Transition Circles are neighbourhood groups supporting individuals to make practical transitions to reducing energy consumption, sharing experiences of what's working and what's difficult in making real changes.
Are you involved in a community project? Want people to know?
We're part of a world-wide community movement in response to peak oil and climate change. This site gives you details of all our up and coming events and meetings, as well as reports, previews of films and books and related matters that are going on in Norwich and East Anglia.
NR3 have been meeting most weekends and developing ideas for grassroots projects at their base at the Ranger's House on Mousehold Heath, in collaboration with a sustainable education centre. If you would like to find out more about their activities, such as building a willow bender, the equinox picnic and Earth Hour please check out their blog http://www.norwichtransition.blogspot.com. Although the group is based in North City the gatherings are an open house for people to come along and get involved. Watch this space for details of the Midsummer Transition Party, June 20.
One of the outcomes of the Open Space meeting was that a group decided to form to facilitate the preparation of a resilience plan for Norwich. Our aim is to help Transition Norwich to create a clear statement of what we need to do in all the areas covered by the theme groups - food, energy, transport, heart and soul and so on - to create a more resilient Norwich. This is the same document that's described in the Transition Handbook as the "Energy Descent Action Plan". According to Transition Network, the Resilience Plan should "paint a picture of the community that is so colourful, so appealing and so irresistible, that anyone not involved in bringing it to fruition will feel bereft of meaning in their life." The group also felt it needed to include some clear numbers about the amount of food, energy etc. we're going to need to maintain a good quality of life. The Group's first meeting will be on Tuesday May 26th at 7.30pm at Inner Space. We already have representatives from some theme groups but we'd ideally like all groups to be represented. Contact firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
After experiencing this dynamic form of freestyle group discussion at the Transition East Anglia conference, TN held their first Open Space morning on April 25. Open Space Technology is a key tool for Transition (Step 6) and allows time and space to look at subjects and issues at a deeper and broader level than in regular group meetings. It was also an open door for people who had come to the Unleashing but not yet joined a group, to come along and meet those who have, and for everyone to exchange ideas (as well as share a delicious and sustainable lunch).
Notes on some of the topics discussed, from How to Deal with the Ecomomic Recession to How to Revive a Flagging Group are available on the website at:
Great news! We now have a site to grow organic vegetables at Postwick on the edge of the city for our CSA scheme. A key factor in creating a resilient food supply for Norwich is to increase the amount of fresh fruit and veg grown in and around the city, as well as learning to grow them organically without oil-based fertilisers. The Food Group aims to kickstart the process by inviting members of TN (and friends) to "own" the production, employ a grower and commit to paying for a weekly share of the produce. Working with East Anglia Food link, the Food Group aims to start next spring and is finalising a funding bid to the Lottery to pay for set-up costs, as well as the City Farm and Flour Mill and Bread project. A recent on-line survey revealed a very strong interest in these schemes.
Now we need to convince the Lottery that we will really be able to sign up members, so we need as many people as possible to come to a meeting on June 2nd at 7.30pm at the Baptist Church on St. Mary's Plain. So please come along and demonstrate your support. For more info email email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org
The Sustainable Living Festival is a festival about practical living in a sustainable way, at a time when the cost of living and how to live sustainably are uppermost in people's minds. The festival opens on 22 May, International Biodiversity Day, and culminates in the three-day BBC Garden Design event in association with Easton College and the Norfolk Nursery Network. All events will take place in the Forum. Over thirty groups and organisations (including our own Transition Norwich) are providing advice tips, workshops, interactive exhibitions and much more. For further info contact www.cueeast.org.
Transition Norwich is planning to have information stands at several upcoming events across Norwich and Norfolk. Our design team has been busy working on a beautiful new display - first showing at the Sustainable Living Festival - that will tell people the basics about Transition Norwich. And the only thing we're missing is you! We need people to volunteer to work at these stands, to chat to interested people about the exciting, inspiring projects that TN is developing. If you're interested in being part of this please email email@example.com.
Recycle Together was launched by the Waste Group to the 17,000 members of Norwich Freecycle in February. It was created by members of TN Zero Waste group to help the users of the Mile Cross recycling centre in Norwich. Users can offer to take things to the centre or can ask for help with transport. The objective is to encourage recycling and to reduce car journeys - especially for flat dwellers who do not get a kerbside collection. The group has 44 members so far and is proving very effective. Contact http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Recycle-TogetherUKNorfolkMileX/
The One-Planet Living group, based at UEA, would like to hear from people who are interested in using the ecological footprint as a way to measure how far we have come/still have to go to achieve ecological sustainability. In previous meetings One Planet Living has focused on real actions that could be undertaken e.g. starting a green energy co-op, and on May 27 will discuss a recent report from five students who worked to calculate the footprint of UEA. It is felt that the combination of these actions and looking at the UEA report would be extremely effective. Do join them on May 27. For further details email Erik at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This year's seminal film about climate change had its successful premiere at Cinema City last month with a strong contingent from Transition Norwich present, followed by a second screening in which TN took part in a panel for a lively discussion after the film. This month The Age of Stupid crew launch a new indie screening (www.indiescreenings.net) allowing anyone, anywhere to buy a license and put on their very own Stupid screening. If you schedule your screening for 7.30pm on the 22nd (the official launch day) you'll be able to tune into a live web broadcast with George Monbiot, the Met Office and Stupid's director, Franny Armstrong.
from the OPEN SPACE session at the Belvedere Centre, Norwich on Saturday 25th April 2009
Posted by Charlotte Du Cann (TN Heart and Soul/Communications)
I asked this question for two reasons: 1) to find out how we can strengthen our awareness that we are in a process of transition and not get waylaid in ego battles 2) to explore ways we can defuse our affiliations with figures of power (spiritual, political, glamorous etc). that impede our working together in a harmonious way.
We had a lively and very focussed discussion on this topic that contained many ideas and experiences, ranging from dealing with the hyper-reality of bureaucracy (Job Centres) to attending global conferences (World Work). What felt most vital was the acknowledgement that TN meetings were an active force for change and that for Transition to work we had not only to engage in a low-carbon lifestyle but actively reduce the habitual asserting of our individualism.
ENERGY DESCENT ACTION PLAN = EGO DESCENT ACTION PLAN Our individualistic desire to consume, to control, to escape into fantasy are all symptoms of an inner lack, institutionalised by society. To avoid feeling being put down or powerless we emulate – sometimes without knowing it - the life-styles of the powerful and rich. Although desire for personal power was compared to an addiction (the powerlessness of the addict was cited from the 12 Steps programme) it was recognised that a desire for status and material possessions was the norm and actively encouraged by our global culture. To move forward we needed to break out from our isolation and fear of being put down and start trusting each other.
OUTSIDE POWER (outer level) It was acknowledged there were two kinds of power: power relations between people and the power or energy gained from electricity and fossil fuels. The possession of objects - cars, technology and houses - and activities – travel, sport, dining in restaurants - all confer power. What replaces these things? A sense of self and a sense of belonging. This cannot be forged by simply reducing our habits of consumption. What Transition offers is a group practice in which new ways of interacting can self-organise and provide both meaning and value. Strength is gained by building community and having sustainable relationships i.e. those not based on social hierarchies. Feeling you are not on your own sustains us in difficult circumstances.
POWER STRUCTURE IN A GROUP (inner level) Ego battles ensue as a consequence of reacting against power structures that have been abused. Desire for personal power gets in the way of building a communal structure. To proceed with less inner and outer power requires a different kind of engagement, as well as an agreed procedure. It was felt that Transition meetings provide good practice at interrelating, synthesising information, pooling resources, feeling we are all in the same boat together. In the meetings our individualistic tendencies are lessened naturally by listening to and respecting what is being said and receiving that respect back. Experiences and skills which are not deemed important in the conventional world are properly valued and we don’t waste time and energy battling with each other, or becoming lost in our own grandiosity or the world's.
DISSOLVING OLD SYSTEMS Divide-and-conquer power structures can usurp and dominate future-looking groups when there is one person talking too much, interrupting, dismissing, patronising, quoting outside experts etc. These tendencies (which everyone has!) can be curtailed by having an agreed procedure:
The TN heart & soul theme group has developed one that includes:
two minutes of silence two facilitators (one to direct proceedings, the other to hold the space) and one scribe (notes written up on googlegroup); roles in which all take turns engaging in a “check in” process open agenda (business of the day) a previously agreed subject for discussion
The 2 mins silence shuts out the “ego-noise” and concerns of the day, so everyone can come into the meeting and engage with one another in a Transition spirit. In the space we can acknowledge our level of commitment; receive a good sense of what we are good at; choose our own roles. It was suggested that maybe other groups would like to adopt a similar strategy.
CONSCIOUSNESS OF THE PROCESS OF TRANSITION Key to any meeting's success. Awareness that we are in a self-creating process and that we need to shift away from our allegiances to the dominant power structures and the false security offered by them. Awareness that we need to activate the Transition qualities of inclusion and positive future thinking in everything we do. Awareness that we don't need to “have our say” just because we want to say things more loudly or forcefully. Awareness that what is going down in the room is going down in the world. What is being voiced is part of the group, and by extension, part of oneself.
RANK Awareness of one's rank amongst others (e.g. in terms of experience, skills, fluency of expression, presence in a room) leads not only to self-respect, but makes us aware of our own impact within the group. As a result we become less ego-fixated and "autistic". This creates an enjoyment of our collective diversity, rather than a struggle with self-pity/ importance, in which we have to continuously prove our superiority by putting others down. Equity and celebration thus replace pecking order, in which those on the lowest rung statistically suffer the least well-being (which sometimes includes inverted snobbery e.g. white educated, middle aged, middle class, male).
The meeting ended as we were discussing how this process can be seen in terms of a shift away from the use of toxic nuclear energy (based on the will) to a more life-affirming solar (coming from the Heart) and wind (breath/Soul) energy.
Afterwards we all felt v. energized by our Open Space exchange!