The Transition Network newsletter – October 2012

Published on October 5, 2012 by Mike Grenville

The Transition Network newsletter – October 2012


Transition Network Conference Report
(see more impressions in Social Reporters below)

Write up on the ‘best yet’ conference by Rob Hopkins

A collection of stories from the Social Reporters, blogs, and reports from the Transition Network UK Conference

September Round-up of What’s Happening out in the World of Transition
Stories from all over including Australia, Canada, Germany, Italy, Spain, Ireland, Netherlands, USA and the UK.

London Roundup
There’s plenty of transitiony things going on in London. Some groups are taking a step back, others holding firm or coming into their own. One thing is obvious – transition has definitely ‘stuck’ in the city, though it’s not obvious how!

The story of the new economy told through 50 enterprises
Transition Network’s REconomy project needs you!!! Over 12 weeks we will identify amazing enterprises that collectively tell us the story of the new economy in all it’s stunning diversity. Click the link and tell us about the enterprises that inspire you.


50 months: ‘Our best way forward is for communities to build local resilience’
New Economics Foundation’s ’100 Months’ campaign today reaches its midway point. It was launched in August 2008 based on the understanding that the time that remains to us to avoid the likelihood of runaway climate change is limited, and based on the science at the time, there was closing window of opportunity to do something meaningful about it. 50 people were asked to write, in 50 words, their response to the question “so what needs to be done in the time we have left?” 50 words isn’t much… so they also asked 50 people including Rob Hopkins to write a longer, 400-word piece for the Guardian today on the theme of ‘The Climate Clock is Ticking. Normal isn’t Working. What Will You, and Should We, Do Differently? Rob Hopkins argues that this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for entrepreneurship.

Green V Transition Towns: Same Aims, Different Means
The green political movement and the transition movement could be said to share broadly the same objectives, but could the transition movement stand a better chance of changing people’s mindsets? Two transition activists from North London discuss their work.

Tale of a Thousand and One Blogs
Three years later our 1001st blog since starting This Low Carbon Life blog with a party.

Politics and Contructed Scarcities
Just how dangerous is it to mix up contructed scarcities with geophysical scarcities when talking about how to build resilience into local communities?

Rob Interviews Storyteller Dr. Martin Shaw
“A lot of opportunity is going to arrive in the next 20 years disguised as loss”

The Degrowth conference in Venice
Straight after the Transition Network conference, Rob Hopkins went on a 17 hour train to Venice to attend the the third Degrowth conference. Here below is his day by day write up:

Day one “When we reach the bottom of this current crisis, the things that at the moment seem like a Utopia will in fact seem very realistic”
Day two: Degrowth, or alternatives to development?
Day three: “We don’t just need more jobs, we need useful jobs”
Day four: “Democracy without confidence is nothing”


The Social Reporting Project celebrated its first birthday on 18 September and seven of us met up to cover the Conference in its many aspects (you can read all our 24 Conference blogs here). We’re now heading into our second year with a lively autumn schedule, including big picture topics such as flying, hierachy, deep time, livlihoods, and our essential report on everything you wanted to know about the Network (but weren’t in Totnes to ask). Our regional series starts this month in London with Jo Homan and five city initiatives. Next stop: Scotland. Meanwhile here are a few highlights from a full-on month’s reporting:


We’re gonna meet on the Ledge – Pausing for Reflection
The Transition Companion provides 319 pages of wisdom (if you count the index) on the various stages of the Transition journey but only one of them is headed Pausing for Reflection.

From Word of Mouth to Printed Press
Making sure we talk about the beans and the tomatoes.

You’re only as resilient as your neighbour.
The prescription is that “if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.” But we may not have time.


‘The Future is Ours to See’
I’d taken 5 days walking 98kms to reach the Summit as a ‘North’ route walker, an elliptical perigrination up and around the giant arms of Cadair Idris,

Open Space session:
How do we balance the gift economy versus the need for jobs?

« I heard a story about a man who nicked a telly and hid it in a bush »
A true denizen of cardboard city causes us to question our own little cardboard future.

Conference Reflections: REconomy and other ways forward
It held a space for four plus days offering a little something for everybody: creative venue, amazing interpersonal experiences, practical knowledge, profound insights, synchronicities and incongruencies, proposals and critiques, Bacchanalian abandon, and an utterly depressing book reading. A successful event by any measure.

Young People in Transition – where we are at
One outcome was the formation of a young persons network.

Humans Flying, Walking Backwards into the Future and Dipping Our Feet in the Lido

The Lavender Hill Mob
Communication is what brings those fragmented parts of ourselves and our world back together.


Watching the Arctic melt
I’ve travelled to the Arctic with Greenpeace, joining our ship – the Arctic Sunrise – to bear witness to the sea ice minimum; the moment each year when sea ice extent in the Arctic is at its lowest and we can measure how much we have lost, year on year.


Bringing the harvest in
It might be harvest time, but our work is only just beginning.

Veg-growing from scratch – a Transition Tale
Tim put down his chainsaw and looked at me, and then at the head-high tangle that stretched unbroken and uphill for an unknown distance. « Do you really think it’s worth it? », he said.

It wasn’t raining …
We were all a bit doubtful about the launch – was it even worth pushing a leaflet through the doors of all the local houses?


We had a great launch of the Transition Free Press on the Friday evening of the Transition conference. We toasted our preview edition, celebrated with our contributors and readers and began to sign up initiatives to distribute for future editions. But now we need your help. Every great grass roots movement has had it’s media. We need ours. The Transition Free Press could be our national newspaper, our clear and powerful voice, spreading the word and growing our movement. For that to happen, we need at least 35 transition initiatives to sign up to distribute – just 35 out of 200 across the UK. Are you appalled by the mass media’s lack of coverage of Transition, positive new economic models, and the wider relocalisation movement? You can do something about it. It’s time to make a stand. Are you in?

The Transition Free Press will be a vital communications tool and a fund raising tool for your group. If you’re committed to doing the grass roots work to build a resilient community where you live, then the Transition Free Press will be a valuable addition to your tool kit. And it’s a great read – 24 pages of informative, edgy news and analysis every quarter.

The plan is for it to have a cover price of £1 (30p cost price) so you can sell for a fixed price, ask for donations, give away for free, as you wish. As well as a great read, the paper is an invaluable communications tool to have on hand at events. We will have a template for initiatives to add their own local and regional news and insert into the main paper.

We’re hoping to run four 24-page editions next year, starting this December. Our 16 page preview edition was generously sponsored by the Transition Network, Mike Grenville and another anonymous donor. Most of our contributors worked for free. But now we’d like to become a social enterprise and do it for real. Can you give us a hand? Do get in touch if you’d like to be involved:

ARTS: In Your Own Skin seeks funding this month
One of the highlights of this year’s Transition Conference cabaret was the screening of a documentary featuring people with words painted on their bodies – words that revealed something about them that would never be visible from the outside. This was In Your Own Skin, a multi-media social project by the artist and photographer, Katheryn Trenshaw, set to music by the singer, Juliette Russell.


The original Transition training with ideas on how to set up, run and grow a Transition Initiative; also useful for people who have recently got involved and want to get the essential skills and insights to help their TI become a success

The Transition training for people who’ve been involved in an established Transition initiative or a similar group for a while. Looks at the typical challenges TIs can face after their start-up phase and includes practical ideas on how to maintain momentum; engage a broader range of people; fund activity; help establish a localised economy; and communicate well within the group. Builds on the original Transition Launch training, and The Transition Companion .

Skills for Effective Transition Groups
How we can get better at working together in groups. No dates have been fixed yet; to receive an update as soon as dates are confirmed please contact

NEW!! Inner Transition Workshop
Transition Network announces a weekend workshop with Sophy Banks to be held in London on 26 – 27th January 2013. If you’re interested please email and we’ll send you full details as they are available.


Seed Freedom Fortnight
From 2nd October (Gandhi’s Birth Anniversary), to 16th October (World Food Day) the Global Alliance for Seed Freedom is planning intensive actions to create a global citizens’ response on the issue of Seed Freedom that we hope will act as a wake up call for citizens and the government.

Sacred Economics: Money, Gift, and Society
Thursday 1st November – London 
Charles Eisenstein will be giving an afternoon and evening day workshop in London.

Community Composting Training Programme
Free community composting courses for growers of Local Food will soon be taking place across England. The courses which will be running during October and November are aimed at local not for profit organisations, community groups and social enterprises which are growing local fruit and vegetables and which wish to develop new or existing composting activity at their own sites.

Ashden Awards seeking 2013 entries
Are you breaking new ground in cutting CO2 emissions, energy efficiency and renewable energy generation? Are you changing behaviour and encouraging more sustainable forms of transport? If so, the Ashden Awards would like to hear from you. The closing date for applications is 30 October.


What to do with this year’s bumper harvest of snails … snail soup?

Open Forum

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This newsletter is published on the first Friday of each month.

Newsletter Editor: Mike Grenville, 
from Transition Forest Row for the Transition Network
+44 (0)7974 924289

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