Last Monday night, Kathleen Short gave a presentation on the genesis and growth of Transition Towns from a single project in Totnes, England just five short years ago to several hundred initiatives worldwide. The key notion of Transition Towns is that systemic, community-led responses to climate change and peak oil can help communities develop resilience and hope.
Thousands of initiatives around the world have begun trying to address the crucial issues: How can we make our community stronger and happier as we deal with the impacts of peak oil and economic contraction, while at the same time urgently reducing CO2 emissions? The Transition Town model answers this question anew, each time another community joins the network. During the group discussion at the recent meeting in Fairhaven, some additional questions arose:
1. How can a Transition Town –or any other sustainability initiative–respond creatively and constructively to the very real economic distress many of our community members are faced with?
2. How can a systemic initiative like Transition Town be developed that honors the wonderful work and efforts already going on across the SouthCoast in such areas as energy, food, and waste?
3. How do we move forward both regionally and on a town by town basis?
The Umass Dartmouth Sustainability Initiative, in partnership with SRPEDD, the Southeastern Regional Planning and Economic Development District, and the Regional Council on Sustainability are together interested in providing space to discuss these issues and to providing support to towns who would like to investigate developing a transition initiative.
Two upcoming related meetings are:
October 6th, Regional Council on Sustainability Quarterly Meeting, 1-4 pm, ATMC Fall River: Creating Community Based Economies in Southeastern Massachusetts. Discussion will include local currencies, Time-Banking, and other alternate economic structures.
October 21-23, a Bioneers Regional Transition Town Discussion will be held during the Connecting for Change Conference in New Bedford, Ma.