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May 2016 - Transition Network Newsletter

Thu, 05/05/2016 - 16:09

New beginnings and a 'Springtime Renewal' theme plus a Digest of the previous theme of 'International' brings Transition news from far and wide. More on the success of Demain, the power of beer and was flying justified? Some 'Good' Bremain thoughts plus several insightful pieces on keeping your Transition Initiative healthy.

Introducing our theme of Springtime Renewal
Rob Hopkins was working in his greenhouse last week, planting out lettuce seedlings with the kind of grounded but slightly heady optimism that starts to course through a gardener's veins at this time of year, and listening to the radio. "Turns out, with the benefit of hindsight, that I grew up through a time of systematic abuse of children, a profoundly corrupt financial system designed to serve elites, with endemic police corruption on a huge scale, and the brutal suppression of dissent by minorities and those seen as 'other'... Into this space where the old systems are crumbling, new models rooted in a different set of ethics rooted in a culture of care, equality, relationships and wellbeing, are taking hold."

Transitioners' Digest (March - April 2016): International
Our theme on the website over the past 2 months was 'International'. We set out to look at Transition in its many international manifestations and how it has spread, and what it has become. Read the Digest of all the related articles here:

Report: Converging For the Common Good in Denmark.
A recent event in Denmark provided an inspirational taste of how Transition and other related movements are coming together to do great things. Rob Hopkins reports, and gets over-excited about wind turbines.

How Transition Palo Alto Brings Sharing and Community to Silicon Valley.
Based in Silicon Valley, Cat Johnson writes about about what makes a successful Transition group, how the group hosts so many events, and how sharing is at the heart of their community.

A Snapshot of Transition in ... Brazil.
Three days of collective construction of the dream and vision of the network we want to have took place in Brasil writes Isabela Maria Gomez de Menezes.

A Snapshot of Transition in ... Japan
Shunro Yoshida, co-founder and representative board of director of Transition Japan reports from the annual Summer Festival in Japan, a Transition gathering to exchange ideas and experience, and congratulate each other.

How 'Demain' is giving Transition a boost in Belgium.
Imagine suddenly your friends and neighbors talking enthusiastically about their new implication in their neighborhood, their plans to start acting locally and the deep changes they are contemplating in their daily lives. François-Olivier Devaux of Transition Hub Wallonie-Bruxelles looks at the considerable impact the 'Demain' film is having in Belgium.

The Panama Papers and the emergence of Transition in Iceland
In this short interview with Tinna Guðmunds, Director of a Center for Visual Art, she gives her perspective on how this small country of 350,000 people and two very large volcanos, were able to force their Prime Minister to resign in such a short time, and her hopes for Transition in Iceland.


We talk 'Demain' with co-director Cyril Dion. "We are going to reach 1,000,000 viewers in France" he tells us.



The Beer That Innoculates Against Philip Green
How might a craft beer, only available for 2 weeks a year, inspire us in thinking of solutions to protect our local economies from the predations of the likes of Philip Green? We offer some reflections...


On Reflection: why the TN team took time out.
The Transition Network team recently took some time out to reflect. Sarah McAdam writes about why they did it and what came out of it, and in the video above the team reflect on how it was for them.

Flying to the US: Was It Worth It?

In October 2013, Peter Lipman and Rob Hopkins travelled to the US, initially to be part of the Environmental Grantmakers' Association annual retreat, but also to visit a number of Transition groups. There are many people who write articles about why they don't fly. There are also many articles by people about why they do. What we haven't yet seen is someone who did fly, writing with hindsight about whether the journey was worthwhile or not. So that's what Rob sets out to do here, a kind of cost-benefit analysis of the trip.

Juliet Davenport of Good Energy on the UK's EU Referendum

How might a Brexit vote affect the push for a renewable energy system in this country?



Being part of the Transition Movement

Being part of Transition is not just about what you do locally in your community - it is also about joining a global movement building a future we all want to live in. Step-by-step guide here:

How to Develop a Healthy Group
To be successful at Transition, you need to be successful at working together collaboratively as a group. A group that works well together is a joy to be involved in, it runs smoothly, gets things done and members feel fulfilled and nourished through their work together. That is not to say that it won't be challenging at times, but a resilient and self-aware group will be able to work through its challenges in a constructive way. Alternatively being involved in a group that is not functioning well can be frustrating, not a lot of fun, exhausting - and often leads to burnout. Whilst it may feel like there is some magic art to working together successfully, actually a lot of it is about breaking free from our tendency to push uncomfortable group dynamics under the carpet and instead put the time and effort into.....

What to do if Donald Trump joins your Transition group.
Read our 6 tips here:


Transition is
"A movement of people and communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world".
Rob Hopkins

Possible funding for North West UK Transition groups

Fri, 08/04/2016 - 15:20

Localgiving is the UK’s leading membership and support network for small, local charities and community groups. Launched in 2009, Localgiving has raised and distributed over £13m for over 5,000 charities.

Localgiving has teamed up with the People’s Postcode Lottery to provide environmental groups in the North West of England the chance to develop their online fundraising capabilities. Up to 75 eligible groups will receive a free membership of Localgiving, as well as up to £500 for each group in matched funding for the donations they receive online through Localgiving.

Localgiving differs from other platforms in as they work with registered and unregistered groups alike, and have a local staff member based in the North West to provide advice, guidance, support and training. The full range of benefits available for eligible groups are:

  • 12 months free membership to Localgiving
  • Access to free training and mentoring, to help you to develop your online fundraising and digital marketing skills
  • Support to develop and then deliver an online fundraising campaign
  • £500 ring-fenced match funding, to match donations made to your online fundraising campaigns

Eligible groups must be based or provide services in the North West of England, and be running projects which enable people to benefit wildlife and engage with the natural environment. This can include groups where the environmental benefit may be secondary, for instance a befriending service running a gardening project, or a group supporting adults with learning disabilities by running an allotment project with them.

For further information, and to see if your project might be eligible, please contact Joe Burns on 07872 041989 or


April 2016 - Transition Network Newsletter

Thu, 31/03/2016 - 18:00

We have a new film set in Paris, our theme of 'international begins looking at UK Devolution, Brexit or Bremain and the translations project. The importance of dreaming and imagination, plus trips to Ireland, Paris and Leicester plus healthy conflict, the joy of training and the new REconomy newsletter.

Watch Our New Film: 8 days @ COP21

Travelling to Paris with Rob Hopkins during COP21, the film is the work of filmmaker Emilio Mula, who invested huge amounts of time into making this beautiful film. We would like to use this film to try a new way of being able to resource filmmakers like Emilio to make future wonderful films about Transition. So we would like to invite you to make a donation once you've seen it, to give what you felt the film was worth to you.


Our theme for the next 2 months is 'International'. With the Transition movement now being active in over 50 countries, it feels like a good time to pause and reflect on how that is working, what it looks like, and the many wonderful things, and the challenges, that arise from that.

Brexit OR Bremain?
Rob Hopkins offers some reflections on the UK's forthcoming referendum on whether to stay within, or to leave, the European Union, and invites you to share your thoughts.

The Deficits of the English Devolution Process
You'd think the idea of devolving power closer to the local level would be very akin to what Transition is working to achieve, but as Professor Bob Hudson, public policy specialist at Durham University says in this interview "there are some very worrying questions being raised by all of this".

Dreaming in Tongues - a multi-lingual adventure begins.
A team of three people has taken on the job of supporting transitioners near and far in improving local, national and International capacity for translation. Sara, Pedro and Deborah, the new Transitionese team introduce themselves and the tools they will be using. And ask for support through a survey.


Budget 2016: What we are facing isn't a financial crisis, but a crisis of the imagination.
George Osborne just delivered his budget In the same week that the Mauna Loa Observatory released data showing that the rise in CO2 concentrations in 2015 was the largest year-to-year increase during 56 years of research, up to a level not seen in 15 million years. Yet, in spite of being a signatory to COP21, such thinking barely figures in Osborne's Budget.

On Having a Great Vision, and Not 'Blowing An Uncertain Trumpet'.
A dream is a fantasy, an aspiration that has yet to touch the ground. A vision has power to it. For Rob Hopkins it is "a vision is something you feel."



A Snapshot of Transition in ... Ireland
Theresa O’Donohoe of Transition Ireland & Northern Ireland reports that the time seemed right for a national conversation and people are now waking up to our energy challenges.

Transition Galway's '2030 Vision' report
Transition Galway in Ireland just published 'A Vision for Galway 2030', their Energy Descent Action Plan (EDAP). As well as teh 100 page document, they produced eight short films, one for each topic, outlining the solutions in each chapter. We talk to Bernard McGlinchy, Mary Greene and Caoimhín Ó Maolallaigh about it. "There's no limit to what we could do" they tell us.

An Evening at La Recyclerie
At the invitation of UpCafe, an organisation that runs a series of talks about social innovation and sustainability, Rob Hopkins took a trip to Paris to speak at an amazing demonstration of permaculture/Transition/recycling in the heart of Paris called La Recyclerie.

Transition Leicester introduce 'Footpaths'.
Running for over 5 years, the Footpaths project is a way for people to meet and support each other to reduce their personal carbon footprints through a series of meetings facilitated by members and a useful handbook.


A Healthy Culture of Conflict from the Favellas of Brazil
Originating in Rio de Janeiro, the "Restorative Circles" approach developed by Dominic Barter, rebuilding communities by creating a bottom-up system of justice, is now used in over 30 countries around the world. Sophie Docker reports on her insights from a workshop Dominic ran recently in Frome.


One Year in Transition: becoming an international community of practice
Since 'One Year in Transition' (1YT) has been running in the UK for four years, Isabel Carlisle: Transition Network Education Coordinator reflects on how it has grown now that sister programmes in Portugal and Sweden are launching their own versions.

The joys of international Transition Training
Naresh Giangrande celebrates a wonderful tool for training that has inspired Transitioners around the globe virtually, Launch Online.


How to Get and Keep People Involved in Transition
In many places there are lots of people who are interested in helping out with Transition - and if this is true for you, well done! How to harness their enthusiasm into taking the project forward can be challenging, so this guide shares learning from many groups on this question.

Some of our readers this week may have received the inaugural Newsletter from the REconomy Project. This new initiative from REconomy will be published every two months and will focus on issues relating to REconomy based projects and events around the UK. You can read it here. 



Transition Bro Gwaun present to the Welsh Climate Change Commission

Mon, 07/03/2016 - 13:18

It's amazing where being chosen as one of our '21 Stories of Transition' can lead.  Transition Bro Gwaun, whose 'Transition Cafe' story featured in the special book we made for COP21, were invited to speak in Cardiff at a Climate Change Commission for Wales seminar called Climate Change: Commitment to Action.  They very kindly allowed us to reproduce their speech, delivered by Chris Samra (below right), in full below.  Just so as you know what we're talking about, here is the video they made for our '21 Stories of Transition' series (their whole story can be found here): 


"I’m from Transition Bro Gwaun, Fishguard’s Transition group, started in 2008.  We're a small group of people concerned about climate change and resource depletion.  Today we  own a 225kw wind turbine jointly with a local farmer.  Our half was fully funded by loans of just under £300,000, all  from members of our community.  The profits, when we’ve paid off our loans, are on target to rise to about £50,000 per year, to be used to develop sustainable projects in our community.

We also run a surplus food project, the Transition Community Café, with an annual turn-over of around £20,000 per year.  Much more importantly, the project saves 600 kg of food going to landfill each month, carbon savings of 21 tonnes per year; we provide affordable healthy meals for all and give food to those in food poverty;  we are a venue for lots of community activities and we provide employment and work experience, particularly for the young and disabled. We’re a significant player in many community initiatives, and we’ve moved from being perceived as a bunch of green activists to, in the words of one café customer, being ‘ a warm ‘cwtch’* of a place.’  Our volunteers come from all walks of life and for a whole variety of reasons  - they find themselves  doing something for the well-being of their community and something  for climate change too. Like all the projects in 21 Stories of Transition, we’re an example – a reminder – of how ordinary people all over the world are coming together to conserve resources, cut carbon emissions and build community in a different way.

So what do we see as key priorities? For us – its fresh thinking and action on economic change. 

Developing projects like ours isn’t easy.  Grant funding is increasingly limited and often not available for what’s most needed – help with capital expenditure and running costs.   Much of what we’ve needed has been  given to us – we operate to a large extent through gifting and community exchange. When groups use our building and our resources, we don’t charge – instead they give us things or their voluntary labour in exchange. These are economic transactions, but they don’t appear in our accounts – gifting and exchange are currently not seen to contribute to the economic viability of social enterprises like ours

The present monetary system distorts thinking and practice. The café’s prime purpose is not to make money - it’s carbon reduction and community resilience – but  we have to be financially viable.  So on days when the café takes over £100 (that’s a lot at the prices we charge) its ‘WOW – that’s great’!    When we take only £20 because those who came in didn’t have a lot to spend, it's a bad day and we worry we won’t cover overheads.  What frequently gets overlooked and undervalued is that on those £20 days, we have lots more time to  talk to customers about food waste and climate change,  to up-skill our young staff and volunteers, to work with other groups - these are ‘well-being and sustainability’ activities but they don’t carry a monetary value – they don’t keep us financially afloat.  This is a constant tension.

Community initiatives can play a key role in addressing climate change and promoting well being, but much of this activity is likely to be non-monetized, so many  will struggle to survive or have to compromise their principles.  We need  social capital to be equally, if differently, valued and rewarded. In his book ‘Post Capitalism', Paul Mason suggests governments should have an Office of the Non-Market Economy tasked to nurture enterprises ‘where sharing and collaboration are essential and which maximise the amount of economic activity that takes place beyond the monetary system’. The Transition movement is thinking similarly - its REconomy project is experimenting with ways to develop, in their words,  ‘a system of trade and exchange that’s more sustainable, equitable and anchored in wellbeing, rather than economic growth at any cost.’  

So our key message is that if you want initiatives like ours to flourish, don’t just throw money at us (I wish!). We’d like an economy where money is not always the main measure of value - where gifting, community exchange, alternative methods of reward are given greater priority.  This would help us to achieve our environmental and social objectives.

The Well-being of Future Generations Act provides a unique and excellent platform to progress such thinking.  We have high expectations of it".  


As an outcome of being featured in the book, and presenting to the event in Cardiff, and the resultant press interest, Fishguard's Town Team gave the project a small grant, which they have used to put on a 2 day event called 'Cymuned Unol - working together' which will take place on 14 - 15th March.  Among other attractions, you will be able to hear from Julian Dobson, author of 'How to Save Town Centres', and Jay Tompt of the REconomy Project who will be doing a whole day on REconomy and on Local Entrepreneur Forums.  Everyone is welcome.  Here is a short video where Chris tells you more about it:


* According to the Urban Dictionary, "'cwtch' is the Welsh word for an affectionate hug. There's no literal English translation, but its nearest equivlent is "safe place". So if you give someone a cwtch, you're giving them a "safe place"". 











March 2016 - Transition Network Newsletter

Thu, 03/03/2016 - 17:38

In this newsletter we have a round up of all the recent articles on Burn Out plus some new ones; Amazon's debasing of language; a call for more mavericks; a Neighbourhood Planning update and two book reviews plus events and courses coming up.

Transitioners' Digest (January - February 2016)
Burn out and Balance.
During January and February, we have been exploring the theme of Burnout and Balance. In this digest Rob Hopkins brings all the articles on the topic together including his fascinating Personal Burnout Audit, a piece by our new Inner Transition Coordinator, Claire Milne 'What indigenous cultures can teach us about burnout' and a final interview with Sophy Banks before she left Transition Network to take on new challenges.



How Amazon Debases Our Language, and How We Can Take it Back.
The word 'fulfilment' has two distinct meanings. The first, according to the Cambridge Dictionary, is "the fact of doing something that is necessary or something that someone has wanted or promised to do", and the second "a feeling of pleasure because you are getting what you want from life". Rob Hopkins likes the idea of the second one, a life of fulfilment, it's something we all aspire to, right? You might even argue that we long for fulfilment: at the very least it's certainly what one might call a Good Thing.

Why We Need More Mavericks, Not Less.
Rob Hopkins watched the recent BBC documentary on Kids Company, Camila's Kids Company: the inside story, with great sadness. It told the story of Camila Batmanghelidjh and the unravelling of one of the UK's best known charities, who did remarkable work helping some of the most disadvantaged kids in the UK. While what happened is clearly complex, and while its demise leaves many vulnerable people in very precarious situations, the programme also left the viewer with a sense that charismatic, maverick people are bound to lead to trouble, and I found that deeply unsettling.

Neighbourhood Planning and Transition initiatives: an update.
Is your Transition group involved in creating a Neighbourhood Plan? If you, so need to read this report by Amy Burnett, University of Reading and Dan Stone, Centre for Sustainable Energy about the options for grassroots action in low-carbon Neighbourhood Planning in England.


Book Review

The Island that Never Was: an English castaway in Bilbao 
The spirit behind Transition, that invitation for a community to come together to reimagine and rebuild itself, takes many forms, not all of them choose to use the label Transition, and some, like the story told in this book, emerged before Transition but very much sees itself as being a Transition initiative in spirit. Earth builder, ecological designer, author, educator and occasional Transition Culture contributor Robert Alcock has just published a book that gives a powerful taste of one manifestation of that spirit, set in the city of Bilbao, Spain.

Biology of Wonder: Aliveness as a Force of Evolution and the Commons
Andreas Weber's book proposes that science study a very radical yet unexplained phenomenon -- aliveness! He rejects the neoDarwinian account of life as a collection of sophisticated, evolving machines, each relentlessly competing with maximum efficiency for supremacy in the laissez-faire market of nature. Biology he says is discovering subjectivity as a fundamental principle throughout nature. As a conclusion he suggests that developing an environmental ethic is more than legislating new policies; it is about re-imagining humanity in the world itself.



Community Together
14-15 March Fishguard, Wales
An event to provide positive examples of town regeneration from around the UK; to showcase what Fishguard and Goodwick have achieved; to explore strategies for enabling community supported entrepreneurism; and to identify opportunities for the future.

Launch onLine
April - May
The online version of our very popular face to face fundamentals course in the skills and practices of Transition is packed with imaginative ways to delve into the practice of Transition showing you how to set up, run and grow a Transition Initiative.

Spiritual Ecology Youth Fellowship
St Ethelburga's Centre for Reconciliation and Peace - London
Starting Autumn 2016. Application Deadline: April 30, 2016
Young emerging leaders aged 22-30 who have the potential to be future catalysts for change, and who recognise the need to create a future that is not driven by materialism and greed, but rooted in the spiritual values of interconnectedness, service, stewardship and reverence for nature. The Fellowship will be offering a nine month experience of deep study, reflection and practical project development integrating the principles of Spiritual Ecology. A central component to the program will be the exploration of how these principles can be incorporated into projects, and how the values can be lived in ways that create lasting change.

 More events

The stories generated by Transition Initiatives from the 'Initiatives list' on the Transitiontowns twitter account

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Film Reviews  

Transition Youtube Channel 

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This newsletter is published on the first Friday of each month. 

Editor: Mike Grenville