Ideas from America on starting a Transition Town. Ruah Wennerfelt, Steve Chase & host Mark Helpsmeet in live stage conversation. Plus Greg Pahl, author of "Power from the People, How to Organize, Finance, and Launch Local Energy Projects." Max Keiser & Stacy Herbert on corporate corruption. Music: "In Your Eyes" by Peter Gabriel. Radio Ecoshock 120926 1 hour.
The climate has gone rogue, energy prices are threatening, and the economy sucks. You know the elections aren't going to make it better. Why wait for government? You can protect your community and yourself by helping your town withstand the shocks.
Download/listen to Radio Ecoshock for September 26, 2012 in CD quality (56 MB) here.
Or use the faster downloading, lower quality 14 MB version here.
RADIO STATIONS Two 29 minute segments allow time for station ID and announcements.
Radio Ecoshock 120926 Part 1 and Part 2
This program is about the Transition Town Movement and local power.
We begin with a half of an hour-long dialog with Ruah Swennerfelt and Steve Chase on the Transition Town movement in New England.
It's a rebroadcast of "Sprouts", radio production by independent community media. Last July, host Mark Helpsmeet of "Spirit in Action" hosted a live event Transition Town dialog in Rhode Island at the University of Kingston. It was originally broadcast on WHYS-LP in Eau Claire, Wisconsin, as part of Northern Spirit Radio. WHYS also broadcasts Radio Ecoshock.
The opening of the Sprouts segment contains part of the song "The Turning of the World" performed by Sara Thomsen (written by Ruth Pellam) & "I Have No Hands But Yours" by Carole Johnson.
The show closes with the Peter Gabriel classic "In Your Eyes" (this You tube from a live concert from the 2003 Growing Up Tour in Filaforum, Milan, Italy. Or try this live classic recording Papa Wemba & Peter Gabriel
TRANSITION IN NEW ENGLAND
Our discussion of Transition in New England and Europe was recorded in front of a live audience, in early July, in Rhode Island at the University of Kingston.
Quaker Earthcare Witness. She is currently involved with the Transition Town implementation in Charlotte, Vermont. Find her Transition US blog here.
Both our guests are involved in Quakers in Transition.
Steve Chase is Director of Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability at Antioch University New England. Steve talks about the Transition Town in Keene, New Hampshire, where their slogan is: "for local people concerned about peak oil, climate change, and a dysfunctional and unjust global economy - who want to respond with vision, courage, and creativity."
Helpsmeet asks how people who have very different political beliefs can work together in a Transition movement. One way is to stress "resilience" rather than the eco word "sustainability".
For the Quakers, the prospect of "energy famine" (as fossil fuels decline, become too expensive, or are taken over by others) can easily lead to resource wars. In this way, Peak Oil can really be a "peace" issue.
In Europe, some Neo-Nazi's took up the name "Transition" applied to their town. Partly in response to austerity in some European countries, this group agreed we have to learn to live on less, and so there is a need to keep immigrants out, using racist rhetoric.
In response, Transition US posted some core values, including posting local group constitutions on the Transition US web site.
It's ironic, because unlike the Nazi leadership cult, Ruah says success comes because Transition is a leaderless movement. Leadership is shared as well.
Having fun together is "a really core principle" says Ruah. Have fun, not long dreary meetings.
TRANSITION KEENE (NEW HAMPSHIRE)
Keene New Hampshire had a ground-breaking for a new food coop in mid-2012. It already has a thousand members in a town of 25,000.
They have around 20 community-supported agricultural projects in their area, which allows for more local food production. They now have a farmers' market and a winter farmers' market.
AS IN PERMACULTURE, THE SOLUTION IS FOUND WITHIN THE PROBLEM ITSELF
What's the hurry? asks host Mark. Is it just concern with oil supplies?
There are many reasons, says Ruah, but she doesn't think of it as all doom and gloom. In permaculture, she says, the solution is found in the problem itself.
Ruah still has a car, but is always aware of her pollution, that she is helping cause more global warming. She wants a group to help develop less harmful local transportation schemes. Like biking to a collector bus van, which leads to a larger bus to the city of Burlington, Vermont.
Central is the idea that we will have to learn to live well on less. Perhaps much less. Fossil fuels will be less available, cost more, and the damage they cause will become more and more apparent. But also, the idea of global equity, which is central to global peace, demands Western people use fewer resources, allowing the poorest people to get the basics.
In most cities, there is only 3 to 5 days’ worth of food. After that, if the trucks don't roll in, people run out of food. Local food production increases the ability to absorb coming shocks in the food production and delivery system, for whatever reason.
BOOKS TO GET YOU GOING
Ruah describes how to start a Transition Town. There are three books now available to help: the first one was "Transition Handbook" by Rob Hopkins. You'll have to get that one used from online services, as it is out of print. The Transition Culture blog now advocates buying "Transition Companion" also by Rob Hopkins.
There is a third: "Transition Timeline" by Shaun Chamberlin published in 2009.
Here is the description of "Transition Timeline" from transitionculture.org
"The Transition Timeline lightens the fear of our uncertain future, providing a map of what we are facing and the different pathways available to us. It describes four possible scenarios for the UK and world over the next twenty years, ranging from Denial, in which we reap the consequences of failing to acknowledge and respond to our environmental challenges, to the Transition Vision, in which we shift our cultural assumptions to fit our circumstances and move into a more fulfilling, lower-energy world. The practical, realistic details of this Transition Vision are examined in depth, covering key areas such as food, energy, demographics, transport and healthcare, and they provide a sense of context for communities working towards a thriving future.
The book also provides a detailed and accessible update on climate change and peak oil and the interactions between them, including their impacts in the UK, present and future. Use it. Choose your path, and then make that future real with your actions, individually and with your community. As Rob Hopkins outlines in his foreword, there is a rapidly- spreading movement addressing these challenges, and it needs you."
Also see Rob Hopkins in a 17 minute presentation "Transition to a World without Oil" at TED, on You tube in 2009.
TRANSITION IS HUGE IN EUROPE (INCLUDING PARIS, LONDON, AND BARCELONA)
In 2011, Ruah visited Transition communities in 10 different European countries, as well as a "Transition France" conference and a "Transition UK" conference. All the communities took different steps, or in different order, to adapt to where they lived.
Transition Paris. They broke down into smaller transition communities within the larger city. They had a central hub to serve these smaller groups.
They do the same thing in Transition Los Angeles and Transition Barcelona.
Find Transition Barcelona in Spanish or in English.
One group in England had members map out where food trees, like peak and apple trees, were accessible and perhaps not harvested. They asked homeowners for permission to harvest the fruit, rather than let it be wasted.
In Charlotte, Vermont they have an "Asset Directory". They took a survey of community skills, to allow skill-sharing. It also hooks up people who want to learn skills, whether it's canning, small scale farming or whatever.
Steve Case points out that social movements are not like corporate franchises. You don't buy a license to become a Transition Town. There are about 1,000 formal transition initiatives around the world.
They have workshops on how to deal with difficult people. We are a "cussed species" and sometimes the culture doesn't help us.
We need an outer transition to reconfigure our communities with resilience, an energy descent plan, to live without damaging the climate, and live on less and less.
"THE THEORY OF ANYWAY"
When Rob Hopkins wrote the Transition Handbook around 2008, he advanced "the theory of anyway". Even if climate change isn't as serious, or oil continues longer than thought, or the economy limps along - we'll still be living and eating better with the transition town, with a more resilient economy. You'll feel better with more local democracy, more skills, and more community involvement - no matter what happens.
The international site for Transition Towns is here.
The local producers and buyers try to reduce food miles, and the use of pesticides and fertilizers which are petroleum based.
Like Ruah, Steve Chase says the challenges of energy depletion and economic downsizing also contain the solutions. For example, one water treatment plant in New England was getting swamped by sudden inflows of water. This problem was solved by installing micro-generators on the intake pipes. Now that plant is self-sufficient, generating its own energy from the former "problem".
They plan to have about 12 transition trainers in New England this year, to offer weekend workshops. Beyond this basic training there is a new training workshop called "Transition Thrive" (what to do next, after getting your group going).
Transition groups in Scotland are incorporated to do community business, like community bakeries. Ruah recommends the book "The Town That Food Saved". It's about Hardwick Vermont.
It's important to partner with town or city government. Their local government had one immediate problem: too many parents drove kids to school even though school buses are provided. It caused dangerous congestion, and more climate change. How to make riding the bus cool for kids? Now that's a challenge!
Transition may say "don't wait for government" but groups still work with existing governments to get things done, says Steve Chase.
In Keene, they have awareness raising "Transition Tuesday". One success was showing the film "A Convenient Truth" about Curitiba Brazil. That town transformed itself. See a short trailer for A Convenient Truth here.
People need to see examples of what is possible, Chase says, rather than only hearing the dire consequences if we don't do something. Once you begin to think creatively, all the problems seem like opportunities.
For the second part of this program "Local Power" with author Greg Pahl, click here.
Wednesday, September 26, 2012
Transition Yourself - Part One
Posted by Alex Smith at 6:49 PM
Labels: alternative energy, community, energy, environment, localization, movement, radio, radio ecoshock, show, solutions, town, transition
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