12 key steps to embarking on your transition journey

12 key steps to embarking on your transition journey

1. Establish a steering group and engineer your demise from scratch
This stage creates a core team that takes the project forward during the initial phases. We recommend that you create your management team with the objective of carrying out phases 2 to 5, and agree that once a minimum of 4 subgroups (see point 5) are formed, the management team is dissolved and reformed with a person from each of those subgroups. This requires a degree of humility, but it is very important to put the success of the project above that of the individuals involved. Ultimately, your steering group should be made up of a representative from each subgroup.

2. Increased awareness
This stage will identify your key allies, build crucial networks, and prepare the wider community for the launch of your Transition initiative.
For an effective Energy Crash Action plan to be developed, its participants must understand the potential effects of Peak Oil and Climate Change - the age-old claim to increase community resilience, subsequent reduction of the ecological footprint. carbon.
Screenings of key films (An Inconvenient Truth, The End of Suburbia, The Oil Awakens, The Power of the Community) along with commissions of "experts" who will answer questions at the end of the film are very effective. (See Basic Text of Transition Initiatives to keep up to date with all the films - where to get them, trailers, what are the authorizations, catastrophic classification vs classification solutions)
Talks from experts in your field on climate change, peak oil, and community solutions can be very inspiring. Articles in local newspapers, interviews on local radio, presentations to existing groups, including schools, are also tools to make people aware of these issues and to start thinking about solutions.

3. Lay the foundation
This stage is about networking with existing groups and activists, making it clear to them that the transition town initiative is designed to incorporate their previous efforts and future contributions, looking to the future in a new way. Recognize and honor the work they do, emphasizing that they have a vital role to play.
Show them a concise and accessible overview of Peak Oil, what it means, its relationship to climate change, how it may affect the community in question, and the key challenges it presents. State your thinking that a transitional locality process can act as a catalyst for the community to seek solutions and begin to think about baseline mitigation strategies.

4. Organize a great Official Presentation
This stage creates a memorable milestone that marks the “arrival era” of the project, transfers it to the wider community, builds a moment to propel your initiative forward to the next work period, and celebrates your community's desire to move on. to action.
In terms of coordination, we estimate that it would be fine between about 6 months and 1 year after the first showing of films about “raising awareness”.
The Official Presentation of the town in transition of Totnes took place in September 2006, preceded by about 10 months of talks, film screenings and events.
Regarding content, they have to move people forward at Peak Oil and Climate Change, but in a “we can do something” spirit rather than pessimistic.
One piece of content we've seen work very well is a presentation on the psychological and practical barriers to personal change - after all, this is about what we do as individuals.
They do not necessarily have to be just talks, it can include music, food, opera, dance, whatever you feel best reflects the intention of your community to embark on this collective adventure.

5. Create subgroups
Part of the process of developing an Energy Descent action plan is listening to the collective genius of the community. For this it is crucial to establish a number of smaller groups that focus on specific aspects of the process. Each of these groups will develop their own ways of working and their own activities, but everything will go under the umbrella of the project as a whole.
Ideally, subgroups on all aspects of life that are necessary in your community for it to support itself and prosper. Examples of the same are: food, waste, energy, education, youth, economy, transportation, water, local government.
Each of these subgroups takes care of their area and tries to determine the best ways to build community resilience and reduce the ecological carbon footprint. Their solutions will form the linchpin of the Energy Descent action plan.

6. Use the Open Space
We have found that Open Space Technology is a very effective approach in initiative meetings for localities in transition.
In theory it shouldn't work. A large group comes together to explore a particular topic or issue, with no agenda, no schedule, no obvious coordinator, and no one taking notes for the minutes.
However, we have conducted separate Open Spaces for food, energy, housing, economics and the psychology of change. At the end of each meeting, everyone has said what they need to say, a lot of notes have been taken and typed, a lot of contacts have taken place, and an enormous number of ideas have been identified and visions established.
The basic reading on Open Spaces is "Open Space Technology: A User Guide" by Harrison Owen, and you will also find that "The Handbook of Change: Group Methods for Shaping the Future" by Peggy Holman and Tom Devane is an invaluable reference in the extensive range of these tools.

7. Develop visible practical manifestations of the project
It's imperative to avoid any sense that your project is just a talk-only store, where people sit down and make wish lists. Your project needs, from an early stage, to start creating practical and highly visible manifestations in your community. This will significantly raise people's perception of the project and also their willingness to participate.
There is a difficult balance to strike here during these early stages. You need to demonstrate visible progress, without embarking on projects that ultimately have no place in the energy reduction action plan. In the transitional town of Totnes, the “Food” group launched a project called “Totnes - the UK nut capital”, which aims to achieve the largest possible infrastructure in the town of edible nut trees.

8. Facilitates the Great Re-qualification
If we are to respond to peak oil and climate change by moving to a lower energy future and relocating our communities, then we will need many of the skills that our grandparents took for granted. One of the most useful things a transitional locality project can do is reverse the “big de-qualification” of the last 40 years by offering training in a range of these skills.
Research among the older members of our community is instructive - after all they lived before the throwaway society took hold and they understand what a less energetic society would look like. Examples of courses are: home repair, cooking, bike maintenance, natural building, loft insulation, staining, herb hunts, gardening, basic home energy efficiency, how to make dough, practical gardening (the list is endless).
Your Grand Re-qualification program will give people a great understanding of their abilities to solve problems, achieve practical results, and work cooperatively with other people. They will also appreciate that learning can be really fun.

9. Build a bridge to local government
As much as the degree of interest that your Transition Site initiative is able to generate, as much as you have started many practical projects, and as wonderful as your energy reduction action plan is, you will not go very far unless have cultivated a positive and productive relationship with your local authority. Whether it's for planning topics, background topics, or providing links, you need them on board. Contrary to what you might think, you may find yourself pushing yourself over an open door.
We are investigating how to make a draft Energy Down Action Plan for Totnes, in a format similar to the current Community Development Plan. Perhaps one day, city planners will be sitting at the table with two documents in front of them - a conventional community plan and a beautifully presented Energy Declining Action Plan. It is any moment in 2008 on the day that for the first time a barrel of oil has exceeded $ 100 a barrel. Urban planners look from one document to another and conclude that only the Energy Declining Action Plan speaks to the challenges they are facing. And as this document becomes the central theme, the community plan falls into the trash (we can dream!).

10. Honor the elders
For those of us who were born in the 1960s when the cheap oil festival was in full swing, it is very difficult to imagine a life with less oil. Every year of my life (except for the oil crisis of the 70s) has been marked by having more energy than the previous years.
In order to recreate the situation of a society with less energy, we have to interact with those who remember exactly the transition to the era of cheap oil, especially the period between 1930 and 1960.
Although any sign that what we are advocating is "going back" or "going back" to a dark and distant past must be clearly avoided, there is much to learn about how things were done, what were the invisible connections between the different elements of society and how daily life was sustained. Finding out all of this can be profoundly revealing, and can lead us to a much more connected understanding of where we are developing our Locality in Transition projects.

11. Let me go where I want to go ...
Although you may begin the process of developing your Transitional Location with a clear idea of ​​where it will go, it will inevitably go elsewhere. If you try to maintain a rigid vision, it will start to sap your energy and it will appear to be paralyzed. Your role is not to have all the answers, but to act as a catalyst for the community to design its own transition.
If you stay focused on the key design - building resilience in the community and reducing the ecological carbon footprint - you will see how the collective genius of the community allows a viable, practical and highly ingenious solution to emerge.

12. Create an Action Plan for Energy Decrease (PADE)
Each subgroup will need to focus on practical actions to increase the community's resilience and reduce the ecological carbon footprint.
Combined, these actions form the Energy Drop Action Plan. That's where the genius of the community has designed his own future to take into account the potential dangers of Peak Oil and Climate Change.
So far, we have carried out many practical actions in Totnes. However, they constitute a mere fraction of the totality of initiatives that are currently being conceived by our community.
Regarding specific timescales for Energy Lowering Action plans, here is part of a presentation made in Glastonbury at its inaugural meeting in April 2007, "Should we become a town in transition?"
“You must be wondering what should be the time scales for Energy Descent Action plans. There are no rules - each community will embark on a plan that is good for them in relation to time. Kinsale raised a 15-year window, Lewes 20.
If you are looking for more precision and specific dates, here is my answer:
When I look back at the effort that has gone into preparing for today's meeting and the effort each of us has made to be here and dedicate most of our Saturday to these pressing issues, when I think of all the wonderful efforts From pre-existing groups in Glastonbury, which will hopefully be incorporated and re-energized, one more “transition” initiative, I say the work has already begun.
And if I look at what we need to do to create the communities that we are happy with for our grandchildren and grandchildren to grow up with, then that work will certainly not end in our lives ... "
Incidentally, Glastonbury's embryonic steering group did indeed decide at the end of that day to adopt the Locality in Transition model to design its future of lower energy and greater resilience.