Discuss a “Regional Organizing Committee”

A letter from Keene attendees to the network of New England grassroots groups

When Resilience & Transition groups gathered in Keene on March 15, 2014, the facilitator asked whether New England is ready to form a regional structure for Resilience & Transition groups in New England. The answer was a resounding “yes.”

In response, we’re inviting you to discuss a “Regional Organizing Committee” (ROC – pronounced ROCK) – to take our region-wide resilience work in New England to the next step. We will affectionately call this Committee the “Rockers.”

The purpose of the Rockers will be to facilitate horizontal communication and action among initiatives, both in-person and online, to enhance local resilience in the New England region. In particular, the Rockers will ensure that the regional network of groups in New England convenes in person once per year (or more). Other purposes for the Rockers will undoubtedly emerge over time. We imagine that the Rockers would convene four times per year, once in person at the annual gathering, and three times over the phone or online.*

We are inspired by Rob Hopkins’ observation that local Transition initiatives often experience a “donut effect,” where a group’s energy drifts into projects and a gap develops at the center. It is exciting that projects to support regional resilience are happening in New England: a regional network of academics is forming, there is a regional Photo Slam, and folks are talking about a “Whole New England Catalog.” The Rockers will be designed to “hold the center” of this regional work and ensure that core region-wide communications carry on.

The Rockers will be an open, flexible, and transparent group. We set out these three simple parameters for membership:

  1. Members are active in a local resilience, green, energy, food, sustainability, environmental justice, new economy, time banking, Transition, or other group
  2. Members believe in the purpose of the Rockers and support the idea that local groups should be connected to each other across the region to enhance regional resilience
  3. Members commit to one in-person and three remote meetings per year, and have the technological capacity to meet over the phone and/or online.

This proposal is up for discussion and reaction. Please join a phone call about the Rockers on June 26 at 7pm. To attend, RSVP to Sarah Byrnes, sarah@localcircles.org, and we will send you the login details.

We are eager for your thoughts and need your involvement to make this happen! Please join us on June 26!

Josh Arnold, Global Awareness Local Action
Dakota Butterfield, JP NET & Transition Trainer
Dale Bryan, Tufts University & Mulling Over Medford
Sarah Byrnes, New England NET
Jamie Capach, Transition Keene Advocates
Steve Chase, Transition Keene Advocates & Transition Trainer
Dan Jones, Transition Town Montpelier
Jennifer Kleindienst, Coginchaug Area Transition
Orion Kriegman, JP NET
Conrad Willeman, Transition Newburyport

* Of course, we don’t expect the Rockers to shoulder all the detailed work. As has happened in the past, a group of folks will need to commit to various organizing tasks. For example, leading up to the events in Boston, Brattleboro, Portland, and Keene, a region-wide team of 6 or 7 folks worked with a local team to organize each event.