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Green Building Bible, Fourth Edition
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    • CommentAuthorGBP-Keith
    • CommentTimeApr 16th 2007
    Does anyone have a view on the latest eco-trend -' transition town' put forward by Rob Hopkins? BFF is about to embark on a regular slot which will follow our nearest town Lampeter as it begins its transition.

    Our journo will visit the town and talk to traders, the local authority and eco-activists about what they intend to do to move away from oil dependency. As usual, I'm skeptical and have pre-concieved ideas that it will be just the usual suspects that actually do the transition while everyone else goes about their normal activities - the heath food shops the old hippies and the weekend environmentalists. i hope I'm wrong. if anyone on the forum lives in a transition town let me know how its going please.
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeApr 17th 2007
    It's a similar arguement to the zero-carbon house. One day all towns will have become transition towns whether they wanted to or not. The more we can do before the crunch comes the less painful it will be. The meme that allows society, beyond the usual suspects, to accept this sort of initiative might just get imbedded quicker than one thinks. One can but hope.
    • CommentAuthoralexc
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2007
    I'd like to hear to what people make of Transtition Towns.
    Coming from Biff's point of view, I do not believe the culture/mindset in this country has what it takes.
    I drove(amen) round Lewis two weeks ago and didn't see any great cycle routes, early days, yes, but the groundshifts required I think are beyond politicians / goverment in the UK. The is always money to made selling what you have come up with to those who need it. You need to get in their early. The Uk's been lagging for a while.
    Heres hoping, I for one would like to Live in a town thats more user friendly, I left Ghent/Gent/Gand last weekend feeling slightly envious. A place that seemed better to live in.
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeApr 19th 2007
    Yes, Ghent has a head start on most British towns. But that just leaves us with greater opportunity for improvement. :)
    • CommentAuthorGuest
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2007 edited
    Hello all I came across your forum while doing a bit of research on the proposed 'Transition Town Lampeter' and as a resident of the town I have strong feelings about the project. I must stress that I am a supporter of the project but have some concerns regarding its implementation and how it has been reported in the press, in particular an exceptionally poor and somewhat misleading article in the Guardian by Felicity Lawrence on Saturday April 7th.

    On April the 2nd a meeting was held by the Soil Association to discuss the transition town idea with the general public. After the meeting a show of hands was taken to ascertain the support for proceeding with the project, the result was an emphatic yes. My main concern is that the vast majority of the meetings attendants do not live in Lampeter, or in fact, anywhere near Lampeter. I estimate, that out of the 450 people who are said to have attended the event, only some 15-20% of them where actually from Lampeter, or from the immediate locality. The local business community was barely represented at all, I would estimate somewhere in the region of half a dozen business owners where present, not exactly a promising turnout. Funnily enough the meeting was mostly attended by "old hippies and the weekend environmentalists".

    If you read the Guardian article you would believe that the towns people are enthusiastically behind the project, but the fact of the matter is that only a small number of them are even aware that the idea even exists. Very little advertisement was made for the meeting in the local area, most people I spoke to prior to the event had not heard of it. In fact the local County Council member was first made aware of the matter after, by chance, reading an article in the Western Mail.

    If Transition Culture wishes to involve Lampeters general public by “engaging people on a heart level” (I quote Mr Hopkins answering a question from the floor) then surely they must be the ones who are consulted with, and not an audience whose majority will be largely unaffected (if in fact at all) by the scheme. It is my opinion that there is a lot of work to be done in the local community, spreading information and actually asking the local population what they would like to see come out of the project, before this project can attain any level of success.

    I've included some links that relate to the subject:
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2007
    That's very interesting. I don't write with any personal knowledge - I passed through Lampeter last summer and thought the flowers looked nice - but I do wonder how you worked out that only 15-20% of the people at the meeting were local. I guess that local has to mean closer than halfway to the next town. I just can't imagine why the 80-85% of the people would have travelled further away. I can imagine a lot of people in the Emlyn - Cardigan - New Quay area to think of Lampeter as their town even if the people actually living in the town don't recognize them.
    • CommentAuthorGuest
    • CommentTimeApr 23rd 2007
    The 15 - 20% is only an estimate but I think it’s a fair one. I didn't work this out with any kind of scientific methodology, so really its only an anecdotal statement. Firstly I looked over the delegate sheet which listed most of the attendees names and addresses, and then I had a look around the hall to see who was there. Lampeter is only a small town and I know most of its inhabitants if not by name then by sight. I also had a chat to a few local people halfway through the meeting and they raised the same point. As for my definition of local, I would say anyone who lives within 8 miles of the town, or who use the towns facilities on a regular basis. Of course I cannot be absolutely accurate with this estimate but I do not think it is far from the truth.

    The meeting seemed to generate a lot of interest form all over Wales, of course there were a lot of people from Ceredigion, Carmarthenshire, Powys, Pembrokeshire and Gwynedd; but there was also a number of people travelling much further for instance, Swansea, Cardiff, Bristol and even Cumbria. Of course the people who travelled long distances were in the minority, and the majority of attendants lived within 50 miles of the Town. However I do not think that just living somewhere in West Wales qualifies one as local to Lampeter.

    I myself look forward to the next transition town meeting, and hope that a few more local people will turn up. Hopefully the participation of more locals will create some realistic and desirable methods of turning Lampeter into a Transition Town.
    • CommentAuthorGuest
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2007
    I think probably a lot of people attended that meeting from around the area because it was the first of its kind in Wales. There is a lot of interest in Transition Towns at the moment because it is actually aimed at community and not govermnet action. But it is a long process and I can understand your skepticism at seeing unfamiliar faces at an event which is nominally addressing a town's future. But this shows the power of the idea. Obviously, the answer is to get in there and get involved. I know the Totnes project is looking at a 20 year programme of energy descent, as with Kinsale. These meetings are always poorly reported by the press - what do they know??! But I went along from Machynlleth because it was the nearest Transition Town meeting to me and I wanted to find out whether it might apply to Mach. It is hard to get Rob Hopkins to come and talk as he is so busy - so, to hear it from the horse's mouth, I had to attend...
    I have to say, I was excited enough by the meeting to pursue my own research into Transition Towns and think they have a lot of merit in them, particularly combining groups which have been working on low energy development for a while, with the wider community, who may want to do something but aren't sure what is involved. Peak oil looms, climate change is here already really, and will only get worse for a while at least. The key thing is that there was a lot of energy there and now it is up to Lampeter to carry on and hold its next meeting as you say, and for Machynlleth, Llandeilo and all the others to have theirs but to continue to network and meet together, to provide support and inspiration.
    Good luck in Lampeter, I'm sure we'll meet somewhere again one day!
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeMay 14th 2007
    Modbury, in Devon, has made a nice start by all the shops agreeing not to give out plastic bags.
    • CommentAuthorGuest
    • CommentTimeMay 15th 2007
    Hi Guest I absolutely agree with what you say, to be honest my rant was more against the Guardian article than the Transition Town idea, in my mind what Felicity Lawrence wrote bore little resemblance to reality and made the attendants of the meeting sound like a bunch of idiots, which they are of course not. I love the idea of Lampeter becoming a transition town and hope other towns in west Wales and further a field will follow its example. I also think it would be a good forum for unifying the activity of various dissipated groups that operate in the area and have pretty much the same ideologies but specialise in different aspects of sustainability.

    It seems to me that Machynlleth would make a good candidate for a Transition Town; you seem to have a lot of environmentally conscious people there which I applaud.
    About 400 people turned out to hear Richard Heinberg and others at the TransitionTown meeting in Stroud on Wednesday night. Last night it was Nailsworth.
    And for more on the Nailsworth and Stroud events see:
    I am part of a newly formed Aberystwyth Transition Town group. This group came about by someone attending the soil assoiciation meeting in Lampeter, so whilst it wasn't strictly a local event, some positive things elsewhere are coming out of it.

    As there seems to be a fair few people from west wales around I think I can get away with a plug for our very first public event: We will be showing the film 'The End of Suburbia', followed by a discussion and introduction to the transition towns idea from Sarah Pugh (of Transition City Bristol). This is taking place at the Morlan Centre, Aberystwyth, 14th June 7.30pm, all welcome.
    • CommentAuthorbobirving
    • CommentTimeJun 8th 2007
    From what I've read in Rob Hopkin's original document, I wouldn't expect to SEE vast differences in a Transition Town, especially in this timescale. After all, the process as described is initially one of education and planning, I think. It's an attempt to get over the point that communities will change the way they look at the world. To a great extent, it's not going involve local government, since they have no responsibility for whether a town is self-sufficient in, say, clothing or food. (good thing too, judging by our lot!) As one who lives 12 miles away, I must confess to have attended a Transition Town Stroud meeting to see what it was all about. The movement in this country has only been going a few months, so what manifestations are you likely to see?
    • CommentAuthorjonesg6c
    • CommentTimeJun 12th 2007
    Hello there-I make films for BBC (Wales mostly) and I am interested in following developments in mid Wales re Transition Towns. From a meeting I attended at Ciliau Aeron recently it seems a disparate and far-flung movement so I hope that by joining this discussion I can see what's going on. (I hope Green Building Forum don't mind me piggy backing this way).
    From what Bob Irving says, it may be a hard story to illustrate on TV as it's all a bit didactic at the mo. But I did meet people at Cilia Aeron who were engaged in various activities and I would be very keen to hear from more people about what's happening. I'm especially interested in stories about people changing the way they live in radical ways or people struggling to change etc.
    Jonesg6c, our little town, Newport in Pembrokeshire, (not Gwent!), is being put forward for the transition town idea by a local environment action group to which I belong. We have a very healthy number of people in the local community intelligently striving for reduced impact lives and livelihoods already (very successfully in many cases).

    If you want to come and investigate then get in touch - transitiontowns AT henrysears DOT com.

    We're having the first meeting/seminar on Friday 29th June at the Memorial Hall, Newport, Pembs.
    Hi jonesg6c,

    I'm part of the Transition Town Llandeilo movement, which was sparked by several locals attending the Lampeter event. Our Launch day is today (2nd Sept) at the Civic Hall.

    I, and the rest of the group, would be happy to give you any info we can, and/or meet with you.

    We also have a real live project on the go (officially separate from the TTL initiative but strongly in tune with it) to turn the redundant local former Provisions Market into a multi-use business, retail and community centre, run as a social eneterprise by a Development Trust of which I'm a director. This is in the face of stiff competition from property developers and on a very tight time scale imposed by the County Council (which would like to be rid og it and get as much fast money as possible).
    • CommentAuthorNanuls
    • CommentTimeSep 6th 2007
    Posted By: jonesg6cHello there-I make films for BBC (Wales mostly) and I am interested in following developments in mid Wales re Transition Towns. From a meeting I attended at Ciliau Aeron recently it seems a disparate and far-flung movement so I hope that by joining this discussion I can see what's going on. (I hope Green Building Forum don't mind me piggy backing this way).
    From what Bob Irving says, it may be a hard story to illustrate on TV as it's all a bit didactic at the mo. But I did meet people at Cilia Aeron who were engaged in various activities and I would be very keen to hear from more people about what's happening. I'm especially interested in stories about people changing the way they live in radical ways or people struggling to change etc.

    Hey jonesg6c are you one of the producers of the 'Warts and All' type program that TTL have been talking to?
    • CommentAuthorshabs100
    • CommentTimeFeb 20th 2008
    Hi, I am a university student studying about Transition Towns. I have been set an assignment to obtain feedback from people who have read the Transition Towns Primer, would you please comment on whether you think that it is an easy read? Do you need to read it all to understand the message? Can it be implemented? Does it get boring? Does it help? Could it be improved?

    I thank you all in advanced for your help and reply.
    • CommentAuthorShepherd
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2009
    Transition towns - I recently became slightly involved with the Transition North Cornwall group - see http://www.transitionnc.org/.

    This is providing support and information and a website area for North Cornwall, and basically suggesting that here we approach the topic on an approximately parish sized basis - except for the towns. (This often coincides with the council electoral areas in terms of towns, some parishes are two or three per council seat.) So far looks interesting on paper/screen - my own view is that the best thing to come from the first pass, will be a place to find out about local services and useful web resources. Always need to remember that many people are not that happy with on-line searches, so a site with a good starter set of green issue websites will be helpful.

    Just wondered - its been more than a year since most of you posted - those of you who have Transition Towns in your areas - how is it going?
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeJan 12th 2009 edited
    I'm involved with Transition Town Westcliff http://www.transitionwestcliff.org.uk We started about a year ago as a result of a pub chat, but are small in actuality, still concentrating on outreach and awareness raising plus hopefully getting some practical projects up and running over the next few months. We are piloting a garden share project (actaully one of our activists who couldn't get an allotment as the waiting list is now too long using my mums (shared house) garden to grow some veg, though not broadcasting this too far and wide at the moment), exploring the possibilities of a 'ecohouse and garden' tour modeled on the one that takes place in Brighton partly run by Brighton Permaculture Trust and maybe some other irons in the fire... We've had (moral) support from a couple of local businesses, not least our local woodburner installer Scarlett who sometimes posts to this very forum (which is how I found out about it...), and who also hosted a TTW talk/discusion evening on the potential of wood fual as a post-oil energy source http://westclifftransition.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/wood-fuel-for-a-low-energy-future/

    The problem really is capacity building - we've got lots of great ideas and creative thinking emerging but not enough people with enough time or energy to make it happen!! But does that mean we shouldn't be trying?? Its easy to be skeptical and cynical, particularly for those of us who are veteran camapigners and activists and who remember past initaitives like Agenda 21 that turned out to be damp squibs in so many cases. We are also very aware of the 'usual suspects' syndrome, and are actively seeking to outreach to groups that arn't the regular green/FOE types, etc, eg, community groups, residents associations, arts groups, etc, etc. You can get an idea of where we are at, our activities and history from our blog pages.

    Cheers Graham
    So will TT's work and have they got the answers? I personally like this bit of context setting from the TT wiki


    Cheerful disclaimer!

    Just in case you were under the impression that Transition is a process defined by people who have all the answers, you need to be aware of a key fact.

    We truly don't know if this will work. Transition is a social experiment on a massive scale.

    What we are convinced of is this:

    * if we wait for the governments, it'll be too little, too late
    * if we act as individuals, it'll be too little
    * but if we act as communities, it might just be enough, just in time.

    Everything that you read on this site is the result of real work undertaken in the real world with community engagement at its heart. There's not an ivory tower in sight, no professors in musty oak-panelled studies churning out erudite papers, no slavish adherence to a model carved in stone.

    This site, just like the transition model, is brought to you by people who are actively engaged in transition in a community. People who are learning by doing - and learning all the time. People who understand that we can't sit back and wait for someone else to do the work. People like you, perhaps... \\!! Final point Just to weave the climate change and peak oil situations together...

    * Climate change makes this carbon reduction transition essential
    * Peak oil makes it inevitable
    * Transition initiatives make it feasible, viable and attractive (as far we can tell so far...)
    Keep meaning to go to this but am put off by the Linda Snell factor...


    sadly I am pre-booked for another worthy cause tomorrow, am on mailing list so will try to go to next one...

    Who is Linda Snell?
    Middle class do-gooder in 'The Archers' (Radio 4), setting up same in fictional Archers town, with history of annoying people in a self righteous way without have any real good on the do-good bit...

    Ah yes of course... i knew TT's were being mentioned in the Archers but no more details about characters etc. The Archers thing seesm a bit of a double edged sword for TT's, good to get the media coverage of course, but not so good if its going to create associations with the sort of personthis character seems to be portraying...

    I sometimes wonder if the death-knell for LETS was when The Daily Mail described it as "So revolutionary its bound to sweep the country" :wink:
    • CommentAuthorbiffvernon
    • CommentTimeJan 13th 2009
    No, it wasn't Linda's idea, it was Pat's, the organic dairy farmer.
    • CommentAuthorchrisc
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2009 edited
    Posted By: James NortonKeep meaning to go to this but am put off by the Linda Snell factor...


    sadly I am pre-booked for another worthy cause tomorrow, am on mailing list so will try to go to next one...

    Last year Transition Sheffield did 9 film screenings, one film we showed in two venues was a Rob Hopkins talk which started with a re-enactment of a scene from the Archers, but, because we found it so cringworthy, we cut this bit out and started the DVD just after this bit ended... :wink:

    There were two Transition meetings in Sheffield last night, the one I was at had 28 people at it and was really good, hope to meet you at one in the future :bigsmile:
    • CommentTimeJan 14th 2009 edited
    My sister Sarah Berry has just started Trans Tavi! My good friend Naresh Giangrande and Sophie are half way through a 4-month world tour teaching the Americans, Kiwis etc how to set up TTowns.
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