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February 2016 - Transition Network Newsletter

Thu, 04/02/2016 - 15:26

Our main newsletter feature this month is on Burnout - what it is both individually and for groups, and more importantly, what we can do about it; there are also stories on how making drinks has helped create community and pointers to a local economy; and book reviews including of an acclaimed new book 'The Urban Farmer'.


'Burnout Tales' of those who've burn out, and found a way out the other side.

'Burnout is a Risk Where People Are Passionate About What They Do'
There’s a saying that “in order to burn out, you need to first be on fire". Burnout is a risk where people have a strong sense of passion behind what they do. In this interview with Chris Johnstone, a resilience specialist and writer, author of ‘Active Hope’ and ‘Find your Power’, he talks about how when we get down, how do we climb back out again?

'My name is Claire and I'm in recovery from addiction to activism'
Transition Network's new Inner Transition Coordinator shares about her transformational experience of recovering from extreme burn out.

The risks of the 'Energy of Yes'
Chrissie Godfrey was formerly a co-ordinator of Transition Town Taunton (which she co-founded in 2008), but in 2012 suffered from a serious case of burnout. We asked her to tell her story, and we are deeply grateful for her honesty and for sharing her experience:

Transition and Burnout: the Australian experience
That so many of us in Transition experience burnout suggests we haven’t quite achieved the balance says Clare Power, a Lecturer at Western Sydney University.

On Managing Burnout

A Winter Solstice wreath-making party in Albany, CA. was a wild success with 50 adults and children having a whale of a creative time declares Catherine Sutton. "And I wasn't even there! My burnout is officially over."

'Neighbouring': a Burnout and Build Up Again Story
Thriving is about 'Neighbouring', a new verb that invented by the Transition Initiative of Linda-a-Velha (in Portugal). They share their story of our particularly unique and mysterious path, one that invites us to reflect deeply on the mysteries of human nature, of relationships and of what really matters, of what is essential in order for us to thrive.

Balance or Burnout?
Republishing the Editorial piece from Sophy Banks that focuses on the causes of burnout – the physical, the personal, the cultural and some of the unconscious processes that are much harder to spot.

How Sustainable Is Your Group?
Here is a set of activities that will help your group to make decisions, perhaps one of the trickiest of things for Transition groups to do! Step-by-step guide here.


The unstoppable rise of 'Demain'
The film 'Demain' ('Tomorrow') is proving to be one of the most remarkable catalysts for Transition and other bottom-up approaches that has ever been made. A review in Le Monde described the film as "a phenomenon of society" adding "In a France darkened by crisis and terrorism, this documentary is a 'breath of hope'.

"To See the New Economy Through a Glass of Beer..."
Rob Hopkins reflects on the explosion of the craft beer movement and how, in many ways, it models the kind of local, appropriate scale economy that Transition seeks to create.

The Story of Unthinkable Drinkable Brent
One day, in the park, Leo Johnson got overtaken by an old Italian man. "Excuse me," he said to him on impulse, "but do you know how to make wine?" The inspiring story of how making "borderline undrinkable" wine brought a street together.

Learning From the Past in Kensal and Kilburn
Transition Town Kensal to Kilburn recently held a celebration of a great oral histories project they had recently completed, 'Old Stories for New Times: inspiration for sustainable living'.  

Low-carbon Neighbourhood Planning – key policy changes and scope for influence for Transition Initiatives

Amy Burnett of University of Reading and Dan Stone from Centre for Sustainable Energy give an update that's vital reading for any Transition groups doing Neighbourhood Planning. 


The Urban Farmer:
growing food for profit on leased and borrowed land.

"Curtis Stone's brilliant new book 'The Urban Farmer', is one of the most important contributions to Transition thinking over the last 10 years" says Rob Hopkins. It sets out in great depth and detail what it could look like if large swathes of land in our towns and cities hosted beautiful, diverse, abundant gardens growing good food and viable incomes.

Transition In Depth

A recently published book 'The Secure and the Dispossessed: how the military and corporations are shaping a climate-changed world'  asks the question “What if the world’s leaders have decided it’s easier to deal with the impact of climate change than to tackle the underlying causes? It has a chapter about 'The Transition movement in global perspective' which you can read here:


Transition National hub for England and Wales
5 March, London
A group of Transitioners are coming together to develop a Transition National hub for England and Wales, we are meeting to begin to discuss how this development might happen. If you are interested in getting involved and/or coming to this meeting then please sign up here: 

More events

‘Look closely at the present you are constructing: it should look like the future you are dreaming’.
Alice Walker


Transition Móstoles, a short step, a big city, a long way.

Mon, 11/01/2016 - 10:40

During the 2015, the Instituto de Transición Rompe el Círculo and the municipal candidatureGanar Móstoles have worked together in designing the strategies that will make Transition City Mostoles possible [Este post está disponible también en castellano].  As a result of this cooperation and the effort made by the candidature town councilors –people we specially want to thank for their hard-working dedication to the arduous tasks they had to take over- last Thursday the 16th of November, a municipal motion to include Móstoles in the global Transition Towns movement was accepted unanimously by the whole of the parties composing local government.

This motion supposes an explicit compromise by all the local groups in government to:

  • Make a future institutional statement including Móstoles in any of the emerging networks that are bringing together these experiences at an international level and
  • Become this compromise into facts, by developing a pilot project in cooperation with the actors that from the civil society have been driving the plan Móstoles, Transition City.

We know this is only a short step, maybe not even the most important one, but this is a step allowing us to generate a framework for action that, institutionally, may make viable later developments with a more practical dimension, in reach of everybody in a finite planet.

From the Instituto de Transición Rompe el Círculo, we will start by trying to turn this institutional compromise into an ambitious urban garden network along with a powerful program to intervene in educational centers. We trust in continuing adding the other projects –among the total 22 designed by working together with the social movements -with the aim of implementing an integral Transition process.

However, our activity will continue being independent from Institutions since we know institutional policy is a minefield for social transformation. It would be rather naive to believe a motion could not become a dead letter if it is does not come along with an external effort, made from self-organization and self-management. But we know, by our own experience, that self-management has also its limits. Necessarily, a transition process has to be a process of experimentation with dual strategies: a foot in councils and ten feet on the streets, in communities, in the construction of alternatives from the grassroots and specific utopias.

We consider the declaration of “Móstoles, Transition City” is an important and hopeful landmark. We are talking about a city -200.000 inhabitants- 17 km from Madrid city center, but having the social environment you would typically find in a town. It has a wide area that has not been urbanized, agriculture in the outskirts is still alive and the city has a rebel social fabric that has been proving to be a transformational muscle for many years. In addition, Móstoles has an enormous potential to pass on its initiatives, since it is situated in Madrid’s working class area, an urban space bringing together a million people with similar social, cultural and urban characteristics. We hopefully believe the success of a Transition process in Móstoles could spread along the whole of the sociologic space that has an important weight in the future of our country. Our objective is massive, and doubtlessly escapes our current possibilities, but this, as any big adventure, has a humble start.

This post is based on a larger text which will be published at 15-15-15 and can be downloaded here: comunicado-mocion-transicion-para-15-15-15.pdf

January 2016 - Transition Network Newsletter

Thu, 07/01/2016 - 15:24

We begin a period of reflection with looking at burnout; say farewell and celebrate two key members of the Transition Network team; share some more reports from COP21; some offers of collaboration and review the latest Star Wars film.

Balance or Burnout?
This blog, the last from Sophy Banks as she leaves Transition Network, focuses on the causes of burnout – the physical, the personal, the cultural and some of the unconscious processes that are much harder to spot. We’re giving ourselves spacious time over the next two months to explore the theme, and there will be more on creating balance and health in later posts.

Help us celebrate two of Transition's great pioneers.
We celebrate Sophy Banks and Fiona Ward, who have stepped back from Transition Network in order to pursue other things (or to not pursue the pursuit of not doing so much), and honour what they have brought to Transition, and what we've loved about working with them. And we'd love to hear your reflections too...

Sophy Banks reflects on 10 years at the heart of Transition
As Sophy Banks, the founder of the 'Inner Transition' aspect of what we do, moves on from Transition Network to pastures new, a moment we felt needed marking. So Rob Hopkins cycled up the not inconsiderable hill to Sophy's house, and over a cup of tea we talked about Inner Transition, the legacy she feels she is leaving behind, why she decided it was time to step out, and what her wishes for the Transition movement would be.



Touching the Earth
After 8 breathless days in Paris, Rob Hopkins felt the need to sit and reflect, to digest. "It feels to me that we find ourselves in a new world. A world where coal lobby bosses now say that, post-COP21, they will be "hated like slave-traders". A world where, on paper at least, the world is now committed to a 1.5 degree target. The language has changed, the conversation has changed."

Sarah McAdam on riding the COP21 rollercoaster
She tells how during that time she moved bewilderingly quickly from moments of joy, connection and hope to moments of cynicism, anger and overwhelm and back again.

Reflections on a week in Paris at COP21
From Rob Hopkins and Jacqueline Fletcher.

More from the Transition team at COP21 collected here:


Help Us Build Our Translation Capacities
Transition Network has allocated a budget to establish a contract with a suitable individual (or, potentially, a partnership or small enterprise) with the skills, experience and commitment to design and develop support materials, processes and tools to expand the International Transition movement’s translation capacities. Applications by January 17th please.
More details:

French school looking for partner school in Europe for Transition collaboration project.
Here's a message from a teacher in a French school who is looking for another school in Europe to liaise with for a collaborative Transition project.
"I've heard about you from the French movie "Demain" and loved what I heard about Transition. My name is Fabien Mano, I'm a French biology teacher in a high school in the south of France (Toulouse). Some of my pupils are involved in an European Section (Biology in English) and we are looking for a group of European Pupils for a pairing. My pupils are 16 years old and want to start a project about transition in collaboration. Maybe you know a teacher who could be interested in this?"
If there any potential school groups interested in partnering up with this school project, please contact <> directly.


'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' - a Transition review, in 7 Episodes
Like so very many people, Rob Hopkins fell for the hype, and at vast expense, took his kids to see the new Star Wars film, 'The Force Awakens', just before Christmas. "Although occasionally entertaining, and a mildly diverting way to pass 2 hours, it was also", he says, "if we're honest, a bit crap, and I thought it might be fun to ease my way back into 2016 blogging by offering some Transition-related thoughts on it".


Launch online in English will be starting on January 12th. Click the banner for details:

What is Launch online?

More Transition Trainings:


REconomy North West
Saturday 6 February
The political idea of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is growing. But what is its purpose? What is our response? How do we benefit? “The road from Wigan Pier”: how can we shape our local Northern economies using grassroots projects, networks and ideas to inspire collective action & economic resilience?


"a complete human being is..not just what we do... we’re also the depth of our love for our children and each other and the people that are vulnerable. We are the vision that we can imagine and the beauty that we both bring and want to see in the world. We are the intensity of our grief when things are lost and go wrong and the enormity of our courage to stand in the face of things that are terrifying and say we’re still going to act."
Sophy Banks


December 2015 - Transition Network Newsletter

Wed, 09/12/2015 - 15:02

Inside reports from COP21 and starting our exploration of ways to re-tell the Transition Story headline this month's newsletter. We also hear of research on Inner Transition in Canada, REconomy goes to Wigan, you can listen to a new Transition song from SWIMBY and recalling the cold winter of 1963. Plus a Training update and book reviews.

Transition Network at COP21 By the time you read this, it is likely that some kind of agreement will have been reached at COP21, although we don't yet know the details.  Various Transitioners were, and still are, in Paris, and have documented their experiences and insights here.  You can read about being inside COP21, the French launch of '21 Stories of Transition', the bizarre spectacle of the 'Solutions COP21' event, the Human Chain, the Village of Alternatives, the amazing film Demain, and just what it was like being in Paris over those days, and much more besides.  Rob Hopkins, Chris Bird, Naresh Giangrande and Henry Owen all wrote blogs, with others to come from Sarah Ayech and others.  Over on the Transition Italia blog, Luca Lombroso has also been blogging from COP.  We hope you find them an interesting and useful insights into this unique moment in history. 

21 Stories for Christmas

In case you are stuck wondering what to buy the Transitioner in your life for Christmas, might we suggest the wonderful '21 Stories of Transition', our full colour immersion in Transition in 15 countries and what they are up to. It's selling like hotcakes, but there are some left. Have a look here, and order your copy in English or in French.


THEME: The Transition Story

Time to stop talking about climate change?
Would Transition benefit from redefining itself as "a movement of communities coming together to reimagine and rebuild our world" and spend less time talking about the issues that drive why we do what we want to do?

Telling the Transition Story - a workshop
A video of the workshop Sarah McAdam and Rob Hopkins presented at the 2015 Transition Network International Conference. It gives brief overview of the basic idea of a new way of telling the Transition story and suggested story flow. It goes into the discussion in more depth and which includes the questions and debate it generated.

Reflections from Chile
The first Chile National Hub meeting reflected on new ways of telling the Transition story.

 On Balance and Burnout

Our theme on the website for January and February is going to be Balance and Burnout, and we'd love to hear from you. Have you suffered from burnout while being involved in Transition? What insights might you have from that that you'd like to share? What strategies have you developed for coping with that? If you would like to share thoughts, or produce something for the website, please contact Rob at Thanks. 


Inner Transition in Canada
Anne Rucchetto and Blake Poland: Lessons from their research into how inner Transition is integrated within initiatives in Canada.



The Road from Wigan Pier
Delighted to announce the next in the REconomy series of regional events in the UK. This year we have been in Devon, Powys and now looking forward to Wigan. The political idea of a ‘Northern Powerhouse’ is growing. But what is its purpose? What is our response? How do we benefit?



Of Climates Past: 1963, the last time the River Thames froze
2015 looks 97% likely to be the hottest year on record.

The most beautiful song about Transition yet created?
Songs about Transition, tend to be universally dire. For some time Rob has been on the lookout for a song that somehow captures the essence of what it is that we do, a kind of (inter)national anthem for Transition. As part of SWIMBY, lyricist Matt Harvey, composer Thomas Hewitt-Jones and producer Chloe Uden have created a song called 'In Our Own Back Yard' which is as close to that as he has yet found.




Austerity Ecology & the Collapse-Porn Addicts by Leigh Phillips.
A tirade which starts out attempting to sound rational and informed, but which as the book goes on, loses the plot entirely.

21 Stories of Transition Reviews 

Freelance opportunity - help us build our translation capacities 
Transition Network is looking to establish a freelance contract with an individual (or, potentially, a partnership/small enterprise) with the skills, experience and commitment to design and develop support materials, processes and tools to expand the International Transition movement’s language translation capacities. 

More info here


A range of Transition Trainings are available in the UK and internationally:

Transition Thrive is happening in Wales in the new year. 
What is Thrive?

And Launch online in English will be starting on January 12th: 
What is Launch online?




"There is no power for change greater than a community discovering what it cares about".
Margaret Wheatley 




Follow Transition Network on Twitter!/transitiontowns 

Be a Friend on Facebook 

Film Reviews  

Transition Youtube Channel 

Resources — Editor's Picks 

Find previous editions of the newsletter here 

Subscribe to Transition newsletter: 

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

Editor: Mike Grenville



Postcards to Paris : Send your views to #COP21

Thu, 05/11/2015 - 17:07

Do you want to send your views to the Global Climate Conference in Paris, COP21?  At COP21, world leaders will try and agree on how to stop dangerous global warming caused by human activity. They are trying to get agreement to reduce carbon emissions to limit the global temperature increase to 2 degrees Celsius.

As part of “Sustainable St Albans Week”, Transition St Albans (TSA) are personally delivering 2000 Postcards to Paris with messages from local people to the UK delegation at the Global Climate Change conference. They would love other UK Transition Towns to join in too.

St Albans District schoolchildren are writing 1,000 cards and local residents are completing another 1000. The cards are going to be taken to Paris by a volunteer and handed to the UK delegation, led by Amber Rudd MP. 

Would you like your Transition Town to join in with Postcards to Paris?

Transition St Albans have room to take a few cards from other Transition Towns around the country, so we can show that these issues affect communities around the UK. It’s a chance to show we care.  If you want to join in, you need to complete your postcards (maximum 10 per Transition initiative) and get them to St Albans before November 21st.  (If you want to join in on a bigger scale, that would be great too, but you will need to transport the cards a different way. TSA only have room for a few in their suitcase!)

Step 1: Find 5-10 people from your Transition Town to write a message on a postcard.
Ask your steering group, or most active volunteers, whether they want to take part. All they will need to do is write a postcard and get it back to you. Get any postcards you have around the house, or print out some of Transition St Albans special Postcards to Paris from their website

Step 2: Get your volunteers to write their messages.
On the back of the postcard, write a message to the UK representative at the Global Climate Conference. You might want to start: ‘I care about the climate because…’ or ‘Please act NOW to stop climate change because…’

Step 3: Address the card, and add your name & address.
TSA will take all the cards to Paris, so just address it to ‘Amber Rudd MP, Paris Climate Change Summit, Paris’. Put your name and address at the bottom.

Step 4: Get the cards back to Transition St Albans by Nov 21st

Send the cards from your Transition Town to Transition St Albans c/o 80 Beaumont Avenue, St Albans, AL1 4TP.

For more information on Sustainable St Albans Week, click here

Derbyshire transition towns join together to launch divestment campaign

Mon, 02/11/2015 - 14:45

Seven Derbyshire Transition Town groups have joined together with other organisations to launch a Divest Derbyshire campaign. to get Derbyshire Pension Fund to dis-invest from fossil fuels. A month before the UN Climate Change Conference in Paris, the groups are calling for Derbyshire County Council to freeze any new investments and dis-invest from existing investments in fossil fuels within 5 years. The pension fund has £290 million invested in fossil fuel companies.

The group has today launched an online petition which will be circulated across Derbyshire and hopefully reach as many employee members of the pension fund as possible. The link is here.  With world leaders meeting next month to discuss how to avert global catastrophe, the group want Derbyshire to show its commitment to protecting the planet through this small but impactful action.

The group also argue there are sound financial arguments to divest from fossil fuels. Fossil fuels create risks for investors if they become stranded assets (worthless fuel stocks that regulation will prevent from being burned). There is already evidence of investments in fossil fuels resulting in reductions in the value of pension funds.

November 2015 - Transition Network Newsletter

Wed, 28/10/2015 - 15:41

This month we are delighted to unveil our brilliant new publication, '21 Stories of Transition'; we have a Digest of our Fairness theme; how a community responded when overwhelmed with refugees; the potential opportunity of prisons; plus practical projects, training and events.

21 Stories for COP21

There are now 4 weeks until the start of COP21, the UN's climate negotiations in Paris. Several members of the Transition Network team will be going, as will Transitioners from around the world. Monday saw the launch of a new book, '21 Stories of Transition', in an English edition as well as a French one. Transition Network put out an invitation for groups to send in stories, and from those chose the 21 that make up the book. Its creator, Rob Hopkins, explains in this two minute video why it's such an important publication. You can check out tasters of the 21 Stories (one being added every week day between now and COP) or order your printed copy here, and we've discounts for Transition groups who want to buy in bulk.  The book was also formally 'launched', although not in a way that most books are.  Here's the video of the book's launch: 

Today Rob, in an article called 'Why COP21 matters, and why I'm going', talks more about the new book, about change, and about what Transition has to offer to the COP21 process.  

If you are going to Paris, a timetable of Transition-related events will be published soon at  If you are staying home, we will also be suggesting some things you could still do.  One of those is 'Postcards to Paris', being co-ordinated by Transition St. Albans as part of their very impressive Sustainable St Albans Week.  They'd love you to get some postcards signed, and they will take them to Paris for you.  Here's more information about that:

Transitioners' Digest for our Fairness theme

Our theme for September/October has been 'Fairness' which we have been looking at from a variety of angles. In our 'Transitioners' Digest' we give you a quick overview of what we've covered and what you might have missed.

Our next theme is 'the Transition Story', which promises to be a fascinating and challenging couple of months.  It opened with a piece called The Transition Story: Time to stop talking about climate change?, which we'd love your comments on.


Requiem for the Industrial Growth Society

One of the most innovative and well received elements of the International Transition Conference 2015 was the Requiem for the Global Industrial Growth System. Attended by over 80 people it gave a rare opportunity to reflect on our relationship to this vast system, to imagine witnessing its dying, and symbolically make the transition to a new and different way of living. The 2015 Transition Network International Conference was amazing.  We've talked about it in previous Newsletters, but now we can share a beautiful short film that captures the spirit of those 3 days in Devon.  


Syria on Your Doorstep: a Community Response to Refugees in Hungary
A guest post from Tracey Wheatley, co-ordinator of the Transition Hungary Hub has some insights about how can a community react when 1000s of people are literally dumped at the end of their street by people traffikers.

Other Names, Other Colours: Transition, Latino Style
An article by Tracy L Barnett for Magis Magazine on the challenge of translating the Transition Movement to the Latin American context.

Prisons as "One Massive Creative Design Opportunity"
An interview with Nicole Vosper about permaculture and prisons and why she feels that the prison system needs a rethink.


Support Offer theme: Practical Projects
As we explore Practical Projects, and how to bring them into being, we hear from Northaw Transition about their community orchard project, and how it came to be:


We are holding a series of trainings in the new year in Llandrindod, Wales including Transition Thrive, Real World Economics, and Permaculture for Transition (which is also happening in London in December).

If there hasn’t been a Transition Launch course near you or at a time you could attend, why not do the course OnLine? Not only will you be taken through the beginning steps to setting up and running a Transition group by one of the founders, but you will also get to experience learning online (an increasingly useful skill to have). This starts on January 12th 09.00 GMT and runs for 8 weeks. Details of all trainings and how to book:


Inner Transition Coordinator - freelance opportunity

Transition is seeking someone who can combine inner depth with passion for the aims of Transition - a natural networker, communicator, and enabler who wants to support the continuing evolution of inner Transition as part of the movement. Building on existing networks and resources, this role will support the continued integration of  understandings and activities from personal, group and societal development worlds into the healthy practice of Transition. 


A conversation around environmental sustainability in the arts.
Leeds. 11 November

Community Energy
Regen SW is running a series of events for community energy groups alongside Western Power Distribution (WPD).These events will help community groups navigate grid issues, understand more about local supply and smart grid options and explore how they can work with WPD to secure a grid connection. Watch their video:

Nottingham. 30 November
Birmingham. January 2016
Bath. February 2016



Follow Transition Network on Twitter!/transitiontowns 

Be a Friend on Facebook 

Film Reviews  

Transition Youtube Channel 

Resources — Editor's Picks 

Find previous editions of the newsletter here 

Subscribe to Transition newsletter: 

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

Editor: Mike Grenville


“What the Transition movement does incredibly well is small-scale experiments which are practical, which resonate with local people, which look as if they’re doable, and that can engage people at a practical and meaningful level. It connects up the big issues and the local issues and shows you that change can happen at a local level”.
Julian Dobson, author of ‘How to Save Town Centres’, quoted in '21 Stories of Transition'.