Transition Town Westcliff and the positive message of Transition Towns
Transition Town Westcliff heralds the positive message of Transition Towns throughout the world.
What’s it all about?
With all the bad news in the media it is easy to shut off and get negative about reality. And the bad news stories are big stories – climate change; our societies’ fossil fuel addiction at a time when oil is getting scarcer and more expensive to extract (this is known as Peak Oil); and an economy numb to the suffering of the people.
There is though another way to look at the events around us. This is a perspective taken by Transition Initiatives. Every challenge is an opportunity and if we get together locally, discuss and set out our vision, we can act to get positive outcomes.
So what exactly is a Transition Initiative? Founder Rob Hopkins describes the Movement as:
“Rebuilding local agriculture and food production; localising energy production; rethinking healthcare;, rediscovering local building materials in the context of zero energy building; and rethinking how we manage waste. All build resilience and offer the potential of an extraordinary renaissance — economic, cultural and spiritual.”
And it seems this message is catching up with over 170 Transition Initiatives around the world in England, Wales, Scotland, Ireland, New Zealand, Australia, USA, Canada, Holland, Germany, Italy, Japan, Chile and growing…
The movement started in Totnes and Westcliff was the first Transition Town in Essex. Mersea Island is now also a Transition Town and many other towns in the county are interested and are trying to get established.
A Transition Town starts when a group of local people want to tackle the challenges of climate change and lifestyles entrenched in addiction to oil. The group will read the Transition Handbook and get together to discuss what they could do in their locality. They are supported and guided in their work by the 12 Steps of Transition which includes simple steps such as awareness raising with film screenings and talks; networking with existing like-minded groups; working with the local government; honouring the elders. We start initially with practical projects that manifest the concepts of the movement. Gradually we develop a full plan to get the locality away from the fossil fuel addiction that will help prevent climate change: this is called an Energy Descent Action Plan. The plan consists of the communities positive visions for the locality and is a blueprint for its future. It should be positive and something which will make the work towards its realisation exciting and worth aspiring to.
Thinking about starting a Transition Initiative where you live? Go for it – just many other communities have done.
Transition Westcliff started March 2008 by taking up the Transition Towns positive message of‘we can do it, together, now’. We have done film screenings, talks and presentations; attended the Transition Training; we’ve been featured in the Echo and the Yellow Advertiser and our pictures found their way to the Futures magazine, the US based Yes! Magazine and the Dutch magazine ‘De Kleine Aarde’. We have met local groups and businesses and we’veset up our website and now produce a monthly newsletter. Most recently Transition Westcliff Film Club started off with regular monthly film screenings and presentations of local projects. Then there are Transition Drinks – a relaxed social event for the public and various other groups to interact in an informal setting. Practical manifestations of our ideas are the Scrumping project mapping local fruit trees; a Garden Share pilot; and Transition Westcliff Library. We are planning an Edible Garden Crawl, an Ecohomes Tour and a Well being, Happiness and Resilience Fair. (For more infomation and dates of Transition Film Club and Transition Drinks see the Healthy Life Essex Environmental Events section.)
Transition Southend Hub
A year seems a long time but according to the rules of permaculture the first step of the design is observing and understanding the garden before one can work on it. We think the same applies to working with the community. We have learned much this year and we feel that thetime has come to start Southend in Transition Hub: to welcome all the people who have contacted us and are interested in starting their Transition Teams, Streets, Neighbourhoods, Wards or even Towns in Southend-on-Sea Borough. Make the choice! Which size do you feel comfortable with? Start to transition your life and your community to a low-energy and happy future. Imagine Transition Southchurch or Leigh-on-Sea or Milton………
We don’t describe ourselves as experts but as local people on a journey. We would love you to share that journey with us. We’ve learned much this year and want to share our experience, and there is training and support available. So acknowledge the times are hard, shake off the ‘doom and gloom’ and get in contact with us, come to the events and do your bit! Nothing will change without you and together we can make the work much easier and pleasant….
BE THE CHANGE!