local anaesthetic, which is produced in a limited number of plants, all outside the UK. This was due to one company closing down one manufacturing plant and being unable to open its replacement due to USA bureaucrats.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> This illustrates the fragility of seemingly secure supplies.</li></ul><p>Q3. What are the most expensive procedures in dentistry and how might their prices be affected post peak oil?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Basically implants or anything involving the use of a dental laboratory (dentures, crowns and bridges). With the new contract the government brought out last year, dentists are moving away from the NHS into private practice, reducing the amount of complex NHS work they do in the transition period. This has resulted in many of the low cost / high volume dental laboratories either closing or facing financial difficulties.<br />We have overseas laboratories trying to break into the cut price market, but they won’t last when peak oil causes shipping costs to rise significantly. UK dentistry is moving more towards a high cost / high quality ethos, resulting in FEWER complex items being made overall. Those without the necessary funds for a private dentist will be forced out of the market and will need to rely on what will eventually become an extraction service (staffed by overseas dentists and graduating or recently graduated dentists). Prices will invariably increase with the increase in overall running costs, as well as increases in the prices of gold, silver, palladium etc.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed</li></ul><p>Q4. What are the main crucial procedures could we not do without, regardless of the effects of peak oil?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Extractions, fillings and dentures. Everything else can go out the window. However, dentures are very materials based.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed, though dentures are still very materials based and therefore subject to potential problems in physical supplies and supply chains.</li></ul><p>Q5. Given the potential disruptions to travel posed by peak oil, how suitable is the current locations of dentist surgeries relative to the people who use them?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Dental surgeries are different from medical practices in that the vast majority have been set up where the dentist wanted them to be set up. There are many in town centres over shops etc, but it is not uncommon to find them in rural settings, but generally only in connection with high population centres.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed</li></ul><p>Q6. What is the likelihood of the UK adopting Mobile Dentistry clinics, as per Mobile Dental: Pacific Northwest, USA ?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> There already are a few of these, but with oil at $100, who’s going to pay for the fuel – see comments on PCTs in question 7.</li></ul><p>Q7. What is the population/dentist ratio in the UK, and is that trending up or down?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Don’t know the figures, but several studies in the 70/80s suggested that fluoride would mean fewer dentists would be needed, resulting in the closure of several dental schools. This has, today resulted in a shortage of UK dentists, where only half the population now have a dentist that they visit regularly. Money has been pumped into overseas recruitment, and increasing training places, but there is a big problem. The old NHS model resulted in high volumes of work, with dentists each looking after thousands of patients.<br />The new contract meant that dentists were given targets to meet based on previous activity. Not only is this driving dentists towards the private sector (which means less work being done on fewer people), the recently qualified dentist will emerge into an environment where targets are more important than developing clinical skill. All PCTs will be bothered about is targets being met, and an absence of complaints against the dentist.<br />The type of dentistry being done will change as dentists feel more and more pressurised (failure to meet targets results in financial penalties for dentists). Many of the overseas dentists are already going back home, fed up with the working conditions. So whilst the number of dentists will increase, the actual level of work done, and the number of patients treated will probably decrease.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed</li></ul><p>Q8. In the blog post "New Era Investor – Peak Oil Jobs No.1 – The Dentist" it states (towards the end) “Now as I see a trending down in calorific intake mirroring Hubbert’s distribution curve, my advice to anyone assessing their careers is simple. Don’t go into dentistry.” This implies that the requirement for dentists will go down. What predictions, if any, do you have in this regard?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Well, as I see it, we are in a society near the edges of collapse. I don’t actually think the governmental structures will be able to function in the long run, so spending five years on a dental course may not be in the individual’s best interest, unless a slow steady decline can be envisaged. It all depends on how bad things get.<br />There may well be a decrease in the availability of refined carbohydrates reducing rates of tooth decay, but conversely, food shortages will of course effect peoples immune systems and will likely increase the risk and rate of gum disease. Also as society trends downwards, people will look for ways to escape from an ever increasing sense of despair through distractions like alcohol and tobacco (a government that wants to cling to power will make sure these are available in my opinion).</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> I suspect that the requirement for dentists will increase, since it’s likely that health in general will deteriorate, teeth and gums included.</li></ul><p>Q9. Roscoe Bartlett (Republican Congressman in the US), when asked how peak oil would affect health care in the US, responded with, “Americans have a Ferrari health care system. Post peak oil we will not be able to afford it.” (Peak Oil and the Healthcare Crisis in America ). To what extent might this dramatic assessment be applied to UK dentistry?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Again, it’s a question of how bad things get. The NHS aspect of dentistry is pretty much doomed. There is a reason the government is hacking off great chunks of the NHS, it costs them £90 billion, which they cannot really afford now that North Sea oil has peaked. The NHS is trapped in a system of increasing expectation by the populace, resulting in ever more complex drugs and treatments, with ever increasing costs, and increasing litigation when things go wrong. This also requires increased specialisation resulting in 5 people doing the job that one person used to do, resulting in more levels of Management and thus more levels of interference, with decreasing efficiency. It’s a vicious circle.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed</li></ul><p>Q10. How much of dentistry work is handled by hospitals and therefore subject to the additional pressures that mainstream medicine and hospitals may experience?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Really only braces and surgical extractions, and these departments are usually very efficient because a large proportion of it is done outside of the operating theatre on an outpatient basis.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Also mouth cancer work and specialist reconstructions are handled by hospitals.</li></ul><p>Q11. What aspects of dentistry would be very resilient in a post peak UK?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Extractions and simple fillings. Basically emergency “I’m in pain, and I don’t want to be” sort of scenario. All the cosmetic, high end stuff will be limited to practices in locations that can cater to the very rich, places like Wilmslow, London etc.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed</li></ul><p>Q12. What steps might dentists take right now to wean themselves off their dependence on fossil fuels?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Not sure</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Complex!</li></ul><blockquote><p>Editor note: It’s not unusual to see this kind of response from any person when faced with the uncertainties of Peak Oil and Climate Change. Ideally, the British Dental Association would be taking a lead here and convening dentists and energy/materials experts to take a proactive stance. This may still happen… “Transition Dentistry” anyone??</p></blockquote><p>Q13. What changes might you suggest for preventative dental care as performed by the public at home?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> Don’t eat refined sugars, at all, period. Do not drink ANY drink that contains sugar. No excuses, do not pass go, do not collect £200. This will not only help your teeth, it will get you off the western diet and a dependency on unnecessary calories. Brush twice a day religiously for at least two minutes. Floss ever day. Don’t smoke, don’t open bottles with your frickin’ teeth and be damned strict with your kids on what they eat. A bad tooth in an environment where there are no dentists can kill you. This is what people seem to forget. Every tooth is an organ of your body and should be respected as such.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> No comment</li></ul><p>Q14. As diets change to take account of much more localised food production, what will be the effect on teeth, and dentistry, generally?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> No comment</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> The site of food production is unimportant. It’s the kind of food eaten and the basic dental care that is paramount.</li></ul><p>Q15. Given the potential for economic disruption in a post peak UK, how exposed are dentist practices to, for example, severe interest rate increases?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> That all depends on whether they have bank loans or not.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed, and therefore in reality, I imagine, very exposed.</li></ul><p>Q16. What is the overarching structure for UK dentistry, and what leadership role might they take in preparing the UK for lower energy dentistry?</p><ul><li><strong>Dentist #1:</strong> The voice of UK dentists is split between the BDA (British Dental Association) and the DPA (Dental Practitioners Association). Both are absolutely useless and have the leadership qualities of a small moist rock. Dentists are not a united front, and generally can be walked all over by government, which has happened several times over the last 15 years. I can see no hope in dentists even becoming informed about Peak oil, rather than getting ready for it. I do what I can through my website, but I have a limited audience. Peak oil is something that people can easily go into denial about, especially with reporting of the likes of Greg Palast et al who say it is a manufactured rather than a real problem.</li><li><strong>Dentist #2:</strong> Agreed.</li></ul><h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;">The British Dental Association’s view of 2020</span></h3><p>Coincidentally, in 2007 the British Dental Association published their visioning report “Dental Futures – forward to 2020″.&nbsp;There’s plenty of business-speak such as, “improving marginal return” and “find ways to maximise their return to remain viable”, and there are some fascinating hallucinations about nanotechnology, such as, “… includes the design and use of small sensors… may provide exciting opportunities in the mouth where it may be possible for teeth to sense changes such as load, temperature… fed back to the dentist to help prevent damage to the teeth”.</p><p>However, if you’re looking for an enlightened understanding of energy constraints, you’ll be disappointed. There’s simply no mention of potential disruptions to supplies of materials or energy. The following words do <span style="text-decoration: underline;"><strong>not</strong></span> feature at all in that document:&nbsp;<em>energy,&nbsp;oil,&nbsp;sustainable,&nbsp;electricity,&nbsp;gas,&nbsp;carbon,&nbsp;Peak Oil (as if…!)</em></p><h3><span style="text-decoration: underline;">Conclusion</span></h3><p>Dentistry in the UK and around the world has a long way to go before it can even start a discussion about dental care in a post peak oil world. In the same way that Transition Initiatives have emerged at ground level to examine how communities can rise to the challenge of Peak Oil and Climate Change, I suspect that it’ll be an informal network of enlightened dentists around the world that will start the conversations that lead to an understanding of how such resource constraints will affect this area.</p><p><img src="https://transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Dentistry2.jpg" alt="Mouth" width="365" height="262" class="float-right" /></p><p>In the end, it may be the shocks to the economy rather than energy constraints that most affect the provision of dental care. If people can’t afford to pay dentists and dentists’ businesses collapse and banks claim their assets for unpaid debts, then the care simply may not be available. A bizarre thought occurs to me – what would the Nationwide Building Society actually do with 5,000 repossessed dentist chairs? Debt “counselling” with electric drills, perhaps…</p><p>On that thought, the more doomsterish among you may want to get the book, “Where there is no Dentist” , companion to “Where there is no Doctor”. These books cover self managed healthcare, typically in communities within the non-industrialised world where access to professionally trained dentists and doctors is very restricted.</p><p>On a brighter note, by the time the economy is really feeling the strains of ever diminishing oil supplies, your community may already have fully committed to a Transition Initiative and have implemented a local complementary currency so that scarcity of sterling won’t mean scarcity of money. And by relocalising other aspects of life, you may have rebuilt for yourselves a vibrant local economy replete with dentists, a colourful and cohesive community and most importantly, an abundant and varied local food supply. And if you’ve followed our dentists instructions, you may even have a healthy set of gnashers to enjoy it all.</p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2013-03/dentistry-time-energy-descent#comments Wed, 20 Mar 2013 15:12:05 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 30779 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org A Transition Hub for Israel? http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-12/transition-hub-israel <h3>Helping connect Israel and Palestine peacefully through transition</h3> <h4>By:&nbsp;Deborah Heifetz, Ph.D.<br /><span>BraveHearts International -&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.braveheartsinternational.com/elt">www.braveheartsinternational.com/elt</a></h4> <p>The creation of the Israeli Hub has gathered momentum.&nbsp; We had our first meeting July 15, 2012, when Frieder Krups and I returned from a Thrive training in Totnes.&nbsp; Before I begin the story about the Hub’s unfolding, I’ll give just a little background about what motivated me because a Transition Hub in Israel exists within a larger socio-environmental-political context unique to the region.&nbsp; That said, I am not an environmentalist per se, but engaged in peacebuilding through pedagogy and activism.&nbsp; Recently exposed to and inspired by Hub directors Isabela in Brazil, Niels in Denmark and Carolyn in the U.S. and then experiencing the Thrive training I decided to create a Transition Israel Hub as a vehicle that could help bring about peace through parallel shifts in both Israeli and Palestinian civil societies. Frieder and I have Palestinian friends and colleagues working on the Palestinian side with transition-like projects but who are not yet connected to Transition per se. I see the potential to give mutual support for the parallel shift either directly and/or through the larger international network of the Transition Network. With this background, I finished the Thrive training and reached out to Ben Brangwyn to explore what to do. &nbsp;</p> <p>Ben provided me with the names and emails of Israeli activists who had contacted him in the past. I then followed up with emails to gather these activists into a meeting, where we could discuss creating a Transition Hub in Israel.&nbsp; We gathered at Tel Aviv University on July 15<sup>th</sup>, where we explained ourselves, decided to meet again and go deeper after the summer.&nbsp; What Frieder and I found were dynamic, serious and committed men and women who had formed either a Transition initiative (such as Yoav Egozi in Ein Hod) or various other sustainability-oriented projects throughout Israel.&nbsp; Some of these activities included establishing the Israel Energy Forum to creating bike paths in villages, translating Transition materials into Hebrew, writing blogs on sustainability, creating perma-cultural courses and forming community gardens. We were blown away by the energy and seriousness of pro-active and positive initiatives of life-affirming idealism made practical.</p> <p>There are traditions here in Israel that gives the Transition idea fertile soil.&nbsp; The first value is that community plays a central role in Israeli life.&nbsp; The second principle is that sustainability and self-reliance is a motivating force since resources are scarce and the ‘neighborhood’ is rough.&nbsp; The third is a high social value placed on creativity, innovation and daring to try new ways to thrive and survive as a community. We have a history of the Kibbutz movement of communal and self-sustaining farms and to current variations on that theme.&nbsp;&nbsp; These ingredients are palpable among the people gathered around the first and subsequent circles of Transition Israel Hub meetings.</p> <p>The second meeting was held on October 4th at a restaurant called “Bar Kayma”, which translates to mean Sustainability Bar.&nbsp; The restaurant is the brainchild of activists who had gathered in Tel Aviv last summer in massive demonstrations to bring about social change and social justice.&nbsp; The restaurant is owned by anyone who chooses to become a member of the cooperative and paying a one-time fee of about $300. Wall gardens, organic food, and a value-based mindset made us think the location conducive for our meeting.&nbsp; We were wrong – it was way too noisy and difficult to communicate, let alone meditate before we began our circle and our discussion.&nbsp; We worked against the noise.&nbsp; Despite the difficult conditions, by the end of the meeting we decided to coordinate efforts on one location in order to test out establishing a TI in a town, neighborhood or village that we thought ripe for the occasion.&nbsp; We wanted to work as a group and learn as a group.&nbsp; We thought it a good idea to hold our third meeting at the home of a well-respected permaculturalist and activist who lives in a village east of Caesarea in the north, called Karkur. She also happens to be the mother of one of the Hub members. We thought Karkur a great place to introduce TI.</p> <p>In preparation for the meeting, Yoav Egozi and I went to visit this remarkable teacher and activist at her home.&nbsp; Her story is a story in itself.&nbsp; Suffice it to say, that we saw a self-contained home where water was being harvested and recycled, energy conserved and food grown.&nbsp; What would TI have to provide?&nbsp; She wanted to know more about TI, she wanted materials in Hebrew and we wanted to evaluate whether it makes sense to hold our meeting at her home and impose ourselves on her -&nbsp; let alone start a TI in her village.&nbsp; We decided “no.” But we found a village with many individual projects and activists working on a per project basis.&nbsp; Organic produce – Organic restaurant – permaculture gardens and courses – sharing among neighbors.&nbsp; Following our meeting and our decision to meet at another location, her son sent an email asking us a very telling question, one that has since guided us in our third meeting and will continue to do so:&nbsp;</p> <p>“There are many interesting initiatives in the region - what is obvious is that there is a need for some kind of organizing concept or some arena for the different people to meet and communicate. But, there's the question if the Transition process is the right one for the task. As I see it, the Transition concept is a rigid one, and I think that the region needs lighter and more flexible process.”</p> <p>Neither Yoav nor I wanted to take on the question.&nbsp; Instead, we continued to work towards the next and 3<sup>rd</sup>&nbsp;meeting scheduled for November 26<sup>th</sup>&nbsp;and have actions accomplished on the ground. Yoav has taken on the leadership role to mobilize funding for translations of the Transition material from the website.&nbsp; He is still waiting.&nbsp; Yoav has been traveling all over Israel lecturing on TI.&nbsp; Additionally, he has created an affiliation with the&nbsp;<a href="http://heschel.org.il/en">Heschel Center for Environmental Education and Leadership</a>&nbsp;- an affiliation that allows us to apply for funding under the umbrella of an established NGO and use their offices to work and hold meetings. Additionally, I have made contact with environmental leaders who work with the Tel Aviv municipality, which has a vibrant activism to stimulate community participation in sustainability projects – from creating bike paths and city-supported bike rentals to city supported community gardens.&nbsp; The city actually gives the seedlings and trainings for free and is developing a program to support sustainability-oriented business. &nbsp;</p> <p>These activists arrived to our third meeting.&nbsp; They included a leader from the Heschel Center, activists who work with the Tel Aviv municipality, an activist doing ‘transition-like’ projects in Tel Aviv, an architect involved in sustainable design working for the city and mobilizing his own neighborhood and a businessman/activist from Haifa.&nbsp; Incredible people, but we realized during our meeting that in order to move forward we needed to create a stable core group.&nbsp; It depletes motivation, momentum and depth to start from the beginning each time new people come and we have to repeat our personal and collective story over again.&nbsp; The pace becomes too slow to sense moving forward.&nbsp;</p> <p>We made three concrete decisions during our third meeting.&nbsp; The first decision is to go slowly by closing the group and building the core team.&nbsp; This is where we currently stand.&nbsp;</p> <p>The second decision is to shift focus and intent away from creating a specific initiative somewhere in Israel as a ‘pilot’.&nbsp; Instead, after a round of discussion we decided to more deliberately and consciously establish ourselves as a group.&nbsp; The Hub would be grounded by creating deeper and more connected relationships and communication between the core team.&nbsp; In other words, we would model community building through our own group processes and the unfolding friendships that we would develop among ourselves.</p> <p>The third decision is to study and learn together.&nbsp; This is, by the way, a culture-specific pattern and very much in the spirit of the Rabbinic scholar, philosopher and teacher, Abraham Joshua Heschel after whom the Heschel Center was named.&nbsp; Indeed, it was the leader from the Heschel center who asked the following two questions to each person from the group:&nbsp;</p> <ol> <li>What is the nourishment that I need from this group?</li> <li>What would bring me to the next meeting?</li> </ol> <p>To that we added a third question:</p> <ol start="3"> <li>How often would I like to meet?</li> </ol> <p>Some of the answers included:&nbsp;</p> <p>“I want that the group will be a learning process – for example, how do we gain theory?”</p> <p>Or “how do we build the knowledge” or “how do we build community?”&nbsp; These will be among topics for discussion.&nbsp; The plan now is to set a meeting once/month or so.&nbsp;</p> <p>I must now complete the meeting summary from last week and send it out to our group together with a Doodle calendar to coordinate the meeting date.&nbsp; Until then and the next meeting, I send all of you around the world warm greetings from Tel Aviv for happy holidays and a New Year of increased well-being and peace.</p> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-12/transition-hub-israel#comments Wed, 05 Dec 2012 10:14:05 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 28463 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Faith: reasons to be cheerful http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-03/faith-reasons-be-cheerful <p>I'm not what people generally know as a "man of faith", and sometimes the religious responses to the crises of the world have left me exasperated and despairing. However, there is a particular religious initiative taking its place at the leading edge of global stewardship, and it's giving me good reason for putting faith into the church as a potential vehicle for responding meaningfully to the major ecological and social justice issues of our time.</p> <p><a href="http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/img/lakeb.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/54864a8af4c2b4a58a55c8f1e69a12b3-150x114.jpg" alt="PrayerGuidePicCEL" width="150" height="114" class="float-right" /></a></p> <p>As an example, here are some extracts of their <a href="http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/p1204.htm" target="_blank">prayer guide</a> for April 2012. You may be in for a bit of a surprise...:</p> <blockquote><p><span>An International Energy Agency report “Are we entering a Golden Age of Gas?” foresees a 50% rise in global use of gas from 2010 to 2035 when gas will supply over a quarter of global energy demand. But it goes on: “While natural gas is the cleanest fossil fuel, its increased use could muscle out low-carbon fuels based on renewables and nuclear . . . A high gas scenario implies a rise in carbon emissions consistent with a temperature rise of over 3.5 degrees C.</span></p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p><span><span>Over the past decade, more than 100,000 Punjabi farmers have committed suicide due to the exorbitant rates of borrowing demanded for the purchase of modern GM seeds, fertilisers and pesticides, often leading to poor harvests. It seems we have devised a method of farming which not only kills weeds and insects, but indirectly kills the farmers themselves. The Prince of Wales in his book “Harmony” asks: “Is this disconnected, mechanical approach to food production really a long-term, sustainable path for the world to take?”</span></span></p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p>In 2008 a panel of 400 experts from across the world published an International Assessment of Agricultural Knowledge, Science and Technology (IASTD) which concluded that to continue with the industrialisation of agriculture, using ever more sophisticated chemicals, GM crops and monocultures, would exhaust our resources and put our children’s future in jeopardy. It called for new economic and legal frameworks to combine productivity with the protection of soils, water, forests and natural biodiversity. The way to help the poorest farmers was not through providing expensive seeds, pesticides and fertilisers, but through adopting traditional methods suited to their land, so as to make them less vulnerable to crop failure, sudden drops in the value of commodities and other factors outside the farmers’ control.</p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p><span><span>More than 51% of renewable energy projects in Germany are now owned by citizens, farmers and community groups, representing £65 billion of private investment. The director of the World Wind Energy Association said: “If we want to reach 100% renewable energy supply, we have to ensure that local communities benefit from renewable energy projects. Community and citizen ownership models have a proven track record in achieving this objective.”</span></span></p> </blockquote> <blockquote><p><span><span>After World War I domestic consumption in America was languishing, so Edward Bernays, the founder of modern advertising, took it upon himself to spread the gospel of consumerism and unlimited economic growth. In 1928 he wrote: “The conscious and intelligent manipulation of the organised habits and opinions of the masses is an important element in democratic society.”</span><br /><span>Mass consumerism is so prevalent today because we have been persuaded that living with the grain of nature is a kind of cultural immobility and that ‘progress’ must be pursued even if it threatens to destabilise the very foundations of life.</span></span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><span>With this kind of preamble, the prayers that made no sense to me as a curious child accompanying my step-brother into Catholic Mass now actually seem to hold some meaning and relevance. And their potency among people of faith could help mobilise a crucial sector of the population. Here's an example:</span></span></p> <blockquote><p><span>Lord, you have given us this beautiful world, with the ability to harvest its products for our nourishment. Yet in our greed we have been robbing future generations, poisoning your world and destroying many of your creatures. Help us to realise that we interfere with your world at our peril. It is your hand, not ours, that rules this world and we are here as your stewards.</span></p> </blockquote> <p><span><span>So, which organisation is pioneering an eco-centric and social justice focused faith-based view of the world? It's the <a href="http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk" target="_blank">Christian Ecology Link</a>, a fine group of people&nbsp;who have a number of potent initiatives such as:</span></span></p> <ul> <li><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Logo-ChristianEcologyLink_0.jpg" class="colorbox"><img src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Logo-ChristianEcologyLink_0-150x81.jpg" alt="LogoCEL" width="150" height="81" class="float-right" /></a><a href="http://www.christian-ecology.org.uk/loaf.htm" target="_blank">LOAF</a> - Christian Ecology Link's Food Campaign, encouraging people&nbsp;to choose food that fulfils at least one of the following criteria -&nbsp;<strong>L</strong>ocally produced,&nbsp;<strong>O</strong>rganically grown,&nbsp;<strong>A</strong>nimal friendly, <strong>F</strong>airly traded</li> <li>Ecocell -&nbsp;<a href="http://www.greenchristian.org.uk/ecocell">www.greenchristian.org.uk/ecocell</a></li> </ul> <p>I'm very grateful for the work this group is doing and how their actions might ripple out among people of faith and beyond.</p> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-03/faith-reasons-be-cheerful#comments church diversity faith Tue, 27 Mar 2012 12:39:29 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 22825 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Jetting to Africa: a poem by the Carbon Coach http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-02/jetting-africa-poem-carbon-coach <h3>If I don't fly, why the hell should someone else?</h3><p>There's all sorts of degrees of engaging with the destructive impacts of jetting off far away from home. There are some people who will never set foot on a plane again once they've taken on board the environmental impact. Others&nbsp;will only fly for life/death reasons. I know a few who are hostages to "love miles", with beloved relatives on the other side of the planet. Others fly after they do a calculation regarding the carbon they'll emit vs the carbon they'll save (as a result of eg training courses).</p><p>Some simply have no idea what their carbon footprints are and how they're impacting both humans and non-humans with their acts.</p><p>There are of course all the others for whom flying is an economic impossibility - totally out of their price range.</p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Africa1.jpg" class="colorbox"><img width="200" height="150" align="right" alt="" style="color: rgb(68, 68, 68); font-style: italic; line-height: 19px; " src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Africa1-200x150.jpg" /></a></p><p>Then there's another category altogether. Those who really should know better, who actively avoid counting the cost of their "personal enlightenment trips" and choose to make the journeys anyway. Only they know how they pick their way through the paradox and hypocrisy lacing those decisions.<font color="#444444"><span style="line-height: 19px;"><i><br /></i></span></font></p><p>This is a poem by a friend, the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.carboncoach.com">Carbon Coach, Dave Hampton</a>, on the subject, referring to a group he's working with who have decided to travel to Africa to a place that does brilliant sustainability work with the local people and with the local fauna/flora.&nbsp;Everyone in that group is somewhere on the above continuum, and only each person knows that for sure where they sit on that line.</p><p>When I read Dave's poem I got in touch with my own feelings about this stuff, including more than a frisson of bitterness and certainly feelings of jealous of the experience and insights they'll gain by making the trip.</p><blockquote><h3 style="letter-spacing: normal; ">I'm dying to fly to Africa</h3><p>See the tribal elders<br /> Get myself initiated<br /> into state of Grace-land</p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Africa2.jpg" class="colorbox"><img width="200" height="267" align="right" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Africa2-200x267.jpg" /></a><p>Always have; it’s in my blood<br /> I'm a wise elder too<br /> and those cool dudes<br /> Boy, they’re in my ‘hood</p><p>Cos I’m a Western Soul who can really see<br /> Enlightenment and Gratitude<br /> The Gods and Spirit Fire<br /> Compassion and Humility</p><p>When I come ‘home’ I’ll freely share the fruits of my travel<br /> So much they’ll teach me, how to be happy without burning any fossil fuel<br /> How to live a decent life in full connection with each other, and our Home<br /> How to live a life forever free<br /> from white mans guilt - and shame - humility!</p><p>And when I stand by shoulder in prayer wondering at the beauty of the sunset will I mention that white men have changed the chemical composition of the sky?<br /> Adding 25 billions tons a year of pollution<br /> (invisible to their eye)</p><p>And when I join them in libations, and the ritual pouring of a 10cc of moonshine<br /> onto sacred Mother Earth and all future life she holds fertile below, enjoying my intoxication<br />Will I mention the 10 oil drums full of kerosene that I poured onto their land<br />Before I left? So I could share their ceremony of praise for Earth wisdom</p><p>And if they should ask why their crops fail<br /> More than they ever used to...</p><p>And ask me if - in MY wisdom - if I think maybe their elders...<br /> who are of course accountable to the gods who keep their soil and seeds fertile...<br /> (hushed) maybe aren’t quite as good as they used to be...</p><p>Will I offer the possibility of an explanation<br /> for their dying plantations<br /> that white men’s thirst for travel <br /><img width="117" height="182" align="right" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/CarbonCoach.JPG" />and desire for all forms of growth..<br /> spiritual included..<br /> has fucked up Gaias Lungs<br /> beyond all recognition...<br /> probably<br /> for good?</p><p>Will I fly to tell them that?<br /> Maybe I will.</p><p>12 Feb 2012<br /> <!--[endif]--></p></blockquote> <p><br />And, yes, I'd love to go to Africa too. But I feel I support my African brothers and sisters better if I stay at home, and seek enlightenment and inspiration from the land, the creatures and the people around me.<u1:p></u1:p></p> <p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-themes"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Themes:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/inner-transition">Inner Transition</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field-label-inline"> Themes:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/transport">Transport</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-02/jetting-africa-poem-carbon-coach#comments Tue, 14 Feb 2012 12:15:57 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 21975 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Snippets of Advice: holding interesting meetings http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-01/snippets-advice-holding-interesting-meetings <p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/CharlieBrown-TransitionAdvice.jpg" class="colorbox"><img width="250" height="283" align="right" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/CharlieBrown-TransitionAdvice-250x283.jpg" /></a></p> <p>This is the first in what may end up being a long series of Snippets of Advice.</p> <p>We get many emails coming into Transition Network from people asking advice about all sorts of things that are going on in their initiative, and we try to provide a considered response. We reckon that others may find some usefulness in these responses so I'm going to start blogging them.</p> <h3>The question(s)</h3> <p>Today's was about meetings - here's the email that came in from an initiative in South of the UK:</p> <blockquote><p><span>In our Transition group we currently run a meeting once a month where we talk&nbsp;</span><span lang="EN-US"> about how we plan the group. This isn't exactly a great thing for bringing&nbsp;new people in, as people don't want to sit down and talk. So we thought of&nbsp;running some open meetings where we run an activity. </span></p> <p><span lang="EN-US">Do you do this? Could&nbsp;you provide us with some ideas on activities we could run at these open meetings?<br /></span></p> </blockquote> <h3>Our Snippet of Advice</h3> <blockquote><p>Thanks for making contact. In response to your question about meetings, this is a big subject and it won't be easy to do it justice in an email.</p> <p>Transition groups in general are using really innovative meeting types - open space, world cafe, fishbowl to name a few. There's a lot of material on the internet covering each of these, including a tool here: <a href="/tools/connecting/community-brainstorming-tools">www.transitionnetwork.org/tools/connecting/community-brainstorming-tools</a></p> <p>Another tool might help: <a href="/tools/starting/running-effective-meetings">www.transitionnetwork.org/tools/starting/running-effective-meetings</a>. </p> <p>Even in conventional meetings, we encourage lots of non-conventional elements, such as:</p> <ul> <li>talking with someone you don't know at the start of the meeting answering eg two questions - eg &quot;What brought you here&quot;, &quot;what do you want to get out of the meeting&quot;</li> <li>getting people into groups to discuss specific points, write them down on post-it notes and sticking them up on the wall so everyone can see them</li> <li>getting into pairs and doing an &quot;active listening&quot; enquiry into a specific point</li> </ul> <p>The key point is to ensure that everyone in the room gets their voice heard, either in plenary or in smaller groups, and that there's a chance to meet new people and make connections, preferably in a facilitated way rather than in the informal gathering at the end (where people tend to gravitate towards their most familiar contacts).</p> <p>I'd suggest putting something on the forum here: <a href="/forums">www.transitionnetwork.org/forums</a> and perhaps having a little poke around them to see if anyone's added helpful material there.</p> <p>Running meetings is also part of the &quot;Transition LAUNCH&quot; course: <a href="/training/courses/launch">www.transitionnetwork.org/training/courses/launch</a>. </p> <p>Lastly, we use all sorts of these innovations at our annual conference - it's a great opportunity to see them in action and judge for yourself how it might work with your own group.</p> <p>Hope that's useful. Ben.</p> </blockquote> <p>If you find this useful, or you have another suggestion in response to this specific question, please add a comment.&nbsp;</p> <p>Thanks. Ben (wearing his Initiative Support hat).</p> <blockquote><p><span></span></p> </blockquote> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-themes"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Themes:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/effective-groups">Effective groups</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-01/snippets-advice-holding-interesting-meetings#comments advice snippet fishbowl meetings open space world cafe Fri, 13 Jan 2012 11:50:09 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 21407 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Sustainable makers: Devon potter http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-01/sustainable-makers-devon-potter <h3>&nbsp;Introduction</h3><p>Many of the jobs within a post-oil era are going to be different from the jobs of today. The repair, reuse, recycle industries will see a lot more action, and the ways we choose to make the new stuff we need will undergo a major shift as well.</p><p><!--break--></p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Steamy.JPG" class="colorbox"><img alt="Richenda" width="200" height="299" align="right" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Steamy-200x299.JPG" /></a></p><p>For that latter category, some people who are already operating in this different world are the "sustainable makers". It's not easy to hear from them (usually because they're so busy and don't have the time to code up webpages with their experiences). Here in Totnes, there are quite a lot of "sustainable makers", and I managed to cajole one of them, Richenda McGregor, to draft up some words on what her work life is like. In particular, I hoped to get an idea of how her multi-faceted work life split up in terms of time and income - and Richenda delivered, as you'll see below.</p><p>As Richenda notes, it looks like many people are aiming to have more than just one job or income stream - a "resilience through diversity" approach - and that certainly seems to be the way Richenda operates.</p><p>Maybe this account will help you figure out how you're going to be earning a living in a few years...</p><p>I'll let her tell her own story.&nbsp;</p><hr /><h3>WORKING AS A POTTER</h3> <p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Throwing.JPG" class="colorbox"><img width="150" height="224" align="left" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Throwing-150x224.JPG" /></a>My most obvious work and the most regular is the Potting shed Workshop <a target="_blank" href="http://www.pottingshedworkshop.com/">www.pottingshedworkshop.com</a>. I run courses for adults and children in ceramics and glass and have guest Makers who come and demonstrate and teach with me.&nbsp; I teach one-to-one, run several weekly classes and weekend workshops.&nbsp; Alongside the teaching I also make beautiful (<em>they really are - Ben</em>) hand thrown Raku fired ceramic pots and vases fired in a converted oil drum. At the moment it is gas but I am hoping to convert to wood in the near future.&nbsp; Materials are locally sourced, recycled and sustainable wherever possible but this is still a work in progress!&nbsp; Emphasis is on re-skilling and teaching self-reliability wherever possible, giving the participants the skills needed to create and make without supervision.</p> <p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/hanging%20pod%207.JPG" class="colorbox"><img width="159" height="225" align="right" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/hanging%20pod%207-159x225.JPG" /></a></p><p>I&nbsp;sell work at local markets fairs and festivals as well as open studio&nbsp;events and exhibitions, I am expanding this year into more ‘national’ events such as Art in Action and The contemporary craft fair. It is interesting to note that financially I probably do better at more low key events and markets. Selling directly to the public and interacting is lovely, watching people’s responses and I don’t have a middle man swallowing up the profits!!&nbsp; For Makers who don’t have their own outlets it is extremely difficult to make any kind of profit as galleries generally do "sale or return", charge anything up to 100% (double the wholesale) with VAT on top.&nbsp; By the time you have sent them work, postage and packing or petrol you have very little left!</p> <p>I work to commission, producing bespoke dinner sets, mounted pieces and wall hangings... and lots of mugs!</p> <p><strong>Time</strong>:60 %<br /><o:p></o:p><strong>Income</strong>: 70% Teaching not making pots!&nbsp;</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------<o:p></o:p></p> <h3><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/RichendaPlusOne.JPG" class="colorbox"><img width="120" height="160" align="left" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/RichendaPlusOne-120x160.JPG" /></a>WORKING WITH KIDS</h3> <p>I teach in schools working on projects as diverse as building a cob oven, teaching clay winning, converting a space into a gallery and teaching curating as well as ‘normal’ ceramics.</p> <p>I also work with children at risk of exclusion.</p> <p><strong>Time</strong>: 10%<br /><strong>Income</strong>: 5%</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------<o:p></o:p><font color="#353535" size="2"><br /></font></p> <h3>FACILITATING WORKSHOPS</h3> <p>I am a regular facilitator at Schumacher College and have facilitated courses taught by Fritjof Capra, Thomas Moore, Iain&nbsp; Mcgilchrist.&nbsp; I tend to be invited to facilitate the more practical or art based short courses like bee keeping and living soils.</p> <p><strong>Time</strong>: 10%<br /><strong>Income</strong>: 8%&nbsp;</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------<o:p></o:p></p> <h3><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Winning2.JPG" class="colorbox"><img width="200" height="150" align="right" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Winning2-200x150.JPG" /></a>WORKING WITH PEOPLE WITH LEARNING DIFFICULTIES<font color="#353535" size="2"><br /></font></h3> <p>I run a weekly social club (with a whole group of volunteers) for people with learning disabilities called ‘Tuesday choice’ and we are expanding into another project called ‘Tuesday voice’ which will offer drama and radio opportunities.</p> <p><strong>Time</strong>: 10%<br /><strong>Income</strong>: 10%</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------<o:p></o:p></p> <h3>WORKING AS A BUILDER</h3> <p>And... I work as a builder for the traditional building company in Wales. They are an ethical building company who have an active policy of employing women and skilled crafts people.&nbsp; They have close links with the Prince’s Trust and are now extending into teaching traditional skills.&nbsp; <a target="_blank" href="http://www.traditionalbuildingcompany.com">Look them up</a>, they are amazing!</p> <p><strong>Time</strong>: 5%<br /><strong>Income</strong>: 7%</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------<o:p></o:p></p> <h3>MAINTAINING LIFE/WORK BALANCE<a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Raku%20balls%208.jpg" class="colorbox"><img width="100" height="158" align="right" alt="" style="color: rgb(53, 53, 53); font-size: 13px; " src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Raku%20balls%208-100x158.jpg" /></a></h3> <p>That’s pretty much it for the moment, it sounds like a lot but I actually do manage to have a good work/life balance.&nbsp; Partly I think it is easier for me because I don’t work for an organisation and avoid a lot of paperwork and form filling, justifying actions etc.&nbsp; When I look at any one of my projects on its own it doesn’t work and there is no way it will bring in enough income but together it does seem to work. For the moment, living life on the edge!</p> <p>-------------------------------------------------------------------------------<o:p></o:p></p> <h3>NEW TRENDS IN WORK?</h3> <p>I am meeting more people who are going self-employed and diversifying into several different ‘businesses’ - if one dries up you still have others to keep you ticking along.&nbsp;</p> <p>============================================&nbsp;</p><p><em>Photos: all by Richenda MacGregor</em></p><p><span style="font-size:10.0pt;font-family:&quot;Tahoma&quot;,&quot;sans-serif&quot;;color:#2A2A2A"><o:p></o:p></span></p><div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-themes"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Themes:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/business-economics">Business &amp; Economics</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2012-01/sustainable-makers-devon-potter#comments green business potting sustainable makers Fri, 06 Jan 2012 16:19:45 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 21258 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org "Voices of Transition” movie in Belgium http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-11/voices-transition-movie-belgium <h3><b style="text-align: -webkit-center; ">A preview tour of the film “Voices of Transition” in Belgium</b></h3><p style="text-align: left; ">Thanks to Josué Dusoulier for this account (and he apologises in advance for any linguistic liberties he may have taken)</p><p style="text-align: left; ">&nbsp;</p> <blockquote><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Logo-VoicesOfTransitionSmall.jpg" class="colorbox"><img width="200" height="253" align="left" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Logo-VoicesOfTransitionSmall-200x253.jpg" /></a>This November, the French-speaking part of Belgium hosted a tour of Nils Aguilar, who presented his film "Voices of Transition", about food sovereignty and Transition Initiatives. With seven projections in preview, the tour as greatly contributed to develop the positive dynamics of the Transition. His organization was also an opportunity to initiate the creation of a regional network of Transition Initiatives.</p><p><b>The film "Voices of Transition"</b></p><p>Voices of transition is an independent documentary and is self-produced by Nils Aguilar. It reflects major changes in progress, such as how agricultural policies are struggling to adapt to the challenges posed by climate change, peak oil and the repeated economical crises. How to reorganize our societies to prepare them to better resist?</p><p>The film takes us to France, England and Cuba, where the current cultural transition occurs at different scales: at the level of cities or a nation. The solutions are excellent in their common sense, simplicity, low cost, as well as their ecological integrity. We discover practical alternatives and a positive vision for food while rebuilding resilience, transforming our societies so that they can move beyond the shock to come without too much damage. These practices promote local economies, strengthen neighborhood ties and encourage the free dissemination of knowledge.&nbsp;The future will be more sober in energy, it will nevertheless be better than the present !</p><p><b>It was a hit !</b></p><p>The tour was organized by the young "Réseau Transition Wallonie-Bruxelles", with the support of Friends of the Earth. It was widely advertised in the press and in many media and websites, including the regional televisions of Ath and Namur (See : <a href="http://vimeo.com/32752946">http://vimeo.com/32752946</a>). Around 1000 people attended the various projections and the interesting and stimulating debate with the friendly and committed director, Nils Aguilar. The tip of the hat goes to “Liege in transition”, which despite being a very young initiative, has sold out and had to turn people away ... not less than 420 people attended with a lot of excitement !</p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Logo-VoicesOfTransitionSmallBanner.jpg" class="colorbox"><img width="250" height="69" align="left" alt="" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Logo-VoicesOfTransitionSmallBanner-250x69.jpg" /></a><p>With Ath, Brussels, Grez-Doiceau and Liege, four Transition Initiatives altogether hosted the tour.</p><p>The film was very well received and the discussions have been interesting and dynamic. They took place in the specific conviviality of the Transition. New working groups are likely to be created soon. We have discussed matters such as the Cuban case, which was a "Peak Oil before the time" after the end of the Soviet Union. We also spoke of relocating food production, urban agriculture, local currencies, awareness in schools, the development of a positive vision...</p><p>In three other cities, local associations were raising awareness about the Transition. In Mons, Namur and Péruwelz, the tour will be followed by citizens' meetings around the Transition, which are likely to lead to new initiatives ...</p><p><b>Viral spreading of the Transition in Belgium</b></p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploaded/u5857/Logo-TransitionBelgium.JPG" class="colorbox"><img alt="TransitionBelgiumLogo" width="230" height="78" align="left" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/uploaded/u5857/Logo-TransitionBelgium-230x78.JPG" /></a>The Transition is steadily increasing in Belgium where only five initiatives were known in the French part in 2010. Since then, due to the release of the “Transition Handbook” in French in October 2010, the special feature of the Belgian magazine Imagine "Journey to the heart of the Transition" in January 2011, the weekend "Transition Towns" organized by Friends of the Earth, the conference of Rob Hopkins in Brussels in September 2011 and the organization of the tour of the film by Nils Aguilar in November 2011 ... there are now at least 17 initiatives in French-speaking Belgium, six of which are listed on the Transition Network (registration is complicated for those who do not speak English). In the Flemish part of the country, at least 16 initiatives are also underway. So that gives 33 initiatives in Belgium (12 of them are listed on the network, two of those are official: Tervuren for a long time and recently Ath).</p><p>The movement of the Transition is well under way in Belgium. In order to support this process, in 2012 the young regional network “Réseau Transition Wallonie-Bruxelles” plans to organize official training in French and to translate and adapt concrete tools such as for example the "Transition Streets"...</p><p><b>References:</b></p><ul><li>Information on the tour: <a href="http://www.entransition.be/doku.php/agenda/cdpculturesentransition">http://www.entransition.be/doku.php/agenda/cdpculturesentransition</a></li><li>The site of the Transition Network Wallonie-Brussels: <a href="http://www.entransition.be/">www.entransition.be</a></li><li>The site of Milpa Films (Cultures in Transition): <a href="http://www.milpafilms.org/">www.milpafilms.org</a></li><li>The Trailer of "Voices of Transition": <a href="http://vimeo.com/29977725">http://vimeo.com/29977725</a></li><li>Imagine the magazine "Journey to the heart of the Transition" <a href="http://www.imagine-magazine.com/preview/83_tireapart/">www.imagine-magazine.com/preview/83_tireapart/</a></li></ul><p>The film is in post-production. If you want to help the director, financially or otherwise, go to <a href="http://www.milpafilms.org" title="www.milpafilms.org">www.milpafilms.org</a>.</p></blockquote> <p>So, Belgium appears to be embracing the Transition approach. Well, they're at the heart of Europe and certainly not immune to the interesting times we're having over here. In that sense, these transition groups have started not a moment too soon.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-11/voices-transition-movie-belgium#comments Tue, 29 Nov 2011 18:34:27 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 20590 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org The emotional impact of transition http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-10/emotional-impact-transition <p>In the UK and Wales alone, there are 11,000 parishes (towns/villages), 60 cities and any number of rural communities that are going to have to navigate the downslope of energy descent, either proactively or reactively.</p> <p>But along with these community-based transition, each individual needs to evolve away from addiction to oil and a whole raft of ecologically devastating practices, away from the complex web that locks them into the endless growth paradigm.</p> <p>This will be easier for some than others, but we all have to do it.</p> <p>And each of us needs to travel closer to a heartfelt understanding that if we want to stay living on Earth, we'll have to weave ourselves back into the fabric of the planet, and comprehend that the "humans are separate from the earth" duality underpinning our industrialised societies is false, misleading and a one-way ticket to a hell on earth far hotter than we can handle.</p> <p>This journey involves fully feeling the unbearable weight of accountability for what's happening, the complicity we all have in supporting this unsustainable paradigm. For some, it involves feeling the pain of the planet, and that can be overwhelming. This journey into realisation is best undertaken with fellow travellers to share the burden and provide support. Taken alone, it's a lonely path that many, lacking sufficient emotional support, turn back from.</p> <p>So gather some stalwarts around you and take the plunge. And when you've come out the other side, wiser, more resilient and more determined, act as a guide to those who come after you, for their need will be all the greater.</p> <h2>Some quotes that have helped me on my journey</h2><blockquote><p>“We have to find a way to live in this planet-time without closing our eyes to what we’re doing.” – Joanna Macy</p></blockquote><div><blockquote><p>"If the world is to be healed through human efforts, I am convinced it will be by ordinary people, people whose love for this life is even greater than their fear. People who can open to the web of life that called us into being." –&nbsp;Joanna Macy<img v:shapes="_x0000_s1026" alt="" src="file:///C:/Users/BENBRA~1/AppData/Local/Temp/msohtmlclip1/01/clip_image004.jpg" /></p></blockquote><p><a href="http://transitionculture.org/wp-content/uploads/joanna-and-rob-2.jpg" class="colorbox"><img alt="Joanna Macy and Rob Hopkins" width="200" height="180" align="right" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/9a413714222714af811bb2dfca81a7a9-200x180.jpg" /></a></p><blockquote><p>“If the Great Turning should fail, it will not be for lack of technology or relevant data so much as for lack of political will. When we are distracted and fearful, and the odds are running against us, it is easy to let the mind and heart go numb.</p><p>The dangers now facing us are so pervasive and yet often so hard to see – and painful to see, when we manage to look at them – that this numbing touches us all. No one is unaffected by it. No one is immune to doubt, denial, or disbelief about the severity of our situation – and about our power to change it. Yet of all the dangers we face, from climatic change to nuclear wars, none is so great as the deadening of our response.</p><p>That numbing of mind and heart is already upon us – in the diversions we create for ourselves as individuals and nations, in the fights we pick, and aims we pursue, the stuff we buy. So let us look at it. Let’s see what this deadening is and how it happens. For this work [as described in her book "Coming Back to Life"] helps us wake us from that sleep and come back to life.Then, reconnected with our deepest desire, we will be able to take part in the Great Turning. We will choose life.” – Joanna Macy</p></blockquote><hr /><address><a href="http://4.bp.blogspot.com/_zVe0ffxO8h0/TFPJb5mDV2I/AAAAAAAAAFg/d7mAJ9j2E0o/s1600/Albert_Einstein.jpg" class="colorbox"><img alt="Einstein" width="170" height="170" align="right" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/00c7073e59692449df3dbf13e07cddad-170x170.jpg" /></a></address><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>"The significant problems we have cannot be solved at the same level of thinking with which we created them." – Albert Einstein</p></blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>"Our task must be to widen our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty." – Albert Einstein</p></blockquote><p>&nbsp;</p> <hr /><blockquote><p>"We used to be hunter-gatherers, now we're shopper-borrowers." – Robin Williams, 1990</p></blockquote><hr /><blockquote><p>"Whenever I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race." – H.G. Wells</p></blockquote> <p>&nbsp;</p></div><p>&nbsp;</p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-10/emotional-impact-transition#comments Thu, 20 Oct 2011 22:54:32 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 19777 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Connecting to nature: the dance of the carbon atom http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-10/connecting-nature-dance-carbon-atom <p>Carbon is the building block of life, and here is a phase in its never-ending journey, adapted<span> from an <a target="_blank" href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/CarbonStoryByPrimoLevi.pdf">essay by Primo Levi</a></span><span> which he originally dreamt up while a prisoner in Auschwitz.</span></p> <p>If ever you thought you were unconnected to the planet, this essay should put you right, for you have around 700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 carbon atoms in your body (representing 10% of your mass), each of which has already performed countless dances not unlike the one you're about to read...</p> <blockquote><p><img alt="LimestoneQuarry" width="200" height="150" align="right" src="http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/pyramid/explore/images/manquarry.jpeg" />&quot;Our atom of carbon lies for hundreds of millions of years, bound to three atoms of oxygen and one of calcium, in the form of limestone not too far from the earth&rsquo;s surface.</p> <p>At any moment a blow of a pick axe detaches it and sends it on its way to the lime kiln, plunging it into the world of things that change. It is roasted and, still clinging to its oxygen companions, is issued from the chimney and takes the path of the air. Its story, which once was immobile, has now turned tumultuous.</p> <p>It was caught by the wind, flung down on the earth and lifted ten kilometres high. It was breathed in by a falcon, descended into its precipitous lungs, but did not penetrate its rich blood and was expelled.</p> <p>It dissolved three times in the water of the sea, once in the water of a cascading torrent, and again was expelled. It travelled with the wind for eight years: now high, now low, on the sea and among the clouds, over forests, deserts, and limitless expanses of ice; then it stumbled into capture and the organic adventure.</p> <p><img alt="Grapes" width="200" height="150" align="right" src="http://pixdaus.com/pics/1253614911zdVRaMF.jpg" />The atom we are speaking of was borne by the wind along a row of vines. It had the good fortune to brush against a leaf, penetrate it, and be nailed there by a ray of the sun.</p> <p>Now our atom has formed part of a molecule of glucose. It travels from the leaf to the trunk, and from here descends to the almost ripe bunch of grapes. What then follows is the province of the winemakers.<span> </span></p> <p>It is the destiny of wine to be drunk. Its drinker kept the molecule in his liver for more than a week, well curled up and tranquil, as reserve energy for a sudden effort; an effort that he was forced to make the following Sunday, pursuing a bolting horse...</p> <p>The atom was dragged by the bloodstream all the way to a minute muscle fibre in the thigh... and later, as carbon dioxide, was breathed back into the air.</p> <p>Once again the wind, which this time travels far, sails over the Apennines and the Adriatic, Greece, the Aegean, and Cyprus: we are over Lebanon. And the dance is repeated.</p> <p>The atom now penetrates and is trapped by the venerable trunk of a cedar, one of the last. It could stay in the cedar for up to 500 years but let us say that after twenty years a wood worm has taken interest in it and swallowed it.</p> <p>The woodworm then formed a pupa, and in the spring it came out in the shape of a moth which is now drying in the sun, confused and dazzled by the splendour of the day. Our atom is in one of the insect&rsquo;s thousand eyes.</p> <p><img alt="Coccilithophore" width="250" height="187" align="left" src="http://www.ouramazingplanet.com/images/stories/coccolithophore-101027-02.jpg" /> </p><p>When the insect dies, it falls to the ground and is buried amongst the undergrowth of the woods. Here are at work the omnipresent, untiring and invisible micro organisms of the humus. The moth has slowly disintegrated and the atom has once again taken wing.</p> <p>It takes to the air... and eventually comes to rest on the surface of the ocean, then sinks slowly. A passing coccolithophore<b> </b>appropriates the atom to build its impossibly delicate shell of calcium carbonate. Soon it too dies and glides to the bottom of the ocean, where it is compacted with its trillion companions and their own carbon atoms.</p> <p>In geological time, tectonic plate movements bring this sediment, now as chalky cliffs, to the surface of the earth, exposing our atom once more to the possibility of flight in the complex dance of life.<span>&quot; </span></p> </blockquote> <p>Now look at your hand &ndash; a scar perhaps, or a fingernail. Think of it as less of a hand, more of a temporary resting place for countless carbon atoms. A place where they're taking a mini-break before they continue on a vast never-ending journey that encompasses the depths of the oceans, the highest skies, the dinosaurs before you and creatures we can't even dream of that will come after us.</p> <p>Feeling connected yet?</p> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-10/connecting-nature-dance-carbon-atom#comments Tue, 18 Oct 2011 13:05:54 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 19716 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org The Folly of Money http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-09/folly-money <p><span class="Apple-style-span">As well as my day job working full-time for Transition Network, I'm involved in several projects within Transition Town Totnes. One in particular gets me in contact with some colourful characters - the <a href="/projects/totnes-pound">Totnes Pound</a>.</span></p> <p>People come in to talk about local currencies from all over the world, exchange sterling for t&pound;s and in some cases, tell me an interesting story of their own. A couple of weeks ago, Ian Faulkner, a recent incomer to Totnes, breezed into the offices to gather a fistful of t&pound;s. He let slip a comment about his dodgy past in the world of high finance. Smelling an interesting story, I probed more and got Ian to agree to write down his tale or riches and redemption (pending). I thought it'd be good to record a personal story that illustrates what most of us know - worshipping money isn't the path to happiness.&nbsp;</p> <p>Anyhow, read on for Ian's tale.</p> <blockquote><p><u>The Folly of Money!</u></p> <p>This is a tale of rags to riches and there has been a plethora of each of these, it is true. Yet mine is a tale with an unusual twist!</p> <p>As I understand our recent history, we Western humans have been dominated by a socio-political culture that has educated and groomed us towards an addiction based on material possessions - a bigger house, a new car each year, designer clothes and endless plastic 'essential' materialism. This culture has taught us to yearn for all the fame and fortune money can provide.</p> <p>Yet, do we ever stop, sit under a tree, commune with our inner intelligence and endeavour to examine exactly what money means?</p> <p>Well, that's my role, dear reader.</p> <p>In my earlier life, I managed vast sums of money for pensioners, householders, the landed gentry, government agencies, our wealthy elite and princes. All had one common goal - to avoid losing a single penny while earnestly pursuing greater wealth, and in some cases, pursuing immeasurable riches.</p> <p>Despite their wealth however, one common denominator stood out amongst my clients. The almost grotesque lack of joy, of happiness, or peace. A new Ferrari or Porsche every few months, or holidays in St Moritz couldn't change it for them. And it wasn't long before I realised that I was now infected by this disease. But I was having such a great time with my &quot;mile-high club&quot; life style and its two hundred pound bottles of champagne and an endless stream of first class flights around the world to really pay attention to that realisation.</p> <p>And then &quot;the dream&quot; ended suddenly.</p> <p>I found myself in a British prison. I had been summarily arrested by Her Majesty's constabulary who, in my case, couldn't be bothered with the cumbersome formalities of obtaining a warrant. They kept me on remand for eight hundred and fifty long days - nearly two and a half years.</p> <p>Was it hell for me? In some ways, yes. I courted suicide - the coward's way out some say. In other ways, not. Right from the start, with that memorable apple offered by a fellow inmate to nourish me in a time of need, I found much humanity in the people around me. And beyond that, I began a spiritual practice that helped me strive towards giving selfless service to my community - at that time the inhabitants of an old archetypal Victorian hellhole.</p> <p>Twenty eight months later I was acquitted. &quot;Wrongful arrest, unlawful imprisonment, assault and battery, together with humiliating treatment&quot; was the verdict of the European court of Human Rights some nine years later. So even a pauper (as I had become) could summon great power!</p> <p>And what of money now?</p> <p>I had been lucky enough to undergo a wonderful liberation from the dross and arrogance of chasing money, and my blindness to what a life devoid of real purpose and fulfilment was doing to me had been lifted. A life of managing money for the purpose of turning it into yet more money was deeply unfulfilling for me. And almost certainly was not serving the deeper interests of most of my clients who in truth had so much already they couldn't possibly have spent it anyway.</p> <p>I could have come away from my experience at the hands of the British authorities being bitter and vengeful. But I didn't. Life is a journey with many twists and turns. And, thanks to what I've learned over these past years, my vision of what can be, of what's happening is now very different.</p> <p>Much is changing now. I foresee a &quot;return&quot; to a new way of doing things. Clusters of communities that have a proper sense of purpose. Local money for life's necessities. Community projects, preferably organised and operated by local people, for local people. Utilising local resources, our own co-operatives that address the needs Maslow identified as being important - food, clothing, shelter, a sense of belonging, self-fulfilment.</p> <p><a href="http://www.totnesrarebreeds.co.uk/images/stories/Wolly_Jumper_Front_Web.jpg" class="colorbox"><img alt="Nice sweater!" width="200" height="267" align="right" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/ce522c3fff1afa21cad2ff5836ac08a1-200x267.jpg" /></a> </p><p>Here in my hometown of Totnes, we've made an encouraging and insightful start. We have a firm platform from which to build much higher levels of resilience. Examples are our many greengrocers selling locally grown&nbsp;(predominantly organic) produce. Good quality butchers, selling locally reared meats. Local wines and cheeses. We're not there yet thought - we could do with a real local bakery. Totnes Renewable Energy Society, where even the parish poor can invest in their own future. Plus our very own Transition Town Totnes, which, I would argue, provides the hub and the momentum to formulate our very own Shangri-la!</p> <p>So, what about money? Give it up, please. For it is folly. Except perhaps for a single gold coin, saved for a rainy day.</p> <p>Ian Faulkner, Totnes, September 2011</p> </blockquote> <p>No longer sporting designer jackets and swanning around in supercars, Ian can be seen around town wearing a locally-sourced, locally-spun, locally-knitted sweater, swinging his leg over a rather impressive Dutch bike with a look of contentment that evidently eluded him during that time of excess.</p> <p>And just thinking about the likely changes ahead for us all, how many more hedge fund managers and city brokers are going to experience their own similar story arc over the next decade?</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-themes"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="field-label-inline-first"> Themes:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/business-economics">Business &amp; Economics</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <div class="field-label-inline"> Themes:&nbsp;</div> <a href="/health">Health</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-09/folly-money#comments health and well being Thu, 29 Sep 2011 15:17:01 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 19349 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Transition and campaigning: a trade-off http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-09/transition-and-campaigning-trade <p>When we heard that Deal in Kent in the UK was responding to the threat of a shale gas fracking project in their locale, we thought it would be a good opportunity to explore&nbsp;this "edge" of transition and campaigning - it's something that lots of groups have to deal with, and for some it can end up being quite a contentious issue.</p><p><a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/DealWithItLogo.JPG" class="colorbox"><img alt="DealWithItLogo" width="250" height="50" align="right" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/DealWithItLogo-250x50.JPG" /></a>Although "<a target="_blank" href="http://www.dealwithit.org/">Deal with It</a>" appears to have started from a campaigning roots - tagline "campaigning to make Deal a greener town" - it's now a transition town, doing all sorts of interesting&nbsp;"building resilience" activities&nbsp;such as a <a target="_blank" href="http://transitiondeal.blogspot.com/p/chickens.html">chicken audit</a>, garden share, draft busting, waste reduction and a zero carbon concert.</p><p>So when they learned that&nbsp;Coastal Oil and Gas Ltd had been given a PEDL licence that covers the whole of our district, how were they to respond?</p><p><o:p></o:p></p> <p>I asked Deal with It's coordinator, Rosemary Rechter, how they were dealing with the trade-off between campaigning and building resilience.&nbsp;</p><hr /><p><strong>Ben</strong>:&nbsp;Deal With It has been going a while and has a tagline of "Campaigning to make Deal a Greener town". When you decided to become a transition town, how did you deal with the sometimes competing approaches of "campaigning" vs "building resilience"?</p><blockquote><p><strong>Rosemary</strong>: This has been a difficult one.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; If your local district council is planning to build hundreds of houses( but no jobs in the immediate area) on green field sites when there are plenty of brown field sites available, and sometimes in flood plains, and all in an area that does not have sufficient water for present needs, that seems an issue that needs to be addressed as it seriously undermines your ability to build resilience.&nbsp;&nbsp; Then on top of that you have the threat of fracking for shale gas throughout your district, my personal response is that you have to address the immediate and urgent threat.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>I think the group is maybe at risk of becoming divided on this and to try to avoid this I have personally given a great deal of my time to it , but it is distracting me very much from launching our energy group.&nbsp; On the other hand , our partnership with the town council may be strengthened as they share our concerns, and many local people understand our concerns on these issues more easily than they can , as yet, relate to resilience building, so in the course of this so annoying campaigning I feel we are all the time creating&nbsp; alliances that will help our main programme to become steadily more mainstream.<o:p></o:p></p></blockquote> <p><strong>Ben</strong>:&nbsp;When you realised that a shale gas fracking license had been granted in your area, how did you decide to divert energy away from "building resilience" and into "campaigning against"?</p><p><o:p></o:p></p> <blockquote><p><strong>Rosemary</strong>:&nbsp;I think the initial response was not so much “ decided” as a gut reaction!&nbsp; Also there was&nbsp; press response to which we felt we had to respond.&nbsp;&nbsp; As the hearing for the application for the test drilling has been delayed three times (cunning people theses developers!) the campaign on this issue lost momentum, helped by a local geologist saying they only had a 10% chance of finding what they were looking for , so everyone happily buried their heads in the sand, including our group.&nbsp;&nbsp;</p><p>Now as a result of research several of us have been doing since a new date has been given for the hearing of the application, our concerns have been sharply focused by the discovery that their licence covers&nbsp; just about the whole of our district, and additionally a close reading of their application does nothing to inspire confidence in their competence.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp; <o:p></o:p></p><p>We are trying to resist&nbsp; having all our energy diverted but I feel that the possible contamination of our water, the taking of good agricultural land for industrial sites, all the environmental damage, and the loss of amenity&nbsp; means that in the short term we have to fight this fight .</p></blockquote> <p>Ben: how would you like others to help?</p><blockquote><p>Caroline Lucas has started an <a target="_blank" href="http://www.parliament.uk/edm/2010-12/2159">Early day Motion (#2159)</a>, and it would be a great help if people could email their MPs and ask them to sign it. The easiest way to do this is via the "<a target="_blank" href="http://www.writetothem.com/">WriteToThem</a>" website. &nbsp;Also check out <a href="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/FrackingFlier-CampaignAgainstClimateChange.pdf">this flier</a> from Campaign Against Climate Change - this is a really serious issue that affects us all in our transition efforts.</p></blockquote><p><o:p></o:p></p><hr /><p>Having read the flyer and heard about the movie "Gasland", this is an issue that would be hard to overestimate the impact of. If you're drawn towards campaigning, this looks like a good one to put a bit of time into. If you're not, then doing all the wonderful resilience building stuff is absolutely crucial too. And if you have superpowers and endless stamina, you could, of course, do both.</p><p><span style="mso-fareast-font-family: &quot;Times New Roman&quot;;color:black"><o:p></o:p></span></p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-09/transition-and-campaigning-trade#comments activism campaigning Thu, 15 Sep 2011 12:15:00 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 19033 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Money for your projects, a movie to enlighten (and frighten) and a play to intrigue you http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-09/money-your-projects-movie-enlighten-and-frighten-and-play-intrigue-you <h3>Three fascinating events/opportunities, all very transition-related</h3><h4>Grow Heathrow puts on a play</h4><p><img alt="Waiting for Alice" width="200" height="200" align="right" src="http://www.informededinburgh.co.uk/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Waiting-for-Alice.jpg" />The gang at Grow Heathrow are personal heroes of mine, and here they put Art into Transition in a lovely way.</p><blockquote><p>Alice in Wonderland comes to Grow Heathrow. It’s true! Over the past year and a half Grow Heathrow has hosted many political gatherings, direct action trainings, workshops, skillshares, community gatherings and has generally provided an alternative lifestyle to capitalism but to be honest – all we have ever really wanted to do is sit and drink tea and watch Alice in Wonderland. And now we can!</p></blockquote><p>Jabberwocky Theatre Productions presents:&nbsp;‘Waiting for Alice’ – a play by Holly Race Roughan &amp; Alex Woolf</p><p><!--break--></p><p>Go here to find out more:&nbsp;<a href="https://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=250586534975229">www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=250586534975229</a></p><p>Good review here:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.informededinburgh.co.uk/whats-on/fringe-review-waiting-for-alice/">www.informededinburgh.co.uk/whats-on/fringe-review-waiting-for-alice/</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><h4>Funding opportunity: Indefatigable 10:10'ers are at it again</h4><p>With their customary panache and excellent design, the 10:10 team have come up with a process and event designed to put excellent carbon reduction projects (and ideas) in front of people who'd like to fund these kind of activities. Here's the scoop from <a target="_blank" href="http://www.1010global.org/uk/ppp">their website</a>:&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p><strong>What's it all about?</strong></p><p>Pitch Pledge Party&nbsp;is a brand new funding experiment &nbsp;developed by 10:10,&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.thefundingnetwork.org.uk/news/pitch-pledge-party-2-3663/">The Funding Network</a>&nbsp;and&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.guardian.co.uk/">the Guardian</a>. The aim is to link 10:10 participants with donors looking to support practical carbon-cutting ideas. Think Dragon's Den, but friendlier!</p><img alt="PitchPledgeParty" width="400" height="88" align="right" src="http://www.1010global.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/uploads/ckfinder/images/ppp-header.jpg" /><p>In the evening of 10 October, 100-or-so committed donors will gather at the Guardian offices in London. Three carefully-selected&nbsp;applicants pitch their ideas&nbsp;one at a time, and after hearing all the presentations,&nbsp;donors individually pledge funds&nbsp;to the projects that get them inspired.&nbsp;Then we party.</p><p><strong>Who can apply?</strong></p><p>The project is open to any person or organisation that's signed up to 10:10 in the UK, but we're particularly keen to hear from those who've made a real effort to cut their carbon but need help to take things to the next level.&nbsp;Joint applications for collaborative projects are also encouraged.</p></blockquote><p>Sounds like an excellent event to me, and knowing the 10:10 crew, it'll be a good party too.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr /><h4>A movie we all should see (I think)</h4><p>The more I learn about our economic landscape, the more I realise how full it is of mirages, trompes d'oeil and false promises. There have been some notable "openings of the kimono" (<a target="_blank" href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Confessions_of_an_Economic_Hit_Man">confessions of an economic hitman</a>, <a target="_blank" href="http://www.project-syndicate.org/commentary/stiglitz93/English">Joseph Stiglitz of the World Bank</a>) and from the <a target="_blank" href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wLoB1eCJ93k">trailer to this movie</a>, it looks like the kimono is coming right off, showing the naked truth of an economy geared to concentrate power and money into fewer and fewer hands.</p><blockquote><a href="http://www.fourhorsemenfilm.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/Press-Pack-Thumbnail.jpg" class="colorbox"><img alt="Four Horsemen" width="150" height="150" align="right" src="/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/resize/remote/23366a0aa421405a0e4412e072d9c131-150x150.jpg" /></a><p>Global mega-trends are converging when governments, organised religion and mainstream economists have stalled. Understanding we will never return to ‘business as usual’ 23 thinkers, advisors and Wall Street money-men break their silence and explain how the world really works.</p></blockquote><p>Screening details are not fully available, and it's worth keeping an eye out for when this might be coming to a multiplex near you - or more likely when you'll be able to put on a community screening.</p><p>Movie website here:&nbsp;<a href="http://www.fourhorsemenfilm.com/">www.fourhorsemenfilm.com/</a></p><p>I think it could be a powerful tool for shifting mindsets as the belt tightening becomes much more visible and to some, visceral. Crucially, it can help people stop blaming themselves as they find their own economic circumstances deteriorating, making it easier for them to move into action.</p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-09/money-your-projects-movie-enlighten-and-frighten-and-play-intrigue-you#comments Thu, 01 Sep 2011 11:13:36 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 18755 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org Connecting to your community: Local radio stations http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-08/connecting-your-community-local-radio-stations <h3>Not everyone in the UK listens to BBC Radio One, Two or Four!&nbsp;</h3><p>We're seeing a few of these springing up.&nbsp;Check out Transition Marlow's&nbsp;<a target="_blank" href="http://www.facebook.com/pages/Watt-Next-show-on-Marlow-FM-975-FM/127980320612866">funky Facebook pages</a> for the "Watts Next?"&nbsp;show on&nbsp;MarlowFM.</p><p>And here's what's going on in Transition Stroud:&nbsp;</p><blockquote><p>Tune In! We're on air from 2-4pm on Friday on 107.9fm in the broadcast area, or you can listen online at <a href="http://www.stroudfm.co.uk">www.stroudfm.co.uk</a></p><p class="MsoPlainText">The Transition Show goes out live on Stroud FM every Friday from 2-4pm. It is hosted by James Beecher and Helen Royall, who are both members of Transition Stroud, and features interviews with members of the group and other people involved in green projects in Stroud and visiting from further afield, as well as discussion of environmental and political local, national and international news, all mixed up with some music. Transition Stroud is a network for local people and groups that has been developing practical answers to the question “how can our community respond to the challenges, and opportunities, of Peak Oil and Climate Change?” since 2006 - you can find out more here:</p><p class="MsoPlainText"><a href="http://www.transitionstroud.org/">www.transitionstroud.org/</a></p></blockquote> <p class="MsoPlainText">I can't put it better than Dave Hampton who has been known to introduce his shows with the tagline "Greeting crop pickers!" - and if that means nothing to you, how on earth did you miss the BBC Radio One legend, Alan Fluff Freeman?</p><p class="MsoPlainText">Not arf!</p><div class="nodeauthor-info"><span>About the author</span><div class="nodeauthor-pic"><img src="https://www.transitionnetwork.org/sites/www.transitionnetwork.org/files/user-pics/picture-5857.gif" alt="User picture" /></div><p>My journey towards and within transition involves me a) asking myself what I have done, unwittingly or otherwise, to contribute to the global crises of climate change, oil addiction and inequality; b) really acknowledging my “contributions” c) trying hard to understand the consequences and impacts within our complex ecological, social and economic systems d) working at both the personal level and also alongside my fellow citizens to come up with ways of making sure my/our contributions switch from exacerbating these situations to ameliorating them, and/or making sure they stop; e) trying as much as possible to work at root cause level.</p> <p>Transition, with its creative, positive and “can-do, will-do” approach is, for me, the most appropriate mechanism for doing this work.</p> </div> http://www.transitionnetwork.org/blogs/ben-brangwyn/2011-08/connecting-your-community-local-radio-stations#comments awareness raising Wed, 24 Aug 2011 22:40:26 +0000 Ben Brangwyn 18603 at http://www.transitionnetwork.org