by Katie Baxter
With approximately 35 countries worldwide now involved in Transition programs, it can be daunting trying to select just a few activities to highlight. Communities of all types and sizes are planting gardens, repurposing clothing and household items, teaching each other skills that can be practical, creative and just plain fun. Co-ops are being formed to share in purchasing food, transportation, and even energy. Derelict areas are being restored and turned into gardens and homes. Local councils are including Transition values in their longterm planning. The movement has gained tremendous momentum and people worldwide are making things happen, in Portugal, Brazil, Australia, Ireland, the Netherlands, Chile and 30 other countries.
Sunday, May 13, 2012, was declared “In Transition 2.0 Film and Information Day” in Germany, Austria and Switzerland! The Transition initiatives in those countries are self-organizing screenings and discussions of the new “In Transition 2.0” film. Many people are finding the film even more engaging and inspiring than the first one. www.intransitionmovie.com/
Announcing the Festival of Transition, www.festivaloftransition.net, a “nationwide day of action and re-imagining on 20th-21st June 2012”. Rob Hopkins, founder of the TT movement, announced that “the idea is that rather than flying to Rio [for the UN Earth Summit], putting nearly 4 tons of carbon dioxide into an atmosphere that really doesn’t need 4 tons of CO2 put into it, we stay at home, and do stuff that models the kind of world we want to see. It is a celebration of change, of practical responses, of community, and we hope that it will be a global event, not just in the UK….”
There are many activities planned for the time of the festival but the main event is on Sunday. Although planned for the UK, everyone is asked to participate. “24 Hours of Possibility” is planned for the 20th, which is the longest day of the year and the day the UN Earth Summit in Rio begins.
“The idea is simple. You imagine different ways in which a post-transition society might also be a better one, and then try them out as a real-life experiment during a 24-hour period starting at dawn on 20th June.” Ideas to get you thinking include 24 hours of only: eating local, exchange without using money, life lived outdoors, talking with strangers, imagining a day in 2062, slow food and slow everything, transforming a derelict site, not using a car, inter-generational gatherings, making things for other people, reading together, community celebrations and ceremonies, creating a community garden, installing solar panels, sharing your skills. “From small backyard actions and helping neighbors to thousands aligned in acts of care and celebration, EVERY choice you make matters. At each gathering, workshop, workday and action that grows our skill, our connectedness and our local resilience, there is a palpable sense of how rich and deeply right these shared efforts are.” T. Heckman, Transition US Board President
But for one country that faces the greatest reconstruction task since WWII, Transition has taken on a deeper and wider significance than in most countries. It was just over one year ago that the 9.0 earthquake and tsunami disaster struck Japan. As the Japanese focus right now on continuing to provide temporary housing and rebuild their infrastructure and remove endless piles of debris, they are still “asking difficult questions about the future of their energy supply and just what sort of society should emerge from the ruins”. As Brendan Barrett relates in his article, Transition initiatives in Japan are being listened to by the highest officials.