by Michelle Colussi
I was dragged kicking and screaming to a Transition Town Workshop in late 2008. I was convinced there was nothing for me to learn there about community development (and terrified of showing everybody how little I knew about Peak Oil and climate change.)
Yet since then I have been totally hooked on working with the model in my own community and as a trainer for Transition Workshops across Canada. What is it that keeps me enthralled two years later? It is simply one of the most compelling approaches to community change and engagement that I have ever worked with.
On one level, the Transition Town model is so simple and direct. Life with less fossil fuel is inevitable and could actually be a good thing. It could lead to a healthier, better world. So let’s get started – now – in our communities, households and our businesses.
On another level, the model poses a staggering challenge. Read on.
Energy Descent Action Planning
In a sense, the purpose of a Transition Town is to build a community’s awareness, knowledge, engagement, relationships, and tools so that it can create and carry out an Energy Descent Action Plan. This “EDAP” projects how local life will have changed (for the better) in the not-too-distant future, when oil is no longer central to the economy and society. The EDAP then identifies the steps that local people will take to arrive at that future.
TT Totnes, England, the original Transition Town, has just completed its EDAP, Transition in Action – Totnes and District 2030. For Michelle Colussi, a seasoned practitioner of community economic development, the document is remarkable for the way it manages to channel and affirm all the enthusiasm and creativity of a local “uprising.” As a plan, however, it has its flaws. Read her critique now.
Training for Transition & Training the Transition Trainers
The Training for Transition Workshop is a 2-day introduction to the Transition Town model: a dynamic approach to living with less fossil fuels and more creativity and community. Workshops are coming up at the following times and places …
Vancouver, BC: October 15-16. Registration fee: $195. (50% discount available to full-time students with valid ID.) Email for registration details.
Montréal, QC: le 6 novembre, “Des outils pour la transition au Québec.” Bistro Tribu-Terre, 2590 Jarry Est. Coût : 35 $ (comprenant dîner, cafés et tisanes). Veuillez vous inscrire avant le 26 octobre. Pour plus de renseignements, voir le blog d’Iseult Séguin Aubé et contactez-lui pour recevoir le nouveau bulletin électronique, Transition.
Minneapolis, MN: November 13-14. Registration fee: USD$255 ($220 prior to October 30). Added attraction! Workshop participants may attend a keynote presentation by Richard Heinberg. Click here to register.
For an introduction to the transition model, we recommend “Building Resilience: What Can Communities Do,” the chapter written by Rob Hopkins (Transition Town Totnes) for the new Post-Carbon Reader, edited by Richard Heinberg and Daniel Lerch.
New BALTA Website
The BC-Alberta Social Economy Research Alliance (BALTA), a regional collaboration of community-based organizations, universities, and colleges, has launched its new website: www.socialeconomy-bcalberta.ca.
The information accessible there includes cutting-edge research on a wide range of topics critical to expanding the social economy and forging sustainable communities: energy, housing, procurement, food, finance, social enterprise and cooperatives, faith-based initiatives – the list goes on. Have a peek. You won’t be disappointed.
Carbon and Energy Leadership Certificate Program
Royal Roads University (Victoria, BC) is now offering a Carbon and Energy Leadership Certificate. It comprises three modules of three courses (88 hours total) concerning Environmental Action, Environmental Adaptation and Mitigation, and Climate Change Economics and Financing. Learning outcomes include
Knowledge of energy efficiency, alternative energy, and carbon management in order to understand and implement legislation
Carbon emissions reduction projects for the community, home, or organization
Strategies to overcome financial and organizational barriers to the implementation of energy projects
Energy production, distribution, and use, and opportunities for reducing energy use
Economic aspects of global climate change with a focus on emissions taxes and carbon markets
Developing and buying carbon credits
Click here for more information or to register.
Social Economy & Canada’s Health Care System
The debate over the future of Canada’s health system remains bogged down in a stand-off between two options: the public or the private sector as designer, provider, manager, and insurer. Yet neither is capable of the task in the absence of a third actor – citizens who organize and control health care delivery in their towns and neighbourhoods, particularly by means of co-operatives.
Just how great a role social economy organizations already play in health care, and how to enhance this role still further, is explored in depth in the Special Edition of Making Waves magazine, Community-Controlled Health Care. Read all 13 articles now. (Aussi disponible en français.)
One initiative profiled by the Special Edition, HealthConnex (Connecting People for Health Co-operative, Halifax) is back in the news with the extension of its member services to on-line appointment booking with their GP and prescription renewal. What’s next? E-consultation and on-line tracking of personal health status. Read about these innovations, and whether this is an example of serving some Canadians better than others, or of serving people better, period.