Transition Launch

At the beginning of this year, I joined an online course called Launch, by the Transition Network. This is an eight week online course with Naresh Giangrande, going through all the important ingredients of Transition with a group of about 10 other people.  My co-hort is spread across the UK, Germany, Dominica, France, Chile, USA and Canada.

I have blogged lots about the Transition Network because I find the movement super inspirational.  I joined Launch because I enjoy the energy of conversing with people who are working on similar projects, have similar challenges, and I enjoy building relationships with wonderful people!

Sagrada Familia by Gaudi, Barcelona
In our first session, Naresh said " Transition is for people who realize we are in a transition." There is a sense of looming problems in the air. It's in our news, in our communities, in our media.  For each person, their conception of the crisis is a bit different: jobs, climate change, hectic lives, more stuff but less substance, droughts, isolation, money, pollution, security etc... 

Transition allows people and communities to envision and build a future that they are excited about, one that addresses some of the looming problems.  It is a process in which we deliberately make decisions to affect where we are going in the future.  Transition allows us to choose healthy communities, deeper relationships, and more resilient economies.
We talked about lots of interested topics during the first class, but one that I will relate here is some history of the Transition Network. For the first class, Naresh went into some of the history of the Transition movement and some of the resources out there, that I found super fascinating.  One permaculture principle is 'self-regulate and accept feedback'.  The Transition Network seems remarkably adaptable and capable of accepting feedback and improving process as different communities put Transition into action.

Sagrada Familia, Layers, and layers of intense design

How you start a Transition project in your community was initially described as the 12 Steps of Transition in The Transition Handbook by Rob Hopkins (2008).  I highly recommend this book, as it has lots of really interesting background information! They then realized that the model was not quite right.  Communities have complexities that can't be described in a series of steps. Transition is never the same in any one place. 

The second time they tried to describe it, they came up with The Transition Companion by Rob Hopkins (2011), which has a series of ingredients.  The idea for ingredients came from Christopher Alexander's A Pattern Language (1977), where he describes architectural techniques and patterns of what makes buildings, and spaces really work.  Hopkins and his collaborators asked, are there patterns in starting a Transition initiative? Are they replicable and can we describe it?   This is how the 48 ingredients, and 20 tools in The Transition Companion were developed. It's a good way to describe Transition because you can pick and choose what works for your community and unlike steps, the ingredients are not linear.

Outside the western entrance of the cathedral, Sagrada Familia

The ingredients to Transition were very helpful, but for some, overly complicated.  People really wanted to know: how do we a start a Transition Group here? Are there some ingredients that are more important than others?

This is where The Essential Guide to Doing Transition comes in. There are about 7 ingredients that are really important for transition.  This is what this Launch training is based on.

  • Healthy Groups- Learning how to work well together
  • Vision- Imagining the future you want to co-create
  • Involvement- Getting the wider community involved and developing relationships beyond friends and natural allies
  • Networks & Partnerships- Collaborating with others
  • Part of a Movement- Scaling up your impacts by linking up with Transitioners elsewhere
  • Practical Projects- Inspiring others and building new infrastructures
  • Reflect & Celebrate- Reflecting on how you're doing and celebrating the difference you're making

Outside of the school house, built in 1909 for the children of the construction workers

There is also the aspect of Inner Transition that underpins everything. This aspect of Transition is rooted in the psychology of change as well as to acknowledge of how our inner emotions and thought processes align with our actions.  As we change the world around us, we also change.  There is a feedback loop from inner to outer actions.  It affects everything from how well our groups work with each other, potential for burnout, power dynamics and more.  This is also part of the Invisible Structures as it is named in the permaculture world.

We also had some really great discussions about positive visions like the movie Demain, honouring elders within our community, story telling, potluck dinners, ways to word events/celebrations to be as inclusive as possible.  I'll share more in the future.  (As well as some more pictures from Spain! I know it's been a year and this is the first time I've shared photos!)


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