Transition Network UK News
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 email@example.com.
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.
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.
INTRODUCING OUR THEME: 'International'
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."
OUT AND ABOUT
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.
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"".
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.
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.
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.
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.
The stories generated by Transition Initiatives from the 'Initiatives list' on the Transitiontowns twitter account
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Transition Youtube Channel
Find previous editions of the newsletter here
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This newsletter is published on the first Friday of each month.
Editor: Mike Grenville
Our main newsletter feature this month is on Burnout - what it is both individually and for groups, and more importantly, what we can do about it; there are also stories on how making drinks has helped create community and pointers to a local economy; and book reviews including of an acclaimed new book 'The Urban Farmer'.
'Burnout Tales' of those who've burn out, and found a way out the other side.
'Burnout is a Risk Where People Are Passionate About What They Do'
There’s a saying that “in order to burn out, you need to first be on fire". Burnout is a risk where people have a strong sense of passion behind what they do. In this interview with Chris Johnstone, a resilience specialist and writer, author of ‘Active Hope’ and ‘Find your Power’, he talks about how when we get down, how do we climb back out again?
'My name is Claire and I'm in recovery from addiction to activism'
Transition Network's new Inner Transition Coordinator shares about her transformational experience of recovering from extreme burn out.
The risks of the 'Energy of Yes'
Chrissie Godfrey was formerly a co-ordinator of Transition Town Taunton (which she co-founded in 2008), but in 2012 suffered from a serious case of burnout. We asked her to tell her story, and we are deeply grateful for her honesty and for sharing her experience:
Transition and Burnout: the Australian experience
That so many of us in Transition experience burnout suggests we haven’t quite achieved the balance says Clare Power, a Lecturer at Western Sydney University.
On Managing Burnout
A Winter Solstice wreath-making party in Albany, CA. was a wild success with 50 adults and children having a whale of a creative time declares Catherine Sutton. "And I wasn't even there! My burnout is officially over."
'Neighbouring': a Burnout and Build Up Again Story
Thriving is about 'Neighbouring', a new verb that invented by the Transition Initiative of Linda-a-Velha (in Portugal). They share their story of our particularly unique and mysterious path, one that invites us to reflect deeply on the mysteries of human nature, of relationships and of what really matters, of what is essential in order for us to thrive.
Balance or Burnout?
Republishing the Editorial piece from Sophy Banks that focuses on the causes of burnout – the physical, the personal, the cultural and some of the unconscious processes that are much harder to spot.
How Sustainable Is Your Group?
Here is a set of activities that will help your group to make decisions, perhaps one of the trickiest of things for Transition groups to do! Step-by-step guide here.
OUT AND ABOUT
The unstoppable rise of 'Demain'
The film 'Demain' ('Tomorrow') is proving to be one of the most remarkable catalysts for Transition and other bottom-up approaches that has ever been made. A review in Le Monde described the film as "a phenomenon of society" adding "In a France darkened by crisis and terrorism, this documentary is a 'breath of hope'.
"To See the New Economy Through a Glass of Beer..."
Rob Hopkins reflects on the explosion of the craft beer movement and how, in many ways, it models the kind of local, appropriate scale economy that Transition seeks to create.
The Story of Unthinkable Drinkable Brent
One day, in the park, Leo Johnson got overtaken by an old Italian man. "Excuse me," he said to him on impulse, "but do you know how to make wine?" The inspiring story of how making "borderline undrinkable" wine brought a street together.
Learning From the Past in Kensal and Kilburn
Transition Town Kensal to Kilburn recently held a celebration of a great oral histories project they had recently completed, 'Old Stories for New Times: inspiration for sustainable living'.
Low-carbon Neighbourhood Planning – key policy changes and scope for influence for Transition Initiatives
Amy Burnett of University of Reading and Dan Stone from Centre for Sustainable Energy give an update that's vital reading for any Transition groups doing Neighbourhood Planning.
"Curtis Stone's brilliant new book 'The Urban Farmer', is one of the most important contributions to Transition thinking over the last 10 years" says Rob Hopkins. It sets out in great depth and detail what it could look like if large swathes of land in our towns and cities hosted beautiful, diverse, abundant gardens growing good food and viable incomes.
Transition In Depth
A recently published book 'The Secure and the Dispossessed: how the military and corporations are shaping a climate-changed world' asks the question “What if the world’s leaders have decided it’s easier to deal with the impact of climate change than to tackle the underlying causes? It has a chapter about 'The Transition movement in global perspective' which you can read here:
Transition National hub for England and Wales
5 March, London
A group of Transitioners are coming together to develop a Transition National hub for England and Wales, we are meeting to begin to discuss how this development might happen. If you are interested in getting involved and/or coming to this meeting then please sign up here:
QUOTE OF THE MONTH
‘Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming’.
During the 2015, the Instituto de Transición Rompe el Círculo and the municipal candidatureGanar Móstoles have worked together in designing the strategies that will make Transition City Mostoles possible [Este post está disponible también en castellano]. As a result of this cooperation and the effort made by the candidature town councilors –people we specially want to thank for their hard-working dedication to the arduous tasks they had to take over- last Thursday the 16th of November, a municipal motion to include Móstoles in the global Transition Towns movement was accepted unanimously by the whole of the parties composing local government.
This motion supposes an explicit compromise by all the local groups in government to:
- Make a future institutional statement including Móstoles in any of the emerging networks that are bringing together these experiences at an international level and
- Become this compromise into facts, by developing a pilot project in cooperation with the actors that from the civil society have been driving the plan Móstoles, Transition City.
We know this is only a short step, maybe not even the most important one, but this is a step allowing us to generate a framework for action that, institutionally, may make viable later developments with a more practical dimension, in reach of everybody in a finite planet.
From the Instituto de Transición Rompe el Círculo, we will start by trying to turn this institutional compromise into an ambitious urban garden network along with a powerful program to intervene in educational centers. We trust in continuing adding the other projects –among the total 22 designed by working together with the social movements -with the aim of implementing an integral Transition process.
However, our activity will continue being independent from Institutions since we know institutional policy is a minefield for social transformation. It would be rather naive to believe a motion could not become a dead letter if it is does not come along with an external effort, made from self-organization and self-management. But we know, by our own experience, that self-management has also its limits. Necessarily, a transition process has to be a process of experimentation with dual strategies: a foot in councils and ten feet on the streets, in communities, in the construction of alternatives from the grassroots and specific utopias.
We consider the declaration of “Móstoles, Transition City” is an important and hopeful landmark. We are talking about a city -200.000 inhabitants- 17 km from Madrid city center, but having the social environment you would typically find in a town. It has a wide area that has not been urbanized, agriculture in the outskirts is still alive and the city has a rebel social fabric that has been proving to be a transformational muscle for many years. In addition, Móstoles has an enormous potential to pass on its initiatives, since it is situated in Madrid’s working class area, an urban space bringing together a million people with similar social, cultural and urban characteristics. We hopefully believe the success of a Transition process in Móstoles could spread along the whole of the sociologic space that has an important weight in the future of our country. Our objective is massive, and doubtlessly escapes our current possibilities, but this, as any big adventure, has a humble start.