Transition movement successes

Examples of Transition movement  successes

Transition Hull opened its autumn film programme with a showing of the film ‘In Transition 2.0’, made very recently by the Transition Network to showcase some of the successful transition initiatives worldwide.

Although the impetus for the movement was concern about peak oil and climate change, its ongoing focus is on building communities. Moving to more sustainable lifestyles can bring people together, make them feel more connected with each other and with nature, provide momentum, a sense of purpose – and often – fun!

There are around 200 UK transition initiatives, over 300 in the US, 80 in Europe and 160 in Australasia, with a scattering of initiatives across the rest of the world, in South America,  Africa, India and Japan. The film used various examples to illustrate the stages transition initiatives pass through. ‘Starting out’ was represented by Moss Side Transitioners door-knocking to successfully summon up interest, and by a village in Portugal getting together to look at how they could become a sustainable community.

Stage2, ‘Deepening’,  showed an area of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where a lot of property was boarded up, being converted to an urban farm, and in the UK, Kilburn Station being used to grow fruit and vegetables by the local Transition initiative. Stage 3 is connecting with other groups, particularly local councils. Productive interaction was shown taking place in Monteveglio in Italy, where the council has passed a resolution on sustainability, and in Totnes in Devon, which was the first initiative in the UK and whose Transition Streets project was successful in reducing energy use.

Stage 4 is a ‘Building’ stage which involves strategic developments, such community-owned shops, cooperative energy production and local currency.  The Green Valley Grocer community shop at Marsden & Slaithwaite in Yorkshire is a thriving co-operative;  the Ovesco solar panel installation on the local brewery at Lewes in Sussex is community-owned;  local currencies have been launched at Brixton, Lewes and most recently at Bristol; and in Tamil Nadu in India, 4 villages are co-operating to introduce sustainable practices to stop migration, as part of Heal the Soil Community Supported Agriculture project.

Rob Hopkins, founder of Transition Towns in 2006, discussed a number of points during the film, such as

  • ‘whoever comes is the right person’: initiatives grow in the direction their members take them, according to their interests and skills
  • Tools such as permaculture are an important aspect of Transition
  • Food projects are an ‘easy win’ for stage 2 initiatives
  • It is important to celebrate achievement along the way
  • Not all initiatives are successful – some fall to bits or run out of steam
  • The Transition Network can provide support for individual initiatives

Transition can also be seen as a tool to design responses for when times get hard, and this was particularly well illustrated by the activities of the Transition Time Bank in Christchurch, New Zealand, which coordinated the work of so many volunteers after the earthquake.

If you would like to watch this film, you can arrange to borrow it by ringing 845356. You are also warmly welcome to attend the rest of our autumn film programme ( see post below)

Websites about some of the projects mentioned above:

JP. Oct 2012

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