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Shasta Transition

photo by Scott McKeown

Do you long for a more fulfilling and inspiring local way of life that can withstand the shocks of rapidly shifting global systems? Do you wonder how our community can best respond to the challenges and opportunities of peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis? Then you might be interested in participating in the emerging Transition Town Movement.

The Transition Town Movement is described as “vibrant, grassroots, community initiatives that seek to build community resilience in the face of such challenges as peak oil, climate change and the economic crisis… Transition Initiatives succeed by regeneratively using their local assets, innovating, networking, collaborating, replicating proven strategies, and respecting the deep patterns of nature and diverse cultures in their place. Transition Initiatives work with deliberation and good cheer to create a fulfilling and inspiring local way of life that can withstand the shocks of rapidly shifting global systems.”

As of this writing there are 437 official Transition Initiatives worldwide, including 125 official US Transition Initiatives in 33 states. Here’s some background information and an introduction to Shasta Transition:

The Transition Town Movement – This grassroots movement started in the United Kingdom and its 12-step model is documented by its founder Rob Hopkins in his 2008 book The Transition Handbook: From oil dependency to local resilience and updated in his 2011 book The Transition Companion: Making your community more resilient in uncertain times. Transition Network’s goal is to help towns make a practical transition to a more sustainable world.

Transition US – Transition US is a nonprofit organization “that provides inspiration, encouragement, support, networking, and training for Transition Initiatives across the United States.”  It is the US national hub of the UK-based Transition Network.

Northern California Transition Gathering – On October 6, 2012 there was a one-day conference in Richmond, CA that attracted over 100 people, representing over 25 Transition Initiatives and allied groups from Monterey, Palo Alto, Silicon Valley, San Francisco, Berkeley, Humboldt County, Nevada City, Sebastopol, and more. A highlight of the gathering was the keynote talk by Pam Hartwell, the mayor of Fairfax, CA (in Marin County). With great enthusiasm, she described how her group, Sustainable Fairfax, had built support for Transition-type activities in Fairfax, and how that had led to her joining the City Council and becoming Mayor of the first majority-Green Party City Council in the country! You can see her talking about it at the Green Party convention on YouTube.

Shasta Transition – In Redding, CA the transition movement is described by local organizers Gypsy and Dave Perry as “a small collection of motivated individuals within a community who come together with a shared concern: How can our community respond to the challenges and opportunities of peak oil, climate change and economic crises and create a way of living that’s significantly more connected, more vibrant and more fulfilling than the one we find ourselves in today.” This is an approach based on a very different economic model – one based on resilience and localization:

  • localized food
  • sustainable energy sources
  • resilient local economies
  • an enlivened sense of community well-being.

A different economic model  – “The essence of The Transitions Movement is to enable communities to diversify their economies so as to provide for as many of their needs as possible from relatively close to home. Transition is not a business-as-usual sustainability approach, which attempts to; for example, reduce the carbon emissions within our current model. It’s more than low-energy bulbs, solar panels and hybrid cars. Even though all these things are great, Transitions is much more. It is about a profound shift in what we do and how we do it.”

Emergent – “Transition emerges organically from the community itself, rather than being imposed from the top down. This bottom-up, grassroots type of process is more likely to result in real change that is rooted in local knowledge, creativity, and passion. Transition creates a space and a context within which people are invited to get going on projects they are passionate about.”

Localized – “Ultimately the goal is to ‘seep into the culture of the place’; how a place thinks of itself, what it takes pride in. This is the depth of the change Transition initiatives are attempting to effect. Events celebrate the place, its culture and a vision of the town’s future and where a sense of excitement is evident for all.”

Practical – “The primary focus is on practical possibilities and opportunities rather than on campaigning against current problems. It’s the difference between change that feels like being torn away from something and change that feels like moving towards something. Transitions works because it cultivates intrinsic values; feeling connected to other people, working together, making positive change happen around us where we live, and so on. It gives a depth and a sense of ownership far greater than working on a national campaign.”

Resilience – “People in a more resilient society can live happier lives with fewer consumer goods than most of us do today. A local economy can be more robust, diverse, and equitably owned than most of those in Western countries.  A far wider range of livelihoods and businesses is possible.”

Fun – “Many people get involved because it is fun, because they get to meet and do stuff with new people, and because it is more exciting, nourishing and rewarding than not doing it. People feel a part of something really dynamic in their community.”

 A Vision– Here is a glimpse of what local food production could look like by 2030 -the system that feeds us could look very different:

  • There has been a food and farming revolution.
  • The oil price volatility that began in 2011 focused the nation’s mind on the urgency of rebuilding the nation’s food security.
  • Most colleges and schools now make food growing a central part of the curriculum.
  • There are lots of local, self-organized groups are training and supporting each other in learning how to grow food, sharing tools and saving seeds.
  • Food hubs are popping up all over the country, which are helping small-scale growers sell directly to the consumer, cutting out the middle person and helping to make small-scale growing viable.
  • There is far more fruit production, more small-scale grain growing, and more land is being put aside for intensive vegetable production.
  • Food production is an integral part of the urban landscape. Most flat-roofed buildings now feature a roof garden, and raised beds adorn many of the now-newly-pedestrianized streets. Parks contain community gardens.
  • Urban market gardening has now re-established itself, with entrepreneurial new growers competing to grow the most unusual or eye-catching produce.
  • Most deliveries are done by bicycle or biogas-powered vehicle around the city, but the need for transportation is low, given that most such gardens serve very local markets.
  • Most schools and hospitals, now have intensive edible landscapes surrounding them. Much of the food produced is available to the on-site kitchens.
  • Very few lawns are now seen in towns and cities since wasteful lawns have been converted to vegetable gardens.

If you are interested in finding out more, please contact Gypsy or Dave Perry at 530-396-2449 or email gypsyperry03@gmail.com