Letter from Carolyne Stayton, Co-Director, Transition US

Dear Transition Leaders,

We are thrilled that you all are gathered today and we wanted to give you a quick overview of highlights from the global Transition movement as well as an update on some exciting activities we have coming up.

Transition Initiatives are now in 43 countries – including Brazil, Japan, Greece, India and South Aftrica! Transition Greyton in South Africa is a relatively new TI and shows an impressive take on Transition beyond western culture.  An inspiring 7 min. video here (if you choose to watch it): https://www.transitionnetwork.org/news/2013-05-07/transition-town-greyton-south-africa-tv

In December 2012 the Transition Network won the European Economic and Social Committee Civil Society award for their REconomy work. This prestigious award, in part, has stimulated the most exciting news we have.

For those who have not heard this.  Rob Hopkins was invited by an international foundation to be personally introduced by them to a number of funders and foundations in the US.  Although Rob has not flown for a number of years he weighed the value of potentially bringing substantial financial resources to the overall global Transition work and decided he had to come. Adding to this initial fortuitous expedition with his foundation hosts we are planning a cross-country tour for Rob with the intent to both energize Transition work and help raise public awareness.

One objective we are holding is to schedule a stop in the Northeast in early October for all of you to meet with Rob and for Rob to meet all of you.

A little more context on his visit: For the first time on earth we have passed 400 ppm of carbon in the atmosphere – on track for a 6 degree C rise in temperatures by 2100. I won’t go into the more sobering implications other than to say that there seems to be a consensus that the window for making pivotal change is now – as is the opportunity to fire up the ordinary person into action.  Now more than ever, we have to ignite the sentiments of the nation.  In the fall of 2013 Transition US will be putting a tremendous amount of effort into this awareness-raising campaign starting with Rob’s tour.  It will be a great opportunity for us all to build on that momentum. So think creatively on that today too!

Another avenue Transition US has been avidly promoting and organizing is an advanced training module that we will launch across the US.  This course is really geared to provide groups with a number of skills to more effectively work together and organize their communities into action.  An international communities’ study came up with the results that 90% of groups fail because of poor group process! We are determined to outdo those odds by leaps and bounds. To that end we hope to schedule a 2-day Effective Groups course in your area too in the fall.

Lastly we are collaborating with a host of others on an extensive Resilience Indicator toolkit project for communities to better assess their vulnerabilities and chart a more focused and impactful way forward. A path forward that, by its design, brings with it the major community stakeholders.

Please keep apprised of all of these new offerings through our website and email distribution lists.

Finally some other overview bits: Transition Initiatives have started in 139 cities, towns and regions in 35 states with more than 200 others currently forming.  Although some TI’s have gotten rather quiet, changed into something else or stopped altogether we are now uncovering inspiring legacies – all of those projects/actions/hard works that have been sparked within communities because of the catalyzing efforts of Transition Initiatives.  To name a few: In California – the whole Grange movement has been reignited.  In Ann Arbor Michigan Reskilling festivals are rocking and in Sandpoint Idaho they now have a well established and permanent Folk School.  There is so much to learn from every part of the process.  So much to celebrate. So much new wisdom to put back into the system. While we are busy at this remarkable resilience-building work let us build that muscle of experimentation, of giving things a wholehearted try, of learning and of celebrating both our successes and our failures.

There are of course too those many Transition Initiatives that are currently making impact in large and small ways. Like Transition Sarasota FL that gleaned 75,000 tons of food for their local food banks, the energy tours conducted by Transition Sebastopol that is seeding the way for Sonoma Clean Power – a community choice alternative energy option, or Transition Amherst that is creating 350 new edible gardens. During the month of May there were more than 7,000 actions taken across the country by many of you and by many others who participated in the Transition Challenge. Actions saved water, conserved energy, grew food and built community. All over the country new gardens sprang up, fruit trees were planted, grey water systems were installed, and communities came together in meaningful and colorful ways.

With Rob’s visit likely being so prominent, we have a rare opportunity to highlight the groundbreaking and painstaking work being done by the Transition Initiatives across the US.  To help with this we have sent out a survey (really short – only 10 minutes!). Information from this will be a guide for Transition US’s next steps.  The results too will form the basis of a report that Rob can enthusiastically refer to while meeting funders and giving talks.  To sweeten the survey deal Post Carbon Institute is providing Transition Initiatives and Mulling groups who complete the survey with their Energy: Overdevelopment and the Delusion of Endless Growth coffee table book.  So please fill out the survey!  If you have any questions email us at survey@transitionus.org.

I wish you all an inspiring, heart-opening, momentum-building day. Believe me when I say we would love to join you/meet you/roll up our sleeves with you!  Please let us know what you learn, what inspires you and what we might do stronger and better together. All our best from Transition US.

Carolyne Stayton
Transition US